Here are my answers to the Gracie Cunningham Questions:
- How did people know what they were looking for when they were theorizing formulae?
Formulae are either derived or correlated. Derived expressions start with some sort of universal law (governing equation) and substitute in constituent formulae to derive an expression. The universal laws are typically postulated after a scientists has a an insight into a problem after working in a field for a number of years. Correlations are developed by fitting a parameterized function to the results of a number of experiments and looking at the best fit. A derived expression tells you a result based off a model whereas a correlation tells you a result based on average experience.
- Once the formulae were found, how did people know they were right?
This is the process of validation. A formulae can never be totally validated, but we claim that a given model will predict an outcome in the future because it has predicted the outcome in the past. In the same way, when you get in your car an drive, how do you know it will get you to where you want to go? You can’t know entirely, but since you’ve driven a number of times before, and you’ve seen other people drive it, you can claim, based on your past experience, that the car will probably get you to where you want to go, although it can always be broken down
With that said, mathematicians will be quick to point out that certain, well defined systems with simple, clearly defined rules, can be proven to be correct. Essentially, if you know all the rules of a game, like Euclidean Geometry, you can prove that a certain formula will work. That said, reality is never perfect like it is in pure mathematics.
- Why is everyone being really mean to me on Twitter?
I give you the “Greater Internet F***wad Theory”. Don’t take it personally.
- Why did the physicist who’s followed by Barack Obama retweet me?
Probably because he thought it was the right thing to do.
- Is this number 5?
- Is anyone going to post this on twitter?
- Why are the only people who are disagreeing with me the one who are dumb and the physicists and mathematicians are agreeing with me?
Because it’s incredibly difficult to come up with good answers to simple questions. Simple questions are usually deeply philosophical and often overlooked. Besides, if we can’t answer simple questions, how are we supposed to answer complex questions? Dumb people are too dumb to see the honesty in a question. Also, scientists love showing off how smart they are, and this is a good opportunity to do so.