Saturday, August 14, 2010

observer and observed, measurement and mapping

The Observer in Modern Physics

This is a source I found when I was choreographing Fell. The second half is unnecessarily mathematized (i.e. mathematics used to explain concepts better conveyed in words), which is an interesting though in and of itself. One of the most interesting points in the article is the "interaction boundary" and the description of information flow from observed to observed.

I'm interested in the act of taking a measurement and the behaviors that result. Beyond the realization that science is not as impartial or precise as our popular conception of it, measurement is a deeply problematic act. When we probe a system, how do we know what the information we take means? How do we know our data corresponds to?

Which brings me to the models and mappings. Our scientific understanding is based on models, on theoretical constructions that are then mapped to data obtained in the physical world. Thus, mapping, the connection between the scientific model and the physical data, is also problematic.

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