Physics—What I Am Doing with It, These Days…

0. “Preface”

If you read enough number of text-books, you pretty soon come to know that well 90+% of them are an outgrowth of the class-notes for some or the other course. … Earlier, I used to wonder how come the authors manage to expand a, say, 200 page handwritten notebook to 600 or 800 pages of printed matter. There has to be some art to it, I used to think, a very special art. … But no, I no longer am overawed by those prefaces any longer. The reason is, I began blogging in the meanwhile—and so, I now well know how the written matter keeps on expanding!

This post, too, is an outgrowth of a reply to a comment at this blog, the one here [^]. The person asked me about the delayed choice experiment, that’s the context. … That set me writing more about what I am doing with physics, these days. So, here we go.

1. A Bit about My Position concerning IAD and Entanglement:

The first thing to say here is that I in principle don’t believe in the physical reality of instantaneous action-at-a-distance (IAD), period—whether in the classical context or quantum (or even in philosophy of physics).

As a consequence, I also don’t believe in quantum entanglement. [I know it’s a dramatic thing to say, but I am just trying to put it across as simply as possible.]

As of today, I feel confident that I would be able to explain the empirical observations concerning entanglement, on a (possibly new) theoretical basis that rejects IAD in principle.

I am sure that I can already do so for photons. But the real fun is with electrons. Since I have not yet completely finalized or firmed-up how my approach might be extended to handle electrons, and since there already have been many dismissals of my already published ideas concerning photons simply because those papers didn’t at all address electrons, I, in the process, have learnt that it is better to keep one’s mouth shut up—if the current crop of “physicists” is who one is addressing. It works better that way—the poor fellows aren’t used to listening to an engineer-by-training tell them something about the basics of their own discipline. That’s why, I am not talking—publicly or privately—about rejecting entanglement, not even in the context of only photons. This new policy of mine does not mean that I have no definitive kind of ideas concerning these matters in the context of electrons.

2. What I Have Yet to Learn/Master, and Why My Progress Is Slow:

The thing is, I have to first learn the standard/mainstream treatment up to a certain level, say to come at par with a typical beginning graduate student of physics proper, before I begin to air my views concerning these matters. I am serious about my studies, and indeed I am progressing fairly well. But let’s face the reality concerning this matter.

The reality is that these days, in order to survive, I have to do a day-job. I work 5.5 days a week in a day-job that involves VC++ (going from v.6 to v.10), FEM, Solid Mechanics of Plates and Shells, Fortran, and whatnot. That leaves me with very little time to continue learning my physics and QM. So, the progress has been very slow. But, still, I do try to make as much time as possible. So, the progress also is definite even if it is slow.

Once I come up to the level of being comfortably able to read through or converse about, say, Goldstein/Taylor (Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics), at least Griffith if not Jackson (electrodynamics), a similar author on the Relativity side, and then also Griffith/Shankar (QM), then, I think I will begin writing down my future research articles.

3. The Kinds of Hindrances Faced by Me While Doing Physics

Believe me, the existence of a bad epistemology in physics is not the only hindrance. The existence of a bad community atmosphere also is. Thus, there also is that moral component to it. And, more. Since both front-line and fundamental physics is, today, de facto completely controlled by governments, there also is that specificially political angle to everything one wishes to do.

4. Other Hindrances:

I have spoken about these matters—the hindrances. There are “follow-ups,” there are those emails going without any replies, there  even is that absence of a mere acknowledgment for a post-doc application that I once made (even when the position was with with an Indian-born arrogant currently working in the USA—an IIT Bombay alumnus). Then, there are the nationality issues. Religion issues. Caste issues.

Regarding caste. If you don’t believe this, consider this evidence from another context. Since 1998, I might have contacted more than 300 matrimonial profiles (may be 400, or 500 even). I might have been rejected by less than 50 girls. The rest of them simply refuse to have anything to do with me—not even simply clicking on a button to reject me. And, most of these girls themselves are either Brahmin or CKP or Saraswat, and wish to marry only the aforementioned three types (with about 5% of them saying that a Gujarati, or a South Indian Brahmin also is acceptable). In short, when these Brahmin etc. see a guy who happened to have been born into the 96 Kuli caste, these bitches believe that the guy is not even worth rejection. (Peikoff doesn’t argue for having the notion of the arbitrary, without reason!)

As to the OBC and, esp., the lower classes ones. If they are well-educated and so on, they are in that fast lane to get a Brahmin guy for themselves. They too have learnt the tricks of the Brahmin trade. They too refuse to even reject me.

(I can supply names to support all types of cases.)

If it happens this routinely in the matrimonials sphere, what makes you think it cannot happen in the sphere of work and research?

[Speaking of the recent times (i.e. past one month or so), the received taunts have referred to Vishwamitra, “finally”, etc. … Ask me for more details, and, depending on my judgment of your credibility, I will make sure to supply these. Both the BJP and the Indira Congress, the Republican and the Democrat, etc. types partitions of assholes, are welcome to ask.]

5. Still Other Matters—Directly Related to Physics

Apart from it all, let’s face two truths fair and square: (i) Physics, esp. the fundamental physics, is hard to learn. (ii) Engineering training provides only a partial coverage of the pre-requisites.

I think the first point is obvious, and so, I will not try to explain it here. But the second point does require some explanation.

Consider what all prerequisites would be required to build a new theory/approach for quantum mechanics of electrons (something like QED—not QCD, quantum gravity, etc.) At the barest minimum, here is a list, put together right on the fly and not in any particular order:

  1. Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics, Variational Principles
  2. Classical Electrodynamics
  3. The History of Quantum Physics. Despite the explosion of information and all, this is very, very hard to get. You see, every bustard is trying to impose his late-2oth/early-21st century spin on what actually happened in the early decades of the 20th century—and, in the process, evading or suppressing some or the other crucial angle. Every bustard, including Nobel Laureates and MIT Professors, are on this train. One of the least offensive—but fairly representative–offences of this sort is the following bit from Resnick’s book on QM. In the detailed explanation as to how Planck came to quantize the cavity radiation, Resnick gives an integral expression for the total EM energy which makes reference to probability density. Now, wait a minute. Did Planck himself offer the probability argument in 1900? Oh yeah? Then what did Max Born do in the mid-20s? Similarly, the authors who love wave mechanics put Heisenberg’s formulation at 1927—not six months before Shrodinger’s wave mechanics. They, thus, wipe out a crucial insight that hierarchically, it is possible to formulate QM without making appeal to wave mechanics. Something similar, from the matrix mechanics side: they do remember to forget to tell that the equivalence between the wave mechanics and the matrix mechanics was basically shown only by Shrodinger, not by Heisenberg. And then, every modern bustard thinks that he has a license to mangle not only history but also proper order(s) of development, and therefore goes ahead to 1927+ times in using Dirac’s bra and ket notation. And, not a single bustard points out a single weakness in that mathematician’s Rationalistic reformulation of QM—of course, I am talking of von Neumann. … In short, history and hierarchy is incredibly difficult to get—precisely because of the profusion of the available material.
  4. Electrodynamic Relativity. … Another soup made by idiots. … You don’t believe me? When was the last time you read/heard a physicist tell you this simple matter (which I took years to grasp and which I did on my own): There are three broad divisions of development in physics. The first is Newtonian mechanics, which is the mechanics of uncharged (and nonmagnetic) bodies (and with Galilean relativity). The second is Maxwellian mechanics—the mechanics of the electrically charged bodies (i.e. an extension to and a modification of the first mechanics, as brought about by this additional attribute of the electrical charge that the bodies under study now possess). The third is not yet well formulated (and, in my opinion, looking at the physicists’ convictions and mine, I have a better chance of formulating). Hence, there is no one single man’s name as yet attached to it. Before such reformulation, it is called by the mystic-altruistic-collectivist name of Quantum Mechanics. It is the mechanics of isolated charged bodies—i.e. where the particles flux is so low (as in the “microscopic” situations) that the continuum assumption of the Maxwellian mechanics doesn’t hold, and such new empirical observations have to be properly accounted for. When was the last time you heard of this kind of characterization? Instead, you have that routine idiocy of Newtonian—“Relativity,” “Observable,” “Collapase,” “Contradiction,” “Consciousness,” etc. … Anyway, to conclude this point, let me just say that by electrodynamic relativity, I mean the Maxwellian electrodynamics and Lorentzian relativity, seen in a conceptually proper (perhaps new) way.
  5. Mathematical topics like vector spaces, linear operator theory, etc. Why, engineers aren’t even taught Strum-Louisville theory (only basic Fourier analysis and transforms), or even the ideas such as well-posed differential equations (I picked up this topic, and many similar ones, from outside of typical engineering texts and course-work).

And, this list is incomplete.

Since engineers (esp. metallurgical/materials/software/mechanical engineers) aren’t taught all these topics, I have to learn these on my own. And, not only that, given the (Hindi) “deDh shahaaNe” that are physicists, esp. Indian ones (look up and get in touch with any asshole employed by, say, a Tatas-run institute; form your own judgment; and then know that the path is downhill from there onwards), I have to make sure that in my enthusiasm of talking or writing, I don’t end up making silly mistakes.

This is a serious matter. With engineers, it is different. Software engineers are all the time first writing some code and then improving it later on (say, using profiling and all). But they are not alone. Even mechanical, civil and other engineers are perfectly OK if you goof up on something—so long as you are sufficiently tentative in the first place, are willing to work to correct, and in fact do correct. That way, even among engineers, academics are assholes—they don’t fully qualify to be called engineers. But still, they are far better as compared to the physicists. Especially, the Indian physicists (including the Tatas employed shameless bustards who call themselves Physicists or Physics Professors).

That is another reason why my progress with physics is slow.

A final reason also is: I am not intelligent enough. I can easily imagine a more gifted person progress more rapidly than what I am able to manage. But then, I don’t give this factor too much damn, primarily because one doesn’t attempt to change the metaphysically given (while still acknowledging that not all aspects of intelligence are metaphysically given—some are a matter of volitional improvement).

6. What I Am Reading Currently

Currently, I am busy reading Whittaker’s history of aether theories (see my tweets), and also “A Chronological History of Electrical Development” (also available off archive.org), and many other related books. I will write a separate post detailing these in a few days’ time. I will also write my understanding of what the most basic problem of the (special) relativity theory is, and some of the thoughts which occurred to me concerning it. I would share that.

Though this post could be made better, for the sake of making time available to myself, I would like to let this post remain in whatever shape that it is in.

* * * * *   * * * * *  * * * * *
A Song I Like:
[I am sure that this song is very little known. Hence, I am giving a more detailed verse-line. It was new in late 1970s. I am giving the credits purely by memory. Drop a line if you have a CD/cassette of this one…]
(Marathi)
“haa unaaD awakhaL waaraa,
hyaa Tapor shraavaN dHaaraa,
phulwoon pisaaraa saaraa,
too naach aaj re moraa, too naach aaj re moraa, too naach aaj re moraa…”
Singer: ? [Certainly not Lata. Could be Usha, perhaps Krishna Kalle. Or, someone else!]
Music: ? [Could be Bhaskar Chandavarkar or Hridaynath. Or, someone else!]
[Another hint. The song does sound like many modern Marathi songs. It has a bit of modern, Western style of orchestration, with a distinct use the rhythm guitar—the chords in part supply the rhythm, so to speak. The last time I heard it could easily have been in my XII standard, i.e. 31+ years ago. If what I recall of the song from memory is right and representative of the actual song, then this one would always easily make it to my top 10 or at least top 20 list—the enthusiasm and the freshness is too distinct (for me, that is).]

[E&OE]

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5 thoughts on “Physics—What I Am Doing with It, These Days…

  1. Pingback: Physics—What I Am Doing with It, These Days… | Ajit Jadhav's Weblog

  2. Hi Ajit,

    It’s good to read your posts on your progress in the fundamentals of physics. It’s good to see that you develop your own view about it, not taking for granted everything that appears in textbooks, or conventional science history books. I’m totally on the same line. If we want to discover new things in physics, we have struggle by our own, rechecking every iota or epsilon of every experiment on photons, electrons, atoms,… Discovering (or re-discovering) things personally is most rewarding and satisfying.

    Please continue. I’ll have to read the other posts to know more about your progress. I’m sure it will also help my progress.

    And yes, I also don’t believe in entanglement. Because the experimental details don’t talk about entanglement. They just show some correlations which may seem weird in a classical interpretation of QM, but which are expected from natural principles.

    Yours,

    Arjen

    • Hi Arjen,

      Oooops! I thought I will go through your presentation slides, and then forgot about it completely! Sorry!! … But I am really hard-pressed for time.

      “Discovering (or re-discovering) things personally is most rewarding and satisfying.”

      You said it!

      “And yes, I also don’t believe in entanglement.”

      What? That makes two of us!!

      “Because the experimental details don’t talk about entanglement.”

      Exactly!!! There is absolutely no empirical evidence to directly support entanglement at all.

      IMHO, what seems to have happened is this: Right in the 18th century, someone (d’Alembert or someone before him) thought of separating the variables. That step built instantaneous action-at-a-distance (IAD) into (mathematical) analysis. Newton’s gravitation did have IAD, but it was rather by indirect implication. In contrast, the success of the separation of variables, esp. after Fourier, began to make IAD a part of the common-sense of physicists. Developments along the Liebnitzian energy lines—Lagrange and Hamilton—sealed it. Today, physicists treat the mathematical tools as if these were God-given, and without looking at the physical bases of those tools, directly apply them to the quantum phenomena. Since QM is hard and subtle, it takes an effort to point out that entanglement (i.e. IAD in essence) isn’t the only possible way to look at the empirical data.

      May be, if we keep insisting on having detailed, fine-grained time-series data for experiments (diffraction, interference, entanglement), then, it will occur to someone, some day, that there is truth to what we are saying.

      Please give me a few months’ time and then I will become more active with QM. … I won’t stretch your curiosity. Here is my study + research plan (as of today):

      0. Finish reading Whittaker’s history. Write brief notes (for myself).

      1. Finish reading Griffith’s Electrodynamics. Then, implement a toy FDTD (simplest problems, but in 3D, just for better understanding—I understand everything better once I make a running program out of it).

      Then, write a paper showing the relation between my approach and EM wave propagation. Use it to simulate light, now also with angular momentum (i.e. a cone in 3D after diffraction). It would be great if folks at Princeton/Harvard or other places can generate detailed photon detection events data, for empirical comparisons.

      2. Soon after finishing reading Griffith (ED), also finish reading a good special relativity text. … Which book would you suggest me? I do plan to finish Resnick, and also French & Taylor. But these may be too elementary.

      3. I have a definite theoretical idea in mind for the same physics as covered by special relativity. May be write an article detailing it. (Always possible: A simulation to go with it).

      4. Finish taking notes of QM books up to the level of (in apparently increasing order of “difficulty”) Liboff, Scherrer, Griffith, and then, Shankar.

      5. Immediately after: Write an initial paper detailing theory + simulation for electron diffraction/interference. Would be wonderful if detailed empirical data of Tonomura’s experiment can be had for comparison. Provide contrasts to existing theory.

      With my schedule, I think I could cover only point 3, at most point 4, by this year-end. So, we are talking of about I quarter of 2011 for me to come to point 5.

      That’s what my plan looks like, as of today.

      Thanks for writing. All the best to your work too. I would be eager to read anything new you release.

      Best,

      –Ajit
      [Will post this reply as a separate post this weekend]

  3. “Oooops! I thought I will go through your presentation slides, and then forgot about it completely! Sorry!! … But I am really hard-pressed for time.”

    No problem. Scientific discovery is a lifetime progress. So we may have some years ahead to share thoughts:-)

    Your research plan is ambitious. It’s good to have one. But beware of the textbooks’ traps. Alike you said, every physics author tries to impose his views about what’s physics, but I think only a minority really experience what really matters. Physics has become more and more interpreting past theories in the light of recent experiments, while it should be essentially feeding oneself with experimental evidence, pondering over it and eventually simplifying or correcting the theories.

    About Electrodynamics, I would recommend reading Faraday, J.J. Thomson or Maxwell above textbooks. Maybe J.J. Thomson was the last scientist who really questioned Electromagnetism. After him, they just accepted it and fitted QM and Relativity with it. While Thomson was the experimentalist, the specialist. As an example, I don’t think Thomson took for granted that two positive charges repel (because of a footnote of him in Maxwell’s Treatise). Textbooks won’t ever tell us that, because their purpose is to teach Maxwell’s equations, etc. Not the doubts about it, or the way Maxwell visualized and discovered his equations.

    Never mind. Go your own way:-) I’ll continue to read your posts with pleasure.

    Best,

    Arjen

  4. Pingback: My Current Study and Research Plans. Also, Seeking a Little Research Funding… | Ajit Jadhav's Weblog

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