If QM requires a constant universal time, does this rule out closed time-like curves?
"Constant universal time" isn't standard terminology, and I can't tell what you mean by it.
Quantum mechanics involves wave equations, which are differential equations. Differential equations are local things, so there is no problem with stating them in a space that has unusual global properties.
You might have issues, for example, with constraints that prevent the existence of solutions for certain boundary conditions. But this isn't a specifically quantum-mechanical issue. You get the same issue classically. This is basically just the grandfather paradox.
Pardon my use of non-standard terminology; it has a lot to do with being a non-scientist.
I was re-reading an article from New Scientist 10 June 2006; Marcus Chown's "Do the Cosmic Twist" and I recalled that I had been puzzled by the following first time round:
"The trouble is, quantum theory requires time to be "universal" - there should never be closed loops of time isolated from the time in the rest of the universe".
Information about quantum time always seems to contain a lot of off-putting equations, so I was hoping for something a bit less technical.
The part about "isolated from [...] the rest of the universe" may be what's relevant, but I can't tell what he's talking about just from the isolated quote. Unfortunately the article is paywalled, so it's going to be difficult for anyone here to puzzle out what he really means.
Thanks, Ben. Is there any way I can make the article available on this forum without infringing copyright?
But you could post a quote from it with enough context for us to see what he's saying.
It is, in fact, only the early part of Chown's article that deals with QM and CTCs. I hope this will give other posters a general flavour. Don't hesitate to ask questions, though. I shall almost certainly have more later.
Marcus Chown’s Article. Looking at the work of Pawel Mazur and George Chapline.
Almost everything we see in the universe rotates, yet most cosmologists believe the cosmos does not rotate.
GR seems to require the universe to look the same in every direction. Obviously, an axis of rotation (although not prohibited in itself) would give the universe a preferred direction.
"General relativity provides an excellent description of what happens in the normal, day-to-day events in the universe, but it fails in “extreme” circumstances. Its equations are unable to tell us anything precise about events such as high-energy particle collisions, for instance, or the collapse of stars into black holes. However, the biggest clue to its limitations, Mazur and Chapline say, is in the way it allows time to break down.”
“General relativity allows the formation of loops in time in certain circumstances,…..”
The article goes on to describe spinning cosmic strings and the formation of CTCs.
"The trouble is, quantum theory requires time to be "universal" - there should never be closed loops of time isolated from the time in the rest of the universe. This means that quantum theory can’t work everywhere in a universe governed by general relativity. And since most physicists reckon quantum theory to be a more accurate description of reality than general relativity, relativity’s view of space and time – what cosmologists call the vacuum – must be wrong.”
M & C developed the idea that GR breaks down in “gravitational vortices”, while still applying elsewhere. They go on to liken this to the effect of stirring a superfluid, but the relationship between relativity’s time and quantum time does not recur.
Sorry, but for me, at least, this is still not enough information to know what they're trying to say. Note the scare quotes around "universal." They're trying to popularize some more rigorous concept, but it's not clear what it is. We might have more luck if we can find an actual paper by Chown and Mazur.
Chown doesn't seem to have posted any papers on arxiv.org.
Pawel O. Mazur has: http://arxiv.org/find/gr-qc/1/au:+Mazur_P/0/1/0/all/0/1
These seem relevant:
Here's one, which I think the New Scientist article was based on. The need for a "universal time" is apparently an idea of Chapline. On the other hand, he doesn't believe in black holes!
In http://arxiv.org/abs/0911.2326 :
From http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0407033 :
They describe the conventional wisdom, and say the conventional wisdom is wrong. However, they don't seem to give any explanation of what they think is wrong with the conventional wisdom.
Their claim that event horizons are automatically incompatible with quantum mechanics seems to me to be something that is clearly not accepted in general.
This may have something to do with the fact that in quantum mechanics, time is not an operator, but simply a parameter.
I'm going to ask that thread be this be moved into Beyond the Standard Model, where I think we can probably get more competent answers than I would be able to provide.
Uh oh. My kook alarms were already going off, but now they're really, really going off.
Thanks for the responses, folks. I’ll try following some of the links, and see what I can understand.
There is no suggestion in the article that either Mazur or Chapline doubt the existence of black holes. In fact the bit about CTCs forming around cosmic strings is followed by:
“Mazur and Chapline contend that, according to general relativity, the same thing can happen with a rotating black hole.”
Separate names with a comma.