A Gift For Scientists On The Saturnalia!

The first four chapters of Part 1 introduce the reader to my interpretation of what Aristotle was trying to say, then there are several examples of where failures to follow this advice have led to problems. One recent failure is the case of the non-classical carbenium ion, where two Nobel-prizewinners went head to head and failed to reach a conclusion. Part two then covers physics that I think a chemist should know about, which includes mechanics, waves, electromagnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and some other physics of general interest, then chemistry that I thought physicists should know about. That latter part is probably the weakest part of the book, and is largely based on explanations I have had to give to physicists I have worked with. A number of you may be able to offer suggestions for a revised edition.

It is the third part that is intended to offer the intellectual challenges, and it comprises 72 problems, in which the reader has to offer an alternative theory to . . . Then, just to show it can be done, I offer answers, not all of which are beyond criticism because the second challenge is for the reader to accept or falsify my answers. Are you up to it? Examples include:

How could Priestley have ensured that the phlogiston theory prevailed?

Isaac Newton spun a bucket of water, and noticed centrifugal forces forced the water to the edges. Similarly, you can have artificial gravity in a spinning space ship. The problem is, how does the water know the bucket (or the astronaut, the space ship) is spinning? Isaac Newton appeared to fail on this, and a number of modern physics books mention the issue but provide no answer. Can you do better?

Yes, there is that non-classical carbenium ion. Surely you will not be put off by two Nobel-prizewinners failing to solve it?

I could not resist some of my own work, so one question starts off asking you to formulate an alternative interpretation of quantum mechanics. In the spirit of Christmas, a clue: Following Aristotle, either there is a wave of there is not. If there is, either it travels at the same velocity as the particle or it does not. That should get you going.

Finally, the interpretation I have come up with is non-local only to one wavelength, or one quantum of action. But Alain Aspect showed that entangled photons do not comply with Bell's inequality. If so, my interpretation is wrong. Your job is to falsify his claim (explained in sufficient detail earlier). Then, your last problem is to falsify my answer, which is based on the requirement that Bell's inequality

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