# A fastest, healthiest (and also quite tasty) chicken recipe

The QM spin

I was studying QM, but, what the heck, I will admit it, I began slacking down, during the Diwali vacation (i.e. more or less soon after I wrote my last post). I more or less quit reading QM and maths text-books, and instead began day-dreaming about how to put it all together (with my new(er) “ideas”). … My day-dreams still continue, but with the already resumed work (the Diwali vacation got over this week), QM studies have already taken a back seat. (If you must know, let me put it in reference to Griffith’s text. I am stuck at about half-way through. That is to say, I’ve got stuck with spin and identical particles (and some points of their applications which come later in Griffith’s book).)

Talking about QM, here is one more neat reference: [^].  If you know QM or are studying it, and if you go through the abstract, I know, you will check it out. So let me leave the paper (and QM) with that just one note in this post.

In this post, instead, let me share with you a great-tasting, fastest, easiest and healthiest recipe for chicken. This dish isn’t the greatest (tasting) chicken one, but its recipe is both fastest and easiest, and it happens to one of the healthiest ones anyway. (It’s a stew!)

As to the greatest tasting chicken dish, IMO, the problem is degeneracy: there isn’t one unique solution to the problem; several compete (though they are not superposable).

One greatest dish is the KFC “original” one.

Let me talk about yet another greatest dish, before coming to the recipe that I am going to share.

The other greatest dish is what they (used to) prepare in rural areas of Maharashtra until a couple of decades ago, I mean, in the relatively poorer rural households. The dish would be made with absolutely minimal amount of ingredients. I’ve had the great fortune to taste n’ number of variations of it on n’ number of occasions during my childhood, and I have been on the hunt for its recipe for many years now (more than a decade), and also have tried my hand at cooking several claimed versions for the same—but only unsuccessfully.

But I mean it when I say that the recipe here is minimalist. It is decidedly traditional and as authentically rural Maharashtrian in taste as they get, but it isn’t your “Kolhapuri,” “maalwaNi,” “khaandeshi,” etc. etc. etc. variety (even if authentically made at home).

Let me make it clear: this dish certainly isn’t what the relatively better-off families would make at home, and it most assuredly isn’t what my mother would make at home—which would be another greatest chicken dish whose recipe I do have, and which I still cannot make. (I am not a mystic, and I do believe that one day I will sure get there, but at least as of now, I cannot make quite her kind of a chicken.) And yet, this dish isn’t my mother’s recipe; it’s something entirely different.

The recipe I have in mind here really uses the barest minimum number of ingredients, which means: there are no typical “masalaa” (i.e. spice) items used often in the Indian cooking, esp. the more costly among them,  like “miree” (black pepper), “lavangaa” (cloves), “daalchini” (cinnamon), “elaaychi” (cardamom), etc.

About the only things it sure uses are: (i) “laala tikhaTa” (dried ground red pepper powder, which means that this recipe can’t be too traditional; it can be only about 2–3 centuries old, not more), (ii) “haLada” (turmeric), (iii) “aal_” (i.e. fresh—not dried—ginger), (iv) “lasooNa” (garlic), (v) relatively little amount of “kaande” (onions), (vi) “kothimbeer” (fresh coriander/cilantro leaves), and (vii)“limbu” (lemon).

I am not sure if it uses “khobar_” (dried coconut), though it in all probability does. (It surely doesn’t use “naaraLa” i.e. fresh coconut—this part, I am sure; I find it very easy to tell ingredients like that purely from the taste.)

To make you feel especially bad (and even more particularly so if you are from Pune), let me tell you that a “rassaa” (i.e. curry) of this (tastiest) kind used to be served until about a year ago in a small road-side hotel on the Ravet-to-Pune city road (i.e. the road that shoots off near where the Mumbai-Pune Expressway ends). It has since got closed (and none of the hotels still extant on that patch serves any authentic Marathi “rassaa” regardless of their advertisements—ditto for those on the outskirts of Pune city, going in any direction).

From what my mother, aunts and sisters have told me, I think, this down-market sort of a recipe could also be using a bit of  the ground roasted “DaaLyaa” (i.e. pulses of the small and rougher-skinned variety of “chanaa” (chickpea)), or the roasted flour of “baajaree” (i.e. pearl millet). It gives a certain thickness to the curry, and if you cannot afford costlier spices, you use some tricks like these. But it is tasty. I think they are right. From the taste, I can make out that they must have used “DaaLyaa.” Also, they must be roasting the red chilly before grinding fresh, I guess.

If I land a recipe to make that kind of a chicken (reliably well), then I will sure come back and share with you.

In the meanwhile, here is the recipe I promised at the beginning. It is fastest and healthiest option but not greatest. Though, it is great on the taste side too. Do give it a try, without inserting unnecessary interpolations/extrapolations coming purely from habit (this note is important esp. to Indians). Each small variation built into this dish is there for a reason, and the outcome will surprise you—pleasantly, I hope.

The fastest and healthiest (and quite tasty) chicken (stew)

Ingredients:

• Fresh chicken (300–500 gm), cut into medium-sized pieces.
• 2–4 teaspoons of (uncooked) rice.
• 2–3 teaspoons of “chavaLi” (black-eyed peas) beans. If dried, better to soak it overnight, though not absolutely necessary.
• Onions, 1 or 2, cut into medium-to-large sized pieces (say 2–3 cm cubes).
• 4–8 peeled petals of garlic, (crushed, not cut; the number to use depends on variety, flavor, smell, etc.)
• 1 cm or shorter piece of fresh ginger (crushed, not cut)
• 3 teaspoons of coarsely crushed dry “kaashmiriee laala mirchee” i.e. Kashmiri red pepper. If not available, use the coarsely crushed red pepper as sold in the Chinese stores. (On second thoughts, this sometimes tastes even better!)
• Cinnamon: about 1 to 2 cm long piece of a 1 cm thick stick. Freshly crushed to pieces (not necessarily ground down to powder)
• “miree” (black pepper): 3–5 pieces (or more, to taste). Freshly crushed (but not ground)
• “lavanga” (clove): 2–3 pieces. (Rule of thumb: Use fewer of these as compared to the black pepper.)
• A pinchful of “hinga” (asafoetida) powder (see the note on the banned things)
• Finely cut “kothimbeera” (green cilantro/coriander leaves): about 2 teaspoons.
• Finely cut “pudinaa” (mint) leaves: 1–2 teaspoons.
• Assorted vegetables, cut into 2–4 cm long pieces, in suitable quantities. The total quantity (volume) of all the pieces of all the vegetables taken together should be equal (or less than) the volume of the chicken. List of suggested vegetables include: (i) “DhobaLi mirchee” i.e. capsicum (green, red, yellow, doesn’t matter; make sure to remove seeds before cutting), (ii) thin slices of “muLaa” (radish/daikon) OR finely chopped cabbage. Relatively smaller proportion (else the dish will become bitter) (iii) thin slices of “gaajara” (carrot). Relatively smaller propertion (else the dish will become bitter), (iv) mushrooms, cut into small pieces, (v) very thin (2 mm) slices of cauliflower buds (only)

Optional ingredients (try, taste, and decide)

• Half teaspoon of turmeric powder
• “hirvee mirchee” (green pepper) slit along the length: 3–5 pieces
• 2–3 teaspoons of rice-bran oil (or olive oil)
• Green or red tomatoes, medium-sized cut pieces.

Banned things

• Masala items: For this dish, do NOT use: “jiraa” (cummins), “dhaNaa” (coriander), “elaayachee” (cardamom), “kadhi pattaa” (curry leaves) etc., though “tej pattaa”  (i.e. “tamaalapatra” or bay leaves might be OK).
• Ditto for “garam masaalaa,” “goDaa masaalaa” etc. Don’t use any.
• Red chilly: Do NOT use the finely ground red chilly powder that we usually use in Indian recipes.
• Salt: Sprinkle while eating; do NOT add during preparation. Sprinkling just before eating requires a smaller quantity of salt anyway.
• Beans: “waaTaaNaa” (green peas) are banned in this dish purely for reasons of taste. Their taste and cooking characteristics simply don’t go well with the rest, here.
• Overdose of “pudinaa” (mint leaves) is banned because in excessive quantities, it kills all other flavors. Garlic too has the same tendency, and so, apply your judgment as to which “caste” your garlic belongs to. Ditto, for “hinga” (asafoetida) Ditto for “daalachini” (cinnamon).
• Tomato puree, curds, buttermilk, soya souce, vinegar, etc. are all summarily banned for this dish. Mainly on the count of taste.
• Similarly, white flour, butter, cream, “ghee” (clarified butter), “paneer” (cottage cheese) etc. also are banned, and believe me, mainly on the count of taste. (That they are also unhealthy is an entirely orthogonal issue.)
• Marination of chicken is completely banned—and if marination were to be necessary, this wouldn’t any longer be the fastest dish to make, would it? Further, marination is an art-form; prediction of its influence on the aroma and flavor requires at least an advanced post-graduate degree and about 10 years of internship thereafter. What is more, this dish doesn’t require it; so why go for it? Just make sure to wash chicken thoroughly well. Trim away any fat (use scissors; it’s more effective than the kitchen knife for this purpose).

Things to try cautiously

• Make this dish some 3–4 times, trying different vegetables. Only then try using green or red tomatoes. Until then, avoid them. I have never tried them, but tend to think that the green tomatoes would go better than the red ones.
• Try cut fresh green leaves of onion stems (“kaandyaachi paata”) but only in small quantity. Avoid spinach (“paalaka”) unless in relatively small quantity (it doesn’t fit very well in this dish). Instead, try “aambaTa chukaa” or “raajgiraa” (these are leafy vegetables available in Maharashtra, but, as far as I know, not abroad); they suit better. Completely avoid “methi” (fenugreek leaves), for reasons of taste and flavour. It easily turns the whole thing bitter, and also tends to spoil the dish with a strong aroma as if some raw grass were added. (I know, because I have tried it once).

Favored things

• Chicken: Go for the (Marathi) “gaavaraaNa” or (Hindi) “desi” version, or at least the “free-range” ones, rather than the broiler. Meticulously avoid any frozen version of any brand (unless you know the concrete logistics, and therefore know very well that the supply comes to your point of purchase the same day). (I am not anti-commercial or large-scale brands. I am simply referring to the quality of the meat you get in the end. If you doubt me, wonder why local fresh chicken carries a premium, and so does the “gaavaraaNa” over the broiler.) Wash and keep aside. Do NOT marinate with any thing, not even just plain salt (see the note above).
• Rice: Avoid the “baasamatee” or any other long-grain variety of rice, purely on the count of taste (and dryness). Indeed, for this dish, try to go in for as coarse and thick a variety as possible (purely for the taste, texture, and dryness reasons). The ideal rice is: the hand-milled/brown variety. Among the machine-milled varieties the down-market and lowest-cost “tukaDaa” rice (i.e. the one with the grains so brittle that they break down) also tastes relatively better; high-cost “baasamati” simply does not—that is a fact, and just accept that fact.

Other notes

• You can occasionally substitute potato for rice, though note that potato has a slightly higher (10—20% higher) glycemic index. Potato in fact gives a better flavor to this dish, so do try it once in a while, but in a small quantity.

The actual recipe

Oh, I almost forgot it, didn’t I? Here it is:

Put all the ingredients in a pressure cooker. Add at least 750 ml of water. (The rice, the black-eyed peas, and the vegetables will absorb far more water than you would ever anticipate. (Let me make the dish tomorrow or so, and come back to you with better estimates of all the quantities, but off-hand, I think, you will surely need at least 750 ml.)) Close the pressure cooker lid. Heat on a high flame till the first whistle. Then, cook on the lowest flame for 10–12 minutes by the clock (8–10 minutes for the broiler, 10–12 for the “gaavaraana”). BTW, forget counting the whistles for this part—they tend to vary from cooker to cooker. Switch off the heat, and let the pressure-cooker cool on its own (about 10 minutes more). Serve piping hot.

If you use oil, as the zeroth step, heat it a bit and add the dry spices starting neither with turmeric  nor with onions, but with the coarsely ground red chilly powder (and do NOT use “moharee” (mustard seeds) or “jeeraa”). Then, mix them together, and cook on a low flame for about a minute. (Yes, this is one chicken dish where you do not shallow-fry onions till they turn golden brown—in fact you don’t fry them at all!) Then, add the rest of the she-bang, including water.

The taste of this dish is sensitive mainly to the quality and relative proportions of the ingredients, and the cooking time. Both can be easily controlled, and neither requires any heavy preparation or skill. That’s why it’s the easiest great-tasting dish.

The taste of this dish is completely independent of what you do to the ingredients once they are put inside the pressure-cooker—I mean, whatever you may be tempted to attempt before closing the lid. So, don’t bother acting like a great chef at that stage. Just dump the ingredients in, and close the lid. The taste will come out exactly the same regardless of what(ever) it is that you attempt to improve the dish at that stage—or of your feelings, hopes, wishes or fears. (Ayn Rand. The last quartet of words comes straight from Ayn Rand.) …

…Enjoy, and let me know how it ended up tasted.

A Song I Like:

(English) “Everywhere”
Band: Fleetwood Mac

[In my extremely limited listening of the English (or Western) pop music, I find that Fleetwood Mac’s use of the percussion section is extraordinarily great. It’s used very sensitively and, how to put it, the sound bytes are very “well selected.”

The rhythm patterns used by this band are, that way, quite on the simpler side; they are way too simpler than what the Indian classical percussionists routinely dish out. But what I mean here is rather something different: the selection of the exact pitch, timbre and the “quality” of the elements of the pieces of sounds, and their use together, esp. the juxtaposition against each other. Indian classical music often-times remains bound by the rigidity of the traditionally available sound elements, and so, even if the rhythm patterns can easily be far more complex, the net effect can also equally easily get in the direction of technically superior but musically meaningless clutter. Not just in contrast to such poorer usage of the percussion, but even standing on its own, I think Fleetwood Mac’s percussion section (and the contrast of these sounds to the other sounds in a composition—voice or instrumental sounds) is simply extraordinary.

Anyway, this is just one of the songs coming from them that I like; I will cite others, as usual, more or less randomly…]

[I think there won’t be much editing here in this post. May be just one more pass later this evening. Done. I may do some fine-tuning to the proportions of the ingredients later this week, that’s all.]

[E&OE]

# The anti-, an anti-anti-, my negativism, and miscellaneous

Prologue:

A better title could very well have been “What I am up against.” However, that title, I thought, would be misleading. … I really am up against many things which I am going to touch on, in this post. But the point is, these are not the only things that I am up against, and so, that title would therefore be too general.

Part I: The Anti-

First, of course, comes the anti.

I stumbled across W. E. Lamb, Jr.’s excellent paper: “Anti-photon” (1995) Appl. Phys. B, vol. 60, p. 77–84. Here is the abstract:

“It should be apparent from the title of this article that the author does not like the use of the word “photon”, which dates from 1926. In his view, there is no such thing as a photon. Only a comedy of errors and historical accidents led to its popularity among physicists and optical scientists. I admit that the word is short and convenient. Its use is also habit forming. Similarly, one might find it convenient to speak of the “aether” or “vacuum” to stand for empty space, even if no such thing existed. There are very good substitute words for “photon”, (e.g., “radiation” or “light”), and for “photonics” (e.g., “optics” or “quantum optics”). Similar objections are possible to use of the word “phonon”, which dates from 1932. Objects like electrons, neutrinos of finite rest mass, or helium atoms can, under suitable conditions, be considered to be particles, since their theories then have viable non-relativistic and non-quantum limits. This paper outlines the main features of the quantum theory of radiation and indicates how they can be used to treat problems in quantum optics.”

BTW, in case you don’t know, W. E. Lamb, Jr., was an American, who received a Nobel in physics, for his work related to the fine structure of hydrogen [^].

So, that’s the first bit of what I am up against.

Also in case you didn’t notice, the initials are important; this isn’t (Sir) Horace Lamb (who, in case you don’t know, was that late 19th–early 20th century British guy who wrote books on hydrodynamics and acoustics that people like me still occasionally refer to [^]. (Lamb and Love continue to remain in circulation (even if a low circulation) among mechanicians even today. (Love, who? … That’s an exercise left for the reader…)))

Oh, BTW, talking of very good books that now have come in the public domain, and (the preparation required for) QM, and all the anti- and un- things, note that Professor Howard Georgi [^]’s excellent book on waves has by now come in the public domain [^].

(Even if only parenthetically, I have to note: I am anti-diversity, too. … This anti thing simply doesn’t leave me alone, though I will try to minimize its usage. Starting right now. … Georgi was born in California. He also maintains a page about women in physics [^].)

… Ummm, I’d better wrap up this part, and so…

… All in all, you can see that I don’t seem to be taking my opposition very seriously, though I admit I should start doing so some day. But the paper is great. (We were talking about the anti-photon paper, remember?) Here is an excerpt in case I haven’t already succeeded in persuading you to go through it, immediately:

“During my eight years in Berkeley, I had just one conversation with Lewis, in 1937, when he called me into his office to give some advice. It was: “When a theorist does not know what to do next, he is useless. An experimental scientist can always go into his laboratory and “polish up the brass”.”

This is the same Lewis who coined the word “photon.” … Now it convinces you to go through the paper, doesn’t it? (The paper is by Lamb; W. E. Lamb.)

[… On a more serious note, this paper has very good notings regarding the history of the idea of the photon.]

Part II: The Anti- Equals the Anti-Anti-

There is no typo here.

Even as I was recoiling off the glow (I won’t use “radiation” or “light”) of [the physics Nobel laureate] Lamb’s reputation, I began wondering precisely how I would counter his anti-photon argument. I even thought of doing a blog post about it. (After all, recently, Roger Schlafly has been hinting at that same idea, too. [May be TBD: insert links])

However, a better sense prevailed, and I did a Google search. I found a good blog post that gives a good rejoinder to the anti-photon arguments. The post is written in simple enough language that any one could understand. … But should I recommend it to you?… The thing is: It comes from a physicist who is reputed to have attempted teaching quantum physics to dogs. Or, at least, teaching people how to teach quantum physics, to dogs.

But of course, in physics, personalities don’t count, and neither do, you know, sort of like, “insults.” [I am also anti-animal rights, BTW [though all in favor of dogs].] And so, let me lead you to the relevant post.

The quantum physics-loving folks would have guessed the man by now (and every one, the fact that the author must be a man, not a woman). So the only remaining part would be which post by Chad Orzel. Here it is [^]. Once you finish reading it (including the comments on the post), then, also go through these couple of others posts by him touching on the same topic [^] [^] (and their blog comments). And, a great post (at wired.com!) by Rhett Allain [^] on the anti-photon side, to which Orzel makes a reference.

Orzel’s basic argument is that anti-bunching equals anti-anti-photon.

That explains the second part of the title.

But, before wrapping up this part, just a word on the PhD guides on the “polishing brass” side, and Indians. The anti-bunching experiments were done by Leonard Mandel [^], who among other things also guided Rupamanjari Ghosh’s PhD thesis. … Rupa…, who? I will save you the trouble of googling; see here: [^ (I am anti-government in education and science, too)] and here [^ (oh well, this post is getting just too long)].

Part III: My Negativism

Roger Schlafly has just recently written an interestingly long post on quantum entanglement. (Very long, by his standards.) In that post [^], he identifies himself as a logical positivist. This isn’t the first time that he has attributed logical positivism to his intellectual positions. Schlafly’s recent post is written, as usual, with good/great clarity

Now consider the premises, this time three, instead of the usual two: (i) Schlafly identifies himself as a logical positivist, (ii) I don’t agree with some part of his positions, and (iii) logic is logic—it cares for completeness.

Ergo, I must be a logical negativist.

That explains the third part of the title.

Some day I plan to write a post on the triplet and singlet states, and quantum entanglement.

Some still later day, I plan to explain how QM is incomplete, by pointing out how it can be made complete. … That is too big a goal to keep, you say?

Well, I do plan to at least explain in simpler terms the phenomenon of quantum entanglement, but only in reference to the text-book treatments. … That should be doable, what say?

… Don’t hold me responsible etc. on this promise; I am careless etc.; and so,  it might very well be in mid-2016 when I might actually deliver on it. … So, for the time being, make do with my logical negativism.

Part IV: Miscellaneous

M1: The preface to Georgi’s book notes the help he received while writing the book inter alia from (the same) Griffiths (as the one who has written very popular undergraduate text-books on electrodynamics and QM). (Griffiths studied at Harvard where Georgi has been a professor, though chances are they were contemporaries.) (No, this Griffiths isn’t the same as the Griffiths of fracture mechanics [^].) (Yes, this Georgi is the same as the one who has advocated the unparticle mechanics [^]. (But why didn’t he use the anti- prefix here?))

M2: The most succinct (and as far as I can make out, correct) treatment of the meaning of “hidden variables” has been not in the recent Internet writings on Bell’s inequalities but in Griffith’s undergraduate text-book on QM.

Why I mention this bit… That’s because, recently, the MIT professor Scott Aaronson had a field day about hidden variables (notably with Travis Norsen) [^], though since then he seems to have moved on to some other things related to theoretical computational complexity, e.g. this graph isomorphism-related thingie [^].

But, no, if you want to know about the so-called hidden variables well (and don’t have my “approach” or at least my “confidence”), then don’t look up the material on the ‘net or blog posts, esp. those by CS folks or complexity theorists. Instead, hit Griffith’s (text-)book.

M3: However, I am unhappy about Griffith’s treatment of the quantum postulates—he (like QChem and most all UG QM books) has only the usual $\Psi$ and doesn’t include the spinor function right while discussing the state definition. Indeed, he continues implicitly treating the two in a somewhat disjoint manner even afterwards (exactly like all UG text-books do). Separable doesn’t mean disjointed.

I am also unhappy about Griffith’s (and every other QM text-book’s) treatment of the basic ideas of identical particles and their states—the treatments are just not conceptually clarifying enough. … May I assist you rewriting this topic, Professor Griffiths? … Oh well… Before I actually make that offer to him, I will try my hand at the task, at this blog…. Sometime in/after mid-2016. (Hopefully earlier.)

But, yes, if you ask me, it’s only the spin and identical particles that still remain truly nebulous topics for the student, today. With single-particle interference experiments and the ubiquity of simulations, one wouldn’t think that people would have too much difficulty with wave-particle duality or interference etc.

Contrast staring at one or two manually drawn static graphs in a book/paper, and imagining how things would change with time, under different governing equations and different boundary conditions, vs. going through simulations on your smartphone, adjusting FPS, changing boundary conditions with the flick of a button… Students (like me) must be having it exponentially easier to learn QM these days, as compared to those hapless 20th century guys.

The points where today’s students are likely to falter would be a bit more advanced ones, like angular momentum. In fact, today’s students don’t know angular momentum well even in the classical mechanics settings. (Ask yourself: how clear and confident are you about, say, Coriolis forces, say, as covered in Shames, or in Timoshenko and Young?).

So, to wrap up, it has to be identical particles and spin that still remain the really difficult topics. Now, it so happens that it is these concepts that underlie popular expositions of entanglement. Little surprise that people never get the confidence that they would be able to deal with entanglement right.

(Focusing on “just” two states of the spin up- and down-, and therefore treating the phenomenon via an abstract two component vector, and then thinking that starting a discussion with this “simple” vector, is a very bad idea, epistemologically speaking. … Yes, I am anti-Susskind’s “theoretical minimum,” too. And yes, Griffiths is right in choosing the traditional way (of the sequence in which to present the QM spin). It’s just that he needs to explain it in (even) better manner, that’s all….)

M4: The day before yesterday was the first time this year that I happened to finally sense that wonderful winter-time air of Pune’s, while returning in the evening from our college. (Monday was a working day for us; no continuous 9-day patch of a vacation.)

It still doesn’t feel like the Diwali air this year in Pune, but it’s getting close: I spotted some nice fog/mist on the nearby nallah (i.e. a small stream) and a nearby canal, a couple of times. …

This has been a year of (heavy) drought. And anyway, these days, there is virtually no difference between the Diwali days and the rest of the year. … Shopping malls are fully Diwali-like at any time of the year for those who have the money, and most women—whether working or otherwise—these days outsource their (Marathi) “chakalee”-making anyway—even during Diwali. So, there isn’t much of a difference between the Diwali days and the other days. Except for the weather. Weather still continues to change in a distinctly perceptible way sometime around Diwali. … So, that’s about all what Diwali means to me, this year.

And, of course, some memories of the magical Diwalis that I have spent in my childhood… Many of these were spent (at least for the (Marathi) “bhau-beej” day and a couple of days more) at my maternal uncle’s place (a very small town, a sub taluka-level place). … As far as I am concerned, those Diwali’s are still real; they would easily remain that way throughout my life.

PS: Having written the post, I just stepped into the kitchen to make me a cup of tea, and that’s when father told me that home-made (Marathi) “chakalee”s had arrived from our family friends just last evening; I didn’t know about it.

Instantaneously, my song-selection collapsed into an anti-previously measured state. (It happens. Real life is more weird than QM.)

Epilogue:

Happy Diwali!

PS (also) to Epilogue:

Excuse me for a couple of weeks now. I will continue studying QM (from text-books), but I will also have to be taking out my notes for an undergraduate course on CFD (computational fluid dynamics, in case you didn’t know) that I should be teaching the next semester—which begins right in mid-December. (In India, we don’t always follow the Christmas–New Year’s–Next Term sequence.) I anyway will also be traveling a bit (just short distances like Mumbai and Nasik or so) over the next couple of weeks. So, I don’t think I will have the time to write a post. (That, in fact, was the reason why I threw in a lot of stuff right in this post.)

… So, there… Take care, and best wishes, once again, for a bright and happy Diwali (and to those of you who start a new year in Diwali, best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year too.)

A Song I Like

(Marathi) “tabakaamadhye ithe tevatee…”  (search on the transcriptionally incorrect “divya divyanchi jyot”)
Singer: Asha Bhosale
Lyrics: Ravindra Bhat

[PS: I kept on adding material after publication of post, and now it has become some 1.5 times the original one. Sorry about that (though I did all the revisions right within 18 hours of publication), but now I am going stop editing any further. Put up with my grammatical mistakes and awkward constructions, as usual. And, if in doubt, ask me! Bye for now.]

[E&OE]

# I’m not…

“I’m not half the man I used to be.”

That’s what they all say when they become, say, mature. These days, the “they” includes me. Yep. That’s right. I have realized that I really am not half the man I used to be. … Let me count the ways…

I no longer write code every day.

I also no longer debug code every day.

I also no longer use C++ as my first programming language.

I also no longer read pop-science books on QM.

…You get the idea. …

But, actually, it’s become worse, much worse. I perhaps am no longer even a quarter of the man I used to be. …

The reason is, not only do I read through (all the pages of) the QM and maths text-books these days, I have in fact also begun going through some maths journals these days… And it doesn’t even stop there… I mean, I also have a recommendation for a maths journal, for you!

OK. Don’t be overly concerned about me. I am quite OK, that way…

About the only maths journal whose many issues I have browsed through (and have recommendation for) is the “SIAM Undergraduate Research Online (SIURO)” [^].

Do check it out. The published papers are available for free. The link to the published papers is right on the home page; it goes to here [^].

Neat… May be Americans have begun becoming smart these days or something…

[I forgot what it was that I was looking for when I stumbled across one of the papers in this journal… If I remember that paper, I will come back and mention it… [I told you, I’m not half the man I used to be…]]

A Song I Like:
(English) “Yesterday”
Band: The Beatles

[Anti-poignancy (or should it be un-poignancy?): The Beatles were in their early twenties when they penned these lyrics.]

[E&OE]

# A nice little book on mathematics for biologists—and for the rest of us!

Have been reading QM texts and taking down my notes. Also jotting down my thoughts as they occur during these studies. There have been many threads of such thoughts, but nothing is even remotely near the completion stage. …

QM is hard—it pulls together an incredible variety of mathematical methods and tools, and each is a gem that you must spend some time on. So, the task keeps on growing…

It would have been nice to at least indicate what my thoughts are like, but it just so happens that they are rather like the margin notes. I could easily talk about them with any one (suitable) in a personal discussion, but a blog isn’t a good medium for sharing these—the ratio of the thought to the required context is too small here, and so, if these thoughts are to be converted into blog posts, too much time would be spent in just building the context.

That explains why, though I do have some free time at hand these days, I haven’t felt like blogging over the past two weeks.

But, guess I have to keep the momentum of blogging going too, and so, I will write a bit about a wonderful book on mathematics that I ran into only in the last month.

The book I am talking about packs together a lot of seeming contradictions. It is freely downloadable. It is short (130 pages). Its exercises are simple—so simple that they can’t but bolster your confidence. Yet, the text is written in such a way that it manages to pique your curiosity, so you feel like pursuing the topics covered in more depth later on. The book was written for biologists. But it has introductions to some topics that engineers wouldn’t have either understood so well, or the topics they wouldn’t have been exposed to, during their undergraduate education. By the latter, I mean topics like non-linearity and chaos. So, clearly, this book is useful also to engineers.

The book in question is:

Kirsten ten Tusscher and Alexander Panfilov (2011) “Mathematics for Biologists,” Utrecht University. [^]

A little bit more about the utility of the book to engineers, from my personal experience and viewpoint….

I have taught (simple) introductory courses on finite element method (FEM) to undergraduate students, postgraduate students, and also to practicing engineers. So let me say something with this background in mind.

If you have done a course on FEM, you know that you don’t waste your time trying to by-heart a seemingly countless number of integration formulae, as in your calculus-related mathematics courses.

Instead, you choose to play God—a rather lazy version of a God—and thereby directly assert right at the beginning of solving a(ny) problem that the unknown solution $y = f(x)$ carries the form of only a polynomial. … I haven’t yet run into any book that pursues anything other than polynomials in more than one chapter, usually the introductory one. So, practically speaking, it’s always the polynomials.

How can you assert that it can only be a polynomial? Because, you are playing a God, that’s why. A rather lazy God.

In fact, it’s a polynomial of only a few initial terms, e.g., this one: $a_0 + a_1 x + a_2 x^2 + a_3 x^3$.

In other words, even if the physical situation to model is such that the actual solution would consist of, say, the first half of the sine curve (the one that runs between $0$ and $\pi$), you still, in effect, proceed to ban the sine wave out of your universe:

“What, sine curves? Not in my universe. In my universe, sine curves are banned. They are not allowed to exist. Only the polynomials may.” That’s what you effectively say.

“But if polynomial is not the true solution, wouldn’t your solution’ be in error?,” someone may raise this question.

When it comes to FEM, you have a ready answer: “Yes, but I can make the error as small as my computational power permits me to.”

The ability to reduce the error as small as desirable (or practically possible) is what makes numerical techniques (like FEM) “good.” (It is also what permits us to arbitrarily ban sines out of our universe; the cost to be paid is: high computational power. In short, we can play God because the machine helps us.) Let me give a concrete example of that—of the the idea of continuously reducing errors.

Remember Internet 1.0? Remember how long it took for a .JPG file to download? [Speculations on the nature of the downloaded files is left as an exercise for the reader.] It could take tens of minutes for a single image. (At least in India, it easily could.) What did your browser (say the Netscape Gold, or IE 1.0) do in the meanwhile?

The browser would initially show you a big empty rectangle in place where image was supposed to appear. Some time later, this rectangle would get filled with some big colored square boxes. As the download further progressed, once in a while, the boxes would abruptly become smaller, and thus, the nature of the picture would become somewhat easier to make out. The process of the refinement went on with the amount of the data downloaded, and a greater amount of the actually downloaded data meant: smaller colored boxes, more number of them. That is, a more refined picture. After some 30 minutes, you would have that half-MB of a file completely downloaded on to your local machine (to be shared with your friends, using 1.44 MB floppy disks (assuming these wouldn’t develop bad sectors)).

So, that was the idea: a very coarse beginning but a series of repeated refinements.

The idea works also in the non-image processing contexts. You can begin with a coarse solution and then refine it better and still better. FEM uses precisely such a principle.

So, in FEM, you can always start with a polynomial even if the true (unknown) solution happens to be a sine curve.

Yes, using a polynomial where a sine curve solution is expected, does mean that there is an error in the solution—the curve for a polynomial isn’t exactly the same as the sine curve. (Try $y = x(a-x)$ i.e. $y = ax - x^2$ for the first half of $\sin x$.) That’s because the two aren’t one and the same function. The difference in the two functions is what we call “error.” But since as a God you have banned sine curves from your universe and allowed only the polynomials, the only thing you can do to save your Godliness is to reduce the error.

At this point, you have two choices, concerning what kind of mathematics to use for reducing errors.

(i) You can increase the solution accuracy by adding more, higher order, terms to the same polynomial. What I mean here is, a single polynomial continues to run across the entire domain all by itself, but the number of terms it carries goes on increasing [^]. Thus, for instance, you initially may use the quadratic polynomial: $y = a_0 + a_1 x + a_2 x^2$ (it has three terms) [^]. You then keep on adding terms for refinement:  $y = a_0 + a_1 x + a_2 x^2 + a_3 x^3$  (cubic polynomial, four terms) [^];, $a_0 + a_1 x + a_2 x^2 + a_3 x^3 + a_4 x^4$ (quartic, five terms) [^], etc.  That’s one way of refining the solution.

(ii) The second way is: you keep the degree of the polynomial the same (say, you use only a cubic polynomial), but you indirectly compensate for the lack of the higher order terms by increasing the number of boxes used for filling the domain. Thus, a lower-order or cruder polynomial is used for interpolations within a single box, but there are a large number of such boxes side by side to cover the entire domain. (The polynomials are arranged in such a way that at the interface between the two adjacent sub-domains, their curves touch each other, so that the solution for the entire domain remains continuous.)

In other words, the two methods of refinement are: (i) using a progressively longer but single polynomial over the entire domain, or (ii) using shorter and simpler polynomials within more and more color-boxes that cover the entire domain.

The FEM course, at this point, gets a bit more clerical—there always is a “routine” to any job. It also gets a little more difficult, for the students, from this point on. The reason is: they have forgotten some very basic maths by the time they begin to study FEM.

For instance, suppose I tell them this: Since the shape of the first half of the sine curve (i.e. the one between $0$ to $\pi$) is like a bell or a dome—i.e. it has just a single hump—so, obviously, the simplest polynomial which reproduces this broad feature (of the first half of the sine curve) would have to be a quadratic, because a quadratic can be made to carry a bend, whereas a straight line cannot ever be made to do so. On the other hand, if we had to approximately model the full sine curve (i.e. the one between $0$ to $2\pi$), then, since it carries two bends—a hump in the first half and a cup in the second—therefore, the simplest polynomial that still shows this feature of a hump and a cup, will have to be a cubic.

Typically, people—even graduate engineers with fairly good proficiency in solving differential equations—tend to go (at least temporarily) blank at this point. (Yes, some of the best of them also are merely straining themselves, in my actual observation—including those at COEP.) They are unable to connect the logic of the number of the inflection points on a curve and the degree of the approximating polynomial. They can easily rattle off the relation between the number of points through which a polynomial passes and its degree, but not the number of inflection points and the degree.

It happens. Either they never looked into things like that in depth because their JEE/XII exams didn’t need them, or, in the rush of five courses a semester of new maths/application every semester, they hadn’t had the time necessary to integrate ideas. (Or, they have been slacking. Possible.)

There is no easy solution. They are supposed to have read such topics, but they don’t show any evidence of a fast enough recall. The mathematics texts they use (in engineering) don’t cover such basic topics, because these books take them for granted (e.g. check out Kreyszig, Greenberg, Barrett or Arfken). The texts which the students cursorily used in their XI/XII standards are long gone off their hands (and their heads), possibly because, I said, neither the XII boards nor the JEE asked them to do curve-tracing. Among the mathematics texts now nearby them, Wartikar (or other local books) do have this topic covered (at least cursorily), but the illustrations and the print quality in them is so bad that only a mathematician could pick up a book like that for the second time in life. [Try to believe me when I say that I say this in admiration of mathematicians.]

Curve-tracing isn’t the only elementary or basic topic on which my students habitually go blank. There also are many other similar topics.

They go blank also if I ask them what it is that they visualize for the matrix eigenvalue problem. They never have visualized anything related to matrices. (A rectangle of numbers doesn’t count as a visualization.) The very idea that an eigenvalue problem can be visualized, itself is new to them. (They, by habit, never check the Wiki for any of the topics currently ongoing in the class.) Similarly, they also go blank even if I just utter the words: “a set of coupled differential equations.” They remain “blanked out” until I drop the hint like, say, several mass-spring systems connected together via some pins. At this point the bulb lights up, but only momentarily, and then, an even thicker darkness descends on them. But even that momentary flicker is an encouraging sign, to me. That’s because, nothing at all happens if I mention “chaos”—their eyes remain glassy. Or, the precise difference between complex numbers and vectors. The eyes now begin to show a generally tired version of a confident kind of a carelessness.

They need a book. A helpfully written book. A short book. An easy to read book. The book should treat also the basic topics, but rapidly.

Engineers, that way, are well-exposed to the art of juggling through mathematics. However, even if the pace is somewhat rapid, the book should be a little more than Schaum’s series books (or a compilation of formulae)—there should be some interesting bits of conceptual explanations (or hints), some non-routine kinds of applications mentioned, too.

Further, the book should be small enough that it fits the time that the students have available. (My earlier relevant post on this problem is here [^].)

Finally, the book should not list some challenging—actually, depression-inducing—exercises at the end of a chapter; the book should not turn away the reader from mathematics on that count. (Also, it should preferably have some colorful diagrams.) And, the price should be reasonable.

There are two books that deliever in an excellent manner on all these counts. Both happen to have been originally written for biologists, not engineers.

The first book is: Edward Batschelet (1979) “Introduction to Mathematics for Life Scientists, 3/e” Springer. (Published in 1979, the only feature it misses on is: color diagrams.)

The second book is the one I am talking about, in this post.

On this blog, I had touched upon the first book a while ago, here [^].

The book now under discussion complements the first. It dwells more on the recent topics which were not covered in the first. (The third edition of the first book was in 1979.) It also is just so slightly at a more “advanced” level, though, IMO, 100% understandable to any UG student of engineering.

So, I am happy to strongly recommend the second book as well. Go ahead, check it out for yourself; the .PDF is free to download anyway!

A Song I Like:

(Western “Classical”) “Va, pensiero” (from “Nabucco”)
Original Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Original Lyrics: Temistocle Solera

[The version which I listened to for the first time in my life was the one by James Last and his orchestra. I still continue liking that version for its own sake even today. The reason is, while the “purely” “classical” (or the classically oriented) performances naturally carry depth, they also tend to sometimes become a shade too pensive or sombre—sometimes even bringing a touch of ghoulishness into rendering.

On the other hand, the pop-instrumental versions (like those by James Last) are more lyrical—they are even lilting in a way. But this form—popular instrumental—itself is such that a performance can’t help but skim over the more serious portions. … The emotional experience of actually finding oneself in the midst of a physical enslavement—the gravitas of that situation—is made light, a bit too light by this form. And therefore, that yearning for the freedom, that soaring affirmation of freedom as a golden value by itself, also becomes that much less moving or stirring. …

As to me, there are times when I want to listen to only the rhythmic affirmation of the positive that such a piece can bring. I want to focus on the transformation that a mind undergoes in the act of even just contemplating the state of freedom. I want to directly sense that heavenly lightness of being which even just a mental contemplation of freedom is able to bring. Why, I want to even just directly sense the fleetingly light experience as was once expressed in (Marathi) “swatanatre, bhagawatee, chaanDaNee cham-cham lakhalakhashee,” or in [continuing with the same Marathi song] “gaalaawarachyaa kusumi kinvaa kusumaanchyaa gaali.” There is this kind of a lightness present also here in Verdi’s “va pensiero,” and there are times when I want to have this part stressed in my experience of the music.

And, of course, there also are other times (in my case these are somewhat more rare) when I must listen to a good “classical” rendering, for a deeper experience of all the aspects of the original music, with all its subtlety and seriousness. I thus have listened to several “classical” renderings of this piece by now, though I haven’t so far had an opportunity to sit through the entire opera. [BTW, I keep putting the scare-quotes around the word classical, because this piece is from the 19th century, and thus, it is, technically, from the Romantic era, not Classical.]

Just one more point. While the words for this song are great, I happen almost never to listen to (or look for) the words here. The music here is just too powerful for the words to matter much one way or the other, even if the words themselves happen to be as good as they are (I mean the English words [^]; I don’t know Italian). In fact, the specific historical context that the opera involves itself means almost nothing to me; only the themes in the abstract do: The interwoven themes of exilement and patriotism. Or, just plain of immigration and nostalgia. But, inescapably, above all, of enslavement and freedom. The overall theme here is complex but universal, and that’s why the specific concretes cease to matter. The words do express the theme well, but compared to the music, they, too, cease to matter…

The music… It’s just too subtle and yet too powerful, it’s too exceptional.

… This piece is supposed to be Verdi’s achievement of a lifetime. I haven’t heard a lot of Verdi, but I find it easy to believe the critic here. Seemingly very simple, it carries quite a few complex layers. It touches on many seemingly familiar musical phrases, but it still remains distinctly innovative, somehow. The music here has drama, and so, its progression does require just a bit of an emotional stamina, but it is not as much as what, say, Beethoven demands of you. The theme here is comparatively on the brighter side, and so, listening to it doesn’t exhaust you….

All in all, it’s a great piece of music! Hope you like it, too.]

[E&OE]

# The 2015 Physics Nobel, the neutrino, and the quantum entanglement

Okey dokey, so…. Quite a few important things have happened since I wrote my last post. Let me jot them down here, in the order of the decreasing importance:

1. The teaching part of our UG term has (finally) ended.
2. The QM papers mentioning Alice, Bob, entanglement or Bell’s inequalities did not get the Nobel recognition, not even this year—and if you ask me, for a very, very good set of reasons, but more on it later; I am not done with my list yet.
3. Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald did get the Physics Nobel for this year, “for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass.” The official popular explanation is here [(.PDF) ^]
4. Youyou Tu got half of the Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine this year, “for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria.” The press release is here [^]. … Is it just me or you too failed to notice any “China-tva-vadi” thumping his chest in “pride” of the ancient Chinese medical system?

OK. Now, a few personal comments, in the reverse order of the list.

Given my interests, the list could have ended at point no. 3 above. It’s just that, given the emphasis that the supposedly ancient “vimaanashaastra” happened to receive in India over the last year, I was compelled me to add the fourth point too.

I don’t understand Kajita and McDonald’s work really well. That’s why the link I have provided above goes only to the popular explanation, not to the advanced information.

However, that doesn’t mean that I knew nothing about it. For instance, I could appreciate the importance of the phrase “mass eigenstates.” … It’s just that I don’t “get” this theory to the same extent that I get, say, Dan Schechtman’s work for his 2011 Chemistry Nobel.

That way, I have known about neutrinos for quite some time, may be for some 25 years or more. In fact, there also is a small personal story about this word that I could share here.

If you are an Indian of my generation, you would know that it would be impossible for you to ever forget the very first radio which your family had got (it probably was the one on which you listened to your Binaca Geetmaalaa every Wednesday evening), the first (and probably the only) bicycle your father bought for you (the one which you were riding in your bell-bottoms, when the thoughts of somehow having to impress that first crush of yours passed you by), the first PC that you bought…

Oh well, I am jumping ahead of myself. Correction. It should be: The first PC whose OS you installed. …

Chances are high that you got to install—nay, you had to re-install—DOS or Windows on your office or lab machine quite a few times, and chances are even higher that you therefore had become an expert of Windows installation way before you could save enough money to buy your first PC…. You can’t forget things like these.

So, in my case, while the first time I ever touched a PC was way back right in 1983 (I was in the EDP department at Mukand back then—a trainee engineer), the first time I got the opportunity to format a HDD and install a fresh OS on it was as late as in the late-July of 1996. (I happened to buy my first PC just a few months later on.) I was already a software engineer back then. The company I then worked with (Frontier Software) was a startup, and so, there were no policies or manuals concerning what names were to be given to an office PC. So, I was free to choose any which name I liked. While some others had chosen names like “koala” or “viper,” or “bramha” or “shiva,” when it came my turn, as the VGA-resolution screen on a small (13”) CRT monitor kept staring at me, the name I ended up choosing in the heat of the moment was: “neutrino.”

“Neutrino’? Why neutrino’? What is neutrino’?”—the colleague who was watching over my shoulder spontaneously wondered aloud. He had been to California on company work some time earlier, and therefore, my guess at that time was that he perhaps could be guessing that “neutrino” could be some Mexican/Spanish/Italian name or expression. I, therefore, hastened to clarify what neutrino really meant (already wondering aloud why this guy had never heard of the term (even if he would maintain that he was into reading popular science books)). … No, he wasn’t thinking Mexican/Spanish/Italian; he was just wondering if I had made up that name. Alright, following my clarification that some billions of these neutrinos were passing through his body every second—even right at that moment, sitting in the comfort of a office, and right while our conversation was going on… Hearing this left him, say, dazed, sort of.

This instance conclusively proves that I have always known about neutrinos.

My “knowledge” about them hasn’t changed much over the past two decades.

… Anyway, my knowledge of QM has…  Two things, and let me end this section about neutrinos.

(i) If they could hunt for just a few (like just tens of) neutrinos out of billions of billions of them, why can’t they build a relatively much less costly equipment to test the hypothesis that the transient dynamics of the far simpler quantum particles—photons and electrons—isn’t quite the same as that put forth by the mainstream QM? [I have made a prediction about photons, and even if my particular published theory turns out to be wrong, any new theory that I replace it with will always have this tiny difference from the mainstream QM, because my theorization is local, whereas the mainstream QM is global.]

(ii) Can photon have mass? … Think about it. It’s not so stupid a suggestion as it may initially sound. (Of course, this point is nowhere as important as the first one concerning the transient dynamics).

Many, many people have been at least anticipating (if not also “predicting,” or “supporting”) a physics Nobel to something related to quantum entanglement. By “quantum entanglement,” I mean things like: Bell’s inequalities, or Clauser/Aspect/ Zeilinger, or Alice and Bob, … you get the idea.

I am happy that none of these ideas/experiments got to get a Nobel, also this time round. [Even if a lot of Americans were rooting for such an outcome!]

No, I have no enmity towards any of them, not even Bob; I never did. In fact, I carry a ton of a respect for them.

My point is: their work (or at least the work they have done so far) doesn’t merit a physics Nobel. Why?

Because, Nobels for the same theoretical framework have been given to many people already, say, to Planck, Einstein, Compton, Bohr, de Broglie, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Pauli, Dirac, Born, et al. The theoretical framework of QM (and unfortunately, even today, it still remains only a framework, not a theory) as built by these pioneers—and as systematized by John von Neumann—already fully contains the same physics that Bell highlighted.

In other words, Bell’s principle is only a sort of a “corollary” (rather, an implication of the already known physics)—it’s not an independent “theorem” (rather, a discovery of new fact, phenomenon, or principle of physics).

As to the experimentalists working on entanglement, if you take the sum-totality of what they have reported, there is not a single surprise. Forget surprise, there isn’t even an unproved hunch here. For a contrasting example, see what Lubos Motl describes in case of neutrinos, here [^]. Unlike neutrinos, when it comes to quantum entanglement, there literally is nothing new. There has been nothing new, over all these decades—except for the addition of a lot of “press,” esp. in the USA, and esp. in the recent times. [Incidentally, you may want to note that Motl supports string theory—which, IMO, basically has always been, and remains, a post ex facto theory.]

The Nobel committee has once again demonstrated that it has a very solid grasp of what an advance of physics means.

An advance of/in physics is to be contrasted from “mere” deductions of corollaries, no matter how brilliant these may be.

About a century ago, they (the Nobel committee members back then) had shown a very robust sense regarding what the terms like “discovery” and “physics” mean, when they had skipped over the relativity theory even in the act of honoring Einstein—they had instead picked up his work on the photoelectric effect.

The parallels are unmistakable. Relativity theory was “sexy” those days; quantum entanglement is “sexy” today. Relativity theory was only a corollary of James Clerk Maxwell’s synthesis (at least the special relativity certainly was just that); quantum entanglement is just a corollary of the mainstream QM. And, while Maxwell had not pointed out relativity, entanglement indeed was pointed out by Schrodinger himself, and that too as early as before EPR had even thought of writing down their paper. So, the parallels—and the degradation in the American and European cultural standards over time—are quite obvious.

Still, what is to be noted here is the fact that the respective Nobel committees, separated by about a century, in both cases chose not to be taken in by the hype of the day. Congratulations are due to them!

And of course, as far as I am concerned, congratulations are also due to Kajita and McDonald.

BTW, Einstein does not become a lesser physicist because he never got a Nobel for the relativity theory. [And people do argue that he didn’t invent the relativity theory either; cf. Roger Schlafly.] So what? Even if relativity couldn’t possibly have qualified for a Nobel, Einstein sure did. He did a lot of work in quantum mechanics. He explained the photoelectric effect; he explained the temperature dependence of the heat capacity of solids using the quantum hypothesis; he didn’t merely explain but predicted the LASER using the QM decades before they were built (1917, vs. 1947–52). If you ask me, any single one of these achievements would have amply qualified him for a physics Nobel. I don’t say it out of deference to the general physics community. You can see it independently. Just put any of these advances in juxtaposition to some of the other undisputed Nobels, e.g., Jean Perrin’s demonstration of the molecular nature of matter (a work which itself was motivated by Einstein’s analysis of the Brownian motion); or de Broglie’s assertion that matter had a wave character; or Bohr’s “construction” of a model that still went missing on two very obvious and very crucial features: stability of orbits and the nature of quantum transitions. (Come to think of it, Einstein also was the first to assert a spatially finite nature for the photon, a point on which all physicists don’t necessarily agree with Einstein, but I, anyway, do.)

So, to conclude, (i) much of Einstein’s best work wasn’t as “sexy” as $E = mc^2$ or  the “relativity” theory; (ii) the physics Nobel committee showed enormously good judgment in picking up the photoelectric effect and leaving out relativity theory.

Just the way relativity didn’t deserve a Nobel then, similarly, nothing related to quantum entanglement deserves it now.

It doesn’t mean that Bell wasn’t a genius. It doesn’t mean that the experimental work that Clauser, Aspect, Zeilinger, or others have done wasn’t ingenious or challenging.

What it means is simply this: they have been either (very good/brilliant) engineers or mathematicians, but they have not been discoverers of new physics. Whenever they have been physicists, their work has happened to have remained within the limits of testing a known theory, and finding it to be valid (within the experimental error), again and again. And again. But, somehow, they have not been discoverers of new physics. That’s the bottom line!

To conclude this post, think of the “photogenic” apparatus that helped nail down the issue of the neutrino oscillation (e.g. see here [^]). Then, go back to the point I have made concerning accurately measuring the transient dynamics of QM phenomena (whether involving photons or electrons). Then, think a bit about how relatively modest apparatus could still easily settle that issue. And, how it happens to be a very foundational issue, an issue that takes the decades of mystification of QM head-on.

If someone told you that all local theories of QM are BS, or that all theories of QM lead to the same quantitative predictions, he was wrong, basically wrong. The choice isn’t limited to confirmation of the mainstream QM in experiments on the one hand, and creative affirmations or denials of QM via arm-chair philosophic interpretations (such as MWI) on the other hand. There is a third choice: Verification of quantitative predictions that are different (even if only by a very tiny bit) from those of the mainstream QM. The wrong guy should have told you the right thing. Too bad he didn’t—bad for you, that is.

A Song I Like:
(Marathi) “saavaLe sundara, roopa manohara”
Lyrics: Sant Tukaram
Singer: Pt. Bhimsen Joshi
Music: Shrinivas Khale

[May be one (more) editing pass is due for this post (and also the last post). Done with editing of this post. Will let the last post remain as it is; have to move on. ]

[E&OE]