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Old November 16th, 2017, 02:14 PM   #41

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Not really. Even things like planes hardly rely on Newton. The Wright Brothers developed aviation technology pretty much through trial and error, not by reading Newton. Modern architects may also receive some passing knowledge of Newton in colleges, but they don't rely on him for their skyscrapers. Even in Newton's times, Britain did not industrialise through what Newton said.

Both Newton and Einstein are extremely overrated. I would even dare say Plato knew as much as Newton about natural physics, he just didn't mathematise what he knew like Newton did.
This is completely false. Modeling the lift of and air flow around planes is entirely dependent on having adequate models of fluid mechanics, which itself is a consequence of Newtonian mechanics. The Wright Brothers weren't just blindly creating different types of wings and aircraft but rather were creating aerodynamically viable structures consistent with the principles of Newtonian mechanics.

Modern architects and civil engineers absolutely rely on their knowledge of statics and dynamics to model stresses and strains of various materials and configurations of materials which, again, is directly related to Newtonian mechanics.

The conceptual framework provided by Newtonian mechanics, while not necessarily a cause of the industrial revolution, did help bolster the advances made in the Industrial Revolution and propelled work in thermodynamics (which is obviously useful in the creating various types of engines).

Plato certainly did not "know" as much about the real world as Newton or Einstein or even a modern undergraduate physics student at an accredited institution. While philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle were undoubtedly important throughout Western civilization, their ideas and teachings often had to be challenged and overturned for meaningful scientific advancement to take place.

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Neither Gatling nor Maxim developed their guns reading Newton. The muskets and rifles of the 19th century also didn't make use of Newton. The AK-47 and M16 of the 20th and current century also didn't use Newton.
This is a rather odd argument to make. If by "didn't use Newton", you mean these people did not literally read Newton's Principia, then you are correct in this very restrictive sense. That's not the point of my original post however. The point is that the physical principles and conceptual framework Newton helped to establish was the very foundation relative to which many further technological and scientific advances were made throughout the world. Even the creation of guns involves a basic understanding newtonian mechanics, of things like forces, acceleration, the aerodynamic behavior of bullets, etc. It is in this sense that Newtonian physics (or "Newton") encompass and underlies large classes of natural phenomena and human activities.

Last edited by EternalWay; November 16th, 2017 at 03:33 PM.
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Old November 16th, 2017, 04:17 PM   #42

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You need to ignore how he describes particles, space, the orbits of the stars, their interaction with incorporeal entities in complex ways, etc., all of which easily match Newton and Einstein. Plato simply didn't mathematise his knowledge like them, most likely because he thought it wasn't necessary.
The major difference between the scientific methodologies developed around the scientific revolution and the philosophical works of eminent ancient Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle is that not only did they all make little effort to test or verify their metaphysical speculations, but they were also operating heavily under teleological conceptions of the universe and its inner machinations. They placed a primacy on logical reasoning from a core of fundamental concepts that were deemed to be self-evident without actually questioning why they believed to them to be true in the first place. Moreover, when you frame physical questions in terms of what purposes or goals things or processes have, the tendency to inject moral, metaphysical, and aesthetic biases often arises. For instance, even Aristotle for all his acclaimed emphasis on observation and empiricism utterly failed (from the perspective of modern science) in many respects to diligently and consistently apply these principles.

Consider the motion of a projectile. It did not occur to Aristotle or to many ancient Greek philosophers that this was a problem that ought to be solved or was worth solving, that people ought to predict the position or speed of a projectile at any point along its path, that doing so would reveal remarkably deep and fundamental insights into the workings of nature. Note that I am not criticizing him for failing to develop classical mechanics. I am pointing out that for him, it was enough to posit that there were certain substances and that they had a tendency to move in certain ways (earth moves towards the center, fire upwards, etc). This certainly made sense if, for instance, you observed fire burning or if you dropped a rock. However, since he relied on teleological reasoning, he did not investigate "why" this behavior occurred since he had no reason to relative to his own teleological worldview. It was enough that these substances had a "purpose" or "intrinsic nature" they were fulfilling and that the specific motion objects of certain substances followed was therefore deemed to be purely accidental. This sort of reasoning was something had to be carefully dissected and challenged throughout history in order for meaningful scientific investigation and progress to occur.

Throughout the Greek world however, many other eminent intellectual figures did indeed investigate such "accidental" phenomena (especially in Alexandria, as opposed to Athens which remained a center for the arts and for philosophy). For instance, if I recall correctly, Strabo determined that the separation in distance between falling water droplets increases (and under different historical circumstances, he might have perhaps formulated concepts of velocity and acceleration and forces in the sense of classical mechanics). I do not need to mention other figures like Hero and Archimedes, or astronomers like Ptolemy, Hipparchus, Apollonius, and so on. It is these figures, and not Greek philosophers, that can be meaningfully compared to the scientists from the Scientific Revolution and onward that we respect and recognize.

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Old November 17th, 2017, 12:09 AM   #43

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Kepler, Galilei and came before Newton... so not sure what you mean.
My point was that a chap like Kepler would only need a basic refresher course if he somehow was transposed to Newton's days.
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In any case, Newtonian mathematics concepts such as his methods to approximation was huge.
Well there isn't any discussion that Newton's influence wasn't huge. I am just saying that as far as science goes it was a little less than Einstein.
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I can use his method and approach an accuracy to the 4th decimal points in a few min. I mean, calculators are faster, and almost instant, but you can see how if we are doing calculation way back, without his approximation, you just won't get a lot of things done.

And the thing is, classic physics are something you can teach HS kids. I think you can also teach Newtonian math to HS kids as well, so he is definitely MORE influential. Whereas if we approaches Einstein, I wasn't influenced by him, because it wasn't my field of study. But when I was going to school, everyone had to take basic calculus, which contains treaties of Newton.
Well if you do something scientific like chemistry or physics, odds are you will encounter a lot of Einstein without knowing it.
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Old November 18th, 2017, 12:44 AM   #44

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My point was that a chap like Kepler would only need a basic refresher course if he somehow was transposed to Newton's days.
I must disagree with this. Since Kepler's time, concepts like momentum and forces and acceleration were beginning to be formulated in manner closer to their modern definitions (by people like Galileo, whose life did overlap partly with Kepler's, and others). Newton was able to systematize all these concepts into one cohesive whole and, in general, provide the theoretical framework which was able to reproduce all these concepts and observations.

Kepler wouldn't have been able to just take a refresher course, but rather would have had to become acquainted with many novel concepts or novel and more general formulations of ideas he was already acquainted with.

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Well there isn't any discussion that Newton's influence wasn't huge. I am just saying that as far as science goes it was a little less than Einstein.

Well if you do something scientific like chemistry or physics, odds are you will encounter a lot of Einstein without knowing it.
Einstein's influence comes primarily from his contributions to relativity and the integration of relativity with electrodynamics. He did make a few contributions to Quantum mechanics and quantum statistical mechanics, but in those fields, the major contributions are not from Einstein but rather from other giants like Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Dirac, Enrico Fermi, Lev Landau, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Bohr, etc.

Newtonian mechanics on the other hand is significantly more pervasive throughout all of physics, even from a historical standpoint. It was the theoretical framework with respect to which all phenomena were understood. Even Electrodynamics and Relativity are "Newtonian" or classical in a sense.

Last edited by EternalWay; November 18th, 2017 at 01:10 AM.
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Old November 19th, 2017, 09:57 PM   #45
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Einstein's influence comes primarily from his contributions to relativity and the integration of relativity with electrodynamics. He did make a few contributions to Quantum mechanics and quantum statistical mechanics, but in those fields, the major contributions are not from Einstein but rather from other giants like Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Dirac, Enrico Fermi, Lev Landau, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Bohr, etc.

Newtonian mechanics on the other hand is significantly more pervasive throughout all of physics, even from a historical standpoint. It was the theoretical framework with respect to which all phenomena were understood. Even Electrodynamics and Relativity are "Newtonian" or classical in a sense.
Agree. Einstein did make a significant contribution to quantum theory early on with his paper on the photoelectric effect (1907). He won his Nobel Prize for this, not his General Theory of Relativity.

Einstein never accepted the basic quantum mechanical idea that a particle has no exact position in space at any point in time but only a probability of being at a certain point at an instant in time. It's not just a matter of accuracy as Einstein believed.

He spent much of his later life working on a "unified field theory" which went nowhere.

Last edited by stevev; November 19th, 2017 at 10:11 PM.
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Old November 21st, 2017, 08:26 AM   #46
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Nobody ever remembers Tesla.
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Old November 21st, 2017, 09:26 AM   #47

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Both Newton and Einstein are very important figures in the development of many things. Of course in pratical terms Newtons' discoveries are all well established and documented, why some of Einstein work "predictions" are only now being measured by scientific instruments.


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Nobody ever remembers Tesla.
Yeah in a sense he was part victim of scientific competition
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Old November 21st, 2017, 10:41 AM   #48
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Agree. Einstein did make a significant contribution to quantum theory early on with his paper on the photoelectric effect (1907). He won his Nobel Prize for this, not his General Theory of Relativity.
That's a fact. But not necesarily indicates which of both theories is greater.
The guy who had the job of sellecting that year's nobel (sellected during 1921, delibered in 1922), wasn't among the very few really able to understand the general theory of relativity. So, the award came"for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect".
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Old November 21st, 2017, 11:16 AM   #49
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Newton was proven wrong on some of his theories though. Was Einstein? (serious question). Personally I think Einstein had a bigger impact than Newton. But neither comes close to Tesla. haha
Einstein was incorrect on the question of the "expanding universe". Here he showed his mortal side. Whilst his theory predicted an expansion, he believe this was not true and added a constant to compensate for the expansion.

When experimental evidence proved an expanding universe, he admitted that this was the biggest mistake he had ever made.
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Old November 21st, 2017, 11:36 AM   #50

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Einstein was incorrect on the question of the "expanding universe". Here he showed his mortal side. Whilst his theory predicted an expansion, he believe this was not true and added a constant to compensate for the expansion.

When experimental evidence proved an expanding universe, he admitted that this was the biggest mistake he had ever made.
Not that it matters much, but this is incorrect. Einstein's theory predicted that the universe would collapse, because gravity is pulling everything together. He put his cosmological constant to compensate for the gravity pull of everything on everything, thus describing a static universe despite the gravity pull.

At that time nobody has been even thinking about expanding universe. That came later with some astronomy advances.
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