Kepler’s law (following on from previous post)

The previous post, https://nige.wordpress.com/2006/09/22/gravity-equation-discredits-lubos-motl, has led to an interesting development.

Dr Thomas R. Love of California State University, Dominguez Hills, writes in an email to me: ‘Consider a planet of mass m, orbiting a star of mass M with an average radius of r. The theorem of equipartion of energy requires that the average kinetic energy is equal to the average potential energy [this is because the energy for escape velocity v = (2GM/r1/2 of an orbiting body is exactly equal in magnitude to its existing kinetic energy, so the gravitational potential energy (which is the energy you need to throw an object up to an infinite height and by energy conservation this is equal to the energy an object gets by falling from an infinite height) of an object in orbit is equal to its orbital kinetic energy, E = (1/2) mv 2 = (1/2) m((2GM/r1/2 )2 = mMG/r ]:

(1/2) mv 2 = mMG/r

cancelling the m

(1/2) v 2 = MG/r

Since the orbit is close to being a circle, we can take the average velocity to be:

v = 2p r/T

where T is the period.  Substitute

(1/2)(2p r/T)2 = MG/r

and simplify to obtain:

r 3 = MGT 2 /(2p 2 )

which is Kepler’s law.’

This is a nice extension of the idea in the previous post in this weblog.  I’ve sent Dr Love an email stating that if you next consider a photon orbiting the mass M, by simply setting v = c, and using Einstein’s equivalence for mass m = E/c 2 , then (1/2) mv 2 = mMG/r immediately gives you the correct black hole event horizon radius that general relativity predicts, namely: r = 2GM/c 2 . 

This implies that the effective kinetic energy of a photon is E = (1/2) mc 2 = (1/2) pc (because the photon has no rest mass, whatever mass is – Higgs field or whatever – momentum p = mc is less objectionable).  This is half the amount in the usual formula relating the energy of a photon to its momentum, which is E = pc.

The factor of two discrepancy here is due to the fact that the photon is a transverse wave of electromagnetic field energy, so it oscillates ar right angles to its propagation direction, and the transverse oscillation carries half of the kinetic energy.  In fact, it has equal energy in its electric and magnetic fields, which oscillate at right angles to one another.  Therefore, the kinetic energy of the electromagnetic vibrations of the photon in the direction of the gravitational field vector (as the photon orbits around the mass) is half its total energy E = pc.

Update (3 October 2006):

The physical dynamics for Dr Love’s (1/2) mv 2 = mMG/r is clearly that gravity is trapping the oribiting mass into a closed orbit.  So if the kinetic energy (1/2) mv 2 of mass m was bigger than its gravitational potential energy with respect to the bigger mass (M) that it is orbiting, mMG/r, then it would spiral outwards instead of being in a closed orbit.

But if the kinetic energy of the mass m was smaller than its gravitational potential energy with respect to M, then it would obviously spiral inward (until the energies balanced).

See comments on this and the previous post for some more information.  One thing I’d like to add is that in the Yang-Mills gravity dynamics where gauge boson exchanges between masses cause gravity in an orbital situation such as Dr Love considers, the centripetal force (gravity) is often said to be cancelled by a fictitious outward force, called the centrifugal force.  The key equation a = v 2 /r leads to F = ma = mv 2 /r  for this force, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centripetal_force for a couple of derivations of a = v 2 /r (sadly, both of the Wikipedia derivations are relatively inelegant and ugly, compared to a really nice derivation which they don’t give; sometime I’ll try to add it).

It is then usually explained that the centrifugal (outward) force is an illusion and the real physics is down to the inertia of the mass (and is thus explained by Newton’s 1st law of motion).  However, when you consider the dynamics of gauge boson exchanges causing gravitational mass, you realise by Einstein’s equivalence principle (the equivalence between inertial and gravitational mass) that quantum gravity is must explain inertial mass as well as gravitational mass, and must therefore explain Newton’s 1st law of motion.

As we know, at least in the part of the universe we inhabit, any gauge boson radiation exchange causing gravitation and inertia normally occurs with isotropic symmetry in all directions with all the other masses in the universe.   Hence, earth’s radius is simply compressed uniformly by the amount general relativity predicts, (1/3)GM/c2 = 1.5 mm.  Therefore you only usually feel forces from this Yang-Mills quantum gravity mechanism due to asymmetries such as the presence of nearby, non-receding masses.  The earth is an asymmetry, and you get pushed towards it, because because the earth isn’t receding from us siginficantly like the distant masses in the universe.  Because the earth isn’t receding in spacetime with a velocity that increases with its apparent time past from us (and this a force directed away from us equal to its mass multiplied by the rate of change of velocity as a function of observable time past, F = ma), it doesn’t have a force directed away from us, so the gauge bosons it transmits to us don’t carry a recoil force towards us by Newton’s 3rd law.  Hence, it acts as a shield because it isn’t receding.

The dynamics of inertia are not very simple: http://thumbsnap.com/v/ZF9FQD7v.jpg shows some dynamics but not the FitzGerald-Lorentz contraction of the atoms at different places in the mass.  The orbital speed of the atoms at different places in the mass is slightly different: those further from the origin of the curvature (eg, the centre of the orbit) move faster than those located closer.  However, the spatial distribution of the atoms in the mass does not vary the overall effect, what counts is the mass and its speed. 

When a mass moves along a straight line, the paths of successive gauge bosons emitted by perpendicular to its trajectory by atoms of the mass (which is spread out spatially) are parallel, but when it moves on a curved trajectory, the paths of successive transmission of gauge bosons emitted on the side facing the origin of the curvature (say the centre of a circular orbit, or a focus in an elliptical orbit) are not parallel but instead converge at the centre or focus of the orbit.  On the other side of the orbital mass, successive gauge bosons emitted perpendicular to its direction of motion diverge from one another.  The difference in the angular distribution of the gauge bosons on the two sides emitted by a mass moving on a curved trajectory causes a real centrifugal force, ie, it is the origin of the inertial force which opposes gravity and keeps the mass orbiting without either falling inward or flying outward.  It is fairly clear that to prove this rigorously will be the next step, following the kind of dynamics described at http://feynman137.tripod.com/#a.

If you consider a gyroscope’s physics, see http://www.mariner.connectfree.co.uk/html/gyro.htm, the angular momentum effects are subtle when you get away from mathematical models and try to use simple physical concepts; for example see http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/phy99/phy99191.htm:

‘If you push sideways a speeding car you do not expect the path of the car to suddenly change so as to lie along the direction of the push.  Rather, you expect the car to acquire a little extra velocity in the direction of the push, and the combined action of this new velocity and the car’s original velocity to result in a path mostly along the original direction but deflected slightly towards the direction of the push.  The key insight is that a force changes directly the velocity of an object and not its path, and the path only changes eventually, via the change in velocity.’

Professor Eric Laithwaite turned the gyroscope into a tool for mocking the mainstream of physics in the 1974 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures he delivered, causing uproar.  It is dangerous to go down that road, see the videos of the lectures at http://www.gyroscopes.org/1974lecture.asp:

‘Air powered gyroscope (5000rpm – 8lb). Searching for centrifugal force. Gyroscope hanging over the top of a table. Out of balance by 2kg. … Gyroscope on an arm with a second pivot point. Making a body lighter than it is. … Denis lifts a 18lb gyroscope with a 6lb shaft running at 2000rpm. … The energy contained within a gyroscope. … What’s wrong with the scientific world? … Ohm’s law only applies to DC and not AC.’

Laithwaite showed evidence that Newton’s laws don’t apply in situations where the acceleration of mass is changing (they do apply where the velocity is changing).  Laithwaite may have made a mistake in trying to question empirical laws, after all the equations which Einstein got from special relativity were the already-known FitzGerald-Lorentz contraction and time dilation, and other electromagnetic theory results.  Nobody sensible attacks empirically defensible laws.

Poor old Royal Institution, having such a load of crackpotism transmitted on TV!  Little did they expect a crackpot lecture when they invited the distinguished Professor Laithwaite to explain the gyroscope at the lectures initiated over a century earlier by Michael Faraday.  The problem is that, as you can see in the lectures he gave, he did experiments which were transmitted on TV and demonstrated all of his claims.

(I haven’t replicated Laithwaite’s experiments with gyroscopes, but I can tell you that Ohm’s law only applies to steady state systems: when you send logic pulses, the logic pulses can be shorter than the size of the circuit, so they certainly can’t tell if the circuit is complete or not (or what its complete resistance is) when they start out.  In fact, logic pulses start out the same regardless of whether the circuit is complete.  You can send a logic pulse into an unterminated transmission line, where Ohm’s law would say has infinite resistance because the two conductors are separate by insulators.  What happens in this case was worked out by Heaviside around 1875, when he was experimenting with and mathematically modelling the undersea telegraph cable between Newcastle and Denmark.  Heaviside found that electric signals travel at the speed of light, and they have no way of telling in advance of travelling around the circuit, what the resistance of the complete circuit will turn out to be.  Instead, Heaviside found that there is what he considered – like Maxwell – to be an aetherial effect called impedance which has the same units as resistance (Ohm) but behaves very differently, being dependent only on the geometry of the conductors involved and the insulator used.)

The Royal Institution refused to publish the text of Laithwaite’s lectures (although the lectures were transmitted live on TV by the BBC and video recorded on tape).  Wikipedia states that Laithwaite responded by quoting a cynical comment by quantum field theorist, Professor Freeman Dyson:

“The scientific establishment, in the form of the Royal Institution, rejected his theory and his lecture was not published by the RI. His feelings on this can be seen in one of the 19741975 Royal Institution Christmas Lectures which he presented. In an apparent defence of his position he quoted Freeman Dyson: ‘Most of the crackpot papers that are submitted to the Physical Review are rejected, not because it is impossible to understand them, but because it is possible. Those that are impossible to understand are usually published.’ (Freeman Dyson, Innovations in Physics, Scientific American, September 1958).”

(That 1958 Dyson article in Sci. Am. Vol. 199, No. 3, pp. 74-82, is very important historically.  It quotes Niels Bohr’s statement to Wolfgang Pauli: ‘We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that is not crazy enough.’  Dyson also states in the article: ‘I have observed in teaching quantum mechanics (and also in learning it) that students go through the following experience: The student begins by learning how to make calculations in quantum mechanics and get the right answers; it takes about six months. This is the first stage in learning quantum mechanics, and it is comparatively easy and painless. The second stage comes when the student begins to worry because he does not understand what he has been doing. He worries because he has no clear physical picture in his head. He gets confused in trying to arrive at a physical explanation for each of the mathematical tricks he has been taught. He works very hard and gets discouraged because he does not seem able to think clearly. This second stage often lasts six months or longer, and it is strenuous and unpleasant. Then, quite unexpectedly, the third stage begins. The student suddenly says to himself, “I understand quantum mechanics”, or rather he says, “I understand now that there isn’t anything to be understood”. The difficulties which seemed so formidable have mysteriously vanished. What has happened is that he has learned to think directly and unconsciously in quantum mechanical language, and he is no longer trying to explain everything in terms of pre-quantum conceptions.’  This is a gutless surrender to the Copenhagen Interpretation.)

It is significant that Laithwaite was a Professor at Imperial College of London University, which was a hotbed of dissent in theoretical physics: Professor Herbert Dingle was there at the same time (note that the Wikipedia article on him is prejudiced by a disgraceful error that I have pointed out on the discussion page of the article) and also Theo Theocharis who graduated there in the early 1980s and stayed on to do- as I understand it – do a PhD on the errors of stringy stuff in mainstream physics (naturally that had to be stopped).  Theocharis and M. Psimopoulos did succeed in getting an attack on the Copenhagen Interpretation etc into a peer-reviewed journal: ‘Where Science Has Gone Wrong’, Nature, v329, p595, 1987.  However, that just caused more uproar:

‘Teachers of history, philosophy, and sociology of science … are up in arms over an attack by two Imperial College physicists … who charge that the plight of … science stems from wrong-headed theories of knowledge. … Scholars who hold that facts are theory-laden, and that experiments do not give a clear fix on reality, are denounced. … Staff on Nature, which published a cut-down version of the paper after the authors’ lengthy attempts to find an outlet for their views, say they cannot recall such a response from readers. ‘It really touched a nerve,’ said one. There was unhappiness that Nature lent its reputation to the piece.’ – Jon Thurney, Times Higher Education Supplement, 8 Jan 88, p2. [This refers to the paper by T. Theocharis and M. Psimopoulos, ‘Where Science Has Gone Wrong’, Nature, v329, p595, 1987.]

The dangers of pointing out errors in orthodoxy without correcting them at the same time are potentially massive.  Hans Christian Anderson and George Orwell effectively explain problems in modern physics between the research and the teaching orthodoxy:

‘The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to that. He though it better to continue the procession under the illusion that anyone who couldn’t see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary mantle.’ – Hans Christian Anderson, 1837.

Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to (an authority) and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.’ – George Orwell, 1949.

String theory being ‘not even wrong’ demonstrates this very nicely.

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27 thoughts on “Kepler’s law (following on from previous post)

  1. In a transverse wave like a water wave, on average half the kinetic energy at any instant is in the direction of wave propagation (ie sideways), and half is at right angles to that direction (ie in the vertical direction).

    Thus, the forward directed kinetic energy is half the total.

    For light waves, be they just strings or something more like Maxwell’s lines of electric an magnetic fields, or some kind of vacuum charge oscillations (related to Maxwell’s physical model of displacement currents in a vacuum, ie Maxwell’s equation for curl.B in a vacuum, which is used with Faraday’s of induction for curl.E, to produce the speed of light from electromagnetic constants), the oscillatings of the string or the aether are what carry the kinetic energy being described here.

  2. Hi anon,

    Maxwell’s model had various forms to account or the displacement current in a light wave. There are two totally different ways that electric polarization can occur:

    (1) By the physical separation of electric charge monopoles of opposite sign in an electric field. A neutral vacuum is here a uniform or random mixture (ie non-polarized) of these two types of dipoles.

    (2) By the alignment of the polar axis of electric charge dipoles (like molecules which are positive at one end, negative at the other). A neutral vacuum in this case is due to random alignment of the polar axes of the electric dipoles.

    Polarization type (1) works well in quantum field theory to explain the screening of the core charge (hence renormalized charge) by pairs of charges created in the high energy vacuum within 10^-15 m of the charge (where field strength is over 10^18 v/m or so).

    However, polarization type (1) can’t explain the renormalization of mass, which is also renormalized. This is because all masses (of matter or antimatter) fall the same way – ie downwards in eath’s gravity.

    However, polarization type (2) must also exist, because radio waves propagate with lower electric fields than the 10^18 v/m which corresponds to the “infrared cutoff” ie the lowest field strength which can cause pair production and this vacuum polarization. Displacement current in Maxwell’s theory is the physical separation of vacuum charges during polarization, say between two oppositely chargd capacitor plates with a vacuum separating them.

    Clearly, Maxwell’s theory doesn’t fit with quantum field theory because of the lower energy cutoff which quantum field theory insists on before there can be any vacuum polarization.

    Exactly how you modify Maxwell’s theory to fit reality is an exercise which lasted from about 1901 (Planck’s quantum theory) to about 1905 (Einstein’s dismissal of the spacetime fabric). By the time Einstein returned to the spacetime continuum some 15 years later (1920, Leyden lecture), all the crackpots in physics academia had retired or been replaced by mathematicians who were more concerned with equations which tied into experiments. This naturally led to the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, which Einstein then tried to fight.

    Today, it is coming closer to full circle because extradimensional string theory is moving further and further away from the kind of mathematical physics equations which have experimental evidence.

    Getting back to physics, a Z_o electroweak gauge boson is very special: it is like light (uncharged radiation) but it has rest mass. Because it has rest mass, and is a bit like a photon, presumably it has very special properties like undergoing polarization type (2), ie it has an electric field oscillation in it with one half positive field and the other half negative electric field, so it can align in an electric field. It’s mass as Rivero and others have published recently on arxiv, is such that when you multiply it by alpha and twice Pi or some similar geometric factor (alpha is the ratio of say shielded charge due to vacuum polarization, to unshielded core electric charge), you get the muon mass or something. Extending this you get a picture of the masses: http://thumbsnap.com/v/96oFXbrG.jpg However, this is tentative and details need ironing out: it isn’t a rigorous final theory (see comments in previous posts), and it remains to be seen whether such a thing is possible using such ideas.

  3. BTW, thank you for answering some of the questions posed on my blog. Someone was repeating the words of SFSU professors rather than questioning them. I enjoy your posts and think that your ideas are good ones.

  4. 10 02 06

    Yes Nigel, it is interesting how you have explained how you can get the SRadius from your derivation. When you say you approximated the average velocity, what was the approximation you made? I also was thinking that the equipartitian theorem says that for objects that have a degree two polynomial form internal energy, that each degree of freedom gets (1/2)KbT of energy. I hadn’t seen equipartitian applied to gravitational systems, but have not taken an astrophysics course either. Is this a common tool used in by astrophysicists?

    Louise, I do await your responses to some of the concerns Christine and I raised. Yes as a matter of fact I question all of my professors because the purpose of studying science is to learn. I cannot learn without asking questions. But your allusion to SFSU is strange. Don’t you recall how I never commented on your theory because I did not feel that I had adequate enough knowledge to do so? In fact, I never discussed you with any of the professors. What I do recall is that you said Maarten Goltermann was not pleased with your talk and left at some point, if I am not recalling incorrectly. That matters little to me, however. What matters is that you have a consistent theory that stands up to the scrutiny of the scientific community. And if you chose to be a maverick, be able to answer their questions in a well reasoned way.

    I realize that you are trying to push envelopes in how you think and I commend that. However you have to substantiate what you are doing in a more rigorous way. Lord Kelvin’s ideas were not accepted by the scientific majority in his lifetime. However he was able to describe conventional theories and why they were wrong. You have not done that at all, less unsubstantiated statements.

    When I attend SFSU for coursework, I discuss my own thoughts with the professors and I question them. But I don’t get in your business. My only concern is that you are spreading your ideas as gospel, while they need to be modified. That is all.

  5. Hi Louise,

    If anyone is guilty of hyping incomplete physics and misleading the public, he is a mainstream string theorist. So don’t worry. Only when the mainstream starts being objective, will they be in a position to genuinely complain about others trying to make themselves heard. (When the mainstream stops making so much noise that drowns out alternatives, alternatives will start being heard without having to raise their voices.)

    Hi Mahndisa,

    It is physically substantative when you consider the dynamics are gravitational potential energy stopping the kinetic energy of the orbiting mass (or photon) from causing it to escape.

    Hence, for the orbiting object to just be trapped in orbit, it’s kinetic energy in its forward (orbital) direction must be exactly equal to the gravitational potential energy which is trapping it. Any more kinetic energy than gravitational potential energy, and it spirals outward! Less kinetic than gravitational energy, and it would spiral inward! Hence the two must be equal for orbital stability. This is clearly the simple basis for Love’s equipartition of energy, E = (1/2)mv^2 = mMG/r.

    In the August 2002 issue of Electronics World, I suggested (article is “Electronic Universe Part 1”) that a fermion is half a boson, but trapped into a loop by gravitation. Because the varying electromagnetic fields in a photon are described by the Poynting-Heaviside vector, a trapped (looped) half-photon (ie that part of the photon where the electric field is all negative or all positive) would have a net electric field which turns out to be spherically symmetric, while the way the magnetic field lines add up gives a magnetic dipole as a resultant. The circular looping of the energy corresponds to spin. Hence, we have known properties of the fermion.

    This provides the physical basis in the previous post for setting E = mc^2 = mMG/R when you take account of the gravitational dynamics: because gravity is trapping the Heaviside-Poynting energy in the fermion into a loop, and because quantum gravity is the exchange of gauge bosons such as some kind of “gravitons” with the surrounding masses in the universe, it follows that the spin kinetic energy locked up in the fermion MUST be balanced by the gravitational potential energy.

    If the fermion’s spin kinetic energy was less than the gravitational potential energy, it would spiral inwards and becomes smaller. If it had greater spin kinetic energy than the gravitational potential energy, then gravity would be unable to constrain it, so the spin would spiral outwards and it would become bigger.

    Hence, the spin kinetic energy of a fermion is in exact equilibrium with the gravitational potential energy which is keeping it trapped into a small loop.

    The main problem people try to raise is that this picture of spin is physical, and people claim the principle of superposition of spin states (based on the Copenhagen Interpretation of the wavefunction collapse, where spin only becomes real when you measure it and is metaphysical at all other times) denies any mechanism. Thomas Love explains that the Copenhagen Interpretation of the wavefunction collapse is a mathematical artefact which comes from the two forms of the Schroedinger wave equation: time-dependent and time-independent forms.

    The moment you take a measurement, you switch over the equations, in effect, and it is the discontinuity between the two mathematical models – and not a real world discontinuity – which creates the metaphysical drivel in the Copenhagen Interpretation, which is wrong.

    I’ve gone into this on my old blog, and I think I summarised the arguments with a comment on a previous post on this blog.

  6. 10 03 06

    Hello Nigel:
    I understand that you want the gravitational potential energy to be balanced by a body’s kinetic energy in your example. But where you lose me is when you use the expression E=mc^2=mMG/r.

    The reason for this is that if a body is orbiting in a gravitational field, it is NOT at rest. Therefore the relativistic equation E=mc^2 should be modified to read: E=SQRT((pc)^2+(mc^2)^2). In this situation, we are now accounting for its motion in addition to its rest mass energy.

    The other issue is that when charged particles move in circular orbits, they emit radiation and your model should likely include some provision for that as well.

    Have a nice day.

  7. 10 03 06

    I would also like to add one thing. It really bothers me that these tacit comments are being made about not having an open mind or echoing ‘the establishment.’ I have always had an open mind to different possibilities. But one thing that I insist upon is that with the improvement of every theory, previous results should be able to be replicated to better accuracy. I started studying loop quantum gravity because it was interesting, and it is certainly NOT mainstream physics. I have even delved in studying theories of p adic consciousness. But in each of these cases, there is some phenomenological consistency.

    Thomas Thiemann and K. Giesel came up with a new approach to quantized gravity called AQG. I wrote them a list of questions about two pages long and THEY pleasantly responded to each of my concerns and questions. Therefore, again the goal is to understand and not to denigrate.

    For this reason, although I disagree with some of your interpretations of existing data, I can respect you Nigel. What I have issues with is those that do nothing to substantiate their position other than hurl insults at people for ‘echoing’ the establishment.

  8. Hi Mahndisa,

    Many thanks for your comments. I take it you are happy with Dr Love’s derivation of Kepler’s main result, but don’t see the logic of my suggestion since I’m using E = mc^2 instead of E=SQRT((pc)^2+(mc^2)^2).

    However, if we put rest mass m = 0, we get E = pc from the general equation you supply. Here p = mc.

    Hence, E = pc = (mc)c = mc^2.

    P.C.W. Davies writes on page 21 of “The forces of nature” (C.U.P., 2nd ed., London, 1986):

    “This relationship can, in fact, be deduced from Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory … The fact that photons have no rest mass isn’t a problem because, as discussed above, they can never be at rest anyway, whatever the reference frame of the observer.”

    Hence, photons DO have transit mass in effect, because they have momentum; they merely don’t have rest mass (which is another way of saying that they can’t be at rest).

    If you think E=SQRT((pc)^2+(mc^2)^2) provides a solution for photon energy which is different from E = pc = mc^2, please let me know what this solution is.

    The second point you make is:

    “The other issue is that when charged particles move in circular orbits, they emit radiation and your model should likely include some provision for that as well.”

    I agree with you. The emitted radiation is equivalent to the gauge boson radiation. This is all in my Electronics World papers.

    Bohr assumed that the electron doesn’t radiate or it would spiral into the nucleus. This is false, because Yang-Mills quantum field theory shows that charges transmit forces by exchanging radiation, which means charges do radiate continuously.

    The reason they don’t spiral into the nucleus is that the universe is old so there is an equilibrium: they receive as much gauge boson exchange radiation energy from other charges each second as they transmit to the other charges.

    See my old comment here: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=236#comment-4462

    “Lee’s seven promising options include one of causality and two of hidden variables. It would be nice to have a convergence toward consensus, which is vital to avoid a disintegration of the research-education infrastructure. Without consensus, it’s very hard to teach with interest at lower levels, because it looks a bit like speculative gambling or the disintegration of central ideas. It would be nice to see some things unified carefully, like path integrals and some hidden variables. This is not regression to determinism, because you still have uncertainty, you just have a cause for it like chaos due to wave interference. ‘Caloric’, fluid heat theory, eventually gave way to two separate mechanisms, kinetic theory and radiation. This was after Prevost in 1792 suggested constant temperature is a dynamic system, with emission in equilibrium with the reception of energy. The electromagnetic field energy exchange process is not treated with causal mechanism in current QFT, perhaps if it was it would turn out to be the missing hidden variable needed.”

    You next say:

    “… one thing that I insist upon is that with the improvement of every theory, previous results should be able to be replicated to better accuracy.”

    I agree. I tried hurling insults at the establishment, but it doesn’t work. The establishment is so noisy, my insults get drowned out in the noise.

    Thanks,
    Nigel

  9. At http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=469 Peter Woit has a post linking to a review of his and Smolin’s books by Geoff Brumfiel in NATURE,

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v443/n7111/full/443491a.html

    ‘… string theorist Lubos Motl of Harvard University posted reviews furiously entitled “Bitter emotions and obsolete understanding of high-energy physics” and “Another postmodern diatribe against modern physics and scientific method”. As Nature went to press, the reviews had been removed.

    ‘Few in the community are, at least publicly, as vitriolic as Motl. But many are angry and struggling to deal with the criticism. “Most of my friends are quietly upset,” says Leonard Susskind, a string theorist at Stanford University in California. …

    ‘The books leave string theorists such as Susskind wondering how to approach such strong public criticism. “I don’t know if the right thing is to worry about the public image or keep quiet,” he says. He fears the argument may “fuel the discrediting of scientific expertise”.

    ‘That’s something that Smolin and Woit insist they don’t want. Woit says his problem isn’t with the theory itself, just some of its more grandiose claims. “There are some real things you can do with string theory,” he says.’

    Unfortunately, Woit doesn’t actually explain what ‘real things’ he means…

  10. Unlike Motl, Woit is famous for his politeness and diplomacy.

    For an example of Motl’s lack of politeness and diplomacy, see as a random example his comment: http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=467#comment-16818

    When Woit said “There are some real things you can do with string theory,” maybe he trying to win over Motl. I think that if Woit could discover one real thing that string can do, it will prevent Motl being so upset. However, that’s a big challenge, I fear. It is a tragedy. I just hope that the stringy ship sinks quickly, so that the stringers are put out of their misery without a lingering finish. 🙂

  11. I’ve just removed a section from the “about author” on the main page: “At the same time these human beings hype abject string speculations which disagree with all existing observations over the number of dimensions, superpartners, etc. When the current generation of ‘Very Important Lovable Expert’ (acronym is appropriate) string theorists is wiped out by old age or something quicker, perhaps alternative ideas can find their way on to arXiv.org without instant deletion or ignorant abuse resulting to the authors? Perhaps God will kindly create an extra dimension with which to swallow up string theorists. We can only hope and pray.”

    This is just a little bit too strong, now that the problems of string theory are at least being aired in Nature at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v443/n7111/full/443491a.html

    While the stringers are not particularly friendly people to outsiders, being too sarcastic doesn’t help the physics.
    nc

  12. Professor Bert Schroer has now weighed in on the side of decency with an arXiv paper called ‘String theory and the crisis in particle physics (a Samisdat on particle physics)’, see http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=471

    ‘The problem is not that there are no other games in town, but rather that there are no bright young players who take the risk of jeopardizing their career by learning and expanding the sophisticated rules for playing other games.’

    http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0603112 p46

    ‘My final conclusion is that the young and intelligent Harvard professor Lubos Motl has decided to build his career on offering a cartering service for the string community. He obviously is a quick scanner of the daily hep-th server output, and by torching papers which are outside the credo of string theorists (i.e. LQG, AQFT) he saves them time. The downgrading of adversaries is something which has at least the tacit consent of the community. It is evident that he is following a different road from that of using one’s intellectual potential for the enrichment of knowledge about particle physics. If one can build a tenure track career at a renown university by occasionally publishing a paper but mainly keeping a globalized community informed by giving short extracts of string-compatible papers and playing the role of a Lord of misuse to outsiders who have not yet gotten the message, the transgression of the traditional scientific ethics [24] for reasons of career-building may become quite acceptable. It would be interesting to see into what part of this essay the string theorists pitbull will dig his teeth.’

    http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0603112 p22

  13. Pingback: Gravity
  14. We did some of these Keplerian malabarisms time ago at physicsforums, at least I started this thread (later packaged as Arxiv preprint, part of it):
    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=14007&highlight=Kepler
    but there was another ones.
    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=120192&highlight=Kepler
    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=14922&highlight=Kepler

    Historically it was with a Keplerian malabarism how Sommerfeld constant was defined. This is because in relativistic orbits there is a maximum angular momentum (because there is a maximum orbital speed), and in quantum mechanics there is a minimum angular momentum.

  15. “It’s mass as Rivero and others have published recently on arxiv, is such that when you multiply it by alpha and twice Pi or some similar geometric factor (alpha is the ratio of say shielded charge due to vacuum polarization, to unshielded core electric charge), you get the muon mass or something.”

    This is one of the amusing things we found during our long thread
    http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=46055
    (a thread that beats most guessers and crackpots predictors by some orders of magniture in precision, so it acts as a kind of vaccine).

    But Z0 has other amusing properties related not properly to its mass but to its decay width: it decays at the same (scaled) rate that strong-bounded neutral particles, including the neutral pion.

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