# QED: science meets science fiction

## Main Question or Discussion Point

IF QED (quantum electrodynamics) is not a hoax, then matter truly does not exist and all we have is logic-math. The electron according to QED is an infinite set of interacting virtual particles described and understood only in terms of their feynman diagrams which are nothing more than integrals and series. The center of the electron is a GEOMETRICAL point with no extension etc. Since there are an infinite number of diagrams according to an infinite number of possible interactions and decay modes (electron emits virtual photon that becomes virtual e+e- pair etc.) then matter is truly reduced to pure mathematics.

If we could control matter at their virtual particle level, we could create an infinite size computer inside an electron by associating and provoking interactions with corresponding feynman diagrams that map one to one with AND and OR circuits, and creating infinitely complex circuits. With an infinite computer we could then simulate any kind of universe governed by any kinds of laws as complex as you wish, since an infinite computer would be unlimited. Hence another simulated universe would be just as real as ours since the building blocks of our own universe is pure math-logic.

Of course this may not be the case and virtual particles could be made up of something else at the distance of 10^-100 or 10^-1000 . Actually the limits of the observable universe is not how large it can be but how small. What is there at the distance of 10^-100000 ? Alot of room to speculate.

QED may be a hoax if the sums where made in such a way as to force them to correspond to experimental observables, but I think it is true, you never know though...

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nameta9 said:
IF QED (quantum electrodynamics) is not a hoax
What would possibly make you think it is?? Why would you think a robust area of physics that is decades old and has innumerable experimental verifications would be a hoax?? Your statement in your last paragraph about it being a hoax if it were forced to correspond to experiments doesn't make an argument to me, since QED can predict experimental results before they are known and therefore can't be forced into anything.

Well yes, I guess it is not a hoax. Still the problem is that it is hard to cross control all the QED results being so intricate. So it is more or less an act of faith that it is all true. Problem with modern science is that so much of it must be assumed true since you can no longer directly control all the results and there are so many results that are so intricate. We base most of our knowledge on reading other papers, books just like priests base their knowledge-faith on the bible.

How much of the QED calculations and results are tangible in that they are used technologically ? If QED never was developed would we be able to still construct 90 nm Pentiums ?

nameta9 said:
Still the problem is that it is hard to cross control all the QED results being so intricate. So it is more or less an act of faith that it is all true.
I do not understand your use of the word control here - much as I didn't feel it was appropriate in the initial post. Do you mean understand? Or use?

So many of your posts here and on science forums seem to convey a deep concern that these sciences are just too difficult to understand, or even too difficult to be correct. How hard have you tried? Would you mind me asking what your background is, exactly?

Chronos
Gold Member
QED predictions are well supported in the real world. If you have an alternative, submit it to the 'Independent Research' forum. Please note and adhere to the guidelines posted there.

You can always say there is a phenomena in the case of the NSE (Navier-Stokes) equations for turbulance since a material substrate is always present in the form of a large ensemble of particles upon which the equations are operating. In the case of QED, there is no longer any material substrate, we are at the end of the line. The virtual particle and feynman diagrams are all that is left, a set of numbers (mass, impulse, energy etc.) related to another set through a series of mathematical operations. The description coincides exactly with the material, that is why QED is so precise. If you add the remaining corrective terms, there is no longer any difference between the measurement and the prediction, hence matter no longer exists, it has completely evaporated into equations.

Physicists ask why this particular set of equations and laws govern our universe. Well in fact any set of equations will do, the set we do have just happens to be an arbitrary starting point. Any other set would be the same. The "virtual particle electron size infinite computer" could then transform our starting point set of equations into any other conceivable set of equations by appropriately configuring it to let the feynman diagrams execute a given set of AND and OR circuits that transform one set of physics laws into another. From here we can have any universe governed by any set of equations, and it would be just as real as ours.

Bottom line, matter is mathematics, and I think some other physicists have come to a similar conclusion by saying everything is information "IT FROM BIT". The only doubt would be if virtual particles where composed of something else. But you would have to look at distances like 10^-100 to see any fine structure. An interesting thing happens talking about sizes since if you look at the solar system at its size reference the planets are just point like particles executing equations in their motion. But if you go down to the meter size you will see all kinds of complex structure like on earth. If you go smaller you end up again in a very simple world of particles (electrons, protons) executing equations. By continually going to smaller and smaller sizes you go constantly from simple to complex then simple again to complex etc. A bit like looking at traffic from far away, it is mostly a simple process, but if you look at the mm or micron range in the brains of people driving it is very complex. So if virtual particles follow this trend then they may be made of extremely complex fine structure. And then maybe there is no end to small sizes and the cycle of simple to complex to simple at 10^-1000 and then 10^-10000 etc goes on forever.

Locrian , science is not too difficult at all ! I mean control as a check if the calculations are correct (not usage). But many detailed technical results are intricate. I can give you an example I saw in a book: there is a chapter in this QED book that talks about photon-photon interactions and says that the problem was solved in 1951 by Karplus, M. Neumann. So the book says detailed calculations may be found there. Now even this chapter is not so easy, but cross controlling all these results is no picnic. The book is a russian book by Landau Lifsits Theoretical physics 4 quantum electrodynamics. My background is X-files, some science fiction, some books by Paul Davies some random books in physics etc. I just like this stuff as a hobby.

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The description in the case of QED coincides with the object being described. What is a description ? The limits of a description of an object that describe that object will tend towards being identical to that object for the description that tends to maximum completeness.

In the theory of details from simple to complex etc. then maybe the metaphysical item of matter-physics is all the random, chaotic details you can see in anything. Look at any object close enough (a chair, a table a cloth) or even a street or tree and you will find alot of random, chaotic details. Well that is the metaphysical aspect of matter-physics. The beauty is in the details.

oldtobor said:
In the theory of details from simple to complex etc. then maybe the metaphysical item of matter-physics is all the random, chaotic details you can see in anything. Look at any object close enough (a chair, a table a cloth) or even a street or tree and you will find alot of random, chaotic details. Well that is the metaphysical aspect of matter-physics. The beauty is in the details.
Interesting idea. So then the metaphysical aspect of matter is the results of complexity and random details (maybe related to entropy ?). So matter tends to escape the constraints of mathematical laws by complexity and detail but then on a smaller scale mathematical laws then dominate again and so on for infinity. So the universe is an infinite level of sizes where mathematical laws dominate alternated by an attempt of matter to escape the mathematical laws. This residual error between laws and non-laws creates MATTER-REALITY.
At 10^-10 mm simplicity, at 10^-100 mm complexity-random details, at 10^-1000 simplicity, etc for the limit of x that tends towards infinity of 10^-x mm.

Who said that a physical theory must be expressed mathematically ? This theory may be true and is expressed in NATURAL LANGUAGE which I think is more powerful than mathematics. Unless you think that matter is equal to mathematics. Maybe the future physical theories will all be expressed in NATURAL LANGUAGE (philosophy dominates again).

How on earth are you going to make excact predictions if the mathematical representation is removed? In physics theories must be able to predict phenomena.

inha said:
How on earth are you going to make excact predictions if the mathematical representation is removed? In physics theories must be able to predict phenomena.
But that is the point of the thread. Since QED and other theories will tend to become perfect up to the point of predicting everything to any degree of precision, then the mathematical laws coincide exactly with matter. All there is is mathematical laws and relationships! At that point what we can do is create new universes with any laws on the "virtual particle computer", invent super-theories in math and/or natural language. The future research will then be all philosophical - artistic ....

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
If the QED model is super accurate in predicting the Lamb Shift or the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron, or in adding more correct digits to the electromagnetic coupling constant, then there has to be something that those predictions refer to. The Lamb shift, for example concerne microwave spectroscopy; if experimentalists take spectrograms of electromagnetic radiation in the microwave region they will see certain patterns ("families of lines") in their data and measure them, and then that can be compared with the numbers calculated with QED. And the match is very, very, accurate. Are the spectroscopists measuring mathematics?

If the QED model is super accurate in predicting the Lamb Shift or the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron, or in adding more correct digits to the electromagnetic coupling constant, then there has to be something that those predictions refer to. The Lamb shift, for example concerne microwave spectroscopy; if experimentalists take spectrograms of electromagnetic radiation in the microwave region they will see certain patterns ("families of lines") in their data and measure them, and then that can be compared with the numbers calculated with QED. And the match is very, very, accurate. Are the spectroscopists measuring mathematics?
No, if QED is right to any precision the spectroscopists are looking at mathematics straight in the eye. It is a vague and complex idea, but if the electron and it's virtual particles are only the equations, nothing is left. Spectroscopy is an ensmeble of particles interacting with others, it is a large material system, so it is not directly mathematics, but it is composed of pure math at the end.

Of course the image we have in our minds of electrons and atoms is just an image, we can't touch it so any other image is equally valid. The image reflects the mathematical description and the description is imagined through the experiments. It wouldn't be to hard to create completely different images with completely different equations and call that real, but you would have to associate experimental data with the equations. It is all real but also very arbitrary.

I think the difference is between technology understood as manipulation of matter and science understood as the "deep why questions". Science will evolve up to the point of it's practical "technological" usefullness. It doesn't matter what models or equations or theory there is in the end. If it predicts and allows us to manipulate matter up to the point that any conceivable PRACTICAL problem can be solved and allows us complete control, then that will be the "end of the line." Is matter=math ? who cares, the end result may be a supercomputer with a few trillion equations programs etc. that lets us enter any problem and get any result. What I mean is that we may never have the "equation of a bacteria", let alone the "equation of the brain", but we may have all the equations and solutions of any practical interest inside a supercomputer that allows us to manipulate a bacteria to let it do anything we want. Of course this topic is not easy but the distinction between science and technology should be made.

Very interesting is the idea that simplicity hides complexity. The solar system is mathematically simple but the planets upon closer observation are very complex. Are virtual particles made up of complex fine structures and laws ? we may never know and care if we can't get beyond 10^-20 mm, and then if it doesn't have any practical - technological consequence then we may never investigate this further.

George Jones
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
is not
nameta9 said:
No, if QED is right to any precision ...
QED is tremendously accurate, but it is not right to any precision. It is tremendously accurate because experimentally measured quantities agree with theoretical predictions of QED to 11 or so significant figures. It is not arbitrarily accurate, because, when pushed, QED spits out infinity as the answer to many important questions.

Typically, QED gives answers in terms of the addition of an infinite number of terms, e.g., a0 + a1 + a2 + ... . This may or may not be a bad thing. The sum 1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 ... gives the sensible answer 2, while the sum 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 + ... is infinite.

When physicists first tried to calculate things, they arrived at the value of infinity for individual terms in the sum, which is clearly nonsense. Tomonaga, Schwinger, and Feynman shared a Nobel prize for showing how to tame the infinities in the individual terms, like a2. However, Dyson soon realized that even though all the individual are finite, the sum a0 + a1 + a2 + ... of all the terms is infinite.

How does QED make such accurate predictions? Physicists are presently able to calculate the first few terms in a typical sum. This is what agrees so well with experiment. Physicists think that things start to get worse after a137 or so.

Regards,
George

oldtobor said:
I think the difference is between technology understood as manipulation of matter and science understood as the "deep why questions". Science will evolve up to the point of it's practical "technological" usefullness. It doesn't matter what models or equations or theory there is in the end. If it predicts and allows us to manipulate matter up to the point that any conceivable PRACTICAL problem can be solved and allows us complete control, then that will be the "end of the line." Is matter=math ? who cares, the end result may be a supercomputer with a few trillion equations programs etc. that lets us enter any problem and get any result. What I mean is that we may never have the "equation of a bacteria", let alone the "equation of the brain", but we may have all the equations and solutions of any practical interest inside a supercomputer that allows us to manipulate a bacteria to let it do anything we want. Of course this topic is not easy but the distinction between science and technology should be made.
So if science develops only according to what is useful, then many things will never be discovered or researched. In some cases it makes sense, like you wouldn't research a completely mechanical supercomputer, even though it would always be some form of science as an increase of knowledge. But economical-cultural constraints would rarely let a mechanical supercomputer develop. So the same in many other fields.

It is like if you reach a point of creating perfect virtual realities in computers that satisfy every need and desire conceivable, you would no longer "need" to research the real world any longer, since all your problems would be solved. So the limits of science would be bound by it's extreme technological success in a given area. No further research would be needed if we could manipulate our universe (real or virtual) completely.
The same example could apply if we reach technological excellence in manipulating genetics and our own mind.

Or you can have the case where one discovery may inhibit another discovery. If ICs weren't discovered maybe we would be much further in our expertise in mechanical computers and maybe there are discoveries in mechanical computer problems that we may never discover. Or if nuclear fission wasn't discovered maybe humanity would have more time available for investigating science before it destroys itself in Mutual Assured Destruction.

The actual path science follows may really be very arbitrary and there could be discoveries that block other discoveries and other kinds of discoveries that enable other discoveries. Well this is now pure "philosophy of science".

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Okay, I guess I can see why Nemata posted this http://www.scienceforums.net/forums/showthread.php?p=202272#post202272 [Broken] on scienceforums. Maybe Nemata wanted other opinions. But why are oldtobor and Nemata making the exact same posts on both forums?? Why would they both cut and paste?

What the heck?

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