odin wrote:Can anyone clarify what exactly is the difference between experimental and theory? Such as, what does one do as an experimentalist that they don't as a theorist and vice versa.
Yeah it's really not a dumb question. One difference obviously is that theorists don't do lab work, measure stuff, build things etc..., but conversely, I do not
understand how an experimentalist could get by without needing to know (and possibly expand) the theory behind what they're doing. I was sortof shocked the first time I heard that physicists are strictly divided into two disjoint classes. I thought the whole philosophy of science was based on the interplay of "formulating hypothesis" and "testing" them... The fact that a physicist can only do one or the other was very surprising. I haven't had enough exposure to discern what experimentalists and theorists do in real life, but if all an experimentalist is supposed to do is run tests of the theories and measure stuff, that sounds kindof boring.