Archive for July, 2009

More Einstein in Jammers' Space Foreword

July 30, 2009

“The victory over the concept of absolute space or over that of the inertial system became possible only because the concept of the material object was gradually replaced as the fundamental concept of physics by that of the FIELD (my emphasis).  Under the influence of the ideas of Faraday and Maxwell the notion developed that the whole of physical reality could perhaps be represented as a field whose components depend on 4 space- time parameters…there is no empty space, that is, there is no space without a field.”

I bring this in because of non-locality: more later


Me, Brian and Sam (the order of pronoun and names makes the music)

July 30, 2009

Looking again unto  Brian D. work: I reviewed his lecture: “A critical point for science?”             

 in where he claims that the origin of the critical-point idea is Samantha Parto-on musical creativity-(from interview with Triste magazine):  when you stare into that space and that deepness, you get close to the place where things begin, and that’s a [good] place to be [for making music]”. Inmediately, her elegant observation entangled one of my many unpublished essays, which ends: “But, often unnoticed, before pain, there is the void. The void of the absence of love, the absence of mother, the missing dad, abusiveness, the abandoned child, betrayal, abandonment, the lost lover, the dead lover, the dead mate, loss in itself and once again, forsaken pain. However, I long for those rare sweet blue days when pain metamorphoses into mother’s uterine fluid nurturing absent memories of voidness that magically, give birth to a potent poem, a human scream, a cry for help, a striking musical score, a soothing tale, a beautiful scientific paper, a mathematical equation, compassionate love, eternal love, dear Linda Jean, and friendship. Enfin, a graceful human moment carrying the burden of creation on its pain. Pain redeemed by grace“. I dont know about you, but I intuit the intertwining of the ideas-emotions.

The whole exchange( the before the last question ending the interview is actually this:                        

Triste: Death seems to be a common theme in your live shows. Where has that come from? Is that purely the “old time” vibe coming through or is it a subject you feel is important to sing about?                                                                                                                    

Sam(antha) Parton: I don’t know where that comes from, really. It’s true, we sing a few songs about death. We’ve all had to deal with it in our lives, of course. I think that really there’s such an incredible amount of emotion you experience when you get close to death, and when you stare into that space and that deepness, you get close to the place where things begin, and that’s a healthy place to be, I think, especially when it comes to writing songs and singing and such. We three all have a healthy respect for death I suppose.                               

The Be Good Tanyas are an all girl trio based in Vancouver consisting of Samantha Parton, Frazey Ford and Trish Klein.

Brian D. Josephson again

July 30, 2009

Looking up latest news and work from the  Mind -Matter Unification group that Brian D. leads at Cavendish. I found his 2008 58 Nobel Laureates lecture at Lindau. Stare at his succint summary:” it is argued that the laws of physics are the consequence of self-organisation rather than being derivative of universal laws.

The video:”  Which way for physics”, is the speaker’s edit of the original recording by the European Broadcasting Union:

Absolutely breathtaking, but several are meeting the challenge to adress this important shift in frame-thinking.

Enter Brian D. Josephson and F. David Peat

July 29, 2009

I started this blog quoting D. Bohm and now I will attempt to extend his “reach’ by linking to work by Josephson and Pallikari-Viras: 

and F. David Peat:

Dr Josephson won 1/2 of the 1973 Nobel in Physics for:  “his theoretical predictions of the properties of a supercurrent through a tunnel barrier, in particular those phenomena which are generally known as the Josephson effects”, which led to the invention of the Josephson junction. These junctions are key components in devices used to make highly sensitive measurements in magnetic fields. Further use for his discoveries was realised by researchers at the International Business Machines Corporation who, by 1980, had assembled an experimental computer switch structure, which would permit switching speeds from 10 to 100 times faster than those possible with conventional silicon-based chips, increasing data processing capabilities by a vast amount. However, controversially he has stated that his “work on the brain is more significant than my[his] Nobel-prize winning research.”

 Dr. Josepshon has been a distinguished guest of the Language of Spirit Dialogue, where he continously failed to produce power point presentations. (tunelling??).

Dr. Peat wrote “Blackfoot Physics”-and many other inspired work- another tour de force (as Bassos’ work), which made a serious impact when considering another systems of knowledge-other than science. Reading both papers may provide a robust landscape why Dr. Bohms’ idea are important when we think about our place in the Universe, space and the human mind. Dr Peat will be our guest in this years’ Dialogue, August the 8th.

More from: The Statistical Universe: SEED Incubator. by Raphael Bousso. October 17, 2008

July 29, 2009

“To probe the multiverse more deeply, we must learn how to characterize observers in entirely different regions. Despite the great variability of local physical laws, there are a few laws that operate everywhere. Gravity is a universal force. All other forces and particles, provincial details aside, fit into the general framework of quantum mechanics. The laws of thermodynamics rule the whole multiverse. The challenge is to phrase the conditions for life in this universal language.

“A central tenet of thermodynamics is the “second law,” which states that a quantity called entropy cannot decrease. Entropy reflects the number of different microscopic configurations that are available to a system. For example, there are only a few ways to stack up a brick wall. But there are many ways to arrange the same bricks into a messy pile, so the pile has more entropy. In other words, entropy measures disorder. All the second law says, then, is that things don’t tend to order themselves when left alone: Walls collapse into piles, but piles don’t assemble themselves into walls.

Some structures actually do assemble themselves, though the second law still holds. A bucket of water left outside on a cold night will contain a crystal the next morning. Diffuse particles condense into spiral galaxies. Hydrogen clouds collapse to form stars. Dust coalesces into planets. On a few planets, self-replicating organisms arise from organic molecules. But in every one of these processes, the overall entropy grows. As a system becomes ordered, radiation escapes into its surroundings where it vastly increases the overall disorder.

The second law in no way forbids orderly structures from forming so long as enough disorder is created elsewhere. But conversely, if no disorder is produced, then no order can form. Taking this one step further, I recently proposed that the production of disorder could be used as a kind of cosmic life-detector. The more entropy is created in a given region, the more likely it is that complex structures such as life are forming in it. To a physicist this idea is attractive: Unlike life, entropy is a number, and one that can be defined in every region, whatever its local laws of physics.

Sometimes, of course, a mess is just a mess. Not every entropy increase is accompanied by the formation of an ordered structure. Our life-detector, in other words, is susceptible to false alarms. To check that this does not spoil its usefulness, Roni Harnik, Graham Kribs, Gilad Perez, and I decided to identify the chief sources of entropy production in the visible universe. Amazingly, almost every one of the biggest entropy-producing processes turned out to be essential to the development of life: the formation of galaxies and the burning of stars; supernova explosions, which forged the elements we are made from; large molecules that scatter starlight. Most remarkably, the last process produced more entropy than all the others put together. This was good news. The digestion of solar power into messy thermal radiation is precisely what allowed planet Earth to play host to increasingly sophisticated life forms. Without complex molecules, entropy production would drop sharply — and human life would be impossible.

Just because our local test run went well does not mean that entropy production alone can reliably determine whether observers are present in a given region of the multiverse. But remember that a one-by-one approach would be futile; the multiverse is so large that statistical methods are more powerful. What we needed was a criterion that told us which physical laws, on average, tend to be associated with the presence of complex structures like observers. Estimating entropy production may prove to be a first, crude technique that will help us step back and study the vast canvas of the multiverse — and, ultimately, to learn whether we can discern in its intricate patterns the tiny, billion-light-year brushstroke that fills our night sky.”

Joe Polchinski & Raphael Bousso

July 29, 2009

I have not able to update Lee Smolins view on space/time. Maybe I should ask him to do it. In the meantime, I bring J. Polchinski and R. Bousso fascinating work , which has similarly, fascinating consequences for our place in the universe.




From J. Polchinsky.THE COSMOLOGICAL CONSTANT AND THE STRING LANDSCAPE. arXiv:hep-th/0603249v2  : ” That the universe is vastly larger than what we see, with different laws of physics in different patches, is without doubt a logical possibility.One might argue that even if this is true it is forever outside the domain of science, but I do not think it is up to us to put a priori bounds onthis domain. Indeed, we now have five separate lines of argument (thepredictions near the end of Sec. 1) that point in this direction. Our current understanding is not frozen in time, and I expect that if this idea is true (or if it is not) we will one day know”.      

 The Statistical Universe: Incubator. by Raphael Bousso. October 17, 2008:  “Because extra dimensions need not be tied up the same way everywhere, physical laws may vary from place to place. Inflation makes each “legal district” much larger than the visible universe, giving us the illusion that particles and forces are the same everywhere. But beyond our cosmic horizon, inflation allows the universe to grow so enormous that it contains every set of possible laws that can be constructed from string theory. Eight years ago, Joe Polchinski and I estimated that the number of possibilities is truly enormous: a one with roughly 500 zeros behind it (10500).”

Besides the fact their calculations may be counterintuitive, the message is clear: we are-or could be- in a special place in the multi-universe. I recomend also reading: Fotini Markapoulou The internal description of a causal set: What the universe looks like from the inside.



A. Einstein's foreword to Max Jammer: Concepts of Space: the history and theories of space in physics. 1953

July 28, 2009

” Now as to the concept of space, it seems that this was preceded by the psychologically simpler concept of place. Place is first of all a (small portion) of the earth’s surface identified by a name. The thing whose “place” is being specified is a “material object” or body. Simple analysis shows “place’ also to be a group of material objects.  Does the word “place” have a meaning independent of this one, or can one assign such a meaning to it?  If one has to give a negative answer to this question, then one is led to the view that space (or place) is a sort of order of material objects and nothing else. If the concept of space is formed and limited in this fashion, then to speak of empty space has no meaning. And because the formation of concepts has always been ruled by instinctive striving for economy, one is led quite naturally to reject the concept of empty space” (more to follow)

What happens when we open our eyes and find ourselves in a place…..

July 27, 2009

“Original man, shouting his consonants, did so in yells of awe and anger at his tragic state, at his own self-awareness and at his own helplessness before the void…” Barnett Newman, 1947, The first man was an artist. The Tigers’ EI open my eyes N.8












         Edvard Munch:   Der Schrei der Natur (1893)

Broglie-Bohm (BB) interpretation

July 27, 2009

My dear friend Lee Nichol, editor of David Bohm, par excellence, and yours truly sat down last night and had dinner at Savoy, one of my favourites hanger outers. Place is big, rather well done, great patio: hot as hell-not humid-food is ok+, management just precious (good friends also). We had yellow jack: Carangoides bartholomaei, a very unsual treat. I love mackerel jacks, grew up on it in Chile, different species though and  indulged with some California whites. Rob, one of the managers and bartenders alerted me that this an atlantic species: i could swear i ate yellow jack in Bahia Inglesa, Northern Chile: ill look it up. During our conversation I realized, and some have pointed out this to me, that not everybody is REALLY sure about Bohmian interpretations. I am using Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy(??) entry by Sheldon Goldstein, Rutgers, which is really good:

“Bohmian mechanics, which is also called the de Broglie-Bohm theory, the pilot-wave model, and the causal interpretation of quantum mechanics, is a version of quantum theory discovered by Louis de Broglie in 1927 and rediscovered by David Bohm in 1952. It is the simplest example of what is often called a hidden variables interpretation of quantum mechanics. In Bohmian mechanics a system of particles is described in part by its wave function, evolving, as usual, according to Schrödinger’s equation. However, the wave function provides only a partial description of the system. This description is completed by the specification of the actual positions of the particles. The latter evolve according to the “guiding equation,” which expresses the velocities of the particles in terms of the wave function. Thus, in Bohmian mechanics the configuration of a system of particles evolves via a deterministic motion choreographed by the wave function. In particular, when a particle is sent into a two-slit apparatus, the slit through which it passes and where it arrives on the photographic plate are completely determined by its initial position and wave function.

Bohmian mechanics inherits and makes explicit the nonlocality implicit in the notion, common to just about all formulations and interpretations of quantum theory, of a wave function on the configuration space of a many-particle system. It accounts for all of the phenomena governed by nonrelativistic quantum mechanics, from spectral lines and scattering theory to superconductivity, the quantum Hall effect and quantum computing. In particular, the usual measurement postulates of quantum theory, including collapse of the wave function and probabilities given by the absolute square of probability amplitudes, emerge from an analysis of the two equations of motion — Schrödinger’s equation and the guiding equation – without the traditional invocation of a special, and somewhat obscure, status for observation” this is the website with the whole thing. Hopefully will be useful.

Wisdom sits in places and there are senses of place

July 24, 2009

In my modest opinion, “Wisdon sits in places”, Keith H. Basso 1996 book, is a striking tour de force-took-more than three decades in the making- striking, because a new way of “observing”  a remarkably different lifestyle unfolds-my indian friends dont be ticked off, please. “Why don’t you make maps over there… not whitemen’s maps… but Apache maps with Apache places and names.” One can even warm up to Bassos’ approach. The tantalizing realization from here is that landscape, place, is embedded in the moral imagination-of the Western apaches and it is a  reciprocal relationship between them and their land. Tribal members and community are connected to the voices of their ancestors. ” Place-names produce mental images of a geographical location, which then evoke prior stories and sagas, and which go on to affirm the value and validity of traditional moral precepts (ancestral knowledge). This process of affirmation can heal disturbing thoughts and wounded spirits. At the end of the book Basso asks “What is wisdom?”. Dudley, his Apache informant says “Wisdom sits in places”, and then launches into an ancestor story of struggle along the trail of wisdom. The wisdom trail is one of self-reflection and leads to the creation of a steady and resilient mind; a smooth mind that will be alert to danger. Only through reflection can one walk the trail of wisdom. Finally, Dudley says, “Wisdom sits in places. It’s like water that never dries up. You need to drink water to stay alive, don’t you? Well, you also need to drink from places. pg. 127”.                                                 Quotes from:  Cheleen Mahar. Interface: The Journal of education community and values. March 2003. vol 2, issue 3. Review of Wisdom sits in places. Pacific University, Oregon.