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P1788: All intervals are thick?


(General discussion, not related to any motion.)

The exception that proves the rule?

Several times, I have argued in this forum that, outside of pure mathematics, all intervals are thick.  It is hard to measure beyond about 3 decimal digits, and it is REALLY hard to measure beyond 6 digits.  Therefore, all applications data intervals have widths in the range 10^{-6} -- 10^{-3} or greater.

Of course, I make that argument somewhat tongue in cheek, but with the serious intent to remind us that not all intervals of interest are thin.

Last week, I heard Dr. Joe Taylor, physicist from Princeton and co-winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of binary pulsars.  He did an inspiring job of explaining very technical material to a general audience.  He characterized his discovery as detecting changes of the order of one part in 10^{14}.  Had Taylor used intervals in his calculations, they would have had widths < 10^{-14}.

George Corliss