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Estonian Journal of Engineering
The quest for truth, particularly in mechanics; pp. 253–272
PDF | doi: 10.3176/eng.2013.4.01

Miloslav Okrouhlík

The author ponders about things that necessarily come into engineering mind when the results obtained by theoretical, numerical and experimental approaches in solid continuum mechanics are correlated and compared with a pious wish to ascertain which of them are ‘truer’ or closer to ‘reality’. This invokes many questions. How ancient and contemporary philosophers viewed the truth? How is truth related to consistency and validity of theoretical, numerical and experimental models we are inventing and employing? What is the role of threshold in physics, engineering, computation and in experiment? How are the basic quantities like time, force, stress, etc. defined? Do we properly understand them? What is the role of singularity in mathematics, physics and in engineering? The doubts stemming from uneasy answers to above pertinent questions are complemented by discussing examples from theoretical, numerical and experimental results obtained by solving dynamical problems in solid continuum mechanics. It should be stressed out that the role of doubts in our understanding the World plays a significantly positive role.


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