Exploring Feynman's Views on QED and Nuclear Physics

In summary, the conversation discusses the limitations of QED, a quantum-mechanical theory of electromagnetism, and its inability to explain certain aspects of nuclear physics. The speaker also mentions QCD, a theory of the strong force, and the ongoing attempts to develop a quantum-mechanical theory of gravity. Feynman's views on the limitations of quantum theories and the search for answers in the field are also mentioned. The specific aspects of nuclear physics that cannot be explained by QED are unclear, and it is uncertain whether Feynman was including QM in his statement.
  • #1
Farn
As I was recalling one of the Feynam lectures, I rememberd him saying that the only phenomena QED couldn't explain are the physics of the nucleus and one other that I can't remember...gravity maybe? Anyway, since QED deals with atomic particle interactions it was the nuclier one that surprised me. I sort of got the impression that he ment both QED and QM couldn't explain nuclier physics(but not sure if he was including QM).
So my questions are: Does anyone know what aspects of nuclier physics are not explainable with QED? AND, was he including QM when he said that?
 
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  • #2
QED, quantum electrodynamics, is a quantum-mechanical theory of electromagnetism. You can think (loosely) of the following relationship:

quantum mechanics + classical electrodynamics = quantum electrodynamics

QCD, quantum chromodynamics, is a quantum-mechanical theory of the strong force, which is the force responsible for keeping protons and neutrons together in nuclei. QCD and QED are peers, one describing electromagnetism with quantum mechanics, and one describing the strong force with quantum mechanics.

There is currently no quantum-mechanical theory of gravity, though several approaches (loop quantum gravity and string theory) are being attempted simultaneously.

- Warren
 
  • #3
Maybe it's because QED = Quantum electrodynamics refers to the EM force, and for nuclear effects you should be looking at QCD = Quantum Chromodynamics which deals with the strong nuclear force that is dominant in nuclear interactions?
 
  • #4
All quantum theories are predictive theories that predict behaviour. They do not explain the cause of the action or what the entities are.
There is some difficulty with this because most books fail to point out the limitations of the Standard Model (quantum theories and relativity) but Scientific American recently did a special issue on this subject and the steps being taking to find the answers.
Feyman stated in one of his lectures that no one has explained what magnetism is and in his opinion no one ever would. This appears in one of the lectures in the three volume publication of his lectures. If you have access to a copy (I do not) look up the opening lecture on magnetism.
 
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1. What is QED and what were Feynman's views on it?

QED stands for Quantum Electrodynamics, which is a theory in physics that explains how light and matter interact on a quantum level. Feynman was a theoretical physicist who made significant contributions to the development of QED, including his famous Feynman diagrams. He believed that QED was a fundamental theory that could explain all electromagnetic interactions.

2. How did Feynman contribute to nuclear physics?

Feynman made important contributions to the field of nuclear physics, particularly in the development of the theory of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). He also introduced the concept of partons, which are the fundamental building blocks of protons and neutrons. Additionally, his work on Feynman diagrams helped to better understand the behavior of subatomic particles.

3. What is the significance of Feynman's views on QED and nuclear physics?

Feynman's views on QED and nuclear physics were significant because they helped to advance our understanding of the fundamental forces and particles that make up the universe. His contributions to the development of QED and QCD have had a lasting impact on the field of physics and continue to be studied and applied today.

4. How did Feynman's views on QED and nuclear physics differ from other scientists?

Feynman's views on QED and nuclear physics were unique in that he approached these complex topics with a more intuitive and visual perspective. He also had a deep understanding of mathematics and was able to simplify complex equations and concepts. This allowed him to make significant contributions and shed new light on these areas of physics.

5. What are some criticisms of Feynman's views on QED and nuclear physics?

Some criticisms of Feynman's views on QED and nuclear physics include the fact that he focused primarily on theoretical aspects and did not conduct many experiments to test his ideas. Additionally, some have argued that his approach was too simplistic and did not fully explain all of the complexities of QED and nuclear physics. However, his contributions are still highly regarded and continue to be studied and built upon by other scientists.

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