A wish. Looking for a couple of suitable post-docs. Covid-19 in India.

1. A wish…

I wish there were a neat, scholarly, account of the early development regarding the relativity theory. …

… There are tons of material on the topic, but not a single one seems to be to my liking…. I mean, even while rapidly browsing through so many of them, they all seem to fall short—rather, so awfully short. Reason: Most, if not all of them, seem intent on deifying Einstein, and / or, the primacy of maths over physics. [Did I cover all the eigenbases? May be not. So, let me add.] … The worst of them spend themselves out on promoting the idea that coming up with good but radical ideas in physics is all about getting lucky in some day-dreaming involving some mathematical ideas. 

OTOH, The “model” for the book which I have in mind here is something like what Prof. Malcolm Longair has done for QM; see his book: “Quantum concepts in physics: an alternative approach to the understanding of quantum mechanics.” [^].

… High time someone should have undertaken a similar effort. But unfortunately, it’s entirely lacking.

… The wish isn’t without purpose. The more I study the quantum mechanical spin, the more I realize the handicap which I have of not having already studied the relativity theory.

I can always postpone the fully consistent description, following my new approach, for the QM spin. [No one / no organization has ever sponsored my research. [Though, they all are hell bent on “following up” on me.]]

However, now that I have developed (what I believe to be) a good, basic, ontology for the QM phenomena, I have begun to see a promising pathway, at least from the viewpoint of a basic ontology, from a non-relativistic description of QM to a relativistic one—I mean the special relativistic one.


2. Looking for a couple of suitable post-docs…

Another possibility I am toying with, currently, is this:

Over a considerable period of time, say over a year or so, to build a series of Python/C++ scripts/programs that illustrate the classical EM in action, but following my new ontological ideas. These ideas are for the Maxwell-Lorentz EM, but I do anticipate that these would provide the easiest pathway to integrating the Special Relativity with the non-relativistic QM.

The trouble is: I will have to get into the FDTD algorithmics too, and I don’t have the time to do it. (In case you didn’t know, when it comes to EM, the best technique is FDTD.)

Wish I had a competent post-doc—actually two—working simultaneously with me! Right now!!

One could build the above-mentioned FDTD applets, but following the way I want them to be built.

The other one could work on “FEM-ization” of my FDM code (i.e., for the He atom, done with my new approach, and yet to be published). Once he is done, he could explore doing the same with FDTD (yes of course!), and compare and contrast the two. The FEM-ization of my FDM code won’t be very highly demanding, in the sense, people have done the finite elements formulation for the helium atom, and also have implemented it in code—decades ago… But of course, they did so following the mainstream QM. It would be a fun for the post-doc to implement it using the ideas I will be proposing—shortly.

Then, both could work on the ideas for the relativistic QM. … The pace of the work would depend on what they bring to the table, and how they perform.

Fallout? If you are a smart PhD in the concerned areas, I need not provide even a hint about it…


3. Status update on my QM research:

Currently, I am typing a set of notes on the topic of the quantum mechanical angular momentum, including the spin. For the time being, I am mostly following Dan Schroeder’s notes (which I mentioned in the post before the last, here [^]). Once done, I don’t mind uploading these notes—for proofreading by you the potential post-docs. [Who else?]

While typing these notes, it has become once again very clear to me—crystal clear, in fact—as to how my “theory” for the QM spin (following my new approach) falls short. … So short, in fact. … My “theory” doesn’t just look awfully arbitrary; it is so.

All in all, don’t expect the same kind of confidence from me for the spin-related aspects as for the spin-less ones. I mean, in the upcoming document on my new approach.


4. Back to the potential post-docs:

Exciting enough?

If yes, drop me a line. Especially, if you are working with Google / similar company. I gather they officially allow you some fraction of your official time for your own hobby projects too…


5. If you are someone young and enthusiastic, say from the Pune city and all (and in general, from India):

They have relaxed the curbs. However, I have a word of advice for you.

Don’t step out unless absolutely necessary, and if so doing, take all the precautions.

It’s just a matter of a few months now…

…BTW, I am also thinking whether the government shouldn’t relax the enforced gap of three months in between the first and the second dose for the jabs. … There are circumstantial matters which indicate that a gap in between two to three months might be ideal; that three months might be too long a period. (Actually, this matter had struck me right on the day that the Central Government increased the gap from 6 weeks to 12 weeks in one, single, move. …However, at that time, I had thought it prudent to wait and watch. Now, I think I can—nay, should—share my opinon. … I also have some other points about these matters, but these are not so important. I will sure mention these as and when it becomes necessary to do so.)


In the meanwhile, you all take care, and bye for now…


A song I like:

(Hindi) ज़िंदगी आ रहा हूँ मैं… (“zindagi aa rahaa hoon main…”)
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Music: Hridaynath Mangeshkar
Singer: Kishore Kumar

[

Credits happily listed in a random order. A good quality audio is here [^]. … Although I haven’t seen this movie, recently I watched the video for this song, and found that I enjoyed it too. A good quality video is here [^].

… I always loved this song, esp. the tune and the arrangement / orchestration. … And of course, Javed Akhtar’s awesome lyrics. … Well, yes, Kishore does sound, at places in this song, just a slight bit… and how shall I put it?… He doesn’t sound as if he were in his best frame of singing, here. His voice sounds a bit too “broad”, and perhaps heavy, and even a bit “tired” perhaps? as if he were straining a bit?…  Even then, of course, being Kishore, he does manage to pull a great job. [It’s just that, knowing Kishore, one wants to note this aside… I know, hair-splitting, it is. … Can’t help. … Sometimes.]

… [BTW, if you are young and dynamic and result-oriented etc.: The guy in this video is Sonam Kapoor’s dad. He used to be young. Once upon time. Me too. [Though I never ever had the hair-style he displays here. A lot of my class-mates did, mostly following The “Bachchan”. Not me. […Yeah, I know.]]

… All the same, all that you’ve to do now is to wait for just a few more months, that’s all… 2021 isn’t a meme on Twitter the way 2020 was. Nevertheless, in India, we have to wait. So, just listen to songs like this for just a wee bit more. … I can tell you, from experience: The scenery, esp. the Sahyaadri’s, does stay great also well until January / February next year. (And if you really love Sahyaadri’s, well, they are there, forever…)

…So there.]

…And if you are new to this song, see if you too like it…

Take care and bye for now…

]

 

The monsoon is here! Also, a fun aspect of QM.

1. Status update:

The monsoon is officially here, in the Pune city, and somehow, my spring-break [^] too gets over—finally!

(…There were no rains on the day that the Met. department officially announced the arrival of monsoon in the Pune city. The skies were, in fact, fairly clear on that day! … However, this year, everything is different. It was raining on almost every day in the month of May!)

Anyway, to come back to the reason for the permanent break in the spring-break which I had taken…

Looks like I have found a minimum working clarity regarding the phenomenon of the quantum mechanical spin. … I guess the level of clarity which I have now got is, perhaps, as good as what might be possible within the confines of a strictly non-relativistic analysis.

So… I can now with some placid satisfaction proceed to watching the remaining lectures of the MIT courses.

I will begin writing the document on my new approach a little later. I now expect to be able to put it out by 15th July 2021, perhaps earlier. [Err… Any suggestions for the (Hindi) “muhurat”s for either / both?]

…But yes, the quantum spin turned out to be a tricky topic to get right. Very tricky.

…But then, that way, all of QM is tricky. … Here, let me highlight just one aspect that’s especially fun to think through…


2. One fun aspect of QM:

The Schrodinger equation for a one-particle system is given as:

i\hbar \dfrac{\partial}{\partial t} \Psi(x,t) = \hat{H} \Psi(x,t),

where the notation is standard; in particular, i is the imaginary unit, and \hat{H} is the system Hamiltonian operator.

The observation I have in mind is the following:

Express the complex-valued function \Psi(x,t) explicitly as the sum of its real and imaginary parts:

\Psi(x,t) = \Psi_R(x,t) + i \Psi_I(x,t),

where \Psi_R \in \mathcal{R}, and do note, also \Psi_I \in \mathcal{R}, that is, both are real-valued functions. (In contrast, the original \Psi(x,t) \in \mathcal{C}; it’s a complex-valued function.)

Substitute the preceding expression into the Schrodinger equation, collect the real- and imaginary- terms, and obtain a system of two coupled equations:

\hbar \dfrac{\partial}{\partial t} \Psi_R(x,t) = \hat{H} \Psi_I(x,t)
and
- \hbar \dfrac{\partial}{\partial t} \Psi_I(x,t) = \hat{H} \Psi_R(x,t).

The preceding system of two equations, when taken together, is fully equivalent to the single complex-valued Schrodinger’s equation noted in the beginning. The emphasis is on the phrase: “fully equivalent”. Yes. The equivalence is mathematically valid—fully!

Now, notice that this latter system of equations has no imaginary unit i appearing in it. In other words, we are dealing with pure real numbers here.

Magic?

… Ummm, not really. Did you notice the negative sign stuck on the left hand-side of the second equation? That negative sign, together with the fact that the in the first equation, you have the real-part \Psi_R on the left hand-side but the imaginary part \Psi_I on the right hand-side, and vice versa for the second equation, pulls the necessary trick.

This way of looking at the Schrodinger equation is sometimes helpful in the computational modeling work, in particular, while simulating the time evolution, i.e., the transients. (However, it’s not so directly useful when it comes to modeling the stationary states.) For a good explanation of this viewpoint, see, e.g., James Nagel’s SciPy Cookbook write-up and Python code here [^]. The link to his accompanying PDF document (containing the explanation) is given right in the write-up. He also has an easy-to-follow peer-reviewed paper on the topic; see here [^]. I had run into this work many years ago. BTW, there is another paper dealing with the same idea, here [^]. I have known it for a long time too. …Some time recently, I recalled them both.

Now, what is so tricky about it, you ask? Well, here is a homework for you:

Homework: Compare and contrast the aforementioned, purely real-valued, formulation of quantum mechanics with the viewpoint expressed in a recent Quanta Mag article, here [^]. Also include this StackExchange thread [^] in your analysis.

Happy thinking!


OK, take care, and bye for now…


A song I like:

[TBD]

Loitering around…

Update:

OK. I am getting back to working on the remaining topics, in particular, taking down detailed notes on the QM spin. I plan to begin this activity starting this evening. Also, I can now receive queries, from “any” one, regarding my work on QM, including the bit mentioned in the post below. [The meaning of ` “any” one ‘ is explained below.]

[2021.03.24 13:17 IST]


Am just about completing one full day of plain loitering around, doing nothing.

No, of course, it couldn’t possibly have been literally nothing—whether of the शून्य (“shoonya”) variety, or the शुन्य (“shunya”) one. (Go consult a good Sanskrit dictionary for the subtle differences in the meaning of these two terms.)

So, what I mean to say by “doing nothing” is this:

The last entry in my research journal has the time-stamp of 2021.03.18 21:40:34 IST. So, by now, it’s almost like a full day of doing “nothing” for me.

It’s actually worse than that…

In fact, I started loitering around, including on the ‘net, even earlier, i.e., a few days ago. May be from 16th March, may be earlier. However, my journal pages (still loose, still not filed into the plastic folder) do show some entries, which get shorter and shorter, well until the above time-stamp. …The entry before the afore-mentioned has the time-stamp: 2021.03.18 19:12:52 IST.

But not a single entry over the past whole day.


So, what did I do over the last one day? and also, over a few days before it?

Well, the list is long.

I browsed. (Yes, including Twitter, Instagram, and FaceBook—others’ accounts, of course!)

I also downloaded a couple of research papers, and one short history-like book. I generally tried to read through them. Unsurprisingly, I found that I could not. The reason is: I just don’t have any mental energy left to do anything meaningful.

Apparently, I have exhausted all my energy in thinking about the linear momentum operator.

I think that by now I have thought about this one topic in most every way any human being possibly could. At least in parts (i.e., one part taken at a time). I have analyzed and re-analyzed, and re-re-analyzed. I kept on jotting down my “thoughts” (also in a way that would be mostly undecipherable to any one).

I kept getting exhausted, and still, I kept pushing myself. I kept on analyzing. Going back to my earlier thoughts, refining them and/or current thoughts. Et cetera.

In the end, finally, I reached the point where I couldn’t even push myself any longer—in spite of all my stamina to keep pursuing threads in “thinking”. I’ve some stories to share here, but some other time. …To cut all of them long stories short:

Some 12 hours after I thus fully crashed out of all my mental energies, at some moment, I somehow realized that:

I had already built a way to visualize a path in between my approach and the mainstream QM, regarding the linear momentum operator.

I made a briefest possible entry (consisting of exactly one small sketch over some 2″ by 5″ space). Which was at 2021.03.18 21:40:34 IST.

Then, I stopped pursuing it too.

Why bother? Especially when I can now visualize “it” any time I want?


But how good is it?

I think, it should work. But it also appears to be too shaky and too tenuous a connection to me—between the mainstream QM and my new approach.

Of course I’ve noted down a bit of maths to go with it too, and also the physical units for the quantities involved. Yet, two points remain:

As a relatively minor point: I haven’t had the energy to work out (let alone to do even the quick and dirty simulations for) all possible permutations and combinations of the kind of elements I am dealing with. So, there is a slim possibility that terms may cancel each other and so the formulation may not turn out to be general enough. (I’ve been fighting with such a thing for a long time by now.)

But as a relatively much more important point: As I said, this whole way of thinking about it seems too tenuous to me. Even if it works out OK (i.e., after considering all the permutations and combinations involved), this very way of looking at the things would still look at best tenuous to any one.

The only consolation I have is this idea (which had already become absolutely banal even decades ago):

Every thing about QM is different from the pre-quantum theories.

That’s the only thin thread of logic by which I my ideas hang. … Not as good as I wanted it. But not as bad as hanging all loose either…

And, yes, I’ve thought through the ontological aspects as well. … The QM ontology is radically different from the ontologies of all the pre-quantum theories. Especially, that of NM (Newtonian mechanics of particles and rigid bodies). But it is not so radically different from the ontology already required for EM (the Maxwell-Lorentz electrodynamics)—though there is a lot of difference between the EM and the QM ontologies.

And that’s what the current status looks like.


“So, when do you plan to publish it?”

Ummm… Not a good question. A better question, for me, is this:

What do I propose to do with my time, now?

The answer is simple. I will go in for what I know is going to be the most productive route.

Which is: I am going to continue loitering around.

Then, I will begin with taking detailed notes on the QM spin—the next topic from the mainstream QM—as soon as my mental energy returns.

That’s right. I won’t be even considering writing down my thoughts about that goddamn linear momentum operator. Not for any time in the near future. That’s the only way to optimize productivity. My productivity, that is.

So, sorry, I won’t be writing anything on the linear momentum any time soon, even if it precisely was the topic that kept me pre-occupied for such a long time—and also formed the topic of blogging for quite some over the recent past. So, sorry, this entire blog-post (the present one) is going to remain quite vague to you, for quite some time. You even might feel cheated at this point.

Well, but I do have a strong defence from my side: I’ve always said, time and once again, that I was always ready to share all my thoughts to “any” one. I mean, any one who (i) knows the theory of the mainstream QM (including its foundational issues), and (ii) also has looked into the experimental aspects of it (at least in the schematic form.)

So, any such a person can always drop a line to me.

Oh wait!

Don’t write anything to me right away. Hold on for a few days. I just want to kill my time around for now. That’s why.

I’ll let you know (may be via an update here), once I begin actually taking down my notes on the QM spin. That’s the time you—“you” the “any” one—may get in touch with me. That is, if “you” want to know what I’ve thought about that goddamn linear momentum operator. [OK. As the update at the top of the post indicates, now I’m ready.]

OK, bye for now, take care in the meanwhile, and don’t be surprised if I also visit your blog and all…


A Many songs I like:

[I also listened to a lot of songs over the past few days. I couldn’t find a single song that went very well with any one of my overall moods over the past few days… So, don’t try to read too much into this choice. And, I’ve got bored, so I won’t offer any further comment on this song either. (And, one way or the other, I actually don’t know why I like this song or the extent to which I actually like it. Not as of now, any way!)

(Hindi) जनम जनम का साथ है निभाने को (“janam janam kaa saath hai nibhaane ko”)
Singer: Mohammad Rafi
Music: Shankar-Jaikishan
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri

I could not find a good quality original audio track. The “revival” version is here: [^]. It was this version which I first listened to, and used to listen to, while taking leisurely evening drives (for up to, say, 50 miles almost every day) in the area around Santa Rosa. Which was in California. But it didn’t feel that way. (It also was the home town of the “Peanuts” comics creator.) …

…OK, I will throw in one more:

(Marathi) तूं तेव्हा तशी (“too, tevhaa tashee”)
Music and Singer: Pt. Hridayanath Mangeshkar
Lyrics: Aaratee Prabhu

Which is yet another poem by Aaratee Prabhu, converted into a song by Hridayanath. But I won’t be able to talk about it. Not as of today anyway. Listening is good. A good quality audio is here [^].

…And, since I have been listening to songs a lot over the past few days, one more, just for this time around…

(Western, Pop) “How deep is your love”
Band: Bee Gees

I don’t know what the “Official Video” means, but it is here: [^]. I also don’t know what the “Deluxe Edition” of the audio means, but it’s here [^]. … I always happened to listen to the audio, which was, you know, at many places in Pune like in the `H’ club (of the student-run mess at COEP hostels); at the movie theatres running English movies in Pune (like Rahul, the old West-End, and Alka); most all restaurants from the Pune Camp area (and also a few from the Deccan area); also in the IIT Madras hostels; etc. All of this was during the ’80s, only. I don’t know why, but seems like I never came across this song, even at any of these places, once it was ’90s. … As usual, I didn’t even know the words, and so, couldn’t have searched for it. A few days ago, I was just going through a compilation of songs of ’70s when I spotted this one, and then searched on its lyrics and credits and all. I had remembered—and actually known—only the music… But yes, now that I know them, the words too seem pretty good…

Anyway, enough is enough. I already wrote a lot!  High time to go back to doing nothing…
]


History:
2021.03.19 22:27 IST: Originally published.
2021.03.24 13:25 IST: Update noted at the top of the post and also inline. Some minor corrections/editing.