Why old discarded theories won’t be taken seriously

Guy Grantham emailed me a link to a detailed fairly new Wikipedia page on the old ideas of LeSage, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage%27s_theory_of_gravitation.  I think it’s badly done (for detailed comments of mine see the post http://electrogravity.blogspot.com/2006/03/george-louis-lesage-newtonian_26.html on my old blog, and its comments, because there is a comment quoting evidence that LeSage may have deliberately plagarized a lot of unpublished research of Fatio’s, who was a friend of Newton – Newton didn’t like the ideas because they were too half baked at the time and didn’t make quantitative predictions), because the dismissal of exchange radiation for gravity on the basis that it would heat up bodies thermally if the exchange radiation was intense enough to cause the forces is vague enough to also dismiss Feynman’s diagrams showing that the best physical theory that exists, the Standard Model, works by exchange radiation causing fundamental forces!  In particular, the Standard Model forces are all much stronger than gravity, so any thermal heating would be even more severe than in the case of gravity.  So that objection is bunk.  Similarly, if exchange radiation is considered to disprove LeSage by causing drag, it also disproves string theory which claims that spin-2 graviton exchange radiation between masses causes gravity.

Heat occurs when radiation is received by the oscillation set up in a charge due to the fields in the radiation.  Thus, a radio wave causes an electron to oscillate, and the resistance to the motion of the electron in the metal or whatever, causes some heating.  That’s the basic mechanism whereby radiation energy can be converted into kinetic heat energy in matter.  This mechanism doesn’t hold, however, for extremely high energy radiation.  A gamma ray has a wavelength too short to merely oscillate electrons, and behaves more like a particle when it hits matter (although it behaves like a wave when travelling, hence the interference pattern which results from the double slit experiment using even single photons).  The gamma ray imparts energy by knocking into charges, and ejecting them from the material if they have enough energy to do so (the photoelectric effect), Compton scattering (where the incident gamma ray is degraded in energy and changed in angle, imparting some energy to the electron like a billiard ball collision), and pair production (where the gamma ray has enough energy to create a free pair of particles from the Dirac sea).

It’s clear from experience that whatever the detailed mechanism for Yang-Mills exchange radiation is, it doesn’t cause things to heat up.  The claim that the energy locked up in fields must be turned to heat by masses is absurd.  This is because heat energy is different to field energy.  An electron has an energy of 0.511 MeV.  This energy is locked up but can only be released by annihilation with a positron to give two gamma rays, each of 0.511 MeV.  However, it would be wrong to ridicule the existence of electric field energy by claiming that if electrons had a rest mass energy of 0.511 MeV, matter would get very hot indeed.  The claim that exchange radiation of a field is the same thing as heat energy is totally false. The two are completely different.

Feynman chose the LeSage gravity mechanism, out of all discarded gravity mechanisms, as the one to describe in detail in his Lectures on Physics, and it is also included with an illustration in his nice little book Character of Physical Law.  Feynman shows it predicts the inverse square law but also predicts drag, which would cause the planets to slow down spiral into the sun if the radiation was intense enough to be capable of causing observed gravitation, so he concluded that it was wrong.  So it is.  This is also a general fault of aether ideas.

The modern quantum field theory, at least successful (non-stringy) work on it, is based on the principle mentioned in the previous post, namely Feynman’s ‘shut up and calculate’ advice.  The Standard Model of particle physics is based on exchange radiation as the physical cause of forces, this is the Yang-Mills quantum field theory first proposed in 1954.  Such mathematical physics is based on symmetry principles, not causal mechanism.  But it is still physics, because it enables you to make calculations that can be checked, although it is not necessarily the complete story.  Any final theory should mathematically correspond to Yang-Mills theory where we observe the symmetry principles to hold, but should also include some deeper understanding.

Where you could go off the deep end is to deny that there is an corresponding deeper understanding than symmetry principles.

Suppose you are given a causal mechanism that exactly predicts everything observed in the universe, but doesn’t predict the unobservable speculations of string theory.  This is not going to be wrong just because the existing Standard Model and general relativity were originally derived using different ideas to causal mechanisms.  Progress occurs not so much by sticking like a parrot to proclaiming the beauty of existing ideas, but by trying some new things until something useful occurs.  Crackpots occur not by making calculations and finding correct new physics methods, but by people sticking to dead ends and refusing to give up false ideas, defending the falsehoods with more nonsense.

From: Nigel Cook
To: Guy Grantham
Cc: Whan Peter ; Montgomery Ian
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2007 12:03 PM
Subject: Re: objections to LeSage type gravity

Dear Guy,

Forget gravity for LeSage’s model!  The LeSage model correctly explains the pion mediated strong nuclear attractive force, not gravity.  Sir Karl Popper discusses how the uncertainty principle arises from impacts at high energy (i.e., in the intense electric field at small distances from a charge), in his book “Logic of Scientific Discovery”, which I quote on my homepage.

The “problems” which you get from trying to apply the LeSage mechanism to gravity become assets when you use it to explain how pion radiation via the vacuum causes protons and neutrons to be pushed together in the nucleus, if they start nearby.  Fusion occurs when protons are brought close enough that the strong attractive effect from pions exceeds Coulomb repulsion, so the particles approach.  Obviously, they don’t endlessly approach or the nucleus would become a singularity; instead, there is a shorter range rho particle mediated exchange which causes repulsion over smaller distances, so the nucleons (neutrons and protons) are kept a certain distance apart, something on the order 1 fm, by pion attraction at longer ranges (but with a limit of a few fm) and rho repulsion at shorter distances.  Repulsion due to rhy particles is just the recoil of particles being mutually exchanged; imagine two thugs shooting machine gun bullets at each other, each will suffer a repulsion force caused partly by impacts from the other thug’s bullets, and partly by recoil (Newton’s 3rd law) of the machine gun as it fires at the other person.

Now for gravity.  It’s a long range force.  There are no charges in motion involved, only radiation, because pair production only occurs out to 1 fm from a charge.  So gravity, which predominates at large distances, is due to exchange radiation.

Photons of light don’t interact with each other.  They exert pressure when they are reflected or absorbed by surfaces because of the change in momentum p = E/c for absorption and p = 2E/c for reflection.  But they don’t form a gas.  Photons don’t obey the exclusion principle, so you can fit an endless amount of photons into a given space without any pressure arising!

This is why they obey bose-einstein statistics, rather than fermi-dirac statistics.

Even with water waves, you can see that there is no permanent interaction between them when they pass through one another!  If you send two waves travelling in different directions through one another, they will superimpose temporarily either giving a resultant that is zero if there is “cancellation” of a peak with a trough, but after that transitory overlap each wave emerges and continues as before with its original form!

This is totally different from firing bullets at one another, where the superposition causes a permanent effect.

Unless you can see the difference between bosons and fermions and that gravity is a boson effect while the “errors” of LeSage are due to fermion radiation assumptions, we’re not getting anywhere.  Once again, gravity is a massless boson (integer spin) exchange radiation effect.  LeSage assumed material particles (fermions, or their composites like mesons such as pions) were the exchange radiation.  LeSage’s particle assumption is only valid for pions, etc., in the strong nuclear attractive force.  There, the “errors” which would be true of gravity are bonuses: the attraction is predicted to have a short range on the order of a mean free path of scatter before radiation pressure equalization in the shadows quenches the attractive force.  This short range is real for nuclear forces.

For gravitation, curvature is the same thing as exchange boson radiation, and in loop quantum gravity curvature is equivalent to the effect of the full cycle of exchange radiation going from mass A to mass B and back again.

Curvature is a name for the radial contraction due to masses. To speak of curvature as being an alternative to exchange radiation causing general relativity, is as absurd as claiming that 1+1 and 2 are not the same thing.  Of course they are merely different mathematical expressions for the same thing, physically.  See http://cosmicvariance.com/2007/03/12/catholic-priest-proposes-new-model-for-creation/#comment-221007

‘Popular accounts, and even astronomers, talk about expanding space. But how is it possible for space … to expand? … ‘Good question,’ says [Steven] Weinberg. ‘The answer is: space does not expand. Cosmologists sometimes talk about expanding space – but they should know better.’ [Martin] Rees agrees wholeheartedly. ‘Expanding space is a very unhelpful concept’.’

– New Scientist, 17 April 1993, pp32-3.

Spacetime contracts around masses; the earth’s radius is contracted by 1.5 mm radially (the circumference or transverse dimension is unaffected, hence the fourth dimension is needed to keep Pi constant via curvature) by its gravitation. Time is also slowed down.

This is pretty obvious in cause – exchange radiation causes radial contraction of masses in general relativity, just as in special relativity you get contraction of moving masses. Take the Lorentz contraction, stick the Newtonian escape velocity into it, and you get Feynman’s simplified (1/3)MG/c^2 formula for gravitational radial contraction in general relativity (you have to put in the 1/3 factor manually because a moving object only has contraction in one dimension, whereas the contraction is shared over 3 dimensions in GR). The justification here is that the escape velocity is also the velocity acquired by an object falling from an infinite distance, so it is velocity corresponding to the kinetic energy equivalent to the amount of gravitational potential energy involved.

It’s obvious that spacetime is contracted by gravitation. Expanding space really just refers to the recession of masses, i.e., expanding volume.

All the experimentally or observationally confirmed parts of general relativity mathematically correspond to simple physical phenomena of exchange radiation in a Yang-Mills quantum field theory. (Ad hoc theorizing to model observations is not observational confirmation. E.g., dark energy speculation based on redshift observations, isn’t confirmed by the observations which suggested the speculation. A better model is that whatever exchange radiation causes quantum gravity when exchanged by receding masses, gets some kind of redshift like light due to the recession of masses, which weakens gravitational effects over large distances. OK, I know you don’t want to know all the correct predictions which come from this physics, so I’ll stop here.)

*****

‘In loop quantum gravity, the basic idea is to use the standard methods of quantum theory, but to change the choice of fundamental variables that one is working with. It is well known among mathematicians that an alternative to thinking about geometry in terms of curvature fields at each point in a space is to instead think about the holonomy [whole rule] around loops in the space. The idea is that in a curved space, for any path that starts out somewhere and comes back to the same point (a loop), one can imagine moving along the path while carrying a set of vectors, and always keeping the new vectors parallel to older ones as one moves along. When one gets back to where one started and compares the vectors one has been carrying with the ones at the starting point, they will in general be related by a rotational transformation. This rotational transformation is called the holonomy of the loop. It can be calculated for any loop, so the holonomy of a curved space is an assignment of rotations to all loops in the space.’ – Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong, Cape, London, 2006, p189. (Emphasis added.)

Professor Lee Smolin also has some excellent online lectures about loop quantum gravity at the Perimeter Institute site, here (you need to scroll down to ‘Introduction to Quantum Gravity’ in the left hand menu bar). Basically, Smolin explains that loop quantum gravity gets the Feynman path integral of quantum field theory by summing all interaction graphs of a Penrose spin network, which amounts to general relativity without a metric (i.e., background independent).

- http://quantumfieldtheory.org/

Best wishes,

Nigel

—– Original Message —–
From: Guy Grantham
To: Nigel Cook
Cc: Whan Peter ; Montgomery Ian
Sent: Friday, March 16, 2007 9:59 AM
Subject: objections to LeSage type gravity

Dear Nigel

I found a comment on the original objections to Fatio-LeSage type of gravitation that I understand you to use in modified form by the impact of (redshifted) gauge particles and their shadowing by masses.  .

The Fatio-LeSage theory was criticised because the impact of inelastic particles would overheat the recipient; elastic particles would interact between themselves or be travelling in the wrong direction etc. to give regions where gravitation did not appear.; etc,etc.

The Wiki has a recent article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage%27s_theory_of_gravitation .

Nigel, would please work through for me how the criticisms in section 4 of that article would or would not apply to your preferred theory and the ways your model differs from LeSage? I prefer to think of [can only imagine!] ‘space’ being curved rather than as a ‘particle’ impact model, or process driven like Cahill’s and Ian’s theories and really would like to get a handle on the alternative points of view.

Best regards, Guy

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38 thoughts on “Why old discarded theories won’t be taken seriously

  1. nc says:

    Copy of a comment:

    http://asymptotia.com/2007/03/13/more-scenes-from-the-storm-in-a-teacup-vii/#comment-33520

    61 – Nigel
    Mar 16th, 2007 at 8:26 am

    Everything that happens involves particle physics, so it determines the nature of everything, and is just a few types of fundamental particles and four basic fundamental forces, or three at high energy, where electro-weak unification occurs.

    It’s better to have debates and disputes over scientific matters that can potentially be resolved, than have arguments over interminable political opinions which can’t be resolved factually, even in principle. I don’t agree that a lack of debate (until new experimental data arrives) is the best option. The issue is that experiments may resolve the electroweak symmetry breaking mechanism, but they won’t necessarily change the facts in the string theory debate one bit. Penrose explains the problem here on pp. 1020-1 of Road to Reality (UK ed.):

    ’34.4 Can a wrong theory be experimentally refuted? … One might have thought that there is no real danger here, because if the direction is wrong then the experiment would disprove it, so that some new direction would be forced upon us. This is the traditional picture of how science progresses. Indeed, the well-known philosopher of science [Sir] Karl Popper provided a reasonable-looking criterion of a proposed theory, namely that it be observationally refutable. But I fear that this is too stringent a criterion, and definitely too idealistic a view of science in this modern world of “big science”…

    ‘We see that it is not so easy to dislodge a popular theoretical idea through the traditional scientific method of crucial experimentation, even if that idea happened actually to be wrong. The huge expense of high-energy experiments, also, makes it considerably harder to test a theory than it might have been otherwise. There are many other theoretical proposals, in particle physics, where predicted particles have mass-energies that are far too high for any serious possibility of refutation.’

  2. nc says:

    Copy of another comment:

    http://asymptotia.com/2007/03/13/more-scenes-from-the-storm-in-a-teacup-vii/#comment-33536

    65 – Nigel
    Mar 16th, 2007 at 9:22 am

    “If other people aren’t interested in your research, then you cannot hope to get very far.” – JustAnotherInfidel

    That depends on how far you can go which depends on whether you actually have a useful idea or not. As the title of Feynman’s book, What do you care…?, says, other people’s opinions aren’t always valuable!

    See also http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=-77014189453344068&q=Freeman+Dyson for the problems you still have if others do appreciate and try to help you. Freeman Dyson was ridiculed and upset at a conference by Oppenheimer, when Dyson was explaining Feynman’s ideas.

  3. nc says:

    Copy of an anonymous comment:

    http://golem.ph.utexas.edu/~distler/blog/archives/001206.html

    Re: Validator Face-Off

    Is arXiv planning to install a validation system to automatically check submitted internet files, or something? It’s a pity that automatic validation can’t remove the human element from arXiv completely, by validating the content to check it is scientifically acceptable according to standards of objectivity, rather than consensus.

    Posted by: x on March 16, 2007 12:33 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

  4. nc says:

    I should have written in the test of this post about why drag effects aren’t produced by exchange radiation that causes gravity.

    You have to study what causes drag. Drag is caused by the loss of momentum due to particles of relatively low (non-relativistic) speed taking away momentum as they strike moving objects and rebound.

    You have to consider momentum and energy. Energy is conserved, so where does the energy go? In a gas, air drag is possible because the gas gets hotter. This happens because air molecules get speeded up by hitting moving objects, and they then hit other molecules in the gas hard, and gradually the inelastic collisions convert the added energy into heat.

    When a photon hits an object, it cannot be speeded up (it always appears to go at speed c in the observer’s frame of reference, because of the Lorentz contraction of spacetime), so its energy can only change as a result of a shift in frequency (or wavelength, c/frequency).

    So in place of drag is the FitzGerald-Lorentz contraction. The moving object shrinks in the direction of motion, which restores the equilibrium of exchange radiation between it and the other masses in the universe.

  5. Dr. Teresa Le Sage says:

    I found all your posts (all authors) very interesting. I am not a Mathematician, but have several ideas on models of the universe we occupy that I can not share all of them here–not the appropriate place.
    I came across LeSage gravity theory a couple of years ago while googling my last name. My background is in Earth Science and I teach a variety of university science courses. Astronomy is a hobby of mine, especially particle physics, gravity, and electro-magnetic forces.
    I am a systems naturalist thinker. It is important to keep an open mind regarding the theories. Einstein said that nothing could go faster than the speed of light, but if humans are going to travel in space–there has to be something faster. Not too long ago, a Physicist(s) had the guts to challenge the speed of light/Einstein theory–I do not recall his(name(s). Light slows down and likely speeds up under certain conditions, while experiencing a gravity field and likely other forces. If any of these ideas I just mentioned are utilized in publication–please cite me. I just do not have the math skills to describe my universal concepts.

  6. Hi Dr Teresa Le Sage,

    Being a mathematician hasn’t helped Dr Edward Witten to make falsifiable predictions that extend the Standard Model and test quantum gravity.

    Feynman argues that because the path integral over all possible interactions has an infinite series of terms in its perturbative expansion, it’s not physically real mathematics. It’s a continuum (or classical) approximation to the non-infinite number of actual interactions involved in any event in the universe. As Feynman pointed out in his Nov 1964 Cornell University lecture “The Character of Physical Law – The Relation of Mathematics to Physics”, this suggests that the universe isn’t based on mathematics:

    “So I have often made the hypothesis that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement, that in the end the machinery will be revealed, and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the chequer board with all its apparent complexities.”

    It’s also clear that the use of differential tensors in general relativity is another classical approximation, which falsely smooths out a quantized distribution of mass energy (in particles, atoms) as if it were a perfect fluid in the source term, and then describes the effect as a smooth “curvature” using the Ricci tensor. This is completely false, because the exchange of gravitons in quantum gravity must cause accelerations, and the acceleration of a particle will be a series of quantum leaps as gravitons are received, not a smooth differential acceleration.

    Le Sage gravity in a sense is the simplest way to get quantum gravity predictions.

    Ultimately, it’s not math skill you need here because differential geometry – which is the basis of the errors in quantum field theory, Maxwell’s equations, and general relativity – prevents progress.

    Plenty of people have tried to the same well worn route and they haven’t got any further for decades. There has been no significant progress in the theory of fundamental particle physics since the discovery of asymptotic freedom of quarks in the early 1970s.

    The main reason for this is the focus on differential geometry, both in general relativity research and in quantum field theory research.

    Switching from analytical efforts in quantum theory towards physical understanding will require Monte Carlo computer simulations of interactions, modelling the exchange of field quanta between charges, etc. This (computer programming) approach is entirely different to the type of mathematics which has failed to achieve significant progress for 35 years.

    I work in IT and have little free time, so all that I’ve been doing on this blog is trying to clarify my understanding as far as possible with the minimum expenditure of time.

    Just a comment about Einstein and the speed of light. I don’t know how far you’ve gone into this, but here is my understanding of it:

    1. Maxwell’s equations show that if you are moving relative to an electric charge (say, an electron), you’ll detect a magnetic field from the moving charge. If you and the electron are both moving side-by-side so that you are not moving relative to one another, then you detect no magnetic field. This is relativity. Maxwell however predicted that the mechanical aether in his theory (explaining the vacuum “displacement current” term, the product of vacuum permittivity and dE/dt, where E is electric field strength in volts/metre) would provide an absolute reference frame. He published this and suggested basically the Michelson-Morley experiment to test it, in Encyclopedia Britannica sometime around 1870 (from memory).

    2. Michelson and Morley decided to test Maxwell’s prediction that light waves are carried at absolute speed by the aether. They failed to detect any absolute motion.

    3. FitzGerald in 1889 then suggested that there is absolute motion, but this absolute motion was undetectable because the Michelson-Morley instrument was contracted in the direction of its motion by the head-on pressure of the aether (or the flux of exchange radiation, as in modern quantum field theory, or the spacetime continuum as in general relativity), somewhat like the pressure of water at the bow of a ship causes the ship’s length to contract, or the air drag pressure on the nose of an aircraft causes it to contract in length.

    This is a very thorny issue, because literally 99.9% of physicists have a religious faith in Einstein’s denial of aether, so just stating FitzGerald’s aether explanation is a heresy. It’s not just the journal editors, it’s a widespread dismissal of vacuum dynamics.

    Part of the reason is a very rapid descent into crackpot aether ideas. Eddington in his 1920 book “Space Time and Gravitation” stated that there were then 200 aetherial theories of gravity, none of which were scientific in having evidence and being useful.

    From memory I believe that Gamow wrote in one of his popular books (possibly “One Two Three … Infinity”) that the physical contraction by aether analogy to a ship in motion to the Michelson-Morley apparatus being contracted (and thus averting interference fringes, and making Einstein’s special relativity appear corect) is wrong, because the contraction by spacetime is always by the same FitzGerald-Lorentz factor (1 – v^2 / c^2)^(1/2), while the amount of length-ways contraction of an aircraft or ship due to its motion within a fluid medium is dependent upon the atomic material and chemical nature of the matter (wood or metal, etc.).

    This is a pretty shrewd observation. If you look at general relativity, it predicts that the gravitational field contracts the earth’s radius by 1.5 millimetres or x = (1/3)MG/c^2 (see Feynman’s Lectures on Physics, volume 3 I believe, the lecture on curved spacetime).

    You can understand this pretty simply from the fluid pressure analogy. Place an orange in a tank of compressed fluid, and the higher the fluid pressure, the more contraction the orange’s radius will undergo.

    However, it’s obvious that the contraction in this case is also independent of the structural strength or composition of the earth.

    What’s happening is that gravitons are acting on the fundamental particles with mass. According to the Standard Model, which is at least partly correct because it’s mainly empirical (apart from symmetry breaking aspects like the hypothetical Higgs field, which haven’t been observed or checked yet) and makes many checkable predictions about particle reaction rates which have been confirmed, all particles are massless and mass is provided by a separate field.

    Because the masses of fundamental particles are not a continuous spectrum like photon energies from a radiating blackbody, but are instead quantized into definite units, presumably masses are composed of massive field quanta which interact with fundamental electromagnetic and nuclear charges as well as with gravitons.

    One of the key things about the Le Sage model is that the mean-free-path of gravitons is very large even in relatively dense matter. Most gravitons passing through the Earth don’t interact at all, and the small asymmetry due to the small portion which do interact involve gravitons interacting with only one particle.

    This is why there is no mechanical effect due to the strength of the earth. The compression of the earth’s radius by 1.5 mm by gravitons is accomplished by the gravitons interacting only on fundamental particles, distributed throughout the earth’s volume. So it not a pressure on the outer surface of the earth which is transmitted through the earth mechanically. Thus, the structural strength of the earth is irrelevant for the mechanism of the compression which occurs.

    If you consider a single fundamental particle (with rest mass) moving in space, it’s supposed to become flattened into a sheet if it’s velocity approaches c. The loss in its spherically symmetric electric field from this Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction is accompanied by a net magnetic field which grows stronger as the particle moves faster. In addition, it gets an increase in inertial and presumably gravitational mass (Einstein’s equivalence principle says inertial mass equals gravitational mass).

    The physical basis for the contraction is head-on pressure when moving in a fluid: drag pressure in a perfect fluid spacetime fabric doesn’t bring you to a half, it simply contracts you in the direction of motion (where the fluid takes energy from you to move itself out of your path but returns the energy by flowing back into the void and pushing in behind you, filling the void you are forever forming behind you as you move, as for “Aristotle’s arrow”). The (1 – v^2 /c^2)^(1/2) contraction factor is easily explained by analogy to a fluid: v is your velocity relative to the velocity of exchanged gravitons, c. Here c is basically analogous to the speed of sound in a fluid.

    The increase in mass of a moving particle is due to the snowplough effect: although the fluid (or graviton field) ahead of a particle will be turned out of the way by the moving particle, the faster the particle is going, the bigger the wave of spacetime fabric that is being turned aside and flowing around the particle and pushing in again at the rear of the moving particle, like the wave of water flowing around a moving ship or submarine from bow to stern. The increase in the rate and strength of graviton interactions in the direction of motion due to increased speed of particle, increases the particle’s mass. Mass is determined simply by the graviton exchange interaction rate, so it increases with velocity.

    I don’t think that it is that helpful to quote Einstein as saying that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. A high-energy beta particle in water can exceed the local speed of light of the water, and emits blue light (Cherenkov radiation). This is quite an important example of how particles can travel faster than light, and the proof is the blue glow from a water moderated nuclear reactor core: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherenkov_radiation

    Obviously, you’re referring to the velocity of light in the vacuum as a supposed limit asserted by Einstein. I tend to disagree with you because electromagnetism relies on a spacetime fabric (the exchange of field quanta between charges), so light is physically just an asymmetry in the normal equilibrium rate of exchange of field quanta between the electromagnetic charges of the universe. I don’t see how this velocity can be varied.

    In any case, if a particle approaches the velocity c, its mass approaches infinity. (This may be best explained by the increase in the magnetic field with velocity, since you get self-inductance from the magnetic field which tends to increase inertia.)

    I don’t see how you can overcome this fact. It’s well established that mass increases with velocity. You can do the experiment by measuring the deflection of beta particles going at various speeds, by a magnetic field. The more inertial force the particle has, the less it will be deflected by a given magnetic field. Clearly this is a barrier that prevents you going faster than the velocity of light.

    Einstein recognised that special relativity was phoney because it ignored accelerations, which are absolute motions without any relative reference frame. E.g., if you rotate rapidly you can tell you are in absolute accelerative motion (you feel ill) without requiring the need to look at anything else for reference, whereas if you simply are going in a straight line at uniform velocity, you do need to look at some other object to determine that you are moving relative to that other object.

    Because one principle of special relativity ignores accelerative motions such as centripetal acceleration, that principle is plain wrong in this universe. So Einstein replaced false special relativity with the principle of general covariance in general relativity, whereby any true laws of motion MUST be true in all reference frames, not just uniform motion:

    “The special theory of relativity … does not extend to non-uniform motion … The laws of physics must be of such a nature that they apply to systems of reference in any kind of motion. Along this road we arrive at an extension of the postulate of relativity… The general laws of nature are to be expressed by equations which hold good for all systems of co-ordinates, that is, are co-variant with respect to any substitutions whatever (generally co-variant).

    - Albert Einstein, ‘The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity’, Annalen der Physik, v49, 1916.

    The most important occurrance of the Lorentz-FitzGerald contraction in general relativity is in the stress-energy tensor which is the source term for the gravitational field.

    I think that the ultimate reality is that all gravitational charges (mass and energy) is exchanging light-velocity gravitons with other gravitational charges. These gravitons, together with electromagnetic exchange radiations of the same velocity, form the background field of spacetime.

    Observable photons are asymmetries in the normally equilibrium exchange of (otherwise unobservable) electromagnetic gauge bosons between electromagnetic charges, while gravitational waves will be asymmetries in the (otherwise unobservable) graviton exchange between masses.

    In this physical context, I don’t see how you can go faster than the velocity of light, since that is the velocity of the field quanta which is giving rise to all the properties of spacetime. (The weak gauge bosons and gluons are massive and thus are both short ranged and travel slower than c, so we aren’t concerned with them in the context of the universe at late times.)

    But thanks for the stimulating comment.

  7. Teresa Le Sage says:

    Hi–I have not had a chance to review your interesting comment. I look forward to it later. I have an open mind. I craved knowledge. I was at a conference a week ago and heard some far-out futuristic thought. I will share later. Cheers. Teresa

  8. Teresa Le Sage says:

    I am going to just go out and say it—Gravity is a magnetic force–or something like one. The inner core of the earth is spinning in one direction and the other core in another yielding electrical energy, which is suppose to be small. The high iron-nickel core is a magnet, thus producing a magnetic field-aura. The reason we stay put is due to the gravitional pull downward of gravity of an average of 9.8m/s2. We are held down by magentic properties. The Le Sage gravity theory was interesting–some of the terminology was strange, such as corpusals, but it was the 1700′s.

    The entire universe is balance with forces–high always moves to low. We should map the universe much like a weather forecast in the future. Comparing an image of a spiral galaxy and a hurricane helps support this universal concept.

    Another item of discussion–light–it has duality–2 sides of the same coin–is a particle and wave. If light is a particle it must have mass. Most literature states that light has no mass. It does, if a particle. Well that its for now.

    Teresa

  9. Teresa,

    Electromagnetism and gravity do have a certain amount in common; the inverse square law. What’s also interesting is that the electromagnetic force between a proton and electron is 10^40 times stronger than gravitation. Also, magnetism is dipolar; nobody has discovered even a single magnetic monopole in nature. You get attraction of unlike poles and repulsion of like poles. Gravitation is a monopole force field; yet it is always attractive no matter what the electric charge of the mass/energy.

    I wrote an article in Electronics World April 2003 which leads to the conclusion that the distinction between gravity and electromagnetism is a result of a simple physical difference: the charge of the gauge bosons being exchanged. This predicts the 10^40 coupling constant difference between electromagnetism and gravity, and it explains why gravitation is always attractive (over non-cosmological distances; get too far and the net effect is repulsion because the theory predicts the small positive cosmological constant which is accelerating the universe), and why unlike electromagnetic charges attract while like electromagnetic charges repel.

    Gravity is due to electrically uncharged gauge bosons are exchanged between all mass/energy in the universe. Net gravitational forces arise due to asymmetry, the Lesage shadowing effect, due to the way the exchange process works.

    In order for two masses to exchange gravitons, they must be receding from one another at a relativistic velocity in accordance with the Hubble law, v = HR. This gives them an outward acceleration from one another of a = dv/dt = d(HR)/dt = Hv = RH^2. As a result of this acceleration, they have a force outward from one another of F = ma = mRH^2. Simple!

    Newton’s 3rd law (action and reaction are equal and opposite) then tells us that the outward forces of each of the receding masses must result in an equal inward reaction force. This force – by elimination of all other possibilities – is carried by gravitons.

    Hence, gravitation causes distant receding masses to forcefully fire off gravitons at each other, so the relativistically receding masses end up exchanging gravitons and being repelled apart. Impulses and recoil forces when gravitons are exchanged between relativistically receding masses causes those masses to go on accelerating as they recede from one another. This gives the cosmological acceleration normally attributed to dark energy (the Lambda term).

    Now examine what happens when two masses (say me and the planet Earth) are not relativistically receding relative to one another! There is no forceful exchange of gravitons between me and the Earth! This is because the acceleration of me away from the Earth is zero, so the force of me away from the Earth is zero, and the reaction force of gravitons from me towards the Earth is zero.

    In other words, I’m not exchanging gravitons with the Earth in a forceful way, simply because I’m not receding from the Earth. So the Earth and I are unable to exchange gravitons efficiently! This is a shielding effect, because the Earth and myself are both exchanging gravitons with the distant, receding galaxies in the universe.

    The only direction in which I’m not able to efficiently exchange gravitons is downward, because some of the tiny fundamental particles in the Earth are exchanging gravitons with distant receding masses in that direction from me, but are unable to then exchange those gravitons with me because there is no graviton exchange between myself and the Earth. Hence, the fundamental particles in the Earth are shielding or shadowing a small portion of the graviton force from distant receding galaxies in the downward direction from me!

    So the net graviton force on me is the excess of gravitons pushing downwards over that coming upward through the planet below me.

    Now this is a very simple geometric effect: gravitons are electrically uncharged exchange radiation with spin-1, like photons. For electromagnetism, the only way to get a physical understanding is to change Feynman’s QED U(1) Abelian theory. There are lots of problems with U(1): it only has one type of charge (hence the 1 in U(1) symmetry), so negative and positive charges have to be treated as the same thing moving in different directions through time. But there is no evidence that anything goes backward in time. Also, there are other problems with the mainstream U(1) electromagnetism. It doesn’t predict or explain physically what the mechanism for electromagnetic forces is; it has to use a photon with 4-polarizations instead of the normal 2, so that it can include attraction and not just repulsion. It’s a very unsatisfactory physical description.

    My argument here is that electromagnetism and gravity are actually an SU(2) Yang-Mills theory, with charged massless gauge bosons. SU(2) gives rise to two types of charge and three types of gauge boson: neutral, positive and negative. I’ve worked out that charged massless gauge bosons can propagate in the vacuum despite the usual objection to the charged massless radiation (infinite magnetic self-inductance): what happens is that in exchange radiation, there is an equilibrium of exchange of radiation travelling in two directions at once, so the clockwise magnetic curl of say leftward travelling charged radiation will exactly cancel out the relatively anticlickwise curl of rightward travelling charged radiation. The cancellation of the magnetic curls in this way means that the magnetic self-inductance is no longer infinite but zero!

    Next, the exchange of charged massless gauge bosons between electromagnetic charges has more possibilities than gravitation. The random arrangement of fundamental charges (positive and negative) relative to one another throughout the universe means that all of the positive and negative electric charges in the universe will be linked up by their exchange of charged gauge bosons, like a lot of positive and negative charged capacitor plates separated by vacuum dielectric. Because the arrangement is random, they won’t add up linearly. If the addition was linear with positive and negative charges arranged in a long line with alternating sign at each charge, then the result would be like a series of batteries or capacitors in circuit, and electromagnetism would be stronger than gravitation by about a factor of 10^80 (the number of hydrogen atoms in the universe).

    Because the arrangement is random, and charged gauge bosons of one sign are stopped by half the charges in the universe, the actual addition is non-linear. It’s a drunkard’s statistical walk, like the zig-zag path of a particle undergoing Brownian motion. The vector sum can be worked out by doing a path integral calculation. It’s approximately the square root of the number of hydrogen atoms in the universe, times stronger than gravity. I.e. 10^40.

    This model also explains repulsive forces and attractive forces in electromagnetism, as a correspondent (Guy Grantham) has pointed out to me. Because you have two types of charged gauge boson, two protons have overlapping force fields composed of positively charged massless gauge bosons.

    As a result, the protons exchange positively charged gauge bosons and get repelled away from one another, rather like two people firing machine guns at one another will be forced apart both by the recoil impulses when firing each round, and by the strikes when receiving each round! (The incoming positively charged exchange radiation from distant masses in the universe to the far side of each of the protons being considered is severely redshifted and thus carries little energy and hence little momentum.)

    In the case of dissimilar charges, the positive charge and negative charge (or north pole and south pole in the case of two magnets) suffer the problem that the opposing fields cancel each other out instead of adding up. So there is no forceful exchange of radiation between them; they shield one another just like the Lesage shadowing gravity mechanism, and so opposite charges get pushed together by the exchange radiations coming from the distant receding galaxies in the universe.

    The fact that the electromagnetic attractive force between a proton and an electron is identical in strength but opposite in sign (i.e. direction) to the repulsive force between either two protons or two electrons, is explained by the energy balance of exchange radiation with the surrounding universe during the period that the force is acting, as proved graphically in my April 2003 Electronics World article.

    When two particles repel or attract due to electromagnetism, they are converting the potential energy of the redshifted incoming exchange radiation energy (from distant charges in the receding universe) into kinetic energy. The amount of energy available in this way per second (i.e., the power used to accelerate charges) to just two charges (whether they are proton and electron, proton and proton, or electron and electron) is the same because each charge has a similar cross-section for interactions with exchange radiations!

    Hence, when two protons or two electrons repel, they are being repelled by a similar power of radiant exchange radiation supplied externally by the surrounding universe as in the case of the attraction of one proton and one electron.

    The diagram in the April 2003 Electronics World article makes this energy summation clearer: the resultant of all the exchanges is that unit similar charges repel at the same force that dissimilar charges attract.

    I agree with you that light is a particle and has mass: saying light has “no rest mass” which the literature is fond of announcing, is pathetic because light is not at rest anyway,

    “The fact that photons have no rest mass isn’t a problem because … they can never be at rest anyway …”

    - page 21 of P.C.W. Davies, The Forces of Nature, Cambridge University Press, London, 2nd ed., 1986.

    Nige

  10. Dr. Teresa Le Sage says:

    I enjoyed your response-thank you. It was a pleasure to read. Here are a couple of more thoughts on light-radiation. Lately, I have been observing how visible light is affected by waves in water. At night when you turn on the pool lights and the water is under impact from children, wind etc., you can observe how light appears to refracts and reflects in many directions. The patterns of light below and on the surface of the water are amazing. I imagine the universe we visualize, electromagnetic radiation much the same way now. Gravity fields and others distorting radiation and/or other forces greater than currectly expected. There are probably other forces too–not yet discovered. This subject area would make an interesting article.

    Are you the author of all the electronics and math texts by Nige Cook? Are you teaching?
    Teresa

  11. nc says:

    It should be noted that the Wikipedia article about LeSage has been considerably increased in quality and content since the discussion in this post, yet the basic flaws in the article survive untouched.

    It continues to try to debunk the idea of exchange radiations causing fundamental forces using the false argument that quantum fields would (by exchanging field quanta between particles of matter) heat up matter, despite the fact that this exchange radiation model is the MAINSTREAM Yang-Mills and Abelian Standard Model of particle physics, and quantum gravity.

    Shamefully, people like the authors of the book on LeSage gravity, “Pushing Gravity”, continue to try to ignore this fact, ignoring all of quantum field theory which is based on the exchange of field quanta between charged particles of matter.

    Another one is the drag objection: again, if exchange radiation caused drag on moving particles, this criticism would need to be leveled against the MAINSTREAM model of Yang-Mills quantum field theory, the Standard Model of quantum physics. Actually, long-range (light velocity) exchange radiations are responsible for some effects on moving bodies in lieu of drag: length contraction, mass increase, etc. These effects are discussed in the latest (and final) post on this blog, https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/book/ as well as in the earlier post https://nige.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/quantum-gravity-mechanism-and-predictions/ and various other posts.

    However, while all these people ignore the facts using false arguments (hypocrisy, because such arguments would debunk the Standard Model of particle physics if they were true, and they don’t use such arguments to debunk that; they just focus such arguments at the LeSage model because they’re just crackpots) they have at least assembled quite a few facts about the (false) reasons for the censorship at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage's_theory_of_gravitation including notably a readable English translation of LeSage’s own paper:

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Le_Sage_Theory_of_Gravitation

  12. Another piece of horseshit in the Wikipedia article:

    “Therefore, in order to be viable, Fatio and Le Sage postulated that the shielding effect is so small as to be undetectable, which requires that the interaction cross-section of matter must be extremely small (P10, below). This places an extremely high lower-bound on the intensity of the flux required to produce the observed force of gravity. According to standard physics any form of gravitational shielding is a violation of the equivalence principle and therefore is inconsistent with general relativity.[44]”

    Quantum fields are incompatible with general relativity too, because they deny smooth curvature and replace it with quantized effects (discrete particles of exchange radiation constituting the field, not a continuum). This means nothing, because we know that general relativity is only a classical aproximation, not a religious truth declared by God.

    So all this horseshit about LeSage not being compatible with general relativity is just an example of propaganda, mud-throwing in the hope that some will stick.

    In any case, when you look at the numbers, the outward acceleration of the universe, on the order 10^{-10} ms{-2} as observed from supernovae redshifts by perlmutter and published in Nature, and calculated see https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/book/ , this gives an immense outward force F=ma on the order 10^43 Newtons (because the mass of the receding universe is immense, despite the small acceleration).

    From the possibilities known to be available in the Standard Model and quantum gravity for what carries the equal and opposite reaction force (Newton’s 3rd law), gravitons are one candidate. The shielding area is the area of the fundamental particle’s black hole event horizon, see https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/book/ for references. This area is very small, and there is no significant error in Einstein’s equivalence principle. Overlap of particles in the Earth or even a star is not a significant effect because the areas are so small. It’s extremely improbable that two particles will be aligned so perfectly along any line-of-sight that their miniscule shielding areas will overlap. This is an example of a quantitative effect becoming a qualitative effect because of the extreme scale of the numbers involved. Because the cross-sections for quantum gravity interactions are so small, there is no significant overlap problem of the LeSage variety.

    In any case, LeSage’s original theory is as far from the truth as Aristarchus or Samos’s solar system was from Kepler’s and Newton’s laws of planetary motion and gravity. The hard work isn’t proclaiming that the Earth orbits the sun, but obtaining the laws of motion which were quite different (elliptical orbits) to Aristarchus’s and Copernicus’s circular orbits.

    In the 1750 or more years when Aristarchus’s correct idea was being suppressed and censored (i.e., from 250 BC to 1500 AD or so), the people doing the censorship could throw any horseshit abuse at the idea without bothering to read it or study it carefully, and they certainly did throw a lot of mud. For example, they asserted that because the solar system required the earth to spin on its axis (one revolution daily), it was immediately disproved by the fact we aren’t thrown off the earth (at 1000 miles/hour near the equator), and by the fact that the clouds in the sky over the equator don’t whiz by at 1000 miles per hour. These were some of the ignorant sneers made by Ptolemy in his “sun orbits earth” tract, the Almagest, published in 150 AD.

    This was all horseshit, based on hostility, ignorance, and lying political showmanship of the sneering variety. The physics of the laws of motion and meteorology didn’t exist at the time Aristarchus was around. Newton in 1687 published the laws of motion, and detailed understanding of meteorology was discovered in the centuries after that.

    That horseshit is similar to Maxwell and kelvin’s horseshit about quantum fields being an impossibility because the exchange of field quanta would heat up objects until they glowed red hot. They invent a speculative objection, based on their own ignorance, which is like saying that people at the equator would fly off if the earth was really spinning. In science, unobserved speculations don’t disprove observed facts, except in the minds of the gullible and the confidence tricksters like string theorists.

    Notice that there is a flaw in the automatic hyperlinking of web-addresses by the wordpress comments code: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage’s_theory_of_gravitation does not hyperlink to the relevant page because the comments page automatically formats the simple (neither 6 nor 9 shaped) apostrophe into an intelligent 9-shaped apostrophe, before attempting to hyperlink it. This makes the hyperlinking fail at the apostrophe. Wikipedia has a page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage’s_theory_of_gravitation with a simple apostrophe in the name LeSage’s, not a clever apostrophe.

    Anyway, a couple of further observations about the LeSage page. It claims falsely that general relativity and the LeSage mechanism are incompatible in general, as I’ve explained above. In fact, the incompatibility is non-observable, and at a higher level general relativity is the classical (non-quantized) inaccurate approximation, not vice-versa. See https://nige.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/quantum-gravity-mechanism-and-predictions/ and https://nige.wordpress.com/2007/07/04/metrics-and-gravitation/ for a discussion of general relativity’s contraction mechanism. What happens in general relativity is a mathematical generalization of the Newtonian gravitational law in tensor calculus, followed by a correction that is needed for conservation of energy in the field: it is the correction which makes a photon of light (or anything else moving at velocity c) get deflected twice as much as a slow-moving (non-relativistic) object would in the same gravitational field.

    “As shown by Laplace, another possible Le Sage effect is orbital aberration due to finite speed of gravity. Unless the Le Sage particles are moving at speeds much greater than the speed of light, as Le Sage and Kelvin supposed, there is a time delay in the interactions between bodies (the transit time). In the case of orbital motion this results in each body reacting to a retarded position of the other, which creates a leading force component. Contrary to the drag effect, this component will act to accelerate both objects away from each other. In order to maintain stable orbits, the effect of gravity must either propagate much faster than the speed of light or must not be a purely central force. This has been suggested by many as a conclusive disproof of any Le Sage type of theory. In contrast, general relativity is consistent with the lack of appreciable aberration identified by Laplace, because even though gravity propagates at the speed of light in general relativity, the expected aberration is almost exactly cancelled by velocity-dependent terms in the interaction.[48]” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage’s_theory_of_gravitation

    The problem with the above is simply that the gravity mechanism gives rise to general relativity as a classical approximation for orbital aberration and many other purposes! See https://nige.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/quantum-gravity-mechanism-and-predictions/ . Because the quantum gravity theory explains the mechanism behind general relativity and shows where it is valid (it isn’t valid for cosmologically vast distance interactions where you get the cosmological acceleration and recession rather than gravitational attraction, but that is not relevant to orbital aberration! Hence the entire quotation above is horseshit.

    The discussion on “drag” in that article is wrong because it implicitly assumes a false idea that the particles causing gravity are simply like a gas. We know even in the MAINSTREAM model, that there are two components involved which are distinct from normal fermionic particles:

    (1) bosonic exchange radiation
    (2) a mass-giving bosonic field such as some kind of Higgs field

    The combined effect of these two particles is approximated by an ideal fluid, which doesn’t exhibit any drag at all. Drag occurs only when there is a net energy loss to the surrounding medium due to motion of a particle relative to that medium. With bosonic field quanta, this “drag” effect only occurs when a fermion accelerates or decelerates. When accelerating or decelerating, energy is lost or emitted as radiation and the fermion changes shape and mass due to the surrounding bosonic field. Once acceleration stops, the net emission of energy stops because an equilibrium is established.

    The whole point is that any particle is continually emitting and receiving radiation at all times, regardless of motion: this quickly stabilises as an equilibrium so there is no net loss or gain of energy. Moving a fermion causes an upset to the equilibrium during the period of acceleration. After that, the equilibrium is re-established and there is no net loss or gain of energy. Because the particle is not able to lose energy after the Lorentz contraction process (which occurs during accelerations only, a fact covered up in special/restricted relativity by the problem that special/restricted relativity doesn’t apply to accelerations at all), it is unable to slow down. Drag can’t occur physically, because no energy is being lost.

    Drag occurs when particles of air hit a moving object and carry away some of the original kinetic energy of the moving object in the form of increased motion of air molecules. This is a process which can’t occur with massless bosonic exchange radiation (the Z boson is a massive bosonic field quanta), which are restricted in velocity to the velocity of light. Because the mechanism for quantum gravity involves inertial forces and Lorentz contraction phenomena during accelerations but not during constant velocity motion, drag doesn’t occur.

    “In many particle models, such as Kelvin’s, the range of gravity is limited due to the nature of particle interactions amongst themselves. The range is effectively determined by the rate that the proposed internal modes of the particles can eliminate the momentum defects (shadows) that are created by passing through matter. Such predictions as to the effective range of gravity will vary and are dependent upon the specific aspects and assumptions as to the modes of interactions that are available during particle interactions. However, for this class of models the observed large-scale structure of the cosmos constrains such dispersion to those that will allow for the aggregation of such immense gravitational structures.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Sage’s_theory_of_gravitation

    The lying horseshit here is the sneaky “hint” that the large-scale structure of the universe debunks a limited range for gravitational attraction: actually the acceleration of the cosmos on large cosmological scales, discovered from supernova redshifts by Perlmutter in 1998, is a universal repulsion of masses on extremely large scales. As shown in Fig. 1 at https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/book/ , the limited range of gravitational attraction and the existence of repulsive cosmological acceleration on larger scales, are both predicted accurately from one mechanism. The cosmological acceleration was predicted in 1996 and published prior to Perlmutter’s observational discovery of it.

  13. nige says:

    copy of a comment:

    http://riofriospacetime.blogspot.com/2008/06/inflation-deflated.html

    “Why the Best Theories Aren’t Always Right” – New Scientist editorial, http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/mg19826592.900-editorial-why-the-best-theories-arent-always-right.html

    Thanks for quoting this classically absurd New Scientist editorial headline! It’s a great title, telling us a lot about the thinking of the editor.

    Personally, I think that a scientist should hold the viewpoint that the best theory is the correct theory.

    As soon as you start believing that theories which are not right are the best theories, you enter the “doublespeak” world of delusion discussed by George Orwell in 1984.

    Notice that the New Scientist editorial tells the lie:

    “When Copernicus showed that the observations fitted more elegantly with a theory in which the Earth went around the sun, Ptolemy’s work became redundant.”

    This was debunked by Arthur Koestler in his 1959 masterpiece of research, “The Sleepwalkers”.

    Koestler counted the number of epicycles used by Ptolemy and by Copernicus (both needed epicycles, since they used perfect circles to describe orbits, not ellipses which were only discovered long after Copernicus by Kepler who used Brahe’s detailed observations to work out the orbit of Mars).

    Koestler found that Ptolemy used about 40, and Copernicus used 80.

    This is hardly the “elegant” simplicity that the New Scientist editorial claims; it is ugly complexity.

    The reason was that Copernicus was only partly right; he wrongly used many epicycles (twice as many as Ptolemy) because he missed out the fact that planets go in elliptical shaped orbits, rather than lots of circles within circles.

    Copernicus’ circular orbits with circular epicycles (within the circular orbits) was proposed in 1500 AD. Kepler discovered that Copernicus’s model was wrong in all the mathematical details when he discovered circa 1610 that the planets move in ellipses. It was only on the back of Kepler’s three accurate laws of planetary motion (based on new observations by Tycho Brahe, the astronomer who had lost his nose in a sword duel), that Newton was able to come up with three general laws of motion, ending the medieval era for physics.

    The New Scientist editorial continues:

    “Questioning and replacing long-held ideas is what science does best. Copernicus could not have happened without Ptolemy.”

    This is ignoring Aristarchus of Samos, who came up with the solar system of Copernicus (minus some of Copernicus’s false epicycles) in 250 BC, some 1750 years before Copernicus!

    I can’t believe that the editor of the New Scientist really believes that a false theory doctrine was helpful. It wasn’t. Copernicus failed to publish until he was on his deathbed. If it hadn’t been for Ptolemy’s rubbish, progress would have happened a lot faster.

    E.g., when you read Ptolemy’s Almagest (published in 150 AD) – you can find Ptolemy’s Almagest together with Copernicus and Kepler in volume 16 of Encyclopedia Britannica’s series from 1952, “Great Books of the Western World” (volume 11 in that series is also vital reading for scientists) – you see that Ptolemy made slighting attacks against the solar system theory.

    Ptolemy declared that if the solar system was right, the Earth would need to be spinning on its axis daily, which isn’t true because clouds near the equator would be flying across the sky at an immense speed (over 1000 miles/hour). Notice that Ptolemy was writing this in 150 AD, over 1500 years before Newton wrote down the three basic laws of motion.

    So Ptolemy had no basis for claiming that the solar system was wrong because clouds should be left behind by the Earth’s spin. It was completely junk “debunking” – he was using speculative guesswork to deduce a false “prediction” from the solar system, then claiming that because the false prediction is in disagreement with nature, the solar system must be wrong!

    This is very similar to some of the crackpotism that occurs when the Fatio or LeSage gravity mechanism is discussed: physicists want to ignore mechanism or to pretend that there is no basis for it so they falsely claim that any exchange radiation which mediates forces would heat up objects like ordinary heat radiation, or that exchange radiation would cause drag and slow things down. These objections are insubstantial because in any quantum field theory, forces are caused by the exchange of field quanta. This has been established in the accurate tests of quantum field theories of electromagnetism, the weak interactions and the strong force. The field quanta don’t cause objects to heat up, despite the fact that all of these interactions have a much higher coupling than gravity does! The objectors are confusing real/observable radiation for the exchange radiation (which has extra polarizations, e.g. a the field quanta of electromagnetism have four polarizations rather than the two polarizations of observable photons), so they aren’t the same thing. Gauge bosons don’t cause objects to heat up, they just cause fundamental forces. Nobody in the mainstream objects to exchange radiations in the Standard Model, including electromagnetism which is a long-range, inverse-square law like gravitation, so they shouldn’t try to ridicule a basic mechanism using such hypocritical, unethical and ignorant nonsense.

    The physical mechanism of New Scientist’s editorials in the universe is to slow down the development of physics by defending ignorance.

    For the editor to defend Ptolemy by saying that Copernicus required Ptolemy’s bigotry and nonsense to bog down physics for 1350 years (150 AD – 1500 AD), is like saying that Churchill and his supporters really owe a debt of gratitude to Hitler because World War II wouldn not have been won without Hitler causing the initial problem. While a moron might be swept along by such an argument, anyone sensible will raise the point that although World War II wouldn’t have been won without dictators, the world would have been better off not having the war at all!

    Ptolemy’s Almagest is the most evil work ever written, due to not just ignoring the correct model, but ridiculing it for false reasons and not properly analysing it (the correct solar system model, albeit with circular orbits not ellipses, had been published by Aristarchus of Samos in 250 BC but was lost when the library of Alexandria burned down, because it hadn’t been copied due to mainstream ignorant bigotry such as that spread by people like Ptolemy).

    I recommend the book by Robert R. Newton, “The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy”, John Hopkins University Press, London, 1979.

  14. nige says:

    copy of a comment:

    http://riofriospacetime.blogspot.com/2008/06/inflation-deflated.html

    In his book 1984, published in 1949, Orwell actually uses astronomy to illustrate doublethink:

    ‘What are the stars?’ said O’Brien indifferently. ‘They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.’ Winston made another convulsive movement. This time he did not say anything. O’Brien continued as though answering a spoken objection: ‘For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?’

    The editor of New Scientist is actually well in tune with O’Brien’s doublethink.

  15. Dr. Teresa Le Sage says:

    Wow-I have not had a chance to dwell over your thoughts. I scanned over them and found them very interesting “brain candy.” I have been very busy teaching–4th week of summer school. I am teaching physical science and earth science plus tutoring pre-service teachers and other professor duties. I am teaching my hobby and life interest, which is always fun. My students notice this and usually start enjoying science too. Well got to go, I’ll be back and reread what you posted. The book looks inticing–I’ll check it out. Thanks, Teresa

  16. Hi Dr Teresa LeSage,

    Thanks for your comments, although most of the contents of this blog is of course really more of a shambles.

    I’m working on a programming project and don’t have time to organize things properly, so am just compiling odds and ends. Hopefully at some stage I’ll have the time to edit and build something more organized and compelling.

    Your teaching enthusiasm sounds great!

    Best wishes,
    Nige

  17. Teresa Le Sage says:

    Hi Nige,

    Summer is quickly passing by–too fast. The problem with being too busy is that we get older–age and look older, Time seems to move quickly. Then when we are bored-it is too slow. This is sort of like the theory of relativity–although I know this is a simple analogy. Time is relative to where and what we are doing mentally. I still have not had a chance to go over your post. I will.
    Teresa

  18. Hi Teresa,

    I’ve recently made some improvements to the theory presentation in a revision to the latest post on this blog. I’m developing an ASP website with SQL server at the moment for a company, and it’s soaking up all my time, but after some recent arguments about the spin of the graviton, I’ve added some clarifications to the current (most recent) post on this blog.

    I think that we need to start from the basics. A spinning charge has centripetal acceleration, and thus should radiate and lose energy (Bohr never resolved this problem and the related problem that an electron in orbit should also be radiating due to the centripetal acceleration; Bohr merely banned it from being raised).

    My argument is originally (in 1996) was that this radiation is emitted by all charges in the universe, so that once equilibrium has been established (after a short time), all charges are receiving and emitting such radiation, which constitutes the fabric of spacetime. In quantum field theory, fields comprise of the exchange of field quanta (gauge bosons) between charges.

    So this ties into quantum field theory. It’s not that revolutionary.

    There is another model for the radiation, however. Hawking radiation is emitted at an immense rate by very small black holes, of the mass of the electron or other fundamental particles. This Hawking radiation mechanism seems to be the source of the field quanta (exchange radiation) for electromagnetism.

    Due to the expansion of the universe, the emission and reception of field quanta such as gravitons, over long distances, is disturbed.

    E.g., gravitons emitted towards us from a distant receding mass will be redshifted when received, so they will have lower frequency and lower energy than when they were emitted (Lubos Motl has claimed that virtual particles like gravitons don’t have any well defined wavelength, but that’s contrary to the whole basis of the empirically confirmed Casimir effect, which is the force between nearby metal plates which exclude certain wavelengths of virtual photons; in any case de Broglie’s particle-wave duality law would suggest that all particles including gauge bosons should have a wave nature as well as a particulate nature).

    So we end up with some interesting physics. The observed Hubble law of recession, v = Hr, tells us some useful facts about the recession, and we can differentiate it to find the acceleration of the universe. It’s pretty evident that the exchange of gravitons between masses is knocking them apart, causing the acceleration of the universe.

    Here’s some mathematical fun.

    F= ma = m*dv/dt = m*d(Hr)/dt = mHv = mrH^2

    Now r = cT, where T is time in the past that the light was emitted from the receding galaxy at apparent distance r. T is related to time since the big bang, t, by: T = (1/H) – t.

    F = mrH^2 = mcTH^2 = mc[(1/H) - t]H^2

    Next, let’s assume that mc is approximately the relativistic momentum of a very distant (very redshifted) galaxy that is receding with almost the velocity c; although c practically is constant, m is a relativistic variable and increases with the redshift. So we shall replace mc with momentum p, and we will also remember that F = dp/dt. This gives:

    dp/dt = p[(1/H) - t]H^2 = p(H – tH^2]

    Rearranging,

    (1/p)dp = (H – tH^2]dt

    Integrating this gives:

    (ln p_2) – (ln p_1) = Ht – (1/2)(H^2)(t^2)

    We then take powers of the base of natural logarithms to get rid of the ln’s:

    (P_2)/(p_1) = exp[Ht - (1/2)(H^2)(t^2)]

    (P_2) = (p_1) * exp[Ht - (1/2)(H^2)(t^2)]

    So we end up with a pretty sophisticated-looking equation. I hasten to add that this is just a quick back of the envelope calculation which hasn’t been carefully checked, so maybe it contains logical, physical and mathematical errors.

    But if it’s correct, then the momentum of a distant galaxy starts at a fixed value, then rises exponentially, peaks, and finally falls towards zero.

    It sounds crazy, but maybe this reflects the stages in the exchange of gauge boson radiation. Because the velocity of a relativistically receding mass can’t vary much as it is already near c, the mass varies instead and the variation of momentum is a measure of the way the force of gauge boson exchanges is accelerating masses in general throughout the universe.

    The relativistic momentum formula relates momentum to rest mass M:

    p = Mv/[(1 - v^2 / c^2)^(1/2)]

    but in terms of actual mass, m (not rest mass, M), the relation is simply

    p = mv ~ mc for relativistic situations.

    For non-relativistic masses (v << c), we might be able to assume that the momentum follows the same calculated law (above) that was obtained for relativistic masses, but instead of p = mc with m varying, it is p = mv with only v varying significantly. If so, then

    (P_2) = (p_1) * exp[Ht - (1/2)(H^2)(t^2)]

    implies that, approximately

    mv_2 = mv_1 * exp[Ht - (1/2)(H^2)(t^2)]

    Cancelling out m (which is constant for v << c)

    v_2 = v_1 * exp[Ht - (1/2)(H^2)(t^2)]

    Hence, non-relativistic velocities of recession as a function of absolute time after the big bang are predicted to rise exponentially at first, peak, and then drop towards zero!

    The reason for the Hubble law v = Hr is that we are seeing backwards in time with increasing distance, so we’re seeing earlier epochs of the big bang where recession velocities were higher.

    What’s annoying about this kind of deduction from mathematical model building is that you have to make various assumptions along the road, and it’s possible to make errors. I prefer simple mechanism based calculations, completely glued down to solid empirical facts, where there is no speculation or possibility for building a house of cards that will collapse. In addition, the way I obtained a relatively complicated exponential solution after starting with Hubble’s simple law v = Hr and just applying mathematical tools is typical of the way that mathematical modelling covers up the detailed way the physical mechanism works.

    If it is true (i.e. if I haven’t made errors) then the heuristic mechanism for the variations in velocities may be due to gauge boson interactions with moving galaxies. At first, the galaxies are being hit by gauge bosons and are basically reflecting them back, so that each galaxy repels each other one, and the universe accelerates outward. But after some time has passed, the gauge bosons become increasingly red-shifted due to the expansion, and then cease to accelerate the universe very much because they don’t have the energy to do so (the cosmic acceleration observed applies to great redshifts, i.e. the greatest distances and early times after the big bang; although you can argue of course over whether the distant early galaxies are accelerating away from us, or whether we’re accelerating away from them, I suppose).

    At that time, the recession velocities have peaked. After that, the gauge bosons start to decelerate non-relativistic receding masses because masses get slowed gradually by the drag of encountering the gauge bosons with higher frequency in the direction of the motion of the mass than in the opposite direction (if you move in a radiation field, it appears blueshifted in the direcion you’re headed and redshifted in the opposite direction; so you get slowed down).

    For the earlier example of extremely relativistic masses, what physical happens (guessing heuristically) that the receding masses are going near velocity c, so they can’t encounter any significant gauge bosons from the front (because the redshift of gauge bosons from any relaticistic masses ahead will be so immense, it will carry next to no energy), hence there is no significant drag to slow them down. Instead of the velocity changing from near c, what happens is that the mass m falls because such masses continue to radiate force-causing gauge bosons without receiving them. This emission depletes the field energy of the particle, and the particle loses mass in consequence.

    I don’t know whether this particular line of reasoning is true or not (it would take time to check carefully). The annoying thing is that this regularly happens to me, and it takes a great deal of time and effort to check and properly interpret such calculations. Some have to be thrown away for being wrong, but others turn out to be hard to get rid of.

    Ideally I want to test the theory numerically by computer calculations of the physical exchange of gravitons between masses receding according to the Hubble law.

    This should replace the existing “epicycle” cosmology model based on the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker metric of GR.

    In any case, the calculations scattered across this whole blog needs to be replaced by a structured, properly edited book.

    “The problem with being too busy is that we get older–age and look older, …”

    Actually you can do things to reverse this. I’ve found that I only get bags under my eyes if I’m not getting enough sleep. Getting to bed earlier eliminates them. Doubtless daily face massages, particularly around the cheek bones, will help to promote blood flow and muscular growth under the facial skin.

    I had Epi Lasik eye surgery in January to get rid of the need for glasses, and once I could see properly without having to weak glasses, I took up swimming and jogging. As a result, I’m getting in better shape at 36 than I was previously. I’ve also given up chocolate, due to the saturated fat content in the cocoa beans and whole milk solids (my father who is 75 had to have a stent to improve blood flow in a blocked artery, which is the sort of problem that is caused by too much saturated fat in the diet).

    Doubtless, due to the gradual accumulation of DNA copying errors in frequently dividing skin cells, skin ultimately loses elasticity and ages with wrinkles, regardless of factors like the diet, exercise, massage to the skin to tone it, skin creams, beauty sleep, exposure to UV in sunlight without suncream, and so on.

    But I think the major problem with aging is not physical issues, but experience. I used to have a lot of enthusiasm for physics and life generally, but now I’ve got some experience of it, I’ve become very cynical about progress. There are just too many vested interests in status quo, opposing everything constructive. Why not give up, when the going gets too difficult and there is no light at the end of the tunnel? Life is short. Why not cut one’s losses, give up on a project that is a bottomless pit for my precious time, and get out socialising more instead?

  19. Dr. Teresa Le Sage says:

    You are so bright. I think you are on the right track. Although, I am not analysing the math, your literal descriptions are such that I can relate physical properties (laws of motion and concervation of energy)of large cyclonic rotation–such as hurricane rotation to the behavior of galaxies. These are the concepts I try to teach my students. I do not have the math background to play with–I just watch the patterns/systems and observed. Thanks. Teresa

  20. Dr. Teresa Le Sage says:

    I hope your father is well. All life should be taken in moderation. Too much of anything -generalizing is too much and not good for a person. Balance will occur–law of conservation–high to low always. Glad it works–defines our world. And is sounded interesting about you remodeling this blog. How did you get interested in physics/chemistry?

  21. Hi Teresa,

    He’s fine now, but the episode – and checking how much saturated fat is in chocolate and milk – made me give up chocolate and switch to skimmed milk. I drink a lot of milk, at least a litre a day, because it’s so convenient. I recall that in the late eighties or early nineties our household switched from full milk to semi-skimmed milk because of concerns about the amount of saturated fat. This probably helped to minimise problems for my father later.

    But although semi-skimmed milk contains less saturated fat, it’s not a really massive, order-of-magnitude reduction. Changing from semi-skimmed milk to skimmed milk last year was pretty difficult at first because the absence of fat does change the taste a lot. But you can get around that by mixing in a sweetener such as strawberry milkshake powder to the milk for a while, until you get used to the reduced fat. Now I’ve got used to drinking skimmed milk by itself, it’s fine, and the only problems I get are when I’m given semi-skimmed milk which now tastes awfully sickly because the difference in taste between the two types of milk is the fat content.

    I have to take some carbohydrate before I go jogging or swimming for long periods, and for brain energy when tackling a difficult programming project, to maintain high energy levels, but I’m sticking to low fat glucose based candy now, instead of eating chocolate. I’m trying to eat a lot of bananas and apples to make up for not eating chocolate anymore.

    My interest in physical science is due to my father. Because he got TB when evacuated during the war, he couldn’t do national service and instead was a voluntary Civil Defence Corps instructor. That was at the time of the H-bomb. Anyway, when he was telling me this in about 1982 when I was 10, we had a class project to research and write an essay about the origin of the universe. I went to the library and there were two kinds of explanation.

    The older books said that general relativity means that the universe could have any geometry and could be eternal, cyclic, or the result of a big bang, and nobody knew.

    The newer books said it was due to big bang and gave three pieces of evidence:

    redshifts of spectra which are fully explained by expansion (and can’t be fully explained by other simple ideas),

    the blackbody microwave background radiation spectrum which is the grossly redshifted thermal radiation (coming from early times after the big bang and hence vast distances, involving severe redshift) released when the universe cooled to a point that allowed ions to combine with electrons so it became transparent and radiation was thereafter no longer strongly absorbed by ionized hydrogen gas,

    and

    the abundances of the light elements, which are predicted by nuclear fusion fireball phenomena similar in some basic respects to a massive H-bomb. E.g., a certain amount of hydrogen was fused into helium and heavier elements before the expansion of the fireball caused the temperature and pressure to fall too low for continued fusion. Hence, some hydrogen was left behind because there simply wasn’t time for it to all fuse into heavier elements before the universe cooled below the temperature required for hydrogen fusion.

    So I wrote an essay about why the universe is similar to a nuclear explosion. It was a Roman Catholic school, but the teacher didn’t have any problem with it.

    Later at university I had endless problems of course with people claiming that the universe’s spacetime is “curved” back on itself due to gravity on large scales, unlike an explosion fireball which expands into pre-existing spacetime, claiming this is true because of general relativity (which of course says no such thing; general relativity is compatible with curvature on large scales, and it’s also compatible with no curvature on large scales, depending on the lambda; in other words you can use general relativity to model a large range of possibilities and it is not a proved fact that spacetime definitely curves back on itself at great distances due to gravity – that’s just a guesswork solution based on certain assumptions which are wrong).

    Actually of course, that was before it was empirically confirmed in 1998 by Perlmutter’s paper in Nature (giving the redshift of a supernova at half the age of the universe) that the universe is not curved on the largest scales: it’s flat!

    The reason why it’s flat is the cause of endless controversy, but I predicted in 1996 – and published the prediction – that the universe is accelerating due to the same cause that produces gravity. Differentiate the Hubble law and you get acceleration of the universe d(HR)/dt = RH^2 which gives you the outward force of the universe F = M*RH^2, by the third law of motion there’s an inward reaction force, which is mediated by gravitons when you look at all the possibilities and rule out alternatives scientifically. So you can predict gravity from the same model that gives you the outward acceleration of the universe (dark energy).

    However, when you try to explain this to people, you get ignorant hostility and obsolete arguments. E.g., people are still being taught that the universe is curved on large distance scales, despite the discovery it’s flat in 1998! Books are still being written based on general relativity misunderstandings more than a decade old, which are contrary to quantum gravity anyhow.

    Curvature of spacetime is a classical concept, like Faraday’s lines of force between charges and magnets, which are useful for classical illustrations of field lines diverging to produce weaker forces, yet must be replaced by discrete quantum field interactions.

    The idea that the universe is not analogous to a space based explosion into a pre-existing spacetime, was discredited when it was discovered that the universe isn’t curved on the largest scales. Because it’s flat on large scales, it’s behaviour long after the big bang will be similar to the behaviour of the nuclear fireball in space of a 10^55 megatons explosion.

    Nuclear explosions have actually of course been done in space in 1962. See for example the declassified Defense Nuclear Agency film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdrirktDT2Y

    Of course what I’m advocating and doing is saying that gravitons are being exchanged between receding masses like radiation being scattered around, where you can simulate the result by adding up a large number of interaction results. The mainstream is still trying to build quantum gravity in a different paradigm, by starting with the classical differential geometry of general relativity, and modifying it to introduce gravitons. Unfortunately they don’t get anything right from the start, because they get the spin of the graviton wrong (they simply believe, without any basis or even explicit assumption, that gravitons won’t be exchanged between all the masses in the universe but merely between the two they are focussing on for the purpose of a calculation, a false belief which leads to the false need for a spin-2 graviton rather than a spin-1 graviton). Then they have to add 6 extra unobservable spatial dimensions to get a theoretical framework which includes the false spin-2 gravitons. The hundred or so size and shape moduli for a compactified Calabi-Yau manifold of those extra unobservable 6 dimensions can’t be seen, and this means that superstring theory has a landscape of 10^500 different predictions for existing particle physics. Hence it fails to predict anything because the requirement for spin-2 gravitons introduces complexity.

    How did you get interested in science?

  22. The “flatness” of the universe on large scales in general relativity based on the 1998 observations of supernovae redshifts by Perlmutter assumes that gravity (inward acceleration of masses, i.e. acceleration towards one another) still attracts all masses over immense distances, and there is some extra opposing outward-directed acceleration which is significant on large scales of distance in the universe, cancelling out gravity.

    Hence Nobel Laureate Phil Anderson said:

    ‘… the flat universe is just not decelerating, it isn’t really accelerating…’

    - http://cosmicvariance.com/2006/01/03/danger-phil-anderson/

    In other words, the observed redshifts of supernovae can be interpreted in different ways depending on the theory you are using. General relativity assumes that gravitational coupling G is constant regardless of distance, so gravity acts the same over all distances. In this paradigm, the “acceleration” of the universe is the outward acceleration you need to put into general relativity to cancel out gravitational attraction on large distance scales (via cosmological “dark energy” parameter Lambda).

    So the mainstream assumes there is a hidden outward acceleration due to mysterious dark energy, which conveniently stops gravity from slowing down the highly redshifted supernovae, etc.

    They add the cosmological outward acceleration to cancel out much of the assumed inward gravitational acceleration, thereby explaining the actual redshift observations:

    (gravity acceleration inward) + (dark energy causing acceleration outward)

    = (observed redshifts: flat spacetime on large scales).

  23. Dr. Teresa Le Sage says:

    How I got interested in science? It is part of me–not something I try to do–it is something I always do. I was wired to do science. Science picked me. I always had big questions–why we are here, how did the planets form, the sun, comets, past life, shape of celestial bodies, interconnected life–usually something needed to be eaten to give fuel to another being.
    Probably my childhood had the greatest impact.–a grandfather from England that was from a family of flower growers for hundreds of years, Walton’s nursery near Strattenburg. THis man, my grandfather, always had time to explore the world with his grandkids,trips to the zoo, observatory–astronomy, Ferdale, the dairy, Books, magifying glasses, microscopes, bugs, national geographic magazines, rocks, and all kinds of cool gadgets to play with. I always wanted to know how things were made. What was real and what was not.

    By the way, I liked the gravity discussion a lot-made sense to me.

  24. Thanks for that description, which sounds like a very healthy way to get interested in science. I enjoyed visiting the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum in London when a kid. (I’m dreading re-visiting the Science Museum sometime in the future and finding an exhibition of string theory, extra dimensions, a multiverse, and other speculations.)

  25. Dr. Teresa Le Sage says:

    Thought you all may be interested in this book–you may have already read it? All about physics recently discussed some of the main pts. Enjoy.

    http://physics.about.com/od/physics101thebasics/a/fiveproblems.htm

    In his controversial 2006 book The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next, theoretical physicist Lee Smolin points out “five great problems in theoretical physics.”
    The problem of quantum gravity: Combine general relativity and quantum theory into a single theory that can claim to be the complete theory of nature.
    The foundational problems of quantum mechanics: Resolve the problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics, either by making sense of the theory as it stands or by inventing a new theory that does make sense.
    The unification of particles and forces: Determine whether or not the various particles and forces can be unified in a theory that explains them all as manifestations of a single, fundamental entity.
    The tuning problem: Explain how the values of the free constants in the standard model of particle physics are chosen in nature.
    The problem of cosmological mysteries: Explain dark matter and dark energy. Or, if they don’t exist, determine how and why gravity is modified on large scales. More generally, explain why the constants of the standard model of cosmology, including the dark energy, have the values they do.
    Problem 1: The Problem of Quantum Gravity
    Quantum gravity is the effort in theoretical physics to create a theory that includes both general relativity and the standard model of particle physics. Currently, these two theories describe different scales of nature and attempts to explore the scale where they overlap yield results that don’t quite make sense, like the force of gravity (or curvature of spacetime) becoming infinite. (After all, physicists never see real infinities in nature, nor do they want to!)
    Problem 2: The Foundational Problems of Quantum Mechanics
    One issue with understanding quantum physics is what the underlying physical mechanism involved is. There are many interpretations in quantum physics – the classic Copenhagen interpretation, Hugh Everette II’s controversial Many Worlds Interpretation, and even more controversial ones such as the Participatory Anthropic Principle. The question that comes up in these interpretations revolves around what actually causes the collapse of the quantum wavefunction. (The puzzle of the curious aspect of human consciousness’s role in resolving these questions is related in Quantum Enigma.)
    Most modern physicists who work with quantum field theory no longer consider these questions of interpretation to be relevant. The principle of decoherence is, to many, the explanation – interaction with the environment causes the quantum collapse. Even more significantly, physicists are able to solve the equations, perform experiments, and practice physics without resolving the questions of what exactly is happening at a fundamental level, and so most physicists don’t want to get near these bizarre questions with a 20 foot pole.

    Problem 3: The Unification of Particles and Forces
    There are four fundamental forces of physics, and the standard model of particle physics includes only three of them (electromagnetism, strong nuclear force, and weak nuclear force). Gravity is left out of the standard model. Trying to create one theory which unifies these four forces into a unified field theory is a major goal of theoretical physics.
    Since the standard model of particle physics is a quantum field theory, then any unification will have to include gravity as a quantum field theory, which means that solving problem 3 is connected with the solving of problem 1.

    In addition, the standard model of particle physics shows a lot of different particles – 18 fundamental particles in all. Many physicists believe that a fundamental theory of nature should have some method of unifying these particles, so they are described in more fundamental terms. For example, string theory, the most well-defined of these approaches, predicts that all particles are different vibrational modes of fundamental filaments of energy, or strings.

    Problem 4: The Tuning Problem
    A theoretical physics model is a mathematical framework that, in order to make predictions, requires that certain parameters are set. In the standard model of particle physics, the parameters are represented by the 18 particles predicted by the theory, meaning that the parameters are measured by observation.
    Some physicists, however, believe that fundamental physical principles of the theory should determine these parameters, independent of measurement. This motivated much of the enthusiasm for a unified field theory in the past and sparked Einstein’s famous question “Did God have any choice when he created the universe?” Do the properties of the universe inherently set the form of the universe, because these properties just won’t work if the form is different?

    The answer to this seems to be leaning strongly toward the idea that there is not only one universe that could be created, but that there are a wide range of fundamental theories (or different variants of the same theory, based on different physical parameters, original energy states, and so on) and our universe is just one of these possible universes.

    In this case, the question becomes why our universe has properties that seem to be so finely tuned to allow for the existence of life. This question is called the fine-tuning problem and has promoted some physicists to turn to the anthropic principle of explanation, which dictates that our universe has the properties it does because if it had different properties, we wouldn’t be here to ask the question. (A major thrust of Smolin’s book is the criticism of this viewpoint as an explanation of the properties.)

    Problem 5: The Problem of Cosmological Mysteries
    The universe still has a number of mysteries, but the ones that most vex physicists are dark matter and dark energy. This type of matter and energy is detected by its gravitational influences, but can’t be observed directly, so physicists are still trying to figure out what they are. Still, some physicists have proposed alternative explanations for these gravitational influences, which do not require new forms of matter and energy, but these alternatives are unpopular to most physicists.

  26. Hi Teresa,

    Thanks, I’ve read Lee Smolin’s 2006 book. His list of problems there is a compressed version of his list in a chapter he wrote for the book The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the Twenty-first Century, edited by John Brockman and published by Vintage in May 2002.

    In the 2002 article, Smolin starts by listing the 7 major questions of theoretical physics in 1950. The first 4 of these have been solved (big bang cosmology has made confirmed falsifiable predictions, the nature of nuclear force fields is known and has made confirmed falsifiable predictions, it is now known that neutrons and protons are composed of quarks, which explains why the neutron has an intrinsic magnetic moment, etc.).

    The last 3 problems for the physicist of 1950 were, stated Smolin:

    1. the mass problem (the standard model doesn’t explain masses because of the Higgs landscape mess, so it doesn’t explain why neutrons and protons have different masses, why the neutrino is massless, or why there is a massive version of the electron called the muon, etc.),

    2. the relationship of general relativity to quantum theory (quantum gravity is still awaited by the mainstream, who are biased in favour of spin-2 gravitons and related stringy/loopy speculative theories which can accommodate false spin-2 gravitons), and

    3. “what is the right way to understand the quantum theory?”

    Smolin pointed out in the 2002 article that: “in 1900 many physicists did not believe that atoms existed. Others, like Ernst Mach, thought the question was not a part of physics because atoms would never be observed.”

    He adds:

    “… fifty years is about the length of a scientific career, from the beginning of studies until retirement. This, then, is the span of time over which the conservative tendencies built into the structure of scientific careers act to retard the progress of science. Science is hard, and we scientists prefer to have as good an understanding of what we’re doing as possible; thus, unless forced to do otherwise, we prefer to work with techniques and ideas we already understand well.

    “Another factor is that the careers of young scientists are often controlled by senior people nearing retirement, who are in many cases no longer active and therefore unfamiliar with new techniques. Career-savvy graduate students, no matter how imaginative, hesitate to work on something not understood by the powerful old men and women of their field. … unless they are forced by data they cannot otherwise explain to make a revolution comparable to that of the early twentieth century, they will be using the language we’ve taught them. … what was different about the sociology of science in the first half of the twentieth century … it was possible for outsiders, such as Albert Einstein and Paul Ehrenfest, to publish in spite of not having university positions … the generation that preceded the inventors of quantum theory was mostly wiped out in World War I, leaving the field open for Heisenberg, Dirac, and their friends.”

    That’s so cynical (the benefit of WWI in wiping out the older generation of classical physicists, an idea postulated by Max Planck who wrote that science advance through the deaths of prejudiced authority figures) that it’s almost funny. (It makes you wonder what it will take to kill off stringy mainstream theory for good, seeing that it is surviving both Smolin’s 2006 book attack and also Woit’s ‘Not Even Wrong’ book and blog attack. Will we actually have to wait for Witten, Kaku, et al., to die of old age, before they stop standing in the way of physics by leading kids astray and causing censorship of alternative ideas?) Smolin’s 2002 article then lists his 7 big problems:

    1. ‘Is quantum theory true as presently formulated, or will it need to be modified, either to have a sensible physical interpretation or to unify it with relativity and cosmology?’

    2. ‘What is the quantum theory of gravity? What is the structure of space and time on the Planck scale?

    3. ‘What explains the exact values of the parameters that determine the properties of the elementary particles, including their masses and the strengths of the forces by which they interact?’

    4. ‘What explains the large ratios of scales we observe? Why is the gravitational force between two protons forty powers of ten smaller than their electrical repulsion? Why is the universe so big? Why is the cosmological constant smaller than any other parameter in physics?’

    5. ‘What was the big bang? What determined the properties of the universe that emerged from it? Was the Big Bang the origin of the universe? If not, what happened before it?’

    6. ‘What constitutes the dark matter and dark energy that make up between 80 and 95 percent of the density of the universe?’

    7. ‘How did the galaxies form?’

    I don’t see any problem with answering all of these questions right now from factual evidence already at hand. The issues are more about how to overcome bias and publishing censorship by pro-stringy/loopy people at the arXiv and journals, than about answering the scientific questions. This censorship problem includes Smolin himself, who has a vested interest in mathematically loopy ideas.

  27. Dr. Teresa Le Sage says:

    This book looks interesting–it was recommended on about.com:physics You may have read this one? It was publish back in 2001–dated now, but may have some insight–I am going to check it out.

    Out of Our Minds (English)
    Learning to Be Creative – ISBN: 9781841121253

    Synopsis
    “This really is a remarkable book. It does for human resources what Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring did for the environment. It makes you wonder why we insist on sustaining an education system that is narrow, partial, entirely inappropriate for the 21st century and deeply destructive of human potential when human beings have so much latent creative ability to offer. A brilliant analysis.” Wally Olins, Founder, Wolff-Olins “Competitive advantage does not come from the Internet. It comes from leveraging creativity . All corporate leaders should read this book.” Professor Richard Scase, author, Britain in 2010 “I thoroughly recommend this excellent book. Developing our latent creative ability is vital for personal and professional success. Ken Robinson gives us the signposts we need to achieve this.” Sir John Harvey Jones “If you would like to start to unlock the inherent creativity that exists in every human being (including you), then start (you have to) by reading this book!” Simon Woodroffe, Founder, Yo Sushi, and former Entrepreneur of the Year “Ken Robinson’s is an original and creative mind. I can think of no better spokesperson on creativity. His views are as much directed to learning institutions as they are to industry. Out of Our Minds is a genuine challenge to complacency.” Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive of Investors in People, UK “Sometimes a writer has an uncanny knack of sharply focusing something which up until then you had not seen in all its simplicity and brilliance. This book does that but at the next moment it makes connections never before imagined…Even the most obstinately prosaic and safe thinkers will be tempted out of their box by Ken Robinson’s ideas, theories and speculations. What’s more, he writes as he speaks, in a way that, magnetically and compulsively, is simply irresistible” Professor Tim Brighouse, Director of Education, Birmingham

  28. Teresa says:

    Greetings, Can one of you compute the gravitation attraction forces and/or the electro magnetic forces between the planets in our solar system in relation to the sun, and then the sun to the milky way. Since, the mass and chemical make-up is known about our planets (should be able to get a good estimate), the forces that hold them in orbit should be able to be calculated and their affect on each other for 12, 21, 2012. It would be interesting to see a scientific explanation of the situation. Should we be worried? Hope someone responds with data. Thank you, Dr. Teresa Le Sage

  29. Hi Dr LeSage,

    Yes, please see the latest blog post. I’m working on a paper/powerpoint presentation diagram with a single detailed diagram summarizing the calculation for quantum gravity on macroscopic scales, which will go into the latest post. I wouldn’t worry about 2012 numerology any more than about John Gribbin’s “Jupiter Effect” mythology from the late 1970s, where he inaccurately predicted in Nature journal and in a book that a line up of planets would set off a giant earthquake in Los Angeles…

  30. Teresa says:

    Is this the blog on quantum theory March 2010 work? I am not sure where the blog is. Thank you for the coll info. The March 2010 work looks very interesting and I hope to get back to it soon. Teresa

      • Teresa says:

        Hi Nige,
        Good. We need some rational logic. I will share your paper with my physical science and earth science students. I think they will be impressed and realize how much more there is to learn and understand. You and fellow physicists could be famous one day! Teresa

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