Links for 2012-05-29

In which we look at relativistic rockets, scientific revolutions, and the mathematical connection between entanglement and nonlocality.

  • The Relativistic Rocket

    Science fiction writers can make use of worm holes or warp drives to overcome this restriction, but it is not clear that such things can ever be made to work in reality. Another way to get around the problem may be to use the relativistic effects of time dilation and length contraction to cover large distances within a reasonable time span for those aboard a space ship. If a rocket accelerates at 1g (9.81 m/s2) the crew will experience the equivalent of a gravitational field with the same strength as that on Earth. If this could be maintained for long enough they would eventually receive the benefits of the relativistic effects which improve the effective rate of travel. What then, are the appropriate equations for the relativistic rocket?

  • What Thomas Kuhn Really Thought about Scientific “Truth” | Cross-Check, Scientific American Blog Network

    I finally wore Kuhn down, and in February 1991 I interviewed him for more than three hours in his cluttered office. He was one of the most ambiguous, ambivalent thinkers I have ever encountered, which helps explain why he is still interpreted in so many divergent and even contradictory ways. Whatever you may think of Kuhn, his view of science has become “a permanent part of the repertoire of historians and philosophers and people in science studies in general,” as philosopher Ian Hacking, editor of a new edition of Structure, recently told Scientific American’s Gary Stix. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Structure, I’m posting an edited version of my write-up of Kuhn in The End of Science (Addison Wesley, 1996), which draws heavily on my meeting with him. I hope that this profile—which is longer and more critical of Kuhn than “Reluctant Revolutionary,” my May 1991 profile for Scientific American—provides insights into the complicated views of this complicated man.

  • Physics – A Closer Connection Between Entanglement and Nonlocality

    Entanglement and nonlocality are two of the main concepts studied in the quantum information sciences. Although it is immediately clear that entanglement is necessary for nonlocality, a detailed quantitative relation between these two concepts is not yet established. Writing in Physical Review Letters, Francesco Buscemi of the University of Nagoya, Japan, makes important progress in this direction

Comments

  1. #1 Patrick M. Dennis
    May 29, 2012

    It is often said that aboard the 1g accelerating rocket, the passengers could not differentiate between their accelerating state and that of being on the surface of Earth. But could they not just “raise” themselves a certain distance away from the direction of the perceived force and remeasure? If the “force” decreases as 1/r^2, gravity; if constant, rocket.

  2. #2 Alexander Woo
    May 30, 2012

    Re: The piece on Kuhn.

    It’s a good try, but I think philosophers have just as much ground to complain about the state of philosophy journalism as scientists have to complain about the state of science journalism.

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