# The Language of Physics.

Discussion in 'Physics & Math' started by Write4U, Aug 14, 2020.

1. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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OK. lets look at the definition of pattern.

Patterns
Is a fractal a physical thing?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern

Patterns in Nature
Symmetry (Further information: Symmetry in biology, Floral symmetry, and Crystal symmetry)

When I look at these patterns (shapes) I see no physics, I see ONLY mathematical forms!

Aside from shapes and patterns , physics consist of mathematical equations.
https://physics.info/equations/

A "shape" or "pattern" is not a physical thing, it is a mathematical thing which forms the shapes or patterns found in physical things!

3. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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The Language of Physics
http://www.cecm.sfu.ca/~thalie/PhD/node43.html#

5. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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Write4U:

Okay, so you've told us what patterns are. (I think most of us already knew what a pattern was.)

The only question you have asked is whether a fractal is a physical thing. I'd say a fractal is a mathematical pattern. Physical things are things like rocks and people and water and elephants.

You also mentioned symmetry, which is another mathematical idea. We can find symmetries in nature.

You're right that you don't seem to have written anything about Physics yet - only mathematics. You have given us a laundry list of some things that exhibit symmetries. The physics (and/or biology) is what explains why they have those particular symmetries.

You claim that physics "consists of" mathematical equations, implying that physics is only mathematical equations. I disagree with you. Physics is a scientific description of the natural world that allows us to predict how physical systems will behave. Physics is the study of the most fundamental constituents of the physical world, from the smallest to the largest scales.

Mathematical equations are used in physics, but physics is more than just equations or maths.

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8. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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Can I take that to mean we agree?
I agree.
I agree.
I beg to disagree with that. IMO, it is the mathematics of the physics that form the expressed symmetries in physical patterns.
I have no quarrel with the definition of "physics". It seems that you have a quarrel with mathematics as the ordering mechanics in the physical world.
But ask; How do you define "mathematics"?
i.e. All of Physical world, including spacetime itself. Mathematics is all there is as it relates to the Universe (not humans)
Not really, physics is all about "relational values" and "mathematical processing functions".
The universe does not concern itself with physics. It functionally recognizes only extant "relational values" and "mathematical (algebraic) processing" of these values. Physical patterns are mathematical constructs.

Mathematics is;
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_mathematics

"Physics" is the observable (subjective experiential) result of mathematical self-ordering functions in the physical world.
https://www.livescience.com/38936-mathematics.html

My summation;
Physics is used by humans to explain the properties (values and functions) of the physical world, by means of symbolic mathematics.

Mathematics is used by the universe itself in its evolutionary process of self-organization and self-assembly of mathematical patterns (of various densities) in the "expressed" physical world, by means of "relational values" interacting via "mathematics (algebraic) functions".

Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
9. ### Write4UValued Senior Member

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Yes, I am the one who quoted it.
But that specific question deals with the mathematics of "language", not the mathematics of "physics'.

10. ### Michael 345New year. PRESENT is 71 years oldValued Senior Member

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Novel idea that a Universe run by Physics is not concerned with Physics

11. ### QuarkHeadRemedial Math StudentValued Senior Member

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This is almost impossible to parse.
Mathematics is a human construct, and is often (not always) useful to describe the natural world. The universe, not being human (as far as we can tell) cannot "use mathematics".

I would like to see a reasoned argument for this assertion - it doesn't seem quite right to me

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12. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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Quite so. There is plenty of mathematics with no relation to the physical world, and there are plenty of things in nature that can't be described in mathematics.

This is just Write4U's religion. He is impervious both to argument and to the observation that we've all had a bellyful of this crap of his already.

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13. ### CptBorkValued Senior Member

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I'm not a logician and I still haven't even had a chance to go over the full proof for Godel's incompleteness theorem, let alone various other results in logic theory. However, I've heard it claimed that any kind of universe possessing consistent logical properties will necessarily be describable purely in terms of mathematical rules. Anyone know anything about such arguments?

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14. ### QuarkHeadRemedial Math StudentValued Senior Member

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The premise being "any kind of universe possessing consistent logical properties" needs arguing.

Is ours one of them? (In the everyday use of the term "universe")

15. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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I haven't but it makes sense, seeing that mathematics is a highly evolved form of quantitative logic. However, there is a huge differences between a universe that is describable by mathematics and one that "is" mathematics.

16. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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I agree with the gist of your point, especially as it relates to Write4U but what are the "plenty of things in nature that can't be described in mathematics"? In theory that is.

17. ### QuarkHeadRemedial Math StudentValued Senior Member

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History (as far as I know it) is full of puzzles in nature that were resolved by scientists visiting the mathematics shop and coming home with just the thing they needed, straight off the shelf.

Could yet happen throughout, I think

18. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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The characteristics of a glaciated landscape is one example I had in mind. Or the reactions of a ketone, say, in organic chemistry, would be another. Or almost anything in biology.

I mean, you could spend ages tortuously trying to construct a mathematical model of such things, but it would far more clumsy than a verbal description and some diagrams.

I do feel there tends to be a sort of worship of maths that is misplaced. It is one tool of human analytical thought, but there are others.

19. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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I agree with your overall point. It's just a language and if enough information is available it can describe most anything but at the end of the day it's still just a human language and nothing more.

The only interesting thing I've gotten out of Tegmark's writing (for example) is not the part about math being reality but the idea that if a mathematical description were good enough it might explain the unexplainable. Meaning that something like what came before the Big Bang might be able to be explained if the rest of the equation were good enough to explain everything else. Not that it would be indisputable proof just that it might be the best that we could do and better than we are able to do at the moment.

I'm not doing the idea justice here but it is an interesting though, nothing more.

Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
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20. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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Yes, it seems to me maths is a language and, as such, a tool for description and analysis.

I haven't read any Tegmark (Shapiro) myself, having been put off by Peter Woit's criticisms of him and by various other things, such as his rather naked showmanship (even to the extent of changing his name to make it more unique and exotic, Shapiros being two a penny in the NE United States.)

I suppose that any really good model ought to make predictions in new areas. However I'm damned if I can see how we would submit a model that predicted something before the big bang to an observational test. (leaving aside the question of what "before" might mean, given that according to the usual model time itself started at the big bang.

)

21. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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I don't see how there could be any observation test either.

The idea, as I understand it, is simply that we would have more confidence of a models unobservable predictions if everything that we could observe was sound.

Currently models break down with singularities and infinities for example. What if GR and quantum models fit together seamlessly and made some prediction about what came before the BB? We would have more confidence in that prediction.

It's not an Earth shaking point IMO but I just found it interesting. The one book of his that I read wasn't controversial until the last few chapters.

22. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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If there are no observations one could make to test it, then it is metaphysics and not science - though it could be an interesting speculation, certainly.

23. ### SeattleValued Senior Member

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Sure, it's whatever you want to call it but the better the math was in all other regards the more likely it would still apply to other (currently) untestable regions. It may even lead to future methods of testing. It's just an interesting thought, IMO.

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