Science is Vital

Yesterday there was a rally in London by scientists who want to convince the government not to cut back on science. I would love to have gone to show my support and bring back some pictures but I had family duties to perform.

I’m afraid the government here is set to make savage cuts to the UK science budget. They don’t understand at all that our economy depends on science, perhaps more than any other country. Britain has always built its wealth on manufacturing industries based on technological innovation, but in time we lose the old industries and can only continue to prosper if we keep creating new ones. That requires scientific research and people educated in science. The only other sector that has kept our economy going for the last few decades is finance, but now we know it is dangerous to rely on the banks.

When Sarkozy spoke at ICHEP we knew that he was serious about supporting science. Other world leaders of countries that rely on science are doing the same. They know that cutting science is a false economy at times like this.  In britain they are not just cutting back the budget. They are also making it more difficult for people from outside the EU to come here to so science. They have made an exception to the rules to allow footballers to come here from all around the world, but scientists like Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov who won the Nobel prize for work done in the UK will no longer be welcome here.  Young scientists are very mobile. They will go elsewhere. Science cannot just be stopped and started again for short-term savings. Once people leave it is hard to get them back.

60 Responses to Science is Vital

  1. Kea says:

    Actually, after some time in the UK last year I got the impression that the UK was still benefiting a little from the ashes of the Empire. That will soon change too. Well, flux is natural. Time for other nations to be great.

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      Yes, we benefit from the people who come here from the Commonwealth countries (as we prefer to call them now). They are often enterprising, well educated and bring cultural diversity. We also benefit from having spread our langauge to some of the best places. In hard times people complain about foreigners taking jobs. As part of the EU we cannot restrict Europeans so much, so the government tries to be harder on people from outside Europe. Sometimes they don’t say “no” directly, they just use bureaucracy to create barriers. That keeps the numbers down without them having to explicitly exclude people.

      • Bruce Blackshaw says:

        “Yes, we benefit from the people who come here from the Commonwealth countries (as we prefer to call them now). They are often enterprising, well educated and bring cultural diversity.”

        I couldn’t agree more with you Phil :)

    • Luboš Motl says:

      Dear Kea, I appreciate your patriotism but your comment can’t hide that it’s written by a person from a former British colony. In reality, the causation was upside down. Britain was able to get colonies *because* it was technologically and politically advanced at some critical point.

      Of course, these days, both the ability of the U.K. to hold colonies as well as its technological edge may be disappearing. These processes may be related but it’s not as easy as the latter being a consequence of the former. Both of them may be a result of something else – the typical British may be bored with their former greatness. Many of them may actually like the idea of their country being degraded into an underdeveloped North Pakistan. ;-)

      Otherwise, if you were only talking about *technological* benefits, I am absolutely sure that the dominant “benefits” were exactly the other ones than you suggest: the colonies scientifically and technologically benefited from the British supervision, from the inflow of brains, know-how, and the gadgets themselves. Britain proper was benefiting largely from commodities from the colonies.

      • Kea says:

        Why, thank you, Lubos for your authoritative three paragraph history of my country, which I did not even mention. In fact, I was thinking mostly of the influx of commodities from the colonies, over a number of centuries, and today’s big industry – tourism. And I can assure you that the rest of the world is well aware that Britain is a relative nobody now, and has been for some time. Australia’s biggest trading partners have been in Asia since WWII.

      • Lawrence B. Crowell says:

        The British Empire fell apart for two reasons. The British Empire existed as a state support system for corporations, which at least early on were chartered by the Crown. The British East Indies Company was case in point, and the American colonies were similar chartered corporations. In the end the British Empire was set up to support the position of an elite class. Much the same could be said of what might be called the American Empire. In the end these Empires hollowed out their own country. The United States over the last several decades has begun to turn into a husk of its former self. Also in the case of Britain the nation fought two world wars, and for a time was the only major nation which stood against Nazi Germany. England in 1945 was exhausted. The United States is getting dragged into a series of Middle Eastern wars which over the coming decades will bleed this nation white, just as England ended up enfeebled in the world wars. At least England can claim to have made a moral victory over Nazism, while future Americans will only be able to point to a trashed out mess we made from the Gaza to Delhi. The Chinese are smiling.

        The rise of western powers is due to technological developments. The first major one occurred in Spain, where the square sail ship and the Arab lateen sail was combined to make the caravel ship. This technological development did not by itself produce wealth. Rather Spain took over the modest African slave trade the Arabs set up during the Convenvecia and turned it into a global imperial industry. From there slaves were sent to Mexico to work gold mines, as the natives there died of diseases, and the gold shipped to China, with their base in the Philippines, and the gold exchanged for the silks and goods from China and then sold in the European markets. Interestingly, the English got the gold from China later on by selling opium into China. The Spanish set up a triangle trade, and the Africans and natives in the Americas paid the big price for it. Later on Englishmen came to the Americas and did much the same: kicked the natives off the land, imported African slaves and sold cotton to the English and European markets. The rise of the capitalist west was really built up on the bones of many millions of people.

  2. Kea says:

    And I might add: given that I don’t believe more than 50% of the science funded is what I would term ‘excellent’ … I think the science probably does deserve some real public scrutiny at last. Not saying that I support the ignorant politics … but it’s time these ostrich scientists started questioning their right to treat the public like idiots.

    • Ulla says:

      Mostly the public are idiots, but the obstinate scientists don’t realize they are too. Too small window they look out through. The holistic approach is so very difficult and requires so much knowledge of different kinds. Including philosophy.

      Look at the far East. They have the market, the money and the knowledge. In Finland we think that we are on the leading edge, but not so long any more.

      • Ulla says:

        There is one more thing. Maybe too much has gone to practical innovations. Like in economy the science has gone to ‘quartal reports’, very short spans. That leads to ‘secret’ research and bad basic knowledge, which usually needs years and years of research.

        Education is made into a ‘fabric’ of fast results only.

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      The science budget here has always been “scrutinised” and the government spends less per capita on research than other nations.

      Of vourse there should be a continual review of how money is allocated so that unpromising research does not continue. The government here are experts at spin and they will say that they are removing 25% of funding but that’s good because they are just stopping the funding for the worst 25% of research. Of course there will always be a worst 25% of research and by its nature you dont always know where the good results will come from until you have tried everything, that’s just the nature of research. When you slice off that 25% you have to use the money to fund new projects, not take it away.

  3. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    In the United States there is a similar problem, which is compounded by the fact that the citizens are far more ignorant and hold religious literalist ideas that hamper things further. The NSF budget for this coming year is less than something to shout about.

    The rise of various nations is clearly going on. I suspect that with this is a lot of time compression as well, so the future great powers might have their short time — a sort of Any Warhol 15 minutes of fame in a geopolitical context. After all the First Kingdom of Egypt lasted 1200 Years, Rome had a 4 or 5 centuries at the top, the British empire about 250 years, the USA less than a century, and so forth. Before long superpower periods will be clocked in at less than a decade.

    However, when it comes to science and cultural developments it is unfortunate if mature nations decide to wither away on these fronts. There have been growing signatures of this with the US for the last 20 years. It would be preferable if more of the world reached more or less a similar standard in some sort of equilibration or homeostasis.

  4. In Finland the problem is the extreme conformism of scientists themselves. Spain during Franco’s time is what comes in mind. There is a lot of money but it is used to produce curriculum vitae instead of genuine research. The situation is symbolized by the fact that the 70 years old formally retired professor who has made my life as scientists impossible in Finland is still the person whom one must contact if one wants to have a seminar in Helsinki Institute of Physics about theoretical physics!

  5. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    I doubt things are as dismal as you might presume in general. I suspect that it comes down to a general conservative aspect to science that is necessary. This can be frustrating at times, but some filtering process has to be at play. Yet it has to be kept in mind that the crux of foundational problems has not been solved. Ed Witten put it best with the star shaped figure linking all the various string types. The central region is not well understood, and it is because there is a crucial or basic idea which nobody has yet proposed or worked on. This is the main frontier we still face, which is cause for optimism.

    The budgets for science have a very small percentage devoted directly to such foundations research. Much of it is devoted to a wide array of other topics, and of course there are sciences outside of physics as well. So the relationship between government and science has this large dimension to it. It can also transform according to what sort of administration we have. Steve Chu, a Nobel Laureate in physics, is the Secretary of the Dept of Energy, which is an improvement over the political hacks the previous Bush administration had. Of course budget outlays for the NSF, DOE, NASA and so forth are wrought in a political process which involves compromise and constraints. This is particularly the case in this time of economic difficulty.

    To my mind the looming difficulty in the United States, which is related to a problem that I think exist in the English speaking or Anglo-culture regions of the world, which is a sort of parochialism. It is particularly acute in the USA, which is mixed in with a heavy dose of religious literalism. The current political thrust is an amazing display of know-nothings, who have a strange mix of right winged fundamentalism mixed in with religious fanaticism. Science education in this country will doubtless continue to suffer, where these folks want to eliminate any reference to evolution and that “devil incarnate” Charles Darwin. Now of course there is the whole climate denialism, and no matter how you size it up Motl ** *** ** ****, where he is on track with respect to physics, but has permitted ideological nonsense to overlay reasoning on this matter. In fact, the entire nation is running increasingly on layers of delusions and denials. This can’t bode well for the future cultural climate and its impact on science.

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      On climate change, I dont like the one sided arguments either way, but Motl makes some good points that deserve to be looked at. I wanted to hold some discussions here to try to get a better understanding of the matter but I have not had the time to get that started as yet. In any case let’s not try to be too personal otherwise I’ll end up having to delete posts to protect the kids. :)

    • Lawrence B. Crowell says:

      My take on the climate issue is this. In looking at the reported science the pro-AGW side has largely entered the mainstream. I don’t know that much about the details of the research methods, for this topic is with other Earth science topics outside my scope of detailed understanding. So I look at it in the same way I look at medicine. I have a reasonable understanding of biology on the molecular level, but my understanding of gross physiology is minimal. So if my doctor tells me I need surgery, and this might be confirmed by other physicians, then I might be wise to take their advice. It would be best if I don’t run to a library or the web and start scouring up information that might counter their diagnosis.

      Certainly from a physics perspective we all know that CO_2 has a large cross section with respect to IR radiation. After all the first lasers were CO_2 lasers in the IR band, in particular at 1.06 & 10.6 microns. The molecule readily absorbs IR radiation and excites molecular oscillations. So a gas that has a higher concentration of CO_2 will have an affinity for IR radiation. This just gets scaled up, where the bottle of gas is the entire planetary atmosphere. The details get complicated, but the basic underlying principle remains.

      Now there are those who still don’t like this, and very often those who promote counter statements to this science also have fairly right winged ideological tendencies, and are also often against any environmental action. Environmental issues are perceived as a rather unfortunate trend against the real god that runs our world, where that god is money or the market system. In fact it is interesting how the theological God is propped up very often as an ideological support for this far more important god. After all, Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” is really just a secular form of a god. As with any religion and the adherence to that faith people become blinded and blinkered to developments that call any aspect of the faith into question. In the USA the creationist industry is powerful, and it is often associated with other anti-science trends, which increasingly is putting cosmology in its gun sights. Climate change is of course now an anti-science standard.

      From what I see climate change simply appears real and it is induced by CO_2. Various counter proposals for increased heating or CO_2 levels, from volcanoes to solar variation have been long falsified, but of course these keep appearing over and over again. I don’t like debating the issue particularly, for such debates are unpleasant. If you have ever debated creationists you might have discovered that even though they are completely wrong that it is surprisingly difficult. An ardent anti-global warming type who has spent thousands of hours scouring the web or literature somewhat off the main stream is far better prepared for a debate than I am. I also have no particular ideological bias on the issue. My sense is that it is real, and the prognostications for this are such that avoiding the worst of this appears impossible. In other words our goose appears cooked. My main annoyance is simply with the mendacious nature of the anti-AGW camp.

      Maybe the only appropriate counter argument is that doing something about this is more costly than the problem. On that front I don’t know. Maybe 100 years from now the climate might be 3-deg C warmer, and it turns out that the negative consequences are not as dire as some think. That is a risk we are going to take. I do though wish there was at least some honesty about this. The conservatives would do us a favor by at least laying down the cards and admitting this. However, as with religion and politics, lies and delusions tend to most often win the day.

    • Luboš Motl says:

      Dear Lawrence,

      the interior of M-theory is of course one of the most philosophically appealing and potentially most far-reaching subjects to study – and it is still vastly understudied. It’s true that a limited official funding to this class of problems that I consider paramount is partly behind the limited research.

      On the other hand, one must appreciate that this limited institutionalized funding for this deep set of problems is absolutely understandable and justifiable. It’s because these research directions are an extremely large-risk enterprise that is reasonably likely to lead nowhere for years, decades, or ever.

      Of course, people are wasting millions for (other) research that is *guranteed* to lead nowhere because it is fundamentally wrong, but that doesn’t mean it’s the correct thing to do.

      At any rate, even the search for the laws governing the “bulk” of the M-theory moduli space is simply not the kind of activity one can pay with regular money, whether private money or government money, because it would be very hard to quantify whether something has been received in exchange for the money and many people would try to do this job without making anything of value. If you take these things into account, it shouldn’t be shocking that the number of people on the planet who focus on these deep things is approximately one, and that this person is doing it as a hobby while I am not getting any money for it. ;-)

      In the comments about the climate, you implicitly associate me with some basic misunderstandings of IR absorption (and you think that this misunderstanding follows from right-wing politics, an implication I surely find utterly irrational) but everyone who knows my views a bit – and I believe, it has to include you – knows very well that I understand these processes of QED as much as needed. In fact, the relevant calculations can be done almost analytically and no sensible person with physics education who has studied these things at least for a year has serious doubts that there is a zeroth order approximation in which the surface warming from CO2 doubling is 1.2 degrees Kelvin. In business-as-usual, we will only add about 1/2 of this doubling before 2090 which is 0.6 Kelvin, and it is pretty much undetectable within the other variations that are known to contribute something like 0.6 deg Celsius per century of “error”, anyway (something we know from the explicit climate records as well as analyses of other drivers of the climate including the orbital and solar variations, ocean dynamics, and just pure accumulated red noise).

      The only way how to make the warming by 2090 detectable – and I am not even speaking about its being “dangerous” because this is downright preposterous – is to assume very large positive feedbacks. But all evidence suggests that net feedbacks, if they’re positive, can’t be large because small variations in the amplification factors would lead to instabilities which clearly haven’t occurred for billions of years. To summarize, it is absolutely obvious that any hypothetical problems caused by CO2-induced warming will be by many, many orders of magnitude cheaper than the costs of the proposed mitigation – and I am even generously overlooking the obvious fact that a warming by a degree or few degrees would be a clear net benefit for the Earth.

      Your analogy with the doctors may be nice but if you’re listening to people who claim that there’s a climate threat and we must avoid it by reducing burning of carbon, it’s like hiring very expensive doctors who are healing your cancer with homeopathy and geopathogenic zones. You may pay lots of money for such doctors and those rich “doctors” will feel very important as a consequence – but that doesn’t guarantee that there is a seed of truth in what they’re saying and what they’re making you to do. There’s not. And if you *really* believe that someone’s control over an official scientific institution or his ability to extract huge amounts of money from the taxpayer is what guarantees that he is right about an extraordinary scientific claim, well, then you must be missing pretty much all of history of science, including the Catholic control over astronomy, Nazi control over eugenics and Aryan Physics (which had to be non-relativistic, unless Jewish Physics), Soviet control over genetics and agronomy (where Lysenkoism changed genes by educating the plants and animals during their lives), and dozens of other examples. Such a political control simply doesn’t help the scientific validity a single bit; on the contrary, the more politicized an issue becomes, the less likely it is that a politically organized institution will reach the right answers.

      In other words, your recipe to trust someone noncritically if he’s politically powerful because he must surely be right is just a recipe for mindless sheep who are designed to be misled by an *arbitrarily* blinded, dishonest, uneducated, and misguided ideologue. Someone who wants to follow your recipe differs from what I consider a sensible person so fundamentally that it’s hard for me to recognize the person as a member of the same species.

      Best wishes

      • Rado says:

        Yes, string theory is highly appealing and probably one of the most interesting ones. How do you predict the properties of strings as a function of mass? What causes the existence of this strings? Are they constants? What principles can be formulated to predict properties of matter in life and such on?

    • Ulla says:

      Lawrence points to some important questions. One is the political and economic power over science. Mainstream is not always right. It is btw. one reason this blog is good :) As Lubos so colorfully explains it is wrong to noncritically be silent if some political or economic guru want something. Mindless sheep? Or without courage? Sometimes you just have to fight.

      Kea talked of exactly this, and Matti. Power can be used in wrong ways. Both has experience.

      Lubos is a bit peculiar in this case. He talks for string theory but at the same time against mainstream in the climate question. About the climate I must say I think he is right. There are too many unsolved questions, especially at long run, to be able to say that we can do ANYTHING AT ALL against a climate change to the worse. Yes, one thing we can do, look for the rainforest that it is well and grows. We do just the opposit. Mainly because of political and economic interests.

      I also think this question is so urgent that any way the environment can be better on is a good way. So I don’t speak so much. We have only one Earth.

      Fundamentalism is the other question, and religious fundamentalism especially (of some reason they are almost always linked). Some year ago I saw Chris Hedges and what he say. Really frightening wiev from US. Parents keep their children at home so they won’t meet evolution. Children are raised to ignorant fascists who wish holocaust would be soon. Hitler seems suddenly quite friendly.

      Look what Chris Hedges say.

      • Luboš Motl says:

        “Lubos is a bit peculiar in this case. He talks for string theory but at the same time against mainstream in the climate question.”

        Dear Ulla, this sentence proves beyond any reasonable doubt that you’re not capable to think rationally about science. If you find it “peculiar” that someone (all reasonable people in the world) thinks that some people (at mainstream institutions or elsewhere) are right and others are wrong about something, and it can be otherwise when it comes to another question, it proves that you either believe that all of them are always right, or all of them are always wrong.

        In both cases, it is an equally and self-evidently preposterous assumption. After all, what (most) people in various institutions believe is often changing, but the right answers to scientific questions can’t be changing.

        I think that you have just explicitly confirmed that you are just a member of a flock who either universally runs with the wind, or universally against the wind. At any rate, you are being controlled by 1-bit microprocessor with a 1-bit memory which is not good enough a pre-requisite for rational reasoning or science. Don’t worry, there are millions of such 1-bit people besides you.


      • Ulla says:

        Oh, no, Lubos, You got me wrong. It is not someone, it is YOU.

        And I am definitely not any ‘flock’ animal.

        Someone else thought I belonged to the 18’th century, together with Heisenberg, Einstein, etc. That was obviously too much said, and what you say is obviously too little. But maybe you can fix your microprocessor :)

    • Ulla says:

      BTW Lawrence, I would never, ever let a doctor carve in me without first be absolutely sure he knows what he do. I have seen too much of bad carvings :)

    • Lawrence B. Crowell says:

      Funding research on M-theory is a bit like King Fredrick giving Bach a stipend to write the Brandenburg Concertos, where he did not know what he would be getting. In fact Bach fell short by one piece and Fredrick was not entirely happy with what he got.

      The main problem is there is a missing principle in M-theory. It has less to do with tons of mathematics, or working on the right K-theoretic structure and so forth. The problem requires a basic statement of some sort. This was what Galileo did in his “Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences” [1638] with:

      But, even without further experiment, it is possible to prove clearly, by means of a short and conclusive argument, that a heavier body does not move more rapidly than a lighter one provided both bodies are of the same material and in short such as those mentioned by Aristotle. But tell me, Simplicio, whether you admit that each falling body acquires a definite speed fixed by nature, a velocity which cannot be increased or diminished except by the use of force [violenza] or resistance.

      There can be no doubt but that one and the same body moving in a single medium has a fixed velocity which is determined by nature and which cannot be increased except by the addition of momentum [impeto] or diminished except by some resistance which retards it.

      If then we take two bodies whose natural speeds are different, it is clear that on uniting the two, the more rapid one will be partly retarded by the slower, and the slower will be somewhat hastened by the swifter. Do you not agree with me in this opinion?

      You are unquestionably right.

      But if this is true, and if a large stone moves with a speed of, say, eight while a smaller moves with a speed of four, then when they are united, the system will move with a speed less than eight; but the two stones when tied together make a stone larger than that which before moved with a speed of eight. Hence the heavier body moves with less speed than the lighter; an effect which is contrary to your supposition. Thus you see[108] how, from your assumption that the heavier body moves more rapidly than the lighter one, I infer that the heavier body moves more slowly.

      This is a thunder striking realization of how nature works, given the many centuries previous to this where people had been groping in the dark. Now we take this for granted as almost a trifle, but this really is an amazing insight into things. Then of course Galileo gave us so called Galilean relativity, where Newton later realized that force was the invariant, so the dynamics are F = ma and this conserved momentum in an inertial frame. This was again a master stroke of physical realization. Then of course came Einstein and his recognition that the loss of simultaneity and the invariance of c gave a spacetime transformation. What we face is a problem which is likely to be resolved by a similar change in how we think.

      To the issue of global warming, it is interesting your discussion segues into comparisons with Nazi and other totalitarian quasi-science, when this has utterly nothing at all to do with that. I know a couple of people who work for NOAA. We in physics have all taken the WMAP and other developments with great aplomb and enthusiasm. Then when NASA and other agencies perform work on Earth science and come up with some uncomfortable news many greet it as wrong, and some call it a conspiracy. Comparing this with Nazism is an indirect reference to some sort of conspiracy or plot afoot. Of course there is nothing of this sort going on, and I know that people working on these and related problems are dismayed by these silly references. The simple fact is there is no single political entity which has this sort of control over these large scientific agencies. This is not about some top-down political power structure out to enforce some sort of ideologically derived pseudo-science.

      From what I garner from climate science we are going to heat things up more than just .5-deg C. It appears as if 2-deg C is a likely minimal outcome. The wild card in this is permafrost melt and the evaporation of methane hydrates or CH_4 clathrates in the ocean. This might drive things far higher, and it appears these processes are ongoing now. This is the whole so called 350ppm problem, where by human induced raising of temperatures another 1to 2-deg C we trip of a process which runs away on us. A very plausible outcome by 2100 is a 5-deg C heating, which will have very serious consequences to ecological systems on the planet and to our potentially fragile agricultural infrastructure. We might be able of course to work our way around these problems of course, but even to do that we will need to have our eyes wide open to what we may be facing here. We might have to engage in forms of atmospheric or geo-engineering to increase the albedo of the atmosphere to scatter off some solar radiation. We might end up going so far as to place large nanofiber panels in space or at the L1 point to reduce solar radiation input.

      Human global warming will of course not kill off the planet. Over a long geological time period it amounts to a sort of delta function or spike that within a few thousand years will be gone. The problem is not that this will kill off life on Earth, but that it might put Homo sapiens in the evolutionary trash can of extinction. Given the time frames for carbon reductions, such as an unrealistic 40% reduction by 2050, we will have to have our eyes and minds open to this problem and possible ways of working through it. Of course fossil fuel peak outs are coming so that might in fact help us out here, unless we get into ever widening oil wars. We may get a 40% reduction in CO_2 output whether we want or plan for it or not.

  6. Ideology based highly emotional attitudes with heavy loads of negative attributes about people thinking differently are the last thing the world needs now. What happened in Soviet union has very little to do with the content of the ideology: any world view which is declared to be the only possible one automatically leads to the situation where psychopaths realize how easy it to manipulate people by appealing to “good” defined in terms of the ideology.

    The same applies to science. If anyone other than M-theorist would seriously claim that his own theory is the only possible one, he would be regarded as a crackpot and for a full reason. That we more or less accept this tells that M-theory has gained the status of ideology. The only manner to make progress is to allow open communications and challenging of the existing beliefs. Open communication means also readiness to seriously listen. Something pretty rare nowadays;-).

    • Luboš Motl says:

      Dear Matti, you may consider any valid proposition an “ideology”. The identity “2+2=4″ is an ideology, too. Everyone who says that “2+2=5″ should be viewed as a prophet and a gift for diversity, right? Obviously, one can’t get anywhere with this attitude.

      The scientific disciplines that have deteriorated under the Soviet (or another) regime were not deteriorating just because someone was convinced that something was true, and he was saying that the “other” statements were wrong and the people who could only systematically produce wrong and illogical statements were cranks. This separation of sense and nonsense is needed in any situation when any question is being studied or discussed and it’s just preposterous to say that it can be avoided.

      The problem with the disciplines that deteriorated in a political regime was that meritocracy was broken. People who got to power because of their political attitudes – because of their proximity to the powerful ones – began to control what is “OK” concerning many scientific questions. That’s not a way how to find the scientific truth.

      The scientific truth is being found by the scientific method, and the smartest, most hard-working, most honest, and most educated people are the most likely ones to achieve the right answers. The arrangement when a different type of people gets an edge is therefore a path to hell.

      But if someone says that whoever studies “TGD” is a crackpot, there’s no political manipulation behind the appraisal. The appraisal is a result of pretty straightforward considerations and it is obviously valid. Apologies if you haven’t heard this obvious statement for some time and you thought that it went away.

      • Ulla says:


        I have studied TGD, and you have said I’m a crackpot, but how could I? Is it enough just because of my studies? If we on beforehand say something is simply not true – how can we then ever find the scientific truth?

        BTW, I have become more and more convinced that TGD is not ‘simply wrong’, but very much on the right path, maybe not totally right, but it would to expect too much of a novel theory, isn’t it?

        No other theory can explain biology so well, and I think the clue to what is the right physics goes through the biology. That ugly complexity. Complexity is the reason :)

        I wish ‘that’ statement would go away among educated people. If we were bushmens and apes it would be different. To consider others arguments are wise, but to be able to do that we must first study the facts. Isn’t this obvious, Lubos?

    • Lawrence B. Crowell says:


      As far as I can see 98% of what has guided humanity through our history has largely been ideological balderdash. From the city state gods Marduk and Taimat of Babylon, the funerary rites of Egyptian Pharaohs, all the way up to monotheism, divine right of Kings and now the falderal at American political functions these things have always been outward displays of ideological nonsense. Sometimes it gets harsh and brutal, and sometimes it leads to a litany of atrocities. Most often through history it amounts to ways that a small minority of people are able to play big powerful games for their aggrandizement, and the rest of us schmucks have to run on the little treadmill — gerbils in the cage who get reward food pellets at the end of a good day of running. A modern city is really not that different from a medieval castle. In both you have a large towering construction at the center of power which looms over the sprawling urban milieu where the hoi-polloi lives. The big difference is one of scale and complexity. This whole thing keeps on going because people live and work according to the rules of the socio-economic game, and where largely these rules boil down to ideological hog wash.

      The four things that dominate the societies are: state-craft, priest-craft, war-craft, and trade-craft. These four overlap considerably and the rules of these games are constructed by those who run them and are enriched by them. It has always been this way. It always will be this way, well until the species Homo sapiens has gone the way of dromasaur and therapod dinosaurs — coming rather soon I should think. There are then the outlier subjects in the human sphere, such as the arts or the sciences. We tend to judge in retrospect the value of a civilization by the degree to which these flourished or perished. So an artist or scholar usually had to work by the patronage of some powerful person, or in some guild or society that functions under a patronage. This was usually a king or prince, and things might work well enough until that ruler devoted their coin and kind to matters of war. In the end things are not that different today than they ever were. Universities and laboratories are funded by the governing powers, and function every bit as much under a patronage system as anything in the past. They exist by the patronage of those who run the 4-crafts that run our socio-economic reality, which today is far more global than anything in the past.

      Science is a bit different, or at least up to now has been. With Newton the physical rules of mechanics were learned, leading to design principles. Then in the early 19th century these were combined with the laws of heat and energy, and this lead to the industrial revolution. Then a little over a century ago electromagnetism was learned and applied to these rules. Now quantum physics, algorithmic logic, and nuclear energy have been added to these developments. So those at the heads of the 4-crafts, except maybe priest-craft, have an interest in promoting science. These can lead to money and power, and some new gadget can mean victory on the battlefield. I could have also given the developments in biology/medicine or with chemistry as well. However, in recent decades the foundations of physics seem to have diverged from this. I doubt the LHC is going to produce anything of technological use that involves particle physics directly, and I doubt quantum gravity is going to give up the technology of manipulating quantum black holes. So I suspect the foundations of physics are returning to their previous conditions, and it is becoming an intellectual game played by a few who are able to afford the luxury.

  7. Kea says:

    I have news for you, Lawrence. It has not always been this way, although the Patriarchy has always been this way. See for instance the story of Caral, Peru.

  8. To Lawrence, I agree about much what you say. As long as we are what we are now, civilization can survive only if it takes care that single ideology does not get opportunity to dominate.

    My wild vision about the future physics is that after the presence of fractal hierarchies of p-adic length scales and Planck constants as solution of dark matter problem are accepted;-), particle physics returns to table top labs since energy scales can be reduced dramatically. This makes also quantum computation possible and the age of quantum IT begins;-).

    Speaking more seriously, to my opinion the real problem is how to get rid of this increasing population of egos or at least to get them under control. Or putting it in more formal terms: to strengthen the higher reflective levels of consciousness so that I could see this particular phony, noisy and suffering biological body to which I happen to assimilate from a higher perspective and could laugh to it gently. Our western civilization still worships the most noisy and most aggressive egos. In spiritual practices egos are seen as trouble makers. The incurable optimistic inside me insists that silencing of mind is someday taught in elementary schools as a basic method of spiritual nourishment.

    • Lawrence B. Crowell says:

      I am not sure whether particle physics will return to table top scale. If extra dimensions scale up at lower energy it is possible that near Planck or string scale physics might have measurable signatures in the 1-10 TeV range. So we might be able to get physics that would otherwise require a galaxy sized accelerator to exhibit signatures in a ~10Km scaled machine.

      As for future, to be honest we are facing a serious crisis. This is particularly the case in my country, where the level of anger and hatred has been rising for the last 20 years. If this continues over the next decade or two I suspect the USA will fall into a serious pit of violence and collapse, which may likely project outside this nation as well. The crisis has two bases. The first is the resurgence of Christianity, which is a sort of meme (to use that problematic term) counter offensive. Christianity began to lose its intellectual force in the 17th century, which fell apart after Darwin, and in the 20th century the intellectual fragments of Christianity were largely swept away. The resurgence of Christianity in the US is a sort of counter movement to “bring it back.” The other source of this crisis is the beginning end of hyper-consumerist capitalism. There are signs of an attenuation to the exponential growth of this sort of economy, and oil peak out is coming in the next decade, or sooner. This sort of exponential growth at some time leads to what might be called nonlinearity or chaos, as seen in models of population growth and chemical processes. Further, anyone with a physical sense of the natural world must know that any unbounded exponential growth in energy use is impossible. The recent political reactions from politicized religion and the current GOP reaction is an angry response to these possible trends and perceptions of conspiracies. A lot of this has underlying elements of bigotry and racism as well.

      The strange libertarian movement on the right wing, or the so called Tea Party movement, might represent the next step in the right winged movement of the US. In 10 years this might be considered the “norm,” where then an even more extreme right winged thrust will probably be working its way forwards. The whole thing about President Obama not having a birth certificate or that he is a Muslim is a veiled way of saying, “He is not one of us.” Here the “us” means white Americans. The level of angry rhetoric and demagoguery has been on a crescendo for two decades, to where in my mind it is reaching alarming levels. This sort of speaking was last seen in the rise of fascist Europe in the last century. The consequences of this should it continue may be similar, and it could represent the next great global upheaval. The $64 question of course is whether nuclear bombs will at some point come into the game.

      So that is my rather unfortunate prognostication. The only optimistic element to this might be the Chinese word for crisis is the same for opportunity. We might get through it and the world may continue onwards — until the next global upheaval.

  9. Kea says:

    Wow, you managed to say all that without mentioning the Patriarchal underpinning of everything … typical.

    • Ulla says:

      …of men :) They just don’t realize it.

      or don’t want to. LOL KEA.

      But seriously – the situation is inflamed.

    • Lawrence B. Crowell says:

      I am not sure that this was called for. Besides, the women running on the Republican ticket are amongst the biggest wingnuts. Angle, O’Donnel etc — these women are crazy.

      If there is an undercurrent which involves a nasty “ism,” it is primarily racism. A lot of these people can’t stand the fact a black man got the Presidency in this “white man’s country.”


  10. Kea says:

    Lawrence, neither of us is particularly obsessed with American politics.

    • Lawrence B. Crowell says:

      I suppose that is a bit of a luxury that I wish I had. However, if humanity is thrown into the shit can in the next 25 or 50 years I give it half a chance that a Republican moron waving flag in one hand and a bible in the other will be primarily responsible.

      Seriously, some of these wing nuts belong to churches that preach we need the big nuclear war to bring Jesus back. Sarah Palin included.

      • Ulla says:

        I fully agree with you, it is just so funny how men can be so blind sometimes. It was about that, nothing else. Matti talked of egos.

  11. Lawrence,

    I am far from being sure about the reduction of particle physics to table top scale. If the hierarchy of Planck constant is realized this is however doomed to happen and would be the physics counterpart for the end of the era of dinosaurs. The main empirical support for this hierarchy comes from various anomalies of biology and from Nottale’s findings about planetary orbits. As I have already told the hierarchy of Planck constants need not be made as a separate postulate in TGD framework. What is unfortunate that elementary particle physics take biology only as something very complex and dirty. Biology would be a fantastic source of inspiring problems for an open mind.

    • Ulla says:

      In fact maybe the only way to find the right solution? Look at antimatter, maybe it is in biology? Superconduction is there.

  12. CfCS says:

    Science must have much more important problems than the purely economic. What about salami science, academic censorship, copyright wars, career-oriented research…?

    Science in the 21st century: social, political, and economic issues

  13. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    This is written for multiple purposes. For some reason on several fronts the suggestion about variable constants has come up. So I wrote this “one size fits all” discussion on these ideas.

    The speed of light is an invariant, and it is due to the projectivization of spacetime. The Lorentz group SL(2,C) has a projective subgroup PSL(2,C), which defines light cones. Null rays are rays x ~ λx for λ any reparameterization of the null ray. Null rays are of zero spacetime length, so adjusting c (reparameterizing them) has no effect. The modulus of the Lorentz group by this SL(2,C)/{x ~ λx, λ \in [0, ∞]} is PSL(2,C). If you try to readjust c and you work with the Planck units such as L_p = sqt{Għ/c^3} and the rest, they all relatively adjust in a way so that there would be no apparent change to the world. In other words your meter stick would adjust accordingly, as with the Bohr radius, as will the time intervals on your clock and so forth. This projective structure is a Fubini-Study metric system and a geometric or Berry phase of the Lorentz group over the projective Lorentz group π: SL(2,C) – -> PSL(2,C). So even if the speed of light changes there is no change at all to anything which we can possibly measure.

    Planck’s constant has a similar role. The symplectic group defines the two-form Ω(q, p) = dq/\dq, and the contact manifold for a system with some Hamiltonian H, or a Hamiltonian vector flow, is defined by the constraint on ω = pdq – Hdt, so that dω = Ω(q, p). The Hamiltonian is then a constraint which reduces the system in 2n variables to 2n – 1 degrees of physical freedom. Now this system is “meshed” into a discrete structure, with the action units (the units of the symplectic two-form Ω(q, p)) and magnitude ħ. There is again an interesting fibration given by ∫ω = ∫pdq – Hdt, which again is a geometric or Berry phase associated with a fibration of the Hilbert space over a projective Hilbert space. The Fubini-Study metric defines a phase φ ~ ΔHΔt, ΔH = sqrt{ – ^2}. This should look painfully familiar to anyone educated in physics above the F = ma level. Again, if you readjust ħ there is no physical change. ħ is defined according to a fibration, and again if you play with Planck units you find adjusting ħ to other values has no influence on physical measurements.

    This is the straight stuff, this is not just my theory or my theory-mongering on a blog. You might notice a similar structure here which defines the two constants ħ and c. If you think there is some deep underlying relationship here, you better believe it! I am not going to hammer on that here, for it gets into some very deep structures, which interestingly does involve category theory and topos.

    Okay, ħ and c have in naturalized units dimension zero [0]. The speed of light c is a conversion factor between ruler and clock measures, and the Planck unit is a conversion factor between momentum and position measures. I can’t say whether or not on some ultimate level there is no variation of these which involves structures we have not knowledge of. Maybe in the Tegmark world, a putative sort of Platonic math-scape of reality, there is such a variation. I do not know, so at this phase I have to have some rock or hard basis to anchor any theoretical thought. So I maintain, based in part on the arguments above that c and ħ are absolutely constant until demonstrated otherwise at a later time.

    Now there are other units. The most salient one is the fine structure constant α = e^2/ħc. This is absolutely unitless in any units, and it is the ratio of a naturalized unitless gauge coupling with the product of two naturalized unitless constant. If there are variations in the electric charge unit this will result in a variation in the fine structure constant. For this reason any putative variation can be benchmarked accordingly. In fact α ~ 1/137 for ~1TeV transverse momentum processes is renormalized to α ~ 1/128. So in this setting we can have gauge coupling terms that renormalize with energy. The gauge coupling constants or parameters for the other gauge forces are similar and scale with transverse momentum in scattering.

    There is then the remaining coupling parameter, which is the Newtonian gravitational constant. In naturalized units this has units of length squared. The Planck units are defined according to G as L_p = sqrt{Għ/c^3}. In D-dimensions we have G ~= g^2L_s^{D – 2}, where L_s is the string length L_s = sqrt{α’}, for α’ the string parameter. So this has units which involve “area,” and is a feature in the entropy formula S = kA/4L_p^2, for A the area of a black hole.

    I have to wrap this up, and unfortunately I could go further — much further in fact. It is my sense that the Planck constant and the speed of light are absolute constants. After all, if you have a range of observables or objects that have a set of dependencies you must have a set of constants. Otherwise your system is under determined. So for physics over the foreseeable future will probably demand that c and ħ be constant.

    • Ulla says:

      I would be happy to understand this too, but too much math. Can you please ‘translate’ it to me?

  14. Kea says:

    Lawrence, if you want to lecture people about things they have studied for decades, you should probably be several orders of magnitude more careful of your position. We know the maths. You speak largely of LOCAL conditions, and we speak of NON LOCAL theories of quantum gravity. So many of your assumptions are simply false from our point of view.

  15. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    In my post for some reason teh uncertainty spread in the Hamiltonian came out as ΔH = sqrt{ – ^2}, when it should be ΔH = sqrt{ – ^2}. I hope this translates properly this time, for sometimes carrot symbols are strange

    Curiously what I used was the group structure, which is global. Gauge connections modulo group action on the moduli space are local.

    Look, I sense there is some considerable confusion here which is leading to ideas about variable speed of light and Planck unit of action. The speed of light is a conversion factor between space and time units, and when done properly it is in units of “1 light seconds per second,” which is unity. In fact we often write c = 1 for this reason. Similarly the Planck unit of action similarly intertwines momentum and coordinate units with ∫pdq = nħ, which again is a sort of conversion factor that has natural units of one. In fact done properly the Boltzmann constant should be “word per bit” in information theory — again unitless on a more fundamental level. Further, any rescaling of ħ or c results in no possible measurable outcome for Planck units. So these constants are FAPP really constant. As to why they have the values they have that is a manifestation of the renormalized value of G in the Planck units. We have assigned ħ and c the rather complicated numbers they have because of the scale we work within — in part determed by G and the other gauge coupling terms.

  16. Kea says:

    … and when done properly …

    Except that Einstein would have disagreed with you, because he openly discusses the possibility of varying $c$, and ridding GR of backgrounds. Moreover, algebraic geometers scoff at the physicists simple minded use of fibre bundles and other classical gadgets, for which a fixed $c$ seems natural mathematically … they do deeper mathematics and are far more aware that natural sheaves usually involve variable kinds of fibre.

  17. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    The Albrecht-Moffat-Magueijo (AMM) types of models propose variable c, which is tantamount to saying that the 4th dimension of space with x_4 = ict has some additional change to it. This might occur at extreme transverse momentum scattering, such as with Horava’s suggestion of a Landau triple point. However, these constructions most likely point to some phase structure with the transition to quantum gravity. This can lead to a breakdown of Lorentz symmetry, which means quantum gravity is something else beside a canonical quantization of the Einstein field equations. On that front I can talk to you, for this connects up with a Thirring model of quaternions for the conformal structure of AdS_2 and higher AdS_n. I think that general relativity is a classical emergent theory, which is not fully quantized, and which emerges from an underlying structure. However, this most likely pertains in the most early universe or the singularities of black holes, where curvature terms are on the order of 1/L_s^2. The onset of inflationary cosmology is later than this, and occurs on a scale ~ 10^4L_s. This is not likely something which as a simple c = c(t) based on a GM =rc^2 with r = ct, which is frankly a rather childish suggestion. The critical parameter in connection with this possible breaking of Lorentz symmetry is frankly not time, but energy or transverse momentum.
    Inflationary cosmology is just the de Sitter vacuum realization for a large cosmological constant that renormalizes in response to a V(φ) in a scalar field theory with V(φ) ~ φ^2. During inflationary cosmology spacetime is classical and the universe has past the quantum gravity phase. So there is none of the putative quantum gravity possibilities I suggest above. The AMM models have been falsified with the Fermi (GLAST) detection of GRB in the distant universe. So there is no dispersion or related spacetime physics with a variable c, either c = c(t) or the reciprocal c = c(ν), which would accompany those models. Consequently, spacetime up to the appears to exhibit none of these behaviors.

  18. Kea says:

    Of course GR is an emergent theory. Quantum gravity would not be very interesting if it wasn’t. And since we know for sure that the standard model is a NON LOCAL theory (see modern twistor scattering results, or my thesis, for example) … then the idea of renormalising a non existent cosmological constant sounds pretty unphysical to me. And local Lorentz invariance is not being broken by a varying c rule. It’s good to know that naive forms of Lorentz violation have been ruled out.

    OK, so you like conformal boundaries … so why object to the M=t rule? By the way, it is not only Louise Riofrio who advocates such a rule. Roger Penrose does too.

    • Ulla says:

      Lawrence: I think that general relativity is a classical emergent theory, which is not fully quantized, and which emerges from an underlying structure. However, this most likely pertains in the most early universe or the singularities of black holes,

      This singularity must be a monopole, and is no true singularity. It comes from an underlying structure of what? Light and time? Both are quite odd things. The electromagnetic duality and vibrations?

      Kea: Gravity is instantaneous, as is non-locality. Gravity had a relation to DE or vacuum, also instantous vibrations? What is the relation of DE and non-locality? Then you need not speak of time or light speed at all?

      Non-locality is the quantum gravity? Do gravity and quantum gravity have to be separated? The separation is done by Pauli exclusion principle?
      But you say there is no DE/cosmological constant. How do you describe this in your way?

      • Ulla says:

        Once again, Kea, if you take away DE/cosmological constant, how can you explain the expanding universe, and especially the acceleration.

  19. Lawrence lectures as a representative of establishment and does not remember that text book physics is not God given and makes implicit assumptions which of course are only assumptions and usually turn out to be partially wrong.

    a) In General Relativity the value of c depends on the units chosen and it is better to just say that massless particles along light-like geodesics classically. Variable c idea does not make sense in GRT context.

    In TGD one has sub-manifold gravity, and light velocity defined from the time it takes for photon to travel from point A to B depends on how wiggly the space-time surface is. Light-like geodesic at space-time surface correspond to time-like curve in imbedding space. As I explained earlier, the warping of even vacuum space-time surface which is flat can give rise to a large time dilation. This would give space-time correlate for the reduction of light velocity in condensed matter (slow light for instance) when the physics in space-time interior defines dual description in terms of physics associated with light-like 3-surfaces.

    The light-velocity defined in this manner, call it c#, has c as upper bound (note that by imbedding to M^4xCP_2 one can indeed speak of c). The apparent change of Earth-Moon distance, which is one of the motivations of Riofrio, is predicted correctly as a consequence of this and as a physicist I take this much more seriously than what old text books say. Certainly this effect is a very serious challenge for GRT and in conflict with what Lawrence concludes at the end of the lecture. TGD picture is not consistent with that of Riofrio which predicts decrease of c.

    Concerning hbar Lawrence is also right if we have decided that the implicit assumptions of standard quantum theory happen to be the correct ones. This has nothing to do with conversion factor character which only allows to fix the value of hbar for single level in the predicted hierarchy.

    Personally I prefer to start from physics rather than text books: living systems behave as if they were quantum coherent in scales much longer than allowed and the identification of dark matter as phases with large Planck constant allows to understand this. This is what led to the postulate of the hierarchy of Planck constants. It however turned that in the minimal scenario TGD predicts without any additional postulate that hbar is scaled up by n for single sheet of covering space of imbedding space emerging naturally. If one treats all sheets as single one then one has ordinary Planck constant but non-perturbative phase.

  20. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    I guess I am not aware of Penrose advocating c = c(t). I never saw that in his papers or his fun to read “Road to Reality.”

    The conformal completion of an AdS_n spacetime is an Einstein spacetime E_{n-1}, or a de Sitter spacetime dS_{n-1}. In a discrete setting with Klein group cosets this leads to some interesting structures. For AdS_2 the symmetry is SL(2,R), which is conformal quantum mechanics. Twistor geometry also emerges from E_8 realization of the Jordan algebra. The pealing off of conformal structure, or the reduction of a quasi-conformal structure to a conformal E_6 is twistor space.

    Take a look at Petr Horava’s paper “Quantum gravity at a Lifshitz point,” . This makes some interesting suggestion about the power rule with time, where at high energy the Lorentz group is deformed or broken. This is a sort of discrete version of a variable c, and which suggests a form of phase transition in the structure of gravitational physics. I do think that as with the above conformal structure there is some underlying Fermi-Dirac or quaternionic structure from which classical or semi-classical spacetime physics emerges. The hyperbolic space is the setting for sinh-Gordon equations, and Zamolodchikov demonstrated how this is S-dual to a theory of fermions with a quartic potential. The quartic potential produces Bogoliubov coefficients corresponding to the spacetime description in 2-dim.

    Matti, the apparent change in the lunar orbital radius can be understood with straight forwards Newtonian mechanics. It really is a classical analogue of spin-orbit interaction due to tidal interactions. There is nothing mysterious here which involves a change in the speed of light with time. One does have to track the mainstream physics considerably. Such physics which is well enough understood, at least theoretically consistent and better experimentally benchmarked, is to be considered with what I call “respect,” not belief as such, and is only abandoned outside some domain of observations when that becomes compulsory.

  21. Lawrence,

    the apparent change lunar orbital radius must be understood also quantitatively. It would be incredible co-incidence if the prediction from the model you refer to would be same correct rate as following from a model in which cosmic expansion explains the effect. If you have a reference, I would be happy to see it.

    And again I want to emphasize that I am not speaking about change of maximal signal velocity with time as Riofrio does. I am speaking about a prediction of sub-manifold gravity.

  22. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    Matti: The change in c with time would result in a Nordtvedt effect. You have the energy of a body E = mc^2, which we consider a constant, and so its mass is m = E/c^2. In a gravity field the potential energy is U = -GMm/r. If energy is conserved, then this is conserved as well. Now if you assume c = c(t) then the inertial mass on the “ma” side of the equation is different from the “F” side, or changes with time. So there should be a violation of the strong equivalence principle, similar to the Nordtvedt effect.

    The lunar laser ranging experiments have demonstrated no such violation to within about 10^{-11}. So these suggestions of c = c(t) really can’t be entertained seriously, either from a theoretical or experimental perspective.

    The physics for tidal interactions between rotational and orbital interaction is complicated. It involves lots of material properties and rheological analysis. If you deign to pursue this you can look at where there is an equation for the time it takes for a body to tidally lock. At some point in the distant future in principle the Earth and moon will be co-tidally locked. However, the sun will flake out and become a red giant before that time. The .38cm drift of the moon as measured by laser ranging with the Apollo reflectors left behind conforms to these expectations. If there were some serious discrepancy there would have been a howl over this a long time ago.

    I see that my attempt to fix the problem yesterday flopped. I meant to have ΔH = sqrt{(H^2) – (H)^2} where the parantheses play the role of “bra” and “ket.”

    Ulla: Classical gravitation is not instantaneous! That was the whole point of deriving general relativity. Otherwise information about the motion of a gravitating body would be communicated instantaneously in violation of special relativity and the prescription against communicating anything faster than c. This is how gravitatiional waves should emerge, in much the same way EM radiation does. Issues of nonlocality and the whole issue of quantum gravity is difficult because we generally don’t know how this is arranged. The problem is that quantum physics describes field propagators between different points, but with quantum gravity the field elements being propagated is space itself — so it involve propagating a field on itself in a funny way.

    A field φ it is not in general locally gauge invariant, because in a general spacetime φ = φ(x) x is not gauge invariant. Conversely, for x a point in spacetime M, where M transforms under Diff(M) of GR, it is not possible in general to have a field that depends on x be invariant under the gauge-like symmetries of the spacetime. So attempts to unify the two notions are not amenable in a straight forward way. This leads to troubles with vertex functions, which are localized at a point. Thus enters the string, which replaces the point vertex with a soldering of world sheets. Also supersymmetry defines anticommutators between generators of field transformations {Q_a, bar-Q_a’} = iσ^ν_{aa’}∂_ν, for i∂_ν a momentum operator. We might think of this as how a fluctuation of field amplitudes involves a boost operation which keeps any field amplitude from being localized to a simgle point. So the SUSY transformation is commensurate with the string “de-localization” of fields. The Veneziano amplitudes of string theory have Virasoro representations which fit with supersymmetry.

    I probably have spent way too much time writing here the last few days. Some might not like what I have to say here, but honestly folks, it is best to abandon nonsense and embrace the real stuff. These ideas about c = c(t) with the expansion of the universe are patent nonsense.

    • CfCS says:

      I am curious about this blog software, let me type your formula with bras and kets

      ΔH = sqrt{<H^2> – <H>^2}

      • CfCS says:

        It worked! Thus the problem was not in this software but in the HTML code that you submitted, which was clearly invalid.

        Ironic Note: the reason of the lack of advances in modern physics is related to so many communities trying invalid mathematical ‘codes’ that they like instead trying to understand how nature really works…

  23. Ulla says:

    Quote: I’m not suggesting superluminal speed here but Astronomers have to use
    the instantaneous direction in their calculations to get the correct
    results even for our own solar system. Our solar system would become
    highly instable if the retarded directions are used (the directions where
    the object was “distance/lightspeed” ago

    One could argue that this should be interpreted as superluminal
    propagation. A proponent of this theory is for instance Tom van
    Flandern. A example of a counter argument based on what I mentioned
    as the influence of the linear speed of the object on the interaction
    can be found here:…ta/9909087.pdf at discussion on physic forum

    I also took my argument from the energy conservation discussion. The quantum entanglement is instantaneous, also at very big distances. How could you ever explain the link DE-gravity if gravity not would be at least nearly instantaneous (no light or time invoke)? This is action at a distance. This holds true also for massive bodies.

    Quote: Purdue nuclear engineer Jere Jenkins, while measuring the decay rate of manganese-54, a short-lived isotope used in medical diagnostics, noticed that the rate dropped slightly during the flare, a decrease that started about a day and a half before the flare.

    No gravitational waves has been seen. Maybe they will be?

  24. To Lawrence,

    I have tried several times to explain that I am not speaking about c(t) in the sense of Riofrio. I do not use c(t) in any equations. The effect comes in totally different manner. It is due to how we *measure*, not about the dynamics of solar system.

    Time unit or equivalently what we mean by c is defined experimentally in terms of distant stars. The basic equation is

    dt= sqrt(g_aa)da == c#da,

    where g_aa is in the idealized situation the time-time component of Robertson-Walker metric and a is the scale factor of this metric denoted often by R. This time actually corresponds proper time of the light-cone of Minkowski space in TGD framework. Do not forget that we are now living in TGD Universe where space-time is a 4-surface.

    Since photons from distant objects arrive here along a wiggly space-time surface one has c# <c : c is is the maximal signal velocity possible for light-like geodesics of imbedding space.

    This means that the unit for what we identify for light-velocity is increasing due to cosmic expansion: c# approaches to c as the mass density becomes smaller and smaller. The local light-velocity in solar system does not change since solar system does not participate in cosmic expansion. This implies apparent change of the Earth-Moon distance when we do not take into account that c# is actually increasing.

    [To add confusion: Also astrophysical systems are predicted to participate cosmic expansion but in quantal jerky manner as phase transitions increasing hbar of appropriate space-time sheet. This gives TGD based justification for Expanding Earth theory which assumes that the radius increased in rather short time by a factor two. This explains why continents seem to fit to single super-continent covering entire surface of Earth if the radius is taken to be one half of the recent radius. This was known already at times of Wegener but the no physical justification for this kind of process was found. What would be amazing would be that cosmic expansion in quantal sense would have direct implications for geology and biology (no need for snowball Earth and a model what happened in Cambrian explosion)]

    The explanation is described in detail in the section "In what sense speed of light could be changing in solar system?" of TGD and Astrophysics. The justification of Expanding Earth theory and its implications for the understanding of the early geological history of Earth and biology can be found in the same link and also here>.

  25. To Ulla: there is no need for instantaneous propagation if one accepts that space-sheets behave as coherent quantal objects, regions of quantum coherence, so that they behave in some aspects like particles. Dark manner realized in terms of a hierarchy of Planck constants implies this.

    • Ulla says:

      I know that, Matti, but I did not want to force Kea to any special conclusion, so I took it away :)

      It is enough to ask many times.

  26. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    CfCS: That is curious. I often type these in an editor, and I just paste the text in here. I prefer to work with larger font on the screen than what we have here. I can also spell check and so forth, So clearly I am pasting in hidden codes.

    Matti: The one thing you do include here is a shift or change in hbar. Again this constancy of the unit of action is one of my admonitions.

    I suppose maybe one of these days I will try to make sense out of you ideas.

  27. Ulla says:


    I am glad you are here discussing, although you use far too many equations for me. You forget that not everyone here is a physicist. But I am not as happy when you see yourself as superficial. The math ‘codes’ doesn’t make you better, as CfCs said. You are still not in any way superficial, and you even have stomach to suggest that YOU should make sense of Mattis ideas.

    Incredible arrogance.

  28. CfCS says:

    To Lawrence B. Crowell, nothing curious here but just GIGO (garbage in garbage out).

    You wrote invalid text (garbage), then clicked the submit button and received an invalid rendering (garbage). You tried two or three times more with the same garbage (and even stated your hope that this time your text would work)… but you received again garbage.

    I only tried once (of course, with the correct text) and just worked as waited.

    I want to remark again the ironic parallelism with the physics done in the last years: lots of more GIGO. And lots of physicists, perplexed because their favorite theory (pure garbage) did not work as they waited, stating to others their hope that the next time they will do better but finally perplexed again because they failed once more (GIGO).


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