Lab Notes for a Scientific Revolution (Physics)

July 22, 2007

Welcome to Jay R. Yablon’s Physics Weblog

Filed under: Physics,Science — Jay R. Yablon @ 9:42 pm

 Dear Friends:

Welcome to my new Weblog “Lab Notes for a Scientific Revolution.”

Those of you who have followed my Usenet discussions know that I am a maverick physicist who is willing to think outside the box in order to gain new insights into the nature of our material universe.  By way of background, I am a co-moderator of the Usenet group sci.physics.foundations.  Vocationally, I am a patent attorney and in the thirteen years I have been in private practice, have secured over 100 US and foreign patents for my clients.  Avocationally, I am a physicist.  As an undergraduate at MIT, I double-majored in electrical engineering/computer science, and political science.  I opted out of what I originally intended to be a major in physics, because I believed that had I done so, I would have lost my ability to see the subject objectively, that is, I would have learned all the trees, but then found it difficult to see the forest.

Instead, after graduation, I formulated my own course of study, which started with special and general relativity (which to me are the “gold standards” of theoretical physics), then moved to elementary particle physics.  Presently, I am studying quantum field theory.  As I study each subject, it is important to me not to merely take the subject at face value or regurgitate subject matter or learn every possible calculation, but to put together my own understanding of the subject on premises which are simple and intuitive and fundamental, not unlike how one can view general relativity, for all of its mathematical complexity, as little more than geometry and the dynamics of geometry.  I believe strongly that Wheeler was on  the right track when he proposed geometrodynamics, and am certain that one day we will uncover a purely geometrodynamic understanding of nature.  I remain a counterrevolutionary regarding the probabilistic interpretations of quantum mechanics, though find great value in the statistical methods used, for example, to understand thermodynamics on the basis of collective molecular motion.

Most fundamentally, I am an unabashed practitioner of the “scientific method” of iterative trial and error and correction through feedback.  Some of my critics might say that most of my emphasis is on “error” ;-), but I heed closely the words of Thomas Alva Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” One must be wiling to make errors, even silly errors, in order to make advances, and anyone who does not have the courage to do so is not suited to advancing the frontiers of human knowledge.

I have, over a number of years, noticed that much of what we already know about the physical universe — if viewed in a different way than usual, or developed down a somewhat different path than what is conventional — can lead to some very interesting new insights.  Sometimes, what we think is an insight turns out to be a dead end. Other times, our insight may be an ember which, if only we fanned in just the right way, can become a roaring fire of new knowledge.  These various “insights” and “embers” — some possible leads, others dead ends, are what I have termed “lab notes.”  Unfortunately, I find that the physics “establishment” — to borrow a pejorative from back in the 1960s — has become all too skilled at stamping out rather than fanning possible embers of new knowledge. 

When one is in a lab, practicing scientific method, one takes systematic notes about what one is observing.  Going back over those notes, and trying to synthesize those notes into something that makes theoretical sense, is the heart of scientific method.  When we carry out a serious gedanken, i.e., thought experiment, and wander into possibly unexplored paths, preparing good lab notes is equally important.  When Lewis and Clark explored the American Northwest, their diaries were filled with notes of their explorations.

In the course of my explorations, I have developed a number of insights, some of which may lead to new directions in physics, and others of which may lead nowhere.  But, if even a single lead goes somewhere, then the effort is worthwhile.  As just one example, in my explorations I have noted that electric and magnetic sources in electrodynamics can be represented as third-rank antisymmetric sources in spacetime.  When non-Abelian (Yang-Mills) gauge groups are employed, these sources are non-vanishing (I believe t’Hooft and Polyakov were among the first to see this).  I believe that these third-rank antisymmetric sources, in fact, lay the theoretical foundation for the observed three-component sources we have come to know, experimentally, as baryons.  My best “lab notes” on this, to date, are at http://home.nycap.rr.com/jry/Papers/Baryon%20Paper.pdf.

So, over the coming weeks and months, I will use this blog to compile my years of “lab notes” under one roof.  To put all the embers in one place.  If you wish, you may think of this as something of a scientific diary.  This may mean nothing, or, perhaps, this may turn out to be a contribution to the advancement of humankind’s knowledge of the material universe.  Either way, I do know for certain that nothing good is ever achieved without taking risk and making concerted effort.

Finally, although a maverick, I am a very conservative physicist.  I do not believe in lightly discarding that which clearly works.  I believe in building on what works, or incorporating what works as a special case of something even larger and more-encompassing.  I believe in building “on the shoulders of giants,” and recognize that the giants of ages past became so with good reason.  We do not tear down that which is established, we try to build it up further, understand it better, and make it simpler.  One of the great tragedies of the 20th century, is that our understanding of physics became so complex and so esoteric, that a genuine understanding of the material universe via the discipline we call “physics” is now thought to be beyond the comprehension of even very intelligent scientists and engineers who are not directly in the field.  This, to me, does not prove that physics can only be comprehended by an elite few; rather, it indicates that those who think they understand physics, do not understand it as simply as they ought to, or as simply as nature sees herself.

I am starting this blog not to simply talk at my readers, but to hear from you.  I am a thoroughgoing believer in collaboration.  I also believe in the adage that great progress can be made, as long as it is not important who gets the credit.  I hope that my readers will work with me to fan some of these embers, and that together, we can move physics forward toward a new scientific revolution.

Jay.

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17 Comments »

  1. Best of luck on your new blog. I look forward to reading more entries.

    I agree with you on the concept of geometrodynamics — it’s a beautiful thing.

    Comment by Shawn — July 22, 2007 @ 10:41 pm | Reply

  2. Jay, I’m glad to see you have a blog. I haven’t been active online for a while. I was hospitalized for an enlarged prostate, could go!

    Anyway, I was reading Wheeler’s Geometrodynamics this last week. Paid close to $200 for a copy only to discover that it was a ollection of his old articles which I’d already read and had photocopies of (except the first article). I agree with your acessment, he was on the right track, he just didn’t have the right geometric setting, which I believe is a complex spacetime. Only time will tell.

    Comment by Thomas Love — August 12, 2007 @ 2:26 am | Reply

  3. Thanks Thomas, it is good to hear from you. I hope you are fully recovered from your surgery.

    Regarding complex spacetime, I have played with the idea of time being a complex coordinate, see
    http://home.nycap.rr.com/jry/Papers/5D%20and%20Path%20Integrals.pdf
    The foundation for this is at
    http://home.nycap.rr.com/jry/Papers/5D%20Nutshell-2.pdf
    The underlying goal is the complete geometrization of rest mass, and this will be the subject of what I have planned for Lab Note 2. You can find some more discussion of this on my website
    http://home.nycap.rr.com/jry/FermionMass.htm
    under the heading “A Fifth Spacetime Mass Dimension.”

    I’d be curious how this fits with some of your thinking on this subject.

    Best regards,

    Jay.

    Comment by Jay R. Yablon — August 12, 2007 @ 7:05 am | Reply

  4. Hi Jay:
    Great idea for a web-site & good luck with it.
    I just discovered this link through my Kaluza-like interest in ‘spin’.
    Your Foundation posts are always interesting, but less so when they only refer to mathematics.
    I share your view on the progress of physics: I refer to it as the Principle of Least Change (in Science).
    If I can help can help heat up some of your embers I will be most gratified.
    Best wishes for 2009.

    Comment by 'Maxwell' — January 30, 2009 @ 11:05 am | Reply

  5. Jay, I’m interested in your work on rest mass but your link to RoadRunner is dead.
    Could you please send me a copy?
    Thanks.

    Comment by 'Maxwell' — January 30, 2009 @ 11:10 am | Reply

  6. Your pdf downloads don’t seem to be working.

    Comment by 'Maxwell' — January 30, 2009 @ 11:22 am | Reply

    • Hi Maxwell,

      Roadrunner recently transferred everything to a new server, and I have not had the chance to clean up after that wholesale transfer.

      Most everything I do now, aside from newsgroup discussions, is now on this weblog. Probably the best thing will be for me to transplant the web site onto this bolg, then close the web site and have everything assemled here.

      Jay

      Comment by Jay R. Yablon — January 30, 2009 @ 12:05 pm | Reply

  7. Maxwell,

    The web site address is now http://home.roadrunner.com/~jry/FermionMass.htm. I just went over there and it does seem to be working and all files seem to be intact.

    Let me know specifically what you are trying to access, so I can see what needs to be fixed.

    You can email me at jyablon@nycap.rr.com. Is spsi@shaw.ca a working email for you?

    Thanks,

    Jay

    Comment by Jay R. Yablon — January 30, 2009 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

  8. I too have been studying physics outside of the establishment, and have reached many conclusions about the structure and fundamental mechanisms of nature. I would like to email you copies of some of my books, “A Flower for Einstein”, “The Theory of Reality”, and “The Universe”. the first is an in-depth explanation of the mathematical and physical meanings of the equations in Lorentz’s 1904 paper and Einstein’s 1905 STR one; showing several major (though heretofore undiscovered) errors in Einstein’s. The second sets forth my theory as to the structure of everything that exists and how they interplay as they do. It explains how gravity works, what force, mass, energy, electricity and magnetism physically are and how they work, and other things too.
    I am still writing the third one, though it is published in Wordclay as a book and Smashwords as an e-book. I would highly appreciate it if you would let me email you their files and then argue with me as to their merits. (As I taught my children, the purpose of argument is to uncover errors in our logic in order to reach the truth, regardless of who finds it first.)

    Comment by Gerald Lebau — July 6, 2009 @ 6:40 pm | Reply

    • Hi Gerald,

      You may certainly email me at jyablon@nycap.rr.com.

      I do have to let you know in all fainess, however, that I am very skeptical about papers which try to prove that Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity has hidden errors which lay unnoticed to this day.

      Jay.

      Comment by Jay R. Yablon — July 14, 2009 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  9. Hi Jay,

    Are you doing something in physics right now?

    Vladimir.

    Comment by Vladimir Kalitvianski — November 24, 2010 @ 4:56 pm | Reply

  10. Hi Vladimir,

    Unfortauntely not. In what has become my second job, I am presiding over the revitalization of an 18 acre condominium resort hotel on the west (Gulf of Mexico) coast of Florida. Here is an article from shortly after we took over the property following a 3.5 year legal battle: http://www.yourobserver.com/news/longboat-key/Front-Page/082520107708/Colony-association-president-shares-plans.

    The good news is that I now have a winter home 50 yards from the Gulf of Mexico on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The bad news is that there is a lot of work to do to get everything fixed up that will occupy most of my spare time for the foreseeable future. The good news is that after we are done, I can write equations in the sand. 🙂 🙂 🙂

    I would like to steal some time over the next month or two, and in the spirit of “lab notes,” go back though my last six years of physics work and post everything I have done to some degree of completion in this blog, so that anything that may have value for others to work from does not get lost.

    Jay

    Comment by Jay R. Yablon — December 4, 2010 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  11. Hello Jay,

    It sounds like you have your hands full – and just as I was beginnng to “understand” you. (not being a physicist myself) Do you still have your Law Practice?

    Best regards,
    Barry Dean
    http://greenenergy211.blogspot.com/

    Comment by bdsolar — March 25, 2011 @ 12:03 pm | Reply

    • Yes, Barry, I sure do. My law practice, this condominium resport revitalization, and my phisics. Unfortunately, the physics is getting the short end of the stick right now, and I suspect 2011 will for me be a year without physics. Part of the problem is that to do physics right, one needs to get deeply immersed and stay focused. There is just too much else I have going on right now and it is very difficult to keep up the required sustained concentration. I thank you for your interest, and it is good to be reminded every so often about doing physics which is my real passion in life. Best regards, Jay

      Comment by Jay R. Yablon — March 25, 2011 @ 12:12 pm | Reply

  12. What’s up, I log on to your blogs regularly. Your writing style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

    Comment by nitric oxide — June 2, 2013 @ 12:25 am | Reply

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    Comment by stonewall — July 30, 2013 @ 7:45 pm | Reply


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