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Conflict between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity

  1. Dec 10, 2003 #1
    I am curious as to the general reaction to my thoughts on this question. Please take a look at the following:


    Looking forward to any reactions.

    Have fun -- Dick
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 11, 2003 #2


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    Clocks don't define time, clocks measure time. This is the same error as in another active thread in this forum. Also:
    That's wrong. Since the speed of light is constant, the rate of the passage of time must be frame dependent.

    Also, this tau component - if its not detectable, clocks shouldn't be able to measure it.
  4. Dec 11, 2003 #3
    Time and Relativity

    Mr. Watters,

    First, many people hold that "clocks measure time" by definition, thus defining time via clocks. When you quote "another active thread in this forum", you should provide a reference to that thread so that one may know what you are talking about.

    You say that, "since the speed of light is constant, the rate of the passage of time must be frame dependent". If that statement were true, then either one could establish an absolute index upon frames of reference (via the rate of the passage of time) or the rate of passage of time is not a measurable variable.

    You obviously did not at all follow my presentation. All I have done is re-plot exactly the same data in an alternate geometry. Tau is the standard path length in Einstein's relativity. In his picture it is a calculated result and not a directly measurable thing, in spite of the fact that clocks measure changes in tau exactly.

    For simple minded people, I will point out that, in a frame of reference attached to a clock, the clocks position never changes (definition of an attached frame) thus, since there is no change in position, Einstein's invariant interval along the path of the clock is exactly the "time" component per the standard usage. It follows that the clock measures exactly the invariant interval along their space-time path. This is a fact of standard relativity and is regularly used to predict the apparent half life of fast moving particles.

    However, since no interactions are dependent upon "the reading on the clock" (whether or not two objects may interact is not a function of the invariant interval since their last interaction; think a little about the resolution of the twin paradox), it follows that there is no way of determining an absolute value for tau: i.e., it is not directly detectable but is rather a deduced thing.

    Physics is not a simple subject and care must be maintained in any deduction.

    Dr. Dick
  5. Dec 11, 2003 #4


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    Re: Time and Relativity

    Sorry. I have a tendancy to be lazy. https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10599&perpage=12&pagenumber=2

    That thread has rather degraded though, so its probably best to keep the discussion here.
    Yes, clocks measure time by definition. The corollary that time is defined by clocks however, is NOT true - it leads to the misinterpretation that what is shown on a clock is not necessarily connected to time. However, the units of time are defined by humans and applied to clocks.
    No. Thats Einstein's Special Relativity in a nutshell: There is no universal reference frame, the laws of the universe are the same for all frames, the speed of light is constant for all observers regarless of their particular frame, and the rate of the passage of time therefore is variable.
    That doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Could you explain how it relates to this:
    Also, if what clocks measure is time by definition, how can it be said that clocks do not measure time?

    It appears that you are trying to connect time in two different reference frames, thereby finding an absolute frame? Am I close there?
  6. Dec 12, 2003 #5
    Re: Time and Relativity

    Thank you Russ, for the reference. I have checked it out any find little there which applies directly to my interests.

    I find your comment implying there is some great difference between "clocks measure time by definition" and "time is defined by clocks" to be a distraction rather than a serious attempt to clear matters up. I said, in the opening of my paper, that the common concept of time is confused. I personally feel your comment simply adds to the confusion. In other words, I do not feel discussion of that comment is worth the time and trouble.

    The "No" certainly does not belong there. Otherwise I have no complaint with your comment other than the fact that it is a clear example of the fact that you did not follow what I said. I don't think it is worth the time and trouble to discuss that issue further as I am sure that, if you come to understand what I am saying, you will find your difficulty above a trivial invalid cavil clearly not applicable to the discussion.

    With regard to your further comments, all I can really do here is repeat that you did not at all follow my presentation. I will try another tack which may or may not clarify what I am doing:

    Consider any experiment which can be performed (if your math abilities are limited, I suggest you make it a fairly simple experiment). Now make an analytical examination of that experiment from any standard space-time frame of reference you find convenient.

    No matter what that experiment entails, it can be seen as a number of things (particles, objects or collections of such) which travel along trajectories in that space-time frame of reference you chose. Let us not worry, for the moment, where those trajectories start or finish but rather just choose some arbitrary start point on each path and finish with some arbitrary stop point on the same trajectory.

    Now, do you have this all pictured in your head?

    Now, those trajectories are lines (in Einstein's space-time continuum) and they may be discussed in terms of a parameter along their length say for example "p". It follow that any given line in that experiment may be described by the events which constitute that line: for any given p, the space-time coordinates correspond to the collection of events (x,y,z,t)_p . These can be seen as continuos functions of p or as a tabulated selection of a finite number of events; either perspective is a reasonable representation of the space-time path of the thing of interest. Do this for each "thing" involved in your experiment.

    Now, let us examine the paths of those entities of interest, each by itself, in the absence of the others (I am presuming you know enough physics to solve the problem expressed in your experiment). The differential path length along the trajectory is exactly what is referred to as Einstein's invariant interval along the path of the thing being represented by that path. This fact is commonly used in high energy physics to determine the expected apparent path lengths (in x,y,z space) of particles with short half lives.

    If you understood the common uses of relativity, you would understand that, in order to make the physics independent of the frame of reference, the half life (or any other temporal phenomena defined by the laws of physics, clocks included) will always be the same if measured in the rest frame of the thing of interest. The associated points of interest along the space-time path are obtained by integrating Einstein's invariant interval along that path. Since there is no movement of the entity in its own rest frame, the interval in this case is always imaginary: i.e., the interval is time like. As a consequence, one usually uses the variable tau (via ic tau) to represent such a variable.

    At this point, if you have a strong enough math background, it should be clear that you can specify a collection of numbers(x,y,z,t, tau)_p for each and every trajectory in that experiment we were describing (let each of those lines begin with a specification tau = 0 then an integral will specify the rest).

    Now, from the standard relativistic perspective, one uses a geometry of x, y, z and t with a metric which yields tau as the path length. That will require exactly the standard Minkowski geometry (if you don't use Minkowski geometry, you will not get the tau we just specified in that parameterized representation of the path).

    I hope you will agree that the collection of parameterized paths of all the objects in your experiment exactly describe the experiment: by exact, I mean the correct result as deduced by modern physics.

    Now let us look at an alternate perspective of exactly the same parameterized paths. This time let us use a geometry consisting of x,y,z and tau with a metric which yields t as the path length. If you are able to do the math, you will notice that this will require exactly a Euclidean geometry (if you don't use a Euclidean geometry, you will not get the t we just specified in that parameterized representation of the path).

    Once again, the collection of parameterized paths of all the objects in you experiment exactly describe the experiment: and once again, by exact, I mean the correct result as deduced by modern physics.

    There is nothing new here. No new physics, no new interpretation of the experiment and no experimental results which can decide which perspective is correct (in fact correct is not an adjective which has any meaning here). This is nothing more than a different way of viewing what is going on.

    As an aside, notice that every entity which has properties which can be used as a clock will measure exactly the change in tau. This is exactly what they also do in Einstein's space-time continuum perspective. But tau and t are not the same thing. It is my opinion it is the absolute idea that "clocks measure time" which blocks everyone from seeing this other perspective.

    If you followed what I just said, think about it for a while and then reread my paper.

    I thank you for your attention -- Dick
  7. Dec 13, 2003 #6


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    Re: Re: Time and Relativity

    Hold the phone here just a minute. The quote I said "No" to made specific statements about the nature of time that are incorrect. I guess you are trying to explain that away with further discussion, but I won't go further. This point is essential to the discussion and can't be ignored.
  8. Dec 13, 2003 #7
    Mr. Watters adament stance!

    Sorry Mr. Watters, but you are completely misinterpreting what I am saying. I suspect it is because you don't want to look carefully at it.

    When I said, "the 'No' certainly does not belong there", I was attempting to say that I agreed with everything you said. That is, that your belief that you disagreed with me was based on a misunderstanding of what I was saying. If you really want to wrestle over the exact nature of those specific statements you have argument with, go ahead and express your disagreement carefully and I will answer them issue by issue; but I think personally that it is a complete waste of time.
    I am not at all trying to explain anything away with further discussion; my note was a completely separate alternate attack on exactly the same issue: an alternate way of viewing the experimental results.

    Essentially, I think you are just totally upset with my comment "clocks do not measure time", a phrase which seems to bring up a fight whenever it is uttered. Perhaps you might feel a little better about the validity of that statement if I added a very specific exception .

    How about, "clocks do not measure time except in their own personal frame of reference".

    My point is that they measure exactly the path length along their space time trajectory. That this is "time" in their personal rest frame I will not deny.

    The issue here is that clocks measure time only in their personal rest frame; however, they measure the path length along their space time trajectory (the integral of the invariant interval) in any frame. That is a physical fact generally ignored on a conceptual level by every scientist I have ever met though they use it on a day to day basis to solve many important problems!

    I would suggest that, if you wish to understand me, you go back and read what I wrote starting with the sentence, "Consider any experiment...". Think of that part of the post as standing all alone, having nothing to do with what came before.

    I assure you I have no argument at all with any part of physics; I propose only an interesting alternate perspective. Anyone who insists that there is no perspective on an issue but his own, stands on very shaky ground!

    If you don't want to talk to me anymore, I will accept that.

    Have fun -- Dick
  9. Dec 15, 2003 #8
    I certainly agree that clocks measure proper time or tau as you call it. If I increase my velocity relative to you, I will see my clock running normally, and any other process for that matter. In space-time, by changing my velocity (speed) I have really just changed my direction. My velocity vector still points in the time direction. It's analogous to moving forward. If I am walking along with you and then decide to change direction, I'm still moving forward as you are although we are moving in different directions. One person's space is another persons time, so to speak. The magnitude of any objects velocity in space-time is always C. This certainly does not contradict SR. The spatial component of the velocity cannot be => c.

    I believe, although I am not sure, that we need time (or Tau) to exist as a physical dimension in order to accomodate the degrees of freedom (with regard to motion) that we can experience.

    See this post

    I enjoyed reading 'Resolution of the Relativity/Quantum Mechanics Conflict' but I will have to study your interval equation and the part on mass more closely.

    As far as degrees of freedom are concerned, I've wondered about the physical implications of being able to change a particle's space-time speed. This is pure speculation and may not be possible but it is fun to think about. Mental masturbation may not yield fruit but it certainly feels good. I'll leave at that before I start ranting...

    Actually, I do have one question:

    I would think that there would be no motion perpendicular to tau or are you talking about measurements between different inertial frames? Wouldn't tau be the vector sum of spatial velocity and, for lack of a better term, velocity in time? (C^2=Vs^2+Vt^2). Don't we always move in the tau (time) direction?
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2003
  10. Dec 15, 2003 #9
    Frames of reference!

    Hi Jimmy,

    Thank you for your attention; however, after reading your response, I get the impression that you missed the central issue. I don't think you understand what I am talking about. Please re-read this section very carefully, started with, "Consider any experiment which can be performed ..." and finishing with the end of the post.

    Tau is a variable specified along the space-time paths of the significant entities in the experiment as seen in the Einstein perspective. I am simply re-plotting the information describing the experiment in a coordinate system where tau is one of the coordinates and t is a measure of the path length of the trajectories in that new geometry. In the new geometry, tau is not a calculated quantity, it is exactly the quantity which would be measured by a clock attached to that entity.

    The x,y, and z coordinates are exactly the same as the x, y and z coordinates seen in the Einstein perspective. If there is motion in the Einstein perspective (the space-time paths of the entities display a change is space coordinates as a function of time or tau), there will be motion in my perspective (there will also be a change in the (x,y,z) position as a function of time or tau). Since in my perspective, tau is a fourth coordinate perpendicular to the x, y and z axes, two objects will appear to be in motion with respect to one another whenever their paths in the (x,y,z,tau) space are not parallel.

    With regard to your post, I have read it and I essentially disagree with the "intuitive" and/or "grand generality" approach to understanding physics. Those approaches generally lead to indefensible positions. Physics is a very carefully constructed structure and utmost care should be used in examining it.

    Have fun -- Dick
  11. Dec 16, 2003 #10
    If I may comment on this, I think the reason time must exist as a physical dimension is so that we can account for the fact that three coordinates are not enough to specify an object's position.

    As to the idea that the whole universe is moving forward along an imaginary axis, at constant speed for inertial frames, I think that makes no sense at all. If you treat time as a spatial dimension, then you need another time dimension to move along it. It doesn't make sense to say that "all inertial frames move to the future at ct", or something along those lines. As soon as you multiply a velocity by time, there is no more movement, only space.

    Besides, it's not the universe that's moving to the future, it's only our subjective sense of self that does it. In other words, the reality of time is only known through subjective experience. That's why time is such a difficult subject for physicists.

    Last, this whole "clocks don't measure time" nonsense is, well, nonsense. If clocks don't measure time then nothing does, and time ceases to become a physical entity. Since most physics equations include the variable 't', to argue that time only exists in people's imagination is to deny that the equations of physics describe natural phenomena. Again, that's nonsense.
  12. Dec 16, 2003 #11
    I guess that, so long as you can keep yourself convinced it's nonsense, you don't have to think about it do you?

    There is nothing like a closed mind to prevent thought! :wink:

    Apparently you were totally unable to comprehend what I was talking about as you seem to think I am contradicting currently accepted physics. I am not, I am merely pointing out a different perspective. I suggest you try reading what I said carefully and stop jumping at convenient reasons not to read it.

    Have fun -- Dick
  13. Dec 16, 2003 #12
    It is nonsense, and I don't have to think about it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2003
  14. Dec 17, 2003 #13
    Incompetent contributions.

    If that's your attitude about physics and math, I doubt there is any reason for me to read your posts. Go learn a little physics and math, you might come to understand that thinking is always of benefit. I would prefer not to hear from you again.

    Have fun -- Dick
  15. Dec 18, 2003 #14
    Re: Incompetent contributions.

    Then don't! I didn't write to you in the first place! I was talking to Jimmy; I have no interest in your insults.

    This is so pathetic as to be unbelievable! You mean, I have to learn "a little physics and math" just because I think it's nonsense to say that clocks don't measure time? Get a life! Who do you think you are?

    I have never written anything addressed to you, except to defend myself from your mindless, uncalled for insults. Besides, I got on this thread purely by accident, I was directed here from a link on the philosophy forum. Must be bad karma.
  16. Dec 20, 2003 #15
    I haven't really read Doctordick's treatment closely, but it seems to me that what he wants to have a Euclidean metric instead of a Lorentzian one. This seems to qualify the dimension as "physical", instead of the alternative (which is...?). The basic problem with this is that there's nothing unphysical about having a hyperbolic signature. The notion of using a complex coordinate is very outdated, as it is pretty well standard practice to identify with the SO(3,1) covering group.

    Being cynical, I would think that Doctordick derived his proposal from a reading of Einstein's Relativity, or some other text written before 1930.

    However, playing devil's advocate, I will admit there is nothing wrong with "reformulating" an old theory, if in the reformulation you gain superb new insight. I'm not sure I see that here, only a challenge to the old ideals. But, I think doctordick should submit his paper for peer review in any one of the specialized journals. If he doesn't like the criticism here, perhaps he'll listen more there (although I'm sure many on this board are reviewers, myself included).

    Finally, Doctordick, could you share with us your area of specialization (your degree is in...)? It would help us understand where you're coming from.
  17. Dec 21, 2003 #16
    Just trying to clear things up a bit!

    Wanting a Euclidean metric has nothing to do with this; following this procedure, you end up with a representation in a Euclidean metric whether you want to or not. Please, instead of trying to guess what I want, read the following carefully
    Sorry if you find this confusing, I am just trying to make myself as clear as possible.

    Have fun -- Dick
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2003
  18. Dec 21, 2003 #17
    You really need personal information?

    I don't think personal information has any bearing on the rationality of my posts; but, if that is what you want, I will provide you with a little. But first, more on your comments.

    "Physical" or "unphysical" have absolutely nothing to do with what I am talking about. All I am saying is that the representation I have presented to you is no more than an alternate presentation of exactly the same information presented in the standard picture!
    Unless you are saying that my use of the complex coordinate system makes the math difficult for you to understand or that it is an invalid representation of special relativity, I don't see where my failure to use the current notation is really relevant.
    You can not see any "superb new insights" because there aren’t any here! The insights begin to occur when you start viewing things from this other perspective; we cannot even talk about those issues if you cannot comprehend the perspective. And there is no challenge to the old "ideals", all I am challenging is a certain tunnel vision in the old perspective. You guys seem to be scared to death that someone is going to challenge your "understanding" of physics! I am not challenging anything; I am merely pointing out an alternate valid perspective no one has looked at.
    This will not happen as I have utterly no interest in publishing. What I am looking for is a friendly educated person who will talk to me. What you have seen here is not worth publishing; except for the perspective, it is little more than high school physics. I would like to contact someone with a decent training in advanced physics who would be interested in thinking outside the box; the problem I have is that everyone seems to think that thinking "outside the box" is identically equivalent to "crackpot". I have acquired the title quite easily and no one worth his salt seems interested in talking to me; they are much more willing to presume the character assassins are justified.
    What makes you think I am bothered by criticism? Because I react to simple minded unthoughtout criticism by pointing out the fact that there is no support for their statements? So far, the criticism I have received on this forum consists mostly of "he's a crackpot", "it's nonsense and I don't have to think about it", or "blah, blah, blah, I'm tired of reading your stuff". Well, if they are tired of reading it, why don't they just forget about reading it. Except for yourself, no one so far responding to my post has displayed any real interest or understanding of my statements.

    Finally, I received a Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics (working under the GI bill) about forty years ago from a prestigious American University. My thesis was a number crunching piece of trash which served little purpose beyond busy work: i.e., there was no thought to speak of in it. In my opinion, lot of theoretical physicists back then were wasting their time trying to validate approximations which would allow them to squeeze their calculations on to inadequate machines. That is the best description of my thesis I can give. On the other hand, I was by the university about fifteen years ago and was quite pleased to discover theoretical students using the mathematical appendices of my thesis as study material for their work so perhaps it wasn't a complete waste.

    I was never very interested in "doing physics". My interest was in understanding the world around me and my opinion at the time of graduation was that the physics community had lost sight of that aspect of physics. Let us say that my perspective has always been somewhat askew of the standard. But now, I am getting old and would enjoy talking to someone about some of what I think are interesting things. And also, obtain some decent criticism of my reasoning. The only good criticism I have received so far is the fact that I don't express my ideas well or am not properly humble. Like this statement, "clocks don't measure time" which seems to totally blow people away. Not one person has asked me why I said it or what I meant by the statement: they all just decided I am a crackpot. I think that the existence of a Euclidean frame of reference in my work is taken, without any thought at all, to be firm irrefutable evidence of my crackpottedness. That is just not the kind of intellectual prowess I think is worth seeking.

    Don't feel bad if this post encourages you to ignore what I have to say. I won't take it personally; you are in the good company of many many highly respected people, I think!

    Have fun -- Dick
  19. Jan 16, 2004 #18
    History of relativity

    In reading this post I was reminded of the Proper Particle Mechanics of D. Hestenes. However, there are some serious problems with the historical exposition given here regarding the development of STR. STR existed before Minkowski got into the picture. For a while Einstein wasn't too happy with Minkowski's mathematization of it.
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