Talk:2656: Scientific Field Prefixes

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I think Mr. Monroe made up these numbers rather than researching them 17:07, 9 August 2022 (UTC) anon, a mouse.

Given how easy it is to look them up, I think this is unlikely. I haven't checked all of them, but each of the eight or so that I have checked were correct. BunsenH (talk) 19:14, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
Checked it out of curiosity: The data's correct, however, the searches must be done with quotes

Interestingly enough, the last time I was at a dentist, I ask them if they had seen any research work on how to do dentistry in zero-g, like if you got a toothache halfway to Mars. 01:58, 9 August 2022 (UTC) BCS

Comment on comment: there should have been work done on dental procedures aboard orbiting stations, and also on e.g. Antarctic bases. 04:39, 9 August 2022 (UTC) Pär Leijonhufvud
That's "Space Dentistry". Or, in the other case, something that surely should involve the term "Polar Molar" somewhere in the paper abstract! :-p
'Astro-' is "of the stars", or of the things that are more in their vicinity than not. If it isn't dentristrying (or massaging) the stars themselves, it'd be learning how to apply the parent field to astrozoological subjects (assuming xenodentristry and xenomassage aren't the best terms for the otherwise xenobiological clientelle). 11:55, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Those who say that there's no such thing as High-Energy Theology should be taken with a pinch of salt. Or even a Lot! 02:05, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

I'm a little concerned with Theoretical Theology. How much more theoritical can base theology be? 02:22, 9 August 2022 (UTC) Beechmere

'Theoretical theology' is a tautology. So the first word is redundant. MarquisOfCarrabass (talk) 06:47, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Theoretical theology returns 1.6 million results, so the comic is wrong, and high energy theology is wrong as well, searching on these three terms results in 602,000 results, not 0. I think perhaps has detected your skepticism, and is returning incorrect results for you, in accordance with the Copenhagen interpretation of Quantum Theology, in which God only exists for those who are not atheists.Seebert (talk) 13:29, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
"high energy theology" in quotes returns zero. "theoretical theology" actually returns 726 results, as in the comic. Searching without quotes is a double-edged sword: On one hand it would get results in which the terms are mentioned in separate sentences, and thus aren't relevant to the (non-existant[citation needed]) scientific field called "high energy theology". On the other it would get results about fields similar to what one would imagine these combinations would describe. For example there's only one result for "marine dentistry", but there's several articles on dentistry on sea mammals, which would use both "marine" and "dentistry" in the same article. In any case, Randall used quotes in his search and his numbers look correct to me. (talk about me behind my back) 14:19, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

I'd love to conduct research on Marine Massage! How do I find the link? (Purposes.)

We need another dimension for Theoretical Marine Massave Barmar (talk) 04:03, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Unfortunately the "Marine dentistry" one appear to be a false positive: it contains the test string "...Marine, Dentistry..." in a list of possible fields where AR technology could be useful (Novakova, N.G., 2019. Innovation potential of augmented technologies in industrial context. Industry 4.0, 4(1), pp.24-28). Also the "high-energy psychology" one was similarly a dud: student newspaper with a help wanted ad for a "high energy psychology student" ( The lack of manual curation of Scholar sometimes gives you these finds. Thirdly, Randall definitely searched with quote marks: yields over 100 k results while only yields one, with at least one of the former being papers on marine mammal dentistry (I have for practical porpoises no interest in dentistry, but I *want* to read In summary: by searching for the exact phrase Randall eliminated a large number of false positives, but also missed a large number of interesting papers. 04:32, 9 August 2022 (UTC) Pär Leijonhufvud

honestly I'm mostly worried about computational theology 04:40, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

It's a fairly common subject in science fiction. Fredric Brown's short story "Answer", for example. BunsenH (talk) 04:46, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
Could have sworn that was Asimov's _The Last Answer_Seebert (talk) 13:35, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
I think you're thinking of Asimov's "The Last Question", about Multivac and its descendants. His "The Last Answer" is a different story, and doesn't involve a computer. BunsenH (talk) 19:24, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
Isn't that better known as numerology? 08:49, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
Of course, you meant to write "The Nine Billion Names of God" by Arthur C. Clarke. Nitpicking (talk) 11:35, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

I wouldn't be surprised if there was some research into use of synchrotron radiation in treating cancers in the jaw. Doesn't that count as "high energy"? BunsenH (talk) 04:46, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

'High Energy Theology' sounds like an area of study extremely NOT conducive to the long-term survival of the human race. See this quote from the PRINCIPIA DISCORDIA:

'Mal-2 was once asked by one of his Disciples if he often prayed to Eris. He replied with these words: "No, we Erisians seldom pray, it is much too dangerous. Charles Fort has listed many factual incidences of ignorant people confronted with, say, a drought, and then praying fervently -- and then getting the entire village wiped out in a torrential flood."

We got ourselves into enough trouble when we split the atom. Gods only know what would result if we ever manage to split the thaum.

MarquisOfCarrabass (talk) 06:58, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Isn't that what happened to Soddom and Gemorrah? Genesis 19. Certainly enough energy to transmute Lot's wife into a pillar of salt. External to scripture, there's a recent theory about the image on the Shroud of Turin as well that is based in high energy physics.Seebert (talk) 13:35, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Why is the "explanation" someone nitpicking the search method (and mixing up the "former" and "latter" order of unquoted vs. quoted), rather than an explanation of the joke? Conster (talk) 08:13, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Because sadly after ParL did their nitpicking, nobody else felt qualified to actually explain the joke (talk about me behind my back) 10:09, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

I worked on giving actually competent editors a base to modify, but then someone else had already made an explanation. Here's my attempt:

"Within each branch of science, like physics, chemistry or biology, there are different scientific fields. Some of the prefixes, like theoretical, quantum or astro-, are used across multiple branches of science. For example quantum physics is about the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles, while Quantum chemistry is about the application of quantum mechanics to chemical systems.

Randall combines a bunch of different Scientific Field Prefixes with another bunch of scientific branches, creating combinations that form several real fields of science, but also nonsense ones. To get a grasp on whether that scientific field is real and/or well-known, he searches for the combinations on Google Scholar, a web search engine that indexes the contents of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines, counting the number of results for each combination. Some term combinations are common, and can thus be assumed to be real scientific fields, while others are uncommon, suggesting that those fields are not well known. Four combinations are not found even once, suggesting that they are "potential research opportunities", as the title text says.

There are problems with Randall's method though:"

Maybe some of this may be useful, I don't know (talk about me behind my back) 11:21, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Ah, that was me. Apologies. And you ECed the following attempt to post into here, so hete it is repasted. ;) Still applies. Your contribution also clearly appreciated...
I hated it so much, I rewrote it ("/* Explanation */ Nixing the downer 'explanation'. Perhaps some points can be extracted from it, even as my attempt is improved or (in turn) overwritten with something better."). Was going to suggest a table of prefixes/suffixes to describe each, but someone added the (sortable) tables in for the full forms (caused me much edit-conflict pain, hope I didn't cause someone else ECs in return) so maybe that's overkill. But "what exactly is 'Astro-Dentistry'?", etc, might be a useful addition in there, if it doesn't make the table(s) hard to read... 11:28, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
Postscript to above: Yes, your explanation does things that I was going to do if I hadn't had my first attempt to nix/rewrite hit the table-adding. i.e. go into the major-suffix/minor-prefix sets, or even whole-term where it exists, and spell out and wikilink accordingly. I would be honoured to see your blocked text integrated into mine (or satisfied with yours going there again with barely a smidgen of mine still remaining). Up to you/the others, though, as I'm not wanting to add further ECs to the rush... ;) 11:35, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
I like that idea, maybe as an additional table? I can imagine it would take up a whole screen so maybe putting it at the end of the page could help so those that don't need it don't have to scroll over it. I don't feel capable enough to make such a big table (especially with 48 explanations) but I do support that idea. (talk about me behind my back) 11:36, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
I have added all three tables now. Both with plain numbers, for explanation and the one in the transcript (which should not be sort-able and not include massage!) Feel free to fill out the table. I have put it in a new section so editing that section or the explanation section does not edit conflict! --Kynde (talk) 11:52, 9 August 2022 (UTC)
It feels like the current explanation is rather burying the core of the joke, which is about research students deliberately selecting topics in the most obscure sub-fields they can find (which are probably unstudied for a reason), more for the fact that it gives them more opportunity to produce something novel than to add something useful to the body of knowledge. 08:15, 10 August 2022 (UTC)

High energy magic is definitely a legitimate scientific subject, see for example -- 13:28, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Worth noting is that all these prefixes are those found commonly on physics and chemistry! Would you find "cosmetic physics", "veterinary physics", "paediatric physics" and so on... which are probably as common in medical field as "high-energy" or "quantum" might be in physics/chemistry. 15:47, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Interestingly enough, "pediatric physics" gets hits. So does "pediatric theology". --Comsmomf (talk) 12:49, 10 August 2022 (UTC)

Considering some of the pseudoscientific woo that my late mother-in-law believed in, and the shelves of books of "healing energy" babble she had, I'm not in the least surprised that there are hits on "quantum massage". Quantum anything is going to pop up eventually. There were books about homeopathic colour, and about magic trampolining. BunsenH (talk) 15:57, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

  • "theoretical linguistics": 64,100
  • "quantum linguistics": 148
  • "high-energy linguistics": None
  • "computational linguistics": 887,000
  • "marine linguistics": 3 (two french-language results and a paper on the "development of the maritime mentality")
  • "astrolinguistics": 70 (most seem to focus on designing a way to communicate with aliens)

-- 23:47, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Randall missed some even more interesting prefixes here. Such as: "forensic", "structural", "poststructural", "civil", "Biblical", "feminist", "postcolonial", "pediatric". Open research areas include "forensic massage", "poststructural engineering", "Biblical dentistry", "postcolonial physics".--Comsmomf (talk) 12:46, 10 August 2022 (UTC)

Expansion plans

Given that multipie editors have reported differing results, one or more people need to double-check them on Scholar, Books Ngrams, and Trends for both web and news, and combine it all into a database that users can click through to some Pandas and plotting code on Colab for analysis and visualization. Maybe if I have time later. I'm thinking of using, e.g., a CSV embedded in a Colab notebook, but it would be great if those services don't require any API keys so everyone can generate and examine the results from their respective locales.

Also, is there a way we can work the simulation hypothesis into high-energy theology? I'm on the fence about that last one. 21:05, 9 August 2022 (UTC)

Why Colab and not Pyodide? 00:57, 10 August 2022 (UTC)

Doesn't fall the Higgs under High-Energy Theology, "The God Particle" and such? :-) (Not even trying to list all pop physic books with "God" in the title, for increased sales...) 07:01, 10 August 2022 (UTC)

Three of the theology ones (in parenthesis) are covered by the first sentence of the Nicene Creed, as well as a couple other possible combinations [in brackets]: "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty (high-energy theology), Maker of heaven (astrotheology) and earth [geotheology], and of all things visible [phototheology] and invisible (theoretical theology)." 17:42, 10 August 2022 (UTC)

Computational theology[edit]

I can't be the only person here who is both a theology nerd and a computer nerd, and thus thinks that computational theology sounds quite interesting. For example, can an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal, infinite, transcendent God solve the halting problem for arbitrary programs? 04:54, 14 December 2023 (UTC)

And, if so, could He then create a specific program to defy that ability? Very much of the nature of the Omnipotence paradox, of course. 14:46, 14 December 2023 (UTC)