|Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2004 12:18:20
Thanks for the reference.
Once vacuum energy (or anything else) is a reality in practical devices, of course it will have been ***** who had all the ideas all along and who "pioneered" it.
It reminds me a bit of philosophy. Mathematics is useful and necessary, and the higher mathematics is very useful and very necessary. But just like philosophy did, physics -- which is after all the philosophy of natural science -- has split off into various "schools" or disciplines based on a lot of models and assumptions, and a little experiment, and these schools are often in bitter opposition to each other. Religious and orthodox philosophy, of course, did the same thing.
That's why the original intent of science was to keep things tied to physical experiment. Today, the various "physics interpretation" schools have become so esoteric that the same experiment with the same results is often interpreted quite differently and even oppositely by the different schools, usually with great rancor and belligerence. Hence the historical "bad record" of physics in viciously savaging most pioneers and most really new discoveries.
The real place that the "close and meticulous scrutiny" deepest attention should be given, is in the BASICS of all our physics models -- i.e., their axioms and assumptions, whether explicitly stated or not -- as Einstein pointed out so eloquently. In the very basics assumed even at the elementary level, there are so many errors and so much hoary old bad baggage accumulated that today's scientific Babylon cannot and will not be resolved between the various school positions until the basic foundations are someday straightened out and corrected. For anything really new or outside the "box", there is a rather universal rage and savaging from the entire set of "interpretation schools", on the basis that "everybody knows that (xxx)..." etc. The Soviet work in psychoenergetics, leading to conversion, is just one example. The basic work is so much against the Western mindset and "ingrained emotional context" that Western scientists cannot TOLERATE it, much less take it seriously. Hence our grave vulnerability.
All those esoteric physics models being practiced with such brilliance etc., still entangle the old material ether in there in their most basic concepts, with the field in mass-free space, etc. It's still precisely as Feynman pointed out: we really don't know exactly what energy, time, mass, space, field, etc. identically are. It is only now, e.g., that thermodynamics is finally beginning to shake itself loose from the rigid dogma that became attached to it more than a century ago. Heck, the original meaning of "entropy" was just "dissipated potential", thereby "dissipated potential energy". Since all our crude engines at that time were horribly bad and coarse, they all exhibited entropy like the dickens. So entropy (a simple definition) somehow became elevated to a "great absolute law of nature", beyond all other laws. Not only could one not win, one couldn't even break even. Scientific nihilism at its worst! Now, with those leading thermodynamicists that are determinedly attacking the so-called Second Law and steadily demolishing it, finally one can even speak again of "negative entropy". Put back in its simple definition, it just means "recovery of the use of some dissipated energy". Ironically, every heat engine ever built already uses this in a strange way: Loosing some heat energy into a volume means that all it can do is heat -- unless the volume is restricted as in a cylinder. Then the heating of the RESTRICTED AND CONTAINED AND CONTROLLED external environment (to that process emitting the heat) in that volume, is indeed a "recovery of usage" of the otherwise random heat energy. Now the only "release" from the confinement of randomness is in the desired direction permitted. So we get useful work out of the steam engine after all. The lesson is obvious: "Dissipation" of energy into another volume or another form, that the original system cannot use, is merely a problem for the proper "recovery of control and direction" process.
But even today, one cannot point out that energy can be and is used over and over to perform work, and that one joule of energy can produce two or twenty joules of work, IF each "dissipation stage" also has an efficient "recovery process" to use the dissipated energy from the preceding state. That's absolutely true, and nature has been using and reusing every joule of energy in the original creation, over and over, since the beginning, where one joule of energy often does joule after joule of work in the repetitious subsequent processes. But even today, to point that out is to incur the "holy wrath" of the great self-appointed "defenders of the faith".
Physics is still very uncertain of what physical reality really is, that it assumes is hidden behind its equations but existing. Indeed, even ol' Clinton had a point: It depends on what one means by "is". "Being" is still a great unsolved problem in philosophy, as are subjects like nature of one, nature of identity, etc. And the physicist has not yet been able to rid himself of the "is" embedded in each symbol for equal to, greater than, less than, etc. This are all "is" equal to, "is" greater than, "is" less than, etc. Merely using a squiggly wiggly symbol does not mean the user knows what "is" is.