can something be defined using different set of variables by different species?

Thread Starter


Joined Apr 15, 2011

I would like to say that I'm having difficult time in framing my question therefore you would need to see beyond my words.

Can something be defined using different set of variables by different species to the same effect?

Humans try to define or mathematize things in terms of variables which make understanding to them. For instance, torque is defined in terms of force and distance from pivot point because both variables make sense to humans. But perhaps some alien species uses some other variables to define torque but they still come to same conclusion as humans. Usually the same destination can be reached through different pathways by different persons. Do you get me? Please help me if you do. Thank you.



Joined Feb 24, 2006
I think the simple answer to your question is yes. There are quire a few isomorphisms where two entirely different methods result in the identical solutions. The generalized coordinates of Lagrange, and the Feynman-Kac theorem come to mind.


Joined Nov 24, 2008
If they were aliens from this universe, and we are comfortable with the concept that in any given universe the law of physics are constant, then no.

In your example, torque is the name we give to rotational force. The units (newton-meters) are chosen because they give an apt way to measure and quantify rotational force in terms we can easily understand. We could assign a completely new unit to rotational force, but it would still be appropriate to use units of (force x extent - [the terminology is important here as it helps distinguish torque from work (force x distance)]). The alien may have a separate unit for torque, but it would still be equally valid to use the alien's terms for extent and force.

Now, if the aliens are from a different universe, all bets are off.


Joined Mar 24, 2008
I liked some of Heinlein's and Cambell's concept of aliens, something that thinks as well as you or I, but differently.

I'm not sure math, being a human invention, can't be done differently. Heinlein's martians thought in powers of three for their mathematics. Different neural wiring could create different results in what is the "easy" way to think in math.