Look out Einstein, here come Weinstein

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Asbo Zaprudder, May 24, 2013.

  1. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    In your head, doing stuff...
    Look out Einstein, here comes Weinstein

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/23/eric-weinstein-answer-physics-problems

    I'd like to see a lot more details, but if Weinstein's theory makes testable predictions (which String Theory struggles to do), it seems worthy of consideration. From what I gather, the theory relies on symmetry breaking of a 14-dimensional space into our 4-D space-time and a 10-D realm that is largely hidden from our view. According to Marcus du Sautoy, lots of stuff drops out naturally from the theory -- three generations of particles in the standard model, dark energy, and an explanation of why particles have mass that doesn't seem like an arbitrary add-on like the Higgs field does. Now, if only, it could predict the particle masses, that would indeed be a coup.

    ETA: I've seen some comments online denigrating Weinstein because he's currently a quant for a hedge fund rather than an established academic. It could be worse -- he could have been a patent examiner.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  2. Shatnertage

    Shatnertage Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2010
    Location:
    Ward Fowler's gofer.
    Re: Look out Einstein, here comes Weinstein

    :lol:
     
  3. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    A general note not regarding this mathematical theory in particular: It should be impossible to discover why the universe works the way it does. There should be some fundamental laws that are not caused by other laws, and therefore unexplainable by definition (or rather, they are probably explainable but the explanations would be untestable and not unique). It is possible that the complicated jumble that we have discovered so far are these fundamental laws and we can't dig deeper. This new theory would work if it explains more, or it explains the same with a simpler set of laws – the problem with string theory is that it is both more complicated and doesn't predict anything additional to what we already know.

    On the other hand, even things like string theory that would appear to be completely futile in the scientific sense they might contain the key to why the universe works the way it does, only the results they give would remain untestable, so this is interesting even if it goes nowhere.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013
  4. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    At star's end.
    Any arxiv paper yet - or summary of the presentation, at least?

    We will find out soon enough if this geometric unity conjecture is worth something.
     
  5. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    In your head, doing stuff...
  6. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
  7. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    In your head, doing stuff...
  8. PurpleBuddha

    PurpleBuddha Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003
    How could you possibly know this? Nice conjecture, but that is all it is.
     
  9. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    It's bad form to make announcements of scientific importance directly to the media.
     
  10. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    In your head, doing stuff...
    Yes, remember Cold Fusion.
     
  11. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    My reasoning was in the next sentence. It follows from the definition of fundamental. To avoid infinite regress, you need something, some foundation, that's not caused by anything else, and by definition that something will be impossible to explain because it is not a result of something to be explained. You would no doubt have some kind of explanation for it, but it would be an unprovable conjecture at best. You can't prove the axioms.

    We presently have a set of fundamental laws in physics. If any of them are really fundamental for the universe, you wouldn't be able to break them or combine them into simpler and/or fewer components that they step on. There would still be one obvious explanation that's quite popular nowadays – there are an infinite set of universes, and each set of fundamental laws you can imagine exists somewhere, and our laws are a result of some sort of cosmic darwinism (universes without sentient lifeforms would not observe themselves into existence). If you can't travel between these purely hypothetical universes though, you'd be stuck with exactly this kind of unprovable conjecture. If you can, you'd end up with a new set of fundamental laws of the multiverse that govern your ability to travel between them and the same problem, and a different kind of unprovable conjecture.

    There's one more option though: All roads lead to us. That is, any possible universe would develop sentient life that's comparable to us at some stage, and whatever fundamentals there are, they would be just randomness that does not need an explanation. Which would be another conjecture that you can't prove without an exhaustive search in all possible universes.
     
  12. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Re: Look out Einstein, here comes Weinstein

    Only problem is, Higgs field is there, they already highly likely found the Higgs boson (and even if they didn't, they did FIND something, that - whatever you may call it - gives the particles their mass). So it's not an arbitrary add-on.
     
  13. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    At star's end.
    The Higgs is an arbitrary add-on, much like dark matter or dark energy.
    It's put there not because a theory predicted it, but because it's something that must be added to theory in order to conform to experiment.
     
  14. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Those are two are different ways to say the same thing.
     
  15. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    What good is a theory that doesn't conform to experimental results? That's a rhetorical question, by the way.
     
  16. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    Was Newtonian mechanics wrong when it failed to correctly predict the orbit of Uranus and they had to make up that Neptune planet to conform to experiment? ;)

    The introduction of a new particle as a consequence of your theory and experimental results is by definition a prediction from your theory. The merits of it depend solely on whether the prediction was actually true. Neptune exists? Score for Newton. Planet X doesn't exist under Mercury? Newton loses.

    Same with the Higgs. If the Higgs exists, it is a valid prediction that adds additional confirmation for the validity of the Standard model, if the Higgs doesn't exist then I'm sorry Standard model, it was nice having you.
     
  17. Edit_XYZ

    Edit_XYZ Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2011
    Location:
    At star's end.
    Not even close.

    The Higgs (or dark matter, dark energy) is not a prediction. It's the equivalent of epicycles.

    By using enough such add-ons, you can make your pet idea - any idea, really - fit the physical universe, creating "theories".
    But there's no coherence to them, no unifying principle or why, just a salad of arbitrary add-ons - just you looking at experimental results and conflating your pet idea. This is why such "theories" will never yield useful predictions - or be otherwise of use.

    And, of course, seeing how your pet idea becomes unfalsifiable by the addition of such add-ons - this is why they're not even science.

    PS - "Planet X doesn't exist under Mercury? Newton loses."
    Yes - as in, you don't invent arbitrary add-ons to save a theory proven false.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  18. iguana_tonante

    iguana_tonante Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Italy, EU
    Lulz. You really hate contemporary physics, don't you? :lol:
     
  19. YellowSubmarine

    YellowSubmarine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2010
    But by the same line of reasoning the theory was proven false earlier when the arbitrary add-on called "Neptune" had to be invented to hold it together. Except it turned out it actually existed. The thing that made the difference was the fact that Planet X did not exist whilst Neptune did, not whether it was "invented" or "arbitrary". Otherwise the situations were completely the same – observations don't conform to the theory, come up with a planet to fix it. These arbitrary add-ons as you call them happened to actually work from time to time, so we in fact have instances in which they were the right conclusion.
     
  20. PurpleBuddha

    PurpleBuddha Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2003

    Okay so we agree then.