Canadas national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics
Canadas national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics Laboratoire national canadien pour la recherche en physique nuclaire et en physique des particules Science Simplified What is Science? Observationally constrained model building! Byron Jennings | TRIUMF Accelerating Science for Canada Un acclrateur de la dmarche scientifique canadienne Owned and operated as a joint venture by a consortium of Canadian universities via a contribution through the National Research Council Canada Proprit dun consortium duniversits canadiennes, gr en co-entreprise partir dune contribution administre par le Conseil national de recherches Canada Why Science Matters Global warming and C02 levels Alternate medicine Vaccination and autism Cell phones and cancer
Size of salmon runs The elephant on the room Evolution and creationism 2/22/20 Presentation Title 2 Selling science Disappointing talks on selling science Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole, Stephen Law Are we just selling another religion (belief system)? Rick Warren (Saddleback): The Purpose Driven Church
To sell science we should know what it is. Science is not philosophy Competing paradigms for the nature of knowledge 2/22/20 Presentation Title 3 Doing Science Most scientists have a good operational understanding of science Lack a formal understanding Has changed over time Can lead to misunderstandings and wasted effort 2/22/20
Presentation Title 4 Mankind's Greatest Achievement Learned how the universe works Changed our conception of mans role in the universe Big history Big bang, evolution, etc Laid the foundation for technology Increased life expectancy 2/22/20 Presentation Title 5
The Opponents 1) Skepticism Protagoras (490BCE 420 BCE): Sophistry Plato (424 BCE 348): Shadows in the cave Antisthenes (445 BCE 365 BCE): Cynicism Descartes ( 1596 1650): Skepticism Hume (1711 1776): Induction does not exist Kierkegaard (1813 1855), Nietzsche (1844 1900): Post-modernism Feyereband (1924 1994) Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of 2/22/20 Presentation Title 6 Sure and Certain Knowledge
I think therefore I am. Criticized by Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell This is sentence is the sum total of all 100% certain knowledge. And I am not even sure about that. Sure and certain knowledge: A set of measure zero (probably not the null set) 2/22/20 Presentation Title 7 Responses to Skepticism Sophistry: Argument rather that knowledge Replace knowledge with rhetoric.
Idealism: It is all in the mind. Plato: Ideals (ideas, forms) Descartes (1596 1650) : What I perceive clearly and distinctly as being true is true. Berkeley (1685 1753): To be is to be perceived Kant (1724 1804): Synthetic a priori knowledge Science: Practical rather than certain. We may be studying the reflections on a wall (as Plato suggested) but at least we do a good job of it. Popper: Falsification not verification Progress not certainty 2/22/20 Presentation Title 8
The Opponents 2) The Religious Right Disconnect from reality Creationism Global warming Distance from the data Republican surprise they lost the presidential election The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that realityjudiciously, as you willwe'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actorsand you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do. 2/22/20 Presentation Title
9 Science Science the reality based community has: Changed the worlds intellectual landscape Laid the foundation for technological advances is: Necessary to understand the issues confronting the world today. But what is it? 2/22/20 Presentation Title 10
The Scientific Method Make Observati ons and Test Prediction s Simplic ity Make Testable Prediction s 2/22/20 Build and Refine
Models Presentation Title 11 The Essentials The essentials Observation Model building Simplicity Predictions Testing against additional observations Non-essentials
2/22/20 TRUTH Naturalism Explanations Peer review Presentation Title 12 Observations Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house. Henri Poincare 2/22/20 Presentation Title
13 Models & Paradigms Models Paradigm Framework that ties the observations together. Illusion of understanding Creative activity Simplicity Omphalos hypothesis Anarchy No algorithm that does from observations to the models. 2/22/20 Presentation Title
14 Paradigm Provides the framework for a given field what is to be observed and scrutinized the kind of questions that are supposed to be asked and probed for answers in relation to this subject how these questions are to be structured how the results of scientific investigations should be interpreted Science and engineering are defined by a common paradigm on what constitutes knowledge. 2/22/20 Presentation Title 15
Paradigm Example Philosophy and science are competing paradigms Thomas Kuhn: Aristotle versus Newton Bertrand Russell: Change in philosophy when science discovered Scientists know very little about the what philosophers of science are doing. And the ones that do: Carl Sagan: Attack on Plato Richard Feynman: Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds. Lawrence Krauss: It has no impact on physics what so ever, C.P. Snow: Two Cultures (science and humanities) 1959 Rede Lecture 2/22/20 Presentation Title
16 Philosophy and Science Philosophy (in the western tradition) Based on rational arguments and word definitions Pure thought not observation Science Based on observation Construct models based on the observation of past observations and test based on predictions for future observations. A rational argument is one that can be used to predict future observations. Philosophers will never understand science and vise versa 2/22/20
Presentation Title 17 Predictions The ultimate test of any model. The problem of evil Omphalos Demarcation criteria The ability to make testable predictions about future observations 2/22/20 Presentation Title 18 Simplicity
William of Ockham (1285 1349) Occams razor: The razor asserts that one should proceed to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for greater explanatory power. Simplicity absolutely necessary. An arbitrary number of curves can be drawn through any set of points. Simplicity frequently trumps accuracy but in the end it fails. 2/22/20 Presentation Title 19 Simplicity 120
100 S (eVb) 80 60 40 20 0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 E (MeV) 2/22/20
Presentation Title 20 is a measure of the minimum computational resources needed to specify the data object. is not a computable function. 690927210797509302955321165344987202755 960236480665499119881834797753566369807 Deep Breath If simplicity in the sense of Kolmogorov complexity is needed to define a scientific model, you cannot get from experimental data to a scientific model algorithmically. 2/22/20 Presentation Title 21
Error control To Err is human, to control error science. Error control is a scientists day job. Very few tools Care in doing the experiment Blind analysis Double bind medical tests Uselessness of testimonials. Independent checking Peer review Openness Incompatible with intellectual property. Independent repetition 2/22/20 Presentation Title
22 The Raven Paradox All ravens are black. All non-black objects are not ravens. Logically equivalent Bayesian resolution More non-black objects than ravens Model comparison All ravens are green Falsification Not all ravens are black. 2/22/20 Presentation Title
23 Popper For science does not develop by a gradual encyclopaedic accumulation of essential information, (as Aristotle thought) but by a much more revolutionary method; it progresses by bold ideas, by the advancement of new and very strange theories (such as the theory that the earth is not flat, or that metrical space is not flat), and by the overthrow of the old ones. 2/22/20 Presentation Title 24 Popper We have learnt in the past, from many disappointments, that we must not expect finality. And we have learnt not to
be disappointed any longer if our scientific theories are overthrown; for we can, in most cases, determine with great confidence which of any two theories is the better one. We can therefore know that we are making progress; and it is this knowledge that to most of us atones for the loss of the illusion of finality and certainty. 2/22/20 Presentation Title 25 Falsification But, as many skeptics pointed out, rival theories are always indefinitely many and therefore the proving power of experiment vanishes. One cannot learn from experience about the truth of any scientific theory, only at best about it
falsehood: confirming instances have no epistemic value whatsoever (emphasis in the original). Imre Lakatos (1922 1974), 2/22/20 Presentation Title 26 The Standard Model Is a model Limited range of validity (lacks gravity) Describes a wide range of phenomena. QED, QCD, electroweak, Hadron and nuclear structure? Simpler than its competitors Super symmetry, technicolor, little Higgs, grand
unification Question: Not: Is it correct? But: Where does it break down? 2/22/20 Presentation Title 27 The Standard Model The Optimist The optimist fell ten stories And at each passing window bar He shouted to his friends 'All right so far. Unknown
2/22/20 Presentation Title 28 Science: In conclusion Empirical Testable predictions Model building Creative not algorithmic Bottom up Solve one problem at a time Simplicity Solves non-uniqueness problem Accumulative
Build on past success Tentative Not sure and certain but progressive 2/22/20 Presentation Title 29 References Primary Reference Henri Poincar (1854 1912) Science and Hypothesis, 1905 Chapters IX, X Secondary References Thomas Kuhn (1922 1996) Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) Paradigms
Karl Popper (1902 1994) The Logic of Scientific Discovery (1943) Progress not certainty, falsification Nicolas T. Wright, Bishop of Durham (Anglican) The New Testament and the People of God, 1992 Model building and testing (M. Polanyi. T.F. Torrance) 2/22/20 Presentation Title 30 Canadas national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics Laboratoire national canadien pour la recherche en physique nuclaire et en physique des particules Thank you! Merci!
Questions? Owned and operated as a joint venture by a consortium of Canadian universities via a contribution through the National Research Council Canada Proprit dun consortium duniversits canadiennes, gr en co-entreprise partir dune contribution administre par le Conseil national de recherches Canada TRIUMF: Alberta | British Columbia | Calgary Carleton | Guelph | Manitoba | McMaster Montral | Northern British Columbia | Queens Regina | Saint Marys | Simon Fraser | Toronto Victoria | Winnipeg | York History of Science Common View: Flowering of intellectual activity in the ancient world (notably Socrates, Plato, Aristotle) was suppressed by the Christian church until Galileo broke free. Alternate View: Greek philosophy and math were dead ends
Its medieval revival, scholasticism, also a dead end Galileos opponents where as much the philosophers as the theologians Science owes as much to alchemy as to Aristotle. 2/22/20 Presentation Title 32 Observations Carlyle has written somewhere something after this fashion. " Nothing but facts are of importance. John Lackland passed by here. Here is something that is admirable. Here is a reality for which I would give all the theories in the world." Carlyle was a compatriot of Bacon, and, like him, he wished to proclaim his worship of the God of Things as they are. But Bacon would not have said that. That is the
language of the historian. The physicist would most likely have said: "John Lackland passed by here. It is all the same to me, for he will not pass this way again." 2/22/20 Presentation Title 33 History Scientific Discoveries 18 16 14 12 10 8 6
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 Presentation Title 34 Under the radar Abu Ms Jbir ibn Hayyn (721 815): Alchemist and the first chemist. Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (1194 1250): Experimenter
Roger Bacon (1214 1294): Inventor of the scientific method? Dr. Johann Georg Faust (1480 1540): Sold his soul to the devil for knowledge. 2/22/20 Presentation Title 35 Plato A. N. Whitehead: The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. Carl Sagan: Plato, Aristotle and the Pythagoreans were suppressors of knowledge, advocates of slavery and of epistemic secrecy. Platos followers succeeded in extinguishing the light of science and
experiment that had been kindled by Democritus and the other Ionians. Platos unease with the world as revealed by our senses was to dominate and stifle Western philosophy. 2/22/20 Presentation Title 36
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