We physicists want to give everyone a feel for what we’re learning, but the truth is that there is often no intuitive explanation for what our equations and their solutions are telling us, writes Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
8 June 2022
I RECENTLY posted an article to Twitter about a question that completely caught me off guard: do we understand why planes stay aloft? It turns out that the answer to that depends on who you ask.
To allay any anxiety you might suddenly be feeling, the first thing to say is that we know which equations to solve and which solutions give us a plane that stays up in the air. The challenge is that we don’t know how to interpret those solutions to offer an intuitive explanation, something we can all immediately grasp, rooted in physical principles. I …