Is Our world Ruled by Four Fundamental Forces?
Friday, December 18, 2015 at 09:26AM

Fundamental physics theorists in the legacy physics community continue to be perplexed by the challenges facing them. So much so that now some of them are entertaining philosophical arguments, which promise to get them off the hook.

In a conference in Germany, as reported in a Quanta Magazine article, the heaviest of the heavy discussed it for two days.


The photo above, heading up the article, conveys the angst of it all. Because of untestable string theory, these physicists find themselves in a “battle for the heart and soul of [legacy] physics.”

However, the trouble with physics started long before string theory first beguiled physicists into redefining elementary particles of matter, as elementary vibrations, in hopes of solving the dilemma facing them when trying to reconcile the incompatible theories of quantum mechanics and general relativity.

It was Dewey B. Larson, the amateur investigator friend of Linus Pauling, who pointed out to them long ago that they were fooling themselves, by not recognizing that there cannot be any such thing as autonomous forces, as legacy physics has come to regard them.

These physicists have been led down a dead-end road by their impressive successes for more than half a century, and they just can’t let it go after all these generations of stellar university careers and elite professions, which have built and played with Western civilization’s magnificent colliding machines.

That they can understand and predict the paths of debris coming from highly energetic collisions of elementary particles is intoxicating, but the inevitable hang-over comes with the dawn of realization that they can’t get there from here. In the words of Stephen Weinberg, “[They] are stuck.”

In an article last month, Professor Lance Dixon of Stanford University, explained his group’s non-string theory approach to searching for a successful quantum theory of gravity, a theory that would be compatible with quantum mechanics and the standard model of particle physics.

The article is written for a general audience, so Dixon begins by declaring: “Our world is ruled by four fundamental forces,” and then he proceeds to explain how three of these theoretical forces are understood, but the fourth is not

With the exception of gravity, we can describe nature’s fundamental forces using the concepts of quantum mechanics. In these theories, which are summarized in the Standard Model of particle physics, forces are the result of an exchange of tiny quanta of information between interacting particles. Electric charges, for instance, attract or repel each other by exchanging photons – quanta of light that carry the electromagnetic force. The strong and weak forces have corresponding carriers called gluons and W and Z bosons, respectively.

We routinely use these theories to calculate the outcome of subatomic processes with extraordinary precision. For example, we can make accurate predictions for the complex proton-proton collisions at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, the most powerful man-made particle accelerator.

But gravity is different. Although Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity explains gravity on larger scales as the result of massive objects distorting the fabric of space-time, it doesn’t tell us anything about what happens to subatomic particles gravitationally. Quantum gravity is an attempt to combine Einstein’s general relativity with quantum mechanics. In analogy to the other forces, we predict gravity to be mediated by a force carrier as well, the graviton.

“Mediated by a force carrier,” he says. If you find this statement perplexing, you are not alone. To get to the bottom of its meaning, you’re welcome to delve into the stacks of books and papers on particle physics trying to explain it, but, in the end, you will probably benefit more from the young man explaining it in the following video than from anything else:

How Bosons Mediate A Force

Professor Dixon and the rest of legacy physics theorists do not hesitate to exclaim how impressively successful this theory of virtual particles, different ones carried by various elementary particles, has been. Even Linus Pauling, way back in the days of Richard Feynman, tried to convince his friend Dewey, that the thinking for fundamental physics had been done and that it was a waste of time and resources to entertain any alternative.

Of course, today they are all deceased, but the younger generation, as we can see in the video above, are not taught and have no idea of the errors that are being propagated, by this belief that there is no alternative to the thinking that constitutes the program of Newtonian physics, still in play today, which assumes that reality consists of fundamental particles existing on the stage of space and time, ruled by fundamental forces.

Clearly, they should ponder the picture above.

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