Does QMC Have Priority over FAQ? + Miscellanea

One of my recent muses is the title question of this post. … Allow me to explain.

As I have pointed out a few times in the past in this blog and also elsewhere, I have discovered a way to resolve the quantum wave-particle paradox. See my slides and papers here. Soon later on, I began calling the new approach by the name “FAQ,” which is short for: fields as quanta. That is what the “FAQ” in the title of this post refers to.

Before making my claim, of course, I had done an extensive literature search, almost none of which was cited in the abovementioned papers, simply out of the space limitations of a conference paper. But the search was there. One of the things I had quickly browsed through, during this search, was the literature on QMC—short for Quantum Monte Carlo.

In recent weeks, I decided to search once again. It must have been the n-th occasion that I was searching thus. This time round, I was reading more closely the papers, and so ran into some interesting passages in a few early papers (circa 1975) by Professor James B. Anderson of Penn State (USA). In some of these papers, Professor Anderson indicates that Metropolis, Ulam and John von Neumann had stated in one of their early papers (in late 1940s) that the idea for something like QMC had already occurred to the great physicist and Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi.

Curious, I immediately wrote him an email, and promptly received the directions to look up his new book: “Quantum Monte Carlo: Origins, Developments and Applications”. The relevant pages of this book can be browsed at Google books [here]. This book is a researcher’s dream come true. Original papers tracing the development are hand selected, and brief introductions to each provided. (These introductions written with expertise and yet remain accessible to a “lay reader” like me.)

It’s enough to browse the first few pages of Anderson’s book to realize that Schrodinger himself was right up there, thinking about these ideas (and also publishing them in journal papers) right in 1935.

Thus, QMC has… what’s the word here? precedents? antecedents? … Whatever. I will use the term “precedents” here. So, QMC  has two independent lines of precedents, both traceable to famous people (Nobel laureates), one going as far back as to 1935, to Schrodinger himself. The other line goes back to late 1930s and early 1940s to Fermi. (I forgot my tracks on the Internet or in the books/papers here, but will add links to them later on.)

Very deeply interesting, this all is. Also, even satisfying in a way!

However, all my reading of all such material tells me that all the precedents to the modeling of Schrodinger’s Equation (SE) using ideas such as random walks or Monte Carlo involve the imaginary time—not the real time. (Refer to Anderson’s excellent book and papers to know what this means.)

My approach, in contrast, involves the real time (and the real space—not a configuration space).

It might seem amazing that Einstein worked on both the photoelectric effect and the Brownian motion in the same year 1905, and yet didn’t think of extending the second to explain the first. Even more amazing is the fact that both Schrodinger and Fermi thought of using the second to model quanta, but never thought of doing so in the real time.

It is for these reasons that I conclude that QMC cannot be said to have the priority over FAQ. In other words, my claims are valid.

This post is to bring the matter to your careful and serious attention. If you have any [proper] evidence contrary to my conclusion/claim, then kindly do drop me a line or provide the links.

[BTW, note, links like this may be good otherwise, but are not detailed enough to be of help in this matter.]

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A few clarifications/asides:

I am not at all interested in any sort of a priority battle. But one likes to be as direct as is possible in communications. The purposes this policy serves are things such as: precision and economy in thought; propriety in the allocation of intellectual credit where one is due.

Interestingly, after submitting an abstract to an upcoming international conferences in India, the reviewing committee noted to the effect that “direct claims” such as what I was making could not be entertained.

To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. It was nothing less than shocking. … Of course one is supposed to be as direct as possible in all communications of this kind. Indirectness might have its allure in poetry, esp. of the romantic sort. Consider here the beauty of: <Hindi>”Kyaa Kehnaa Hai, Kyaa Sunanaa Hai…”</Hindi> … You know what I mean—literally…. But trying to use it in science/research? (LOL!)

So, one tries to be direct. And, one remains open and available (i.e. active-minded) to correct oneself—if a correction is necessary. It is in this spirit that I make all my claims. After a conscientious and as wide a literature search as possible. But directly, as directly as possible, thereafter. … Sigh… Not all folks in India know or understand or support this way of approaching science!

Anyway, to return to more interesting matters than them (and their science/engineering), let me know if I am understanding QMC in a wrong way and/or making a wrong claim somewhere in my research. I would appreciate being kept corrected—if one is necessary.

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And, while quoting Javed Saheb’s poetry (which also is a song), it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to start jotting down a few songs that I like after every post I make. (This idea traces its origins to Jean Moroney Binswanger’s advice [here] to everyday jot down three good things—major or minor—that happened to you on that day…. Well, three per day is too much, but three per post isn’t a bad idea to implement).

Accordingly, here I begin, right away. Three poems/songs/tunes/musical compositions I like (of whatever type/genre, for whatever reasons, from whatever language I know, etc., more or less at random, out of hundreds of such):

1. <Hindi>ye raate ye mausam nadi kaa kinaaraa…</Hindi> (Kishore Kumar)
2. <Marathi>jan paL bhar mhaNatil haay haay…</Marathi> (Lata, Bhaa. Raa. Taambe.)
3. (Words not necessarily exact)<Hindi>chhaayee barakhaa bahaar, kare jiyaraa pukaar</Hindi> (Lata)

An important note about the third song: As far as I can make out, (and I am confident about it), this song is in the “raag” “bhairavee.” The reason I am so confident is because I once heard an unforgettable “jugalbandi” of Pandit Bismilla Khan on “shehnai” and Mrs. Rajam on violin in “bharavee”. It was an especially memorable performance because it was the first time ever that I had really appreciated a piece of the Indian classical music. (As a rule, I find it boring—but always with notable exceptions. (Also Western classical—most of it, too, is boring.)) They had announced the “raag” at that time, it was “bhairavee.” I had observed, right then, that this song of Lata (which I quote above) was exactly like that “raag” and vice versa.  (The venue was the Open Air Theatre of IIT Madras, when I was a master’s student there at that time.)… The reason to share this all side information is to emphasize doubly and triply that the song I have in mind here is not the “aayi barkhaa bahaar…” by Lata and Madan Mohan. Neither is it any of the other “aayi barkhaa bahaars…” that are listed on Google within the first 30 pages. And of course, it is not that Salil Choudhary’s unforgettable “o sajanaa, barakhaa bahaar aayee” (which is not in “bhairavee” anyway.)

… Yes, the song I have in mind is for real. It exists. But I don’t recall any of its other credits (like the film, the lyricist, the music director, etc.) except for the fact that it’s been sung by Lata and that it is in “bhairavee.” (And yes, at least one member of our family could distinctly remember that there is such a song (despite the fact that I am not a good singer), though they too can’t recall its film etc. … Please do let me know if you find it.