occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

Name:
Location: New Zealand

Marni D. Sheppeard

## Tuesday, June 03, 2008

### F Theory

Since my brief comment regarding the new F Theory paper was naturally deleted by Woit, although quite evidently very much on topic, I will post it here:

Hmmm, that’s odd. A 200 page paper on F theory should be able to recover Brannen’s precise mass values for the three Standard Model neutrinos ($\sum m_{i}$ = 0.06 eV) because the 12 dimensions are recovered very simply from the three Riemann moduli spaces of twistor dimension (= 6 over $\mathbb{R}$) via marked points = spatial dimension and also holes = times (one hole for the torus and two for the genus two surface).

chimpanzee said...

from NEW blog:
"Informed comments relevant to the posting are very welcome and strongly encouraged. Comments that just add noise and/or hostility are not. Off-topic comments better be interesting... In addition, remember that this is not a general physics discussion board, or a place for people to promote their favorite ideas about fundamental physics."

Is PW claiming the latter, Re: your comment? Why isn't your blog AF listed under his list of Physics blogs? Isn't your M-Theory lessons..THAT M-Theory that is known in String Theory?

"Everything's related"
-- M. Gell-Mann, "From Student to Scientist"

Any blog that goes around deleting people's stuff under the guise of "un related" is ludicrous. He claims being "mistreated", but he turns around & does the same!!

Only AF, Backreaction, T. Dorigo's blog is where I feel the freedom to post. Everyone else is under some draconian standard of deletion. I've been banned from Cosmicvariance & Asymptotia (who committed an unethical & illegal act against me!!).

June 04, 2008 6:17 PM
Kea said...

Dear Chimpanzee, the blogs you mention are in the habit of deleting Crackpot posts and anyone with (what they consider to be) inferior physical knowledge qualifies as a Crackpot no matter what they say. If Woit's disclaimer actually made any sense, he should delete almost all posts by physicists because they are almost always biased towards some particular theoretical view.

But more to the point: Woit does not believe that the aspects of stringy physics which we believe to be correct can possibly be correct. Saying so is like telling him the moon is made of cheese.

June 04, 2008 6:39 PM
Matti Pitkanen said...

From experience I can tell that Peter Woit couldn't be less interested in new ideas. He wants to get as a free lunch the role of an intellectual hero who demonstrated that string models do not work. He does not want anyone to steal the attention from his anti-stringy war, and any comment as off-topic unless it is about strings or LQG. If a breakthrough idea manages to leak into publicity, Peter Woit will be forgotten within a week, and Peter Woit knows this.

Today's Big Science is not what science was for a century ago, when a handful of intellectuals developed quantum theory and relativity. This kind of philosophically and even spiritually oriented intellectuals have no place in Big Science. Big Science is for opportunists for whom science is only a tool to achieve power, fame, and money. The outcome is endless hyping, science wars between theories which have been dead long time ago, and emotional storming to receive the attention of media. This is rather precise parallel of what is happening in market economy in general.

June 04, 2008 7:59 PM
L. Riofrio said...

It must be frustrating to be censored. While long-dead theories are arguing themselves to death we are making advances.

June 05, 2008 9:53 AM
Kea said...

Thanks, Louise. LOL, Matti. In fact, right on cue, Woit just made the comment: On the list of things I would like to ignore, and definitely don’t want to start a discussion about here, cold fusion is right up there…

June 05, 2008 11:02 AM
Kea said...

... the point being that cold fusion is in the Physics news!

June 05, 2008 11:04 AM
CarlBrannen said...

It turns out that my hero, Julian Schwinger, wrote a fascinating article on cold fusion. I'd like to blog the whole subject eventually.

The usual method of high energy physics is to analyze things by looking at them a single particle at a time. As Schwinger points out, this is in violation of what is known to happen, that is, the Mossbauer reaction where a single nuclear reaction is spread throughout an entire crystal.

I'm doing somewhat similar things in that I'm looking at bound states from a bird's eye view where the details of the interaction are not important, just the overall effect on the system.

June 05, 2008 12:05 PM
Anonymous said...

Thanks for that link to Julian Schwinger's article on Cold Fusion, Carl.

From Nobel laureate Julian Schwinger’s talk at the Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion, ICCF4, Maui, Hawaii, December 1994:

"My first attempt at publication, for the record, was a total disaster. "Cold Fusion: A Hypothesis" was written to suggest several critical experiments, which is the function of hypothesis. The masked reviewers, to a person, ignored that, and complained that I had not proved the underlying assumptions. Has the knowledge that physics is an experimental science been totally lost?

"The paper was submitted, in August 1989, to Physical Review Letters. I anticipated that PRL would have some difficulty with what had become a very controversial subject, but I felt an obligation to give them the first chance. What I had not expected–as I wrote in my subsequent letter of resignation from the American Physical Society–was contempt."

It's interesting because Schwinger was the first to calculate the magnetic moment of the electron using quantum electrodynamics. He was a theorist. He claims in the paper that:

"... this cold fusion process (of P & F) is not powered by a DD reaction. Rather it is an HD reaction, which feeds on the small contamination of D20 by H20. The HD reaction p + d --> He-3 does not have an accompanying y-ray; the excess energy is taken up by the metallic lattice of Pd alloyed with D."

This is non-theory based speculation; it's an ad hoc explanation for what cold fusers claimed to observe when they announced (infamously): "yes, we have [observed] no neutrons!"

It's well known that the D+D fusion reaction has a lower threshold energy (Coulomb barrier/fusion activation energy) than H+D.

So if Schwinger wanted to propose that in cold fusion H+D but not D+D was likely, he would have to physically explain why. Since chemically H and D are both hydrogen with the only difference being mass, they would look electrically (chemically) almost identical to the palladium electrodes. So why is Schwinger claiming that the cross-section for H+D fusion is much higher than that of D+D fusion when powering fusion by electrolysis rather than by plasma pressure in a high temperature environment?

H+D is more convenient because it doesn't emit neutrons, unlike D+D-> He-3 + neutron. So it fits better what is claimed to be observed by cold fusers. But Schwinger then has to postulate that the gamma rays given off in H+D->He-3 aren't given off in cold fusion but the energy is instead absorbed by the metal lattice of the electrode. However, how do the nuclei "know" that they should pass on fusion energy as kinetic motion of the electrode instead of emitting a gamma ray as is observed in conventional fusion? He doesn't explain.

One fact is very clear about cold fusion: if it is occurring at all, it can't be made produce significant amounts of energy. people have worked on it since 1989, and haven't been able to produce statistically significant evidence that the heating of the heavy water is due to anything other than the electric current supplied in an attempt to cause the fusion.

There was a TV program made soon after cold fusion was initially debunked, which explained some of the initial hype and spin from 1989. Pons and Fleischman were shown on a video to pick up a neutron counter probe and obtain an increase over background radiation readings when holding the probe near the fusion flask. However, the particular kind of neutron detector probe turned out to be highly sensitive to temperature, and using an identical instrument, the heat from the hand was enough to cause a substantial increase in the "background" neutron flux reading. In other words, they were not detecting neutrons at all, just heat. At that point in the TV program, the viewers around me all started laughing. It was funny.

The quality of the "evidence" from cold fusion such as the heat calorimetry, is pretty similar to the quality of "evidence" from Rupert Sheldrake's ESP research into telepathy: if there is any real effect present, it's statistically insignificant. Sagan said that extraordinary claims require correspondingly impressive evidence, and these hyped claims simply don't have real evidence.

However, it is interesting to read of Schwinger's problems with censorship and ridicule when he tried to investigate the subject and make suggestions for experiments to check details.

Schwinger's difficulties do indicate that censorship is not entirely a status driven exercise: even if you were famous you could still be censored out rudely for trying to publish unfashionable speculations. I think that this is fairer than the political model in which people decide whether to publish a person's statements on the basis of the status of the person, instead of the content of the statement. In science, things should be determined that way.

June 07, 2008 9:31 PM