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A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics


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Physicists have discovered 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.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University who has been following the work.

The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding jewel-like “amplituhedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression.

“The degree of efficiency is mind-boggling,” said Jacob Bourjaily, a theoretical physicist at Harvard University and one of the researchers who developed the new idea. “You can easily do, on paper, computations that were infeasible even with a computer before.”

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.

https://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20130917-a-jewel-at-the-heart-of-quantum-physics/

 

They present a pretty interesting hypothesis.

Edited by swansont
snipped most of article — copyright
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It applies to a subset of a subset and is not quite so general and worldshattering as the article implies - and whilst the authors claim it can and will be generalised there is no reason that must be so

There's also the "by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics: locality and unitarity" bit. If your exhaustive and mutually exclusive probabilities don't add to 1, you've broken something.

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There's also the "by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics: locality and unitarity" bit. If your exhaustive and mutually exclusive probabilities don't add to 1, you've broken something.

 

Strikes me as a little iconoclastic - it can sometimes be good to imagine what happens if we ignore this or that rule, but as you say probs not summing to 1 seems so beyond the norm

 

Also, anyone who seem to be messing with Feynman can't be up to much good (is that the epitome of the appeal to authority?)

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Also, anyone who seem to be messing with Feynman can't be up to much good (is that the epitome of the appeal to authority?)

I'm not sure they are. If you view Feynman diagrams/integrals as analogous to a series expansion, then it seems to me that they've simply found a way to express the function rather than summing up terms in the series. I don't see the two in contradiction, from what little is actually explained.

 

My objection is to the suggestion that they've uncovered some underlying "truth" to the structure of nature. Like most of physics, it's a description of how nature behaves, not what it actually is. We will adopt it if it works better than what we have.

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I'm not sure they are. If you view Feynman diagrams/integrals as analogous to a series expansion, then it seems to me that they've simply found a way to express the function rather than summing up terms in the series. I don't see the two in contradiction, from what little is actually explained.

 

My objection is to the suggestion that they've uncovered some underlying "truth" to the structure of nature. Like most of physics, it's a description of how nature behaves, not what it actually is. We will adopt it if it works better than what we have.

But, that is merely opinion as is the debate continues between the Platonic view and the other view of reality, which is the debate between whether mathematics is actually the language of nature or whether it is simply a representation.

You can study Quantum Physics or any Physics from my Design.

Yes, you can claim so, but if you really want to take a speculative idea don't do it in the News section. Do it in the Speculation section.

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