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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.
“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 an author of the first of two papers detailing the new idea. “You can easily do, on paper, computations that were infeasible even with a computer before.”
Locality is the notion that particles can interact only from adjoining positions in space and time. And unitarity holds that the probabilities of all possible outcomes of a quantum mechanical interaction must add up to one. The concepts are the central pillars of quantum field theory in its original form, but in certain situations involving gravity, both break down, suggesting neither is a fundamental aspect of nature.
In keeping with this idea, the new geometric approach to particle interactions removes locality and unitarity from its starting assumptions. The amplituhedron is not built out of space-time and probabilities; these properties merely arise as consequences of the jewel’s geometry. The usual picture of space and time, and particles moving around in them, is a construct.
“It’s a better formulation that makes you think about everything in a completely different way,” said David Skinner, a theoretical physicist at Cambridge University.
The amplituhedron itself does not describe gravity. 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.
Because “we know that ultimately, we need to find a theory that doesn’t have” unitarity and locality, Bourjaily said, “it’s a starting point to ultimately describing a quantum theory of gravity.”
Thorneblood
Further proof of the sacred power of Geometry, one more example of old world mystics having an understanding of things that we are only now beginning to comprehend.
A research team from the University of Singapore has developed a device that can make objects invisible by bathing them in a beam of darkness.
spacedoubt
reply to post by BlueMule
I'm not completely sure how mystical something is, if it can be explained, or deciphered by by math?
The amplituhedron is not built out of space-time and probabilities; these properties merely arise as consequences of the jewel’s geometry. The usual picture of space and time, and particles moving around in them, is a construct.
Thorneblood
reply to post by tkwasny
Didn't the article say that this made time and space questionable or was that a different article i was reading about this?
This one
The amplituhedron is not built out of space-time and probabilities; these properties merely arise as consequences of the jewel’s geometry. The usual picture of space and time, and particles moving around in them, is a construct.edit on 16-12-2013 by Thorneblood because: (no reason given)
Locality is the notion that particles can interact only from adjoining positions in space and time. And unitarity holds that the probabilities of all possible outcomes of a quantum mechanical interaction must add up to one. The concepts are the central pillars of quantum field theory in its original form, but in certain situations involving gravity, both break down, suggesting neither is a fundamental aspect of nature.
BlueMule
Thorneblood
Further proof of the sacred power of Geometry, one more example of old world mystics having an understanding of things that we are only now beginning to comprehend.
Yup. The anti-mysticism types are gonna be so pissed. Can't wait.
Deeper still penetrates his insight that symmetry defines structure. Plato sensed enormous potential in the fact that asking for perfect symmetry leads one to discover a small number of possible structures. Based on that foundation, and a few clues from experience, the outlandish synthesis that his philosophy suggested should be possible, to realize the World as Ideas, might be achievable. And clues were there to be found: Near-coincidence between the number of perfect solids (five) and the number of suspected elements (four); suggestions of how observed qualities might reflect underlying shapes (e.g., the sting of fire from the sharp points of tetrahedra). One must also admire the boldness of genius in seeing an apparent defect in the theory—five solids for four elements—as an opportunity for crowning creation, either with the Universe as a whole (Plato) or with space itself (Aristotle).
Plato's Beautiful Loser was, in hindsight, a product of premature, and immature, ambition. He tried to leap directly from beautiful mathematics, some imaginative numerology, and primitive, cherry-picked observations to a Theory of Everything. In this his ambition was premature. Also, Plato failed to draw out specific consequences from his ideas, or to test them critically. He sketched an inspiring world-model, but was content to "declare victory" without engaging any serious battles. The mature and challenging form of scientific ambition, which aspires to understand specific features of the world in detail and with precision, emerged only centuries later.
spacedoubt
reply to post by Boscov
Well ok! I do see what you are saying.
However i myself might apply the word Mysterious. Same root, but less of a spiritual connotation.
If this is how it is..a sort of crystalline mathematics, the macro then reflects the micro, or the nano, or the pico..or whatever is even smaller , it's something that we've seen, and can reapply. So this is helpful!