Supersymmetry: Aristotle 1, Plato 0

Both Marshall McLuhan and Peter Drucker deserve a place in graduate physics curricula, both men understood how the mind imposes order upon our sense impressions obscuring the very reality physicists wish to know.  For McLuhan, it was the linear framework of literacy that shaped the wests over dependency on linearity; given how the human eye wishes to view progression neatly it imposes order where none exists.  Although Hume was a prominent dogmatic skeptic, it fell to Kant to outline this approach throughout his oeuvre.

Drucker was a student of Arnold Toynbee, throughout the 1980’s Drucker envisioned that the end of the standard model in physics would upend its paradigm giving way to biological applications that wouldn’t fit neatly into the western idea of linearity.

Both men knew the intellectual patrimony of supersymmetry; the non-empirical postulate stipulates that all known fundamental particles have identical counterparts in the unseen (non-measurable) world (Platonic World of Ideas).

Colliders haven’t found any; not one iota of evidence proving supersymmetry.  Its an idea that has underwritten the standard model for decades and is in need of profound revision. Supersymmetry continues as a postulate for the unified theory; the desire to model how gravity and electromagnetism merge seamlessly into a single force.

Strictly speaking, Colliders evidence an empirical approach prioritizing Aristotle over Plato.  As of this writing, supersymmetry is failing.  Perhaps its time that contemporary physicists begin appreciating just how ugly our neat world really is.


How Darwin Helps Us Understand Dark Matter

Physicists ask themselves daunting questions, given how physics resides as the queen of the physical sciences, it has arrogated to itself an authority that isn’t quite earned.

Currently the great quests of contemporary physics is an attempt to unify two distinct world views:  quantum and gravity.  Both world views exist as indissoluble wholes.  Both are constitutive of reality itself.  But contemporary physical science is born from inside the house of philosophical positivism, meaning that physicists are comfortable treating the world as as undifferentiated morass, perfectly fit for Cartesian or Laplacian ardor.  The fact of the matter is easily stated:  if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

This presents untold problems for physicists.  Just ask any postgraduate student the enmity procured in latching ones life to the verification of particles that cannot be measured.  Certainly the movement away from empirical verification is troubling.

Wait it gets worse.

The reconciliation of quantum to gravity is doomed to failure, because a neat symmetry cannot be found using calculated thought.  At least not as it continues to be tied to positivist methodologies.  How is this resolved for the purposes of clarity.

When Richard Feynman lectured “Their’s plenty of room at the bottom”, he was advocating two distinct approaches that are fundamental:  miniaturization and biology will change the direction of physics itself, for the standard model is an abstract extrapolation of Cartesian method alone.  With miniaturization and the application of insights into cellular life, something new happens, we discover a reality of scale.  A distinct relation that monolithic positivist drive ignored at its own peril.  It is the realty of hierarchies and components of scale that serve as distinct keys unlocking blind attempts to fuse a grand synthesis between quantum and gravity.

Enter dark matter.

Why provides symmetry to the realism of our experienced world, a world that, according to the determinist subatomic world of relativism, should not exist.  Why is there order in the world of gravity and realism and not complete total anarchy as evidenced in the subatomic world.  The apple falls once and lands solid.  So does a rock.  Why does it not behave in accordance to the iron laws of our subatomic world of relativism.  The answer is dark matter and the symmetry provided between both world views mentioned earlier.

Invisible stuff matters.

Cosmic micro-wave background radiation and neutrinos both serve as invisible exotica of the formation of the Universe.  The mechanics driving the formation of our universe aren’t visible.

So what is dark matter?

Dark matter is a force that interacts far more weaker than protons and neutrons, yet moving slowly enough so that it cannot escape gravity.  What we’re looking for is a particle  or wave that was born at the Big-Bang, a weak interacting elementary particle like a neutrino only much heavier.  This is why the Large Hadron Collider is needed.  Physicists are now working to find elementary particles that constitute our universe.

Make way for scale and the indeterminacy of Darwin.



Reflections on sacrifice

Sometimes truth comes riding into history on the back of an error.”  Reinhold Niebuhr

From Aristotle we can learn how to unleash our wonderment upon life; to cherish all the understanding yet achieved by man. . .

From Voltaire we can learn how to restore the fiery furnaces even in old age; to rekindle the feeling of outrage at bigotry and injustice; to start the wheels of intellectual action rolling so fast they shock the conscience of a nation with clarity and power. . .

From Nietzche we can learn about the ironies of having your most eloquent phrases timely ripped from context and misused to further the very causes you spent your life fighting. . .

From Schopenhauer we can learn something of the courage required to face life when your inner machinery has been tangled and twisted, but you know you must continue to live, meaningfully, usefully and honestly as possible. . .

From Augustine of Taagaste & Kierkegaard we can learn how to accept the burning guilt of being human, all too human, to transform the pain of the human condition into service for others. . .

From Francis Bacon & Niccolo Machiavelli  we learn from the agony of life in exile, of being permanently severed from your life’s work, your friends, your livelihood, being challenged to cope creatively with years of solitude; of being forced to learn to live with yourself. . .

From Aquinas & Albertus Magnus we learn something of the superhuman discipline required to order vast stores of human knowledge; to record with great personal strength, all you know as a legacy to your faith. . .

From Plato & Einstein we can come to appreciate the adventures of the mind, the soaring flights into excitement that remain beyond immediate perception. . .

From Galileo we learn something about mustering the courage of our convictions against the pressures of conformity; and, with the knowledge that evidence remains on our side, win through to personal victory by means of your own courage and stubbornness. . .

From Wittgenstein we learn what it means to think our own thoughts, to press against entire formal institutions that reject your work. . .

From Spinoza we learn how to live with final and total rejection by those we hold dear, in the preservation of our own personal, hard fought independence and integrity; avoiding vindictiveness, yet witnessing those more formidable than us, ostracize you from your own hard won achievement. . .

Only a life the corresponds to the demands of our Creator is worthy of such sacrifice. . .


Waves of the Big Bang: Einstein’s Gravitational Waves Found

Einstein trusted his observations and his intimate intuitions about what he thought was right.  This type of instinct can only be fielded after a long arduous vocation in study; often alone, in isolation, about the certainties one has about an endeavor.  For Einstein, he had to go it alone because the formal institutions around him were archaic.  Given that the institutions of higher learning were ‘backward looking’, he held no special affinity or attachment to the consequences of his achievements.

Why is this important?

Einstein knew that most of what he knew was right could NOT be empirically observed, the instruments of his day were limited.  Yet it never restrained him.

Last week, physicists throughout the world converged on two states, Washington State in America’s north west corner and Louisiana to monitor and hear the collision of two black holes captured by American sensors.

The significance of this discovery is that it confirms how Einstein viewed the universe.  For him, space itself was a fabric that magnified or held the contents of our universe in such a way to make it observable.  The collision of two black holes deep in space would be captured by the very space they occupy, sending ripples outward like the way a pebble hits a pond.  The two Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories (LIGO detectors) act like antennas capturing the impact of the collision.

Both black holes were nearly 30 times the size of our Sun and the colossal shock wave was captured at LIGO.  It works very much like an L shaped pipe, each 2.5 miles long, capturing tiny vibrations using laser beams and mirrors.  LIGO even translates this capture as sound.

What is the relation between LIGO & Einstein?

Einstein thought that space isn’t empty, but acts more like fabric stretching, amplifying or illuminating the consequences of the objects it holds.  This means that IF we could place sensors in space, we could capture the waves and sound of The Big Bang or the radiation from the instant of Genesis.  The baby pictures of the Universe will soon come into focus.

When Einstein postulated gravity waves 100 years ago, he upended how the Universe was supposed to be seen. His radical departure from archaic institutions is still with us.



CERN Colliders: Empirical or Ideal?

The surprise arrived just before Christmas on December 15, 2015.  The large Hadron Collider at CERN located in Switzerland announced that they had found unconfirmed traces of a particle heavier than the Higgs boson.  The confirmation of Higgs boson was the beginning of resolving an ancient answer to the perennial question, ‘why things exist’, or to put it more bluntly, how does something have mass or occupy space.

If December’s particle is confirmed, physicists have a very large dilemma, for this new subatomic particle throws the standard model completely upside down.  What December 15th find ushers in, is a concept known as ‘dark matter’, a sort of repository, place or force that provides symmetry to our universe.

We simply cannot be sure of our discovery, simply because if it is confirmed, it will NOT be based on empirical observation, but statistics and anomalies.  Let’s break this down.

Because Einstein did not enjoy the role of chance in quantum physics, he used the retort ‘God does not play dice’ referencing that both atomic and subatomic physics would need an empirical basis for any sound resolution.

What the creation of CERN’s super-colliders did was create an accelerator, a collider of particles the mimic ‘the Big bang’.  They are more like the casinos of science, making particle physicists resembling gamblers.   Here’s why/how.

The data reveal a blip that has yet to be discerned, the chance of it being an error of any kind is related to 1 in 10k.  The norm for the verification of any new particle is known as 5-sigma, that means discovery is verified IF we have a departure from the mean of more than 5 standard deviations.  That means a discovery of a new particle would be accepted when their is a chance of 1 in 3.5 million.  The discovery requires a certainty of 99.99997%.

Gambling here means colliding protons at a speed billions of times per second.  The debris is analyzed from two detectors, then compared against a predicted curve calculated against current understanding.  When we have an unexpected ‘blip’ its because the data jumps off the curvature.

However, we really can’t say we’ve provided anything empirical, we’ve using big data to find statistical anomalies.  This is more akin to discerning applied metaphors, something Wittgenstein did to unleash Continental analytic philosophy.  Yet probability is where we’re at now in contemporary particle physics.  Its a very thin line.

All we can say is that this methodology will lead to new occurrences, that may lead to new discoveries.  No one can tell if particle physics will get out of its idealist track, moving more toward Aristotelian physics.  More than one graduate or post graduate student has learned the frustration of building a life on ‘nothing’.

The next six months will tell if the ‘blip’ standing out in the curvature is real.  All we can do is compare more precisely along the curvature, if IT sticks, especially after running numerous collisions, it will mean a future visit to Stockholm.

For everyone else, we’re condemned to sit at the table of the Great Gambler.

Kenny Roger’s anyone?


Physics & Creation Ex Nihilo

Sir Fredrick Hoyle developed an idea named ‘steady state‘ to embody the concept that matter could be created ex nihilo (out of nothing.)  Sir Fredrick Hoyle assumed that matter is being created continually out of nothing, that the universe is an organism that continually produces matter.

According to Hoyle matter is capable of exerting several types of influence or fields as they are usually called.  There is the nuclear field that binds together the atomic nuclei.  There is the electro-magnetic field that enables atoms to absorb light.  There is the gravitational field that holds together stars and galaxies.  Matter originates in response to the influence of other matter.” 

Today, physicists create electrons in the vacuum of an accelerator, from nothing.  We’ve also created pairs of positive/negative protons out of nothing.  We should remember that electrons can be created from photons of light.  Light has no mass, but electrons do.  Photons at the speed of light are transformed possessing mass.  This is called the mass-energy transformation equations or E=mc2.

Einstein had it right when he spoke of mathematics, the subatomic world and the limits of using probability as explanation.

“We believe in the possibility of a theory giving a complete description of reality, the laws establishing relations between things themselves and NOT merely between their probabilities.”   Albert Einstein w3

What Causes Motion

The ancient Greek philosopher Thales was the first person to systematically seek to understand the sources of motion and change.  Today we know there are four sources that cause motion.

  1.  Gravity:  gravitational interaction enables us to position, manipulate the orbits of satellites, calculate the trajectory of lunar missions as well as understand the orbits of other planets.  It remains the first source for understanding the cause of motion.  However, contemporary theory assumes that gravity takes the form of a wave called ‘gravitons; the most interesting component or feature of gravity it that is almost always irreversible, meaning that it always attracts never repels.
  2. Electromagnetic:  this is an electric charge on particles that produce a magnetic field.  Similar to how signals transmit through the air for wi-fi or across neural pathways of the brain, electromagnetism possess characteristics of great versatility.
  3. Strong Force:  no, it isn’t Star Wars!  A super strong force holds together the atoms that makeup the nucleus; because protons have a positive charge, they naturally repel each other, DESPITE THIS, the atomic nucleus holds together ANYWAY. This “STRONG INTERACTION” holding together an ordered nucleus is hundreds of times stronger than electromagnatism.
  4. Weak Force:  this force works on/operates on a family of particles (electrons, muons, talons, neutrinos.)  Both the STRONG/WEAK FORCE are basically characteristics of the subatomic world.

Two points of interest to consider:  since the Enlightenment, the west has allowed itself to be overwhelmed by positive science which today embody the pejorative term “scientism“.  We known there are other distinct valuations outside the verities of mathematics that embody truth claims consistent with the limitations of realism, idealism, empiricism etc. . .

Two guys should help you discern how best to go forward. . .

What has been thought of as a particle will have to be though of as a series of events.  The series of events that replaces the particle has certain important physical properties, and therefore demands our attention but nothing more.  Thus, ‘matter‘ is not a part of the ultimate material of the world, but merely a convenient way of collecting events into bundle.”                             

Bertrand Russell

At the basis of the whole modern view of the world lies the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanation of natural phenomena.”                                                                                                                                       Ludwig Wittgenstein                                                                                                                             7 Russell & Ludwig

Heisenberg & the Components of Quantum Physics

When Heisenberg was asked by students to explain “what everything is made of” he quickly referred to Plato’s Timaeus, contrasting the thought of ancient Greek materialists. . . For Heisenberg, elemental particles composing the atom more closely resemble Platonic bodies than the atoms of Democritus.

Let’s explain.

The elementary particles of physics, like the regular bodies of Plato’s philosophy, are defined by the requirements of mathematical symmetry.  They are not eternal and unchanging, and they can hardly be strictly called real.  Therefore, in the beginning, for modern science, was the form, the mathematical pattern, not the material thing.  

For Heisenberg then, a mathematical pattern is, in the final analysis, an intellectual concept.  Like Faust, “in the beginning was the meaning“.

Matter has been dematerialized, not just as a philosophical concept, but as a constituent idea grounding contemporary physics. Matter is now understood from within the confines of ideas of charged relations, not objects.  We must remember that at this depth, the direction of analysis changes, we’re now promoting a conceptual change that isn’t best handled throughout the medium of mathematics or any linear representation.  Newtonian constructs of an exact determinable state, a point of shape or absolute solidity, are properties electrons do not have.

“Nature loves to hide.” Heraclitus