Aether Physics Model -- Part Two
A new and very stinky example of what Chris Hillman calls "Simple Physics" has just turned up at BAUTForum. Virginia and Jimmy K are back in Milwaukee for the summer, and my old friends from grad school days, BH and DB are here for coffee and physics. And Tensor was kind enough to send over some doughnuts! Hmmm, doughnuts ...
Celestial Mechanic: "With our cups refilled, we will resume our discussion at section 3 of the white paper, 'Goals and Objectives'. There's not really much here that wasn't already said in section 1, I'm not sure why they have this section here. Oh, they do throw out the first reference to their book here, but that's not really the purpose of this bit of filler."
DB: "I notice that quite a few of the references are to their book."
Virginia: "I counted them. There are 52 references listed, of which 17 are to Secrets of the Aether. That's almost one-third."
CM: "That's not good, but it's not irredeemably bad either. Let's move on to section 4, 'Definitions -- Dimensions'. The authors get off to a rocky start from the very first sentence:"
Jimmy K.: "That's horrible. I've never, ever, measured anything 'non-material' in any of my lab courses. All measurements I've ever taken have been of material things: the length of a board, the time for a ball to roll down an incline, the weight of a ball, the temperature of a beaker of solution, the current flowing through a wire. All of these things quite material."A dimension, as stated here, is a non-material, measurable quality relating to the foundation of existence and being.
DB: "And how does a length or a time interval or a mass relate to the 'foundation of existence and being'? Some philosophers and mystics would argue that these measurements are irrelevant and tell us nothing about the 'foundation of existence and being'."
CM: "Yes, but can we do any better? What are your thoughts about dimensions?"
BH: "Well, I think of dimensions as the number of coordinates of a manifold, or the maximum number of linearly-independent vectors in a vector space."
CM: "Good point, BH. That is one of the meanings of the word 'dimension' as applied in math and physics. But there is another meaning. If I may venture to define it, I would say:"
DB: "Are there others?"Originally Posted by Celestial Mechanic
CM: "Good question. According to SI, and I don't mean Sports Illustrated, there are seven fundamental measurable dimensions that units are defined for. Can you name the dimensions and their associated SI units?"
JK: "Well, the obvious ones are length measured in meters, time measured in seconds, mass measured in kilograms, and electric charge measured in coulombs. That's four but I can't think of the other three."
CM: "Actually, it's electric current measured in amperes, the coulomb is considered a derived unit. That takes care of MKSA, and that's enough for most people. There's one more that is very commonly used, but I'll admit that the other two are obscure."
V: "Temperature in degrees celsius?"
CM: "Actually it's kelvins, not degrees celsius. As I said the other two are really obscure. One of them is luminous intensity measured in candelas, and the other is molecular substance in moles."
DB: "I would have never guessed those two. The candela is really obscure. Maybe if I worked in the lighting industry I would use it and I would most definitely know my lumens from luxes and phots from foot-candles!"
BH: "I can't see why the mole should be elevated to fundamental status. It's useful for chemists, but not for very many others. And the same for candelas."
CM: "Nor can I. There is an interesting discussion in an arxiv.org pre-print by Okun and two other authors called 'A Trialogue on Units' or something like that. I'll have to look it up. I agree with some of it, but not all of it. I agree about either length or time being fundamental, the other being a derived quantity through use of the speed of light, and perhaps action instead of mass. I disagree about electric charge being fundamental. This is a surprisingly difficult concept with only a narrow consensus.
CM: "But let's see what APM has to say about it. Section 4, 'Definitions -- Dimensions' is the longest section of the white paper, some six pages out of 27, or almost a quarter of the paper. Most of the major sections are a page or two, with 'Other' weighing in at four. This would appear, in some ways to be the heart of the paper."
JK: "Maybe we can drive a stake through it?"
CM: "Not so fast. I know that we sometimes we play very hard here, but we really should adhere to the philosophy (in the good sense of the word!) of Bad Astronomy which is to expose the misinformation, the bad astronomy and bad physics, and try to inform the readers of good astronomy and physics, always keeping in mind that good astronomy and physics means 'to the best of our knowledge'. There is a lot of misinformation in this section of the paper, so let's dive in.
CM: "The first thing APM tries to define is 'Quantum Mass'. And here is how they do it:"
JK: "Whew! All that just to say mass is a dimension that is an abstraction of inertia."The concepts of "mass to energy equivalence" and "rest mass" have no meaning within the APM. Dimensions are components of units, but not equal to units. In this theory, mass as a dimension has a different order of reality than energy as a unit. Let us define mass as a dimension, which when given a quantity, becomes a measurement of inertia.
CM: "I'm not sure if I would word it like that, but a good definition of mass should be close to that. But the initial words about 'mass to energy equivalence' and 'rest mass' shows fundamental misunderstanding of rationalized units and special relativity that I must address. In one of his replies volantis writes:"
V: "But that's not what is meant by the equivalence of mass and energy, and that's not what is done when c is set equal to one!"Originally Posted by volantis
CM: "Not to mention that that is not what the 'equivalence principle' is either. The authors really ought to do some reading at the library on these subjects."
JK: "So what do you mean by 'equivalence of mass and energy'?"
CM: "It means simply that a mass, m, in kilograms or whatever, is equivalent to an energy E=mc2 in joules or whatever. Not equal because the units are different. You can think of mass as a very concentrated form of energy. Most of the energy sources we use every day depend on very small amounts of mass being converted into energy in chemical reactions.
CM: "As for setting c equal to one, that is done for convenience and accuracy in the equations. But nobody (at least nobody that truly understands rationalized units) thinks that a length is converted to time or inverse mass or anything. If answers are desired in SI units, then the various constants must be restored at the end of the computation. Here's an example: in calculating the structure of the hydrogen atom it is convenient to set h-bar, e (unit of electric charge, not the base of natural logarithms), and m the reduced mass of the electron equal to one. In the non-relativistic computation based on the Schrodinger equation the energy levels turn out to be -1/(2*n2), for n an integer greater or equal to one. If we want this in SI units we must restore the h-bar, e and m to the equation. It turns out that the combination m*e4/(h-bar)2 has dimensions of energy and equals 27.2 eV.
CM: "And 'equivalence principle' refers to the local indistinguishability between acceleration and a uniform gravitational field."
DB: "How time flies! I could go for a refill."
CM: "Let me put another pot on, then. But we're not quite done yet with Quantum Mass', and there are still several subsections to go."
To be continued ...