Breaking the Standard Model is Really, Really Hard!

“Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null, dead perfection; no more” -Lord Alfred Tennyson

Ahh, the Standard Model of elementary particles and their interactions. It's right up there with General Relativity -- our theory of gravitation in the Universe -- as the most successful physical theory of all-time.

Image credit: DoE, NSF, LBNL, and CPEP, via Image credit: DoE, NSF, LBNL, and CPEP, via

While General Relativity describes the relationship between matter-and-energy and spacetime, the Standard Model describes all the known particles in the Universe and how they interact with one another. This ranges from the simple things you may be familiar with, like an electron absorbing a photon (or what you call "why sunlight feels warm"), to the rare decays of bound states of unstable fundamental particles.

Well, guess which one I'm here to talk to you about today?

Image credit: Euratlas, from Northern Italy, via Image credit: Euratlas, from Northern Italy, via

No. Wrong. Guess again.

Image credit: The Belle Collaboration, Nature 452, 332-335 (20 March 2008). Image credit: The Belle Collaboration, Nature 452, 332-335 (20 March 2008).

That's better.

Okay, as you may know if you've been coming here regularly, the Standard Model does an amazing job of accurately describing pretty much every phenomenon about the Universe we've ever been able to measure or understand. There are a few exceptions -- neutrino masses and oscillations, the lack of strong CP-violation, the origin of the matter/antimatter asymmetry, why fundamental particles have the masses they do, and dark matter and dark energy -- but as far as all the quarks, leptons, and gauge bosons go, the Standard Model has never failed us. Not once, ever, for anything and everything we've ever measured. And believe me, we're trying.

Image credit: the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Image credit: the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

That's one of the major goals of the Large Hadron Collider: to search for (and hopefully find) observations that are inconsistent with the Standard Model. The way we try and do this is twofold, and requires a marriage of incredible theory with the most advanced experiment ever devised!

From a theoretical point-of-view, we take known combinations of fundamental particles -- things like baryons and mesons, which are quark (and/or antiquark) combinations -- and calculate all the different ways they can decay.

Image credit: Frank Wilczek, Nature 496, 439–441 (25 April 2013). Image credit: Frank Wilczek, Nature 496, 439–441 (25 April 2013).

In particular, we calculate what we call branching ratios, which is a fancy way to say "if we create an arbitrarily large number of these particles, this fraction of them will decay into these particles." And when we say these particles, we usually mean specific particles with certain properties: energies, momenta, angular distributions, etc. Some of the most stringent tests of the Standard Model involve searches for flavor-changing-neutral-currents (FCNCs), an example of a very, very rare standard model interaction.

Image credit: Tommaso Dorigo of Image credit: Tommaso Dorigo of

It's so rare because at what we call tree-level -- or an interaction diagram with no loops -- FCNCs are forbidden. But they can occur in loop diagrams, which are suppressed. However, many extensions to the Standard Model, like supersymmetry or technicolor in particular, have these FCNCs at tree-level, which means that even if the SUSY or technicolor particles are very heavy, they should cause departures from the Standard Model in these rare decays.

Image credit: Saul Cohen. Image credit: Saul Cohen.

Many of these decays are being measured at the Large Hadron Collider for the very first time in the decays of B-mesons, or quark/antiquark pairs where (at least) one of the pair members is a bottom quark, or the second-heaviest type. Two of them, in particular, are of special interest because of the intense (but well-quantified) theoretical rarity of certain decay channels: the Bs particle* (bottom paired with an anti-strange), which decays into two muons (μμ) with a branching ratio of 3.52 × 10-9, and the Bd particle* (bottom with an anti-down), which decays into two muons with a branching ratio of 1.07 × 10-10.

In other words, we need to make billions of them to detect even a few of these two muon events. But because two muon events are something the detectors at the LHC are outstanding at seeing, these are outstanding grounds for precision testing of the Standard Model.

Image credit: Two muon event from CERN, via the CMS collaboration. Image credit: Two muon event from CERN, via the CMS collaboration.

Well, the latest results are out, and they're absolutely wonderful if you're a fan of the Standard Model:

  • The Bs ⇒ μμ decay is seen, and is seen with a branching ratio of (3.0 ± 1.0) × 10-9, totally consistent with the prediction of 3.52 × 10-9.
  • The Bd ⇒ μμ decay is not seen, placing an upper limit of 1.0 × 10-9 on its branching ratio, with a best-fit of (4.0 ± 3.0) × 10-10, in grand agreement with the Standard Model's predicted 1.07 × 10-10.
Image credit: The CMS Collaboration, via Image credit: The CMS Collaboration, via

This places even tighter constraints on extensions of the Standard Model like supersymmetry, which I still contend has already fallen. These latest results come from the CMS collaboration, and the LHCb collaboration (not one of the two "big" detectors, which are CMS and ATLAS, but this one is designed to look for B-mesons) has also released results which are in accord with (although slightly less significant than) this. The agreement with the boring old standard model (the star, below) is still spectacular.

Image credit: David Straub of Image credit: David Straub of

But that's not the only rare decay; these B-mesons (the Bd in particular) should also decay to two muons and an excited-state Kaon. In our notation, this looks like Bd ⇒ (K*)μμ ⇒ (Kπ)μμ. The Standard Model makes some very, very explicit predictions about not only the branching ratios of this decay, but also the distribution -- or the angular separation -- of the different particles arising from this decay. A paper was just released, examining the LHCb results for this, and for the (are you ready) 47 observable parameters related to this decay.

Image credit: Sebastien Descotes-Genon, Joaquim Matias, Javier Virto, via Image credit: S. Descotes-Genon, J. Matias, and J. Virto, via

What did they find? One of these observables disagrees with the Standard Model, at a deviation of 4.5-σ from the Standard Model's prediction. Now, 5-σ is regarded as the "gold standard" for discovery in particle physics, but something that's got 4.5-σ significance only has a 0.00034% chance of happening by chance. Are we on the verge of new physics here?

I say doubtfully, and here's why.

Image credit: S. Descotes-Genon, J. Matias, and J. Virto, via Image credit: S. Descotes-Genon, J. Matias, and J. Virto, via

The 4.5-σ significance only happens if you take a subset of the data: the large recoil bins only. If there's a weird effect, it should appear regardless of the recoil magnitude, but when you include the low-recoil data too, the significance drops down to 3.7-σ.

But we're also not just looking at one parameter; we're looking at 47. If there was a 1-in-1000 chance of a weird thing happening, and you only looked at 1 thing, it would be weird if that thing happened, wouldn't it? But if you looked at 1000 different things, each with a 1-in-1000 chance of a weird thing happening, well, it wouldn't be weird at all if a weird thing happened in one of them! When you take that effect into account -- that we're looking for a weird thing among 47 things -- the significance drops even further, from 3.7-σ down to just 2.8-σ. (Or, if you think that separating the low-from-large-recoil is physically motivated, from 4.5-σ down to 3.6-σ.)

And those levels of deviation happen all the time with limited statistics, and have pretty much always gone away. If you've followed particle physics for a while, you might have heard of leptoquarks; there was a large buzz in 1997 that the HERA experiment had found them at nearly 4-σ significance. With more data, however, that "discovery" went away. This paper is based solely on LHCb data, and solely on 2011 data at that. More than three times as much data is actually available (on disk, if you include 2012) for LHCb, and CMS/ATLAS should have something to say about this as well. It's possible that there's new physics here, and that's something we have to look for, but is this compelling? Not at all; it's merely suggestive of an intriguing possibility, as others note. It turns out that breaking the Standard Model is really, really hard!

* - Yes, I know these aren't their standard names; they're the names I used because I wanted to be understood. If you're a particle physicist who's irate about this... well, that's what comments are for! Thanks to Brian Koberlein and Rob Krol for urging me to write about this.

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There is a bit of humor in you comparing the Standard Model to the success of General Relativity given that the two are in conflict and one or both must be wrong ultimately.

I am sure you didn't mean it like that but it is pretty ironic.

Because the Standard Model does not take into account:

1.Magnetic Monopoles
2.Dark Matter
3.Dark Energy
4.Additional spatial dimensions
5.Gravity & the hierarchy problem

does not make it wrong, but simply incomplete.

No proponent of the Standard Model has ever, to my knowledge, claimed that it provided the answers to everything.

LdB: "given that the two are in conflict"

Would anybody mind explaining how they are in conflict? Does it mean resisting unification or (for one of them) being a classical theory? Or is there more to the purported conflict?

"why fundamental particles have the masses they do"

Sort of a large hole wouldn't you say?


They are not in conflict amongst themselves. They are describing different aspects of reality that so far we haven't been able to connect.

And yes, SM is a quantum theory while GR is a classical theory.

How to make sense of tensors and metric of GR in QM and vice versa, what do probability functions have to do in GR.

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 03 Aug 2013 #permalink

"Sort of a large hole wouldn’t you say?"

Not really.

The mass of something is only one thing, and a very VERY tiny part of it.

The definition of YOU isn't mostly "You're fat" (if, in fact you are fat), is it?


And not because you're not fat either.

How you behave is much more identifying of you.

Same with the fundamental particles.

UJM, it's the same sort of thing that you can see with the "wave-particle duality" with quantum mechanics.

The electron or photon are being MODELLED as a particle or wave. But which it is most closely resembling depends on the experiment being done.

The point being that the electron (or photon, or atom, or...) ARE NEITHER particles nor waves. They are whatever they *really* are.

The model is describing that reality and it's pretty damn close. But no one model we have can describe BOTH its wave-like and its particle-like behaviour.

To that extent, they are in conflict, since they predict the "wrong" behaviour in an experiment where it displays characteristics of the other nature. E.g. the wave theory gets the photoelectric effect wrong, and the particle theory gets the dual-slit interference patterns wrong.

Cliff note: Models are models, not the real thing. They explain the behaviour, but they aren't the thing they model.

Breaking the standard model might be hard, but completing it is even harder. People think of it as something solid and robust, like a four-square house built of crafted stone. But actually it's more like the steel scaffolding you put up to build a house. That's robust too, it isn't going to fall down. But it's full of gaps. For example, it doesn't describe how gamma-gamma pair production works, or why the electron has the mass that it does. What beats me is that people never seem to look at working "within" the standard model, and instead always want to build on top of it with rickety "beyond the standard model" bamboo scaffolding that's been falling down for years. For example SUSY proposes a selectron, which is utterly futile if you don't know what the electron is. By the way, it isn't a point particle as per the suggestion in the CPEP poster. It's the Schrodinger wave equation, not the Schrodinger point-particle equation.

By John Duffield (not verified) on 03 Aug 2013 #permalink

No, John, that's just a pretend person you're attacking because the facts of the matter do not lend themselves to a dialogue you like.

"People think of it as something solid and robust"

No, you want to attack the imaginary people who think that.

Sorry I had to laugh to at some of the answers that they aren't in conflict

As Sinisa Lazarek says

=> How to make sense of tensors and metric of GR in QM and vice versa, what do probability functions have to do in GR.

You don't get much more of a conflict than that .... you can't have it both ways.

Try Wikipedia (

=>Gravity. The standard model does not explain gravity. Moreover, it is incompatible with the most successful theory of gravity to date, general relativity.[3]

You can dance around the problem or stick your head in the sand if you choose but at high energy and very small dimensions you have a problem between the two.

The problem with General Relativity is that it does not incorporate the Uncertainty Principle, which we believe to be a universal property of nature. It is a classical theory. The Standard Model is a quantum theory. That's the conflict.

GR does not include the Uncertainty Principle, and so compared to whatever quantum theory which does include that principle and supplants GR can be correctly said to be wrong in this sense. However it is as yet not obvious that this means GR will be wrong in the sense of making an incorrect prediction in any circumstance we are capable of measuring. Wrong is, as always, relative.

It is of course easy to have two theories that are more in conflict than not being able to combine them in the same mathematical formalism. They could actually make different predictions for the same phenomenon and thus explicitly contradict each other. But they don't, since they are theories governing different phenomenon. It is only in those circumstances where both phenomenon are significant that we have trouble.

That's no small deal, but that doesn't make it ironic that we'd compare the phenomenal success of SM with GR. The phenomenal success of each stands on their own, and the fact that they *are* so successful is why it is certain that even once we resolve the conflict both SM and GR will still be correct for a tremendous range of phenomenon to a ridiculous degree of precision. It is essentially impossible that this not be the case, because we've already tested them.

John Duffield: Is there a fancy latin name, or name at all, for fallacies of the form "It is called this, ergo it is this"? The physical interpretation of Schrödinger’s Wave Equation has been a hot question since it's inception, and Schrödinger’s attempt to interpret the electron solely as a wave failed quickly. Now it's better understood as describing a probability amplitude for finding an electron. But it isn't called the "Schrödinger Probability Amplitude Equation"?! Which is why argument-from-terminology is a fallacy.

Not even getting into the fact that there are other quantum mechanical formalisms that are identical yet don't contain the word "wave".

"Sorry I had to laugh to at some of the answers that they aren’t in conflict"

Well, it's good to laugh. Though it's also good to know how to read, so I'd stop chortling and start learning how to read.

"You don’t get much more of a conflict than that …. you can’t have it both ways."

Sense. This makes none.

The sun has no appreciable wave-like activity. Therefore the description of how the sun does it's gravity thing is completely careless about quantum waves. They make no difference.

You cant get much less of a conflict than that.

And nobody is trying to have them both at once except you

" at high energy and very small dimensions you have a problem between the two."

Blinding flash of the obvious there, old boy.

Nobody except your fevered imagination considered that there was no "problem" for GR at small scales and high energy.

If approximation is good enough then I guess Newton was close enough and we don't need GR.

I mean it worked for the sun as well no need adjust anything and we just ignore the few little problems where we found Newton not quite right.

I am by the way not suggesting they are not the best and most proven theories we have which is the point of Ethan's article but they both have to merge somewhere and somehow which we don't know yet.

LdB: "If approximation is good enough then I guess Newton was close enough and we don’t need GR."

Exactly correct for an enormous number of circumstances including sending probes to other planets.

Or did you mean didn't need to develop GR in the first place at all, a sarcastic rebuttal to an argument nobody made?

"they both have to merge somewhere and somehow which we don’t know yet."

Yes. And your point is?

physics will always get into trouble when they look down on the layman with the QED response.I am a engineer and when I look at a plate capacitor as the path of a loss less transmission line as all metrics are cancelled. Using a meta
material such as bag for food which is a skin of aluminum
covered with a dielectric we have created a neutral friction path for electricity flow but not for associated magnetic field.
If we close the load end we have a loss less antenna, both of which are also of a constant impedance
When the Yagi Uda came about instead of transforming the magnet vector to a electrical vector he kept the lossy magnetic vector in line with Maxwell which added a loss with the leverage of a 1/4 wave length. Waves have nothing to do with radiation and he should have placed vector beneath the
driver thus changing over the magnetic vector to an additive electrical vector.
The above is the same as the two plates of the capacitor where it follows a friction free flow thru the multi plattes of
dielectrics so both vectors follow the same line
For nearly ten years I have explained the above to many
Universities only to be pushed aside with the comment of
I know that Maxwell was adamantly against not including electromagnetism instead of cancelling the lossy magnetism
in favor of keeping electricity and magnetic as inseparable.
It has been over a century that scientists have followed the Pied Piper where an engineers thinking is a reason for him to be banned from a physics forum of professors.



By art unwin (not verified) on 04 Aug 2013 #permalink

The point is we are supposed to be scientists and tell the whole truth and not stick your head in the sand, wave your hands do a Frank Drebin (Move along nothing to see here).

The Standard Model is indeed a fantastic theory and amazing in many ways with what it unified but it was also born with problems which many of the comments want to ignore.

My only initial comment was the ironic twist of Ethan comparing it to GR which I found amusing because we usually avoid that linking at all cost.

Don't shoot the messenger as I said even at Wikipedia level they openly discuss the issue.

@ LdB

Evolution and creationism are in conflict. They describe same things in different ways and their results are in conflict with one another.

GR and SM DO NOT describe the same things. Thus they are not in conflict. They are not compatible, that's very true. But I do not see any conflict since there are no conflicting results. It's not like GR gives one value for i.e. Earths orbit around the Sun, and SM gives another. That would be conflicting.

I don't really understand why you're saying " we are supposed to be scientists and tell the whole truth and not stick your head in the sand, wave your hands do a Frank Drebin..."? Who's not telling the whole truth? If you really think physicists think GR and SM are complete, fine and won't change, you are the one in conflict with theoretical physics.
Very smart people are trying every day to get something better than GR and SM. And will continue to do so. So what exactly is the problem?

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 04 Aug 2013 #permalink

I think LdB just has a bee in their bonnet and are desperate to be proven smarter than everyone else on this blog.

No actual reason will be enough to convince them otherwise: any arguments to do so will be proclaimed as "proof" of their superiority over everyone else.

"I am by the way not suggesting they are not the best and most proven theories we have "

NEITHER IS ANYONE ELSE HERE apart from you in constructing a strawman to berate.

Tell you what, instead of arguing against "someone" who you keep unnamed, why don't you actually NAME the person who thinks GR and SM are both 100% complete or whatever stupid strawman statement you're arguing against.

Then we can see PRECISELY what this person you're arguing against ACTUALLY said, instead of your self-serving paraphrasing and see whether you or they are most correct.

As it is, you leaving it as "unsourced" claims merely means you have made this proposition completely out of straw to attack and if you're going to do that, why the feck are you on the internet arguing about it? Go into your own brain and argue with the barnpole there. Let everyone else out of your misery.

LdB, we're just saying that you are arguing against a position nobody has made. Don't shoot the messenger. Understand the message:

You are like someone coming on to a web blog telling everyone "Stop being sexist! Hitler WAS A MAN, NOT A WOMAN!!!".

Nobody knows what the fuck you're on here for or why.

CB: you're behind the times I'm afraid. Check out weak measurement, see for example and

In particular read . Here's a quote from it:

"We have developed a methodology for measuring the wavefunction directly, by repeating many weak measurements on a group of systems that have been prepared with identical wavefunctions. By repeating the measurements, the knowledge of the wavefunction accumulates to the point where high precision can be restored. So what does this mean? We hope that the scientific community can now improve upon the Copenhagen Interpretation, and redefine the wavefunction so that it is no longer just a mathematical tool, but rather something that can be directly measured in the laboratory."

By John Duffield (not verified) on 04 Aug 2013 #permalink


If we're trying to argue that either GR or SM are complete models of everything, then you'd have a point -- one or the other (or most likely both) cannot be a complete model of everything. Nobody's claiming this, however. GR works very well in the domain of large distances, heavy objects, and large gravitational fields. SM works very well in the domain of small distances, light objects, and no appreciable gravitational field.

These are two important domains; essentially all of particle physics can be done without taking gravity into account, for example. We can also talk about gravitational fields, for the most part, without dealing with quantum uncertainies.

Where the two would merge, however, we have a problem. If we need to deal with things like black hole singularities or the early universe, domains where you have both small distances and large gravitational fields, neither model is particularly good.

This is well known, though, and physicists are working on it. That's the motivation behind things like supersymmetry, various quantum loop gravity theories, and other extensions to our two main physical theories. We can't just say that these are good theories simply because we know that our current models are incomplete, though. They have to be tested just as rigorously as any other theory. So far, we don't really have a good theory for the domains in which GR and SM don't work, but it's still a work in progress.

I have no problem with any of that Sean T what is interesting is the thrust of this article from Ethan where he compares he standard model to the status of GR and claims supersymmetry is dead.

We openly discuss beyond the standard model because of incompleteness (your word not mine) and we don't really discuss beyond General Relativity .. so do the two really have the same respect? Any two scientists may have different views on that.

I know many in the stringy wonderland still aren't writing off some form of supersymmetry, Luboš Motl wrote a reply to Matt S just a few days ago…

The numbers may have thinned but the stringy scientists are still hanging in there including Frank Wilczek.

I am a fence sitter I see as many problems with Ethans views expressed above as the groups he is certain are wrong.

From my perspective take a simple moving proton or neutron and it has a part invariant mass (we assume from a GR realm) and a inertial mass from a higgs mechanism ... so GR meets the standard model right there and that is leaving out all the weird QM stuff.

So if you look at our simple proton or neutron moving along we have a problem ... and that is time.

In general relativity, time is just a coordinate as a result of general covariance. In quantum field theories the formulation is split between three dimensions of space, and one dimension of time.

So our little moving proton or neutron has part components from both systems and somehow time is in two modes at once and all is at fine apparently.

Now WOW can swear and carry on like a pratt for as long as he likes there is clearly a very very big incompleteness here using commentators words.

I respect Ethan has a certain view of how all this resolves but so do many other scientists and that was all I was gently having a bit of humor with Ethan.

Duffield: I read that paper in Nature some time ago. Your problem is that you're still thinking "it has wave in the name therefore the thing described by it is a wave". Probing the wave function with more precision still means measuring results that have a statistical distribution. Concluding that an electron is a classical wave and not a classical particle (when it's really neither) is the same fallacy regardless.

"where he compares he standard model to the status of GR and claims supersymmetry is dead."

And the equations of Maxwell and Einstein both proved that the aether is dead.

NEITHER is saying that Maxwell's equations or Einstein's SR work are perfect.

Moreover, you've now shifted the goalposts HUGELY.

You started prattling on about how the SM was incompatible with GR.

Now, apparently, you're complaining that together SR and GR (incompatible as they are) are incompatible with supersymetry and disprove it.

Firstly, they ARE incompatible with it.

Secondly, the observations ARE incompatible with any supersymetry that will reduce to the observed support for either GR or SM, which is an ABSOLUTE REQUIREMENT.

The more correct GR theory reduced to the Newtonian gravity in the limit of the observations that supported it. If GR had NOT been compatible with those observations, then GR WOULD BE WRONG.

"From my perspective"

Which is wrong.

From that understanding, the remainder of your "problem" becomes apparent.


There too is another aspect of your problem.

Motl is a attention whore with the antithesis of morals. Listening to him is rather like listening to the advice of Gobbels on governmental provenance.

You do take this far too serious WOW it's science which will probably not be settled in our lifetime it's not life and death and you don't get put up against the wall and shot for being on the wrong side :-)

LdB: We discuss extensions to the Standard Model more frequently because there are more, better-formed and more easily tested extensions, and the direction to go is less clear. Discussions of extensions to General Relativity are more rare because there's less to say. We know the obvious thing missing from GR, and that's incorporating quantum principles. There are multiple quantum gravity theories, but many are less complete than say Supersymmetry, and those that are doing better we have little hope of testing in the regimes where quantum gravity would be important because gravity is so weak.

However nobody sticks their head in the sand about this problem, nor are discussions involving both theories avoided. That's just wrong. The need to merge our two very best theories is pretty much the first thing anyone talks about when talking about the biggest problems in physics today (not one particular sub-field). And where possible we still try to make useful predictions out of combining them -- Hawking Radiation is one well known such attempt.

So I still see no irony in Ethan's statement. GR and SM are the two great accomplishments of 20th century physics, and while we know this isn't the end, they are both undeniably successful and comparing them on that basis is actually rather the expected thing to do.

About Ethan's comments on SUSY: He's saying it's "dead" because for those regions of the SUSY landscape that would actually solve the problems that it was created to solve we should see evidence of it in our current experiments, and we see none. The existing data cannot conclusively rule out SUSY in these regimes, but there is also no reason to suppose it exists to explain the data. The centroid values are dead center on the plain-ol' SM predictions. This shouldn't be the case if SUSY was the answer to the limitations of the SM. SUSY might exist at some higher energy level, but if so it will be a very, very long time before we can find it and it makes no difference to the problems we have today so who cares?

Well SUSY and String theorists obviously and more power to them. Just saying that's my takeaway of Ethan's practical-theorist view.

Now about this:

"From my perspective take a simple moving proton or neutron and it has a part invariant mass (we assume from a GR realm) and a inertial mass from a higgs mechanism …"

GR does not assume anything about what the invariant mass of a particle is, it only defines it and tells you how to calculate it. Let's not talk protons because they are very complex composites of quarks and gluons. An electron gets its rest mass -- aka the invariant mass for a single particle system -- from the Higgs mechanism. This is both inertial and gravitational mass. If it was otherwise THEN we'd have a big problem in GR, and while the Higgs mechanism only provides a small fraction of the mass of things like protons, it would be enough to tell in macroscopic objects that inertial and gravitational mass were different and this is not observed.

"In general relativity, time is just a coordinate as a result of general covariance. In quantum field theories the formulation is split between three dimensions of space, and one dimension of time."

GR, like SR, treats time as "just a coordinate" but a special one that appears differently in equations (e.g. with a c^2 term) than the other 3. This is why it's called a 3+1 spacetime. All quantum theories are Relativistic theories that obey Special Relativity, and so any difference in apparent treatment is just one of mathematical nicety.

I agree with most of your assessment your are fairly pragmatic like myself.

The last statement regarding time is actually very wrong.

Time is a parameter in classical mechanics and in quantum mechanics. In relativistic theories, you can use use eigentime as a parameter and time becomes a state variable.

So explain away how the eigentimes for relativistic multiparticle system works because you won't find it any physics book.

The treatment might be more than just mathematical it possibly has implications

So again I understand your view is acceptable but so is the opposing view ... if we had the results from the proposed experiment we might have a basis to decide which is right.

Talking about a difference between GR's sense of time and QFT's sense of time is equivalent to talking about a difference between GR's sense of time and SR's sense of time -- neither SR nor QFT include the effects of gravity on time, but do include the effect of inertial observers on time.

QFT is built on top of SR, including its formulation of time (this was part of what was missing from previous attempts at relativistic QM theories). If you find a way in which QFT is inconsistent with SR in its treatment of time then congratulations, you've proven the work awarded multiple Nobel prizes wrong, and may be on your way to your own.

Having an issue with understanding the point in the above paper, so if someone could explain.

To me it sounds like a two slit experiment where one slit would at see level while other slit would be in orbit. Regardless of the energy involved and distance to the screen.... but what new would it bring? If you detect the clock.. or in other words, if it passes through one slit, you made a measurement and it's one particle... if you catch it in orbit the clock would have a certain value, if caught as sea level, it would have some other... nothing new. If you don't "check" the clock at those positions, but instead at some "screen" behind earth... you will get an interferance pattern with varying clock values... showing that some passed earth's orbit and some passed at sealevel. Again, nothing new.

I'm obviously missing an important part. Help? :)

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 05 Aug 2013 #permalink

"You do take this far too serious WOW"

WOW. YOU turn up, berate a strawman and instead of actually coming up with any actual evidence of what you're complaining about, it becomes my fault.

How does that work, really?

Sinisa Lazarek: Yes, I think that's the gist of the experiment and the expectation (the DOI link at the end of the ScienceDaily article shows the apparatus). What's new is using gravitational time dilation to provide the knowledge of what path the photon took. To the extent that measuring the time of the clock at the detector (the "screen") allows the path to be differentiated, the interference pattern will be degraded in proportion. Or rather, if this is the case, it will show the effects of general relativity on quantum measurements.

Sounds pretty fascinating to me.

To my layperson's mind, what all this demonstrates, is that the "cleanup work" at the edges of otherwise fully-supported and accepted paradigms, is hardly as "boring" as it's sometimes made out to be. There are enough wholly or partly unresolved issues to inspire any physicist who wants to dig into them, and any of them may lead to a useful extension of the SM.

And there's something deeply satisfying about seeing new pieces put into place without having to overthrow the paradigm. It demonstrates that our understanding of nature is essentially correct and reliable, even as bits of it get revised from time to time.

Re. photons & wave functions: the way I understand this (and explained it to someone the other day), is that the wave function is a description of the probability of a photon being measured as existing at any particular point in fourspace. Collapse of the wave function occurs when the measurement is made and the photon is observed as a particle.

Dumb Questions dep't: Is time generally believed to be quantized, or is it generally believed to be continuous? That is, is there a minimum discrete quantity of time that is fundamentally indivisible, or is any such observation only a matter of the limits of our ability to make measurements?

August 5, 2013

QFT is built on top of SR, including its formulation of time (this was part of what was missing from previous attempts at relativistic QM theories). If you find a way in which QFT is inconsistent with SR in its treatment of time then congratulations, you’ve proven the work awarded multiple Nobel prizes wrong, and may be on your way to your own

And that's the point CB you have to solve it in a very specific Quantum Relativistic way .. ask Lubos or many of the string theorists they can do it for you but as per Ethan above they are wrong so now solve it without string theory please.

"I think LdB just has a bee in their bonnet and are desperate to be proven smarter than everyone else on this blog."

You owe me a new irony meter. This one just exploded.

By Mark McAndrew (not verified) on 05 Aug 2013 #permalink

I am definitely not claiming to be smarter than anyone I have given exactly ZERO answers and make ZERO claims I even know what the answers are or how to get to them.

Some are certain how things work apparently and have a "view" as Ethan does in the article and many commentators know how it all works.

As it's obviously an offense to ask questions and probe responses that seem contrary to what science research currently says I will leave that is fine.

Hi Ethan,

I don't know how you do it. A whirl-wind of beautiful graphics and interesting mainstream science comments. In this case it is the standard model of particle physics. I don't know how you do it concerning such a great number of quality articles concerning standard theory in astronomy, cosmology, and physics.

Through particle accelerators and a number of related observations and continuing theory, we have come to a number of conclusions.

I realize that because of your greatly laudable education and PhD status, you cannot come to different conclusions, but I think time will tell that eventually most of the standard particle theory and model, will be shown to be wrong.

We have great evidence to support the great number of particles that the theory presently proposes, but the meaning of it all, I think, is strictly speculative and will be replaced in time. For instance, we have long been aware of the importance of protons, electrons, and neutrons, in the grand scheme of the universe. We have observed "muons" (who ordered them?), positrons which have certainly practical applications, and neutrinos which are ubiquitous. Now the proposed Higgs. The value of the zoo of all the other particles are at best, speculative.

We have evidence that protons are made up of smaller particles but whether they are made up of quarks is pure speculation. How about forces?

Einstein said that gravity is not a force. That is probably one of the few things he got right, in my opinion. None of the other so-called forces are real either. I believe everything that we presently call a force can be explained by forces of a physical field, or by mechanical connections.

If the above is true, which only time will tell, then there is little left of the standard model to recommend. I believe it will almost entirely be replaced within 50 years, and sooner if new clever physicists can prove the almost countless errors with present theory -- in my opinion.

By forrest noble (not verified) on 05 Aug 2013 #permalink

That specific way is still done in Minkowski space as all QFTs from QED onward are fully relativistic theories so your original(ish) point that QFT doesn't incorporate SR's notion of time as another dimension is simply not correct. If you have a problem with renormalization etc then fine I think everyone does at some level but that's not the same issue.

"Dumb Questions dep’t: Is time generally believed to be quantized, or is it generally believed to be continuous?"

There's a definite minimum possible time for something to be different in time. Whether that is a quantisation or just a limitation of causality and events being distinguished is another matter...

Really Mark?

You need to plug your irony meter in THE RIGHT WAY ROUND.


"I have given exactly ZERO answers and make ZERO claims"


Or are you just not really listening?

LdB, first post 19:

The point is we are supposed to be scientists and tell the whole truth and not stick your head in the sand, wave your hands do a Frank Drebin (Move along nothing to see here).

Yup, you're making a claim about what other people are doing.

Yet you weasleese into "we" and "you" so that you don't ACTUALLY have to defend a statement that contains testable claims.

Apparently nobody is doing this, since not even YOU can claim who and where this happened and rather hoovered up goalposts to repatriate them as "You're taking this too seriously".

Really? "I was only kidding, lol!"???

And now "I never said nuffin!"???

"but I think time will tell that eventually most of the standard particle theory and model, will be shown to be wrong. "

Forest, is there a reason why you think this other than "I've seen things be wrong before"?

Because that's a non-evidence.

If I guess your age, at some point I WILL GUESS THE RIGHT ONE. After that point, I won't be ABLE to get it wrong.

Note: we already know where our theories are wrong (rather, in disagreement with the events it should explain), so I reject that possibility of what you mean by "wrong" since it's an LdB-like argument of nobody here being wrong, but you wanting to claim "someone" is.

The statement "The world is a sphere" is "wrong", but it's nowhere near as wrong as "The world is flat", and someone coming along saying to someone explaining the shape of the earth with "the earth is like a ball" with "YOU'RE WRONG!!!" is not being smarter, they're being a jackass.

So explain how you come to think this "most of the standard particle theory and model, will be shown to be wrong. " will occur and what you think you are adding to that change.

"Some are certain how things work apparently and have a “view” "

So you've not posted any statements and now you're claiming that you have no view.

So in all your words clogging this thread up, you've said fuck all. By your own definition.

What was the point, then?

wow, Forrest is a known and persistent crank. His method of operation is to never be specific and say nothing of substance, always couching it as his opinion so he can claim that pointing out that it is incorrect can be asserted as as an attack on him. Please don't engage him further.

Fairy Snuff, Dean.

LdB, if you were just asking questions then they would be phrased in the form of a question. Even questions-that-are-really-answers at least need a question mark, as Alex Trebek would be sure to remind you. And if they were really questions coming from some who didn't know more than everyone else then they'd be coming from a place of curiosity, and you'd be curious what the answer is.

Instead you say in declaratory statements how hilarious it is to compare this and that, how *wrong* this or that is, and how everybody (but you and a select few you read obviously) is sticking their head in the sand about it. Well, most of what you say is wrong isn't wrong, and what is wrong is well known and not just acknowledged but feverishly pursued in the quest of figuring out what is right. If you were just asking questions, you'd care about that new information and re-asses your position (or perhaps not have one coming in) instead of just tap-dancing on to the next point of you're-sure-it's-wrongness.

In spite of this I've tried to engage you politely and answer your posts as if there were actually questions, as much as I could.

But now you're going to pull this passive-aggressive and flagrantly dishonest "Oh I'm being persecuted just for asking questions" BS? Awesome. I shoulda caught the hint from the tone of your first point, but oh well.

passive-aggressive ... that's an oxymoron .. the last bit of that is probably apt to you.

In contrast to the way Ethan has gone with the result compare it to how Tommaso Dorigo has commented on it and this line is much more how I view it. So my view if you actually want it is ambivalent about the result.…

I am sure the string theorist have a very very different take on it as well.

My initial simple comment was directed expressly to Ethan who would have understood it. I was not aware his blog has become invaded by crazy nutters or groupies so certain of everything and all comments must echo to the mantra.

WOW commented that Lubos's site was how did he put it .. " like listening to the advice of Gobbels on governmental provenance" ... I am afraid that is the pot calling the kettle black.

I am sorry I can't become an Ethan groupie even though I respect him as a scientist and found many of his articles very fascinating. So I will happily leave you guys to have a group hug and celebration that you have got rid of another non believer.

"I am sorry I can’t become an Ethan groupie"

So the reason why several people here don't agree with your claims is solely because they're groupies?

Claims???? are you illiterate as well as your other shortcomings .... I made no claims as I have said.


Yes claims.

I know you said you had made "no claims" before, except I showed you had and then queried your sanity in thinking that posting a diatribe empty of any content whatsoever was considered by you to be both acceptable a proposition and better for others to believe you were doing than claiming a load of bullshit.

Apparently you have read-only memory.

Yeah sure whatever .... you are a great specimen of nutters on science blogs.

Unticking the notify me button ... get me out of these crazies ... bye.

You, sir or madam, are an ignorant moron.

Have a nice life.

LdB, if you just wanted to stick to things where there's no definitive result and room for open interpretation, like the B-meson results, then this would have been a very different conversation. Quibbling over Ethan's "doubtful" and "merely suggestive" versus Tomasso's "not so rare for a fluctuation, but important" then that discussion would have mostly been just a shrug and an "eh, so what? " yet still.

But when you go on about scientists "having their head in the sand" and "avoiding linking [GR and SM] at all costs", and then pontificate on how QFT doesn't incorporate SR, then yeah you're going to hear the "mantra" of how these statements are trivially, factually wrong. Because they are. For anyone to do otherwise would be to entertain falsehoods for the sake of your ego. Too bad.

Then you dive right into the defensive crackpot template saying you're not making any claims (you are), that you're just asking questions (you're not), and that you're being persecuted for not following the group-think (you're not).

This all fits with your crackpot start of declaring that scientists ignore and won't talk about the obvious flaws in their theories. I gave you a chance to show otherwise, and for a while in the middle there I thought you had but nope.

What's really funny is that there are many examples on this blog, even in this thread, of actual question-asking resulting in reasonable discussion. It's just folks like you that don't fit in. Good riddance.

I've had enough of the offensiveness here.

By John Duffield (not verified) on 07 Aug 2013 #permalink

I've had enough of your idiocy and obstructionism.

Am I allowed to be pissed off at that, or is it only you allowed to be pissed off at the abhorrent actions of others?

Yes, yes. Very good summary Ethan.

But the measurements where observation may deviate from prediction, in my opinion, have not been mention in your piece.

One of the assumptions of the standard model is that the gravitational mass of a particle = the gravitational mass of an antiparticle.

This assumption has not been tested and confirmed experimentally. It is a very difficult test because the force of gravity is so weak. e.g. 23) Marco G. Giammarchi, AEGIS at CERN: Measuring Antihydrogen Fall, 2011

What has been tested is the inertial mass of antiparticles, antihydrogen and such. And indeed the inertial mass of particles = the inertial mass of antiparticles.

BUT we do not know the gravitational mass of antiparticles. Physicist are very confident that they already know the answer and write such confident papers as Scott Menary, Why We Already Know that Antihydrogen is Almost Certainly NOT Going to Fall “Up”, 2012

BUT a prediction that hasn't been confirmed by experiment, is just a prediction. An alternative theory that I like a lot is given here

In this theory, "Two Toy Particles ma and mb moving backwards in time will appear to repel one another gravitationally from our time-forward point of view... The gravitational mass of Toy Particles is expressed in real number physical units, e.g.. ma ∈R; the gravitational mass of Toy antiParticles are imaginary number values, e.g. mbi∈ I."

So will experiment show that antimatter has a positive real number, negative real number, or imaginary number mass? My bet is that antimatter has an imaginary number mass. And well all inertial mass is an absolute value, i.e. a real number mass.

Thus I see an addition to the standard model of imaginary number mass for antimatter. By the way this will also force the introduction of extra dimensions.

Yes, yes, I know this is speculation. I am waiting to be busted or confirmed by experiment.

If antiparticles had imaginary mass, then the energy required to create an antiparticle is less than the energy required to create a particle.

It's an idea I'd had yonks ago and walked into that thought against it and at that point gave up since it appeared that experimental observation was close enough to see that difference (possibly, at least within an order of magnitude), but I didn't have the time to work it out to see what value it gives.

I figured someone else would get the same idea and work it through.

Which has probably happened a score of times since then.

(oops, other way round: gravitational potential energy is negative. brain no work so good in morning...)

If antiparticles have gravitational mass=im (imaginary number gravitational mass); then it requires an imaginary number energy iE to create them; not a negative energy, -E.

There is no debate about inertial mass; the experiments have been done. The inertial mass of antimatter = inertial mass of matter = |gravitational mass of antimatter|, i.e. the absolute value of gravitational mass of antimatter, whether it is experimentally determined to be a positive real number, a negative real number or an imaginary number.

My only point, is that the determination of the gravitational mass of antimatter MAY change the standard model (which currently ASSUMES that antimatter has a positive gravitational mass.

"The central conceptual point: that nature is described not by probabilities (which are always nonnegative) but by numbers call amplitudes that can be positive, negative, or even complex.. the second way to teach quantum mechanics... starts directly from the conceptual core-- namely, a certain generalization of the laws of probability to allow minus signs (more generally, complex numbers)" .... As such, "quantum mechanics sits at a level between math and physics... (it) could have been invented by mathematicians in the nineteenth century without any input from experiment ( but it wasn't)... Experiment (e.g. atomic spectra) forces theory down the scientists throats... In classical world probabilities (i.e. amplitudes) can't be negative, so we never see this sort of interference. Cancellation of plus and minus amplitudes is the source of all quantum weirdness; it is the one thing that makes quantum mechanics different from classical probability theory." from Quantum Computing Since Democritus, by Scott Aaronson, 2013, pg 109 - 115

Quantum mechanics requires complex numbers; maybe to construct quantum gravity we need to modify gravity simply by allowing imaginary numbers gravitational mass.

"... a certain generalization of the laws of probability to allow minus signs"

Far for me to dispute any of these scientists. But the notion is a bit puzzling to me. It's fine to say it, it's fine even to build a mathematical model (if possible). But what does that mean in reality?

If the core (to my understanding) of QM is experimental result. Or more precisely a statistical probability for certain outcomes.... What would a negative sign mean? If 0 is equal to absolutely never ever getting a certain result... what would " - " mean? Same goes for imaginary numbers... There's an imaginary possibility of this happening in some imaginary world?... A bit of pun.. but still...

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 13 Aug 2013 #permalink

p.s. am really stepping out of my comfort zone, so please correct me. But the whole reason behind regularization and renormalization is to get the negatives and infinities out.

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 13 Aug 2013 #permalink

OKThen, the gravitational potential energy of that particle with imaginary mass is zero real energy, therefore there is a net gain in creating the same |m| if one of them is imaginary.

There's a loss in the system that would be noted as, at the least, a disparity in the velocities of the two particles created, that disparity being higher the deeper into a gravitational potential well you are, therefore giving a different value for pair production on the earth to interplanetary space and interstellar space, or around a black hole.

And, devastatingly enough, even more of a problem in the early universe when the gravitational potential of all matter was lower.

SL, one of the aims of the formulation of ANY QM wavefunction is to square the amplitude to get rid of those imaginary numbers and negative numbers (along with being a symmetric function and so on and so forth).

Unfortunately, mass isn't one of those things to be squared, therefore the formulation there gives imaginary probabilities and negative ones too.

I only looked at the problems as an astrophysicist, but I guess an Elementary Particle Physicist or a QM student would see other problems with a negative mass.

It's all a jigsaw and the "what if it's imaginary mass?" is a bit like someone saying about a nearly completed jigsaw "What if that piece is meant to be a cardboard-face-up?". It may solve a problem in some places, but it creates a huge number of other problems where there's no need for the idea that a "printers' error" is causing it rather than some other answer.

@ Wow

thanks for the info on mass not going under square. Learned something new :)

But to me the paper OK quoted seems to ask for "-" not only for mass but for all QM. In fact am not sure this sentence "The central conceptual point: that nature is described not by probabilities" is what I don't agree with.

If QM so far is accurate then nature IS described by probabilities. Fundamentaly. At low energy values it is classical. But given enough energy any system (in theory) will behave as a QM system.. thus probabilities. Imaginary mass might be possible, but negative probabilities can't be.

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 13 Aug 2013 #permalink

p.s. sorry, but just contemplating further. If we take away probabilities then in fact we take away uncertainty. So someone must be wrong. Either the author or Heisenberg and Planck. IMO it's asking, in a way, for a classical model of QM. Or did I misinterpret?

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 13 Aug 2013 #permalink

Imaginary mass though leaves the gravitational potential energy of the mass in a positive gravitational field with a value of zero, however, SL.

That means it takes more energy to create a particle of imaginary mass in a gravity well than it does for one of positive mass. That energy has to come from the combined system in a pair production scenario, therefore one of the particles has more kinetic energy than the other and they separate.

This is not observed.

This would give a different rate of combination for pair production observed depending on the gravitational well the event takes place at.

This is not observed.

I'm *fairly* sure that the observations are accurate enough to discern these changes.

They are not, however, observed.

1) "The complex number field is intrinsic to the mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics, where complex Hilbert spaces provide the context for one such formulation that is convenient and perhaps most standard. The original foundation formulas of quantum mechanics – the Schrödinger equation and Heisenberg's matrix mechanics – make use of complex numbers." Wikipedia

or for more detailed explanation.
NUMBERS? Felix M. Lev, 2006

2) here's an understandable summary of the status of antimatter's gravitational mass.
Physicists Attempt to Measure Gravitational Mass of Antihydrogen, May 1, 2013
""We’ve taken the first steps toward a direct experimental test of questions physicists and nonphysicists have been wondering about for more than 50 years. We certainly expect antimatter to fall down, but just maybe we will be surprised,” Dr Fajans said.
"“We need to do better, and we hope to do so in the next few years,” said co-author Dr Jonathan Wurtele of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “ALPHA is being upgraded and should provide more precise data once the experiment reopens in 2014.”"

Regardless of gravitational mass of antimatter presumed to be positive real number, I await experimental determination of antimatter's gravitational mass!!

"Imaginary mass though leaves the gravitational potential energy of the mass in a positive gravitational field with a value of zero."

That is correct. If antimatter has an imaginary number gravitational mass; then an antihydrogen atom should be deflected neither up or down in the Earth's real number matter gravitational field.

So the experimental result that I await is: does antihydrogen fall down, fall up or not interact (neither fall up or up) gravitationally with matter?

Experiments are always fun, and I love how science takes even the most fundamental assumptions of well-verified theories and pokes at them to see if they can make a hole. Also it's pretty amazing that they can hope to measure this.

But I'm not holding my breath on anything interesting coming from the result. I think that it's going to show what every other experiment shows: That anti-matter is not "special". Aside from whatever slight difference in reaction rates caused us to live in a universe with what we call matter, anti-matter is the same thing and behaves in the same way, obeying all the conservation laws etc that we know and love.

So to suddenly have anti-matter prove that inertial and gravitational mass are not the same thing, that you can distinguish between a uniform gravitational field and uniform acceleration, and knock the fundamental assumption of General Relativity out from under it, is expecting too much from something so ordinary.

“The complex number field is intrinsic to the mathematical formulations of quantum mechanics,"

Yes, you can read wikipedia, have a bikkit.

The wavefunction is a complex number. But ONLY the real part has ANY bearing on reality.

Even the evanescent wave I've bored the arse off people with before has ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT on the real world until you bring something nearby that can translate that imaginary part into something real.

And this translation is only the mathematical model.

What reality is doing is remarkably close to what is going on in the mathematics. But that's not to say that imaginary numbers are real. Just our maths acts like reality.

"If antimatter has an imaginary number gravitational mass; then an antihydrogen atom should be deflected neither up or down in the Earth’s real number matter gravitational field."

No, I'm not talking about the gravitational force. You can still get net zero if you're in a gravity well. A Lagrange point is one such. But though there is no net gravitational force going on, you're still in a gravitational well.

That means even if there were no acceleration, you'd be able to tell which one is nearer a heavy object.

Even though they aren't moving at all.

"I await experimental determination of antimatter’s gravitational mass!!"

Inductive reasoning. Try it.

Here's a query: prove experimentally that there is a middle to an object. I propose that all that there are are surfaces. That's all you can see or touch. The energy you use breaking something CREATES A NEW SURFACE that is the cause of the break!

Inductive reasoning will display this is a silly model of reality.

Proving it is pretty impossible, if you allow me to post-hoc justify why the disproof is not sufficient.

The standard model predicts that the gravitational mass of an antimatter particle = the gravitational mass of the corresponding matter particle. This assumption/prediction has not been proven for over 50 years. Well now the experiment is being done to test the gravitational mass of antimatter! I await for the experimental results in 2014 or so.

The possible experimental results are:
1) antimatter falls in Earth's gravitational field, i.e. the gravitational mass of antimatter is a positive real number (most physicists expect this).
2) antimatter rises in the Earth's gravitational field, i.e. the gravitational mass of antimatter is a negative real number (some physicists expect this).
3) antimatter neither falls nor rises in the Earth's gravitational field, i.e. the gravitational mass of antimatter is an imaginary number. Hence antimatter interacts gravitationally only with antimatter not with matter. I explain my idea further here

I view the experiments to finally determine if antimatter has the same gravitational mass as matter or NOT to be an important test of a thus far untested assumption/prediction of the standard model. Answers number 2 and 3 above are the most interesting answers because they mean new physics.

Yes many tests will only show what we already assume. But that one difficult experiment; that disagrees with easy expectation is the one which will result in new physics.

In my opinion, there is no more important experiment of the standard model of particle physics than the determination of the gravitational mass of antiparticles. I am prepared o be amazed or busted (only a fool argues with experiment).

By the way, I would like to here your opinion about what you think are the 2 or 3 most important upcoming experimental tests of the standard model.

In your opinion: What are the most important upcoming experiments that could confirm lead to new physics beyond the standard model? Come on be brave, stick your chin out. educate me about an experiment whose results you think could take us beyond the standard model (link me to the paper or article). Thanks

The Standard Model does not make any predictions at all about gravitational mass because the Standard Model does not cover the phenomenon of gravity.

It does predict that the inertial mass is the same, and we have measured that, and it is the same to a very high precision. So the Standard Model has already passed this "most important" test.

It is only because of General Relativity that we conclude that because the inertial mass is the same then the gravitational mass is the same as well. Because GR assumes that these are literally the same thing, that the concepts are not distinct.

The antimatter gravity experiment is not a test of the Standard Model at all. It's a test of General Relativity.

And since in General Relativity "mass" is just energy, gravity is just the geometry of space time, and the reaction of a mass to gravity is really it just following a straight line in local curved space, it's much harder to think of a theoretical reason why antimatter should be special and not follow geometry just because it's got "anti" in the name. The fact that imaginaries show up in some QM calculations doesn't matter at all.

Of course GR could be wrong, and testing assumptions is always great. It's just a giant leap to think that anything to do with antimatter implies that GR might be wrong.

CB #81
"The Standard Model does not make any predictions at all about gravitational mass "

Oh contrare, take a look at Ethan's first chart above
"The Standard Model of Fundamental Particles and Interactions" double click to enlarge; then read, "Particle and antiparticle have identical mass." And "mass" must refer to gravitational mass, since the particle masses given are rest masses, hence not inertial masses which could be anything up to infinity depending on your point of reference.

correction Ethan's second chart

OKThen, Ethan isn't saying what you're attributing.

The link merely says they are the same thing. The standard model doesn't prove it so, it finds it so and works with that.

Same with the masses. It doesn't prove the Masses have to be as they are, but takes them to be as they are found to be.

Other problems with negative mass:


Now to produce an electron-positron pair you require a photon equal to the difference in mass-energy. Since they have the same, but opposite, mass, they have the same, but opposite mass-energy. Therefore you need a photon of zero energy to create a matter/anti-matter pair.

Unless antimatter is imaginary velocity.


Momentum now is negative. Collision will cause an increase in momentum in the opposite direction to the motion.


Now pushing a mass will cause deceleration (or acceleration in the opposite direction).


It now falls out of a gravity well.

Special relativity has mass increase as you move things faster. But increasing a negative mass reduces its mass, therefore making it easier to accelerate as you move it in an accelerator. Until you get zero mass when the kinetic energy imparted is equal to the rest-mass times c squared, at which point you have a massless particle which is either at rest (and therefore cannot be moved) or now goes at light speed and can no longer be accelerated.

Worse, that effect can be seen by the velocity of the observer. An antiproton will weigh less as you accelerate.

Particle/antiparticle annihilation will result in a lower energy photon than the 2x511keV minimum that would be the result of both having positive mass. You would no longer get gamma rays only from it, you'd get any wavelength of photon.

OKThen: 'And “mass” must refer to gravitational mass, since the particle masses given are rest masses, hence not inertial masses which could be anything up to infinity depending on your point of reference.'

Sorry but you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the various types of mass being talked about.

You're thinking of Rest/Intrinsic Mass vs. Relativistic Mass. Relativistic Mass changes based on point of reference and is simply another name for energy. Rest Mass is the mass of an object in a frame in which it has no momentum, and is the same as Relativistic Mass in such a frame.

Gravitational vs Inertial mass is a completely different question. This is the question of 'mass' (whether intrinsic or relativistic) as it appears in Newton's Law of Gravity, versus 'mass' as it appears in Newton's Second Law of Motion f=ma. These two quantities -- a measure of resistance to force, and a measure of reaction to gravity -- didn't necessarily have to be the same, and could be completely different for the same object, like inertial mass and charge, for example. They always appeared to be the same in practice (see Galileo), and GR went further and assumed them to actually be the same thing. But gravitational mass *only* has any meaning in the context of a theory of gravity, which the SM does not cover. You will not find any reputable source that claims SM predicts *gravitational* masses specifically, because it does not.

I think I know why you were confused -- rest mass is the energy of an object in a frame in which it has zero momentum, and if you apply a net force to an object, well F=ma means it's accelerating and no longer at rest. Sure. But the *same thing* is true when you apply a gravitational field!

So really the proper conclusion is that when talking about accelerating an object via a non-gravitational force, or via gravity, then you should be using the Relativistic Mass. Of course you can always calculate what the instantaneous acceleration for an object starting at rest would be when a force is applied, then do the same for a new reference frame that matches the new instantaneous velocity, and so on.

The point is that Rest Mass/Relativistic mass is a completely orthogonal question to Gravitational/Inertial mass.

The Standard Model does not predict gravitational masses. It predicts inertial masses, and we have measured the reaction of anti-matter to non-gravitational forces and it is exactly as predicted.

Showing that anti-matter had a different gravitational mass would disprove General Relativity. Not the Standard Model.

In my opinion,
The m in the p = mv refers to inertial mass not gravitational mass.
The m in E = mc^2 refers to gravitational mass.
The m in F= GmM/r2 refers to gravitational mass.
The text books do not recognize the possibility that antimatter has a different gravitational mass than matter; thus if upcoming experiments prove that antimatter has either -m or im; then these equations will have to reinterpreted in the way I suggest.

I will not comment further; because I do not wish to fill Ethan's blog with my personal speculative theory.

Let me end by repeating my question.
In your opinion: What are the most important upcoming experiments that could confirm lead to new physics beyond the standard model? Come on be brave, stick your chin out. educate me about an experiment whose results you think could take us beyond the standard model (link me to the paper or article). Thanks

I am out of here.

OKThen: That's the interpretation today, except for E=mc^2 which was developed in Special Relativity which does not consider gravity and thus is not the gravitational mass, and has been verified extensively in particle physics.

What would change is the extension of that concept to gravity, since the Equivalence Principle would be proven false. So there'd have to be some modified version of that equation (or something new altogether) for gravitational mass in whatever theory replaces General Relativity.

I'm not saying you shouldn't be excited at the possibility that the equivalence principle would be wrong, I'm just saying keep clear what predictions have been made and what would be at stake. It'd be GR on the chopping block, not SM.

Personally I still think the LHC is our best bet for finding new physics beyond the Standard Model. Sure so far the results have been disappointing for fans of non-SM physics (though there is still the tantalizing B-meson result). But the LHC is going to come back online at higher energies and luminosity, and there's going to be ridiculous amounts of new data at all of its associated experiments. Who knows what we could find? Maybe something nobody has predicted at all!

Beyond that, Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is a great experiment with some interesting results -- what I really like about this one is even if the DM signal doesn't appear we'll still learn a lot about galactic cosmology. Also, CDMS-II has just this year published interesting results from their silicon detectors. It might go the way of their germanium detector hints, but so far these are stronger. Just a long way from discovery-status.

CB #88
Re E = mc^2, I stand corrected, CB is correct. Thank you.

Re your best predictions thank you. I read more carefully and do internet searches. Thank you.

"In my opinion,"

You'd have to justify that.

Otherwise the only appropriate response is an uncouth one about opinions and arseholes being had by everyone.

"The text books do not recognize the possibility that antimatter has a different gravitational mass than matter;"

No, the textbooks go a hell of a lot further than that: they recognise the possibility that ALL matter may have a different gravitational mass than inertial.

Note too that I used "may have" because the sentence is confused the way you put it: start off with a "possibility" then discard the uncertainty that implies with a "has".

As CB says, if p=mv is inertial mass and g=GmM/r^2 is gravitational, then you get a problem with F=ma, since that force could be impulsive (pushing, ergo changing the inertial mass) or it could be gravitational.

You can now prove GR is wrong because you can tell the difference between an accelerating frame of reference and one under the effects of gravitational acceleration.

Remember: you should not shift goalposts: your claims with that paper is about mass being opposite in sign. This is NOT a minor difference.

Now remember that if the particle/antiparticle pair had a different gravitational mass by twice the inertial mass, the gravitational potential they are in is extremely different. Therefore the energy they get from being here, this close to the Sun (40kps escape velocity) will be added to the escape velocity from the surface of the sun (600kps).

That's not a small difference in velocity.

And that gets worse when you're around a much more massive object.

"What are the most important upcoming experiments that could confirm lead to new physics beyond the standard model"

I think the biggest change in theory next will be when we find useful and testable options for what the hell dark matter could be if it really IS matter.

Another big problem remaining with the standard model are the neutrinos from the Sun, though that could be more about getting stellar evolution right, and I've REALLY lost track of the changes there, so I may be a decade or two late.

It may be that the standard model is as far as it's possible to go and that any further work has to be about asking better QUESTIONS, much like the result of chaos theory: some things just are NOT predictable, but if you change the question you're ASKING, then that can be a hell of a lot more answerable, and often turns out to be a lot more interesting.

"your claims with that paper is about mass being opposite in sign."

I'm not sure what you are talking about.
My hypothesis is that antimatter has an imaginary number gravitational mass;
NOT that antimatter has an opposite sign, i.e. negative real number gravitational mass.

Enough on my speculation, I await experiment results.

Re: "It may be that the standard model is as far as it’s possible to go" Hmm, that is a surprisingly boring answer. I hope not.
Does that mean you that you do not expect to find a particle to explain dark matter?
Does that mean that you do not expect to find new particles with an upgraded LHC?

My opinions are justified, but I accept sharp clear criticism. Notice, I did stand corrected and thanked CB for clarifying that the m in E = mc^2 is inertial mass not gravitational mass.

So offer clear insight and criticism; and I will listen and try to understand.
Offer inuendo and uncouth remarks; and I will ignore you as incapable of keeping on topic and incapable of giving a person the benefit of the doubt (e.g. that they are curious, sincere and trying to learn).
Offer tips on grammar and unclear sentences; and I will assume that you lack the imagination to try to understand the idea sincere not explained well too.

Every idea begins in a fragile state of ambiguous half truth. If one's intent is to smash such speculative ideas; that is very easy to do. The down side is that one will entertain few new ideas until they are proven indisputably, very boring. And who would it be doing the indisputable proving of such unworthy speculative ideas.

Personally, I expect much new fundamental physics that will "amaze." I expect many of the unsolved physics problems, , to be understood with fundamentally new physics, not just explained as consequences of chaos theory plus current standard models etc.

Of course, we might need to genetically reengineer our brains to come up with such "amazing" new physics ideas, or maybe we'll just enhance our brains by becoming cyborgs. Nah.

"This experiment managed to rule out extremely large deviations in the behaviour of antihydrogen, placing its gravitational mass between -65 and 110 times that of its inertial mass."

So to date the following 3 results (see #80 1), 2), 3) ) are possible, i.e. antihydrogen gravitational mass =
-1, 0 or 1 times the gravitational mass of hydrogen.

of course the standard prediction is antihydrogen's gravitational mass is 1x hydrogen's gravitational mass; the secondary prediction is -1x, and my prediction is 0x (because it is im an imaginary number mass)

I did an undergrad test of the distance between two sheets of gas between us and SN1987a.

The distance apart under the assumptions
1) planar gas
2) Parallel to each other
3) Perpendicular to the right-line between earth and SN1987a

produced, IIRC, 60pc+/- 100pc.

This does NOT mean that the dust sheet with the wider circle of reflected light was possibly further away from us. Just that the assumptions made were insufficient to make the determination.

"My hypothesis is that antimatter has an imaginary number gravitational mass;"

Which was then changed to a negative number in other posts.

If it has an imaginary gravitational mass, then it is not affected by gravity. At all. And why does it get imaginary gravitational mass but not imaginary inertial mass?

Because it hasn't been ruled out?

Well, God moving every single particle in a plan that looks like obeying the laws of physics and the random nature of the quantum world hasn't been ruled out.

Nor has your being a butterfly dreaming it's a rainbow that thinks it is a human who has lived some score years and more been ruled out.

"and my prediction is 0x (because it is im an imaginary number mass)"


And zero real mass STILL has the problem of having an energy deficit of the GPE in the locality, therefore changing the physics seen based on the masses nearby, which would be found in different physics around other stars, other planets interstellar space and around black holes and their accretion disks.

Antimatter is produced by certain processes naturally. If they had imaginary gravitational mass and therefore zero real mass then these processes would happen at different rates depending on the depth of the GPE at that location.

This is not seen.

Particles made up of quarks and anti-quarks would have different gravitational masses depending on whether they were made of positive or negative versions of the masses.

Since quantum tunneling rates are defined by the energy deficit, they would have different rates (and since these are exponentials, EXTREMELY different rates) on the earth and around other planets.

"Hmm, that is a surprisingly boring answer. I hope not."

it is, but don't forget chemistry. Once they got the periodic table there isn't anything new happening in that part of chemistry for more than a century.

Might be same with standard model. I hope it gets a bit more elegant in the future. I am hoping for some new physics to shed light on what's the whole deal about flavors /colors and all that. But it might be as Wow says... we will get new physics for sure, but we won't get new standard model.

By Sinisa Lazarek (not verified) on 14 Aug 2013 #permalink

"Notice, I did stand corrected and thanked CB for clarifying that the m in E = mc^2 is inertial mass not gravitational mass."

I did notice.

Also noticed you didn't work through the consequences of that.

That means that if E is from being pushed by a force not gravity is different from the E from being pushed by a force that IS gravity.

That means that Newton's laws are horrendously wrong. F!=ma if F is from gravity. Motions of planets predicated on gravitational mass and inertial mass are now up in the air (almost literally).

It means the paths of antiparticles (you realise the anti-up quark is an antiparticle, right?) follow a different geodesic in space than normal matter. That means a pion which has an up and anti-down quark has a different inertial mass from its gravitational mass, equal to just the up quark.

Muon decay now produces a different value for its decay rate because it has less gravitational mass than its constituents (I'm re-reading some basic elementary particle stuff here to fill back the holes in my memory) because some of them are inside a gravity well that gives them extra potential energy to convert to mass, compared to the muon that was there before.


Maybe the best way for us to approach this is if I say this on the idea of imaginary mass:

There's a hell of a lot of "settled science" to rewrite the equations and causation for to make imaginary mass even remotely feasible, and that science covers damn near the entirety of 19th and later science.

So far it's been looking for how it's right, not why it's wrong (then finding out why it isn't really wrong after all). The latter isn't science, it's begging the question.


I believe the solar neutrino problem you are referring to -- the under-detection of electron neutrinos from the sun -- was resolved early last decade by detecting all types of neutrinos coming from the sun showing that if we allowed for neutrino oscillation then the expected neutrino count was just as predicted, and then more recently confirmed by demonstrating that neutrino oscillation does occur.

OKThen: "Every idea begins in a fragile state of ambiguous half truth. If one’s intent is to smash such speculative ideas; that is very easy to do."

This is exactly what your intent should be, because most ideas are not in a state of half-truth but of utter wrongness. To find the ideas with merit, you must try your best to smash them and then sift through the rubble to find if there was any part that survived, or what the weakness was that let it be smashed so easily and if it can be fixed. If the answer is nothing, or it can't, then you go back to the drawing board.

And I mean you, as in you should be doing this, not waiting for us to, not treating and expecting others to treat speculative ideas as a delicate flower to be nurtured. Science is about not fooling yourself, and to do that you have to always ask yourself "how is this wrong?"


In my first comment on this post #62, I clearly state, "My bet is that antimatter has an imaginary number mass. "

Yet Wow continues to suggest that I have said elsewhere that antimatter has a negative real number mass. e.g. Wow says #97, "Which was then changed to a negative number in other posts." Wow similar claims in his comments #92, and #93.

This is an example of Wow not trying to understand what someone (me-OKThen) is saying. Wow reads quickly and
misreads and misunderstands; and then in this state of misunderstanding, he smashes his misunderstanding of my idea.

So Wow, please quote from my above comments with a reference # , e.g. #62 where I can even be misinterpreted as suggesting that antimatter has a negative real number mass. I can't find it.

It is in this sense, that Wow has to "give a person the benefit of the doubt "; Wow has to at least try to understand accurately an idea before he tries to smash it. But no Wow assumes he knows what I (OKThen) am talking about and criticizes; even though he clearly misunderstands my idea. Because he is attributing words and meaning to me which I never said. Please quote me e.g. #62. But Wow can't quote me, at least I can't find what Wow thinks that I said.

CB #104
Yes, I agree.
I do my best to smash my ideas. But I do not think this is the place to fully explain my ideas. Yes, I wrote the vixra paper reference above #62. And if you then search my name you will find that I wrote a physics book where pg 10 I say, "In the course of this effort, I have searched the physics literature with the intention of breaking my proudest hypotheses. Those that remain, I cannot break."

Since, my book, I've broken a few of its ideas. the ideas in my vixra paper, I can't break yet. But I like to break my ideas or have them broken; because then I learn. Feel free to follow the links and add comments or email me and tell me how to break my ideas. I will thank you for helping me break my ideas which I have been unable to break.

But here is not the place to discuss my 25 page vixra paper.

As a non professional physicist, who has to think physics and has to develop my ideas; I have very few places to express my ideas.

Ethan's blog is one place to just touch on my ideas (as in this post). But I will not abuse Ethan's hospitality by filling his post with my off topic speculation. I try to keep on topic. e.g. "In my opinion, there is no more important experiment of the standard model of particle physics than the determination of the gravitational mass of antiparticles."

So good night.

And later it was refuted as being about imaginary mass but negative mass.

All that does is reduce the problem slightly for the real world physics, it doesn't make it any less problematical. Geodesics still go the wrong way for them with zero real mass. They still have no reason to have imaginary mass. It still answers nothing for them to have it imaginary. And these are the same problems as proposing they have negative mass.

"This is an example of Wow not trying to understand what someone (me-OKThen) is saying. "

100% incorrect.

Even if I have your thread incorrect and misread, that's an error not a failure to try to understand. But I guess if you can figure out I'm not trying to understand you, you can ignore (as you have) many of the statements made about why your assertions are incorrect and "justify" doing so to yourself.

However, you have ignored almost every case brought as evidence against the idea and said things like

"I think it is"
"experimental error includes zero mass, therefore it could be imaginary mass"

and other insistences by personal preference that antimatter has imaginary, negative, or zero rest mass.

ALL of the problems with your idea are problems for any of them being proportionally very different from inertial mass equal to gravitational mass. Which all three cases are. Including imaginary gravitational mass.

Being slightly different is possible and leads to an idea of "What, then causes gravitational mass?" and "Why are they so very close?".

Being imaginary leads to ideas like "Why?"

Your response is "Because I believe it is".

"was resolved early last decade by detecting all types of neutrinos coming from the sun showing that if we allowed for neutrino oscillation then the expected neutrino count was just as predicted"

Aye, knew of that, but I also remember that the problem was that protons should then decay and the effect should have been seen in the attempts to detect neutrino mass (enabling oscillations) by looking for proton decay.

That, though, was the last I heard of it: that two ways of finding the limits of neutrino mass:

1) Rate of oscillation between types
2) Decay rate of protons

gave inconsistent limits to the masses of neutrinos involved.

"Even if I have your thread incorrect and misread, that’s an error not a failure to try to understand. But I guess if you can figure out I’m not trying to understand you, you can ignore (as you have) many of the statements made about why your assertions are incorrect and “justify” doing so to yourself."

No the reason, the only reason, I ignore your statements is IF they have nothing to do with my assertions because you misunderstand them.

Yes, I agree that you do know the correct standard model physics answer. But if the experiments testing the gravity mass of antihydrogen result in a non-standard answer; then I assert that you have no reasonable explanation. I do and one which I can't break and you have not addressed. You are simply a standard model mosquito stinging every idea that is not in agreement with the current standard model.

This is not the place to address my speculation which included not only imaginary number mass, imaginary number charge and time as 3 curled-dimensions with T-duality symmetry to space etc. I pre-accept your opinion that my ideas are nuts, hogwash etc. But anyone can comment on vixra and find my email and thoughtful criticism would be appreciated.

Thoughtful criticism is not, "the standard model says such and such can not be so". Thoughtful criticism would be "here is a contradiction in your logic and hence a disagreement with experiment." I can't find any disagreement with experiment or with equations; because the experiments have not been done. As well I do not change any equations; though I do change how they would be interpreted for imaginary number mass, i.e. put im in where you see m.

OKThen:"I can’t find any disagreement with experiment or with equations; because the experiments have not been done. As well I do not change any equations; though I do change how they would be interpreted for imaginary number mass, i.e. put im in where you see m."

This is alarming. Alarm bells are ringing.

You cannot only consider the as-yet-unperformed experiment, and say you have an explanation for a certain possible result, and base your attempts to knock down your hypothesis on that experimental result alone. You must consider *all* the implications of your idea as it relates to the results of *all* experiments, *especially* those that have already been performed.

The criticism is not of the form "SM says otherwise". It's of the form "Here is a place where SM has made the correct prediction according to experiment. Your theory must make the same prediction, too, or it is wrong."

If you keep the equations the same, but replace m with im when dealing with antimatter, then there is no way the result can be the same for experiments where both matter and anti-matter are involved.

This is why you should not have ignored Wow's comments, because the fundamental observation is still correct if you replace "negative" with "imaginary": if the ratio between inertial and gravitational mass is not 1, if the gravitational potential is different for a particle and its anti-particle, then there are measurable consequences for that fact that are not seen in experiment.

Frankly you should not have had to pay attention to Wow's comments; you should have thought of this yourself already in trying to figure out how you could be wrong. If you wanted to maintain your idea, then you should be working on how you could change the equations to produce the same results while maintaining your basic hypothesis.

This is why knocking down the Standard Model, or General Relativity, or crafting a theory that makes significantly different predictions for certain circumstances (like gravitational mass of antimatter) so difficult: You can't just explain what SM or GR don't explain, or predict something new in a realm where those theories have not been tested, you must ALSO explain everything that they explain in the areas where they have been tested, while remaining consistent.

Your comment here tells me you have not done this, instead focusing on a hypothetical world of un-performed experiment where your idea cannot be shown to be wrong today (assuming it is at least logically self-consistent). But that's just not true. There have been many tests performed; your idea must be judged against all of them. You as a scientist should be judging yourself against all of them, to try to figure out how you could be wrong.

Also, forgive me if this sounds mean but it's true -- a scientist who is trying to overturn GR by making a dramatically contrary prediction about mass should work out that this is what they are doing, and get straight their definitions of mass, before publishing. :P

Thanks CB, OKThen isn't hearing what I'm saying and I can't seem to find words to make it visible. He's hearing what the thinks is being said and even when that is what's being said, it's only PART of what's being said.

But something is making the thrust of the problem invisible, compared to what's being concentrated on by OKThen, and I'm left with the idea it must be the attempts at putting the context in. But also left with the problem that without context, it's just basically "You're hella wrong".

There's a shape of words that'll fit, but I'm buggered if I know how to make it.

"if the gravitational potential is different for a particle and its anti-particle, then there are measurable consequences for that fact that are not seen in experiment."
Please give me a specific example.

"Your theory must make the same prediction, too, or it is wrong.” As far as I understand it agrees completely with current theory for all current experiments.

By the way, on a previous idea. It took a discussion of 10 emails with a physicsits Bjorn to reach a point where I understood why a different idea of mine failed. And Bjorn's first 3 reasons why my idea failed where incorrect. but his 4th one prevailed. Thank you Bjorn. Several previous physicists just waved there hands and said that obviously I must be wrong. The voice of authority is not convincing.

So please give me an example don't just tell me that "then there are measurable consequences for that fact that are not seen in experiment." Which specific measureable consequence is not seen in experiment?

I am not being clever or evasive, I don't know.
Educate me. Please. Thank you.

I don't mind being challenged (actually I welcome it) but I am uncomfortable when I have reason to believe that I have been misunderstood. The whole point of my little missive on antigravity was that the effect of the gravitational field of a "matter" body (the Sun) on a neither matter nor antimatter object (a photon) is EXPERIMENTALLY seen to be attractive. The only confidence I show in my paper is in those experimental results. I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear. Again, as I wrote in the paper, I am involved in looking at the effect of Earth's gravity on antihydrogen specifically because I am a physicist and so experiment is the only way to answer the question of whether antihydrogen will fall up or down. We "know" (with confidence!) from the bending of light by the sun that a photon will fall down. Is this being unduly arrogant?

By Scott Menary (not verified) on 08 Sep 2013 #permalink

"“Your theory must make the same prediction, too, or it is wrong.” As far as I understand it agrees completely with current theory for all current experiments."

And you're wrong.

Particles and antiparticles from a nova or supernova are observed to come from the same location, a fact which requires they follow the same geodesic in spacetime, which therefore requires that they have the same attraction to gravity as their inertial mass.

"So please give me an example"


Indeed I did this waaay further up, but you weren't listening.

#113 Scott
Thank you for your comment and taking the time to comment here.
I hope I haven't misunderstood you. I certainly don't think you are arrogant; rather you seem very sensible. And I do look forward to your experiment results.

I have one small disagreement with you. You refer to a photon as "a neither matter nor antimatter object"; whereas I would refer to a photon as both a matter and antimatter object. In my mind, this makes a difference (per my comment #62 and my reference to my vixra article, yes it is speculative but hopefully well reasoned). I would suggest that the bending of light is due only to the matter aspect of the photon not to the antimatter aspect of the photons. (Note: if you are trying to learn physics; ignore my speculation. I am not trying to confuse you or be unhelpful to your learning).

But if you are doing the ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus) experiment at CERN's Antiproton Decelerator (AD); then I will be very interested to know if you find that antihydrogen
a) falls in Earth's gravitational field (i.e. antimatter has + gravitational mass)
b) rises in Earth's gravitational field (i.e. antimatter has - gravitational mass)
c) is gravitationally neutral (neither rising nor falling) in Earth's gravitational field (e.g. my prediction that antimatter has imaginary number gravitaional mass)

To repeat my prediction(speculation), antihydrogen atoms will neither fall nor rise in a gravitational field but will interact neutrally with the matter gravitational field of the Earth. Because I hypothesize 9speculate) that antimatter has imaginary number gravitational mass.

I look forward to the results of the ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus) experiment at CERN's Antiproton Decelerator (AD); which I think is one of the most important experiments soon to be completed.

#114 Wow
Thank you for finally responding and asserting that I am wrong. But you did not provide a link to the amazing research observations that you assert have been completed. Please show me a link to this asserted excellent research!! I await to learn, to stand corrected.

You assert that "Particles and antiparticles from a nova or supernova are observed to come from the same location, a fact which requires they follow the same geodesic in spacetime, which therefore requires that they have the same attraction to gravity as their inertial mass."

Very nice assertion but I can find no reference to support your (Wow's) assertion.

In disagreement with your (Wow's) assertion I find many references starting with wikipedia that suggest your assertion is not true. e.g. "Preliminary results from the presently-operating Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) on board the International Space Station show that positrons in the cosmic rays arrive with NO DIRECTIONALITY... Antiprotons arrive at Earth with a characteristic energy maximum of 2 GeV, indicating THEIR PRODUCTION IN A FUNDAMENTALLY DIFFERENT PROCESS FROM COSMIC RAY PROTONS, which on average have only one-sixth of the energy... THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF COMPLEX ANTIMATTER ATOMIC NUCLEI, SUCH AS ANTI-HELIUM NUCLEI (ANTI-ALPH) PARTICLES, IN COSMIC RAYS" wikipedia, CAPITAL LETTERS MINE.

Wikipedia also summarizes, "supernovae do not produce all cosmic rays, and the proportion of cosmic rays that they do produce is a question which cannot be answered without further study."

A recent reference also provides no support (as far as I can understand) for your assertion., Aug 2013
"Positrons are a natural component of the cosmic radiation, produced in the interaction between cosmic rays and the interstellar matter... A subsequent PAMELA measurement of the cosmic-ray antiproton energy spectrum was found to be consistent with expectations from secondary production calculations. In order to explain these results both dark matter and astrophysical objects (e.g., pulsars) have been proposed as positron sources." This does not seem (to me) to support Wow's assertion.

I do like to be proved wrong. But show me the link; do not ask me to believe because you have a PhD in astrophysics. I will not argue with experiment; but I will argue with proof by your authority.

Wow's assertion is very nice if true. But then there would seem to be little reason (in my mind) for Scott Menary's ALPHA (Antihydrogen Laser PHysics Apparatus) experiment at CERN's Antiproton Decelerator (AD). But I defer to Scott's opinion and reason as to why his experiment is important and necessary.

Let's go over Wow's assertion
"Particles and antiparticles from a nova or supernova are observed to come from the same location" That seems to be the heart of Wow's assertion that "(cosmic ray) particles and antiparticles... come from the same location". I can't find a reference to Wow's assertion of such amazing research. Perhaps it is just a Wow gedanken experiment.

But if Wow's assertion is an observational fact; then surely Wow will provide me a somewhat credible link.

Is Wow's assertion assertion that " "(cosmic ray) particles and antiparticles... come from the same location" an astronomical observation fact?????
If so; THEN I will agree that "(antimatter has) followed the same geodesic in spacetime (as matter), which therefore requires that (antimatter) has the same attraction to gravity as (matter)."
But where is the link to Wow's assertion astronomical observational fact???? Or is this a Wow gedanken or maybe false memory.

"In psychology, a false memory refers to the recollection of an event, or the details of an event, that did not occur." wikipedia

Please educate me. Show me the link! Thank you.
Wow, do not assert if you do not have a link to a somewhat credible reference.

Wow, also you are often intolerant of grammatical nonsense.
Yet you say, "which therefore requires that they have the same attraction to gravity as their inertial mass."
This sounds like nonsense tome. But I think I sort of understand what you mean; thus my paraphrase of your meaning above. Do write more clearly about your false memories.

"it is still a dream to capture any antinucleus in cosmos. The search of 4He and heavier antinucleus in universe is one of the major motivations of space shuttle based apparatus such as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, both the RHICSTAR experimental result and model calculation provide a background estimation of 4He for the future observation in Cosmos radiations ." A brief review of antimatter production, Jan, 21, 2013, Y. G. Ma , J. H. Chen, and L. Xue,

"According to Carroll & Ostlie, only about 0.01% of cosmic rays are antimatter"

New Scientist, Apr 3, 2013 (quote below)
-- Gregory Tarle of the University of Michigan, who worked on previous cosmic ray telescopes but is not involved in AMS, is pleased that AMS confirmed that there are more positrons than expected at higher energies – but is sceptical that they can be definitively attributed to dark matter.
-- "There are so many knobs you can turn in these models," he says. "It would surprise me no end if a physicist couldn't account for anything that they saw using an astrophysical source", such as a pulsar instead of dark matter.

" I would suggest that the bending of light is due only to the matter aspect of the photon not to the antimatter aspect of the photons"

Post-hoc braiding up of the hypothesis to make it fit no matter what.

The antiparticle requires the same inertial mass as gravitational mass to follow the same gravitational geodesic.

You're saying they have DIFFERENT inertial mass to gravitational mass.

Therefore the sign of the force is different to the reaction to the force.


"Yet you say, “which therefore requires that they have the same attraction to gravity as their inertial mass.”

This sounds like nonsense to me"

Well, sorry, if you can't understand it;s because YOU WILL NOT LET YOU understand.

There's fuck all I can do about that.

Inertial mass is the mass related to the F=ma thingy.

Gravitational mass is related to the F=GmM/r^2 thingy.

If the little m is different, then the force from gravity (GmM/r^2) going to cause a different acceleration to that force from gravity.

This is kindergarden level stuff.

"But where is the link to Wow’s assertion astronomical observational fact????"

Were is a link to the English language so the meaning of words can be determined?????

Hell, where is the proof that water is wet? OKThen NEEDS A LINK TO THE PROOF water is wet!!!!

Don't you think that if they only found positive-matter-based particles (remember, mesons contain antimatter quarks, so positive-matter-based mesons have to contain only positive-matter quarks) from supernovae, but any other type from the GCR's that it would be noted?

Go find a paper on the observations and timings of supernovae and check what particles they look at and what quarks they contain.

It's YOUR cockamamie theory, you go check it out rather than stick your head up your ass and scream "CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!".

I have tried twice to post a comment in response to Wow.
Both have not been accepted.

Wow show me the link.

I suppose it was a computer glitch that destroyed my comment. Frustrating.

But here's the short version.
I disagree with accepted theory, that gravitational mass of antimatter is equal to gravitational mass of matter.
the experiments have not been done.

The ALPHA experiment is being done; I await the result.
The AMS experiments are being done, "we’re now in a position to ask the following: Where does it (antimatter) come from? This may take a while to resolve. There are many theoretical scenarios, all with enough uncertainties that they seem endlessly adaptable to every quirk, kink, or hint of structure in the positron spectrum. " link omitted because it doesn't get through the filter. Just search the quote.

If Wow knows more, show us the links. I don't disagree with what the leading theory says: yes I await experimental results. And yes the experiments are very difficult.

"I disagree with accepted theory, that gravitational mass of antimatter is equal to gravitational mass of matter."

It's not a matter of agreement or not. You could disagree that pi is 3.14159... and insist it was 3. That disagreement does not mean insisting it's 3 is a valid assertion.

Inertial mass dictates how a force on a body will make it move.

Gravitational mass dictates how gravitational masses elsewhere will create a force.

If they are different in sign then the path taken under gravitational influence will be the opposite of one taken if they are the same.

Your insistence on links for something that isn't in the remotest sense contestable is your problem, not mine.

A core-collapse supernova will produce an enormous burst of neutrinos of all flavors in the few-tens-of-MeV range. Measurement of the flavor, time and energy structure of a nearby core-collapse neutrino burst will yield answers to many physics and astrophysics questions. The neutrinos left over from past cosmic supernovae are also observable, and their detection will improve knowledge of core collapse rates and average neutrino emission. This review describes experimental techniques for detection of core-collapse neutrinos, as well as the sensitivities of current and future detectors.
In core-collapse supernovae, the νe and bar nue species may experience collective flavor swaps to non-electron species νx, within energy intervals limited by relatively sharp boundaries (``splits''). These phenomena appear to depend sensitively upon the initial energy spectra and luminosities. We investigate the effect of generic variations of the fractional luminosities (le, lē, lx) with respect to the usual ``energy equipartition'' case (1/6, 1/6, 1/6), within an early-time supernova scenario with fixed thermal spectra and total luminosity. We represent the constraint le+lē+4lx = 1 in a ternary diagram, which is explored via numerical experiments (in single-angle approximation) over an evenly-spaced grid of points. In inverted hierarchy, single splits arise in most cases, but an abrupt transition to double splits is observed for a few points surrounding the equipartition one. In normal hierarchy, collective effects turn out to be unobservable at all grid points but one, where single splits occur. Admissible deviations from equipartition may thus induce dramatic changes in the shape of supernova (anti)neutrino spectra. The observed patterns are interpreted in terms of initial flavor polarization vectors (defining boundaries for the single/double split transitions), lepton number conservation, and minimization of potential energy.


I disagree with accepted theory, that gravitational mass of antimatter is equal to gravitational mass of matter.
the experiments have not been done.

Every cloud chamber ever built does that experiment. Here is a picture of one of the results, and at the bottom it cites a paper showing you how to do the experiment yourself.

Thank you for providing links and another pssible way to break my speculative hypothesis.

First let me say that some physicists agree with you.
"The only direct experimental result on antimatter and gravity comes from Supernova 1987A. This supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud emitted both neutrinos and antineutrinos, some of which were eventually detected on Earth. Those neutrinos and antineutrinos took 160,000 years to reach Earth, and while travelling were bent from a "straight line" path by the gravity from our own galaxy. The bending with gravity changed the time needed to reach Earth by about 5 months, yet both the neutrinos and the antineutrinos reached Earth at roughly the same time (within the same 12 second interval). This shows that the neutrinos and antineutrinos "fell" similarly, to a very high level of precision (about 1 part in a million)." Very nice, if true. From Physics FAQ

But then here is some important detail that needs to be considered.
"Approximately two to three hours before the visible light from SN 1987A reached the Earth, a burst of neutrinos was observed at three separate neutrino observatories. This is likely due to neutrino emission (which occurs simultaneously with core collapse) preceding the emission of visible light (which occurs only after the shock wave reaches the stellar surface). At 7:35 a.m. Universal time, Kamiokande II detected 11 ANTINEUTRINOS; IMB, 8 ANTINEUTRINOS; and Baksan, 5 ANTINEUTRINOS; in a burst lasting less than 13 seconds. Approximately three hours earlier, the Mont Blanc liquid scintillator detected a five-NEUTRINO burst, but this is generally not believed to be associated with SN 1987A." wikipedia

So for SN 1987A
--- 24 antineutrinos were detected
--- but concensus is that the 5 neutrinos detected were not from SN 1987A (so we got nothing about antimatter gravity)

Furthermore wikipedia adds more ambiguity, "Many scientists consider the best experimental evidence in favor of normal gravity (for antimatter) to come from the observations of neutrinos from Supernova 1987A.(yes I agree) In this landmark event, three neutrino detectors around the world simultaneously observed a cascade of neutrinos emanating from a supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Although the supernova happened about 164,000 light years away, both neutrinos and antineutrinos MAY HAVE BEEN DETECTED VIRTUALLY SIMULTANEOUSLY. If both (neutrinos and antineutrinos) were actually observed, then any difference in the gravitational interaction would have to be very small. However, neutrino detectors cannot distinguish perfectly between neutrinos and antineutrinos; in fact, the two may be identical, just as the antiparticle of the photon is another photon. Some physicists conservatively estimate that there is less than a 10% chance that no regular neutrinos were observed at all. Others estimate even lower probabilities, some as low as 1%. Unfortunately, this accuracy is unlikely to be improved by duplicating the experiment any time soon. The last known supernova to occur at such a close range prior to Supernova 1987A was around 1867."

So what we now have are three ways to break my hypothesis or confirm it experimentally in the next several or many years
1)ALPHA experiments
2) AMS experimenbts
3) neutrino/antineutrino detector experiments.

Very nice because when we started this discussion, I only knew about ALPHA experiments as a way to break my speculative theory. But now I know 2 other ways to verify or falsify my idea 2) AMS and 3) neutrino/antineutrino detectors.

Very nice. Great!

So the status of testing the gravitation attraction or not of antimatter is these three theories.
"The CPT theorem implies that the difference between the properties of a matter particle and those of its antimatter counterpart is completely described by C-inversion, which doesn't affect gravitational mass[citation needed]. However, there are several hypotheses about how antimatter gravitationally interacts with normal matter:
1) Normal gravity: The standard assumption is that gravitational interactions of matter and antimatter are identical.
2) Antigravity: Some authors argue that antimatter repels matter with the same magnitude as matter attracts matter (see below). This should not be confused with the many other speculative phenomena that may also be called 'anti-gravity'.
3) Gravivector and graviscalar: Later difficulties in creating quantum gravity theories have led to the idea that antimatter may react with a slightly different magnitude." wikipedia

Now these three hypotheses about antimatter's gravitational interaction with matter are the contender hypotheses from professional physicists.

My hypothesis is not number 3);so my hypothesis is even more speculative. If you want to break my idea and thinking just read pg 3 (see #62 above) of my paper and send me an email OR put your argument on ETHAN's comment page YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT YOU SAY.

Here, this page is not the place to argue the merits or not of my personal speculative theory.

Here my only point was (and still is) that the ALPHA experiments will test a very important assumption of the Standard Model (i.e. the antimatter has the same gravitational mass as matter).

Now I know that at least three experiments will test that assumption.

We must wait for the experimental test. If this assumption of the Standard Model is incorrect; IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT MY SPECULATIVE HYPOTHESIS IS CORRECT. But it does mean that we have new physics.

NEW PHYSICS!!! How exciting would that be?? That is what we are looking and hoping for; NOT JUST TO CONFIRM AGAIN WHAT WE ALREADY THINK WE KNOW.

NO!!!! We want to find the limit where the current Standard Model and its assumptions do not apply. i.e. we want NEW PHYSICS.

And I want to learn. Obviously, I think my learning hypotheses have merit. And obviously, it is satisfying when one of my learning hypotheses is correct, i.e. "hey look that experiment has already been done and agrees with my thinking. Nice."

But in a different way it is SERIOUSLY satisfying when one of my learning hypotheses is broken, i.e. damn, the universe doesn't work that way and here is the evidence; that very nice experiment just busted my learning hypothesis. OK I can accept that; because otherwise I'd be a closed minded dogmatist who would never learn anything. Yes, if I (we) want to learn then I need to be ready to be wrong OFTEN. Yes VERY OFTEN.

So yes thank you Wow for offering me two more ways that my learning hypothesis may be proved wrong. NICE, almost BUSTED but not quite yet.

Wow, thanks for trying to bust my idea. I sincerely appreciate your effort.

Consequences are how you sell a hypothesis, OKThen.

The astronomy picture is merely one aspect your idea has to pass to become even hypothesis.

The inertial mass being different from gravitational mass for "anti" matter has problems in beta decay, pair production, pion decay (positive and negative) and so on and so on.

Any Elementary Particle Physicist could give you a hundred observations that would be different.

You have a hundred little details that have to be settled and you're not able to do anything here other than say "I think it is so".

That's wishing, not science.

Not to mention there's naff all reason for the difference. It works with them being the same.

Out here, I am not trying to sell my hypotheses. Actually, anywhere, I am not trying to sell them. I have formulated them as best as I can, they speak for themselves.

But out here, it is you who are trying to sell the idea that the gravitational mass of antimatter (e.g. a positron) is equal to the gravitational mass of matter (e.g. an electron) has already been tested and confirmed by experiment. It has NOT!

And the reason you are trying to sell this idea is that you think that my learning hypothesis is non-science; whereas your misunderstanding is science. I contend that my learning hypothesis is science for the simple reason that it is open to falsification and verification and I am open to being wrong.

On this blog, you have often heard me say, "I stand corrected." or "I did not know." But even now, I do not hear you saying, "I stand corrected, I thought the nature of the gravitational mass of antimatter was experimentally determined, but it is not." No you do not stand corrected by a non professional such as I.

Rather you continue to accuse me of "wishing". No it is you that is wishing that there is no need for experiments to determine the gravitational attraction of antimatter; because you think that obviously your interpretation/opinion must be correct. That is not science; regardless that you know a hundred more details than I do. that is dogma.

Thankfully, there are diligent experimental scientist who struggle for decades to build precise experiments ALPHA and such that may just prove that current theory is confirmed (and that is a great accomplishment and service to scientist and to theoretical scientist). Or who may prove that current best hypothesis is mistaken (and that is a great great service to science and to theorist who arrogantly might promote scientific dogma to the detriment of new science).

I know the difference between open minded inquisativeness and closed minded authority. However accomplished and authoritative, Sir Arthur Eddington did a great disservice to science theory and experiment and to the young Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.

OKThen: Why are you still referring to it as an assumption of the Standard Model?

It's bad enough that you're using this "Tell me why my theory is broken or I'll say that it is not broken 'as far as I know'" strategy as if the less you know the stronger the argument is, rather than actively looking into all of these things yourself beforehand like an actual scientist.

But to actively reject the knowledge that your passive approach has nevertheless managed to attain is just pathetic.

On that note, I also suppose you haven't gone back and re-written your paper using the corrected definitions of "mass". I can't imagine confusing inertial and relativistic masses had no material implications if it was at all rigorous to begin with.

The world doesn't need another crackpot who thinks the path to revolutionary new physics is:
1) Create new theory.
2) Learn physics.

Especially when (2) consists of stating how you imagine physics works on the comment section of a blog and waiting to see if anyone posts a correction, then ignoring the corrections.

It's great that you call it a "learning hypothesis", like it's just a way to focus your learning, but there are vastly more efficient ways to acquire the base of knowledge needed to craft interesting -- as in a productive avenues for further learning -- hypothesis. And then you'll still need to go about actively pursuing the avenues by which it could be wrong yourself, rather than waiting for random commenters to drag you by the nose to this "satisfying" conclusion.

I keep referring to the gravitational mass of an antiparticle as an assumption of the Standard Model; because 15 of the Standard Model's constants are the masses of the quarks, leptons, the Higgs boson, the W boson and the Z boson.

IF the ALPHA consortium determines experimentally that the gravitational mass of antimatter differs from the gravitational mass of matter; THEN the Standard Model would have to have to be modified in some way to include that new information.

The standard model also assumes that 1+1=2, and all the rest of that mathematics malarkey, OKThen.

However, to call basic addition and commutation an assumption of the Standard Model is assinine.

We already covered this. >:[

The Standard Model does NOT cover gravitational masses because it does NOT cover the phenomenon of gravity. Those 15 constants are the INERTIAL masses. Which, yes, are assumed to also be gravitational masses because that appears to be the case but it wouldn't matter if it wasn't so. The gravitational mass is only relevant for gravitational interactions, which, as I said, the Standard Model DOES NOT COVER.

So the only modification to the SM would be that you would relabel "mass" as "inertial mass".

There would be huge ramifications for General Relativity -- GR is the theory that assumes inertial mass = gravitational mass not as an apparent empirical quirk but as a fundamental aspect of the universe. That fundamental assumption would be dis-proven.

Quantum gravity theories would of course be heavily affected as well.

But the Standard Model? The Standard Model wouldn't care.

How on earth are you supposed to work out a theory to explain what happens when inertial and gravitational masses are different when you don't even know what those terms mean and where they are used -- and ignore people who try to explain it?!

OKThen probably was being sloppy and didn't really know it.

The Standard Model (tm) and the standard model of physics aren't the same thing. One is a technical term meaning the particle physics model and excludes GR by definition, the other is a colloquial term that really just means "the current accepted science".

Such sloppy thinking is understandable when someone is talking about science but not really acceptable if you're attempting to discern some new cutting edge science theories that have no evidence for them.

"The gravitational force on antimatter has never been directly measured... We currently have a window of opportunity for measuring the gravitational force on antimatter at a very reasonable cost because the accelerator required for making and collecting antiprotons has already been built for other purposes. This window of opportunity will close in a decade when antiprotons are no longer needed for high-energy colliders. If we fail to make the measurement now and we come up with a theory in few years that antimatter really is a hole in a negative-energy sea that should have negative gravitational mass (just as a random example), then it may require funding on the scale of LIGO or Gravity Probe B to make the measurement. Measuring the force of gravity on antimatter will be an important test of our understanding of gravity."

"Another problem lies within the mathematical framework of the Standard Model itself – the Standard Model is inconsistent with that of general relativity, to the point that one or both theories break down under certain conditions." wikipedia

You say, "There would be huge ramifications for General Relativity (if antimatter has a different gravitational mass than matter).. But... The Standard Model wouldn’t care."

Hmm, I think that such a straw would hugely impact the standard model. As for how general relativity would be hugely impacted, I agree but will not speculate here. For sure most of GR, SM and QM would stand because these are perhaps the most tested theories in all of science.

But CB, I will accept your opinion on the matter that the masses in the current standard model are inertial masses not gravitational masses. Thank you, for clarifying that bit of jargon.

When you stoop to mocking, those whose scientific reasoning does not reach your high standard; then you demonstrate how low your standard of reasoning will go; you reveal your scientific hypocrisy and dogmatism in the name of science.

Thinking about dogmatism in science, I just discovered this recent book Dogmatism in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth. Here is a review.

At any rate Wow, your attacks upon me disappoint and hurt. I do not attack your own sloppy thinking when #125, #126, #127 you offer incorrect proof that the gravitational mass of antimatter equals the gravitational mass of matter. No, I thank you for pointing me to good science.

Wow, you can do better.

BTW, "Some applications in particle physics are described on the entries Noncommutative standard model and Noncommutative quantum field theory. Sudden rise in interest in noncommutative geometry in physics, follows after the speculations of its role in M-theory made in 1997." wikipedia. so commutation is an assumption of the standard model.

“The gravitational force on antimatter has never been directly measured"

And I'm not saying it has been directly measured.

It doesn't have to be.

If it's different from the inertial mass then the matter will act differently in gravitational wells (i.e. THE ENTIRE FRIGGING UNIVERSE).

Tell me, if it's never been directly measured, then how the hell do you know it's negative?

That's a shitload less of a problem than measuring it directly. Twice as easy as measuring if it's affected by gravity AT ALL.

It's seriously getting like arguing with a deliberately trolling moron here.

Never think of anything other than "I may be right, therefore I AM!!!!".

Just fucking stop it.

Let me be clear, it isn't about whether I may be right. It is very very unlikely that my personal hypotheses is correct. It is much more likely that the current best hypothesis is correct. So this isn't about what I think or not.

It is about what are the few remaining doable experiments that can test GR, QM and the SM to determine under what subtle circumstances these models fail. That's all. In my opinion, it is very important to do those experiments; and ALPHA test of antihydrogen is one of those experiments. That is all.

OKThen: "Hmm, I think that such a straw would hugely impact the standard model."

I can understand you saying that before I told you that SM doesn't incorporate gravitational masses because it does not incorporate gravity, back when you thought that those 15 constants of the SM would be directly affected.

But what is your justification now? Do you have something specific in mind, or does "I think" mean "I assume in a void of ignorance"? I highly doubt you've gone from not knowing what "mass" means in the Standard Model chart up above to a nuanced understanding of the complete theory and implications of this experiment in the time between our posts. I highly doubt you tried, or intend to try.

Which is what I was complaining about before. Your modus here is:
1) Revolutionize physics
2) Learn physics
3) Actually, bugger step (2).

It doesn't work that way. Never has, never will.

"As for how general relativity would be hugely impacted, I agree but will not speculate here."

Why not? Is it because you have no idea? Since when has that stopped you? It is a refreshing change of pace, I'll admit.

"Thank you, for clarifying that bit of jargon."

It's not just jargon, it's fundamental to understanding the nature of the experiment being performed and what its results would imply. This "bit of jargon" cuts right to the heart of your hypothesis. Every single thing you've said about the consequences of the experiment has been wrong because of this fundamental mistake.

It is absolutely no credit to you to say "I was wrong," but then not change your beliefs or behavior in any way.

If this was just about an experiment that would test an assumption of GR and was therefore interesting even if the result was probably as expected, this thread would have ended in mutual agreement and literally be half as long. :P

"Despite being the most successful theory of particle physics to date, the Standard Model is not perfect... There are experimental observations of nature that the Standard Model does not adequately explain:
- Gravity. The standard model does not explain gravity. Moreover, it is incompatible with the most successful theory of gravity to date, general relativity.
- Dark matter and dark energy. Cosmological observations tell us the standard model explains about 4% of the energy present in the universe. Of the missing 96%, about 24% should be dark matter, which would behave just like other matter, but which only interacts weakly with the standard model fields. The rest should be dark energy, a constant energy density for the vacuum. Attempts to explain dark energy in terms of vacuum energy of the standard model lead to a mismatch of 120 orders of magnitude.
- Neutrino masses. According to the standard model, neutrinos are massless particles. However, neutrino oscillation experiments have shown that neutrinos do have mass. Mass terms for the neutrinos can be added to the standard model by hand, but these lead to new theoretical problems. For example, the mass terms need to be extraordinarily small.
- Matter/antimatter asymmetry. The universe is made out of mostly matter. However, the standard model predicts that matter and anti-matter should have been created in (almost) equal amounts, which would have annihilated one another as the universe cooled.
- BaBar Data Suggests Possible Flaws in the Standard Model - Results from a BaBar experiment may suggest a surplus over Standard Model predictions of a type of particle decay called “B to D-star-tau-nu.” In this, an electron and positron collide, resulting in a B meson and an antimatter B-bar meson, which then decays into a D meson and a tau lepton as well as a smaller antineutrino. While the level of certainty of the excess (3.4 sigma in statistical language) is not enough to claim a break from the Standard Model, the results are a potential sign of something amiss and are likely to impact existing theories, including those attempting to deduce the properties of Higgs bosons." wikipedia

If the ALPHA experiment finds that the ratio of gravitational mass to inertial mass of antimatter is not equal to 1.0; then (specifically, in my opinion) that could shed light or insight upon first 4 of the 5 "experimental observations of nature that the Standard Model does not adequately explain." And as a consequence the Standard Model would be changed, tweked, nudged a bit.

That is my opinion; regardless of whether you think that I am worthy of having an opinion regarding the Standard Model.

So my dear CB, I think you and I are far from mutual agreement on a great deal of topics besides the Standard Model. i.e. civil communications.

"It is absolutely no credit to you to say “I was wrong,” but then not change your beliefs or behavior in any way."

It seems to be the M.O. of the lazy clueless nowadays.

"I've already said I'm wrong, do I have to do ALL the backing down? How about YOU doing a bit of compromising on your position here?"

It's no good apologizing if you're going to continue to do the same thing. You're meant to LEARN from your mistakes. Mistakes, if you learn from them are completely fine. 100% OK. If you're not learning from them, then they're not mistakes they're willful ignorance and that's 100% NOT OK.

OKThen, your assertions that "it would change the SM" are PRECISELY what we're talking about when we go "Have you gone through the consequences?".

Don't just wibble vaguely "It'll change", WORK OUT YOURSELF WHAT CHANGES WILL GO ON.

Like, for example, no longer following the geodesic of normal matter.

Like, for example, the mass of composite particles changing depending on the depth of the gravity well they're in.

Like, for example, how they'll not be trapped in a black holes event horizon.


The fact it would be changing so very much is why the fact of the matter is that your idea is to all intents and purposes 100% wrong.

But IF YOU WANT TO INSIST, then go and do the maths for each scenario and work out whether it would be seen with current observations.

If you're not willing to do that, then why the hell garble up this blog with something you don't care enough about yourself to think on? Why, if you're not certain enough about it to work on it, do you want other people to do so?

That's hella lazy.

Apparently, my opinions have really annoyed CB and Wow.
Yes I dare hold scientific opinions.

CB, you seem to come to this blog to give rote answers, pontificate, mock and scold. Thus I normally just skip over whatever you have to say; because I come here to learn and discuss. And frankly I can count on 1 finger the times that you have clearly explained something or given a clear insight where I say ahha. The case of inertial mass versus gravitational mass is a case in point. At no point did you give a clear explanation of your rote assertion that the masses in the standard model are inertial mass. But you pointed, I listened, I did the research to learn, i.e the internet and such books as Concept of Mass by Max Jammer. And then you mock, again pounding on your chest and giving no more insight than a baboon defending his territory(in this case politically correct rote scientific answers). So my advice to you is try to explain and educate the readers of this post; instead of just shooting them down with rote answers and mockery.

Wow, you seem to come out here to mock and disparage the pseudo and antiscientific views and to offer real insight and explanation on topics that you understand. However, you never say, I did not know that. And you often mock and disparage the scientific minded, curious and inquisitive laymen. And as well, you even mock and disparage the ideas and person of professional scientists. (e.g. I remember a post of your insulting comments to Michael Kelsey of SLAC. In my opinion, Michael prevailed (without mockery) in explaining why his point of view was correct (and in a way that a layman could understand and follow)).

Michael Kelsey of SLAC is a good example to emulate. He is a professional scientist who comes to this blog to learn, to share what he knows and to educate. He never mocks, he never disparages; rather he encourages those that he disagrees with to learn a bit more and give a good explanation (not just a mocking insult or a rote answer) as to why their idea is mistaken. Michael's explanations are always aimed at the same audience as Ethan's, the curious who want to learn. Michael's explanations are always excellent. And yes, I said that Michael comes out here to learn. e.g. In a recent post, I forget which one, he said to Ethan something like thanks for that explanation I always wondered about such and such now I understand.

The problem with pontificating, and mocking and disparaging is a form of pontificating, it presents views as infallible without offering explanation or insight. And I do not learn from infallible pontification. Pontification is a form of ignorance, hypocrisy, arrogance and closed mindedness.

"Apparently, my opinions have really annoyed CB and Wow."

Apparently neither CB nor I are allowed to hold opinions.

"Yes I dare hold scientific opinions."

No, as widely demonstrated by you and despite my, CB's, SL, and eric's attempts to explain to you, you are not holding a scientific opinion, you're holding an opinion about science.

Not the same thing.

@OKThen #131, CB, Wow, etc.:

OKThen wrote, "... trying to sell the idea that the gravitational mass of antimatter (e.g. a positron) is equal to the gravitational mass of matter (e.g. an electron) has already been tested and confirmed by experiment. It has NOT!"

There is, today, no precision test of the gravitational mass of antiparticles. The most recent result, from the ALPHA collaboration, used the asymmetry in antihydrogen annihilations between the upper and lower halves of their trap to constrain the ratio of gravitational to inertial mass.

Their result, based on data from 2010-2011, that the ratio is between -65 and +110, doesn't really tell us anything ( It's more a demonstration that the analysis technique works.

There is a nice review article on the subject from 2009, Obviously, it doesn't include the ALPHA analysis above, but it covers the current state of the art pretty well.

The interesting central point of the review is that you don't actually need to _measure_ antihydrogen directly to get a strong constraint! The composite nature of matter, and in particular the measured antiquark content of nucleons, is sufficient to derive effective constraints on H vs. anti-H from existing precision gravity measurements.

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 13 Sep 2013 #permalink

OKThen, if you found my mockery-and-scolding-free explanation of the various definitions of mass and where they are used in post #86 inadequate, confusing, or otherwise unenlightening, you could have just asked for further clarification. I did make some assumptions and cut some corners for brevity, but I thought the core point of "gravitational mass *only* has any meaning in the context of a theory of gravity, which the SM does not cover" was simple and self-explanatory enough.

If I was wrong, you could have just said so, instead of ignoring it and barrelling on with your "opinion" on what mass is used in what equation in #87.

And if you found fault with my correction in #88, you could have said so, instead of saying "Thanks for the correction" in #89 but then ignoring that, too. And then going on in #127 and #133 about the SM assumption of gravitational masses and the "15 constants" as if nothing had been said on the subject.

You say you did some reading? Fantastic. Did what you read contradict what I said? You could have mentioned that.

There was no mention of any of this, though, so I was left to arrive at the apparently correct conclusion that you just weren't paying any attention.

So much for discussion.

Instead, you're just someone else who thinks "rote" knowledge is inferior to opinionated ignorance. The only difference between you and chelle is that in between spouting off your "opinion" and ignoring or dismissing corrections, you *claim* to have learned something.

I try to help people, and while I can't say I'm really very good I have succeeded on occasion in giving people demonstrably better understandings. What's funny is that one finger is what I'd use to count the times I've seen you actually demonstrate learning -- rather than just saying it has occurred, thanks -- and it wasn't because of me.

"Thus I normally just skip over whatever you have to say"

Well yes that's obvious now, but that really would have been more helpful to know at the beginning when I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. I will definitely try to keep it in mind in the future.

"There is, today, no precision test of the gravitational mass of antiparticles."

Mike, please read what was written.


Michael #147
Thank you for both of those links. I have searched but those are the best summaries (an readable) that I have read. I will reread them.

"The interesting central point of the review is that you don’t actually need to _measure_ antihydrogen directly to get a strong constraint! " Yes, yes, yes... this is very exciting; I did not know this. Very excellent science. I will reread. Thanks.

@Wow #149 -- Read what, exactly? There is an awful lot of unnecessary spitefulness, especially in your postings, which makes extracting factual information difficult, especially from your postings. Did I duplicate something you already wrote?

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 15 Sep 2013 #permalink

Yeah, you did.

If they discovered a massless, spin-2 gauge boson, would it be in the Standard Model or cause a re-thinking of the Standard Model?

It depends on what it's doing. And what you mean by re-thinking.

The precession of Mercury caused a re-thinking of Newton's theory of gravitation. But Newton is still perfectly adequate an explanation for most uses.

So was it a re-thinking or not?

The precession of Mercury is exactly the type of rethinking I am talking about.

A massless, spin-2 gauge boson is the long sought after Graviton. However their is another theory that uses a pair of Gluons to mediate gravity. Gluons are in the Standard Model. If a massless, spin-2 gauge boson is not compatible with the Standard Model then I think that adds more credibility to the Gluon-Pair theory of gravitation.

My question stands: If they discovered a massless, spin-2 gauge boson, would it be in the Standard Model or cause a re-thinking of the Standard Model?

@Denier #153, #155: I think you're conflating a couple of things. Gravity, in any form at all, is not incorporated into the Standard Model Lagrangian as it stands. That does not make it incompatible with SM, merely ignored by it. A massless, tensor gauge boson is perfectly compatible with quantum field theory and with the Standard Model. It is pretty straightforward to add the appropriate term to the Lagrangian without disrupting any existing non-gravitational physics.

So yes, actually identifying the quantum of gravitation would be "new physics," in the sense of a new discovery. But it would not be physics which helps to identify or correct any of the recognized shortcomings of SM, which is what we usually mean when we talk about "physics beyond the standard model."

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 23 May 2015 #permalink

@Michael Kelsey #156

Got it. The SM is not incompatible with either the hypothetical Graviton I just described nor the Gluon-Pair theory.

"The precession of Mercury is exactly the type of rethinking I am talking about."

So you SHOULD have answered "Yes, that was a re-thinking by my definition".

So now what?

"My question stands: If they discovered a massless, spin-2 gauge boson, would it be in the Standard Model or cause a re-thinking of the Standard Model?"

The answer is this:

They are BOTH a re-thinking of the standard model.