It isn't easy for an amateur physicist to bring his work
to the attention of professional physicists. There are two
reasons for this. First most amateurs are truly horrible.
Second, most professionals don't have the time to read
the papers even of other professionals. Therefore, it
has been very satisfactory for me to have had several
physicists spend time reading my work, and to have several
of them write papers that mention me. I've put
together this page to describe the most pleasant interactions
and to provide links to the various papers and authors.
My work involves rewriting the foundations of both relativity
and quantum mechanics. I began by
rewriting special relativity so that it would make
de Broglie's quantum waves
more natural. It turns out that special relativity is the "third rail" of
amateurs working on physics theories. If you touch it, all interest
by professionals in your papers dies instantly.
I took a MS in physics at the University of California, Irvine when
I passed the PhD qualifying exams. I know physicists well. I know
how their minds work. I knew that relativity was the third rail.
Despite this, I persevered with my version of relativity and applied
a type of
Clifford algebra called the
Geometric Algebra to the problem
of representing the quarks and leptons. The resulting paper
The Geometry of Fermions gave a beautiful (but wrong) geometric
model of the fermions that allowed one to count the number of
hidden dimensions needed to classify the fermions as primitive
The "Geometry of Fermions" included the new version of special
relativity so I knew it wasn't likely to go anywhere. But
a Portugese professor of physics,
Jose Almeida came upon it, liked it, and asked that I submit it
to arXiv so that he could reference it in a paper he was writing.
The paper was rejected at arXiv, possibly because the references were
screwed up, or possibly because it touched that third rail. In any
case, I continued on with my studies of the implications of the theory.
I found out that it is possible for amateurs to join the
American Physical Society (APS) and that
one of the benefits of membership is that one can attend APS meetings
and give presentations. The money required is small, so I signed up
for membership in early 2005.
If I recall correctly, the first meeting that it was convenient for
me to attend wasn't actually an APS meeting, but was instead a
PHENO2005. In particle physics, phenomenology means the study
of particle interactions in a way that cannot be derived exactly
from theory, but in a way that is consistent with a theory.
My understanding of the fermions implied that the quarks and leptons
are composites made up of a sort of "preons". The theory gives a
description of those preons, so you can compare the resulting
behavior with unexplained behavior in particle physics. Now the
energies of these preons would have to be tremendous, and the
highest energy particles ever detected come from cosmic rays
so it was natural for me to look through the research to see
if there was anything matching my preons in odd behavior.
Sure enough I found that there is a type of cosmic ray called
a "centauro" that had odd behavior just what I expected. I
wrote up a paper,
and signed up to give it at the PHENO2005 meeting May 2-4, 2005
in Madison Wisconsin. Of course anything that touches the third
rail is avoided by physicists so my paper was ignored. Since then
I've talked with only one physicist (whose name I will insert
here if the theory ever gets any recognition) who thought that I
may be on to something.
On April 23, 2005, just a few days before the PHENO2005 meeting, a Spanish physicist,
short note (post #111) on
Physics Forums describing a strange formula for the masses
of the charged leptons found by a Japanese professor of physics,
in 1982 and
published in Phys Rev D. in 1983.
Koide's strange formula predicted the mass of the tau long before
it was known accurately. At this date, August 2006, Koide's formula
still gives a mass for the tau close to the center of the error
bars. Such an accurate formula, with no clear theoretical explanation,
was exactly the kind of thing I had been looking for. Since the fermions
are "point" particles, there is no need to worry about space and time,
and so I could apply my theories to the problem without touching
the third rail.
Physics conferences are exciting and busy affairs, but I found time
to work on Koide's formula and by the last day of the conference
I had rewritten it so that the masses were eigenvalues for a 3x3
matrix. The reason that this was important was because I thought
that the leptons were composed of 3 particles, and that those three
subparticles should freely convert into each other. And by writing
Koide's formula in eigenvector form, I found that an angle suspiciously
close to the Cabibbo angle appeared.
But without a theory to put behind it, an observation such as this
is not of much interest to the physics community. It's very difficult
for amateurs to get published, or even to post papers onto arXiv,
so instead of publishing the result in the literature, I posted it
on May 17, 2005 to the same Physics Forums thread in which Koide's formula had been
shown to me:
Since my theory united the quarks and leptons, it was only natural to see
if I could apply my formula to the quarks. I worked on this for a few months,
but nothing seemed to come from it. Eventually I decided that the problem
was that the quarks were bound particles and that the figures for their
masses given in the literature depended on models for mass that were
incompatible with my own. That left me the neutrinos to work on.
The experimental measurements of neutrino masses are rather nebulous.
Instead of measuring the neutrino masses directly, the differences
between the squares of masses are measured instead, and only two of
those. Thus there is an unspecified degree of freedom and one would
expect that the Koide formula could be applied to get the masses.
But it turns out that Koide's formula, as written in 1983, is incompatible
with the measured neutrino masses. This fact has been observed in
three papers that I found, Nan Li and
Bo-Qiang Ma in
Phys. Lett B 609, 309 (2005), J. M. Gerard,
F. Goffinet, and M. Herquet in
Phys. Lett. B 633, 563 (2006), and
R. N. Mohapatra and
A. V. Smirnov in
Annual Review of Nuclear and Particle Science Vol. 56, to be published in November 2006 .
However, with my version of Koide's formula, the neutrino masses
could be fitted. The difference amounted to the fact that the
other physicists assumed only the positive square root. I knew
that Koide would be interested in this, and so I wrote him a short
letter I think in mid March, 2006. Of course Dr. Koide responded
The next APS meeting that I was scheduled to attend was the
big APS06 meeting
in Dallas on April 22-25, 2006. Earlier in the year, I'd figured
that I would be able to solve the neutrino problem and signed
up to give a
talk on the lepton masses. Fortunately, I'd solved the
problem in time to let "lepton" include neutrinos. My
ready on April 7, and I submitted it to arXiv soon after,
well in time to get it up before the meeting.
Because of the problem of too many people putting too many
weak papers up on arXiv, they have instituted some controls
to restrict which papers are published there. Even though
Dr. Koide endorsed my paper (twice if I recall), the
quality control people at arXiv refused to allow it. It's
bad enough that the paper was written by someone with no
university affiliation. But for it to predict the neutrino
masses to 6 decimal places was probably too much.
The organizers of APS have probably long discussed what to
do with the amateurs (&c.) that shower them with papers at these
meetings. At the 2006 meeting, what they did was to put
us all in one session. The audience mostly consisted of
each other. At smaller meetings, where there are not
enough amateurs, one is more likely to have good attendance
at one's presentation. But there was an odd thing that
happened at this meeting. One of the other amateur
presenters, a mathematician named
Richard Gauthier, gave a model of electron spin
that was based on a sort of zitterbewegung and Bohmian
mechanical ideas. He concluded that the electron
travelled on a helical path and the formula he gave
for the path matched the formula I gave for the masses.
He concluded that this motion was superluminal, a violation
of Lorentz invariance identical to my own.
I think that this is a clue on how to get a Bohmian
mechanical version of my theory and will eventually explore
it. I knew another amateur poster at the meeting,
Douglas Sweetser. He presented a
talk on the unification of gravitation and electricity and
magnetism. There are attributes of his unification that seem
to me like they are compatible with my model of the forces
and eventually I will study this more deeply. Douglas
and I attended several of the events together and generally
had a good time. (No one was arrested.) And my father
dropped in to see my short talk.
Soon after the APS meeting, Dr. Koide finished a
considered how it would be possible to get my neutrino mass
formula with Yukawa couplings and a Higgs interaction. The
paper is not yet published but I have little doubt that Dr.
Koide is working on it. Every now and then I feel slightly
guilty for not spending more time trying to get papers
published in the peer reviewed literature, but the barriers
are high, the effort is vexing, and I don't see any real
reason why I should do this at the moment, as I still don't
think that I understand "mass".
A few days before the APS meeting, I came upon Sundance Bilson-Thompson's
a braid model of preons. Lee Smolin had written
his. The preons involved seemed similar to mine, and so I wrote
letters to Smolin and Bilson-Thompson suggesting that there
was a connection. I got back interested replies. But there
didn't seem to be any way that I could get their version.