Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

A new mass equation

July 31, 2022

One of the remarkable things about the series of models I have been building is that each one suggests a new mass equation that is extraordinarily close to experiment, but not always in exact agreement. The latest model has thrown up a copy of the strong force, in which the 8 massless gluons are replaced by four fermions (up and down quarks and anti-quarks) and four bosons (pions, including two separate neutral pion states: up-anti-up and down-anti-down). In particular, the sum of these four pion masses should have a sensible meaning. Previously, of course, I have taken for granted the standard model assumption that there are three pions, not four, and never found any meaning at all for the sum of three pion masses.

Two charged pions at 139.570 and two neutral pions at 134.977 makes 549.094 +/- .001, which is quite close to the eta meson (closely related to pions) at 547.862 +/- .018, with a discrepancy of only 1.232 +/- .018. What do you think this discrepancy can be? The difference between an up quark and a down quark? The difference between a proton and a neutron? The latter weighs in at 1.293, or 3.4 standard deviations away from 1.232. So, this explanation is unlikely, but not very unlikely. A textbook I have to hand (2008 revision) gives the eta mass as 547.51, or 20 standard deviations from the current value, so it is very likely that the experimental uncertainty in this mass has been underestimated (as often happens in particle physics).

Still, there are serious objections to such a formula, not least the fact that the charges don’t match. This suggests we need both the proton/neutron difference and the up/down quark difference, at which point the uncertainties in the quark masses completely swamp the discrepancy we are trying to account for, so all bets are off.

There is another possibility, that the two neutral pion states actually have slightly different masses. If so, then the value measured by experiment is a (weighted) average value. In what proportion do you think the two states occur in typical experiments? I would hazard a guess that there are more of the up-anti-up state in proton-proton interactions, and more of the down-anti-down state in neutron-neutron interactions. Experiments, I believe, are biased towards proton-proton interactions, so one would expect a bias in this direction. On the other hand, neutrons are more common than protons in matter, so perhaps the bias goes the other way? In any case, a bias probably exists.

All this discussion is somewhat inconclusive, and all we can really say at the moment is that m(\eta) \approx m(\pi^+)+2m(\pi^0)+m(\pi^-) with a discrepancy of about .2% that is somewhat less than the neutron-proton mass difference and may have a related cause.

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The “early” universe

July 28, 2022

Have you noticed how people are starting to put quotes around “early” in “the early universe”? It’s almost as though the astonishing pictures produced by the James Webb Space Telescope have made people a little less sure about the age of the universe, and what counts as “early”. And well they might. The greater resolution of the JWST means we can see further back in time towards what we assume is the beginning of the universe. And the astonishing thing is, it looks exactly the same 13.5 billion years ago as it does in the most recent few million years. Why is that, do you think?

I say “astonishing”, because a lot of professional cosmologists are astonished, and will be until they tweak their models and say “we were right all along”. But it doesn’t astonish me, and it doesn’t astonish a lot of other people who have been saying the same thing for a long time. The truth of the matter is, there isn’t a great deal of evidence for the “Big Bang” theory of the origin of the universe. There is some evidence, but not a lot. As usual, the main evidence is that there isn’t a serious contender for an alternative theory. This isn’t evidence at all, however, since anyone who has an alternative theory is automatically excluded from the discussion, and from academic life altogether.

I’m not saying the Big Bang is wrong, as a theory. It may be valid or it may not. I am saying that what matters is the scientific evidence, not the perpetuation of an orthodoxy. The Big Bang theory contains a number of ad hoc assumptions, such as “inflation”, that cannot be tested, whose purpose is to make the theory fit the observations, but for which there is zero evidence. That is even before we start on the other fairy stories of dark matter, dark energy, “feedback”, “baryonic physics”, etc, that are designed to make the universe conform to the rules of general relativity, which it stubbornly refuses to do.

I don’t have a theory of the origin of the universe. I don’t think there is enough experimental evidence on which to build such a theory. So I don’t. But I’m pretty sure the Big Bang theory doesn’t come close.

Lunacy

July 28, 2022

The technical term for my brand of theories of physics is “lunacy”. The reason for this is that I recognise the importance of the Moon in perturbing the motion of the laboratories in which the experiments are performed, significantly away from the “inertial motion” which is always assumed in conventional theories. I am tired of arguing that the the laboratory motion is not inertial – this is so obvious that I simply refuse to talk to any physicist who denies it. What I want to argue today is that the Moon is vitally important – literally. Without the Moon, life as we know it could not exist.

This sounds like a statement made by a raving lunatic. It is not. It is mainstream palaeobiology. Those scientists who look seriously into the origin of life know very well that without the Moon, the Earth would be as desolate and lifeless as Mars, or Venus. A planet without a large Moon is too boring to support life. The interior of the planet is not stirred up enough to create enough volcanoes. There are not enough tides to stir the primordial soup. There is not enough weather. There is not enough danger, because without enough danger there is no evolution. It is just too boring – why would any life-form even bother to exist?

Yet somehow, the importance of the Moon in creating life as we know it is largely unknown. Why is this? Why do physical scientists think that water is the only important thing? Why are they looking for planets with water, and not looking for planets with moons? Biological scientists will tell you that water is necessary, but not sufficient. It may not even be necessary. But a large moon is definitely necessary – possibly even sufficient, who knows?

On Earth, life has been found in some very unlikely places. What do these places have in common? Very little, you might think. But they are all either interesting places, like fumaroles, or places that have become boring only quite recently, like the Sahara Desert. Life hangs on in the Sahara Desert, but you can be pretty sure it didn’t originate there. But fumaroles – you can be pretty sure it *did* originate there.

Fumaroles rely on vulcanism. Vulcanism relies on the Moon. But vulcanism also relies on radioactivity in the Earth’s interior. Where does that come from? Surely I can’t be blaming the Moon for that? Can I? Or can I? How much evidence is there for the half-lives of radioactive isotopes outside the immediate environment of the Earth? Very little, I suspect, beyond the fact that nuclear reactors powering spacecraft still seem to work a fair distance out into the Solar System. How do you know the Moon doesn’t reduce the half-lives of enough radioactive isotopes to heat up the Earth’s core significantly? Have you done the experiments? No, I thought not.

Well, maybe that idea is lunacy. But who knows? We have to do the experiments to find out.

Kippers and custard

July 18, 2022

When I first heard this phrase, at an early age, I naturally took it literally, not understanding the principles of rhyming slang. Half a century later, searching on google, as one does nowadays, I found what appeared to be a serious recipe for kippers and custard. Something, in other words, designed to be eaten. I haven’t tried the recipe, so I can’t say whether it works. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

When I was learning to cook, as a student (mainly from Katherine Whitehorn’s “Cooking in a bedsit”), I would occasionally experiment, and one day I asked a fellow student for a suggestion, and he said “porks chops in chocolate sauce”. So I tried it, and in my opinion it worked. Of course, it has to be chocolate without any milk or sugar in it, and you obviously have to add a few judicious spices as well, but I think it worked.

Mrs Cropley (from “The Vicar of Dibley”) was notorious for recipes of this type, and you may recall that the mainstream of the village refused to eat them. But on her deathbed, the vicar reassured her that her recipes were indeed unappreciated genius. Now I have to ask you a difficult question: have you ever eaten any of Mrs Cropley’s cakes? No? Then how do you know they aren’t delicious?

Exactly. You don’t have to try them, because you know they are horrible. I am sorry, but this isn’t good enough. If you pretend to be a scientist, then you must do the experiment, and must abide by the experimental results. Does this recipe work or does it not? Quite often in physics, the experiment does not give the result you expect. You need to be open to this possibility.

Kippers and custard. Quantum and gravity. Chalk and cheese. Many people have tried to write recipes for quantum and gravity, but they are about as digestible as recipes for chalk and cheese. Most people have given up trying to cook up quantum and gravity together, and assume that whatever it is will be completely inedible. A few creative people still believe that with the right oil, the right spices, the right basic vegetables, a viable recipe for quantum gravity can be created.

I am one of those people. You might like to read the papers in which I discuss the relative merits of different vegetables, different oils and different spices, and different meat. Have you tried chorizo in a sauce of carrots cooked in coconut oil with ginger and paprika? I have. But I wouldn’t use it as a base for quantum gravity. Have you tried the binary icosahedral group, cooked in a sauce of Pauli matrices chopped up in a group algebra with Lie groups on the side? I have. I think it is a promising base for quantum gravity. It is a strong but unusual meat, a bit like ostrich.

Have you tried E_8? Many people have, but it’s a tricky animal to cook. You need a good butcher to chop it up into the most succulent steaks, and discard all the inconvenient extra dimensions of spacetime and new forces and new particles that a poor butcher will present you with. Or, worst of all, all those heterotic strings and other tripe and offal that is only worth feeding to pigs.

I understand the anatomy of E_8 quite well. E stands for elephant. 8 is the number of legs. Oh, did you think the elephant has four legs? The Dirac spinor has four legs, the elephant has 8. I’m kidding, of course, there’s a mirror in the room, not an elephant. You can’t cook the elephant in the mirror. That one really is inedible.

An elephant in the room

July 16, 2022

There is an elephant in the room. The laboratory frame of reference is non-inertial.

It is very strange what happens when you tell people there is an elephant in the room. They refuse to see it. It’s not that they can’t see it. Of course they can see it, it is obvious. But they refuse to see it.

But if you want to unify particle physics with gravity, it is rather important not to ignore the elephant. For one thing, it is very heavy. If you ignore the elephant then you are in serious danger of having to invent `dark matter’ – a kind of matter that is very heavy, but can’t be seen. A bit like an elephant in the room.

An elephant in the room is what Douglas Adams called SEP – somebody else’s problem. An SEP field is something that makes it possible for you to refuse to see something that is obvious.

In the case of physics, the SEP is also called the Strong Equivalence Principle. The Strong Equivalence Principle is what enables you deny the existence of elephants in the room. Because it is the principle that gravity is not affected by elephants in the room. Of course, this principle is false, and is well-known to be false. I seem to recall that Douglas Adams dealt with this issue as well – even if you know there is an SEP field that is preventing you from seeing the elephant, you still can’t see the elephant.

If ever there was an elephant in the physics laboratory, it is dark matter. It is there, you can see it. It is in the textbooks, it is in the experiments, everyone can see it. Yet they refuse to see it.

You know what happened when they discovered the muon? They said “Who ordered that?” Someone ordered an electron in the restaurant, and when it arrived, it was a muon! Who ordered that? What you have forgotten is that the restaurant is not in an inertial frame (unless it is at the end of the universe). If you cannot use the same definition of inertial frame for ordering an electron and getting it, then you cannot guarantee that it doesn’t become a muon while it’s being cooked.

Compared to an electron, a muon is very heavy (more than 200 times as heavy). If you cook your electrons at a very high temperature, they can become tau particles, 17 times as heavy as a muon. Very heavy indeed. A bit like an elephant in the room.

Please remember, this restaurant is not at the end of the universe. And if you see an elephant in the room, it is an elephant. It is not invisible. And it is very heavy. It has a gravitational force which you can measure if you have sensitive enough equipment. You do not have to go looking for invisible `dark matter’ to explain what you see.

Editor’s Pick

July 16, 2022

The paper https://arxiv.org/abs/2204.05310, of which I am one of the three authors, has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Mathematical Physics, and moreover has been selected as an “Editor’s Pick”. Quite a contrast with the two previous papers I sent them, one rejected without going to a referee, the other rejected with a three-word report “lacks physical understanding”. One day the true irony of that referee’s report will become evident, when it becomes clear how much I understand about the quantum physics of non-inertial systems, and how little the referee understands about them.

Anyway, this paper was many years in the making, as there were so many crucial decisions we found almost impossible to make. Some I was out-voted on (correctly), some I was out-voted on (incorrectly), and some we just got wrong. At this point, seeing the full picture much more clearly, I am convinced there is one crucial decision we got wrong. This is the signature of spacetime. We opted for (3,1), but I am convinced it is (1,3). Several other wrong decisions then follow from this basic one.

The reason I believe this is because the model we built has no masses in it – the Dirac equation in our model puts mass on a circle, when it must obviously (!) lie on a hyperbola, because there are no antiparticles on a circle. Reversing the signature of spacetime allows mass onto a hyperbola, so allows both mass and quantum gravity into the model. Everything else stays more or less the same.

The reason my co-authors do not believe it is because it proves that mass is not a fundamental physical concept. No mainstream physicist can believe this. But it is true, and my paper https://arxiv.org/abs/2205.05443 provides the statistical evidence, with a p-value somewhere in the region of 1/100000000000000000000, that the mass values we use in our physical theories are all ultimately derived from the dynamics of the gravitational field of the Solar System. In some cases I can even fix the decade during which the Solar System dynamics became ossified in the standard model, while the physical reality has moved on…

We’re all crazy in our family

June 22, 2022

The story goes, in our family, that someone in the family (probably a cousin) at a young age, more than half a century ago, tried to deflect praise away from themselves, by sharing it with the rest of the family. It doesn’t matter what the praise is, the same strategy can be used in any situation. It may not always work, however:

“You’re so athletic” – “we’re all athletic in our family”

“You’re so artistic” – “we’re all artistic in our family”

“You’re so beautiful” – “we’re all beautiful in our family”

“You’re so boring” – “we’re all boring in our family”

“You’re so clever” – “we’re all clever in our family”

Anyway, you get the idea. People often tell me I’m crazy. I just tell them we’re all crazy in our family.

Of course, you already know that I’m crazy. But did you know that my brother https://kennethwilsoncello.com/ is crazy? Did you know that he is currently crossing the Alps on his way from Hadrian’s Wall to Rome, on a bicycle, with a cello? Take a look at his blog, and see if you think we’re all crazy in our family.

But how crazy is crazy? How many cellists called Kenneth do you think there are currently cycling from the UK to Rome? You might be surprised to learn (if you ask google nicely enough) that there’s more than one! How many viola players called Robert do you think there are currently trying to find a theory of everything? I’d be surprised if I was the only one. There are more crazy people in the world than you might think.

And what does crazy mean anyway? Please define your terms first. Most people have a definition which ensures that “you’re crazy, but I’m not”. They think this is a universal definition of craziness, but clearly it isn’t. If you recognise craziness for what it is, first of all in yourself, then you will realise that there is no universal definition of craziness.

Just as there is no universal definition of mass, as I have said many times before. Mainstream physicists insist that they are not crazy, but I am. But look at what they actually believe, and see whether you think I am crazier than them, or they are crazier than me. They believe in the Big Bang, that created the universe out of nothing. They believe that elementary particles are waves and particles at the same time, and that something unknown causes the wave to become a particle every time you look at it. Some do actually recognise that this last is so absurd, that they believe instead that the entire universe splits into myriad universes zillions of times a second. And they have the nerve to call me crazy?

Millions of people have pointed out that the other billions of people are crazier than them, so I don’t claim any credit for the idea. But the billions who are trapped in the box only understand the craziness of going outside the box. They don’t understand the utter madness of staying inside.

Blogging out

May 5, 2022

I have explained at length how to solve the big problems of fundamental physics, and if people still refuse to listen it is their problem not mine. All of them come down to one simple phrase: “rest mass”. In physics there are several mutually contradictory definitions of rest, and several mutually contradictory definitions of mass. Sort those out, and you’re laughing.

Classical Newtonian mass is defined on a Solar System scale, in order to make Newton’s laws of motion and gravity work. The Solar System is considered to be at rest, and we move within the Solar System. This classical mass was good enough to work on the laboratory scale as well, as long as accuracies better than 1/10000 were not required. But when particle physics sought greater accuracy in the 1960s and 1970s, they were forced to switch to a new definition of mass that works when the laboratory is considered to be at rest, rather than the Solar System. These two definitions of mass are inconsistent with each other, as particle physicists are now starting to find out, when they discover that certain particle masses are not what they are supposed to be.

Astronomers want to extend the laws of gravity in the other direction, to the galaxy scale. And they have found that the definition of mass that works on a Solar System scale does not work on a galaxy scale. The reason is clear: the Solar System is not at rest within the galaxy. Our definitions of rest and mass have failed to take into account the fact that the Solar System rotates around the centre of the galaxy. The local Solar System definition of mass, if extrapolated to the whole galaxy, fails to provide enough mass to keep the Solar System in this orbit. Is it the galaxy that is wrong, or is it us? It is quite unbelievable how many people insist that it is the galaxy that is wrong. No, it is our definition of mass that is inadequate to explain the gravitational pull of the galaxy on us.

The inconsistency of laboratory mass (Dirac mass, defined in 1928) with classical mass (Newton or Einstein mass) is a mathematical theorem, due to the fact that their symmetry groups are inconsistent with each other. It is quite unbelievable how many physicists think that physics is somehow immune to the laws of logic. It is quite unbelievable how many physicists ignore both mathematics and experiment, and insist that their theory is correct when it contradicts both.

It is necessary to devise a mathematical model that explains how to transform between different definitions of “rest” when rotations are involved. That I have done. It is necessary to match this model up with experiment. That I have done. It is not necessary to quantise this model, but I have done it anyway. What more do you want?

The big problems are all solved. You can work on filling in the details. I’m blogging out.

“You can’t do physics like that!”

April 23, 2022

This is something I was told many years ago, that I have struggled ever since to understand. I still do not understand it, and I suspect I never will. It all hinges, I suppose, on what “like that” means. As far as I was concerned, I spent a long time thinking about what the real problem was, and then I spent a long time looking for the experimental evidence that I felt was relevant to the problem, and then I spent a long time sorting through this evidence to find what I felt were the vital clues to why the problem had not been solved yet, despite the efforts of thousands of physicists over several decades.

When I found these clues, of course, I had no answers to any questions, no solutions to any problems, no deep insights into the nature of the universe, no mathematical models to explain anything, no physical insight into anything, and no reason for anyone to listen to anything I said. But I had some good questions. I had spent years thinking about the questions, so I knew they were really good questions. The thing that was really difficult to deal with was not that physicists rejected my answers, because I didn’t even have any answers, but that they rejected my questions.

It is absolutely fundamental in all aspects of life, not just in science and mathematics, but in law, journalism, the humanities, politics and life in general, to ask the right questions. One does not have to be an expert in a particular subject to recognise the symptoms of failing to ask the right questions. If you don’t ask the right questions, you don’t solve the problems, and a failure to solve the problems is something that does not require a huge amount of specialist knowledge to recognise.

Fundamental physics in the last 50 years is a particularly egregious example of an area in which the interested layman can easily detect a failure to solve the big problems about the universe we live in. The problems actually go back at least 90 to 100 years, at which time serious contradictions in the theory of fundamental physics began to reveal themselves. Einstein analysed these problems very carefully, but by that stage he was regarded almost as a crackpot, and the mainstream tried to demolish his arguments, rather than engaging with the real problems that he drew attention to. This is, unfortunately, still the case. But Einstein asked the right questions. No-one today is asking the right questions.

To me, there is only one question: “What is mass?” No physicists can answer that question convincingly, and until they can, I do not accept their right to reject my answers, however tentative or partial, to this question.

A toy model of the W/Z mass ratio

April 19, 2022

A miracle has occurred. The arXiv has actually posted one of my physics papers without putting it on hold on suspicion of heresy. Not only that, but they posted it on hep-ph, despite the fact that they would only allow me to submit it to math-ph. You can find it at https://arxiv.org/abs/2204.07970.