Archive for September 21, 2017

Knitted Omnibus

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on September 21, 2017 by telescoper

The inestimable Miss Lemon, who occasionally operates under the pseudonym Dorothy Lamb, has sent me a picture of her latest knitting exploits, i.e. two buses in the livery of the Brighon & Hove Bus Company!

They add a whole new meaning to the term `bendy bus’!

To find out what inspired these contributions please see related the University of Sussex news item here.

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Free Will in the Theory of Everything

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on September 21, 2017 by telescoper

There’s a very thoughtful and provocative paper on the arXiv by Gerard tHooft, who (jointly) won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1999. It’s well worth reading, even if you decide you don’t agree with him!

From what is known today about the elementary particles of matter, and the forces that control their behavior, it may be observed that still a host of obstacles must be overcome that are standing in the way of further progress of our understanding. Most researchers conclude that drastically new concepts must be investigated, new starting points are needed, older structures and theories, in spite of their successes, will have to be overthrown, and new, superintelligent questions will have to be asked and investigated. In short, they say that we shall need new physics. Here, we argue in a different manner. Today, no prototype, or toy model, of any so-called Theory of Everything exists, because the demands required of such a theory appear to be conflicting. The demands that we propose include locality, special and general relativity, together with a fundamental finiteness not only of the forces and amplitudes, but also of the set of Nature’s dynamical variables. We claim that the two remaining ingredients that we have today, Quantum Field Theory and General Relativity, indeed are coming a long way towards satisfying such elementary requirements. Putting everything together in a Grand Synthesis is like solving a gigantic puzzle. We argue that we need the correct analytical tools to solve this puzzle. Finally, it seems to be obvious that this solution will give room neither for “Divine Intervention”, nor for “Free Will”, an observation that, all by itself, can be used as a clue. We claim that this reflects on our understanding of the deeper logic underlying quantum mechanics.

The full paper can be downloaded here.