# A Volovik vs Witten vs Wen, etc.

#### Demystifier

2018 Award
Why don't you take a look at his book or some of his papers?

#### lucas_

Why don't you take a look at his book or some of his papers?
Ok. Will try to read them again. I mostly read discouraging comments about Volovik and maybe many physicists avoid it. So I don't continue after a dozen pages. I tend to avoid nonpromising approach like Gerard 'thooft superdeterministic Cellular Automaton theory of QM. etc.

"I believe Wen would like emergent fermions, while Volovik wouldn't mind fundamental fermions. Neither is promising, though both are inspiring and worth studying. I think AdS/CFT is a working example for emergent gravity in some universes (not ours) that is very much in the spirit of condensed matter. So we have examples of emergent gravity (AdS/CFT) and emergent QED and QCD (Levin and Wen), but no examples of emergent chiral fermions (yet?)."

#### lucas_

Why don't you take a look at his book or some of his papers?
I recalled now. I actually had Volovok book "The Universe in a Helium Droplet".
James Bjorken wrote the preface which discouraged me:

"It is often said that the problem of the very small cosmological constant is
the greatest mystery in cosmology and in particle physics, and that no one has
any good ideas on how to solve it. The contents of this book make a lie of that
statement. The material in this monograph builds upon a candidate solution to
the problem, often dubbed emergence'. It is a solution so simple and direct that it can be stated here in this foreword. Visualize the vacuum of particle physics as if it were a cold quantum liquid in equilibrium. Then its pressure must vanish, unless it is a droplet - in which case there will be surface corrections scaling as an inverse power of the droplet size. But vacuum dark pressure scales with the vacuum dark energy, and thus is measured by the cosmological constant, which indeed scales as the inverse square of the size' of the universe. The problem is
solved'.

But there is some bad news with the good. Photons, gravitons, and gluons
must be viewed as collective excitations of the purported liquid, with dispersion
laws which at high energies are not expected to be relativistic. The equivalence
principle and gauge invariance are probably inexact. Many other such ramications exist, as described in this book. And experimental constraints on such deviant behavior are extremely strong. Nevertheless, it is in my opinion not out of the question that the diffulties can eventually be overcome. If they are, it will mean that many sacrosanct beliefs held by almost all contemporary theoretical particle physicists and cosmologists will at the least be severely challenged.

This book summarizes the pioneering research of its author, Grisha Volovik,
and provides a splendid guide into this mostly unexplored wilderness of emergent particle physics and cosmology. So far it is not respectable territory, so there is danger to the young researcher venturing within - working on it may be detrimental to a successful career track. But together with the danger will be high adventure and, if the ideas turn out to be correct, great rewards. I salute here those who take the chance and embark upon the adventure. At the very least they will be rewarded by acquiring a deep understanding of much of the lore of condensed matter physics. And, with some luck, they will also be rewarded by uncovering a radically di®erent interpretation of the profound problems involving the structure of the very large and of the very small.
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center James D. Bjorken
August 2002"

First he said "The material in this monograph builds upon a candidate solution to
the problem, often dubbed emergence'. It is a solution so simple and direct that
it can be stated here in this foreword. Visualize the vacuum of particle physics as if it were a cold quantum liquid in equilibrium...".

We know our vacuum is not a cold quantum liquid in equilibrium, is it? So what's the point of writing about something that didn't exist. This was the reason I asked what really was Volovik version of the atoms in the vacuum where our particles were the phonons. It couldn't really be cold quantum liquid, is it?

Second, he wrote "So far it is not respectable territory, so there is danger to the young researcher venturing within.."

So James Bjorken already gave such a negative tone in the first page. Also he made it sound like it was only to solve the cosmological constant problem.

Has anyone read the book besides Demystifier? What are others views of it? It will take me 2 years to read it. Is the "cold quantum liquid" supposed to be literal? Has it not been falsified already? Does this fall under the subject of Subquantum Physics?

Last edited:

#### Demystifier

2018 Award
We know our vacuum is not a cold quantum liquid in equilibrium, is it?
Why do you think so? We do not know whether it is true or not at the fundamental level. Of course, it is not so according to our Standard Model description, but the idea is precisely that the Standard Model description is just an effective theory not valid at the fundamental level.

Second, he wrote "So far it is not respectable territory, so there is danger to the young researcher venturing within.."
That is true, but your own ideas about certain things ( ) are even less respectable territory, so you are the last person for whom I expect to be discouraged by not being in a respectable territory.

#### lucas_

Why do you think so? We do not know whether it is true or not at the fundamental level. Of course, it is not so according to our Standard Model description, but the idea is precisely that the Standard Model description is just an effective theory not valid at the fundamental level.
So it's not yet refuted. Ok. I'll read the whole book then. I thought our vacuum was not shown to be a cold quantum liquid already because when you talk to relativity people. They would tell your the entire quantum vacuum is Lorentz invariance and not a medium or with turtles. So it may turtles all the way.

That is true, but your own ideas about certain things ( ) are even less respectable territory, so you are the last person for whom I expect to be discouraged by not being in a respectable territory.
The quote was just shown that it was not popular. So I thought some parts were refuted already. String theory was really still in infancy so many ideas still possible (but LHC already constrained so many).

#### lucas_

About this whole idea of Lorentz invariance thing or relativity being emergent. I'd like to hear ideas from researchers in computer simulations who also need to use Lorentz invariance in the simulation or world building. Without such preference. The simulation occupants can learn of the limitations in the program? I hope the Universe as Simulation researchers (followers of Tegmark for example) or proponents can comment a thing or two about the advantage (if any) the need of Lorentz invariance in the program.

#### Demystifier

2018 Award
I thought our vacuum was not shown to be a cold quantum liquid already because when you talk to relativity people. They would tell your the entire quantum vacuum is Lorentz invariance and not a medium or with turtles.
They confuse the map (Standard Model) with the territory.

#### lucas_

They confuse the map (Standard Model) with the territory.
If there would be evidence for it (of course I have to look for evidence), what is the best catchy term for the new physics if it would be valid (or even to refer to the subfield for discussions with physicists).. is it...

1. Subquantum physics? (does "subquantum" makes sense?)
2. Super Quantum Physics (Super since it's fundamental?)
3. Sub-vacuum physics?
4. Super-vacuum physics?
5. De-Renormalization Group Physics?
6. Neo-Ether Theory (Do all physicists understood neo-ether mean something not related or have already encompassed the result of the Michelson-Morley experiment?)
7. Witten-Ether theory (since Witten is the leader of all physicists?)
8. Vacuum Engineering physics
9. Non-Gauge, Non-Lorentzian Scalar Physics?
10. Can you recommend any good catchy term to refer to the concept? Anyone else?

#### Demystifier

2018 Award
Among the offered options, I think 6. describes it the best. But unfortunately the notion of "ether" is often associated with crackpottery, so if you want to avoid such a negative connotation, you can use a more straight notion, perhaps effective theory physics or emergent physics, suggesting that the theories that we currently know are effective theories that emerge from as yet unknown more fundamental physics.

#### lucas_

Among the offered options, I think 6. describes it the best. But unfortunately the notion of "ether" is often associated with crackpottery, so if you want to avoid such a negative connotation, you can use a more straight notion, perhaps effective theory physics or emergent physics, suggesting that the theories that we currently know are effective theories that emerge from as yet unknown more fundamental physics.

What is more believable in the current Ph.D theoretical physics community: the effective field theory where lorentz invariance, etc is emergent or the concept of Shadow matter in E8xE8' heterotic superstring theory?

In present belief about E8xE8' heterotic superstring theory. Only gravity acts between superstrings of ordinary matter and shadow matter due to the simplistic unproven assumption that the former are singlet representations of E8' and that the latter are singlet representations of E8, so that the non-abelian gauge fields acting on one type do not act on the other type.

The consequence is that none of the 496 gauge fields of E8xE8' can cross the gap between the two 10-dimensional branes predicted by this type of heterotic superstring theory.

But note heterotic superstring theory is not M-theory but only but one of its approximations. What if other fields existing in the 15 higher dimensions outside these branes play no part in the interactions between superstrings. What if these other fields can couple superstrings of shadow and ordinary matter, both of which extend in this higher-dimensional space beyond 11-dimensional supergravity space-time. Is this still possible? They can maintain global cohesion between the shadow matter and physical matter.

If we will let physicists vote. Would they choose the above possibility of E8xE8' shadow matter (with possible global cohesion with normal matter) or effective field theory where lorentz invariance is just the emergent (whereas E8xE8' has fundamental lorentz invariance)?

"Volovik vs Witten vs Wen, etc."

### Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving