Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Update on the ESQG 2010

As previously mentioned, I am presently organizing a workshop on Experimental Search for Quantum Gravity (ESQG 2010) that will take place here at NORDITA in beautifully, endlessly sunny Stockholm, July 12-16. The workshop website is here. We meanwhile have almost all abstracts and, together with my co-organizers Greg Landsberg and Lee Smolin, I managed to assemble a preliminary program.

The phenomenology of quantum gravity is a very interdisciplinary field of research that combines many different areas of physics, from particle physics (high energy and high precision) over astrophysics to cosmology, both the theoretical and the experimental side. This diversity is reflected in our participants in the talks we will have. We'll further have several discussions at the meeting to stimulate the exchange and also to identify the key questions that are on people's minds. The topics of the discussion sessions will be:

  • What to sacrifice?
    Moderated by Claus Lämmerzahl, this discussion is meant to explore the question which principles of our today's theories may be violated by quantum gravity, what reasons there are to expect this, and how we can go about to test it. Claus has been participating also in the first installation of ESQG, which took place at Perimeter Institute in 2007. He is well known for his work on the phenomenology of quantum gravity, most notably Lorentz invariance violation and modified dispersion relations.

  • The Future of Particle Physics.
    Moderated by Greg Landsberg, the title is self-descriptive. Greg Landsberg is very well known in the hep community for his work on physics beyond the standard model, in particular the possibility of observing black holes at the LHC.

  • Experiments and Thought Experiments
    Moderated by Amit Hagar (who I got to know through one of his papers on which I commented here, and who is currently working on a book on the history and philosophy of the minimal length), this discussion is meant to explore the value and limits of thought experiments. (We have had a related discussion here.)

Related: I learned the other day that there will be a workshop in Paris, starting tomorrow, on Fundamental Physics Laws: Gravity, Lorentz Symmetry and Quantum Gravity. The Paris workshop touches on some of the topics that will also be discussed at our workshop.


  1. Hi Bee,

    Sounds like a great program! Would love to hear the discussion of "What to sacrifice." It seems something needs to go, either in quantum mechanics or general relativity, to combine them. My own votes (maybe Dr. Lämmerzahl and you would agree) are:

    Energy conservation - no.
    Gauge invariance - no.
    Lorentz invariance - yes.

    Will you be posting videos of the discussions to the web?

    For a long time, I've been working on an apparent inconsistency between the ephemeris describing Earth's orbit and tracking signals from the Pioneer 10 space probe. While the Earth ephemeris is based on a computer best fit to Lorentz-invariant equations of motion, it does not match data from the probe. (Which provides an exceptionally stable platform for direct measurement of Earth's relative motion.) After subtracting Earth's modeled motion, you are left with residual oscillations in the Doppler signal with an annual period. See:


    I'm currently writing up an analysis showing the Pioneer 10 data can be accounted for precisely if a certain preferred-frame effect is permitted in the equations of motion for Earth's orbit.

    Best, Kris

  2. I know little about QG, so just a bit:
    How is the progress of QG affected by the apparent absence (per not finding scattering of Planck-grade photons etc.) of actual "foam" at that scale?

    Also, I think the post on QG at Quantum Moxie, Musing about quantum gravity is interesting, maybe check it out.

  3. Vacuum is isotropic to massless photons, arxiv:0706.2031, 0905.1929, 0912.5057. There is no observed vacuum refraction, dispersion, birefringence, dichroism, or gyrotropy for cosmic lightpaths.

    Massed sector vacuum chiral anisotropy is allowed. Fundamental physical theory is blind by choice to extrinsic, extensive, emergent, observables. Physics' symmetry breakings are ad hoc, after observation.

    DO OPPOSITE SHOES VACUUM FREE FALL IDENTICALLY? Do chemically and macroscopically identical, inverse geometric parity atomic mass distributions violate the Equivalence Principle? Matter vs. antimatter, biological homochirality, and the left-handed Weak interaction are not problems, they are the answers.

    The worst it can do is succeed.

    "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong," Richard Feynman. Somebody should look.

  4. Pioneer anomaly,

    1/3 modeled away

    gr-qc/0205059, gr-qc/0307042, gr-qc/9810085, gr-qc/0310088, gr-qc/0411020, physics/0502123, gr-qc/0506139

  5. The abstracts look interesting. Well done on the layout.


  6. Hi Kris,

    Thanks for reminding me, yes, we are planning on having the talk recorded and uploading the videos. I'm not sure yet though how the details will work out. Like, I've seen the video camera and it exists, but that's about it. This is the first workshop I'm organizing here. Best,


  7. Hi Neil,

    Without data, there can be no true progress because you'll never know if what you're working on actually describes Nature. That's why I'm working on the phenomenology. Best,


  8. Hi Bee,

    It appears that a common theme that runs between the conference you just attended and this one is there seems to be a little soul searching going on in physics at present. One thing for certain I sense a lot of the optimism of a decade ago that we were only a few years away from a TOE (or whatever you would have it called) has now largely dissipated. This reflects itself in the type and tone of the current discussions. I guess the lesson in all this is that fortune telling should remain the job of psychics and not physics. Then again perhaps it was the closeness in their spellings that had things confused:-) Levity aside I’m glad to see more concerned with what is actually known or not as to what implications this genuinely holds for future theory.



  9. If Al is right and "empty" space can scatter particles with mass, maybe it would affect high-energy neutrinos (still following lambda = h/p.) It would be hard to study this, but is anyone thinking about it?

  10. Entanglement and non-locality - how do they manifest themselves in quantum gravity?

    (Question inspired by the part of the PIRSA video of first lecture of interpretation of quantum mechanics that I watched before I fell asleep.)

  11. Hi Neil,

    On your Quantum Moxie link there was a link to Isham's paper, Topos method in the Foundation of Physics

    To think in such "abstract spaces" with the idea of a geometrical dance in face of how we see the universe is always interesting to me. Of course in terms of Lagrangian, or the three body problem, one gets some insight as to how that space in cosmology can be seen.

    I was surprised given the conclusions by Peter Steinberg that "microscopic blackholes" were some how a dead issue in one of the abstracts of Bee's?

    Given a understanding of the phenomenology of the LHC in comparative action, the cosmic particle collisions, such an insight was still relevant in my eyes.

    Understanding QGP in such a quick dissipative states did not mean to me that such examples of faster than light entities could not be seen in the mediums used to measure "other decay particle examinations" from those simulated in the LHC or irrelevant to the Cosmic particle family.

    So you see, you still needed a cross over point.


  12. Regarding "What to Sacrifice?",
    will anyone consider questioning the assumption that G = 6.67 x 10^-8 cgs is valid on all scales?

    Since G is a crucial scaling factor in G = kT, where k = 8piG/c^4, might it not be reasonable to question the untested assumption that it is absolute?

  13. Neil, chiral (anti)neutrino scattering is a low amplitude diagnostic compared to five classes of bench tests. Single particles with spin are chiral only if they are relativistic. I do not know how to calculate a quantitative divergence.

    Prior observation requires vacuum chirality (a left foot) only interact with mass (opposite shoes). Four of five geometric parity experiments can be completed within 24 hours. Opposite shoes are chemically identical, opposite chirality atomic mass distributions. Such crystals containing 10^23 atoms each are trivial to grow.

    Inverse stereocenters that cannot be named are easy to configure. Consistent analysis obtains with ab initio geometric parity (Petitjean) or topology (Flapan). The EP is unaffected by any measurable property (e.g., composition). Geometric chirality can be calculated but not measured (chiroptical signals arise from electronics not mass distribution).

    People are homochiral (left foot). The carvone molecule has one stereocenter (left or right shoe). (S)-Carvone is caraway, (R)-carvone is spearmint. Divergent interaction arises from geometry alone.

    Opposite shoes' vacuum free fall minimum action path accelerations would differ. A preferred direction is unlikely. Acceleration magnitudes differing by less than 10^(-12) relative (easily detected) avoid thermodynamic contradictions. A vacuum "refractive index" would be observed for one chiral sense.

    Lorentz Invariance can be EP-overturned in existing equipment. Chemical tests of massed sector vacuum isotropy exploiting a footnote are better than physics tests further jury-rigging theory.

    1) Parity Eotvos experiment, as posted. The apparatus is in place.

    2) Parity calorimetry. Contrasted enthalpies of fusion of enantiomorphic benzil single crystals vs. time of day, mp = 95 C. Left and right shoes fit onto a left foot with different energies. Differential scanning calorimeters are common.

    3) Parity gyroballs. Enantiomorphic single crystal balls of alpha-quartz and one of amorphous fused silica are gilded with superconductor and Meissner effect levitated in hard vacuum. If the quartz balls spontaneously rotate in oppposite directions vs. time of day while the silica ball is inert, bingo. Dual levitated sphere gravimeters are commercial.

    4) Parity molecular rotors. Vacuum supersonic expansion of seeded inert gas gives skimmed molecular beams with 1 kelvin rotational temps. Paired molecular rotors are shot into a microwave spectrometer, then spin populations are detected vs. time of day.

    The (R,S)-pair is inert

    Eotvos EP violation sensitivity is 5x10^(-14) mass/mass, or 4.49 J/g energy/mass. For paired twistane rotors above, that is a rotational temp of 147 kelvins. FT microwave spectrometers near 45 latitude exist.

    5)Robert Reasenberg's 1000 second Galilean drop, SR-POEM, using enantiomorphic alpha-quartz or gamma-glycine test masses.

    String theory "proves" the EP through BRST invariance. String theory, though it predicts nothing, cannot survive empirical EP falsification through a footnote. Newton worked until lightspeed was not infinite and Planck's constant was not zero.

    Somebody should look. The worst it can do is succeed.

    A formal paper was submitted to appropriate refereed physics journals. Referees rejected the chemistry with zero comment on the physics. Several academic and industrial folks vetted the crystallography and stereochemistry prior to submission. You are wrong.

  14. Robert - all short-scale tests for deviation from Newton's law have failed, down last I heard to around mm scale. But indeed, what if the scale at which G fails is submicroscopic - right at the same level of the possible structure? OR maybe it fails gradually, but I've heard that g is more than inverse square at such scales since gravitons aren't leaking away as much. It seems then, the geometrodynamic foaming would be intensified not weakened. (Or am I missing some contextual issue with even defining any such distinction at that scale ....)

    Al, I'm not sure who you mean by "you are wrong", surely not me who just asked about a related issue. As for whether right and left versions of "same thing" fall at same rate, then what distinguishes "right-hand shoe" from "right-hand sugar" etc? There is no intrinsic definition for handness (unless just point to some overwhelming asymmetry of distribution as normative), it's all relative AFAIK. So then we'd wonder what baseline was being acted on to distinguish different versions (assuming I get your point well enough.) But OK, someone should look.

  15. Assigned sense of chirality is as arbitrary as assigned charge (Ben Franklin did poorly). Existence of geometric parity divergence and its non-superposable antipode is inescapable, unambiguous, and quantitative. All scalene triangles are chiral in 2-D (orientable surface, of course).

    Stereogram. Example of perfect geometric chirality and its antipode.

    The central five carbon atoms (yellow) are unnameable chiral centers. They have no improper axes of symmetry, for the chemically identical substituents are homochiral centers themselves. NIST rewrote its commercial stereochemistry module validated by more than 20,000 test cases - everything everybody could imagine. Uncle Al imagined better.

    The chirality of a molecule bears no relation to the chirality of its crystal. La Coupe du Roi shakes two left hands or two right hands to zero chirality.

    Two dissected stryofoam spheres, painted red and blue, demonsrate even-numbered segments. Odd-numbered segments also work. They are difficult to cut.

    The way things are, stereograms and calculations. This is not a formal presentation. Its factual content is indisputable within each respective discipline.

    No EP test since Simon Stevin and Galileo Galilei has returned other than a net null output. If there is an EP violation it must reside where physics will not look. The proper test of spacetime geometry is test mass geometry. No prior observation prohibits success.

    Theory can be no better than its founding postulates. Newton does not falsify Einstein. Plane geometry does not falsify elliptic and hyperbolic geometries. Extant theory must allow challenges if they are consistent with prior observation and offer a new falsifying observation.

    The only property snugging a decimal point that remains unexamined. Do it.

  16. I am hoping for an answer to my simple direct question from the conference organizers or from Dr. Lammerzahl.

    Maybe the "strong gravity" hypothesis explored by Regge, Salam, Recami, and others in the 1980s was never explored fully and properly.

    Maybe we need to reinvestigate the untested theoretical dogma that G is absolutely fixed for all physical domains?

    Is this a reasonable idea to explore? Is it something that we should be willing to question? Will we? When?

  17. Robert:

    There are tests of the variation of Newton's constant but they run under tests of classical gravity, not quantum gravity, and are not topic of this workshop. The coupling constant does of course run in qg as do all other coupling constants of the SM, but this effect is far off observability.


    Precision tests of Newton's law are down to below 1/10 of a mm.

  18. So, this is the 2nd such conference of its type? May I suggest that given the rapid increase in astronomical data, the acceleration of which shows every sign of only increasing, as well as the first serious papers coming from LHC data in the next few years, that you hold this conference every six months. Theory based on experiment is primed to explode. Six months ago will soon sound like six years ago. The Information Age marches on.

    Lee has finally declared himself one of the Big 3 of this conference. Interesting, at first it was just about you and Greg.

    Look forward to the videotape, Bee. Thanks for this update.

  19. Hi Steven,

    Yes, this is the second such conference. I have made a deliberate effort not to include everything "beyond the standard model" but exclusively such physics beyond the standard model that have a relevance for qg. But yes, there will be more data coming in the next years and I expect the field will be flourishing.

    I don't know what you mean with your remark about Lee. He has been among the organizers from the beginning on, together with Greg and me. Best,


  20. Your pushing perspective toward a finer constitution particularly expressed. While still determining the substance of the "neutron gravitational interference experiment," you might get the idea I think?

    In physics, a neutron interferometer is an interferometer capable of diffracting neutrons, allowing the wave-like nature of neutrons, and other related phenomena, to be explored.
    Interferometry inherently depends on the wave nature of the object. As pointed out by de Broglie in his PhD-thesis, particles, including neutrons, can behave like waves (the so called wave-particle duality, now explained in the general framework of quantum mechanics). The wave functions of the individual interferometer paths are created and recombined coherently which needs the application of dynamical theory of diffraction. Neutron interferometers are the counterpart of X-ray interferometers and are used to study quantities or benefits related to thermal neutron radiation.

    Wayne Hu's early work on B modes works nicely into the abstract you have in correlation.

    With the discovery of sound waves in the CMB, we have entered a new era of precision cosmology in which we can begin to talk with certainty about the origin of structure and the content of matter and energy in the universe.
    Wayne Hu
    See:Sound Waves in the CMB


  21. While I have a perspective on the physiological relation about a "gravity wave spectrum," there is a science side to that thinking as well:)


  22. I don't know what you mean with your remark about Lee. He has been among the organizers from the beginning on, together with Greg and me

    You're quite right. I reviewed the original poster I saw on this conference and Lee's name is included at the bottom after yours and Greg's. Must've skimmed over that one, like equations in QFT. My apologies.

  23. To the 2 Bs,

    (1) The critical issue does NOT involve length scales, per se, but rather with the QUITE DIFFERENT issue of whether you are considering the spacetime WITHIN an atom/particle or the spacetime EXTERNAL to the atom/particle.

    How many times do I have to correct the same people on this important and not entirely subtle dictinction?

    (2) Perhaps the reason for so many years of failed attempts at an elegant and testable quantum field theory and quantum gravity is exactly that the boffins refuse to consider that classical GR DOES apply in the quantum gravity domain. The mental block to this very promising new approach is the religious faith in an absolute value of G.

    Here's hoping that the boffins aerate their brains someday.

  24. Robert: The size of the atom is approximately an Ångström, many orders of magnitude below the distance I was talking about, so your "correction" is entirely meaningless. And yes, thanks, there's plenty of people who consider that classical gravity might be valid "all the way down." Unfortunately, that doesn't solve any problem. I have explained many times that "quantum gravity" doesn't necessarily refer to a quantization of gravity, but to any theory that resolves the apparent incompatibilities between qft and qg. Finally, if your intention is merely to insult, please enlighten people with your incredible insights elsewhere. Thanks,


  25. SH wrote: "I have explained many times that "quantum gravity" doesn't necessarily refer to a quantization of gravity, but to any theory that resolves the apparent incompatibilities between qft and [GR]."

    And what would the major incompatibilities be? Besides background independence.

    Would going to a unbounded discrete self-similar, i.e., a discrete scale invariant, form of GR begin to remove those incompatibilities?

    [I mirror back the cooperative goodwill or competitive hostility that is directed towards me. Capiche?

  26. Robert:

    The evident incompatibility between quantum theory and GR is that it's quantum fields that carry energy and thus are the sources for Einstein's field equations. They can exist in superposition states, but their gravitational field can't because it's classical. That's the major problem. Then there's the problem with singularities in GR which are generally thought to be unphysical artifacts due to the lacking quantum theory, which may or may not be the case.

    "Would going to a unbounded discrete self-similar, i.e., a discrete scale invariant, form of GR begin to remove those incompatibilities?"

    Maybe. Causal sets are of this sort. Discreteness in one form or the other has clearly been one of the most widely investigated options, but as you know there hasn't been no really convincing breakthrough so far.

    I mirror back the cooperative goodwill or competitive hostility that is directed towards me. Capiche?

    You're not "mirroring" anything. As anybody can easily see in this and other comment sections, you're the one initiating hostility and insults. I don't appreciate that. This blog takes me time to write and maintain and I have zero interest wasting it on people like you. My patience is finite, so drop the shit if you're interested in having any exchange at all. Thanks,


  27. Is the fuzzball scenario relevant to this discussion, in light of Bee's last remarks re singularities:
    Fuzzball (string theory)
    If the idea is right, then there aren't any true singularities. I could swear I heard some very recent claim of revising the black hole scenario due to QM, but not sure if related to above etc.

  28. SH: "My patience is finite, so drop the shit if you're interested in having any exchange at all."

    I expected a certain amount of foot-stamping, but really! Such bluster. Please follow your own rules.

    If you want to stop the invective, stop broadcasting it at me at immoderate volume.

    I now switch to objective scientific discussion with the hope that you will follow suit.

    (1) The superposition/classical GR issue is of definite interest, but I am not sure we fully understand superposition at the quantum level (as noted by Feynman and others, or that we know even half of what GR is capable of when you move beyond the existing oversimplified analyses (though people like Szekeres showed how to go to more mature models in cosmology).

    (2) Kerr ultracompacts ("black holes", if you must) are a fact of nature and every one has a bigtime singularity at its center. The same may be true for subatomic ultracompacts. The fact that physicists do not currently know how to handle particles as singularities of the spacetime field (see Einstein and Grommer, PAW, p.2, 1927 for a start on this problem) does not mean that the idea should be rigorously ignored.

    (3) Will anyone ever admit that the conventional Planck scale LTM values are so random, and specifically the Planck mass is so laughably unnatural, that it is self-evident that a serious problem infects this foundational cornerstone of qft and qg?

    DSR shows the way to an empirically-based and highly unified revised Planck scale that is intimately related to the proton, which was considered a fundamental particle the last time I looked.

    Is anyone interested in this new idea if it means challenging the old dogma? Probably not many. But what if it is one of the key clues to finding the one correct path to a genuine reconciliation of QFT and GR?

    Bottom Line: It is painful to see such a promising idea (discrete self-similar GR) being vigorously ignored and/or resisted by the theoretical physics community.

    In the near future, however, the old paradigm, and its absolute G, are destined to become museum pieces.

  29. ...intimately related to the proton, which was considered a fundamental particle the last time I looked.
    You know of quarks, so am I missing some way of defining "fundamental" (like, stand-alone)? And isn't DSR now highly discredited?

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  31. Yeah, come on Robert, your strength is in understanding the fractility of the Universe (Alain Connes asks us to stand each time "the Universe' is mentioned ... thanks to Lee Smolin and TTwP for that), why did you go and send us back to the '60's and the utterly failed "nuclear democracy" (which was more of an American attitude than a European one)?

    Nice catch, Neil.

    Next catch: get J-lab to run your 3-beam splitters, 4-mirrors Mach-Zehnder Interfermoeter Provable/Falsifiable experiment re Quantum Decoherence. How's that going? :-) (I may be off on the number of beam splitters).

  32. Steven, it would be wonderful for a DOE facility like J-Lab to run that sort of experiment on request for someone else's edification. (BTW I am not an employee, just know some of them, do things for them on the side etc.) But I guess it wouldn't hurt to try and ask around. Note also, I think the circularity test (newer thread) is more theoretically important (actual info, not just interpretative shake down), but very hard to do.

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Not aware of the circularity test, sorry, I'll read in the next few days, but I'm busy as hell atm trying to do a great job for my bosses at my temp job as I try to come up with the cha-ching change needed to send my 2 oldest kids of 4 to college.

    Not knowing anything about your new theory atm, please do us a favor by making it provable/falsifiable, like your last one, or at least one or the other, unlike say, MWI or Anthropic, which is neither.

    In other words: DO Science! Props man. And no, it would NOT hurt to ask around. It's called: "networking", and networking is pretty much how any damn thing is ever done among us humans. Step away from the blackboard, Neil. Americans like us are "doers." Do the American. Give it your best shot.

    This just in .... Woo-HOO, Falcon 9 launched! Awesome!

    Humanity (the greater thing of which we are all but individual cells in its body) marches on!

    Gratuitous on-topic stuff:

    The particular topic of the Nordita conference, while only the 2nd of its type, strikes me as having the important potential of being called "the next Solvays", referencing of course those great 1911-1930 series of Physics conferences that pitted the two finest minds of their day, Einstein and Bohr, against each other.

    I do not know who the next Einstein and Bohr will be (certainly not me), but thanks to the Internet and conferences such as this, it shouldn't be long before we find out.

    Here's a big thumbs up to you and Greg and Lee, Bee, and everyone else involved. Make it memorable.

    I've been looking forward to this conference for 6 months now. I can hardly wait.

  35. NB: "You know of quarks, so am I missing some way of defining "fundamental" (like, stand-alone)? And isn't DSR now highly discredited?

    I have no need of "quarks", which I believe were introduced numerologically and whose masses could not/cannot be predicted or retrodicted, and whose existence was empirically falsified until they were hidden inside other particles and rendered unobservable. Seen any "quarks" lately my friend? You will say that unobservable X which decays into unobservable Y which decays into something real is "direct proof" of a "quarks" "existence".
    Oh, fer shur.

    If ANYONE at this blog thinks they can show any observational evidence that would "discredit" Discrete Scale Relativity, let them make their case. I bet I can show them to be wrong, or that the uncertainties in their arguments prevent any honest falsification or verification at this point.

    Finally, are you happy with the conventional Planck scale? If books say those completely untestable bizarre LTM values are correct, is that the end of the matter for you?

  36. SC: "Yeah, come on Robert, your strength is in understanding the fractility of the Universe (Alain Connes asks us to stand each time "the Universe' is mentioned ... thanks to Lee Smolin and TTwP for that), why did you go and send us back to the '60's and the utterly failed "nuclear democracy" (which was more of an American attitude than a European one)?"

    I recommend that you take your meds, or change them.

  37. Robert, you wrote;
    I have no need of "quarks"...

    And therefore I, nor any rational person, has need of you.

    I'm sorry you deep-sixed your reputation with such an ignorant comment, but you did.

    Quantum Chromodynamics is a real and experimentally verified theory, whether you like it or not. Get over yourself, man.

  38. Robert:

    Thank you for finally managing to formulate a comment in an almost reasonable tone. I am sure with some more practice you'll manage to get there faster. Unfortunately your comment is now is off-topic, so I'll only briefly reply and hope that you move this discussion elsewhere.

    1) That doesn't solve anything.

    2) This idea has not been ignored, it never went anywhere. It in fact reappears on the arxiv every other year. It's plainly an idea that has been entirely fruitless.

    3) I don't know what you mean with random, but in case you're asking why the Planck scale has the value it has, that's commonly known as the Hierarchy problem. If you believe that's something that "nobody ever admits" you kind of must have missed thousands of paper that have been written on the topic.

    "the proton, which was considered a fundamental particle the last time I looked."

    That must have been a while ago then.

    "Is anyone interested in this new idea if it means challenging the old dogma? Probably not many."

    Your impression that scientists have not considered ideas you favor evidently stems from your lacking overview on what has happened in physics after Einstein's death.

    "however, the old paradigm, and its absolute G, are destined to become museum pieces.

    Possibly. I already said above, that there's people studying variations of Newton's constant (and of other constant's). So far there's no evidence whatsoever.



  39. Hi Phil,

    Reading this blog, you might not get a very good impression of what is going on in the physics community in general. I don't have the impression there is a lot of soul searching. The FQXi workshop I just attended is a very unusual workshop and that my workshop too features some general discussion dissecting the hopes and procedures we use is less an indication for the soul searching of the physics community and more an indication for my own believe that occasional reflection is beneficial. The same holds for the optimism that we are short from finding a TOE that you think is dissipating. For some, it's been dissipating since the early 90s already, and for some the great breakthrough will always be just tomorrow. Thus, before you draw too many conclusions from what I discuss on this blog, maybe look around somewhat. Check what conferences are being held elsewhere, and what other people discuss. Best,


  40. I would like to try to take this back on-topic. My initial post was on the specific topic of "What Should We Sacrifice".

    I suggested that we might have to sacrifice ABSOLUTE G, in favor of discrete Scale-dependent G. The latter is NOT a G that "runs". It is a G that differs discretely by a factor of ~10^38 when you change cosmological Scales: say, Atomic Scale to Stellar Scale, or Stellar Scale to Galactic Scale.

    Now consider another person's suggestion. A person, whose name is withheld to protect the guilty, wrote the following in a paper put on arxiv.org yesterday. "It appears that gravitation is no longer fundamental, but rather is an effect of holographic entropy."

    Egad! Is this person's trashing of GR in favor of a cartoonisn replacement acceptable, while my hypothesis is not!? Throwing out one of the crown jewels of science is dandy, but making an evidence-based amendment to GR's scaling is not? Are we in Wonderland where the absurd is fashionable, while the rational is obsolete?

    Some helpful hints for useful follow-up posts.

    1. Is Scale-dependent G falsified by existing empirical knowledge?

    2. Why question absolute G?

    3. Do we gain or lose by rejecting absolute G.

    Please drop the condescending attitude. In matters of natural philosophy it is unwarranted.

  41. SC: "And therefore I, nor any rational person..."

    I am very pleased that you are so candid about this distinction.

  42. Robert, I think the story on quarks is the predictive power of the model, for understanding particle behavior. Sure we can't isolate quarks, so we rely on using it as conceptual tool - "the act like they're made of three ...." (or two, etc.) As for DSR, are you aware of Bee's thought-experiment against it?

  43. Greetings Neil B,

    You said: "Robert, I think the story on quarks is the predictive power of the model, for understanding particle behavior. Sure we can't isolate quarks, so we rely on using it as conceptual tool - "the act like they're made of three ...." (or two, etc.) As for DSR, are you aware of Bee's thought-experiment against it?"

    (1) I sincerely do not mean to be rude or facetious when I say that this is the same argument the 17th century "scholars" gave for claiming that epicycles were demonstrably real and that no other explanations were required or wanted.

    In science, empirical evidence overrules theoretical hypotheses, no matter how many people believe in them, or who believes in them, or who discovered them, or how long they have been adopted.

    (2) Are you confusing Double Special Relativity and Discrete Scale Relativity? Wow! There is a universe of difference between these two theoretical models.

  44. Robert:

    I have already told you above what there is to say about a "scale dependence of G." First, it doesn't matter if you want to call it a "running" or not, scale dependence is exactly what people mean with running. You probably know that in models with large extra dimensions the strength of the gravitational interaction effectively increases on the sub-atomic scale, no? Second, as I told you at least two times above, there's numerous tests on spatial and temporal variations of G, constraints that you'd have to fulfill. Third, I'm not interested in hearing yet another repetition of your self-promotion and your ignorance of my replies. If all you have to say is: G might be scale-dependent, all I have to say is yes thanks, I heard it, what's new about that?

    As to your insistence that quarks don't exist, it's pathetic. I recommend you open one or the other textbook on QCD and reproduce all the data you find in there without making use of the quark model. You could begin with the baryon octet and decouplet, dozens of branching rations, and finally you'll have to reproduce every single cross-section in the particle data book. A particularly nice example for the confirmation of the quark model is Fig 12 in this paper, that you might want to pay some special attention to. And if you've done that, I recommend you submit your results straight to Nature and not in this comment section.

    "Please drop the condescending attitude."

    You get what you give.

    All further off-topic comments of yours will end up in digital nirvana.



  45. Robert - I wouldn't confuse doubly special relativity with discrete scale relativity in themselves, but was thrown by use of abbr. DSR which I'm accustomed to seeing for the former. There could be a relation anyway since the point of DSR(1) is to handle relative mass-energies approaching PS level (eg. a photon blue-shifted to PE by relative frame.)

    As for quarks, they enable understanding of particles; and unlike epicycles, there is no simpler model just waiting to be used instead. If there was, I suppose it would be.

  46. Robert, you should write a Wikipedia article for "discrete scale relativity" - BTW almost all references on web are directly to you, so you can forgive me for not recognizing "DSR" in that usage since it almost always means the other. I recommend some other acronym, maybe RDS for relativity, discrete-scale etc. It may indeed have relevance to quantum gravity.

    BTW I'm rather defensive of the quark model due to hanging out with Jefferson Lab crowd.

  47. I do not think it is appropriate for any scientist, regardless of the sheepkins on the wall, or the lack of them, to act as if they are some kind of conduit for received wisdom.

    Saying that questioning the fundamentals of the substandard model is "pathetic" is a clear and candid demonstration of that arrogance.

    You are entitled to your opinion. You are not entitled to insist that it is absolute truth.

    When science censors the questioning of untested theoretical assumptions, it is in trouble and has been put into jeopardy by those who practice such biased postmodern "science".

  48. Robert: You forgot to compare yourself to Galileo. I have neither censored you nor have I "acted" as if I'm a "conduit of received wisdom," I have merely nicely pointed you into the direction of more than 3 decades of evidence that somehow seem to have passed you by. The other thing I've now tried to tell you several times, apparently unsuccessfully, is that this is not the place to discuss Robert L. Oldershaw's ignorance about contemporary science. This blogpost is about the upcoming workshop ESQG 2010, and your comments are entirely use- and pointless to the matter. If you want to continue your explanation of your worldview or your theory of whatever, please do so elsewhere. I hope that was clear. Thanks,


  49. Robert: You forgot to compare yourself to Galileo.

    Unless I'm misinformed Galileo was confined to his quarters because he did not acknowledge that his theory about the heliocentric universe wasn't an established truth at the time, and as a lecturer he should not tell his students otherwise. The church did not censor him, strictly speaking...

    ...nor have I "acted" as if I'm a "conduit of received wisdom,"...

    Most physicists that I know are very open minded and tolerant, but one thing they do not like is someone challenging a well known theory without demonstrating sufficient knowledge and understanding of it (and not admitting that).
    You have to invest some effort to convince them that you know what you are talking about, that's not censorship (and don't use "self-appointed defender of the orthodoxy", that earns you 20 points on the Baez crackpot index).

  50. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  51. Robert:

    You have exhausted our patience. You have no clue how stereotypically dumb your final complaints about "censorship" and accusations of "cowardice" are. As has become clear from this comment section and from previous ones, it is evidently futile trying to get any knowledge inside your brain. You just clog our comment sections with demonstrations of your misunderstandings that waste our time and wreck any constructive discussion we are trying to achieve. We have absolutely zero interest in that. We will henceforth delete all your comments, irrespective of content, till the end of August. If you wish, you can come back after this. I hope this gives you some time to reflect on your behavior and figure out how you can contribute more constructively.



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