Some thoughts on Pentti Soderlin's thoughts

Y. B. Karasik,
Thought Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.

Pentti Soderlin wants to know what is meant by "field" in SuField analysis [1]. It would be logically to figure out what physics means by it, what Altshuller meant, and compare the later with the former. So let's start with physics.

There are such notions as the field of tempartures, the field of speeds, the field of tensions, the field of forces, etc. All these fields are in fact spatial distributions of scalars, vectors, tensors, etc. There are also gravitational, electromagnetic, etc. fields. One could think that they are something different (as in XIX century it was thought that electromagnetic field is a medium called "ether"). However, the special relativity made the concept of field as a medium irrelevant. Since then even gravitational, electromegnetic, etc. fields mean nothing but spatial distributions of some scalars, vectors, tensors, etc. Gravitational field is the spatial distribution of gravitational forces; electromagmetic field is the spatial distribution of some vectors usually denoted as E and H, etc.

Some degree of confusion still stems from such sentences as "four fundamental fields: gravitational, electromegnetic, etc." To be consistent, one should speak about four fundamental interactions rather than fields. These interactions are modeled in the terms of fields (i.e. distributions), which have much wider applicability.

Having done with physics, let's now consider what Altshuller meant by field. He difinitely would not consider the field of speeds as a legitimate field for SuField analysis. But the fields of temperatures, forces, etc. would be OK with him. In other words, all spatial distributions of energy in any form are OK.

However, Altshuller went beyond that. He spoke about the field of mechanical forces. By the latter he very often meant just an object exerting a mechnical force on another object. From the physics prospective, there is no field here because there is no distribution (if delta-function distributions are excluded). The more customary fields of mechanical forces are the field of pneumatic forces, the field of hydraulic forces, etc.

However, if fields as localized as delta-function are considered to be legitimate, then Altshuller's fields constitute some subclass of all physical fields. Namely, those fields that bear energy.

Unfortunately, the entire concept of SuField triads is not as general as Altshuller thought. That is why those authors who try to squeeze their examples into this concept are forced to mean by field many other things, which neither physics nor Altshuller meant. This is the source of Pentti Soderlin's confusion and perplexity. He better ask the question "Is the Concept of SuField triads (and SuField analysis on the whole) indisputable?" rather than "Is the Concept of Field indisputable?"

And the last but not the least. Pentti Soderlin writes:

  1. "Altshuller names only four forms of fields:"electromagnetic, gravitational, the field of strong and weak interaction." The definition by Altshuller describes the prevailing understanding in the 1960s of mechanics and physics." Well, since then some other fundamental interactions were proposed. So what ?
  2. "According to this Altshuller defines the field as something "that provides the energy, force, etc." which are either scalar or vector. This definition does not correspond to the normal opinion of field in physics." As explained above, the normal opinion about field in physics is that field is a spatial distribution of scalars, vectors, tensors, etc. Altshuller's field is a subclass of this class.

R E F E R E N C E:

1. Pentti Soderlin, "Thoughts on Fields - Is the Concept of Field indisputable?", The July 2003 issue of the TRIZ-journal.