Specific Energy
//Tampan//, Paminggir people. Lampung region of Sumatra, 19th century, 76 x 70 cm. From the library of Darwin Sjamsudin, Jakarta. Photograph by D Dunlop.
Tampan, Paminggir people. Lampung region of Sumatra, 19th century, 76 x 70 cm. From the library of Darwin Sjamsudin, Jakarta. Photograph by D Dunlop.

We are more aware of some sensations than others. It is difficult to say exactly what makes us more or less conscious of a perception. But let us call this quality of awareness the sensory magnitude and try to be more definite about it by mulling over the following thought experiment. First select some sensation and call it the calorimetric reference sensation. Mathematically represent it using a positive number noted by kC . Compare this calorimetric reference sensation with the Anaxagorean sensation associated with seed Z. Determine the numbers a and b such that perceiving a copies of the calorimetric reference presents the same sensory magnitude as experiencing b copies of Z. Report the result as

$\begin{align} \hat{E} \left( \sf{Z} \right) \equiv \frac { \it{a} } { \it{b} } \it k_{C} \end{align}$

The number $\hat{E}$ is called the specific energy of the seed Z. It is always greater than zero because a, b and kC are all positive numbers. Thus specific energy is fundamentally understood as a ratio of sensationsXlink.png.
The forgoing is a thought experiment, and results are idiosyncratic. There may be statistically significant patterns among groups of people, but even the gross categories used in the experiment depend on anthropological and linguistic factors that are not universal. So a deeper analysis of sensory magnitude must appeal to other disciplines like physiology and psychology. For instance Canadian academic work relating sensory ratios to space and time has been led by a political economist Harold InnisXlink.png and a professor of English literature Marshall McLuhanXlink.png. If that seems dubious, then recall Schrödinger's observation1 about how much of our physical knowledge is "suggested mainly by communication with other human beings". Accordingly, WikiMechanics is informed by the Toronto SchoolXlink.png of communications.

So to understand physics we must consider more than just physics. And that is why WikiMechanics is illustrated with quantized ethnographic art. Moreover definite numerical values are not assigned to $\hat{E}$. Instead, over the next few pages we use the results of calibrated laboratory experiments to develop the idea of specific energy into an account of internal energy.

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Specific Energy $\begin{align} \hat{E} \left( \sf{Z} \right) \equiv \frac { \it{a} } { \it{b} } \it k_{C} \end{align}$ 4-4
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