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Mathematical Physicists

Ever since - at least - the time of Isaac Newton, physics and mathematics are twins. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe tried to do optics without mathematics (and failed), the Arische Physik wanted to limit the importance of theoretical physics - and failed, too. So mathematical physicist isn't an oxymeron, it's more likely a pleonasm. AugustO 09:51, 14 April 2012 (EDT)

I'll look for a quote by Feymann to add on this point

  • So, ultimately, in order to understand nature it may be necessary to have a deeper understanding of mathematical relationships. But the real reason is that the subject is enjoyable, and although we humans cut nature up in different ways, and we have different courses in different departments, such compartmentalization is really artificial, and we should take our intellectual pleasures where we find them. Feynman, 1964
  • To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature ... Feynman, 1965

I'm very curious to read a quote by R. Feynman where he describes mathematical physics as an oxymoron. AugustO 11:51, 14 April 2012 (EDT)

Well, the relativists don't call themselves mathematical physicists because it is an oxymoron - they want to have a well-sounding name!
But more amusing: Feynman negated both parts of your so-called oxymoron (neither good mathematicians nor good physicists) Can this even be done to a real oxymoron without getting a new one? AugustO 13:09, 14 April 2012 (EDT)
Aren't oxymorons often poor candidates for either side of the oxymoron? For example, a "base-stealing slugger" is probably not-so-good at either skill.--Andy Schlafly 13:23, 14 April 2012 (EDT)
That's not an example of an oxymoron. Tim Raines could steal bases well, and was a solid hitter. A "base-stealing slugger," indeed. Oxymorons are things that are inherently self-contradictory: "jumbo shrimp" (get it?); "military intelligence," "Same difference," and "business ethics" are tongue-in-cheek examples. DVMRoberts 13:38, 14 April 2012 (EDT)

Mathematical Physicists is not an oxymoron

Aschlafly, I understand that you don't like this term, as some relativists used to describe themselves with it. That isn't enough to make it an oxymoron:

  • Christian scientists is not an oxymoron, though the followers of the rather nutty cult of Mary Baker Eddy call themselves Christian Scientists
  • Richard Courant's and David Hilbert's book Methoden der mathematischen Physik (Methods of mathematical physics) was first printed in 1924 - and the title is not intended to be a pun.
  • Feynman didn't criticize the term itself.

AugustO 08:12, 16 April 2012 (EDT)


Nothing but opinion here. No facts whatsoever. Even the founder of Conservapedia ignores his own "commandments". BryanF 22:17, 9 January 2013 (EST)