Monday, July 27, 2009

Revolution by the Book Structure #1


In my upcoming presentations like this one, I'm considering 3 sections:
  • Revolutionary Science (RS) Paradigms
  • RS Project Management (RSPM)
  • Use Cases
These 3 sections roughly equate to background information, standards for administration of RS projects, and future areas where RSPM could be applied. The use case section most prominently focuses on development of technology for faster than light transportation, which seems a nearly ideal area for project management to aid physical science research.
Current research in cosmology might be characterized by a diverse group of really smart researchers searching for something for which they have no clear definition and no known path to progress. They are basically adrift in the fog, seeking new models to explain anomalies like Dark Matter, Dark Energy, space-time dimensionality, conflicts and paradoxes between relativity and quantum mechanics and others.
A small group within the cognitive science community has identified two critically important factors relating to this.  First is the the process by which new ideas are developed in science.  This process appears to be very similar to the everyday sort of new ideas we are coming up with all the time, where we might ask ourselves: should I go to the store early in the day, or just before they close?  Making this decision is prompted by some sort of problem we are trying to solve.  

A concrete problem is what triggers our creative imagination: we envision possible solutions based on our memories of similar situations, and get a sense of what options "feel" good.  Copernicus problem was to develop a system for accurately calculating the date for the Pope, who needed to tell people to what saints they should be praying on which days.  The original scientific revolution of "heliocentrism" was not his goal...it was fixing calendars.  This gave him a practical approach that emphasized testable reliability, and every schoolkid now learns his centuries-old notion that the Sun is not really moving, its apparent motion results from the Earth's rotation.  The effort to solve a calendar problem triggered development of revolutionary heliocentrism, the same way our shopping problem triggers development of our ideas about scheduling daily errands.

The second important factor in revolutionary science is the other side of the coin, not what makes revolutionary science similar to ordinary thinking, but what distinguishes it as different. Understanding this requires detailed explanation we will examine later. 

Suffice to say now: it is possible to know a great deal about what the next revolutionary cosmology will look like, the conceptual structures it will contain and how that new paradigm will differ from those we hold now, and finally how such paradigms can be pursued.

We should note that pursuit is successful when sought indirectly.  A good shopping plan is developed and determined not by our seeking a plan, but rather one that fits our schedule well, is convenient, saves time, allows us to take best advantage of whatever we need to do during the day, etc.  Revolutionary models are developed in order to solve a problem requiring a restructuring of conceptual rules – and faster than light technology development is a concrete problem that would require creation of such models.  

Testing potential physics models' for applicability to technological development automatically and naturally enforces a quality control that pure mathematical investigations lack.  It enables inexpensive testing and quick identification of ideas that should be abandoned, making the work incomparably more efficient and reliable.

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