Ralph D, particle physics, and BS

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Fri Jun 16 10:42:01 MDT 1995

>First of all, Ralph, a hearty thanks for blowing up Juan Inigo in

>a largely satisfactory manner.

Rahul, thanks for your support.  I'm out of town now and lack the
time to respond in detail to his recent posts.  Notice how nastily
he resents my amateur status.

>Now, then. Ralph, you frequently brought up the question of

>knowledge of science when replying to Juan, which I think is

>highly appropriate, especially when you're talking about

I freely admit my handicap in this area, so I'm glad you're here.
I always try to presume that a worker in a given area knows his
craft better than an outsider.  Perhaps when I get more time I can
query you in more detail about the state of particle physics.  In
particular, I would like you to inject your own thoughts on your
field into the discussion, and would like to know if you think
mathematical formalism + empirical confirmation = the sum total of
science.  Do these theories make any sense or are they epicycles
all over again?

>The material is so difficult and the state of popular writing so

>execrable that you simply cannot learn enough physics to talk

>seriously about it unless you really learn it

Excreble is the word.  I've said this for decades.  Unfortunately,
I wasted more time exposing pseudoscience than learning real

Perhaps you could recommend the best poplarizations if there are
any good ones at all.  While you are at it, what are the best
popular and philosophical works on relativity?  Unfortunately,
autodidacticism runs in the family, and my dad, who once
corresponded with Heisenberg, is convinced that all of modern
physics is bogus.  He's much worse than I am.

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