Friday, May 24, 2019

Doctor Quark dies

From the NY Times obituary of Murray Gell-Mann:
As with strangeness, the Eightfold Way and quarks were independently discovered by other theorists, but the breadth of Dr. Gell-Mann’s accomplishments and his flare for nomenclature ensured that his would be the name most remembered.

His instincts weren’t infallible. At first he dismissed quarks as mathematical abstractions — an accounting device with no real correlate in the physical world. There was good reason for his skepticism: Quarks would have to have electrical charges measured in thirds, something that was never observed.

After quarks were confirmed indirectly in an experiment at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, in Menlo Park, Calif., Dr. Gell-Mann denied that he had ever doubted their existence. He went on to help explain how the tiny particles are permanently stuck together, keeping their fractional charges hidden from view.
So Gell-Mann wasn't sure if the quarks were real, but he gets the credit because he gave them a good name!

This isn't as ridiculous as it sounds. Coincidentally, Dr. Bee has an essay:
What do scientists mean when they say that something exists? Every time I give a public lecture, someone will come and inform me that black holes don’t exist, or quarks don’t exist, or time doesn’t exist. Last time someone asked me “Do you really believe that gravitational waves exist?” ...

When we say that these experiments measured “gravitational waves emitted in a black hole merger”, we really mean that specific equations led to correct predictions.

It is a similar story for the Higgs-boson and for quarks. The Higgs-boson and quarks are names that we have given to mathematical structures. In this case the structures are part of what is called the standard model of particle physics. We use this mathematics to make predictions. The predictions agree with measurements. That is what we mean when we say “quarks exist”: We mean that the predictions obtained with the hypothesis agrees with observations.
That's right. A quark is just a useful name for part of a mathematical model, it is not clear that it makes any sense to even talk about whether it is any more real than that.

The obituary does partially explain the hyphen in his name: His father was born Isidore Gellmann in Eastern Europe, and changed his name in New York to Arthur Gell-Mann.

1 comment:

  1. Here's an idea, instead of just saying pretentious crap like 'it's a mathematical idea, we scientists don't like to talk about what exists',

    Let's actually talk about the god idea Dr. Bee bases her 'predictive' black holes theory on.

    General relativity depends entirely upon highly NON-LINEAR field equations.

    There are no known solutions to Einstein's GR field equations that contain TWO (or more) masses. When you see a ridiculous CGI picture of a rubber gridded sheet with three dimensional planets, stars, blackholes somehow hovering ABOVE the sheet of space time (nonsense inside the very nonsense of the model itself), just count how many objects you see. More than one? Then it is pure bullshit, as there are no mathematically valid ways you can insert more than one mass into a given space time, unless of course you pretend your non-linear equations are linear, and in the case of black holes, you pretend you can set your Ricci tensor to zero (Ric=0) which means you have REMOVED all sources of gravitation from your given time space (matter and energy), and hand waved the mass back into the model surreptitiously using a singularity as a placeholder for mass. A space with No matter, no energy, where the hell is the source of your gravity? A point? Give me a frigging break.

    GR is effectively holding up an eternal spatially flat mathematical play space that can't even actually model gravitational interaction between anything as a 'model' to describe our universe. So no, I don't 'believe' it, unless of course you can convince me that:

    1. Dividing by zero can actually result in the infinite density required to produce the black hole in David Hilbert's (not Schwarzchild's) contorted math.

    2. Provide ONE definition for what a Schwarzchild radius actually is, who the hell knows as there are MANY, such as:
    a distance
    the radius
    the radius of a 2 sphere
    the coordinate radius
    the radial coordinate
    the reduced circumference
    the shortest distance a light ray travels to the center
    etc. ad nauseam.

    3. Show how a model with only one non-interacting mass can possibly be made to model gravitational relations without containing anything that interacts with said gravity.

    There obviously are very dense gravitational objects in the universe, demonstrated by observation. That said, how can we claim to identify such objects as black holes when the very math they are named after can't model gravitational interactions between two objects at all, even with the empty magical handwaving gestures of mass without a source, division by zero, and infinite density?