Quantum gravity physics based on facts, giving checkable predictions

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dr Peter Woit interview in Discover journal

I'm pleased about this, unlike Dr Motl and other string 'theorists'. I think Woit's own research on generating the families of Standard Model particles is very inspiring, but the personal attacks he receives for pointing out that string 'theory' has no scientific content, is astounding. Like astrology, although string 'theory' is mathematically based (astrology is supposed to be calculating the positions of stars to see when they enter sectors of sky), it nevertheless makes vague untestable predictions, and is defended viciously by those people who make money out of it by deceiving others. String 'theory' postulates extra dimensions to 'predict' unobservable gravitons vaguely (no testable or checkable predictions there), and postulates a 1:1 boson to fermion superpartner super-symmetry (SUSY) to 'explain' unobservable electroweak and strong nuclear force unification at an energy far beyond anything that could possibly be checked experimentally.

Yet it is sold as the greatest enterprise in the history of science. It cannot unify forces quantitatively in a scientific (testable) way, it cannot predict any of the many Standard Model quantum field theory numbers (particle masses, couplings, etc.). Its advocates are so paranoid that they suppressed and rejected Woit's book originally, as well as papers on 'alternatives' by many lesser people (including yours truly). String 'theory' is as totally devoid of scientific basis as Kepler's astrology calculations were. Kepler had an excuse: his real physics was suppressed as heretical nonsense. He had to live, and when his assistance to Tycho Brahe finished and teaching came to an end, he had to work as astrologer.

String 'theorists' are welcome to waste their own time, but not to brainwash the world with empty predictions, promises, 'theory'. They have no excuse to draw on the tax-payer. They have no noble cause. He has not expressed much interest in causal general relativity (virtual particle perfect fluid spacetime fabric) to unify quantum field theory and gravity, but I'd claim to be a a fan of his weblog. In fact, I just found he has retained my comment linking the Standard Model inertial mass mechanism (Higgs field) to the spacetime fabric of general relativity for gravity. People like Drs Christine Dantas, D. R. Lunsford, Tony Smith, Garrett Lisi, Chris Oakley, Torbjorn Larsson, Alejandro Rivero, Juan R., and several others are ahead in the Woit fan club. Many string theorists are included who don't believe in bigotry towards 'alternatives' and believe in healthy scepticism and debate over details, instead of the religious attitude of 'sacred science'. Woit now reports that his book is out on 1 June 2006. When he first announced it, it was due out March 06, then it was April. Hope there are no more delays!

Feynman’s statements in Davies & Brown, ‘Superstrings’ 1988, at pages 194-195:

‘… I do feel strongly that this is nonsense! … I think all this superstring stuff is crazy and is in the wrong direction. … I don’t like it that they’re not calculating anything. … why are the masses of the various particles such as quarks what they are? All these numbers … have no explanations in these string theories - absolutely none! …’ (From Tony Smith.)

Larsson lists the following more recent experts:

Sheldon “string theory has failed in its primary goal” Glashow
Martinus “string theory is a figment of the theoretical mind” Veltman
Phil “string theory a futile exercise as physics”Anderson
Bob “string theory a 50-year-old woman wearing way too much lipstick” Laughlin
Dan “string theory is a complete scientific failure” Friedan

Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.’- G. Orwell, 1984, Chancellor Press, London, 1984, p225.

(Ivor Catt has borrowed this quotation from a letter I sent him in 1997, and used it on his internet site. What a pity he misuses all discussion of censorship in a paranoid way which seems to amount to the message: 'Ivor Catt is the only person with good evidence of mindless or corruption based censorship', particularly when he gets the details wrong. However, he is now a politician, and is not interested in physics; at least he talks politics if you point out his errors, instead of correcting them!)

Lee Smolin's recent Perimeter lectures on LQG. He shows the connection between path integrals of quantum field theory and the field equation of general relativity using Penrose's spin networks. If the basics of QFT and the basics of GR are tested and accepted, the LQG approach is at least trying to build a basis for quantum gravity on more solid foundations than speculative string theory/landscape.

It's come up before, but there is a clear connection between the Higgs field and gravity, if the Higgs field is responsible for mass, if the equivalence principle holds. The core particle field is 'shielded' by the polarised vacuum directly around it. Koltick in 97 showed that at I think 100 GeV the coupling factor of 1/137 changed to 1/128, because of partial penetration of the vacuum. For unification at extremely high energy, the coupling would be 1/1.

If the Higgs field particles causing mass are inside the polarised vacuum veil, the coupling and hence mass is 137 times bigger than if the Higgs field particles causing mass are outside the veil. When you compare data on actual masses of leptons and hadrons to the electron mass, you find the 137 factor! See: http://www.wbabin.net/physics/cook4.htm


At 4:09 AM, Blogger nige said...

Added the following paragraph to the Wikipedia article


In 1993 the physicist G. 't Hooft put forward the holographic principle, which explains that the information about an extra dimension is visible as a curvature in a spacetime with one fewer dimensions. For example, holograms are three dimensional pictures placed on a two dimensional surface, which gives the image a curvature when the observer moves. Similarly, in general relativity, the fourth dimension is manifested in observable three dimensions as the curvature of path of a moving infidesimal (test) particle. 't Hooft has speculated that the fifth dimension is really the spacetime fabric.

At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comment on Lubos Motl's blog:

Quantoken, thanks for that link!

"In a shocking development, the Treasury Department website is openly stating that as of January 24, 2006 our national debt stood at $8,185.3 billion and on January 26th at $8,190.5 billion.


"Yet the US national debt ‘ceiling’, the maximum amount of debt the US government may hold at any one time, stands at $8,184 billion – a full $5.5 billion less. Although called upon by John Snow, Congress has not yet passed an expansion of the debt ceiling and so the US government is now operating in technical default."

Compare this money chaos to Harvard university:


Kirby Resigns as Dean of the Faculty

Dean was fired by Summers, sources close to the Corporation say

Published On Friday, January 27, 2006 10:11 PM


Crimson Staff Writer

Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby said tonight that he would step down from his administrative post on June 30. The dean was fired by University President Lawrence H. Summers, according to two individuals who have discussed Kirby’s status with a member of the Harvard Corporation. ...

Kirby’s resignation, while expected among some professors, leaves the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in limbo as the school contends with a growing budget deficit and a curricular review beset by criticism and delays. ...

Another major focus of Kirby’s tenure has been the Faculty budget, which dipped into the red this fiscal year and is projected to post an annual deficit above $100 million by 2010. The Faculty is instituting a multi-faceted plan that includes decapitalizing the school's endowment in order to pay for the deficit. ...

Harvard and Bush have much in common!

8:09 AM

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow: Woit is really taking on string theorist Motl in a big way!


Luboš Motl Says:

January 30th, 2006 at 8:46 am
Dear Peter,

your comments about the “landscape problem” have really no relevance for the calculation of the Yukawa couplings in the heterotic model of Ovrut et al.

The topic of your blog is to transform everything to the “landscape problem” - much like a student who has learned the birth of date of William Shakespeare and wants to transform every exam question about history and literature to the number 1564.

But one can’t discuss any concrete physics questions in this way. Sorry.


woit Says:

January 30th, 2006 at 9:23 am
This is off-topic for the posting about a parody blog, but then again, maybe not, because Lubos and his blog increasingly seem to be a parody.

The scientific point at issue is about a very recent paper claiming to calculate Yukawa couplings in a specific heterotic string background. When Lubos wrote a post hyping this result, I wrote in a comment pointing that that the authors were ignoring the main problems with doing this: how do deal with the moduli and supersymmetry breaking. These problems are what lead to the landscape, since the only known way of fixing the moduli leads to exponentially large numbers of possibilities.

There was an exchange of comments, with Lubos displaying the usual string theory partisan mixture of insult, ad hominem attack and straw man argument. Faced with having this pointed out to him, he moved on to the next tactic: censorship. Here’s the comment that he evidently had no answer for, so dealt with by deleting it:


Your tactic is always the same: ignore the point I’m making (one that you know well is quite serious), then make up things I never said in order to use those to criticize me as ignorant. This behavior is stupid, dishonest, and highly scientifically unethical. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Let’s look at how your dishonesty works explicitly:

In this case, you are ignoring the problem posed by the moduli, and you are well aware that it is a deadly one. The paper in question notes
explicitly that fermion masses will depend on the moduli.

You claim to show that I’m wrong and don’t know what I’m talking about by writing:

“Nope. We are not choosing fluxes “in order to stabilize the moduli”.”

I never wrote that “We are choosing fluxes in order to stabilize the moduli”, I just said that the numbers like 10^500 that one hears for the size of the Landscape come from the number of choices of the fluxes, and these correspond to ways to stabilize the moduli. Do you know of a way of stabilizing all the moduli that doesn’t involve this? If so, lets hear it. If not, acknowledge that you were dishonest to bring this up.

As for supersymmetry breaking, your claim that:

“marginal operators can’t be classically affected by supersymmetry breaking”

is irrelevant. We’re not doing classical physics here.

If you have any honest points to make, I’ll respond to them, but I’m not going to waste any more time dealing with your dishonesty, interspersed with stupid, nasty, personal attacks. When you were a young graduate student, this kind of behavior was a bit amusing. At your age and stage of your career, it’s just pathetic.”

At 12:23 AM, Blogger nige said...

http://motls.blogspot.com/2006/02/buy-danish-products.html :

Copy of a "fast comment":

Dear Lubos,

You claim that Dirac's theory unifies SR and QM, when in fact Dirac's equation (which is his theory) is an expansion of the time-dependent Schroedinger equation to include the mass-energy result which comes from electromagnetism (there are dozen's of derivations of E=mcs, not merely SR). The time-dependent Schroedinger equation is similar to Maxwell's "displacement current", which actually doesn't describe real electric current but the energy flow in the vacuum when a capacitor or such like charges by induction.

Maxwell's theory of "displacement current" was a spin foam vacuum:

Maxwell’s 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, Articles 822-3: ‘The ... action of magnetism on polarised light [discovered by Faraday not Maxwell] leads ... to the conclusion that in a medium ... is something belonging to the mathematical class as an angular velocity ... This ... cannot be that of any portion of the medium of sensible dimensions rotating as a whole. We must therefore conceive the rotation to be that of very small portions of the medium, each rotating on its own axis [spin] ... The displacements of the medium, during the propagation of light, will produce a disturbance of the vortices ... We shall therefore assume that the variation of vortices caused by the displacement of the medium is subject to the same conditions which Helmholtz, in his great memoir on Vortex-motion [of 1858; sadly Lord Kelvin in 1867 without a fig leaf of empirical evidence falsely applied this vortex theory to atoms in his paper ‘On Vortex Atoms’, Phil. Mag., v4, creating a mathematical cult of vortex atoms just like the mathematical cult of string theory now; it created a vast amount of prejudice against ‘mere’ experimental evidence of radioactivity and chemistry that Rutherford and Bohr fought], has shewn to regulate the variation of the vortices [spin] of a perfect fluid.’

Lorentz invariance is as the name suggests Lorentz not SR invariance.

Lorentz invariance is aetherial. Even if you grasp this and start calling the contraction a metaphysical effect unrelated to physical dynamics of the quantum vacuum, you don't get anywhere.

Feynman's innovation was introducing spacetime pictures, because you need to see what you are doing clearly when using mathematics. The increase in the magnetic moment of an electron that Feynman, Schwinger and Tito came up with is 1 + 1/(2.Pi.137), where the first term is from Dirac's theory and the second is the increase due to the first Feynman coupling correction to the vacuum.

The 1/(2.Pi.137) is from a renormalised or cut-off QFT integral, but the heuristic meaning is clear. The core of the electron has a charge 137 times the observed charge, and this is shielded by the polarised vacuum as Koltick's 1997 PRL published experiments confirm (the 1/137 factor changes to 1/128.5 as collision energy goes to 100 GeV or so; at unification energy it would be 1/1 corresponding to completely breaking thro
Nigel Cook | Homepage | 02.06.06 - 3:24 am | #


-ough the veil of polarised vacuum).

Renormalisation is limiting the interaction physically to 1 vacuum particle rather than an infinite number, and that particle is outside the veil so the association is 137 times weaker at low energies, and the geometry causes a further reduction by 2Pi (because the exposed length of a spinning loop particle seen as a circle is 2Pi times the side-on or diameter size). So that is physically what is behind adding 1/(2Pi.137) 0r 0.00116 to the core's magnetic moment (which is unshielded by the polarised veil, because that only attenuates electric field).

In addition, the same mechanism explains the differing masses for different fundamental particles. If the Standard Model mass causing particle (Higgs field particle) is inside the polarised veil, it experiences the core strength, 137 times Coulomb, and is strongly associated with the particle core, increasing the mass.

But if the Higgs field particle is outside the polarised veil, it is subject to the shielded strength, 137 times less than the core charge, so the coupling is weaker and the effective miring mass by the Higgs field is 137 times weaker.

This idea predicts that a particle core with n fundamental particles (n=1 for leptons, n = 2 for mesons, and obviously n=3 for baryons) coupling to N virtual vacuum particles (N is an integer) will have an associative inertial mass of Higgs bosons of:

(0.511 Mev).(137/2)n(N + 1) = 35n(N + 1) Mev,

where 0.511 Mev is the electron mass. Thus we get everything from this one mass plus integers 1,2,3 etc, with a mechanism.

Many of these ideas are equally applicable to string theory or LQG, since they're dealing with practical problems.

Tell me if you would have dismissed Feynman's diagrams in 1948 as crackpot, like Oppenheimer did at first.

Best wishes,

Nigel Cook | Homepage | 02.06.06 - 3:25 am | #

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Copy of comment to Motl's blog:


For the universe to be a black hole, R = 2GM/c^2.

M = [density].[4/3 Pi R^3].


R = 2G.[density].[4/3 Pi R^3]/c^2

= (8/3)G.[density].Pi(R^3)/c^2


density = (3/8)(c^2)/(Pi.G.R^2)

If Hubble constant H = c/R,

density = (3/8)(H^2)/(Pi.G)

This is the formula for the "critical density" which is about 10 times or so higher than observed density.

The point I'm getting at, is that existing cosmology which uses the standard solution for general relativity implicitly ASSUMES that there is no mechanism for gravity within the universe (ie, it assumes that the universe is a black hole).

If there is a mechanism for gravity which has any analogy to other forces (vector boson exchange between charges in electroweak theory, for instance), then the universe can't be a black hole because it can be considered a single mass.

If gravity is due to exchange of gauge boson radiation, spin-2 gravitons in string theory, for example, then the black hole in the middle of the Milky Way is there because gravitons are being exchanged between it and the surrounding matter.

This can't happen if the whole universe is the black hole, unless you are going to picture a lot more universes around our own!

Gravitons aren't stopped as light is stopped by a black hole. Gravitons, if there are such things, must be exchanged between all masses, including black holes. Therefore, if you have just a single black hole, it will lose energy by radiating away gravitons without exchange (ie without receiving any gravitons back from other masses).

So all this speculation is ignorant of energy conservation, not to say the basic premises of quantum gravity.
Nigel Cook | Homepage | 02.09.06 - 11:34 am | #


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