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TL2101
professor emeritus


Reged: 09/17/10

Loc: Concord, Ca
Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: barasits]
      #6149216 - 10/21/13 01:37 AM

An education will only get you so far. Those who rise to the top will offer more than just credentials. Often humor and humility are those qualities.

By the way the guy in your avatar didn't do so well.
link


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UND_astrophysics
sage


Reged: 01/19/13

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: TL2101]
      #6149241 - 10/21/13 02:21 AM

Quote:

An education will only get you so far. Those who rise to the top will offer more than just credentials. Often humor and humility are those qualities.






I have no reason to feel humility. Sorry pal, but I responded to being challenged about my credentials. You want to jump on the bandwagon too, go right ahead maybe you all can argue the definition of a theory together. That is your problem. I have nothing to feel sorry about, I worked hard and earned what I have. so you can get that straight. you are only showing your resentment. I guess you lack humor, because you now you are criticizing an avatar real mature . And you can just keep up with the personal attacks.. only shows how childish and resentful some of you are. I personally don't care, and think it is rather funny.


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PeterR280
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/27/13

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: UND_astrophysics]
      #6149541 - 10/21/13 10:00 AM

What are you exactly studying in grad school UND?

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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: UND_astrophysics]
      #6149605 - 10/21/13 10:36 AM

Quote:

Quote:

some of the most intelligent and deep thinkers I know are people who missed out on formal training in science, but had the interest and determination to learn it themselves.

I've also known some PhD's who had difficulty maintaining a coherent discussion.

So, I don't get too concerned about asking for someone's formal credentials in our discussions here. You can tell from their words whether they're engaged, learning, curious, and informed. Or not. As Einstein was fond of saying, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Knowledge is obtainable. Imagination, it appears, is more of a gift.




I would have to disagree on one aspect part of that. Without a formal education, there is no way to separate the b.s. from the good science, by being self taught just not possible, and that is just a fact of the field. I do not know any "self trained scientists"... not a single one. Now I certainly never asked for credentials, but when I was challenged by another user to present them, (not the mod) I was more than happy to oblige, I have put in the time and hard work.
I certainly do not claim to be an expert outside of my fields of study, but I certainly can tell who is just babbling nonsense. And yes, there may be a Ph.D as you described, but I for one have never met anyone like that (except once in quantitative physics 430 class )




I'm not talking about training in the specialty aspects of a single field. I'm talking about the broad understanding, the ability to synthesize, and the ability to see the connections between disparate fields of study. A formal, specialized education won't get you all that, unfortunately, and you HAVE to develop that knowledge on your own. But even if self-trained people are necessarily lacking in the latest specialty knowledge, they are still perfectly capable of having a pretty deep knowledge of wherever their area of interest lies.

And no, a formal education does not necessarily allow you to separate the noise from the data. I wish that it did, but I've seen too many "trained" scientists, and even worked with a couple of otherwise very good geologists, who subscribed to ideas that were nothing more than loopy fantasy. And these were ideas concerning geology, not just their personal lives.

Being self-taught is hard, and there are a lot of people who get off on the wrong track, but I don't for one minute minimize the ability of motivated people to learn science in a deep and meaningful way without the benefit of a formal education.

As for having only met one chatteringly clueless PhD so far -- at this stage of your career, you're actually pretty much on track. There will be others. (They certainly are not the norm, but they, like the truth, are out there.)


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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: UND_astrophysics]
      #6149611 - 10/21/13 10:39 AM

Quote:


I have no reason to feel humility.




Then you haven't been doing research very long!


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choran
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 12/28/12

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: UND_astrophysics]
      #6149715 - 10/21/13 11:48 AM

Just curious...why are you so angry UND? Relax, buddy, this is supposed to be fun, not a fight. What's wrong with humility? Perhaps as you age you will see that humility is not a sign of ignorance, but quite the opposite. I remember when I was close to what I imagine is your age I felt pretty sure I had it all figured out, too. I was wrong.

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GregLee1
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/21/13

Loc: Waimanalo, HI
Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: llanitedave]
      #6149746 - 10/21/13 12:03 PM

How to tell an amateur from a pro:

1. There are large areas in which a pro is ignorant, or tentative in his opinions. An amateur is always 100% sure -- things are quite obvious to him.

2. An amateur's ignorance of theory is matched only by his contempt for it. Too much airy-fairy theorizing for him -- just give him some good solid observations.


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FirstSightModerator
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: UND_astrophysics]
      #6149767 - 10/21/13 12:11 PM

Quote:


I have no reason to feel humility. Sorry pal, but I responded to being challenged about my credentials.




No one here has challenged your credentials. In fact, I took you up on your invitation to check out your credentials, and you are indeed who you say you are (grad student in the aerospace/astrophysics sciences program at the University of North Dakota). I've also checked out a sampling of your posts over the past year in various threads, and in a fair number among them indeed you do make enlighteningly knowledgeable substantive commentary on the subject at hand in the given thread. But in too many posts, you try too hard to prove you're the smartest person in the room and distract your energies trying to put people down below you, rather than help others rise toward enlightenment. That dissipates, even destroys your effectiveness as a communicator of knowledge and understanding.

You're a bright guy, be more like Richard Feynman talking about light and less like this other bright guy. I say this genuinely, we really could use more of the knowledge and insight you have to give here in this Science forum, and less of perverse attempts to prove how little others have in here. Which is more convincing? Or, if you have no need to convince anyone, why speak at all?

How about a substantive comment from your store of knowledge on the subject at hand? That would be rather useful and enlightening about now, and welcome.

Edited by FirstSight (10/21/13 03:37 PM)


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PeterR280
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/27/13

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: GregLee1]
      #6149778 - 10/21/13 12:17 PM

Socrates realized it when he said something like "The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know." Rough translation from the Greek.

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PeterR280
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/27/13

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: PeterR280]
      #6149793 - 10/21/13 12:24 PM

I think the most difficult thing in any field is to be open to any idea before routinely dismissing it. I also believe that self realization is important. Unfortunately, science has become so specialized and so complex that unless you are in the field and have been studying it in a formal fashion, there is always the danger of misunderstanding and misapplication of ideas.

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GregLee1
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/21/13

Loc: Waimanalo, HI
Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: PeterR280]
      #6149854 - 10/21/13 12:59 PM

Quote:

I think the most difficult thing in any field is to be open to any idea before routinely dismissing it.



Pros don't have to be open-minded, but they have to know about things they may totally disagree with, just for practical reasons. Academics have to serve on committees with colleagues who have pretty screwy ideas, and sometimes they even have to direct dissertations that they think are complete *BLEEP*, because the dissertation meets standards that are current in the field. A pro is not paid to indulge his own personal ideas about good and bad work.


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PeterR280
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/27/13

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: GregLee1]
      #6149885 - 10/21/13 01:21 PM

I have seen too many instances where people dismiss ideas dogmatically. Screwy can be misapplied.

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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: UND_astrophysics]
      #6150435 - 10/21/13 07:13 PM

Quote:

I do not know any "self trained scientists"... not a single one. Now I certainly never asked for credentials, but when I was challenged by another user to present them, (not the mod) I was more than happy to oblige, I have put in the time and hard work.




Michael Faraday was completely self-taught in a time when even books and paper were hard to come by. Dirac was trained in electrical engineering, hardly a formidable subject in the early 1920s. All his knowledge of advanced mathematics and physics was self-taught until he came under the influence of Fowler, and even then, Fowler was more of a mentor and let Dirac go his own way. Freeman Dyson in modern times had no PhD. Self-training is quite common among researchers, and in fact is the norm. During my school days, I spent almost all my time in the library, self-training. Course work was a minor part of it, more of a guide. For every hour spent on course work, at least another 10 were spent broadening one's outlook. Before college I was already hard at work in the advanced math that would be needed later. This was the norm, not the exception.

-drl


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Neutrino?
sage
*****

Reged: 12/14/09

Loc: Wasatch Front
Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: deSitter]
      #6150505 - 10/21/13 08:01 PM

^^^ Totally agree.

Taking a two-semester course in QFT is equivalent to learning the alphabet when you are trying to read insert some respected, challenging book from famous literature here. Most of the learning is done on your own time, on a painstaking pace, reading and working loads of relevant papers and texts.

Jackson involved some serious self teaching though. Ouch.


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PeterR280
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/27/13

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: deSitter]
      #6150508 - 10/21/13 08:04 PM

My favorite learning was going off and doing my own studying in physics too but the foundations from the class work was important. Dirac learned his math as an engineer.

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PeterR280
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/27/13

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: PeterR280]
      #6150514 - 10/21/13 08:08 PM

I have 2 good stories. One of my physics professors was an English major as an undergraduate and taught himself physics and went on to graduate school in physics. A good friend, also an English major as an undergraduate, taught himself mathematics and went on to graduate school to get a PhD in math.

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GregLee1
professor emeritus


Reged: 07/21/13

Loc: Waimanalo, HI
Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: UND_astrophysics]
      #6150723 - 10/21/13 10:13 PM

Quote:

I would have to disagree on one aspect part of that. Without a formal education, there is no way to separate the b.s. from the good science, by being self taught just not possible, and that is just a fact of the field. I do not know any "self trained scientists"... not a single one.




I don't know any self-trained scientists, either. I doubt it happens, these days. I think that people here who say they are themselves self-taught are sort of missing the point. Most genuine learning experiences involve an active and successful seeking out of knowledge. Teaching works by guiding people to find things out themselves. But being self-taught would be finding things out without the guidance of a curriculum, a tutor, textbooks.

The most famous instance of a self-taught mathematician was Srinivasa Ramanujan, who died in 1920, but even he was guided by a text -- a compendium of 5000 theorems by Carr.


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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: GregLee1]
      #6150968 - 10/22/13 01:23 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Faraday

Although I admire Ramanujan, his contribution was trivial next to that of Faraday, without whom Maxwell could never had done his key work, which was the watershed birth of modern physics.

Faraday was not only self-taught, he did so under conditions of grinding labor and the necessity of seeing to his own survival. There is no more inspiring figure in all of Anglo-Saxon science.

-drl


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PeterR280
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 05/27/13

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: deSitter]
      #6151313 - 10/22/13 09:41 AM

Faraday's work was trivial as compared to Maxwell. It's like comparing Kepler to Newton. I am sure Newton benefited from Kepler.

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deSitter
Still in Old School


Reged: 12/09/04

Re: Light is Eternal new [Re: PeterR280]
      #6151416 - 10/22/13 10:29 AM

Quote:

Faraday's work was trivial as compared to Maxwell. It's like comparing Kepler to Newton. I am sure Newton benefited from Kepler.




This is absolutely false.

------

"The general complexion of the treatise differs considerably from that of several excellent electrical works, published, most of them, in Germany, and it may appear that scant justice is done to the speculations of several eminent electricians and mathematicians. One reason of this is that before I began the study of electricity I resolved to read no mathematics on the subject till I had first read through Faraday's Experimental Researches in Electricity. I was aware that there was supposed to be a difference between Faraday's way of conceiving phenomena and that of the mathematicians, so that neither he nor they were satisfied with each other's language. I had also the conviction that this discrepancy did not arise from either party being wrong. I was first convinced of this by Sir William Thomson, to whose advice and assistance, as well as to his published papers, I owe most of what I have learned on the subject.

As I proceeded with the study of Faraday, I perceived that his method of conceiving the phenomena was also a mathematical one, though not exhibited in the conventional form of mathematical symbols. I also found that these methods were capable of being expressed in the ordinary mathematical forms, and thus compared with those of the professed mathematicians.

For instance, Faraday, in his mind's eye, saw lines of force traversing all space where the mathematicians saw centres of force attracting at a distance: Faraday saw a medium where they saw nothing but distance: Faraday sought the seat of the phenomena in real actions going on in the medium, they were satisfied that they had found it in a power of action at a distance impressed on the electric fluids.

When I had translated what I considered to be Faraday's ideas into a mathematical form, I found that in general the results of the two methods coincided, so that the same phenomena were accounted for, and the same laws of action deduced by both methods, but that Faraday's methods resembled those in which we begin with the whole and arrive at the parts by analysis, while the ordinary mathematical methods were founding on the principle of beginning with the parts and building up the whole by synthesis.

I also found that several of the most fertile methods of research discovered by the mathematicians could be expressed much better in terms of ideas derived from Faraday than in their original form.

The whole theory, for instance, of the potential, considered as a quantity which satisfies a certain partial differential equation, belongs essentially to the method which I have called that of Faraday. According to the other method, the potential, if it is to be considered at all, must be regarded as the result of a summation of the electrified particles divided each by its distance from a given point. Hence many of the mathematical discoveries of Laplace, Poisson, Green and Gauss find their proper place in this treatise, and their appropriate expressions in terms of conceptions mainly derived from Faraday.

...

I have confined myself almost entirely to the mathematical treatment of the subject, but I would recommend the student, after he has learned, experimentally if possible, what are the phenomena to be observed, to read carefully Faraday's Experimental Researches in Electricity. He will there find a strictly contemporary historical account of some of the greatest electrical discoveries and investigations, carried on in an order and succession which could hardly have been improved if the results had been known from the first, and expressed in the language of a man who devoted much of his attention to the methods of accurately describing scientific operations and their results.

It is of great advantage to the student of any subject to read the original memoirs on that subject, for science is always most completely assimilated when it is in the nascent state, and in the case of Faraday's Researches this is comparatively easy, as they are published in a separate form, and may be read consecutively. If by anything I have here written I may assist any student in understanding Faraday's modes of thought and expression, I shall regard it as the accomplishment of one of my principal aims -- to communicate to others the same delight which I have found myself in reading Faraday's Researches."

--James Clerk Maxwell, "A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism", introduction

-drl


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