Sunday, May 05, 2024

Why the communication of TGD to theoretical physicists is so incredibly difficult?

During these 42 years after my thesis I have often wondered why the communication of TGD to theoretical physicists is so extremely difficult. Communication with people in other fields of science does not seem to be a problem.

A partial answer to the question was provided by a Finnish colleague who pompously stated that not a single colleague would touch anything that I have written, even with a long pole. This might explain the mystery in the case of the community of Finnish colleagues. I of course sent my thesis to Witten and other big names after its publication around 1982 and received no response. Probably they had more important things to do than read my thesis. But is it possible that in the era of the internet my colleagues have never encountered TGD during these 40 years? Even very many lay people know of TGD.

It is difficult to believe that my colleagues would be so stupid as to miss TGD for so long a time. As if my colleagues were afraid to learn what TGD is. If so it would be about egos and losing face. Could they fear that they could not debunk TGD and even that TGD would demonstrate that they have been wrong all these years. It would not be surprising that superstring theorists whose mission ended with a complete catastrophe could suffer from this kind of fear. As a matter of fact, TGD solves the basic problem of quantum theory identified already a hundred years ago. Could the entire clergy of modern theoretical physics suffer the fear of realizing "I have been wrong all these years!"?

What could be the origin of this fear? The answer is short: "Ontology!".

  1. The development of quantum theory forced us to ask how to test the predictions of the theory. It turned out that the outcomes of the quantum measurements were not predictable and only the probabilities for the outcomes in the measurement of the sect of selected observables were possible. This was in sharp conflict with the determinism of Schrödinger equation and also with classical determinism. Einstein who had constructed general relativity could not accept this since it would have made his theory pointless. This led to the Einstein-Bohr debate. The classical predictions of general relativity have been repeatedly verified as also the predictions of quantum theory. Both were winners and losers in the battle.
  2. Numerous interpretations trying to circumvent the paradox of quantum measurement emerged and Copenhagen interpretation became the text book interpretation. It gave up the notion of ontology altogether. No reality actually exists and quantum mechanics is only a collection of computational recipes to predict the probabilities for the outcomes of quantum measurements. In particular, the notions of quantum states and wave function must be given up.
  3. This led to a kind of postmodernism. Inflation theory and superstring models represent the extreme in this sense. In the basic version of the superstring model, the 4-D space-time is replaced by 2-D string world sheets in 10-D target space and 4-D space-time is believed to emerge in a mysterious process known as spontaneous compactification. Heterotic strings are one variant of the theory and for these left- resp. right moving fermions move in 10-D resp. 24-D target space. This is of course complete nonsense unless one takes theory as a mere computational recipe. Landscape catastrophe emerged as an outcome of spontaneous compactification and meant a complete loss of predictivity but even this is not a problem if one gives up ontology algother. The outcome is postmodernism: there is no grand narrative and science reduces to science fiction literature.
In TGD the situation is different. Ontology has played a key role in the construction of the TGD.

Consider first the classical TGD.

  1. TGD emerged as a solution to an ontological problem. The notions of energy, momentum and angular momentum are not well-defined in general relativity. Already Emmy Noether realized this but her discovery was put under the rug. My discovery was that the hybrid of general and special relativities obtained by fusing the postulates of general relativity, namely general coordinate invariance and Equivalence principle with the relativity principle of special relativity, one ends up to a theory in which conservation laws are not lost.

    The prediction is that space-time at the fundamental level is not an abstract 4-geometry but corresponds to a 4-D surface in some space M4xS. By choosing S to be S=CP2 one obtains standard model symmetries so that TGD is unique. Einsteinian space-time emerges at the quantum field theory limit at long length scales. The new ontology, I call it zero energy ontology (ZEO) identifying space-times as 4-surfaces,has dramatic implications in all scales, in particular cosmology and astrophysics.

  2. There is also a connection with string models. Space-time surfaces can be seen as orbits of 3-surfaces representing particles as a generalization of point-like particles (and also of string). In fact, the conformal invariance of string models extends to a 4-D symmetry implying that space-time surfaces are minimal surfaces with lower-dimensional singularities giving rise to vertices. TGD strongly suggests also other infinite-D symmetries as isometries of WCW. If 3-surfaces are identified as particles, the minimal surface property generalizes wave particle duality massless particles. Minimal surface generalizes light-like geodesic and minimal surface equations generalize massless field equations.
  3. Twistorilization involves one more ontological miracle. Twistorialization has shown its power in the construction of supersymmetric quantum field theories and the natural question is whether the twistor lift of TGD is possible using induction as the basic recipe. One would start from the product T(M4)xT(CP2) of twistor spaces of M4 and CP2.

    A good candidate for the twistor space of the space-time surface is as a 6-surface which has the structure of S^2 bundle, where S^2 is sphere. Could one obtain this 6-surfaces as 6-D analog of Bohr orbit for some action. This turns out to be possible and dimensional reduction leads to a 4-D action, which is Kähler action as an analog of Maxwell action plus volume action having an interpretation in terms of cosmological constant which depends on length scale and approach to zero in long length scales. This is possible if the twistor spaces in question allow Kähler structure. This is the case but only for M4 and CP2 so that TGD and physics are unique.

Let us now consider ontology at the level of quantum TGD.
  1. The first guess was that scattering amplitudes are defined in terms of a path integral over all 4-surfaces. However, quantum field theories have an ontological problem. The path integral does not exist in a mathematical sense. In TGD this problem is magnified since any general coordinate invariant action is extremely non-linear and there is no hope of the elimination of divergences by renormalization. Therefore the realization of path integral as integral over all 4-surfaces connecting initial and final 3-surfaces makes no sense mathematically.

    The solution is simple: general coordinate invariance is realized by holography assigning to a 3-surface a unique or almost unique 4-surface analogous to Bohr orbit. Path integral disappears. Instead of 3-surfaces, the 4-D Bohr orbits are the basic dynamical objects and quantum TGD reduces to wave mechanics in the space of these Bohr orbits: world of classical worlds (WCW), as I call it.

    WCW must exist mathematically and allow Kähler geometry, otherwise the geometrization of quantum theory is not possible. Again an ontological problem! Dan Freed studied loops spaces and found that their Kähler geometry exists and is unique. There are excellent reasons to expect that the same is true in TGD.

  2. Momentum-position duality plays a key role in wave mechanics. It should generalize to TGD. The natural momentum space-counterpart of H is 8-D Minkowski space M8 as its cotangent space. M8 and H should provide complementary descriptions of physics. I call this M8-H duality.

    Here enters a new ontological element to the picture: number theory, which has not has no fundamental role in standard physics. It took a long time to realize that M8 can be interpreted as octonions since the real part of octonions squared gives the Minkowskian norm. Dynamics in M8 can be formulated as the condition that the normal space of the 4-surface is quaternionic, that is, associative. M8-H duality maps these 4-surfaces to H provided the normal spaces contain an integrable distribution of commutative subspaces. The normal space of 4-surface is parametrized by a point of CP2, which defines the M8-H duality. M8-H duality has an interpretation as a physical counterpart of Langlands duality.

    Number theoretic vision predicts that the hierarchy of classical number fields, reals, complex numbers, quaternions, and octonions becomes part of the ontology of TGD.

  3. Number theoretic view in turn leads naturally to a hierarchy of p-adic number fields and their algebraic extensions as extension of the ontology of the standard physics. A natural assumption is that the space-time surfaces are characterized as roots of two two polynomials which are functions of the 4 generalized complex coordinates of H. If the coefficients are integers, or even integers smaller than the degree of the polynomials, the space-time surfaces exists also in the p-adic sense: ontology is universal in number theoretical sense.

    One obtains hierarchies of extensions of rationals defined by the roots of the polynomials defining evolutionary hierarchies. The dimension for the extension of rationals defines an effective Planck constant and the larger its value, the longer the scale of quantum coherence. The phases of ordinary matter with non-standard value of effective Planck constant behave like dark matter. It turns out that they do not correspond to the galactic dark matter, which corresponds to dark energy in the TGD framework but to missing baryonic matter whose portion has increased during the cosmological evolution. Galactic dark matter is assignable to cosmic strings and monopole flux tubes so that again new ontology solving physical problems is predicted.

    The ramified primes assignable to the polynomials as divisors of its discriminant have physical interpretation as preferred p-adic primes playing a crucial role in TGD, in particular in p-adic mass calculations.

    Number theoretic physics can be regarded as physics of cognition and the common points of the real and p-adic space-time surfaces consisting of algebraic numbers in the intersection of the extensions of polynomials involved define a universal discretization providing a cognitive representation. Therefore cognitive correlates become part of the ontology.

  4. The counterparts of Schrödinger amplitudes are identified superpositions of 4-D orbits, that is WCW spinor fields. This requires spinor structure and gamma matrices identifiable as super counterparts of the infinitesimal generators of the WCW isometries identifiable as Noether charges. The gamma matrices are identifiable in terms of oscillator operators of free second quantize spinor fields of H and this makes it possible to calculate correlation functions. Fermion fields of H define the fundamental fields and bosons can be regarded as bound states of fundamental fermions.

    This however creates an ontological problem. Fermion and antifermion numbers are separately conserved. The idea is that fermion pairs are created from classical induced gauge- and gravitational fields which do exist. It turns out that fermion pair creation is possible but only in dimension D=4. This is due to the fact that in the 4-D case there exists an infinite number of exotic smooth structures, which differ from the standard smooth structures by lower-dimensional defects identifiable as these singularities, that is vertices. In general relativity the existence of the exotic smooth structures is lethal. Ontology shows again its marvellous power (see this): realistic quantum theory allowing pair creation is possible only in dimension 4!

It was quantum measurement theory which led to the Copenhagen interpretation and the recent stagnation of theoretical physics. Can TGD solve the problem?
  1. WCW spinor fields in the WCW, the space of 4-D Bohr orbits, define the counterparts of wave functions. Quantum jumps occur between these so that the non-determinism of quantum jump is not in conflict with the classical determinism of the Bohr orbit. Therefore the basic problem of quantum measurement theory disappears.

    The basic implication is that there are two times: the geometric time identified as time coordinate of M4 or time coordinate of the space-time surface and subjective time presumably identifiable as the sequence of state function reductions. These times are not identical although they must strongly correlate.

  2. To understand this in detail, one must generalize the quantum measurement theory. The outcome is actually a quantum theory of consciousness bringing the observer part of the quantum ontology as a conscious entity, self.

    In standard quantum theory one has two kinds of state function reductions (SFRs): the ordinary state function reduction and the sequences of repeated measurement of the same observables producing the same measurement outcome (Zeno effect). In quantum optics the latter measurements are replaced by weak measurements which affect the system slightly. In TGD one has "big" SFRs as counterparts of ordinary SFRs and "small" SFRs associated with the TGD counterpart of the Zeno effect. The dramatic prediction is that the arrow of geometric time changes in BSFRs.

    In small SFRs the arrow of time is preserved but the state of the system changes. The sequence of small SFRs define a conscious entity, self and BSFR means the death of self.

  3. A more precise understanding of the relationship between the geometric time and subjective times requires the introduction of further ontology. Perceptive field characterizes a conscious entity. The perceptive field of the conscious entity is identified as causal diamond CD= cdxCP2, where cd is the causal diamond of M4 identified as the intersection of future and past directed light-cones. Causal diamonds form a scale hierarchy. One can apply Poincare transformations, special conformal transformations of M4 and scalings on CDs. The finite-D space of CDs obtained in this way (see this) forms the spine of WCW in the sense that WCW decomposes to sub-WCWs consisting of space-time surfaces inside a given CD.

    In zero energy ontology (ZEO) fermionic parts of states are superpositions of products of fermionic Fock states at the opposite boundaries of CD. The size of CD increases in statistical sense in the sequence of SSFRs, which leave the members of the state pairs at the passive boundary of CD invariant (Zeno effect) but change the state at the CD since each SSFR is preceded by an analog of a unitary time evolution.

    The geometric time can be identified as the distance between the tips of the CD and increases in statistical sense since the unitary time evolution in questions corresponds to dispersion in the space of CDs and SSFR means a localization in this space. There is a natural correlation between the subjective time measured using SSFR as a unit and geometric time identified in this way.

  4. Still one key idea about ontology must be mentioned. In standard ontology of classical physics one assumes that there is reality behind its mathematical description. The Quantum Platonia of WCW spinor fields as mathematical objects is the reality: there is no need to postulate anything behind them. The quantum jumps of conscious entities hopping around Quantum Platonia give rise to conscious information about this reality and number theoretical evolution forcing the increase of the algebraic complexity creates increasingly complex memory representations about the Quantum Platonia. The Quantum Platonia of TGD differs from that of Tegmark in that it is not a Zombie but teems with life.
To summarize, the basic difference between the standard view of theoretical physics and TGD is that, since TGD solves the quantum measurement paradox, it can accept ontology. Ontology pops up again and again in the development of TGD and has led to a completely unexpected cascade of new deep ideas with strong predictive power since the mere mathematical existence fixes the physics.

What comes to mind is Giordano Bruno who dared to propose that the Universe is full of solar systems like ours and life is everywhere. It had been realized that Earth is not a center of cosmos but the ideas of Bruno were simply too much and he was burned on the stake. My crime has been the non-Copenhagenian claim that something exists and even worse: there are two kinds of existences: physical and subjective. I was not burnt on stake but learned what it is to be an academic Zombie.

For a summary of earlier postings see Latest progress in TGD.

For the lists of articles (most of them published in journals founded by Huping Hu) and books about TGD see this.

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