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College Discussion / Colleges and Universities / CC Top Universities / California Institute of Technology

zeta(3)
Registered User Posts: **106** Junior Member

Why is the physical world described so precisely by mathematics? Every time I think about this dilemma Im stymied. At the most basic level the connection is tenuous, math deals with symbolic logic: assume certain statements, show that other statements follow, while science deals with observable phenomena: hypothesize, test, refine. Granted, the roots of math are grounded in describing the physical world, but even the most abstract mathematical ideas seem usable by science(example: group theory and quantum mechanics). Anyways, I thought this would be interesting to discuss, Ill stop now and let wiser minds continue.

Post edited by zeta(3) on

## Replies to: Math And Science-How Are They Related?

2,355Senior Member2,822Senior Member106Junior Member673Member2,822Senior Member106Junior Member673Member106Junior Member37Junior Member29New Member129Junior MemberIt doesn't seem so amazing to me. You can probably 'force' any mathematical idea upon a physical setting and get results that follow suit.

Perhaps I don't know enough.

1,046Senior MemberSo as for the relationship between math and science, do physical phenomena cause math? No -- that's absurd. Do preexisting maths cause physical phenomena? I don't know. The fact that we don't know the mechanism by which something happens does not imply that the something can't happen. Or do(es) some outside factor(s) cause both math and science? Certainly they don't simply coincide?

I think the majority of mathematicians are Platonists (correct me if I'm wrong, Ben. :) ) So, more to ponder -- do theorems exist that are provable, but not provable by humans? What does that imply for science?

1,046Senior Member150Junior Member673Member