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Matevi Petrovich Bronstein: forgotten Soviet physicist and founder: Quantum Gravity

  1. Feb 5, 2010 #1

    rhody

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    amv3t5.jpg

    From Smolin's Book: "The Trouble with Physics", 2006

    This is a good read for someone whose interests lie in a layman's understanding the history and progress in producing a workable/testable theory of quantum gravity.

    On page 85, Smolin lays out the problem as understood at the time, which I interpret as, how do you reconcile gravity, when considering general relativity on a background that is independent, in which gravity waves interact with one another, and even more important, obeying the law of general relativity, they actually change the background as they travel.

    This problem was understood by Russian physicist http://images.google.com/imgres?img...?q=Matvei+petrovich&gbv=2&ndsp=21&hl=en&sa=N". (I did a search on this forum and only found a single reference to it, from a tribute in a paper) His peers considered him as one of the two most brilliant Soviet physicists of his time.

    In 1936 he wrote in a paper that,
    Bronsteins view was shared by http://people.bu.edu/gorelik/MPBronstein_100/J_Stachel_on_MPB.htm" [Broken], a brilliant young French Physicist.
    Unfortunately, Bronstein was captured, tried and executed by the Soviet secret police, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NKVD" [Broken], Solomon a few years later by the Germans in 1942, and their ideas were lost to history.

    Smolin then states that today, almost seventy years later, those who are taken seriously about quantum gravity agree with these forgotten men, Bronstein, and Solomon. He then says that even though he has studied quantum gravity all of his life, he only learned about these two men shortly before the book was published in 2006, pretty amazing. From this http://images.google.com/imgres?img...?q=Matvei+petrovich&gbv=2&ndsp=21&hl=en&sa=N" I thought the following observation that paid tribute to him by a fellow inmate in the Soviet, Gulag, Boris Velikin: who eventually contacted Bronstein's widow, Lydia Chukovskaya, she made sure her husband's work was not forgotten (timeframe 1990's) and where Lee Smolin became aware of him.
    A fair tribute to a forgotten man...

    Rhody...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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  3. Feb 5, 2010 #2

    MTd2

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    Re: Matevi Petrovich Bronstein: forgotten Soviet physicist and founder: Quantum Gravi

    Hmm, what exactly he did? :confused:
     
  4. Feb 5, 2010 #3

    rhody

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    Re: Matevi Petrovich Bronstein: forgotten Soviet physicist and founder: Quantum Gravi

    Sorry, MTD2, I said his research was "forgotten" I hope you have friend's who speak German, the physics math looks universal though. I will keep digging for an english translation and peer reviews, if they exist...

    http://people.bu.edu/gorelik/cGh_FirstSteps92_MPB_36/MPB-all_94_e_TOC.htm" [Broken]

    Found one, you can review the entire document in the webpage...

    http://books.google.com/books?id=UQ...esnum=5&ved=0CBEQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=&f=false"

    This is in english, Scan to page 86 (using blue arrow at top of webpage) and beyond to view his work...

    You are the physicist. You would be better qualified to judge, after taking a look, how about your opinion...

    Rhody...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Feb 6, 2010 #4

    marcus

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    Matvei Petrovich Bronstein: forgotten Soviet physicist and founder: Quantum Gravi

    Hi Rhody, thanks for this reminder about Matvei Bronstein.

    I first encountered Bronstein's name in the book Quantum Gravity by Carlo Rovelli, which I read in draft form in 2003. Rovelli has an appendix at the end of the book which gives the history of QG. And Bronstein is discussed in the first section, which Rovelli calls the "pre-history (1930-1957)". See pages 398-399 in the 2004 edition.

    In order to write accurately about Bronstein's role in the earliest QG work, Rovelli consulted with the Russian physics historian Gennady Gorelik. He also cited the work of John Stachel. Stachel has published Early History of Quantum Gravity (1916-1940) and is a recognized expert. This paper has fascinating detail about early QG researchers, including of course Bronstein.

    Rovelli's book references the same Bronstein paper you do, Quantentheorie schwacher Gravitationsfelder.
    It also cites the 1994 paper by Gorelik and Frenkel which you provided a link to:
    Matvei Petrovic Bronstein and the Soviet Theoretical Physics of the Thirties.

    Judging from the writings of all these experts: Gorelik, Stachel, Rovelli, we have to acknowledge Bronstein as one of the pioneers of the field, someone who definitely deserves to be remembered.
     
  6. Feb 6, 2010 #5

    rhody

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    Re: Matvei Petrovich Bronstein: forgotten Soviet physicist and founder: Quantum Gravi

    Thanks marcus,

    Acknowledging Bronstein is a good thing. Along that same vein. in trying to attack the problem of how gravitons interacted with more than just weak gravitational waves, but with the self interaction problem that kept it from contradicting quantum theory. A lot of effort was spent from the 1950's to the 1980's on this problem.

    On page 87 Smolin describes the effort that went into this that I was unaware of. In his words:
    and
    IMHO, an extraordinary effort by a group of dedicated physicists.

    It mirrors the effort that marcus and a host of others have put into the Oct 03, thread... Intuitive content of loop Gravity thread... where I found the reference to
    Bronstein to begin with.

    Rhody...
     
  7. Feb 8, 2010 #6
    Re: Matevi Petrovich Bronstein: forgotten Soviet physicist and founder: Quantum Gravi

    Good to see this memorial discussion.
    Just one correction. The photo above is the prison photo of Lev Landau (who was a close friend of Matvei Bronstein). Here are three relevant photos
    MBronstein_1935-37_LLandau_1938.jpg

    In 1935 Bronstein made his dissertation on QG.
    He was arrested in Aug 1937 and "disappeared" - executed in Feb 1938.
    Landau was arrested in April 1938.

    More detailes:
    http://people.bu.edu/gorelik/cGh_Bronstein_UFN-200510_Engl.htm" [Broken] // Physics-Uspekhi 2005, vol 48, no 10, pp. 1039-1053

    Good luck to your QG search

    "[URL [Broken] Gorelik,
    Center for Philosophy and History of Science, Boston University
    [/URL]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Feb 9, 2010 #7

    Borek

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    Re: Matevi Petrovich Bronstein: forgotten Soviet physicist and founder: Quantum Gravi

    Thank you for the clarification. I was sure I have seen the picture and I thought whether it is possible if Bronstein is so forgotten person. If that's Landau it makes me sure my memory have not played any tricks, plenty of his pictures on the web.
     
  9. Feb 9, 2010 #8

    rhody

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    Re: Matevi Petrovich Bronstein: forgotten Soviet physicist and founder: Quantum Gravi


    Thanks GGorelik for clearing that up, I saw all three photos when I google'd, imaged his name and was a bit confused as well, it would be nice, if someone who is a real physicist could explain in technical and laymen's terms (so I could understand, not being a physicist) what Bronstein's major insight or contribution was.

    Rhody...
     
  10. Feb 9, 2010 #9
    Re: Matevi Petrovich Bronstein: forgotten Soviet physicist and founder: Quantum Gravi

    Matvei Bronstein was the first who discovered (in 1935) incompatibility of General Relativity and Quantum Theory. In his words:

    "The elimination of the logical inconsistencies connected with [combining GR and QT] requires a radical reconstruction of the theory, and in particular, the rejection of a Riemannian geometry dealing, as we see here, with values unobservable in principle, and perhaps also the rejection of our ordinary concepts of space and time, modifying them by some much deeper and nonevident concepts."


    Bronstein M "Quantentheorie schwacher Gravitationsfelder" Phys. Z. Sowjetunion 1936, v. 9, p. 140-157.
    Bronstein M P "Kvantovanie gravitatsionnykh voln" [Quantization of Gravitational Waves] ZhETF [Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics] 1936 v. 6, p.195
    Gorelik G "First steps of quantum gravity and the Planck values", in Studies in the History of General Relativity (Einstein Studies, Vol. 3, Eds J Eisenstaedt, A J Kox) (Boston: Birkhauser, 1992) p. 364 - 379; Gorelik G E, Frenkel V Ya Matvei Petrovich Bronstein and Soviet Theoretical Physics in the Thirties (Boston: Birkhauser, 1994)
     
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