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Basic Thermodynamics ~ J. Pohl © ~ 2017 www.ThermoSpokenHere.com (A0080-001)

1.00  Matter in Space and Time

Physics and engineering desciplines study the physical world for the sake of understanding and for insight regarding how reality might be manipulated. Student understanding is gained largely in vicarious relation to reality by reading science and engineering texts and literature.

To learn by reading a book one is obliged to envision text depictions of reality and its events described by terms of the discipline vocabulary includeing special meanings of lay terms as well as words esoteric to the discipline. Since much meaning is conveyed by words and terms, a few words "about words" are appropriate.

Axiom:  An axiom is a perspective chosen by the investigator to be "obviously true," to be accepted without need of proof.

Abstract:  With study and understanding, often "lesser" ideas coalesce inclusively to become a larger, more robust idea. The grander idea is said to be an abstraction of ideas. The mental, thinking domain of the abstract is said to contain the lesser ideas. The word, "life," and its meaning is an abstract. "Life" is an abstract; the idea, life, encompasses many many ideas. To know this, just try to define "life."

When one consults a dictionary regarding a word that is an abstract, one finds a definition containing new terms, words and a long list of synonyms. If one then proceeds to look up the terms, one will encounter new definitions with new terms and... eventually you will find yourself at a "definition-level" that uses the original term in its definiton. The language is circular.

Construct:  A construct is a perspective of observation or operation, purposefully adopted because its use is beneficial to understanding or accomplishment of a task. Double entry bookkeeping is a method or construct of accounting. Force is a construct. Energy and its conservation are constructs.

Please consult a dictionary; the above definitions are brief.

One might start to study science with the three abstracts: matter, space and time. These abstracts derive from human experience. Three primitive ideas at the basis are: existence, co-existence and time.

  • Existence:  A primitive idea, a narrow view is that existence means matter. All that exists is matter and what is not matter, does not exist. The first step of any physical analysis is to select imaginary but specific matter to be the system. The concept, "imaginary but specific" is an approach used in physics and thermodynamics.
  • Co-existence:  Space, or extent, encompass the idea of co-existence. Matter is said to occupy space and to coexist with other matter in all of space. - the universe.
  • Change:  Time is our abstract of change. We are aware that we live and grow. We and matter change in time. We and all physical things exist in a continuation of time.

An abstract is a gathering of ideas, observations, and knowledge of specific facts (or aspects) into a single category. Perhaps the grandest abstract is life. It is difficult for one person to tell another what life is. Other abstracts (used by science) are: system, energy, heat, work, and property; to name a few. Also the basic method of thermodynamics, the system approach, is also an abstraction.

Tags: Narratives