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11 October 2006


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I feel better already.

Robert in SB

Y'know that physics analogy about a being that only percieves in two dimensions? That it would not being able to perceive the true nature of a firm, round, supple, perfectly formed three dimensional world? kinda like seeing this on screen right now....

Thanks Pat.

Charlie Green

It is great these poor, emaciated women were liberated from the concentration camp they were apparently incarcerated in. And they didn't even give them comfortable shoes!

Democracy is on the march . . .


I wish I had my Richard Feynman books with me at school. "What do you care what other people think" and "Surely you're joking Mr. Feynman" were two of the best books I've read, both from an entertainment perspective and from how he sneakily taught you physics without letting you know.


Very interesting subject.

Anyone who feels intimidated by this field should read the book The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene -- as the wiki suggests. Even if your still confused -- wrt string theory -- after reading it, I guarantee that you'll have relativity/special relativity down.


The trouble with string theory or as it has evolved into brane for membrane theory (think of a vibrating drum instead of string) is that it's background dependent and hasn't come to grips with quantum gravity. more about these two items later.

There are two great theories of physics and they have problems at the singularity. More about singularity. later

The first theory is General Relativity ( "GR"). Simply put. Matter curves spacetime. And matter takes its instructions on how to move from curved or bent spacetime. It is a modification of Newton's gravity law that the force between two masses is proportional to their mass divided by the distance between them squared. The singularity occurs when the distance between them approaches zero. that's when GR blows up.

The other great theory is QM, or Quantum Mechanics. The core idea of it is that matter and energy are quantized. The basic unit of quantization is the Planck length. It used by Max Planck to solve the runaway Black Body radiation problem.

Sring theory is an attempt to marry the two ideas of GR and QM.

But nobody thought of quantizing spacetime itself until Burkard Heim (Home in German) when he came up with Heim Theory ("HT"). In HT the basic length of spacetime, the metron is a Planck length square. Oscillations in the protosimplex or metron complex give rise to matter. There’s is a mass formula. A deficiency is a lack of quarks. Quarks are the building blocks of the composite particles such as protons.

There is an extended Heim Theory, the Heim Droescher Theory that allows faster than light travel by slipping into other dimensions. Heim theory is obscure, was developed with his own Selector calculus, and has been criticized as fringe science.

Interest picked up when a Droscher Hauser paper won an Engineering prize for space propulsion and a recent European Space Agency experiment by Tajmar is explained by extended Heim as an antigravity effect of gravitophotons..


Loop Quantum Theory is another theory that unites GR and QM. This theory rests on a more rigorous mathematical foundation than HM and is more mainstream. It too uses atoms of space and time, that is quantized spacetime. Thatt, in my book, puts it way ahead of string/bane theory.. It is backround independent.

It too has matter arising as a vibration of a space time lattice and a mass formula but at a more fundamental level. Matter arises as PREONS which are constituents of quarks. HT, an older theory, had no quarks. Quarks are a topic by themselves having qualities such as Charm, Strange, and Colour.


This is my best Wikipedia edit revision (in bold), my legacy- the braids of spacetime edit
"Loop quantum gravity

In a 2006 paper [8] Bilson-Thompson, Markopolou, and Smolin suggested that in any of a class of quantum gravity theories (similar to loop quantum gravity) in which spacetime comes in discrete chunks, excitations of spacetime itself may play the role of preons, and give rise to the standard model of particle physics as an emergent property of the quantum gravity theory, through the model of Bilson-Thompson (cited above).

Specifically, Bilson-Thompson et al proposed that loop quantum gravity theory could reproduce the standard model. So far only the first generation of fermions (leptons and quarks) with correct charge and parity properties have been modelled using preons constituted of braids of spacetime as the building blocks[1]. Utilization of quantum computing concepts made it possible to demonstrate that the particles are able to survive quantum fluctuations.[2] "

Quantum computing concepts gets into Many Worlds interpretations of QM
which is a hell of a topic.

Best Wishes

Dave of Maryland

Re: Will's entry.

I thought metaphysics was hard....


Back to the MidEast
Edward Witten, Fields medal winner, and the greatest String Theory theorist,
reversed my carrer path.

He first went to law school and then got into physics.

Unlike that other law school graduate, Dershowitz, he is no Likudnik apologist. He is very active in the MidEast peace movement. Here is a link to one of his letters


there are also a number of powerpoint presentation by him on the web about string theory that are at the intro level.

Best Wishes


The mathematical complexity of string theory allways reminds me of the epicycles that were needed to make a heliocentric universe consistent with observations.

Cloned Poster

Musical Strings

PL, you said "Go For It"

Cloned Poster

Musical Strings

PL, you said "Go For It"


String/Bane theory has extra dimensions. To explain why these aren't seen in ordinary life, it is said that they are curled up at the microscopic scale.

Loop Quantum Gravity doesn't need extra dimensions.

But Heim theory has them. And they are quite esoteric which has made it popular with the New Age crowd. From the Wikepdia Article.

" Misnomers

The method of extending Heim Theory to higher dimensions than the four known, results in a theory which describes the physical world in terms of an increasing number of dimensions. These extra dimensions (which are auxiliary to length, width, height, and time) are often liberally associated with notions such as "consciousness", "spirit", etc. This, however, is a misinterpretation of Heim, as he always associated x5 and x6 only with organisation and nothing more. This misunderstanding is probably due to Heim's interest later in his life to provide a framework for such perceptions and experiences.

It should be noted that it is convenient to label the additional dimensions, but this only serves as a tool for organization. The additional dimensions need not necessarily correspond to physical reality and be interpreted literally. This is because the labelling is arbitrary, and it serves to provide a name for a particular property of the equations in Heim Theory. This is analogous to quantum chromodynamics where quarks are assigned properties named after different colours. Particle physicists are not suggesting that quarks have "colour", rather, that they have an important property for which an arbitrary label has been applied.

These extra dimensions in Heim Theory should be considered auxiliary coordinates occurring as a mathematical tool in the theory. It introduces symmetry into Heim Theory which simplifies its expression and manipulation. The phenomena described in these auxiliary coordinates of Heim theory are projected into real coordinate space which then describe the physics of fundamental particles and the universe.


Also, the 8-dimensional theory of Dröscher & Heim reproduces the group structure of the standard model (SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1)). "

Best Wishes

Duncan Kinder

Pythagoras, the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, theorized that the universe was composed of harmonic variations.

A google of the terms "string theory" pythagoras yields 49,400 hits. Blurbs from early hits include such items as "Pythagoras could be called the first known string theorist" and "However, a perhaps equally valid viewpoint is that “string theory” actually began with Pythagoras...."

As a google of the terms, Renaissance Pythagoras, will quickly demonstrate, Pythagoras was not only an ancient Greek thinker but also an important influence on early modern thinkers.

The emergence of string theory therefore suggests that contemporary thought mirrors early modern thought - the Renaissance and the Baroque.

Of particular interest to this blog would be the thesis that likewise contemporary politics and society also mirror the early modern era.


Here is the link for that great Edward Witten powerpoint lecture I was telling you about. Very, very elementary. Really, no kidding, handwritten notes.

Not really powepoint but organized as slides that you can click on. You won't be disappointed.


Best Wishes


Got to give you more incentive to listen to it. It has an accompying audio component.

this thing is so hot, i had to take a cold shower after listening to it.

" Duality, Spacetime and Quantum Mechanics
Edward Witten, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton)

In the last few years, physicists have learned that the different string theories discovered and studied in different ways are limiting cases of a single, more powerful theory, known as M theory. "M" stands for magic, mystery, or matrix, according to taste. Some of these developments will be explained in this lecture.

Edward Witten, professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., is arguably the premier theoretical physicist of our time. Renowned for his many contributions to particle physics and string theory, Witten has almost single-handedly constructed a new branch of mathematical physics For his achievements, he has been awarded mathematics' highest prize, the 1990 Fields Medal. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he is a recipient of a MacArthur Prize, the Dirac Medal, and many other honors.

Audio for this talk requires sound hardware, and RealPlayer or RealAudio by RealNetworks.

Begin continuous audio for the whole talk. (Or, right-click to download the whole audio file.)

To begin viewing slides, click on the first slide below. "

Best Wishes


Although I did get a minor in physics and had a lot of fun with quantum mechanics I feel that the quest for a unified theory is misplaced. Why do we need one other than pure intellectual stimulation?


String theory presupposes dimensional matter shifts through infinitely tiny, infinitely important nano-strings.

I'll take the brunette in pink.


Dirty Young Men

the brunette in pink

It's enough to make Jubal Early rouse up his boys up for one more major operation or Sheridan to ride his noble black steed Rienzi (sp?) again 20 miles from Winchester for a 10,000 men cavalry charge.

Best Wishes

Dave of Maryland

Hello Will,

Before I saw your note I was ignorant. I had heard of string theory but had never looked at the details. I had thought there might something to the strings. Now I'm wondering.

String sounds like a nice idea that got lost in details.

My rule of thumb is that when a great idea gets lost in a haze of conflicting details, to chuck the idea & start over. From scratch.

The reference to Pythagoras was rather sad. Is it just ego that keeps strings going?

4 billion

When E=mC2 was 'hooked up' to valve driven computers, the Atomic bomb was created. What now, when String theory is 'hooked up' to computers that make 300 teraflops (300 trillion decisions per second)?


@Dave et al

Now that you've all mastered String Theory, you"ll be able to get dates w/ hot chicks quaranteed. Joan, if you're this babe, I am a happily married man and just trying to participate in a Physics discussion.

Speaking of Pythagaros, he traveled to the EAST and participated in mnay Mystery rites. That was to introduce my favorite Confederate general Albert Pike was traveled to the East in his mind and compiled the theory for Masonic Rituals in his book, Morals and Dogma. I lost out joining in that previous discussion.

Back to srings. I just now noticed one girl is watering the other three who are posing as plants. Why did I miss that? Was I distracted?

There's a new book knocking String Theory spectaculary titled
Just came out.

Best Wishes.

Duncan Kinder

"Speaking of Pythagaros, he traveled to the EAST and participated in mnay Mystery rites. That was to introduce my favorite Confederate general Albert Pike was traveled to the East in his mind and compiled the theory for Masonic Rituals in his book, Morals and Dogma. I lost out joining in that previous discussion."

One of the interesting bits of trivia concerning the Civil War is that Sir Richard Burton was physically present in the American South for several months during 1860, although no records indicate precisely what he was doing during that visit.

Burton, who had previously gone on a haj to Mecca disguised as an Afghan physician, is best remembered today as translator of the Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra. A player in the Great Game, he was both a Sufi and a Freemason.

The undocumented presence of a British player in the Great Game in the American South on the eve of the Civil War has generated speculation as to what, if anything, he may have been up to.

( On the one hand, Burton's personal life was then in an uproar. His fiancee's parents disproved of him; so he felt the need to clear out of town. On the other hand, Burton was demonstrably adept at developing cover stories.)

Your citation of Albert Pike as a Freemason adds fuel to this speculation. Certainly, if nothing more, we have the elements of great historical fiction as the two Freemasons get together for ulterior motives on the eve of the great conflict.


Abert Pike was in the Western Theater with his Native American Confederate Cavalry. They were accused of scalping the fallen foe. After the war he was falsely accused of starting the KKK.

Basic freemasonary is three degrees and ends with the final degree of Master Mason.

Advanced Masonry forks two ways. One based on the Crusading Orders and is called the York Rite. They swear allegiance to Jesus Christ. They have an interesting initiation ritual where dressed as knights they drink wine out of a skull. My dad was York

The Scottish Rite just posits belief in a supreme being and is thus also open to Jews, Muslims, and other religions. Albert Pike worked on the theory of their degrees. Some of the degrees are very eclectic going back to Ancient Egypt, the Greek Mysteries, one even patterened after the Druze religion of Lebanon, the Prince of Cedars. Thirty-two degrees in all. The 33rd is honorary.

I went thru the Scottish rite. It used to take years work all thru the degrees. Now it can be done in a few days.

The Shriners is a supraorganzation on Masonry. My wife thinks they are a bunch of drunks that like to dress up and go to parades. I am a member. I differ with her. Yes we like to drink. We raise money for the Burn and Crippled children hospitals.

The Shriner initiation is based on Muslim faith. the full name is Ancient Arabic Order of the Knights of the Mystic Shrine. Or something close to that. All the temples have Arabic names or middle eastern souding names. Oasis, Sudan, etc.

No spiritual stuff for the Shriners, partying and raising money for the hospitals.

I am not a member of the Illumaniti.

Best Wishes


are there any intellec meetngs

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