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danydandan

The Road to Unification.

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danydandan
Posted (edited)

 I have been wanting to write a scientific article regarding physics and roughly where we stand at the moment so bearing in mind this is my first attempt I'd like people to go easy on me. The article is about the possibility of unification of quantum mechanics and relativity. I'm not putting forth a theory this is simply an article so any feedback on writing style or if I need to describe something better or I have described something incorrectly would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Questions and Forces:

As of now we have two pillars with which upon our understanding of the universe is built on. The first is the general theory of relativity, which is the driving force of the universe. Movements of the Stars, Galaxies and Gravity itsself is contained within relativity. The second pillar is quantum mechanics which describes atoms, subatomic particles and their forces, or the forces between them. We have a major issue, as both fields are incompatible, quantum mechanics fails where relativity reigns and relativity fails where quantum mechanics reigns. Relativity fails to describe forces at the subatomic scale, and on a cosmic scale quantum mechanics is threatened by big black holes. The question is, is there a possible unification between the two or are we completely overlooking something fundamentally obvious?

How We Got To Where We Are and Where We Are Now:

The standard model is based on discoveries of the 19th century. Towards the end of the 19th century it was assumed atoms were the smallest building blocks for matter. Later the nucleus, with protons and neutrons was discovered, with electrons orbiting it. In the 60s it was theorised, observed and confirmed that protons and neutrons are made up of smaller particles that we now call quarks. So another question needs to be asked, Is there a stop off point to what we can divide quarks into? The answer at the moment seems to be yes. It does appear quarks are the fundamental building blocks of matter. Along with leptons. It appears all we see is made up of three groups of fundamental particles, quarks (up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom), leptons (electron, muon, tau and their neutrinos) and bosons or force carriers and mass givers (photon, w, z, gluon and higgs boson).

So what forces holds our standard model together? As of now we assume there are four fundamental forces, Gravity, Electromagnetism and both the Strong and Weak Nuclear forces. What exactly are forces? For the answer we appear to have to look to quantum field theory(QFT). QFT states that the forces between our building blocks are mediated or carried by photons, weak and strong nuclear forces. The photon mediates electromagnetism, when two electrons repel each other they do so by swaping a photon. When this was confirmed the w and z particles were theorised to meditate the Weak Nuclear force and the Gluon for mediating the Strong Nuclear force. This was confirmed in the 80s and 70s.  So now we have confirmation of the building blocks and three of the four forces that holds then all together this is what we call the standard model. This model has a robust mathematical framework that has made very definitive predictions that have so have far been confirmed be all experimental tests. It is probably our crowning achievement in science to date, because if one member of the standard model was omitted the whole model would disintegrated into nothing. However it doesn't answer everything and one glaring ommision we are left with is Gravity.

Where does Gravity fit in? For that we look to Relativity and the Geometry of Riemann. Relativity has withstood every experimental test put to it so far. Recently the collision of two neutron stars confined the existence of gravitional waves. Relativity leads us to a theoretical particle called a Graviton. A Graviton like a Photon is massless, electrically unchanged and travels at the speed of light. As of now no direct observational evidence of a Graviton exists, but theoretically the Graviton is the mediator for gravity. This also leads to it's anti particle? However like the Photon the Graviton is its own anti-particle. So sorry there is no anti gravity. But what does the discovery of gravitional waves mean and can these waves and the Graviton be similar to the electromagnetic waves and the Photon? Some suggestions that gravity can be dismissed at small distances is untrue, in my opinion, as gravity appears very strong at small plank lenght distances.

Is M-Theory The Answer?:

M-Theory has three components, Extra Dimensions, Supersymmetry and Super String Theory. In the 1930s an attempt was made to unify Relativity and Electromagnetism by adding an additional dimension. The interesting aspect with adding an additional dimension matched Maxwell's equations. But this idea was abandoned as the fifth dimension was found to be too small to see, as it was envisioned to be shaped like a little circle. This idea was revisted when it was shown that swapping Leptons and Quarks in equations made no difference to the equations. This symmetry leads us to Supersymmetry. This theory is where things get interested, aside from the theory requiring every standard model particle needing a Supersymmetry partner which none has been discovered, it mathematically predictes gravity. This means mathematically Supersymmetry connects quantum mechanics and relativity. This is known as Supergravity, however there is an issue with this theory as it requires at least 11 different dimensions. This theory has major complications, as mathematically it has trouble describing how Electrons interact with The Weak Nuclear force and when trying to unify QFT and Supergravity some mathematical answers are infinitely. The issues with Supersymmetry leads us to Superstring Theory. This theory describes particles not as point like but as strings or membranes. This strings vibrate in different modes, each mode describes each particle. Some strings describe Gravitons. Superstring Theory does away with the interactions issues with the weak forces that Supersymmetry has. It also  does away with the anomalies brought on by trying to unify QFT and Relativity. The major achievement of this theory is that it looks the same as Relativity when the Graviton energy is small enough.

The Issues Resulting From the Above:

For M-Theory to work you need to merge an 11 dimensional Supergravity and a 10 dimensional Superstring Theory. So both these theories require a different required amount of dimensions. This is where membranes come in, or more specifically two dimensional membranes. These membranes can, mathematically, exist in a 10 dimensional universe. One other issue is that there are up to six different mathematical consistent Superstring Theories.

Strings, membranes and dimensions were all brought together in by Edward Witten. He brought the different string theories together using each one to describe different aspects of M-Theory. This work brought a duality with black hole entropy and membranes in a hypothetical universe. This has led to superconductivity and areas in fluid mechanics and black hole information theories.

So Where Are We?:

On one hand we have one universe with defined laws, on the other we have a multiverse with a multitude of different rules.

Are the results of superfluids, gravitional waves and the observations from the LHC going to confirm M-Theory? As these observable phenomenons are a direct result of studies and mathematical hypotheses from M-Theory, do they validate the field?

Is what we observe from fundamental theories actual laws of nature or did we stumble across them?

Edit:  grammar mistakes and stuff.

 

Edited by danydandan
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bison

It's appealing to think that all four of the fundamental forces can be unified at sufficiently high energies, such as existed in the early moments of our universe. To create such conditions experimentally would be an extraordinarily demanding task, quite beyond our abilities at present.

Perhaps at a much higher level of technical development we could reproduce the energetic conditions of the early universe well enough to see all the fundamental forces unified. An analogy might be drawn to attempts to reproduce controlled nuclear fusion inside a reactor vessel of quite limited size, rather than having to create something on the scale of a star to accomplish this.

Perhaps constructing a 'Theory of Everything' experimental vessel will eventually be possible, on a scale very much smaller than that of the entire universe. If all four forces became unified as one, perhaps we could control the workings of all of them, as well as we can currently control electromagnetism.     

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danydandan
37 minutes ago, bison said:

It's appealing to think that all four of the fundamental forces can be unified at sufficiently high energies, such as existed in the early moments of our universe. To create such conditions experimentally would be an extraordinarily demanding task, quite beyond our abilities at present.

Perhaps at a much higher level of technical development we could reproduce the energetic conditions of the early universe well enough to see all the fundamental forces unified. An analogy might be drawn to attempts to reproduce controlled nuclear fusion inside a reactor vessel of quite limited size, rather than having to create something on the scale of a star to accomplish this.

Perhaps constructing a 'Theory of Everything' experimental vessel will eventually be possible, on a scale very much smaller than that of the entire universe. If all four forces became unified as one, perhaps we could control the workings of all of them, as well as we can currently control electromagnetism.     

I hope what I have written was not labouring to read. In my opinion I think it's practically impossible to physically test the four fundament forces together. Perhaps an easier solution is to build an extremely detailed computer model, but obviously that has it's limitations. I think it's more likely that we are missing a pattern or something that's more obvious?

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ChrLzs

This isn't exactly my forte, by a long, long way!  But may I say I enjoyed reading your 'summary', and about the only comment I would offer is this..

I actually like complexity.  I embrace it, and it doesn't bother me at all that there may not be (dare I say "probably isn't") a unifying particle/force.  I think the further we go, the more complex it will become.  It seems to me that pretty much as soon as Relativity became 'understood' (that's definitely not the right term - I don't think anyone claims to truly understand it all... all bets were off, and simple logic (via maths, geometry etc), as it had stood for centuries, no longer applied.  At least not to things going very very fast...

And now, as we examine the very very tiny, it's all getting very complex and 'illogical' again.  Let's face it, even Einstein himself didn't like (get?) quantum theory... so what hope for us plebs?

But I'm ok with that - there are some things that ... well, you know the old proverb..

 

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psyche101

Well I could follow it, so I like it. Well thought out too, not too technical and interesting. Great effort :tu:

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danydandan
2 hours ago, ChrLzs said:

This isn't exactly my forte, by a long, long way!  But may I say I enjoyed reading your 'summary', and about the only comment I would offer is this..

I actually like complexity.  I embrace it, and it doesn't bother me at all that there may not be (dare I say "probably isn't") a unifying particle/force.  I think the further we go, the more complex it will become.  It seems to me that pretty much as soon as Relativity became 'understood' (that's definitely not the right term - I don't think anyone claims to truly understand it all... all bets were off, and simple logic (via maths, geometry etc), as it had stood for centuries, no longer applied.  At least not to things going very very fast...

And now, as we examine the very very tiny, it's all getting very complex and 'illogical' again.  Let's face it, even Einstein himself didn't like (get?) quantum theory... so what hope for us plebs?

But I'm ok with that - there are some things that ... well, you know the old proverb..

 

Do you think I should have included some of the mathematical proofs for each theory?

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Lilly
2 hours ago, danydandan said:

Do you think I should have included some of the mathematical proofs for each theory?

Will you also be offering math tutoring? 'Cause I think I'm probably going to need it! :lol:

Just took a look at your profile:

PhD in Applied Physics.
Masters of Electrical Engineering.
Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Industrial Automation.
Qualified Electrician.

You're definitely going to have offer that math tutoring! 

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danydandan
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Lilly said:

Will you also be offering math tutoring? 'Cause I think I'm probably going to need it! :lol:

Just took a look at your profile:

PhD in Applied Physics.
Masters of Electrical Engineering.
Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Industrial Automation.
Qualified Electrician.

You're definitely going to have offer that math tutoring! 

It took hard work and determination, not so much smarts, if that makes sense.

In the grand scheme of things all these qualifications just get you an interview and they mean very little after you're hired, if you get hired.

Also maths isn't my forte. I done some lectures during my college years, and as much as I admire teaching, and teachers I simply don't have the patience for it.

Edited by danydandan

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Lilly
3 minutes ago, danydandan said:

It took hard work and determination, not so much smarts, if that makes sense.

 

In my humble opinion it takes both (but the hard work and determination is what makes or breaks it). 

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ChrLzs
16 hours ago, danydandan said:

Do you think I should have included some of the mathematical proofs for each theory?

Nah.  Many folks eyes will glaze over. :D You could invite questions I guess and if necessary...

BTW, here's a compliment - your notes read a little like Einstein's!  I was quite surprised when I read Einstein's own papers on Special and General Relativity (links available on request), as he had a good way with words, gradually built up his 'case' so you could see why the conclusions were reached, did not needlessly complicate things, and provided good analogies.  So do you.  Well done!

 

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psyche101

Good call Chrilz. Some Q&A is a great way to reach personal ideas and understandings, and the participation tends to get people more involved with what's going on. I'd agree that's a great option. 

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Tatetopa

Agreed, mathematical proofs not required for this summary.  I see this as several threads woven together to tell the story.  Perhaps more detail on some of these threads.  So a little history of quantum mechanics and the problems it solved and questions left unanswered.  Then cut to relativity and the problems solved by that theory with the void left over.    I like the interplay between Einstein and Bohr, some of the resolutions they made, some differences that remained. Maybe a little more lead in to string theory, and a little more lead in for M theory and the reason we are still looking for unification.  Seems like it could be a book if you wished to go that way.  People need to have access to the concepts even if the math is inaccessible.  Otherwise we get mystic mumbo jumbo weak on concepts and heavy on arm waving.  It would be a worthwhile enterprise if you choose to take it on in your spare time.

 

Write more and post it.  Thanks, good work.. .

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danydandan

I did feel I was glossing over String Theroy and M-Theory. Maybe I'll go a bit more in-depth especially with Membranes.

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Emma_Acid

I do quite a bit of proof reading at work - what do you want - grammar issues? Basic stuff? Commas out of place? Or just a general sense-check? Or both?

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danydandan
4 hours ago, Emma_Acid said:

I do quite a bit of proof reading at work - what do you want - grammar issues? Basic stuff? Commas out of place? Or just a general sense-check? Or both?

All of the above, if you have time.

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sepulchrave

Pretty good, are you aiming to get this actually published somewhere, or just post on the web?

If it is the former you may need to include some references...

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danydandan

Ultimately it like to write a sci-fi novel. But right now I'm far from an accomplished writer. I just thought writing about what I intimately know would be easier than starting from scratch to build up a writing style. So no I'm not looking to get this published or anything Im just using it to refine a writing style and any feedback people may have is ultimately welcome. As I'm used to writing highly technical documents that focus heavily on mathematical proofs, I found this article difficult to summarize in layman's terms to be honest and its probably why I shyed away from writing more on string theory, membranes and m theory.

I think I'm going to refine the above article, elaborate more on string theory, membranes and m theory.

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