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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Pier Lisi: on 1/8/15 at 7:50am UTC, wrote I submitted a proposal of new general system theory, dealing with first...

Jonathan Dickau: on 12/31/14 at 4:08am UTC, wrote This seems like a fruitful subject to invest some time in.. I have long...

John Merryman: on 12/21/14 at 20:00pm UTC, wrote Pentcho, You are conducting an admirable campaign, with far more...

Pentcho Valev: on 12/21/14 at 19:09pm UTC, wrote Theoretical Physics Unravelling Scientific method: Defend the integrity of...

Pentcho Valev: on 12/19/14 at 17:25pm UTC, wrote In 1905 Albert Einstein informed the world that, although time dilation is...

Pentcho Valev: on 12/19/14 at 10:31am UTC, wrote Eckard, "Will you please perform the quantitative check I asked you for?" ...

Eckard Blumschein: on 12/19/14 at 9:56am UTC, wrote Georgina, It happens that a perception is at odds with a conclusion from...

Eckard Blumschein: on 12/19/14 at 9:48am UTC, wrote Pentcho, Let me also be stubborn: Will you please perform the...


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FQXi BLOGS
November 20, 2019

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: Call for Research Proposals: The Physics of What Happens [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on Dec. 12, 2014 @ 13:46 GMT
It's good to take a philosophical attitude to life. Let's say you apply for an FQXi large grant. Maybe you get it, maybe you don't. Whatever happens, happens.

But what does *happen* from the point of view of physics? What constitutes an "event"? We're announcing our 2015 competition, with US$2 million to give out in grants, for projects that investigate "events". Full details can be found here.

The current request for proposals targets research on the Physics of "Events" both in physics and also in related fields including cosmology, astrophysics, philosophy of physics, complex systems, biophysics, computer science, and mathematics.

Everyday reality is largely made up of events: things that happen and don't "un-happen." These events separate the past from the future via the present, in which events are "happening." The world of fundamental physics, however, is quite different.

In general relativity, for instance, "event" simply refers to a space-time location, which may or may not coincide with something happening. The theory has no fundamental entity that corresponds to an event that "happens" or does not. In quantum mechanics, the measurement of some observable can constitute an "event," but this process is subject to differing theoretical and philosophical interpretations. The evolving wavefunction -- like the evolving matter and gravitational fields in GR -- has no "event" built in; they must be identified by reference to a laboratory or other macroscopic observer. Furthermore, it is unclear to what extent events in the macroscopic world should really be considered quantum measurements of the archetypal variety studied in the quantum foundations literature.

Thus, both of our fundamental theories of physics are by themselves event-free (or at best "event-lite"), and we face the question of how to draw a firm connection between these theories and the events that make up what happens in experienced reality. Drawing those connections -- and through the process, analyzing the notion of "event" as it appears in its many forms throughout physics -- is the aim of this request for proposals. A longer list of example questions is available here.

Initial proposals are due on February 15, 2015. If you have any questions, please contact mail@fqxi.org.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Dec. 12, 2014 @ 17:32 GMT
"events separate the past from the future via the present, in which events are "happening."

If we reasonably consider any event that happens at least temporally extended (anything flows) then definitely it cannot at all exactly separate the past from the future. No matter which deliberately chosen timespan the notion "the present" refers to, e.g. to today, to our millennium, or to a very short exposition duration of a record, it is always meant in a deliberately fuzzy sense. Therefore I see the sequence past-present-future a careless mix of different logical levels the naive use of which disqualified Einstein.

Aren't point-like events mere idealizations of reality as also are point-like particles? Hence, I don't expect valuable proposals.

Moreover, mentioning space-time like the common gospel might not just deter those like Smolin.

Eckard



Eckard

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 12, 2014 @ 18:50 GMT
"In general relativity (GR) for instance, "event" simply refers to a space-time location, which may or may not coincide with something happening. The theory has no fundamental entity that corresponds to an event that "happens" or does not."

Einstein's space-time is unacceptable to everybody nowadays:

Nima Arkani-Hamed 06:11 : "Almost all of us believe that space-time doesn't really exist, space-time is doomed and has to be replaced by some more primitive building blocks."

WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Steve Giddings: "Spacetime. Physics has always been regarded as playing out on an underlying stage of space and time. Special relativity joined these into spacetime... (...) The apparent need to retire classical spacetime as a fundamental concept is profound..."

On the other hand, space-time is a deductive consequence of Einstein's 1905 constant-speed-of-light postulate. This means that, in accordance with the rules of logic, the only way to "retire" space-time is to reject, as false, the postulate - the assumption that the speed of light is independent of the speed of the light source. To discuss "events" in Einstein's relativity without getting rid of the false postulate is pure waste of energy and money, to say the least.

Pentcho Valev

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Pentcho Valev replied on Dec. 13, 2014 @ 16:14 GMT
The End of Einstein ?

For a year or so New Scientist have regularly been posting on Internet this:

Sorry, Albert: Physics that challenges Einstein

The papers referred to are always the same but the video is different each time, and the video above, chosen 10 hours ago, is one I made (heretical) comments on yesterday:

Why space and time have a secret connection

Pentcho Valev

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Pentcho Valev replied on Dec. 14, 2014 @ 17:07 GMT
Everybody now knows Einstein was wrong but the official announcement will probably come from New Scientist:

Sorry, Albert: Physics that challenges Einstein

Rethinking Einstein: The end of space-time (...) The stumbling block lies with their conflicting views of space and time. As seen by quantum theory, space and time are a static backdrop against which particles move. In Einstein's...

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 15, 2014 @ 05:47 GMT
Congratulation Pentcho,

You prudently forgot blaming Einstein's postulate concerning the constant c for space-time. Why not completely forgetting Him, seeing Him as mislead himself by rather than creating a horror mistake? From eternity to eternity amen? Only in the commonly used perspective the now is "our now". It's just common belief for centuries imagining ourself as moving in time, i.e. in block-time.

Zeh's book referred to the arrow OF time, not the arrow IN block-time. Isn't this a reasonable alternative perspective? Let's celebrate the age of anything as something that cannot be reversed. Mors certa, hora incerta is correct but perhaps the wrong (i.e. Einstein's) perspective. Physicist who deserve to be called scientists should say: Mors certa; the age of any individual is limited. Don't just blame His Relativity for killing time. Let's accept the now as the zero of really elapsed time and the commonly used timescale derived from it.

Eckard

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Akinbo Ojo wrote on Dec. 12, 2014 @ 19:41 GMT
On the contrary Eckard and Pentcho I think the topic is okay especially as non-mainstream proposals will be tolerated and are indeed invited. It is at least more physics-like than 'how humanity should steer the future', which sounds social science-like. My only concern is that mainstream fantasies, like wormholes, travelling into the future and past, blocktime, etc usually end up with the grants especially when well disguised. If I am correct this foundational topic may be the focus of next essay contest. More later.

Akinbo

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 13, 2014 @ 05:03 GMT
The new request for proposals asks for "a firm connection between" SR/GR and QM on one hand and "experienced reality" on the other one just by dealing with the notion event. Indeed, even the most crazy non-mainstream proposals will again be tolerated and are invited. Once bitten twice shy, I would like to object that unbiased analyzing of the case is not at all intended. The bias I see is the common belief that reality can be completely subordinated to "both of our fundamental theories".

Let me focus on a decisive question:

What makes the future different from the past if there is no difference between them in theory?

Simple reasoning tells us that there is no escape: When the theories were abstracted from reality this led to the freedom to shift, flip, or otherwise manipulate the abstract time on the inevitable cost of loosing this difference. In other words, the theories cannot account for the infinite amount of unseen influences. The past is eventually closed forever. It cannot be changed while the future is open. This contradicts to claimed unitarity. Nonetheless, use of the latter may provide excellent approximations.

Eckard

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Roger Granet replied on Dec. 13, 2014 @ 06:37 GMT
My view, as an amateur, is that replicas of a fundamental existent entity are what constitute space, location and existence. The exchange of energy between these entities, which I believe occurs via changes in their shapes, constitutes an event. Time is just a series of events. This is why time doesn't go backwards. To go backwards, there would have to be a reduction in the number of events that has occurred, and this doesn't happen. Even if one could get a broken coffee cup to reassemble spontaneously, this isn't time going backwards. It's just more events that replicate a series of events but in reverse. Just because one can change the sign of time in an equation doesn't mean it actually happens in real life.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 13, 2014 @ 10:36 GMT
If only the professionals did listen to amateurs like Roger then they would perhaps not call for proposals to manage making the impossible anyway somehow achievable.

Roger also indicates what is wrong when Georgina writes elsewhere "a past that ceases to have material existence":

She doesn't accept the past as just the ordered forever more of less traceable but uncountable collection of any results of processes that already were in progress. Instead she still attributes material existence to a present state, a concept that reasonably avoids dealing with the strict order.

While it is reasonable to distinguish between the subsequent stationary states "unexploded" and "exploded", not just any measured transition between them turns out to be a process.

Eckard

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 16, 2014 @ 18:01 GMT
The most crucial event in physics - young travelling twin meets old stationary brother:

Space traveler is younger than twin

If this event is false (it is!), then:

Albert Einstein (1954): "I consider it entirely possible that physics cannot be based upon the field concept, that is on continuous structures. Then nothing will remain of my whole castle in the air, including the theory of gravitation, but also nothing of the rest of contemporary physics."

Pentcho Valev

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 16, 2014 @ 21:19 GMT
But relativity does have a part to play, as the emergent Image reality and the appearance of curved space time, and empty space in which fields mediate effects is consistent with that Image reality.

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 17, 2014 @ 07:59 GMT
Georgina,

Capitalizing His Relativity, I am expressing my blasphemy towards the idolization of Einstein.

From the perspective of an observer, an object seems to be contracted when moving towards him 1/(c-v) but stretched when moving away 1/(c+v). This was correctly described by Christian Doppler. Reinterpreting Lorentz' idea of length contraction in both cases, Einstein fabricated a mixed image 1/(c+v) + 1/(c-v) = 1/(1-v^2/c^2).

Eckard

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Georgina Woodward replied on Dec. 18, 2014 @ 00:53 GMT
Hi Eckard, this new essay question should suit you well giving the opportunity to examine such issues and their impacts.

Another issue, as I see it, is that there is 'size perspective' to incorporate. I indicated long ago that a distant 'object' is much smaller than the same 'object' nearby, which is evidence that what is seen is a fabrication. Eg. The 1cm distant 'house'. It seems this idea is now being considered by Julian Barbour's team who are saying size relativity can be substituted for time relativity. Which is so, because the further away an object the older the data from which the image is formed and the smaller in size it appears. Though it is important to remember objects can be different in absolute size (foundational reality) as well as apparent size (emergent reality) due to perspective.Then such phenomena as foreshortening (near part of object appearing larger than furthest part and length contracted, altering the spatial proportions,of the 'object' can be assimilated. Amalgamating the effect of perspective into relativity would show that it is obviously emergent Image reality, containing images, and not fundamental objects.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 18, 2014 @ 17:25 GMT
Where Einstein Got Off Track

"Physicists' greatest hope for 2015, then, is that one of these experiments will show where Einstein got off track, so someone else can jump in and get closer to his long-sought "theory of everything."

The experiments of Michelson-Morley and Pound-Rebka have already shown where Einstein got off track:

"These efforts were long misled by an...

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Eckard Blumschein replied on Dec. 19, 2014 @ 09:48 GMT
Pentcho,

Let me also be stubborn:

Will you please perform the quantitative check I asked you for?

Michelson's first (1881) experiment, not just its remake by Michelson-Morley (1887) can be explained if space isn't assumed to have a point of reference. Did someone refer to Michelson-Morley before Einstein, Michelson's enemy did so?

Eckard

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Pentcho Valev replied on Dec. 19, 2014 @ 10:31 GMT
Eckard,

"Will you please perform the quantitative check I asked you for?"

No - I have neither the time nor the energy. Sorry.

Pentcho Valev

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Pentcho Valev replied on Dec. 19, 2014 @ 17:25 GMT
In 1905 Albert Einstein informed the world that, although time dilation is mutual (either observer sees the other's clock running slow), it is still asymmetrical - the stationary clock runs faster than the travelling one:

ON THE ELECTRODYNAMICS OF MOVING BODIES, by A. Einstein, June 30, 1905: "From this there ensues the following peculiar consequence. If at the points A and B of K there...

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Dec. 21, 2014 @ 19:09 GMT
Theoretical Physics Unravelling

Scientific method: Defend the integrity of physics, George Ellis, Joe Silk, Nature 516, 321–323 (18 December 2014)

For the moment the string theory and the multiverse are being attacked but these are metastases; soon "the root of all the evil" will have to be eradicated:

Joao Magueijo, Faster Than the Speed of Light, p. 250: "Lee [Smolin] and I discussed these paradoxes at great length for many months, starting in January 2001. We would meet in cafés in South Kensington or Holland Park to mull over the problem. THE ROOT OF ALL THE EVIL WAS CLEARLY SPECIAL RELATIVITY. All these paradoxes resulted from well known effects such as length contraction, time dilation, or E=mc^2, all basic predictions of special relativity. And all denied the possibility of establishing a well-defined border, common to all observers, capable of containing new quantum gravitational effects."

Pentcho Valev

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John Brodix Merryman replied on Dec. 21, 2014 @ 20:00 GMT
Pentcho,

You are conducting an admirable campaign, with far more tenaciousness than I could ever muster. I happened to read your comments on the Nature website and have followed them here. Given my own experience with those supporting the status quo simply ignoring logic they can't refute, it is evident that reason alone is not going to resolve this conundrum. I suppose you have probably seen the point I keep making about how we model time as a vector from past to future and ignore the physical basis of future becoming past. Since this topic does relate so closely, I actually submitted a prospectus. Not for any money, though I put in $1000 to fill the space, but simply to draw attention.

I thought I would offer you, if you haven't considered it, a point I keep making about how the premise of expanding space, due to Doppler effect, completely overlooks the fact that a stable dimension of space is still assumed, based on a constant speed of light. In other words, if space expands as shown by the redshift of light traveling intergalactically and it is necessarily assumed then that it will take light longer to cross this space, that assumes there is a stable dimension being defined by the speed of the same intergalactic light. More units, not expanded units. This sort of math would get an accountant in serious legal difficulties, but seems perfectly acceptable in cosmology. I recently carried on this debate at physorg, if you want a good example of how the conversation gets dropped, when they run out of argument, but I'm sure you have much experience with that.

That said, Good luck. I'd offer help, but my time and talents seem to be lacking, though I offer what I can.

Regards,

John Merryman

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Dec. 31, 2014 @ 04:08 GMT
This seems like a fruitful subject to invest some time in..

I have long viewed Physics as a study of unfolding processes, where the current stage might depend on the completion of earlier stages. This is certainly true in a cosmological sense, because expansion from a seed state spreads out the concentrated energy necessary to keep the incipient universe in its primordial condition. As each cosmological epoch is reached, it becomes possible only to move forward and not to go back. So there is an event-driven and process-like aspect to Cosmology, or its attendant Physics.

I will enjoy formulating a proposal for this topic, and I have a colleague or two eager to share the load this time. There are several possibilities, and I am considering my options, but the entire palette or spectrum of what's possible with this topic is appealing.

All the Best,

Jonathan

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Pier Paolo Lisi replied on Jan. 8, 2015 @ 07:50 GMT
I submitted a proposal of new general system theory, dealing with first istant of universe, its form and on nature of energy: it's a brief script, http://viXra.org/abs/1501.0093

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