This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I must confess that I have difficulty with the concept that something that is intangible is therefore not real. The conservation laws are the basis of all physics. I have referred in the two Number Watch books to what I call the Universal Law of Stuff. In relation to a closed volume, stuff can only do six things (enter, leave, be created, be destroyed, be stored or be unstored). That is just common sense. The algebraic sum of those quantities with appropriate signs is a constant (the initial amount of stuff) while the rates of change sum to zero. Stuff can be almost anything: liquid, gas, electric flux, heat, information, light, electrons, people and, of course, energy. In any given application some of the terms will be zero and in each case we have a fundamental law (such as Coulomb). Breach of the law of conservation of energy is therefore a breach of common sense.
Thanks John, I was having difficulty working out what Burniston Brown was saying,but you have cleared it up.
He also did a very interesting critique of Special Relativity (brave man!) but I have n't got the brain power to comment on this.
As a Physics graduate (many years ago}, I sometimes
got the distinct impression that some of the lecturers
did n't always fully understand what they were trying to teach. In Quantum Theory the attitude was,learn this to pass your exams.It must be very difficult these days as most contemporary Physics is incomprehensible (to me anyway}
The writings of this man have piqued my interest so I did some searching for this critique of relativity and I found one. A critique of special and general relativity authored by G. Burniston Brown is here:
Within he cites earlier critiques of his own as well. This is from 1967 and someone more knowledgable than myself may be able to rebut it, although I will say that he should have made a greater effort to treat an attack on Einstein as seperate to an attack on the theory of relativity.
Did Einstein seriously try to explain the Twin Paradox away as an acceleration effect? If that remark is true then that upsets my confidence in the man's genius. I am surprised to see that he references Max Born for a lot of support of his critcism. I shall have to read Born's book cited in the paper. I understand that the Twin Paradox caused some consternation, but have seen it explained as merely a fallacy and not a true paradox or inconsistency in the theory of relativity. That it arrives from only considering two frames of reference (those of the earthbound twin and the one who departs on the journey) when there should be considered three (that of the earthbound twin, that of the journeying twin on his outward trip, and that of the journeying twin on his return trip).
Common to both pieces (the relativity piece and the letter on energy above) and common to a third article I have found of his on the concept of mass I detect is a curious insistance that the views of those who first suggest concepts in physics must be adhered to and are central to an understanding of the subject. If there are other ways of looking at such things and they turn out to be by common consent of greater use then that is surely valid. So what does it matter what Lagrange intended with his use of the potential function if others have found wider use for the concept?
On the Twin Paradox, I believe the explanation Brown is attributing to Einstein, that the accelerated twin ages more slowly. is the "official explanation". In "The Feynmann Lectures on Physics" Vol 1 page 16-3, Feynmann concurs with that explanation: "So the way to state the rule is to say that the man who felt the accelerations, who has seen things fall against walls, and so on, is the one who would be the younger; that is the difference between them in an 'absolute' sense, and it is certainly correct." So the physics establishment believes that forward time-travel is possible, if you can travel at a significantly high enough fraction of the speed of light for it to be noticeable.
There was quite a bit of consternation over the Twin paradox, and it's close relation the Clock paradox, a few decades ago. When I was a schoolboy in the early 1970s it was probably the most controversial topic in science, but not in the same league of controversy as global warming is today. The consternation died down by shutting the relativity sceptic academics out of the mainstream scientific literature around 1972. When that happened, the news media lost interest in the subject. Relativity scepticism is still around today, but it's limited to the internet. The main British relativity sceptic, Herbert Dingle, wrote a book called "Science at the Crossroads" in 1972 which is available (for free) on this link:
Amongst other things Dingle's book describes his attempts to draw the attention of the Royal Society to the clock paradox, and get them to give a ruling on it. I'm rather amused that the Royal Society didn't want to be involved at all and argued is wasn't the sort of thing they did. Contrast that with today with the pronouncements they like to make on global warming.
There's a lot of experimental evidence for special relativity being valid, but it all tends to come from the only part of physics that really uses it, namely high energy physics. My view is that special relativity is intended to be a correction theory for 'Maxwell-Lorentz electrodynamics" which enables ML electrodynamics to be utilised in all reference frames. On a physics degree course, the electrodynamics origin of special relativity tends to be ignored to keep things simple, and it's taught as being the mechanics of high speed particles. Now ML electrodynamics basically consists of Maxwell's equations plus the Lorentz force equation, equations which are very difficult to test in themselves. The Lorentz force equation is assumed to be valid to work out things like the mass and charge of sub-atomic particles in high energy physics. So the validation of special relativity provided by high energy physics isn't as good as it looks, it presupposes that the thing the correction theory is correcting is valid in the first place.
I should like to comment that in our enclosed but real world environment conversions are never 100% efficient.
Thus If we start with one form of energy and convert it a few times, at each stage we lose some usable energy somewhere. It may well be still "conserved" in the system somewhere but we will never get to use it.
"Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possible avoid it, 'But how can it be like that?' because you will get 'down the drain,' into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that."
- Richard Feynman on the contradictions of quantum mechanics. And that was after he won the Nobel Prize in Physics for developing a way to address some of the failings (infinities) of the original theories of quantum physics.