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CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: Gravity Can Be Neither Classical nor Quantized by Sabine Hossenfelder [refresh]
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Author Sabine Hossenfelder wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 12:07 GMT
Essay Abstract

I argue that it is possible for a theory to be neither quantized nor classical. We should therefore give up the assumption that the fundamental theory which describes gravity at shortest distances must either be quantized, or quantization must emerge from a fundamentally classical theory. To illustrate my point I will discuss an example for a theory that is neither classical nor quantized, and argue that it has the potential to resolve the tensions between the quantum field theories of the standard model and general relativity.

Author Bio

Sabine is an assistant professor at Nordita in Stockholm. Her work is mostly focused on the phenomenology of quantum gravity. In her free time she blogs at

Download Essay PDF File

Patrick Alan Hutchinson wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 18:20 GMT
Hello Sabine

Thanks for this essay. It summarises what appears to be a real problem and outlines what might be a real solution. It does not give many details of either the problem or the possible solution, but they may be in the references. This is all good. The questions which come to mind are:

1. Does it make sense to say that Planck's constant varies? Might it be a quantity, like the speed of light, which is taken as an absolute unit? Are there any other natural absolute units which might be used instead? The equation you give on page 3 for G relates G and c and Planck's constant and the Planck mass. Is there a good reason for regarding any one of these as less fundamental than the others, and so as dependent on them?

2. If Planck's constant varies, what might be the equation (or whatever) describing how it varies? What might be the "suitable potential" which could be added to the Lagrangian? Are there any physical or geometric criteria for choosing any particular potential?

If these points can be given satisfactory answers, this all looks like promising research.

Regards, Alan H.

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Bee replied on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 10:26 GMT
Hi Patrick,

Planck's constant is dimensionful, so if you want to speak of it varying, you should strictly speaking normalize it to make a dimensionless constant first. I did mention this in the arxiv paper - the normalization that suggests itself is the measured value of the Planck constant (at low temperatures). I'm not entirely sure what you mean with "variation". Do you mean a spatial variation or a temporal one? In the case I discussed there shouldn't be a spatial variation of Planck's constant unless you are in strong curvature regimes, ie towards black holes or towards the Big Bang singularity. (Think of particle masses, ie the higgs vev, it doesn't vary either.)

What might be a suitable potential, well, it has to be one that leads to a symmetry breaking at high temperatures and at the same time have quantum corrections that allow the convergence of the perturbative expansion, as I explained towards the end of the text. I don't know if such a potential exists. To begin with it would depend on the particle content of the theory. I don't think there's an easy answer to that, but all I wanted to say is that it does not seem impossible, and I believe it's a possibility worth investigating.



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Alan Hutchinson replied on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 23:10 GMT
Hello again Bee

Thanks for your reply.

When I wrote of Planck's constant "varying", I wasn't thinking carefully about the circumstances. Variation with either space or time would be worth understanding. As to "normalizing", perhaps I had better read your arxiv paper before writing more.

About choice of potential: you suggest two criteria.

The first, causing symmetry breaking, sounds worthwhile, but if there is any symmetry breaking potential then there will probably be very many such. It would be good to have a criterion which constrains the form of the potential much more. The second, convergence of the perturbative expansion, sounds rather ad hoc. It seems based on a model of calculation which excludes every conceivable model which is not just a simple perturbation of some basic state.

These are not criticisms of your essay. As far as I can tell, the entire main stream of current physics theory is developed around models described by such perturbations. The problem of convergence haunts them all. Even more serious: this approach excludes the possibility of models which are not such perturbations. The form of model suggested in my submission avoids this issue, which is one reason why I thought it worth writing. As things stand in current theory, the entire structure of most theories proposed these days is constrained by the very specific syntax which is available for describing Lagrangians in the notation inherited from a century-old form of maths. This aspect of theoretical physics has some catching up to do.

Best wishes

(Patrick) Alan H.

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Don Limuti wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 18:44 GMT

A rose by any other name would still be a rose, I think? Or would it require another theory?

I like your well written essay and to the point. And you are not afraid of taking some risk. Cool!

I was hoping you were going to enter this contest, so I could thank you for making my entry possible. One of your blogs on "backreaction" gave me enough confidence to submit "An Elephant in the Room" and have some fun.

Thank you,

Don L.

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Bee replied on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 10:13 GMT
Hi Don,

It makes me happy to hear that my blogging has encouraged you to write down your thoughts. I'll have a look at your essay. Best,


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James Lee Hoover wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 19:05 GMT

You wisely set a modest and an achievable goal, though well-presented.

"I hope to have convinced the reader that giving up the assumption that

a theory is either classical or quantized can be fruitful and offers a new possibility to address the problems with quantum gravity."

My ruminations about gravity tended toward observations that could be questioned and details that could point elsewhere.


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James T. Dwyer wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 19:32 GMT
Hi Sabine,

Your essay is very nicely structured, although there's little I can reasonably comprehend. Therefore, I'm certain:) what's really needed here are some insights from an uninformed pedestrian passerby...

- There seem to be two alternative, mutually exclusive characteristic properties of matter: kinetic self-propagating momentum and potential inertial mass. By that I mean...

view entire post

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Bee replied on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 10:30 GMT
Hi Jim,

I don't know what you mean when you say "The effects of gravity simply do not seem to appear in the interactions of quantum particles." They appear if you put in a gravitational interaction, and you can do that in a perturbative quantization coupled to the rest of the standard model. The problem is just that this theory only makes sense as an effective theory, not as a fundamental one. Best,


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James T. Dwyer replied on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 18:08 GMT
Hi B.,

Of course I prefaced my comments by indicating that I'm not a physicist, much less a quantum theorist, but, that being said, I was referring to observational evidence of gravitational interactions among quantum particles. While models can be constructed describing various forms of gravitational interactions, is their observational evidence supporting a quantitative perturbative interaction among particles?

Of course, that was not the main point of my little comment, but you're certainly free to dismiss or ignore it in its entirely...

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James T. Dwyer replied on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 18:41 GMT

Actually, shouldn't a quantum gravitational effect be manifested more specifically as an effective attraction interaction among particles - proportional to their mass?

Has any such interaction among particles been observed?


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Georgina Parry wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 20:36 GMT
Dear Sabine,

Good luck in the competition. Your essay is about an interesting and important subject which is very relevant to the essay question. With so many possible subjects to consider, you probably made a wise choice applying your expertise to just this one.

PS. I do read your thought provoking and educational blog from time to time- and watched your music video.

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Bee replied on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 10:16 GMT
Dear Georgina,

I'm glad to hear you find it interesting. The video... was fun. I guess I'm overcompensating for my conservative colleagues ;o) Best,


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Georgina Parry replied on Oct. 5, 2012 @ 07:23 GMT
Hi Bee,

I am still hopeful that you might get the chance to take a look at my essay before voting ends. Here's a link to a web site that explains more.RICP explanatory framework There is an older version of diagram 1. on that site. I have put a link to the high resolution file of the latest version, used in the essay, on my discussion thread. Kind regards, Georgina.

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Marcus wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 22:57 GMT
Just pointing out, in case anybody missed it, that the essay "Gravity can be neither classical nor quantized" has a companion article at called

"A possibiliity to solve the problems of quantizing gravity"

It helps to read both. I expect the two articles together will be a landmark and will noticeably change the way quantum relativists look at the problem of a combined theory of geometry and matter. The result can be something more interesting, and better, than either a classical or a quantum theory.

I have to say--the Hossenfelder idea is such a bold stroke, and seems to have enough possibility of succeeding, that it is actually entertaining to think about. It is *enjoyable* to mull over such a creative yet fundamentally simple proposal.

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Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Aug. 31, 2012 @ 23:23 GMT

A very interesting essay. A few questions come to mind.

1. You mostly describe quantum theory in the language of operators. Do these ideas still make sense, and what do they look like, using Feynman's sum-over-histories approach?

2. It seems natural at first glance to try to apply these ideas to inflation and dark energy. This may be hopelessly naive, but have you thought about letting your "Planck field" change sign in some regime to produce a negative G?

3. Are you envisioning sharp phase transitions or gradual ones? The reason I ask is because if you went to an even more radical paradigm and incorporated discreteness, you might possibly make use of the phase transitions of random graph dynamics.

To get a better idea of what is motivating these questions, you might take a look at my essay

On the Foundational Assumptions of Modern Physics[link]

Take care,

Ben Dribus

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Member Benjamin F. Dribus replied on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 01:11 GMT
(sorry for the link formatting; I forgot the slash!)

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Bee replied on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 10:39 GMT
Hi Ben,

These are all very good questions that I don't have quick answers to. As to 1: I can only say I certainly hope it does, it would be more elegant. As to 2. I think this might be similar to a signature change. It might be very interesting to think about further. And regarding 3. I haven't been envisioning this one way or the other. I'd think this is a question that would have to be addressed by experimental constraints, for example, as you say, inflationary imprints in the CMB because it affects what it means to have a quantum fluctuation to begin with. In fact, this seems to me the most fruitful direction to make contact with observation. Best,


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Member Benjamin F. Dribus replied on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 06:55 GMT
Thanks for the answers! I didn't realize until I checked your thread that it was you who posted as "Bee" over on my thread... I wrote some remarks there too. Anyway, you have some very good ideas... things I had never thought of before. Take care,


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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 12:10 GMT
Dear Sabine Hossenfelder,

If the universe is with matters in continuum, gravitation is considered as the tensor product on deformation of matters, in that, matters are eigen-rotational strings. To describe this gravity of the universe with an infinite sum of string-lengths, quantization is inevitable in that a different framework of quantization to be adapted that is non-perturbative and conformal.

With best wishes,


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Robert L. Oldershaw wrote on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 15:02 GMT
Hi Bee,

A quick hypothetical question.

In a toy cosmos wherein all masses were quantized, would gravitational interactions (even if intrinsically classical) be quantized by default?

I have asked this question in several discussion forums, but I don't think I have ever gotten a straight answer. Is the question flawed in some way?

Rob O

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Bee replied on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 07:25 GMT
What do you mean with "masses are quantized"?

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Robert L. Oldershaw replied on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 14:37 GMT
A very interesting question!

Say in this toy cosmos there are only the commonly known particles and atoms composed of them. The atoms have quantized masses in acordance with QM.

If the masses of all objects in this toy cosmos are quantized (not continuously variable masses, but definite masses, and in the case of atoms multiples of a unit mass), then are the gravitational interactions between and among them quantized by default, i.e., the interactions cannot be other than quantized even though GR is classical?

I do not see how to ask the question in a simpler or more straightforward way. For those seeking to quantize gravitation, this would seem like one of the most obvious first questions to ask of nature.

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Bee replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 07:36 GMT
I still don't know what you mean with "quantized masses in accordance with QM."

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Harlan Swyers wrote on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 15:04 GMT
I am a big fan of arguing discreteness is an emergent property, however isn't discreteness effectively a two state proposition, either its there or it isn't. Since planks constant has arbitrary units, it seems unnatural to me to talk about it evolving in time. I am thinking you mean that some fundamental ratio is evolving with time, but I am not sure if that is a correct characterization.

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Bee replied on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 07:28 GMT
Hi Harlan,

As I already wrote in a comment above, in principle you are correct that since Planck's constant is dimensionful, one should take a ratio and then talk about a dimensionless quantity. The most natural thing to do seems to divide it by the measured (low energy) value of Planck's constant (\hbar_0). However, this would make the notation less intuitive, so I haven't done that for the sake of readability. I don't know what your referral to discreteness means. Best,


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Harlan Swyers replied on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 13:34 GMT

Thanks for the response.

The idea of discreteness comes from using planck's constant in hilbert space. The purpose of the constant is to transform an otherwise continuous spectrum into discrete spectrum. For instance

which contains two continous quantities is modified into

which now allows us to talk about integer components with respect to h (everything to the left of the decimal point e.g. x.yyyy where the integers are to the left of the decimal). When talking of infinties, the specific value of h isn't important, its that we now have discretized the product space HT. Since T is usually unbounded, HT is unbounded, so talking in infinities makes sense. Cantor showed that there is a definite distinction between discrete and continuous infinities.

This is the basis of the remark, the value of h isn't particularly important, so it isn't useful to discuss it changing with respect to time.

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Bee replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 07:41 GMT
Hi Harlan,

Operators can have continuous spectra. Best,


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Anton Lorenz Vrba wrote on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 15:54 GMT
Hi Sabine,

You write: "Classical general relativity predicts the formation of singularities under quite general circumstances. Such singularities are unphysical and should not occur in a fundamentally meaningful theory." That is a powerful statement.

As I understand it, the theoretical physics community proposes to get past the problem of gravitational singularities by a clever definition in quantum gravity; instead of investigating the possibility that gravity is wrongly defined.

An alternate ansatz to describe gravity, which will not lead to singularities, you will find in my essay "Rethinking Geometry and Experiece", I really would appreciate your time and a feedback.



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Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 20:03 GMT
Hi Sabine. You are correct that gravity is not fundamentally described and understood. That is a clear fact.

You do agree that true/real/theoretical quantum gravity requires grvitational and electromagnetic equivalency and balancing and gravity and inertia in FUNDAMENTAL equilibrium and balance? It also clearly requires balanced attraction and repulsion and FUNDAMENTAL instantaneity, correct?

If we want to fundamentally express F=ma, in conjunction with the fact that gravity cannot be shielded, everything listed in this post is necessary for true/real quantum gravity. (As you know, light is known to be quantum mechanical in nature.)

We really need to use the term "quantum gravity" in conjunction with the above terms.


I would appreciate your thoughts. You are a very bright thinker, but outer space is a sinkhole. It is not fundamentally comprehensible or understandable.

My essay should be posted shortly. It will give you serious "food for thought". I would appreciate it if you would look at it and rate it.

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Neil Bates wrote on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 15:27 GMT
This is interesting, thanks Bee (BTW a prior 2nd-place winner.) The welcome defying of typical dichotomies reminds of my own insistence, the previous contest, that reality was neither digital nor analog (i.e., not fully representable by any kind of actual math.) Considering the big troubles that trying to conjoin GR and QM have provided, why not try a whole new attitude?

BTW I submitted a new essay for this contest, late Friday night so it hasn't shown up yet. The title gives a hint, it's about quantum measurement: "Can repeated interactions show more about a photon than current theory allows?"

PS: Is there a general contest discussion thread, like there was last time? I can't find one. tx. Cheers and good "luck" to all.

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Frank Makinson wrote on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 18:01 GMT

I have followed some of the concepts you have presented for several years. In 2008, I sent you an email about a proposed paper, which was published by the IEEE in 2011, "A methodology to define physical constants using mathematical constants". That paper is cited in my essay, topic 1294, and I provide links in the comments. It describes a fundamentally different way to apply mathematics to physical law.

In your essay, first section, subsection 3, you state, "As Hannah and Eppley have argued [2], the attempt to do such a coupling leads either to a violation of the uncertainty principle (and thus would necessitate a change of the quantum theory) or to the possibility of superluminal signaling, which brings more problems than it solves."

Although not a part of my essay, a paper titled, "The helical structure of the electromagnetic gravity field" ( Helical Electromagnetic Gravity ) describes a simple mechanism how superluminal influence can exist. Please note that in 2004, the authors of references [6] and [7], cited in the paper, established a mathematical basis why gravity has an electromagnetic (EM) origin. All the authors of [6] and [7] needed was a description of the EM field structure that provides an attractant only force; my paper does that.

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 19:12 GMT
Dear Sabine,

For almost any choice, people tend to think that it should either be one, or the other. I liked your point that, in the case of "classical" vs. "quantized", the fundamental theory can be neither. I am interested myself in ways in which quantum can emerge from something else. Maybe is both "classical" and "quantized", where the quantum comes from some topological or cohomological properties or something like this. In a different direction, in my present essay, Did God Divide by Zero?, I develop the idea that singularities exist in classical general relativity, but are nicely behaved, and as a bonus they seem to provide a way of regularization for quantum gravity.

Best wishes,

Cristi Stoica

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Lawrence B Crowell wrote on Sep. 2, 2012 @ 21:48 GMT
Your essay is interesting and food for thought. Gravitation is not given by a compact Lie group, which makes unitary principles problematic. The holographic principle makes the argument that quantum information is conserved. However, we have no general theory for how quantum information is conserved without unitarity. My essay is an attempt to address this matter. Quantum gravity might in the end be a bit of a misnomer.

In general I agree that gravitation will not be quantized at all in the standard way.

Cheers LC

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Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Sep. 3, 2012 @ 02:29 GMT
Lawrence and Sabine. The force/energy of inertia and gravity has to be equivalent and balanced in order for there to be fundamental quantum gravity. (Light is known to be quantum mechanical in nature.) A smaller space must be made larger, and a larger space (on balance) must be made smaller. All relevant opposites must be balanced, included, and combined. Completeness and balance are essential in physics (and theory/ideas). Balanced and equivalent attraction and repulsion is a must too.

Also, please see the additional information in my prior/above post in this matter.

Have either of you given any thought to the ideas of feeling, touch, AND vision as they can converge (fundamentally/basically) in relation to BOTH gravity and electromagnetism? Would this not fundamentally, meaningfully, and significantly tell us more about space, force, and energy (as seen, felt, and touched) taken together? We do need to begin with basics.

True/real quantum gravity demonstrates F=ma fundamentally and fundamentally includes instantaneity as well. Inertia and gravity must be balanced and equivalent. There is no getting around this. You have to demonstrate fundamentally stabilized distance in/of space.

My essay, soon to be posted, represents a major and fundamental breakthrough in waking AND dream physics (including gravity) FUNDAMENTALLY. I would appreciate your ratings and comments on this too. Thanks.

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Thomas Howard Ray wrote on Sep. 3, 2012 @ 11:45 GMT

As usual, you display a marvelous facility for clearly reducing a problem to its essentials. Delightful reading.

I have to point out, though "If Planck's constant is a field ..." your proposal for unification is unambiguously classical. We've always known that if Planck's constant were zero, that we live in a classical world. So if " ... quantum corrections which would normally diverge ... cleanly go to zero ..." spacetime geometry (actually, topology) is enough and we don't need quantization at all, for a fundamentally unifying theory.

I do hope you get a chance to visit my essay site.



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Bee replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 07:46 GMT
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the kind words. My proposal is not fundamentally classical, the quantization condition is always present. You're right, we might not need quantization for a fundamentally unifying theory. But we clearly need quantization, or something very much like it, to reproduce the world that we see. I'll check out your essay. Best,


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Thomas Howard Ray replied on Sep. 8, 2012 @ 13:34 GMT
Hi Bee,

Yes, I agree that we need " ... something very much like ..." quantization to explain the observed world. I am reminded that Einstein (The Meaning of Relativity, Appendix II) allowed that a more complex field theory than general relativity may be explained by " ... (increasing) the number of dimensions of the continuum. In this case, one must explain why the continuum is *apparently* restricted to four dimensions."

In the same respect, the idea of Planck's constant as a field has to explain why action is apparently quantized.



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Rick Lockyer wrote on Sep. 3, 2012 @ 14:59 GMT
Hello Bee,

Congratulations on a wonderful essay. I could not agree more with your position on which I quote:

“This mismatch between the quantum field theories of the standard model and classical general relativity is more than an aesthetic problem: It signifies a severe shortcoming of our understanding of nature. This shortcoming has drawn a lot of attention because its resolution it is an opportunity to completely overhaul our understanding of space, time and matter.”

Perhaps the complete overhaul might require backing away from general relativity in favor of a single mathematical foundation that cleanly integrates the fundamental forces of Gravitation and Electrodynamics, with directive qualities on just what the remainder of things must look like. The quantum side of nature might reveal itself in a different guise within the very same structure.

There is a nascent concept that does just this. It is the subject matter of my essay The Algebra of Everything. I show in this essay the relativistic characteristics of Electrodynamics are not unique to a 4D split-signature Minkowski space-time, but also within an Octonion Algebra governed 8-space. The increase in dimensions allows Electrodynamics to be only a subset of the presentation, as it must to be unified with something else. You might consider the move to Octonion Algebra as flatting out the second rank tensors employed, and instead of having only their symmetric and anti-symmetric structures, the full structure of Octonion Algebra is in play.

I would love for you to take a look and comment, for I value your opinion.



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Daniel Sudarsky wrote on Sep. 3, 2012 @ 21:59 GMT
Dear Sabine

I found very intriguing your idea of theories that are neither quantum nor classical.

However I have a concern regarding the your proposal.

I remember from my time as a student some old discussions about the issue of constancy of $h$. At that time we were talking about a proposal made by mi advisor.

The paper ...

view entire post

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Bee replied on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 07:52 GMT
Hi Daniel,

Thanks for your interest. I did address this point in my paper, and also in two comments above. It is true of course that Planck's constant is dimensionful and one should not speak of it varying. Note however that I have another constant of the same dimension, which is the low-energy vev \hbar_0. You can divide the field by that constant and be left with a dimensionless quantity. Think of ASG: Strictly speaking it doesn't make sense to speak of the variation of the Planck mass either for the same reason, it's dimensionful. It does make sense however to speak of the ratio between the low energy and the high energy coupling. It's the same here. Best,


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Daniel Sudarsky replied on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 15:11 GMT
Dear Sabine

Thanks for your reply. I am afraid however that I might not have made my point 100%

clear, as I do not think that these points were really covered in the previous discussions.

The issue is what is the meaning (or to be more precise the operational significance ) of a varying value of $h$?

Say we chose...

view entire post

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Saibal Mitra replied on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 17:32 GMT

You are making things way too complicated here by mixing the freedom to choose a unit system with the actual physics. While I can't speak for Sabine here, let me suggest to you may favorite way of dealing with these sorts of problems.

First switch to natural units c = hbar = G = 1. This defines unambiguously a consistent unit system, so no problems with that here. Unlike in, say, the SI units system you don't have any freedoms to express time, masses etc. relative to some arbitrary scales, so you now don't have compensating constants like c, hbar and G that compensate for such freedoms.

Then where hbar were to appear if you wanted it to put back, you put in your equations written in these natural units, a field phi. Also, where G would appear you put a factor phi. Since you are still working within the same natural unit system, all issues regarding measurments etc. are unambiguously defined.

In Sabine's theory, phi gets a vacuum expectation value of 1 at low energies, and at high energies the expectation value tends to zero.

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Jin He wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 14:00 GMT
Unfortunately, Dr. Laurent Nottale and Dr. Jin He quantized gravity many years ago:

Quantum Gravity Based on Mach Principle and Its Solar Application

Einstein Field Equation: the Root of All Evil? Quantum Gravity, Solar Application

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Saibal Mitra wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 16:58 GMT
I'm wondering if there would also be effects at low energies. If you consider some amplitude of a process written as a path integral then you now divide the Lagrangian L by hbar inside the space-time integral over the fields, as hbar is now a dynamical field. Then, even though you have some potential for h that effectively contrains it to the standard value, if you consider some process with a very small amplitude (like some rare decay process), it seems to me that there could be significant contributions to this via fluctuations in the h-field. The penalty against this due to the the h-potential may then be outweighed by the L/h part making a larger contribution.

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John A. Macken wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 00:01 GMT

Do you consider the electrostatic force exerted between two electrons to be quantized, classical or neither? The reason for asking this question is that I am going to make the argument that there is also a gravitational force between the two electrons and this gravitational force is closely related to the electrostatic force. In other words, my proposal is the gravitational force must be classified the same way as the electromagnetic force. To support this contention I offer my essay available here. This essay offers previously unknown equations showing that these two forces are closely related. This close relationship becomes obvious when the forces between fundamental particles are expressed using the wave properties of the particles and referencing Planck force. Furthermore, these equations were predicted by a wave-based analysis of both particles and forces. In this analysis all quantized processes ultimately result from the transfer of a quantized unit of angular momentum.

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Janko Kokosar wrote on Sep. 8, 2012 @ 14:22 GMT
Dear Ms. Sabine

I do not agree with Your ideas. The key for rejection is hidden in Duff's idea that constants h, c, and G does not exist physically. It is only possible that masses of particles increases, but You did not mentioned this possibility.

Problems with singularities can be solved on different way. Brukner, Zeilinger, Feynman, and other claim, that finite information is hidden inside of finite volume. So also singularities do not exist.

But your article is useful as thought experiment as why G, h, and c do not exist. So variation of h does not influence on variation of G.

Regards, Janko Kokosar

My essay


I found some grammar mistakes: "violate unitary", "tought experiment", "gravitty". I hope that you will return this favour. :)

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Phil Warnell wrote on Sep. 9, 2012 @ 22:48 GMT
Hi Sabine,

It's long bothered me as to how many insist that gravity needs to be quantilized to have it consistent with the standard model, since it's apparent neither vision of reality represent being the final word on matters. With that said it's also undeniable that within their relative domains each stand as very successful theories which lend a great deal of insight into the workings of the physical world respective of their predictive power and conceptual imagery.

However it's always puzzled me that when we are talking about the very beginning of things, that is to enter terra incognita, there be reason for either conceptualization of things as thought needing to be particularly relevant. So I find your essay to resonate with this concern of mine, as it gives no special significance to either; that is other than as to ponder as to how each of these characteristics of our world has emerged as a consequence of conditions not needing to be governed by the mandates of either.



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Peter Jackson wrote on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 14:08 GMT

"a severe shortcoming of our understanding of nature... ...resolution it is an opportunity to completely overhaul our understanding of space, time and matter."

Beautifully and clearly written, and I very much agree, but wonder if you've overhauled understanding enough, and nothing has emerged with anything of the clarity of your writing.

I hope you may be able to read my own essay, which steps back a few more paces for greater overview and finds a pattern which does match observation, leading to a conceptual ontological construction. It has no singularities or evaporation, but Lagrangian points and recycling, via a mechanism not violating uncertainty. The model also redefines black holes as equivalent to AGN's. (elucidated in other papers).

I fear it's to unfamiliar for mainstream to recognise, but hope that, as you seem to understand the problem, you may recognise a solution. The model has kinetic logic foundations, and you need to understand each of a set of components to build the consistent model.

But anyway, your essay is worth a good score, even, or perhaps because, it clearly makes and deals with a limited point, rather the opposite of my own.

Best wishes and good luck


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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 14:22 GMT
Dear Sabine,

I suppose that at the atomic level of matter there is acting strong gravitation . Then we can quantize the equations of Lorentz-invariant theory of gravitation in the same way as Maxwell equations. At last strong gravitation may be used for modeling of strong interaction. What do you think about it?

Sergey Fedosin

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Phil Warnell wrote on Sep. 12, 2012 @ 08:17 GMT
Dear Sabine,

I find this essay to resonate for me it's long bothered me as to how many insist that gravity must be quantilized to have it consistent with the standard model, as it's apparent neither vision of reality represents being the final word on matters. With that said, as you've pointed out, it's also undeniable that within their relevant domains they each present as very successful theories, which lend a great deal of insight into the workings of the physical world respective of their predictive power and conceptual imagery. However it's always puzzled me that when we are talking about the very beginning of things, that is to enter terra incognita, there be any reason to be convinced that either conceptualization of things as thought needing to be particularly relevant. So I find your essay to resonate with this long held concern of mine, as it giving no special significance to either, that is other than to ponder how each of these characteristics of our world has emerged as a consequence of conditions not necessarily needing to be governed by the mandates of either, but rather serve as having the fundamental aspects with would allow for both.

"In relativity, movement is continuous, causally determinate and well defined, while in quantum mechanics it is discontinuous, not causally determinate and not well defined. Each theory is committed to its own notions of essentially static and fragmentary modes of existence (relativity to that of separate events, connectable by signals, and quantum mechanics to a well-defined quantum state). One thus sees that a new kind of theory is needed which drops these basic commitments and at most recovers some essential features of the older theories as abstract forms derived from a deeper reality in which what prevails in unbroken wholeness."

-David Bohm, "Wholeness and the Implicate Order", Introduction p-xviii



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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 02:45 GMT
Dear Sabine

What is your attitude to fundamental constants and Planck units?

My attitude is special....

See essay 1413

Do yo familiar with Frank Wilczek attitude?

See Wilczek articles

Is trinity sacred?

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Sep. 19, 2012 @ 15:02 GMT

Very interesting to see your essay.

Perhaps all of us are convinced that: the choice of yourself is right!That of course is reasonable.

So may be we should work together to let's the consider clearly defined for the basis foundations theoretical as the most challenging with intellectual of all of us.

Why we do not try to start with a real challenge is very close and are the focus of interest of the human science: it is a matter of mass and grain Higg boson of the standard model.

Knowledge and belief reasoning of you will to express an opinion on this matter:

You have think that: the Mass is the expression of the impact force to material - so no impact force, we do not feel the Higg boson - similar to the case of no weight outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Does there need to be a particle with mass for everything have volume? If so, then why the mass of everything change when moving from the Earth to the Moon? Higg boson is lighter by the Moon's gravity is weaker than of Earth?

The LHC particle accelerator used to "Smashed" until "Ejected" Higg boson, but why only when the "Smashed" can see it,and when off then not see it ?

Can be "locked" Higg particles? so when "released" if we do not force to it by any the Force, how to know that it is "out" or not?

You are should be boldly to give a definition of weight that you think is right for us to enjoy, or oppose my opinion.

Because in the process of research, the value of "failure" or "success" is the similar with science. The purpose of a correct theory be must is without any a wrong point ?

Glad to see from you comments soon,because still have too many of the same problems.

Regards !


August 23, 2012 - 11:51 GMT on this essay contest.

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 19:51 GMT
Sabine wrote: "Concretely, consider that Planck’s constant ¯h is a field whose value at high energies goes to zero.

In four space-time dimensions, Newton’s constant is G = ¯hc/m2

Pl, so if we keep mass units fix, G will go to zero together with ¯h, thereby decoupling gravity. If gravity decouples, there no reason for singularities to form. If gravity becomes classical, there’s no problem with the perturbative expansion. So this possibility seems intriguing, if somewhat vague. I will now make this idea more concrete and then explain how it addresses the previously listed problems with quantizing gravity."

Sabine, i reminding you about Wilczek doubt concerning Planck units:

"An appealing feature of atomic and strong units, in contrast to Planck

units, is that the characteristic length, time, and mass can be constructed

without taking square roots. It is disconcerting to imagine that we must extract roots in order to express the basic units in terms of fundamental

parameters. (Sophisticates will recognize that extracting roots is a

nonanalytic procedure, in the technical sense.) The fact that G, \, c can be expressed in terms of mp, \, c without extracting roots, but not vice versa, on

the face of it suggests that the strong units are more fundamental than

Planck units. (I find it remarkable that a similar conclusion is suggested

by string theory, where the closed string gravitational coupling naturally

appears as the square of the open-string gauge field coupling"

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Yuri Danoyan replied on Sep. 25, 2012 @ 03:59 GMT
Wilczek:"we must extract roots",

"can be taken outside the square roots",

"In the strong system of units no square roots

at all appear in [M], [L], [T ]."

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Thomas Wagner wrote on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 20:26 GMT
A most enjoyable essay. I found it delightful reading.

Sometimes we have to step back at take a more general look at things. Here is a more simplistic look (perhaps too simplistic) at the nature of gravity. I have posted it on a couple of essay pages.

Einstein, who, more than anyone else gave us our current view of the nature of gravity, said that gravity is not a force and yet in...

view entire post

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 2, 2012 @ 08:21 GMT
After studying about 250 essays in this contest, I realize now, how can I assess the level of each submitted work. Accordingly, I rated some essays, including yours.

Cood luck.

Sergey Fedosin

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 05:33 GMT
If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings in the contest are calculated in the next way. Suppose your rating is
was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have
of points. After it anyone give you
of points so you have
of points and
is the common quantity of the people which gave you ratings. At the same time you will have
of points. From here, if you want to be R2 > R1 there must be:
In other words if you want to increase rating of anyone you must give him more points
then the participant`s rating
was at the moment you rated him. From here it is seen that in the contest are special rules for ratings. And from here there are misunderstanding of some participants what is happened with their ratings. Moreover since community ratings are hided some participants do not sure how increase ratings of others and gives them maximum 10 points. But in the case the scale from 1 to 10 of points do not work, and some essays are overestimated and some essays are drop down. In my opinion it is a bad problem with this Contest rating process. I hope the FQXI community will change the rating process.

Sergey Fedosin

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Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 18:14 GMT
Your essay was one of the more interesting ones. I have in recent weeks come to think there is some sort of duality between noncommutative quantum spacetime and smooth classical-like spacetime. This was further stimulated by reading Torsten Asselmeyer-Maluga's work. I gave you a high score that should jump your essay up some.

Cheers LC

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Jin He wrote on Oct. 5, 2012 @ 11:49 GMT
You mainstreamsians controle science for over 50 years. You mainstream and Hawking failed. The bad science is because of the Top-Down controle of the people like you. Why do you need money and fame from FQXI where the authors are mostly jobless, are mostly independent researchers, are mostly authers? Do you need money and fame by controling jobless???

I want to rate you 0!

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Janko Kokosar replied on Oct. 5, 2012 @ 19:31 GMT
It is better that mainstream physicists cooperate here with amateurs and with non-mainstream researchers. But it would be better if here were larger number of arguments, much larger than numbers of rates.

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Concerned Public wrote on Oct. 6, 2012 @ 08:52 GMT
Sergey G Fedosin is bombing entrants' boards with the same "why your rating has dropped" message. They are all dated Oct. 4... same message.

WTH? I've seen one fine essay drop 89 (eighty-nine) positions, in "Community Rating" in the past 24 hours, and “Sergey’s note” came BEFORE it plummeted. Hmm.

The vote/scaling of this contest is quite nebulous.

"Hackers Rule!", I suppose!

Well??? What else is one to think? The General Public is... Watching…

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