Need a physicist

I came across this:

It basically posits a new theory of physics, a theory that claims to unify gravitation and quantum mechanics. It is based on an idea that there are three dimensions of time to go along with the three of space. So there is a 6 dimensional space-time with a geometry based on the quadratic form with signature ++±–, the last three of course for the time dimension.

Does any of this make any sense? Incidentally, it makes a definite prediction that could be refuted in the next year or so: there is no Higg’s boson. I know that physicists have said that the new CERN machine doesn’t find, they will have to go back to the drawing board.

It’s a bit of an ad hominem, but the author of that paper as far as I can tell doesn’t have a higher degree or an academic or research position, and has apparently been positing variations of this theory for the last 10 years or so.

Occam’s Razor, and the parsimony principle suggests “crank” to me. But I’ll make the disclaimer that I haven’t read the manuscript and don’t have the necessary Physics background in any event. I could be wrong.

You end up with all sorts of crazy things going on if the number of timelike dimensions is anything other than 1 (or equivalently, n-1, but that just amounts to changing what you call “spacelike” and “timelike”). If this guy claims there are three of each, then he’s got a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.

At first, I thought I remembered reading about this theory, but some digging suggests I was just recalling some ideas by John G. Bennett, who posited a six-dimensional universe for philosophical reasons.

There are some physical theories I know of with two timelike dimensions, for instance the work by Itzhak Bars, but three’s a new one for me; I’ll try to have a look at the paper, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to it any time soon, and even if I do, I don’t know whether I’ll be able to understand it sufficiently well to glean what, if anything, is wrong with it.

Just out of curiosity, what crazy things are you referring to? Is there any idea on how to get around those? For instance, ‘crazy things’ happen for spaces with dimensionality >3 – there are no stable planetary orbits, or even atoms, IIRC. This can be gotten around with compactification.

OK, quickly skimming a few pages, I stumble across this gem:

I’m a bit surprised by that, as what else I came across at least seemed to indicate some understanding of present-day physics; however, with statements such as that one, I don’t expect the paper to usher in a revolution of our understanding of space and time.

According to this site

What used to be s^2=x^2+y^2+z^2-t^2
should now be expressed s^2=x^2+y^2+z^2-t^2-w^2-v^2

Perhaps these extra time coordinates are “curled up” like the microscopic dimensions in string theory.

Perhaps the two extra time dimensions are tied to spin and charge, respectively?

That’s the thing I remembered! I’ll have a look at this again, thanks for pointing this out.

In the paper the OP linked to, the author actually argues the idea of imaginary time the author attributes to Stephen Hawking (meaning, he probably got it out of some popular work of Hawkings; actually, the idea is more commonly known as a Wick rotation, and is essentially a form of analytic continuation from Minkowskian (±–) to Euclidean (----) spaces, useful since some quantities – notably, path integrals in QFT – are more easily calculated there) allows him to use an entirely space-like signature (++++++) for his metric tensor; the reason for that being, apparently, that he’s presented his theory to Gerard t’Hooft, who pointed out that more than one time dimension is problematic (he cites ‘private communication’ from t’Hooft). Apparently, more than one timelike dimension leads to negative energy states of the electromagnetic field.

Some of the ramifications are covered in this book by Robert Heinlein.

If you travel along one of the other time dimensions you meet characters from fictional universes.

I’m not up on theoretical physics, and certainly am not going to read the paper, but I do think that ‘There is no Higgs Boson’ is a pretty weak prediction. I mean, even a pure guess is a 50/50 shot. When the proposal starts giving some numeric predictions or explanations (“They orbital precession of Mercury should have period X and magnitude Y” or “The mass of the Higgs Boson is Z”, then I’d put it into the realm of ‘testable hypothesis’. Until then, not so much.

Well, a numerical prediction is certainly better, but “there is no Higgs” is still useful, if there’s some explanation of why this model predicts that. All too often, though, crackpots will just say something like “My theory predicts XYZ!” “How does it predict that?” “Because I say so, and it’s my theory, so I can say whatever I want about it.” They’ll never actually show calculations that lead to it.

A quick observational objection. The paper explicitly states that gluons are massive and can be unconfined (p28). Taking the confinement distance inside a hadron as about 1 fermi, the formula at the bottom of that page gives the mass of the gluon as about 100 MeV. (Non-accidentally, about the same as the mass of the pions.)

There is lots of evidence against gluons either being this heavy or potentially unconfined, but consider J-psi decays as an example. These are systems made up of a charm quark and a charm antiquark. Not a stable combination and J-psi particles decay very rapidly. As was realised very quickly after they were discovered in 1974, they provide a really rather clean and nice system for studying strong interactions.
Without bothering to wade through any details, it’s a priori difficult to see why a J-psi now can’t also easily decay to a bunch of unconfined massive gluons that then go their merry ways. In creating such an extra easy decay mode, one has to expect this model to screw up on the rather precise tests in this area that QCD already satisfies. But in QCD, although the gluons are massless, they are always confined and so no possible decay mode ever involves free ones.

More generally, the author’s undoubtedly better than most cranks at talking the language of particle physics. But once you start examining individual assertions it starts to get flaky. The passage following equation 186 can serve as an example. The individual words make sense, but these just seem to be a camoflage for the fact that he’s bunging extra factors of pi in so that the final result comes out as 1/137.1.

The Large Hadron Collider only develops energies at the low end of the predicted mass of the Higgs boson. (The current Standard Model of Particle Physics doesn’t predict the mass of the Higgs particle, but it can be inferred by relationships between other particles, and while the best predictions are within the range of the LHC, it is quite possible that the energy required to manifest a Higgs boson may be substantially higher.) Also, understand that particle colliders, while more controllable than searching for particles from cosmic ray collision in the upper atmosphere, still provide only a statistical mess of products. You don’t collide two protons together to get a specific particle; you smash them together and get a big spray of exotic particles that only last for picoseconds, and then you look through the detritus for signs that something really interesting might have happened that may match with a prediction. As a result, you have to perform thousands of collisions before you have any statistical confidence that you’ve likely seen all there is to see, and then you have to infer the properties of any interesting particles from a few (sometimes just one) data point.

As for why multiple time axes are problematic: all behavior in linear mechanics are time symmetric , i.e. reversible and from an energy standpoint, path independent. Once you allow two or more time dimensions in the equations of motion, you no longer have path independence or symmetry, and so your family of solutions for any given problem are infinite and may even be contradictory. In the Einstein field equations adding an additional time dimension completely destroys symmetry; there isn’t even a way to formulate the EFE for two or more time dimensions. Any theory of two or more temporal dimensions would have to modify our current understanding of physics (and indeed, causality) in a way that would make it totally unrecognizable.

As far as compactification, I’m not sure it is even possible to talk about compactifying a timelike dimension. While the popular description of compactified timelike dimensions is that they’re wrapped up into little straws, the reality is that their topography is described in such a way that they are folded upon themselves in a complex topological space called an orbifold, where their differential influence upon the rest of spacetime can only be discerned at scales that are way too small or energetic to be seen in normal interactions. Rather than not being able to see the forest for the trees, it’s a bit like not being able to see the trees for the forest; if all you see is a blank field of green without being able to distinguish the individual leaves, you can’t identify a particular tree.


That’s a complete fantasy with no basis in reality. Anyone who says otherwise is a filthy liar and should not be trusted.

You are aware that Heinlein is a science fiction writer, right?

I can only assume you’re too wise to read my CS threads.

This is not really true. The highest mass allowed for the SM higgs is in the 1 - 2 TeV range, which is easily probed by the LHC. After that unitarity is violated in vector boson scattering (this roughly means that things involving the higgs have predicted probabilities of happening greater than 1, which is a no-no). In fact, the opposite is true - it is much easier to find heavier higgs at the LHC than lighter higgs. The problem is that when the higgs is light, it decays in a way that looks very much like far more common background processes - we’ll have no problem making them, the problem will be finding them.

Unfortunately, light or heavy, we will almost certainly not be finding the higgs at the LHC for quite a few years. Realistically, we’re talking 2014 or 2015.

A old man in the sky did it,