Quantum Fluctuates (Not That Much)

The Multiverse fanatics use “Quantum Fluctuations” to justify the existence of the… Universe. Their logic rests on the famous, and deep, inequality:

(Time Uncertainty) (Energy Uncertainty) > (Planck Constant).

I have an accompanying drawing of sorts which relates the preceding to the better known inequality called the “Uncertainty Principle”:

(Uncertainty Position) (Uncertainty Momentum) > (Planck Constant = h).

Uncertainty actually is not as much a “Principle” as a theorem (both inequalities are demonstrated below). The entire subject is very interesting philosophically, as we will see. The lessons are far-ranging, and all over. Yet recent physics textbooks have been eschewing the philosophical character of what is done, within the logic of physics, and stick to soulless formalism. The result has been an entire generation ill-equipped to handle philosophical questions (and yet, they are now forced to do so). Before I get into the philosophy, which appear later, let me roll out the basic physics.

Time And Energy Are Entangled, And This Is The Easiest Proof

Time And Energy Are Entangled, And This Is The Easiest Proof

OK, let’s give a few more details (hidden by implication arrows above). The Position-Momentum inequality is rather obvious, once one has got the basic quantum picture of the photon as a wave, and how it relates to energy.

  1. To locate an object V, one needs to see it. That means ricochet a photon of it (we have nothing better than photons to see… Although some French guy got the Nobel for seeing photons with atomic phase changes, but that’s another story).
  2. So throw photon P on V. To hit V, P needs a smaller wavelength W than L, the diameter of V. Otherwise, P being a wave when it moves, or, more exactly, explores space supraluminally, it will turn around V.
  3. The momentum of the photon P is inverse to W. [This is Energy = h (Frequency)]
  4. So the smaller L, the harder the photon P will hit the object V. That is, the smaller the localization of V, the greater the momentum of V.

So localizing a particle kicks it. How do we get to Energy-Time Uncertainty from there? The Standard Model (which is proven and consistent in its present very restricted domain: no gravity, etc.) has three classes of particles, one of them the class of force carriers. Force carriers go at the speed of light, c, and (thus) have zero mass (the Higgs gives them the appearance of mass as an afterthought).

So what do I do? Well momentum is basically energy (make c = 1), and time is space (thanks to c, measuring time is measuring space and reciprocally). Thus Position-Momentum becomes Time-Energy (the “real” proof as found in Messiah’s basic QM textbook involves functional analytic manipulations, but I doubt it really says more!)

[There are slick derivations of Time-Energy relationship using functional analysis. I am not so sure they make sense… As time is not really an observable in Quantum Physics. My primitive derivation found in the drawing is extremely basic, thus much more powerful. Their main advantage would be to mesmerize undergraduate.]

How Quantum Field Theory (QFT) Blossomed:

Philosophically, the rise of QFT is all about inventing new weird logics. Modern logic comprises Classical Logic, but has gone much further (multivalued logic, fuzzy logic, paradoxal logic, to quote just a few). Basically it has gone in realms where all the rules of classical logic fail. And physics has not come short, but made equally impressive contributions in weirdness.

Let me hasten to add that I find all this very valuable. De Broglie made reasonings I still do not understand. Dirac got the idea that the wave (equation) should be the primary axiom (getting spinor space, where electrons roam, from it, and then spin, anti-matter, etc.).

In QFT the Time-Energy Uncertainty plays a central role, and what is done is actually philosophically fascinating, and should inform the rest of philosophy:

  1. Time-Energy Uncertainty prevents to know fundamental processes if the product of uncertainty in Time, multiplied by the uncertainty in Energy is less than a constant (h).
  2. Thus, should such HIDDEN Fundamental Processes (HFP) occur, we won’t be able to detect them directly.
  3. Hence let’s suppose such HFP happen. Then let’s compute. We discover renormalization, and find end results which are different from those without the HFP.
  4. Check experimentally. What is found is that physics with HFP is correct, and physics without HFP is not.
  5. Einstein tried, but gave up on all this, after his friend Ehrenfest tried to teach them to him for three weeks at Princeton.

Philosophical lesson? Something can be hidden, in principle, and still have indirect, observable effects. (Application in politics? Think of the plutocrats’ most vicious ways, unobservable, in principle, as the media they control make sure of it. Yet, indirectly they are poisoning the world, and the world is dying.)

Some of Today’s Physicists Are Easily Philosophically Confused:

But let’s go back to pataphysics, it’s lot of fun. In the so-called Big Boom, time is supposed to go to zero. Pataphysicists reason that, then, as the uncertainty in time goes down to zero, the uncertainty in energy has got to tend to infinity. First problem: it’s not because the uncertainty on something goes to infinity, that this thing goes to infinity.

But the main problem is the easy way in which the time-energy uncertainty was derived above. If only that reasoning makes sense, it applies to particles, and even virtual particles (although some fully active physicists consider those virtual particles do not exist, only fields do, and Feynman himself was not sure, private conversation). Thus the reasoning above justifies Quantum Fluctuations as they are used in Quantum Field Theory… and, indeed, they are clearly a safe and effective theory there. They work so well that, according to EFFECTIVE ONTOLOGY, those virtual particles ought to exist (I am aware of the arguments against them, more on that another time).

Thus that particles can flicker in and out of existence because of Quantum Fluctuations, I have not only demonstrated in my very primitive (and thus very safe and effective) way, but nobody in the know can deny it happens, since QFT works, and proves the concept . During their brief existence, those virtual particles (or field fluctuations represented by particles, some sophists will insist) affect charge, mass, etc. and these renormalizations have been observed.

Notice that I said: flicker in and OUT of existence. Why OUT of existence?  These particles flicker OUT of existence because of ENERGY CONSERVATION. Notice also that the universe does not flicker out of existence.

Pataphysicists Throw The Baby Out, And Drink The Dirty Water:

Physics is the search of basic axioms and the logic to bring them to life. One of these basic axioms is energy conservation.

This is what the pataphysicists propose to violate, as if they were Saudi paedophiles. Now violations can be justified in extraordinary circumstances (after all Aisha, who Muhammad married when she was six, came to love the Prophet more than any of his followers, and defended his work with her life, after His passing).

However the Big Boom theory of the creation of the universe is not such a great miracle, that it has to be preserved at all cost.

One should not throw the baby with the bath. Nor should one throw the baby out to preserve the dirty bath water. The precious baby is the principle of energy conservation. The dirty bath water is the Big Boom theory. That Big Bang already requires space to expand at zillion of times the speed of light. I have nothing against it, except it looks ad hoc. Pataphysicists have also smelled a rotten rat there, with that one and only, ad hoc  inflation, too, so they say:

“Look at a blade of grass. What do you see? A blade of grass. But look beyond: here is another one blade of grass, and another, and another. Zillions of blades of grass. Then look at planets: zillions, And at stars: zillions, and galaxies too: zillions. Thus universes? Zillions too!”

It reminds me of the fable of the frog who wanted to make itself bigger than an ox. It was doing well, inflating itself, until it exploded in a Big Bang. Pataphysicists can inflate their minds as much as they want, it’s still all wind inside. Time-Energy uncertainty applies to Quantum Fields, inasmuch as it respects energy conservation. Agreed, it is only natural that those who got reputations out of nothing, feel now confident that they can get a universe out of nothing. After all, it’s what their existence is all about.

And the weirdest thing? There is a simple, a simpler, alternative to all the madness: the 100 billion years universe. We will see who wins. This is going to be fun.

Patrice Ayme’

Tags: , , , , ,

10 Responses to “Quantum Fluctuates (Not That Much)”

  1. brodix Says:


    If you have energy conservation, you don’t need time as anything more than a measure of frequency. It is not that something is eternal, but that it is stable.


    • gmax Says:

      I don’t understand: aren’t you afraid that Patrice is too polite to call you a pataphysicist? How do you go from conserving energy to time being only whatever?


      • brodix Says:

        If energy is conserved, then it only exists in the present. The only way to lose it is to disperse it over a larger area.
        Being energy, it is dynamic, which means it changes form. This changing form is what creates time. What is measured is frequency.
        The argument for lack of simultaneity in Relativity is that events can be observed in different order from different points of view, but that is the events, not the energy. If you look up at the night sky, you see light from the moon that has only traveled a second or so, but light from stars that has traveled years. So while the observed events are not simultaneous, the energy only arrives/exists in the present.
        So the present is the conserved energy, while time is the ordering of events and prior events cease to exist, in order for their energy to be dispersed, in order for causation.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Time is a one dimensional parameter group in Quantum Physics. It has nothing to do with energy. However Quantum equations (Schrodinger, K-G, Dirac, etc.) can tangle time and (potential) energy…


      • brodix Says:

        When you measure time, you measure frequency. When you measure temperature, you measure masses of frequency and amplitude.

        If there was no energy, thus no fluctuations/waves, there would be nothing to measure.


  2. Gmax Says:

    If I understand well, field fluctuations obey the time energy thing, but they are intrinsically small, so they can’t apply to the universe?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      They are derived, fundamentally, the way I showed (I claim). Thus they can’t be applied beyond that, in particular not before there were carrier fields, etc. Also as I said in my objection to Coel, expansion at time zero in traditional BB theory does not have to be from a small region. It could be from everywhere. I should make a drawing.


  3. tom Says:

    Actually the uncertainity principle is a mathematical effect relating Fourier transforms. Physicists generally spend very little time on the philosophical implications of QM because they **Need** to be rffective in what they do and many things in QM are simply crazy to our mind(e.g. Schroedinger’s cat etc) which has come to evolve to deal with the macroscopic world. Some investigations have been fruitful (e.g. decoherence) and thus have been followed, since people could make a living studying cuh things. Others, such as hidden variables have been shot dead by experiment. Yet other (such as ‘many-worlds’ interpretations or GRW modifications to Schroedinger’s equation to introduce spontaneous decoherence) are not followed because THUS far they generally make no PRACTICAL difference. If all this means that physicists by and large have rocks in their heads and do not worry too much about philosophical interpretations, that may be true: They too have to make a living. Whether we like it or not that’s the way it is. Yet the premise that somehow the wavefunction, when perturbed, makes a random jump into one of many possible states and we can only predict probabilities for ach new state is at odds with why every physicist started doing physics.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      The final point is very good, Tom: many start into physics, because it allows to predict what will happen… Then they get into Quantum Physics.
      Hidden Variables are not dead, what’s dead is LOCAL Hidden Variables.
      Non-Locality is crucial.
      Non-Locality in SPACE.
      Look at delayed choice experiments.

      Physicists of the Multi World type just swept the difficulty below the carpet: they fear headaches, do pataphysics. Quantum Computer engineers, though know there is gold below these carpets: they don’t fear headaches, just pataphysics.
      Hunting down what causes “DECOHERENCE” has become eminently practical. Penrose following some Italians had the stupid idea it had to do with gravity. (I say stupid, because it boiled down to having no Quantum effects away from gravity.) Engineers have been hunting down what causes it. This is a field where opinions are very strong and extremely varied.

      My own bet is a non-local PILOT FIELD, spanning (and defining) both space and time.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Good point about the Fourier transform:
      Uncertainty Principle for the Fourier Transform? f and Fourier(f) have inversely related supports. The shorter a burst of a wave packet, the more spread the frequencies therein.

      Now momentum, or energy is related to these frequencies (E = h X frequency),,, Frequencies is what Ff is made of. So the more localized the burst, in space, the more spread in frequencies thus in momentum/energy.

      However that all flows from WAVES BEING WHAT’s THE WORLD IS MADE OF.

      From the American math society, the relationship between function and its Fourier transform:
      The fh and their transforms ah show the uncertainty principle for the Fourier transform at work. Roughly, the more tightly localized the f (t) signal is (the shorter the duration of the sound burst), the less tightly localized the a(λ) distribution must be (the larger the spread in frequencies); conversely, the tighter you cluster the frequencies, the wider the f (t) distribution must be. This principle has very precise and natural formulation for normal probability distributions.
      – See more at: http://www.ams.org/samplings/feature-column/fcarc-uncertainty#sthash.I97rElrT.dpuf


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 )

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: