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Why is the idea that electromagnetism is mediated by space-time fundamentally flawed?

  1. Jun 25, 2005 #1
    Electromagnetism being mediated by space-time rather than particles or waves is based on the validity of the Minkowski space-time metric.

    Energy held by a quantum object A at an event 1 can jump to a quantum object B at an event 2 provided the proper interval separating the two events has zero magnitude.

    This proposition has been dismissed and even held to ridicule by members of of physics forum.

    To simple soul the theory seems to provide a self-consistent description of electromagnetism.

    The inconsistencies created by wave-particle duality are removed. The entanglement of spatially remote objects can be explained and the abrubt changes in the eigen values of wavefunctions become understandable.

    And the integrity of special relativity is maintained.

    So what exactly is the flaw?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2005 #2
    Unfortunately not in a position to answer but everybody here on these forums will understand that I could have been the author of this question. Any discussion and commentary is wellcome. If difficulties are coming from our different languages I think it is possible to find a middle way.
    Concerning the flaw, I can only suppose that taking the metric as medium is a little bit re-introducing the question about the aether... (heresy). Now if one takes the notion of geometro-dynamics introduced by the general relativity itself, it seems difficult to refuse that the metric is something totally rigid. And if the metric can change, for example oscillate around a middle configuration that could be the Minkowski one, then....
  4. Jun 25, 2005 #3
    Now if one takes the notion of geometro-dynamics introduced by the general relativity itself, it seems difficult to refuse THE PRINCIPLE that the metric is NOT something totally rigid. And if the metric can change, for example oscillate around a middle configuration that could be the Minkowski one, then.... then one could imagine that a wave or a particle is this small perturbation of the metric which is propagating. Where is the flaw?
  5. Jun 25, 2005 #4
    what kind of inconsistencies?
  6. Jun 25, 2005 #5
    I note that present discussion has made a funny realistic jump... (smile) I am personally not informed about reactions concerning your ideas. The description that you try to do is not so easy: [event 1 (an object A at place P at time t) event 2 (another object B at another place P + dP at same time t)] and they are exchanging for example a virtual photon.... is not the same thing than: [event 1 (an object A at place P at time t) becomes event 2 (the same object eventually at the same place and at time t + dt because it became older)]*. Thus one have to give quite more precision in the description of what happens to be able to discusss.

    A part of my own investigations is to try to describe the second situation[]* when event 1 and 2 are connected by the fact that the metric has changed in between.
  7. Jun 25, 2005 #6


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    A small oscillation in the metric can be identified with a "gravity wave". This can be further identified with a particle. One of the issues with talking about gravity as being due to a particle is that the resulting quantum theory isn't renormalizible. Nowadays, this is apparently not seen as a major obstacle, one simply talks about an "effective field theory" that's valid at low energies, but not valid at high energies. Somewhere around her is another thread where Chronos pointed this out to me via quoting a rather good paper (which I only skimmed). If you look around you'll probably be able to find the appropriate thread and the original paper.

    The problem with the Original Posgter's (OP's) proposals from my standpoint are twofold:

    1) It's really rather vague, it's not clear at all what he's talking about.

    2) More importantly, it has the "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" flavor of doublespeak. Specifically, if one is getting rid of the Minkowski metric, how is one "saving" special relativity? This doesn't make much sense. The motivations which impel the original poster to abandon the Minkowski metric also remain rather obscure. It's not like he is proposing there is any experimental evidence that the Minkowski is wrong, rather it appears that he doesn't like it for some sort of vague philosophical reason.

    Philosophical reasons, though, are not a good enough motivation for abandoning a theory - unless they can be tested. And if this idea can be tested, where is the test.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2005
  8. Jun 26, 2005 #7
    Thanks very much for the help. I shall try to find these good papers around here.

    I see that you have a very difficult job to do here if you want to maintain quality and freedom on the forums. I was always a little bit surprised by the agressivity that sometimes appears between people loving physics; as a naive amateur who is not getting his money from, I can not understand why people with the same passion are fighting together... Na ja so it is and one cannot change human people; I am also not perfect.

    On another point of view, philosophical reasons are sometimes a good motivation too to develop wonderfull new ideas even if these ideas look totally crazzy at the beginning (I think to the Feynman's pathes, to the quest of Hawking (is it him?) srutenizing the birth of -virtual- particles in vacuum,...).

    And so is also my own and modest contribution to physics... wondering the infinity of spaces full of... vacuum, trying to cath the connections between the events, believing that not so much is left to the hasard but that we are to stupid to understand it... (sorry for this personal romantism but it's sunday and the sun shines)

    Thanks again for help. Best regards
  9. Jun 26, 2005 #8
    Coming back now to physics itself. And specialy to Quantum Gravity that is finally the central point here. As I can read in Steven Carlip's fantastic book (QT in 2 + 1 dimensions; Cambridge monographs) we are actually in front of about 15 or more different approaches concerning the subject... Is it correct to say that the ADM approach is in someway the common start point of all these theories? Start point on which all other developments are built I mean.

    Other question (If you give me the permission): In the Theory of Spinors (E. Cartan) it is said but not really good explained how and why that one can associate a matrix to a vector; could you please indicate me other references where the deep reason on the manner to do the connection between both (given vector associated matrix) is more clearly explained? I understand that it is connected with the local fundamental form (no problem)... but how do you make the choice of the repartition of the components inside the matrix? I think that if you read the last development of my investigations you will underestand the reason of my question.

  10. Jun 26, 2005 #9
    Here the last development

    Attached Files:

  11. Jun 26, 2005 #10
    Essentially there are two differences between these two: 1) A particle is localized in space whereas a wave is not. 2) Particles don't interfere. Waves do.

  12. Jun 27, 2005 #11

    The metric is not required to changefor a direct link to be established berween Spatially remote events. Just that the proper interval should have zero magnitude.

    You can visit electrodynamics-of-special-relativity.com for a detailed explanation of this connectivity
  13. Jun 27, 2005 #12
    I'm not proposing to get rid of the Minkowski metric; on the contrary I 'm suggesting that space-time characterised by such a metric does not require waves or particles to mediate the electromagnetic force. The structure of space-time alone provides the mechaniism of propagation.

    for a fuller explanation you can visit electrodynamics-of-special-relativity.com.
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