Friday, December 28, 2007

The rise of the Super Hype Theory

In his This Week's Hype series Peter Woit reports the most recent achievements of Super Hype Theory, a follower to M-theory which in turn followed Super String Theory. This particular hype was published in Nature (see for instance this). Also the press release by Lancaster University should give a good view about this particular breakthrough. To speak seriously, one could expect this kind of trash in New Scientist but times are changing as theoretical particle physics is going down the hill with an accelerating pace.

Very briefly. In super fluid Helium one can have vortices which consist of ordinary fluid and are analogous to the magnetic vortices in super-conductor near phase transition. In some very very esoteric models of cosmology it is assumed that a collision of so called 3-D branes created Big Bang. You remember correctly: branes are those higher-D objects assumed to come out from string theory by some "non-perturbative mechanism". In plain english: branes were simply decided to exist since they promised to save the theory after it had become clear that the Kaluza-Klein scenario does not work. Unfortunately branes did not keep their promise.

The orbits of these particular branes are 4-D surfaces identified as space-time surfaces. In TGD 4-D surfaces are fundamental objects without the loss of the crucial conformal invariance. About this the empire remains silent since it would be too humiliating to admit that a pennyless fellow from Finland who has never had an academic position was right so that it is better to continue with superhyping. These brane collisions are believed to produce besides Big Bang also vortex like defects known as cosmic strings. That string like defects exist also in super fluid is taken as a test for super string model. Convincing?

Try however to stay serious because this is "serious" science by the basic criteria of "serious" science: it receives funding and is led by professors. In this same spirit, a leading popular science authority in Finland told some time ago in public that nowadays real science can be done only by professors and their students because it has become so complex. As the innocent interviewer wondered how Einstein - a mere clerk in patent office - could then have build his theories, the answer was that at that time physics was so incredibly simple that the ability to take square root was enough to build theory of gravitation. Well, after a little though we of course realize that Einstein was not any Einstein after all.

In the middle of this superhype we should however not forget that the analogy between super-fluidity and big bang is real and known for a long time. Only to say that it has something to with testing of string theory is really weird. The defects in super-fluid are string like objects (very thin 3-D surfaces in TGD) as are also cosmic strings (not in the sense of gauge theories however), magnetic flux tubes, etc... TGD based nuclear model relies on color flux tubes connecting nucleons (yes!, this was not a typo!). Cosmic strings populate TGD Universe during primordial cosmology and later transform to magnetic flux tubes, which play central role also in the recent Universe and especially so in living matter. For instance, the model for topological quantum computation that I have been developing during last month assumes that (also color-) magnetic flux quanta define the strands of braids.

The lesson is that if one accepts fractality (say p-adic fractality and that implied by hierarchy of Planck constants as in TGD), the study of super-fluids can give very important theoretical insights even about cosmology and astrophysics. But for God's sake - not in the manner as claimed in this particular This Week's Hype.

P.S. See Oswald Spengler's comment in comment section of This Week's Hype.


Kea said...

This is all very sad, because it looks like all their wild handwaving will eventually morph into something resembling the right idea, at which point they will tell everybody how all those decades of sophisticated scholasticism were essential to reach the complex truth that they have uncovered....

CarlBrannen said...


Are you aware that the US DARPA agency is asking for funding requests for quantum biology? See Kea's blog post for details.

The general idea is that you will write up a white paper describing what you want to do, and how it will help the US government (in this case I suppose) better model the evolution of micro organisms, and therefore protect the country from biological warfare.

If they like the white paper, they'll have you write up a more complete proposal. They program runs until September 2008, but they will look at your proposal long before that and either accept it or reject it. If they accept it, they can probably begin funding quite quickly.

I'm sort of tempted to throw in a proposal to rewrite quantum mechanics to density operator formalism.