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Perimeter Institute welcome speech reignites the string wars

Neil Turok at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (Courtesy: Gabriela Secara)

Neil Turok at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. (Courtesy: Gabriela Secara)

By Hamish Johnston

A series of four articles about people at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics (PI) has been published in the Canadian magazine Maclean’s and one article in particular has got people talking.

The piece is called “Perimeter Institute and the crisis in modern physics” and it focuses on a welcome speech given by Neil Turok, who is director of the PI in Waterloo, Canada. Turok was talking to incoming students to the PI’s Perimeter Scholars International (PSI) Master’s programme.

In the speech, Turok referred to a “very deep crisis in physics” that he believes the field has entered. The problem, according to Turok, is that experiments such as those at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the European Space Agency’s Planck space mission have so far failed to find any significant evidence for physics beyond the Standard Model.

Turok also told his audience that “There’ve been grand unified models, there’ve been super-symmetric models, super-string models, loop quantum-gravity models…Well, nature turns out to be simpler than all of these models.”

With regard to string theory, Turok said “It’s the ultimate catastrophe: that theoretical physics has led to this crazy situation where the physicists are utterly confused and seem not to have any predictions at all.”

Not surprisingly, one of string theory’s most vocal critics, the mathematician and blogger Peter Woit, says that Turok’s comments are “great to hear”.

However, not everyone is pleased with Turok’s views on the state of theoretical physics. In his usual combative style, blogger Lubos Motl describes the comments as an “anti-physics tirade” and then offers a 4000-word rebuttal to the speech.

Just about everything that happens at the PI is captured on video, so you can watch Turok’s welcome speech and come to your own conclusions.

The articles were written by Maclean’s columnist Paul Wells, who also profiled PSI student Jacob Barnett, who is just 15 years old, in “The making of a child prodigy“. Wells also chatted to several other PSI students and describes them in “Jacob’s classmates“.

In the final article, Wells describes his lunch at the PI’s “Bistro at the edge of the universe“.

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  1. Trackback: Perimeter Institute and the crisis in modern physics | Not Even Wrong

  2. Robert L. Oldershaw

    You ask: “Why does Neil Turok think there is a crisis in physics?”. Surely you jest!?

    So far the LHC has found:
    no string/brane exotica,
    no sparticles,
    no WIMPs,
    no supersymmetry exotica,
    no extra-dimensions,
    no magnetic monopoles,
    no mini-black holes,
    no Randall-Sundrum 5-D phenomena (gravitons, K-K gluons, etc.),
    no evidence for ADS/CFT duality,
    no colorons,
    no leptoquarks,
    no lazy photons,
    no fractionally charged particles,

    and nothing beyond the standard model, which has 26-30 adjustable parameters, and which cannot say anything about the dark matter [i.e., virtually everything].

    Then there is the 120 orders-of-magnitude vacuum energy density crisis.
    Then there is the unnatural and theoretically awkward conventional Planck mass, which bears no resemblance to anything in nature.

    Is it reasonable to just say: “Well, we have to go to yet higher energies”, and make that dodge sound credible by saying that ‘we expected this’ when in fact the pre-LHC hype about what would be found was laid on thick and the present non-results were called “The Nightmare Scenario”?

    The relevant question is: Do we keep adding epicycles to the faltering aged paradigm, or do we begin the search for a revolutionary new paradigm that can make definitive predictions, that can be experimentally verified, and that can provide simple and natural answers to fundamental problems?

    Robert L. Oldershaw
    Discrete Scale Relativity/Fractal Cosmology

    • Jim Hanson

      You say, “….do we begin the search for a revolutionary new paradigm that can make definitive predictions, that can be experimentally verified, and that can provide simple and natural answers to fundamental problems….We need to metaphorically go back to about 1925 and reassess the basic principles and assumptions of microcosm physics. This time around we need to stick very close to observational and experimental evidence and reject all that is ad hoc and/or relies on untestable just-so explanations.

      These quotes from your threads leads me to think that perhaps you are now at a frustration point where you will give Setterfield’s simple and natural plasma cosmology combined with his verified research on cDK (which all begins about 1911), an honest nad careful reading? I believe that it will send you down the path for which you are looking –

  3. Jonathan Dixon

    It’s still very early days. Ideally we would have found some of these yeah sure, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. We only recently confirmed the higgs exists, so let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet.

  4. Abed Peerally

    I have read with considerable interest the article about Neil Turok of the PI. I am not at all surprised and I will not classify his words as an “anti-physics tirade”. Physics as an area of Natural Philosophy is still, luckily for humanity, fully intact. I can already predict with a lot of certainty that Physics, Cosmology etc together with Biology, Chemistry etc will, in the coming decade, begin to be reclassified as branches of a reinstated and very fertile field of Natural Philosophy, which will also comprise Philosophy in the largest sense of the term. I can also confidently add that Metaphysics will start to make its initial entry within this new Natural Philosophy, as a New Physics discipline. I say this because Metaphysics is seriously misconstrued as a kind of supernatural domain, not something respectable as Science. Actually some of the scientific articles and books we see around are far less serious. I can also assert that we will see in due course that Metaphysics is actually science, but a science that requires new ways of thinking about the realities of the universe and about the macro and micro scale of the universe. It will require for instance to discern why the Law of Conservation of energy has to be the last ultimate riddle of science and the last scientific challenge we need to understand if as Einstein said, if we wish to know whether there was a choice for creating the universe and what was the thinking behind it.

  5. Very interesting discussion indeed, both here and in Woit’s blog: the deeper roots of this crisis are a result of lack of proper general education (including Philosophy)of a whole generation of physicists that has led them astray. Apart from been able to solve difficult equations, a Physics undergrad should be quite familiar with Parmenides’ poem and Kant’s “Critic of pure logic”. Furthermore, later in his/her career, he/she should expect to be assigned a role in Dostoevsky’s “Inquisitor Generalis”; and decide whether he/she likes it or not; and decide whether this helps humanity go forward. Which Physics Department currently prepares them for that?

    • Henrik Thiil Nielsen

      I have often found myself imagining the LHC was turned off and instead each physicist was given a nice soft pillow, plenty of choice java and a copy of Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason”. Rather than an austerity measure I think this would be the start of something new and better.

  6. John Duffield

    I thought Neil Turok gave a good address, and I admire him for stepping up to the plate. Then I read Luboš Motl’s blog with a mounting sense of horror. Not only did he say Turok’s speech was an anti-physics tirade and a rant (!), he also said Turok was a deluded stupid idiot talking bullshit and nonsense, and that Turok “is not only a crackpot physicist of a sort but a crackpot manager”. The word insane was used, and the comments make grim reading too. All in all I’m afraid Motl’s blog is cringeworthy. It brings physics into disrepute. It is shameful. And it will harden public attitudes against not just BSM physics, but all of physics. That guy is a loose cannon on the flagship that is HEP.

  7. Hi Robert!

    You are absolutely right. New paradigm is needed and it surely is coming. You know what I’m talking about 😉 Did you read my Juno flyby predictions?

  8. This free-for all in the comments here does not help the cause of those who indulge in this personal vendetta and physics. The Neil Turok’s comment is a bit loose-ended impaitence: the LHC has run for couple of years up to 7 GeV and it harvested the Higgs-like particle as it still needs the spin s=0 confirmation. Now, next time, it should run with 13 – 14 GeV and let us as to what it finds; one is still waiting for the CMB-polarisation results from the Planck data. The Supersymmetry, the String work are indeed revolutionary theories beyond the particle SM, but at present, they lack quantitative results to be verified with the LHC, if it covers their enegy range. Those who push for the new paradigms, they should go for them and come up with the numbers that can be varified otherwise it is just chest-thumping for the galery.Finally, the quarks as fermions have fractional charges.

    • Gayatri MIral

      M. Asghar:
      “Those who push for the new paradigms, they should go for them and come up with the numbers that can be verified otherwise it is just chest-thumping for the gallery.”

      Dear M. Asghar

      You seem to forget that the so-called “peer review” is controlling what is published and what isn’t… “King Consensus” is unfortunately a ruthless dictator… besides that are many critics of mainstream physics banned, many of them even loose their job…

      A new paradigm would make the self proclaimed top-elite stand in a very bad light, don’t you think. There are existing theoretical works, able to explain what mainstream can’t explain, but are rejected because they don’t agree with standard dogmas… contrary to the fact that those works can stand every test supposed to prove what mainstream is fighting for: the theory of Albert Einstein and part of Niels Bohr’s theory…

      So I am sorry to say that your suggestion of “going for it” is frustrating useless. Swimming against the stream is one thing, but there is a waterfall: mainstream controlled peer review.


  9. Dilaton

    @John Duffield

    On his own internet site, Lubos has the right to express his being (rightly so!) upset about Neil Toruk’s inapprorpiate welcome speech as he sees fit. If you really have read the comments you would have seen that after cooling down a bit, he has well acknowledged (in the comments) that Neil Turok has done good contributions to physics and cosmology.

    But it is really questionable why Neil Turok accepted the position as the Director of the Perimeter Institute, sd he obviously has such a negative opinion about theoretical and fundamental physics generally and considers 90% of what the physicists at the institute currently are working on to be worthless crap. It makes me wonder about what his strategies concerning the future of Perimeter will be, maybe giving the large majority of physicists who are working on things he disapproves the sack? As I understand it at least, as a Director of a research institute he should support the scientists he is supposed to lead, instead of being completely dismissive of 90% of their work.

    Completely discouraging all students newly entering the institute (or the field) by such an impressively negative speech and pretending his opinion represents what the whole community of fundamental/theoretical physicists thinks (which is not true!), can be very harmful to the field by not only discouraging young scientists but dramatically diminish funding of fundamental physics done at the Perimeter Institute and elsewhere too.

    BTW just an advice: instigating a witch hunt against Lubos and trying to miscredit him by citing some angry words he used that were only intended to be read by the readers of his site (I am sure when commenting here he would have used no stronger words than I did to express my disagreement with Neil Turoks welcome speech here) makes yourself looking at least as bad as you wanted him to look.

    You, and other Peter Woit (of course he applauds the talk) fans do not need to bother replying to me ;-), I will most probably not even come back to this thread.


  10. John Duffield

    We can all see Motl’s comments. Here’s a sample:

    “As soon as someone asks me for a signature to send this asshole to an electric chair, I won’t hesitate for a second. 😉

    The rest of the commenters on that blog are subpar parodies of a human being, too…”

    This sort of thing does not help his case. He’s handed over the moral high ground on a plate. And it really doesn’t help physics one bit. Members of the public reading Motl’s blog will be appalled.

  11. Eric Habegger

    @Abed Peerally,
    I really enjoyed your comment. Education should be just as much about freeing oneself from self delusion as anything else. That often includes broadly public self-delusion. Science, and particularly certain branches of physics, are not the least bit immune from self delusion. It thrives in the absence of empirical data. Luckily we are finally getting that empirical data from the LHC and the unwinding of speculative excesses and blind prejudice has commenced.

    On the conservation of energy: that is at the heart of the current sickness in physics. Almost all the excesses are in someway linked to hope that there is a free lunch somehow. My not so secret feeling is that the story behind the universe is a gradual understanding that when you require a disproportionate amount of “stuff” for yourself that it neccessarily means a dearth of it for someone else. This can only be true if the energy is finite.

    That is why physics has gone off track. The multiverse, infinite fractal universes, or whatever, all come from the idea that there are no limits. You can have whatever you want and it won’t affect your neighbor. Who knew that the George Bush mentality had somehow infected the most liberal of scientific fields?

    • Abed Peerally

      Thanks for your thoughtful input. The LCE will be, I am convinced, the last of the challenges of nature humanity will have to resolve. As I said earlier metaphysics, I am beginning to realize, might be some kind of new physics, and might one day be better understood. For the time being the LCE should not be violated for that would be totally wrong. There is a possibility, I am convinced, that the most fundamental mistake cosmologists need to be careful about is that there is no theory of the origin of the universe which has attempted to find a proper balance with the LCE. That is the challenge I am going to address in my new concept, which will go, I must admit only half way, until we figure out to what extent we can explain the basic nature of the LCE and why at all it exists and why it is so compellingly constraining. For the time being any concept which disregards the LCE limitation is just wrong.

  12. A. E. Ames

    As for progress in physics, I could be wrong, but it appears there has been little progress in calculating the electronic spectra of complex molecules in the last 20 years or so. If this is the case, then in addition to the new materials capabilities, lots of photochemistry has been missed as well.

  13. Anonymous Snowboarder

    Perhaps Turok will bring some fresh air to PI as well as much of the (publicly) popular areas of physics research today. Sometimes people need to be shocked a bit.

    As to Lubos Motl – I really do wish the main stream physics/science press such as PW would not link or mention him, certainly not in the context of reporting on real results or about those who are still employed and working in the field – he is not and has not for some time now. Now he is nothing more than a talking head and including him in serious discussion amounts to the cable newsificaiton of science reporting.

    Lubos is fully entitled to his views and theories and can present them anyway he likes to his audience – who should have no problem finding him.

  14. Hal

    If the argument is that LHC and some other experiments have found nothing and its possible that we will never need anything more than the standard model then I find it somewhat disturbing that what should be viewed as our greatest triumph is called a crisis. Clearly the crisis is only related to funding since there is apparently no conceivable experiment that would push beyond the standard model to fund. If that is the only major measure by which to gage progress in physics then I agree with Turok that there is no real reason to keep funding them. This practical problem comes into conflict with the clear progress that is occurring in quantum physics in general. I think physicists owe computer scientists and information theorists some respect for the inroads being made at lower energies. I suspect that the next big physical insight will be made outside of the established physics community. As for including links to the reference frame is concerned, from everything I have read and from what I know of HR laws, his firing appears to have been nothing more than a conspiracy of key people inside the physics community, and is a perfect example of the corruption of certain areas of that field. I don’t agree with a lot of Motl’s politics but it is a fundamental weakness of principles that causes a field to claim that they have no new ideas while they are simultaneously ejecting people in order to censer their views. It equally unjustified to argue that someone’s lack of participation in an organization after their rejection from that organization should have merit as a meaningful metric. What I see is a bunch of children that think they know more about the world than anybody else, and I am sure I am not alone.

    • M. Asghar

      I risk to repete myself in this brouha of loose egos and tempers, that the best machine available at present, the LHC, has run only with energy upto 7 TeV and landed with what seems to be very likely the Higgs boson – the last hole in the particle SM. Soon it should run soon with an energy of !3 to 14 TeV for some new harvesting. The people like Turok and others should not spoil the game and they should pass their time caiculating some numbers that can be checked by the experiment in the range of energy available at present.

      • John Duffield

        I think there’s still a lot of work to do on the Standard Model, M. For example take a look at two-photon physics on Wikipedia. It concerns gamma-gamma pair production, and it says this: “A photon can, within the bounds of the uncertainty principle, fluctuate into a charged fermion-antifermion pair, to either of which the other photon can couple”. That’s saying pair production occurs because pair production occurs, spontaneously, like worms from mud. And that a photon spends its time constantly morphing into an electron and a positron, which then magically morph back into a SINGLE photon, which nevertheless manages to keep on going at c. That can’t be right. An improved Standard Model would explain how it works, and include an electron model wherein electron mass is explained in terms of say h and c etc and there’s fewer free parameters. IMHO the work that’s required is “within the Standard Model”, not beyond it.

  15. Robert L. Oldershaw

    Very good point!

    We need to metaphorically go back to about 1925 and reassess the basic principles and assumptions of microcosm physics.

    This time around we need to stick very close to observational and experimental evidence and reject all that is ad hoc and/or relies on untestable just-so explanations.

    Discrete Scale Relativity

  16. One problem is that the arXiv blacklists authors having novel ideas. In my case for example, the arXiv moderator and string theorist Dr. Distler had within 19 minutes rejected from the arXiv a follow-up paper of a paper I had published 12 years earlier in Z. Naturforschung [56a,889(2001)] entitled “Gamma Ray Bursters and Lorentzian Relativity”. The follow-up paper had the title: “Black Hole Firewalls and Quantum Gravity”. I had presented it in a seminar talk at the Albert Einstein Institute in Potsdam, Germany. The Abstract of the paper is:
    “A correct theory of quantum gravity cannot ignore the zero point vacuum energy because it has to be cut off at the Planck energy, leading to a preferred reference system in which this energy is at rest, with a violation of Lorentz invariance at high energies. In approaching and crossing the event horizon at the velocity of light in the preferred reference system, an elliptic differential equation holding matter in a stable equilibrium goes over a transluminal Euler-Tricomi equation into a hyperbolic differential equation where there is no such equilibrium, with all matter disintegrating into gamma rays without the loss of information and violation of unitarity”.
    F. Winterberg, Professor of Physics

  17. We could roughly say, that the theoretical physicists aren’t wrong – they just cannot see the light bellow their candlesticks. They cannot see forests they invented for the experimental woods and mathematical details of their theories. From sociopsychological perspective it’s very interesting situation.

    From AWT perspective the contemporary situation is paradoxical, because the quantitative theories are mostly correct just from their qualitative perspective. They just failed quantitatively. For example, the hidden dimensions of string theory are all around us, they do manifest with refraction/polarization of light and all these forces, which don’t follow the inverse square law and which are all around us. The problem of string theory therefore isn’t because it’s too speculative, but because it’s still too inconsequential in its assumptions. And the similar paradoxes we can see in many other areas of theoretical physics. For example the WIMPS and SUSY particles are all around us – they’re formed with neutrinos: the superpartners of photons. They just cannot be recognized with low-dimensional SUSY models, which are getting broken just with extradimensions. The microblack holes are common atom nuclei, the gravitons are CMBR noise and gravitational waves too. The AdS/CFT duality manifest itself with multiple Higgses, with similarity of nebulaes with atom orbitals and at many other places of the Universe, etc..

    • M. Asghar

      One is lamenting justifiably about the everlasting “qualitative” outpouring of different types of theoretical work which is not very helpful for the “quantitative” search with the LHC, the best tool available at present. However, one has to show that this mere qualitativeness is due to the lack of dimensions considered. In the case of gravity, the work with higher dimensions showed a deviation from the inverse-square law towards a mm scale, but the expermental data down to (!/50) mm still confirms the inverse-square law. There has to be physics beyond the particle SM – an effective field theory, but where in terms of the needed energy? The theory has to come up with some guiding numbers, beyond the just theological claims good for the faithful, but not for physics.

      • /*the work with higher dimensions showed a deviation from the inverse-square law towards a mm scale, but the expermental data down to (!/50) mm still confirms the inverse-square law*/

        It’s just because didn’t realized, that common Casimir/Van derWaals and dipole forces belong into violation of gravity too. What physical theorists are doing is both a good joke, both school of life for those, who are paying their jobs from their taxes.

        This story begins in dark ages. A group of theorists seeks for violation of gravitational law at short distances. They indeed find nothing, because their wooden experimental device is not sensitive enough. OK…

        The sensitivity of devices improves gradually, until some experimentalist finds the solely unexpected electrostatic force, which no gravity theory considered so far…

        Next generation of theorists already knows about it – so they arrange their experiments in such a way, the electrostatic force doesn’t interfere their gravitometric measurements. And again, they find no violation of gravitational law at short distances…

        The sensitivity of devices improves gradually, until some experimentalist finds the solely unexpected Van DerWaals dipole force, which no gravity theory considered so far.

        Next generation of theorists already knows about it – so they arrange their experiments in such a way, neither electrostatic force, neither dipole forces interfere their sensitive gravitometric measurements. As usually, they find no violation of gravitational law at short distances…

        The sensitivity of devices improves gradually, until some experimentalist finds the solely unexpected Casimir force, which no gravity theory considered so far.

        Next generation of theorists already knows about it – so they arrange their experiments in such a way, neither electrostatic force, neither dipole force, neither Casimir force interferes their extra-sensitive gravitometric measurements. As usually, they find no violation of gravitational law at short distances…

        The sensitivity of devices improves gradually, until some experimentalist finds the solely unexpected thermal Casimir force, which no gravity theory considered so far.

        Next generation of theorists already knows about it – so they arrange their experiments with single neutrons in such a way, neither electrostatic force, neither dipole force, neither Casimir force, neither thermal Casimir force (..ffffuuuu…!) interferes their ultra-mega-sensitive gravitometric measurements. As usually, they find no violation of gravitational law at short distances…

  18. IMO the reason of the contemporary situation is, the physicists tend to think in overly deterministic low-dimensional way, they’re overspecialized and they don’t keep the healthy distance from their ideas, so that they cannot recognize them in common experimental artifacts.

    They’re behaving like bugs, who are trying to understand their tree, so that they’re carefully crawling every tiny twig without even realizing they’re already crossing the boundaries of various mutually dual limbs, which are penetrating each other up to certain level.

    I’m sure, such an approach will gradually converge to the final understanding, but the speed of its progress is employment driven and somewhat suboptimal. A greater margin from their theories would be useful.

  19. S. Dino

    I must say that I am somewhat surprised by the argument between Turok & Motl. Personally, I see valid and invalid points on both sides. But what really strikes me is that the argument seems a few years premature.

    Physics for a generation predicted a spin 0, uncharged, fundamental particle with certain properties. And now, via the LHC, just such a particle has been discovered. This should be as time of awe at what the human mind can accomplish. Yet while the LHC is being readied to run at nearly double its 2012 energy, some people have written the machine off. The truth is that no one on Earth can say what the LHC will disclose at 14 TeV. It seems wildly premature (or just plain foolish) to write off a machine that already has a major discovery under its belt, and has only been run at ½ its designed maximum energy.

    As to the theoretical physicists; there seems to be a ha-ha got you attitude by some people (note the very first comment here for example). At the very time when I think physicists have earned the right to kick-back and put their feet-up, soaking up the triumph of finding the Higgs Boson – some people seem to be slamming them for not finding a host of other things.

    This seems rather mean spirited to me. What is it that these people think theoretical physicists do? Among other things they are tasked with coming up with viable alternatives, or at least variants of the current prevailing model. This is no easy task. Since there is only one TRUTH why would anyone really expect alternatives to hit paydirt? Indeed, if anything, the problem with Oldershaw’s List is that it is too short. I would have liked a List 5 times that length! And perhaps that is to Turoks’s point – we need more alternatives. And to encourage more alternatives there ought to be less emphasis on any one alternative, at least until a given alternative begins to distinguish itself with verifiable predictions.

    • John Duffield

      I don’t think anybody is writing of the LHC, Dino. Turok spoke well of it. I imagine he thinks it’s worth its weight in gold for demonstrating that some of the BSM hypotheses lack experimental support. And I don’t know if you’ve read any papers by the CMS or ATLAS collaborations, but they’ve played a pretty straight bat. Note though that the Higgs boson isn’t as clear cut as you might think, see A Zeptospace Odyssey by Gian Guidice, a CERN physicist.

  20. David Derbes

    I am an agnostic in the string wars. Long ago the great von Neumann (IIRC) criticized mathematics for getting too far away from real objects; that it ran the danger of becoming “l’art pour l’art”. It is impossible to do good theoretical physics without data. Even the greatest theoretical triumph in our science (in my opinion), general relativity, was buoyed by the then-mysterious perihelion advance of Mercury. As terrible as it sounds, we need to be patient. We need more data. At some point, the LHC may rule out most or even all forms of supersymmetry, or it may find a super-partner. But until then, the prudent position is probably to wait and see. I’ve believed in the Higgs for almost forty years, and finally here it is. These things take time.

  21. No Strings Attached

    Folks, anybody who mention and compare Neil Turok & Lubos Motl on the same breadth is ignorant.

    Turok is successful director of a world class research institute, himself an established cosmologist with a giant reputation.

    Motl is a junior physicist with no papers published, no result and no research ability. His poor reputation and insulting tongue during the ‘string war’ about a decade ago is such that he was fired from Harvard. This nobody headed back to his home country became a blogger spiting out endless nonsense. This certified crackpot should be avoided.

  22. reader01

    According to Turok:Turok also told his audience that “There’ve been grand unified models, there’ve been super-symmetric models, super-string models, loop quantum-gravity models…Well, nature turns out to be simpler than all of these models.”
    So I ask why we are not able to find anything easir than these all theories, to find easy theory of everything ( Such theory should must exist if natures laws are so easy ). But remember we have (still ) two major teories ( Quantum and TR ) which are different and not possible to unite. But on the other hand we recieve results at LHC that need both these teories and the results supports both theories. And the third theory Standart model of particles are supported by both major theories of matter and fields. Standart model ( all particles ) must undergo to our major theories.

  23. reader01

    Well, I reply to John Duffield. As we can derive mass of electron from basic physical constants, why we cannot to do this for all basic particles?? Or can we? And what happen with this calculation for moving particle ( electron ), cant we find anything new from these constants in relativistic mass??

    • John Duffield

      The standard model doesn’t derive the electron mass, reader. A medical doctor called Andrew Worsley offered a “quantum harmonics” derivation, but he can’t get it past peer review. In a nutshell Planck length is l=√(ћG/c³). Replace √(ћG) with 4πn where n is a suitable value, such that you’ve still got that Planck length. But now set n to 1, and work out 4πn/√(c³). There’s a binding-energy adjustment, but even without that it’s close to the electron Compton wavelength. You go from wavelength to energy to mass via the normal route.

    • reader01

      I find another thing that is interesting for me. And it is that mass of positron is derived from the same constants but differ the charge. How can one set of the same basic constant derived the mass of two different particle and antiparticle? The same is with their relativistic mass. That means that basic constants are the same for matter and antimatter and that in this case there is no broken symetry?

      • John Duffield

        Yes. If you look up positron chirality, you can see that it’s got the opposite chirality to the electron. Ever heard of topological quantum field theory? That’s to do with knots. Knots have chirality too. Imagine you’ve got a length of spring-steel wire. You can tie it in a knot left-over-right or right-over-left. The work you do to achieve this is the same in both cases. In similar vein the electron mass-energy is the same as the positron mass-energy. See the “spindle sphere” here:

  24. reader01

    John, exist any fluids that behaves like twisting thoruses or spindels ( probably fluid crystals under electric power or magnetic field? )or it is just mathematical constructions? I mean exist this in real life??

  25. John Duffield

    In real life. There’s smoke rings, the Falaco soliton, vortexes in a Bose-Einstein condensate, optical vortexes. And a vortex associated with gravitomagnetism, and with electromagnetism. Google on “Maxwell vortex”. Also check out electron diffraction and the wave nature of matter, and see atomic orbitals on wiki where you can read that electrons exist as standing waves“. And read Dirac’s belt on Mathspages. But think in terms of a very fat torus, like the spindle torus. When you “inflate” a torus it starts looking like a sphere. And note that we’re dealing with waves, they don’t really have a surface just as seismic waves deep in the Earth have no surface.

    • axil

      Speaking of optical vortexes, Nanoplasmonics can produce of soliton with an energy content of 100 terrawatts/cm2 and beyond by using an optimized nanoparticle/antenna network.

      These vortexes produce huge anapole magnetic fields that are strong enough to effect nuclear structure, yes element transmutation and accelerated radioactive decay. Why is there no interest in the theory behind this real world experimental evidence?

      These physicists would rather spend billions on huge lasers and colliders.

      If strong magnetic fields can reduce or eliminate the charge of electrons in the Fractionalized Hall Effect, why can’t a strong magnetic field reduce or eliminate the charge of quarks?

  26. Greg Robert

    This is largely over my head but consider this: roughly every 100 years we get an uber-capable mind.
    Galieo died the year Newton was born. Maxwell born about 100 years later and then Einstein and Bohr — a two-fer. (I’m using earthquake prediction ‘roughly’ here.) We’re due again. We are also talking about TOEs. Does anyone really think that science will end at that point? Somebody has to really turn things upside down. Someone had to break a long assumed ‘truth’ and replace it with an innocently liitle theory that will entertain physicists for another hundred years when science once again claims it is complete wnd finished.

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  29. Recaro-Milano Kindersitz

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on physics.


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