PhilSci Archive

The Effectiveness of Mathematics in Physics of the Unknown

Grinbaum, Alexei (2017) The Effectiveness of Mathematics in Physics of the Unknown. [Preprint]

This is the latest version of this item.

[img]
Preview
Text
blackbox.pdf

Download (304kB) | Preview

Abstract

If physics is a science that unveils the fundamental laws of nature, then the appearance of mathematical concepts in its language can be surprising or even mysterious. This was Eugene Wigner's argument in 1960. I show that another approach to physical theory accommodates mathematics in a perfectly reasonable way. To explore unknown processes or phenomena, one builds a theory from fundamental principles, employing them as constraints within a general mathematical framework. The rise of such theories of the unknown, which I call blackbox models, drives home the unsurprising effectiveness of mathematics. I illustrate it on the examples of Einstein's principle theories, the $S$-matrix approach in quantum field theory, effective field theories, and device-independent approaches in quantum information.


Export/Citation: EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII/Text Citation (Chicago) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
Social Networking:
Share |

Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Grinbaum, Alexeialexei.grinbaum@cea.fr0000-0002-7484-1553
Keywords: Mathematics; physics; Wigner; Einstein; principle theory; S-matrix; effective field theory; device-independence; unknown
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Depositing User: Alexei Grinbaum
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2017 14:18
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2017 14:18
Item ID: 13191
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-017-1490-0
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Field Theory
Specific Sciences > Physics > Quantum Mechanics
Date: 2017
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/13191

Available Versions of this Item

Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Monthly Downloads for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Altmetric.com

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item