Alternative takes on physics

  • My dad has been sending me links to thought-provoking articles that approach topics in physics from unusual angles. I thought some here might enjoy the discussions and be able to comment on them, so I'm starting this thread to share some of the links.


    In this short pdf, Carver Mead argues that photons are best viewed as near-instantaneous transactions between participating atoms, and that the notion that they are little billiard balls that traverse a length of space obscures important experimental details about them. Mead is a professor emeritus at Caltech and a one-time collaborator with Feynman.


    https://authors.library.caltec…88/1/Mead_2013p883202.pdf 


    Some quotes:

    "Mathematical elegance is important in a theory when it aids conceptual reasoning. It is destructive when it obscures otherwise accessible conceptual understanding."


    "It is rare for theory to predict new physical phenomena. In most cases each new phenomenon is discovered/invented experimentally, and the current theory is quickly 'adjusted' so as to 'predict' the observed result."


    "The successes in technological enterprise are attributable to conceptual reasoning. 'Fundamental' physical theory, as taught in universities and and propagated in the literature, has a long history of hindering conceptual reasoning, and therefore technological progress."

  • Eric Walker form the quotes you posted

    "

    In this short pdf, Carver Mead argues that photons are best viewed as near-instantaneous transactions between participating atoms, and that the notion that they are little billiard balls that traverse a length of space obscures important experimental details about them. "


    Isn't that' hindering of conceptual reasoning' too?

  • Eric Walker after duly criticizing fundamental physics for favoring beauty over realism and easy to conceptualize things he turns around and proposes and idea to replace billiard ball concept for photon ,which is probably the most commonly agreed upon between all (with some exceptions) , with purely theoretical nearly instant , and perhaps spooky, 'transactions'.

  • he turns around and proposes and idea to replace billiard ball concept for photon ,which is probably the most commonly agreed upon between all


    Two authorities Mead cites in support of parts of his description of photons are Feynman and Einstein. (Not sure to what extent they were/would be on board with his particular account.)

  • Eric Walker Feynman could not explain what magnetic field actually is even though saying that you don't know physics if you can't explain everything to a second grader.

    Einstein was trying to unify his own theories into GUT and failed.

    They both contribute to the advancements of certain areas of physics.

    They both are also partially responsible for lost century. some say there were no predicted effects which were turned into actual things since atomic bomb everything else was discovered like Carver said first and then theory was fitted to match the experiment.


    I see that R.Mills could be the first in many years who predicted and then looked into certain wavelength emitted during hydrino formation which could become an effect used in the new energy device.

    That of course could mean death to QED and make Feynman renormalization effort for which he got the prize useless.



    Overall the issues with current physics he raises are legit. However proposed alternative is for a specific taste.

  • max


    Certainly we do not know what an atom or electron is really like. We just have various models that approximate the behaviour. Some models work better in some circumstances and not in others.


    Are theoretical predictions really failing to produce experimental results?

    There are certainly predicted effects that have produced results; the most obvious one is the Higgs, although the predicted search paramenters were very fuzzy.

    A few others I found;

    The Kondo effect.

    Light from a vacuum via Casimir effect.

    Predicted quantum transient bond in cold chemistry.


    Thank you Max, you made me have to think.



    My problem with alternative theories is that there are hundreds of them from loan cranks sitting in their basement to super smart researchers like Edward Witten and Sabrina Pasterski.

    The fans of these theories demand that you must read and study the entire works of their hero; Randell Mills, Garrett Lisi, Rossi etc etc.


    Luckily I am too stupid to be able to attempt to do this, knowing my level of stupidity saves me a lot of time.

    As a tax payer I pony up the money for clever physicists to waste their time on string theory or whatever.


    Presumably the theory that supercedes the Standard Model will be one theory that explains more phenomenon. So that would be one theory then!

    Of course there is no guarantee that any of the current theories on offer is the correct one. We may have to wait another hundred years.

    Or maybe nature is not as mathematically elegant as most physicists would like to imagine.

  • Not an alternative view on physics, but still interesting: the following paper gives an excellent and accessible description of the experimental verification of a conflict between the predictions of quantum mechanics, on one hand, and the predictions of theories that introduce so-called "supplementary parameters" or "hidden variables," on the other, in order to explain correlations of the (e.g.) polarization of entangled pairs of (e.g.) photons. The author is Alain Aspect, who was one of the experimentalists central to establishing in the 1970's and 80's that such a contradiction exists and that the data support quantum mechanical predictions.


    https://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/0402001.pdf


    The impetus for these experiments was an inequality derived by John Stewart Bell that placed limits on what can be expected to be observed if there were hidden variables. The inequality was later refined by several others.


    Quote: "Entanglement is definitely a feature going beyond any spacetime description à la Einstein: a pair of entangled photons must be considered a single global object, that we cannot consider as made of individual objects separated in spacetime with well defined properties."

  • my vision of those kind of paradox is that, a pair of entangled photon is one, that the 2 separate measurement create entangled separate Schrödinger cats, and that as soon as information can circulate between the two cats, one of the eigenvalue is preferred in the conversation between the cats.


    For me there is no independent photons which communicate, but one split wavefunction which interfer back when we can compare the two results.


    For me the relativistic horizons are like a perfect box for Schrödinger horizon.


    There is one Schrödinger kitten experiment that show that decoherence happen when foreign photons can interact with the kitten (it is observed statistically as a decrease associated with the permeability of the cavity the kittens are hidden in).


    If you cannot measure it; don't say it exist.

    until you can measure it don't say it goes faster than light.

  • Let's try to estimate R.Feynman net impact on state of the art in general:

    - huge advance in QM which might be proven as a fallacy itself. Net 0.

    And now more serious

    - dismissal of Ken Shoulders Evo theory. Yes later he apologized, after damage was done

    - sabotage of J.Papp work.

    Could be more examples. Surely more involving other celebreties.

    At the end net impact is negative.

  • - huge advance in QM which might be proven as a fallacy itself. Net 0.


    If QM is a fallacy, please explain the Aspect results (discussed in a pdf linked above).


    At the end net impact is negative.


    Theory of weak decay. Quantum electrodynamics. Feynman diagrams. Inspiring generations of people to learn about physics. Your position on Feynman leaves something to be desired.


    I agree that the incident with Papp was unfortunate and inconclusive. But we don't ask perfection of people or that they not make mistakes. We work with what they contributed that is valuable.

  • Max Nozin , in the Aspect experiments, they saw results in two-slit entangled photon trials hew tightly to the QM predictions (dotted line):




    In one experiment, the QM predictions violated Bell-like inequalities by 40 standard deviations, implying that a theory that uses local hidden variables would depart from the QM predictions significantly (and QM is shown to be very accurate in these experiments). The apparent conclusion is that QM is accurate in a way that a theory that uses local realism cannot in principle be.


    I'm going to guess that Mills's theory, which attempts to establish a "classical" basis for QM results, relies on local realism.

  • If QM is a fallacy, please explain the Aspect results (discussed in a pdf linked above).


    Don't blame QM. It is just mathematics. For all experiments with external fields low coulomb perturbation, it works perfectly fine. It is just about what you want to calculate.


    But: QM can't be use to calcualte any nuclear physics facts beyond De-Broglie radius. The countless experiments with no agreement undermine this fact.

  • In the following essay, Marty Green (author unknown) makes a qualitative argument that experiments that purport to show that photons are particles rather than waves can be reinterpreted using constructive interference and by drawing analogies to antennas to show that a description of photons as waves cannot be so easily ruled out:


    https://fqxi.org/data/essay-co…There_Are_No_Pea_Shoo.pdf


    Abstract: "The case for the particle nature of light is well established, just as the wave theory of light has been discredited. Historically, the decisive arguments against the wave theory were developed in the early years of quantum mechanics. The need to consider the wave nature of matter only became fully evident following the advent of the Schroedinger equation in 1926. In this essay we consider whether the old arguments against the wave theory remain fully justified."

  • I'm going to guess that Mills's theory, which attempts to establish a "classical" basis for QM results, relies on local realism.


    Mills gives his explanation for the aspect experiment here on page 1640:

    http://brilliantlightpower.com…Ed-Volume3-Web-091217.pdf

    Looks like a pretty good fit to the experimental values. But I have not investigated, if the equation he uses are consistent with his earlier derivations.

  • Epimetheus , the text you cite is quoted below. It's a little hard to decipher what is being claimed at first. But one gathers that (1) the photons are extended objects with a radius given by r = λ/2π (i.e., they're much smaller than the experiment in the case of the two-slit experiments); and (2) their polarization is fixed at the time they are emitted. If these two things are true, Mills is assuming a form of local realism. I.e., the photons are emitted at time t=0 with their state configured once and for all. Alain Aspect and other experimental physicists seem to believe that this is incompatible with what the experimental data are saying. Aspect says: "Entanglement is definitely a feature going beyond any spacetime description à la Einstein: a pair of entangled photons must be considered a single global object, that we cannot consider as made of individual objects separated in spacetime with well defined properties."


    Aspect and other experimentalists are saying that something rather strange is what matches the data: that when you dynamically adjust the orientations of the two polarizers while the photons are in flight, the (high) correlation between the two photons, depending on the relative orientations of the polarizers, is such that there has to be something happening between the two photons that covers the distance between them faster than the speed of light. This would seem to be incompatible with a classical description such as Mills puts forward.


    The paragraph below says that Eq. (42.29) gives results that match Aspect's experiments. I suggest the following: (1) Verify that Eq. (42.29) matches the results of Aspect's experiments as claimed. And (2) verify that Eq. (42.29) is not ad hoc and is indeed derived as a necessary consequence of Mills's theoretical apparatus.




  • Can a photon have mass? This is a question I've found myself discussing with several people. Here is one answer:


    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/…dNuclear/photon_mass.html


    Experimental upper bounds of 6e-16 eV and possibly 7e-17 eV and 3e-27 eV are mentioned. That does not of course rule out a photon having mass. The note suggests, however, that assigning a mass to photons would cause some havoc for theory. (Not that this bothers me.)


    One tantalizing possibility if photons did have mass: perhaps you could explain the Hubble redshift as a result of (very slightly massive) photons slowing down a little as they traverse a (very slightly) viscous medium.

  • It would also be possible to simply say that photons lose energy slowly over time, so those that come from far away -and are thus very old indeed - are redshifted. I am not too sure about the 'slowing down' bit though, are they of necessity connected?