Friday, September 11, 2020

We desperately need another Einstein

Israeli-American astronomer Avi Loeb is interviewed in Salon:
To start, let's talk about some of Einstein's contributions to science. What compelled you to help curate this celebration of Einstein's legacy?

Well, to start, Einstein's special theory of relativity revolutionized our notion of space and time.

No, Einstein's space and time was the same as Lorentz's, and years behind the Poincare and Minkowski view that is popular today.
I've wondered, say, if Einstein were born 30 years later, would someone else have figured out relativity, and the photoelectric effect, and so on?
Relativity was figured by others. Not sure about the photoelectric effect.
[String theorists] are still advocating that they're the smartest physicists — although they're not doing physics, because in my book, physics is about testing your ideas against reality, with experiments.
That's right, but the string theorists adamantly argue that they are following Einstein's example.
the most natural versions of supersymmetry are ruled out. So here's an idea that was celebrated as part of the mainstream — not only celebrated, but it was the foundation for string theory.

And so I asked the experimentalists, "how long will you continue to search for WIMPs, these weakly interacting particles, since the limits are orders of magnitude below the expectation?" And he said, "I will continue to search for WIMPs as long as I get funding."

So we do need — we desperately need another Einstein. There is no doubt.


  1. What does a politician, an economist, a scientist, and a prostitute have in common?

    They are all shills. All of them are PAID to have a certain opinion/viewpoint that does not differ from the one who hired them for the very purpose of convincing other people of said opinion/viewpoint. If said politician/economist/scientist/prostitute were to deviate from their script, they wouldn't continue to get quite unsurprisingly, they don't.

    If you are looking for the truth, or original thinking, you would be better off asking a garbage collector than a college indoctrinated graduate.

  2. Ummm... What if the Einstein 2.0 also makes assertions like the following, in his fields of study/research, and never ever even considers correcting them?

    "In accordance with the assumption to be considered here, *** the energy of a light ray spreading out from a point source is not continuously distributed over an increasing space, but consists of a finite number of energy quanta which are localized at points in space, which move without dividing, and which can only be produced and absorbed as complete units.***"

    In my own research, I wasted quite some time assuming that the highlighted part (between *** and ***) was fully validated. It was Lamb's "Anti-Photon" paper that proved to be the turning point for me.


    But if you criticize Einstein, people have a tendency to get offended immediately, even today... For instance, see the second answer here:

    This guy criticizes the Lamb-Scully paper, but he overlooks the fact that the above-quoted statement by Einstein has never been found consistent with all the other things that we do know. There has not been even an iota of an evidence for the spatially discrete nature of the photon in all of the 115 years' history of it.

    OTOH, as I now understand, there are very definite reasons why Einstein's above viewpoint (spatially discrete photons) is, conceptually flawed, and hence, cannot ever lead to a correct mechanics for photons. Not even just for their *propagation*. Not even just kinematically (let alone kinetically).

    And, come to think of it, it was the photoelectric effect paper which proved crucial for Einstein's Nobel!

    Anyway, who is going to waste his time trying to correct people on matters like these? Given Einstein's popularity, it will be beyond a full time job by itself...

    [BTW, criticism like this doesn't mean saying that Einstein didn't do any good work, or didn't have some admirable qualities too. But hurriedly shoving his errors under the carpet, and getting offended unnecessarily even when someone innocently raises a question or two about them, sure shows bad culture on the part of his devotees.]


  3. Ajit,
    I'm responding to you, not the article here.

    If you are going to dismiss the photon as a discrete particle, you also going to have to explain away the results of the single slit as well, not just the double slit experiment. The universe is observedly made of countless things (in three dimensions) that move AND spin at various rates (this compound motion can be measured in an abstract two dimensional plane as an oscillation or wave if you prefer, over a period), not intangible timeless unassigned mathematical abstractions which have no way to carry force or energy.

    If you want to understand the results of the double slit experiment, stop putzing around with disembodied waves interacting with ridiculously solid drawn line barriers and consider what produces said waves in three dimensions. Stop considering the photon two dimensionally and apart from what it actually is, part of a spectrum, from infra-red/heat to gamma radiation it is the same damn thing moving differently. The same exact thing at different levels of energy, but what kind of energy can be added to or removed from a photon without altering its mass? HOW? How could the same thing oscillate differently? What does a rate of oscillation actually imply in actual three dimensional physics? HINT: Can the same exact football carry different amounts of energy at the same rate of travel without adding actual mass? How would this 'energy' affect its movement over the same period?

    You can never understand something you worship. This goes for gods or numbers, so don't become the plaything of either.

    1. CFT,

      This is my view:

      Light refers to an ongoing process of energy and momentum transfer (of a certain kind) from a material object (emitter) to a material object (absorber). Photon refers to a unit of a completed process of this kind.

      The quantum mechanical nature of light requires that energy and momentum associated with each such completed process be quantized.

      But a quantization of energy emission and absorption event do not at all imply a *spatially* discrete photon to connect those two events, though this was a view which Einstein assumed in 1905, and believed for the rest of his life (or at least, he never came to question it, let alone abandon it).

      Coming back to my view:

      We can identify an atom as a spatially discrete entity only because the nucleus is heavy and creates a singular potential field for the electrons.

      Yes, the electronic wavefunctions (as also Psi of the nuclear protons themselves) are all spread over the entire universe. But they are highly nonuniform. The |\Psi|^2 density is overwhelmingly concentrated in a tiny region near the nucleus, and it is negligibly small elsewhere. That's why even QM tunnelling requires very small distances between the two surfaces.

      So, ultimately, it's the Coulombic PE of the heavy nucleus which gives the degree of spatial discreteness which we observe for the atoms. (I talk of non-rel. QM only.)

      There is nothing comparable which might make a photon too spatially discrete (or spatially concentrated around some point) in a similar sense. Hence, propagation of light cannot be seen as propagation of such drop-like (spatially concentrated/discrete) entities. Even if this was Einstein's view.

      Einstein's equation for the photoelectric effect works because it refers only to the end events, not to propagation.

      We can associate the element of a discrete position even to a photon, but only at the emission and absorption points. That's because, ultimately, there are atoms which emit and absorb photons, and as seen above, atoms do have a degree of spatial discreteness due ultimately to the highly nonuniform (singular) Coulombic PE of the nucleus. So, photon is emitted from "here" and absorbed "there", you can say.

      However, while in propagation, each photon represents a transient difference between the concerned part of the universal wavefunction. As such, each photon may be regarded as being spread everywhere in space, while the process of energy transfer is still going on. That's why, it's not spatially discrete in propagation---unlike what Einstein said.

      Other, somewhat relevant, notings: The DOFs (degrees of freedom) represented by the QM spin and the Schrodinger wavefunction are orthogonal; most all mysteries of QM can be discussed without invoking the spin DOF. There is no photon wavefunction in the same sense there is an electron or proton wavefunction. The photon number of the universe is not conserved, though similar numbers for e- and P+ are.. A spatially discrete photon would require continual maintenance of a boundary (or a profile) at all times, without the energy/momentum contents diffusing away. Where is the dynamical mechanism to ensure that? Did Einstein supply one? No! Even Schrodinger's wavepacket for the *electron* could not conquer diffusion in this sense---which was a source of disappointment to him.

      I will not address other parts of your comment except for the last line: Next time you are tempted to write something of this sort, before you jot it down, ask yourself whether I should really need such a piece of advice / wisdom from you. I sure haven't asked you for one, have I?

      PS: Regarding my new approach to QM: People will have to wait for a more formal documentation to come from me---un-sponsored by any funding agency (public or private), and most certainly not by Americans. Accept it, criticize it, reject it, or ridicule it. But no American ever had an idea to sponsor my development. It would be nice if Americans keep that in mind.