Advice

Fig. 1: this illustration of how to derive the Hubble acceleration in terms of time since the big bang was inspired by a discussion at Dr Cormac O’Raifeartaigh’s blog.  The original prediction of the acceleration of the universe (proof that a very small 6×10-10 ms-2 cosmological acceleration of the universe is implicitly present in the normal v = HR Hubble expansion law) was published via the October 1996 issue of Electronics World (after rejection by far more appropriate physics journals), and this size of cosmological acceleration was observationally confirmed a couple of years later by the discovery that distant supernovae are not decelerating due to gravity as predicted by the Friedmann-Robertson-Walker metric of general relativity. But the mainstream continued to ignore the prediction, and instead an ad hoc small positive cosmological constant was introduced into general relativity to overcome the failure of the original Friedmann-Robertson-Walker metric of cosmology. Cormac has very kindly made the following comment:

http://coraifeartaigh.wordpress.com/2008/09/06/hubble-puzzle-solution/

Hi Nigel, I think the solution you suggest is intriguing, and would certainly not dismiss it. My only caveat is that it is a little above the level intended for this blog, an introduction to the ideas of cosmology.

The purpose of the puzzle posed was

(i) was to illustrate what is meant by talk of the acceleration of the universe expansion
(ii)to illustrate the importance of discussing Hubble’s law in the context of general relativity.

I feel that teachers/communicators have a duty to present the mainstream view first (just as you and I would have encountered it) – after a while, one learns enough to question the accepted wisdom!

That said, I’m sure many of readers will have thoroughly enjoyed and learnt from the discussion on the Hubble post

Comment by cormac | September 8, 2008

I think that he is right, and that when I write a book on this subject the first half of each chapter will have to explain the existing theory in detail, before introducing new ideas. Otherwise there is automatic hostility. On a related note, I notice that Tony Smith has expressed regret about Professor Lee Smolin’s exclusion of non-PhD scientists from physics on the Not Even Wrong blog:

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=894#comment-43526

Tony Smith Says:

September 11th, 2008 at 12:34 am

Lee Smolin said (page 11 of 51 of the pdf of his talk):

“… without a Ph.D. from a reputable research department or group (or in very rare cases i.e. Freeman Dyson, the equivalent) someone cannot make useful contributions to a scientific community.

Scientific communities function well only because discussions among experts are restricted to those with a Ph.D. or at least those far along in a Ph.D. program … this is essential and not incidental …”.

Back in the 1980s when I was beginning to formulate my physics model, I asked Yuval Neeman to discuss it with me. He agreed to meet me in his office at U. Texas Austin, and we discussed what I was doing.

He pointed out some problems with my model as it was back then (since then I have worked through those problems) and I asked him about getting a Ph.D. working on the model.

He knew that I did not need a Ph.D. for a job (my law practice gave me both reasonable income and spare time in which to work on physics), and told me (a quote to the best of my recollection):

“If your model turns out to be right, then it is important enough that you do not need a Ph.D.
If your model turns out to be wrong, then no matter how many Ph.D.’s you have, it will still be wrong.”

Until recently, I have felt that Yuval Neeman’s advice would eventually be proven correct, and that my model would be evaluated on its merits.

Now, in light of the above statement of Lee Smolin, who seems to me to be the most liberal member of the physics community with respect to unconventional ideas, I see that Yuval Neeman’s advice will never be effective, as my model will never be evaluated by the physics community.

Tony Smith (no physics Ph.D. or “the equivalent”)

This possibly narcissistic-sounding attitude of Smolin’s towards the likes of non-PhD scientists, including in the past people like Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, and others is probably inevitable in the ‘big science’ (financially motivated, obsessed with grants and expensive contracts) world today. Smolin has a footnote in his book The Trouble with Physics that dismisses any research done by people without a PhD.

What Smolin’s attitude will do is to tend to push all serious scientists into doing PhD’s, which as a professor with a vested interest in PhD programmes, Smolin is obviously interested in. I don’t think that Tony Smith’s deduction is completely correct, however. While an undergraduate, I had a paper peer-reviewed by Classical and Quantum Gravity, and it was rejected because it didn’t contribute to string theory, not for any other reason (the editor sent me a copy of the referee rejection report without the name of the referee).

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13 thoughts on “Advice

  1. I’ve submitted the following comment to the blog post

    http://anticrackpot.blogspot.com/2008/09/physics-futures-market.html

    On the topic of dark energy (and also the fact that if you prove a new theory right, everybody listens), can I point out:

    1. I proved in 1996 and published that there is an approx 10^(-10) ms^(-2) cosmological acceleration of the universe (dark energy) implicit in Hubble’s law of recession v = HR. See https://nige.wordpress.com/

    2. This mathematical physics proof was observationally confirmed by in 1998 by Perlmutter’s supernovae data showing the acceleration which implies dark energy.

    3. The “dark energy” is graviton field energy: https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/book/ or https://nige.wordpress.com/about/ The calculation I give, based on the acceleration of the universe, gives the correct gravity coupling G.

    4. Edward Witten made the arm-waving claim (used by referees at Classical and Quantum Gravity, et al. to censor predictive work):

    ‘String theory has the remarkable property of predicting gravity.’ – Dr Edward Witten, M-theory originator, Physics Today, April 1996.

    This sort of “prediction” claim for string theory is an example of hype, and is a match between a flawed claim about the spin of the graviton being 2, see https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/book/ , and string theory. The path integral argument for a rank-2 tensor implying spin-2 gravitons falsely assumes that only two attracting masses are exchanging them. Actually, all the mass in the universe has a gravitational charge, so the gravitons are not being exchanged merely between the two masses you see accelerating together. When you go into the details correctly, https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/book/ , you find that the exchange of gravitons with distant masses in the universe is stronger and it repels or pushes nearby masses together. The same repulsion predicts the acceleration of the universe accurately on immense cosmological distance scales.

  2. Copy of a comment:

    http://dorigo.wordpress.com/2008/09/19/omega-b-the-new-baryon-nailed-by-d0

    Fascinating news about the Omega_b baryon with its three quarks of -1/3 electric charge each giving total electric charge -1. The only such quark I had heard of previously was the Omega minus, which has three strange quarks of -1/3 electric charge, giving the same sum, -1.

    Since I’m interested in the mechanisms of physics, it occurred to me that the vacuum pair-production (dielectric) polarization phenomena that explains the running coupling of QED automatically makes three nearby electric charges of -1 each appear (from long range) to add up to only -1 (i.e. -1/3 per quark):

    ‘All charges are surrounded by clouds of virtual photons, which spend part of their existence dissociated into fermion-antifermion pairs. The virtual fermions with charges opposite to the bare charge will be, on average, closer to the bare charge than those virtual particles of like sign. Thus, at large distances, we observe a reduced bare charge due to this screening effect.’ – I. Levine, D. Koltick, et al., Physical Review Letters, v.78, 1997, no.3, p.424.

    ‘… we [experimentally] find that the electromagnetic coupling grows with energy. This can be explained heuristically by remembering that the effect of the polarization of the vacuum … amounts to the creation of a plethora of electron-positron pairs around the location of the charge. These virtual pairs behave as dipoles that, as in a dielectric medium, tend to screen this charge, decreasing its value at long distances (i.e. lower energies).’ – arxiv hep-th/0510040, p 71.

    ‘The cloud of virtual particles acts like a screen or curtain that shields the true value of the central core. As we probe into the cloud, getting closer and closer to the core charge, we ’see’ less of the shielding effect and more of the core. This means that the electromagnetic force from the electron as a whole is not constant, but rather gets stronger as we go through the cloud and get closer to the core. Ordinarily when we look at or study an electron, it is from far away and we don’t realize the core is being shielded. …

    ‘Because the electromagnetic charge is in effect becoming stronger as we get closer and the strong force is getting weaker, there is a possibility that these two forces may at some energy be equal. Many physicists have speculated that when and if this is determined, an entirely new and unique physics may be discovered.’ – Professor David Koltick, quoted at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_n2625_v125/ai_19496192

    The source of the shielding of the electric charge is the pair-production caused by the strong electric field. Schwinger calculated that an electric field above 1.3*10^18 v/m is needed to allow pair production (equation 359 of the mainstream work http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0608140 for equation 8.20 of the mainstream work http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0510040 ), and since the electric field strength around an electron is E = Q/(4*Pi*Permittivity*Radius^2) v/m, Schwinger’s theshold limits pair-production (loops) in the vacuum to a radius within 33.0 fm (about 11.7 times the classical electron radius).

    So all the polarization and polarized vacuum dielectric shielding of the bare core charge of the electron occurs in a very tiny space, smaller in radius than 33 fm.

    The point is, if you take three identical electric charges and place them very nearby, their electric fields add together and overlap, but so does the polarization and shielding. If they aren’t nearby, then only the electric fields overlap and not the polarized vacuum region. Hence, three -1 electric charges well separated have a total charge of 3 * -1 = -3, but 3 very closely confined -1 electric charges will always have an electric charge of (3* -1)/3 = -1, i.e. they will appear to have a charge of -1/3. This is because if they are very close enough together, they boost the shielding effect by 3 times (this obviously doesn’t occur if they are more than 33 nm apart).

    Because three strange quarks are nearby, their vacuum polarization shells overlap, giving extra mutual shielding which wouldn’t occur for isolated charges (quarks can’t be isolated, but the principle holds). It’s the combined polarized vacuum shielding which accounts for the reason why quarks have fractional charges. The Omega minus is the simplest example of this.

    [See https://nige.wordpress.com/2007/06/13/feynman-diagrams-in-loop-quantum-gravity-path-integrals-and-the-relationship-of-leptons-to-quarks/ and other posts]

  3. copy of a comment in moderation queue to:

    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=955#comment-44326

    October 7th, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Shantanu,

    I think it’s time Edward Witten received Nobel’s explosive accolade for explaining that string remarkably predicts gravity in his paper:

    Reflections on the Fate of Spacetime, in Physics Today, April 1996:

    ‘String theory has the remarkable property of predicting gravity.’

    If they don’t give him a Nobel for that prediction, critics will start to doubt string theory or gravity, or both.

  4. copy of a comment to Backreaction blog:

    http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2008/10/book-review-who-controls-internet.html

    “Wasn’t there a reason why our societies have laws and law enforcement, why we have governments to minimize friction and set a frame we can all live in together? Yes, one can have self-organization without institutionalized governance – if you have a small group of nice people who share common interests. But groups didn’t stay small on the Internet, people aren’t all nice, and eventually one has to find a way to exert power or run into chaos.”

    This is quite interesting. On the subject of the origins of the internet from the perspective of circumventing censorship/political groupthink, may I recommend the following New Scientist article?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg12416924.800-forum-on-the-importance-of-being-creative–innovativethinkers-should-be-allowed-to-come-to-the-fore-.html

    “Creative thinkers are by their nature often isolated, their ideas either ignored or rejected, or sometimes simply taken up without any acknowledgment. But what if they could make contact with each other? …

    “Catt argues that as bodies of knowledge grow, they become stronger in keeping out any new items of knowledge that appear to question the fundamental base of the established knowledge and its practitioners. To assist the propagation of new ideas, he proposes the creation of an electronic information-sharing network. …”

    Around the time that was published in New Scientist in 1989, Tim Berners-Lee was developing technical side of the internet. Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Berners-Lee says:

    ‘In 1989, CERN was the largest Internet node in Europe, and Berners-Lee saw an opportunity to join hypertext with the Internet: “I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the Transmission Control Protocol and domain name system ideas and — ta-da! — the World Wide Web.”‘

    As a programmer and network engineer who has studied physics extensively, I think the technical side of the internet is a load of technical trash. There are loads of possible ways of setting up networks, and the system in place is a matter of historical accident and change.

    Money in fact controls the internet, because that’s what buys AdWords or whatever on Google to generate hits and marketing success. Even if you don’t directly pay for advertising (I don’t), your success depends on how much time you put in to putting decent information on your webpage, and since time is money, basically you are paying for hits by devoting time to create decent blog articles or whatever content you provide. If you don’t invest time (=money) into your site, you won’t get many hits.

    So the bottom line is, money controls the internet, just as money controls everything else. Money controls science, because you can’t get much research done without it.

    By the way, I don’t think Galileo and Kepler were deemed “nice” people by their “peer reviewers”, and vice-versa:

    “Oh, my dear Kepler, how I wish that we could have one hearty laugh together! Here, at Padua, is the principal professor of philosophy whom I have repeatedly and urgently requested to look at the moon and planets through my glass, which he pertinaciously refuses to do. Why are you not here? What shouts of laughter we should have at this glorious folly! And to hear the professor of philosophy at Pisa laboring before the Grand Duke with logical arguments, as if with magical incantations, to charm the new planets out of the sky.” – Letter of Galileo to Kepler (source: http://history-world.org/galileo_overthrows_ancient_philo.htm ).

    Also, Einstein’s work wasn’t exactly greeted well by the vortex atom aether “experts” like Lord Kelvin. This is well documented by Sir Edmund Whittaker’s “History of the Theories of Aether and Electricity” which invoked the wrath of Einstein’s assistant and biographer Abraham Pais.

    I don’t think therefore that real science is about trying to be “nice” and to socialize, otherwise you end up agreeing with things that are wrong just to fit in to status quo without friction. Science isn’t about trying not to fit in either. It’s just ascertaining facts (however pleasant or unpleasant those facts are to other people who claim to be scientists themselves). Socializing and trying to be nice to people is an activity better left to the pub after work, not fitted into conferences and meetings. Otherwise you get groupthink emerging, just as you do in political “parties” and in mob culture where a group of people all riot together to fit in with one another, for fear of being called “square” or some other unpopular label.

  5. copy of recent email correspondence with Dr Mario Rabinowitz:

    From: Nige Cook
    Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 5:24 AM
    To: Mario Rabinowitz
    Subject: Re: I have come to a number of conclusions that may be of interest to you:

    Dear Mario,

    Thank you very much for your email. Yes, time does fly and it does not seem two years. I have been quite busy with work related IT study in my free time (network engineering, SQL database web design with ASP programming), also doing more windsurfing, swimming and gym daily. … I have however studied QFT as well, reading the first two volumes of Weinberg’s on the subject, as well as Ryder’s, Zee’s and several useful papers on the subject. I’ve also done some new calculations which greatly improve and clarify on older published ideas. However, I have not made much progress towards writing a book yet.

    I’m not surprised by your conclusion that non-locality is manifested in QM. It’s clear from QFT that the whole basis of the chaos of QM is the random quantum exchanges of field quanta between charges which produce the Coulomb force. Averaged over long times and large charges, the random exchange of field quanta between charges appear to produce the smooth classical Coulomb law. But over small time scales and in small spaces, the individual exchanges of field quanta cause chaotic phenomena on the charges receiving them at random intervals. It’s like Brownian motion due to impacts of air molecules: averaged out over a ship’s sail, you get a classical force which is smooth and continuous, but on small scales such as a fraction of a pollen grain, you get chaotic impacts and randomness arises from that.

    So I think it’s natural that in QM every charge is linked to every other charge by the exchange of the field quanta which produce the fundamental forces. In this sense, QM is non-local. Every fundamental charge has a spin and so radiates.

    I’ve thought more about Hawking radiation and a problem with Hawking’s analysis from the point of view of QFT. Julian Schwinger showed that pair production in the vacuum requires an electric field strength exceeding 1.3*10^18 v/m, which is very strong and occurs quite close to an electric charge. (Ref: eq 359 in http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0608140 or eq 8.20 in http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0510040 .) Hawking wrongly assumes that pair production occurs everywhere in the vacuum. This isn’t true, or the vacuum would polarize everywhere around charges, and thus cancel out all electric charges completely over small distances, much faster than the observed inverse-square Coulomb law.

    Hawking assumes that Hawking radiation occurs when pair production just outside the event horizon of a black hole results in one charge at random falling into the black hole and the other escaping at random. The accumulation of equal quantities of positive and negative virtual fermions outside the black hole event horizon radius from this assumed process then results in annihilations, giving gamma radiation which is the assumed Hawking radiation. In fact, in order to get the mechanism to work, you need – as Schwinger showed in 1948 – a strong electric field at the event horizon radius just to allow pair production to occur. This then implies that you need a strongly electrically charged black hole before it can hope to radiate according to Hawking’s mechanism! Big neutral black holes can’t radiate anything at all! But if you look at fundamental particles as black holes, they have a sufficient charge to mass ratio to radiate, although now there is a modification to Hawking’s mechanism of black hole radiation, because there is a bias over which of the pair of virtual fermions falls into the black hole and which escapes. The result is that a negatively charged black hole radiates not gamma rays but rather negatively charged radiation, and a positive charge radiates positively charged radiation. This fits the model that the extra polarization of virtual photons that are the electromagnetic field quanta, is in fact electric charge.

    My current thinking is summarized at http://nige.wordpress..com/2008/01/30/book/ and there is a newer version of my Hubble acceleration argument at https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/advice/

    I’m impressed that you are continuing to publish online in arXiv and in physics journals. The topic and content of your paper is interesting, and I like the way you derive all your conclusions from calculations instead of building calculations around models.

    Maybe I can be a nuisance and mention an equation you give in one of your papers on EMP. You states that the power radiated by a nonrelativistic accelerated electron is

    P = (e^2)(a^2) / (6*Pi*Permittivity*c^3)

    I wonder if you know of any good textbook derivation for this result? I want to know what assumptions have gone into the derivation. I can’t find a derivation in any physics textbooks I possess, although this formula is quoted here and there.

    I’m wondering if it is legitimate to put a = (v^2)/R into the equation for the centripetal acceleration of a spinning charge such as in a microscopic black hole of fundamental charge size. Because the Standard Model implies that mass (gravitational charge) isn’t an inherent property of fermions but is rather produced by an external vacuum (Higgs field like) mechanism, I don’t worry about mass. Similarly, self-inductance doesn’t present a problem either with confined loops of massless charged radiation circulating in black holes, or with such radiation being endlessly exchanged (as field quanta) between fermions. Charged massless radiation can propagate in closed loops because the infinite self-inductance due to the magnetic field of moving massless charge gets cancelled out by the return current which has a magnetic field curling the opposite way, cancelling the infinite self-inductance of the primary current. So one way to calculate the radiating power of a black hole fermion is to put a = (v^2)/R into the radiation formula, with v = c for trapped massless radiation and R = black hole event horizon radius, 2GM/c^2.

    The result from this can be compared numerically to the predicted radiant power from Hawking’s formula (which will apply quantitatively for a charged black hole), and other work.

    Best wishes,
    Nigel
    —– Original Message —–
    From: Mario Rabinowitz
    To: Nigel Cook
    Sent: Friday, October 10, 2008 12:19 AM
    Subject: I have come to a number of conclusions that may be of interest to you:

    Dear Nigel,

    Time seems to fly. I just noticed that it has been over 2 years since we last communicated. I hope all is going fine for you, and that your work is progressing well.

    I have been working on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (QM); and have compared QM with Classical Mechanics (CM) on an equal probabilistic footing. I have come to a number of conclusions, and here are some of my findings that may be of interest to you:

    1. QM violates the Correspondence Principle for an infinite square well. This is the simple case of a particle that is free except at the confining walls (or except near the walls in a less ideal case).

    2. The non-uniformity of the solutions for the infinite square well far from the walls (Free Particle) implies that the vacuum is not as empty as the word vacuum implies.

    3. Observed frequencies in the micro-cosmos (e.g. atomic spectra, etc.) are beat frequencies between the neighboring state quantum phase frequencies.

    4. The QM beat frequency for the harmonic oscillator is identically the same as the classical frequency.

    5. For the harmonic oscillator, the expectation value of x^2 is identically the same in CM and QM for all quantum numbers.

    6. Non-locality manifests itself in all aspects of QM, not just in EPR , Aharonov-Bohm, and other effects. This is why QM violates Newton’s 1st and 2nd Laws.

    These and other hopefully original and insightful observations are in my arXiv paper “Quantum and Classical Disparity and Accord.” The URL is http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.3373 . It can be downloaded by clicking on “PDF only” at the top right of the WEB page.

    Have you or your colleagues heard any of these things before?

    Best wishes,
    Mario

  6. copy of a comment to:

    http://science1.wordpress.com/2008/10/14/physics-is-a-rotten-unhuman-organism-feeding-on-human-intelligence/

    ‘… They are recruited into the profession by this propaganda. Behind the glamorous facade there is the ugly physics hierarchy as strict as the Vatican and the military. … Can independent science come out of this police state called academia? Members of the academic hierarchy must obey the laws of the system otherwise they will be excommunicated. Freeing science from the grip of this police state is important. …’

    If you actually look at police states fo comparison, such as Stalin’s and Hitler’s enterprises, you’ll find that they claimed to be defending something from evil ignorant propaganda.

    But the biggest thing you need to be aware of is that nearly everyone loved Hitler until 1939. Hence Britain’s Prime Minister Chamberlain flying to Munich in September 1938 to have tea and cakes with the great fascist.

    Nobody – especially the world’s free media bosses – wanted a war with a guy who was eliminating German employment, fencing off the ghettos, building the first motorways, getting Germany back on its feet after military defeat and financial chaos.

    The same occurred with Stalin – who murdered many more people than Hitler in purges – and his successors during the Cold War. I don’t believe that Soviet dictatorial ‘communism’ collapsed – it failed because America in the Reagan had the balls to stand up to it and call it the ‘evil empire’ despite the screams of a lot of f***ing shi*s who believed that dictatorial communism was holy writ and nuclear deterrence should be banned.

    Taking these lessons over to the physics establishment, you have to realise that Woit and Smolin are fellow travellers of mainstream orthodoxy. They’re certainly not radical enough in the right directions to make substantial progress, or to be leaders of a scientific revolution that will firmly destroy the hysterical groupthink religion of Witten’s M-theory. They’re more like Prime Minister Chamberlain, having tea and cakes with the great dictator at Munich in September 1939, trying to win by getting a ‘promise to be a good boy from now on’ signed on a worthless scrap of paper.

    E.g., here’s a mildly sarcastic comment of mine which Woit – aged 51 now (Smolin is even older) deleted from his Not Even Wrong blog:

    http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=955#comment-44326

    October 7th, 2008 at 2:02 am

    Shantanu,

    I think it’s time Edward Witten received Nobel’s explosive accolade for explaining that string remarkably predicts gravity in his paper:

    Reflections on the Fate of Spacetime, in Physics Today, April 1996:

    ‘String theory has the remarkable property of predicting gravity.’

  7. copy of a post submitted to:

    http://groups.google.com/group/sci.physics.foundations/browse_thread/thread/7822c6f46b7e4fb2

    On Sep 6, 5:52 am, “Jay R. Yablon” wrote:

    > The “corruption of physics by mathematicians (not mathematics) has been
    > burgeoning for over 100 years with today’s dismal lack of progress a
    > predictable result.”
    >
    > Again, this struck me very hard, and jostled me out of my present
    > hibernation, for I could not agree more.

    People like Feynman have sometimes written things which agree with your view:

    ‘It always bothers me that, according to the laws as we understand them today, it takes a computing machine an infinite number of logical operations to figure out what goes on in no matter how tiny a region of space, and no matter how tiny a region of time. How can all that be going on in that tiny space? Why should it take an infinite amount of logic to figure out what one tiny piece of spacetime is going to do? 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.’

    – R. P. Feynman, The Character of Physical Law, November 1964 Cornell Lectures, broadcast and published in 1965 by BBC, pp. 57-8. (Quote: http://quantumfieldtheory.org/ )

    Feynman points out in that book QED that there is a simple physical explanation via Feynman diagrams and path integrals (paths of exchanged virtual field quanta radiations – gauge bosons – i.e. the quanta which constitute force fields by being mediated at light velocity between electric charges) for why the mathematics of electron orbits and photon paths is classical on large scales and chaotic on small ones:

    ‘… when seen on a large scale, they [electrons, photons, etc.] travel like particles, on definite paths. But on a small scale, such as inside an atom, the space is so small that there is no main path, no ‘orbit’; there are all sorts of ways the electron could go, each with an amplitude. The phenomenon of interference [from quantum interactions, each represented by a Feynman diagram for virtual radiation being exchanged between charges at random to cause the chaotic quantum field force that on large scales looks like the classical smooth Coulomb law because of the large number of interactions involved on large scales] becomes very important, and we have to sum the arrows [amplitudes] to predict where an electron is likely to be.’

    – R. P. Feynman, QED, Penguin, 1990, page 84-5.

    So according to Feynman, an electron inside the atom has a chaotic path which is physically the result of the small scale involved, which prevents individual virtual photon exchanges from statistically averaging out the way they do on large scales. For analogy, think of the different effects of the impacts of air molecules on a micron sized dust particle – i.e. chaotic Brownian motion – and on a yacht’s sail, where such large numbers of impacts [are] involved that they can be accurately represented by the classical approximation of ‘air pressure’. Real (observable) photons travel along paths influenced by the electromagnetic fields already created by the virtual photons which are being exchanged between electric charges (light slows down in a block of glass because the EM fields of the photon are travelling through EM fields of the particles in the glass):

    ‘Light … ‘smells’ the neighboring paths around it, and uses a small core of nearby space. (In the same way, a mirror has to have enough size to reflect normally: if the mirror is too small for the core of nearby paths, the light scatters in many directions, no matter where you put the mirror.)’ – R. P. Feynman, QED, Penguin, 1990, page 54.

    ‘When we look at photons on a large scale … there are enough paths around the path of minimum time to reinforce each other, and enough other paths to cancel each other out. But when the space through which a photon moves becomes too small … these rules fail … The same situation exists with electrons: when seen on a large scale, they travel like particles, on definite paths. But on a small scale, such as inside an atom, the space is so small that there is no main path, no ‘orbit’; there are all sorts of ways the electron could go, each with an amplitude. The phenomenon of interference [due to pair-production of virtual fermions in the very strong electric fields (above the 1.3*10^18 v/m Schwinger threshold electric field strength for pair-production) on small distance scales] becomes very important, and we have to sum the arrows to predict where an electron is likely to be.’- R. P. Feynman, QED, Penguin, 1990, page 84-5.

    ‘… the ‘inexorable laws of physics’ … were never really there … Newton could not predict the behaviour of three balls … In retrospect we can see that the determinism of pre-quantum physics kept itself from ideological bankruptcy only by keeping the three balls of the pawnbroker apart.’ – Dr Tim Poston and Dr Ian Stewart, ‘Rubber Sheet Physics’ (science article) in Analog: Science Fiction/Science Fact, Vol. C1, No. 129, Davis Publications, New York, November 1981.

    Physics is by it’s nature mathematical because it’s quantitative. The problem is with mainstream physicists who don’t understand what mathematics is and the difference between a mathematical model and reality, not with mathematicians who live in a fantasy land. E.g., Ed Witten gave a string theorist ‘peer-reviewer’ of my QG paper submitted to Classical and Quantum Gravity, an excuse to dismiss it by making his famous pseudophysics claim:

    ‘String theory has the remarkable property of predicting gravity.’ – Ed Witten, in his influential article ‘Reflections on the Fate of Spacetime’, in Physics Today, April 1996.

    The peer-reviewer believed in spin-2 gravitons (never observed), which are an error. Gravitons must have a spin of 1 for the following reasons. The belief that gravitons have a spin of 2 comes from an obvious error whereby a rank-2 tensor for curvature can be shown to imply a spin-2 gravity mediator, relying on the false assumption that gravitons are only mediated between two masses. In fact, unlike other forces, there’s simply no mechanism to stop gravitons being mediated between all masses in the universe, so the path integral between gravitating charges (masses, energy) is entirely different for gravity than for other forces – gravitons are exchanged between all masses, so gravity results not from attraction but from repulsion. Gravitons coming inward from distant immense masses (an apple and the Earth together constitute a trivial fraction of the mass of the universe), and this convergence means that you get a stronger interaction between distant masses and the apple and distant masses and the Earth, than you do between the particles in the apple and the particles in the Earth (despite their relative proximity). Turns out in this (correct) analysis of quantum gravity, that gravitons have a spin of 1.

    Actually the key insight into the whole error of quantum gravity is the Hubble recession law, which is empirical: https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/09/11/advice/ Turns out that what counts is not variation of velocity with apparent distance in spacetime, but the variation in velocity with time past since the big bang. We’re seeing the past with increasing distance, and light velocity gauge bosons come from times in the past. So effectively from our reference frame, we’re seeing an acceleration of the universe. This gives effective outward force by the 2nd law of motion which you can calculate, and then by the 3rd law of motion you get the inward reaction force mediated by the spin-1 gravitons.

    https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/book/

    So you can predict gravity from this approach, unlike the alleged ‘prediction’ of gravity from string theory which Ed Witten claimed to do. All his ‘prediction’ was was a prediction of something that doesn’t exist (spin-2 gravitons), but is believed to exist due to the error of Fietz and Pauli in the 1930s when they argued that graviton has a spin-2 mediator.

    https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/08/16/authority-problems/

    and

    https://nige.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/cosmology-at-professor-cormac-o%e2%80%99raifeartaighs-blog/

    demonstrate some of the problems you get when trying to explain this kind of very straightforward mathematical physics to the mainstream. It takes me back to my painful time as a kid aged 5-12 when I had a hearing problem that affected my speech (copying distorted sounds)and made me hard to understand. No matter how hard you try to explain things to teachers and people as a kid, they just don’t have the time to listen but don’t want to say that, so instead they say that you’re stupid or, had a ‘lazy tongue’ that caused the speech problem (as a headmaster and some doctors claimed, none of which actually knew a thing about audio feedback) whatever. You can’t really get anywhere with such patronising people, they’re all a groupthink conspiracy of lazy, ignorant, in-a-huff, jack asses. They’ll insist they know the answer, and when it’s finally shown that they’re talking bulls***, they’ll just smile rudely and proclaim ‘everybody makes mistakes!’ There’s no shame, no responsibility, and no real professionalism in mainstream physics (unless you are paying them a lot of money to do something).

    Mathematical obfuscation is very helpful to PhD students in string theory who can’t really make any checkable predictions, e.g. the Bogdanov brothers. They just submerge their ‘work’ in technical trivia that nobody has time to check, and they’ve succeeded. I’ll copy this comment to my blog in case you choose to delete it. Thanks.

  8. With regard to Smolin’s comment, quoted by Tony Smith, that nobody without a Ph.D. is worth listening to, he must understand that a Ph.D. is not a licence to think, much as he might like to convey this impression. In another forum, a correspondent tried to clinch an argument with me by boasting of this qualification, so how could I presume to argue with him! A well-developed critical faculty can be just as valuable in assessing the array of contradictory theories that abound.

    Another wise observation of Feynman’s was that there are many times more theories around than verifiable facts. The way these often develop is by putting perverse interpretations on correlations between values arrived at mathematically and deducing from them a spurious causal relationship. Arguably gravity is greatest victim of this process, where even the name is a misnomer derived from weight which seldom gets a mention.

    It may be this has come about from the same unit of measure being formerly used for mass, weight, and force, but then, words often acquire meanings by analogy, and as with words, so with algebraic symbols. Following the custom of allocating symbols to represent constant geometrical ratios, once physical values get their own symbols, the values are assumed to be constants, too. Wrong! as has lately come to be recognised. There are no solid grounds for either c of G to be considered cosmic constants. That was a wild extrapolation from local values before there was any conception of the size of the cosmos. In the case of c, it may be only a convenient hook on which to hang relativity!

    I suggest it is Revision Time, which I am proposing at http://www.shadowgravity.com/.

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