Profile

Cover photo
Soraj Hongladarom
Works at Chulalongkorn University
Attended Indiana University Bloomington
Lives in Bangkok
1,291 followers|181,576 views
AboutPostsPhotosYouTubeReviews

Stream

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
From 1963 to 1967, folk singer Oscar Brand hosted 'Let's Sing Out' on Canadian television. Filmed on university campuses across Canada, the show launched the careers of important folk singers -- singers like Gordon Lightfoot and Joni Mitchell, to name just two.
1
Add a comment...

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
Driving to infinity

A long time ago, before most of you showed up on Google+, I wrote a story about infinity.  It featured a character who was recruited by the US government to fight in the War on Chaos.  His mission was to explore larger and larger infinities.  

You can see that story in my "bigness" collection - lots of posts, each one its own little chapter.

But I keep wanting to talk about infinity - it's endlessly interesting!   I keep learning more about it.  Some posts here by +Refurio Anachro re-ignited my desire to write about it, and now I have.  Here's the first of three articles:

https://johncarlosbaez.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/large-countable-ordinals-part-1/

If you read this, you'll learn about the two basic kinds of infinities discovered by Cantor: cardinals and ordinals.   Then we'll go on a road trip through larger and larger ordinals.

The picture here shows some of the first ones we'll meet on our trip.  Omega, written ω, is the first infinite ordinal:

ω = {0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,...}

Each turn of the spiral here takes you to a higher power of omega, and if you go around infinitely many times, you reach omega to the omegath power.   There are many ways to visualize this ordinal, and I explain a few. 

But my road trip will take you much further than that!

In this first episode, we reach an ordinal called epsilon nought, first discovered by Cantor.  In the second episode we'll go up the Feferman–Schütte ordinal.  In the third we'll reach the small Veblen ordinal and even catch a glimpse of the large Veblen ordinal.

All these are countable ordinals, and you can write computer programs to calculate with them, so I consider them just as concrete as the square root of 2.  And yet, they're quite mind-blowing.

#bigness  
25 comments on original post
1
Add a comment...

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
@Museum of Musical Instruments, Brussels
1
Add a comment...

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
A philosophy webcomic about the inevitable anguish of living a brief life in an absurd world. Also Jokes
1
Add a comment...

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
This book was published on this day in 868. It's the oldest in the world! http://on.natgeo.com/1WpAe7M
28 comments on original post
1
Add a comment...

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
พาดหัวข่าว เมียร์ม่าร์ไทม์ วันนี้

"บทเรียนจากประเทศเผด็จการเพื่อนบ้านเรา"
 ·  Translate
4 comments on original post
1
Add a comment...
Have him in circles
1,291 people
Suhamee Zulkifli's profile photo
Kaung Lay's profile photo
Wit Srithanant's profile photo
สว่าง เพ็งสาร's profile photo
damien garagate's profile photo
sirikun wichairat's profile photo
Phanomrungpuri buriram's profile photo
Phrichy Nakamaru's profile photo
sunsunthwe sunsunthwe's profile photo

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
The Illusion Of Truth

Physical theories are often presented as a description of what’s really going on. Forces act on a baseball, causing it to fall. Atoms collide and fuse in the heart of a star, releasing heat and energy. Science is true, as is often said, and our scientific theories encapsulate this truth. But this isn’t entirely true.

For example, quantum mechanics is a strange, sometimes confusing theory. Objects can be particles and waves. They do strange things like tunnel through barriers, and can even appear and disappear. Given all this strangeness, what’s really going on? What’s the true nature of quantum reality? It depends on which approach you want to take. In one view quantum objects are described by a wave-like probability function. When you interact with or “observe” the object this “wavefunction” collapses into a definite state. That’s view commonly presented, but a quantum system can also be described by its transitions between energy states. Since this uses a mathematical method involving matrices, it’s known as matrix mechanics. Both wavefunctions and matrix mechanics give the same results, but their view of what really goes on is very different. Then there’s the path integral method. Rather than a wavefunction or matrix transitions, path integrals imagine quantum objects can take almost any path between two states. By summing all the possible paths you can derive the odds that it will occur.

So which one is true? Are quantum objects distributed waves of probability? Are they simply transitions between energy states? Do they take an infinite number of paths between states? Each of these models make the same predictions, so one version is no more “true” than the others. What happens in practice is that we’ll use whatever method is useful at the time. They are equivalent models, so the best model for the job is the one we’ll use. The only reason the wavefunction view is so common is that it’s the version usually taught to introductory students.

You might think this uncertainty of truth is due to the behavior of quantum physics itself. It’s so strange and counterintuitive that we can’t wrap our puny brains around what’s really going on. But the same thing occurs in lots of other fields. Even something as straight forward as basic Newtonian physics.

Toss a baseball in the air and Earth’s gravitational force pulls it down. The force of gravity is a simple truth, right? While we often describe classical motion in terms of forces and acceleration, we can also describe it in terms of energy and momentum. In the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian approach, the path of a baseball is the optimized path among possibilities. In this view a baseball’s path is the extrema of an energy equation, and force can be derived as a necessary consequence of this. In the relativistic view the baseball follows a geodesic, which is the minimal path through space and time. So is a baseball’s motion due to a gravitational force, an energy extrema, or a spacetime geodesic? As with quantum theory, different approaches yield the same result. They are mathematically equivalent, so we can use whatever method is most useful at the time.

At its core, science is less about truth and more about models. The metaphysics underlying a model is useful only as far as it allows us to make better predictions, generate new ideas, or bring models together as a cohesive whole. This is why we have no problem using classical gravity to calculate the path of a spacecraft through the solar system, while using special relativity to account for the Doppler shift of the spacecraft’s radio signals. It’s why we can use quantum physics to study atoms in the morning, and general relativity to study black holes in the afternoon. In regimes where models conflict with each other it isn’t a failure of truth, but instead shows an opportunity to develop a better model.

It could be that with each better model we move closer to the truth about reality. The truth is out there, and science strives to move towards that truth. It’s a common view, and certainly the search for truth has driven many scientists to develop better and better models. But the real power of science is the recognition that what we have are models. Our models can be powerful, but they are always a bit tentative. There’s always a chance that they might just be an illusion of truth.

80 comments on original post
1
Add a comment...

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
 
Ubuntu users, here are the best icons you can get
Enhance the looks of your Ubuntu desktop with these beautiful icon themes.
View original post
1
Add a comment...

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
Google did this for me.
1
Add a comment...

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
 
Matter, energy… knowledge: How to harness physics' demonic power. Plus a history of love, art, power and religion in 10 graves, a new skin to hide your wrinkles, what's wrong with empathy, and much more.
View original post
1
Add a comment...

Soraj Hongladarom

Shared publicly  - 
2
Add a comment...
People
Have him in circles
1,291 people
Suhamee Zulkifli's profile photo
Kaung Lay's profile photo
Wit Srithanant's profile photo
สว่าง เพ็งสาร's profile photo
damien garagate's profile photo
sirikun wichairat's profile photo
Phanomrungpuri buriram's profile photo
Phrichy Nakamaru's profile photo
sunsunthwe sunsunthwe's profile photo
Education
  • Indiana University Bloomington
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Teacher, philosopher, musician
Introduction
I am associate professor of philosophy at Chulalongkorn University and is also Director of the Center for Ethics of Science and Technology there. I am also Vice President of the Thousand Stars Foundation, a charity working on promoting mutual understanding between Thai and Tibetan Buddhist  traditions.
Work
Occupation
Philosopher
Employment
  • Chulalongkorn University
    Philosopher, present
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Bangkok
Previously
Bangkok, Thailand - Bamberg, Germany; Trondheim, Norway - Trondheim, Norway - Linkoping, Sweden - Bloomington, Indiana
มีบริการส่งตามบ้านในหมู่บ้านเพอร์เฟคเพลสด้วย แนะนำไก่ทอดกับยำคอหมูย่าง
Food: Very GoodDecor: GoodService: Good
Public - 3 years ago
reviewed 3 years ago
1 review
Map
Map
Map