A Three-year Project:

Using the Old Greek Method of Systematic Debating for Years

in Combination with the Scientific Method around a Fundamental Experiment

for a Typical Problem in Our Days

the Renewal of the Basic Concepts from One of the Most Fundamental Experiment,

the Edge-Diffraction of Light


The AGORA Laboratory and Class -

A Demonstration of a Powerful and General Method for Basic Concept Development

for a Fundamental Experiment/ Problem in Science and in Humanities -

Toward its Inclusion in the University



Corneliu I. Costescu, Ruxandra M. Costescu


A) First, we propose to demonstrate and document in a three-year attempt the power of a laboratory-class, called the Agora Laboratory and Class (ALC), by its application to one typical problem in our days - the renewal of the basic concepts from a most fundamental experiment, the experiment of the diffraction of light. Our ALC is designed to combine the old Greek method of a systematic debating with the modern scientific method, in the process of looking anew and performing for many years in a row a simple and fundamental experiment and of a re-developing new and better concepts for light, concepts that are complementary to the current views. This proposal is a result from our many-year experience with a simplified form of the ALC for the experiment of light diffraction. From this work we convinced ourselves that the combined method (the old Greek method of synthetic and systematic debating and the modern scientific method) and the ALC force a powerful and prolonged analysis and synthesis of light diffraction and of the structure of light. This powerful and prolonged analysis-synthesis process is in strong contrast with the weaker and shorter individual approach, and it necessarily leads to a new and better understanding of light diffraction and of the structure of light.  This prolonged analysis-synthesis of the light diffraction led us to define a mechanism-type view for light, very different but complementary to the current view and which opens the possibility of new instruments and technical advances.  In this work we have also identified the extreme (but feasible) conditions for this experiment that can quickly confirm beyond any doubt that a new mechanism-type view on light is necessary. We designed the details of the experiment of light diffraction in these extreme conditions and we purchased the necessary instruments (as described in a companion text).  We want to apply the combined method and the ALC to this experiment.  Second, to emphasize the deep need and broad usefulness of the ALC, we propose a systematic effort for bringing into public attention as follows. i) In our days of fast scientific construction , there is a considerable lack for a systematic analysis-synthesis for what is considered the fundamental bricks of the science and social life. As a result, one can expect that there are many fundamental phenomena and problems for which a re-development of concepts is necessary, towards a deep and practical understanding of their mechanisms. The case of light diffraction and of the structure of light is one example of these bricks, for sure. (The structure of light is a central issue that has shaped the whole physics development.) To suggest the broad range of such fundamental bricks we also mention here the examples of the conscience, of the social and individual efficiency,-and of the religious intolerance. A longer list of such examples can be assembled. ii) The combined method and the ALC instrument are general i.e., they can be applied to any fundamental experiment defined for a specific fundamental phenomenon/ problem i.e., not only for light, for the purpose of renewing the basic concepts related to that experiment. iii) It is possible to demonstrate the ALC and the combined method, document and bring them to the public attention, in a three-year attempt, by repeating in a systematic way our previous experience with the ALC for the experiment of light diffraction. Based on our previous results with a simplified ALC for the experiment of light diffraction, we believe that this systematic and public application of the ALC for the experiment of light diffraction in extreme conditions will necessarily lead to a different understanding of light as compared with the current view on the structure of light one that will be close to what we have already obtained in our previous attempt with the ALC.  iv) The demonstration - documentation for the combined method and ALC will attract enough attention to trigger the implementation of the ALC in the university as a standard class. In this respect, our demonstration - documentation of the ALC will show the way in which this implementation can be done. In time, the ALC as a part of the university and by its strong focus of the combined method on a fundamental experiment, will put forward verified solutions to the most basic problems for the science and society, which otherwise often evolve based on speculative and unverified ideas. v) The ALC in the university will greatly contribute to spreading one of the most positive aspects of the ancient Greek culture the method, a service to Greeks and a great benefit for the modern society.

B) In addition to the above picture on the profound need and applicability of the ALC, we mention here a few practical aspects on the demonstration of the ALC. The demonstration will take place on the UIUC campus as a freelance enterprise. We have verified that such a class around our experiment attracts an extraordinary interest from students. In the demonstration attempt, we will experiment-analyze-debate on light diffraction in extreme but feasible conditions, never used before in spite of their crucial relevance, for demonstrating the feasibility of the ALC for the renewal of the very old concepts on the structure of light. We estimate that the demonstration of the ALC in this case will last six semesters. The student in the ALC will experiment on light diffraction and will participate in the debates. He/ she will develop a report and a formal speech with his/ her own views. Opponent professors will be invited for sharper debates as Boltzmann did (1890-1900) in his similar attempt for heat theory.