Last modified on 16 March 2010, at 22:46

Talk:proof

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Looks like this user is copying articles wholesale from somewhere like Webster's. I hope they are not copyright violations. — Paul G 10:58, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Request for verificationEdit

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Rfv-sense: colloquial: to complete a mathematical proof. Could be, but not in MW3 or OneLook mathematical glossaries. DCDuring TALK 15:15, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

I've been through a program of graduate study in math and have never heard this AFAIR. Nor do the three BYU English corpora yield anything with this sense for [proof].[v*]. (They do, however, yield a yeast-related verb sense whose meaning I don't know and which we lack.) However, google books:"to proof the theorem" and google scholar:"to proof the theorem" have a number of relevant hits: they seem, I suspect, to be mistakes for "prove" and, since they're in academic writing, are IMO unlikely to be "colloquial" as our sense is tagged.​—msh210 17:22, 17 November 2009 (UTC)
Chambers has a sense "to test". This seems to fit with the "mathematical" sense "A process for testing the accuracy of an operation performed." Pingku 03:14, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
A possible citation:
2000, K. U. Kainer, Magnesium alloys and their applications,
For the ternary system Al-Mg-Sc extensive experimental work was investigated to proof the calculation [2].
Noting that scientific verification cannot prove a calculation. Pingku 09:28, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
The "test" sense and the possibly related but distinct baking sense are in other dictionaries. It would be nice to word our "test" sense to incorporate the calculation/prediction verification sense without directly contradicting scientific and mathematical method. DCDuring TALK 10:44, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Chambers has a sense "cause or allow (dough) to rise", under "prove". No suggestion.
I agree with Msh that the google books/scholar hits as above are mistakes. Perhaps the definition under review should (if kept) be marked as a misconstruction of prove?
I suspect the "test" sense is related more closely to -proof - in essence, to attempt to render something impervious to argument.
This leads to an attempt at a definition: "To render an argument or perform a test or series of tests to be presented as an argument that a proposition is true or that a product or process is or behaves as expected."
I think the tag "mathematical" should be removed from the noun sense "process for testing the accuracy of an operation".
Pingku 16:06, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Now we're getting somewhere. All we've got to do now is fix the dated Webstery wordy noun definitions. DCDuring TALK 16:33, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I think that that Kainer quote is in the sense of "proofread".​—msh210 18:18, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
In what sense would proofreading need "experimental work"? Pingku 19:33, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Meaning, experiment to determine if the calculation is correct. I guess "proofread" and "test" overlap a bit.​—msh210 19:42, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
I overlooked the significance of the word "investigated". Maybe we shouldn't consider that citation as evidence, then. Pingku 19:51, 18 November 2009 (UTC)
Just to be clear, if the authors had been repeating experiments done by others, this would count as doing science (and as testing the calculation) - by helping establish that the experiments are replicable. It's not certain from the citation that they did this, or indeed what exactly they did: as you point out, there is a grey area between "proofreading" and "testing", and it is not clear where in that grey spectrum the action they performed actually lies.
It is altogether possible that my supposition above that the "test" sense derives from "proofing against argument" is inaccurate; maybe (as you perhaps imply) it derives from proofreading - i.e., checking something for errors. Unfortunately the dictionaries I know don't go into this sort of detail. ;) So we come back to needing citations... Pingku 17:40, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure the quote above would count as evidence of good English usage. What does it mean to "investigate extensive empirical work"? Does he mean "conduct extensive empirical work" (of his own) or "review a lot of empirical work" (of others)? If either of those, the wording indicates probable non-native to me. (Sometimes this happens with native-born technical and scholarly writers.) Is there another reading that would make this good English? DCDuring TALK 19:29, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

RFV failed, sense removed. —RuakhTALK 18:25, 25 February 2010 (UTC)