How Many Dimensions Make a Universe?

Modern physics is full of references to “dimensions.” A mathematical term in use since who knows when, it became attached with quasi-mythical associations soon after Albert Einstein coined the term “raumzeit,” or spacetime in the early part of the 20th century. Actually Einstein drew the concept from two other mathematicians of his time, Poincaré and Minkowski, who first posed the use of time as a fourth dimension to clarify some of their mathematical formulae, but considered the resultant 4-dimensional construct as imaginary. Einstein instead made his “four-dimensional continuum” a central part of his Theory of General Relativity, published in 1915. For Einstein, space and time became parts of the real universe, even though neither has any real attributes that are discernable to the human sensory system.

As a young man, fascinated by science, and its literary counterpart, science fiction, I was enthralled by the notion of a mysterious fourth dimension, the idea of time travel, and possible movement into another universe through “wormholes” in spacetime, translation into a another dimension, and the like. Only later, when my education caught up with my fantasies, did I understand what was really meant by a dimension and began to question how one could be considered an actual entity in the real world. This is what I learned, and from it came a new understanding of how error can become institutionalized and almost a permanent part of our consciousness.

A dimension is nothing more or less than a descriptive term in language that refers to certain attributes of objects, events, and phenomena, the entities that make up the class of real elements  in the world. As a descriptor in a language it is not real in the sense that it is discernable outside of our consciousness but occupies a level of abstraction higher than the real entities it describes. Dimensions are applied to measure, describe, communicate quantifiable attributes of objects, events, and phenomena, as in denoting the length of a line, the length and breadth of a planar object, or the length, breadth and height of a solid, what we call a 3-dimensional entity. For example, a rectilinear box can be described by stating the value of those three attributes of the object, in whatever dimensional units common to the location or region in which the object is located. Common units are, for instance, feet and inches in the U.S. and some other English language speaking countries, in meters, centimeters, etc. in those regions where the metric system is in use. But you can make up your own as long as you explain them to your audience.

For an object that has a form that is more complex that that of a rectilinear box, additional dimensions my be required to describe  and measure its form and character. A toroidal form, for example, might require dimensions for its outside diameter, its cross sectional diameter, and the cross-section’s  rotation through 360°, in this case still only three dimensions but different ones from the previous example. You can see, however, that different types of objects require different dimensions for their appropriate description. The dimensions described are the so-called spatial dimensions. Besides being used to denote the size and  form of objects, there may be dimensions that locate an entity relative to other entities, either established reference points, as used by land surveyors, or separation distances between one entity and another.

In short, I think that it is apparent that there may be an unlimited number of so-called “dimensions”, but they are inseparably tied to the object, event, or phenomenon they describe; they do not exist as actual entities in and of themselves in some abstract region of the cosmos.

We use dimensions to describe events and phenomena as for instance, a storm system or hurricane. We describe it as being located so many miles from land, in a specific direction, as having winds of certain velocities at specific altitudes, as being of a certain size, as growing in intensity or weakening; each of these descriptive terms are quantifiable, and can be called dimensions.

In my fifty plus years as a practicing architect, I became intimately acquainted with the importance of dimensions. Without them, I could not communicate my desires and intentions to those who would implement my plans and turn them into useful products. I used them both to describe the products and their locations. And I used dimensions to describe other characteristics that had to be included in the final work. These included the capacity of heating and ventilating systems, the quantity of water to the plumbing systems, the voltage and current carrying capacity of electrical components. Each of these values was a “dimension.”

There is another set of dimensions of course, Loosely referenced in the discussion above, in talking about air, water, electricity, and in the storm example, there is the question of movement and its characteristics of velocity and acceleration. The calculation of these elements requires another dimension which we commonly refer to as time. Time is talked about by everyone and for centuries has escaped being understood. For our discussion here, it is important to understand that time, like space, exists only as a conceptual entity in our heads, not outside of them in some mysterious realm. Like space, you cannot reach out and grasp a handful or a cup full and examine it in your laboratory. Like space, you cannot bend it, curve it, break it slow it or speed it up. Its place in our quiver of descriptive tools is as a measure of the duration or persistence of objects, events, or phenomena. It is also nothing more than a descriptor, its units of measure derived from the observed regular periodicity of other events such as the recurrence of day and night, or the passage of earth around the sun. We use it in this way to calculate the velocity or acceleration of objects, events or phenomena or as a measure of their duration. The old joke is correct, “Time is just one damn thing after another”. It has no meaning or existence in and of itself except as it relates to the duration, the persistence of the real entities in the universe.

For the last hundred years or so, physicists have been guilty of misapprehension, misattribution, misrepresentation and downright misuse of the conceptual entities they call space and time, and what they have designated as the “dimensions” of those concepts. Einstein was not the first, only the most famous to propose a “four-dimensional” continuum (three spatial dimensions plus time) as a model for the cosmos, and to build a complex mansion of theories on that hypothetical ground. For the last thirty or so years people who call themselves theoretical physicists have built mighty dream palaces on that platform; string theory, SUSY, branes, multiverses, and the like, none of which are testable or can be the basis for predictive research or can be seen to have any relationship to the real world. I believe that this descent into unreality is the result of despair at trying to build something real on an unsupportable platform.

People ask, “How many dimensions are there?” The simple answer is, “There are as many as you need.”  They have nothing to do with the structure of the universe, only as a way to measure, describe, and communicate our observations. The mathematicians have great fun playing with “multidimensional” worlds and concepts. These exist only in their heads, and, it seems, leave little room for real thinking. The math is not reality, it’s only one tool for describing it. But until we find a way to move physics back to its real original task, that of understanding and explaining reality, there is little hope of progress.

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Reality in Physics 2 (3?, 4?, n?)

 Some months ago, a post on a theoretical physics group discussion asked the question, “What are the greatest unsolved problems in theoretical physics, today?” Almost without exception, the comments from subscribers focused on issues of filling in chinks in the so-called standard model and its variants, and resolving the still major conceptual conflicts between relativity and the various quantum theories. Notably absent from the discussion was any question about the absence in the standard model of any relationship to observed reality.

A  definition:

Scientific reality consists of the class of objects, events, and phenomena characterized by a discernable presence and measurable persistence. This is the world that exists outside of our heads, and we, our minds, our bodies, and our actions are members of that class.

Scientific realists, a class in which I personally claim membership, assume that reality and its entities, observable objects, events, and phenomena, exist objectively and independent of whether or not there exists an observer to experience perception or carry out measurement. They believe that reality is rational, predictable, and accessible to human reason.

I am convinced that the absence of scientific realism from modern physics and cosmology is the greatest unsolved problem in theoretical physics today. Whenever I have raised this question in discussion I have had the response, “Well, you are stuck in a classical physics mindset.” Well, yes! Theoretical physics in the quantum era, and by that I mean the time period from Max Planck’s assertion of the quantum principle and its appropriation by Einstein and by Niels Bohr and his coterie of mystical thinkers, until today, has moved entirely away from any pretense of offering explanations of how the observable world actually works. It has become, rather, a discipline that deals only in unproven and unprovable assumptions, in reducing reality into descriptions, into probabilities, and mysterious concepts called “wavefunctions,” “superpositions,” virtual and “real” particles never seen but only assumed to exist by observation of their supposed “tracks” in a medium. These imaginary entities have then been used to justify new creation myths of the origin and growth of the universe including the “Big Bang,” that is, the creation of the observable universe out of nothing, or as the result of something labeled a “quantum vibration” or a “quantum discontinuity,” both substitutes for an agreement that we don’t actually know anything about which we are making assumptions.

Physics is in desperate need of resubstantiation. Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr are both responsible for leading us down this primrose path. Einstein, while considered a strong proponent of realism in physics, particularly in his long argument with Bohr over the “action at a distance” anomalies in quantum physics, in fact based his elegant equations of General Relativity on the presumed objective existence of two demonstrably not real, unobservable, unmeasurable, unmanipulable entities, space and time. Bohr did the same in embracing an invented hypothesis—”wavefunction”—also unobservable, unmeasurable, unmanipulable—to explain away the contradiction between observed wavelike phenomena and the religiously held assumption that everything, including invisible fields, gravity, even space itself, is made up of “particles.”

Science, particularly physics, is based on a powerful foundation. It aims to explain the workings of our observable world and the universe, the cosmos, in which it exists. It is a collection of disciplines that share a complex but in many ways simple methodology, a continuum that begins in observations, correlations, theories and models, experiment and further observation, confirmation or disproof, and repeat of the cycle. At each stage, it is important that the scientist takes care to avoid the dangers of incomplete or superficial observations, of intentional or unintentional bias toward tradition or long-held theories, misattribution of observations which may have more than a single potential cause, or even of bias toward a particular theory because it seems more elegant or even beautiful in its initial form, a bias that can lead to selection of only those observations that support the theory and the discarding of those that do not.

When Einstein, in the 1920′s, challenged the proponents of quantum theory, he did so on the basis that it was incomplete, that it failed to answer or ignored many questions in the physical world it purported to explain. And while he acknowledged the incompleteness of his own General Relativity, it seemed to him so elegant that it might even survive contradictory evidence. And to their credit, scientists who thought they understood both quantum theory and relativity, still believed, at least until recently, that the two would some day be reconciled into a grand unified theory of the universe.

Two important barriers remain, however. Both candidates for this hoped-for reconciliation cannot shake the perception that they are based on unsupportable assumptions. The unreality of space and time in the case of relativity, and the apparently unresolvable paradoxes and contradictions of quantum theory, which seems more and more to have roots in eastern mysticism rather than in objective observations of reality. When challenged, advocates of both theories respond in typical ways. As mentioned before, challengers are accused of opposing because they do not understand the theories, or, the math proves the theories must be true, or, this new theory requires its own language. Classical paradoxes are cited, like Zeno’s Paradox for example, itself only a word game. The Schrödinger’s Cat fable, another word game, originally proposed to demonstrate the contradictions in quantum theory, is rebranded to support that very outcome. Imaginary scenarios are invented, like string theory, multiverses, ‘branes, dark energy, dark matter, all supported only by prior unsupportable assumptions (capably debunked in Jim Baggot’s book on “fairy tale physics,” “Farewell to Reality”), or based on long-held unshakable assumptions, like the atom theories of Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius from 3000 years earlier (where “particles” come from).

It is suggested in some of these totally unsupportable speculations, that there could be another, or many more universes out there, and possibly some where the “laws of nature” may differ from ours. Of course one may speculate about anything, but this seems clearly outside of science. But what do these imaginers mean when they pose “the laws of nature?” I suppose they mean things like Newton’s Laws of Motion, . How did these become known as “laws” with the attendant implication of having been handed down or imposed on nature, by some unseen hand, perhaps. I think that this affectation arises from a long held assumption that every action or phenomenon has a cause. Causality has a long history in philosophy and common usage, but I would suggest that it should be seen as a mind-set or historical construction with confusing if not downright negative effects on our understanding.

What Newton and every scientific mind before and since his time has sought are not laws per se, but patterns in the appearance or behavior of natural events. When after long study, those patterns seemed to be consistent over a longish period, they came into use as predictors of behavior for entities undergoing similar conditions or circumstances. Calling that pattern a law is perhaps a natural inclination, but it tends to obscure its true nature as simply an observed or persistent pattern and imparts the notion that it is forever immutable and the it cannot be violated without punishment. This is an important problem that I believe leads to a fundamental misunderstanding of the true nature of an important process. For example, it is found frequently in discussions of another discipline, Darwin’s theory of natural selection, or evolution. Even among experts and scientists with powerful credentials, one may hear the phrase “evolutionary pressure” when referring to the emergence of some characteristic that happened to give some creature an evolutionary advantage. This is a misreading of the random process of the appearance of favorable traits or functions that give an individual or group an evolutionary advantage, and can only be seen as such sometimes long after their appearance. This is an inherited mind-set that seeks “causation” rather than the uncovering or discovering that some pattern has appeared in the fossil (or physical) record.

So, as we go forward in this discussion, the reader should be apprised, we will be looking for patterns, not laws; we will seek to discover, or, if insufficient evidence emerges, to tentatively infer, that certain occurrences, or correspondences, be they of objects, events, or phenomena, exist as a result of their fitting a consistent pattern. How those patterns arise and function as templates, and the rules and conditions underlying their workings will be the new “laws of nature” so to speak, but we will see them more as the “DNA” of the universe, the internal instruction set, in the same way that we understand how the DNA of living creatures, made up of just a few elements but with myriad combinations and relationships,  have generated the rich abundance of life here on earth. These will be the roots of the simple universe.

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Song of the Simple Universe

Here is my holiday offering to all my readers. Thank you for reading.

 Song of the Simple Universe

(Hadrons are a class of fundamental particles enshrined in the lexicon of the standard model of modern physics. The Simple Universe is the theory that all is energy.)

Who has seen a hadron?                                                                                                                        Who knows she exists?                                                                                                              Clothed in colors, flavors, spins.                                                                                                 Wrinkles in a mist.

Who has seen a hadron?                                                                                                                   Called her by her name?                                                                                                                  Fermi, bose, neutrino, higgs,                                                                                                              Are they not the same?

We have seen the hadrons.                                                                                                                 Cosmic wrinkles small,                                                                                                                    Distant giants, moons and stars,                                                                                               Creatures short and tall,                                                                                                             Walked among them, tasted, touched,                                                                                   Energetic, all.

(To be sung to the tune of “Who is Sylvia?” words by William Shakespeare, melody by Franz Schubert) Charles Scurlock, 2013

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Back to Reality (Once more into the breach, dear friends…)

“Four definitions to ponder:

1. Space has no substance hence no reality in and of itself. What is called space is an absence of substance. If it is designated as having limits, it can be denoted as a container or enclosure of some other substance or activity, but it has in and of itself no physical attributes.

2. Time has no substance hence no reality in and of itself. What we call time is a system of measurement used to describe the persistence or duration of objects, events, or phenomena. It exists only in units of measurement such as seconds, days, eons, conveniently derived from our observations and parsing out of regular, predictable events and durations in our world.

3. A dimension has no substance hence no reality in and of itself. What we call a dimension is a quality, a description, a measurement, a characteristic of an object, an event, or a phenomenon that enables us to describe or quantify characteristics of those entities and to communicate those qualities to others in terms such as microns, meters, light-years.

4. A wave has no substance hence no reality in and of itself. A wave is a form, a characteristic, a quality, a description of some substance. Waves can be generated and detected in fluids, as in air or water; and in electromagnetic fields, but they cannot physically exist independent of a carrier medium.

Each of these four words are constructs we use in language to describe and communicate descriptions of real substantive objects, events, and phenomena. They are critical to our understanding of concepts used in physics, the science of real objects, events, and phenomena. But they are not in themselves the real, substantive objects, events or phenomena. They are merely the words we use to describe the qualities, characteristics, forms, of real entities.

So when Einstein describes a hypothetical entity he calls spacetime, a four-dimensional substance that can be bent, curved, distorted, to induce or influence real events, objects, or phenomena, his concept is nothing more than a word game, using descriptors as substitutes for real entities, giving hypothetical substance to what are only words, hence creating a fiction substituting for reality. When a modern physicist like Lawrence Krauss postulates “A Universe from Nothing“, the title of his 2011 book, he bases his conceptual model on hypothetical entities without substance outside of mathematical models. Other authors and theorists are equally guilty of conflating descriptions, second-  or third-order abstractions, substituted for  real point-events or objects. Of course, conceptual models have value, but they also carry a burden of having some direct relationship to the real world.

Physicists of today continue to use expressions such as “the vacuum”, :”the field”, “space”, freely, sometimes interchangeably, without qualification, to describe some entity they use in their conceptual models of the universe, or for submicroscopic physical entities like the profusion of “particles” in the various versions of what is called quantum theory.  When pressed for an explanation, they often qualify their assertions with expressions like, ‘well,  the vacuum is not really empty’, or ‘empty space is filled with something’, or ‘it’s a quantum vacuum’, intended to mean that it is actually filled with something called quanta, which is another word originally invented as a descriptor, but which has been miraculously converted to an entity. And they say that perhaps these entities do not really exist, they may be “virtual” or only “probabilities” that something might exist.

What has happened here is that we have invented systems of measurement and description so that we could accurately and consistently discuss, describe, and communicate those descriptions to each other, first in words of a language, then in mathematics, another language that became a useful shorthand for words.

Then, in the absence of evidence, we have been seduced into substituting the language, the descriptions, for the missing reality. And have made a huge intellectual industry from that substitution.”

I originally posted these paragraphs over a year ago, in July of 2011, as an introduction to a review of Milo Wolff’s book, “Schrödinger’s Universe,” which I found wanting in several areas, particularly in unwarranted assumptions, and serious incompleteness. I re-emphasize these thoughts here becauseI have now read, only recently, another author’s observations which are far closer to my own in regard to the relationship of modern physics to reality. Jim Baggotts’s 2013 book, “Farewell to Reality, How Modern Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth” (US version. In the British version  the subtitle is “..How Fairy-tale Physics Has Betrayed the Search for Scientific Truth”). I commend it to any and all of professional and amateur physicists who are as concerned as I am for the future of scientific enquiry.

This will not be a full review of the book, but I’d like to give you a preview of Baggott’s arguments in the four key areas of modern physics and cosmology and how he elucidates the mass of unsupported assumptions on which the currently accepted models are based, as well as how these continue to build a fantastic structure of assumptions begetting further assumptions until the entire structure of scientific enquiry finds itself in danger of collapse.

Part I, “The Authorized Version” lays out in detail a full and fair description of what constitutes physicists’ accepted (Authorized) versions of  scientific truth, in chapters covering:

• Light, Quantum Theory, and the Nature of Reality

• Matter, Force and the Standard Model of Particle Physics

• Space, Time and the Special and General Theories of Relativity

• The Universe According to the Standard Model of Big Bang Cosmology

Part I concludes with a discussion titled “What’s Wrong with this Picture?” in which the author previews the detailed arguments of Part II, titled “The Grand Delusion.” In this section he systematically demolishes the fairy-tale, that is, the totally evidence-free nature of the arguments favoring the authorized (accepted) models and their ill-begotten offspring: SUSY, String theory, Multiverses, ‘branes, multiple dimensions, and the like

Baggott introduces each chapter with appropriate quotations from the writings and speeches of Albert Einstein of which I will append here only a few.

• From a letter to Heinrich Zanger, 20 May, 1912:“The more success the quantum theory has, the sillier it looks. How non-physicists would scoff if they able to follow the odd course of developments!”

From Albert Einstein, “Autobiographical Notes,” 33 (1946): “A theory is the more impressive the greater the simplicity of its premises, the more different kinds of things it relates, and the more extended its area of applicability.”

• From a letter to Hans Reichenbach, 30 June 1920: “Concepts are simply empty when they stop being firmly linked to experiences. They resemble social climbers who are ashamed of their origins.”

• From a letter to Heinrich Zanger, 27 February, 1927: “I’m still working passionately, though most of my intellectual offspring are ending up prematurely in the cemetery of disappointed hopes.”

 Jim Baggott has done us all a great service in producing this authoritative debunking of the made up substitute for science that modern (say, “fairy-tale”) physics has become. I commend it to you highly, as a guide to finding our way out of that cemetery before we waste another hundred years of wandering in the wilderness.

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The Simple Universe – a restatement

For the past 100 years or so, modern physics has been focused on two or three primary classes of entities that are considered fundamental. The first of these are forces, namely those called the strong force, the weak force, the electromagnetic force, and outside of these and not easily determined to be connected to them, gravity. Perhaps because these have appeared to be so variable, some unidirectional and some not, they have come to called interactions, a more universal terminology.

The second is the concept, now about three thousand years old, of what the ancients called atoms and we now call particles, currently numbering upwards of sixty separate and unique varieties. We assume these to be the fundamental elements of what we call matter, even though no one has yet seen one.

The third is the concept of fields, those observable but not directly visible, often evanescent phenomena we detect by their effects around electric currents, magnets and the like. The theory of the simple universe deals with these entities in a totally different way, and here is how. Let’s take them in reverse order.

Fields are fundamental in modern physics as the origins of useful energy. In both classical and modern (quantum) physics they are seen as being created by the movement of what are called charged particles through space, sometime called the vacuum or the void, basically the perceived emptiness that surrounds and permeates the universe. The playing out of this assumption has resulted in assertions such as those of Quantum Field Theory (QFT) that each of the unique subatomic particles carries with it a unique field and that these fields interact generating the properties and behaviors we observe. The theory of the simple universe (TSU) sees this in a different way.

TSU asserts that That perceived emptiness, the void, or vacuum, that we refer to as space in fact consists of one field, for all practical purposes limitless in its extent, that surrounds and permeates our finite universe and any others that we may ultimately discover. This field is characterized by high energy, high frequency (perhaps as high as 1/h) and its low entropy. It is at the same time not entirely uniform but characterized by turbulence, even like our atmosphere, out of which while  it often seems benign and  uniform occur countless random incidents of reverberation, resonance, and reinforcement. Out of this underlying turbulence can arise random reverberations and resonances resulting in higher energy concentrations, cells, or as Einstein conjectured, “condensations in the ether.” It is likely that most of these do not prosper but disappear back into randomness. However, those that achieve a measure of stability may ultimately generate orderly, persistent, and  stable entities which by simple rules of structure (which may include behaviors like those of cellular automata, phase transitions, attraction, aggregation, assimilation, folding, and others), result  in observable stable entities which both classical and modern physicists have mistakenly identified and labeled as atoms and even smaller particles. From this beginning it can be easily seen that the potential for growth exists on up to the largest observable entities, stars, galaxies and clusters that populate our known universe. So, instead of thousands of unique fields and thousands of interactions, there is one field, giving birth to concentrations of energy, which we now know as the real, fundamental, as Lucretius called them, “first beginnings.”

TSU sees the multiplicity of unique fields posited by QFT not as separate entities but as simply distortions, perturbations in the primary EM field, caused by and surrounding the concentrations of energy making up fundamental foci.

Jumping to the issue of particles then, TSU effectively denies their existence as the so-called building blocks of reality. There are no hadrons, no baryons, no fermions, no quarks, nor any magnetons or gravitons that some have proposed in their desire to explain the other fundamental entity, that of forces. These are effectively replaced by the concentrated points of high energy, not “particles.” The “tracks’ that researchers have seen as the only known evidence of such entities will be seen more as wrinkles in what some have called the “fabric of the universe.”

What then, are forces, the third fundamental of modern physics? Well, one can now see them as simply emergent properties inherent in the distortions, the perturbations of the ether occurring as the result of the presence of the high energy concentrations we have described. One can also see that motion is a fundamental property of the universe. All “bodies” are constantly in motion and since the field distortions that generate what we have mistakenly identified as forces are also in motion, we can see the possible source of polarity and the positive/negative nature of those “forces” as a result of that motion.

The EM field, the ether, is a turbulent place and that turbulence is fundamental to the birth of new points of coherence and stability as well as the birth of new stars. And each point of apparent order contributes to that turbulence even as it emerges as a point of (temporary) stability, as did our universe, our galaxy, our star the Sun, and our planet, even though as we, with our exceedingly brief existence, “temporary” may mean billions of years.

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The Double-slit Experiment (by lgsims96 in HubPages)

I discovered this blog by lgsims96 last year and thought it was the clearest explanation yet of this quantum paradox. It has since disappeared from his (or her) blog so I am offering it here to fill a gap in the general thinking about a key experiment. I generally agree with the conclusion illustrated in figure 6 in the article but would replace the “electron” shown on the diagram with an electron-like concentration of energy, and the ne”negative field” surrounding it with what I would describe as a distortion in the background electromagnetic fiel that I am convinced fills what we call “space” both throughout and outside of our finite universe. ___________________________________________

Double Slit Experiment

If you project light thought a narrow slit, a single band of light can be seen on a screen behind the slit.  This is illustrated in fig. 1. Fig 1

Fig. 1

If you project light through two narrow slits, one would expect to see 2 bands of light on the screen. However multiple bands of light appear. See fig.2.Fig 2

Fig. 2

This is explained if light were waves.  In fig. 2a on the left we see waves where two peaks overlap they create a higher peak. Where two troughs overlap they create a deeper trough. Both of these produce a brighter light. However on the right when a peak and a trough overlap they cancel each other resulting in no light.

Fig 2a

Fig. 2a

In fig 3 we are looking down on fig. 2. In the diagram the peaks of the waves are represented by solid black lines.  The troughs of the waves are represented as dotted lines.  We can see that the peaks and troughs of the waves are moving from the bottom of the illustration to the barrier with the two slits.  The barrier is represented as a heavy dark blue line.  The slits are two openings in the heavy blue line. As the waves pass through the slits they become circular waves emanating from the two slits. These waves overlap each other.Fig 3

Fig. 3

In fig 3 the white arrows trace out the paths where the peaks overlap and the troughs overlap. These paths lead to where the light bands appear on the screen. The black lines trace the paths where peaks and troughs overlap and the light is canceled.Fig 7

Fig. 4

When a beam of electrons bounce off nickel crystals they produce a similar diffraction pattern as the light waves through the double slit.  It is OK to think of the electrons as passing through a double slit as shown in fig.4. When these electrons hit the screen, now a phosphorescent screen they produce a similar pattern of bands.  Thus the electrons exhibit wave features.  One particle cannot pass through both slits.  One particle passing through one slit should not have an effect on another particle passing through the other slit. Then how can the electrons produce this interference pattern of separate bands? Fig 5

Fig. 5

Richard Feynman was one of the world’s greatest theoretical physicists. Feynman suggested that particles must be viewed as traveling from one location to another along every possible path. A few of the infinity of trajectories for a single electron traveling from the source to the phosphorescent screen are shown in fig. 5.  Notice that this one electron goes through both slits. I am sorry, but this sounds like an Alice in Wonderland explanation.

Fig 6

fig, 6

It would seem more likely that this effect is caused by the negative electric field that surrounds each electron.  As the electron approaches the slits, the electric field will pass through both slits shown in fig. 6.  After passing through the electric field is divided into two parts.  These two fields could create an interference pattern.  This pattern creates paths that resist the movement of the electrons.  These are shown here as black lines.  Other areas of the pattern offer very litter or no resistance to the flow of the electrons. They are shown as white arrows.  Thus the electrons follow the paths of least resistance.  It would seem more likely that this could possibly cause the bands of electrons on the screen. Consider what would happen if only one electron passes through one of the slits. Its electric field will have already started passing through both slits.  As the electric field continues to pass through the slits, the field is divided into two fields.  These two fields create an interference pattern that causes paths of least resistance to the movement of the electron.  The electron will follow one of these paths to the screen where it will appear as a single spot on the screen.  This spot will be in the area that the bright bands would have occurred if many electrons had passed through the slits. Notice how as the negative electric field surrounding the electron passes through the double slits, behaves the same as the electromagnetic waves of light.  This could indicate that this field is the result of electromagnetic waves emanating from the electron. The field is negative because the negative troughs of the wave are greater than the wave’s positive peaks. (text and illustrations by lgsims96, on Hub Pages) __________________________________________

For my explanation, this diagram (Figure 6) needs only, as I said earlier, to replace the author’s “electron” by an electron-sized concentration of energy, and his “electric field” with a distortion of the background electromagnetic field by that electron-sized energy concentration. It certainly seems to explain this made up paradox in a simpler way. Charles Scurlock 7/19/13

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Definitions: what do I really mean?

Two recent web discussions, based on the questions, “What is the exact definition of a point?” and “what actually creates a dimension?” have brought me to attempt to start to spell out my own precise definitions of the concepts I have been working with and attempting to understand over the last several years. Here is my first (partial) shot at that. I hope you will feel free to comment, clarify, dispute (or denounce) as you see fit.

Objective reality consists of the set of objects, events and phenomena that we perceive directly through our sensory organs as existing in the world outside of our heads, as well as those that we infer indirectly from their perceived effects on the objects, events, and phenomena that we perceive directly.

Perception is the internal process by which we acquire information about the elements of objective reality via our sensory system and the processing of that information in the brain including its comparison with stored mental constructs of prior perceptions.

Dimensions are mental constructs devised to measure, describe, denote, and communicate descriptions of the physical attributes of what we perceive to be objective reality, that is, what we perceive to exist in the world outside of our heads.

Time is a conceptual dimension created by humans in order to measure, describe, denote and communicate the persistence or duration of objects, events, and phenomena in the real world. Time is not and never has been a real physical entity in and of itself. The units we have chosen for the measurement of time are, of course, drawn from our observations of the periodic, rhythmic and recurring successions of natural events, but these are it’s only roots in the physical world.

The common three spatial dimensions, length, breadth, and height, along with theangular dimensions, are of the same heritage as time and what they describe is not the extensive concept we denote as “space.” but rather the size, form, and behavior of objects, events, and phenomena in the real world.

(The use of the neologism “spacetime” in modern physics must be faulted for attributing real physical characteristics to what are, in fact, only mental constructs. This linguistic disconnection is often hidden in the mathematical expressions used in modern physics and has led to extensive misinterpretations of theories proposed and promulgated in the physical sciences.)

The models (theories, cosmologies) that we create as scientists are our attempts to organize those  observations and perceptions that are too distant, too short-lived, or too ephemeral for our direct experience or experiment, but that we believe may help to explain the true structure and order of our world and our universe. Such models are, of course always incomplete and many, perhaps most of them, are wrong. It is our job then to continually review, update as new knowledge is acquired or replace them with more complete and, hopefully, more sophisticated and comprehensive models.  This is the real work of physics, not to adhere to things like “the standard model” on fear of death.

Wave is a conceptual term devised and adopted for use to represent or describe certain characteristics of phenomena that we have discerned to exist, but waves are not real entities in themselves. We see waves in bodies of water as characteristic motions of the liquid’s surface. they can be periodic, they can vary in frequency and amplitude, they can arise by some external causation, they can dissipate on the removal of that causation. We attribute wave-like behavior, i.e. alternating, oscillating, periodic, etc., to many phenomena. In sound, the waves are seen as variations in the compression of the atmosphere, in electricity we see waves as alternations in direction of flow in alternating current, in sports stadiums we call certain behavior of spectators as a “wave.” So, a wave is a characteristic behavior of something else, so we cannot say a wave is a thing, event, or phenomenon in and of itself, these making up the class of entities we call “reality.”

As  the term is used  in physics, waves are of two types, mechanical and electromagnetic. The current Wikipedia definition expresses it this way:

There are two main types of waves. Mechanical waves propagate through a medium, and (in the process) the substance of this medium is deformed. The deformation reverses itself owing to restoring forces resulting from its deformation. For example, sound waves propagate via air molecules colliding with their neighbors. When air molecules collide, they also bounce away from each other (a restoring force). This keeps the molecules from continuing to travel in the direction of the wave.

The second main type of wave, electromagnetic waves, do not require a medium. Instead, they consist of periodic oscillations of electrical and magnetic fields generated by charged particles, and can therefore travel through a vacuum. These types of waves vary in wavelength, and include radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays, and gamma rays.

This definition includes an important assumption, that “charged particles” are a necessary source or generator of electromagnetic waves, an assumption that may be subject to question. In fact, electromagnetic waves are also fluctuations in a medium and that medium is the electromagnetic field itself., a medium that fills what we call a vacuum. I think this is where the confusion arises, giving material attributes to a conceptual entity, a wave, which is not a real entity in and of itself. And while electromagnetic waves are generally represented as fluctuations in two dimensions in printed papers and graphics, they actually exist as fluctuations in other characteristics, as in intensity, or polarity, or something like energy density, all of which are difficult to describe except in mathematical terms.

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