Recent email to Dr Chris Oakley, with an update added in red. The string theory approach to QFT (quantum gravity, superforce unification, SUSY) is extremely illucid and disconnected from reality.

I've quoted a section from an old (1961) book on 'Relativistic Electron Theory' at http://electrogravity.blogspot.com/2006/02/standard-model-says-mass-higgs-field.html:

''The solution to the difficulty of negative energy states [in relativistic quantum mechanics] is due to Dirac [P. A. M. Dirac, Proc. Roy. Soc. (London), A126, p360, 1930]. One defines the vacuum to consist of no occupied positive energy states and all negative energy states completely filled. This means that each negative energy state contains two electrons. An electron therefore is a particle in a positive energy state with all negative energy states occupied. No transitions to these states can occur because of the Pauli principle. The interpretation of a single unoccupied negative energy state is then a particle with positive energy ... It will be apparent that a hole in the negative energy states is equivalent to a particle with the same mass as the electron ... The theory therefore predicts the existence of a particle, the positron, with the same mass and opposite charge as compared to an electron. It is well known that this particle was discovered in 1932 by Anderson [C. D. Anderson, Phys. Rev., 43, p491, 1933].

'Although the prediction of the positron is certainly a brilliant success of the Dirac theory, some rather formidable questions still arise. With a completely filled 'negative energy sea' the complete theory (hole theory) can no longer be a single-particle theory.

'The treatment of the problems of electrodynamics is seriously complicated by the requisite elaborate structure of the vacuum. The filled negative energy states need produce no observable electric field. However, if an external field is present the shift in the negative energy states produces a polarisation of the vacuum and, according to the theory, this polarisation is infinite.

'In a similar way, it can be shown that an electron acquires infinite inertia (self-energy) by the coupling with the electromagnetic field which permits emission and absorption of virtual quanta. More recent developments show that these infinities, while undesirable, are removable in the sense that they do not contribute to observed results [J. Schwinger, Phys. Rev., 74, p1439, 1948, and 75, p651, 1949; S. Tomonaga, Prog. Theoret. Phys. (Kyoto), 1, p27, 1949].

'For example, it can be shown that starting with the parameters

*e*and

*m*for a bare Dirac particle, the effect of the 'crowded' vacuum is to change these to new constants

*e'*and

*m',*which must be identified with the observed charge and mass. ... If these contributions were cut off in any reasonable manner,

*m' - m*and

*e' - e*would be of order

*alpha*~ 1/137. No rigorous justification for such a cut-off has yet been proposed.

'All this means that the present theory of electrons and fields is not complete. ... The particles ... are treated as 'bare' particles. For problems involving electromagnetic field coupling this approximation will result in an error of order

*alpha*. As an example ... the Dirac theory predicts a magnetic moment of mu = mu[zero] for the electron, whereas a more complete treatment [including Schwinger's coupling correction, i.e., the first Feynman diagram] of radiative effects gives mu = mu[zero].(1 +

*alpha*/{twice Pi}), which agrees very well with the very accurate measured value of mu/mu[zero] = 1.001...'

This kind of clear-cut physics is more appealing to me than string theory about extra dimensions and such like. There is some evidence that masses for the known particles, can be described by a a two-step mechanism. First, virtual particles in the vacuum (most likely trapped neutral Z particles, 91 GeV mass) interact with one another by radiation by give rise to mass (a kind of Higgs field). Secondly, real charges can associate with a trapped Z particle either inside or outside the polarised veil of virtual charges around the real charge core: http://electrogravity.blogspot.com/2006/02/standard-model-says-mass-higgs-field.html

The polarised charge around either a trapped Z particle (OK it is neutral over all, but so is the photon, and the photon's EM cycle is half positive electric field and half negative, in Maxwell's model of light, so a neutral particle still has electric fields when considering the close-in picture) gives a shielding factor of 137, with an additional factor of twice Pi for some sort of geometric reason, possibly connected to spin/magnetic polarisation. If you spin a loop as seen edge-on, the exposure it receives per unit area falls by a factor of Pi, compared to a non-spinning cylinder, and we are dealing with exchange of gauge bosons like radiation to create forces between spinning particles. The electron loop has spin 1/2, so it rotates 720 degrees to cover a complete revolution like a Mobius strip loop. Thus, it has a reduction factor of twice Pi as seen edge on, and the magnetic alignment which increases the magnetic moment of the electron means that the core electron and the virtual charge in the vacuum are aligned side-on.

Z-boson mass: 91 GeVMuon mass (electron with a Higg's boson/trapped Z-boson inside its veil): 91 / (2.Pi.137) = 105.7 MeV.Electron mass (electron with a Higg's boson/trapped Z-boson outside its veil): 91 / [(1.5).(137).(2.Pi.137)] = 0.51 MeV.

Most hadron masses are describable by (0.511 Mev).(137/2)n(N + 1) = 35n(N + 1) Mev where n and N are integers, with a similar sort of heuristic explanation (as yet incomplete in details): http://feynman137.tripod.com/

Supersymmetry can be completely replaced by physical mechanism and energy conservation of the field bosons:

Supersymmetry is not needed at all because the physical mechanism by which nuclear and electroweak forces unify at high energy automatically leads to perfect unification, due to conservation of energy: as you smash particles together harder, they break through the polarised veil around the cores, exposing a higher core charge so the electromagnetic force increases. My calculation at http://electrogravity.blogspot.com/2006/02/heisenbergs-uncertainty-sayspd-h2.html suggests that the core charge is 137 times the observed (long range) charge of the electron. However, simple conservation of potential energy for the continuously-exchanged field of gauge bosons shows that this increase in electromagnetic field energy must be conpensated for by a reduction in other fields as collision energy increases. This will reduce the core charge (and associated strong nuclear force) from 137 times the low-energy electric charge, compensating for the rising amount of energy carried by the electromagnetic field of the charge at long distances.

Hence, in sufficiently high energy collisions, the unified force will be some way intermediate in strength between the low-energy electromagnetic force and the low-energy strong nuclear force. The unified force will be attained where the energy is sufficient to completely break through the polarised shield around the charge cores, possibly at around 10^16 GeV as commonly suggested. A proper model of the physical mechanism would get rid of the Standard Model problems of unification (due to incomplete approximations used to extrapolate to extremely high energy): http://electrogravity.blogspot.com/2006/02/heuristic-explanation-of-short-ranged_27.html

So I don't think there is any scientific problem with sorting out force unification without SUSY in the Standard Model, or of including gravity (http://feynman137.tripod.com/). The problem lies entirely with the mainstream preoccupation with string theory. Once the mainstream realises it was wrong, instead of admitting it was wrong, it will just use its preoccupation with string theory as the excuse for having censored alternative ideas.

The problem is whether Dr Peter Woit can define crackpottery to both include the mainstream string theory, and exclude some alternatives which look far-fetched or crazy but have a more realistic change of being tied to facts, and making predictions which can be tested. With string theory, Dr Woit finds scientific problems. I think the same should be true of alternatives, which should be judged on scientific criteria. The problem is that the mainstream stringers don't use scientific grounds to judge either their own work or alternatives. They say they are right because they are a majority, and alternatives are wrong because they are in a minority.

## 2 Comments:

I think the dynamics of the Higgs field will sink Lorentz invariance. If the Higgs field is the generator of mass, then the physics of E=mc2 changes, because energy and mass cease to be equivalent as such if the Higgs field is the origin of mass. Instead, mass has a physical mechanism and becomes associated with the energy of charges.

It is of course obvious even without the Standard Model details that you have a problem here: the Lorentz transformation (and plenty of experimental data) show that mass rises with velocity while charge remains approximately constant.

In the Standard Model, electromagnetic charge rises slightly with higher speeds (at least, for higher energy impacts, eg a 7% increase in observed electric charge at 80 GeV), but there is a mechanism for that (breaking through the polarised vacuum around the charge core), and it is not proportional to the Lorentzian mass increase.

The Lorentzian mass increase with velocity means that the Lorentzian transformation has a physical mechanism; either you accept mass has a physical mechanism (Higgs field), or you don't. Once you do accept a mechanism for mass, then the Higg's field can't flow out of the way of a fundamental particle instantly, so when it gets near to speed c, its mass increases to infinity, a simple snowplow effect.

"Lorentz invariance" was surely first predicted (falsely) by James Clerk Maxwell, I believe in his article on "the aether" in Encyclopedia Britannica, where he suggested that light be sent in two orthagonal directions to see if there is any absolute motion.

Maxwell was an aether theorist, and so were Michelson and Morley, who did the experiment.

Of course Maxwell's history was rewritten first by Maxwell, and then by others, intent on showing that Maxwell was in favour of Lorentz invariance, which was untrue.

Faraday noticed that you have to have relative motion of a charge with respect to the observer, in order that the observer detects a magnetic field. This is the basic "Maxwell equation" invariance suggestive of SR. However, it breaks down if you have centripetal acceleration (if the charge orbits your position).

Professor George FitzGerald first worked out that the failure of the Michelson-Morley experiment to detect absolute motion "must" be due to a physical contraction of the instrument in the direction of motion by the factor (1 - v2/c2)1/2 ~ 1 - (1/2)v2/c^2.

FitzGerald published this in U.S. journal Science, in 1889, suggesting that atoms are bound by the same electromagnetic force, so all shrink by the same factor in the direction of motion, due to the pressure of aether (like a ship being contracted in the direction of motion by the water pressure at the bow). Lorentz' work stems from 1893, and of course is the full transformation, including time dilation and mass increase with velocity.

I'm tempted to quote a little from Maxwell's "Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism". Maxwell was approaching sensible physical views on the spacetime fabric by the time he died, with a magnetism described by small spinning elements of the vacuum:

‘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, has shewn to regulate the variation of the vortices [spin] of a perfect fluid.’ - Maxwell’s 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, Articles 822-3.

http://cosmicvariance.com/2006/03/03/crackpots-contrarians-and-the-free-market-of-ideas/

Science on Mar 4th, 2006 at 2:05 pm

Sean, thanks for that link to Ned Wright’s excellent page. I especially like the page http://www.astro.ucla.edu/~wright/tiredlit.htm since it exposes the fraudulent science which falsely claims that redshift has other scientific explanations than expansion.

Peter Woit’s does have ideas of his own in how to approach quantum field theory. His respectable approach in http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0206135 is to put forward a conjecture:

“The quantum field theory of the standard model may be understood purely in terms of the representation theory of the automorphism group of some geometric structure.”

Using Lie spinors and Clifford algebras he comes up with an illustrative model on page 51, which looks as if it will do the job, but then adds the guarded comment:

“The above comments are exceedingly speculative and very far from what one needs to construct a consistent theory. They are just meant to indicate how the most basic geometry of spinors and Clifford algebras in low dimensions is rich enough to encompass the standard model and seems to be naturally reflected in the electro-weak symmetry properties of Standard Model particles.”

This guarded approach needs to be contrasted to the hype surrounding string theory.

On the wider problem of crackpotism increasing the backgrund noise: Nature is the actually final judge of all theories, and historically favors crazy ideas. But that isn’t enough to convince me that string theory is right.

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