Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] simulation

Il giorno 31/gen/2010, alle ore 22.40, roger malina ha scritto:

> 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
> http://rainman.astro.illinois.edu/ddr/stellar/cgi-bin/output/movie0416531.mpg
> 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
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY24JAUsy5s
> 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)

Beautiful, I hope this discussion can address the use of simulation in science.

> 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

Yes, explanations, but taking into account that models are always reductions of the phenomena they want to represent (not only in the sciences). In science in some cases models can totally substitute the "real". I am not now in a condition to exactly check what I'm saying (I'm in train when I write this), but I remember that the Nobel Prize Carlo Rubbia won on the discover of a subatomic particle was based on a computer simulation which foresaw the existence of that particle. Only after the prize that particle was effectively "observed".


Pier Luigi

Pier Luigi Capucci
e-mail: plc@noemalab.org
web: http://www.noemalab.org/plc/plc.html
skype: plcapucci

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