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[ontolog-forum] definition of "atom"

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx
From: "Александр Шкотин" <alex.shkotin@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 00:01:14 +0400
Message-id: <b24945a10808041301k4a2ec183rdbef1709c8a91d38@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
John, let me split our interesting discussion.

this is a part of your last letter:
M-W definition #3 is technically correct, but the person who wrote
it should have avoided using the words 'particle' and 'element' in
the same sentence -- because it could cause the reader to think
'elementary particle'.

I would suggest the word 'subdivision' instead of 'particle' in order
to avoid that confusion.  My recommended definition:

   the smallest subdivision of an element that retains the
   defining characteristics of that element.

In summary, this discussion illustrates the point I was tying to make:
If we use words at a vague level (without detailed definitions and
axioms), we can reach agreement.  But if we try to pin down the exact
meanings to the level necessary for writing detailed axioms, we get
into an endless series of analyses and disputes about different ways
of doing the analysis.

Another good collection of atom definitions is http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/atom
Let call it WT and I think nearest to you is first part of WT#3.

To get even more definitions let's google("define:atom"). We got ~30. Many - funny. 2-3 from mathematics.

But for "sciences about nature" we have more or less the same. We have two definitions for one concept.

And for me first definition now is "chemical" ("by nature";) - first part in WT#3. So we have:

"The smallest possible amount of matter which still retains its identity as a chemical element."

The second definition is from http://www.wro.org/ras/glossary/a-c.htm

"A particle made up of a central nucleus surrounded by electrons."

For me the second is from nucleus physics. It is funny that WT#3 keeps both together.

For me second is more "constructible". As with first we need to give definitions for
- "matter" (except dark one;) as a collection of atoms;
- "chemical element" - this definition is a little bit long as "Scientists so far have found 112 different kinds of atoms." [http://www.safeelectricity.org/esw_v1_1/glossary/index.html].
- "smallest possible amount of" - let's change "amount" to "part".
- "retains its identity" <AS> May be later;) It's too late here:) </AS>

These two definitions may be refined and formalized and it is very interesting what kind of axioms and derivation rules we need to show that they are equal!

So I am very optimistic about formalization of language of "natural sciences":)

PS we have a good example with mathematics and Nicolas Bourbaki. Don't we?

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