Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home pageAstronomics discounts for Cloudy Nights members
· Get a Cloudy Nights T-Shirt · Submit a Review / Article

Click here if you are having trouble logging into the forums

Privacy Policy | Please read our Terms of Service | Signup and Troubleshooting FAQ | Problems? PM a Red or a Green Gu… uh, User

Speciality Forums >> Science! Astronomy & Space Exploration, and Others

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)
deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Let's talk about anomalies
      #5895914 - 06/01/13 11:58 AM

Would science progress without anomalies?

Give some examples of genuine anomalies that lead to tremendous - or even marginal - progress in science. Let's have a thorough discussion of the role of anomalies in scientific progress.

-drl


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
AstroGabe
sage


Reged: 01/10/10

Loc: SE Wisconsin
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: deSitter]
      #5898073 - 06/02/13 03:29 PM

UV Catastrophe

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pess
(Title)
*****

Reged: 09/12/07

Loc: Toledo, Ohio
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: deSitter]
      #5898180 - 06/02/13 04:54 PM

Quote:

Would science progress without anomalies?

Give some examples of genuine anomalies that lead to tremendous - or even marginal - progress in science. Let's have a thorough discussion of the role of anomalies in scientific progress.

-drl




The discovery of penicillin when Flemming noted failed growth of bacteria around mold contaminated cultures.

On a side note the fact that the Higgs was found right where it was expected disappointed a lot of people. If it was considerable off from expected values, that could have pointed scientists in the direction of where the Standard model was flawed..leading to a new theory that included gravity.

We need to know WHERE the Standard model fails to find the door into gravity.

Pesse (That would be an attractive theory) Mist


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
scopethis
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/30/08

Loc: Kingman, Ks
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: Pess]
      #5898274 - 06/02/13 05:59 PM

when Eve gave us the ability to think and wonder....

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Joad
Wordsmith
*****

Reged: 03/22/05

Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: deSitter]
      #5898279 - 06/02/13 06:02 PM

Quote:

Would science progress without anomalies?

Yes. Much of the history of science is the result of the observation and eventual measurement and successful theorization of known phenomena behaving regularly.

Give some examples of genuine anomalies that lead to tremendous - or even marginal - progress in science. Let's have a thorough discussion of the role of anomalies in scientific progress.

But anomalies have played a role, of course. The Michelson-Morley experiment struck an anomaly, and we know the eventual outcome of that. X-rays were discovered through an anomaly (clouded photographic plates stored in a dark space).

-drl




Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: AstroGabe]
      #5898545 - 06/02/13 09:35 PM

Quote:

UV Catastrophe




Good one. Harp on that note. Tell us the story.

-drl


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
CounterWeight
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 10/05/08

Loc: Palo alto, CA.
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: deSitter]
      #5898798 - 06/03/13 12:08 AM

How about the satellite detectors sent up for nuclear explosions during the cold war leading to the whole high enegy realm?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: CounterWeight]
      #5899299 - 06/03/13 10:07 AM

I recall 2 anecdotes:

First, there are the Mendel's law of allelic inheritance. You'll remember he was counting green peas by the thousands to find his laws. He was crossing homozygotes or heterozygotes of one allele and counting the resulting offsprings composed again of homozygotic or heterozygotic forms. But chromosomal Crossing Overs, albeit rare, produce a small percentasge of new forms that fits neither heterozygotic or homozygotic phenotypes. Apparently Mendel just observed the heterozygotes or homozygotes without the anomalies that the crossing over should have produced. And he should have observed these 'anomalies' since he was processing thousands of offsprings. These anomalies would have destroyed the pretty fractional numbers in 1/4 or 1/2 that he 'observed', destroying God's given perfect world. Assuming he observed such aberrant forms and thought they were a statistical glitch resulting from a too low statistical sampling, the correct thinking in that case would have been to increase the sample size, crossing tens or hundred of thousands instead of thousands and increasing as much his workload. But doing all this extrawork would not have rewarded him with 'divine perfection' since it would not have erased the 'anomaly'. That might just have increase Mendel's frustration instead. What would have Mendel thought and said about that is unknown. Because he didn't do the counting alone, he had an helper who probably removed all the aberrations in the peas. And so Mendel was free to produce the inheritance laws that carry his name.

Second example is a bit similar. It's about chinese physicists around the 16/15 century who correctly observed that whenever you fire a precisely weighted bullet from a canon with exactly the same force and angle, the canon ball nonetheless never EXACTLY falls at the same place. This might have induce them to think, it is said, that no absolute law of cinematic existed.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: deSitter]
      #5899334 - 06/03/13 10:26 AM

Thank you for raising this philosophical issue, drl.

I'm sure you have all heard of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. This was the book which coined the oft-used phrase paradigm-shifts.

To simplify, Kuhn's contention which generated a great deal of heat (conflict) was that anomalies were necessary to cause science to break out of the normal way of doing things which he described as puzzle solving and looking for expected results.

Otto


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: dickbill]
      #5899378 - 06/03/13 10:58 AM

Quote:


Second example is a bit similar. It's about chinese physicists around the 16/15 century who correctly observed that whenever you fire a precisely weighted bullet from a canon with exactly the same force and angle, the canon ball nonetheless never EXACTLY falls at the same place. This might have induce them to think, it is said, that no absolute law of cinematic existed.




Or it could have taught them that their powder charges were too variable to ever provide precise force repeatability: Hand mixed and loaded rounds can never be all that consistent.

In addition, any shot of more than a trivial distance will encounter wind effects. Not to mention that even if they reuse the same projectile each time, it's going to receive surface blemishes that are unique to each impact, so a reshot will never be exactly repeatable.

In other words, their experiments could never be precise enough to derive any second-order general laws from.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: deSitter]
      #5899386 - 06/03/13 11:02 AM

Quote:

Would science progress without anomalies?





Yes. Science would progress along with changes in the culture base. And I think it may be important to distinguish between true anomalies (deviations from the norm) on the one hand and things like error and serendipity on the other.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
moynihan
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 07/22/03

Loc: Lake Michigan Watershed
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: scopethis]
      #5899405 - 06/03/13 11:13 AM

Quote:

when Eve gave us the ability to think and wonder....






The Hunger of Eve


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5899563 - 06/03/13 12:32 PM

Quote:

Quote:


Second example is a bit similar. It's about chinese physicists around the 16/15 century who correctly observed that whenever you fire a precisely weighted bullet from a canon with exactly the same force and angle, the canon ball nonetheless never EXACTLY falls at the same place. This might have induce them to think, it is said, that no absolute law of cinematic existed.




Or it could have taught them that their powder charges were too variable to ever provide precise force repeatability: Hand mixed and loaded rounds can never be all that consistent.

In addition, any shot of more than a trivial distance will encounter wind effects. Not to mention that even if they reuse the same projectile each time, it's going to receive surface blemishes that are unique to each impact, so a reshot will never be exactly repeatable.

In other words, their experiments could never be precise enough to derive any second-order general laws from.




They were master at making gun powder, and they must have been aware of all sources of variation and be able to measure them. Perhaps the chinese skepticicsm came from the observation that the undetermination in their ballistic system had non linear effects and they were simply mentioning the fact that X times a cause does not necesserily produce X time an effect.
In any case i can't remember where i read about this anecdote. It might have been the report of a conversation between early occidental and chinese scientists. The chineses, annoyed by the occidental scientific determinism, gave this example as an evidence that the world could not be reduced to a clockwork mechanism and therefore that the occidental mathematical laws were incomplete at best.

It shows that it is not good to know about chaos theory and the butterfly effect before you know about simple kinematic relations.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: dickbill]
      #5900481 - 06/03/13 08:10 PM

Kuhn wrote that, when faced with an anomaly, the scientific establishment does not treat the anomaly as a fact at all. Until a major shift in perspective occurs, those persons and institutions doing-science-the-normal-way up-to-that-point try to minimize/ignore the anomaly in a number of different ways.

For the anomaly to be taken into account as a scientific fact, a new paradigm of explanation has to arise which not only accounts for the anomaly, but also adequately explains what previous paradigms explained as well.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5900600 - 06/03/13 09:20 PM

If sound doesn't travel in a vacuum, why is my vacuum so noisy?

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
seryddwr
Innocent Bystander
*****

Reged: 02/19/10

Loc: La-la land.
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5900776 - 06/03/13 11:08 PM

Quote:

If sound doesn't travel in a vacuum, why is my vacuum so noisy?


Simple, all the noise outside of the vacuum is to make up for the silence within.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: dickbill]
      #5900799 - 06/03/13 11:20 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:


Second example is a bit similar. It's about chinese physicists around the 16/15 century who correctly observed that whenever you fire a precisely weighted bullet from a canon with exactly the same force and angle, the canon ball nonetheless never EXACTLY falls at the same place. This might have induce them to think, it is said, that no absolute law of cinematic existed.




Or it could have taught them that their powder charges were too variable to ever provide precise force repeatability: Hand mixed and loaded rounds can never be all that consistent.

In addition, any shot of more than a trivial distance will encounter wind effects. Not to mention that even if they reuse the same projectile each time, it's going to receive surface blemishes that are unique to each impact, so a reshot will never be exactly repeatable.

In other words, their experiments could never be precise enough to derive any second-order general laws from.




They were master at making gun powder, and they must have been aware of all sources of variation and be able to measure them. Perhaps the chinese skepticicsm came from the observation that the undetermination in their ballistic system had non linear effects and they were simply mentioning the fact that X times a cause does not necesserily produce X time an effect.
In any case i can't remember where i read about this anecdote. It might have been the report of a conversation between early occidental and chinese scientists. The chineses, annoyed by the occidental scientific determinism, gave this example as an evidence that the world could not be reduced to a clockwork mechanism and therefore that the occidental mathematical laws were incomplete at best.

It shows that it is not good to know about chaos theory and the butterfly effect before you know about simple kinematic relations.




Thing is though, nonlinearity does not contradict determinism. All it means is that they did not control for all their sources of error, if indeed the story itself isn't apocryphal. The ancient Chinese were pretty sophisticated in a lot of ways, but I would be hesitant to give their science more credit than is due.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Qwickdraw
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 03/03/12

Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5901180 - 06/04/13 06:25 AM

I don’t believe the Pioneer anomaly has been definitively solved and as far as I know has not led to any scientific breakthroughs but it sure has caused many theories to be put forth and much research to be done.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5901515 - 06/04/13 10:59 AM

" Thing is though, nonlinearity does not contradict determinism... "
Sure, but my feeling on this is that the Chineses were pretexting this as an excuse for not developing a mathematical model of their cosmology, added with the shame that occidental scientists did have a working model. They were probably also trying to save their heads.
I recall another anecdote where jesuits, possibly portuguese, entered some sort of competition with chinses astronomers to predict the time of an eclipse with the most accuracy. The jesuits were very close while the chinese were way off. That upseted the chinese emperor, who decided to cut his astronomer's head.

To add on Otto's remark on the anomalies, they are usually much smaller than the main effect. So they can easily pass in the 'error bar'. But some anomalies don't belong in that category, i am thinking about the anthropic coincidences. Here the anomaly is the main effect...


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
dickbill
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 09/30/08

Re: Let's talk about anomalies new [Re: dickbill]
      #5902015 - 06/04/13 03:21 PM

Well, Pioneer anomaly is resolved apparently:"...By 2012 several papers by different groups, all reanalyzing the thermal radiation pressure forces inherent in the spacecraft, showed that a careful accounting of this could account for the entire anomaly..." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneer_anomaly

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)


Extra information
1 registered and 1 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  LivingNDixie, FirstSight, JayinUT 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 1539

Jump to

CN Forums Home


Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics