Subject: Re: on the relations of traditional CS theory to modern programming practice
From: (Rob Warnock)
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 03:10:26 -0500
Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp,comp.lang.functional
Message-ID: <>
mikel evins  <> wrote:
| Don Geddis wrote:
| > mikel evins <> wrote on Fri, 26 Oct 2007:
| >> Don Geddis wrote:
| >>> As far as I'm aware, there is no more-fundamental theory of physics that
| >>> allows one to calculate the mass of an electron.  It simply is.  It's
| >>> measured experimentally, not calculated.
| >> Well, there are nits to be picked with that characterization, but, leaving
| >> those aside, one of the ways you formulate a theory to be testable is to
| >> derive from it some quantity that you can measure--such as the mass of the
| >> electron. You definitely do calculate it in that context, so that you can
| >> compare what you've calculated with what experimentalists can measure, and
| >> thereby provide a means of testing your theory.
| > 
| > I'm still not sure that there's any theory which calculates the mass of an
| > electron.  As far as I know, it doesn't have ("isn't known to have") any
| > substructure.
| String theories, gauge theories and twistor theories do.

[And drifting further off-topic...]

For a very interesting [to me, at least] overview of some problems
inherent in the above, read:
    "The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory,
    the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next"
    Lee Smolin (Houghton Mifflin, 2006)
    With its exotic new particles and parallel universes, string theory
    has captured the public's imagination and seduced many physicists.

    But as Smolin reveals, there's a deep flaw in the theory: no
    part of it has been tested, and no one knows how to test it.
    In fact, the theory appears to come in an infinite number of
    versions, meaning that no experiment will ever be able to prove
    it false.  ...

Also see <> for links to some of
the criticism of Smolin's book and his responses.


Rob Warnock			<>
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