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Aug
17
comment Are there two theories that are mathematically identical but ontologically different?
And one of the experiments that sparkled debate about the topic is on the recent side of things: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afshar_experiment. So this seems more to me like a topic where new ideas would be welcome, rather than the opposite.
Aug
17
comment Are there two theories that are mathematically identical but ontologically different?
For ones that do, they will most likely not be able to make sense of their favorite perspective too much to someone else, and if you asked them to explain the most common criticisms leveled of the theory, I would expect even less to come out of it. There is also not a clear consensus on the topic at all, at least within some communities (see e.g. arxiv.org/pdf/1301.1069v1.pdf).
Aug
17
comment Are there two theories that are mathematically identical but ontologically different?
Furthermore, in this particular example, is my impression is that if you ask the vast majority of people that use quantum mechanics to talk about the corresponding ontologies, they will say they do not care (i.e. "shut up and calculate").
Aug
17
comment Are there two theories that are mathematically identical but ontologically different?
Also considering hypothetical objects for which one could debate whether they are hammers or not in the style of philosophical zombies, going a little bit into anthropology also looking at whether there are cultures that don't have a word for hammer, relations of all those topics, and I'm sure I'm leaving a lot of stuff out. I can see how this perspective might make the subject exasperating or "meaningless" to some, but it's also what makes it look so enriching to others.
Aug
17
comment Are there two theories that are mathematically identical but ontologically different?
I see your general point, and I agree that taking into account how people that use a theory in experiments conceptualize it is definitely worthwhile. Though I'd argue the philosophical exploration of a hammer could be quite rich (political symbolism, sexual symbolism, explorations of when does it make sense to call something a hammer when it is used as such but doesn't look like a conventional one).
Aug
15
comment Are there two theories that are mathematically identical but ontologically different?
@CuriousOne If one is interested with philosophical concerns, then from that point of view the motivation is clear. In terms of coming up with new theoretical concepts/generalize previous ones, having different ways to formulate what one already knows can be certainly helpful as well.
Jul
15
comment Why doesn't matter pass right through other matter if atoms are 99.999% empty space?
Thanks for asking this, I had wondered the same for a long time, and ended up just using classical justifications (thinking the number of layers of atoms would just cancel out the small volume), it was great to see how that was not the case in the answer : )
Jul
10
comment Classic home experiments for an 8-year-old child
Maybe something about resonant frequency?
Jul
6
comment Why is filling a balloon from your mouth much harder initially?
I think it's interesting how this gives an example where the formal concept of force doesn't match the intuition about what is going on...
Apr
26
revised Why are sine/cosine always used to describe oscillations?
added 1 character in body
Apr
26
answered Why are sine/cosine always used to describe oscillations?
Feb
21
comment What is the difference between translation and rotation?
Charged particle in magnetic field.
Feb
15
comment Does an athlete's proficiency at luge depend on his mass?
Uhm, if I am reading the answer from User11865 right, the rider's surface area is proportional to m^(2/3)
Oct
15
revised Proof that Our Planet is 1D
added 16 characters in body
Oct
14
answered Proof that Our Planet is 1D
Sep
1
answered What is the difference between translation and rotation?
Jul
27
comment How can a photon have no mass and still travel at the speed of light?
For the "talking to laypeople" part, I'd actually suggest starting by explaining what physicists mean by mass. Starting with the difference between gravitational and inertial mass is probably good, specially if it is remarked that neither of those is what people probably have mind (which would be more like "Amount of stuff")
Jul
8
awarded  Popular Question
Jun
10
comment Classical results proved using quantum mechanics
Just being pedantic here, but as far as I understand the correspondence between classical and quantum mechanics is a bit more subtle than taking the limit hbar -> 0. See arxiv.org/abs/1201.0150 for some interesting elaboration on the topic.
May
10
awarded  Editor