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May 10th, 2018, 02:17 PM   #1
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Physical theory from a list of facts

Hi,
I have this idea: To develop some physical theory, the man needn't to be physicist. What is (I think) only needed is some list of facts of the world around us and the theory can be developed according to these facts - in therms of logical inspection.
These facts can be eg. description of basic behaviors of elementary particles, fact about speed of light and so on.
So the theory can be developed eg. by mathematician, logician or so - the man that needn't to worry about the details how the facts in the list were obtained - so more people have a chance to develop such theory, which is great.

What do you think about this idea and does such a list even exist somewhere?
Thank you for any comments.
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May 10th, 2018, 03:35 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honzik View Post
Hi,
I have this idea: To develop some physical theory, the man needn't to be physicist. What is (I think) only needed is some list of facts of the world around us and the theory can be developed according to these facts - in therms of logical inspection.
These facts can be eg. description of basic behaviors of elementary particles, fact about speed of light and so on.
So the theory can be developed eg. by mathematician, logician or so - the man that needn't to worry about the details how the facts in the list were obtained - so more people have a chance to develop such theory, which is great.

What do you think about this idea and does such a list even exist somewhere?
Thank you for any comments.
Unfortunately a complete list won't likely ever exist. I mean, you can certainly list any number of experimental and theoretical "facts" but the problem is that Physics is an experimental system. You can make a list and derive anything that Philosophically and Mathematically follows, however any time that you put a number of facts together you have to test it. This is the reason for the Scientific Method. Start with a collection of facts, form an hypothesis, test it, form a new hypothesis if this one didn't work, test test test, and you finally have a theory that covers many facts (and hopefully makes a number of experimentally verifiable predictions.)

Me, I'm a pretty much a theorist so I spend my time using the facts that others experimentally or theoretically generate and try to make sense of them. This is, I think, more or less what you are talking about. But any hypothesis I come up with has to be tested in order to be part of the system.

Please note that in my statement above I did not call my efforts "theories." Hypotheses need to be tested before they can be accepted as a theory and I don't do the testing. Many people are a bit lazy and call their hypotheses theories. For example, there a few tests in high energy Physics that validate String Theory, but String Theory should really be called The String Hypothesis because we can't test much of it at our level of technology. (Apologies to all you String Theorists out there!)

It's different in Mathematics. You can set up a system of postulates (and axioms, etc) and derive results that do not have to be experimentally verified, though I suppose you can do calculations to make sure a derivation gives the correct answer. I suppose that would be the equivalent of experimental testing.

-Dan

Last edited by topsquark; May 10th, 2018 at 03:41 PM.
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