X-Message-Number: 17917
From: "Joseph W. Morgan" <>
Subject: Science, The Correspondece Principle, and Intuition
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 10:04:45 -0700

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In #17910 David Pizer states "On the other hand, I have seen physics experts 
being reversed - often.  Some of Newton is replaced by Einstein, who is replaced
by several others.  Perhaps in the final theories, physics will be explained by
things that make sense to out intuition?  Perhaps, at this early time in human 
exploration, we don't know how to explain physics in terms of intuition - yet?"

I doubt if you have ever seen physics experts reversed.  Scientists make 
mistakes but the scientific method is self-correcting.  This is in marked 
contrast to other philosophies and in particular to religion.

In 1923 the Danish physicists Niels Bohr elucidated the Correspondence Principle
which states: "We know in advance that any new theory in physics - whatever its
character or details - must reduce to the well-established classical theory to 
which it corresponds when the new theory is applied to the circumstances for 
which the less general theory is known to hold."

Newton's laws are valid within their domain of applicability - macroscopic sizes
and speeds much less than the speed of light.  Relativity physics is valid for 
macroscopic sizes and any speed.  Let the speed of light go to infinity and 
relativistic physics reduces to Newtonian physics.  Quantum mechanics is valid 
for atomic sized particles.  Let Planck's constant go to zero and quantum 
mechanics reduces to classical physics.  Note how this all fits together.  We 
are proceeding to a more general and all-encompassing description of the 
universe.  None of these theories has been reversed or proven wrong or 
overturned.  They have been generalized.  This is certainly not to say we know 
it all.  We still need to combine quantum mechanics and relativity for those 
extreme cases such as black holes.

The relationship between spacetime and mass-energy  is described by a 
four-dimensional tensor equation.  This reduces to a set of simultaneous 
non-linear partial differential equations.  I challenge anyone to solve it by 

A lot of the misconceptions regarding science are directly attributable to the 
appallingly low quality of science reporting in the popular media.  Typically we
have a reporter with no scientific education dumbing down what he was told for 
his science-illiterate readers.  The sad fact is that in the most scientifically
advanced country in the world, 95% of the people are both scientifically 
illiterate and mathematically illiterate.

We must apply scientific rigor, not wishful thinking, to the problem of 
suspension, whether it be cryo-suspension or something else.

Joseph W. Morgan



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