Nothingburgers

General relativity (GR) denies quantum mechanics (QM) that is real world perfectly predictive, as is GR. 60 years of theoretical physics cannot find gravitation within QM.  Can GR and/or QM be observed to fail within its own rules?  To criticize is to volunteer.

Place identical left shoes inside Shrödinger’s box. Discrete reality becomes a QM wavefunction, sums of all solutions.  Open the box and look. The indeterminate wavefunction collapses into discrete reality, pairs of left and right shoes.... [Read More]

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Saturday Night Science: From Eternity to Here

“From Eternity to Here” by Sean CarrollThe nature of time has perplexed philosophers and scientists from the ancient Greeks (and probably before) to the present day. Despite two and half millennia of reflexion upon the problem and spectacular success in understanding many other aspects of the universe we inhabit, not only has little progress been made on the question of time, but to a large extent we are still puzzling over the same problems which vexed thinkers in the time of Socrates: Why does there seem to be an inexorable arrow of time which can be perceived in physical processes (you can scramble an egg, but just try to unscramble one)? Why do we remember the past, but not the future? Does time flow by us, living in an eternal present, or do we move through time? Do we have free will, or is that an illusion and is the future actually predestined? Can we travel to the past or to the future? If we are typical observers in an eternal or very long-persisting universe, why do we find ourselves so near its beginning (the big bang)?

Indeed, what we have learnt about time makes these puzzles even more enigmatic. For it appears, based both on theory and all experimental evidence to date, that the microscopic laws of physics are completely reversible in time: any physical process can (and does) go in both the forward and reverse time directions equally well. (Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that: just reversing the direction of time does not yield identical results, but simultaneously reversing the direction of time [T], interchanging left and right [parity: P], and swapping particles for antiparticles [charge: C] yields identical results under the so-called “CPT symmetry” which, as far is known, is absolute. The tiny violation of time reversal symmetry by itself in weak interactions seems, to most physicists, inadequate to explain the perceived unidirectional arrow of time, although some disagree.)... [Read More]

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This Week’s Book Review – How to Find a Higgs Boson

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.... [Read More]

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Freeman Dyson, R.I.P.

Freeman DysonFreeman Dyson (1923–2020), who died on February 28th, 2020 at the age of 96, was one of the preeminent mathematical physicists of our age.  His interests ranged far and wide, and during his long career he did pioneering work on, inter alia, quantum electrodynamics; number theory and combinatorics; design of small, inherently safe nuclear reactors; spaceships powered by nuclear explosions; megastructures that might be constructed by advanced civilisations (Dyson spheres); genetically engineered organisms that can survive in space (Dyson trees and astrochicken); the origin of life from non-living matter; eternal survival of intelligence in an expanding universe; military strategy and nuclear arms control; scepticism over computer models of climate; and the relation of science and religion.  It is widely believed that his work on unifying quantum electrodynamics and the interpretation of Feynman diagrams would have won him a share of the 1965 Nobel prize in physics, had the prize not been restricted to at most three recipients.

Mr Dyson (he never finished a Ph.D. and later called the system “an abomination”)  was briefly a professor of physics at Cornell University and in 1952 joined the staff of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he remained until his death.  He was a long-term member of JASON, the independent group of scientists who advise the U.S. government.... [Read More]

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This Week’s Book Review – Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics

I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.

Book Review

How falling cats, physics, science relate to one another

By MARK LARDAS... [Read More]

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Saturday Night Science: Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution

“Einstein's Unfinished Revolution” by Lee SmolinIn the closing years of the nineteenth century, one of those nagging little discrepancies vexing physicists was the behaviour of the photoelectric effect. Originally discovered in 1887, the phenomenon causes certain metals, when illuminated by light, to absorb the light and emit electrons. The perplexing point was that there was a minimum wavelength (colour of light) necessary for electron emission, and for longer wavelengths, no electrons would be emitted at all, regardless of the intensity of the beam of light. For example, a certain metal might emit electrons when illuminated by green, blue, violet, and ultraviolet light, with the intensity of electron emission proportional to the light intensity, but red or yellow light, regardless of how intense, would not result in a single electron being emitted.

This didn’t make any sense. According to Maxwell’s wave theory of light, which was almost universally accepted and had passed stringent experimental tests, the energy of light depended upon the amplitude of the wave (its intensity), not the wavelength (or, reciprocally, its frequency). And yet the photoelectric effect didn’t behave that way—it appeared that whatever was causing the electrons to be emitted depended on the wavelength of the light, and what’s more, there was a sharp cut-off below which no electrons would be emitted at all.... [Read More]

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Gender-Queer Drag Queen Says Quantum Mechanics Explains Unlimited Genders

Reporter Megan Fox found an interesting hook for discussing my recent physics publication.

“Atomic physics kind of backed off from the Newtonian assumption of an objective reality to describe how atomic physics works,” said Schantz. “Physicists were operating under the assumption that there was no such thing as cause and effect. There is a strong desire in philosophy to undercut reality. Much like Plato’s allegory of the cave, they want to say all we have is a distorted version of reality and we cannot know what is real. You can see it in physics, that it has fallen out of favor to question how we know what we know. Instead we get propagandizing.”... [Read More]

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Saturday Night Science: The Forgotten Genius of Oliver Heaviside

“The Forgotten Genius of Oliver Heaviside” by Basil MahonAt age eleven, in 1861, young Oliver Heaviside’s family, supported by his father’s irregular income as an engraver of woodblock illustrations for publications (an art beginning to be threatened by the advent of photography) and a day school for girls operated by his mother in the family’s house, received a small legacy which allowed them to move to a better part of London and enroll Oliver in the prestigious Camden House School, where he ranked among the top of his class, taking thirteen subjects including Latin, English, mathematics, French, physics, and chemistry. His independent nature and iconoclastic views had already begun to manifest themselves: despite being an excellent student he dismissed the teaching of Euclid’s geometry in mathematics and English rules of grammar as worthless. He believed that both mathematics and language were best learned, as he wrote decades later, “observationally, descriptively, and experimentally.” These principles would guide his career throughout his life.

At age fifteen he took the College of Perceptors examination, the equivalent of today’s A Levels. He was the youngest of the 538 candidates to take the examination and scored fifth overall and first in the natural sciences. This would easily have qualified him for admission to university, but family finances ruled that out. He decided to study on his own at home for two years and then seek a job, perhaps in the burgeoning telegraph industry. He would receive no further formal education after the age of fifteen.... [Read More]

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Electromagnetic Discovery May Demystify Quantum Mechanics

Here’s a press release from Q-Track on my discovery and publication… Hans

Physicists have long been troubled by the paradoxes and contradictions of quantum mechanics. Yesterday, a possible step forward appeared in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. In a paper, “Energy velocity and reactive fields” [pay wall, free preprint], physicist Hans G. Schantz, presents a novel way of looking at electromagnetics that shows the deep tie between electromagnetics and the pilot wave interpretation of quantum mechanics.... [Read More]

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Saturday Night Science: Orbits in Strongly Curved Spacetime

!RAWBLOCK0!     Click the title of this post to see the interactive simulation.

Introduction

The display above shows, from three different physical perspectives, the orbit of a low-mass test particle, the small red circle, around a non-rotating black hole (represented by a grey circle in the panel at the right), where the radius of the circle is the black hole’s gravitational radius, or event horizon. Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, grounded in Newton’s theory of gravity, state that the orbit of a test particle around a massive object is an ellipse with one focus at the centre of the massive object. But when gravitational fields are strong, as is the case for collapsed objects like neutron stars and black holes, Newton’s theory is inaccurate; calculations must be done using Einstein’s theory of General Relativity.... [Read More]

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