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click titles to read articles

The Complexity Conundrum
Resolving the black hole firewall paradox—by calculating what a real astronaut would compute at the black hole's edge.

Quantum Dream Time
Defining a ‘quantum clock’ and a 'quantum ruler' could help those attempting to unify physics—and solve the mystery of vanishing time.

Our Place in the Multiverse
Calculating the odds that intelligent observers arise in parallel universes—and working out what they might see.

Sounding the Drums to Listen for Gravity’s Effect on Quantum Phenomena
A bench-top experiment could test the notion that gravity breaks delicate quantum superpositions.

Watching the Observers
Accounting for quantum fuzziness could help us measure space and time—and the cosmos—more accurately.

January 21, 2018

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: We Are All Connected [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on May. 5, 2017 @ 21:25 GMT
Can you write a song about physics that is actually a good song? Not a joke song or a spoof song; not a song whose only purpose is to teach you the parts of an equation. A song that is on its own simply a good song, but that is also somehow about physics.

To do that you have to understand at a deep, intuitive level what physics tells us about our world. And then you have to translate that into music.

I know of one person who can do it. Sabine Hossenfelder has just released two new songs, "Catching Light" and "Schrödinger’s Cat". To go with the songs, there are two excellent videos that include short explainers of the physics from Sabine. I am happy to say the videos were funded by an FQXi mini-grant.

As well as a songwriter and videomaker, Sabine is a physics research fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, where her research is supported in part by an FQXi grant for her project on spacetime defects.

There is more information about the videos on Sabine’s blog.

(And for an earlier song, which won “best/worst earworm” in our FQXi video contest, watch “I saw the future”.)

this post has been edited by the forum administrator

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Steve Dufourny wrote on May. 8, 2017 @ 19:01 GMT
Hi Mr Foster,

I liked :) art and sciences are linked.The mind searches answers ,answers to this partition universal, this primordial music.

ps, I have several créations at piano and guitar :)

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Joe Fisher wrote on May. 9, 2017 @ 15:21 GMT
Dear Dr. Foster,

Only Nature could provide the simplest reality. The real visible Universe must consist only of a unified infinite surface occurring in one infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

The physicists claim that the strongest evidence for there having been a finite commencement of the universe was their belief that the “(complex) laws of Physics are universal and don’t change with time and location in space.”

You do not have to be an ignorant physicist to see surface for surface is the only thing that can ever be seen.

The fact that would fund inane songs about imaginary invisible cats and imaginary fine light, is utterly depressing,

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Georgina Woodward wrote on May. 10, 2017 @ 03:28 GMT
Nicely done Sabine. Its a good way to introduce some ideas in physics but you do have to listen to the whole song to find out there is discussion afterwards. The first reminds me of Kraftwerk a bit, especially "the cat is alive, the cat is dead" bit. Perhaps it was inspired by them. The second song has a nice up tempo chorus, nice video and I like the talking interlude. I disagree with the philosophical basis of the two songs but still like the project, it has been well executed.

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Joe Fisher replied on May. 10, 2017 @ 14:43 GMT
Dear Georgina,

It is utter codswallop.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Pentcho Valev wrote on May. 13, 2017 @ 16:05 GMT
Only Deductive Theories Are Falsifiable in Physics

John Horgan: "Almost 40 years after their inception, inflation and string theory are in worse shape than ever. The persistence of these unfalsifiable and hence unscientific theories is an embarrassment that risks damaging science's reputation at a time when science can ill afford it. Isn't it time to pull the plug?"

My comment in Scientific American:

Nowadays theories and models are not DEDUCTIVE, that is, they cannot be presented as a set of logically valid arguments based on a small number of simple axioms (postulates). This makes them unfalsifiable a priori. I have tried to explain this here:

Unfalsifiable (Dead) Physics: Who Is to Blame?

Pentcho Valev

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Pentcho Valev wrote on May. 19, 2017 @ 14:30 GMT
Is Light Particle or Wave in Einstein's Schizophrenic World?

Chad Orzel: "Another not-really historical parallel that gets cited a bunch is the idea of John Michell's "dark stars" as a precursor to black holes. Michell, working in the late 1700's with Newton's corpuscular theory of light as a stream of tiny particles, theorized that light leaving massive stars ought to be slowed down by the...

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Gary D. Simpson replied on May. 21, 2017 @ 14:05 GMT

I hesitate to use someone else's post to advocate my own thinking since doing so smacks of certain individuals of this forum. However, I think I can add something to your comments.

Please read my FQXi essay titled "Five Part Harmony". Actually, just look at Figure 1. That will be sufficient. I present a 5-D geometry based upon the complex plane and a 3-D vector perpendicular to the complex plane.

To simplify things, let us assume that the 3-D vector u is one dimensional and that it is in the direction of motion of a photon. Light is constructed of an electric field and of a magnetic field and they are perpendicular to each other. It now becomes easy to envision the complex plane as representing the EM aspects of light.

I have not yet attempted to revisit the works of Faraday, Maxwell, and Einstein but it seems to me that this geometry is more suited to that application than the geometry of Euclid since it already has three distinct terms (the complex plane and a spatial dimension) and three orthogonal dimensions.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Pentcho Valev replied on May. 21, 2017 @ 16:50 GMT

Einstein deduced his concept of time (spacetime) from two postulates, and I believe deduction is the only reasonable approach in physics. One of the postulates was false, there was an invalid argument in the very beginning, but the theory (special relativity) is still deductive and falsifiable.

General relativity was not deductive and neither has been any model of spacetime since then. In my view, being non-deductive implies being not even wrong and unfalsifiable.

You see, I'am not the right guy to comment on your or anybody else's essay. Still I wish you good luck in the competition.

Best regards,


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Gary D. Simpson replied on May. 21, 2017 @ 23:45 GMT

I'm not asking for you to comment upon my essay. I am asking you to consider an alternate way of thinking. What I postulate in my above post is that electro-magnetism is a fundamental component of geometry.

I know that you reject the length contraction required by SR. Consider the following: What is a rigid body as defined by Einstein? All material objects to my knowledge are composed of atoms. Atoms are known to be mostly empty space with the majority of the mass in the nucleus and "shells" of electrons surrounding the nucleus. What if the distance from the nucleus to the electron orbitals were not fixed but instead was a function of velocity or energy? Length contraction would then automatically be built into everything composed of atoms but not space itself..

It follows that even if an object were travelling at light speed, it would still have a physical length because the nuclei of the atoms would not have shortened. Only the electron orbitals are affected.

Give it some thought.

Best Regards,

Gary Simpson

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Pentcho Valev wrote on May. 28, 2017 @ 17:00 GMT
Compatibility of Quantum Mechanics and Relativity: Impossible A Priori

"Professor Hermann Nicolai, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), has received one of the prestigious Advanced Grants of the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC is funding Prof. Nicolai's research on a unified theory of quantum gravity with approximately €1.9 million. In Nicolai's approach symmetries play a decisive role. One of the greatest challenges in theoretical physics is the unification of quantum field theory and Einstein's general relativity into a theory of quantum gravity. The two fundamental theories are not compatible with each other within the known physical laws. But if we want to understand what happens inside a black hole or at the Big Bang, we need a theory that combines both."

If both quantum mechanics and general relativity are deductive theories, one has no right to introduce anything in one of them to make it compatible with the other - unless this "anything" is clearly deducible from the postulates.

If one of the two theories, e.g. general relativity, is not deductive, then it CAN be made compatible with the other. However in this case the question

"If it is not deductive, what is it?"

should be answered. I'am afraid the answer

"An empirical concoction, not even wrong"

is unavoidable.

Pentcho Valev

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Steve Agnew wrote on Jun. 1, 2017 @ 03:38 GMT
For goodness long do we have to put up with this?...

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jun. 4, 2017 @ 14:20 GMT
Why Theoretical Physicists Produce Models

Theoretical physicists produce models "literally because they can make money with it":

Sabine Hossenfelder: "The problem that nobody seems to want to talk about is that rather than trying to find a minimal model that explains the data and leave it at this, there are many hundreds of models for inflation all of which are almost certainly...

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jun. 9, 2017 @ 11:24 GMT
Fraudulent Confirmation of Einstein's Relativity Again

Nature: "The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted light bending because of the gravity of a nearby white dwarf star - the first time astronomers have seen this type of distortion around a star other than the Sun. The finding once again confirms Einstein's general theory of relativity."

My two comments in Nature:

It doesn't of course - Newton's theory also predicts light bending, and finding out, experimentally, which prediction is the correct one is impossible, even in the case of the Sun where the mass is known. In order to divert the attention from the problem, dishonest Einsteinians teach that Newton's theory predicts no deflection:

Kip Thorne: "A second crucial proof of the breakdown in Newtonian gravity was the relativistic bending of light. Einstein's theory predicted that starlight passing near the limb of the sun should be deflected by 1.75 seconds of arc, whereas NEWTON'S LAW PREDICTED NO DEFLECTION. Observations during the 1919 eclipse of the sun in Brazil, carried out by Sir Arthur Eddington and his British colleagues, brilliantly confirmed Einstein's prediction to an accuracy of about 20 percent. This dealt the final death blow to Newton's law and to most other relativistic theories of gravity."

Nature: "The amount of distortion allowed the researchers to directly calculate the white dwarf's mass - 67% that of the Sun."

This means that they have used the deflection predicted by Einstein as an ASSUMPTION - there is no confirmation of general relativity in this case. "Einsteinians" and "logic" are incompatible concepts.

Pentcho Valev

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jun. 17, 2017 @ 11:32 GMT
LIGO conspirators in trouble (the world is gullible but not infinitely gullible):

Sabine Hossenfelder: "Was It All Just Noise? Independent Analysis Casts Doubt On LIGO's Detections. A team of five researchers - James Creswell, Sebastian von Hausegger, Andrew D. Jackson, Hao Liu, and Pavel Naselsky - from the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, presented their own analysis of the openly...

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jun. 20, 2017 @ 20:45 GMT
Not Even Wrong Concepts in Physics: Entropy

The following argument is obviously valid:

If there is no evidence that the entropy is a state function for ANY system, then the concept of entropy is not even wrong.

Is there any evidence that the entropy is a state function for ANY system? No. If you define the entropy S as a quantity that obeys the equation dS=dQrev/T, you will...

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Jun. 28, 2017 @ 18:37 GMT
LIGO Conspirators Still in Trouble

"How Uncertain Are LIGO's First Gravitational Wave Detections? The ripples were so powerful, they stretched and compressed the entire Earth by the width of a few atoms, allowing the LIGO apparatus to directly detect gravitational waves for the first time. This confirmed Einstein's General Relativity in an entirely new way, but a new study has cast doubt on...

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wings io io wrote on Jul. 19, 2017 @ 08:45 GMT
Your article reflects the issue people are concerned about. The article provides timely information that reflects multi-dimensional views from multiple perspectives. I look forward to reading quality articles that contain timely information from you.


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Joe Fisher wrote on Oct. 16, 2017 @ 14:23 GMT
Dear Dr. Brendan Foster,

Of course: “We Are All Connected .”

My research has concluded that NATURE must have constructed the simplest visible physical Universe obtainable, because reality existed for millions of years before man appeared on earth.. The real Universe must consist of only one single unified visible infinite surface occurring eternally in one single infinite dimension that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

Unfortunately, the Foundational Questions Institute’s author of its MISSION lied when he or she wrote of its protocol. Not only has the executive board made no attempt to accept my research, they have offered no funding to help with its dissemination whatsoever.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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