Consciousness, Physics, and the Holographic Paradigm
Essays by A.T. Williams
Part I: Sneaking Up On Einstein
Energy has an objective, independent physical existence and exists in the absence of matter,
Chapter 2: From Mass To Energy
Section 1: The Universal Principle of Energy
Based on the scientific method and experimental results, 20th century physics continued a long tradition of pointing to particulate matter as the irreducible foundation upon which our material universe is built. At the same time, the four known fundamental forces or energetic interactions of electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force and gravitation play a crucial fundamental role in the creation, organization, and maintenance of particulate matter per se.
Of the four fundamental interactions, only gravitation and electromagnetism were known and investigated prior to the development of 20th century atomic physics, quantum mechanics, and high energy particle physics. Electromagnetism was discovered in the 19th century. Gravity, the mutual attraction of material objects which possess discrete physical mass, has a somewhat longer scientific history.
Isaac Newton (1643-1727), knighted in 1705, mathematically analyzed gravitation during the years 1665-1666, and Albert Einstein (1879-1955) geometrized gravitational field effects in his 1915 general relativity theory. It is worth noting that while Newton and Einstein analyzed gravitional effects, neither of them offered a hypothesis concerning the fundamental nature of gravity.
Hans Christian Ørsted (1777-1851) announced his discovery that electric current in a wire produces magnetic effects (i.e., electromagnetism) in 1820. Michael Faraday (1791-1867) discovered electromagnetic induction in 1831 after experimenting with electricity and electromagnetic effects for ten years. Faraday was perhaps the premier internationally known experimentalist in chemistry, electricity, and magnetism during the first half of the 19th century.
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) translated Faraday's experimental laboratory results into formal, classical mathematics after graduating from Trinity College, London, in 1854. Maxwell then developed his own electrodynamic field theory, published in 1864, in which he derived eight partial differential equations that describe the electric and magnetic fields propagated by discrete material point sources. In modern notation four of Maxwell's partial differential equations completely describe the spatial and temporal coefficients of the electric and magnetic fields to the present day.
Einstein described the axiomatic change wrought by Maxwell's interpretation of Faraday's experimental results in an article originally published on the one hundredth anniversary of Maxwell's birth in James Clerk Maxwell: A Commemoration Volume, Cambridge University Press, 1931. He wrote:
Mass and energy interactions:
The "material point" or particle of classical (Newtonian) mathematics is the analog of a material body which is capable of moving and interacting with other material points. Large classical material bodies, in turn, are closed (conservative) mechanical systems comprised of multiple material points or particles. Maxwell's interpretation of the experimental results produced by Faraday and his international colleagues demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields are, as Einstein noted above, "not mechanically explicable." Thus the axiomatic basis of Newtonian physics was beginning to show its age.
Einstein's intractable difficulty with Maxwell's continuous energy fields standing side by side with Newton's material point as paired representatives of physical reality may be compared to an unstable two-legged stool. The imbalance, the inherent instability can be overcome only by discovering a unifying third factor. Oddly enough, the unifying factor – the necessary stabilizing third leg of the stool – remained hidden for nearly a century after Einstein first tackled the problem in his theory of special relativity.
Indeed, the unifying piece of this portion of Nature's puzzle was apparently hidden from traditional ways of looking at the problem. This state of affairs suggests that a very complex problem needed to be simplified before the solution could present itself. Acknowledging the successes of Einstein's old quantum theory, Bohr's newer quantum theory, and the Standard Model of 20th century elementary particle physics, where does one begin the simplification process?
Following Planck's 1900 discovery of the black body radiation quantum of action Einstein's March 1905 light quantum hypothesis succeeded in suggesting the quantization of the electromagnetic radiation spectrum per se through his use of the kinetic theory of gases, "Boltzmann's principle," and the classical equation Rß/N, where R is the gas constant, ß is the thermodynamic beta, and N is Avogadro's number. The equation Rß/N is equivalent to Planck's constant, h.
A full century later it is interesting to note the significant difference between the hypotheses of Planck and Einstein. Planck attributed the quantum of action to the energetic activity of ideal blackbody oscillators (which can be seen as the independent, energetic atomic harmonic oscillators that comprise the walls of the black body cavity and can be driven by thermal excitation) while Einstein attributed quantization directly to electromagnetic radiation itself as demonstrated by the photoelectric effect.
Each approach agreed with the relevant experimental results. Nonetheless, in a very real way each approach has significant differences which are dependent upon the unique characteristics of subatomic particles and the ubiquitous atom itself. Comparing the photoelectric effect with contemporary quantum physics, it is instructive to note that Planck's understanding seems to have been more fundamental than Einstein's.
The photoelectric effect is Einstein's original (old) quantum theory which explains the breaking of atomic energy bonds and the emission of electrons from the surface of specific materials. According to classical electrodynamics, once ejected from the material the accelerated charged particle (i.e., the free electron, e-) generates unquantized electric and magnetic vector fields.
In contrast, blackbody (thermal) radiative energy quantization, electromagnetic radiative energy quantization, and the characteristic emission/absorption of discrete energy quanta (photons) by a bound atomic electron seem to be directly related to electron energy level transitions in atomic energy-matter interactions. Hence, based on the quantum mechanics initiated by the Bohr Model of the atom, the quantization of electromagnetic radiation per se seems to be caused by characteristic bound atomic electron energy level transitions rather than vice versa as posited by the traditional "old" quantum theory interpretation of the photoelectric effect.
Comparing Einstein's (old) 1905 quantum theory with the more modern quantum mechanics and looking with fresh eyes for the hidden factor which could unify the Newtonian material point and the continuous Faraday-Maxwell-Hertz energy fields, one is struck by the fact that the material point and the massless, nonmaterial thermal energy field are not united in Einstein's work on the light quantum.
In other words, if the continuous field of blackbody (electromagnetic) cavity radiation is converted to its classical theoretical equivalent as an ideal gas following Einstein, then the continuous, nonmaterial thermal energy field essentially vanishes. Therefore, taken as a whole after the conversion the combined material point and dynamic, material, ideal gas (converted radiative energy field) together represent only the classical Newtonian material point.
There is little doubt that the lack of information concerning fundamental energy-matter interactions on the microscopic scale during the Planck-Einstein era was a contributing factor to the problem noted above.
While properly acknowledging the second leg of our imaginary stool (the nonmaterial continuous energy field) and searching for the stabilizing third leg (the unifying factor between the material and the nonmaterial domains), it is important to note that:
Thus, if the energetic atomic and molecular harmonic oscillators which comprise the walls of the black body cavity are the cause (i.e., the source) of thermal radiative quantization when driven by thermal excitation, and if bound electron energy level transitions in atomic energy-matter interactions are the cause (i.e., the source) of electromagnetic radiative quantization, then the apparent quantization of thermal and electromagnetic radiation is a secondary effect of atomic and subatomic energy-matter interactions.
Therefore the quantization of conditionally relative thermal and electromagnetic radiation can be seen as a property or characteristic function of open (nonconservative) monatomic, diatomic, and polyatomic material systems. Furthermore, fundamental, unconditioned, irreducible, nonmaterial (subquantum, prequantum) physical energy per se can unequivocally be seen as continuous (i.e., infinitely divisible), primordial, and all-encompassing in scope.
The physical limitations of human sensory perception create the impression that the macroscopic material objects we see, feel, touch, taste and smell have a solid, objective, independent existence. Using various kinds of instrumentation to extend our human perception into the microscopic, atomic, subatomic, nuclear, and subnuclear domains counterintuitively reveals that material objects are comprised of comparatively vast fields of omnipresent, pervasive, nonmaterial energy that encompass surprisingly small amounts of mass.
This coherent pattern of vast energy fields containing low matter density is repeated again and again as material size increases or decreases in scope on a scale ranging from the undefined boundary of our finite material universe to the subquantum hyperenergy/hyperinformation transition zone that links the nonmaterial and material realms of our compound, multifarious, closed (conservative) nonmaterial/open (nonconservative) material universe just-as-it-is.
Numerous experiments at SLAC, CERN, and Fermilab, for example, have confirmed not only that regardless of size, each material object is a discrete, organized aggregation of nonmaterial physical energy, but also that the various constituents which comprise the nucleus of each atom are constrained by the synergistic conditional activity of the four known nonmaterial fundamental forces (energetic interactions). The four known fundamental forces may also act in conjunction with other presently unknown nonmaterial energies, forces, or energetic interactions.
Generalizing these experimental results it is eminently reasonable to conclude that if particulate matter is entirely comprised of and wholly dependent upon nonmaterial physical energy for its existence, then nonmaterial physical energy per se is more fundamental than particulate matter.
Energy and axiomatic change:
The well known relationship of nonmaterial energy and particulate matter in a closed or isolated (conservative) material system was first established chemically by Michael Faraday in his classic 19th century electrolysis experiments. Albert Einstein mathematically confirmed the virtual or apparent equivalence between the rest energy and the so-called relativistic mass of a material particle at rest in a closed or isolated (conservative) system by deriving the equation m = E/c² as a direct result of the investigation that produced his theory of special relativity. Einstein presented his derivation of the virtual or apparent mass-energy equivalency in his 1905 paper, Does the Inertia of a Body Depend upon its Energy Content?4
Nevertheless, virtual or apparent mass-energy equivalence in a closed or isolated (conservative) material system is only the tip of the nonmaterial (subquantum) physical energy iceberg in our compound, multifarious, closed (conservative) nonmaterial/open (nonconservative) material universe just-as-it-is.
Nonmaterial energy per se has traditionally been treated as a property of matter in a closed or isolated (conservative) material system, and was thought to have no independent physical existence. Nonetheless, material mass and nonmaterial physical energy are quantitatively and qualitatively different. Indeed, objective, fundamental, transcendent (subquantum) physical energy is nonmaterial in nature and exists in the absence of particulate matter.
The insight that particulate matter is the product of the ordered organization – the structured aggregation – of the nonmaterial, subquantum physical energy domain leads directly to the inescapable conclusion that nonmaterial, subquantum physical energy per se is the independent, irreducible foundation of our finite, open (nonconservative) material universe – our compound, local spacetime system – which is encompassed by, immersed in, and wholly dependent upon the transcendent nonmaterial energy domain.
Thus, rather than affirming the primacy of matter, Einstein's virtual or apparent mass-energy equivalence for a material particle at rest in a closed or isolated (conservative) system points directly to the independent, irreducible foundation of fundamental, nonmaterial physical energy itself. In other words, fundamental, nonmaterial physical energy per se is the independent, irreducible foundation of matter and matter is entirely dependent upon energy.
This new axiomatic foundation of ultimate reality just-as-it-is which unifies Maxwell's continuous energy fields, Newton's material point, and the underlying fundamental, irreducible foundation of the transcendent, nonmaterial (subquantum, prequantum) primordial energy domain may be succinctly stated as:
The logical scientific conclusion that the nonmaterial primordial energy domain is the fundamental, irreducible foundation of our tangible material universe as well as omnipresent, pervasive, nonmaterial physical reality just-as-it-is should surprise no one and is completely testable. Indeed, the definitive test is stunningly simple:
The universal principle of energy can be falsified by the design and successful completion of a rigorous experiment that unequivocally demonstrates the objective, tangible existence of discrete, measurable physical mass in the total absence of nonmaterial, subquantum primordial energy.
Continued in Chapter 2, Section 2: Science is Provisional
Reference Notes (Click on the Note number to return to the text):
1 Einstein, Albert. Ideas and Opinions, Wings Books, Random House, New York, p. 266. Copyright by Crown Publishers, Inc., 1954. ISBN 0-517-00393-7
2 Ibid., p. 269.
3 Ibid., p. 268.
4 Einstein, Albert. "Ist die Trägheit eines Körpers von seinem Energieinhalt abhängig?", Annalen der Physik, 18 (1905): 639-641. Anna Beck, translator; The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein: English Edition, vol. 2, Doc. 24, pp. 172-174, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1989. ISBN 0-691-08549-8. (cf. Chapter 3, Section 1, footnote 5, and the detailed description of Einstein's derivation in Chapter 5, section 3.)
Back to Section 1: The Subquantum Energy Bridge
Last Edit: July 26, 2010.
Comments and suggestions welcome.
This paper is a work in progress.
Copyright © 2001-2010 by Alan T. Williams. All rights reserved.