Not In Tower Records

Well, this arrived the other day:

annenberg dvd1 annenberg dvd2

It’s a rather highly-produced DVD of the “Uncertainty” event from August 31st event, produced by the people at the Annenberg School of Communication. (See description and discussion in this previous post.) Gosh. Well, since this might be my only appearance on a DVD of such vast distribution (i.e., I expect it was in a number of other mailboxes around campus), I imagine I should be breaking open a bottle of the bubbly. But instead, having just got back from the airport, I’ve got to go play catchup, such as introducing the colloquium speaker(s) in a few minutes.

Rather than wait for it to appear in a store near you, or on Amazon (a very long wait), if you are interested in seeing the event, I’ve heard that there is working video at this link. Apparently (I have not seen it) the sound is poor for the first several minutes, and then it picks up.


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10 Responses to Not In Tower Records

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  2. astromcnaught says:

    Thank you Clifford, that was very entertaining.
    I’m still wonderering who is on first base tho, haha.

  3. Clifford says:

    That’s right… Who’s on first.


  4. nc says:

    Congratulations! Sounds very interesting.

    In the post about the DVD you touch on spirituality and quantum theory a bit. Do you agree with Feynman’s claim that path integrals are due to interference by virtual charges in the loops which occur out to 10^-15 m from an electron (the UV cutoff, distance corresponding to 0.51 MeV electron collision energy closest approach)?

    ‘… when the space through which a photon moves becomes too small (such as the tiny holes in the screen) … we discover that … there are interferences created by the two holes, and so on. The same situation exists with electrons: when seen on a large scale, they travel like particles, on definite paths. But on a small scale, such as inside an atom, the space is so small that … interference becomes very important.’ – R. P. Feynman, QED, Penguin Books, London, 1985.

    Also, there is news of a new film about 11 dimensions starring Stephen Hawking:

    Hawking’s Brief History of Time sold one copy for every 750 men, women and children on the planet and was on the Sunday Times bestseller list 237 weeks, according to page 1 of A briefer History of Time which seems to be the same text but has beautiful illustrations of photon and electron interference (pp 96, 98), and a nice simple illustration of the Yang-Mills recoil force mechanism (p 119).

    Pages 118-9 state: “… the forces or interactions between matter particles are all supposed to be carried by particles. What happens is that a matter particle, such as an electron or a quark, emits a force-carrying particle. The recoil from this emission changes the velocity of the matter particle, for the same reason that a cannon rolls back after firing a cannonball. The force-carrying particle then collides with another matter particle and is absorbed, changing the motion of that particle. The net result of the process of emission and absorption is the same as if there had been a force between the two matter particles.

    “Each force is transmitted by its own distinctive type of force-carrying particle. If the force-carrying particles have a high mass, it will be difficult to produce and exchange them over a large distance, so the forces they carry will have only a short range. On the other hand, if the force-carrying particles have no mass of their own, the forces will be long-range…”

    Do you agree with popularization of the Yang-Mills theory by the cannon ball analogy? I do, but that’s because I’ve worked out how attractive forces can result from this mechanism, and how to predict stuff with it. However, I know this makes some people upset, who don’t want to deal with a Rube-Goldberg machine type universe because it gets rid of God.


  5. nc says:

    Correction, I mean the IR cutoff at 0.51 MeV or 10^-15 m, not the UV cutoff. Sorry!

  6. spyder says:

    Sad referent to Tower Records notwithstanding, your smile alone in the package evokes joy in the process. The streaming version is nice, but some liner notes and other such supportive material would be great.

  7. nc says:

    Second correction to my comment: “Do you agree with Feynman’s claim that path integrals are due to interference by virtual charges in the loops…” should read: “Do you agree with Feynman’s claim that the chaotic nature of sub-atomic sized path integrals are due to interference by virtual charges in the loops…”

    Sorry again!

  8. Clifford says:

    spyder… thanks! Not sure what is in the liner notes at present.

    nc… I like Feynman’s argument very much (although I have not thought about the virtual charges in the loops bit bit). The general idea that you start with a double slit in a mask, giving the usual interference by summingover the two paths… then drill more slits and so more paths… then just drill everything away… leaving only the slits… no mask. Great way of arriving at the path integral of QFT.

    About the pupularisation aspect….. a series of good analogies (no one on its own being perfect) to build up a picture of what is going on is not a bad way to proceed…but we must be always careful to make sure that the persons listening know that it is an analogy, and therefore limited.



  9. nc says:

    Hi Clifford,

    Thank you very much for your reply. The problem with the charges in the loops causing indeterminism of the electron’s path, may be that it just pushes the cause back one step.

    The picture of the atom with 2+ electrons orbiting the nucleus, automatically leads to some electron chaos, due to the Poincare interference effect. Unlike the analogy of the solar system, where the planets are all relatively small in mass and interact mainly with the sun instead of with each other, all the electrons have the same electric charge and it is a sizable fraction of the charge in the nucleus.

    So it is surprising that Niels Bohr did not predict Poincare chaos arising in his original theory. The main reason I mentioned the random appearance of charges in the loops as being the cause for chaotic orbits is that I was taught mainly about the hydrogen atom which has only one electron and is supposed to obey the Schroedinger equation.

    There is something dodgy about describing merely a hydrogen atom: according to even Bohr’s own 1927 philosophy, you are not allowed to describe anything which you are not observing. In order to observe the electron in a single, isolated hydrogen atom, you would the presence of at least one other particle (to probe it with). That particle will then interfere with the system because you would then have at least 3 particles interacting (proton, electron and the one you fire in).

    Another error seems to be the issue of the electron not radiating due to centripetal acceleration of spin, which sounds like the perfect causal explanation for the Yang-Mills exchange radiation!


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