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FQXI ARTICLE

February 28, 2017

Q&A: Daniel Bedingham

An interview with FQXi’s Most Courageous Postdoc prize winner 2011.

January 28, 2011

DANIEL BEDINGHAM

Imperial College London

Thermal field theory, which is like quantum field theory applied to macroscopic objects like a whole gas or even the entire universe. It was interesting because it really deepened my understanding of interactions at the most fundamental level, but it wasn’t exactly foundational stuff.

At that time, I just wanted a change and I had lots of friends who worked in the financial district in London. It seemed interesting to do complex mathematics and use it for something that is highly relevant to the modern world.

I’d been thinking about it for a long time. I’d been reading lots of physics books in my spare time, such as

I told my employers at Barclays Capital that I wanted to go back to physics and they offered me the possibility of working part-time, which was a great deal for me: I’d get to pursue what I was interested in without having to rely on getting funding. After that, I went to my old PhD advisor Tim Evans at Imperial and asked if I could be affiliated as a visitor there. That way, I could go to seminars and have an office, which makes it easier to stay disciplined.

The intellectual move wasn’t as hard as it could have been because I wasn’t under pressure to get funding, and I had kept up with quantum physics while working in the bank.

I realized I could apply

the mathematics I learned

for my job as an analyst

to quantum mechanics.

the mathematics I learned

for my job as an analyst

to quantum mechanics.

- Daniel Bedingham

In these models, in contrast to orthodox quantum theory, the observer has no special role. Instead, the quantum mechanical wavefunction collapses spontaneously. The general idea is a sort of crossover between two different rules: The Schrödinger equation—the general mathematical description of the way that the quantum wavefunction evolves before it has collapsed—and the Quantum State Reduction process—which is mainly used to describe measurements. We want to come up with a composite of these two rules that doesn’t give special status to measurement. When describing a few particles, this composite should look like the Schrödinger equation, but when describing macroscopic measuring devices it should give us the Quantum State Reduction process. In particular, I’m working on making a relativistic version.

BANKING ON QUANTUM THEORY

©virtualphoto

In earlier attempts to make a relativistic collapse model, the vacuum became unstable and the mechanism created particles out of nowhere, increasing the energy density at an infinite rate. To prevent this, I included an unusual mediating quantum field that helped to smear out the collapse interactions, keeping the energy finite, while complying with relativity (

My situation hasn’t been great since I came back to physics; I’ve applied for several fellowships without success. It may be because of the topic I’ve chosen—not many people in the world work on it—but it could also be because other candidates were simply better than me. With every rejection you have to find a way to get over it and tell yourself that what you’re doing is worthwhile.

It feels like a career

gamble, but it’s a

life-style choice.

gamble, but it’s a

life-style choice.

- Daniel Bedingham

It’s a really nice surprise! You often hear people saying that this kind of research isn’t funded because it is "high risk." My opinion is that you should be funding lots of different topics instead of just a few. It’s definitely the lowest risk option to make sure that you don’t put all your eggs in the same basket.

Yes! It feels like a career gamble, but it’s a life-style choice. I earn my living by working part-time in a bank instead of lecturing and I have never regretted that actual decision. But there have been times where I thought: "This is it, I should just go back to working full time!" Obviously, I’m glad I didn’t.

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JOE BLOGS wrote on July 29, 2011

Daniel I want you to comment on Jeffreys Theory of Everything.String/Einstein.

Lets chat.

https://www.sendthisfile.com/Dsi1UcAS1T4nqej4a0zxk1TB

My clock converts a circular earth orbit into an eliptical one.

And the result is six minutes difference from sidereal time per year.

Approx we take this figure to 10,000 digits of pi accuracy as the formula uses Pi.

A cicular orbit can be in as many as 11 dimensions but these are unstable when an orbit is...

Daniel I want you to comment on Jeffreys Theory of Everything.String/Einstein.

Lets chat.

https://www.sendthisfile.com/Dsi1UcAS1T4nqej4a0zxk1TB

My clock converts a circular earth orbit into an eliptical one.

And the result is six minutes difference from sidereal time per year.

Approx we take this figure to 10,000 digits of pi accuracy as the formula uses Pi.

A cicular orbit can be in as many as 11 dimensions but these are unstable when an orbit is...

SRIDATTADEV wrote on June 21, 2011

Daniel,

Congratulations.

Singularity condenses duality into reality.

Singularity or conscience or i or god is the source of all energy, matter, space-time in the universes. One can realize this truth of one self when one gives birth or one dies to merge back with singularity.

Love,

Sridattadev.

Daniel,

Congratulations.

Singularity condenses duality into reality.

Singularity or conscience or i or god is the source of all energy, matter, space-time in the universes. One can realize this truth of one self when one gives birth or one dies to merge back with singularity.

Love,

Sridattadev.

AUTHOR FRANK MARTIN DIMEGLIO wrote on June 6, 2011

Time and distance in space vanish electromagnetically, and in quantum mechanics. Time requires space. Meaningful and perceptible distance in space AND time require gravity, inertia, and electromagnetism.

Time and distance in space vanish electromagnetically, and in quantum mechanics. Time requires space. Meaningful and perceptible distance in space AND time require gravity, inertia, and electromagnetism.

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