Movies, space travel and life elsewhere

I went to see the follow-up to Avatar (‘The Way of Water’). It took over 10 years to produce it. Indeed, how time flies: the first ‘Avatar’ was released in 2009 and was, apparently, the highest grossing film of all times (according to Wikipedia, at least). This installment is not doing badly either in terms of revenue and popularity but, frankly, I found it rather underwhelming. This may be because of the current international situation. Indeed, I wonder why American soldiers must always be the ‘true’ space explorers in such movies. Why not some friendly Chinese or Indian explorers? Fortunately, it will be a while before mankind will be able to build spaceships that can travel at speeds that would allow us to visit, say, the Gliese 667 Cc planet, which may well be the nearest planet that is inhabitable (practically speaking), but which is about 22 lightyears away, so that would be a few thousand years of travel with our current spacecraft. Mankind will have to find a way to keep our own planet inhabitable for some more time… Planets like Gliese 667 Cc and other exoplanets that may have life like we know it, will be safe from us for quite a while. 🙂

These are rather philosophical thoughts, but they came up as I was adding an annex to my one and only paper on cosmology, in which I argue there are no mysteries left: the question of ‘dark matter’ is solved when we think of it as anti-matter, and even the accelerating rate of expansion of the Universe could probably be explained by assuming our Universe is just a blob in a larger cluster of universes. These other universes are, obviously, beyond our horizon: that horizon is just the age of the Universe, which is currently estimated to be about 13.8 billion (109) years and which determines the limits of the observable Universe. Hence, not only can we not see or know the outer edges of our Universe (because those outer parts moved further out in the meanwhile, and at the rather astonishing speed of 2c/3, and so must assume the end-to-end distance across the Universe is of the order of 46 billion lightyears), but we would also never see the other universes that are tearing our own Universe apart, so to speak.

By the way, this thought is quite consistent with an earlier thought I had – much before I even knew about this acceleration in the expansion of our Universe when thinking about the Big Bang theory: I always wondered why the coming-into-being of our Universe should be such simple linear and unique process. Why not think of several Big Bangs at different places and times? So, if other universes would exist and tear ours apart, so to speak, then here you have the explanation !


However, I am not writing this post to share some assumptions or observations. It is to share this thought: is it not strange to think we know all about how reality works (as mentioned, I think there are no real questions or mysteries left in the science of physics) but that, at the same time, we are quite alone with our science and technology here on Earth?

Indeed, other forms of intelligent life are likely (highly likely, in light of the rather incredible size of the Universe), but they are too far away to be relevant to us: probably hundreds or even thousands of lightyears away, rather than only 20 or 40 of lightyears, which is the distance to the nearest terrestrial exoplanets, such as the mentioned Gliese 667 Cc planet. So we know it all and we relish in such knowledge and then, one day, we just die?

It is a strange thought, isn’t it? :-/


Pair creation and annihilation

I had been wanting to update my paper on matter-antimatter pair creation and annihilation for a long time, and I finally did it: here is the new version of it. It was one of my early papers on ResearchGate and, somewhat surprising, it got quite a few downloads (all is relative: I am happy with a few thousand). I actually did not know why, but now I understand: it does take down the last defenses of QCD- and QFT-theorists. As such, I now think this paper is at least as groundbreaking as my paper on de Broglie’s matter-wave (which gets the most reads), or my paper on the proton radius (which gets the most recommendations).

My paper on de Broglie’s matter-wave is important because it explains why and how de Broglie’s bright insight (matter having some frequency and wavelength) was correct, but got the wrong interpretation: the frequencies and wavelengths are orbital frequencies, and the wavelengths are are not to be interpreted as linear distances (not like wavelengths of light) but the quantum-mechanical equivalent of the circumferences of orbital radii. The paper also shows why spin (in this or the opposite direction) should be incorporated into any analysis straight from the start: you cannot just ignore spin and plug it in back later. The paper on the proton radius shows how that works to yield short and concise explanations of the measurable properties of elementary particles (the electron and the proton). The two combined provide the framework: an analysis of matter in terms of pointlike particles does not get us anywhere. We must think of matter as charge in motion, and we must analyze the two- or three-dimensional structure of these oscillations, and use it to also explain interactions between matter-particles (elementary or composite) and light-particles (photons and neutrinos, basically). I have explained these mass-without-mass models too many times now, so I will not dwell on it.

So, how that paper on matter-antimatter pair creation and annihilation fit in? The revision resulted in a rather long and verbose thing, so I will refer you to it and just summarize it very briefly. Let me start by copying the abstract: “The phenomenon of matter-antimatter pair creation and annihilation is usually taken as confirmation that, somehow, fields can condense into matter-particles or, conversely, that matter-particles can somehow turn into lightlike particles (photons and/or neutrinos, which are nothing but traveling fields: electromagnetic or, in the case of the neutrino, some strong field, perhaps). However, pair creation usually involves the presence of a nucleus or other charged particles (such as electrons in experiment #E144). We, therefore, wonder whether pair creation and annihilation cannot be analyzed as part of some nuclear process. To be precise, we argue that the usual nuclear reactions involving protons and neutrons can effectively account for the processes of pair creation and annihilation. We therefore argue that the need to invoke some quantum field theory (QFT) to explain these high-energy processes would need to be justified much better than it currently is.”

Needless to say, the last line above is a euphemism: we think our explanation is complete, and that QFT is plain useless. We wrote the following rather scathing appreciation of it in a footnote of the paper: “We think of Aitchison & Hey’s presentation of [matter-antimatter pair creation and annihilation] in their Gauge Theories in Particle Physics (2012) – or presentations (plural), we should say. It is considered to be an advanced but standard textbook on phenomena like this. However, one quickly finds oneself going through the index and scraping together various mathematical treatments – wondering what they explain, and also wondering how all of the unanswered questions or hypotheses (such as, for example, the particularities of flavor mixing, helicity, the Majorana hypothesis, etcetera) contribute to understanding the nature of the matter at hand. I consider it a typical example of how – paraphrasing Sabine Hossenfelder’s judgment on the state of advanced physics research – physicist do indeed tend to get lost in math.”

That says it all. Our thesis is that charge cannot just appear or disappear: it is not being created out of nothing (or out of fields, we should say). The observations (think of pion production and decay from cosmic rays here) and the results of the experiments (the mentioned #E144 experiment or other high-energy experiments) cannot be disputed, but the mainstream interpretation of what actually happens or might be happening in those chain reactions suffers from what, in daily life, we would refer to as ‘very sloppy accounting’. Let me quote or paraphrase a few more lines from my paper to highlight the problem, and to also introduce my interpretation of things which, as usual, are based on a more structural analysis of what matter actually is:

“Pair creation is most often observed in the presence of a nucleus. The role of the nucleus is usually reduced to that of a heavy mass only: it only appears in the explanation to absorb or provide some kinetic energy in the overall reaction. We instinctively feel the role of the nucleus must be far more important than what is usually suggested. To be specific, we suggest pair creation should (also) be analyzed as being part of a larger nuclear process involving neutron-proton interactions. […]”

“Charge does not get ‘lost’ or is ‘created’, but [can] switch its ‘spacetime’ or ‘force’ signature [when interacting with high-energy (anti)photons or (anti)neutrinos].”

“[The #E144 experiment or other high-energy experiments involving electrons] accounts for the result of the experiment in terms of mainstream QED analysis, and effectively thinks of the pair production being the result of the theoretical ‘Breit-Wheeler’ pair production process from photons only. However, this description of the experiment fails to properly account for the incoming beam of electrons. That, then, is the main weakness of the ‘explanation’: it is a bit like making abstraction of the presence of the nucleus in the pair creation processes that take place near them (which, as mentioned above, account for the bulk of those).”

We will say nothing more about it here because we want to keep our blog post(s) short: read the paper! 🙂 To wrap this up for you, the reader(s) of this post, we will only quote or paraphrase some more ontological or philosophical remarks in it:

“The three-layered structure of the electron (the classical, Compton and Bohr radii of the electron) suggest that charge may have some fractal structure and – moreover – that such fractal structure may be infinite. Why do we think so? If the fractal structure would not be infinite, we would have to acknowledge – logically – that some kind of hard core charge is at the center of the oscillations that make up these particles, and it would be very hard to explain how this can actually disappear.” [Note: This is a rather novel new subtlety in our realist interpretation of quantum physics, so you may want to think about it. Indeed, we were initially not very favorable to the idea of a fractal charge structure because such fractal structure is, perhaps, not entirely consistent with the idea of a Zitterbewegung charge with zero rest mass), we think much more favorably of the hypothesis now.]

“The concept of charge is and remains mysterious. However, in philosophical or ontological terms, I do not think of it as a mystery: at some point, we must, perhaps, accept that the essence of the world is charge, and that:

  • There is also an antiworld, and that;
  • It consists of an anticharge that we can fully define in terms of the signature of the force(s) that keep it together, and that;
  • The two worlds can, quite simply, not co-exist or – at least – not interact with each other without annihilating each other.

Such simple view of things must, of course, feed into cosmological theories: how, then, came these two worlds into being? We offered some suggestions on that in a rather simple paper on cosmology (our one and only paper on the topic), but it is not a terrain that we have explored (yet).”

So, I will end this post in pretty much the same way as the old Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies cartoons used to end, and that’s by saying: “That’s all Folks.” 🙂

Enjoy life and do not worry too much. It is all under control and, if it is not, then that is OK too. 🙂

Post Scriptum

I made a start with annotating all of my papers. I will arrange them in a paper of itself: working paper no. 30 on ResearchGate. I will date it on 6 December when finished, in honor of one my brothers who died on that day (6 December), from a cancer that visited me too. Jean-Claude was his name. He was a great guy. I miss him, and sometimes feel guilty of having survived. Hereunder follows the first draft – a sort of preview for those who like this blog and have encouraged me to go on.

Post scriptum: The final paper is here and so you can click and download, rather than go through the draft underneath.


The 29 papers which I published on ResearchGate end a long period of personal research, which started in earnest when I sent my very first paper, as a young student in applied economics and philosophy, to the 1995 ‘Einstein meets Magritte’ Conference in Brussels. I do no longer have that paper, but I remember it vehemently defended the point of view that the ‘uncertainty’ as modeled in the Uncertainty Principle must be some kind of statistical determinism: what else can it be? Paraphrasing the words of H.A. Lorentz, at the occasion of the 1927 Solvay Conference, a few months before his death, there is, effectively, no need to elevate indeterminism to a philosophical principle: scientists must keep determinism has to be kept as ‘an object of faith.’ That is what science is all about. All that is needed is to replace our notion of predictability by the notion of statistical determinism: we can no longer predict what is going to happen, because we can or do not know the initial conditions, or because our measurement disturbs the phenomenon we are analyzing, but that is it. There is nothing more to it. That is what Heisenberg’s now rather infamous Uncertainty Principle is all about it: it is just what he originally thought about it himself.

I found the metaphor of a fast-rotating airplane propeller a very apt one[1], and several people who wrote me also said it made them see what it was all about. One cannot say where the blades are, exactly, and if you would shoot bullets through it, those bullets will either hit a blade and be deflected or will, quite simply, just go straight through. There is no third possibility. We can only describe the moving propeller in terms of some density in space. This is why the probabilities in quantum physics are proportional to mass densities or, what amounts to the same because of Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence relation, energy densities.

The propeller metaphor is useful in other contexts too. It explains quantum-mechanical tunneling, for example: if one thinks of matter-particles as pointlike charges in motion – which is what we do[2] – then the fields that surround them will be dynamic and, therefore, be like a propeller too: at one particular point in space and in time, the field will have a magnitude and a direction that will not allow another particle (think of it as a bullet) to get through – as the field acts as a force on the charge – but ‘holes appear in the wall’, so to speak, and they do so in a regular fashion, and then the incoming particle’s kinetic energy – while lower than the average potential energy of the barrier – will carry it through. There is, therefore, nothing weird or mysterious about tunneling.

Many more examples may be mentioned, but then I would be rewriting my papers, and that is not the purpose of this one, which is to conclude my research by revisiting and commenting on the rather vast mass of paper I produced previously: 29 papers in just one year (April 2020 – April 2021). These papers did not bring me fame, but did generate enough of a readership to produce a decent RG score – as evidenced below (sorry if this looks egotistical: it is not meant that way[3]).

I have effectively been ridiculed by family, friends and – sadly – by quite a few fellow searchers for truth. But I have also been encouraged, and I prefer to remember the encouragements. One of my blog posts writes about the suicide of Paul Ehrenfest and other personal tragedies in the history of physics. It notes a remark from a former diplomat-friend of mine, who remarked this: “It is good you are studying physics only as a pastime. Professional physicists are often troubled people—miserable.”

I found it an interesting observation from a highly intelligent outsider who, as a diplomat, meets many people with very different backgrounds. I do understand this strange need to probe things at the deepest level—to be able to explain what might or might not be the case (I am using Wittgenstein’s definition of reality here). I also note all of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics ended up becoming pretty skeptical about the theory they had created. Even John Stewart Bell – one of the more famous figures in what may be referred to as the third generation of quantum physicists – did not like his own ‘No Go Theorem’ and thought that some “radical conceptual renewal”[4] might disprove his conclusions.

It sounds arrogant, but I think my papers are representative of such renewal. It is, as great thinkers in the past would have said, an idea whose time has come. Einstein’s ‘unfinished revolution’ – as Lee Smolin calls it – was finished quite a while ago, but mainstream researchers just refuse to accept that.[5] And those researchers who think quantum physicists are ‘lost in math’ are right but, unfortunately, usually make no effort by speaking up and showing the rather obvious way out. Sabine Hossenfelder uses as much guru-like talk as a Sean Carroll.[6]

So what is this paper about?

In May this year, after finishing what I thought of as my last paper on quantum physics, I went to hospital for surgery. Last year, one of my brothers died from prostate cancer at a rather young age: 56, my age bracket. He had been diagnosed but opted for a more experimental treatment instead of the usual surgery that is done, because the consequences of the surgery are effectively very unpleasant and take a lot of joy out of life. I spent a week in a hospital bed, and then a month in my bed at home. I stopped writing. I gave up other things too: I stopped doing sports, and picked up smoking instead. It is a bad habit: Einstein was a smoker and – like me – did not drink, but smoking is bad for health. I feel it. I will quit smoking too, one day – but not now.

The point is: after a long break (more than six months), I did start to engage again in a few conversations, and I also looked at my 29 papers on my ResearchGate page again, and I realized some of them should really be re-written or re-packaged so as to ensure a good flow. I also note now that some of the approaches were more productive than others (some did not lead anywhere at all, actually), and so I felt like I should point those out. There are some errors in logic here and there too (small ones, I think, but errors nevertheless), and then quite some typos.[7] Hence, I thought I should, perhaps, produce an annotated version of these papers, with comments and corrections as mark-ups. Re-writing or re-structuring all of them would require too much work, so I do not want to go there.

So that is what this paper is about: I printed all of the papers, and I will quickly jot down some remarks so as to guide the reader through the package, and alert them to things I thought of good stuff at the time (otherwise I would not have written about it), but that I do think of as not-so-great now.

Before I do so, I should probably make a few general remarks. Let me separate those out in yet another introductory section of this paper.

General remarks

1. The first remark is that I do repeat a few things quite a lot – across and within these papers. Too much, perhaps. However, there is one thing I just cannot repeat enough: one should not think of the matter-wave as something linear. It is an orbital oscillation. This is really where the Old Great Men went wrong. The paper that has been downloaded the most is, effectively, the one on what I refer to as de Broglie’s mistake: the intuition of the young Louis de Broglie that an electron has a frequency was a stroke of genius (and, fortunately, Einstein immediately saw this, so he could bring this young scientist under the attention of everyone else), but this frequency is an orbital frequency. That, I repeat a lot – because only a few people seem to get that (with ‘a few’, I mean the few thousand people who download that paper).

Having said that, I did not do a good job at pointing out the issues with Dirac’s wave equation: I sort of dismiss it out of hand referring to Oppenheimer and Dirac’s discussion at the occasion of the first post-WW II Solvay Conference in my brief history paper on quantum-mechanical ideas, during which they both agree it does not work but fail to provide a consistent alternative. However, I never elaborated on why the equation does not work, so let me do this now.

The reason that it does not work is, basically, the same as the reason why de Broglie’s wave-packet idea does not work: Dirac’s equation is based on the relativistic energy-momentum relation. Just look at Dirac’s 1933 Nobel Prize lecture, in which he gives us the basic equation he used to derive his (in)famous wave equation:

W2/c2 – pr2 – m2/c2 = 0

Dirac does not bother to tell us but this is, basically, just the relativistic energy-momentum relationship: m02c4 = E2 – p2c2 (see, for example, Feynman-I-16, formula 16.13). Indeed: just divide this formula by c2 and re-arrange and you get Dirac’s equation. That is why Dirac’s wave equation is essentially useless: it incorporates linear momentum only. As such, it repeats de Broglie’s mistake, and that is to interpret the ‘de Broglie’ wavelength as something linear. It is not: frequencies, wavelengths are orbital frequencies and orbital circumferences. So anything you would want to do with energy equations that are based on that, leads nowhere[8]: one has to incorporate the reality of spin from the start. Spin-zero particles do not exist and any modeling that starts off from modeling spin-zero particles, therefore, fails: you cannot put spin back in through the back door once you are done with the basic model, so to speak. It just does not work. It is what gives us, for example, those nonsensical 720-degree symmetries, which prevent us from understanding what is actually happening.

2. The second remark that I should make is that I did not pay enough attention to the analysis of light-particles: photons and neutrinos and, possibly, their antiforce or antimatter counterparts. Huh? Their anti-force counterparts? Yes. Remember: energy is measured as a force over a distance, and a force acts on a charge. And then Einstein’s energy-mass energy equivalence relation tells us we should think of mass in terms of energy. Hence, if we know the force, we have got everything. Electrons and protons have a very different charge/mass ratio (q/m) and, therefore, involve two very different forces, even if we think of these two very different forces – which we could refer to as ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ respectively, but that would generate too much confusion because these terms have already been used – as acting on the same charge.

I refer to my paper(s) on this: the hypothesis is, basically, that we have two different forces, indeed! One that keeps, say, the electron together, which is nothing but the electromagnetic force, and one that is much stronger and seems to have a somewhat different structure. That is the force that keeps a muon-electron or a proton together. The structure of this much stronger force is the same because it also acts on a charge, and we also have two field vectors: think of the magnetic field vector lagging the electric field by 90 degrees. However, it is also not the same because the form factor differs: orbital oscillations can be either planar or spherical (2D or 3D).

I will not go into the detail here – again, I would be rewriting the papers, which is not what I want to do here – but the point is that antimatter is defined by an antiforce, which sees the magnetic field vector preceding the electric field vector by the same phase difference (90 degrees). It is just an application of Occam’s Razor Principle: the very same principle which made Dirac predict the existence of the positron: if the math shows there is some possibility of something else existing – a positively charged ‘electron’, at the time – then that possibility must be real, and we must find ‘that thing’. The history of science has shown scientists always did.

That is all clear enough (or not), but so the point here is this: the lightlike particles (photons and neutrinos) that carry the electromagnetic and nuclear force respectively (I refer to that strong(er) force as ‘nuclear’ for rather obvious reasons[9]) must have anti-counterparts: antiphotons and antineutrinos. And so I regret that I did not do too much analysis on that. I am pretty sure, for example, that antiphotons must play a role in the creation of electron-positron pairs in experiments such as SLAC’s E144 experiment (pair production out of light-on-light (photonic) interaction).

In short, I regret I did not have enough time and/or inspiration to analyze such things much more in detail than I did in my paper on matter-antimatter pair production/annihilation, especially because that is a paper that gets a lot of downloads too, so I feel I should rework it to present more material and better analysis. It is unfortunate that energy and time is limited in a man’s life. The question is, effectively, very interesting because the ‘world view’ that emerges from my papers is a rather dualistic one: we have the concept of charge on the one hand, and the concept of a field on the other. Matter-antimatter pair creation/annihilation from/into photons suggest that charge may, after all, be reducible to something that is even more fundamental. That is why I bought a rather difficult book on chiral field theory (Lähde and Meißner, Nuclear Lattice Effective Field Theory, 2019), but an analysis of that will probably be a retirement project or something.

3. The remark above directly relates to something else I think I did not do so well, and that is to explain Mach-Zehnder interference by a model in which we think of circularly polarized photons (or elliptically polarized, I should say, to be somewhat more general) as consisting of two linear components, which we may actually split from each other by a beam splitter. That takes the mystery out of Mach-Zehnder interference, but I acknowledge my analysis in a paper like my ‘K-12 level paper’ on quantum behavior (which gives a one-page overview of the logic) may be too short to convince skeptical readers. The Annex to my rather philosophical paper on the difference between a theory, a calculation and an explanation is better, but even there I should have gone much further than I did.[10]

4. I wrote quite a few papers that aim to develop a credible neutron and/or deuteron model. I think of the neutron in very much the same way as Ernest Rutherford, the intellectual giant who first hypothesized the existence of the neutron based on cosmological research, thought about neutrons: a positively charged proton or other nuclear particle attached to some kind of deep electron.[11] It is worth quoting his instinct on this, as expressed at the occasion of the 1921 Solvay Conference, in response to a question during the discussions on Rutherford’s paper on the possibility of nuclear synthesis in stars or nebulae from the French physicist Jean Baptiste Perrin who, independently from the American chemist William Draper Harkins, had proposed the possibility of hydrogen fusion just the year before (1919):

“We can, in fact, think of enormous energies being released from hydrogen nuclei merging to form helium—much larger energies than what can come from the Kelvin-Helmholtz mechanism.[12] I have been thinking that the hydrogen in the nebulae might come from particles which we may refer to as ‘neutrons’: these would consist of a positive nucleus with an electron at an exceedingly small distance (“un noyau positif avec un électron à toute petite distance[13]). These would mediate the assembly of the nuclei of more massive elements. It is, otherwise, difficult to understand how the positively charged particles could come together against the repulsive force that pushes them apart—unless we would envisage they are driven by enormous velocities.”

We may add that, just to make sure he gets this right, Rutherford is immediately requested to elaborate his point by the Danish physicist Martin Knudsen, who asks him this: “What’s the difference between a hydrogen atom and this neutron?” Rutherford simply answers as follows: “In a neutron, the electron would be very much closer to the nucleus.” 

In light of the fact that it was only in 1932 that James Chadwick would experimentally prove the existence of neutrons (and positively charged protons), we should be deeply impressed by the foresightof Rutherford and the other pioneers here: the predictive powerof their theories and ideas is truly amazing by any standard—including today’s. It may have something to do with the fact that the distinction between theoretical and experimental physicists was not so clear then.[14] The point is this: we fully subscribe to Rutherford’s intuition that a neutron should, somehow, be a composite particle consisting of a proton and an electron, but we did not succeed in modeling that convincingly. We explored two ways to go about it:

  1. One is to think of a free neutron which, we should remind ourselves, is a semi-stable particle only (its lifetime is a bit less than 15 minutes, which is an eternity in comparison to other non-stable particles). The challenge is then to build a credible n0 = p+ + e model.
  2. The other option is to try to build a neutron model based on its stability inside of the deuteron nucleus. Such model should probably be based on Schrödinger’s D+ = p+ + e + p+ Platzwechsel model, which thinks of the electron as a sort of glue holding the two positive charges together.

The first model is based on the assumption that we have two forces, very much like the centripetal and centrifugal force inside of a double-star. The difference – with a double-star model, that is – is that the charges have no rest mass.[15] The nature of those two forces is, therefore, very different than (1) the centripetal gravitational force that keeps the two stars together and (2) the centrifugal force that results from their kinetic energy and/or orbital momentum. We assumed the attractive force between the p+ and e is the usual electromagnetic force between two opposite charges (so that keeps them together). However, because the two charges clearly do not just go and sit on top of each other, we also assumed a ‘nuclear’ force acts at very close distances, and we tried to model this by introducing a Yukawa-like nuclear potential.

We will discuss this more in detail when commenting on our papers in the next section, but the truth is that we feel we have not been able to develop a fully consistent model: it is not like our electron or proton model, which yields fully consistent calculations of the experimentally measured mass, radius, magnetic moment and other so-called intrinsic properties (e.g. the anomaly in the magnetic moment of the electron) of these two elementary particles. We could not do for the neutron. However, we hope some smart PhD student will try his or her hand at improving on our models and succeed where we did not.

As for the second model (the deuteron nucleus model), we did not work all that because that is, basically, an even more complicated problem than the math of a classical three-body problem which, as you know, has no analytical solution. So we inevitably have to lump two bodies together – the two protons might make for a nice massive pair, for example – but then you lose the idea of the neutron. In other words, it may give you a deuteron model, but nothing much in terms of a neutron model.  

5. Those were the main frustrations, I think. We will probably point out others too in the more detailed paper-by-paper comments in the next section, but I would like to make one or two more remarks regarding style and conversation culture in physics now.

The main remark is this: I did some research in economics (various sub-disciplines ranging from micro-economics to the history of thought in economics) and I found the conversational style of fellow researchers in those fields much more congenial and friendly than in physics. It may have something to do with the fact such study was done while I was young (so that was almost 30 years ago and people were, quite simply, friendlier then, perhaps), but I also think there might be a different reason. I was (and still am) interested in quantum physics because I wanted to know: this search for truth in modeling (or whatever you want to call it) is rooted in a deep need or desire to understand reality. Personally, I think the Uncertainty Principle got elevated to some kind of metaphysical principle because some of the scientists wanted to reserve a space for God there. I am not religious at all, and if God exists, I am sure he would not to be hiding there but inside of our mind.

In any case, my point here is this: I think there is an emotional or religious aspect to discussions on fundamentals that is absent in the social sciences which, in most cases, turns these discussions quickly personal or even aggressive. As an example, I would refer to all these ‘relativity doubters’ that pop up in the more popular or general ResearchGate discussion threads on the ‘consistency’ of quantum physics, or the pros and cons of modern cosmological theories. I vented my frustration on that on my blog a few times (here is an example of my issues with SRT/GRT doubters), and so then I just stop arguing or contributing to these threads, but I do find it sad because a lot of people like me probably just do the same: they stop engaging, and that probably makes the ignorance even worse and then there is no progress at all, of course!

However, having said this, I also note unfriendliness is inversely proportional to expertise, knowledge and experience. In other words: never be put off by anyone. I did go through the trouble of contacting the PRad Research Lab and people like Dr. Randolf Pohl (Max Planck Institute), and I got curt but useful answers from them: answers that challenged me, but those challenges have helped me to  think through my models and have contributed to solidifying my initial intuitions, which I would sum as follows: there is a logical interpretation of everything. I refer to it as a realist interpretation of quantum physics and, as far as I am concerned, it is pretty much the end of physics as a science. We do know it all now. There is no God throwing dices or tossing coins. Statistical determinism, yes, but it is all rooted in formulas and closed mathematical models representing real stuff in three-dimensional space and one-dimensional time.

Let me now (self-)criticize my own papers one by one. 😊

Note: I briefly tried to hyperlink the titles (of the papers) to the papers themselves, but the blog editor (WordPress) returned an error. I guess this blog post is quite long and has to many links already. In any case, the titles do refer to the papers on my RG site, and the reader can consult them there.

Paper-by-paper remarks

The concepts of charge, elementary ring currents, potential, potential energy, and field oscillations

No comments. We think this paper gives a rather nice overview of what made sense to us. We also like the two annexes because they talk about quantum-mechanical operators and show why and how the argument of the wavefunction incorporates (special) relativity (SRT/GRT naysayers should definitely read this).

There is a remnant of one of the things we tried and did not yield much: a series expansion of kinetic and/or potential energy from Einstein’s energy-mass equivalence relation. That result from a discussion with researchers trying to model other deep electron orbitals (other than the ‘deep’ electron in a neutron or a deuteron nucleus): they were thinking of potentials in terms of first-, second-, third-, etc.-order terms, so as to simplify things. I went along with it for a while because I thought it might yield something. But so it did not. Hence, I would leave that out now, because the reader probably wonders what it is that I am trying to do, and rightly so!

Lectures on Physics Chapter VI : All of Quantum Math

This is one in a series of what I jokingly thought of as a better or more concise version of Feynman’s Lectures on Physics. I wrote six of these. Feynman once selected ten ‘easy pieces’ and ten ‘not-so-easy’ pieces from his own lectures, if I am not mistaken¾but so these should qualify as relatively ‘easy’ pieces (in comparison with other papers, that is).

It downplays the concept of the gyromagnetic ratio in quantum mechanics somewhat by focusing on the very different charge/mass ratio for the electron and a proton (q/m) only. For the rest, there is nothing much to say about it: if you are a student in physics, this is the math you surely need to master!

All of physics

This paper is one of those attempts to be as short as I can be. I guess I wanted it to be some kind of memorandum or something. It still developed into five pages, and it does not add anything to all of the longer papers. Because it is short and has no real purpose besides providing some summary of everything, I know think its value is rather limited. I should probably take it down.

Do we need the nuclear force hypothesis?

This is one of the papers on a neutron or deuteron model. I think the approach is not bad. The use of orbital energy equations to try to model the orbital trajectories of (zero rest-mass) charges instead of the usual massive objects in gravitational models is promising. However, it is difficult to define what the equivalent of the center of mass would be in such models. One might think it should be the center of ‘energy’, but the energy concepts are dynamic (potential and kinetic energy vary all the time). Hence, it is difficult to precisely define the reference point for the velocity vector(s) and all that. We refer to our general remarks for what we think these papers might have yielded, and what not. For the rest, we let the reader go through them and, hopefully, try to do better.

The nuclear force and quaternion math

We like this paper very much because it shows why quaternion math should be used far more often than it is actually done in physics: it captures the geometry of proton and neutron models so nicely. We probably will want to delve into this more as yet another retirement project. We also like this paper because it is short and crispy.

The language of math

Probably not our best paper, and one that should or could be merged with others covering the same topics. However, the philosophical reflections in this paper – on the arrow of time and what is absolute and relative in physics – are nice and can be readily understood. They would probably come first if ever we would want to write a textbook or something. We also recommend the primordial dimensional analysis of basic equations in physics: modern-day papers usually do not bother to check or comment on these.

Nuclear potential and energy conservation

This is one of these papers which shows the shortcomings of our approach to modeling anything ‘nuclear’. The idea of two or three charges holding and pushing each other apart simultaneous – with two opposite forces acting, just like the centripetal and centrifugal force in any gravitational model – is nice, and we think the substitution of mass by some combination of charge and mass in the orbital energy equation is brilliant (sorry if this sounds egotistical again) but, as mentioned above, it is difficult to define what the equivalent of the center of mass would be in such models.

Also, because of the distance functions involved (the ‘nuclear’ force in such a model varies with the square of the distance and is, therefore, non-linear), one does not get any definite solution to the system: we derived a lower limit for a ‘range’ factor for the nuclear force, for example (and its magnitude corresponds more or less to what mainstream physicists – rather randomly – use when using Yukawa-like potentials[17]).

It would be an interesting area for modeling if and when I would have more time and energy for these things, so I do hope others pick up on it and, hopefully, do better.

The language of physics

Same remarks as above: I like this paper because it is short. I also allow myself to blast away at quark-gluon theories (‘smoking gun physics’, as I call it[18]). There are also the explanations of useful derivatives of the wavefunction, which show why and how our geometric interpretation of the wavefunction makes sense.

We also quickly demonstrate the limitations of the scattering matrix approach to modeling unstable particle and particle system processes, despite the fact we do love it: the problem is just that you lose track of directions and that we, therefore, cannot explain even very simple stuff such as scattering angles in Compton scattering processes using that S-matrix approach. Here too, we hope some clever people might ‘augment’ the approach.

The Zitterbewegung hypothesis and the scattering matrix

We like this paper. It deserves a lot more downloads than it gets, we think. It is the proper alternative to all kinds of new ‘conservation laws’ – and the associated new ‘strange’ properties of particles – that were invented to make sense of the growing ‘particle zoo’. The catalogue of the Particle Data Group should be rewritten, we feel. 😊

The Finite Universe

Of course, any physicist should be interested in cosmology – if only because any Big Bang theory uses pair creation/annihilation theories rather extensively. As mentioned in our general remarks, we still struggle with these theories and, yes, definitely on our list as a retirement project.

The main value of the paper is that it offers a consistent explanation of ‘dark matter’ in terms of antimatter, and also that it does not present the apparently accelerating pace of the expansion of the Universe as something that is necessarily incongruent: there may be other Universes around, beyond what we can observe. The paper also offers some other ‘common-sense’ explanations: none of them involves serious doubts on standard theory (we do not doubt anything like SRT and/or GRT). We, therefore, think that this paper shows that I am much more ‘mainstream’ and far less ‘crackpot’ than my ‘enemies’ pretend I am. 😊

Ontology and physics

This is definitely my worst paper in terms of structure. It has no flow and jumps from this to that. Even when I read it myself, I wonder what it is trying to say. I must have been in a rather weird mood when I wrote it, and then it got too long and I probably then suddenly had enough of it.[19] The conclusions do sound like I had gone mad: if my kids or someone else would have read it before I published it, they might have prevented me from doing so. Any case, it is there now. I will probably take it off one day.

Of course, I note the month of writing: my specialist had just confirmed my prostate cancer was very aggressive, and that I had to do the surgery sooner rather than later if I wanted to avoid what had killed my brother just months before: metastasis to kidneys and other organs. And my long-term girlfriend has just broke up – again. And I had just come back from yet another terrible consultancy job in Afghanistan. Looking into my diary of those days, I had probably relapsed into a bit of drinking, and too many parties with the ghosts of Oppenheimer and Ehrenfest. :-/ In short, I should take that paper of the web, but I will leave it there just for the record.

A mass-without-mass model of protons and neutrons

This paper is better than the one mentioned above but – at the same time – suffers from the same defects: no clear flow in the argument, ‘jumpy’, and lots of ‘deus ex machina’-like additions and sidekicks.[20] Its only advantage is that it does offer a rather clear explanation of what works and probably cannot work in Wheeler’s geometrodynamicsprogramme: mass-without-mass models are fine. The way to go: forces act on charges, and energy is force over a distance, and mass relates to energy through Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence relation. No problem. But the concept of charge is difficult to reduce. Chiral field theories may yet prove to do that, but I am rather skeptical. I bought the most recent book(s) on that, but I need to find time and energy to work myself through it.

The nuclear force and the neutron hypothesis

This is a much more focused paper. However, I cannot believe I inserted remarks on the ‘elasticity’ of spacetime there: that stinks of what physicist and Nobel Prize winner Robert B. Laughlin wrote[21]:

“It is ironic that Einstein’s most creative work, the general theory of relativity, should boil down to conceptualizing space as a medium when his original premise [in special relativity] was that no such medium existed [..] The word ‘ether’ has extremely negative connotations in theoretical physics because of its past association with opposition to relativity. This is unfortunate because, stripped of these connotations, it rather nicely captures the way most physicists actually think about the vacuum. . . . Relativity actually says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of matter pervading the universe, only that any such matter must have relativistic symmetry. [..] It turns out that such matter exists. About the time relativity was becoming accepted, studies of radioactivity began showing that the empty vacuum of space had spectroscopic structure similar to that of ordinary quantum solids and fluids. Subsequent studies with large particle accelerators have now led us to understand that space is more like a piece of window glass than ideal Newtonian emptiness. It is filled with ‘stuff’ that is normally transparent but can be made visible by hitting it sufficiently hard to knock out a part. The modern concept of the vacuum of space, confirmed every day by experiment, is a relativistic ether. But we do not call it this because it is taboo.”

I was intrigued by that, because I was still struggling somewhat with the meaning of various ratios in my ‘oscillator’ model of elementary particles, but I now think any reference to an ‘aether-like’ quality of space time is not productive. Space and time are, effectively, categories of our mind – as Immanuel Kant had already pointed out about 240 years ago (it is interesting that the Wikipedia article on Einstein notes that Albert Einstein had digested all of Kant’s philosophy at the age of twelve) – and space and time are relativistically related (there is no ‘absolute’ time that ‘pervades’ all of 3D space) – but there is no reason whatsoever to think of relativistic spacetime as being aether-like. It is just the vacuum in which Maxwell’s electromagnetic waves propagate themselves. There is nothing more to it.

An electromagnetic deuteron model

See the general remarks on my attempts to develop a decent model of the neutron and deuteron nucleus. They were triggered by interesting discussions with a Canadian astrophysicist (Andrew Meulenberg), an American retired SLAC researcher (Jerry Va’vra) and a French ‘cold fusion’ researcher (Jean-Luc Paillet). I was originally not very interested because these are aimed at proving a smaller version of the hydrogen (which is usually referred to as the ‘hydrino’) must exist, and that ‘hydrino’ would offer endless possibilities in terms of ‘new energy’ production. The whole enterprise is driven by one of the many crooks that give the field of ‘cold fusion’ a bad name, but managed to get lots of private funding nevertheless: Randell L. Mills, the promotor of the Brilliant Light Power company in New Jersey. The above-mentioned researchers are serious. I do not think as highly of Randell Mills, although I note he impresses people with his books on ‘classical quantum physics’. I note a lot of ‘hocus-pocus’ in these books.

Lectures on Physics Chapter V : Moving charges, EM waves, radiation and near and far fields

This is one of those ‘Feynman-like’ lectures I wrote. I think of all of them as rather nice. I do not go into speculative things, and I take the trouble of writing everything out, so the reader does not have to do all that much thinking and just can ‘digest’ everything rather easily.

Pair production and annihilation as a nuclear process

This is definitely one of the papers I wanted to further develop if ever I would have more time and energy. See my general remarks: SLAC’s E144 experiment (and similar experiments) are very intriguing because they do seem to indicate the quintessential concept of charge may be further reducible to ‘field-like’ oscillations. I must thank André Michaud here for kindly pointing that out to me.

Lectures on Physics Chapter IV : Electron propagation in a lattice

I think of this paper as highly relevant and practical. It points out why the common view that Schrödinger’s wave equation would not be relativistically correct is erroneous: it is based on an erroneous simplification in the ‘heuristic’ derivation of this wave equation in the context of, yes, crystal lattices. Definitely one of the better papers when I look back at it now¾just like the other ‘lecture-like’ papers. The history of these ‘lecture-like’ papers is simple: I realized I needed to write more ‘K-12 level’ papers (although they are obviously not really K-12 level) so as to be able to communicate better on the ‘basics’ of my realist interpretation of quantum physics and the ‘essentials’ of my elementary particle models.

The paper usefully distinguishes concepts that are often used interchangeably, but must be distinguished clearly: waves, fields, oscillations, amplitudes and signals.

The meaning of uncertainty and the geometry of the wavefunction

This is an oft-downloaded paper, and the number of downloads reflects its value: it does offer a rather clear overview of all of my work on ‘interpreting’ the wavefunction, and shows its geometrical meaning. Hence, I will not comment on it: it speaks for itself.

A survivor’s guide to quantum physics

I like this paper. It wanted to present a sort of ‘short-cut’ for people who want to learn about physics fast and, therefore, will want to avoid all of the mistakes I made when trying to understand it.

Lectures on Physics III : The concept of a field

Same remark as for the other ‘lecture-like’ papers: I think of this as a ‘nice’ paper covering all you would want and need to know about the concept of fields.

Feynman’s Time Machine

This paper talks about where Feynman went wrong in his Lectures. Parvus error in principio magnus est in fine (as Aquinas and, before him, Aristotle said so eloquently), and the ‘small mistake at the beginning’ is surely not a ‘happy’ one! :-/ I consider the discovery of this ‘mistake’ to be my greatest personal ‘discovery’ in terms of making sense of it all, and so I do recommend any interested reader to go through the paper.

Lectures on Physics II : Probability amplitudes

This is like the other lectures: a rather straightforward treatment. Of the concept of probability amplitudes, and the related math and physics¾this time.

Lectures on Physics I : Quantum behavior

I appreciate this paper in the same vein: quite straightforward and to the point. It explains the basic ‘mysteries’ which are usually presented in the first course on quantum mechanics at any university in terms that are readily understandable, and shows these are not ‘mysteries’ after all!

Principles of Quantum Physics

For some weird reason, this is a much better ‘summary’ paper than the ones I wrote later (see, for example, my remarks on my Feb 2020 papers).

Matter-waves, amplitudes and signals

This paper further expands on what I consider to be my best paper of all, which is the next one (on de Broglie’s matter-wave). It gets a fair amount of downloads, and so I am happy about that.

De Broglie’s matter-wave: concept and issues

Of all papers, definitely the one I would recommend reading if you have time for only one. See my general remarks on why mainstream QED/QFT does not work. The only thing I should have added are the remarks on Dirac’s equation (this paper has an Annex on wave equations, and so I should have talked about Dirac’s too). But so I did that in the introductory section with general remarks on all of my papers above.

A brief history of quantum-mechanical ideas

I like this paper too. It is not so technical as all of the others, so the ‘lay’ reader may want to go through this. It traces a rather ‘bad’ history of ideas that led nowhere¾but so that is useful to see what should work, and does work, in the field of quantum physics!

The difference between a theory, a calculation, and an explanation

I like this one too. It should probably be read in combination with the above-mentioned paper on the bad ideas in the history of quantum physics.

It is fifty (50!) pages, though. But it has some really interesting things, such as much more consistent presentation of why Mach-Zehnder interference (‘one-photon’ diffraction, or the so-called ‘interference with a photon with itself’) is not so mysterious as it appears to be. It surely should not be explained in terms of nonsensical concepts such as non-locality, entanglement and what have you in modern-day gibberish.

An alternative Theory of Everything: Classical Quantum Physics

This was my very first ‘entry’ on ResearchGate. It is based on the 60-odd papers and the hundreds of blog posts I had published in the decades before, on sites such as that are not considered to be mainstream and, therefore, shunned by most. In fact, in the very beginning, I copied my papers on three sites: ResearchGate, and I stopped doing that when things picked up on RG. I do think of it as the more serious site of the three. 😊


Well… That is it! If you got here, congratulations for your perseverance!

Jean Louis Van Belle, 6 December 2021

[1] I downloaded the image from a website selling Christmas presents long time ago, and I have not been able to trace back from where I have got it. If someone recognizes this as their picture, please let us know and we will acknowledge the source or remove it.

[2] Particles are small – very small – but not infinitesimally small: they have a non-zero spatial dimension, and structure! Only light-like particles – photons and neutrinos – are truly pointlike, but even they do have a structure as they propagate in relativistic spacetime.

[3] I got the label of ‘crackpot theorist’ or the reproach of ‘not understanding the basics’ a bit all too often, and too often from people who do have better academic credentials in the field, but a publication record which is far less impressive¾or in an unrelated field.

[4] See: John Stewart Bell, Speakable and unspeakable in quantum mechanics, pp. 169–172, Cambridge University Press, 1987 (quoted from Wikipedia). J.S. Bell died from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1990 – the year he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics and which he, therefore, did not receive (Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously). He was just 62 years old then.

[5] We think the latest revision of SI units (2019) consecrates that: that revision completes physics. It defines a very precise number of constants in Nature, and simplifies the system such that the system is complete without redundancy. It, therefore, respects Occam’s Razor Principle: the number of degrees of freedom in the description matches that which we find in Nature. Besides prof. dr. Pohl’s contributions to solving the proton radius puzzle, his role in the relevant committees on this revision probably also make him one of the truly great scientists of our era.

[6] We contacted both. Ms. Hossenfelder never reacted to our emails. Mr. Carroll quoted some lines from John Baez’ ‘crackpot index’. I had heard such jokes before so I did not find them so amusing anymore.

[7] Sometimes I find an error even in a formula. That is annoying, but then it is also good: it makes readers double-check and look at the material more carefully. It makes them think for themselves, which is what they should do.

[8] Dirac basically expands this basic energy-momentum relation into a series, but the mathematical conditions for which such expansion is valid are, apparently, not there. The first-, second-, third-, fourth-, etc.-order terms do not converge, and one gets those ‘infinities’ which blow it all up¾which is why Dirac, nearing the end of his life, got so critical and annoyed by the very theory his wave equation led to: quantum field theory. Reading between the lines, a number of Nobel Prize winners in physics do seem to reject some of the theories for which they got the award. W.E. Lamb is one of them: he wrote a highly critical paper of the concept of a photon at rather old age, despite the fact that his contributions to this field of study had yielded him a Nobel Prize! Richard Feynman is another example: he got a Nobel Prize for a number of modern contributions, but his analysis of ‘properties’ such as ‘ strangeness’ in his 1963 Lectures on Physics can be read as being highly critical of the ‘ontologizing’ of concepts such as quarks and gluons, which he seems to think of as being mathematical concepts only. I talk a bit about that in my paper on the alternative to modern-day QED and QFT (a new S-matrix programme), so I will not say more about this here.

[9] Protons are ‘nuclear’ particles.

[10] I think I do a much better job at explaining interference and/or diffraction of electrons in the mentioned papers, although the reader may also be hungry for more detail there.

[11] The reader should note that, although the mass of an electron is only about 1/2000 of that of a proton, the radius of a (free) electron is actually much larger than the radius of a proton. That is a strange thing but it is what it is: a proton is very massive because of that very strong (nuclear) force inside. Hence, when trying to visualize these n = p + e models, one should think of something like an electron cloud with a massive positive charge whirling around in it¾rather than the other way around.

[12] The interested reader can google what this is about.

[13] It is a weird coincidence of history that the proceedings of the Solvay Conferences are publicly available in French, even if many papers must have been written in English. The young Louis de Broglie was one of those young secretaries tasked with translations in what was then a very prominent scientific language: French. It got him hooked, obviously.

[14] When reading modern-day articles in journals, one gets the impression a lot of people theorize an awful lot about very little empirical or experimental data.

[15] The idea is that the pointlike charge itself has no inertial mass. It, therefore, goes round and round at the speed of light. However, while doing so, it acquires an effective mass, which is (usually) half of the total mass of the particle as a whole. This ½ factor confuses many, but should not do so. It comes directly out of the energy equipartition principle, and can also be derived from rather straightforward relativistically correct oscillator energy calculations (see p. 9 of our paper on the meaning of the wavefunction).

[17] We get value that is twice as large as the usual 2.8 fm range. By the way, we think of the latter value as being ‘rather random’ because it is just the deuteron radius. Indeed, if, as a nuclear scientist, you do not have any idea about what range to use for a nuclear scale factor (which is pretty much the case), then that is surely a number that would come in handy, because it is empirical rather than theoretical. We honestly think there is nothing more to it, but I think academics will probably cry wolf and say that their models are much more sophisticated than what I suggest here. I will be frank: can you show me why and how, not approximately but exactly?

[18] If you click on the link, you will see my blog post on it, which also thinks of the Higgs particle – a ‘scalar’ particle, really? – as a figment of the mind. My criticism on these theories which can never really be proven goes back years ago, but has not softened. On the contrary.

[19] This is also a paper with a fair amount of types. On page 36, I talk of the prediction of the proton, for example. Of course, I meant to say: the prediction of the existence of the positron. Such typos are bad. I am ashamed.

[20] Some of these ‘sidekicks’ do get more attention in later papers (e.g. this paper has the early thinking on using orbital energy equations to model orbitals of pointlike charges instead of masses), but they come across as rather chaotic and not well thought-through in this paper, because they were chaotic and not well thought-through at that point in time.

[21] We quote from the Wikipedia article on aether theories here.

Deep electron orbitals and the essence of quantum physics

After a long break (more than six months), I have started to engage again in a few conversations. I also looked at the 29 papers on my ResearchGate page, and I realize some of them would need to be re-written or re-packaged so as to ensure a good flow. Also, some of the approaches were more productive than others (some did not lead anywhere at all, actually), and I would need to point those out. I have been thinking about how to approach this, and I think I am going to produce an annotated version of these papers, with comments and corrections as mark-ups. Re-writing or re-structuring all of them would require to much work.

The mark-up of those papers is probably going to be based on some ‘quick-fire’ remarks (a succession of thoughts triggered by one and the same question) which come out of the conversation below, so I thank these thinkers for having kept me in the loop of a discussion I had followed but not reacted to. It is an interesting one – on the question of ‘deep electron orbitals’ (read: the orbitals of negative charge inside of a nucleus exist and, if so, how one can model them. If one could solve that question, one would have a theoretical basis for what is referred to as low-energy nuclear reactions. That was known formerly as cold fusion, but that got a bit of a bad name because of a number of crooks spoiling the field, unfortunately.

PS: I leave the family names of my correspondents in the exchange below out so they cannot be bothered. One of them, Jerry, is a former American researcher at SLAC. Andrew – the key researcher on DEPs – is a Canadian astrophysicist, and the third one – Jean-Luc – is a rather prominent French scientist in LENR.]

From: Jean Louis Van Belle
Sent: 18 November 2021 22:51
Subject: Staying engaged (5)

Oh – and needless to say, Dirac’s basic equation can, of course, be expanded using the binomial expansion – just like the relativistic energy-momentum relation, and then one can ‘cut off’ the third-, fourth-, etc-order terms and keep the first and second-order terms only. Perhaps it is equations like that kept you puzzled (I should check your original emails). In any case, this way of going about energy equations for elementary particles is a bit the same as those used in perturbation equations in which – as Dirac complained – one randomly selects terms that seem to make sense and discard others because they do not seem to make sense. Of course, Dirac criticized perturbation theory much more severely than this – and rightly so. 😊 😊 JL

From: Jean Louis Van Belle
Sent: 18 November 2021 22:10
Subject: Staying engaged (4)

Also – I remember you had some questions on an energy equation – not sure which one – but so I found Dirac’s basic equation (based on which he derives the ‘Dirac’ wave equation) is essentially useless because it incorporates linear momentum only. As such, it repeats de Broglie’s mistake, and that is to interpret the ‘de Broglie’ wavelength as something linear. It is not: frequencies, wavelengths are orbital frequencies and orbital circumferences. So anything you would want to do with energy equations that are based on that, lead nowhere – in my not-so-humble opinion, of course. To illustrate the point, compare the relativistic energy-momentum relation and Dirac’s basic equation in his Nobel Prize lecture (I hope the subscripts/superscripts get through your email system so they display correctly):

m02c4 = E2 – p2c2 (see, for example, Feynman-I-16, formula 16-3)

Divide the above by c2 and re-arrange and you get Dirac’s equation: W2/c2 – pr2 – m2/c2 = 0 (see his 1933 Nobel Prize Lecture)

So that cannot lead anywhere. It’s why I totally discard Dirac’s wave equation (it has never yielded any practical explanation of a real-life phenomenon anyway, if I am not mistaken).

Cheers – JL

From: Jean Louis Van Belle
Sent: 18 November 2021 21:49
Subject: Staying engaged (3)

Just on ‘retarded sources’ and ‘retarded fields’ – I have actually tried to think of the ‘force mechanism’ inside of an electron or a proton (what keeps the pointlike charge in this geometric orbit around a center of mass?). I thought long and hard about some kind of model in which we have the charge radiate out a sub-Planck field, and that its ‘retarded effects’ might arrive ‘just in time’ to the other side of the orbital (or whatever other point on the orbital) so as to produce the desired ‘course correction’ might explain it. I discarded it completely: I am now just happy that we have ‘reduced’ the mystery to this ‘Planck-scale quantum-mechanical oscillation’ (in 2D or 3D orbitals) without the need for an ‘aether’, or quantized spacetime, or ‘virtual particles’ actually ‘holding the thing together’.

Also, a description in terms of four-vectors (scalar and vector potential) does not immediately call for ‘retarded time’ variables and all that, so that is another reason why I think one should somehow make the jump from E-B fields to scalar and vector potential, even if the math is hard to visualize. If we want to ‘visualize’ things, Feynman’s discussion of the ‘energy’ and ‘momentum’ flow in might make sense, because I think analyses in terms of Poynting vectors are relativistically current, aren’t they? It is just an intuitive idea…

Cheers – JL

From: Jean Louis Van Belle
Sent: 18 November 2021 21:28
Subject: Staying engaged (2)

But so – in the shorter run – say, the next three-six months, I want to sort out those papers on ResearchGate. The one on the de Broglie’s matter-wave (interpreting the de Broglie wavelength as the circumference of a loop rather than as a linear wavelength) is the one that gets most downloads, and rightly so. The rest is a bit of a mess – mixing all kinds of things I tried, some of which worked, but other things did not. So I want to ‘clean’ that up… 😊 JL

From: Jean Louis Van Belle
Sent: 18 November 2021 21:21
Subject: Staying engaged…

Please do include me in the exchanges, Andrew – even if I do not react, I do read them because I do need some temptation and distraction. As mentioned, I wanted to focus on building a credible n = p + e model (for free neutrons but probably more focused on a Schrodinger-like D = p + e + p Platzwechsel model, because the deuteron nucleus is stable). But so I will not do that the way I studied the zbw model of the electron and proton (I believe that is sound now) – so that’s with not putting in enough sleep. I want to do it slowly now. I find a lot of satisfaction in the fact that I think there is no need for complicated quantum field theories (fields are quantized, but in a rather obvious way: field oscillations – just like matter-particles – pack Planck’s quantum of (physical) action which – depending on whether you freeze time or positions as a variable, expresses itself as a discrete amount of energy or, alternatively, as a discrete amount of momentum), nor is there any need for this ‘ontologization’ of virtual field interactions (sub-Planck scale) – the quark-gluon nonsense.

Also, it makes sense to distinguish between an electromagnetic and a ‘strong’ or ‘nuclear’ force: the electron and proton have different form factors (2D versus 3D oscillations, but that is a bit of a non-relativistic shorthand for what might be the case) but, in addition, there is clearly a much stronger force at play within the proton – whose strength is the same kind of ‘scale’ as the force that gives the muon-electron its rather enormous mass. So that is my ‘belief’ and the ‘heuristic’ models I build (a bit of ‘numerology’ according to Dr Pohl’s rather off-hand remarks) support it sufficiently for me to make me feel at peace about all these ‘Big Questions’.

I am also happy I figured out these inconsistencies around 720-degree symmetries (just the result of a non-rigorous application of Occam’s Razor: if you use all possible ‘signs’ in the wavefunction, then the wavefunction may represent matter as well as anti-matter particles, and these 720-degree weirdness dissolves). Finally, the kind of ‘renewed’ S-matrix programme for analyzing unstable particles (adding a transient factor to wavefunctions) makes sense to me, but even the easiest set of equations look impossible to solve – so I may want to dig into the math of that if I feel like having endless amounts of time and energy (which I do not – but, after this cancer surgery, I know I will only die on some ‘moral’ or ‘mental’ battlefield twenty or thirty years from now – so I am optimistic).

So, in short, the DEP question does intrigue me – and you should keep me posted, but I will only look at it to see if it can help me on that deuteron model. 😊 That is the only ‘deep electron orbital’ I actually believe in. Sorry for the latter note.

Cheers – JL   

From: Andrew
Sent: 16 November 2021 19:05
To: Jean-Luc; Jerry; Jean Louis
Subject: Re: retarded potential?

Dear Jean-Louis,

Congratulations on your new position. I understand your present limitations, despite your incredible ability to be productive. They must be even worse than those imposed by my young kids and my age. Do you wish for us to not include you in our exchanges on our topic? Even with no expectation of your contributing at this point, such emails might be an unwanted temptation and distraction.

Dear Jean-Luc,

Thank you for the Wiki-Links. They are useful. I agree that the 4-vector potential should be considered. Since I am now considering the nuclear potentials as well as the deep orbits, it makes sense to consider the nuclear vector potentials to have an origin in the relativistic Coulomb potentials. I am facing this in my attempts to calculate the deep orbits from contributions to the potential energies that have a vector component, which non-rel Coulomb potentials do not have.

For examples: do we include the losses in Vcb (e.g., from the binding energy BE) when we make the relativistic correction to the potential; or, how do we relativistically treat pseudo potentials such as that of centrifugal force? We know that for equilibrium, the average forces must cancel. However, I’m not sure that it is possible to write out a proper expression for “A” to fit such cases.

Best regards to all,


_ _ _

On Fri, Nov 12, 2021 at 1:42 PM Jean-Luc wrote:

Dear all,

I totally agree with the sentence of Jean-Louis, which I put in bold in his message, about vector potential and scalar potential, combined into a 4-vector
potential A
, for representing EM field in covariant formulation. So EM representation by 4-vector A has been very developed, as wished by JL,
in the framework of QED.

We can note the simplicity of Lorentz gauge written by using A.

We can see the reality of vector potential
in the Aharonov-Bohm effect:
In fact, we can see that vector potential contains more information than E,B fields.
Best regards

Le 12/11/2021 à 05:43, Jean Louis Van Belle a écrit :

Hi All – I’ve been absent in the discussion, and will remain absent for a while. I’ve been juggling a lot of work – my regular job at the Ministry of Interior (I got an internal promotion/transfer, and am working now on police and security sector reform) plus consultancies on upcoming projects in Nepal. In addition, I am still recovering from my surgery – I got a bad flue (not C19, fortunately) and it set back my auto-immune system, I feel. I have a bit of a holiday break now (combining the public holidays of 11 and 15 November in Belgium with some days off to bridge so I have a rather nice super-long weekend – three in one, so to speak).

As for this thread, I feel like it is not ‘phrasing’ the discussion in the right ‘language’. Thinking of E-fields and retarded potential is thinking in terms of 3D potential, separating out space and time variables without using the ‘power’ of four-vectors (four-vector potential, and four-vector space-time). It is important to remind ourselves that we are measuring fields in continuous space and time (but, again, this is relativistic space-time – so us visualizing a 3D potential at some point in space is what it is: we visualize something because our mind needs that – wants that). The fields are discrete, however: a field oscillation packs one unit of Planck – always – and Planck’s quantum of action combines energy and momentum: we should not think of energy and momentum as truly ‘separate’ (discrete) variables, just like we should not think of space and time as truly ‘separate’ (continuous) variables.

I do not quite know what I want to say here – or how I should further work it out. I am going to re-read my papers. I think I should further develop the last one (, in which I write that the vector potential is more real than the electric field and the scalar potential should be further developed, and probably it is the combined scalar and vector potential that are the ’real’ things. Not the electric and magnetic field. Hence, illustrations like below – in terms of discs and cones in space – do probably not go all that far in terms of ‘understanding’ what it is going on… It’s just an intuition…

Cheers – JL

From: Andrew
Sent: 23 September 2021 17:17
To: Jean-Luc; Jerry; Jean Louis
Subject: retarded potential?

Dear Jean-Luc,

Becasue of the claim that gluons are tubal, I have been looking at the disk-shaped E-field lines of the highly-relativistic electron and comparing it to the retarded potential, which, based on timing, would seem to give a cone rather than a disk (see figure). This makes a difference when we consider a deep-orbiting electron. It even impacts selection of the model for impact of an electron when considering diffraction and interference.

Even if the field appears to be spreading out as a cone, the direction of the field lines are that of a disk from the retarded source. However, how does it interact with the radial field of a stationary charge?

Do you have any thoughts on the matter.

Best regards,


_ _ _

On Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 5:05 AM Jean-Luc wrote:

Dear Andrew, Thank you for the references. Best regards, Jean-Luc

Le 18/09/2021 à 17:32, Andrew a écrit :
> This might have useful thoughts concerning the question of radiation
> decay to/from EDOs.
> Quantum Optics Electrons see the quantum nature of light
> Ian S. Osborne
> We know that light is both a wave and a particle, and this duality
> arises from the classical and quantum nature of electromagnetic
> excitations. Dahan et al. observed that all experiments to date in
> which light interacts with free electrons have been described with
> light considered as a wave (see the Perspective by Carbone). The
> authors present experimental evidence revealing the quantum nature of
> the interaction between photons and free electrons. They combine an
> ultrafast transmission electron microscope with a silicon-photonic
> nanostructure that confines and strengthens the interaction between
> the light and the electrons. The “quantum” statistics of the photons
> are imprints onto the propagating electrons and are seen directly in
> their energy spectrum.
> Science, abj7128, this issue p. 1324; see also abl6366, p. 1309

The Language of Physics

The meaning of life in 15 pages !🙂 [Or… Well… At least a short description of the Universe… Not sure it helps in sense-making.] 🙂

Post scriptum (25 March 2021): Because this post is so extremely short and happy, I want to add a sad anecdote which illustrates what I have come to regard as the sorry state of physics as a science.

A few days ago, an honest researcher put me in cc of an email to a much higher-brow researcher. I won’t reveal names, but the latter – I will call him X – works at a prestigious accelerator lab in the US. The gist of the email was a question on an article of X: “I am still looking at the classical model for the deep orbits. But I have been having trouble trying to determine if the centrifugal and spin-orbit potentials have the same relativistic correction as the Coulomb potential. I have also been having trouble with the Ademko/Vysotski derivation of the Veff = V×E/mc2 – V2/2mc2 formula.”

I was greatly astonished to see X answer this: “Hello – What I know is that this term comes from the Bethe-Salpeter equation, which I am including (#1). The authors say in their book that this equation comes from the Pauli’s theory of spin. Reading from Bethe-Salpeter’s book [Quantum mechanics of one and two electron atoms]: “If we disregard all but the first three members of this equation, we obtain the ordinary Schroedinger equation. The next three terms are peculiar to the relativistic Schroedinger theory”. They say that they derived this equation from covariant Dirac equation, which I am also including (#2). They say that the last term in this equation is characteristic for the Dirac theory of spin ½ particles. I simplified the whole thing by choosing just the spin term, which is already used for hyperfine splitting of normal hydrogen lines. It is obviously approximation, but it gave me a hope to satisfy the virial theorem. Of course, now I know that using your Veff potential does that also. That is all I know.” [I added the italics/bold in the quote.]

So I see this answer while browsing through my emails on my mobile phone, and I am disgusted – thinking: Seriously? You get to publish in high-brow journals, but so you do not understand the equations, and you just drop terms and pick the ones that suit you to make your theory fit what you want to find? And so I immediately reply to all, politely but firmly: “All I can say, is that I would not use equations which I do not fully understand. Dirac’s wave equation itself does not make much sense to me. I think Schroedinger’s original wave equation is relativistically correct. The 1/2 factor in it has nothing to do with the non-relativistic kinetic energy, but with the concept of effective mass and the fact that it models electron pairs (two electrons – neglect of spin). Andre Michaud referred to a variant of Schroedinger’s equation including spin factors.”

Now X replies this, also from his iPhone: “For me the argument was simple. I was desperate trying to satisfy the virial theorem after I realized that ordinary Coulomb potential will not do it. I decided to try the spin potential, which is in every undergraduate quantum mechanical book, starting with Feynman or Tippler, to explain the hyperfine hydrogen splitting. They, however, evaluate it at large radius. I said, what happens if I evaluate it at small radius. And to my surprise, I could satisfy the virial theorem. None of this will be recognized as valid until one finds the small hydrogen experimentally. That is my main aim. To use theory only as a approximate guidance. After it is found, there will be an explosion of “correct” theories.” A few hours later, he makes things even worse by adding: “I forgot to mention another motivation for the spin potential. I was hoping that a spin flip will create an equivalent to the famous “21cm line” for normal hydrogen, which can then be used to detect the small hydrogen in astrophysics. Unfortunately, flipping spin makes it unstable in all potential configurations I tried so far.”

I have never come across a more blatant case of making a theory fit whatever you want to prove (apparently, X believes Mills’ hydrinos (hypothetical small hydrogen) are not a fraud), and it saddens me deeply. Of course, I do understand one will want to fiddle and modify equations when working on something, but you don’t do that when these things are going to get published by serious journals. Just goes to show how physicists effectively got lost in math, and how ‘peer reviews’ actually work: they don’t. :-/

All you need to know about cosmology…

I just did a short paper with, yes, all you need to know about cosmology. It recapitulates my theory of dark matter (antimatter), how we might imagine the Big Bang (not a single one, probably!), the possibility of an oscillating Universe, possible extraterrestrial life, interstellar communication, and, yes, life itself. It also tries to offer a more intuitive explanation of SRT/GRT based on an analysis of the argument of the quantum-mechanical wavefunction – although it may not come across as being very ‘intuitive’ (my math is, without any doubt, much more intuitive to me than to you – if only because it is a ‘language’ I developed over years!).

I introduced the paper with a rather long comment on one of the ResearchGate discussion threads: Is QM consistent?. I copy it here for the convenience of my readers. 🙂

The concept of ‘dimension’ may well be the single most misunderstood concept in physics. The bare minimum rule to get out of the mess and have fruitful exchanges with other (re)searchers is to clearly distinguish between mathematical and physical dimensions. Physical dimensions are covered by the 2019 revision of SI units, which may well be the most significant consolidation of theory which science has seen over the past hundred years or so (since Einstein’s SRT/GRT theories, in fact). Its definitions (e.g. the definition of the fine-structure constant) – combined with the CODATA values for commonly repeated measurements – sum up all of physics.

A few months before his untimely demise, H.A. Lorentz delivered his last contributions to quantum physics (Solvay Conference, 1927, General Discussion). He did not challenge the new physics, but did remark it failed to prove a true understanding of what was actually going on by not providing a consistent interpretation of the equations (which he did not doubt were true, in the sense of representing scientifically established facts and repeated measurements) in other words. Among various other remarks, he made this one: “We are trying to represent phenomena. We try to form an image of them in our mind. Till now, we always tried to do using the ordinary notions of space and time. These notions may be innate; they result, in any case, from our personal experience, from our daily observations. To me, these notions are clear, and I admit I am not able to have any idea about physics without those notions. The image I want to have when thinking physical phenomena has to be clear and well defined, and it seems to me that cannot be done without these notions of a system defined in space and in time.”

Systems of equations may be reduced or expanded to include more or less mathematical (and physical) dimensions, but one has to be able to reduce them to the basic laws of physics (the mass-energy equivalence relation, the relativistically correct expression of Newton’s force law, the Planck-Einstein relation, etcetera), whose dimensions are physical. The real and imaginary part of the wavefunction represents kinetic and potential energy sloshing back and forth in a system, always adding up to the total energy of the system. The sum of squares of the real and imaginary part adding up to give us the energy density (non-normalized wavefunction) at each point in space or, after normalization, a probability P(r) to find the electron as a function of the position vector r. The argument of the wavefunction itself is invariant and, therefore, is consistent with both SRT as well as GRT (see Annex I and II of The Finite Universe).

The quantum-mechanical wavefunction is, therefore, the pendant to both the Planck-Einstein relation and the mass-energy equivalence relation. Indeed, all comes out of the E = h·f = p·λ and E = mc2 equations (or their reduced forms) combined with Maxwell’s equations written in terms of the scalar and vector potential. The indeterminacy in regard to the position is statistical only: it arises because of the high velocity of the pointlike charge, which makes it impossible to accurately determine its position at any point in time. In other words, the problem is that we are not able to determine the initial condition of the system. If we would be able to do so, we would be able to substitute the indefinite integrals used to derive and define the quantum-mechanical operators to definite integrals, and so we would have a completely defined system. [See: The Meaning of Uncertainty and the Geometry of the Wavefunction.]

Quarks make sense as mathematical form factors only: they reduce the complexity of the scattering matrix, but they are no equivalent to a full and consistent application to the conservation and symmetry laws (conservation of energy, linear and angular momentum, physical action, and elementary charge). The quark hypothesis suffers from the same defect or weakness as the one that H.A. Lorentz noted in regard to the Uncertainty Principle, or in regard to 19th century aether theories. I paraphrase: “The conditions of an experiment are such that, from a practical point of view, we would have indeterminism, but there is no need to elevate indeterminism to a philosophical principle.” Likewise, the elevation of quarks – the belief that these mathematical form factors have some kind of ontological status – may satisfy some kind of deeper religious thirst for knowledge, but that is all there is to it.

Post-WWII developments saw a confluence of (Cold War) politics and scientific dogma – which is not at all unusual in the history of thought, but which has been documented now sufficiently well to get over it (see: Oliver Consa, February 2020, Something is rotten in the state of QED). Of course, there was also a more innocent driver here, which Feynman writes about rather explicitly: students were no longer electing physics as a study because everything was supposed to be solved in that field, and all that was left was engineering. Hence, Feynman and many others probably did try to re-establish an original sense of mystery and wonder to attract the brightest. As Feynman’s writes in the epilogue to his Lectures: “The main purpose of my teaching has not been to prepare you for some examination—it was not even to prepare you to serve industry or the military. I [just] wanted most to give you some appreciation of the wonderful world and the physicist’s way of looking at it, which, I believe, is a major part of the true culture of modern times.”

In any case, I think Caltech’s ambitious project to develop an entirely new way of presenting the subject was very successful. I see very few remaining fundamental questions, except – perhaps – the questions related to the nature of electric charge (fractal?), but all other questions mentioned as ‘unsolved problems’ on Wikipedia’s list for physics and cosmology (see:, such as the question of dark matter (antimatter), the arrow of time, one-photon Mach-Zehnder interference, the anomaly in the magnetic moment of an electron, etcetera, come across as comprehensible and, therefore, ‘solved’ to me. As such, I repeat what I think of as a logical truth: quantum physics is fully consistent. ‘Numerical’ interpretations of quantum physics (such as SO(4), for example) may not be wrong, but they do not provide me with the kind of understanding I was looking for, and finally – after many years of deep questioning myself and others – have found.

Feynman is right that the Great Law of Nature may be summarized as U = 0 (Lectures, II-25-6) but also notes this: “This simple notation just hides the complexity in the definitions of symbols: it is just a trick.” It is like talking of “the night in which all cows are equally black” (Hegel, Phänomenologie des GeistesVorrede, 1807). Hence, the U = 0 equation needs to be separated out. I note a great majority of people on this forum try to do that in a very sensible way, i.e. they are aware that science differs from religion in that it seeks to experimentally verify its propositions: it measures rather than believes, and these measurements are cross-checked by a global community and, thereby, establish a non-subjective reality, of which I feel part. A limited number of searchers may believe their version of truth is more true than mainstream views, but I would suggest they do some more reading before trying to re-invent the wheel.

For the rest, we should heed Wittgenstein’s final philosophical thesis on this forum, I think: “Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen.” Again, this applies to scientific discourse only, of course. We are all free to publish whatever nonsense we want on other forums. Chances are more people would read me there, but as the scope for some kind of consensus decreases accordingly, I try to refrain from doing so.

PS: To understand relativity theory, one must agree on the notion of ‘synchronized clocks’. Synchronization in the context of SRT does not correspond to the everyday usage of the concept. It is not a matter of making them ‘tick’ the same: we must simply assume that the clock that is used to measure the distance from A to B does not move relative to the clock that is used to measure the distance from B to A: clocks that are moving relative to each other cannot be made to tick the same. An observer in the inertial reference frame can only agree to a t = t’ = 0 point (or, as we are talking time, a t = t’ = 0 instant, we should say). From an ontological perspective, this entails both observers can agree on the notion of an infinitesimally small point in space and an infinitesimally small instant of time. Again, these notions are mathematical concepts and do not correspond to the physical concept of quantization of energy, which is given by the Planck-Einstein relation. But the mathematical or philosophical notion does not come across as problematic to me. Likewise, the idea of instantaneous or momentaneous momentum may or may not correspond to a physical reality, but I do not think of it as problematic. When everything is said and done, we do need math to describe physical reality. Feynman’s U = 0 (un)worldliness equation is, effectively, like a very black cow in a very dark night: I just cannot ‘see’ it. 🙂 The notion of infinitesimally small time and distance scales is just like reading the e-i*pi = -1 identity, the ei0 = e0 = 1 or i2 = -1 relations for me. Interpreting i as a rotation by 90 degrees along the circumference of a circle ensures these notions come across as obvious logical (or mathematical/philosophical) truths. 🙂 What is amazing is that complex numbers describe Nature so well, but then mankind took a long time to find that out! [Remember: Euler was an 18th century mathematician, and Louis de Broglie a 20th century physicist so, yes, they are separated by two full centuries!]

The Nature of Antimatter (dark matter)

The electromagnetic force has an asymmetry: the magnetic field lags the electric field. The phase shift is 90 degrees. We can use complex notation to write the E and B vectors as functions of each other. Indeed, the Lorentz force on a charge is equal to: F = qE + q(v×B). Hence, if we know the (electric field) E, then we know the (magnetic field) B: B is perpendicular to E, and its magnitude is 1/c times the magnitude of E. We may, therefore, write:

B = –iE/c

The minus sign in the B = –iE/c expression is there because we need to combine several conventions here. Of course, there is the classical (physical) right-hand rule for E and B, but we also need to combine the right-hand rule for the coordinate system with the convention that multiplication with the imaginary unit amounts to a counterclockwise rotation by 90 degrees. Hence, the minus sign is necessary for the consistency of the description. It ensures that we can associate the aeiEt/ħ and aeiEt/ħ functions with left and right-handed spin (angular momentum), respectively.

Now, we can easily imagine a antiforce: an electromagnetic antiforce would have a magnetic field which precedes the electric field by 90 degrees, and we can do the same for the nuclear force (EM and nuclear oscillations are 2D and 3D oscillations respectively). It is just an application of Occam’s Razor principle: the mathematical possibilities in the description (notations and equations) must correspond to physical realities, and vice versa (one-on-one). Hence, to describe antimatter, all we have to do is to put a minus sign in front of the wavefunction. [Of course, we should also take the opposite of the charge(s) of its antimatter counterpart, and please note we have a possible plural here (charges) because we think of neutral particles (e.g. neutrons, or neutral mesons) as consisting of opposite charges.] This is just the principle which we already applied when working out the equation for the neutral antikaon (see Annex IV and V of the above-referenced paper):

Don’t worry if you do not understand too much of the equations: we just put them there to impress the professionals. 🙂 The point is this: matter and antimatter are each other opposite, literally: the wavefunctions aeiEt/ħ and –aeiEt/ħ add up to zero, and they correspond to opposite forces too! Of course, we also have lightparticles, so we have antiphotons and antineutrinos too.

We think this explains the rather enormous amount of so-called dark matter and dark energy in the Universe (the Wikipedia article on dark matter says it accounts for about 85% of the total mass/energy of the Universe, while the article on the observable Universe puts it at about 95%!). We did not say much about this in our YouTube talk about the Universe, but we think we understand things now. Dark matter is called dark because it does not appear to interact with the electromagnetic field: it does not seem to absorb, reflect or emit electromagnetic radiation, and is, therefore, difficult to detect. That should not be a surprise: antiphotons would not be absorbed or emitted by ordinary matter. Only anti-atoms (i.e. think of a antihydrogen atom as a antiproton and a positron here) would do so.

So did we explain the mystery? We think so. 🙂

We will conclude with a final remark/question. The opposite spacetime signature of antimatter is, obviously, equivalent to a swap of the real and imaginary axes. This begs the question: can we, perhaps, dispense with the concept of charge altogether? Is geometry enough to understand everything? We are not quite sure how to answer this question but we do not think so: a positron is a positron, and an electron is an electron¾the sign of the charge (positive and negative, respectively) is what distinguishes them! We also think charge is conserved, at the level of the charges themselves (see our paper on matter/antimatter pair production and annihilation).

We, therefore, think of charge as the essence of the Universe. But, yes, everything else is sheer geometry! 🙂

The End of Physics?

There are two branches of physics. The nicer branch studies equilibrium states: simple laws, stable particles (electrons and protons, basically), the expanding (oscillating?) Universe, etcetera. This branch includes the study of dynamical systems which we can only describe in terms of probabilities or approximations: think of kinetic gas theory (thermodynamics) or, much simpler, hydrostatics (the flow of water, Feynman, Vol. II, chapters 40 and 41), about which Feynman writes this:

“The simplest form of the problem is to take a pipe that is very long and push water through it at high speed. We ask: to push a given amount of water through that pipe, how much pressure is needed? No one can analyze it from first principles and the properties of water. If the water flows very slowly, or if we use a thick goo like honey, then we can do it nicely. You will find that in your textbook. What we really cannot do is deal with actual, wet water running through a pipe. That is the central problem which we ought to solve some day, and we have not.” (Feynman, I-3-7)

Still, we believe first principles do apply to the flow of water through a pipe. In contrast, the second branch of physics – we think of the study of non-stable particles here: transients (charged kaons and pions, for example) or resonances (very short-lived intermediate energy states). The class of physicists who studies these must be commended, but they resemble econometrists modeling input-output relations: if they are lucky, they will get some kind of mathematical description of what goes in and what goes out, but the math does not tell them how stuff actually happens. It leads one to think about the difference between a theory, a calculation and an explanation. Simplifying somewhat, we can represent such input-output relations by thinking of a process that will be operating on some state |ψ⟩ to produce some other state |ϕ⟩, which we write like this:


A is referred to as a Hermitian matrix if the process is reversible. Reversibility looks like time reversal, which can be represented by taking the complex conjugate ⟨ϕ|A|ψ⟩* = ⟨ψ|A†|ϕ⟩: we put a minus sign in front of the imaginary unit, so we have –i instead of i in the wavefunctions (or i instead of –i with respect to the usual convention for denoting the direction of rotation). Processes may not reversible, in which case we talk about symmetry-breaking: CPT-symmetry is always respected so, if T-symmetry (time) is broken, CP-symmetry is broken as well. There is nothing magical about that.

Physicists found the description of these input-output relations can be simplified greatly by introducing quarks (see Annex II of our paper on ontology and physics). Quarks have partial charge and, more generally, mix physical dimensions (mass/energy, spin or (angular) momentum). They create some order – think of it as some kind of taxonomy – in the vast zoo of (unstable) particles, which is great. However, we do not think there was a need to give them some kind of ontological status: unlike plants or insects, partial charges do not exist.

We also think the association between forces and (virtual) particles is misguided. Of course, one might say forces are being mediated by particles (matter- or light-particles), because particles effectively pack energy and angular momentum (light-particles – photons and neutrinos – differ from matter-particles (electrons, protons) in that they carry no charge, but they do carry electromagnetic and/or nuclear energy) and force and energy are, therefore, being transferred through particle reactions, elastically or non-elastically. However, we think it is important to clearly separate the notion of fields and particles: they are governed by the same laws (conservation of charge, energy, and (linear and angular) momentum, and – last but not least – (physical) action) but their nature is very different.

W.E. Lamb (1995), nearing the end of his very distinguished scientific career, wrote about “a comedy of errors and historical accidents”, but we think the business is rather serious: we have reached the End of Science. We have solved Feynman’s U = 0 equation. All that is left, is engineering: solving practical problems and inventing new stuff. That should be exciting enough. 🙂

Post scriptum: I added an Annex (III) to my paper on ontology and physics, with what we think of as a complete description of the Universe. It is abstruse but fun (we hope!): we basically add a description of events to Feynman’s U = 0 (un)worldliness formula. 🙂

On the Universe and Aliens

I was a bit bored today (Valentine’s Day but no Valentine playing for me), and so I did a video on the Universe and (the possibility) of Life elsewhere. It is simple (I managed to limit it to 40 minutes!) but it deals with all of the Big Questions: fundamental forces and distance scales; the geometric approach to gravity and the curvature of the Universe; Big Bang(s) and – who knows? – an oscillating Universe; and, yes, Life here and, perhaps, elsewhere. Enjoy ! The corresponding paper is available on ResearchGate.

PS: I’ve also organized my thoughts on quarks in a (much more) moderate annex to my paper on ontology and physics. Quite a productive Valentine’s Day – despite the absence of a Valentina ! 🙂 JL