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Superfluid model of quantum gravity?

  1. Jul 12, 2003 #1
    Superfluid model of quantum gravity?
    This article is from the new Scientific American online magazine.

    Everything (and MUCH MORE) that the physicists in this article are explaining as a simple tentative direction of study has already been fleshed out in Sorce Theory.

    see www.anpheon.org


    Demolishing stars, powering blasts of high-energy radiation, rending the fabric of spacetime: it is not hard to see the allure of black holes. They light up the same parts of the brain as monster trucks and battlebots do. They explain violent celestial phenomena that no other body can. They are so extreme, in fact, that no one really knows what they are.

    Most researchers think of them as microscopic pinpricks, the remnants of stars that have collapsed under their own weight. But over the past couple of years, a number of mavericks have proposed that black holes are actually extended bodies, made up of an exotic state of matter that congeals, like a liquid turning to ice, during the collapse. The idea offers a provocative way of thinking about quantum gravity, which would unify Einstein's general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics.

    In the textbook picture, the pinprick (or singularity) is surrounded by an event horizon. The horizon is not a physical surface, merely a conceptual one, and although it marks the point of no return for material plummeting toward the singularity, relativity says that nothing special happens there; the laws of physics are the same everywhere. For quantum mechanics, though, the event horizon is deeply paradoxical. It allows information to be lost from our world, an act that quantum theory forbids. "What you have been taught in school is almost certainly wrong, because classical black hole spacetimes are inconsistent with quantum mechanics," says physicist George Chapline of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    The new conceptions of black holes eliminate the event horizon altogether. The basic idea is that there does, in fact, exist a force that could halt the collapse of a star when all else fails. That force is gravity itself. In matter with certain properties, gravity switches from being an attractive force to a repulsive force. Such a material, going by the name "dark energy," is thought to be driving the acceleration of cosmic expansion.

    Last year physicists Pawel O. Mazur of the University of South Carolina and Emil Mottola of Los Alamos National Laboratory reasoned that a pocket of the stuff might freeze out, like ice crystals, during the collapse of a star. The result, which they call a gravastar, would look like fried ice cream: a crust of dense but otherwise ordinary matter stabilized by a curious interior. The crust replaces what would have been the event horizon.

    Another proposal goes further. It conjectures not only that dark energy would freeze out but that relativity would break down altogether. The idea comes from a dark-horse contender for quantum gravity, the proponents of which are struck by the resemblance between the basic laws of physics and the behavior of fluids and solids (also known as condensed matter). In many ways, the equations of sound propagation through a moving fluid are a dead ringer for general relativity; sound waves can get trapped in the fluid much as light gets trapped in a black hole. Maybe spacetime is literally a kind of fluid.

    What makes this approach so interesting is that the behavior of condensed matter is collective. The details of individual molecules hardly matter; the system's properties emerge from the act of aggregation. When water freezes, the molecules do not change, but the collective behavior does, and the laws that apply to liquids no longer do. Under the right conditions, a fluid can turn into a superfluid, governed by quantum mechanics even on macroscopic scales. Chapline, along with physicists Evan Hohlfeld, Robert B. Laughlin and David I. Santiago of Stanford University, has proposed that a similar process happens at event horizons. The equations of relativity fail, and new laws emerge. "If one thinks of spacetime as a superfluid, then it is very natural that in fact something physical does happen at the event horizon--that is, the classical event horizon is replaced by a quantum phase transition," Chapline says.

    For now, these ideas are barely more than scribbles on the back of an envelope, and critics have myriad complaints about their plausibility. For example, how exactly would matter or spacetime change state during the collapse of a star? Physicist Scott A. Hughes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says, "I don't see how something like a massive star--an object made out of normal fluid, with fairly simple density and pressure relations--can make a transition into something with as bizarre a structure as a gravastar." Mainstream theories of quantum gravity are far better developed. String theory, for one, appears to explain away the paradoxes of black holes without abandoning either event horizons or relativity.

    Observationally, the new conceptions of black holes could be hard to distinguish from the classical picture--but not impossible. Gravitational waves should reveal the shape of spacetime around putative black holes. A classical hole, being a simple object without a true surface, has only a couple of possible shapes. If one of the gravitational-wave observatories now going into operation finds a different shape, then the current theories of physics would be yet another thing in the universe to get torn to shreds by a black hole.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 12, 2003 #2
    Sorce Theory is a completely alternate thread of Physics. It takes its conceptual departure before the tacit assumption of the ancient Greek Kinetic-atomic theory of Democritus and postulates that basic matter is continuous and compressible. It makes a fundamental shift of core premises from the reductionist and multiple (and I am not saying that reductionism is wrong, per se) to the holistic and unified. This shift turns out to be absolutely critical for a coherent and completely causal unification of all of physics.

    Sorce Theory takes the observational and quantitative data in all its details and gives fluid-dynamic and wave-mechanical explanations of all the fundamental forces of nature based on the familiar properties of a frictionless, continuous and compressible fluid [modeled in the standard theory as a zero-energy superfluid (also called a “quantum fluid”)]. Sorce Theory explains the mechanisms by which this fluid gets “harmonically” quantized (to brutally simplify it) into the atomic shell structure of atoms. [Note that it is well known that a superfluid readily produces "quantized vortices" that are indefinitely stable, or "meta-stable". It is also known that these vortices are more stable the smaller they are.] This complex causal set of descriptions is exactly consistent with the modern quantum equations, i.e. the Schrodinger Equation, which define the structure of the atom and the so-called “wave-particle duality", but it goes much further and intrinsically explains the mechanisms of ALL the forces as a consequence of a basic continuous pressure in various configurations into wave-structured fields etc..

    Classical physics, came face to face with its fundamental error when confronted with the “null results” of the Michelson Morely experiments which were attempting to find a solid ether with the elastic properties of steel. The failure to detect it revealed that classical physics was critically flawed. The revolution of “Modern Physics” was begun and we all know that a lack of "causal understanding" (also called "common-sense")of the quantum level has resulted. This lack of understanding has been codified into a set of principles and relations, such as the "wave-particle duality" and Heisenbergs "Uncertainty Relations".

    Sorce Theory claims that the Revolution of Modern Physics was not revolutionary enough. That it simply patched together the observed “wave-nature” of all matter, with its erroneous tacit assumption of the a-tom in the void, manifested in modern times as the “zero-dimensional point-particle”. This superficial kludge resulted in the paradox of the “wave-particle duality”.

    New experiments show, however, that a superfluid can transmit transverse waves, therefore there was no original need to postulate that the ether was a solid in the first place. This new fact seems to be completely unappreciated in light of the crucial events of history. Had this been known at the time of the M&M experiments then we would likely have a completely fluid-dynamic ether intact beneath the wave equations of quantum mechanics at this point in time. Something very akin to Sorce Theory would likely have developed. As it stands, the equations of modern physics do reveal the fluid-dynamic nature of reality if we but admit what they really represent.
  4. Jul 13, 2003 #3
    Interesting interactive simulation on the web page, how does source theory work essentially, I'm still not getting this? It seems as though physics is as complicated or simply as we want it to be, in truth the more it's looked into the more truth can be extracted.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2003
  5. Jul 13, 2003 #4

    The web-page does not yet get into the details of Sorce Theory and the simulation on the webpage is mere eye candy.

    There is an introductory book that I can email you if you send an email to info@anpheon.org

    Yes. The problem with Physics is that the point-particle/void substrate is too simple to deal with the complexities of fundamental causal reality. This makes the higher level constructions unnecessarily complex to deal with the insufficient and incorrect foundations. We end up with ~150 types of fluidly interconvertible fundamental particles with four non-understood forces and their corresponding force-mediating particles instead of one continuous fluid-dynamic fundamental substrate and one fundamental simple force (as in Sorce Theory). If you begin with a robust enough substrate then the theory can take on a heirarchical simplicity and unification unachievable otherwise.

    Ultimately reality is much more complex and therefore vastly simpler than the current theory supposes it to be.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2003
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