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Physics Frontiers
Brief discussions on the edge of physics.
Category: Natural Sciences
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April 27, 2017 03:59 PM PDT

Jim and Randy discuss how vacuum fluctuations produce the van der Waals forces and the Casimir effect. Van der Waals forces are factors in atomic bonds and the Casimir effect produces an attractive force between nanoscale objects. The claim is that vacuum fluctuations -- the production and annihilation of particle-antiparticle pairs -- are the underlying reason for both effects.

March 14, 2017 03:18 PM PDT

Randy discusses what the Cosmological implications of a negative gravitational mass would be with Jim. If there were a negative gravitational mass (as opposed to inertial mass), then every time that an electron-positron pair was created in the vacuum, that would create a gravitational dipole. This in turn would create effects similar to dark matter, dark energy, and a cosmological constant -- and this in turn would have an effect on the origin of the universe.

February 14, 2017 10:59 AM PST

Randy shares some of his favorite papers with Jim: papers on general relativity by engineer and science fiction author Robert L. Forward on how general relativity could be used in a terrestrial environment, including proposals for devices and materials. These papers are "General Relativity for the Experimentalist" and "Guidelines to Antigravity."

January 20, 2017 11:24 AM PST

Randy and Jim discuss a physical analogy to quantum mechanics consisting of a droplet of fluid bouncing off of the waves in a similarly composed fluid that were generated by the droplet's own bounces. The analogy is very close to the de Broglie-Bohm interpretation of quantum mechanics.

January 04, 2017 04:37 PM PST

Randy tells Jim about the emerging field of Phononics: using quantum particles of heat in materials for information processing in advanced materials.

December 06, 2016 01:15 PM PST

Randy talks to Jim about gravitoelectromagnetism. Based on the similarity between Newtonian gravity and electrostatics, there should be a second gravitational field,the gravitomagnetic field. What are the implications of the existence of such a field, and how large are those effects?

November 15, 2016 11:41 AM PST

Jim talks to Randy about the pilot wave interpretation of quantum mechanics, which separates the particle and wave behavior of a non-relativistic quantum particle into that of a particle moving in and exciting a quantum mechanical medium.

October 31, 2016 12:22 PM PDT

Randy talks to Jim about Carver Mead's G4V, a formulation of gravitation combining the equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass with a vector potential formulation of gravitation (a 4-vector form, with the usual gravitational potential in the temporal component).

Notes:

Carver Mead's Lecture that we discuss in this episode.

Carver Mead's book Collective Electrodynamics: Quantum Foundations of Electromagnetism, which is an interesting argument for the fundamentality of the vector potential in electrodynamics.

Clifford Will's Theory and Experiment in Gravitational Physics, which discusses the theories of gravitation still considered viable at the time of its publication and the ways in which they are tested. This book is also referenced in the discussion.

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