6 February 2018

Satire or Reality? Unification vs Experimental Data - On Funding and IQ

I read Schiller's slides about his strand model again. I got the latest version from http://www.motionmountain.net/Schiller-Strand-Colour-Talk.pdf His simple model "retrodicts" general relativity, quantum theory, the spectrum of elementary particles and the gauge groups. And it proposes ways to calculate the standard model parameters.

The ideas could be true. After all, they agree with experimental data.

The ideas cannot be true. After all, why should a single researcher with little funding deduce more results that thousands of heavily funded string and quantum gravity researchers?

A non-funded model cannot be true. Why should there be interest for a unified model that agrees with data? Why should there be interest for a unified model that deduces everything known? Researchers are proud of their funding. There will be no interest for the model in the coming years. Because theoretical research is not a battle for right or wrong; it is a battle for funds. A new entrant that reduces other people's funding is not interesting. Interest will only appear once funds are available.

The ideas cannot be true. They are much too simple. They do not require a high IQ.

The ideas could be true. They agree with data.

A simple model cannot be true. Why should there be interest for a simple model that agrees with data? We all know that unification must be hard, really hard to understand. Researchers in theory are proud of their IQ. Because theoretical research is not a battle for right or wrong; it is a battle to show off your IQ. Showing off your IQ is more important than agreement with data.

All this real world satire.  My opinion? I like the model; it is cute. But it is not finished.  Time will tell.

Update: Schiller will give a talk, on March 22, on his model: https://www.dpg-verhandlungen.de/year/2018/conference/wuerzburg/part/mp/session/11/contribution/3?lang=en .

17 January 2018

MeToo in Physics Blogging

When I see what Sabine Hossenfelder has to endure, when I look at the comments I sometimes get on this blog, when I see what other female bloggers must cope with, I am sad - and angry. How can some men (not all men, but some men!) write things to and about female bloggers they don't even know that are so full of hate? Don't they have mothers, grandmothers, greatgrandmothers? Don't they have fathers, grandfathers, greatgrandfathers? 

All of us have mothers and fathers. We all have female and male sides, and female and male gifts. I am amazed by what women did and can do, and I am amazed by what men did and can do. Life comes to each of us through both. We are different, but we are all where and what the universe wants us to be.

6 January 2018

The spaghetti model of nature - really a theory of everything?

Schiller has posted a pdf with 16 slides: "From Strand Model Unification to the Fine Structure Constant" on his site www.motionmountain.net/research.html . It is a concise summary of his ideas and saves reading his much longer book.

He defines his model, explains his calculation of black hole entropy with strands, and then gives his model for Dirac particles as tangles. He presents his specific particle models and continues with his strand model of interactions as deformations and summarizes his U(1), SU(2) and SU(3) deduction from strands. He also lists quite a number of experimental predictions. All this in just 11 slides. Then he uses just 4 more slides to deduce an approximation for the fine structure constant. He gives an integral expression. There is a summary on the last slide.

As a reader, I was a bit overwhelmed at first. He has the whole of cosmology in a quarter of a slide. OK, it is not the focus of his talk, but its is a daring feat. On slide 11, the end of his introduction of the strand model, he basically says: "sorry folks, there is nothing beyond the standard model - but now we can calculate its parameters." That is quite a claim.

He then only talks about the fine structure constant. I want to check his formula in the coming days. I do not like his approximation yet. And I have several issues with the whole argument. More soon.

9 December 2017

A new spaghetti sauce

An email convinced me to read the text on the spaghetti model again, in its newest version. Yep, Schiller has changed quite a few things in the last two years. His "strand model" is still crazy. In its latest edition, he has no knots any more, just tangles. That simplifies the correspondence with particle interactions.

But some of the tangle-particle assignments are still doubtful: the tangles for the last two neutrinos, for the up quark and also for the W might need revision.

Undaunted, Schiller has a new calculation for the fine structure constant from his model. His simple approximation produces a result within 10%. Amusing. I tend to be skeptical about calculations of the fine structure constant, and I am not sure that Schiller takes his calculation seriously either. But who knows? The model has explained more than any other conjecture that I have read about.

Even though the model is produced by a man, I like it: it is so different from anything else. And it predicts no new physics. That looks like real courage to me.  The spaghetti model is a slap in the face of all those pompous theoreticians that claim that their own theory is the only game in town. I do not whether to laugh or to cry. Let's see wether this sauce is more sucessful.

3 December 2017

Witten - It from Qubit

Witten and many others repeat it like a mantra: "it from qubit". This rallying cry of depressed theoreticians has never led to any tangible result. That is what all my friends and acquaintances told me since I can remember.

But isn't the spaghetti model a realization of the mantra? I hate to put such a loose idea as 'it from qubit' - and such a looser's idea, to be honest - in the neighborhood of the spaghetti model. But the analogy is striking. Is the basic principle of the spaghetti model a qubit?

Is Witten advertizing the spaghetti model?

28 October 2017

Niels Bohr, my physics professor and Peter Woit

I like Peter Woit; he is a nice and honest man. Nevertheless I want to poke a little bit of fun at him.

My physics professor at university told me to read Niels Bohr. That is not easy. But I did it. Most of it I did not like. But I liked one idea of his: Bohr used to write that quantum mechanics is summarized in the statement that hbar is not zero. So did my teacher.

My prof told us that starting from a nonzero hbar value we can distinguish state and measurement. And then quantum mechanics appears. hbar is even at the origin of the term "quantum".

The world was ok - until modern mathematical physicists appeared. Peter Woit is one of them. These people refused this connection between hbar and quantum theory. They claim that is is not that simple, that quantum theory exists by itself, independently of hbar, and that hbar is not the reason for the Hilbert space. History and facts shows the opposite, but who cares? :-)

The ideology behind such mathematical opinions explains why mathematical physicists will *not* succeed in finding the unified theory - especially when male.

22 October 2017

The conformal standard model from Berlin

The Conformal Standard Model - finally an attempt for a unified model in arixv! There have not been such speculations for years. Here it is: https://arxiv.org/abs/1710.06149  by Lewandowski, Meissner, and Nicolai.

So, what should we think about it? The model fits experiments and makes predictions: (few) new particles, dark matter is one of them, and a few more details. So far so good. We will wait for the experimental tests and then see what happens.

But there are reasons to be unsure. A number of questions are not addressed:

- How does the particle spectrum arise? No real answer is given.
- What determines the gauge groups? Is there any answer?
- How exactly do the gauge couplings arise? The answer in the paper is not so clear.
- What about mixing matrices, electric dipole moments and neutrino masses? No numbers are predicted, but (indirectly) ranges of values; so this might be plausible.
- Why does space have three dimensions? No answer is given.
- What happens at the Planck scale? No answer.
- Does inflation occur? No answer - but then, no one is needed anyway.

So what shall we think of the paper? The nice side about it: No supersymmetry, no axions, no strings, no loop quantum gravity. The more questionable side: new particles are predicted that nobody has seen yet.

If they are flowers, they will blossom!

19 October 2017

Why women will need time - but less than sheep

One of my memes is that the theory of everything will be found by a woman. But it will take time. Because many women listen to machos.

And the machos of theory research are used to say: "Your ideas are crazy. And you are crazy." Because this is the definition of a macho: somebody who puts others down.

The good news is that the machos do the same also among men. They put other men down. And men listen to machos even more than women do.  Look at the hundreds of people who work on string theory. They are not men, they are sheep. They follow a path with no chance of success. String theorists are a group of machos surrounded by a larger group of sheep. Sheep are those men who do not dare to behave as machos, but secretly admire them.

Indeed, there are almost no women doing string theory. We know why. We do not ride dead horses!

18 October 2017

When string theory is too hard, work on 1920s quantum mechanics

Important physicists, like Weinberg, 't Hooft and Motl (can you spot the odd one out?) have turned to publish papers on quantum mechanics. Not quantum field theory, not unification. No, the simple quantum mechanics that you learn in high school. When a physicist does so, he has decided to stop being productive in physics research.

Yes, I said "he". So far, I never met a woman that went through this fall from grace. But maybe I will, one day.

A few second-rate physicists have joined in the activity, like Arkani-Hamed. As explained in another post, he had left research since many years. No he cam back to the hobby of all those failed god-seekers.

Somewhere I read that the theory of everything is overrated. I tend to agree. It will not help me to raise my kids, I heard. And writing papers on quantum mechanics is not worth neglecting my kids.

6 September 2017

How not to find the theory of everything

Many men are bizarre creatures. The most bizarre are the physicists looking for the TOE. Here are the main types:
  1. There are those men who continue exploring supersymmetric theories, even though every experiment since over 40 years has proven them wrong. Examples: Witten, Arkani-Hamed, Gross, arxiv/hep-th authors. 
  2. There are those men that only explore quantum gravity, and think they can learn something doing so, against all experimental guidance and without even thinking about gauge interactions: Examples: Sen, Rovelli, arxiv/gr-qc authors.
  3. Then there are the crackpots; the internet is full of them. Examples: vixra authors. They are harmless.
  4. Then there are those men who make fun of all the above groups, but stubbornly refuse to look elsewhere, or to propose or even to discuss alternatives. Examples: Woit, Motl, writers of reviews of the field.
  5. Finally there are those men who think than anybody looking for a TOE is a fool or mad. This group includes the majority of researchers.
Meeting such men is like visiting a zoo: you see strange animals, and you ask yourself what they do all day long in those cages.
  1. Those are people continuously running against a solid wall, because they think the food is on the other side. 
  2. Those people are searching for food in an illuminated empty room. 
  3. They are begging for attention like small zoo animals begging for food.
  4. These are watchdogs for herds.
  5. These are herd animals - animals that nobody distinguishes from their neighbors.
Some men are even found in different cages at different times. Are there any researchers that are not in one of these cages? A researcher has to be outside a cage to find the TOE. This is the first condition for succeeding.

So the big question is: are there any male researchers that are outside cages? At present it seems that none is, thus that no man will find the theory of everything.

Isn't this sad? But there is a solution: a woman will do it. This is the second condition for succeeding.