Einstein unified theory

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Main Question or Discussion Point

Many popular-physics books mention that Einstein searched for a unified theory of all interactions, and that he failed in his research.
However, they never say what exactly the Einstein ideas were (and why exactly these ideas didn't work).

Does anybody know a source (in english) were more details (on a professional technical level) on Einstein research towards a unified theory can be found?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
PAllen
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Many popular-physics books mention that Einstein searched for a unified theory of all interactions, and that he failed in his research.
However, they never say what exactly the Einstein ideas were (and why exactly these ideas didn't work).

Does anybody know a source (in english) were more details (on a professional technical level) on Einstein research towards a unified theory can be found?
For the early versions, the following is the best I know of:

http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-2004-2/ [Broken]

For Einstein's final version, the second appendix to any post 1956 printing of his "Meaning of Relativity" is the complete presentation in his own words. I have looked a few times but failed to find any cogent analysis by others of exactly what this final theory predicts.
 
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  • #3
mathman
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One problem Einstein had to face (although he wasn't fully aware of it) was that the nuclear forces, particularly the strong force, were not fully understood until much after his death.
 
  • #4
qsa
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Many popular-physics books mention that Einstein searched for a unified theory of all interactions, and that he failed in his research.
However, they never say what exactly the Einstein ideas were (and why exactly these ideas didn't work).

Does anybody know a source (in english) were more details (on a professional technical level) on Einstein research towards a unified theory can be found?

nonsymmetric field theories of einstein and schrodinger -1940's


introduction to modern theoretical physics

edward g harris

univ of tennessee

old book 1975, there are some refrences in the book

brief overview of the unified theories up to that time.
 
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  • #5
qsa
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you can google for

nonsymmetric field theories of einstein and schrodinger
 
  • #6
strangerep
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Many popular-physics books mention that Einstein searched for a unified theory of all interactions, and that he failed in his research.
However, they never say what exactly the Einstein ideas were (and why exactly these ideas didn't work).

Does anybody know a source (in english) were more details (on a professional technical level) on Einstein research towards a unified theory can be found?
There are at least 4 attempts that I know of:

1) Einstein-Mayer
(Googling for these authors should turn up papers.)

2) Teleparallelism
(I only know of a paper in German on this, but Googling for
Einstein and Fern Parallelismus gives various references.)

3) Einstein-Cartan
(There's a reprint book of the letters exchanged between these
two. At the end Einstein notes that he has abandoned this line.)

4) Non-symmetric metric & connection.

All except that last were successively abandoned by Einstein (afaik).

All are now "obvious" dead ends (or so it seems to me, although I
briefly worked on the last one many decades ago -- such a waste).
But that was shortly before the ascension of modern electroweak theory
which exposed the futility of such classical attempts (IMHO).
 
  • #7
PAllen
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There are at least 4 attempts that I know of:

1) Einstein-Mayer
(Googling for these authors should turn up papers.)

2) Teleparallelism
(I only know of a paper in German on this, but Googling for
Einstein and Fern Parallelismus gives various references.)

3) Einstein-Cartan
(There's a reprint book of the letters exchanged between these
two. At the end Einstein notes that he has abandoned this line.)

4) Non-symmetric metric & connection.

All except that last were successively abandoned by Einstein (afaik).

All are now "obvious" dead ends (or so it seems to me, although I
briefly worked on the last one many decades ago -- such a waste).
But that was shortly before the ascension of modern electroweak theory
which exposed the futility of such classical attempts (IMHO).
Note, my living review citation above covers all of these except the non-symmetric approaches. The latter, as I mentioned, is well covered in Einstein's "Meaning of Relativity", still readily available in paperback.
 
  • #8
Demystifier
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Thank you all for useful information. Now I have a lot to read. :!!)
 
  • #9
Demystifier
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One interesting historical note:
https://www.physicsforums.com/blog.php?b=2575 [Broken]
Contrary to frequent claims, the Kaluza-Klein theory is NOT the first attempt of unification in higher dimensions.
 
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  • #10
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For the early versions, the following is the best I know of:

http://relativity.livingreviews.org/Articles/lrr-2004-2/ [Broken]
I am really enjoying reading it. Here is one interesting quotation from it:

“Einstein is said to have poured out, at the Berlin colloquium, horrible nonsense about
new parallelism at a distance. The mere fact that his equations are not in the least
similar to Maxwell’s theory is employed by him as an argument that they are somehow
related to quantum theory. With such rubbish he may impress only American journalists,
not even American physicists, not to speak of European physicists.”
Pauli, 1929.
 
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  • #11
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I am really enjoying reading it. Here is one interesting quotation from it:

“Einstein is said to have poured out, at the Berlin colloquium, horrible nonsense about
new parallelism at a distance. The mere fact that his equations are not in the least
similar to Maxwell’s theory is employed by him as an argument that they are somehow
related to quantum theory. With such rubbish he may impress only American journalists,
not even American physicists, not to speak of European physicists.”
Pauli, 1929.
Haha, Pauli really didn't spare anyone (as it should be) :wink: Saying something like that reflects the true friendship between both.
 
  • #12
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Haha, Pauli really didn't spare anyone (as it should be) :wink: Saying something like that reflects the true friendship between both.
By "both", do you mean Pauli and Einstein, or Americans and Europeans? :wink:
 
  • #13
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There are at least 4 attempts that I know of:

1) Einstein-Mayer
(Googling for these authors should turn up papers.)
Mendel Sachs has continued the Einstein-Mayer effort and has published the details of what he considers the completion of the theory in 2 books:

M. Sachs: "General Relativity and Matter"
M. Sachs: "Quantum Mechanics and Gravity"

He bases his findings on spinor and quaternion analysis and Quantum Mechanics arises as a covered theory. Very interesting and ground breaking. Certainly educational even if you don't buy into it. The first book is expensive. I purchased it before it went out of print or scarce of print.
 
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  • #14
PAllen
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Mendel Sachs has continued the Einstein-Mayer effort and has published the details of what he considers the completion of the theory in 2 books:

M. Sachs: "General Relativity and Matter"
M. Sachs: "Quantum Mechanics and Gravity"

He bases his findings on spinor and quaternion analysis and Quantum Mechanics arises as a covered theory. Very interesting and ground breaking. Certainly educational even if you don't buy into it. The first book is expensive. I purchased it before it went out of print or scarce of print.
Mendel Sachs has the distinction of publishing a journal article purporting to refute twin differential aging. This was passed around to many chuckles when I was a physics undergrad in the early 70s.

No real disrespect meant - he was held in good esteem, but I remember professors toying with assigning refuting the paper as a class assignment.
 
  • #15
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Yes, he pretty much requires the Mach Principle to be valid and both advanced and retarded propagation of potentials for his scheme to work as he shows it. He no doubt makes more enemies than friends right off the bat. On the other hand he has un-earthed a few critical points of theory others have not considered.
 
  • #16
qsa
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  • #17
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Do you think Pauli was making sense or pure rubbish here

http://bmf.hu/journal/Varlaki_Nadai_Bokor_14.pdf
I have no time to read the entire manuscript, so if you want to have my comment please take a page or two out or a paragraph. As a general remark, independently of what I just said, it is so that nobody is immune to rubbish in the time span of an entire life. What counts is the ratio of what you do correctly versus your mistakes: Pauli may have made a few errors (perhaps a handful) but these are largely outnumbered by the things he did right. But as I said, there is no a priori relation between this comment and the paper you quote.
 
  • #18
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Could the US ever form such quartet ?
No, but they have the "Princeton string quartet". :wink:
 
  • #19
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No, but they have the "Princeton string quartet". :wink:
Yes, but those guys all play the same instrument :wink: Good science is like art you know, the printed notes are just the beginning of an interpretation which is always subjectively felt and each time creatively performed. The mechanical way of approaching knowledge is therefore very limited (however it is efficient for the easy things) and almost never leads to big discoveries.
 
  • #20
qsa
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I have no time to read the entire manuscript, so if you want to have my comment please take a page or two out or a paragraph. As a general remark, independently of what I just said, it is so that nobody is immune to rubbish in the time span of an entire life. What counts is the ratio of what you do correctly versus your mistakes: Pauli may have made a few errors (perhaps a handful) but these are largely outnumbered by the things he did right. But as I said, there is no a priori relation between this comment and the paper you quote.
I agree with your general assessment, but what do you think about this quote of Pauli


“As a consequence of the rationalistic attitude of scientists since the eighteenth
century, the background processes that accompany the development of the natural
sciences, although present as always and of decisive effect, remained to a large
extent unheeded, that is to say, confined to the unconscious. On the other hand, in
the Middle Ages down to the beginning of modern times, we have no natural science in the present-day sense but merely the pre-scientific stage, just mentioned,
of a magical-symbolical description of nature. This, of course, is also to be found
in alchemy, the psychological significance of which has been the subject of intensive investigation by C. G. Jung. My attention was therefore directed especially to
the seventeenth century, when, as the fruit of a great intellectual effort, a truly scientific way of thinking, quite new at the time, grew out of the nourishing soil of a
magical-animistic conception of nature.
I was well aware, as a pupil of Sommerfeld’s, how these Pythagorean elements
appearing in Kepler retrain their vitality even today. That ancient spiritual ‘dynamics’ of number is still active, which was formerly expressed in the ancient doctrine of the Pythagoreans that number are the origin of all things and as harmonies represent unity in multiplicity."
 
  • #21
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I agree with your general assessment, but what do you think about this quote of Pauli


“As a consequence of the rationalistic attitude of scientists since the eighteenth
century, the background processes that accompany the development of the natural
sciences, although present as always and of decisive effect, remained to a large
extent unheeded, that is to say, confined to the unconscious. On the other hand, in
the Middle Ages down to the beginning of modern times, we have no natural science in the present-day sense but merely the pre-scientific stage, just mentioned,
of a magical-symbolical description of nature. This, of course, is also to be found
in alchemy, the psychological significance of which has been the subject of intensive investigation by C. G. Jung.''

Well, this is true, no doubt about it.

My attention was therefore directed especially to
the seventeenth century, when, as the fruit of a great intellectual effort, a truly scientific way of thinking, quite new at the time, grew out of the nourishing soil of a
magical-animistic conception of nature.
Here, he says he is interested in the unconscious as well as the rational I guess. That again is ok.

I was well aware, as a pupil of Sommerfeld’s, how these Pythagorean elements
appearing in Kepler retrain their vitality even today. That ancient spiritual ‘dynamics’ of number is still active, which was formerly expressed in the ancient doctrine of the Pythagoreans that number are the origin of all things and as harmonies represent unity in multiplicity."
If I understand him correctly here, he says that a symbolic language may capture nonlocally everything, including ''the spirit''. I disagree with him here, no symbolic language whatsoever can capture everything, but it is certainly not crazy what he says.
 
  • #22
Yes, he pretty much requires the Mach Principle to be valid and both advanced and retarded propagation of potentials for his scheme to work as he shows it. He no doubt makes more enemies than friends right off the bat. On the other hand he has un-earthed a few critical points of theory others have not considered.
I myself haven't found anything (of substance) wrong with Sachs' theory, which reveals Einstein to have been the prophet that he was.

The reason the physics community doesn't accept that there is no twin paradox (no differential aging) is, it still hasn't come to terms with relativity (though we're approaching a century!)
 
  • #23
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I myself haven't found anything (of substance) wrong with Sachs' theory, which reveals Einstein to have been the prophet that he was.

The reason the physics community doesn't accept that there is no twin paradox (no differential aging) is, it still hasn't come to terms with relativity (though we're approaching a century!)
Exactly! Though some aspects of behavior have been well analyzed, I'm not convinced that anyone has yet really come to terms with relativity, primarily because no living person has indicated from whence those behaviors arise. (And no formerly living person had completed the investigation either)

I've found that Sach's spinor form of the Maxwell equations is incomplete and not invariant with regard to E and B fields. At least, they do not map into the values one gets with the Maxwell equations. In later material he seems to have partly dropped the specifics of his EM spinor model and not carried it too much further with practical examples. So they do not critically affect his general theory or approach. I couldn't find a way to correct and extend his form but did create a very different spinor form for the Maxwell equations. I'll try to remember to bring in my notebook tomorrow and post them.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"In the temple of science are many mansions, and various indeed are they that dwell therein and the motives that have led them hither. Many take to science out of a joyful sense of superior intellectual power; science is their own special sport to which they look for vivid experience and the satisfaction of ambition; many others are to be found in the temple who have offered the products of their brains on this altar for purely utilitarian purposes. Were an angel of the Lord to come and drive all the people belonging to these two categories out of the temple, the assemblage would be seriously depleted, but there would still be some men, of both present and past times, left inside" - Albert Einstein
 
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  • #24
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Haha, Pauli really didn't spare anyone (as it should be) :wink: Saying something like that reflects the true friendship between both.
This is as close to praise of the still-living, Pauli seems to come:

From one internet source
Pauli didn’t wait until he was renowned to critique those already famous. While still a student in Munich, he attended a lecture of Einstein’s. After it was over, he stood up in the audience and said, “You know, what Mr. Einstein said is not so stupid . . ."​

This seems to be my scale, where we range from stupid to not-so-stupid, and besides that I work for an idiot, so I don't have a problem with it.
 
  • #25
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This seems to be my scale, where we range from stupid to not-so-stupid,
Indeed, this is the best we can achieve :wink:

and besides that I work for an idiot, so I don't have a problem with it.
Oeps, that must hurt !
 

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