Many years ago I gave evidence at the Old Bailey. It was a fraud trial, and I was an expert witness for the prosecution. During the case I got to know DI Frank Cooper of Holborn nick. He told me about his “copper’s nose”, and what bank robbers and the like are really like. He said I shouldn’t think of them as lovable rogues like in the old movies. He said “They’re career criminals, they’re contemptuous of people like you”. Or words to that effect. Along with this: “They think of people like you as mugs. As sheep to be fleeced. They live in a world where only fools and horses work. Fucking parasites”. I shall never forget Frank. He made quite an impression on me.
Farewell to reality
As did Jim Baggott with his 2013 book Farewell to Reality. The subtitle is how fairytale physics betrays the search for scientific truth. I can empathise with that. Scientific progress is what gave us electricity and vaccines and much much more. It’s made the world a better place. Unfortunately scientific progress in fundamental physics has been in short supply in recent decades. So I’m totally on board when Baggott talks about a “Grand Delusion”, and refers to bankers and the financial crash, pointing out that clever people are particularly prone to fooling themselves:
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He asks a rhetorical question: what’s the harm if theorists indulge in a little self-delusion? His answer is that damage is being done to the integrity of the scientific enterprise. He says “the damage isn’t always clearly visible and is certainly not always obvious. Fairy-tale physics is like a slowly creeping yet inexorable dry rot. If we don’t look for it, we won’t notice that the foundations are being undermined until the whole structure comes down on our heads”. Well said that man. Especially since in chapter 6 Baggott says the “authorized version” of reality is riddled with problems and contradictions. He says the Standard Model falls way short because it requires a collection of 61 “elementary” particles, and is held together by a set of parameters that must be entered “a posteriori”. He says the chickens all come home to roost when we consider the mass of the electroweak Higgs boson. Good stuff Jim.
Something of an eye-opener
Baggot then moves on to supersymmetry, M-theory, the multiverse, the black hole information paradox, the holographic principle, and the anthropological principle. It’s more good stuff, and something of an eye-opener. You realise that some people are less than honest. Like the people who try to portray M-theory and the multiverse as bona-fide science when it isn’t. With more experience you realise that there are some people who will try to shut down any criticism of their fairy-tale physics. But then a guy like Jim Baggott comes along, and they can’t keep a lid on it. Then when the fairytale physics genie is out of the bottle, you come to see that it has infected his “authorized version” too.
A copper’s nose for fairytale physics
When you play detective you develop a copper’s nose for fairytale physics. You learn to sniff it out. You can smell that something is rotten in the state of QED. Quantum electrodynamics was championed by Richard Feynman, who once gave a lecture on cargo-cult science. Oh the irony. Take a look at the Wikipedia two-photon physics article. It concerns gamma-gamma pair production, and it’s faithful to Baggot’s “authorized version”. It says this: “a photon can, within the bounds of the uncertainty principle, fluctuate into a charged fermion-antifermion pair, to either of which the other photon can couple”. Narrow your eyes. Take a sniff. That’s saying a 511keV photon spends its time morphing into a 511keV electron and a 511keV positron. Which then magically morph back into a 511keV photon. Which nevertheless manages to keep on going at the speed of light. It’s also saying pair production occurs because pair production occurs, spontaneously, like worms from mud. It just isn’t true. The “authorized version” offers a cargo-cult explanation. It’s lies to children. It’s a fairy tale.
The electron is not a point particle
Things unravel fast after that, because QED is a foundational component of the Standard Model. In the Standard Model, the electron is a “fundamental” particle. But how can it be fundamental if you can create it in pair production, and destroy it in annihilation? How does pair production actually work anyway? Through creation operators? Oh come on. And what is an electron? Ask a particle physicist, and what you get is “the electron is an excitation of the electron field”. A non-answer. A fairy tale. Because the Standard Model still peddles Yakov Frenkel’s 1925 specious claim that electrons “have no extension in space at all”. Like Silvan Schweber said on page 86 of QED and the men who made it, quantum field theories were then plagued with divergences. Because people like Wolfgang “not even wrong” Pauli wanted to spite Schrödinger and the other realists. The people who wanted to start with the structure of the electron. The electron is not a point particle, but QED claimed it was, which was both a fairy tale and a fatal flaw. But then the fairy tale was “renormalized”, and QED was raised from the dead by a mathematical trick that simply swept the infinities under the rug. So even to this day the Standard Model doesn’t tie in with classical electromagnetism. That’s where the field concerned is the electromagnetic field. The standard model has twenty-five fields instead, flying in the face of Maxwell’s unification. Electromagnetic geometry just doesn’t feature. It’s totally sidelined, despite curl and stress and frame-dragging and gravitomagnetism. Have you seen Peter Woit’s blog this week? Topological Quantum Field Theory is sidelined too, along with knot theory, which goes back to Thomson and Tait. They’re the guys who introduced the term spherical harmonics, which is used in atomic orbitals. In atomic orbitals “electrons do not orbit the nucleus in the sense of a planet orbiting the sun, but instead exist as standing waves”. That’s why you can diffract an electron. Because it’s the wave nature of matter. But ask a Standard-Model physicist, and he’ll tell you the electron is a point particle. It’s an obvious fairy tale, from people who are contemptuous of people like you.
The minimal standard model Higgs is like a fairy tale
When you ask the Standard-Model physicist about mass you’ll get another fairy tale. Einstein made it clear that “the mass of a body is a measure of its energy-content”. That was in 1905 in his famous E=mc² paper. It’s all very straightforward when you understand the wave nature of matter and know about electron spin and the photon in the mirror box. When you catch the massless photon in the mirror-box, it increases the mass of the system. The box is harder to move because the photon is in there, because you have to push against the photon’s energy-momentum too. The photon is moving at the speed of light going around and around inside the box. But because its average location doesn’t change, it’s effectively at rest with respect to you. Then its energy-momentum feels like rest mass. Then when you open the box, what you’ve got is a radiating body that loses mass. The photon is out of the box in a flash. It departs at c from a standing start. But it wasn’t really a standing start. Because whilst the photon looked like a standing wave, it was always going around and around at c, all the time. That’s why the electron goes round in circles in a uniform magnetic field, because spin is real and it’s subject to Larmor precession. Then when you know that spin is real you know that the electron is just a 511keV photon in “a box of its own making”. Photon energy-momentum is a measure of resistance to change-in-motion for a wave moving linearly at c. Electron mass is resistance to change-in-motion for a wave going around and around at c. It’s as simple as that. But the Standard Model says mass is all down to the Higgs mechanism. See Matthew Chalmer’s Particle Headache in the 12 November 2012 issue of New Scientist. That’s where you can read Guido Altarelli saying this: “The minimal standard model Higgs is like a fairy tale”.
It’s the same message in the 2013 book Bankrupting Physics by Alexander Unzicker translated by Sheilla Jones. Unzicker says cosmology is relatively OK, but he rips into stuff like the holographic principle, which you probably expect. He then rips into other physics, like the Standard Model, which you probably don’t. In a nutshell, Unzicker says theoretical physics has succumbed to fantasy, and has “gotten lost in bizarre constructs that are completely disconnected from reality”.
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On page 240 he says “right now the situation is worse than if we didn’t pay theoreticians at all”. I know what he means. Lee Smolin had string theory in his sights in his 2006 book The Trouble with Physics, as did Woit with Not Even Wrong in 2007. But you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to see that the problem isn’t just limited to string theory, it’s right there in the Standard Model too. Because peer-review protectionism, big-science groupthink, and propaganda-driven “consensus” have stifled scientific progress. As a result, physics is in mortal danger. Funding pressures are growing. Because progress is stalled. Because something is rotten in the state of physics. What’s particularly telling is that Unzicker’s earlier German version of the book was published by Springer, the scientific publisher. Bear that in mind if you hear people calling Unzicker a crank and telling you not to listen. Then turn your bullshіt detectors to max when you hear those self-same people purring on about the fabulous Higgs boson. Be wary of science writers too. Investigative journalists are like dogs, people try to muzzle them. But science writers are like children’s ponies, they get nuzzled, not muzzled. They get fed and watered with dinners and jollies, they get sugar-lump press releases, and they don’t bite the hand that feeds them. They’ll never admit that they’ve done their bit to spin you a line.
A Zeptospace Odyssey
They won’t tell you that “the Higgs mechanism accounts for about 1 per cent of the mass of ordinary matter, and for only 0.2 per cent of the mass of the universe. This is not nearly enough to justify the claim of explaining the origin of mass”. That was in Gian Francesco Giudice’s 2010 book A Zeptospace Odyssey. Giudice is now head of theory at CERN. On page 173 he says this: “The most inappropriate name ever given to the Higgs boson is ‘The God particle’. The name gives the impression that the Higgs boson is the central particle of the Standard Model, governing its structure. But this is very far from the truth”. That’s the head of theory at CERN saying the Higgs boson isn’t central to the Standard Model. He also says this: “The Higgs sector is rather arbitrary, and its form is not dictated by any deep fundamental principle. For this reason its structure looks frightfully ad hoc”. Giudice tells us the mass of a body is the intrinsic energy of a body at rest, and tells us about E=mc². No problem there. The problem comes when Giudice says the Higgs mechanism gives quarks their mass, and you remember that you’ve never ever seen a quark.
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There’s also a problem with that cosmic treacle we’ve all read about in the popscience press. Space isn’t like molasses, not one bit. Electrons don’t slow down and stop. Give an electron in space a kick via Compton scattering, and it doesn’t slow down at all. Cosmic treacle is a fairy-tale. So is the celebrity at the cocktail party. And for the cherry on top, the Higgs mechanism is supposed to be responsible for the mass of “fundamental” particles like the electron, but not the Higgs boson. See Matt Strassler’s blog article The Higgs FAQ 2.0. There are of course no pictures of the Higgs boson. There are no particle tracks because its lifetime is so conveniently short. Instead its existence is “inferred” from a bump on a graph. But that’s OK, it’s a five-sigma bump on a graph. The fact that this could be anything hasn’t made it into the media. However the hype has made it into the media. Because there are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics. Five-sigma statistics, because when a church needs a miracle, a church gets a miracle. Especially when it’s spent ten billion dollars of your money.
The Higgs Fake
For the low down on that, take a look at Alexander Unzicker’s 2013 book The Higgs Fake. He says physicists such as Einstein would have considered the “discovery” of the Higgs boson to be utterly ridiculous. Unzicker says a whole lot more. He really rips into particle physics, and when you know some physics you know he isn’t talking out of his hat. You know Unzicker is right when he says particle physicists haven’t reduced the number of parameters or incorporated gravity or explained the fine structure constant. Or the mass of the electron and the proton and the neutron. Or why the electron and the proton and their antiparticles are the only stable massive particles we’ve ever seen.
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You know particle physicists haven’t explained spin, or charge, or beta decay, or any of the other issues that were important to people like Einstein and Schrödinger. You know instead that particle physicists have made things more complicated rather than more elegant, going against the grain of scientific progress. You know that instead of explaining things, particle physicists have invented things. Things like isospin and color charge and strangeness. Things that aren’t explained at all, and things that are swept under the carpet. Like quark confinement. So you smile wryly when Unzicker quotes from The End of Physics by David Lindley, a former editor at Nature: “In the end, the quark model succeeded by the ironical trick of proving that no quark would ever be directly seen by a physicist. This liberated physicists from any need to demonstrate the existence of quarks in the traditional way”. You smile some more when Unzicker quotes from Constructing Quarks by Andrew Pickering: “a critic could assert that the sea quark and gluon components were simply ad hoc devices, designed to reconcile the expected properties of quarks with experimental findings”. But you don’t smile when Unzicker reminds you that the Higgs boson has a lifetime of circa 10-25 seconds. Because like Unzicker says, such “particles” don’t even leave the collision point. They have never made it to any detector. Their bump-on-a-graph existence is “inferred” from triggering and selection and damn damn statistics.
Bump on a graph images from Eni school, source: http://cms.web.cern.ch and atlas.web.cern.ch
And from missing momentum. Which means decay products that weren’t actually seen, are used to proclaim the existence of particles that weren’t actually seen. Whatever existence there was, was fleeting, transient, ephemeral. Like Unzicker said in The Discovery of What? it really isn’t clear what if anything was discovered. But what his book makes crystal clear, is the driven desire for “the discovery of the century”. Because particle physicists always want to persuade the public and politicians that they deliver value. When actually, they don’t.
Particle physics has form
It all makes grim reading. All the more so because what Unzicker is also saying, is that particle physics has form. He tells us about the neutral current that dates back to 1973, and how data analysers cherry-picked 100 out of 290,000 photographs. He refers to How Experiments End by Peter Galison about the contradictory paper that was never submitted. Unzicker also tells us about the “discovery” of the W boson which dates back to 1983. It too allegedly has a lifetime of 10-25 seconds. So what was actually detected? An electron. And check this out: “Rubbia urged his collaborators to work day and night before his visit to various institutions in the USA. He took a picture of a ‘W-event’ with him. There, Steven Weinberg, Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow all happily agreed that it was the long sought-after W boson (which confirmed their theory, by the way)”. Unzicker says the official announcement was given in a common seminar of groups UA1 and UA2, which reminds you of 4th July 2012. He says CERN management provided Rubbia with the UA2 results privately, and that believing in independent analysis is like believing in Santa Claus. He talks about the top quark which dates back to 1995. He tells us that it too allegedly has a lifetime of 10-25 seconds, and had to exist because: “the bottom quark needed a partner, as the Ws and Zs had to exist because otherwise the standard model was wrong”. We’ve never seen a free quark, remember? This top quark was “seen to decay” into a bottom quark and a W boson. But we’ve never actually seen a top quark, or a bottom quark, or a W boson. The top quark was inferred from particles that were inferred. And after that ”something had to be found in the theoretical boxroom to inspire the next round of high energy experiments”. Groan. A 2cm bubble chamber track was “a great triumph in the study of quark processes” in 1964. A bump on a graph “proved” that quarks were real in 1974. Three jets “proved” that gluons were real in 1979. And yet we have no electron model within the Standard Model. Instead we have physicists making a virtue out of symmetry, and when that doesn’t work, they make a virtue out of symmetry breaking. We have epicycles. Because of groupthink and big science and “singing in the choir”. Because of peer review and the ”suppression of opinions that would endanger the sacred cows of an established field”. Oh it makes grim reading all right. All the more so when you know that particle physicists have painted themselves into a corner and can’t get out.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
They can’t admit that any of it is wrong. They can’t let anybody say it’s wrong either. We all know the Hans Christian Anderson story about The Emperor’s New Clothes. But what we don’t all know, is that his initial version didn’t feature the child. The Emperor got away with it. In the old days fat bishops in palaces got away with it too. They lived a life of ease spouting Latin that ordinary people didn’t understand, taking their tithe for the ultimate jam-tomorrow promise. If challenged they’d spout platitudes like the grace of God surpasseth all human understanding. If confronted they’d say you are not qualified to speak on theological matters. Now times have changed, but not much. Now we have different people pontificating on the origin of the universe. Instead of God did it, nowadays it’s a quantum fluctuation did it, but it’s still turtles all the way down. Susan Greenfield caused an upset when she likened the authors of The Grand Design to the Taliban. She wasn’t far off the mark. Because instead of bishops we have physicists living a life of ease. They don’t spout Latin that you don’t understand, they spout maths that you don’t understand. If challenged they spout platitudes like quantum physics surpasseth all human standing. If confronted they say you are not qualified to speak on theoretical matters.
Propaganda and censorship
The same applies to the bona-fide physicists who can’t get their rock-solid papers into a journal because the editor is some famous physicist with too much to lose. Like I was saying a few weeks back, it’s like they’re up against a magisterium engaged in propaganda and censorship, peddling myth and mystery and standing four-square in the way of scientific progress. That’s why particle physics hasn’t delivered anything useful in the past fifty years. Those “big science” guys don’t tell you they’re researching the secrets of matter and energy so that one day you don’t have to put petrol in your car. Instead they’re hostile to things like cold fusion, and they’ve never been interested in thorium reactors, even though CERN stands for Council European for Research Nuclear. All they’ve given you is ephemera. What happened? The same thing as what happened to Christianity. It started out with love thy neighbour, but before you know it you’ve got a whole raft of useless fat bishops peddling jam tomorrow and lies to children whilst you fill their collection plate. The fat bishops of physics have had jam from you for fifty years, adding up to billions of bucks. But for you it’s always jam tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes. Because of all the propaganda and censorship in physics, aided and abetted by the secret police.
The secret police
When you think of the secret police, you think of some skull-faced guy wearing a black peaked cap. He’s also wearing jackboots and a black leather coat. When he marches into the room flanked by his henchmen, everybody freezes. Got the picture? Wrong picture. The whole point of secret police is that they’re secret. Joe Public doesn’t even know they’re there. But when you’ve been involved with physics for a while, you do. They come in all shapes and sizes, but they’re usually called “moderators”. Woe betide the guy who points out a problem with the Standard Model. His posts get deleted, and he gets banned. Then unless Joe Public catches them in the act, Joe is none the wiser. Nor does he know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. He doesn’t know about those bona-fide physicists who can’t get their rock-solid papers into a journal. Or even get their papers onto the arXiv. The arXiv is an online repository of scientific papers that other scientists and the public can read. The idea is that it’s a shining example of free speech in science. Got the picture? Wrong picture. The arXiv moderators aren’t moderators, they’re secret police. They are the thought police. They are the gatekeepers for the physics Mafia who live a life of ease, funded by you. Got the picture? Right picture.
The standard model is a patchwork-quilt Frankenstein’s monster of a theory
When you get the picture, you come to understand that the Standard Model is a patchwork-quilt Frankenstein’s monster of a theory, and that the Unzicker was spot on. It’s time to stop funding the people who are standing four-square in the way of scientific progress. Because Big-Science fundamental physics is full of quacks and charlatans who have been engaged in scientific fraud for decades. I am reminded of what DI Frank Cooper said. “They’re career criminals, they are contemptuous of people like you. They think of people like you as mugs. As sheep to be fleeced. They live in a world where only fools and horses work. Fucking parasites”. Cheers Frank.