 HOME  QUANTUM INTERPRETATION
 DQG
 DISCRETE ELECTRON 
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 SPACE CONCEPT  DISCRETENESS  BACKGROUND IDEAS  PROCESS  ORDER 
Peter
Fimmel's Web Site
Introduction
A Discrete Theory of Elementary Particle This and the following pages presents
some of the ideas and consequences of a project to recast,
from a perspective which is fully discrete
in both space and time, the central elements of
twentiethcentury microscopic physics that are usually
assumed to inhabit a plenum of continuous space and time.
It is not a simple extension of continuous physics as it
has developed since Newton. But it does deal with the
three most important constituents of the real world which
form part of the standard model of particle
physics—electrons, protons and neutrons, together with
their bosons.
Like the standard model, the project seeks to unify descriptions of microscopic reality under a single principle. Unlike the standard model, the present approach relies upon qualitative models which tend not to produce accurate predictions. It is sometimes argued that quantitative predictions are the hallmarks of significant theoretical advances. However, there is also room for theories that unify, under a single principle, apparently unconnected laws of nature—explanatory power before quantitative predictions.
The project is not in the mold of mainstream physics, it does not, in the words of Richard Feynman, ‘put the information in mathematical form’, or ‘guess the equations’.* It is physics beyond the standard model. A Scenario
Beyond the Standard Model The mathematical approach which is
commonly of central importance in dealing with the
problems of the microscopic world, for example the quantum
formalism, brings with it the unavoidable assumption of
continuity. Here, an alternative approach is the aim.
There is no assumption of continuity of space, time,
motion or elementary particles. The present approach is to move away from
the set theoretic framework to a more physical scheme.
However, that does not mean that the successes of
continuity physics are to be rejected out of hand; rather,
they are to be interpreted without the use of real or
complex numbers. Such an example is the set of
consequences of the Dirac relativistic equation for the
electron. The equation is rightly regarded as one of the
supreme achievements of the quantum revolution. Its
consequences include: (1) the energy of the electron may
be less than zero, (2) it moves at the speed of light and
(3) its essence is equally reliant upon time and space.
None of these aspects of the quantum electron can be
accommodated in a real world of continuity. The present project also begins from the
groundbreaking discoveries made by science in the first
quarter of the twentieth century. It
is constructed from the vantage point of the beginning of
the twentyfirst century, from which it can be seen that
those early successes still lack a satisfactory physical
resolution. The theory takes quantum mechanics and special
relativity with it. They are both crucial components in
the present approach to the discrete understanding of
elementary particles. Perhaps not surprisingly, the
analysis of discreteness reveals an underlying process
that is absent from the physics of continuous elementary
particles. Most attempts to
extend the twentiethcentury paradigm of microscopic
physics into a process framework have begun with
established physical theoretical constructs, such as
quantum field theory, and attempted to reinterpret them
as process physics. That has not generally proved very
satisfactory and seldom led to a clearer understanding
of microscopic phenomena.
The method employed here begins with the development of the concept of an event within a framework employing as few assumptions as possible while complying with special relativity and standard quantum mechanics. Out of that grows a discrete interpretation of microscopic physical reality. Quantum mechanics and special relativity become reconciled with one another in a satisfying though somewhat unexpected manner in which the distinction between action and its representation is crucially important. Action precedes its own representation. That distinction brings with it significant explanatory power.
The question of
how physics can move beyond the standard model to a new
paradigm has not yet been answered. Richard Feynman
frequently puzzled over the problem and was aware of the
unknown nature of the territory that lay ahead. The
following quote is particularly thought provoking:
* “I am sure that history does not repeat itself in physics . . . The reason is this. Any schemes—such as ‘think of symmetry laws’, or ‘put the information in mathematical form’, or ‘guess the equations’—are known to everybody now, and they are all tried all the time. . . . the answer cannot be one of these . . . There must be another way next time.”—R Feynman “The Character of Physical Law” p. 163. Is this a clue to the way forward, beyond, though still connected to the elementary particles that comprise the atom, but with less reliance upon mathematical representation and symmetry principles?
The new theory requires a new quantum
variable—one which complements or governs energy in its
various forms. Order
is that variable and it is the central element in the new
theory. Beginning with nineteenthcentury thermodynamics,
it is properly defined and given the status of a physical
quantity comparable with that of energy. Order is the
physical content of the rather vague term 'potential'.
Any theory of elementary particles which claims to relate to the real world must clearly set out its concept(s) of space. Unlike string theory which favours spaces of the de Sitter type, in the present scheme flat Minkowski spacetime grows out of a spaceless and timeless precursor via an intermediate Weyllike spacetime. This makes the theory backgroundindependent, not unlike that sought by the loop quantum gravity project. The objects of the theory, which are the component parts of the atom, are only intermittently imbedded in a spacetime background. Ideas about the physical world do not just grow into theories in a vacuum; they need a prior background of ideas. They need a foundation which comes in the form of other ideas. They are often the product of an earlier paradigm but it is with their help that new theories develop. Quantum mechanics comes in several
interpretations. In some ways the different
interpretations do not matter. That is not the case with
the new theory; the quantum
interpretation does matter. The present scheme
requires the original interpretation of Bohr and
Heisenberg, but without any role for an observer. The basic claim for the new process picture of reality is that it does make a significant contribution by offering an alternative slant on how elementary particles may be understood. It makes the action as it happens the focus of the analysis instead of its representation which is necessarily a consequence of the action. When the Dirac electron is interpreted in the process framework, electrodynamics becomes a discrete process. A surprising result of the theory is that the behaviour of the electron is both quantum mechanical and gravitational—discrete quantum gravity. The discrete scheme is applied in
detail to the atomic nucleus. The chief result of that
analysis is a new theory of nuclear structure. The theory
is developed around the isotopes of hydrogen and helium
and leads to a fourcluster structural model of the
nucleus. The new
model is an extension of the existing nuclear
cluster concept. The discrete model correlates well with a
number of light nuclear phenomena.

Comments and questions are welcome to pjf@it.net.au 
© Peter Fimmel 20022009 Last page update 21/04/09 