Warning: A subquantal conceptual big bang is applied to the Big Bang itself, sparks fly…


Abstract: Conventional Big Bang Theory depends upon some unproven physics at the Quantum level. Although experiments, so far, show Quantum Mechanics to be 100% true, there is a good reason to believe that this will not perdure. The problem with Quantum Mechanics is that it violates Nothing Instantaneous at Distance ("NID"), an undeclared physics metaprinciple which has always triumphed, ever since the ape came down from the tree to preach man.

NID is not a physical law in the sense of the laws that allow to make computations, but it has always been found to be true… until today’s official formulation of conventional Quantum Mechanics, which blatantly violates it.

The author boldly sketches its own theory, which is driven by respect for NID. After rendering Quantum Mechanics obsolete, it is an easy task to dispose of one of the paradoxes of the present Big Bang Theory. We have nothing to fear, but fun itself. Not for those that the Philosophy of Quantum Theory frightens.


Physicist Tamara Davis, writing in Scientific American, July 2010, tries to solve a paradox of Big Bang theory by getting rid of the law of conservation of energy. Quite a feat, since conservation of energy is exactly the deepest foundation of physics. Whatever I am going to do next to perspectives in physics in the present essay, it will not be as ridiculous. Thus encouraged, I will go boldly where no mind has gone before.

Dr. Davis exposes the problem this way: "Almost all of our information about outer space comes in the form of light, and one of light’s key features is that it gets redshifted—its electromagnetic waves get stretched—as it travels from distant galaxies through our ever expanding universe, in accordance with Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. But the longer the wavelength, the lower the energy. Thus, inquisitive minds ask: When light is redshifted by the expansion of the universe, where does its energy go? Is it lost, in violation of the conservation principle?"

She then advocates that the cosmological redshift can be thought of as a photon making many tiny little Doppler shifts along its directory. According to her, Doppler shifts do not represent a true loss of photon energy, only a change of perspective (from one galaxy, to another receding galaxy).

Verily, in the (creationist) Big Bang Theory, physicists said: "Let There Be Light!" and so all was light in the beginning. Some of the light, in Big bang Theory (BBT) turned into matter, some kept on going, and we receive the later now as a diffuse 3 degree Kelvin radiation.

In more details, the paradox is this: say somewhat after the BB, some of the energy was light, E(L), and some was matter E(M). E(L) will be made of a given number of photons, say N, with average energy A. So E(L) = N A. Now, according to Planck’s inauguration of Quantum Mechanics, A = h V, where V is the average photon frequency. So E(L) = h N V. But, according to BBT, V goes down, as the universe expands. Nowadays V corresponds to very very cold light. But initially V was extremely, unimaginably incandescent gamma ray light. Thus E(L) has gone down from enormous to negligible! In other words, looking at BBT in the simplest fashion, a gross violation of energy conservation is in full evidence. Part of the problem is that in Einstein’s Relativity, spacetime has no physical reality (in contradistinction with the old ether theory, old ether being what electromagnetic waves were supposed to wave). Thus the energy lost by Big Bang light cannot be transferred to something else, since the only thing around is spacetime, and spacetime has no reality (not that simple, see P/S 4) .

Of these sorts of simple contradictions great scientific progress is made. Anybody could have pointed out to Aristotle that he had neglected air (or water) resistance. But one had to wait Buridan, 17 centuries later, to do so, discovering Newton’s First Law, more than three centuries before Newton was born… But I digress…

Dr. Tamara Davis escapes with a pirouette. She simply states that laws such as energy conservation does not apply to the universe as such. (Useless a pirouette it is, because a moment’s reflection show that energy conservation will also be violated for arbitrarily small subsections of the universe).

I have a simpler suggestion: to remake all of physics from scratch, while respecting the conservation of energy. Here is a sketch. First I do away with localized particle trajectory. So, when a particle goes from X to Y, according to me, it is not localized. A particle is not a particle until it has been localized. Proof: well, first we have no proof that they are localized, so why to suppose they are, as most physicists, even many Quantum physicists suppose? It’s not because, as monkeys, we found 20 million years ago that stones were localized when flying towards our opponents, that this is still true when the stone is a particle of light. Actually it is the opposite which is obvious.

The reasons to believe photons delocalize is the fact that photons (and all particles) take the entire geometry into account as they propagate: wherever they can go influences where they will end up. Propagating particles embrace the whole. They always end up in a particular place, but that place is computed by the implied order of the whole. This is the most basic idea in Optics, and Quantum Mechanics.

One way to partly say this is that light behaves as a wave. So light goes around a sphere from everywhere, goes through two slits, etc. The idea that light could be a wave came initially from Huyghens, but he did not have the wealth of examples that would be found in the next two centuries (Young’s slits and Poisson’s dot). This wave behavior is used in lenses.

So it was long anticipated that light would delocalize: a wave is intrinsically delocalized. So far, so good. Newton preferred to think of light as a particle (he was a great man, and wanted to be greater than Huyghens that way, so he had to contradict him!) It is easy to see why: the ancient Greeks had anticipated atoms, the smallest possible pieces. Newton just assumed there would be atoms of light. Experiences of Hertz, discovering the photoelectric effect, in combination with Planck’s atomization of light energy (one now says "quantization"), led Einstein to suggest the "heuristic viewpoint" that therein a proof that light was made of particles.

So wave or particle? The situation became more intriguing when photons (or, in general, particles) were fired in the apparatus (whatever it is), one photon (or particle) at a time. Photons (or particles) still behaved like waves.

The largest optical apparatuses (please excuse the Anglicized Latin grammar…) known are galactic clusters. They lens the light, using their formidable gravitation to do so. According to Einstein theory of gravitation, light follows geodesics of spacetime, and those are bent by mass. (Newton’s theory of light produces roughly the same gravitational lens effect, as Laplace, who predicted black holes, using Newton’s particle theory of light, would have pointed out.)

So far so good, but what does that mean? That means photons delocalize around galaxies themselves… since they interfere with themselves, around galaxies themselves. This, of course boggles the mind, so common minds do not like to consider the possibility. But there is no alternative.

Hence the atom of light, the photon, is, most of the time, quite far from being at a single point. Instead it can "localize" at points which are quasi infinitely large geometries. The astute mathematician will be reminded of Alain Connes’ "Non Commutative Geometry", where points can be spaces.

I say, "most of the time", because a cosmological photon is for billions of years out there… in its delocalized state. I am just observing this, as it is. Most physicists, including the honorable Tamara above, represent photons following trajectories, as if they were Newton’s particles. But they are not. even Einstein made that elementary conceptual mistake (he did not need to go into the subtleties of the EPR thought experiment to find delocalization!).

Usual Quantum Mechanics is an abstraction of what is observed in human sized laboratories. Although, recently, photon delocalization experiments were conducted over distances up to dozen of kilometers. The results respected scrupulously the QM predictions. However, I am persuaded that this will not be the case as the distances become astronomical. I have a reasoning for this that I borrowed from Newton: namely, nothing can be instantaneous and at a distance. Such was the objection of Newton to his own theory of gravitation (which was instantaneous, and at a distance. "Einstein’s" theory of gravitation uses Faraday’s field concept and the speed of light to address Newton’s worries).

That nothing can be instantaneous and at a distance ("NID") was already the core of the Einstein Podolski Rosen paradox ("EPR"). EPR pointed out that "elements of reality", according to QM, could be spread out arbitrarily wide, and that makes no sense (because they took it for granted that everybody believed in NID).

However, the Bell inequalities were checked by Aspect and others, showing that it is exactly what happens. So, now getting inspiration from Raymond Poincare’, I will paraphrase him faithfully: if something is exactly what always happens , then it is a law of nature. Poincare’ brandished this meta principle to justify his postulate that the speed of light would always be measured to be c (this idea is attributed to Einstein, who actually read it in a book of Poincare’; Poincare’, like Buridan, was French, so he could not possibly have had a deep idea, according to the Anglo-Saxon conspiracy which considers that French culture has to do with wine and cheese. Only).

So let’s be clear: experimentally, and from its very formulation, Quantum Mechanics violates NID, "No Instantaneous Distance".

Thus, if NID, "No Instantaneous Distance", is made into a metaprinciple, one has to deduce that Quantum Theory, as it is, is false. Or more exactly incomplete, the way Newton’s gravitation is incomplete.

In this view, to complete QT one has to do away with its instantaneous at a distance aspect, thus, one has to impose the existence of a SUBQUANTAL INTERACTION.

Some hypocrites will scream that I do not respect the metaprinciple of minimum logic ("Ockham’s razor"), that this is not worthy physical speculation anymore. But actually Big Bang Theory supposes an unobserved, and unobservable field, the inflaton. At least my subquantal field is observable, and I claim that a lot of the 3 degree Kelvin cosmological radiation is just such an observation (3K radiation actually sets detection level for detection of the subquantal field).

In truth, all and any Quantum process is all about widely spread elements of reality that QM claim instantaneously convert to the singular. This is the old "Collapse of the Wave Packet". I just say it proceeds at some speed, TAU (ten to the ten the speed of light at least). To simplify, I will also hypothesize that this the speed at which the linear quantum guiding wave also spreads. That wave is known as the Quantum Potential in David Bohm’s refurbished version of De Broglie’s guiding wave theory (ooopss, De Broglie was another Frenchman, he invented the full blown Quantum Theory in 1923; QM was attributed to others later, although de Broglie got the Nobel 6 years after writing his thesis).

The difference between me and Bohm is that I have no more particle, and the Quantum Potential spreads at TAU. The potential is actually a MATTER WAVE. De Broglie seems to have believed in the physics of matter waves all along (Schrodinger adopted the idea, but was subsequently ridiculed by over-smart types such as Von Neuman; Von Neuman claimed to have demonstrated that there was no Quantum mechanics but Quantum mechanics, but it is increasingly understood that this is not correct). De Broglie had tried a particle-less theory too, the "double solution" .

I have my own version of the "double solution". It exploits the instability of non linear waves. A stable non linear wave, such as a soliton, is a fine balance between linear dispersion and non linear singularization. I view elementary particles, including photons, as a dance between the two aspects: when there is linear propagation (at TAU), linear dispersion, what we hypothesize to be "particle" propagation, dominates. When the matter wave field becomes locally too strong, having interacted with a subquantal field, it singularizes itself, localizing itself in one point.

A number of thought experiments and real practical experiments with very low intensity lasers interfering, show that matter waves are real. The matter wave from one laser guides, through interference, the photon from the other laser.

OK, let’s back down from the conceptual edge, and go back to our cosmological photons. How does the guiding wave and its delocalization fit in all this? What does this theory of mine all mean? As a photon’s linear guiding matter wave approaches a galactic cluster at TAU, imagine the scene: the linearized, delocalized photon matter wave, ten million light years across, bearing down on a galactic cluster at ten billion times the speed of light. The delocalized photon’s matter wave has a high probability to encounter a (still hypothetical) graviton‘s matter wave, or other the matter wave of some other particle hanging around the cluster.

The sudden local non linearity in the photon’s guiding wave leads to a collapse of said delocalized linearized photon. Then the photon will suddenly singularize, namely appear and interact somewhere. However, over the cosmological distances the delocalized photon was spread about, NID says that some of the photon will be unable to singularize in that spot where the singularity has started. Thus a distant piece of the delocalized photon will get separated from the rest of the singularizing photon, and hang around as cosmological flotsam. The photon will have reddened. In the next cycle, the photon, now a bit weakened, will delocalize again, and repeat the process. If this is correct, and the mean free (delocalized) path of cosmological photons varies (according to whether they come around regions full of matter), photons flying more in extremely empty space will be more redshifted (which is contrary to common sense, and will compete with the fact that photons zigzagging in clusters will get redshifted just from said zigzagging; so the two effects will have to be carefully distinguished).

Some will say that my theory violates relativity in spirit, if not outright computations, etc. Sure. That Relativity’s equations have proven extremely precise, for example for GPS, does not say anything about whether it is still obviously valid at the scale of galactic clusters.

Anyway, there is much more to say, but not today.


Patrice Ayme


P/S 1: So, if light ages, for (sub) Quantum reasons, is the Big Bang completely false? Well, I do not know. Galaxies very far away seem younger, and all Quasars are very far away (at least 800 million light years) showing that, even if there was no Big Bang, the universe has been, in any case, changing, if not aging.

A reason to be extremely suspicious about the Big Bang is that the prima facie evidence for it, the expansion speed of the universe, is truly unknown: supernovas studies have shown it to be (incredibly!) accelerating (to be confirmed!). Moreover, conventional Big bang Theory has to hypothesize inflation, an expansion at gigantic multiple of the speed of light, for the entire universe. Differently from me here, the reasoning is ad hoc, and not from first, time honored principles. My motivation, as Nietzsche would insist, comes from the highest principles, saving the principle of energy conservation and NID, whereas the motivation of Big Bangers is as low as it can get, because they had to invent a field to save their creationism.

P/S 2: The famous Dirac pontifically declared in his text book that photons interfered (ONLY!) with themselves. But that was before the invention of lasers, which allowed to demonstrate that this statement was not correct. The fact that matter waves are real, if 100% confirmed, will probably be viewed, in the future, as the greatest discovery of Twentieth Century science.

P/S 3: The sketch of theory above was presented to some of the heroes of physics (LdB & RF).

P/S 4: "Spacetime is no real substance", hard core relativists love to claim, sounding a bit like hard core Muslims about the moon. But this is not clear, even in conventional Relativity. Indeed, spacetime can wave. By shaking the source of a field, any field with a finite propagation speed, one can shake said field at a distance, and thus shake an object responsive to said field, at a distance, after a while. Thus a finite propagation field carries energy away, and Einstein gravitational field does not escape to that rule.

But Planck had discovered that electromagnetic energy was quantized, i.e., made of lumps, quanta, particles. The particles are called photons. By logical simplicity, one assumes the same for gravitational energy. Hence the prediction of gravitons, in analogy with photons. But now, the gravitons are supposed to be particles like any other boson. Do they make spacetime or not? Do photons make the electromagnetic fields, or are just its quantal manifestations? Thus the question of the spacetime as a real substance becomes the question of the reality of the electromagnetic field as a real substance.

Simple questions, deep answers still unknown: for more than 30 years, it was obvious that potentials (by contradistinction with fields) could have a direct effect, being on the right hand side of the Schrodinger equation (which came from de Broglie). But one had to wait for Bohm and his student Aharanov to notice that (and it was immediately verified experimentally). By then the American born Bohm had been banned from the good old USA (for practicing all too advanced philosophy, apparently a no-no for the US Congress and Princeton University, in spite of Einstein just wanting him as assistant)…

P/S 5: The theory above in particular, and Quantum Theory in general, have absolute bearing on what philosophers call ontology, the study of existence. Indeed, Bohm posthumously published last book was: “The Undivided Universe: An ontological interpretation of quantum theory” (1993).

P/S 6: Naturellement, the theory above applies to (expected to exist by the field-wave-particle principle) gravitons. So gravitons ought to age, hence weaken, as they get away from dense sources of matter, and far out, for the same reason as the photons above.

This may relate to "Dark Energy": if there is less gravitational force to block the expanding force, expansion will accelerate. Notice in passing that this subquantal field of mine, which is each propagating particle, is expanding tremendously, at TAU (>>>>> c). So we may have the reason for the expansion of the universe below our noses, or more exactly between our eyelashes, as we see light waves interfere there… Any Quantum propagation is an inflationary universe, reduced to its simplest case, with, de facto, gravity zero (otherwise an interaction with a graviton would bring de-coherence).

In the present morass of General Relativity, gravitons are supposed to not interact with themselves (which makes no sense: they would be the only such particles). Speaking of morass, I did not stoop to mention the Copenhagen Interpretation (where TAU is hypothesized to be infinite, among other radical simplifications), and the Many-Worlds Interpretation (obviously a schizoid absurdity).


Tags: ,


  1. keith Says:

    Hi Patrice,

    No time to address some things about the red-shift discussions in SA which are think are absurd. SA has become, regrettably, something near the level of the National Enquirer in comparison to decades ago, when it was quite marvelous, featuring articles by really outstanding scientists. No longer.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Well, on redshift, the young author, a prized scientist, was giving the party line, the official talking points of standard cosmology. I am the one with the idiosyncratic approach. I do agree that SA has changed (it’s owned by Germans now, I believe). But I do not think it has gone down. Some of cosmology/high energy physics is closer to science fiction than to established facts, but that does not make bad, either. Simply the world is getting much more complex than top thinkers used to think a few decades ago.


  2. keith Says:

    Got cut off. Sorry.

    Meant to acquaint you, if you never saw it, with this marvelous lecture of Einstein’s presented in Leiden in May, 1920. He resuscitates herein, one might say, the ether. But it’s an ether unlike that of the days prior to the Michelson-Morley experiment. I adduce it because of your discussion concer.ning ‘space-time’ is non-existent.’ Not sure what I might think about that yet but this lecture you might enjoy. Very Best to you.

    Albert Einstein

    An address delivered on May 5th, 1920, in the University of Leyden

    HOW does it come about that alongside of the idea of ponderable matter, which is derived by abstraction from everyday life, the physicists set the idea of the existence of another kind of matter, the ether? The explanation is probably to be sought in those phenomena which have given rise to the theory of action at a distance, and in the properties of light which have led to the undulatory theory. Let us devote a little while to the consideration of these two subjects.

    Outside of physics we know nothing of action at a distance. When we try to connect cause and effect in the experiences which natural objects afford us, it seems at first as if there were no other mutual actions than those of immediate contact, e.g. the communication of motion by impact, push and pull, heating or inducing combustion by means of a flame, etc. It is true that even in everyday experience weight, which is in a sense action at a distance, plays a very important part. But since in daily experience the weight of bodies meets us as something constant, something not linked to any cause which is variable in time or place, we do not in everyday life speculate as to the cause of gravity, and therefore do not become conscious of its character as action at a distance. It was Newton’s theory of gravitation that first assigned a cause for gravity by interpreting it as action at a distance, proceeding from masses. Newton’s theory is probably the greatest stride ever made in the effort towards the causal nexus of natural phenomena. And yet this theory evoked a lively sense of discomfort among Newton’s contemporaries, because it seemed to be in conflict with the principle springing from the rest of experience, that there can be reciprocal action only through contact, and not through immediate action at a distance.

    It is only with reluctance that man’s desire for knowledge endures a dualism of thls kind. How was unity to be preserved in his comprehension of the forces of nature? Either by trying to look upon contact forces as being themselves distant forces which admittedly are observable only at a very small distance and this was the road which Newton’s followers, who were entirely under the spell of his doctrine, mostly preferred to take; or by assuming that the Newtonian action at a distance is only apparently immediate action at a distance, but in truth is conveyed by a medium permeating space, whether by movements or by elastic deformation of this medium. Thus the endeavour toward a unified view of the nature of forces leads to the hypothesis of an ether. This hypothesis, to be sure, did not at first bring with it any advance in the theory of gravitation or in physics generally, so that it became customary to treat Newton’s law of force as an axiom not further reducible. But the ether hypothesis was bound always to play some part in physical science, even if at first only a latent part.

    When in the first half of the nineteenth century the far-reaching similarity was revealed which subsists between the properties of light and those of elastic waves in ponderable bodies, the ether hypothesis found fresh support. 1t appeared beyond question that light must be interpreted as a vibratory process in an elastic, inert medium filling up universal space. It also seemed to be a necessary consequence of the fact that light is capable of polarisation that this medium, the ether, must be of the nature of a solid body, because transverse waves are not possible in a fluid, but only in a solid. Thus the physicists were bound to arrive at the theory of the “quas-irigid” luminiferous ether, the parts of which can carry out no movements relatively to one another except the small movements of deformation which correspond to light-waves.

    This theory also called the theory of the stationary luminiferous ether moreover found a strong support in an experiment which is also of fundamental importance in the special theory of relativity, the experiment of Fizeau, from which one was obliged to infer that the luminiferous ether does not take part in the movements of bodies. The phenomenon of aberration also favoured the theory of the quasi-rigid ether.

    The development of the theory of electricity along the path opened up by Maxwell and Lorentz gave the development of our ideas concerning the ether quite a peculiar and unexpected turn. For Maxwell himself the ether indeed still had properties which were purely mechanical, although of a much more complicated kind than the mechanical properties of tangible solid bodies. But neither Maxwell nor his followers succeeded in elaborating a mechanical model for the ether which might furnish a satisfactory mechanical interpretation of Maxwell’s laws of the electro-magnetic field. The laws were clear and simple, the mechanical interpretations clumsy and contradictory. Almost imperceptibly the theoretical physicists adapted themselves to a situation which, from the standpoint of their mechanical programme, was very depressing. They were particularly influenced by the electro-dynamical investigations of Heinrich Hertz. For whereas they previously had required of a conclusive theory that it should content itself with the fundamental concepts which belong exclusively to mechanics (e.g. densities, velocities, deformations, stresses) they gradually accustomed themselves to admitting electric and magnetic force as fundamental concepts side by side with those of mechanics, without requiring a mechanical interpretation for them. Thus the purely mechanical view of nature was gradually abandoned. But this change led to a fundamental dualism which in the long-run was insupportable. A way of escape was now sought in the reverse direction, by reducing the principles of mechanics to those of electricity, and this especially as confidence in the strict validity of the equations of Newton’s mechanics was shaken by the experiments with b-rays and rapid kathode rays.

    This dualism still confronts us in unextenuated form in the theory of Hertz, where matter appears not only as the bearer of velocities, kinetic energy, and mechanical pressures, but also as the bearer of electromagnetic fields. Since such fields also occur in vacuo i.e. in free ether the ether also appears as bearer of electromagnetic fields. The ether appears indistinguishable in its functions from ordinary matter. Within matter it takes part in the motion of matter and in empty space it has everywhere a velocity; so that the ether has a definitely assigned velocity throughout the whole of space. There is no fundamental difference between Hertz’s ether and ponderable matter (which in part subsists in the ether).

    The Hertz theory suffered not only from the defect of ascribing to matter and ether, on the one hand mechanical states, and on the other hand electrical states, which do not stand in any conceivable relation to each other; it was also at variance with the result of Fizeau’s important experiment on the velocity of the propagation of light in moving fluids, and with other established experimental results.

    Such was the state of things when H. A. Lorentz entered upon the scene. He brought theory into harmony with experience by means of a wonderful simplification of theoretical principles. He achieved this, the most important advance in the theory of electricity since Maxwell, by taking from ether its mechanical, and from matter its electromagnetic qualities. As in empty space, so too in the interior of material bodies, the ether, and not matter viewed atomistically, was exclusively the seat of electromagnetic fields. According to Lorentz the elementary particles of matter alone are capable of carrying out movements; their electromagnetic activity is entirely confined to the carrying of electric charges. Thus Lorentz succeeded in reducing all electromagnetic happenings to Maxwell’s equations for free space.

    As to the mechanical nature of the Lorentzian ether, it may be said of it, in a somewhat playful spirit, that immobility is the only mechanical property of which it has not been deprived by H. A. Lorentz. 1t may be added that the whole change in the conception of the ether which the special theory of relativity brought about, consisted in taking away from the ether its last mechanical quality, namely, its immobility. How this is to be understood will forthwith be expounded.

    The space-time theory and the kinematics of the special theory of relativity were modelled on the Maxwell-Lorentz theory of the electromagnetic field. This theory therefore satisfies the conditions of the special theory of relativity, but when viewed from the latter it acquires a novel aspect. For if K be a system of co-ordinates relatively to which the Lorentzian ether is at rest, the Maxwell-Lorentz equations are valid primarily with reference to K. But by the special theory of relativity the same equations without any change of meaning also hold in relation to any new system of co-ordinates K’ which is moving in uniform translation relatively to K. Now comes the anxious question: Why must I in the theory distinguish the K system above all K’ systems, which are physically equivalent to it in all respects, by assuming that the ether is at rest relatively to the K system? For the theoretician such an asymmetry in the theoretical structure, with no corresponding asymmetry in the system of experience, is intolerable. If we assume the ether to be at rest relatively to K, but in motion relatively to K’, the physical equivalence of K and K’ seems to me from the logical standpoint, not indeed downright incorrect, but nevertheless inacceptable.

    The next position which it was possible to take up in face of this state of things appeared to be the following. The ether does not exist at all. The electromagnetic fields are not states of a medium, and are not bound down to any bearer, but they are independent realities which are not reducible to anything else, exactly like the atoms of ponderable matter. This conception suggests itself the more readily as, according to Lorentz’s theory, electromagnetic radiation, like ponderable matter, brings impulse and energy with it, and as, according to the special theory of relativity, both matter and radiation are but special forms of distributed energy, ponderable mass losing its isolation and appearing as a special form of energy.

    More careful reflection teaches us, however, that the special theory of relativity does not compel us to deny ether. We may assume the existence of an ether,; only we must give up ascribing a definite state of motion to it, i.e. we must by abstraction take from it the last mechanical characteristic which Lorentz had still left it. We shall see later that this point of view, the conceivability of which shall at once endeavour to make more intelligible by a somewhat halting comparison, is justified by the results of the general theory of relativity.

    Think of waves on the surface of water. Here we can describe two entirely different things. Either we may observe how the undulatory surface forming the boundary between water and air alters in the course of time; or else with the help of small floats, for instance we can observe how the position of the separate particles of water alters in the course of time. If the existence of such floats for tracking the motion of the particles of a fluid were a fundamental impossibility in physics if, in fact, nothing else whatever were observable than the shape of the space occupied by the water as it varies in time, we should have no ground for the assumption that water consists of inovable particles. But all the same we could characterise it as a medium.

    We have something like this in the electromagnetic field. For we may picture the field to ourselves as consisting of lines of force. If we wish to interpret these lines of force to ourselves as something inaterial in the ordinary sense, we are tempted to interpret the dynamic processes as motions of these lines of force, such that each separate line of force is tracked through the course of time. It is well known, however, that this way of regarding the electromagnetic field leads to contradictions.

    Generalising we must say this: There inay be supposed to be extended physical objects to which the idea of motion cannot be applied. They may not be thought of as consisting of particles which allow themselves to be separately tracked through time. In Minkowski’s idiom this is expressed as follows: Not every extended conformation in the four-dimensional world can be regarded as composed of worldthreads. The special theory of relativity forbids us to assume the ether to consist of particles observable through time, but the hypothesis of ether in itself in conflict with the special theory of relativity. Only we must be on our guard against ascribing a state of motion to the ether.

    Certainly, from the standpoint of the special theory of relativity, the ether hypothesis appears at first to be an empty hypothesis. 1n the equations of the electromagnetic field there occur, in addition to the densities of the electric charge, only the intensities of the field. The career of electromagnetic processes in vacuo appears to be completely determined by tliese equations, uninfluenced by other physical quantities. The electromagnetic fields appear as ultimate, irreducible realities, and at first it seems superfluous to postulate a homogeneous, isotropic ether-medium, and to envisage electromagnetic fields as states of this medium.

    But on the other hand there is a weighty argument to be adduced in favour of the ether hypothesis. To deny the ether is nltimately to assuine that empty space has no physical qualities whatever. The fundamental facts of mechanics do not harmonize with this view. For the mechanical behaviour of a corporeal system hovering freely in empty space depends not only on relative positions (distances) and relative velocities, but also on its state of rotation, which physically may be taken as a characteristic not appertaining to the system in itself. In order to be able to look upon the rotation of the system, at least formally, as something real, Newton objectivises space. Since he classes his absolute space together with real things, for him rotation relative to an absolute space is also something real. Newton might no less well have called his absolute space “Ether”; what is essential is merely that besides observable objects, another thing, which is not perceptible, inust be looked upon as real, to enable acceleration or rotation to be looked upon as something real.

    It is true that Mach tried to avoid having to accept as real something which is not observable by endeavouring to substitute in inechanics a mean acceleration with reference to the totality of the masses in the universe in place of an acceleration with reference to absolute space. But inertial resistance opposed to relative acceleration of distant masses presupposes action at a distance; and as the modern physicist does not believe that he may accept this action at a distance, he comes back once inore, if he follows Mach, to the ether, which has to serve as medium for the effects of inertia. But this conception of the ether to which we are led by Mach’s way of thinking differs essentially from the ether as conceived by Newton, by Fresnel, and by Lorentz. Mach’s ether not only conditions the behaviour of inert masses, but is also conditioned in its state by them.

    Mach’s idea finds its full development in the ether of the general theory of relativity. According to this theory the metrical qualities of the continuum of space-time differ in the environment of different points of space-time, and are partly conditioned by the matter existing outside of the territory under consideration. This space-time variability of the reciprocal relations of the standards of space and time, or, perhaps, the recognition of the fact that “empty space” in its physical relation is neither homogeneous nor isotropic, compelling us to describe its state by ten functions (the gravitation potentials g), has, I think, finally disposed of the view that space is physically empty. But therewith the conception of the ether has again acquired an intelligible content, although this content differs widely from that of the ether of the mechanical undulatory theory of light. The ether of the general theory of relativity is a medium which is itself devoid of all mechanical and kinematical qualities, but helps to determine mechanical (and electromagnetic) events.

    What is fundamentally new in the ether of the general theory of relativity as opposed to the ether of Lorentz consists in this, that the state of the former is at every place determined by connections with the matter and the state of the ether in neighbouring places, which are amenable to law in the form of differential equations,; whereas the state of the Lorentzian ether in the absence of electromagnetic fields is conditioned by nothing outside itself, and is everywhere the same. The ether of the general theory of relativity is transmuted conceptually into the ether of Lorentz if we substitute constants for the functions of space which describe the former, disregarding the causes which condition its state. Thus we may also say, I think, that the ether of the general theory of relativity is the outcome of the Lorentzian ether, through relativation.

    As to the part which the new ether is to play in the physics of the future we are not yet clear. We know that it determines the metrical relations in the space-time continuum, e.g. the configurative possibilities of solid bodies as well as the gravitational fields; but we do not know whether it has an essential share in the structure of the electrical elementary particles constituting matter. Nor do we know whether it is only in the proximity of ponderable masses that its structure differs essentially from that of the Lorentzian ether; whether the geometry of spaces of cosmic extent is approximately Euclidean. But we can assert by reason of the relativistic equations of gravitation that there must be a departure from Euclidean relations, with spaces of cosmic order of magnitude, if there exists a positive mean density, no matter how small, of the matter in the universe. In this case the universe must of necessity be spatially unbounded and of finite magnitude, its inagnitude being determined by the value of that inean density.

    If we consider the gravitational field and the electromagnetic field from the standpoint of the ether hypothesis, we find a remarkable difference between the two. There can be no space nor any part of space without gravitational potentials; for these confer upon space its metrical qualities, without which it cannot be imagined at all. The existence of the gravitational field is inseparably bound up with the existence of space. On the other hand a part of space may very well be imagined without an electromagnetic field; thus in contrast with the gravitational field, the electromagnetic field seems to be only secondarily linked to the ether, the formal nature of the electromagnetic field being as yet in no way determined by that of gravitational ether. From the present state of theory it looks as if the electromagnetic field, as opposed to the gravitational field, rests upon an entirely new formal motif, as though nature might just as well have endowed the gravitational ether with fields of quite another type, for example, with fields of a scalar potential, instead of fields of the electromagnetic type.

    Since according to our present conceptions the elementary particles of matter are also, in their essence, nothing else than condensations of the electromagnctic field, our present view of the universe presents two realities which are completely separated from each other conceptually, although connected causally, namely, gravitational ether and electromagnetic field, or as they might also be called space and matter.

    Of course it would be a great advance if we could succeed in comprehending the gravitational field and the electromagnetic field together as one unified conformation. Then for the first time the epoch of theoretical physics founded by Faraday and Maxwell would reach a satisfactory conclusion. The contrast between ether and matter would fade away, and, through the general theory of relativity, the whole of physics would become a complete system of thought, like geometry, kinematics, and the theory of gravitation. An exceedingly ingenious attempt in this direction has been made by the mathematician H. Weyl,; but I do not believe that his theory will hold its ground in relation to reality. Further, in contemplating the immediate future of theoretical physics we ought not unconditionally to reject the possibility that the facts comprised in the quantum theory may set bounds to the field theory beyond which it cannot pass.

    Recapitulating, we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an ether. According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only wonld be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this ether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable inedia, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      @ Keith: Thanks, very interesting. Part of the unification program failed because the Weak and Strong forces were discovered, forcing the dimensionality up from 4 (gravity alone), to 5 (gravity + electromagnetism), to Dog knows what (once Weak and Strong are in the mix). And these new forces are complex. Strong in particular has Quarks, and confinement. Big Bang has also the mysterious “inflaton” field.

      I prefer to use my semantical invention NID: “No Instantaneous Distance”. Einstein instead focuses on “no action at a distance”, the traditional term and concept. The reason for my switch to a new conceptual focus, has to do with EPR’s “elements of reality”. “Instantaneous Distance” is intrinsic to existing Quantum Theory. “Action At A Distance” was hypothesized, and condemned, by Newton.

      People have argued that Relativity forbids “Action At A Distance” (I do not know why, by the way; I think they draw fancy little spacetime diagrams, and reason from them, apparently unaware that they try to draw conclusions about spacetime (the manifold) from reasonings made in the tangent bundle; they deduce absolute conclusions from comparing incomparables (different tangent spaces at different points)). Then they argue that the sort of “Instantaneous Distance” in Quantum Theory is not “Action At A Distance”, so there is no violation. That’s because they mean by “Action At A Distance” transmission of information at a distance, which cannot be done at this point, be it simply because we cannot tell the Quantum what to do. But, if we could somewhat tell, somehow a bit, to the Quantum what to tend to do, then we could send information at a distance, using known Quantum Theory.


  3. keith Says:

    Very interesting clarification last paragraph. Fascinating, much to be uncovered for sure.

    Won’t get into debate of merits of Standard Model and whether or not the “4 forces” picture is close to the final word. The m in E = mc^2 is still not sufficiently appreciated IMHO. In that m not only all gluon and quark energies, but it is also gravitational mass equal to inertial mass!! (??) Very very much is going on there not yet vaguely understood.

    Meanwhile, you will really appreciate this article by the very excellent physicists Michael Weiss and John Baez, to which your fascinating remarks had me turn.



    As it outlines very understandably, the problem of energy conservation in GR is far from being understood. And they have some things to add concerning the SA topic of red-shifted MWBR. Important to remember that in SR and GR energy conservation is changed first to energy-momentum 4 vector, and then to tensors to which it is very hard to apply usual divergence-type Gauss theorem methods.

    Hope that is more pertinent. Love the discussion, and btw, I am a great fan of Bohm, especially his implicate order ideas. Don’t think I don’t appreciate your sub-quantal heuristics! Very cutting edge. Eminently worthy to express ideas on such things, because imagination is in greater need than many suppose. K


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Keith: Agreed about imagination, and other points!

      Here is a funny point, related to the energy problem: gravitons, if they were normal particles, would have energy, hence mass, hence could fall into black holes too (hehe,hahaha). Thus black holes’ gravitational field itself would get cut off… from the rest of the universe, by having the gravitons fall in the Balck Holes, like vulgar photons! Mass-energy will just disappear, thanks to the biggest Black Holes… I drove some well known names in General Relativity and math crazy with this simple remark. They fumed that it was ridiculous, but they had no deep retort. They fumed, because they spent their time publishing easy to publish stuff, of the complicated type, thinking they wer as deep as it gets, and not enjoying to be reminded that what they wer doing was relativedly insignificant…

      In truth, to avoid related problems, it was long stipulated that gravitons would not gravitate, which will strike even the man in the street as a weirdly ad hoc idea… But so it goes. Our state of knowledge is indeed far from ideal… The successes of General Relativity with GPS have more to do with Energy Conservation than anything else (Energy Conservation slows down clocks in a gravitational field, from a 4 or 5 sentences reasoning that I am sure you know).

      This said, I do not see any easy to conceive alternative to my subquantal heuristics. The only other alternatives lays mathematics so far unimaginable, except maybe at such a high research level, that very few mathematicians can scan them all, and they have three axes: (super) strings (I do not understand the math, but I am dubious, because, fundamentally, nothing is new about SuperStrings, it is just complicated), Alain Connes’ non commutative geometry, my own approach, boosted by model theory into non commutative mathematics direct (Connes hates my approach, but his (gut, and philosophical) argument looks naive to me, in all simplicity).

      The later two approaches have this in common that points can be spaces. Connes, ultimately rests on Hausdorff topology, though (points can be separated), but I do not (I suspect the difference maybe some day proven to be semantical, and that the two could be proven identical… to Connes’ further dismay).

      What I am saying is that the boson/fermion duality (main hypothesis of SUperSYmmetry, SUSY) ought to corresponds to a richer number system. Scratching the surface, knowing that it is a surface, is a wonderful feeling…


  4. Roger Henry Says:

    Thank you Patrice, Thank you Keith. From a man in the street (corn field actually) an absolutely riveting discussion. The Einstein speech was gold. The conflicts and convolutions of theoretical physics have achieved a degree of greater clarity since Einsteins speech. The answers seem to have not. Thank you for putting these issues into such a form as to be understandable.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thank you Roger for thanking us.
      It is important for the man in the street and the field to understand that there are many levels of certainty in science. Newtonian mechanism is certain (in its domain of application: low speeds, solar system, not too much precision), and it does even better by introducing modifications due to Energy Conservation.

      Newton+ Laplace + Energy Conservation gets most of the Einstein deviation of light grazing the sun, I will assert from my own research; not all, but most. Because not only as Newton-Laplace would hold, light gets deviated from being endowed with its hypothetical Newtonian mass, but light spends more time being deviated, as the sun’s gravitational field slows time down.

      Evolution is certain (as long as one does not get into how it exactly happens, because, it turns out that genes circulate between species, among others unexpected riches in the logic! … which happened since Lamarck-Darwin). And so on.

      A lot of frontpage physics, though, is just pure speculation. One does not even have a definition of an elementary particle (by contrast, one roughly knows, sort of, what a species is). Speculation is excellent, outside of publicly financed finance. But, when physicists justify huge budgets with what happened in the “First Three Minutes” they are not intellectually honest. CERN’s spending can be justified, but not because of the “Three Minutes”.

      It is important to know why and how we know. As a civilization.

      Anyway, please don’t hesitate to ask questions: the easiest are the hardest, quite often.


  5. keith Says:

    Than you, Roger. And I too am especially grateful to Patrice, not only because his note proved more timely to some researches of mine than reason would expect, but because of his courage. And he is very wise as he does here to caution the inhabitants of any century regarding advances in knowledge.
    I think it was Montaigne himself, in the sixteenth century, quoting Propertius who lived in the first century BC, who said that with all humanity’s artifice and accomplishments they could not build the nests of the smallest birds. It was true then, and as far as I have heard remains so today. Be Well. And yes, Isn’t the Leiden speech a wonder! K


  6. DOES HISTORY EXIST, OR NOT? « Some of Patrice Ayme’s Thoughts Says:

    […] Einstein’s (meta)physics while extending the Quantum Hypothesis so as to save causality. My personal theory, Totally Objective Wave, TOW, is evoked as an extension of De Broglie’s hypotheses. If one […]


What do you think? Please join the debate! The simplest questions are often the deepest!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: