DOES "AETHER" EXIST ??

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In physics, whether we're talking about astro- or nuclear- physics, or any other kind of physics, there is the concept of "aether" [= "ether"] which has been around for hundreds of years, and just simply will not go away. If it exists, then ether, or aether, is supposed to be a kind of substance which theoretically fills our universe, inter-penetrating all the ordinary matter in it, and enabling (among other things) the transmission of every kind of electromagnetic radiation (such as light, and radio-signals) thru space at the fabuluosly-fabled speed of light.

Nobel-prize winner Frank Wilczek says that "There is a myth, repeated in many popular presentations and textbooks, that Einstein swept [the concept of ether] into the dustbin of history". However, Wilczek says that, on the contrary, "the truth is more nearly the opposite", and that today, "renamed and thinly disguised, [the ether concept] dominates the accepted laws of physics" [ Physics Today, January 1999, p.11]. {[HINT: the "renamed and thinly disguised" aether to which Wilczek refers is today known as a "field" ----- or as a combination of several "fields"]}.

The purpose of this essay is to suggest that the reason why the concept of aether will not go away is because it is essentially CORRECT, although not in the way in which the great "classical" physicists of the 1800s visualized it. Specifically, I argue in this essay that Dr. Menahem Simhony (1922-2015) has developed a modern theory of light, which is based on the existence of an aether-like substance which is quite different from the aether in which 19th-century scientists believed.

Submitted: July 25, 2017

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Submitted: July 25, 2017

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essay:  HISTORY of AETHER

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by  Mark Creek-water Dorazio, amateur physics enthusiast, 23-July-2017, Chandler, Arizona, USA  
MARK.CREEKWATER@gmail.com
 
 
Preface
 
In physics, whether we're talking about astro- or nuclear- physics, or any other kind of physics, there is the concept of "aether" [= "ether"] which has been around for hundreds of years, and just simply will not go away.  If it exists, then ether, or aether, is supposed to be a kind of substance which theoretically fills our universe, inter-penetrating all the ordinary matter in it, and enabling (among other things) the transmission of every kind of electromagnetic radiation (such as light, and radio-signals) thru space at the fabuluosly-fabled speed of light.
 
Nobel-prize winner Frank Wilczek says that "There is a myth, repeated in many popular presentations and textbooks, that Einstein swept [the concept of ether] into the dustbin of history".  However, Wilczek says that, on the contrary, "the truth is more nearly the opposite", and that today, "renamed and thinly disguised, [the ether concept] dominates the accepted laws of physics"  [ Physics Today, January 1999, p.11].  {[HINT:  the "renamed and thinly disguised" aether to which Wilczek refers is today known as a "field" ----- or as a combination of several "fields"]}.
 
The purpose of this essay is to suggest that the reason why the concept of aether will not go away is because it is essentially CORRECT, although not in the way in which the great "classical" physicists of the 1800s visualized it.  Specifically, I will argue in this essay that Dr. Menahem Simhony (1922-2015) has developed a modern theory of light, which is based on the existence of an aether-like substance which is quite different from the aether in which 19th-century scientists believed.
 
These were some VERY SMART GUYs, with names like Maxwell, Faraday, Hertz, Helmholtz, Heavyside, Lorentz, and Einstein, who published his first physics "essay" in a letter to his Uncle Koch in 1895 or 1896, when he was only 15 or 16 years old.  The idea that Einstein rejected the concept of aether [i.e., "ether"] is only partially correct:  after initially writing (in 1905) that there was no reason to believe in aether, the great man had, by 1920, come to realize that there is very probably some kind of aether or aether-like substance in our universe, to account for the fact that light, and other kinds of radiation, (such as radio-signals), are able to travel thru space.  Thanks to the INTERNET, one can easily find the words which the mature Einstein used to express his belief in the existence of "ether".
 
EINSTEIN-QUOTE:  in 1920, when he was 40 years old and super-famous, Einstein gave a speech at the University of Leiden, in Holland, at the invitation of his friend Paul Ehrenfest:  here’s what he said, in the LAST PARAGRAPH of that speech:  “Recapitulating … According to the general theory of relativity, space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there … would be no propagation of light—–EINSTEIN, 1920 { from the internet-site at:  http://www.spaceandmotion.com/Physics-Albert-Einstein-Leiden-1920.htm }.
 
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essay:  HISTORY OF AETHER --- Part 1
Is Aether Real, or Just Another "Crack-pot" Theory ??
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Dr. Simhony does not like the words "aether" and "ether", for two [2] reasons:
(1) because the aether-like substance in his model is QUITE DIFFERENT from the aether in which most 19th-century scientists believed;  and 
(2) because when you mention the word "aether" or "ether" to a guy or gal who holds a PhD, they usually think that you are a "crack-pot".
 
Regarding (1) above:  Simhony calls the aether-like substance in his model "epola", short for "electron-positron lattice".  It's different from the "ether" of Maxwell + Faraday in several important ways.  
As the word implies, most 19th-century scientists believed that ether was/is thin + wispy + ghost-like.  This is because they believed what seems obvious, i.e., that ordinary matter was/is solid and dense:  but we now know better:  since Rutherford discovered the atomic nucleus in 1911, we have known that ATOMs ARE MOSTLY EMPTY SPACE.  So we now know what 19th-century scientists did not know:  i.e., we now know that ordinary matter is thin + wispy + ghost-like, because it's composed of atoms, which are MOSTLY EMPTY SPACE:  one needs to think deeply re the implications of this amazing fact to "get" how Simhony's model works.
 
Regarding (2) above:  why do PhD-holders usually think that you are a "crack-pot" if you propose an "aether" theory ??
Answer:  because for almost 100 years, since the 1930s, professors in university physics-departments, world-wide, have been teaching their students that "aether" or "ether" just simply does not exist.
 
The truth is that they are correct to teach that the thin + wispy + ghost-like ether of Maxwell + Faraday, (often called "luminiferous ether"), does not exist.  As Simhony details in his published papers and books and on his internet-sites, the aether-like substance in his model is, NOT thin + wispy, but very dense, and "stiffer than a diamond".  Again, only by thinking deeply re the implications of this "NEW + IMPROVED" modernized version of "aether" can one ever hope to understand Simhony's model.
 
HINT:  SIMHONY CALLs THE AETHER-LIKE SUBSTANCE IN HIS MODEL "EPOLA" -----(SHORT FOR "ELECTRON-POSITRON LATTICE)----- BECAUSE HE SAYs THAT IT IS COMPOSED OF NOTHING BUT ELECTRONs + POSITRONs, ARRANGED IN A "FACE-CENTERED CUBIC" STRUCTURE ----- EXACTLY LIKE THE STRUCTURE OF ORDINARY SALT THAT YOU PUT ON YOUR FOOD.
 
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essay:  HISTORY of AETHER --- Part 2
Question:  Why Did 19th-century Scientists Reckon that Aether Exists ??
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Answer:  mainly due to their common sense.  Because common sense told them that, for light to travel from the sun to the earth, there must be some kind of substance in the space between sun and earth which carries or conducts light to us.  Just like sound cannot travel thru a vacuum, they reckoned that light wound not be able to travel thru space if there were not some kind of medium in space to conduct it.  
 
But there was an alternative theory, due to Sir Isaac Newton, which did not require the existence of "aether".  And Newton's influence was so great that many of his contemporaries and those who came later subscribed to his "corpuscular" theory of light.
 
"In the seventeenth century two rival theories  {my emphasis}  of the nature of light were proposed, the wave theory and the corpuscular theory ... 
The Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695) proposed a wave theory of light.  He believed that light was a longitudinal wave, and that this wave was propagated through a material called the 'aether' ... In 1690 Newton proposed the corpuscular theory of light. He believed that light was shot out from a source in small particles, and this view was accepted for over a hundred years".  
http://www.schoolphysics.co.uk/age16-19/Wave%20properties/Wave%20properties/text/Theories_of_light/index.html ]. 

 

While Newton was then and still is considered one of the greatest scientific geniuses of all time, Huygens was not nearly as famous, and his proposal was largely ignored and/or forgotten until the work of Thomas Young in 1801, 106 years after he died.

In other words, because of his great prestige, Newton's "corpuscular" theory of light prevailed during most of the 1700s, while the "wave" theory of a less-famous contemporary (Huygens) was not accepted until the early 1800s.

"A basic principle of Huygens is that the speed of light is finite, a point which had been the subject of an experimental demonstration by Olaus Roemer (1679 at the Paris Observatory), but which Huygens is presumed to have believed already ...  It deals with wave fronts and their normal rays, with propagation conceived by means of spherical waves emitted along the wave front (see also Huygens–Fresnel principle).  It was justified as an ether theory, involving transmission via perfectly elastic particles ...  The nature of light was therefore a longitudinal wave  of 1704 proposed instead a corpuscular theory of light.  The theory of Huygens was not accepted, by some, because longitudinal waves cannot show birefringence.  [I don't know what this is, but one can easily "google" it to find out]. The interference experiments of Thomas Young vindicated a wave theory in 1801:  the results could not be explained [by Newton's "corpuscular" theory of light].  The solution to the problem Huygens had faced was then resolved by a transverse wave theory"

 [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christiaan_Huygens ].

 
PLEASE NOTE that in Dr. Simhony's model, which is a modern theory of light, and appears in Part 6 of this essay, light is assumed to be a transverse wave, not a longitudinal wave.
 
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essay:  HISTORY OF AETHER --- Part 3
?? Transverse and Longitudinal Waves ??
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Both kinds of waves go long distances, while the elements which carry them do not actually go anywhere, but merely vibrate or oscillate.
 
The main difference between a transverse and a longitudinal wave is this:  a transverse wave moves in a direction which is PERPENDICULAR to the vibrations of the elements of the medium which carries the wave, while a longitudinal wave moves in a direction which is PARALLEL to the vibrations of the elements which carry the wave.
 
For example:  sound-waves in air are LONGITUDINAL, and are carried by air-molecules, each of which is FREE to swirl, and not BOUND into any kind of structure.  When a sound-wave moves left to right, there are millions of air-molecules involved:  these don't actually go anywhere, but each one merely moves far enough to strike the next molecule toward its right, which then strikes the next one toward its right, and so on.  So the wave itself moves in a direction which is parallel to the vibrations of the air-molecules which carry it.
 
Conversely, when sound-waves move thru a substance like iron, or salt, the process is very different.  With iron, or salt, the waves are carried by the nuclei of atoms which are BOUND into some kind of structure, usually a CRYSTAL structure:  because each of these is BOUND into a structure, if it vibrates up-and-down, it will cause the next one toward its right to also vibrate up-and-down, while the wave itself moves from left to right.  And it turns out that this kind of so-called TRANSVERSE vibration is a more-efficient way to transfer energy waves:  i.e., the waves of energy move more-efficiently, and usually faster, when there are transverse vibrations involved, which is possible ONLY if and when the elements of the medium which carries the waves are BOUND to their positions in a (usually) crystal structure.
 
In fact, Dr. Simhony received the inspiration and insight to develop his theory of light while doing "solid state" research regarding the speed of sound thru large salt-crystals, as I detail in Part 6 of this essay.
 
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essay:  HISTORY of AETHER --- Part 4
What did Maxwell and Faraday Think ??
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Two of the greatest "classical" physicists of the 1800s were Michael Faraday (1791-1867) and .  Both spent many years thinking deeply, and writing, and speaking, regarding the possible existence or non-existence of some kind of aether or ether in the "outer space" between stars.
 
Even after Thomas Young in 1801 had vindicated Huygens's proposal for a wave theory of light, (see Part 2, above), based on the existence of aether, this idea did not catch on immediately.  "It was Michael Faraday, a self-taught and mathematically naive experimenter, who revived the idea that space was filled with a medium having physical effects in itself"  [Frank Wilczek, Physics Today, January 1999, p.11].
 
A comment regarding Faraday's genius appears on the dust-jacket of a recent book titled Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field (2014), by Nancy Forbes and Basil Mahon:  "Faraday was an autodidact [i.e., a self-educated individual], who overcame class prejudice and a lack of mathematical training to become renowned for his acute powers of experimental observation, technological skills, and prodigious scientific imagination"  ...
 
The more mathematically-inclined James Clerk Maxwell said of the aether:  "an attempt has been made to explain electromagnetic phenomena by means of mechanical action transmitted from one body to another by means of a medium occupying the space between them. The undulatory theory of light also assumes the existence of a medium"  [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aether_theories ].  Plus, he said that "The evidence for the existence of the luminiferous aether has accumulated as additional phenomena of light and other radiations have been discovered; and the properties of this medium, as deduced from the phenomena of light, have been found to be precisely those required to explain electromagnetic phenomena"  https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Encyclopædia_Britannica,_Ninth_Edition/Ether ].
 
Obviously, the "medium" to which Maxwell refers is an "aether".
 

Following is a long quote from Wikipedia:

"By [the late 1800s] the mechanical qualities of the aether had become more and more magical: it had to be a fluid in order to fill space, but one that was millions of times more rigid than steel in order to support the high frequencies of light waves. It also had to be massless and without viscosity, otherwise it would visibly affect the orbits of planets ... 

Maxwell wrote in Encyclopædia Britannica (1878):

'Aethers were invented for the planets to swim in, to constitute electric atmospheres and magnetic effluvia, to convey sensations from one part of our bodies to another, and so on, until all space had been filled three or four times over with aethers ... The only aether which has survived is that which was invented by Huygens to explain the propagation of light' "  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luminiferous_aether ].

NOTE1:  As detailed in Part 6 of this essay, in Dr. Simhony's theory of light there is an aether-like substance, (called "EPOLA"), which is, indeed, "millions of times more rigid than steel", as well as "massless and without viscosity";  but it's NOT FLUID, consisting instead of very tiny elements which are tightly bound into a crystal structure, which does, indeed, "fill space", very tightly, as the little rascals which compose the epola are very near to each other.

NOTE2:  Simhony urges us to  "Consider this comment in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, 'A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field'
by Prof. James Clerk Maxwell ... October 1864:  
' ... if we look for the explanation of the force of gravitation
in the action of a surrounding medium, the constitution of the medium must be such that, when far from
the presence of gross matter, it has immense intrinsic energy, part of which is removed from it wherever
we find the signs of gravitating force' [exactly as Simhony's model proposes]".  Simhony continues:  
"Neither Maxwell nor the scientists of that time could conceive of the EPOLA,
 and [Maxwell] went on to say ---
'This result does not encourage us to look in this direction for the explanation of the force of gravity ' "
http://www.epola.co.uk/faq/FAQ.htm#faq8 ].  {More details in Part 6 of this essay}.
 
In other words, if Maxwell could have conceived of "aether" as having "enormous intrinsic energy" (as Simhony has done), then he might have developed a theory similar to Simhony's more than 100 years before Simhony did !!
 
To summarize:  Maxwell + Faraday assumed that their "aether" must be thin + wispy + ghost-like, as the word implies, because they assumed that ordinary matter is solid.  We now know, since Rutherford discovered the atomic nucleus in 1911, that exactly the opposite is true:  i.e., we now know that ATOMs ARE MOSTLY EMPTY SPACE, and are very thin + wispy + ghost-like compared to the aether-like substance ["epola"] in Simhony's model.

 

A full reading of Maxwell's 1878 contribution to The Encyclopedia Brittanica reveals that, while it seems very probable that he believed that aether actually exists, he was very unsure of the details, such as whether or not it's carried along with or dragged along behind moons and planets as they move thru it:  

"we have next to inquire whether, when these dense bodies [i.e., moons + planets] are in motion through the great ocean of aether, they carry along with them the aether they contain, or whether the aether passes through them as the water of the sea passes through the meshes of a net when it is towed along by a boat" 

[ https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Encyclopædia_Britannica,_Ninth_Edition/Ether ].

 

Note that in Simhony's model, the aether-like substance ["epola"] is NOT carried along with or dragged along behind moons and planets as they move thru it.  Instead, ordinary matter filters thru the epola like a school of small fish filter thru a fish-net with large holes.

Note also that some of the PhD-holders who are aware of Simhony's model just simply do not "get" this important fact about Simhony's model, even after one tries to explain it to them.  This verifies what Einstein is supposed to have said:  that many very intelligent and highly educated scientists just simply are not able to recognize a good theory when it comes along.

 

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essay:  HISTORY of AETHER --- Part 5:

Some Ways in Which Simhony's "epola" Is Different from "aether"

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finer than most 19th-century scientists dared to think:  like the difference between coarse gravel and finely-ground cement or talcum powder.  Note that 19th-century scientists had absolutely no evidence to suspect this important fact.

(2)  This means that the tiny distance between the elements which compose the epola is just right for the nucleus of an atom to go between them.  Note that 19th-century scientists did not know how small an atom's nucleus is, compared to the size of the atom itself.  In fact, they did not even know that every atom has a nucleus at its center, and some did not even want to acknowledge the existence of atoms themselves.  

A standard textbook illustration of this is the football-field analogy:  if an atom's nucleus were the size of a marble on the center-line of a football field, then the size of the atom itself would be approximately that of the entire stadium !!  In Europe, book-writers often use the cathedral analogy:  if the atom were the size of a magnificent cathedral, then the atom's nucleus would be approximately the size of a single rosary-bead in the hands of a devout Christian sitting in the front row.

If one thinks deeply re this for many years, as I assure you that Simhony has done, then one realizes that this is the ONLY way in which his theory can make sense, and also that it's logical + clear + reasonable to visualize the "space" in our universe in this way.

(3)  Each + every one of the elements which compose Simhony's EPOLA is strongly bound to its place in the lattice, if indeed it's a lattice.  Note that it's difficult to imagine a structure in which the elements which compose it are not bound to their places in the structure.  The very word "structure" implies  some kind of binding.  Air does not have any kind of structure, while a salt crystal does. 

Simhony mentions that, under special conditions of high energy, such as if an object moves at almost the speed of light, it might be possible to break the structure of a small portion of the lattice.  This is analogous to an airplane "breaking the sound barrier" if it moves at the speed of sound in air.  But under normal conditions the EPOLA's structure is un-broken, so that the elements which compose it are normally not free to swirl in any way, or to follow along behind moving planets and stars, as some 19th-century scientists speculated. 

 

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HISTORY OF AETHER --- Part 6

Simhony's Electron-Positron Lattice Model of Space

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During the 1970s Dr. Menahem Simhony was doing "solid state" research with large salt-crystals, measuring the speed of sound thru them.  There are several different kinds of simple salts, in which two kinds of atoms, (such as sodium + chlorine), form a "face-centered cubic" crystal structure.  The speed of sound thru each of these different kinds of salt is slightly different from the speed of sound thru each of the others.  A simple equation describes the speed of sound in this case:  v  =  the sq.rt. of (E/m),  where "v" is the speed, "E" is the binding energy of a pair of the atoms which form the crystal, and "m" is the mass of the pair.  

 

At some point during this research Simhony realized that this simple equation is equivalent to Einstein's famous E = m x c.squared,  as one can verify with a bit of simple algebra.  Note that "c" (the speed of light) is analogous to the "v" in the equation for speed of sound.  So he asked himself, 

" What if our universe is filled with a lattice, with a structure similar to the structure of salt-crystals, whose elements carry light by vibrating, just like the nuclei of the atoms in a salt-crystal carry sound thru the crystal by vibrating ?? "

 

The essence of Simhony's model is to postulate the existence of this kind of aether-like substance, which is supposed to permeate our universe and inter-penetrate all the ordinary matter, (mainly protons and neutrons), like a fish-net inter-penetrates the water.  Simhony visualizes this stuff as quite different from the aether of 19th-century scientists like Maxwell and Faraday.  He says that it is NOT thin and wispy and ghost-like, but very dense and "stiffer than a diamond", because (1) the elements which compose it are very near to each other, and (2) each is tightly bound to its place in the lattice, which prevents it from swirling in any way;  it can only vibrate harmonically around its place in the lattice.

 

How can we even move, if the stuff is everywhere, and stiffer than a diamond ??  Easy.  It's because the elements which compose the lattice are just far enough apart from each other to allow the nucleus of an atom to go between them.  

 

This means that each and every nucleus of each and every atom in our physical bodies is able to easily pass between the elements which compose the lattice.  So that, even tho the lattice is stiffer than a diamond, we are not normally aware of its presence.  However, when anything moves at almost the speed of light, then there are interesting and mysterious "relativistic" effects, which physicists have studied, very intensely, during the past 100 years.  Obviously, if Simhony's model is essentially correct, then these relativistic effects are the result of the fact that it's more difficult for epola-elements to get out of the way of anything which is moving at near light-speed.  So that, at high speed, a moving object experiences a kind of "drag" which it does not experience when moving more slowly.

 

Because the elements which compose the epola [electron-positron lattice] are very strongly bound to the lattice, (i.e., because the binding energy is very great), and because they are very light, (i.e., not massive), the little rascals can vibrate very rapidly, which enables them to carry any kind of electromagnetic radiation thru the lattice at the fabulously-fabled speed of light.  Note that the simple speed-equation in the first paragraph of this part of the essay shows that the combination of a large binding energy and a small mass implies a great speed.

 

Please refer to the second paragraph in the Preface, above, for Einstein's opinion re the existence of an aether-like substance in our universe.  Please also note that there is much more to Simhony's model, and that one can read details at his several internet-sites: www.EPOLA.org, www.EPOLA.co.uk.

 

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essay:  HISTORY of AETHER ----- AFTER-WORDs:

Some Comments re How Difficult It Is to Overcome the Effects of "Brainwashing"

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Because the vast majority of professors in physics departments world-wide have since the 1930s taught their students that aether does not exist, it's very difficult to persuade a PhD-holder that a theory like Simhony's might have some merit.  It's especially difficult for a mere amateur physics enthusiast such as myself to persuade a PhD-holder that I might actually know what I'm talking about.  Despite the fact that some respected PhD-holders, such as Nobel-prize winner Frank Wilczek (see the Preface, above), have suggested that some kind of aether-like substance might in fact actually exist.

 

As students, most PhD-holders learned the so-called "standard model", and most automatically assume that if a theory is not part of the standard model, then it must be crack-pottery.  While the standard model is obviously the best thing we have to explain most of the mysteries in physics, it's not perfect, as some PhD-holders have noted.  Following is from Chapter 13 in my book (a series of essays) re the work of Dr. Simhony and another almost unknown theorist, Dr. Ernest Sternglass.

“The standard model is like an aging movie star, whose best work is decades old, whose flaws once seemed slight, but are now becoming glaring”.  That’s from Dr. Chris Impey, on page 298 of his book HOW IT BEGAN (2012).

In his book The Quantum Zoo (2006), Marcus Chown notes that:  “Eighty-odd years after the birth of quantum theory, physicists are still waiting for the fog to lift so that they can see what it is trying to tell us about fundamental reality … Feynman himself said:  'I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics'”.

Jim Baggott, who wrote the book Farewell to Reality (2013), says on p.131:  “We … are … immensely proud of [standard-model theories] … but these theories are riddled with problems, paradoxes, conundrums, contradictions, and incompatibilities … in one sense, they don’t make sense at all”.

PLUS:  on p.137 in this same book:  “What kind of fundamental theory … can’t predict the masses of its constituent elementary particles ?  Answer:  one that is not very satisfying”.

In his book Facts and Mysteries In Elementary Particle Physics (2003), Martin Veltman did not even wish to acknowledge “supersymmetry”:  ” The fact is … this is a book about physics, and this implies that the theoretical ideas discussed must be supported by experimental facts … neither supersymmetry nor string theory satisfy this criterion … they’re figments of the theoretical mind ”.

Robert Laughlin, who won a Nobel prize in physics in 1998, wrote in his book:  “A large portion of the accepted knowledge-base of modern science is untrue … obligating us to look at it more skeptically … and to value consensus less” [p.213, A Different Universe (2005)].

PLUS:  on p.50, Laughlin says that  “Scientists have ideological positions just like everyone else … sometimes the consequences are bizarre … the Schroedinger cat has … become a symbol of transcendence, a meaning exactly opposite to the one Schroedinger himself intended … often viewed by students as a step on the path to enlightenment … It is not … In science one becomes enlightened not by discovering ways to believe things that make no sense  but by identifying things that one does not understand and doing experiments to clarify them”. 

And on p.216:  “Large experimental laboratories cannot get the continuous funding they need without defending their work … which they typically do by forming self-refereeing monopolies that define certain ideas and bodies of thought to be important, whether they actually are or not … in extreme cases, one gets a complex web of sophisticated measurements that serve no purpose other than to expand journals and fatten frequent-flyer accounts”.

And from RICHARD FEYNMAN, one of the heaviest of 20th century “heavy-hitters” in physics.  In a letter to his wife, he wrote that:  “I am not getting anything out of this meeting … There are hosts (126) of dopes here — such inane things are said and seriously discussed  — and I get into arguments outside of the formal sessions … Whenever anyone asks me a question, or starts to tell me about his ‘work’ … it is always either — (1) completely un-understandable, or (2) vague and indefinite, or (3) something correct that is obvious and self-evident worked out by a long and difficult analysis and presented as an important discovery, or (4) a claim, based on the stupidity of the author that some obvious and correct thing accepted and checked for years is, in fact, false (those are the worst — no argument will convince the idiot), (5) an attempt to do something probably impossible, but certainly of no utility, which, it is finally revealed, at the end, fails, or (6) just plain wrong … Remind me not to come to any more gravity conferences”.  That’s on page 245 in a book titled Quantum Man (2011) by Lawrence Krauss.

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