Premise

WikiMechanics starts with the idea that we can understand theoretical physics as a description of what we see, hear and feel.

Camille Flammarion, //L'Atmosphere: Météorologie Populaire//. Paris, 1888.
Camille Flammarion, L'Atmosphere: Météorologie Populaire. Paris, 1888.
This is not a radical proposition. A central concept in science is that evidence must be empiricalXlink.png and that theories are linked to observation. So it is certainly reasonable to methodically consider sensation. But actually starting a presentation of physics this way may fit awkwardly with some commonly held views. Accordingly, the premise is discussed further here. In fact, most presentations of mechanics start with mysteriously received notions of length, time and mass. For example, a textbook that has been well-used for the last 80 years, Goldstein's Classical Mechanics begins by saying "they will be assumed as undefined terms whose meanings are familiar to the reader"1. Traditionally, physics students are just supposed to understand length, time and mass before they start class. Presenting a logically ordered, easy-to-teach account of these fundamental concepts is part of what this wiki is for. But there is also another important result that comes from a rigorous analysis of sensation. By putting the scientific horse in front of the cart, we are also able to develop a mathematically simple theory that accurately summarizes decades of hard-won experimental data about nuclear particles. So WikiMechanics can be further tested in our laboratories.
Right.png Next step: Ernst Mach gives us a philosophical basis for considering sensation.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License