|Subject: RE: Physics theory
Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2001 17:52:56 -0600
it briefly, and like what you are doing there.
for the "standard" two-slit experiment you reference Feynman
in his three volumes of physics.
That's far more accurate and exact than the limited papers I
write, sometimes in haste under the press of affairs.
Also, for the full treatment, check publications by Wheeler and
others, particularly on the "Delayed choice" two-slit
experiment, which just about totally destroys our na´ve concept of a
"fixed thing moving through space" like a ship through
earlier that students can be introduced to such novel but valid
concepts and foundations experiments, the more comfortable they will
be with these things when they are hit by them in sophomore and junior
physics at a whale of a pace.
my personal view, the young students -- even still in high school --
should also be introduced to the fact that there are still questions
on foundations in physics, and that a literature exists on these
foundations issues, some of which still are not solved.
other thing that is terribly important is that the students be at
least conceptually acquainted with the fact that there are two major
types of thermodynamics, that of systems in equilibrium with their
active environment (the standard classical thermodynamics) and that of
systems far from equilibrium with their active environment.
thing that would really be nice is for the student to be introduced to
the fact that we use "models" in physics, and these models
themselves are never to be taken as absolute or impeccable (Godel's
theorem). Instead, we
make a model that fits the phenomena in a given area of experiments,
and then in that area the model is "valid" (i.e., it can be
used to make predictions). For
other areas outside that "fitted" area, the model may not
capture the phenomena and may give the wrong results.
Either we improve the model in that case, or we form another
model for that new area. E.g.,
for the photon there are at least four different models of the photon,
all contradicting each other. But
each applies well in its own area.
So physicists quit arguing a long time ago on that question,
and just use the appropriate one of those models in its appropriate
area. One of the biggest
problems in young students is that somewhere along the line it got
drummed into them that the models were "perfect" and Moses
brought them down off the mountain with him on those stone tablets.
Once this notion is very firmly implanted, then that student is
in risk of going on to become a dogmatic scientist who never will
progress past the "usual accepted models". He may do good
applied work, but will likely never do very much to make some new
advances in physics.