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Subject: Re: Physicists and mathematicians

Author: fca

Date: 04:13:52 08/19/98

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On August 19, 1998 at 06:20:56, Peter Fendrich wrote:

>I think the typical physician solution is:
>The brothers will meet in 1 1/4 hour.
>The dog, runing back and forth, will during that time reach 8 miles/h * 1 1/4 h
>= 10 miles

>The mathematician approach is in a way more 'lazy' than the physician.
>I think the typical mathematician answear would be:
>The brothers are reachig each other with a speed of 8 miles/h which is the same
>speed as the dog is running.
>The dog must run the same distance as the brothers are walking, 10 miles.

Which reply I gave earlier in the thread  ;-)

But....

You have got it completely the wrong way around, Peter. the answer is inside the
circle. :-)

(1) Relative velocity is a concept far too complex for most mathematicians - it
is fraught with existence-type problems, and the general relativity involved as
they started off would send the math-head into rigor *tensor*;

(2) Multiplication of reals without having established the closeness of the
operation to that set is something a phys-head would only undertake under
supervision of a math-guy - or would it not occur to him?

(3) Thet the straight-line was indeed the shortest distance would not occur to
the math-guy, without the problem having been better stated to begin with.  I
suggest an orthogonal prefix something along the lines "Consider a bijection
from RXRXR to R wherein [snipped in advance of trouble]..."

(4) The phys-head would frighten the math-guy away from the faster solution with
talk of the dangerous of confusing vectors and scalars, some varied irrelevant
Heisenberg references, a paradox or two

I see a non-Dedekind cut being brought in here, so...

More interesting to me is how would the **computer chess guy** solve this sort
of problem?  If the answer involves bean-counting, or paradigms of any flavour,
or fairy chess, please follow this up somewhere else

Kind regards

fca


PS: Else I may be frequently encountered at sci.astro.*, sci.math & sci.physics
albeit in mutated exterior, but often ready to engage.  I filter-plus all
references to "chess" (and many other words) there.



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