Sunday, January 31, 2010

[Yasmin_discussions] simulation


in astronomy the two most succesful simulations are those
of the evolution of a star from birth in the gas between the stars
to its death after exhausting its nuclear fuel=there are numerous
stellar evolution simulations available on line ( google stellar evolution
simulation)=pretty amazing =just click and watch

and the other is evolution of structure in the universe

here for instance is how a star evolves in temperature and brightness
calculated from a stellar evolution model= this star had the mass of the sun
and ends as a white dwarf

this kind of simulation takes into account all the nuclear physics we know
and the physics of radiation transfer and opacity. amazingly succesful fit.
(but a gigantic unresolved mystery)

here is a simulation of evolution of structure in the universe
we have a really coherent description of the evolution of structure of
the universe (except for the fact that 97% of the content is dark matter
and dark energy, both of an unknown nature)

in both of these cases the simulations have status as 'tested hypotheses"

in both cases the simulation is presented as visual output-=in one
case a dynamic graph and the other a video

the fact that simulations have to be converted to visual output
(or sonified) introduces very strange biases in how the simulation
is displayed and interpreted-we tend to over emphasise structure even if its
a very small effect to guide the eye

the scientific method itself is changing, as simulations acquire
the status of explanations

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