I am really sorry I haven’t been writing at all in the last months. I am afraid this tendency is very likely to continue in the near future. There are several reasons for this. The first one is exhaustion: when I get home in the afternoons I am so tired I cannot start to write. However, the main reason I’ve been off blogging is that I have been otherwise occupied.
What comes now is somewhat technical so sorry if it makes no sense to you. Maybe this is just me clearing my thoughts.
During Christmas I had this idea concerning limits on information processing capacity. I instantly thought of black holes, as they impose a limit on storage capacity given by the surface of their event horizon. Then I realised that the limit on information storage is not given by the surface, but by 1/4th of the surface. That is, the information stored in a black hole is proportional to the are of the circle you would get if you flattened it out.
And this made me think. For some years now I have had this idea going around in my head: without interaction with the Higgs boson, most, if not all of elementary particles (therefore I am not counting protons and the like) would be massless. Zero mass means their speed is equal to the speed of light.
That is: in reality, all particles are really moving at the speed of light and none at less. This means that the “natural” way to look at the universe is from the point of view of a particle that is moving at the speed of light.
However, that cannot be done. When you try, you find out that every particle that is moving towards you has infinite mass and, well, things just break down. Which suggests that using Lorentz transforms straight with classical particles does not work. Well, it does not “suggest” it: it is a known fact that you are not allowed to do that. One thing you do find out, nevertheless, is that space flattens out: that is, one of the dimensions disappears. A black hole turns into a pancake.
Isn’t that curious? It seems like looking at things from the perspective of a photon gives us the right answer for the amount of information in a black hole: the area of its flattened surface.
So I decided to pursue this line of reasoning. But my theoretical physics is a little rusty, so I have had to refresh my QFT. Doing things in a rough, classical way proved to be hopeless, which is not surprising since:
a) QFT works and classical mechanics doesn’t.
b) QFT gives less nonsensical answers to looking at particles from a system that moves at the speed of light.
QFT is not my favourite theory in the world, but so far it’s the only one that works, so I have been forcing myself to re-learn it (it was a long while ago that I quit my PhD in high energy physics). So I’m basically spending all my afternoons going through the book that elkement recommended and doing the problems and so on. So far it’s been kind of fun. When I’m done I guess I’ll go into “QFT in a nutshell” and the other one I forgot and then I’ll review Kip Thorne’s Gravitation, which is a lot of fun. And then I’ll get started with string theory maybe.
I have also been working on finding an information-based treatment of space-time, so that I can get rid of scale invariance (space looks the same at all scales) and also re-write the equations of QFT in a format that only makes reference to information. Since everyone is pretty convinced space and time are not fundamental but arise from interactions, it stands to reason that a space-time-independent formulation of QFT will help to solve the issue.
So far I have been successful in going to dimension to information (with the drawback of having to choose a scale s, like in renormalization) and the next step is to reformulate differential calculus in an information-pure language so that I can then reformulate geometry and the basic equations of QFT and hopefully GR.
And that’s the memo.
In a nutshell: sorry guys, I’ll be gone for a while. Maybe six months, maybe more. However, it is possible that when I’m finally back I’ll have something really awesome to share. Though the probability is quite low (in general, the ratio of people who make a breakthrough to the people who merely try is pretty small. Also, the ratio of aficionados who make a breakthrough to aficionados who try is even smaller.)
Oh, one more thing: on the Hawking black hole thingy. Yes, there are black holes. All he’s saying is that, given enough time, they evaporate (which we already knew) and they leave no remnant (which is open to debate: Lubos Motl doesn’t agree, for example.) If they leave no remnant then eventually everything comes out, so nothing really stays in the black hole. Since the definition of black hole is that things cannot escape from it, in this sense there are no black holes. However, if you think of a black hole as something that will suck you in, turn you into pulp and only let you escape billions of years later as radiation mesh, then there are black holes.