» » Einstein's Revolution: A Study in Heuristic

Download Einstein's Revolution: A Study in Heuristic epub

by Elie Zahar

The author applies the methodology of scientific research programmes to the origins of relativity, showing how Eddington, Lorentz, Poincare, Planck and Weyl were driven by mathematical heuristics to make their various contributions to Einstein's programme.
Download Einstein's Revolution: A Study in Heuristic epub
ISBN: 0812690664
ISBN13: 978-0812690668
Category: Science
Subcategory: Physics
Author: Elie Zahar
Language: English
Publisher: Open Court Pub Co (May 1, 1989)
Pages: 383 pages
ePUB size: 1192 kb
FB2 size: 1142 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 881
Other Formats: doc rtf mobi lit

The format of this book is unique, fascinating, and ultimately satisfying. The author's real underlying purpose is not just to study the process and content of the SR discovery, but use that process as a vehicle to explore both the philosophy and methodologies of science itself.

Zahar gives deep, mathematical and logical pro/cons about numerous methods, from induction and deduction, to ad hoc, thought experiments, and the processes of discovery vs. invention. Indeed, it is as much a Popper and "theories of proof" (as well as proof of theories) book as it is about Einstein. I've read numerous philosophy of science books, but none that take this expert a level of math, process and even how history recaptures process, with or without the statements of the major players!

Because the format is cover philosophy, explore methodology, explain with math, conclude with more methodology, repeat, an intelligent layman can learn a LOT even if skipping some of the math and physics is necessary. The sheer delight of Elie's relentless logic gives the brain a serious workout!

Another nice feature is that since this was intended as much for theorists and philosophers, and researchers in general, Zahar takes the time, even in the math, to explain what some "taken for granted" constants and symbols mean, and why. This is like reading very advanced physics, then getting behind the scenes asides to be sure you're following. Another wonderful feature is that Zahar takes the time to give his own definitions of very complex topics that have books of their own, often distilling this down to a simple, intuitive and memorable phrase. For example, he posits that ad hoc vs. rigorous turns on whether the theorist offers novel predictions. I guess I knew that, but really GET it after seeing Elie's examples! His logic is much subtler than just "is this testable?" and he is not afraid to venture deeply into metaphysics, as his more recent (2007) book shows-- Why Science Needs Metaphysics: A Plea for Structural Realism.

A couple ways we can make choices include matching utility functions to odds, vs. following a blueprint with rules and constraints, which we then adjust and adapt to. Elie uses these metaphors to humanize the deductive process of theory formation, rejection, deduction and methods, and is self effacing enough to even comment when "this is a lot like the way we make many other decisions." That, after giving a theoretical process that I had to read about 6 times to understand.

For me, this is a book you have to study, not just read. Other smarter folk might find it lighter! But I did want to warn you that it is not the level of most popular science books, and takes an investment, albeit one that pays off in multiples. Highly recommended.
Zahar has written the most mathematically detailed historial analysis of some physicists' ideas that I have read. It is a reliable guide to works that still remain untranslated, such as Lorentz's 1895 Versuch.

Zahar's book is very reliable and thought provoking in its own right. One thought he provoked, in this reader, (although Zahar would not agree with this) is that the current state of crisis and non-progress that physics has been in since the development of the electroweak theory is partly stymied by young physicists working on string theory (and before that, supergravity 8). We would not need string theory if had chosen Lorentz instead of Einstein, which the EPR experiments [Aspect et al, 1982] indicate would have been the correct chose, and if we had chosen de Broglie's realist interpretatio of QM instead of the Bohr, Heisenberg Born, etc, "Cophenhagen Interpretation".

This arose because physicists chose Einstein's 1905.

Aside. [(Penrose, 2004) notes that it is really Minkowski [1908] and Poincare in outline (1905) that developed what we call "the special theory of relativity". What physicists mean by this phrase is Minkowski's 1908 article; the formulation of a 4D spacetime with an "absolute" distance function ds, which is a solution of Einstein's field equations in his general relativity.

The real point is that physicists choose the positivistism of Minkowski [1908] rather than the scientific realism of Lorentz (especially [1982 -1909].

But with Einstein's [1916] GTR he took over as the leading relativist; and then quantum physicists let themselves be persuaded om the next decade by Bohr and Paul in 1926-1928 to reject scientific realism and accept positivism. E.g., both Heseinberg and de Broglie were realists, before Bohr got to Heisenberg and Pauli got to de Broglie.

The realist most viable was de Broglie, but Pauli persuaded him with some questionably sound arguments to become an anti-realists like the rest of the Copenhagen camp. This has led to the impasse of the last 30 or more years.

Relativist quantum field theory, which in its standard form contains Minkowski spacetime and a Copenhagen interpretation of QM, is incostent with both General Relativity and Quantum Non-Locality (for Lorenz invariance and Minkoski spacetime cannot really exist if there is an absolute non-local frame). This motivated such speculations as string theory or loop quantum gravity.

General relativity is the causally determinist, and local, relativity theory that physicists accept. But if general relativity is true, quantum field theory is not, and vice versa. Why? Because standard QFT implies a causal indeterminism and it accurately predicts events at subatomic levels but GTR cannot, making its predictions inconsistent with GTR.

But GTR implies causal determinism and that its laws govern mass-energy down to the points on the spacetime continuum.

With Lorentz and de Broglie, we would have two causally determinist theories, two theories that agreed all the way down to a continuum of spacetime points (just adopt Bohm's quasi-Newtonism of 1952, but without his realism about the uncertainty principles and speculations that "a whole new physics" applies below the Planck level). With this, there is an explanaation of both reletativist phenomena and quantum phenomena as causal effects (that we misinterpret as confirming relativitity and the Cophenhagen interpretation)) of a non-relativlist absolute frame (Lorentz), or of a non-local absolute frame that causes the quantum effects, the non-local cause being the phase S of the wave function. The two sciences would be consistent, both imply a non-local absolute frame, and they downgrade "relativy phenomena and quantum phenomenas" as results of our misinterpreting them because we cannot see their cause, in the absolute frame. One might even ponder returning to de Broglie and Lorentz and taking a different route (J.S, Bell, Anthony Valentini, David Bohm, Hiley have largely done so) and we could make some progress instead of speculating about string theories.