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© 1999, 2000, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004,2005 John K. N. Murphy ,
Auckland, New Zealand, All rights reserved.
Last modified March
The work behind this site
is driven by an interest in the paradigms behind modern physics.
Many conceptual models of modern physics are employ a "classical
physics" method of dealing with physical relationships. In such
models, physical relationships are expressed against some form of space
and time background wherein objects (e.g. strings, membranes,
wave-functions, particles and fields) with properties (e.g. Mass,
momentum, energy, spin, charge) are located and interact.
Even though this method provides a highly successful means to model,
explore, and discuss many aspects of physics there are some major
inconsistencies. Of popular interest is the "missing unification"
(like a "missing link") wherein relationships that exist in Quantum
theory appear to be unable to be reconciled with others that exist in
addition to this apparent incompatibility between Quantum theory and Relativity,
the situation is compounded because both theories also
contain relationships that contradict the classical "space and time"
of existence that is
inherited from "commonsense" experience and formalized in classical Euclidean
/ Galilean / Newtonian physics. Two examples are:
entanglement, wherein physically separate particles appear to act as if
they are instantaneously connected.
relativity, objects that break the rules of a classical existence, e.g.
fields that propagate at a constant speed independent of the velocity
of the observer.
In other words,
first sight, this means that the classically based method of modeling
physics (i.e. using space, time and objects) cannot be used match physical reality. At best, classically oriented models can be used to
descriptions that provide an ability to
"navigate" certain situations in physics, but will never give access to
gaining new understanding of the nature of physical phenomena.
aspects of physics, relativity and quantum theory, deal with
that occur in nature, often to a high degree of accuracy.
sets of relationships, no matter what
interpretation we apply, have characteristics that cannot be explicitly
modeled using the "classical method".
question is: What
is it about the method of using space time and objects that does
not allow for consistent representations of certain phenomena i.e. What
|It is important to recognize that physics requires the use
of a set of descriptions that
exist in language and thought and that these descriptions have some particular relationship
to the structure of reality, otherwise they would not work as well as
analogous situation is the concept of navigation using latitude,
longitude and altitude. This is an
abstract construct that bears a relationship to
the structure of the
earth even though the concepts are not
fundamental to the structure of the earth.
In navigation, it is clear to us that
the abstraction does not define the earth, and that conversely, there
are no lines and
contours in actual existence. In physics however, it is common to
presume that the abstractions (e.g. fields, particles, length, time & mass ) are
fundamental, rather than a map. Like thinking that sets of contour lines are the
abstraction consists of two parts, a background context (taking a game
analogy, the playing field and rules), and a foreground (the play and
action). What occurs in the foreground (the scope and nature of the
play that arises) is wholly determined by the nature of the background.
In the domain of physics, the reason that phenomena got ordered into
the particular objects that we use is, that space and time were
chosen (with variations) as the background. In effect, the reason that
physical phenomena are described as fields, masses, charges and
particles is because the background is defined along the lines that
"existence" is as "things" that "occur" (and interact) in space with
Essentially, the choice of context determines how we partition
phenomena into various objects and also determines the limitations as
to what is possible with these objects.
Special Relativity describes phenomena that break the fundamental rules
of classical space and time in a way that goes well beyond mere
distortions that need to be taken into account at high relative
This situation suggests that classical space-time is a partial
representation that fits in to relativity in a particular way, and if
so, identifies three items that are "missing" from the picture:
points are discussed in the article: [On The
Structure of Time]. The article goes into detail as to how
relativity fits in to a model where energy has at least two distinct
modes of existence: matter-like and light-like.
kind of background model of existence is consistent with Special
does such a model relate to classical space-time.
are physical phenomena represented within such a model.
Briefly by sticking strictly to the relationships and phenomena that
occur in relativity one needs to adopt a model of existence as outlined
- In this scenario, energy in the
matter-like mode exists in a local time that occurs at the speed of
light. That is, the pace of time is the speed of light and is "local"
in the sense that a particle's relationship to its own past occurs at
the speed of light. When energy is light-like (photon-like), it does not
experience time and effectively exists "across" or "with" time. A
single principle that requires conservation of energy and "existence"
(both matter and light like), allows the derivation of conservation of
momentum relationships (matter-matter interactions) as well as the
formula for the Compton effect (photon-matter interactions).
- Classical physics provides a
reasonable approximation to matter-like interactions, provided relative
velocities are small compared to the speed of light. The low velocity
requirement means that the particle existences are roughly parallel in
time and the relative pace of time for all bodies is the same. This is
how we generally experience the physical world. Classical physics
cannot properly represent photon-like matter and the propagation of
fields, although reasonable approximations are possible.
- The concept of a field as a "thing"
disappears and "time" is a radically different concept. The phenomenon
that is identified as a field in classical world translates the "past
existence" of a matter-like particle. If one thinks of time as
occurring at the speed of light (in all directions), then a past moment
of a particle occupies a shell around he present moment of the
particle. The radius of the shell is equal to the elapsed time
multiplied by the speed of light. Field interactions occur because a
particle's present is superimposed on to the past of surrounding
particles and this affects the overall existence of the particle's
present according to the structure of the particle and the surrounding
- If General Relativity is correct,
then the occurrence of time at a point (in all directions) must be
superimposed on the past existence of surrounding particles.
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