Monday, October 23, 2017

Philosophy Wire: Measuring. Equilibrium. Science melting…


Philosophy Wire by Spiros Kakos [2017-10-23]: "Imagine you threw an iceberg into the sun and right before it's melted and gone, you wanted to know, 'How hot is that iceberg at that moment?' Would that be a meaningful question to ask?" says Charles Stafford, a professor in the Department of Physics in the UA's College of Science. "According to traditional physics, it wouldn't be". Put simply, traditional knowledge holds that properties such as temperature or voltage can only be measured as long as a system is in equilibrium. (Hint: an iceberg plunging into the sun is not) However now scientists have shown that actually any state of a system whatsoever, even far from equilibrium, can be characterized by a temperature. (with weird results whatsoever: e.g. the electrons inside a home laser pointer device get hotter than a temperature we call 'plus infinity’) [1] Ridiculous definitions used in order to define the undefined. Measurement is only possible when a system is in equilibrium. But every system is constantly changing. Measurement is the basis of all science. But how can we develop science when it’s very foundations are literally shifting? We like building castles on the sand. And naming the sand concrete just won’t do the trick. Nothing can be measured. And yet everything is here. The iceberg is cold. The Sun is hot. The iceberg is melting now. You can see it. You can talk about it. But you cannot measure it. So? Do not go and touch the iceberg. You know you will burn yourself.

(c) Philosophy WIRES - Commenting world news from philosophy's perspective…

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...