Ideas of Jim Baggott, by Theme

[British, fl. 2013, Science writer.]

green numbers give full details    |    back to list of philosophers    |     unexpand these ideas    |    
27. Natural Reality / A. Classical Physics / 2. Thermodynamics / a. Energy
Planck introduced the idea that energy can be quantized
     Full Idea: By deriving his radiation law, Planck had inadvertently introduced the idea that energy itself could be 'quantized'.
     From: Jim Baggott (The Quantum Story: 40 moments [2011], 01)
     A reaction: He earlier assumed energy is continuously variable. I presume this means that the older idea of energy is now subsumed into the concept of fields, which are quantized into particles. The powers of nature are found in the fields.
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 2. Electrodynamics / b. Fields
Fields can be 'scalar', or 'vector', or 'tensor', or 'spinor'
     Full Idea: Fields can be 'scalar', with no particular direction (pointing, but not pushing or pulling); or 'vector', with a direction (like magnetism, or Newtonian gravity); or 'tensor' (needing further parameters); or 'spinor' (depending on spin orientation).
     From: Jim Baggott (Farewell to Reality: fairytale physics [2013], 2 'Quantum')
     A reaction: [compressed] So the question is, why do they differ? What is it in the nature of each field the result in a distinctive directional feature?
A 'field' is a property with a magnitude, distributed across all of space and time
     Full Idea: A 'field' is defined in terms of the magnitude of some physical property distributed over every point in time and space.
     From: Jim Baggott (Farewell to Reality: fairytale physics [2013], 2 'Quantum')
     A reaction: If it involves a 'property', normal usage entails that there is some entity which possesses the property. So what's the entity? Eh? Eh? You don't know! Disappointed...
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 2. Electrodynamics / c. Electrons
Free electrons have clouds of virtual particles, arising from field interaction
     Full Idea: A free electron doesn't simply persist as a point particle travelling along a predetermined, classical path; it is surrounded by a swarm of virtual particles arsising from self-interactions with its own magnetic field.
     From: Jim Baggott (The Quantum Story: 40 moments [2011], 19)
     A reaction: It seems to me important for amateurs and mere philosophers to hang on to this idea of virtual particles, because they undermine any attempt to impose a macro picture on sub-atomic events.
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 4. Standard Model / a. Concept of matter
Thermodynamics sees nature as a continuous flow of energy, as radiation and as substance
     Full Idea: Thermodynamics reinforced a vision of nature as one of harmonious flow. Energy, which could be neither created nor destroyed, flowed continuously between radiation and material substance, in themselves unbroken continua.
     From: Jim Baggott (The Quantum Story: 40 moments [2011], 01)
     A reaction: Interestingly, Einstein's Special Relativity e = mc2 seems to endorse this view, by equation energy and mass. I've always wanted to know what energy is, but no one seems to know.
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 4. Standard Model / b. Standard model
The current standard model requires 61 particles
     Full Idea: The current model requires 61 particles: three generations of two leptons and two flavours of quark, in three different colours (making 24); the anti-particles of all of these (48); 12 force particles (photon, W1, Z0, 8 gluons), and a Higgs boson.
     From: Jim Baggott (Farewell to Reality: fairytale physics [2013], 6 n)
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 4. Standard Model / c. Particle properties
Particle measurements don't seem to reflect their reality
     Full Idea: It seems that we can no longer assume that the particle properties we measure necessarily reflect or represent the properties of the particles as they really are.
     From: Jim Baggott (The Quantum Story: 40 moments [2011], Pref)
     A reaction: [He cites a 2006 experiment] This gives an interesting response to the Copenhagen Interpretation - that observers appear to be creating the reality they observe, because they only have 'observations', with no reality to correspond to them. I like it.