Arcadian Functor

occasional meanderings in physics' brave new world

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Marni D. Sheppeard

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Naked Emperor

The blogosphere is abuzz with talk about this paper, by a non blacklisted physicist, entitled The Emperor's Last Clothes? The abstract begins:
We are in the middle of a remarkable paradigm shift in particle physics ...
I tend to agree with the paper up to this point. Unfortunately, the author seems to take a fairly traditional landscape point of view, reaching the conclusion that fundamental Standard Model parameters may not be computable for anthropic reasons. Dear me. A landscape of conservative vacua, based on the physics of a Model, is supposed to be a paradigm shift? Me thinks not.

The paper discusses the historical progression of demotions of humanity's special place in the universe. Until the early 20th century people thought the solar system sat at the centre of the Milky Way and that the Milky Way was the entire universe. On the other hand, landscape anthropomorphism claims a radical rethink of God's place in the universe, without even bothering to alter the status quo classical sea of galaxy superclusters. The more logical progression would be towards a physics which rethinks humanity's place in the universe by expanding the multiverse to include different observer types, not necessarily of human scale. The proponents of the landscape bog claim that, as difficult as it is to swallow, there are no alternatives and that an admission of this 'fact' is like the innocence of a child crying that all other physicists are stupid and the emperor is naked.

9 Comments:

Blogger CarlBrannen said...

I saw the paper at Lubos' blog and it pissed me off enough that I wrote a comment on circulant matrices. I'm going to go ahead and write up an outline of a paper tonight and ship it to you tomorrow. I think "circulant matrices" is a good theme for a paper to bring everything we know about the subject, theoretical and experimental.

The problem here is that the emperor truly has no clothes, but nature is draped in quite exquisite garments that mainstream physics has difficulty seeing.

July 23, 2008 4:43 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Yes, I saw your comment next to mine on Lubos' blog. Well, it took me two hours to sort out all my stuff for my move next week, which mostly involved putting useless pieces of paper into a recycling pile and remembering to put my toy penguins Perkins and Shackleton near my suitcase. I should have some spare time next week to work on the paper. Excellent.

July 23, 2008 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Tony Smith said...

Carl and Kea,
I am having trouble understanding circulant matrices and the KM mixing matrix.

IIRC, Carl says that Kea says that the KM matrix can be written as the sum of 1-circulant and 2-circulant matrices
and
Carl says that circulant 3x3 matrices are such that the sum of a row or column are all equal.

However, when I look up the experimental values of the 3x3 KM matrix, in a Review on the KM mixing matrix by Gilman, Kleinknecht, and Renk in the 2002 Review of Particle Physics, I see:
"... the 90% confidence limits on the magnitude of the elements of the complete matrix are [rounded off to two decimal places (or three if the first two are zero or nine):

d s b SUM

u 0.97 0.22 0.004 1.194

c 0.22 0.97 0.04 1.23

t 0.001 0.04 0.999 1.041

SUM 1.191 1.23 1.043

It seems to me that the SUMs of the first two rows and the first two columns are indeed similar:
1.194, 1.23, 1.191, and 1.23
but
the SUMs of the third row and column are substantially different, even though they are quite similar to each other:
1.041 and 1.043

What am I missing in trying to understand??

Tony Smith

July 23, 2008 6:20 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Tony, that's right. We're not saying the mixing matrices look exactly like real circulants. They come from mixtures of circulants with complex phases. Anyway, we are working on a paper so that this is written down in one place.

July 23, 2008 6:27 PM  
Anonymous Tony Smith said...

Sorry for the bad formatting of my KM matrix.
I typed it for a monospaced font.
I hope it can be understood as it appears,
even if it may be a bit difficult.
Also,
sorry for not being able to add:
The third row SUM is 1.04 instead of 1.041,
but
that does not change my confusion.

Do you ever see any real penguins around the South Island?
Either way, I hope that Perkins and Shackleton have a good trip and like their new home.

Tony Smith

July 23, 2008 6:29 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Yes, there are plenty of penguins around the South Island, but the only ones I have seen recently are at the Antarctic Centre exhibit in Christchurch, because I haven't been to any southern beaches for a while.

July 23, 2008 6:32 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

The Titanic is sinking and the band plays on. In the other side's pronouncements there is surrender that they can't predict a thing.

July 23, 2008 7:31 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

Tony, to get the CKM and MNS matrices in circulant form, you have to take advantage of the fact that these matrices are only defined in terms of the squared magnitudes of their elements (which is what is measured). Plus there is a relative phase that can be measured, so far it is zero for the MNS and nonzero for the CKM matrices, but that's beyond the scope of the discussion.

1-circ and 2-circ matrices have sums that are exactly equal on all rows and columns. To put the MNS matrix in that form took me about 4 hours of algebra. The result is stunning in its simplicity, and I am working hard at understanding it.

If it were easy to write these matrices in 1-circ + 2-circ form, it would have been done already.

By the way, the same applies to the Koide mass formulas. They were originally written this way, I rewrote them as the eigenvalues of a circulant matrix. This found the additional coincidence 2/9, which is what is being used to hammer the heavy quarkonium mesons into compliance.

July 24, 2008 1:08 PM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

I see I forgot to mention that when you modify these matrices, you keep them unitary. You can multiply any row or column by a complex phase.

This gives 5 real degrees of freedom. When you apply this to the MNS matrix, there is only one way to get it into 1-circ + 2-circ form, (other than i -> -i), so the result is unique (and very simple).

July 25, 2008 9:31 AM  

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