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    Re: Theory vs Practice
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2003 Aug 16, 20:32 +0100

    Gordon Talge has introduced a new thread name, "Theory vs Practice", which
    I presume refers to the current argument about steering between
    gravitational hills and valleys.
    It's a pity, in a way, because it misrepresents that argument, somewhat.
    I've been an experimental physicist for the whole of my working life.
    Nobody could believe, more strongly than I do, in the importance of
    questioning theory and checking it against the real world by experiment and
    measurement. There is no conflict between theory and practice: they are
    complementary. Where they disagree, something has to give: usually the
    I will quote, yet again, my words to David Hoyte, as follows-
    "...an attempt to change the basic laws of science by asking for the
    opinions of mariners will be futile. To support his case he needs either
    contrary numerical observation or contrary logical argument, but presents
    To this I might add that a reference to a document, describing in some
    detail the procedure he suggests, would give us all something to get our
    teeth into.
    What I dismiss is the proposal to resolve the matter by canvassing the
    opinions of mariners: any suggestion for testing the matter on a scientific
    basis would meet with no objection from me. Mind you, I doubt if it will
    shake our current understanding of the effects of gravity on the surface of
    the ocean, or on a ship floating within it. The effects of the force of
    gravity are rather well understood, even if its fundamental cause remains a
    considerable mystery (to me at least).
    As to Gordon's message itself, I can agree with every word.
    contact George Huxtable by email at george@huxtable.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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