Category Archives: Logic

Q: Quaternions and Octonions: what?

Physicist: The most straightforward way to stumble across quaternions is to sit around thinking about complex numbers, where we have “i” which is the square root of -1 and stands for “imaginary number”.  If you have i, then you have … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Logic, Math | 5 Comments

Q: How do we know that π never repeats? If we find enough digits, isn’t it possible that it will eventually start repeating?

Physicist: In physical sciences we catalog information gained through observation (“what’s that?”), then a model is created (“I bet it works like this!”), and then we try to disprove that model by using experiments (“if we’re right, then we should … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Geometry, Logic, Math | 17 Comments

Q: How do we know that atomic clocks are accurate?

Physicist: It turns out that there is no way, whatsoever, to look at a single clock and tell whether or not it’s accurate.  A good clock isn’t so much accurate as it consistent.  It takes two clocks to demonstrate consistency, … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Experiments, Logic, Philosophical, Physics | 8 Comments

Q: What fair dice can be simulated by adding up other dice?

The original question was: The five platonic solids (tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron) are often used in games to make 4, 6,8,12, and 20-sided dice respectively. However, if you renumber the dice using nonnegative whole numbers you can create … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Brain Teaser, Combinatorics, Logic, Math, Probability | 10 Comments

Q: Why is Schrodinger’s cat both dead and alive? Is this not a paradox?

One of the original questions was: A basic rule of logic is that something cannot contradict itself. It is impossible for P to be true and not true. Doesn’t Schrödinger’s cat violate this law and therefore invalidate logic? Physicist: The … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Logic, Physics, Quantum Theory | 26 Comments

Q: Why are scientists looking for life in space by looking for water? How can they be sure that all life uses water?

The original question was:  I’m reading more and more lately about the findings of the Kepler satellite and that some scientists are estimating that roughly 5% of newly discovered planets in our galaxy may have mass similar to Earth, which … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Biology, Logic | 7 Comments