DR. JAMES GATES JR: ARE THE EQUATIONS OF STRING THEORY REALLY A ...September 25, 2015
Mr. B.G shared this article with me, and I found the embedded video(not the article itself), both stimulating, fascinating, and fun, and hence pass it along to you. Here's the article; you have to scroll down to find the video of Dr. Gates taken during a panel discussion. it's about 12 minutes long, and Dr. Gates begins his commentary at about one minute into the video:
There's a bit of humor and fun in this video, as Dr. Gates, having briefly outlined his hypothesis, is challenged by another panel member after Dr. Gates suggested that these "codes" embedded in the fabric of space time (well, to cite him more accurately, in some of the equations of string theory) imply that we live in a sort of generated hologram, even citing the movie The Matrix as an illustration of his remarks. The challenger interrupts and asks if he may present an argument against that view, and one can hear Dr. Gates say "please" in such a tone as implying he too is uncomfortable with his findings. The challenger is presumably Lee Smolin, himself a theoretical physicist of some ability, and author of a popular critique of string theory called The Trouble with Physics, which is a good read, and whose cover, a pair of laced shoes tied together to render easy walking progress impossible, basically summarizes Smolin's (and many other physicists') problems with string theory: it's lovely as a mathematical formalism, but does really advance empirical physics very far.
Now all this is fun and quite intriguing, and I have to admit that when I watched this video, I am intrigued enough to want to find any of Dr. Gate's books or publications for further examination. But there are other interesting comments made in the video, and one of them Dr. Gates (during his colloquy with Smolin) suggests himself: his model is based on the idea of super-symmetry, which, he points out, will be tested when they fire up CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Now, if you've been following CERN's annoucements closely lately, one of the models that is looking increasingly questionable in the theoretical physics zoo of theories, is super-symmetry. The verdict is still out on other models, like hyper-dimensionality(which if verified, would certainly buttress string theory). But this need not, I suspect, invalidate whatever insights Dr. Gates has discovered.
But Smolin raises an interesting and highly philosophical point during his exchange with Dr. Gates, and that is that that mathematical equations themselves are not process, that is to say, they do not "flow" with time, but rather, are "snapshots." But is that really the case? Mathematical functions have to be performed; the act of creating or writing - of deriving - them is itself a flow in time; the snapshot itself is the result of several other snapshots in a discrete formal process which, Gates implies, appears to be intimately wedded to the actual structure of reality. So perhaps what has been lacking in formal mathematical physics is a more accurate way to embody this feature - one might be tempted to say with Kozyrev this "non-scalarity of time" - as something more than a simple delta-t function.
It's fun to speculate here, but perhaps the most entertaining thing from this video - illustrative perhaps of the state into which modern physics has got itself - is when the host asks a question of a panel member participating in the discussion remotely. This gentleman goes on to say that perhaps someday when we meet "ET" they'll ask us to show them what we've got, and we opened our books and showed them all our mathematics. The gentleman then quips that the aliens respond, "Oh, math... we used to do that too."
The bottom line? What I found interesting and highly suggestive about Dr. Gates' idea - again, not having read about it more in depth, and noting that he does not make this observation himself in so many words - was that one may not be looking so much at equations that describe reality, but rather, perhaps, at a grammar in a "Chomskian sense." After all, the great modern discovery of physics - the role and importance of the observer - was there all along in most human languages and grammars, and the subtle effects of that observer are writ large on the subtle and manifold ways in which temporal order - the complex verb systems and tenses of human languages - are arranged. Maybe the reason physics is not unified - here comes a really high octane speculation, one is tempted to file it in the "bizarre" file - is because the disciplines are no longer unified. Imagine Dr. Michio Kaku or Dr. Gates or Lee Smolin speaking to Chomsky LInguistics conference, or, conversely, a Fodor or Katz as guest speakers for a physics conference, and you get the idea. The functions of mathematics - attribution, commutivity, cardinality, ordinality, dimensionality, and all the rest - are not, after all, all that different from those of grammar.
Anyway, it's a fun video folks, so enjoy, and I'll...
...See you on the flip side...