The ultimate nightmare

For ten years I have been questioning all the assumptions of theoretical physics. Or so I thought. Never in my darkest nightmares did I ever seriously consider the possibility that the theory of special relativity could be wrong. This morning I woke up from this most dreadful nightmare, and slowly realised it wasn’t a nightmare, it is reality. The Lorentz group does not describe the universe we live in. Panic! Be afraid, be very afraid.

No, don’t panic. The Lorentz group works perfectly well in 3 spacetime dimensions. It’s just that it doesn’t work in 4 spacetime dimensions. So it’s perfectly fine in a flat part of the universe like the Solar System, where all you need is a small perturbation from 3-dimensional spacetime. It is perfectly fine for electromagnetism and quantum mechanics, and for particle physics as long as you consider only one vertex of the Feynman diagram at a time. It only goes wrong when you have two vertices in the Feynman diagram. The evidence that it is wrong in these situations has been building gradually for more than a century, at least since 1884, when Lord Kelvin gave a lecture in which he pointed out that the Milky Way does not contain enough stars to hold itself together. In other words, the evidence against the Lorentz group was already there 20 years before Lorentz’s paper.

How can this be? This is worse than a nightmare. This is a calamity. This is not a crisis. This is a disaster. This asteroid didn’t fly past harmlessly at a distance of 10 million miles. This asteroid will come back in 8 years at a distance of 20 thousand miles. We haven’t got long to get the theory right so that we know exactly where this asteroid will be. The current theory is only an approximation. We’ve got to get it exactly right. As I said, don’t panic, but be very, very afraid.

The particle physics experiments that demonstrate that the 4-dimensional theory is wrong are many and various. The chirality of the weak force, the three generations of fermions, the oscillations of neutrinos, the CP-violation of neutral kaons, the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon, the list goes on and on. Every new experimental anomaly results in a sticking plaster on the previous theory. The standard model consists of a few solid pieces of 2-dimensional metal sheets, stuck together with half a ton of sticky tape. When the asteroid hits, it will be smashed to smithereens. We haven’t got long to invest in the nuts and bolts that we need to bolt these pieces of metal together properly. Let’s get on with it fast. We don’t want to be caught napping again, as we were with Covid-19.

Apocalypse now, or in 2029? Don’t let us take our eyes off the ball (I mean asteroid). We know that our theory isn’t good enough to predict the motion of spacecraft on flybys of Earth accurately enough. We must get a correct theory as soon as possible. Don’t leave it until it is too late.


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