A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics
2013 09 20
By Natalie Wolchover | Quanta Magazine
Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.
“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work.
The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression.
“The degree of efficiency is mind-boggling,” said Jacob Bourjaily, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University and one of the researchers who developed the new idea. “You can easily do, on paper, computations that were infeasible even with a computer before.”
Artist’s rendering of the amplituhedron, a newly discovered mathematical object resembling a multifaceted jewel in higher dimensions. Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated — the probabilities of outcomes of particle interactions.
The new geometric version of quantum field theory could also facilitate the search for a theory of quantum gravity that would seamlessly connect the large- and small-scale pictures of the universe. Attempts thus far to incorporate gravity into the laws of physics at the quantum scale have run up against nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes. The amplituhedron, or a similar geometric object, could help by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics: locality and unitarity.
“Both are hard-wired in the usual way we think about things,” said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the lead author of the new work, which he is presenting in talks and in a forthcoming paper. “Both are suspect.”
Locality is the notion that particles can interact only from adjoining positions in space and time. And unitarity holds that the probabilities of all possible outcomes of a quantum mechanical interaction must add up to one. The concepts are the central pillars of quantum field theory in its original form, but in certain situations involving gravity, both break down, suggesting neither is a fundamental aspect of nature.
In keeping with this idea, the new geometric approach to particle interactions removes locality and unitarity from its starting assumptions. The amplituhedron is not built out of space-time and probabilities; these properties merely arise as consequences of the jewel’s geometry. The usual picture of space and time, and particles moving around in them, is a construct.
“It’s a better formulation that makes you think about everything in a completely different way,” said David Skinner, a theoretical physicist at Cambridge University.
The amplituhedron itself does not describe gravity. But Arkani-Hamed and his collaborators think there might be a related geometric object that does. Its properties would make it clear why particles appear to exist, and why they appear to move in three dimensions of space and to change over time.
Because “we know that ultimately, we need to find a theory that doesn’t have” unitarity and locality, Bourjaily said, “it’s a starting point to ultimately describing a quantum theory of gravity.”
Read the full article at: simonsfoundation.org
Tune into Red Ice Radio:
Scott Onstott - Explorations in Number, Architecture & Consciousness
Michael S. Schneider - Constructing The Universe with 1 through 12, Nature’s Numerical and Geometric Language
Matt Presti & Robert Otey - Cosmology of Dr. Walter & Lao Russell
Johan Oldenkamp - Wholly Science
Anthony Peake & Tom Campbell - Consciousness Creates Reality
Nassim Haramein - The Schwarzschild Proton & The Unified Field Theory
Physicists have a dark matter and space-time problem
Decoding Space and Time in the Brain
"Laws of Physics for a Holographic Universe" --New Theories of Space-Time
Why Time is a Social Construct
In New Quantum Experiment, Effect Happens Before Cause
Quantum Entanglement Leaps Beyond Einstein --"New States of Light"
Nonlocality and Quantum Entanglement
TED: Non-locality of consciousness is forbidden territory?
Is mathematics an effective way to describe the world?
Mary, Queen of Maths, and Chaos Theory
Latest News from our Front Page
The Ring of Brodgar, the Neolithic Henge of Orkney Island
2014 03 06
On the largest island of Orkney, Scotland called The Mainland, amongst the rugged cliffs and almost constant wind, there sits a Neolithic henge and stone circle known as The Ring of Brodgar. It is the third largest circle in the British Isles after Avebury & Stonehenge. Built in a true circle, the Ring of Brodgar is thought to have been ...
Ancient Egyptian Soldier’s Letter Home Deciphered
2014 03 06
A newly deciphered letter home dating back around 1,800 years reveals the pleas of a young Egyptian soldier named Aurelius Polion who was serving, probably as a volunteer, in a Roman legion in Europe.
In the letter, written mainly in Greek, Polion tells his family that he is desperate to hear from them and that he is going to request ...
Creator of Bitcoin Has “Done Classified Work for Major Corporations and the U.S. Military”
2014 03 06
The picture that’s painted here is pretty strange. Nakamoto apparently worked on black world projects, but, according to the story, he’s a libertarian and is ambivalent about the government. According to his daughter, “He was very wary of the government, taxes and people in charge.”
I don’t know what to make of this, but it’s definitely an interesting read.
Satoshi Nakamoto ...
Meet the only man that George W. Bush ever ‘pardoned’ – but why?
2014 03 06
21st Century Wire says…
When George W. Bush was governor of Texas, something very, very bizarre went down, and to this day, neither the mainstream press, or the alternative media have made much headway on this strange turn of events…
The investigation focuses around what links Bush, his family or inner circle, had with the convicted serial killer and self-proclaimed cannibal and ...
Admitted Spy Shows Up for Oscars – and Wins
2014 03 06
And the winner is … Arnon Milchan!
Though Milchan, an Israeli citizen, admitted in November that he engaged in espionage against the U.S for many years, including helping to smuggle American nuclear bomb parts to Israel, his appearance at the Oscars was pretty much proof not all spies are treated equally.
Forbes columnist Dorothy Pomerantz, who writes about Hollywood for the magazine, ...
|More News » |