Monday, March 06, 2006

String theorist calls all alternatives "crackpot"

An egotist has kindly informed us via his blog that Sundance O. Bilson-Thompson, Fotini Markopoulou and Lee Smolin have come up with a theory of everything. The egotist has tried to prevent anyone reporting this by concluding at '... I am ... certain that crackpots will embrace it as a great idea. Sorry to say but this is exactly the way they think.'

The egotist has informed us here that people with alternatives to stringy M-theory are automatically to be dismissed and suppressed as 'completely moronic crackpots' and rants that alternative builders are science-haters. This gets to the bottom of the problem for alternatives to string theory: the mainstream masters a lot of hard stringy maths, and doesn't want to see the reality that they have all been wasting their time, at least insofar as the intended physical application of string theory goes. The maths developed for string theory may have other uses even if the intended physics is a failure.

Anyway, let's forget Motl's rant for a while, and examine, 'Quantum gravity and the standard model'.

UPDATE: Dr Dantas has a discussion thread for the paper here.


Blogger nige said...

Anonymous said...
LeSage's gravity idea of 1748, put into the big bang context, solves this. Treat the big bang as a real explosion, and general relativity (gravitation and the contraction) is a physical result of the dynamics of the spacetime fabric.

In the Oct 96 issue of Electronics World, this model predicted there would be no gravitational retardation of the motion of distant supernovae.

It was confirmed by Perlmutter's results in 1998. Nature, CQG, PRL, etc., wouldn't publish the prediction before or the confirmation after. They won't review it, just claiming all alternatives to ST are crackpot.

Recently, Edwin Budding, a Research Fellow of the Carter National Observatory in New Zealand, and currently at Canakkale Onsekin Mart University in Turkey, sent me his paper on inertia and gravitational mechanism. It is 16 pages in length and the basic physical ideas for gravity and inertia are somewhat similar to, although the mathematical treatment is interestingly different.

Nobody can post this to arXiv because their official policy for endorsers forbids new ideas:

'We don’t expect you to read the paper in detail, or verify that the work is correct, but you should check that the paper is appropriate for the subject area. You should not endorse the author … if the work is entirely disconnected with current [string theory] work in the area.’ -
3/07/2006 10:59:59 AM
Anonymous said...
Dark energy, by the way, is the false epicycle you must put into the normal application of general relativity to cosmology.

The usual application of GR to cosmology implicitly assumes no mechanism for gravity is associated with the big bang.

Hence the usual GR application allows the most distant matter to be slowed down by gravitation.

You then have to add dark energy to make this fit Perlmutter's observations of supernovae redshift.

If you instead treat the big bang as a simple explosion, you get GR out of it in such a form that there is no predicted slowing down due to gravity on very distant matter. Hence, you have no need to "fix the error" using dark energy (which is adding an epicycle to a false theory to make it work).

7:40 AM  
Blogger nige said...

Nigel said...
Dear Christine,

The material in a "fireball" from a detonation in a vacuum does obey the Hubble law, the velocity increasing steadily toward the speed of light.

We already know from the +/- 3 mK cosine variation in the 2.7 K microwave background that there is a motion of the galaxy at 400 km/s toward andromeda. This is probably largely due to the gravity of andromeda, but it does indicate a kind of absolute motion.

Taking the 400 km/s as an order-of-magnitude figure of the motion of matter in the milky way in the 1.5 x 10^10 yr since the big bang, that indicates we've moved 0.1% of the radius of the universe since the big bang.

Hence, we are near enough in the middle. You've know the regular "expanding cake" model with everything receding from everything else, but the problem is that nobody has ever looked at the universe from different places, so they really don't know, they're just speculating.

Spacetime is still created in the instant of a real explosion, so you can treat the big bang as a real explosion of 10^55 megatons. It predicts gravity within 2%


8:13 AM  
Blogger nige said...

Nigel said...
Dear Christine,

I have done a course in classical cosmology, and the book you link to looks the sort of thing I know. But I'll obtain it. Briefly...

General relativity can be obtained from quantum field theory in such a way that the dark energy vanishes, and the correct density of the universe is proved to be exactly 0.5e^3 ~ 10 times lower than the standard critical density.

The Earth is contracted by 1.5 mm due to the contraction term in general relativity, which is given mathematically in the usual treatment by energy conservation of the gravitation field. But you can physically calculate the general relativity contraction from the FitzGerald contraction of length by the factor (1 – v2/c2)1/2 = [1 – 2GM/(xc2)]1/2. I obtain this starting with the Newtonian approximate empirical formula, which gives the square of escape velocity as v2 = 2GM/x, and the logical fact that the energy of mass in a gravitational field at radius x from the centre of mass is equivalent to the energy of an object falling there from an infinite distance, which by symmetry is equal to the energy of a mass travelling with escape velocity v. By Einstein’s principle of equivalence between inertial and gravitational mass, this gravitational acceleration field produces an identical effect to ordinary motion. Therefore, we can place the square of escape velocity (v2 = 2GM/x) into the Fitzgerald-Lorentz contraction (1 – v2/c2)1/2 which gives the gravitational contraction [1 – 2GM/(xc2)]1/2 ~ 1 – GM/(xc2) using the first two terms in the binomial expansion.

This is a physical mechanism for the essential innovation of general relativity, the contraction term in the Einstein-Hilbert field equation. Because the contraction due to motion is physically due to head-on pressure (like wind pressure on your windscreen at high speeds) from the spacetime fabric, it occurs only in the direction of motion, say the x direction, leaving the size of the mass in directions x and z unaffected.

For gravity, the mechanism of spacetime fabric pressure causes contraction in the radial directions, outward from the centre of mass. This means the amount of contraction is as Feynman calculated about (1/3)GM/c2 = 1.5 mm for the Earth.

If you look at Feynman's account of this, which is one of the most physically real, he gets his equation confused in words: Professor Feynman makes a confused mess of it in his relevant volume of Lectures, c42 p6, where he gives his equation 42.3 correctly for excess radius being equal to predicted radius minus measured radius, but then on the same page in the text says ‘… actual radius exceeded the predicted radius …’ Talking about ‘curvature’ when dealing with radii is not helpful and probably caused the confusion.

Lorentz-FitzGerald empirical theory can be summarised as "physical contraction due to ether pressure + Michelson Morley result => variable speed of light depending on motion".

Special relativity is : "Michelson Morley result => invariant speed of light. Invariant speed of light + laws of nature independent of inertial motion => contraction".

So special relativity is ad hoc and is completely incompatible with FitzGerald's prior analysis. Since experimental data only verifies the resulting equations, Ockham's razor tells us to accept FitzGerald's simple analysis of the facts, and to neglect the speculation of special relativity. Furthermore, even Einstein agrees with this:

‘The special theory of relativity … does not extend to non-uniform motion … The laws of physics must be of such a nature that they apply to systems of reference in any kind of motion. Along this road we arrive at an extension of the postulate of relativity… The general laws of nature are to be expressed by equations which hold good for all systems of co-ordinates, that is, are co-variant with respect to any substitutions whatever (generally co-variant). …’ – Albert Einstein, ‘The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity’, Annalen der Physik, v49, 1916.

The dynamics of the QFT mechanism do predict general relativity and gravity constant G within 2%. If there is an error, it seems to be in the mainstream model.

Best wishes,

3/08/2006 11:34:49 AM

6:43 AM  
Blogger nige said...

Nigel said...
Dear Christine:

General relativity, based on general covariance, is the fact. I don't want an alternative to the field equation, just a way to get it from QFT facts which sorts out the observational facts from astronomy.

Einstein said:

‘The special theory of relativity … does not extend to non-uniform motion … The laws of physics must be of such a nature that they apply to systems of reference in any kind of motion. Along this road we arrive at an extension of the postulate of relativity… The general laws of nature are to be expressed by equations which hold good for all systems of co-ordinates, that is, are co-variant with respect to any substitutions whatever (generally co-variant). …’ – Albert Einstein, ‘The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity’, Annalen der Physik, v49, 1916.

Thank you,

3/09/2006 06:11:55 AM

1:15 AM  
Blogger nige said...

Anonymous said...
Dear Christine,

I respect your guidelines.

Presumably you are well aware of this from the lectures and the discussion of them you give.

You need to clarify "relativity" when you say that the correct unified theory must be identical to the existing form of special/general relativity.

For one thing, general relativity can be obtained in more than one way (of course the basic field equation was obtained by different routes by both Einstein and Hilbert), and a better understanding of how general relativity should be obtained theoretically using quantum field theory will probably result from quantum gravity.

Lee Smolin has lectured on how to go from a spin foam vacuum representation of path integrals in quantum field theory, to obtain the field equation of general relativity, without a metric.

This problem, to unify the quantum field theory with general relativity, is quantum gravity.

It is only likely to be interesting if it results in some prediction. To do so it may well alter the form of existing quantum field theory or of general relativity slightly.

What is important is that the right approach is consistent not with previous versions of theories, but is instead consistent with nature.

The debate in physics over modifications to the cosmological constant and other generally controversial aspects of "relativity" may be settled by the correct proof of the field equation from some kind of work along the lines Smolin suggests.

I do hope you will not call any correct derivation of the field equation of general relativity an "alternative" to be dismissed.

General relativity can be viewed in several ways, and what matters ideally is how much each predicts and whether it is based on empirical facts or speculations (fitting cosmological constant to observations, for instance).

If you read John Baez's crackpot list, it would dismiss string theory for being based on abject speculation, and for not making any useful or unique definite predictions.

Baez does not, however, automatically dismiss all new ideas. Because cosmology is based on the existing form of general relativity, if you say that existing general relativity is perfect and beyond improvement, then you are assuming that the unification of gravity and the standard model can only be achieved by some change in quantum field theory to accommodate existing general relativity.

There is no evidence that this is the case.

Best wishes

3/09/2006 06:44:51 AM

1:49 AM  
Blogger nige said...

Anonymous said...
Dear Christine,

Thank you very much for this clarification:

"What I really do not like to be discussing here is things like "Einstein was wrong", etc. Special and General relativity are substantial and robust theories in their domain of validity."

The way to do this would be to keep all discussion constructive, and to emphasise that general relativity is more complete than special relativity. The special theory is a simplification of the more complex facts, and only gives the right answers for cases of uniform motion. (General relativity is not merely special relativity plus gravity, which string theorists falsely claim.)

Best wishes

3/09/2006 09:12:23 AM

4:15 AM  

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