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CHAPTER 14: RICHARD FEYNMAN + JULIAN SCHWINGER

CHAPTER 14:  RICHARD FEYNMAN + JULIAN SCHWINGER

“There is always another way to say something that doesn’t look like the way you said it before” —–Richard Feynman [p.13, Ref.#39] … 

“He had the ideas and then I translated them into math” —–Freeman Dyson re Richard Feynman … 

Richard Feynman + Julian Schwinger:  two physicists with very different mathematical approaches, who each developed a successful way to describe + explain the behavior of sub-atomic “particles” — and shared a Nobel prize (1965) for doing so …

Born in the same year (1918), each started learning mathematics at a young age, and went on to invent some new mathematics, after thoroughly mastering the “ordinary” maths which physicists use …

Schwinger used something call’d “Green’s functions” as a starting point on his math-journey … Feynman invented his own math-symbols, which only he could read, and eventually invented “Feynman diagrams” — which other PhD-holders learned to know + love,  and which today appear in almost every modern physics book in the entire known universe … Particularly [pun intended] the books re “particle” physics …

There was a famous physics conference at Pocono Manor, in Pennsylvania’s Appalachian mountains, in March of 1948, a few days after I was born:  I always have fun when I read about it in a physics book, and it’s in many of them … Almost every important American theoretical physicist, and some European ones, were there …

Schwinger’s presentation continued for 7 or 8 hours, and was very dense with maths, line after line, page after page … Yet the conference room was still packed when he finished, as he was the current young super-star in physics at that time … Feynman’s presentation followed Schwinger’s, but was not as well-received as Schwinger’s …

Yet, when they compared notes, they realized that they had essentially solved the same theoretical problem by 2 different methods:  each had climbed to the top of the same mountain, by 2 very different + very difficult routes … paths … lines of thought …

Their very different mathematical approaches actually gave answers which agreed very accurately with experimental evidence … If their results had NOT agreed with experiment, then their work would NOT have led to Nobel prizes … The important thing here was NOT that their maths agreed with EACH OTHER, but that they agreed with the EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE …

As it turned out, there was a 3rd gentleman, not present at that 1948-conference, who had been working on the same problem, in Japan:  Sin-Itiro Tomonaga would eventually SHARE the 1965 Nobel prize with Feynman + Schwinger for independently —(and several years earlier !!)— developing a similar-but-different approach to solve the same problem …

PLUS:  a 4th gentleman, younger than the other three, probably WOULD have shared the same Nobel prize, if the Nobel prize committee did not have a tradition of awarding no more than 3 individuals for the same accomplishment … This 4th individual was Freeman Dyson, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, who wrote a series of papers to show that the maths which the 3 other theorists used were essentially equivalent to each other …

One of the very amazing things about math is that it is almost infinitely DIVERSE, + almost infinitely DEEP, and can be adapted to describe and/or explain almost any SITUATION — even one which might not actually exist in reality …

Murray Gell-Mann, who “invented” quark-theory during the 1960s, suggested at that time that “quarks” might be mere mathematical conveniences — tools which one can use to analyze + calculate how tiny objects behave, but not themselves real “particles” … “It’s fun to speculate about the way quarks would behave if they were … real” [p.323, Ref.#17, p.88. Ref.#30] … and “Even after the New York Times had [featured] quarks in [a] 1967 article, Gell-Mann was quoted as saying [that] the quark was likely to turn out to be merely ‘a useful mathematical figment’ ” [p.292, Ref.#39] …

The important thing re quark-theory is that it DOES give results which DO agree with experimental evidence … Likewise, Dr. Ernest Sternglass (the main “character” in this series of essays) insisted that his “semi-classical” model was able to accurately explain masses and lifetimes of ALL the newly discovered “particles”, AS THEY WERE BEING DISCOVERED … See, for example, the Proceedings of the Resonant Particles Conference, Athens, Ohio (1965):       file:///C:/Users/adult/Desktop/Sternglass%20Proceedings%202nd%20top%20conf%20Resonant%20Particles%201965.PDF

… PLUS:  the Proceedings of the American Physical Society’s annual meeting (1964):   http://www.osti.gov/scitech/biblio/4885112

… PLUS:  here is a LINK to a BOOK, published in 1964, in which Sternglass’s contribution is a chapter titled:  “Evidence for a Molecular Structure of Heavy Mesons”:

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1964nust.conf..340S

And here’s an other Sternglass-paper, from IL NUOVO CIMENTO 35(1): 227-260 (December 1964): 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/226502314_Electron-positron_model_for_the_charged_mesons_and_pion_resonances

—–{ PLEASE NOTE:  you might need to “copy” + “paste” the LINKs (above), to get them to work }—–

Sternglass’s model is much simpler than quark-theory, and has the added bonus that it’s VISUALIZABLE:  “ANSCHAULICH” in German:  Einstein believed that a theory of model should be visualizable … PLUS: Sternglass’s model relies on electrons + positrons, which are KNOWN to exist, while “QUARKs” HAVE NEVER BEEN OBSERVED IN AN PHYSICS LAB !!  [p.323, Ref.#17] … 

In other words:  Sternglass’s model uses electrons + positrons to solve the same problem for which the standard model needed to “invent” a long list of “new” “particles” … 

So how + why is it that every university physics department now teaches quark-theory to grad-students, while Sternglass’s model is almost unknown and/or forgotten ??

Well, it’s about personality:  Feynman had a very strong personality, and his ability to inspire + influence others in his chosen field of study is legendary:  evidently he helped to convince Gell-Mann, (and in fact the entire physics community), to accept quark-theory as the best way to explain how tiny objects behave … “By the early 1970s Feynman had become convinced that the partons [in HIS theory] had all of the properties of Gell-Mann’s hypothetical quarks (and Zweig’s aces), though he continued to talk in parton language (perhaps to annoy Gell-Mann)”  [pp.299+300, Ref.#39] … {(Please NOTE that Feynman’s office at Caltech was right next door to Gell-Mann’s office, a fact which Sternglass mentions in his book [Ref.#1]), and that a researcher named “Dr.Zweig” (also at Caltech) had developed a similar model, in which he called the little rascals “ACES” instead of “QUARKs” } …

Please note also this interesting comment re Feynman’s personality:  “It may … be true that … he could have accomplished much more had he been more willing to listen and learn from those around him, and insist less on discovering absolutely everything for himself” [p.314, Ref.#39] …

Me???  I’m trying to learn enough quark-theory to show that Dr. Ernest Sternglass might have developed an equivalent way to solve the same problem, (i.e., to describe + explain how sub-atomic “particles” behave), in addition to the ways in which Tomonaga + Schwinger + Feynman did … And that he did so in a “semi-classical” way, using the ordinary maths (algebra + geometry + calculus) which high school students study, which many of us already know + love, with only minimal references to the fiendishly difficult maths associated with quark-theory … Wish me luck !!

$$$$$$$$$$$ << END OF CHAPTER 14 >> $$$$$$$$$$$

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One comment on “CHAPTER 14: RICHARD FEYNMAN + JULIAN SCHWINGER

  1. Pingback: book-title: VISUALIZE-ING “QUARKs” — sub-title: Essays re the Work of DR. ERNEST STERNGLASS + DR. MENAHEM SIMHONY | markcreekwater

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This entry was posted on February 27, 2016 by .
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