If this StackExchange existed before the suggestion of photons, many of the answers would be different, and they would be up-voted. This is unlike a Computer programming question regarding a specific protocol, where the design is known -- created by someone/people.

I welcome trying Science-related SEs because they fill a huge gap in learning online. But inherently many of the answers are subjective -- something that is notoriously refused when recognized on SE.

Do you think Science-related SEs will work, and if so how, and if not what might we be able to do?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes. And? Basically, you've just noticed that science is not static. That's a good thing. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Oct 23 '12 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ @dmckee The StackExchange system was not designed for these types of answers, and so could over-time provide a service that may not be very useful for this domain $\endgroup$ – Tom Oct 23 '12 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ Are you ranting against the science related SE sites? I've read your "question" five times now but I still dont see what's the purpose of your post or what you are talking about. Physics SE for example works perfectly well, Chemistry needs more support, but such sites are indeed very valuable for learning stuff online, so what's your problem ? $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Oct 23 '12 at 20:04

I think you have a false impression of science. Science builds on previous data continuously. The tools may change, the theories may change but it is a matter of expanding knowledge, not a drastic demolition and rebuilding process.

We know about the photon since last century, and the knowledge was built on the knowledge of the century before that with Maxwell's electromagnetic theory, and the one before that where Newton postulated the corpuscular nature of light ( photons really).

If the science is based on data and is not science fiction ( imaginary and manipulated data) it remains as part of the foundation, even though it might be outdated. The (in) famous epicycles are still there, in the planetarium programs when the geocentric system is assumed. Because they were an accumulation of observations fitted to a theory of that time.

For scientific disciplines the SEs are useful to excite the interest and imagination of young new scientists entering the field, a forum for discussions of physics in our case and an opportunity to keep on learning, even after retirement or change of occupation due to work needs.

So yes, it will work.

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  • $\begingroup$ When I see some claim that some types of electrons go backwards in time, I expect this just a convenient assumption rather than 'supported' by data. And there are already a multitude of competing quantum theories, so how is that represented in your linear view? $\endgroup$ – Tom Oct 23 '12 at 19:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Tom you have really now clue about how the scientific principle works. Please learn it before coming here to rant about physics! Your comments are very confused. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Oct 23 '12 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ @Tom You have to realize that the scientific process goes like an amoeba, stretching exploring imagination tentacles at interesting roads and retracting when proved by experiment wrong. This is a slow process, well recorded and understood by the graduate students. It is not a process that can be joined in by the average Joe because it needs a lot of elbow grease to acquire the tools and understanding. Electrons going backward in time are positrons in our bag of tools, and positrons have been experimentally seen. The backwards in time representation comes from the very successful tools of the $\endgroup$ – anna v Oct 24 '12 at 5:07
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    $\begingroup$ continued: the very successful tools of the Feynman diagrams and are a brilliant invention. You are confusing the complexity the naive to physics see with randomness. There is reason ( mathematical) in our madness, and continuity. $\endgroup$ – anna v Oct 24 '12 at 5:08

Stack Exchange originates with Stack Overflow where the domain is programming---another field that is not static. Just in my Stack Overflow tags, the last four years have seen new versions of c, c++ and python all of which have changed the best answer to some questions.

The engine has coped with this just fine.

I suspect that it will cope with the march of physics well, too.

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  • $\begingroup$ One difference is that for whatever man-made thing it could be assumed that there will (or won't) be new versions, but with topics in Physics who could guess what will be reconsidered? Also what happens to questions that have already been answered, and so people assume don't need to be reanswered, because unlike programming where there will be a bug, a problem with a Physics answer may not produce such easily observed symptoms? $\endgroup$ – Tom Oct 23 '12 at 16:40
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    $\begingroup$ @Tom there are boatloads of questions on SO whose answers have become outdated or incorrect with time. As with anything, you need to exercise your judgement, particularly when looking at old posts. You also seem to be vastly overestimating the rate of revolutionary discoveries in science, I can guarantee that the bleeding edge in physics moves at least an order of magnitude slower than in something like computer programming. $\endgroup$ – user2963 Oct 24 '12 at 0:03

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