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See also: RSS-Feed for new articles. Virtual Library. Sponsoring this encyclopedia:. Sorry, we don't have an article for that keyword! This work cannot be used as a textbook but it is a remarkable document of the central themes of his approach and his general views on physics. The book clearly shows that Ludwig's main concern is about scientific realism, i.

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Examples of fairy tales in quantum theory are hidden variables and, perhaps surprising for some readers, also the single-particle-state interpretation in contrast to the ensemble interpretation fostered by Ludwig. Generally speaking, Ludwig's program is, in comparison to those of Sneed and Scheibe, less descriptive and more normative with respect to physics. He developed an ideal of how physical theories should be formulated rather than reconstructing the actual practice.

The principal worked-out example that comes close to this ideal is still the axiomatic account of quantum mechanics, as described in Ludwig , The German philosopher Erhard Scheibe — has published several books and numerous essays on various topics of philosophy of science; see, for example, Scheibe Moreover, he published one of the earliest case studies of approximate theory reduction; see Scheibe — for the case study. For example, he conveniently combines the model-theoretical and syntactical styles of Sneed and Ludwig, respectively.

Since his main concern is reduction, he does not need to cover all the aspects of physical theories that are treated in the other approaches. As already mentioned, he proposes a more flexible concept of reduction that is open to extensions arising from new case studies. A unique feature of Scheibe's approach is the thorough discussion of almost all the important cases of reduction considered in the physical literature. These include classical vs.

He essentially arrives at the conclusion of a double incompleteness: the attempts of the physicists to prove reduction relations in the above cases are largely incomplete according to their own standards, as well as according to the requirements of a structuralistic concept of reduction. As already noted, the programs of Ludwig and Sneed have been independently developed in the s, whereas Scheibe's program, at least partially, originated from a critical review of these two programs.

But this is only a coarse description.

Encyclopedia of Applied Physics, 12 Volume Set, The Classic Softcover Edition

Additionally, there have been numerous mutual interactions between the three programs that influenced their later elaborations. Evidence for this interaction is provided, besides various pertinent acknowledgements in books and articles, by the following observations. We have sketched three structuralistic programs which have been developed in the past three decades in order to tackle problems in philosophy of physics, some of which are relevant also for physics itself.

Any program which employs a weighty formal apparatus in order to describe a domain and to solve specific problems has to be scrutinized with respect to the economy of its tools: to what extent is this apparatus really necessary to achieve its goals? Or is it concerned mainly with self-generated problems?

We have tried to provide some arguments and material for the reader who ultimately has to answer these questions for him- or herself. This bibliography is mainly restricted to a selection of a few books which are of some importance for the three structuralistic programs. Another recent volume of Erkenntnis 79 8 , is devoted to new perspectives on structuralism. We will cite below a few articles of this volume that are of relevance for the present entry. Unfortunately, the central books of Ludwig and Scheibe , are not yet translated into English, but see the recent Ludwig and Thurler The author is indebted to John D.

Norton, Edward N. Zalta, and Susanne Z. Riehemann for helpful suggestions concerning the content and the language of this entry. Common traits 2. The problem of theoretical terms 2. Problems of reduction 3. Three structuralist programs 4. Common traits The three programs share the following characteristics and convictions: A metatheory of science requires a kind of formalization different from that already employed by scientific theories themselves.


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The structuralistic program yields a framework for the rational reconstruction of particular theories. The problem of theoretical terms A physical theory T consists, among other things, of a group of laws which are formulated in terms of certain concepts. Similar problems arise in the formulation of almost all fundamental physical theories. Three structuralist programs In this section we will describe more closely the particular programs, their roots and some of the differences between them.

M p : A class of potential models the theory's conceptual framework. These may depend on the intended applications, see below.

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By this maneuver the authors accentuate the contrast between finite physical operations and mathematical assumptions involving infinite sets. Inaccuracy sets and unsharp measurements are always considered right from the start and not introduced later as in previous versions of the Ludwig program. The complicated terminology concerning various kinds of hypotheses in Ludwig is radically reduced to a small number of cases including fuzzy hypotheses.

The problem of unsharp indirect measurements is reformulated in an elegant way which yet should be scrutinized by means of case studies. Vice versa, Ludwig in his added a section 9. In his late Ludwig on p. Later on p. This correspondence has been secured by B. Falkenburg and is waiting for a scientific edition.

The encyclopedia of physics (Besancon, Robert M., ed.) | Journal of Chemical Education

Summary We have sketched three structuralistic programs which have been developed in the past three decades in order to tackle problems in philosophy of physics, some of which are relevant also for physics itself. Bibliography This bibliography is mainly restricted to a selection of a few books which are of some importance for the three structuralistic programs.

Andreas, H. For example, chemistry studies properties, structures, and reactions of matter chemistry's focus on the molecular and atomic scale distinguishes it from physics. Structures are formed because particles exert electrical forces on each other, properties include physical characteristics of given substances, and reactions are bound by laws of physics, like conservation of energy, mass, and charge. Physics is applied in industries like engineering and medicine.

Applied physics is a general term for physics research which is intended for a particular use.

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An applied physics curriculum usually contains a few classes in an applied discipline, like geology or electrical engineering. It usually differs from engineering in that an applied physicist may not be designing something in particular, but rather is using physics or conducting physics research with the aim of developing new technologies or solving a problem.

The approach is similar to that of applied mathematics. Applied physicists use physics in scientific research.

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For instance, people working on accelerator physics might seek to build better particle detectors for research in theoretical physics. Physics is used heavily in engineering. For example, statics , a subfield of mechanics , is used in the building of bridges and other static structures. The understanding and use of acoustics results in sound control and better concert halls; similarly, the use of optics creates better optical devices. An understanding of physics makes for more realistic flight simulators , video games , and movies, and is often critical in forensic investigations.

With the standard consensus that the laws of physics are universal and do not change with time, physics can be used to study things that would ordinarily be mired in uncertainty. For example, in the study of the origin of the earth , one can reasonably model earth's mass, temperature, and rate of rotation, as a function of time allowing one to extrapolate forward or backward in time and so predict future or prior events. It also allows for simulations in engineering that drastically speed up the development of a new technology. But there is also considerable interdisciplinarity , so many other important fields are influenced by physics e.

Physicists use the scientific method to test the validity of a physical theory. By using a methodical approach to compare the implications of a theory with the conclusions drawn from its related experiments and observations, physicists are better able to test the validity of a theory in a logical, unbiased, and repeatable way. To that end, experiments are performed and observations are made in order to determine the validity or invalidity of the theory. A scientific law is a concise verbal or mathematical statement of a relation that expresses a fundamental principle of some theory, such as Newton's law of universal gravitation.

Theorists seek to develop mathematical models that both agree with existing experiments and successfully predict future experimental results, while experimentalists devise and perform experiments to test theoretical predictions and explore new phenomena.

Although theory and experiment are developed separately, they strongly affect and depend upon each other. Progress in physics frequently comes about when experimental results defy explanation by existing theories, prompting intense focus on applicable modelling, and when new theories generate experimentally testable predictions , which inspire developing new experiments and often related equipment, possibly roping in some applied physicists to help build it.

Physicists who work at the interplay of theory and experiment are called phenomenologists , who study complex phenomena observed in experiment and work to relate them to a fundamental theory. Theoretical physics has historically taken inspiration from philosophy; electromagnetism was unified this way. Theorists invoke these ideas in hopes of solving particular problems with existing theories.

They then explore the consequences of these ideas and work toward making testable predictions. Experimental physics expands, and is expanded by, engineering and technology. Experimental physicists involved in basic research design and perform experiments with equipment such as particle accelerators and lasers , whereas those involved in applied research often work in industry developing technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging MRI and transistors.

Feynman has noted that experimentalists may seek areas that have not been explored well by theorists. Physics covers a wide range of phenomena , from elementary particles such as quarks, neutrinos, and electrons to the largest superclusters of galaxies. Included in these phenomena are the most basic objects composing all other things. Therefore, physics is sometimes called the " fundamental science ".


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