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Old 04-23-2009, 12:14 PM
horatio's Avatar
horatio horatio is offline
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If I may tell a little bit of science history of the stuff I have studied, economics:
Until about the middle of the last century, most economic writers wrote mostly in ordinary prose. Then formalization of the discipline began and mathematics really helped a lot of researchers to express the thoughts in a more stringent way.
But maths became more relevant than it should be, researchers deal with irrelvant mathematical details and any economist who tries to express his thoughts in a non-mathematical way is not taken seriously by the mainstream, although the most important contemporary research areas, e.g. connecting the science with psychology or sociology, are the ones which naturally cannot take off in a formal way.

This might be different in physics where it is harder to get rid of maths.

There is only one way to make the public more open to untampered scientific ideas: better overall education. Just take the example of absolute and relative. If I say that the risk to get killed in a plane of company X is 100% higher than the average plane crash risk, most people will not buy tickets from that company anymore. If I am truthful and mention not just the differences among the risks but also the average plane crash risk, e.g. (made-up by me) 0.005%, the 100% increase to 0.01 does not sound so horrible anymore.
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Old 04-23-2009, 12:42 PM
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Livingston Livingston is offline
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Maths is just a tool which helps you to formalize your thoughts, nothing more. If string theory or quantum mechanics cannot be translated into prose, there might be something wrong with the respective theory.
These theories can be explained certainly. I've been interested in theories like this for quite awhile and have read many books on them and I have a basic understanding of what the theory proposes, so it can be explained. But to truly converse with someone about what these theories propose, I'd say you're going to have to do that in math, that is the language that these theories speak. That is their element. Not all of them, just the most theoretical, especially ones like super string theory and unification.

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