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A What physics would look like if QM had not been invented?

  1. Sep 13, 2016 #1
    It is hard to imagine that classical mechanics could develop in an essentially different way - Newton, derivatives, Coulomb etc. This seems a very natural evolution of understanding and intuitions.

    However, the early XX century physics: axioms of QM (and GRT) seems strongly dependent on a relatively small group of people deciding the foundations, which violate natural intuitions.
    What if these were some other people?
    What if such drastic change of thinking did not get sufficient solidarity?
    Are these axioms really universal?
    What if an alien civilization would reach our technological level?

    This question comes from Grujic: "what would have happened had the QM not been invented?" who describes the free-fall atomic model ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-fall_atomic_model ) as the base of such alternative history. This modern (1957-2004) classical approach focuses on Bohr-Sommerfeld orbits degenerated to 0 angular momentum (like s orbital): nearly radial electron trajectories, which avoid collision with the nucleus due to magnetic dipole moment of electron (known since ~1925). Its author (Gryzinski) shows in many (~30) articles published in top journals (Phys. Rev. class) surprisingly good agreement with experiment - much better than Bohr, sometimes even better than quantum (mainly various scattering scenarios, but also e.g. Ramsauer effect, calculation of diamagnetic coefficient etc.). His papers have ~3000 total citations ( https://scholar.google.pl/scholar?hl=en&q=gryzinski ).

    Do you think a developing alien civilization would get exactly our axioms of QM?
    What if they had first the free-fall atomic model (much better agreement than Bohr), treating it as the base to develop from?
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2016 #2

    A. Neumaier

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    The best foundations are not decided upon but are discovered. Nothing much could have been different, except for the order of discoveries and the early history. What makes it into a modern textbook (apart from its historical introduction and the details of how the basic machinery is introduced and motivated) is essentially universal.

    Even if the first models would have been very different from Bohr's, the final theory would figure states, operators, and the standard equations of motion, together with all the auxiliary material needed to solve the equations or to approximate them efficiently.
  4. Sep 13, 2016 #3

    A. Neumaier

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    Not exactly our axioms (which are highly tinted by interpretation, where differences abound), but almost exactly our shut-up-and-calculate part.
  5. Sep 13, 2016 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    This is not even science fiction. We don't have a forum where this topic is appropriate.

    Thread closed
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