Should physicists work to the sound of silence?

Apr 01, 2014

In this month's issue of Physics World, Felicity Mellor, a senior lecturer in science communication at Imperial College London, questions whether the requirement of the modern physicist to collaborate and communicate is preventing the intellectual progress brought about by silence and solitude.

Drawing on the approaches of Newton, Einstein, Cavendish and Dirac, Mellor highlights the recurring role that silence has played throughout the history of physics and asks if the "enforced interaction" that is now placed on modern-day scientists is allowing them enough time to think.

Sir Isaac Newton, in particular, was a proponent of isolated working, shutting himself away in his rooms, publishing reluctantly and restricting his audience to only those he thought capable of appreciating his work. Indeed, it was only after much persuasion that he eventually agreed to his Principia being published in full.

Physicists do best by striking a balance between silence and communication, with Mellor citing the example of Werner Heisenberg, who retreated to the tiny island of Heligoland to escape hay fever and the constant chatter of his colleague and mentor Niels Bohr. It was here that Heisenberg was able to reflect on discussions with Bohr and lay down the basis of his formulation of quantum mechanics.

While reminding us that individual genius is not the sole source of creativity in physics, Mellor questions the extent to which modern-day scientists have control over their own level of . "Communication, yes, but on the physicist's own terms, in that manner that suits each individual best," she writes.

Peter Higgs, for example, recently claimed that he would not have been able to complete his Nobel-prize-winning work in the current research environment, stating that the peace and quiet he was granted in the 1960s is no longer possible.

In her article, Mellor also points to the rationale behind the current institutes of advanced studies, which aim to bring researchers together from a number of disciplines to promote collaborative research projects.

"These are laudable aims, but it is striking that the need for periods of withdrawal and solitude are no longer acknowledged as a means of facilitating intellectual advances," Mellor writes.

"History shows us that the most successful physicists have been able to strike a balance between coming forth and holding back, between public discussion and private contemplation. Yet reticence and silence seem to have no place in the modern research agenda."

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AmritSorli
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 02, 2014
Teory of Everyhing (TOE) based on Set Theory

Number zero 0 ≡ Ø = {} (empty set) represents BEING. Number 1 ≡ 0' = {0} = {Ø } represents quantum vacuum, number 2 ≡ 1' = {0,1} = {0, {0}}, = {Ø, {Ø }} represents electromagnetic energy, number 3 ≡ 2' = {0,1,2} = {0, {0}, {0, {0}} } = {Ø, {Ø, {Ø, {Ø }}}} represents elementary particles. Observer in physic has origin in BEING which is not a type of energy or matter we know and we describe with E=mc2.

Empty set { } means silence.
Zwentoo
Apr 02, 2014
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antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Apr 02, 2014
The contemporary community of scientists faces the financial pressure from the side of grant agencies
There's the pressure to have at least one commercial partner involved in any research project - which means that it's almost impossible to do any research on fundamental things given that without such a partner there will be no grant money (please note that the commercial partners don't pay for research. They GET part of the grant money).

Fundamental research takes time. Grants are very limited in scope nowadays, and if you can't produce the goods by the 2-3 years they are set up for then you will not get another. There's all kinds of progress documents to fill in and review committees you have survive, or the grant will be prematurely cancelled.

This is a real problem for doing breakthrough science. Scientists must be allowed to explore (at the risk of occasionally failing!).
osnova
Apr 02, 2014
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osnova
Apr 02, 2014
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Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Apr 03, 2014
I know about at least twenty experiments and devices, which definitely work, but they're not even attempted to replicate, because they deal with taboo
osnova/Zwentoo/Zehir
are you going on again about cold fusion?
When I present some of my idea at forums controlled with mainstream physicists, then I'm getting immediately deleted
ya get deleted because you are offering no empirical data, no legitimate science and forums like that usually consider this spamming/trolling, especially when you are posting about failed/outdated/debunked science and attempting to re-institute it as legitimate science

ya start posting empirical data and proof, and produce a working cold fusion machine, especially one that produces more energy than it takes in, and I guarantee you will be more popular than Einstein!
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 03, 2014
These devices were replicated already and they would risk anything with it.

Then it isn't science anymore. If these drives were "already replicated" and there is no risk then it's engineering.

. I know about at least twenty experiments and devices, which definitely work

Then start a company. At least one of them should be something you can sell. What's stopping you? Maybe the fact that of those "twenty experiments and devices, which definitely work" you have only some conspiracy website description?
This is your chance: get one of them up and running and make your mark on history. Or are the "global science cabal in league with all governments and all enterprises" keeping you from doing it?

When I present some of my idea at forums controlled with mainstream physicists, then I'm getting immediately deleted.

Which forums would that be?
osnova
Apr 03, 2014
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Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Apr 03, 2014
Not quite, until the mainstream physics cannot explain these drives
I call bull, Z. this is conspiracy BS from your delusions
there was never any public outcry because the pez dispenser didnt have a strong descriptive analysis of its working mechanisms along with theoretical extrapolations and publications for how it works when it was put on the market...
NASA doesn't sell its drives - so why I should do it? Maybe it's involved in conspiracy too
I'm telling NASA and the NSA you are giving away their secrets... they are already watching you, you know?
do you really believe there is a global conspiracy against you or working functional technology? especially one that would be SO beneficial? Your PROOF of this?

BE A LEADER, Z... give us a working LENR/cold fusion machine! get rich and famous!
NOW IS YOUR CHANCE!

by the way, NSA said that your shirt does not match your shoes... and you should change them before going out
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2014
Not quite, until the mainstream physics cannot explain these drives

Who cares how they work if they work? Plenty of companies have been founded on stuff that just works and no one knew exactly what the mechanism behind it was (from x-ray machines to glue). They just new how to get the effect and then built it. That some people 'know' they work and can't produce the goods should tell you something.

Maybe it's involved in conspiracy too, don't you think?

No, for the simple reason: Everyone in teh world would have to be in on it. Governments who hate one another. Companies who would love nothing more than to produce the next big thing ahead of their competitors. Scientists who would love nothing more than to present a breakthrough.
They all would have to meet in secret and agree to cooperate to keep 100% mum on this.
You think that likely?

Physics Forums, Stack Exchange

Thanks. I'll sign up there. At least they're now nutcase free.
Zwentoo
Apr 04, 2014
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Zwentoo
Apr 04, 2014
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antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2014
So should we stop the research of HT superconductors?

No, since the research is aimed at understanding them and making them better. But they are not secret nor are you prohibited from already developing projects on them.
(Unless you mean 'room temperature' when you say 'high temperature'. If you use the common way this is used as "above the temperature of liquid nitrogen" then there are already plenty of applications being sold for those)

the physicists have no interest about NASA replications of Woodward drive

You seem to (still) think that physicist X is equal to physicist Y, and that no specilizations exist. If soneone isn't specializing in that raea he/she won't replicate (physicsist have stuff to do, you know?)
But since the drive is patented it's already beyond research (i.e. no one can do research on it without the permission of the patent holders)
Zwentoo
Apr 04, 2014
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antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Apr 04, 2014
Please define what you mean by 'high temperature superconductor' so that I know we are talking about the same thing (I would use the standard definition: anything that works above 30K or so).

There are no patents on high temperature superconductors that cover the materials currently researched as far as I'm aware. These materials can be produced (even bought for relatively little money), and getting to room temp would be huge.
The woodward drive...well, no one has seen a working prototype. But I did find publications as late as 2013 (although by Woodward himself, so that is a bit of a poser) but that means that research seems to be ongoing. So what are you whining about? If he gets it to work with demonstrable results I'm sure he'll show it off.
http://arxiv.org/abs/1301.6178

osnova
Apr 04, 2014
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osnova
Apr 05, 2014
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