Saturday, November 3, 2007

PhD Series - Problem Formation

Problem formation adalah kunci utama dalam memulakan pengajian PhD. Tanpa problem, tidak akan ada objectives of study dan lain-lain lagi. So... what is a problem? Secara sedar atau tidak, kita telah mula mempelajari "problem formation" seawal usia kanak-kanak lagi. Mungkin kita tidak ingat pertanyaan kita kepada ibu-bapa suatu ketika dahulu namun ianya boleh kita lihat pada anak-anak kita sekarang. Contohnya:

Problem: Moon landing
Mungkin anak-anak kita pernah bertanya "How to go to the moon without a rocket?" So, this is the "problem" dan mungkin kita akan menjawabnya seperti berikut: "Place a ladder reaching to the moon and climb up to the top". Bermula dengan "problem" ini, akan muncul banyak lagi "problem" yang akan ditanya oleh anak-anak: "How would one make such a long ladder?; Who would hold it up while someone climbed it?; How long could one hold such a long ladder?". Yang jelasnya di sini, adakah jawapan kita tadi "solve the problem?" Begitulah juga dengan PhD. Adakah PhD kita "solve the problem?" Jika tidak, ia hanyalah research biasa dan bukannya research PhD.

Why the answer to Moon Landing Problem is not a solution?:
"Place a ladder reaching to the moon and climb up to the top", walaupun bunyinya agak logik (yes we can make a long ladder) namun realitinya, the problem cannot be solved...... due to failing to fulfil requirements and rectrictions.

Requirement:
A ladder has to rest against a solid surface on earth. (Ignore the circus performers shifting the ladder(s) in motion, creating a balance of forces). Since the moon is 238000 miles from the earth, even if there were a ladder that long, there is no solid surface (like a wall) that the ladder can rest against . Therefor, the requirement of a solid surface is violated.

Restriction:
One restriction is the earth gravity. Any ladder will be subjected to gravitional pull. Even if the ladder were resting against a solid surface, it would wiggle when someone climbs the ladder.

In conclusion, "Place a ladder reaching to the moon and climb up to the top" is not the solution to the problem "HOW TO GO TO THE MOON WITHOUT A ROCKET?"because the requirement of solid surface and the restriction of gravitational pull are violated.

No comments: