Down-to-earth physics


Paperbacks on physics are one of my most favorite books. But, reading many paperbacks of a sort, I often feel disappointed to find that the explanations end at almost the same place.

As my carrier began as a researcher on mechanical engineering, I can’t satisfy myself without fiddling a theme as much as I like. If you are a mathematician, you can conclude your theory elegantly saying, “This equation tells everything.” But as a researcher on mechanical engineering who wants to apply it for a practical use, it must be looked into in detail as, “This equation behaves like this in this case, and like that in that case…”

I feel contemporary physics is too lopsided toward mathematics. It is elegant, but I feel their abstract conclusions are tepid and many simple questions are left untouched. I started this site because I thought someone who studies concrete examples one by one like me have raison d’etre in this situation.

To bring physics forward, I believe, studies on concrete examples without preoccupations are essential. For this reason, what I want to know is not what some authorities said, but why it is so, what is the evidence of the theory, how strong confidence do they have, and how strong confidence can I get. Working on physics, I want to begin not with authorities’ conclusion but from scratch. Only from proved fact, I want to derive theories and conclusions with my feet “down-to-earth”.

Students who memorize what their teachers say are called an “obedient good students”. But what I want to be is not a Mr. PBS but a “curious truth-seeker” who seeks deficiencies in accepted theories. So, when I come upon a categorical explanation, I always feel disappointed. In such time, I envision that the author must have been an “obedient good student”.

Theory of general relativity and quantum mechanics states extravagant idea for scientists before Einstein. If a young scientist explained the contents of current paperbacks in academic society in those days, he would surely be thrown out of the society. The book I want is such one that can convince scientists before Einstein. But I hear, if you put equations twice as many, the book sells as low as one tenth. It might be impossible to expect that in paperbacks. I understood that paperbacks are history book of science for knowing conclusions of dominant scientists.

It seems that paperbacks are not shortcut for physics despite of its familiar look. So, par for the course though, I decided to learn it with textbooks. But on many textbooks, I have complaints, too.

The strongest dissatisfaction for those textbooks is that they omit explanation vaguely at the same place which, I think, everyone must have a simple question, same as paperbacks. It is sometimes pretended to be saying as if, “I know the deeper reason, but I omit it because it is too complicated to explain,” or often just omit without any comments. I suspect the reason could be that the original sourcebook had not mentioned it. I can understand their cautious attitude to evade deviation from standard, but I get frustrated. So, in this site, I attach high weight to show “simple questions” I found.

My most favorite textbook is “EMAN’s physics” which is open in the web. Usually, authors of most textbooks are authorities who had established firm footing. I suspect that those authors have tendency to evade confessing the limit of their knowledge and taking risk of going further. On the other hand, Mr. EMAN does not have a carrier in academic society. I don’t know whether this is the reason or not, but he goes further than ordinary explanations and explains very carefully distinguishing: common knowledge, what he does not understand, what no one understand, what is not written in common textbooks but he analyzed deeply.

Regarding the carrier in academic society, I am the same as Mr. EMAN. I don’t have any carrier in physics society. (Can it be proud of?) So, I believe if I don’t forget to be careful enough not to go outrageous frivolously, I could be more competent to make deeper study than traditional authors.

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