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Tags null physics , nullphysics , terence witt

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Old 1st October 2007, 11:41 AM   #1
Stir
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Question Null Physics anyone?

October 2007 Smithsonian has a full page ad for "Our Undiscovered Universe" by Terence Witt (the advertised web site reveals no particular qualifications for him to write about astrophysics) ... has anyone looked at the book? I'm guessing he's a total nut-case.
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Old 1st October 2007, 12:48 PM   #2
ben m
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Just looked at the web page at nullphysics.com. Crackpot crackpot crackpot.
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Old 3rd October 2007, 01:00 PM   #3
ben m
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I went through the few book excerpts, in as much detail as possible, on the web page. More detail on the crackpottery of this book:
  • It makes the Remedial Crackpottery 101 "discovery" that the neutron is just a proton and an electron stuck together. This is vaguely plausible if the only thing you know about neutrons is that they are neutral, and weigh a bit more than a proton. It's totally implausible if you know how neutrons decay, what electron-proton scattering looks like, or anything else.
  • It proposes that photons lose energy over time, and that's why the night sky isn't uniformly bright. If this occurred, it would do very odd things to the spectra of distant objects; no such effect is seen. This speculation has hung around for decades, Witt seems totally unaware of it. Google for "Tired Light"; the wikipedia article is good.
  • He makes the confident "prediction" that "future experiments" will show the 3He nucleon separation to be 1.639 fm. Didn't he Google for "3He nuclear charge radius"? It has been the subject of hundreds of experiments. The radius is more than 1.9 fm; there's no way to get that from 1.64 fm nucleon spacing.
  • He predicts that stars in the Milky Way have an average drift of 1.5 km/s towards the Galactic Center. Didn't he Google for "radial velocity survey"? The data is already there. http://www.rave-survey.aip.de/rave/. (I don't know what the answer is; I'd have to download the catalog and make some plots. Seriously, though, this is like publishing a book saying "If my theory is correct, then 1890s-vintage Michaelson interferometers will detect a huge ether wind. Future research may test this theory ... ")
  • He gives a whole appendix showing how, because redshift moves light from one band to another, distant objects dim faster within the optical band than they dim overall. Uh, Terrence? We knew that, thanks. Astronomers (a) have telescopes capable of measuring pretty much all wavelengths, and (b) know how to add.

That's about all I can say based on the online excerpts. No, I'm not going to buy the book.

I wonder what he spent on the ad.
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Old 5th October 2007, 07:56 AM   #4
gratuitous python
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But has anyone read the actual book, not just the excerpts?

The ad in Smithsonian caught my eye too -- a privately published book by an author working outside his field who claims that the current astrophysics paradigm is totally bogus and anyone with exposure to high school physics can get it right? C'mon, now.

Anyway, I checked the Web site and read the exerpts, and it didn't sound crackpot to me so much as thoughtful amateur in over his head. Unfortunately, from the excerpts, it's impossible to figure out what his overall premise is.

Can anyone fill us in?

I have to admit that the excerpt from his preface seemed reasonable. There are big problems with the current paradigm -- relativity and quantum mechanics, while both empirically validated, don't mesh; nobody's come up with a plausible explanation of what caused the big bang; we need mysterious "dark matter" and "dark energy" to plug up variances between theory and observation. And don't get me started on string theory!

So, before we write this guy off, shouldn't we find out what he's actually saying?
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Old 5th October 2007, 08:55 AM   #5
Paul
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Originally Posted by gratuitous python View Post
So, before we write this guy off, shouldn't we find out what he's actually saying?
Oooh, pick me! pick me! I know the answer...


Is it NO?
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Old 5th October 2007, 09:17 AM   #6
ben m
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Originally Posted by gratuitous python View Post
So, before we write this guy off, shouldn't we find out what he's actually saying?
It'd be easier to find out if the guy had any public presence whatsoever other than a $59 hardcover book. No articles in free archives (ArXiV, SPIRES), no conference talks, no articles in subscription archives (Nature, Science), no articles in un-archived paper-only journals with open publication policy (Physics Essays, Galilean Electrodynamics), no articles on his own Web page. Ugh.

And, no, it's clear from the excerpt that the author doesn't know what he is talking about:

Originally Posted by nullphysics.com
(A) ANY (N+1)-DIMENSIONAL REGION CAN BE BOUNDED BY AN INFINITELY
THIN N-DIMENSIONAL SURFACE

(B) THE MAXIMUM DIMENSION AN INFINITELY THIN N-DIMENSIONAL
SURFACE CAN BOUND IS (N+1)
These are presented as Great Important Revelations about the Universe. But they're utterly trivial. They're the barely-worth-writing-down factoid scribbled in every freshman engineer's Multivariable Calculus notes.

But Witt uses them to conclude

Quote:
Totality is the simultaneous product of infinite smallness and infinite largeness, exhibiting their combined dimensional content. Infinite smallness lies external to the dimensions of infinite largeness. It is the only way the two can coexist as equivalent paths to nonexistence. What
this means is that the space of our universe is the boundary surface of its own totality:

? THEOREM 2.10 - TOTALITY BOUNDARY {?2.9}
UNBOUNDED SPACE IS THE BOUNDARY SURFACE OF ITS OWN TOTALITY
which is complete gibberish. I'm not excerpting, I just quoted the entirety of the "proof" of Theorem 2.10; the author goes on to "use" 2.10 in "proving" other things.

This is immediately recognizeable as crackpot material. It's the standard sort of half-reasoning, half-meditating you see in people who have read "Brief History of Time" and thought "whoa, that was deep! Let me see if I can have deep insights about geometry, too!" It's nothing personal---I used to do this myself.

It's true that I can't find any incorrect hard facts in the excerpts, but this is because there very few clearly stated facts in the excerpts. How is it possible to think that you've got a "new model" of the nucleus by gibbering about "core radii" for two pages and drawing pictures of circles? The excerpt on field-core superposition might be reasonable if it were a pictorial introduction: "here I will introduce the scheme and terminology under which we will do further calculations". But no, the excerpt appears to be the entirety of the author's presentation of the deuteron.
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Old 5th October 2007, 03:10 PM   #7
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Talking I hate it when they call me a crackpot..

I would like to respond to a couple of ben m's comments, and thank gratuitous python for at least considering the possibility that I'm not a loon. Indeed, my doctor says he's got the dosage just about right...

First and foremost, the book excerpts are supposed to be incomplete to encourage curiosity, not disdain, but the best laid plans and all that. So, as to the comments.

Neutron. It is easier to understand why a neutron is a composite, not elementary particle, when you actually have a good idea of what elementary particles actually are. I am familiar with neutron scattering and decay modes, as well as their charge distribution on the sub-Fermi scale. The Standard Model views quarks as points, string theory proposes hyperdimensional strings, but neither is even remotely accurate physical representation. High-energy neutron scattering mimics the existence of internal constituents (other than protons and electrons), but this is only because adding hundreds of MEV (or more) of energy causes a significant distortion of the underlying composition. It's like trying to measure the shape of a light bulb by shooting bullets at it.

Tired light. Fritz Zwicky was the original proponent for tired light in the early 1900's, and if you would have read my book before commenting you would have found the entire history therein, as well as a resolution to the refractive dispersion and other issues.

3He radius: There is a difference between the diameter of the charge distribution and the spacing of the bound state. My research assistant, who was a graduate student in astrophysics at FIT at the time, could not find an accurate measurement of the bound state of 3He in the literature. If she missed it, my bad. The same calculation, as detailed in the book, gives the inter-nucleon spacing of the bound triplet state of a deuteron at 1.748 F, in agreement with the observed value of 1.747 F.

Milky Way Radial Drift: The RAVE survey that ben m referenced has a resolution of at most 5 km/sec, insufficient to test the effect I propose, which is ~1.5 km/s. Thanks for playing, though.

Surface brightness loss: I didn't say astronomers didn't know about this loss, I was just unable to find any good, non-statistical modeling for it. This is what Appendix M represents.

Totality boundary: I'm not "proving" the bounding relationships listed in Theorem 2.10; all I'm doing is emphasizing that they are the best method of interpreting the geometric relationship between infinite largeness and smallness.

And no, I didn't like "A brief history of time". But the diagrams were awesome, man!

I know JREF does a great job of debunking paranormal nonsense and the like, but there's no getting around the fact that after 30 years, string theory isn't even science. Physics needs a healthy dose of critical thinking right about now, and its lack thereof is making it progressively harder to discount pseudo science. Indeed, string theory IS pseudo science.
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Old 5th October 2007, 06:34 PM   #8
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OK, so if a neutron is a composite of a proton and an electron, what's a sigma, or a lambda? Or, for that matter, what are mesons?

Your statement above seems to assume that string theory proposes a different internal structure for protons and neutrons than the Standard Model, i.e. something other than two ups and a down or two downs and an up. Is that what you intended to say?

I'm familiar with Zwicky's original formulation of tired light. Zwicky was a noted iconoclast; as it happens, I know an astronomer who worked with him, and is a fairly well known iconoclast himself. But all of that is immaterial to the facts that:
1. Only the Hubble constant explains the fact that the age of the oldest observed stars is the inverse of the Hubble constant;
2. Only the Hubble constant explains the observed time-dilation of the light curves of distant supernovae;
3. Only the Hubble constant explains the overall isotropy of the CMBR;
and very much more. Tired light explains none of these things. Do your ideas specifically address these issues? Be aware that if you claim they do, I'm going to want to see an explanation of precisely how, and "sorry go read the book" isn't going to go very far with me, since I'm not particularly motivated to read a physics book by someone who doesn't have a publication history in peer reviewed journals unless they've got something to back their ideas up.

I think you will find that there are some people at JREF who also debunk crank physics. Welcome to JREF.
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Old 5th October 2007, 08:13 PM   #9
ben m
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Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
Neutron. It is easier to understand why a neutron is a composite, not elementary particle, when you actually have a good idea of what elementary particles actually are.
Yes, the neutron is a composite of three quarks. It is not a composite of an electron and a proton. Smash a neutron and a proton together; what do you think are the odds that you get two protons and one electron out? Do you think that this reaction cross-section should be larger or smaller than the n+p --> n+p+pi or n+n+pi or p+p+pi cross section? By what ratio should they be larger/smaller?

Alternatively, perhaps you can either (a) point out which nuclear and particle physics experiments disagree with the Standard Model, but agree with your model---please include citations and error bars---or (b) show in what limits your model reduces to the Standard Model (in the sense of, say, "Schrodinger's Equation reduces to Newton's Laws in the limit of small h") such that they give the same answers in every experiment to date.

More realistically, send me a personal message (click on my username in the left-hand column of this page) when your theory, or any part thereof, is published in the form of an ordinary research paper (refereed or not), and I'll take a look at it then. Good luck.
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Old 5th October 2007, 10:38 PM   #10
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Null Physics White Paper

Thanks for the welcome. Let me separate my responses into matter and cosmology.

MATTER

My particle/matter physics requires a great deal of background, and it’s easy to sound a bit “crankish” when you try to condense a 480 page book, developed over 30 years, into sound bites. But here goes.

Most of our current physical theories are constructionist, building mathematical models from empirical data. They provide, naturally, great correspondence to observed phenomena, since they are based on same, but give us no insight into the foundational nature of the universe because they lack natural philosophy. Relativity, conversely, is based on a few simple principles, but even these don’t give us much insight because they are reasonable extrapolations of our observations of the natural world. Relativity, for instance, can’t tell us WHY the speed of light is constant in any reference frame or WHY matter generates a gravitational field.

Null Physics attacks the problem from the other pole, starting with the toughest question of all: “why does the universe exist?”. Its premise is that if you can’t provide a rational, complete answer to this question, your physical theories will always contain gaping philosophical holes, and you will forever be unable to explain the universe to any great depth.

Null Physics is based on a geometry that is a solution to an equation whose sum is zero. In short, space is a zero-sum equation of the form 0 = 0 + 0 + 0…, and energy and matter are curvatures of space. So we have nothing, in the form of a summation of what appears to us as geometric points, and then we have positive and negative curvatures of space, which constitutes matter and energy. Since space is composed of nothing, in the form of geometric points, and curvatures of space are displaced points, the sum of the equation remains zero. (I can’t recall the theorist, but quite a while ago there was an attempt to unify EM as a fifth dimension). Since the time of Lucretius (or before) the big question has always been “how do you derive something from nothing?” This leads naturally (although admittedly counterintuitively) to the realization that something has to be composed of nothing for there is no other available source.

So while cosmologists try to reconcile the conservation of energy by claiming that the universe’s negative gravitational potential offsets its matter/energy, they fail to realize the most important thing: there is no difference between a universe whose sum is zero and a universe that is, intrinsically, a formulation of zero. I’ve left out a tremendous amount of supporting theory and rationale, but that’s the long and short of it. The universe is infinite and eternal because it is an equation whose physical sum is nothing, and nothing is by definition unbounded. The “universe equation” is not a wave function, as has been posited various places; it is a geometry.

A unique aspect of this geometry is that an infinite space of N dimensions has a finite size in N+1 dimensions. An infinite line, for instance, has a finite area. Think of it as cutting a line into an infinite number of segments and stacking them on top of each other at infinite density. The result is not an infinite area, as that is a plane; it is not infinitely small, as that is a line segment. The result is finite. In fact, if we consider the width of a line as 0, then in accordance with the poles of the Riemann sphere, (0*infinity) = 1. The only difference Null Physics requires is that in the physical case, the 1 in this equation is an area (1^2), not a length. In the same way, the infinite space of our universe can be partitioned into an infinite number of cubes, that when stacked upon each other in the fourth dimension, result in a finite hypercube. Infinite three-dimensional space corresponds to finite four-dimensional space. This finite four-dimensional constant is what Planck’s constant is. It is also responsible for unit elementary charge, etc. Universal constants have always presented quite a difficulty because space would appear to have no place to “store” them, and even if their origin is posited in a universal creation event, there is no reason for their values to remain fixed as the nascent universe evolved. Indeed, how can Planck’s constant have the same value in galaxies billions of light years away as it does here on Earth? String theory attempts to resolve this difficulty by positing a hyperdimensional substructure for space, but this does not solve the problem because there is no constraint for this structure to be fixed throughout space. My theory resolves the universality of governing constants because it has only one: the four-dimensional size of infinite space, and this is by definition the same everywhere in infinite space. I was able to calculate this size and it is equal to 3.16(10)^-26 J-m, and it is called “unit hypervolume”. Physically, it’s a hypercube whose edge length is about 0.1 mm. It is the connection between the macro and micro universe and the quintessential definition of finiteness.

Our universe has four and only four dimensions, three of space and one of time. It contains two, dimensionally unique three-dimensional substances: space, whose units are of course distance^3, and energy, whose fundamental units are time-distance^2. The reason why it is possible to have finite energy density in space is because both have the same dimensional size. Our universe has space and curved space, nothing else. Everything within it can be described as some combination of its four dimensions.

Since unit hypervolume is a four-dimensional finite, it represents the one and only bounding condition for anything, in particular energy. This is why Planck’s constant has units of J-m, and why it is associated with the quantization of energy. Joules, as energy, is three-dimensional, and meters are one dimensional, for a total of four dimensions. Planck’s constant isn’t exactly equal to space’s four-dimensional size, the proportionality between the two is 2PI, but that’s a detail I needn’t address here. Elementary particles, and by this I mean electrons (positrons) and protons (antiprotons) are space-time boundaries; essentially four-dimensional “holes” in space, whose size is proportional to unit hypervolume. These holes generate long-range fields that produce the Coulomb and gravitational interactions, and the close-range interaction of these holes are responsible for the Strong and Weak forces. Again, all of this is supported by a wealth of evidence which, given the graphs and equations required, can’t be replicated here. It includes calculations of average nuclear density, white dwarf density, the strength and range of the Strong force, the inter-nucleon spacing of a deuteron, and the maximum material density in black holes.

Mesons, kaons, and particles that decay into electrons (positrons) are essentially high-energy electron states, whereas sigmas, lambdas, and particles that decay into protons (antiprotons) are essentially high-energy proton states. Their instability is caused by the internal presence of bound positive-negative particles in combination with a stable particle. A muon, for instance, is an electron combined with a positive/negative pair. Think of it like an electron combined with positronium at nuclear density. The bound pairs that exist within unstable particles cannot exist singly in nature, like protons and electrons. The neutral pi meson, for instance, decays into two gamma rays because it is a bound particle/antiparticle.

COSMOLOGY

This is the easy part. There is no difference between a universe whose sum is zero and zero (same total), so a universal origin is nonsensical. The lack of universal origin brings into question universal expansion (which according to my sources Hubble never agreed with, but I’m not a historian). Enter tired light. It is interesting that you know someone who worked with Zwicky. Since I felt like I was able to validate his tired light concept, I tried to contact his daughter, Barbarini Zwicky, for the possibility of including a unique quote for Null Physics, but was not successful, and didn’t want to push it out of respect.

Before speaking to tired light, let’s talk about universal curvature. The error in the five-dimensional unification I mentioned above was the failure to realize that the two spatial curvatures cited above, responsible for EM and gravity, both occur within a four-dimensional geometry. Spatial curvature/distortion can occur in one of two ways, either normal to space, along the fourth dimension (resulting in positive and negative EM fields) or along space, within the third dimension, resulting in nonpolar fields. Gravitation is caused by the internal distortion of space, which is in turn caused by the hypervolumetric density required to store energy’s three dimensional volume (time-distance^2) within space (distance^3). Spatial curvature is by definition extraspatial, so even if it occurs along three-dimensional space it is a four-dimensional phenomenon. So the net effect of energy density on space is not to produce a net four-dimensional curvature, it is to produce an average four-dimensional curvature. It is already “generally” agreed that space is probably flat or near flat, which is just what you would expect from its infinite nature, but it is important to interpret its average curvature correctly. Spatial curvature, by definition, has units of 1/r, acceleration. This can be interpreted one of two ways; either statically as a structural deformation or dynamically as an expansion. Sadly, it has been interpreted as the later. So even though Michelson and Morley, and experiments to follow, show us space is not a material substance, the universal expansion has space expanding into larger volumes, expanding over itself.

So what happens if space’s curvature is treated statically? It is still represented as a field of dv/dx, but the dv is not the motion of the underlying metric. Instead, dv/dx is induced in objects moving through it, resulting in the slow expansion of photons over vast distances. This is also why the signals from distant supernovae are broadened. Just as the photon is stretched, so to is the distance between them (I’ve got a great graph in the book). As the photon’s wavelength increases, due to the internal differential velocity to which it is exposed, it loses energy. Since its ensemble motion, because of this internal expansion, is slightly less than c, it behaves like a rapidly moving relativistic particle, and decays, emitting microwaves. These microwave decays, as calculated in the book, fall into the CMB band, and correspond well to the redshift quantizations found by Tifft and Napier.

There’s a lot more, but I really don’t want to spoil the book.

IN CLOSING

Unfortunately, self-published physics books are invariably the product of uniformed, and in many cases, positively deranged individuals. Just as unfortunately, peer-reviewed journals strenuously reject ideas contrary to the reigning paradigms. So rather than fight the battle a little bit at a time, I decided to wait until I had some convincing results and published the results of my work from 1978 to 2004 all at once. So far it’s gone well with the individuals who actually read the book, but after reading Lee Smolin’s new book, “The Trouble With Physics” I fear I might be tilting at windmills with regard to the theoretical physics community.

Thank you for your interest.
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Old 6th October 2007, 12:01 AM   #11
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What's a J-m? It looks like a Joule-meter, which is not a measure of size. This is confirmed by a later paragraph; it is the units of Planck's constant. But it's still not a unit of size. Did you make a mistake here?

Why is there no answer to my question about string theory? It's quite simple.

What is the cause of the mass difference of some 1836 times between the proton and electron?

The name of the "theorist" you spoke of who unified EM and gravity by postulating a fifth dimension was Theodor Kaluza. What he showed is that Maxwell's equations emerge smoothly and naturally from this framework, just as Einstein's field equations for gravity emerge smoothly and naturally from the four dimensional spacetime framework of relativity. Einstein eventually rejected his ideas because he couldn't find anywhere to put the fifth dimension that it wouldn't cause problems. What he never thought of was to make it small; that's what string theory does.

It helps if you actually understand a theory before you criticize it.

That'll do to go on with, I think. I'm still not convinced, and in fact, I'm more wary than ever. Let's see what you can come up with. I have some rather unconventional ideas myself, but I don't go so far as to reject the Standard Model or relativity. I've seen a lot of BS, and so far, this doesn't look any different. Make it different for me.
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Old 6th October 2007, 10:50 AM   #12
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Energy, energy, energy

Thanks for your clarification on Kaluza, I was confident you would know the name.

A J-M is a Joule-meter, as you deduced from Planck’s constant. In contemporary physics, units of joules have no size correlation because they are not treated, as I said in the post, in energy’s fundamental Null Physics units of time-distance^2, (or in the SI system, second-meter^2). Since energy is actually a three-dimensional substance, it has a volume, and therefore J-M is a four-dimensional quantity, and Planck’s constant is a four-dimensional boundary condition. This may seem like “other BS you’ve seen”, but only because you haven’t used it to calculate nuclear density or the inter-nucleon spacing of a deuteron to four decimal places, USING NO OTHER CONSTANTS.

As to your string theory question, I was under the impression that string theory is built on top of the Standard Model, etc, incorporating all of its content by reference, but I do not presume to be an expert in either QCD or any of the latest versions of string theory. I remember quarks being treated as point-like in the Standard Model, but frankly I don’t remember whether quarks are hyperdimensional strings in string theory, or whether they are points connected by hyperdimensional strings. The reason I don’t remember such things is because I have a wealth of compelling evidence that neither quarks or strings are accurate representations of physical entities, so their interpretation de jour is largely irrelevant, not unlike the migratory habits of a Yeti. I am sure I will be corrected a number of times in my depiction of the prevailing physics paradigms, which is why I try to focus on Null Physics.

I am not debating the empirical accuracy of either the Standard Model or Relativity, nor would I lump them into the same class of theories. Far from it, both are spectacularly accurate, as you well know, and relativity even speaks to some underlying foundational issues. My point is that theories that are manufactured to fit empirical data, with little to no underlying natural philosophy, are dead ends. I don’t need to know exactly what a house looks like to know that it’s built on swamp land. It is quite possible that much of the mathematics developed for the Standard Model or string theory will prove spectacularly useful for dealing with Null Physics geometry. But building these models without knowing something as simple as energy as time-distance^2 is like squaring a circle.

Null Physics has remarkable explanatory power, but cannot currently match the descriptive power of the Standard Model or General Relativity. It has, however, enormous descriptive power for a physical theory that only requires a single constant, and it can even tell us why this constant exists and why it has the value it does. In reference to your other question, I have yet to calculate the electron/proton mass ratio, but it’s not as if this ratio emerges miraculously out of the Standard Model either. It was manufactured by the appropriate choice of parameters. I suspect that Null Physics accomplishes more with its one constant than the Standard Model could with any 10 of its constants. But you can only appreciate the difference if you truly care WHY the universe is the way it is. If you just want to describe it, and are fine with waiting around with the Standard Model for the next bigger particle accelerator to be built, you don’t need Null Physics. It’s quite possible, after all, that the Standard Model will apply to particles of any energy, up to the Planck. But since it doesn’t tell us why quarks exist, why they have fractional charge, why they have mass, why they are bound together by gluons, etc, it will never provide a comprehensive understanding of matter. If it were a truly accurate representation of matter, instead of must an empty mathematical model, it would contain that gravity thing…

The reason why Null Physics cannot compete with the predictive power of the Standard Model is because the universe’s underlying geometry is fundamentally nonlinear. Numerical integrations are necessary for many of the particle calculations done in the book, and the analytic expressions I have been able to derive are for simple cases (isolated particles) or are approximations of nonlinear cases. The relativistic collision of two protons, handled so well by the Standard Model, is not even close to a simple case. The Standard Model can approximate the results of the universe’s underlying geometry using concepts like quarks and 20 or so arbitrary constants, but it will never tell us much about it. Another phenomenon? Let’s add another particle.

But as you said, it helps if you actually understand a theory before you criticize it. Did my explanation of the four-dimensional size of Planck’s constant make sense? The conversion rate between Joules and second-meter^2 is about 0.12. Thus, one joule is equal to 8 second-meter^2.

One other question; does JREF have an "official" stance on the status of string theory as a viable science, or is it just a variety of opinions?
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Old 6th October 2007, 12:26 PM   #13
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Any opinion I express is mine alone.

The ratio of the mass of the electron to the mass of the proton is not particularly significant in the SM; this is because electrons are free point particles (or strings, if you prefer), whereas protons are composites of three other particles. The rest masses of these components of the proton contribute some to its mass, but their binding energy contributes more, as anyone who looks over a table of the quark masses can easily guess.

By maintaining that the proton is a fundamental particle, you have denied the outcome of experiments in which the quarks have been detected within not only protons, but most if not all of the other baryons (including neutrons) that are reasonably stable. Furthermore, the existence of the omega hyperon, composed of three strange quarks, is the final proof of the existence of the strange quark. This is because, using QCD, the omega's existence, mass, and decay products and modes were correctly predicted prior to its detection. This is extremely compelling evidence of the existence of quarks, evidence you apparently are unaware of, or chose to ignore.

And that's merely the tip of the iceberg; there are also the pion, kaon, psi, B, and D mesons, upon which the current Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa matrix measurements, of crucial importance to QCD, depend. From what I can tell, you have completely left the mesons out of your treatment. This is why ben asked you about the cross-section of np collisions. Note the presence of a pion among the decay products of this interaction.

Let's take a step back.

We know that electrons are fermions, and so are protons. How, then, can the neutron be a fermion? Yet, it is. In order to be a fermion, the neutron cannot be a composite of an even number of fermions; such a composite cannot have spin 1/2. It can have spin 1, or spin 0, and must therefore be a boson. The prevalence of mesons, which are bosons, in interactions involving the color force, shows that the color force has to be coupling two fermions to make a meson, and three to make a baryon; thus, all the baryons are fermions, and all the mesons are bosons. And if you want a piece of physics that has been proven over and over again, it's spin.

Finally, if the neutron is a composite of a proton and an electron, where does the neutrino come from when a neutron decays?

Nope, sorry, so far I'm still not convinced. It's that "a neutron is a proton and an electron" thing that is doing it. It's a complete denial of the Standard Model.
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Old 6th October 2007, 04:55 PM   #14
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Talking Quarks, Neutrons, More Quarks

So I assume that the answer to the question about string theory is that JREF has no “official” stance about the efficacy of string theory, at least that you are aware of?

Thanks for your excellent neutron/quark comments.

The Standard Model has made a number of outstanding predictions and correlations, this is not an issue I would dispute, nor have I. But this is exactly what you would expect of the interaction between a complex mathematical model and a complex underlying geometry. Do we remember all of the predictions, prior to the SM’s completion, that failed? All the revisions? All the patches? The many rules and constants that the SM uses, because of its empirical accuracy in so many regimes, are an indirect reflection of at least part of the underlying geometry in which interactions take place. That they sometimes correlate well at untested energies is not really that surprising. But there is a difference between mathematical analogies and physical existence. The “discovery” of the strange quark tells us that the inclusion of this element in the SM works, and is consistent with all of its other elements. It does not tell us quarks are physical entities that actually exist. I’ve also heard recently that there is compelling evidence of the production of isolated quarks in recent experiments; if not, the LHC is sure to “produce” a few. I do not discount the monumental effort that has gone into the manufacturing of the SM of matter. I, like many others who know far more about this model than myself, question the physical reality of the end result. When all is said and done, we have an accurate model, and not the slightest idea why elementary matter has the properties it does, or why it is so complex. The why of things is clearly more important to me than many physicists with whom I’ve discussed such issues. They always seem to think that “why” is either unimportant, unknowable, or will “shake out” in the future. Sorry, just not good enough.

In Null Physics, a neutron’s bound electron has little to no resemblance to an electron in its free state. So no, I would not expect it to behave much like a high-density state of hydrogen. A free-state electron has a core radius of 1738 F; a radius responsible for the existence of electron degeneracy pressure and which correlates well with low-mass white dwarf star density. The bound electron found in a neutron has a radius of 1.71 F, compressed to that size by the proton’s intense fields. As I had noted earlier, the existence of quarks is invariably verified with high-energy scattering. My claim is that the presence of this massive kinetic energy in the normal geometry of protons, electrons, etc, masquerades as internal subcomponents, which are then modeled as various forms of quarks. Crooked line with a crooked ruler. The geometry of two protons colliding at 2 GEV has little in common with that of their state in hydrogen gas at room temperature.

So what, I wonder, is the harm of starting with a new space-time geometry, based on certain extraordinarily pure foundational principles, and working backward to try to connect it to the observed physical universe by measuring the distortions of this geometry and comparing it to empirical observations? It’s a big job, since we’re starting without the preconditions of even what it means to have “spin”, or be a “fermion,” but a large portion of this work is complete, has produced compelling and consistent correlations, and has been recently published as Null Physics. When the theory reaches the stage where it is possible to simulate high-speed proton collisions with this geometry, I’m confident that it will exhibit evidence of “quarks”, just as it has reproduced many of the known properties of matter to high resolution. But I’m beginning to suspect that you are not terribly interested in this approach. As I said earlier, it’s certainly not ready to supplant the SM, but it has already produced falsifiable predictions, and it’s outstanding on that “why” thing. Is there some unspoken rule about looking more closely at theoretical physics’ foundational issues?

Just out of curiosity, a) have you read Lee Smolin’s book, “The Trouble With Physics”, b) do you consider string theory a viable scientific approach?
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Old 6th October 2007, 05:10 PM   #15
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You didn't explain the missing/extra spin, and you didn't explain the neutrino. Without those explanations your ideas are in conflict with well-verified features of both the Standard Model and reality.

Neutrons decay at room temperature. So do radioactive nuclei, and when they emit beta particles, that is neutron decay. This has nothing to do with high energy collision experiments, and is an observed feature of reality. If your idea can't handle it, then it is not a description of reality.

That's about all there is to it. Nice chatting with you.
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Old 6th October 2007, 06:46 PM   #16
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Talking Spinning neutrinos

I sense a failure to communicate. I said two relevant things in reference to spin; First, that the bound electron in a neutron is spectacularly distinct from its free-space geometry, certainly to an extent capable of modulating its "spin". Second, that the property of spin, or of being a fermion for that matter, had yet to be identified in the application of Null Physics' geometry. Incomplete application of this nonlinear geometry constitutes work in progress, not a break from reality. I believe I mentioned that Null Physics wasn’t quite ready to supplant the SM’s descriptive capability, but has shown spectacular initial results given the austerity of its foundational premises.

Yes, neutrons decay at room temperature, in about 10.2 m, emitting an (anti)neutrino, a proton, and an electron. The neutrino is emitted in response to the conversion of the electron from its bound to free-space state. In Null Physics, evidence suggests that neutrinos are the bound state of photons much in the way that bound electrons are bound into neutrons.

Does this mean you haven't read Lee Smolin’s book and think string theory is a viable science? Lee's book is great. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of their theoretical inclinations. Also, why do you keep avoiding that "why" stuff? Are you of the opinion that physics has no foundational issues?
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Old 6th October 2007, 07:03 PM   #17
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I also sense a failure to communicate. Spin is a conserved quantity. There is no "modulate." Conservation of angular momentum is implicit in the four-dimensional structure of spacetime; it is the fact that it is four dimensional, and that time is hyperbolically symmetric to each space dimension, in other words, that dictates the conservation of momentum, angular momentum, and energy. These are static unchangeable features of any four-dimensional spacetime geometrically arranged as ours is. That's what relativity says.

You can't add one-half and one-half and get a half-integer. It's just that simple.

Your idea conflicts irretrievably with the Standard Model of particle physics, the most precise and accurate theory of physics available, completely substantiated by extensive, nay, exhaustive experiment. Sorry, but that's how it is.
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Old 6th October 2007, 07:09 PM   #18
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Yeah, I'm a lawyer. I don't understand a word of what's being said.

Still, Terrywitt, I have some layman's questions for you:

1. What experiments have been done that produce results consistent with your model that are inconsistent with the prevailing established physics model?

2. If no such experiments have been done, what experiment could you suggest that would give an answer consistent with your model and rule out whatever everybody else is using.

3. Earlier, it was said that shooting a proton at a neutron does not produce two protons and an electron. This is inconsistent with your model. How do you explain the fact that scientists cannot extract a proton and electron from a neutron.

4. Where have you been all these years? Einstein may have written his first works as a patent clerk but he was young and he spent most of his life in established academia. Any physicist would be required by his university to publish. So where have you been?

5. What's the deal with that show The Big Bang Theory? Those two guys are supposed to be physics professors but they live like children and appear to spend no time at all either teaching or researching. Still, it's pretty funny so far and I plan to watch it. Your thoughts?
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Old 6th October 2007, 07:12 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Schneibster View Post
Your idea conflicts irretrievably with the Standard Model of particle physics, the most precise and accurate theory of physics available, completely substantiated by extensive, nay, exhaustive experiment. Sorry, but that's how it is.

The SM is inelegant and does not appropriately explain the relative weakness of gravity among the forces. Given what we know about the beautiful simplicity of the physical world, it is almost certainly wrong. The physicist who believes otherwise is nothing other than a teaching assistant waiting for a new textbook.



I'm kidding. I have no idea what I'm talking about.
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Old 6th October 2007, 07:14 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I'm kidding. I have no idea what I'm talking about.
I figured.
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Old 6th October 2007, 08:59 PM   #21
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Well, I'm glad we flushed out the author and got some idea of what was between the exerpts. Unfortunately, most of it was far beyond what my tiny brain can handle, at least after a big dinner and several glasses of wine.

My original point was that I felt we were being too quick to judge an original point of view as "crackpot" without first examining what the overall point of view actually was. We were making a judgment based on a few isolated exerpts from a work without knowing what the supporting pieces were or what exactly the author's overall theory might be. I also sensed a great deal of defensiveness about any outside challege to conventional wisdom.

Frankly, I remain dubious about "null physics," although still trying to be open-minded. While I don't plan to read the book myself at this point (My bedside table is groaning), I am interested in following the debate, and I appreciate what I've seen so far in this forum. Some excellent points were made and parried by all participants.

Whether or not Mr. Witt is on the right track, I have to say that I have long been uncomfortable with the Standard Theory. All the patches and plugged-in constants remind me of the "epicycles" and other convolutions of the Ptolemaic System before it finally crashed. I just don't think we're there yet and feel we may have to side-step a bit before we reach the path to a valid "Theory of Everything." I welcome any new ideas, regardless of whether or not they come from academically vetted sources.

Mr. Witt is not a member of the astrophysics establishment. He does not have an academic background. He has not gone through the discipline of peer review. He is self-published. That should certainly raise suspicions but does not automatically make him a crackpot.

I'm still waiting to hear from someone who has actually read the book.
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Old 6th October 2007, 09:14 PM   #22
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Talking Still spinning

Sh: The decay of a neutron involves the emission of a proton, electron, and (anti)neutrino. I trust you agree that spin is conserved during this beta decay process. The formation of a neutron would necessarily, by time symmetry, involve the combination of an electron, proton, and absorption of a (anti)neutrino as part of the electron binding process. Not sure why you think that this would violate any conservation laws or why an electron in its neutronic bound state (which you would claim does not exist anyway) needs to have a half-integer spin. I would suspect that the conservation of spin is a key aspect of the binding process between the proton and electron. My CRC shows a spin of ½ for the neutrino, how about yours? So let's see 1/2 + 1/2 - 1/2 = 1/2!

LL: If you read the prior posts, it should answer most of your questions.
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Old 6th October 2007, 09:27 PM   #23
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OK, well first, the spin of the neutron has been measured, and it's 1/2. The spin of the proton has been measured, and it too is 1/2, and the spin of an electron is also 1/2.

So if a neutron is made of a proton and an electron, then you can have 1/2 + 1/2, or 1/2 - 1/2. The first equals 1, the second 0. So where does the other 1/2 come from? Are you now saying, after publication, that you were wrong and there's also a neutrino in there? Looks like a pretty serious flaw to me.
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Old 6th October 2007, 09:47 PM   #24
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Talking Spinning...

SH: No, I'm saying that the conversion of an electron from its free state to its neutronic bound state requires the absorption of an (anti)neutrino. This is mentioned in the book that no one on this blog has read yet. And, let's all say it together now, a bound electron is not the same as an electron in its free state. Since the proton's energy component represents the lion’s share of a neutron, the best perspective would be to view a neutronically bound electron is the superposition of a free electron and (anti)neutrino. And no, I don’t think the neutrino remains a ghost in the system.

GP: Did you read Lee Smolin's "The Problem With Physics"? He has some great anecdotes in a been there, done that kind of way; great book. Peter Woit’s book, “Not Even Wrong” is pretty good as well, but since he’s not a physicist he hasn’t seen as much of the same stuff, and Lee's seemed more heartfelt.
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Old 6th October 2007, 09:51 PM   #25
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OK, so now account for the fact that protons in the nucleus turn into neutrons by K-shell electron capture and emit a neutrino.
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Old 6th October 2007, 10:29 PM   #26
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Wink Tomorrow is another day

Thanks for the great discussion! Really enjoying it, but need to call it a day. Eyes...defocusing... I'll talk to the K-shell capture tomorrow, as well as some other particularly neat nuclear topics.
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Old 7th October 2007, 10:52 AM   #27
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Talking Nucleus

Neutronic bounding of electrons needs to conserve energy as well as spin. I would imagine that K-shell capture emits a neutrino for this purpose. Beta decay by positron emission is another variation on the same theme of the binding of nuclear electrons. The nucleus is a far more complex environment than a neutron in free space, so I wouldn’t want to speculate too much about some of its processes without a better model of the pertinent dynamics. What Null Physics does speak to, however, through the application of bound electrons, is nuclear energy density and size, maximum nuclear density, the density of neutronium, the nuclear potential, and the saturation of the nuclear potential. And of course it tells us WHY positive protons can be bound together at such high density, because the Strong force is an intrinsic component of its particle geometry. It’s a great start for a single-constant model, but isn’t ready to replicate all of the details covered by the liquid drop or shell models.
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Old 7th October 2007, 11:19 AM   #28
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OK, but where does the spin on the neutrino come from? By your calculations, spin would have to be ADDED, not SUBTRACTED. "I would imagine" doesn't cut it. You either know or you do not- and if you do not, then you haven't explained how your idea does not contradict the Standard Model. Furthermore, the Standard Model gives a coherent explanation of this phenomenon, and your idea does not. And that means that the SM is more complete. Why would anyone want to use something that is less complete instead of something that is more complete?
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Old 7th October 2007, 01:36 PM   #29
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Talking When does science become numerology?

Ok, let’s do the math again. K-shell capture is an event of the form p + e = n + v, where we have the emission of a neutrino instead of the absorption of an (anti)neutrino: ½ + ½ = ½ + ½. The spin of the neutrino comes from the same place as a neutron’s beta decay: n = p + e + (v), ½ = ½ + ½ - ½. In both cases, the conversion of a free electron to bound electron (or vice versa) represents a spin transfer of ½ with respect to the bounded state of the electron. This change can be reconciled by the absorption of an (anti)neutrino or emission of a neutrino. The two events are spin equivalent with respect to the end state. If anything this reiterates my statement that the neutrino does not persist as a ghost in the system.

In answer to your second question, why do you persist in ignoring the value of explanatory power; good old Ockham’s razor? There are any number of theorists who are currently trying to “simplify” the SM so that it might be easier to unify with GR or be easier to integrate into a GUT. I’m not the only one working on this, as you would have to be aware. I’m just the only one I know using an entirely new geometry with a philosophical basis. The real beauty of the SM is that it is an excellent generalization of empirical results that can be used to test new paradigms as they are developed. I suspect that the relentless basic physics quiz in which we are engaged stems from the fact that you have, without reading my book, determined that I am unqualified to pursue such a lofty goal, not that such a goal is not desirable. Certainly presenting 480 pages of work, one or two pages at a time, out of context does not seem the most efficient way to evaluate my ideas. However, this has been helpful, since a couple of my readers have contacted me and say they now have a better handle on my overall premise after reading my "white paper".

This has been fun, but I must insist that you do me the courtesy of answering a couple of my questions before I will respond to any more of yours.

First, are you of the belief that it is impossible to replace the SM with a more eloquent theory that requires far fewer ad hoc constants?

Second, would you consider a theory that used ~20 ad hoc constants with no philosophical basis JUST AS GOOD as a theory that used only a single constant with a good philosophical basis, assuming that the two theories could account for experimental data equally well?

Third, are you absolutely convinced, beyond all doubt, that it is not possible to know and understand WHY the universe exists?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then continuing this discussion really is pointless, and we can erect a statue to the SM and marvel at our cleverness. But darn, there’s that gravity thing again... Maybe we can tie it all together with string theory.
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Old 7th October 2007, 02:34 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
Ok, let’s do the math again. K-shell capture is an event of the form p + e = n + v, where we have the emission of a neutrino instead of the absorption of an (anti)neutrino: ½ + ½ = ½ + ½.
Well, of course it is, but that's not what you said at first, is it now? You said, a neutron is an electron plus a proton.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
The spin of the neutrino comes from the same place as a neutron’s beta decay: n = p + e + (v), ½ = ½ + ½ - ½. In both cases, the conversion of a free electron to bound electron (or vice versa) represents a spin transfer of ½ with respect to the bounded state of the electron. This change can be reconciled by the absorption of an (anti)neutrino or emission of a neutrino. The two events are spin equivalent with respect to the end state. If anything this reiterates my statement that the neutrino does not persist as a ghost in the system.
So, like I said, you're saying there's an antineutrino combined with the electron inside the neutron. This "bound" electron then becomes a boson. And this accounts for the fermion spin of the neutron.

OK, why is that better than three quarks, and how does that account for the hyperons and mesons? Surely THEY don't have antineutrinoized electrons in them, particularly considering that they display characteristics that cannot be accounted for in this manner. And finally, if the weak force isn't responsible for converting one of the down quarks in a neutron into an up quark, along with the emission of a W- weak boson that then decomposes into an electron and an antineutrino, what precisely does the weak force DO in your model?

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
In answer to your second question, why do you persist in ignoring the value of explanatory power; good old Ockham’s razor?
Because you're not adding any explanatory power, and you're failing to explain things as a coherent whole that the Standard Model already explains that way; so we're not even talking about equal explanatory power, we're talking about less.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
There are any number of theorists who are currently trying to “simplify” the SM so that it might be easier to unify with GR or be easier to integrate into a GUT. I’m not the only one working on this, as you would have to be aware.
Yes, and most of them are working on string physics. There are two other hypotheses out there that bear examination, and neither of them questions the quark theory of the composition of baryons and mesons. Yours does, in the process losing explanation of the weak force and proposing results that conflict with experimental evidence.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
I’m just the only one I know using an entirely new geometry with a philosophical basis.
Well, philosophy has a rather bad name in quantum mechanics. As far as new geometries, all three of your competitors propose them: twistors, loop quantum gravity, and string physics all propose that the basic geometry of spacetime is different than we suppose.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
The real beauty of the SM is that it is an excellent generalization of empirical results that can be used to test new paradigms as they are developed. I suspect that the relentless basic physics quiz in which we are engaged stems from the fact that you have, without reading my book, determined that I am unqualified to pursue such a lofty goal, not that such a goal is not desirable.
No, I have determined from the excerpts published above that your ideas conflict with the SM, and since the SM is strongly based on experimental results, that means that your ideas conflict with reality. I've already identified four different ways in which this is the case. If it doesn't describe reality, it might be nice philosophy, but it's not physics.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
Certainly presenting 480 pages of work, one or two pages at a time, out of context does not seem the most efficient way to evaluate my ideas. However, this has been helpful, since a couple of my readers have contacted me and say they now have a better handle on my overall premise after reading my "white paper".
Neat. I'm not impressed by 480 pages of work; Deepak Chopra has done more, but none of it makes any sense. Like I said, you need to make contact with reality if you're going to write about physics.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
This has been fun, but I must insist that you do me the courtesy of answering a couple of my questions before I will respond to any more of yours.
Well, I'll respond, but at this point, I see little value in continuing. When you have ideas that don't conflict with experimental evidence, feel free to get back to me.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
First, are you of the belief that it is impossible to replace the SM with a more eloquent theory that requires far fewer ad hoc constants?
No, in fact, I'm certain that there is such a theory. There are currently three candidates for such a theory, and a great deal of both math and experimentation to be done before we can differentiate among them. None of them may be correct; but more likely, one of them is. It may be quite a while before we find out which. Personally, I favor string physics, but that's not a scientific judgment.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
Second, would you consider a theory that used ~20 ad hoc constants with no philosophical basis JUST AS GOOD as a theory that used only a single constant with a good philosophical basis, assuming that the two theories could account for experimental data equally well?
Sure, but there are three such theories under investigation already, and yours apparently does not account for experimental data. When you get to high energy particle physics you basically throw up your hands and punt. The SM describes both the low and high energy regimes; so your idea cannot even be said to be as good as the SM, much less twistors, LQG, or string physics.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
Third, are you absolutely convinced, beyond all doubt, that it is not possible to know and understand WHY the universe exists?
Why is not a physics question. What, where, and when are physics questions. Why is a philosophical question. I'm not particularly interested in philosophy, given that its most recent production of any note is deconstructionism, which claims that there is no objective reality.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then continuing this discussion really is pointless, and we can erect a statue to the SM and marvel at our cleverness. But darn, there’s that gravity thing again... Maybe we can tie it all together with string theory.
Well, I don't answer any of them "yes," but I still see no point in pursuing an idea that claims to be physics but cannot show as good explanatory power as the SM. So I guess we agree on that.

Like I said earlier, nice chatting with you.
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Old 7th October 2007, 03:45 PM   #31
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Talking Strings attached

I suspected that you might favor string theory, judging from your interpretation of the meaning of the word “explaining”. The reason the universe exists is actually the #1 problem to a full comprehension of its properties, which is a useful thing if we have a realistic goal of ever describing it fully with the most austere mathematical models. The only reason you think the solution for the existence of the universe is a philosophical problem is because you don’t know what this solution is, and are therefore unqualified to make this assessment. If this solution, for instance, explains the size and value of Planck’s constant, or the number of dimensions in space, as it does in Null Physics, then this is physics, not philosophy.

It’s hard to imagine a world in which “critical thinking” results in a deliberate misinterpretation of so many of my statements. I say I’m working on applying my geometry to high-energy physics, and you say I “through up my hands”. You say you’ve found 4 places where Null Physics is at odds with reality, yet I’ve patiently answered all of your questions, and you really don’t know the first thing about the geometry. I explain where Null geometry is positioned and headed, and you toss in more aspects of the SM, such as mesons, etc, that I’ve ALREADY TOLD YOU are under development. So now you do me the honor of looking at Null Physics when it fully supplants the SM? Wow, thanks, I’ll keep you specifically in mind when that comes to pass.

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Old 7th October 2007, 04:21 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
I suspected that you might favor string theory, judging from your interpretation of the meaning of the word “explaining”.
I have no idea what this is, but from the number of subtle digs you have indulged in so far, I expect it's intended as an insult. I'm ignoring this one too; insults from woos don't particularly concern me. But I'll be pointing them out from now on, just so folks have that to judge your statements on as well.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
The reason the universe exists is actually the #1 problem to a full comprehension of its properties, which is a useful thing if we have a realistic goal of ever describing it fully with the most austere mathematical models.
The reason the universe exists is immaterial to physics and cosmology. How it came to exist might not be. A mathematical model that describes the creation of the universe ex nihilo has been proposed, and so far not invalidated. I'm not clear on what you're trying to accomplish that has not already been accomplished.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
The only reason you think the solution for the existence of the universe is a philosophical problem is because you don’t know what this solution is, and are therefore unqualified to make this assessment.
In my experience, excuses about the "solution for the existence of the universe" (whatever that might mean) followed by statements about the lack of qualifications of an opponent is a sure-fire indication of the physics woo. The accusation of lack of qualifications of the opponent, the subtle hints of one's own superior knowledge, the avoidance of questions one does not have good answers to, these are all highly indicative. Try not to be quite so obvious about it, OK? This is one of those subtle insults I talked about above. The reader is encouraged to examine prior responses for signs of the same type of behavior; it exists in nearly every prior post by this individual.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
If this solution, for instance, explains the size and value of Planck’s constant, or the number of dimensions in space, as it does in Null Physics, then this is physics, not philosophy.
Not if it doesn't describe everything that the SM can. If it can't, or describes things that contradict reality, then it is not physics; at least not physics that makes contact with reality.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
It’s hard to imagine a world in which “critical thinking” results in a deliberate misinterpretation of so many of my statements.
"Deliberate misinterpretation" is another of those subtle little digs that woos like you use when you get exposed. Perhaps if your ideas didn't have so many holes, you wouldn't have so much trouble.

You know, I've tried to be polite, and tried not to denigrate you, but if you're going to be nasty, then I can be nasty too. I'd have to say that the initial evaluation of crackpot is pretty accurate. I don't recommend anyone waste their money on your book, nor their time. There are plenty of books out there by real physicists to read. I'll leave it at that.
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Old 7th October 2007, 07:45 PM   #33
terrywitt
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Actually, I didn’t think my dig was all that subtle, at least no more than a couple of yours:

Originally Posted by Schneibster View Post
It helps if you actually understand a theory before you criticize it.
and
Originally Posted by Schneibster View Post
Why is there no answer to my question about string theory? It's quite simple.
Crackpot? Woo? I see you’ve “elevated” the discussion to the level of name calling. Not sure what a woo is, but it can’t be good. Anyway, I guess we’ve entered the “lively” part of the discourse. I thought your instructions to other blog readers for interpreting our exchange were priceless. I think they will be able to assess, on their own, the relative levels of arrogance and intractability evident in our individual comments and determine whether or not they might be interested in a fresh perspective.

Ironically, (other than the name calling…words hurt, you know) your last response was the first time our interaction actually started to look like a discussion. The statement:

Originally Posted by Schneibster View Post
The reason the universe exists is immaterial to physics and cosmology. How it came to exist might not be. A mathematical model that describes the creation of the universe ex nihilo has been proposed, and so far not invalidated.
can be seen to be a misinterpretation, however, once the next logical step is taken. The reason the universe exists is inclusive of both origin and non-origin scenarios. In the case of an origin, ex nihilo, the reason it exists rests with the underlying cause of the origin. In the case of no origin, an eternal universe, the reason the universe exists explains why it is present, instead of nothingness. In either case a physics problem exists, because in either case the universe has universal constants and other properties that require explanation. Assuming you don’t just throw in the towel and go with the anthropic argument, of course.

What's the proper post icon for a woo? I didn't know, so I just used my usual one. Hope that doesn't violate woo conservation.

Last edited by terrywitt; 7th October 2007 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 7th October 2007, 08:17 PM   #34
gratuitous python
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Well, that was fun

But I'm still waiting to hear from someone who's actually read the book.

Let's all get a good night's sleep.
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Old 7th October 2007, 09:34 PM   #35
Schneibster
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Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
can be seen to be a misinterpretation
Not really. The idea was published in Nature in 1973, under the title, "Is the Universe a Quantum Fluctuation?" by Edward P. Tryon.
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Old 7th October 2007, 10:23 PM   #36
Complexity
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terrywitt - I'm not a phycisist, but I find it fascinating and am not totally ignorant.

Some revolutionary ideas in science have come from unexpected directions.

However, being peculiar does nothing to suggest that you might have a revolutionary idea.

You may or may not have something worth considering. Time will tell.

I have no interest in reading your book, even if it were free.

Your posts set off alarms as soon as I read them. You have utterly failed to persuade me that you know anything of interest, let alone of revolutionary import.

I'll continue to read this thread - I always learn from Schneibster. Perhaps you will post something that will give me pause. I doubt it, but it could happen.
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Old 8th October 2007, 01:03 AM   #37
Taffer
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terrywitt: I am saddened by your lack of answers to many of Schneibster's questions. And if one is going to invoke the Razor, one should really understand how it is to be used.
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Old 8th October 2007, 01:06 AM   #38
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Old 8th October 2007, 02:03 AM   #39
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Gratuitous python - Are you one one of Terry Witt's mates, who joined the forum in order to increase his bok sales, by getting people here to buy it in order to mor comprehensively demolish it?

Anyway, the main reason for me posting on this thread: Are there any Uk posters here who have noticed the similarity of Terry Witt's name to a certain Viz character (who I can't name without a moderator getting medieval on my ass)?
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Old 8th October 2007, 05:18 AM   #40
ben m
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(I wrote this offline following TerryWitt's "White Paper" post, and haven't had the time to read the new posts. I apologize for any rehashing.)

Terry, I think you just dug your hole a little deeper.

Originally Posted by terrywitt View Post
Mesons, kaons, and particles that decay into electrons (positrons) are essentially high-energy electron states, whereas sigmas, lambdas, and particles that decay into protons (antiprotons) are essentially high-energy proton states. Their instability is caused by the internal presence of bound positive-negative particles in combination with a stable particle. A muon, for instance, is an electron combined with a positive/negative pair. Think of it like an electron combined with positronium at nuclear density. The bound pairs that exist within unstable particles cannot exist singly in nature, like protons and electrons. The neutral pi meson, for instance, decays into two gamma rays because it is a bound particle/antiparticle.
Why didn't we think of that before---the particle zoo is just a bunch of high-energy excitations and bound states of the particles we're familiar with already! Um, we did think of that (roughly 1940-1960) and we rejected it for darn good reasons. It looks as though you're aiming to justify "lots of particles with different masses, that decay to different things", and hoping that the details will work out somehow. But the details are the whole story. There's something fundamentally very different about a muon and a pion---can you describe and account for the differences? Why do you think that kaon-proton collisions can produce single lambdas, but pion-proton collisions only produce lambda-antilambda pairs? Why do kaons live so much longer than etas? What's the difference between K-short and K-long? What's the difference between K0->pi+ e- nu and K0 -> pi- e+ nu? Why does pi -> mu nu so outnumber pi -> e nu? Why does J/Psi -> mu mu occur, but not K0 -> mu mu? Can you predict whether pi0 -> e+ e- occurs, or how common it is? That's the sort of knowledge you're sweeping under the rug. I have no doubt that, given such a question and the answer, you could think up a justification ("Oh, the kaon must have a persistent internal structure which mimics what you call 'strangeness'") but such justifications have zero predictive power.

I really have to emphasize: the Standard Model (which includes Schrodinger's Equation) correctly predicts everything ever observed in atomic, nuclear, particle experiments, from the energy levels of hydrogen to fringe pattern in diffraction experiments to the decay modes of the Z. The unsolved problems, like large nuclei, are limited not by SM failures but by computational power. Your model predicts ... what exactly?

Oh, right, it predicts "the maximum material density in black holes". Given that we can't actually measure this quantity, that's like writing a theory that predicts the color of leprechauns' shoes on the moons of Tau Bootes A. And it predicts the "strength and range of the strong force"? I presume you mean "I can make it fit the radii of small nuclei and maybe their masses", which doesn't even begin to capture the strong force: it's like saying "I have a complete theory of hydrodynamics" after writing down the deep-water wave equation.

Quote:
High-energy neutron scattering mimics the existence of internal constituents (other than protons and electrons), but this is only because adding hundreds of MEV (or more) of energy causes a significant distortion of the underlying composition. It's like trying to measure the shape of a light bulb by shooting bullets at it.
That's quite an escape hatch! It looks like what you're really doing is building a wall around the things the theory "gets right" (i.e., the things you engineered the theory to fit), declaring everything else off-limits. I'm reminded of Autodynamics, which wrote an alternative to SR in order to fit 210Bi beta decay. They reacted very badly if you tried to use their equation to solve any other SR problem (like, say, the relative speeds of two cars), or accelerators, or non-beta decays, or non-210Bi beta decays! But still they claim that their theory is true and SR is wrong.)

In reality, if you really had a "force law" describing what goes on in the proton or neutron, you should be able to predict those distortions. (After all, high-energy probes do distort and/or destroy their targets; the Standard Model works through those distortions using the same force laws it uses everywhere else.) What's the energy at which "significant distortion" begins occurring? Does the distortion have a turn-on threshhold, or is it continuous? How do you determine this?

Quote:
This is the easy part. There is no difference between a universe whose sum is zero and zero (same total), so a universal origin is nonsensical. The lack of universal origin brings into question universal expansion (which according to my sources Hubble never agreed with, but I’m not a historian). Enter tired light.
You're trying to distinguish yourself from crackpot physicists by saying "My tired-light theory works because my photons decay?" This is like trying to distinguish yourself from conspiracy theorists by saying "I can place the assassin on the grassy knoll." Do you know why photon-decay hypotheses were rejected? (Hint: solve your "photon decay" with both energy and momentum conservation (good luck!) or whatever's appropriate in your theory. Do a Monte Carlo simulation of an ensemble of photons from a point source at z=3, applying your decay equation with appropriate probability densities, and keeping track of their directions. When the photons get as far as Earth, make a 2-D histogram of their directions and overlay it with the Hubble Deep Field. Then make a histogram of their energies and overlay it with a high-resolution spectrum from Murphy et. al., Mon.Not.Roy.Astron.Soc. 327 (2001) 1208.)

Quote:
Physics needs a healthy dose of critical thinking right about now, and its lack thereof is making it progressively harder to discount pseudo science.
Every time I have seen someone make this claim, it has boiled down to this: "It is intuitively obvious that X is wrong; the only reason physicists could possibly accept it is closed-mindedness". This is not really different than, "Anyone can see that the WTC collapse is a controlled demolition, so the fact that NIST is still talking about heat-softening shows that they're closed-minded?" You're making the assumption that anything you "intuit", or anything you've proven to your own satisfaction, must be correct and worthy of full-professional-consideration by the field. That's not a good assumption, Terry. You might well find something "intuitively obvious" because you are (a) closed-minded yourself, (b) unaware of some important experiment, (c) misunderstanding the theory (very common!), or (d) a crackpot, or perhaps (e) because it is indeed obvious. I have yet to have seen an example of (e).

Quote:
Indeed, string theory IS pseudo science.
Have you ever talked to a string theorist? In my experience, they will tell you one of two things: a) "I think of myself as a mathematician, exploring a mathematical landscape inspired by physics", or b) "We have hundreds of different theories which all agree precisely with the Standard Model. We hope that most of these theories---maybe even all-but-one of them---will be disproven by internal-consistency checks, so that is what we spend most of our time on. If we get down to one, or a few, plausible theories, we can begin discussing whether this theory is the true GUT and how to find out." You can argue about whether this is worth doing, or likely to succeed, but don't call it pseudoscience. Compare it to, say, bioinformatics. Is it pseudoscience when a genetics researcher leaves data behind and starts writing pure graph-theory papers? Is it pseudoscience when an ecologist invents 10,000 hypotheses on a computer, throws out 9990 of them by comparison to Craig Venter's shotgun data, and publishes the remaining 10 with "further study needed" flags?

Also: String theory is just one branch of theoretical physics. Quantum mechanics, the Standard Model, the Big Bang, etc., all exist independent of string theory; they will continue to exist if the string theory project fails (as it may). Theorists continue searching for non-string GUTs, non-string Standard Model modifications and extensions, non-string/non-GR gravity models, and so on.

Quote:
Milky Way Radial Drift: The RAVE survey that ben m referenced has a resolution of at most 5 km/sec, insufficient to test the effect I propose, which is ~1.5 km/s. Thanks for playing, though.
I know about the 5 km/s, but you don't care about individual star velocities, you want an ensemble average. You need to break down RAVE's systematic error budget and see how well you can determine a centroid.

Quote:
So what happens if space’s curvature is treated statically? It is still represented as a field of dv/dx, but the dv is not the motion of the underlying metric. Instead, dv/dx is induced in objects moving through it, resulting in the slow expansion of photons over vast distances. This is also why the signals from distant supernovae are broadened. Just as the photon is stretched, so to is the distance between them (I’ve got a great graph in the book).
In this case, you don't really have a non-expanding universe---you're just pasting a set of non-expanding coordinates onto the GR grid, saying that your coordinates are the "real" ones, and then treating the GR effects as effective forces. This isn't different in principle from the Newtonian approximation to static gravity (Newton says "this is the fixed x-y-z-t grid of the world, and here is the force field on that grid" whereas Einstein says "this is the curved x-y-z-t grid, along which objects move in straight lines"). If you actually follow particle trajectories on a grid like yours, you certainly can get a situation where the particles think they're following geodesics in curved space.

Of course, you may be confusing yourself by making your photons "decay". If you've got a way to stretch photon wavelengths, that lowers their energy without any additional decay process needed, just like gravitational redshifts and Dopplar redshifts.

So, what's the point? You want the Universe not to expand, but you don't care if all of the particles in the Universe feel like it's expanding? If that's the framework which fits your philosophy, that's fine with me. Or you want the Universe's curvature (or effective curvature, or whatever) do obey something other than the Einstein equations? Fine: write down your equations, specify the free parameters carefully, and do a proper global fit to cosmology data. Don't just describe it and say "it works", because we're going to presume that your criteria are no stricter here than they were when you claimed to "explain" particle physics.
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