Sunday, September 26, 2010

Scientific Pluralism

Knowledge is of an approximate character.  Our formalisms abstract and simplify.  Each theory is an idealization, often times approximating in its own DIFFERENT ways, each offering somewhat different coverage of the domain of interest.  Having MULTIPLE overlapping theories of a field is then better than having just one.
(, Philosopher, changing what science is and how its done)

Throughout my career I have followed this "scientific pluralism" by trying to work on both sides of the various important questions: (for example)

magnetic confinement of plasmas     -versus-     inertial confinement

low beta plasmas     -versus-     wall confined plasmas (beta>1)

open magnetic traps     -versus-     closed magnetic confinement

adiabatic traps (magnetic mirrors)     -versus-     nonadiabatic traps (cusps)

neural networks     -versus-     g.o.f.a.i. (good old fashioned AI)

scruffy AI     -versus-     neat AI

dualism     -versus-     monism

rockets     -versus-     tethers

rockets     -versus-     space drives

I also try to do theoretical, experimental, AND computational work.

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