Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Axes of Evil are East of Eden

A physicist in Flinders, Australia named Reg Cahill claims he detects the absolute velocity of the Earth when a Michelson-Morley interferometer is rotated by a right angle provided that the light signals in the two interfering light paths pass through a gas whose index of refraction is not equal to 1. The effect will not occur in vacuum or solid state only in gas. We do not know if Cahill is making an error or not, but suppose he turns out to be correct? What would it mean? The theory of everything rests only on the intimate tango dance two battle-tested ideas – each a kind of broken symmetry:

1. Local gauge invariance restoring a dynamical broken symmetry of a source with a force field.
2. “More is different” spontaneous broken symmetry (SBS) in the vacuum state of virtual quanta and in the ground state of real quanta leaving the symmetry of the dynamics intact not broken.

The pre-Einsteinian Galilean relativity symmetry of Newton’s 17th Century particle mechanics automatically guaranteed absolute simultaneity with an aether or vacuum medium of what Newton called “absolute rest”. This is easy to prove like a theorem in Euclid’s geometry. Imagine a non-rotating uniformly moving “inertial frame” (GIF). By definition, no external forces are acting on this platform of detectors. The inertial frame falls freely weightless in what is called a “geodesic” path. Suppose the velocity vector of light in vacuum is measured by Alice in this frame to be the venerable c, whose magnitude speed c = 186,000 miles per second in a given direction in space. Now imagine Bob whizzing by Alice with a relative uniform velocity vector v. What is the speed of the same light signal that Bob measures in his inertial frame? According to the Galilean symmetry group that light velocity vector will either be c + v if Bob moves opposite to the light signal, or will be c – v if Bob tries to outrace the light signal in the same direction. In what frame then will we see the speed c? Clearly, only in the frame where v = 0! That is, the Galilean symmetry or relativity automatically demands the frame of absolute rest as a corollary not as an independent postulate! Indeed, that was the key idea of Michelson at Case Institute in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1880s. He aligned one arm of his horizontal interferometer in the direction Earth’s motion where c’ = c +/- v and the other at right angles where c’ = c still in the horizontal plane. Michelson expected to see the pattern of light fringes where the two beams come together shift when he rotated his interferometer by a right angle 90 degrees about the perpendicular axis to the horizontal plane that depended on the ratio (v/c)2. In fact, he did not see any such shift beyond his expected errors. In other words, absolute velocity v could not be detected! Fitzgerald, in Dublin, explained this unexpected result by saying that the length L of the interferometer path in the same direction as the Earth’s absolute velocity shrunk to L’ = L[1 – (1/2)(v/c)2]1/2. In contrast, the length of the other path at right angles to the first in the horizon tal plane stayed the same. This adhoc mechanical aether conjecture would explain the data. Poincare and Lorentz further developed this idea before 1905 when Einstein published his “On The Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies”, which did not take much notice of Michelson’s interferometer anomaly. Einstein was concerned with the fact that Maxwell’s electromagnetic field equations did not preserve their form under the Galilean relativity inertial frame transformations and this resulted in further anomalies when say a bar magnet and a coil were in motion relative to each other. You get one thing when the magnet is at absolute rest and another when the coil is at absolute rest. Such a split is not ever observed. This caused Einstein at age 26, an outcast from the university to replace the Galilean frame shift with something else that we now call the “Lorentz boost”. These new transformations changed time as well as space, but left the “space-time interval” ds invariant, i.e. unchanging for all relatively uniformly moving observers like Alice and Bob. Newton’s point particle mechanical equations changed in structure in order to be consistent with Maxwell’s field equation’s form not changing in the frame shift. However, since the speed of light in vacuum was a fixed point invariant, there was, it appeared no way to measure v the absolute speed. No way Jose, until Cahill and another guy Consoli from Catania, Sicily came along in 2005 100 years later. On the other hand, Einstein’s 1905 Special Relativity (SR) does not say that absolute velocity violates the laws of physics. It only says that if some new measurement like Cahill’s measures it, then absolute velocity must be appended like Euclid’s 5th Parallel Postulate and is not a theorem as it is in Galilean relativity! Along comes SBS of the vacuum to save the day giving a general theory of “preferred frames” that does not violate the symmetries of the laws of physics!

The ferromagnet below its Curie temperature has a preferred orientation frame in a finite 3D space domain in its macro-quantum SBS ground state. Similarly, what Cahill may be seeing would be a preferred orientation frame in a finite 4D space-time domain in the macro-quantum SBS vacuum containing the Earth’s orbit. It might be the same or different at the orbits of Mars and Venus et-al. That is, the existence of such a preferred frame of “rapidity” is a contingent “frozen accident” of history from the amplification of a random micro-quantum zero point vacuum fluctuation in the pre-> post inflation phase transition that created the Big Bang. Similarly, for the anomalous weak spatially uniform radial gravity tug pointing back to the Sun

ag = - cH(t) ~ 10-7 cm/sec2

H(t) = R(t)dR(t)/dt

ds2 = -(cdt)2 + R(t)2[dx2 + dy2 + dz2]

seen in both the NASA Pioneer 10 & 11 space probes suddenly starting only beyond Jupiter’s orbit out 20 AU. This is exactly what is expected for a contingent frozen accident of history called the “hedgehog topological defect” in the Higgs Ocean macro-quantum coherent “multi-layered multi-colored” cosmic superconducting vacuum field out of which Einstein’s gravity with both dark energy and dark matter emerge completing Andrei Sakharov’s 1967 conjecture.

But we are not yet done because some physicists looking at WMAP anomalies think they see the “Axis of Evil” that is a preferred axis in space of the universe as if it were a giant “ferromagnet”. They don’t know about Cahill’s similar preferred axis in space-time! As if that is not enough, still other physicists think they see multiple images in the WMAP data suggesting that our space is finite and closed in a giant dodecahedron! It’s too soon to know if any of these people are correct or are charging wind mills. However, all of these allegations are simply explained in principle by only two great battle-tested ideas cited above. i.e.,

1. Local gauge invariance restoring a dynamical broken symmetry of a source with a force field.
2. “More is different” spontaneous broken symmetry (SBS) in the vacuum state of virtual quanta and in the ground state of real quanta leaving the symmetry of the dynamics intact not broken.