Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Physics explained: The LGM Unified Theory

Mathematical models can help describe how the universe works. They are not models of the actual universe, that is for physicists. Methematical models are nice constructs that work within their own scope.

An axiom is a statement of a non-negotiable rule of the model. It is possible to choose a set of axioms that contradict one another. This leads to very boring model universes that collapse in on themselves. If you have a set of rules that do not contradict you can do what you like with them. This can be fun and interesting. It can also be useful. The intention is not to be useful but to increase understanding and knowledge.

When mathematics tries to be useful (as opposed to physics which tries to use mathematice usfully) then interesting things can result. You can end up with things which are clearly wrong, but produce useful results. A good example of this is that a good rough guide to how good someone is at reading is based on their height. There is a strong correlation between height and spelling ability. The reason for this is the obvious one that new born babies cannot spell and many grown-ups can. Providing a mathematical equation for probable spelling proficiency based on ehight is therefore pretty easy. It will generally be reasonably accurate within limits and could even be useful if you had a need to predict the spelling ability of people from their height. To try to turn this into a statement about the real world would be a mistake as the Questionable Cause Fallacy would be easy to fall into.

The LGM unified theory is useful for begining scientists (those with of height) to remember how objects behave in the real world and so predict their behaviours. The LGM theory is entirely based on a fallacy. The fallacious assumption is that all physics is actually the product of teeny little green men. This is pretty easily seen to be unlikely from the fact that many things in this world are not green, but even that can be argued. Ignoring the fact that it is not actually based on a correct set of axiom this theory can be useful and amusing.

I will go into detail in later articles, but an example might be to suggest that Gravity was caused by little green men standing on two objects and pulling them together. Due to the way they have to stand on each other's shoulders in decreasing squares the amount of them that are actually holding each other at the point where one stack reaches the other goes down as the square of the distance between the two objects, so gravity works to an inverse square law.

That is an example of the potentially useful and ultimately frivolous unified LGM Theory. Over time I will be publishing some more ultimately pointless envestigation of this theory. If anyone has any particular points of physics that they feel need explaining just let me know and more will be forthcoming.

Rufus Evison (theoretical physicist*)

(*) In practice not a physicist, but one theory is that I might be a physicist.

No comments: