Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Overview of the Project: The Knowledge Producing Enterprise

The phrase "knowledge explosion" usually refers to "what is known" in some abstract sense, as if there was an official (World) Storehouse of Knowledge (WSoK). A common way to quantify it, so as to draw exponentially rising graphs, is to count academic journal pages, or maybe not all, but certainly scientific journal pages.

Yesterday I asked myself:  "If one person in some discipline has arrived at some correct conclusions, such that a decade from now everybody will know he was right, while the other hundred people in their discipline think the opposite and even supposing his argument or demonstration would pass muster with the toughest epistemologists* can we say 'it is known', or it belongs in the WSoK?"

Monday, March 12, 2018

Science in a Nutshell: From Projectiles to Invisible Elephants to Plate Tectonics

Science in a Nutshell: From Projectiles to Invisible Elephants to Plate Tectonics

For our pre-technical ancestors, the clockwork at the bottom of the material world was so clothed in messiness that hardly a trace of it appeared on the surface.  But you could say that three exposed bits collectively formed a Rosetta stone to the mathematical language of nature:  a thrown rock, a pendulum, and the solar system, revealed by the night sky.  The last had to be viewed from such a difficult angle that reams of tables, centuries worth of exact observations, and a huge advance in mathematics were required to see it, but it was there to be seen.

Clockwork Model of the Solar System, source: Wikimedia, Creative Commons 20