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      Metric-first & entropy-first surprises

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Abstract

          Established idea-sets don't update seamlessly. The tension between new and old views of nature is e.g. documented in Galileo's dialogs and now present in many fields. However the science of Bayesian model-selection has made recent strides in both life & physical sciences, in effect suggesting that we look to models which are quantitatively {\em surprised least} by present-day observations. We illustrate the relevance of this to physics-education with a qualitative look at two paradigm-shifts, namely from {\bf Lorentz-transform to metric-equation} descriptions of motion in space-time, and from {\bf classical to statistical thermodynamics} with help from Boltzmann's choice-multiplicity & Shannon's uncertainty. Connections of the latter to {\bf correlation measures} behind available-work, evolving complexity, and model-selection relevant to physics undergrads are also explored. New strategies are exemplified with Appendices {\em for teachers} on: anyspeed traffic-laws & 3-vector velocity-addition, the energy-momentum half-plane lost to finite lightspeed, the modern distinction between proper & geometric accelerations, metric-first kinematics with acceleration & differential-aging, quantifying risk with a handful of coins, effective number of choices, available work in bits, reversible-thermalization of life's power-stream, and choice-multiplicity measures of layered complex-system health.

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          Most cited references 6

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          More is different.

           P W Anderson (1972)
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            Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Körper

             A Einstein (1905)
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              The evolution of eusociality.

              Eusociality, in which some individuals reduce their own lifetime reproductive potential to raise the offspring of others, underlies the most advanced forms of social organization and the ecologically dominant role of social insects and humans. For the past four decades kin selection theory, based on the concept of inclusive fitness, has been the major theoretical attempt to explain the evolution of eusociality. Here we show the limitations of this approach. We argue that standard natural selection theory in the context of precise models of population structure represents a simpler and superior approach, allows the evaluation of multiple competing hypotheses, and provides an exact framework for interpreting empirical observations.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                2011-06-23
                2013-01-27
                1106.4698

                http://arxiv.org/licenses/nonexclusive-distrib/1.0/

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                17 pages (12 figs, 4 tables, 68 refs) RevTeX, cf. http://www.umsl.edu/~fraundorfp/ifzx/MinimizingSurprisal.html
                physics.gen-ph physics.ed-ph

                General physics

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