Holistic Physics--Some proposed solutions for some qauntum qandaries

©Fernando Caracena 2013


A previous blog, Wavicles–quantum quanderies, discussed the wave-particle duality of quantum mechanics  which is one paradox of modern physics yet to be solved. Shortly after encountering this paradox, physicists learned to shut up and calculate, first using the The Old Quntum Theory, and later the The Schrödinger equation and further developments such as the Dirac equation and quantum field theory. Another blog called "Why The Weirdness of Quantum Physics?" discussed the two conflicting points of view about the wave function: 1) it is a mental construct, or 2) it is a real phenomenon. The conclusion was that the wave function is real. Also discussed is the idea that empty space is not nothing, but possesses physical properties that can be altered by boundary conditions, such as very smooth flat plates in very close parallel proximity, to produce a physical effect, such as a force of attraction, the Casimir force. The reason for this is because the flat plates constrain the states of the electromagnetic field between the states to have a lower energy density, through zero point fluctuations, than the energy of the its background, which results in the plates being pressed together. Another blog discusses how a symmetry principle, the Pauli Exclusion Principle, causes constraints in multi-electron atoms that organizes these atoms to be the basis of the many chemical elements. Finally, a previous blog discusses Holistic vs Redutionist Ideas in Physics how it is important to broaden our view on how the universe works from billiard-ball causality to holism, where the idea is that creation constitutes a whole and nothing happens in isolation. The idea of holism is futher strengthend by the holographic principle and the principle of conservation of informtion that was put forth by Leonard Susskind.

Causality, symmetry and synchronicity

The notion of causality that developed after Galileo and Newton is that it relates to a sequence of events in space that are linked by their time sequence. The cause of one event is what happened before the event: the eight ball went into the side pocket after the cue ball hit the red ball that subsequently collided with the eight ball driving it into the side pocket. The idea was that causes were ordered in time. If A always precedes B then A is probably the cause of B. In reductionist terms, forces cause the changes that we call phenomena.

Beginning from reductionist ideas, physicists have been forced to introduce other principles to limit what can happen, to what is observed to happen. Early in the development of classical physics the concepts of conservation laws proved to be very useful, which when formulated mathematically generated the forces involved automatically. More advanced physics showed that the various conservation laws resulted from symmetries in physics resulting from corresponding transformations. Energy conservation results mathematically from displacements in time: in the past, the same laws of physics operated that do now, and in the future, they will sill be the same. Likewise the conservation of momentum results from the idea that the laws of physics are the same everywhere in the universe. The conservation of angular momentum results from the idea that the laws of physics are the same in any direction that you turn. Perhaps we should hold these ideas in mind in such fields as in cosmology. The Big Bang was a singularity, limiting the mathematics of temporal displacement, limiting energy conservation. Event horizons in Relativity limit tractable spatial displacements, limiting the idea of momentum conservation. A symptom of these kinds of trouble was discovered by Kurt Goedel, who as a birthday gift to his friend Einstein, presented him with a solution to his General Relativity Filed equations applied to a rotating universe. The rotation of the universe implied time travel from the future into the past in a sort of toroidal field. But the discussion is getting away from the main topic here, which is that broad principles properly formulated mathematically have a vast sweep of prediction. At the present time, the forces of physics do not properly explain all of the physical phenomena. For example, the Pauli Exclusion Principle is a strong constraint on how fermions behave, completely overriding all applied forces. It explains an important phenomenon in stellar dynamics.

The collapse of a star under its own gravitation is relentless if a star's mass exceeds a certain value larger than that of our own sun. In the process of collapse, atoms disintegrate into a plasma of nucleons and electrons. At that point, a star is kept from collapsing because of the Pauli Exclusion acting on the cloud of electrons and nucleons. Eventually the heat and pressure cause the electrons to be captured by the protons, converting them into neutrons and neutrinos, which are still subject to the pressure of exclusion because they are all fermions. However, neutrinos being much less reactive than the other particles, quickly leave the scene, removing a big component of fermion exclusion from the electrons. This causes a sudden collapse of the star's core. Imploding stellar matter ignites more nuclear reactions. If the stellar mass is not too great, the collapsing gases bounce off the core of the star, exploding outward, scattering the stellar atmosphere outward in a great shock wave. The blow off of elements heavier than iron released a dust clouds in space were the origin of much of the matter that has gone into the formation of planets that have solid crusts.

What physicists have discovered in modern times is that there are two types of causality: temporal (A follows B) and synchronous (the Pauli Exclusion Principle).  The synchronous type is a very subtle type of causality, because it acts to limit the states of motion that would otherwise be open to particles moving under the known forces of physics, and thereby may act to shape a lot of the world as we know it from acting in otherwise chaotic matter in random changes.  In his 1987 book "Synchronicity" [Bantam Books, New York, etc..] F. David Peat, who began his career in physics, suggests that synchronicity may result in a complex of interesting things such as Jung's archtypes.  A previous blog [Holistic vs Redutionist Ideas in Physics] suggests that the wave function is real, but that it is not the property of a single particle but rather, it is the effect of the environment, which limits the spatial and temporal aspects of states of motion available to a particle. For example, the interference pattern produced statistically by repeatedly firing an electron at a double slit may just reflect the spatial redistribution of free particle states available to the electron by the matter that composes the double slit. This idea does not change the mathematics of quantum mechanics, but it does change the conceptual mechanism.

The rest of the universe does matter in particle dynamics

So the idea here is that we live in a holistic universe in which not only forces operate to effect changes, but that the distribution of matter in the rest of the universe acts to limit the possibilities for how particles can act in a given location. Perhaps this kind of thinking could explain how spontaneous order can emerge in dissipative structures, which was covered in the blog  on Spontaneous Order and Dissipative Structures. If a holistic principle can be formulated mathematically, it would reflect time and spatial scales perhaps as wave structures. The distance scale in the double slit experiment,for example, would be determined by the de Broglie wavelength of the electron. The rearrangement of particle states could perhaps be solved as a boundary value problem.


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