Back to foundations of physics for a while…

It may be possible to blow Archimerged’s cover given the information herein. If you succeed, please do not publish your results. Ark likes to toil in anonymity, and believes the basic credit for the work described herein belongs to Einstein and others, and would rather not receive the blame if it fails completely.

See also the other posts in this category. Reading them in the order posted might be a good idea.

When Archimerged was in college (the first time), he never knew what he wanted to do, and kept switching majors. Starting in engineering school, he would have studied four semesters of physics, with the last one quantum mechanics. But he switched to anthropology (physical anthro actually taught evolution in detail) and so always felt deficient in quantum mechanics. Within a year or so he dropped out and worked in software for around 10 years, but managed to finish his undergraduate work, transferring to a nearby university just before his freshman credits would have become non-transferable.

Anyway, over the years he has learned quite a lot about quantum physics and related subjects. Intertwined in those years, he went to grad school and got a PhD in chemistry (related to bio-molecules) but by the time he finished he was more interested in solving the big physics problem: unifying gravity with quantum physics. At the beginning of grad school, he had to take undergraduate physical chemistry, not having taken it before. The derivation of the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution was very interesting, and he considered ensembles to be very fundamental to the nature of the universe.

His approach has always been ensemble-based. At first, he thought of considering every possible pattern of dots on a display, varying in time. Any one sequence of frames makes a movie of sorts, but essentially all of them are just “snow.” But if you add some rules for how the dots start out and how they can change from frame to frame, more meaningful movies might emerge. He felt (and still feels) that the world is like this: particles move about according to certain laws (including the law of gravity, or maybe only the law of gravity) in a given “system” (where an ensemble is a set of systems), and the “real” universe we see is just one of these systems. Not the best of all possible worlds, but the most likely.

When he read a popular account of the “Many Worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics, he thought that’s right, but why this branching stuff? Eliminate the branching, just start with all possible distributions of particles and all ways for them to move.

So he said, particles just move around according to the law of gravity, nothing else, and that is enough. But, what is the law of gravity? So he studied general relativity. A book club happened to offer an introductory package including Wald’s General Relativity, and he studied the first chapters in great detail. He formed the opinion that exact solutions are the only thing of interest. He also formed the opinion that you start with the metric and calculate the curvature and the energy tensor, rather than starting with the energy tensor and trying to find a metric. While reading Gravitation (usually called MTW after the authors), page 901, he formed the opinion that the principal null geodesics of exact solutions are very important.

It’s now been almost 20 years from the start and 10 years since Ark first ran across the metrics, and Ark has finally figured out a way to use certain simple vacuum metrics as electrons and photons. It really works! (see also blog motto). So he will try to explain it in the following posts.


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