Starting fresh, from an earlier time

The Wikipedia entry for Maxwell’s Equations, after explaining that these are only close approximations (very close!), goes on to make the following point.

 Since the mid-20th century, it has been understood that Maxwell’s equations are not exact but are a classical field theory approximation to the more accurate and fundamental theory of quantum electrodynamics. In many situations, though, deviations from Maxwell’s equations are immeasurably small. Exceptions include nonclassical light, photon-photon scattering, quantum optics, and many other phenomena related to photons or virtual photons.”

There seems to be a bias here, in the sense that the “discovery” of quantum electrodynamics has overtaken Maxwell and that we should now interpret his equations in an entirely different way, that QED is now the preferred explanation and while Maxwell is still appropriate, it should now be seen as less than complete.

My question is, “Could it be that the original form of Maxwell’s Equations, describing field interactions without the need for “particle behavior” is actually closer to the truth and there is no need for the so-called “clarification” of QED?” Nor for that matter, its introduction of unique fields for each of 60-plus particles.

This is what set me to thinking again about the absolute conflict between “quantum” thinking and reality. When Max Planck invented the quantum, (that’s right, invented) he had neither a clue or an inclination to make it into a “thing.” For him it was a quantitative descriptor, a way of identifying a “unit” that would enable him to quantify his studies of black box radiation. It worked! By being able to put a number, a size, into the equations they suddenly became solvable, not fuzzy. And guess who jumped on this idea and sent us suddenly down a different kind of blind alley? Why the master himself, Albert Einstein. What if Newton was right, he thought, and light was actually made up of corpuscles? What if we divided it up into little packets ? Let’s call them photons, with a value of one “quantum” each. That worked for Max, why not for me? And so was launched a whole new discipline, that has haunted physics now for more than a hundred years. Oh, we know that light sometimes seems to behave like a wave phenomenon, but so what. (“I know I lost my car keys over there, but I’m looking here because the light is better!”). Let’s just say that particles (photons? sometimes look like waves. Nobody will notice. After all, we make the rules, not nature.

Near the end of his recent book (Bankrupting Physics, Unzicker/Jones), Alexander Unzicker offers this summary of what is happening in modern physics and cosmology.

“…if despite all efforts, new contradictions show up, the reaction is as follows:

If physicists do not understand the what of their theories they will introduce a new particle. If they don’t understand the when, then it must’ve happened right after the big bang. If they don’t understand the where, then of course it took place in an extra dimension. And if they don’t understand the how, they will postulate a new interaction. if they don’t understand how much, a symmetry breaking will soon appear. If they don’t understand anything they will propose strings and branes. And if they lose interest in understanding, there is always the strong anthropic principle. Things have come to a pretty pass.”

So far the number of new and presumed new particles is in excess of 60, not counting theso-called “antiparticles” which must exist or this new Platonic structure’s presumed symmetry will be broken. And we have “expansion” to explain the inconsistencies between the big bang and current observations, and new interactions and unsupportable theories galore.

There exist simpler models, but most of the searchers for it are so stuck in the “particle” world they can’t let go of it, and some, like the new model being offered under the heading “Gravity=Dark Energy” on the LinkedIn Theoretical Physics forum, are so full of neoplatonic symbolism and what seems almost like numerology, that one wonders where they come from.

I am convinced that this search needs to go back, first, to a time before Einstein’s probably involuntary corruption of Plank’s “quantum,” back to the field theorists, Gauss, Maxwell, Lorentz; and then forward, looking at the last 200 years of observations and experiments and seeing them in a fresh way. By this I mean bypassing the misinterpretations and misattributions made in the effort to make them fit into particle theories, and seeing if they might actually be seen as waves in a medium, not as clouds of dust.

When we do this, we begin to see a new, simpler model, one that is continuous, not “quantized,” that demands a different math and a different logic, and suddenly becomes a clearer route to both reality and to the truth. The new logic is to see the perceivable entities of the universe as made up of coherent, organized distortions in the medium, a field, just as sound or music consists of organized coherent distortions of its medium, the atmosphere. The new math, then would probably be that of continuum mechanics, not quantum mechanics. The new conceptual logic would be to see these entities, from what we now call “particles” to the distant galaxies, not to mention we humans who contemplate them, as something like topological defects in an elastic solid, that being the electromagnetic field that makes up the extended cosmos we arose out of and inhabit with all of the other objects, events and phenomena we perceive “out there.”

That model is sketched out in my books and this blog. I am still of the hope that some of you will take it seriously enough to offer questions, comments, or even criticisms I can apply to it. Thank you.

 

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About Charles Scurlock

Charles is a recently retired architect/planner and generalist problem-solver with a lifelong interest in science, physics, and cosmology, and the workings of the human mind. He has started this blog in the interest of sharing his ideas with others of like-(or not so like) minds.
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One Response to Starting fresh, from an earlier time

  1. pallsopp42 says:

    Charles:

    Elegant! Thank you! Your last but one paragraph is indeed a very powerful summing up of a new way of looking at – and gaining new insights from – a simpler but more accurate model of the universe we inhabit and what “it” and we are made of.

    Phil

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