Quantum gravity physics based on facts, giving checkable predictions

Monday, November 28, 2005

Comments on Tony Smith's Physics Site

Tony Smith has an extensive and fascinating collection of mathematical physics insights at http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith. He is a mathematician, lawyer, and veteran of the Vietnam War. He is also a string theorist, but has made testable predictions such as in his paper http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0207095. The reason for the cowboy hat is a medical condition, reaction to ultraviolet in sunlight. I'm interested in the reason why supersymmetry in string theory postulates that every fundamental particle is paired to an (unobserved) superpartner with a different spin. This is the 1-1 boson-fermion supersymmetry in string theory. Smith has a paper which uses E6 Lie algebra to avoid the need for this supersymmetry, but to still describe gravity and the standard model in 26 dimensions: http://cdsweb.cern.ch/search.py?recid=730325&ln=en. It was suppressed by arXiv.org, although arXiv.org does host Tony Smith's physical interpretation of string theory (illustration above): http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0102/0102042.pdf

[If you first want a background to symmetry problems in physics, here is a summary:

There are many symmetry theories in modern physics, but the two vital to force mechanisms are the weak force symmetry (which exists for energies above 250 GeV but breaks spontaneously at 250 GeV, because of the Higgs mechanism which mires low energy particles but yields to higher energies, as a ball thrown hard enough will penetrate a glass window), and supersymmetry.

Electroweak theory was developed by Sheldon Glashow, Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam. They showed that early in the big bang, there were three weak gauge bosons and a neutral boson, and that the photon which now exists is a combination of two of the original gauge bosons purely because this avoids being stopped by the weak charge of the vacuum; other combinations are stopped so the photon exists uniquely by the filtering out of other weak gauge bosons. Because the photon does not interact with the weak charge of the vacuum, it only interacts with electric charges. The vacuum is composed of weak charge, but not electric charge, so the photon can penetrate any distance of vacuum without attenuation. This is why electric forces are only subject to geometrical dispersion (inverse-square law).

These developments in the 1960s led to the Standard Model of fundamental particles. In this model, the strong nuclear, weak nuclear and electromagnetic forces all become similar at around 10^14 GeV, but beyond that they differ again, with electromagnetic force becoming stronger than the strong and weak forces. In 1974, Howard Georgi and Sheldon Glashow suggested a way to unify all three forces into a single superforce at an energy at 10^16 GeV. This ‘grand unified theory’ of all forces apart from gravity has the three forces unified above 10^16 GeV but separated into three separate forces at lower energies. The way they did this was by ‘supersymmetry’, doubling the particles of the Standard Model, so that each fundamental particle has a supersymmetric partner. The energy of 10^16 GeV is beyond testing on this planet and in this galaxy, so the only useful prediction they could make was that the proton should decay with a half-life somewhat smaller than has already been ruled out by experiment.

Edward Witten developed the current mainstream superstring model, which has 10/11 dimensions. The history of string theory begins in the 1920s with the Kaluza-Klein theory. Kaluza showed that adding a fifth dimension to general relativity units gravity and electromagnetism tensors, while Klein showed that the fifth dimension could remain invisible to us as a rolled up string. In the late 1960s, it was shown that the strings could vibrate and represent fundamental particle energies. In 1985, Philip Candelas, Gary Horowitz, Andy Strominger and Edward Witten suggested that 10-D string theory with the 6 extra dimensions curled up into a Calabi-Yau manifold would model the standard model, preserving supersymmetry and yet giving rise to an observable 4-D spacetime in which there is the right amount of difference between left and right handed interactions to account for the parity-violating weak force. This ‘breakthrough’ speculative invention was called ‘superstrings’ and led to the enormous increase in research in string theory.

Finally, in March 1995, Edward Witten proved that 10-D strongly coupled superstring theory is equivalent to 11-D weakly coupled supergravity. Apparently because it was presented in March, Witten named this new 10/11-D mathematics ‘M-theory’.

Witten then made the misleading claim that ‘string theory predicts gravity’:

‘String theory has the remarkable property of predicting gravity’: false claim by Edward Witten in the April 1996 issue of Physics Today, repudiated by Roger Penrose on page 896 of his book Road to Reality, 2004: ‘in addition to the dimensionality issue, the string theory approach is (so far, in almost all respects) restricted to being merely a perturbation theory’. String theory does not predict for the strength constant of gravity, G!

So it is very interesting that Tony Smith's approach gets rid of the need for supersymmetry. My view is that string theory is acceptable if it is made scientific, which means getting the simplest theory which meets the experimental facts and can be induced to make some predictions. His prediction of quark masses, http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/d4d5e6hist.html, is of interest. Those parts of the model I can understand, which are largely at the connections to experimental facts, remind me of Feynman's approach to the unification of physics by guessing. Because the mechanism is not being investigated, but connections are being guessed, there is a tendency to jump hurdles to make connections between the model and the experimental facts. The hurdle jumping in some cases may be a correct leap, but in others it may well be wrong.

UPDATE: see http://www.math.columbia.edu/~woit/wordpress/?p=318#comment-7025

Since I want to know the mechanism, the whole basis of the approach - the mathematical speculations at a high level in unfamiliar territory - are a difficulty. The discussion on http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/StringMFbranegrav.html is fascinating. A clear discussion is also at http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/VodouPhysics.html.

He offers a $100,000 prize at http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/VoDouPhysicsPrize5.html for further work.

At http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/cnfGrHg.html, Smith quotes Feynman:

Richard Feynman's book Lectures on Gravitation (1962-63 lectures at Caltech), Addison-Wesley 1995, contains a section on Quantum Gravity by Brian Hatfield, who says: "... Feynman ... felt ... that ... the fact that a massless spin-2 field can be interpreted as a metric was simply a "coincidence" ... In order to produce a static force and not just scattering, the emission or absorption of a single graviton by either particle [of a pair of particles] must leave both particles in the same internal state ... Therefore the graviton must have integer spin. ... when the exchange particle carries odd integer spin, like charges repel and opposite charges attract ... when the exchanged particle carries even integer spin, the potential is universally attractive ... If we assume that the exchanged particle is spin 0, then we lose the coupling of gravity to the spin-1 photon ... the graviton is massless because gravity is a long ranged force and it is spin 2 in order to be able to couple the energy content of matter with universal attraction ...".

The whole basis of this is spin 2 graviton approach for quantum gravity wrong, because it is mechanism-less. It is possible to produce a physical mechanism which works and makes predictions, http://feynman137.tripod.com/, although it is very unorthodox or 'crackpot'. To me, the more 'crackpot' the facts seem, the better. This mechanism shows that gravity is a background effect of the Feynman electromagnetic mechanism, whereby charges are continually exchanging gauge boson radiation which produces the electromagnetic force. Experimentally, I'm building on Heaviside/Catt work, although both Heaviside and Catt had crackpotism in interpreting their work. Dr Arnold Lynch, instructed by J.J. Thomson in the 30s, and who worked on the computer used to break German codes inWWII, wrote me a few years before he died that Heaviside made a mess of the 'Heaviside slab of energy current' theory in one important respect: waveguides. Although Heaviside had developed the Poynting vector independently of Poynting to describe light speed electric morse code signals in the undersea cable between Newcastle and Denmark in 1875, he fell down when he visualised a waveguide (a rectangular metal box used to feed radio signals at UHF or microwave to an antenna without radiation escaping while in transit) as a short-circuited transmission line (two parallel plates connected together by two more plates to form a box). This, Heaviside pointed out, could never carry radio waves. However, it works, so Heaviside's belief that a radio waveguide would function as a transmission line was false. Catt does not appear to know or care about the mechanisms going in electromagnetism, despite his political type 'concerns'. He certainly refuses to do science when I try to discuss with him. So Catt is really crackpot!

Heaviside neglected the fact that his mechanism for electricity is not merely 'guided' by the surfaces of the conductors, but actually TIED to them, whereas radiowaves between metal plates just bounce around. The TEM wave of electricity is totally different to the radiowave, the radiowave starts at one conductor, travels through the vacuum at c, then arrives (after the delay t = d/c) at the receiver conductor. This is radio. It is Maxwell's 'DISPLACEMENT CURRENT' energy, not his 'light wave' model. The Heaviside/TEM wave of electricity goes in a direction 90 degrees different to the DISPLACEMENT CURRENT that is called radio waves. I've explained this to Catt, but he prefers rearranging the deck chairs aboard the Titanic as it sinks. He won't take notice of me, despite mechanism, proof and experimental fact.

Tony Smith on the other hand, is way into the mathematical side of physics, and is open minded to string theories, extra dimensions, dark energy and dark matter epicycles in cosmology, and multiverse (multiple 'universes' interpretation of quantum mechanics). This tends to send my blood pressure up a great deal, since these speculations are pushing to the religion side of science. However, it isn't as bad as Michio Kaku’s UFO's and Parallel Worlds.

Tony Smith's page http://www.valdostamuseum.org/hamsmith/CornellBan.html is my favourite page on the internet. I just love it the page , the heresy and suppression by arXiv.org: 'Sufi Islam, IFA, the Rig Veda, and Physics and the multicultural backgrounds of Jesus and Mary Magdalene was banned by Cornell...'. I've downloaded the 4 MB book which arXiv.org. I just love the fact that it was suppressed by arXiv.org. It is full of mathematics, advanced geometries with fascinating asides into religion. It really is good, the kind of book to have in your laptop as an escape. I like Tony Smith's recent poem:


'It seems to me that this modification of part of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” gives an optimistic (from my point of view) vision of the future of SuperString Theory:

'As I pass through my incarnations
in every age and race,
I make my proper protestations
to the Gods of the String Theory Place.
Peering at reverent Stringers
I watch them flourish and fall.

'And the Gods of Experiment Results,
I notice, outlast them all.
We were living in trees when they met us.
They showed us each in turn.
That water would certainly wet us,
as Fire would certainly burn:
They denied that Wishes were Horses;
they denied that a Pig had Wings.

'So we worshiped the Gods of String Theory
Who promised these beautiful things.
But, though we had plenty of Strings,
there was nothing our Strings could predict,
And the Gods of Experment said:
‘That means that String Theory is sick.’

'Then the Gods of String Theory tumbled,
and their smooth-tounged wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled
and began to belive it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters,
and Two and Two make Four—
And the Gods of Experiment Results
limped up to explain it once more:
As surely as Water will wet us,
as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of Experiment Results
with inevitable truth will return!

'Tony Smith


At 1:56 AM, Blogger nige said...

Copy of post to Lubos Motl's blog:


Nigel said...
Dear Quantoken,

You know in Maxwell's theory as written by self-taught Heaviside as four vector equations, two are divergences describing charges (for electric field E and magnetic B), but two are time-varying, namely Faraday's curl.E = -dB/dt and Ampere's curl.B = ui, to which Maxwell adds a 'displacement current' term to allow current to continue flowing while there is a capacitor with a vacuum gap in the curcuit, curl.B = ue.dE/dt. This Maxwell's full curl.E equation is:

curl.B = u(i + e.dE/dt)

where u is magnetic permeability, e is electric permeability, and i is electric current in the wires.

This means that the 'displacement current' flowing in the vacuum between the two capacitor plates has an equivalence to i of:

i = e.dE/dt,

again remembering e is permittivity not charge.

Catt shows that Maxwell got his interpretation of this "displacement current" wrong, by ignoring the time it takes light speed electricity to flow along the capacitor plates. His co-authors Drs. Walton and Davidson mathematically worked out how the transmission line theory of Heaviside can be applied to explain the charging curve of a capacitor, which is compared to reality and is a correct prediction. Catt's error follows from Heaviside's false idea that the light speed electricity Poynting-Heaviside vector is the same as light, with the two conductors guiding the light which travels in the insulator between them. This is false, as we know electricity originates as electrons in conductors and such like, although it is true that the measured speed is that in the insulator not the wires. What is going on is plain from quantum electrodynamics, gauge photons are being exchanged via the insulator between the two conductors.

This is why parallel wires carrying currents attract/repel.

In addition, the radio transmitter and receiver aerial form a capacitor with air as the dielectric. The radio waves are displacement current energy, detectable just when the varying current varies the electric field across the transmitter aerial. In the same way, the displacement current flows in the capacitor only while the field in the capacitor plate is varying, due to its charging up or discharging.

Maxwell's error was fiddling a theory to fit Weber's 1856 observation that 1/(root of product of permittivity and permeability) = c.

This fiddle is like the application by Rayleigh of a wave equation to sound without understanding the pressure and force mechanisms involved in particulate (molecular) sound waves

Planck showed the resolution to the problem with the wave model of light by the quantum theory, while Bohr had shown that Maxwell's light theory was incompatible with the atom. Nobody corrected Maxwell's false theory, however.

In reality, "displacement current" is the gauge boson, causing electromagnetic and gravitational forces, and all radio and light waves. Emitted by spinning charges with no oscillation, it is undetectable radiation.

Best wishes,

At 7:14 PM, Blogger Kevin Brunt said...


If your "Maxwell is wrong" assertion is based on the Dec 78 Catt et al article, it is you who is wrong (as indeed are Catt, if not also Walton and Davidson.)

It ought to be perfectly obvious that the voltage on any finite length of the line is determined by the amount of charge contained in that length and its capacitance. The progress of the voltage front along the line indicates the flow of "conventional charge" along the line. (This is distinct from the motions of the electrons which manifest as that charge.)

Clearly, before the edge passes the electric field at anywhere on the line is constant, as it is after the edge has passed. This because the amount of charge remains constant.

However, because the edge marks a change in the amount of charge, it also marks a change in the field. The travelling edge is where the capacitance of the line is charging up, and it is where the displacement current is "happening".

Catt has claimed that the voltage edge has to travel to the far end of the capacitor before the gap between the plates. He simply does not understand that the "end" of the capacitor is how far the voltage edge has reached.

I see that you're on about the speed of the electric current in the insulator again. You simply don't get it!

It's all part of Catt's Westerly/Southerly muddle. The answer to his question is, of course, is not either/or, but both.

The charge moves along the conductor. The charge moves "sideways" at a voltage step at a rate proportional to the voltage difference. The section of line ahead of the step charges up at a rate dependent on the unit capacitance. Thus increasing the unit capacitance means that it takes longer to charge each section (actually the "section" is the infinitesimal as the length tends to 0) and so the speed of propagation is reduced.

Tne increased capacitance is a result of an increased displacement of the charge towards (or away from) the other conductor - this increasing the field between the plate (and of course increasing the displacement current as the capacitance is charged.)

There may well be gauge photons being exchanged, but you don't need to invoke quantum mechanics to understand transmission lines, any more than you need to be able to program in Intel '86 architecture assembly language to use Internet Explorer.

At 4:02 AM, Blogger nige said...


no I'm not basing any "assertion" on just the Dec 78 Catt/Davidson/Walton article, but on quantum field theory and the error in Maxwell equations, see here.


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