2
$\begingroup$

Since thought-experiments are so common in physics, is something we should create?

| |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ I accept that we need a tag for it. But, I have seen only some 10 or 20 questions as thought experiments. They're not so common, but they're very rare. $\endgroup$ – Waffle's Crazy Peanut Jan 13 '13 at 6:42
  • $\begingroup$ @CrazyBuddy Perhaps your contention is correct and they are not common here (I don't really agree, but it's moot). But in the field of physics as a whole, particular modern physics, the thought experiment is very common. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ @CrazyBuddy Perhaps you should read up on what a thought experiment is. It's essentially the core of how to approach many modern physics problems. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 7:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @CrazyBuddy Nah, don't worry about that. I know English isn't your first language -- you ended up learning something, right? Besides, I'm an aerospace engineer -- certainly not a professional physicist. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 7:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @CrazyBuddy It means that from your first comments, you didn't know what "thought experiment" meant or the role it played in understanding physics. But by posting your comment and from my replies, you learned what it meant or saw examples of what they were. So you learned something new that you didn't know when you started, or you "ended up learning something" $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 7:27
  • $\begingroup$ Tags on the main page are meant to be subfield tags. "thougt-experiment" is not a subfield of physics, rather occur thought experiments in tons of physics subfields in the course of investigations of rather theoretical questions. Such a tag would be way too broad and therefore vacuous and not very useful. $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Jan 13 '13 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Dilaton Could the argument not be made that tags should also be about methods used within physics? Just posing the question for thought, I'm undecided which is why I haven't posted my own answer (or accepted the only one here). $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 18:21
  • $\begingroup$ -1. This May encourage non-mainstream ideas... $\endgroup$ – Abhimanyu Pallavi Sudhir Jul 5 '13 at 16:29
8
$\begingroup$

I think I'm against.

Reasoning:

  • wouldn't give you any data about the type of physics being considered, you'd still have to do a good job tagging the question with the kind of physics you are talking about that. In that sense this would be a meta-tag.
  • It would, however be very attractive the kind of poster whose entire understanding of physics comes from a couple of pop-sci books on quantum mechanics, black holes and cosmology. Indeed, I think that we'd get a a great many question tagged with only that tag. While I try not to get miffed by these posters I feel that their questions are rarely very good, and I have a vague hope that if they have to think to find some tags they may have to formulate their thoughts little more clearly.
| |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ RE point 1: how would that differ from experiment and subsets and simulation? The same question could extend to time, energy, mass since all of those quantities are present in pretty much all physical situations. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 6:25
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think that [simulation] is essentialy the same as [thought-experiment]. [Experiment] maps to [experimental-physics] and is described in the stub of a wiki as "for questions about design, process, data, or analysis of experiments and observations."; alas [experimental-evidence] also maps that way which means that the wiki isn't really right. Arrgh. I've always found [time], [energy], [mass] to be underdefined and attractive to posters who don't know how to categorize their posts. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jan 13 '13 at 17:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ To me, [simulation] implies "numerical experiment" while [experiment] implies something physically built and executed. [thought-experiment] would imply something that one could never, or would never, actually build and execute nor is it a numerical experiment. I think a box, some poison, a Cesium atom, and a cat might be illegal in most places, prohibiting [experiment]. And I don't know how to write the code for a [simulation] of the cat :) $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, [simulation] doesn't have a wiki or a stub. So if we want it to be defined to include [thought-experiment]s then we can simply define it as such on the wiki/stub. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 18:29
  • $\begingroup$ @tpg2114 Sorry. I wrote that very unclearly. I meant that [simulation] was a bad tag in the same way that I feel [thought-experiment] would be a bad tag. They clearly represent differnt concepts. $\endgroup$ – dmckee --- ex-moderator kitten Jan 13 '13 at 18:33
  • $\begingroup$ No worries -- A question with 'thought experiment' in the title had [simulation] and I removed it. So your comment made me think the physics world might define [simulation] differently than I had expected and I shouldn't have removed the tag :) $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 13 '13 at 18:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .