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Can Fractals Make Sense of the Quantum World?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the cuz-i-sure-can't dept.

Math 236

Keith found a New Scientist story about fractals and quantum theory. The article says "Take the mathematics of fractals into account, says Palmer, and the long-standing puzzles of quantum theory may be much easier to understand. They might even dissolve away."

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Quantum Exploration (5, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387335)

So, the problem wasn't that God was playing dice with the universe, rather, it's just a nice Julia set?

Einstein must be rolling in the dimensions of his grave. Fractionally, of course.

Re:Quantum Exploration (5, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387475)

God is one of these role-play nerds then, with his 20 dimensional dice.

Re:Quantum Exploration (3, Informative)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388035)

Aw, c'mon. Everybody knows algebraic dice notation is not commutative: d20 != 20D.

Re:Quantum Exploration (2, Informative)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388187)

(To be more specific, a 5Dd20 is the 20-sided 5-dimensional "tetahedron-equivalent" dice)

Re:Quantum Exploration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388577)

God is one of these role-play nerds then, with his 20 dimensional dice.

Typical ignorance from a whole number dimensional being. God's fractal dice have 23.5 dimensions.

Re:Quantum Exploration (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388731)

God is one of these role-play nerds then, with his 20 dimensional dice.

Typical ignorance from a whole number dimensional being. God's fractal dice have 23.5 dimensions.

No, his dice has e^pi dimensions. How could you ever think God's dice would not be transcendental?

Re:Quantum Exploration (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389477)

And evalNum("googol"++plexes) sides, where
    plexes = "plex" ++ plexes
    as ++ bs = string concatenation

Oh yeah. he can count to infinite. And beyond!

Re:Quantum Exploration (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389525)

Oh yeah, and e tokk my ablity to speel korektily, two...

Re:Quantum Exploration (4, Funny)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388217)

So, the problem wasn't that God was playing dice with the universe, rather, it's just a nice Julia set?

Actually, it's just that God's dice have a complex number of sides.

And suddenly LOGO (5, Funny)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387351)

And suddenly LOGO turns out to be the programming language we need to encode the formula for everything.

Go, little turtle, go!

Re:And suddenly LOGO (4, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387451)

Forward 30 Right 90 Apply Heisenberg Constant Forward 30

Re:And suddenly LOGO (4, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387527)

Forward 30 Right 90 Apply Heisenberg Constant Forward 30

"Where'd the damn turtle go?"

"Ah, it fell off the edge of the universe again." Start over from the flat spot on that atom, would you?

Re:And suddenly LOGO (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387569)

my turtleverse is toroidal, no edges, bwahahahahaha, unlucky when god was handing out space you really got the short straw!??!!?

Don't give the turtle a hard time (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387847)

That turtle is working hard holding up the whole Universe [wikipedia.org] .

and if u r from umd... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387931)

FEAR THE TURTLE!

Re:And suddenly LOGO (1)

Stroot (223139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387905)

Meanwhile the turtle entered the next universe and found a new job in carrying four giant elephants who in turn carry a disc shaped world

Re:And suddenly LOGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388203)

Maybe it did, maybe it didn't.

Re:And suddenly LOGO (5, Funny)

CookedGryphon (1096241) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388223)

It really *is* turtles all the way down??

Re:And suddenly LOGO (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388819)

It really *is* turtles all the way down??

Indeed. But it's not a stack of turtles, but on top of each turtle, there are several smaller turles, each one moving around on the back of the turtle below it according to its own LOGO program. Together they make a nice dynamic fractal.

Re:And suddenly LOGO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388885)

Re:And suddenly LOGO (1)

corezion (569278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387835)

LOL! :)

Re:And suddenly LOGO (1)

limekiller4 (451497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389411)

thesandtiger writes:
"And suddenly LOGO turns out to be the programming language we need to encode the formula for everything."

Oh crap. So it's turtles all the way down??!

Poppycock (3, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387383)

Using fractals as a way of viewing a problem can be useful, but it doesn't fundamentally offer any new ways to solve a problem over conventional methods.

Re:Poppycock (5, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387495)

Well, the point of the article is that if the underlying structure of the universe is fractal, then it shows why, for instance, you can measure the position or the velocity of an electron, but not both; the general idea is that instead of a linear reality, the universe exists along a fractal edge, and answers derived using current quantum methods are literally falling off the edge because they're not finely enough resolved - they don't take the foaminess of the edge into account, so they miss the answer and land in a space that literally isn't part of the real universe - they're undefined. This is an illuminating and interesting idea, and it may point directly to how we could measure both at the same time, which would make a lot more sense to some of us. Me included.

He's not incorporated all of quantum theory into his fractal idea, so this is far from certain, but it is a lovely idea.

All it really means. (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387561)

Fractals are basically the incorporation of decisions into iteratively applied functions of some kind. Physics normally uses mathematics of varying degrees of curves and shapes and spaces to describe things and these functions are continuous to a degree, and so its pretty reasonable to think that such descriptions could be imprecise. Math tends to see "switch and loop and jump" statements as inelegant and those are the essence of fractals.

Re:All it really means. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387745)

Uh? Some fractals are the infinite sum of a bunch of cosines. No "switch and loop and jump" statements -- just a plain sum of continuous functions. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weierstrass_function

Re:All it really means. (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388777)

He selects a subset of integers... if positive then... :-)

Re: Poppycock (4, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387603)

This is an illuminating and interesting idea, and it may point directly to how we could measure both at the same time, which would make a lot more sense to some of us. Me included.

Whence the presumption that "makes sense" is a relevant criterion for evaluating hypotheses?

Our brains didn't evolve to operate on scales where quantum or cosmological phenomena are relevant. There's not the slightest reason to suppose that such phenomena, or their explanations, would "make sense" to us.

Re: Poppycock (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388283)

Of course, if the universe is indeed fractal in nature, then perhaps all levels of it are similar enough to our own that they would 'make sense.'

Re: Poppycock (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388857)

And here i thought that the origins of calculus and physics were an attempt to explain the universe in a way that "makes sense". By your logic, we didn't evolve to work on interstellar or interplanetary scales, and because the mechanics of orbital momentum and gravity on a planetary scale didn't "make sense", Newton invented calculus after proving the orbital shape of planets using geometry.

Your opinion is just as bad as those of the creationists in that if we can't comprehend it now, then we aren't meant to comprehend it.

Re: Poppycock (4, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388881)

There's not the slightest reason to suppose that such phenomena, or their explanations, would "make sense" to us.

If we were always to accept that a solution would never make sense to us, we would have missed out on a lot of our scientific discoveries.

Also, "reason to suppose" is not the only argument for investigating an issue. Sometimes "because it would be great if it was so" is an equally good reason.

In this case, it would be fantastic if there is an explanation behind it that makes sense to us. It would make the theories immeasurably easier to work with and might provide us with answers we could otherwise not comprehend.

Since it turns out that we have found many answers that "makes sense" to us in other areas of science, it is perfectly reasonable to hope that we can make sense of quantum mechanics one day as well, as long as we don't take for granted that there is a sensible explanation and mistake 'hope' for 'assumption'.

Re: Poppycock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27389233)

And yet here we are discussing quantum and cosmological phenomena...

Re: Poppycock (3, Insightful)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389513)

Our brains didn't evolve to operate on scales where quantum or cosmological phenomena are relevant.

Our brains didn't evolve in the sky, and yet we make machines that fly, and it sure "makes sense" to a whole lot of people.

Re:Poppycock (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387619)

IANAPP, but being unable to measure the velocity and position of anything seems logical. You can't measure velocity without witnessing a change of position, and you can't measure position while an object is in motion.

Maybe in this wonderful world of Quantum Mechanics logic doesn't apply in the same way, but hey, being able to measure both makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Please don't make me bring out the cars...

Re:Poppycock (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389099)

Actually, the uncertainty principle comes from the pure mathematics of Fourier transforms, and applies to all kinds of waves. For example, the kick of a drum is well defined in time, and contains a wide range of frequencies. An ideal sine wave, on the other hand, has only one frequency, and extends infinitely in time.

It just happens in QM that the momentum of a particle is defined by its wavelength. A narrow range of wavelengths corresponds to a wide range of positions, and vice versa. There are other pairs of complementary quantities, such as time and energy. In each pair, one is the Fourier transform of the other, and you cannot escape the maths without a fundamental redefinition of QM.

Re:Poppycock (4, Funny)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389153)

"Your honnor, officer Speedtrap can't know I was there and driving too fast. I would like to call Mr. Heisenberg as a witness for the defense."

Re:Poppycock (3, Funny)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387625)

And it'll help sell tee-shirts. Lets face it. those old quantum "I heart strange entanglement" tees were really lame!

Re: Poppycock (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387661)

And it'll help sell tee-shirts.

Sorry, but a fractal tee-shirt won't fit unless you've got a fractal body plan.

Re: Poppycock (1)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389225)

I'm a fractal, you insensitive clod!

Quantals (2, Funny)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387775)

Or he could use quantum theory to explain fractals to me, didn't quite get it when John Gleick wrote about chaos in the late 80's

Anyway, want credits for the word 'Quantals' and now I'm off to RTFA.

Re:Quantals (1)

Thoughts from Englan (1212556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388269)

Try the book by James Gleick from the same era, it's much more informative.

Re:Quantals (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388347)

I RTFB, thank you. Sorry 'bout his first name...

Re:Quantals (1)

Thoughts from Englan (1212556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388657)

I RTFB, thank you. Sorry 'bout his first name...

Just a little joke at your expence and no offence intended. If you haven't already read it Ian Stewart's "Does God Play Dice" is a good read and a bit more mathematical if that's likely to help. I enjoyed it but as you can see from my sense of humour there's no accounting for taste.

Re:Quantals (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388925)

None taken.

Thanks for the reference, looks interesting. Especially the 'more mathematical' part.

Re:Poppycock (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388289)

two options:

1. we have finally figured out the beginning of a heisenberg compensator (go go transport booth)

2. you need to get of the catnip for a while, the fractals are making sense.

Re:Poppycock (1)

Raffaello (230287) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388295)

slight correction - we wouldn't be able to measure both at the same time; Palmer suggests that one of the two measurement events itself (either position or velocity) is not part of the real universe. IOW, only one measurement, the one we actually do, is part of the invariant set that makes up the real universe. The other measurement must remain forever hypothetical - it could never have really taken place.

Re:Poppycock (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388779)

Palmer suggests that one of the two measurement events itself (either position or velocity) is not part of the real universe.

I don't read the article that way at all. The article says (emphasis mine):

According to Palmer's hypothesis, the invariant set contains all the physically realistic states of the universe. So any state that isn't part of the invariant set cannot physically exist. Suppose you perform the Kochen-Specker thought experiment and measure the position of an electron. Then you ask what you would have found if you repeated the experiment, only this time measuring the electron's velocity instead. According to Palmer, when you repeat the experiment you are testing a hypothetical universe that is identical to the real one except that the position-measuring equipment is replaced with velocity-measuring equipment. This is where the fractal nature of the invariant set matters. Consider a place of interest you want to visit along a coastline. If you get the coordinates even slightly wrong you could end up in the sea rather than where you want to be. In the same way, if the hypothetical universe does not lie on the fractal, then that universe is not in the invariant set and so it cannot physically exist.

I read that as saying that the non-fractal math which can resolve velocity, is not, because it is not fractal, also resolving the position because the coarse, non-fractal math falls off the edge if you try and intercept the fractal in two non-fractal dimensions. The implication is that if you use fractal dimensions for the math, you'll get both answers instead of falling into holes in the foam. That's why he talks about "getting the co-ordinates wrong."

The idea here is that the world is deterministic, just not in the three dimensions we'd perhaps like to think it is. It never made sense that a particle with a known position had no velocity; if it's moving, it's moving. So since it is moving, the fault is in how we're measuring it. This may show why such a fault in our measuring approach exists, and how to measure without the fault. That's what makes it so interesting (in this specific case... of course, if the fractal idea is correct, it means a lot more than that as well!)

Didn't StarTrek come up with this theory first? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27389113)

| He's not incorporated all of quantum theory into his fractal idea, so this is far from certain,
| but it is a lovely idea.

According to the official Star Trek "bible" given to script writers (it contains facts established
previously that new scripts are required not to contradict), aren't the "Heisenberg Compensators"
fractal dimensional devices?

Re:Poppycock (2, Interesting)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389141)

This is an illuminating and interesting idea, and it may point directly to how we could measure both at the same time, which would make a lot more sense to some of us. Me included.

I'm good with not being able to directly determine position and velocity simultaneously. The part I have problems with is the position and velocity uncertainty also applies to nothingness. The more sure you are that an area of space contains no particles, the more uncertain you are how fast they are going.

Re:Poppycock (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389161)

If you're going to go off into weird and murky models of existence the holographic model probably makes more sense and seems to interface even better with QM. On the other hand, maybe consensus reality really is the best model; it often seems like you can describe the universe any way you want to :P

Re: Poppycock (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387803)

My user number is probably lower than yours.

Yes, probably.

Re: Poppycock (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387949)

It's rather vulgar to draw attention to it, though ;)

(That should bring the three-digiters out of the woodwork...)

Re: Poppycock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388867)

Did you know that Anonymous Cowards have an uid of 666?

http://slashdot.org/users.pl?uid=665
http://slashdot.org/users.pl?uid=666
http://slashdot.org/users.pl?uid=667

New Scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387445)

Isn't New Scientist the National Enquirer of the science world?

I eat fractals for breakfast (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387481)

They can make bran sense of my lower intestine world. With raisins and low fate milk. JESUS is a MONSTER WHO EATS CHILDREN AND DOGS WITH TOBASCO SAUSE! Obviously, this is because Linux is superior in every way to M$ winblows because it is open source and I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM shut UP!

Fractal Math Reconciles Relativity & Quantum M (5, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387573)

An old Canadian friend's brother turned out to be a mathematical physicist working at a Canadian university researching fractal spacetime. Garnet Ord's work [google.com] supposedly reconciles the notoriously conflicting relativity and quantum mechanical models of spacetime. It seems that the time axis used to be treated as an integer variable, when in fact it's a fractional dimension: a fractal.

I'd say that making relativity and QM interoperate is a good way to "make sense of the quantum world".

Re:Fractal Math Reconciles Relativity & Quantu (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388129)

I did not read the article and I do not know much about Quantum Physics, but I know a thing or two about Hausdorff dimension [wikipedia.org] . While it is an intriguing idea, I really doubt that it is instrumental to "making sense", unless by that they mean an explanation that only graduate students in Topology can understand.

Re:Fractal Math Reconciles Relativity & Quantu (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388431)

Indeed, I do mean that Ord's work (and work like it) will make sense to only advanced mathematicians. But those people have crossed the border from order in the universe to sense in a human mind. Those people can influence scientists and engineers, who in turn inspire artists, which is when most people get a chance to see it make sense. Between art and products (and the very fuzzy boundary between them), eventually our culture encodes that sense. The math is the watershed, and we might already be across it. Discussions like this one on Slashdot are part of the followthrough.

WRONG (4, Funny)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387579)

again EVIL people deny that only TIME CUBE can make sense of the world

Re:WRONG (2, Funny)

thefringthing (1502177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387629)

Give him a break, he was obviously educated stupid.

And the science is? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387611)

Well after a brief scan of the actual article I have to admit it is an interesting idea that should be developed further however it isn't science yet. As I keep reminding some the students I work with, in science you create a theory that makes a prediction, test the prediction and if the prediction and experiment agrees go out for a beer otherwise you rethink the theory. If Palmer has developed a prediction, it is not mentioned in the article (or I didn't catch it in my brief glance).

Still an interesting idea that hopefully will eventually lead to some new theories and predictions about how particles behave.

Re:And the science is? (2, Funny)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388291)

Thank you. I would say it is still an untested hype-o-thesis.

No more multiple universes? (4, Funny)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387623)

If, as the article suggests, Palmer's theory eventually does away the need for multiple universes, then incalculable damage has been done to the world of science fiction. What fun is it if there isn't a world where the Nazi's won WW2? What's there in that for anyone?

Re:No more multiple universes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387689)

I still think the multiple universes issue is not off the table since fractals contain copies of themselves in themselves, however sometimes those copies aren't exactly like the original (although sometimes they are).

Re:No more multiple universes? (1)

jeffshoaf (611794) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387793)

If, as the article suggests, Palmer's theory eventually does away the need for multiple universes, then incalculable damage has been done to the world of science fiction. What fun is it if there isn't a world where the Nazi's won WW2? What's there in that for anyone?

And The Sarah Conner Chronicles would have to be immediately canceled...

Re:No more multiple universes? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388101)

And the Rimmerworld episode of Red Dwarf would just be silly...

Re:No more multiple universes? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388215)

Rimmerworld wasn't in a parallel universe; it was just really far away, but accessible through a wormhole. But, we would lose Ace Rimmer and Kochanski.

Woof... lots of implications (2, Interesting)

Xaedalus (1192463) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387647)

So if I understand this correctly, Palmer is saying that the universe has a finite amount of information variables and at some certain point it will reach that limit? And that every time we try a thought experiment to measure either the position or a velocity of a particle, we risk overstepping that finite limit and thus get results where we can only measure one or the other because to do both sets us beyond the limit? So then can it be inferred that he's saying the universe has a limit then?

Re: Woof... lots of implications (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387761)

Maybe quantum phenomena appear to be random because the universe's stack has collided with its heap, and all the variables this far down into the recursion are full of garbage.

Mmmmm.... nerd theology. Some hero will come along and separate the stack from the heap with his sword, and the universe will begin anew.

Re: Woof... lots of implications (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389053)

Duh, the universe is written in Lisp, dude. Did you ever hear of tail recursion optimization techniques? :)

Re: Woof... lots of implications (2, Funny)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389283)

In that case I think God forgot the closing parenthesis.

Science 2.0 (2, Insightful)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387667)

Wow, and I thought it was only in computer science that you could talk buzzwords like this.

Buzzwords not just for computer science people (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387799)

Apiologists [tiscali.co.uk] use buzzwords like this to describe the vascular layout of certain insects.

Neal stephenson's pinky of god... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387709)

Is this something similar to In the Beginning was the Command Line [cryptonomicon.com] theory of god creating the universe

The demiurge sits at his teletype, pounding out one command line after another, specifying the values of fundamental constants of physics:

universe -G 6.672e-11 -e 1.602e-19 -h 6.626e-34 -protonmass 1.673e-27....

and when he's finished typing out the command line, his right pinky hesitates above the ENTER key for an aeon or two, wondering what's going to happen; then down it comes--and the WHACK you hear is another Big Bang.

Maybe the universe command is a fractal generator and the earth is a insignificant whorl in the universal mandelbrot's set.

Re:Neal stephenson's pinky of god... (1)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388329)

I've assumed for a long time that you'd need to create a fully featured universe in the computer before you could accelerate the time constant and cycle through the rise and fall of intelligent life. However, it may be far simpler than all that. Fractals, if allowed to run long enough, may very well give rise to complex enough structures that they could be said to be "alive".

So maybe all it really takes is a really powerful computer and a m set. On the downside this leaves open the possibility that the intelligence in the simulation may catch on and begin to manipulate the universe at a level you'd prefer they didn't.

So then what about Bell's Inequality (4, Interesting)

wnknisely (51017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387781)

Looks to me like this is an attempt to resolve the issue between classical and quantum physics different rules regarding "spooky-action-at-a-distance" by claiming in effect that Quantum Theory is incomplete. He's arguing that there's a deeper physics that's yet to be uncovered.

The problem is that Bell's Thm. [wikipedia.org] tests for hidden variables - essentially "deeper physics".

And Bell's Thm. has been verified repeatedly.

So, either he's arguing that Bell's Theorem is taking us down a blind alley, or he's going to have to figure out someway to make both the fractal understanding and Bell's true. The article in New Scientist doesn't discuss that at all.

Re: So then what about Bell's Inequality (4, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387845)

or he's going to have to figure out someway to make both the fractal understanding and Bell's true.

Kind of like measuring position and velocity at the same time? Now he needs a fractal unifying meta-theory, I guess.

And then a fractal unifying meta-meta-theory, and then a ...

OK, maybe he has the right idea.

Re:So then what about Bell's Inequality (4, Interesting)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389753)

Bell's Theorem states:

No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics.

Personally, I don't see why people have such an issue with the existence of non-locality. David Bohm did a lot of work in this area, much of which is admittedly over my head but compelling nonetheless. Interestingly, he was drawn towards non-local hidden variables after working with plasmas, whose electrons act as a unified whole instead of individually. To my knowledge, no satisfactory explanation other than non-locality has been offered up for such behavior.

And now I'm stepping out on a limb and will probably be torn to pieces, but it just occurred to me that at its birth, our universe was essentially a point of infinite density, or something very like it. With the knowledge of such a beginning, it seems probable to me that there would be some degree of interconnectedness and therefore non-locality should not be written off so quickly.

So I was right! (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27387875)

My friends all made fun of me and said it was just the LSD talking, but I knew I would come to understand the universe if I stared long enough at those posters!

fu3k a trollKore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27387989)

aal along. *BSD users', BigAzz, The 7uture holds

Can Fractals Make Sense of the Quantum World? (4, Funny)

epr (826666) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388009)

Since I couldn't bother with RTFA, I'm gonna go with a definite maybe.

Can buzzwords make sense of other buzzwords? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388047)

Quantum fractal chaos unique ergodicity entropy subshift.

Who watches the watchers? (4, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388051)

After applying fractal math on quantum problems you could notice something dissolving... but is your mind, not the problem.

Re:Who watches the watchers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27389805)

Looks like it dissolved the slashdot article already...

Prerequisite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388149)

Does Quantum Physics make sense?

No, Next question...

wheres the beef? (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388157)

The article was pretty vague handwaving. It didnt actually how any problem was solved with fractal mathematics. It could have tried to explain one example.

Re:wheres the beef? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388397)

That's because they accidently the whole problem.

Re:wheres the beef? (2, Interesting)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388697)

>The article was pretty vague handwaving. It didnt actually how any problem was solved with fractal mathematics. It could have tried to explain one example.

By coincidence I just looked through a text book on 'quantum chaos' today, paying attention to an example they had for the quantum mechanics of the Helium atom. (something I know something about, as a chemical physicist).

What they did there, was model Helium semi-classically as 'colinear'; as if the two electrons and the nucleus were in a straight line. A pretty weird model from a physics standpoint, but I suppose necessary from their perspective since that dynamical system apparently displays chaotic behavior. After some math, they managed to show how this replicated the overall spectrum of Helium.

Now that's nice and fairly impressive. But I don't actually see any direct usefulness of it. It's not a better or more accurate way than solving the Schrödinger equation for the electrons. It does illustrate that the main properties of atoms/molecules are due to the nonlinear dynamics of electron motion. But we knew that already. So in a way it was like a lot like how you react to fractals: "Well, that does look a lot like a fern leaf!... So?"

Now I'm not entirely certain if this is representative of the work in TFA. But there's a definitely the risk when you attempt to mate 'buzzword topics' like this, that you start doing stuff for its own sake, and always end up with rather contrived connections. Now, if chaos theory can really explain quantum physics at a more fundamental level, that's one thing. But I don't think coming up with chaotic systems that share properties with quantum ones is doing so, any more than a fractal image of a fern leaf 'explains' the biology of ferns.

Can Fractals Make Sense of the Quantum World? (5, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388257)

No. No, they can't.

Re:Can Fractals Make Sense of the Quantum World? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389397)

<louis-de-funes>YES! NO!</louis-de-funes>

Can Fractals Make Sense of the Quantum World? (5, Funny)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388315)

Yes. Yes, they can.

Re:Can Fractals Make Sense of the Quantum World? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27388551)

Maybe. Maybe, they could, or they couldn't.

Re:Can Fractals Make Sense of the Quantum World? (1)

chortick (979856) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389645)

Is the thinking here is that when you open the box, instead of finding the cat inside, you find a smaller box?

Black hole information loss? (5, Interesting)

LagFlag (691908) | more than 5 years ago | (#27388815)

The article loses me almost immediately when it states that information is lost in a black hole. Anyone who's read Susskind's book knows that this implies all sorts of unpleasantness like the irreversibility of the the S-matrix, and so it is likely incorrect; ie, information is not lost when objects fall into a black hole. This makes sense, because to an outside observer, an object never falls into a black hole, it only approaches the event horizon without ever quite reaching it. Therefore, one would expect that information from objects falling into a black hole is written on the surface of the event horizon. This represents the highest information density possible. This is Susskind's thesis, and it was my understanding that it is becoming the accepted view. Stephen Hawking was a proponent of black-hole information loss, and Palmer was a student of Hawking (20 years ago). Therefore, it is not surprising his theory is based on rejected premises.

Re:Black hole information loss? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389047)

Also, I'd like to see how his model explains GHZ contradictions. GHZ contradictions are cases where classical models say "1, with certainty", and quantum mechanics says "-1, with certainty".

Re:Black hole information loss? (1)

jibster (223164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389273)

You are spot on, this part of the story really confused me. I assume Palmer's message has gotten scrambled in the NS story. Even Hawking has been convinced that black holes cannot destroy information.

Mandelbrot magnetic fields (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389189)

Only vaguely related to this story but apparently, the mandelbrot shape has been found in cross-sections of magnetic field borders. I only found the reference from one page a while back though, so I can't say how true it is.

The coolest thang (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27389453)

From TFA:

Gravity and mathematics alone, Palmer suggests, imply that the invariant set of the universe should have a similarly intricate structure...

"the invariant set of the universe"

Ain't that a nifty idea?

Uhh, old news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27389617)

Isn't this the same as Stephen Wolfram's "A New Kind of Science"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_New_Kind_of_Science

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