QM and GR are the same theory...

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QM and GR are the same theory...

#1  Postby hackenslash » Jul 24, 2021 3:05 pm

Really good piece in Science Focus this month by Marcus Chown about what Stephen Wolfram's been up to, and it's mind-blowing in its implications.

https://www.sciencefocus.com/space/why- ... rse-exist/
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#2  Postby TopCat » Jul 24, 2021 5:17 pm

Sean Carroll had Stephen Wolfram on his podcast recently.

Usually I have a reasonable understanding of most of what he talks about with his guests but in this case although I had an illusion of comprehension for the first few minutes, after that I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. Individually I knew most of the words but in the order they came, they could as well have been gibberish. It was quite humbling.

Sean Carroll seemed to understand it though, from some of his comments, unless he was faking it, which I'd doubt. It was also much longer than most of his Mindscape episodes, other than the AMAs, so I guess he found it genuinely interesting.
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#3  Postby TopCat » Jul 24, 2021 5:28 pm

hackenslash wrote:Really good piece in Science Focus this month by Marcus Chown about what Stephen Wolfram's been up to, and it's mind-blowing in its implications.

Following my last, having read that article, I now have a slightly stronger illusion of comprehension! Thanks :cheers:
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#4  Postby TopCat » Jul 24, 2021 5:28 pm

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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#5  Postby hackenslash » Jul 24, 2021 10:34 pm

TopCat wrote:Sean Carroll had Stephen Wolfram on his podcast recently.

Usually I have a reasonable understanding of most of what he talks about with his guests but in this case although I had an illusion of comprehension for the first few minutes, after that I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. Individually I knew most of the words but in the order they came, they could as well have been gibberish. It was quite humbling.

Sean Carroll seemed to understand it though, from some of his comments, unless he was faking it, which I'd doubt. It was also much longer than most of his Mindscape episodes, other than the AMAs, so I guess he found it genuinely interesting.


Nice. I get so many physics pods in my email, it becomes impossible to choose. I know that's in there somewhere, so off to trawl it is.

When this clicked, it was like the moment Bell Inequality violations first made sense. There really is something about this that I can't quite put my finger on.
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#6  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 25, 2021 1:51 am

TopCat wrote:
Following my last, having read that article, I now have a slightly stronger illusion of comprehension!


Nice expression which I absolutely won't be stealing and telling everybody it's mine.
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#7  Postby hackenslash » Jul 25, 2021 2:15 am

TopCat wrote:Usually I have a reasonable understanding of most of what he talks about with his guests but in this case although I had an illusion of comprehension for the first few minutes, after that I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about. Individually I knew most of the words but in the order they came, they could as well have been gibberish. It was quite humbling.


You get used to that and just as you're starting to accept that that's just the way of things, something clicks. Learning physics in such an osmotic way is a bit like playing chess. You have to see the game you don't understand to understand the game you can see, if that makes sense.

My experience has been that, most often, reading the books isn't what ed to the understanding, it' the discussion with people who understand it.

Sean Carroll seemed to understand it though, from some of his comments, unless he was faking it, which I'd doubt. It was also much longer than most of his Mindscape episodes, other than the AMAs, so I guess he found it genuinely interesting.


This is unsurprising to me. I don't get easily excited. There's something about this that appeals to me. It's hyper-elegant, and it resolves the biggest problem in physics without having to fill in the gap.

It's almost too good to be true...
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#8  Postby TopCat » Jul 25, 2021 11:38 am

Spearthrower wrote:
TopCat wrote:
Following my last, having read that article, I now have a slightly stronger illusion of comprehension!


Nice expression which I absolutely won't be stealing and telling everybody it's mine.

Good, because I absolutely didn't nick it from my dad forty years ago.
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#9  Postby Alan C » Nov 14, 2021 1:17 am

Physics was one I was most rubbish at out of the three in college after chemistry and biology. I still read articles from popular science pages as they cross my news feeds. I saw this one initially on GLP but thought I'd link the original;

https://www.livescience.com/universe-ha ... nning-time

TLDR; about something called Causal set theory, that the universe might not have had a beginning. When it talked about re-imagining spacetime as discrete chunk with an inherent limit as to how close they can come together I was wondering what that means for an expanding universe.

Wasn't sure if this is a hijack, not quite the same as the OP.
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#10  Postby Macdoc » Nov 14, 2021 3:13 am

You have to see the game you don't understand to understand the game you can see, if that makes sense.


ah ..Cricket :coffee:
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#11  Postby Evolving » Nov 14, 2021 3:06 pm

I remember the first semester of pure maths as a young student. Lectures consisted of sitting in a lecture hall and copying down what the professor was writing on the two blackboards (that slid up and down, so you could still be copying what was on the upper board while he was already writing on the lower one).

Study consisted of re-writing the above in neat handwriting, using a ruler for underlining, vectors, functions and what-not, and otherwise mentally filing away the wisdom that one assumed was contained therein, knowing that one had no idea what it meant, what it was about, or why one was doing these things.

Also of doing the weekly sheets of exercises (one in analysis, one in linear algebra); I had a study group of two or three students, we would sit together in one of our roooms, worry away at each of the exercises until we had an idea (einen Lösungsansatz) and the sketch of a proof, and I would then retire to my own room and, again, write up the full proof in neat handwriting, using a pen and a ruler, before handing it all in for marking. Still utterly failing to see the point of any of this.

And then, about half way through the semester (so it would have been in the run.up to Christmas), it genuinely was as if a light bulb had suddenly turned on. Ting! Suddenly I got it. I understood why we as budding mathematicians were going through these seemingly pointless steps. I had grasped the mathematical method and why mathematicians use it. And I never lost it, it stayed with me throughout the remainder of my studies and thereafter, and I've still got it, though I don't really do maths any more, not for a long time.

During the course of that semester, the number of people studying maths depleted by what my memory is telling me was about 50%; as my fellow-students, one after another, evidently decided they weren't going to get it and changed directions to study geography or economics or something else, something less abstract and mystifying. It was sobering to watch.
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#12  Postby Evolving » Nov 14, 2021 3:07 pm

TopCat wrote:...Individually I knew most of the words but in the order they came, they could as well have been gibberish....


All the right words, but not necessarily in the right order?
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Re: QM and GR are the same theory...

#13  Postby Alan C » Nov 14, 2021 11:00 pm

The way I remember it I was doing well in the first two years of college [secondary school here btw, not University] in maths such that I was placed in the head math teacher's class for the third year. I don't remember him doing any actual teaching though, I just remember being directed to do exercises from the book, after that the following two years were abysmal and hadn't really recovered from that. It came up again in my Electrical and Electronic Engineering diploma and that similarly sucked. :(
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