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Thread: Forum vs University experience....

  1. #1
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    Default Forum vs University experience....

    The recent discussions I’ve had on these forums brings me back to my UCSB and UC Berkeley days when I was a struggling student living in a truck, showering in the gym, and studying in the library and the student union. Those days were tumultuous as well, with distractions from the civil rights movement, Vietnam, and the normal coming of age problems everyone experiences.

    In my case, since I was so poor, I took many classes without taking the prerequisites (which makes it instructive to weigh in on forums like this one – I remember taking Multilinear Algebra from the head of the math department Dr. Marvin Markus, who was a leader in the field. He announced to the class at the first session that he was going to take us right to the limit of current research. (We called it Marvin Marcuse”s Multilinear Mind Mixer…)

    I hadn’t had either the undergraduate OR the graduate course in Linear Algebra, and when I voiced my concerns (I really wanted to learn tensors), he said not to worry, just get what you can from the course. I ultimately got a “C”; I was totally stunned when I graduated that the physics dept. not only admitted me to graduate school without an exam, but offered me a Research Assistantship. But with Vietnam, the rights movement, and Ronald Reagan, I was burned out, and took off to Spain wieth a one way ticket to live with the Gitanos, learn Flamenco, and hopefully settle in Canada or Denmark.

    One issue in my university experience was that I was poor, and many of the students in the Physics dept. at that time were from Saudi Arabia and similar countries – all had been educated at the best preparatory schools (the same was true of many of my classmates from the US, for sure).

    Also, most of the students had had calculus in high school; I struggled to learn the basics. The pressure of multiple simultaneous courses was common to everyone, but different students start at different places. (I had been an Electronics Technician in the Navy before Berkeley, and got a 4.0 in Electromagnetism that year). Because of this pressure, there was very little “quiet time” to think about underlying concepts… one simply crammed equations, and hoped to get through the midterms and finals with enough of a grade point average to continue.

    On this forum, many participants come with different background and experience. Many have honest questions, and propose propositions that seem ridiculous to someone schooled in that field, but unfortunately get hit with ad hominem attacks and personal insults without helping them to progress further on their intellectual journey. Others simply throw stuff against the wall to see if anything sticks, and are surprised, frustrated, and even angry when others critique their efforts, especially if they haven’t been through the occasionally discouraging process of analyzing their midterm results for successive years at great expense. Others simply throw stuff against the wall (well, ok, me too, but I do respond to those interested in discussing issues without providing a foundation for their critiques, and revert to arguments from authority with snide remarks.

    That said, I find that Google and Wikipedia are HUGE resources – there are multiple sources on the internet for everything, where only a couple of decades ago one could purchase textbooks that were extremely expensive (thank god for Dover books, though). It is inconceivable that one cannot find a reference for an argument on the internet and provide a helpful link if necessary in a discussion – the forum can then operate to help everyone’s intellectual journey along – I find it very helpful to try to explain myself (as per my own conversation about STR with JDoolin early in my experience in this forum – I was able to clarify a lot of my concepts to myself. I found that the issues I was discussing were relevant to Quantum Field Theory, not GTR, and I’m still learning every day – Wiki and Google at my side, so to speak)

    I do think Tom could do more to moderate the forum – my suggestion was through the use of individual Ignore lists, published in thread initiator’s signature, with the understanding that anyone on an ignore list would be banned from the forum if he attempted to publish in a thread initiated by the owner of that list. That way, if one had a serious question, he could restrict his thread to those with serious and relevant answers, and the forum could help everyone along. (Of course, if one likes the battle of, uh, wits one can provide a halfway solution by just not using the ignore list.)

    Anyway, on a personal level, I have pretty much gotten to where I wanted to go in figuring out the “time dilation” equation which never made any sense to me in the way it is usually presented (I only had one upper division course where it was mentioned.. and being a radar guy, I simply didn’t believe it. But we only had three classes on it, with nary a mention of Maxwell’s equations…)

    So an ongoing “thank you” to those who have been putting up with my efforts to understand things in my way, even if only looking into the threads briefly – some will feel I have wasted their time, and to those I empathize – time is valuable to all of us. And I hope that I occasionally can help others by presenting the insights I have as I make progress – even an unclear insight can be worth discussing if the conversation is without rancor and attempts at establishing pseudo credentials in the aether….

    I'd be interested in other participants' takes and personal experiences on the subject - what do you guys think?

    (Those on my ignore list are welcome to participate in this thread....
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    "Flamenco Chuck" Keyser
    The Relativistic Unit Circle Updates 03/02/2017 12:07 PM PST
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  2. #2
    Senior Member mugaliens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Forum vs University experience....

    Quote Originally Posted by BuleriaChk View Post
    But with Vietnam, the rights movement, and Ronald Reagan, I was burned out, and took off to Spain wieth a one way ticket to live with the Gitanos, learn Flamenco, and hopefully settle in Canada or Denmark.
    Really? While I'm sure you had fun, so did I. Reagan hired Milton Friedman from retirement. Friedman advised a serious reduction in taxes. This freed up corporate money for R&D and America was able to capitalize on, if not create the Internet boom, which has changed the way businesses do business to more efficient and several steps closer to a Star Trek utopia. This also freed up consumer money, which is the grease along which business skids slide. Smart people saved gobs and retired early.

    I "surfed" the waters that were handed to me and retired at age 45. Reagan's management of our country was the best thing that ever happened to me!

    Anyway, on a personal level, I have pretty much gotten to where I wanted to go in figuring out the “time dilation” equation which never made any sense to me in the way it is usually presented (I only had one upper division course where it was mentioned.. and being a radar guy, I simply didn’t believe it. But we only had three classes on it, with nary a mention of Maxwell’s equations…)
    Relativistic equations 101:

    Let beta = v/c, where v = velocity of an observer and c = speed of light

    Time dilation: deltaT prime / deltaT = sqrt(1-beta^2)

    Length contraction: deltaX / deltaX prime = sqrt(1-beta^2)

    Mass increase: m prime / m = sqrt(1-beta^2)

    Kinetic energy: K = mc^2 ( 1/sqrt(1-beta^2) - 1)

    So an ongoing “thank you”...
    You're welcome!

    I'd be interested in other participants' takes and personal experiences on the subject - what do you guys think?
    Above.
    My oath of office never expires. "God, who gave us life, gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?" - Thomas Jefferson. "I have far too long suffered fools. No longer will I tolerate the insufferable. Enjoy the vacuum." - Mugs

    PS: I scrambled my password, so no, I will not be responding. Get a clue.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Forum vs University experience....

    Quote Originally Posted by mugaliens View Post

    Relativistic equations 101:

    Let beta = v/c, where v = velocity of an observer and c = speed of light

    Time dilation: deltaT prime / deltaT = sqrt(1-beta^2)

    Length contraction: deltaX / deltaX prime = sqrt(1-beta^2)

    Mass increase: m prime / m = sqrt(1-beta^2)

    Kinetic energy: K = mc^2 ( 1/sqrt(1-beta^2) - 1)

    Yeah, but I actually derive them, and find that coordinates have nothing to do with STR; mass/energy relationship is disjoint from space-time unless is interpreted as a mass density.

    Time dilation: t'=t
    so x'=ct' = ct =x =x/sqrt(etc.) ?????
    (length expands - Lorent's result: x' = (x - vt)

    compare with:

    Your (correct) equation:
    Length contraction: deltaX / deltaX prime = sqrt(1-beta^2)
    x/x'=1/
    x' = x/

    Your equation: x' = x/ (correct, but why? - given the preceding result from "time dilation"/ Lorentz ..)

    (What I'm really asking is the origin of the "time dilation" equation, and why it differs from the Lorentz transform - and especially how to interpret it .... there is an answer, but it lies in the covariant vs contra variant analysis... AND the interpretation of and its consequences for the origin of the universe from the void (well, ok, start with just a flashlight and a clock and see if you need god to get things going...

    (I really am getting too old for this; I'm going to quit soon... anyway, it is all in one of my pdf's somewhere, and I had never seen it before...)

    (BTW, have you ever tried to read Einstein's original paper on Relativity and work through his equations? ...
    Last edited by BuleriaChk; 01-07-2015 at 10:46 PM.
    _______________________________________
    "Flamenco Chuck" Keyser
    The Relativistic Unit Circle Updates 03/02/2017 12:07 PM PST
    Proof of Fermat's Last Theorem Updates 03/19/2017 8:23 PM PST
    Ignore List -The Peanut Gallery.

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