A revolution in Physics needed?


by math_04
Tags: physics, revolution
Dmitry67
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Feb20-09, 01:22 PM
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Quote Quote by nickyrtr View Post
We are already in this predicament, even with simple Newtonian physics. To numerically represent the masses and distances between Newtonian bodies, with exact precision, would require an infinite number of digits, i.e. an infinitely large computer memory
This is correct: the size of sets different states even of 2 newtonian bodies is continium.

However, in QM matter in a finite volume can be only in the countable set of states, and even more, if energy inside that volume is limited (which is always true, otherwise it would be a black hole) matter can be in finite number of states.
nickyrtr
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Feb20-09, 01:45 PM
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Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
However, in QM matter in a finite volume can be only in the countable set of states, and even more, if energy inside that volume is limited (which is always true, otherwise it would be a black hole) matter can be in finite number of states.
A single measurement will always find one of the countable states, but the volume's actual quantum state (before measurement) is some linear combination of them. Those linear coefficients are any complex numbers, so we are back to the continuum problem to completely describe the system.
Dmitry67
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Feb20-09, 02:19 PM
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Agreed. However, lets take peano axiomatcs (formal arithmetics). Set of axioms is very short, but the number of numbers :) and number of their properties is infinite. So finite set of equations of TOE can govern infinite physical entities.

I can not prove that your idea with an intinite sets of TOE models is wrong, but I just dont like it. BTW Max Tegmark discusses it too.
math_04
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Feb20-09, 03:58 PM
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We cannot know EVERYTHING about the universe but hopefully we can learn enough to progress our technology. My knowledge of quantum physics is still pretty limited but I think quantum mechanics is as fundamental you get and maybe, with some modifications here and there, the solutions may be interesting. But of course, that is just an ignorant student talking.

Abraham Pais once said that Einstein himself predicted that a unified field theory would churn out all the details without us having to worry about the extra particles etc.
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Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
Agreed. However, lets take peano axiomatcs (formal arithmetics). Set of axioms is very short, but the number of numbers :) and number of their properties is infinite. So finite set of equations of TOE can govern infinite physical entities.

I can not prove that your idea with an intinite sets of TOE models is wrong, but I just dont like it. BTW Max Tegmark discusses it too.
That is part of human diversity perhaps, one person is excited by an infinite field of knowledge to explore, another hopes to find a single ultimate solution. On a philosophical note, if conscious thought can go in both directions of preference, perhaps the reality is somehow a synthesis of both ways of viewing truths. In other words, perhaps the question "is there a final, ultimate theory of physics" is not an ontological question at all, but a question of how one chooses to view and discuss reality, in which case either point of view can find satisfaction :)
Fra
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Feb21-09, 04:08 AM
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His response have some good points but misses some points in my objection.

Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
the point is not that a mathematical structure describes a universe, but that it is a universe.
I see this is what he has in mind, but it makes no sense to me. If you stick to observable ideals, then the description/image/expectation of whatever is out there is all we have.

The question is not what is, but what I can KNOW. It's the frog vs bird view again. Tegemark sees no problem with the birds view, as it seems. I do.

Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
After all, a mathematical structure is not “created” and doesn’t exist “somewhere”. It just exists.
This defense is what you might expect from him. I disagree. The physical basis on the structures, at least exists in Tegemarks brain.

Set aside humans, the information about the enviroment exists somewhere, and it's in the microstructure of hte observer. Where else? It's the one obvious place for it.

Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
As a way out of this philosophical conundrum, I have suggested [12]) that complete mathematical democracy holds: that mathematical existence and physical existence
are equivalent, so that all mathematical structures have the same ontological status.
In a sense this si a good point, but he still wants to ignore that all structures has a basis. I would like to tweak this to say thta, ok there is a kind of equivalence but my conclusion is that rather than it making everything crazy possible, physical constraits, constrains the possible mathematics! In particular when you consider elementary particles and the small. There is a limit as to what can be encoded in a small strucutre. Without this, what means to be have to constirna possible mathematical models? We would get crazy landscaps of possible models and get lost.

/Fredrik
Dmitry67
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Feb21-09, 06:29 AM
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Fra, I see your main objection is that a 'pure' matematical structure can not exist without a 'basis'. It reminds me a story of either: it was so obvious for everyone that lightwaves needed some basis, some substance to propagate in, right? :)

You call it 'crazy' - yes, I agree. And, based on the history of physics, is a best sign that it could be true!

And then again, you say 'encoded'. You always assume that there is some substance needed to give life for the mathematical structures. Why?

Lets say TOE equations are published tomorrow. What do you expect to see? Do you expect to have there some purely physical axioms, which can ot be expressed in a mathematical form?
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Feb21-09, 07:38 AM
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Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
Fra, I see your main objection is that a 'pure' matematical structure can not exist without a 'basis'. It reminds me a story of either: it was so obvious for everyone that lightwaves needed some basis, some substance to propagate in, right? :)
I see quite a difference from the quest for a material classical ether filling space, to a informational basis. This base I'm looking for need not "sit in space", it rather makes up space. So in a certain sene, even space requires partially a representation. But it's not a material ether ot me, it can very well sit in the matter in space, and the relation between them defining space are encoded in the microstructure of the matter concenrtrations.

I am NOT looking for a "realistic basis" like the old ether advocates wanted. It's more subtle, but a basis nevertheless.

Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
And then again, you say 'encoded'. You always assume that there is some substance needed to give life for the mathematical structures. Why?
"Life" wasn't my choice of word in this case, it sound strange.

But mathematical models are only representations, it "lables" something else as a kind of abstraction.

If I describe an atom with equations, then the state space and the action encoded in this, are just an abstract representation of what the atom itself is a manifestation of.

Therefor there is in some sense IMHO at least (I guess it's also part of my personal reasoning and intutition, so there is nothing I can "prove") a one-2-one correspondence between a minimal representation of observed reality and mathematics.

This is also why I have objections to the use of continuum as a fundamental starting point. In this representation mapping, the information capacity is important. I can not stretch myself to picture infinite information content, in a small region of space. It makes no sense to my brain. THAT choice of abstraction is IMHO redundant, and is only obscuring things. IT is not one bit surprising that you get infinites coming up all over the place. I have yet to see nature produce a representation of an infinity.

Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
Lets say TOE equations are published tomorrow. What do you expect to see? Do you expect to have there some purely physical axioms, which can ot be expressed in a mathematical form?
Ok. Good question. If we by TOE mean unification of all forces including gravity, then I think first of all that theory would still not be closed and leave no further questions. I'd expect the theory to take the form of an evolutionary relation between observations. The best possible understanding would in my imagination be implemented in a specific observer, by designing the observer along these principles.

So I expect to see a kind of learning model, where physical interactions, and emergent structure of matter are a result of intrinsic logic between interacting parts. This "logic" is what I consider to be the CORE of a new model. Particle masses etc, would be outputs following from processing experimental data in line with this principle.

To me the mathematics is just a representation. If I am going to write down a model
in a paper, it will be in the form of mathematics and algorithms. Probably some information processing algorithms along with normal dynamics equations with initial conditions. But no equation on a sheet of paper can answer everything. I think what we can write down, are the core of the logic of our understanding, the further encodes howto process the information at hand in the best way.

I see physical interactions, as communication between system. Each and every one part can consider themselves an observer, observing the rest. Each choice of observer will give a different picture, and I think the tension between these pictures is the origin of forces. Internal forces are after all a manifestation of a sort of disagreement or inconsistencies.

It's a description at this level, I am looking for, and the core I expect to be: the logic of how nature processes, acts and encodes this. IF you sense a chicken/egg case here, I like Zureks statement that "what the observer IS, and what the observer KNOWS" is inseparable.

Meaning that your knowledge does not SIT on external hardware (memory device), reather the hardwre is inseparable from the information encoded into it.

But I haven't yet seen a full implementation of these ideas, but it's what I expect to see tomorrow when You publish the TOE equations

/Fredrik
Fra
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Feb21-09, 07:42 AM
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Quote Quote by Fra View Post
IThis base I'm looking for need not "sit in space", it rather makes up space.
It's difficult to not notice the similary to this, and Tegemarks statement regarding mathematics :)

Indeed, I can partially see sense in what he says. But I think the main difference is that I require that all of this, is constrained into a frogs perspective.

Tegemark seems to have some strange idea that he will find a master bird view, from which he can "compute" any given frogs view. That's exactly what I think is impossible. His birds view, even if it did exists, would not fit into tegemerks own brain!! :)

That may seem both silly and obvious, but I think it does change the strategy a bit.

/Fredrik
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Feb21-09, 08:01 AM
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Quote Quote by Fra View Post
Tegemark seems to have some strange idea that he will find a master bird view, from which he can "compute" any given frogs view.
I think the more realistic "problem", is howto GUESS the behaviour of one frog, beeing one of the other frogs. Ie. reasoning and acting based on incomplete information. In this quest, it is a desirable trait to develop an "image" of the environment, on which your decisions are made. And moreoever this image, is continously update depending on the feedback. As I see it, space is encoded in this image. And when all observers agree upon space, they agree upong the relations between them. But as I see it, this connection that restores the symmetry is emergent by an indeterministic process.

Similary, I think there are emergent bird views, between local groups of observers, that can even be seen by some "larger frogs", but the ultimate birds view is I think just an illusion. OTOH, the action of a frog, will be as if his image is a birds view. But when a third largers frog analysis this, he will (personal conjecture here) see an inconsistency in the two birds view. Therefore, calling them bird views make little sense. The actual BIRD never enters the equation, because it's an abstraction. There are only frogs, to interact, observer and compare each other. The only difference is that some frogs are smaller, and some frogs are bigger. The big frogs may feel like gods, giggling at the small frogs interacting, without realising that they are themsleves also just frogs.

/Fredrik
Dmitry67
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Feb21-09, 08:55 AM
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Quote Quote by Fra View Post
1
But mathematical models are only representations, it "lables" something else as a kind of abstraction. If I describe an atom with equations, then the state space and the action encoded in this, are just an abstract representation of what the atom itself is a manifestation of.

2
This is also why I have objections to the use of continuum as a fundamental starting point. In this representation mapping, the information capacity is important. I can not stretch myself to picture infinite information content, in a small region of space.

3
Ok. Good question. If we by TOE mean unification of all forces including gravity, then I think first of all that theory would still not be closed and leave no further questions. I'd expect the theory to take the form of an evolutionary relation between observations. The best possible understanding would in my imagination be implemented in a specific observer, by designing the observer along these principles.
1
Remember, non-eucledian geometry was developed for purely mathematical reasons before GR needed it. We could say: curved space is an abstraction. And oops, there we live.

We used to say "complex numbers are just a way to solve some problems in physics mathematically. All physical variables MUST be real. And oops, vawefunction is complex!

Do you see a trend here?

You say "But mathematical models are only representations - I would add, "so far".
So may be it is time to actually make this step?
mathematical models WERE only representations...

1A
You see, if we accept Max Tegmerk's point of view, we dont need to answer "what the reality is". If TOE equations are just a model of reality, what is reality? Why it does not collapse and dissapear? Why the core nature of reality can no9t dissaper, like a virtual world in my computer, when I shut it down?

2
It looks like you are worrying about the Matrix, about being asked to emulate our world. So, you see the problem of having infinite amoutn of information is a finite region of space. But wait, space is infinite. Why dont you have a problem with an infinite information for the whole universe? No matter if information in some region is finite or infinite, it does not "help" your computer...

3
Thank you for riminding me about the mass spectrum. How many "free" parameters do you expect to see in TOE?
Dmitry67
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Feb21-09, 09:01 AM
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Quote Quote by Fra View Post
Tegemark seems to have some strange idea that he will find a master bird view, from which he can "compute" any given frogs view. That's exactly what I think is impossible. His birds view, even if it did exists, would not fit into tegemerks own brain!! :)
Again, it depends on if we talk about the EQUATIONS of the bird's view or all the details of all the worlds which obey these equations.

I believe that the equations of the bird's view are simpler then the ones for the frog's view. QM is a perfect example. In MWT, bird's view is QM without collapse. Frog's view is created by the Quantum Decoherence. And it is here, in the frog's view, where all the weirdness comes in place: randomness, non-locality, collapse.

If you read his article you problbly remember that "the whole ight be simpler then each part of it"
Fra
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Feb21-09, 09:43 AM
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> 1A
> You see, if we accept Max Tegmerk's point of view, we dont need to answer "what the reality is". If TOE equations are just a model of reality,
> what is reality?

The TOE equations would ideally be the _best answer_ to What's reality. That's good enough for me.

> Why it does not collapse and dissapear? Why the core nature of reality can no9t dissaper, like a virtual world in my computer,
> when I shut it down?

There is still a state of the PC when it's shut down. You just removes the forced state from PC programs and circtuis. You can't make a direct analogy. In reality one can't pull the plug between the microstate and microstructure.

The reason for the "stabiliy of the image" is IMO related to inertia of the hardware. The hardware has evolved along with the state, and NO observed event can instantaneously change this, because I think the notion of time is entangled with this. It's impossible for me to try to convince you in this thread, but I see many ways in how the origin of inertia, in the context of information processing is why a "virtual" image actually does acquire inertia and stability.

This is because the construction of the "hardware" that SUPPORTs the image has a certain inertia, and deformation of the hardware is a slowly evolving process, compared to changing the STATE of the hardware. It's analogous to the dynamics IN spacetime, and the dynamics of spacetime geoemtry itself. There is a feedback, but the inertia of spacetime is large enough to give a certain stability.

> 2
> It looks like you are worrying about the Matrix, about being asked to emulate our world. So, you see the problem of having infinite amoutn
> of information is a finite region of space. But wait, space is infinite.
> Why dont you have a problem with an infinite information for the whole universe?

Why would there be a problem with that? As long as I don't see it all at once, which I don't I'm fine :) The point is that I can not even construct a measuring device to measure this infinite size.

> No matter if information in some region is finite or infinite, it does not "help" your computer...

First I should att the "computer hardware" in this case, is the matter itself. Computations are simply physical interactions. The memory is the STATE of the hardware - the microstate of matter. But even when solving the equations of a human theory, a normal Pc may be used, and it can not handle infinite information. You can't perform a computation in finite time on infinite information. That's one very practical part.

A local computer does not NEED all information in the universe for his daily business, because I think any local observer, responds only to his local information. Therefore, information unavailable has no impact, and can be disregarded with no ill effects.

It will never be possible to deterministically predict the future. The problem at hand, is to guess the future sufficiently good to survive in your given environment. This provides a selection for algorithms. Stupid algorithms doesn't get preserved, but neither do they need to be banned. They punish themselves out of business.

> 3
> Thank you for riminding me about the mass spectrum. How many "free" parameters do you expect to see in TOE?

I think this questions reveals that you may have a different idea of what the theory is like than me. I think the answer depends on it's evolutionary state. Ideally each parameters is a result of an evolutionary history, and if you loose the information of the history, then you end up with a "free parameter", but it really isn't "free", it's just that you might have lost track of it.

If we take a more practical question, as to how many of the current parameters in the standard model I execpt to see go away, then for sure all the particle masses should be explained. I think the spectrum of particles will correspond to different evolutionary stages as you scale up the mass. And I expect that the logic here should explain the hierarchies
we see. If you start the observation at a late stage, the more free parameters do you need to "fit" to experimental data. I think this is natural, and isn't a flaw by any means.

/Fredrik
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Feb21-09, 09:48 AM
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Quote Quote by Fra View Post
different evolutionary stages as you scale up the mass. And I expect that the logic here should explain the hierarchies we see.
The scaling of mass is also the same as origin of inertia. The particles aquires large and larger inertia by evolving their information processing algortihms. Not all algortihms can be successful, therefore, a prediction of the algorithm spectrum that survices is expected.

If I'm right this will be the particle spectrum we see. And masses as well as the participation in the forces should hopefully come out.

/Fredrik
Dmitry67
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Feb21-09, 10:34 AM
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Quote Quote by Fra View Post
I think this questions reveals that you may have a different idea of what the theory is like than me. I think the answer depends on it's evolutionary state. Ideally each parameters is a result of an evolutionary history, and if you loose the information of the history, then you end up with a "free parameter", but it really isn't "free", it's just that you might have lost track of it.
Then there are laws of that evolution. If these laws are included in the TOE, then parameter is not free. If it is not included, then it is not TOE (by the definition of TOE)

But let me back up to the question about the model. What is a difference between model and reality, map and territory? Imagine that TOE equations look like

F(Y)=0

where F is formula. Y is some variable (complex? quaternion?). If appears that this equation can be solved only when Y is a variable in (real, complex, quaternion, something more complex) K-dimensional space. Based on the equation, the value of Y tends to compactify to something which appears to be a string. Different vibration modes manifest as different particles, etc, etc, you get the idea.

It is important that you dont need any words. You can derive anything from this formula.

Now your turn.

A. You can say "F(Y)=0 is just a formula, just a model. It is not a reality"
Then please tell me what a "reality" is and what it is made of.

B. You can say "TOE wont look like a set of formulas. We will need formulas and something extra"
Then your turn - please give any example of a physical property which can not be expressed in the mathematical terms.
So far we had no such examples (expect may be consciousness)

C. Finally you can say - there is an infinite sequence of TOE's, and no final, ultimate TOE. As I said, it would be depressing but I dont have any contre arguments.
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Feb22-09, 02:36 AM
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I see two points in this discussion now.

a) what's the deal with this "reality" vs "image of reality"

b) What would our best theory look like and work?

Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
Then there are laws of that evolution. If these laws are included in the TOE, then parameter is not free. If it is not included, then it is not TOE (by the definition of TOE)
(a) If you by TOE mean something that contains now, all answers to all possible future questions, that I am totally convinced that TOE will never be found.

However, sometimes TOE is used as a more moderate meaning of something that unifies not only EM, weak and strong forces (a GUT) but also gravity. This is what I was talking about.

What I expect from such TOE, then the "laws of evolution" are not hardcoded, they are also evolving. There are of course some initial laws of evolution, but these are subject to revision.

Also the equations can not predict all the universe, the equations only describe the action of an observer. To describe a collection of interaction particles I'd expect two interaction equations that influence each other.

Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
B. You can say "TOE wont look like a set of formulas. We will need formulas and something extra"
Then your turn - please give any example of a physical property which can not be expressed in the mathematical terms.
So far we had no such examples (expect may be consciousness)

C. Finally you can say - there is an infinite sequence of TOE's, and no final, ultimate TOE. As I said, it would be depressing but I dont have any contre arguments.
I'd say a combination of B, but mostly C. Of course I expect to see mathematics, and equations. But the equations themselves would be subject to evolution, and part of this evolution is inherently unpredictable.

The challange is to understand how an observer can self-organize and respond as to learn to survive in an unknown and unpredictalbe environment. The key is I think that as long as you can predict _something_ that may allow for your survival.

What I'm looking for is the logic of survival, from the frog-perspective. This is partly a game, where you invest your own life, in trying to persist and take control of the environment.

Quote Quote by Dmitry67 View Post
A. You can say "F(Y)=0 is just a formula, just a model. It is not a reality"
Then please tell me what a "reality" is and what it is made of.
(b) My only point is that, suppose I sit in white box, and watch ym environment by the state of the walls of the box.

(Ie the inversion of the black box problem, you are the box and the unknown environment on the outside is the "black box" of unkonwn size)

I obviously ask what the reality is out there, and I form myself an expectation of the outside - this is my "image", and it's all I'll ever have. There isn't anything more to it than that. To try to compare this image with the real thing is nonsensial. IT can't be done by me. Wether it can be done bysomeone else is not an answer to the question posed.

In essence, I am saying that the closest thinkg to the BIRDS view we can get, is the frogs EXPECTATION of the birds view. But this will be different from frog to frog. And this expectation of the birds view, is by definition what the frogs view is anyway. So that brings us back to the frog view.

/Fredrik
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Feb22-09, 02:47 AM
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Ok here is more in order to explain my own expectations of what is to come

Quote Quote by Fra View Post
In essence, I am saying that the closest thinkg to the BIRDS view we can get, is the frogs EXPECTATION of the birds view. But this will be different from frog to frog. And this expectation of the birds view, is by definition what the frogs view is anyway. So that brings us back to the frog view.
Suppose with TOE I don't really mean answer to all question, but rather "the best theory we can come up with" then

This means that there would be one TOE for each frog. And the development of the TOE goes hand in hand with the evolution of the frog.

Just like I think matter, ENCODES the laws of physics, evolution of the universe is then evolution and formation of matter, but also evolution of _encoded_ physical law. A piece of matter that encodes a very twisted law, simply will have a hard time to survive in that environment. This is why the properties of matter emerge to become apparely universal.

I can stretch myself to label the frog-TOE to the frogs expectation of a birds view, but the frog-frog interaction is DRIVEN by the inconsistent bird-views. The interaction itself implies evolution of the frogs, which frog influences the other one more than the other, is also dependent on who has bigger inertia and can bully the other frogs opinon.

It's the exact mathematics of this I'm looking for, and how that can be exploited to emergent matter and emergent spacetime and forces.

/Fredrik
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Feb22-09, 04:30 AM
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Quote Quote by Fra View Post
(a) If you by TOE mean something that contains now, all answers to all possible future questions, that I am totally convinced that TOE will never be found.
Wait, wait, TOE should not try to answer ALL questions.

let me give an example. A manual on the INTEL processor, the one probably installed in your computer, inambigously describes every tiny detail of how INTEL processor works.

However, it can not answer a question: is Windows Vista volnerable to the virus XXXblahblahblah, even virus attack is something that is going inside the processor.

The same with TOE: it should be able answer all FUNDAMENTAL questions, but not ALL the questions. It gives a complete basic for calculations, but can not predict individual events (except the universes with Laplace determinism). To predict individual facts we need not only determinism, but we need to know the initial conditions (which are also FACTS). Fundamental question is a question which is fact-free, it is a questio about something, which can be done in a repeatable manner (what is an outcome of the following experiment...)

The set of TOE equations can not help us to tell if there are any advanced civilzations in Andromeda. And the behavior of complex systems, even formally based on the QM/TOE laws, contains so many 'levels' so usually we use another laws. So TOE want answer any questions in medicine, sociology etc.

When you talk about the frog's view and bird's view, this is important. We can not discover all FACTS about the birds view, but we can decipher all LAWS of the Bird's view, like we can find a form of 3D object looking at it's 2D shadow. This is exactly what we did before: we were looking at reality (gamma rays, K-mesons, blach holes) thru the prism of our experminatal devices. We can not see an elector forming a wave in an atom. We interpret some spikes and numbers, coming out of the computer. Deciphering the bird's view is not more difficult.


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