This is it, folks ! I am moving on ! It was nice camping out here. 🙂
This has been a very interesting journey for me. I wrote my first post in October 2013, so that’s almost five years ago. As mentioned in the ‘About‘ page, I started writing this blog because — with all those breakthroughs in science (some kind of experimental verification of what is referred to as the Higgs field in July 2012 and, more recently, the confirmation of the reality of gravitational waves in 2016 by Caltech’s LIGO Lab) — I felt I should make an honest effort to try to understand what it was all about.
Despite all of my efforts (including enrolling in MIT’s edX QM course, which I warmly recommend as an experience, especially because it’s for free), I haven’t moved much beyond quantum electrodynamics (QED). Hence, that Higgs field is a still a bit of a mystery to me. In any case, the summaries I’ve read about it say it’s just some scalar field. So that’s not very exciting: mass is some number associated with some position in spacetime. That’s nothing new, right?
In contrast, I am very enthusiastic about the LIGO Lab discovery. Why? Because it confirms Einstein was right all along.
If you have read any of my posts, you will know I actually disagree with Feynman. I have to thank him for his Lectures — and I would, once again, like to thank Michael Gottlieb and Rudolf Pfeiffer, who have worked for decades to get those Lectures online — but my explorations did confirm that guts feeling I had deep inside when starting this journey: the complexity in the quantum-mechanical framework does not match the intuition that, if the theory has a simple circle group structure, one should not be calculating a zillion integrals all over space over 891 4-loop Feynman diagrams to explain the magnetic moment of an electron in a Penning trap. And the interference of a photon with itself in the Mach-Zehnder interference experiment has a classical explanation too. The ‘zero state’ of a photon – or its zero states (plural), I should say – are the linear components of the circular polarization. In fact, I really wish someone would have gently told me that an actual beam splitter changes the polarization of light. I could have solved the Mach-Zehnder puzzle with that information like a year ago.]
This will probably sound like Chinese to you, so let me translate it: there is no mystery. Not in the QED sector of the Standard Model, at least. All can be explained by simple geometry and the idea of a naked charge: something that has no other property but its electric charge and – importantly – some tiny radius, which is given by the fine-structure constant (the ratio becomes a distance if we think of the electron’s Compton radius as a natural (distance) unit). So the meaning of God’s Number is clear now: there is nothing miraculous about it either. Maxwell’s equations combined with the Planck-Einstein Law (E = h·f) are all we need to explain the whole QED sector. No hocus-pocus needed. The elementary wavefunction exp(±i·θ) = exp(±ω·t) = exp[±(E/ħ)·t] represents an equally elementary oscillation. Physicists should just think some more about the sign convention and, more generally, think some more about Occam’s Razor Principle when modeling their problems. 🙂
Am I a crackpot? Maybe. I must be one, because I think the academics have a problem, not me. So… Well… That’s the definition of a crackpot, isn’t it? 🙂 It feels weird. Almost all physicists I got in touch with – spare two or three (I won’t mention their names because they too don’t quite know what to do with me) – are all stuck in their Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics: reality is some kind of black box and we’ll never understand it the way we would want to understand it. Almost none of them is willing to think outside of the box. I blame vested interests (we’re talking Nobel Prize stuff, unfortunately) and Ivory Tower culture.
In any case, I found the answers to the questions I started out with, and I don’t think the academics I crossed (s)words with have found that peace of mind yet. So if I am a crackpot, then I am a happy one. 😊
The Grand Conclusion is that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes. Not in the QED sector, at least. In fact, I think the situation is a lot worse. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics feels like a Bright Shining Lie. [Yes, I know that’s an ugly reference.] But… Yes. Just mathematical gimmicks to entertain students – and academics ! Of course, I can appreciate the fact that Nobel Prizes have been awarded and that academic reputations have to be upheld — posthumously or… I would want to write ‘humously’ here but that word doesn’t exist so I should replace it by ‘humorously’. 🙂 […] OK. Poor joke. 🙂
Frankly, it is a sad situation. Physics has become the domain of hype and canonical nonsense. To the few readers who have been faithful followers (this blog attracted about 154,034 visitors so far which is — of course — close to nothing), I’d say: think for yourself. Honor Boltzman’s spirit: “Bring forward what is true. Write it so that it is clear. Defend it to your last breath.” I actually like another quote of him too: “If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.” But that’s too rough, isn’t it? And then I am also not sure he really said that. 🙂
Of course, QCD is another matter altogether — because of the non-linearity of the force(s) involved, and the multiplication of ‘colors’ — but my research over the past five years (longer than that, actually) have taught me that there is no ‘deep mystery’ in the QED sector. All is logical – including the meaning of the fine-structure constant: that’s just the radius of the naked charge expressed in natural units. All the rest can be derived. And 99% of what you’ll read or google about quantum mechanics is about QED: perturbation theory, propagators, the quantized field, etcetera to talk about photons and electrons, and their interactions. If you have a good idea about what an electron and a photon actually are, then you do not need anything of that to understand QED.
In short, quantum electrodynamics – as a theory, and in its current shape and form – is incomplete: it is all about electrons and photons – and the interactions between the two – but the theory lacks a good description of what electrons and photons actually are. All of the weirdness of Nature is, therefore, in this weird description of the fields: gauge theories, Feynman diagrams, quantum field theory, etcetera. And the common-sense is right there: right in front of us. It’s easy and elegant: a plain common-sense interpretation of quantum mechanics — which, I should remind the reader, is based on Erwin Schrödinger’s trivial solution for Dirac’s wave equation for an electron in free space.
So is no one picking this up? Let’s see. Truth cannot be hidden, right? Having said that, I must admit I have been very surprised by the rigidity of thought of academics (which I know all too well from my experience as a PhD student in economics) in this domain. If math is the queen of science, then physics is the king, right? Well… Maybe not. The brightest minds seem to have abandoned the field.
But I will stop my rant here. I want to examine the QCD sector now. What theories do we have for the non-linear force(s) that keep(s) protons together? What explains electron capture by a proton—turning it into a neutron in the process? What’s the nature of neutrinos? How should we think of all these intermediary particles—which are probably just temporary resonances rather than permanent fixtures?
My new readingeinstein.blog will be devoted to that. I think I’ll need some time to post my first posts (pun intended)—but… Well… We’ve started this adventure and so I want to get to the next destination. It’s a mind thing, right? 🙂
7 thoughts on “Moving on…”
Oops, forgot your readers and the articles are in English. Hereby xlation: wishing you lots of luck and success with your new & further explorations. You left me behind a loooooong time ago… sadly I don’t have the time (nor brains) to study and explore it all in such detail. But hat off (hey – that translates literally!) to your perseverance. Indeed, academics in many sub-disciplines can get very stuck (and comfortable!) in their paradigms. And their tendency towards group-think or fashion thinking has been well-documented and studied elsewhere. If that’s also the case with the QED physicists, is of course not something I can judge. But giving the wagon (?) an occasional hard kick can only be good for the development of (a) science 🙂
Hi JL, I’ve recently found your site. I haven’t had a chance to read many of your posts, but I know I’ll find them intriguing. I do have a PhD education in physics, and I can see that I’ll strongly disagree with some of your conclusions and others I will find reflect my own view.
I too am surprised that many physicsits state they agree with the Copenhagen Interpretation. I think there are many reasons for this. Many probably don’t know exactly what the Copenhagen Inpretatation is. Others likely have spent little time thinking about it once they’ve finished their QM courses.
Also, I can agree with you that “physics has become the domain of hype and canonical nonsense”. That’s one of the reasons I started my blog
Do I understand you correctly that you believe that the electron is a sphere with a radius? I’ll have a post up soon that will show that any QM interpretation that imagines electrons as tiny little tennis balls is wrong.
Yep. I think it’s fundamentally wrong to assign attributes like magnetic moment or mass to an object that is supposed to have no dimension whatsoever. 🙂 That just doesn’t make sense. Also note I do not believe an electron is a little ball. It’s an asymmetric shape: a disk-like structure. It has to be for the magnetic moment to make sense – as a concept, that is. The pointlike charge that’s whizzing around – as part of the zbw interpretation of Wheeler’s ‘mass without mass’ idea – may be spherical. I actually assume it is to explain the anomalous magnetic moment using classical (but relativistically correct) equations. But, yes, an object that has some property (not necessarily mass but some charge) does not have a zero dimension. That’s a contradictio in terminis for me: an object that has no physical dimension whatsoever is just a mathematical point. It can’t be something real. Does that make sense?
As for your work on QM interpretations, I have moved on to the QCD sector now. See: http://www.readingeinstein.blog for an application of the oscillator model to the nucleus and the nuclear force. 🙂 Kind regards and good luck with your research ! We need a realist interpretation of QM ! Cheers – JL
Well, QCD is governed by quantum mechanics too, so I don’t think you’ll actually be giving up QM interpretations any time soon. 😉
Yes, I understand your explanation. I’m opposed to the idea that the electron or any particle is a zero-dimensional object. I was never taught this, but apparently it’s a thing.
I don’t deal with the magnetic moment in my latest post (https://matterofphysics.com/what-the-electron-isnt/) but I do deal with the spatial distrubtion: the idea of an electron like a tiny tennis ball or as zero-dimensional. It’s a quick read. I hope you’ll have a look. 🙂
As for the magnetic moment, I don’t see any reason why it can’t be an intrinsic property of a particle, just like electric charge or mass.
Cheers — Nate
On QCD – I think I have an alternative for the current ‘ad hoc’ theory as well: https://readingeinstein.blog/2019/07/02/who-needs-quark-and-gluons/ 🙂