Physics and the Great Architect of the Universe
by Estéban Trujillo de Gutiérrez
I cross-posted this on both my Magic Kingdom Dispatch on Facebook and Samizdat on Facebook pages. It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted on Samizdat, as I finished rekeying Umberto Eco’s The Search for the Perfect Language and I still need to combine all those posts into one giant manuscript so that book will be available for free download on the web for as long as the web shall last.
“I flinched when I read that “Physicists reported this week the discovery of a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.”
Then I went back to read the date, and sure enough, the article was dated 12-11-13, which I am choosing to note but not to consider too carefully. It could be coincidence, or somebody could have a sense of humor.
Or the multiverse could be sending us more smoke signals.
Wired Magazine did it to me again, though, presenting an article from Quanta. This happens to me like once a month, when Wired / Quanta flip me out with an article about physics.
Then the article states:
“The new geometric version of quantum field theory could also facilitate the search for a theory of quantum gravity that would seamlessly connect the large- and small-scale pictures of the universe. Attempts thus far to incorporate gravity into the laws of physics at the quantum scale have run up against nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes. The amplituhedron, or a similar geometric object, could help by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics: locality and unitarity.”
The article then states, “Locality is the notion that particles can interact only from adjoining positions in space and time.” I am not sure what this can even mean in a multiverse where the word “position” is imbued with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which insists that simply observing something collapses its wave form.
Not to mention the idea of entanglement.
The writers carefully admit that the “amplituhedron itself does not describe gravity.” Right. This remains the grail of physics, incorporating gravity into the laws of physics at the quantum scale.
The article continues: “But Arkani-Hamed and his collaborators think there might be a related geometric object that does. Its properties would make it clear why particles appear to exist, and why they appear to move in three dimensions of space and to change over time.”
The article trips me up again when the writers say, “In 1986, it became apparent that Feynman’s apparatus was a Rube Goldberg machine.” A “Rube Goldberg machine?” Ah. A contraption that is deliberately over-engineered to perform a simple task in a complicated fashion. Ok.
Then the article explains that the inside of a triangle is a region in a two-dimensional space bounded by intersecting lines, so a positive Grassmanian is a “region in an N-dimensional space bounded by intersecting planes.”
This leads to: “They have also found a “master amplituhedron” with an infinite number of facets, analogous to a circle in 2-D, which has an infinite number of sides.”
I love these kinds of articles.
“Its volume represents, in theory, the total amplitude of all physical processes.”
Who needs intoxicants? Contemplating these subjects, when linear thinking evaporates into totality, you are experiencing infinitude between your ears. The meat of our brains somehow reflects concepts without limits.
While the grail of quantum physics remains gravity, these mischievous physicists are already reaching beyond, asking whether the discovery of the amplituhedron could enable us to give up space and time as fundamental constituents of nature.
We are in pure geometry: “The object is basically timeless.”
How is this not a contemplation of God?”
Estéban Trujillo de Gutiérrez, “Physics and the Great Architect of the Universe,” Samizdat.
Bangkok, 27 September, 2016.