This is the start of a new section on alternative theories. This is mainly just going to be a collection of theories that I run across. I do not guarantee that I actually agree with any of the theories in this section. In fact, the theories in most cases directly contradict each other because they are from different sources. The importance comes from the fact that it is necessary to be open to new ideas in order to make any kind of progress. A theory should not be rejected because it seems silly or does not jive with a person’s feelings, but instead based solely upon scientific evidence. Lots of people disagreeing with someone does not constitute evidence, by the way.
I am going to start out with a series of stubs linking to other websites I have found. I may or may not expand upon these later. Look around and enjoy. And please, keep an open mind.
Helicon Model – Common Sense Science
The Helicon model is an alternative theory of quantum mechanics. It is a great example of how flipping a couple basic axioms can lead to a totally different conclusion using the same processes. The Helicon model rejects the idea that atoms are non-physical points in space that emit forces. Instead, let us suppose that atoms actually exist in a strict physical sense. This allows them to have shape and structure. It allows them to move, deform, and react. The consequences of this idea solve a lot of problems in quantum physics that have to be explained away by “theory band-aids”.
I would like to pass the explanation of the theory off to the people who actually came up with it. I have only watched one DVD presented by Dr. Glen Collins entitled “Real Progress Towards a Theory of Everything”. Unfortunately, being a great quantum physicist does not make you a great webmaster, and I think their website lacks the “wow” effect their theory has. So I’ll see if I can offer a hand. I will try to get as little of this wrong as possible, but this is only my tentative understanding of a very new theory in development.
One Force to Rule Them All
If you are familiar with physics you know that it gets somewhat complicated because all the particles and forces keep multiplying. For forces: there’s gravity, inertia, electric, magnetic, strong force, weak force, and coulomb force. I’m probably forgetting some. Particles are even worse, in addition to electrons, protons, and neutrons, there’s photons, gluons, muons, bosons, (beauty particles?) and lots of other strange names. In the Helicon model there is really only one force (two if you count electro – magnetic) and all the types of particles are simply combinations of behavior. Starting with a fairly simple model, complex behaviors can be derived. This is why this theory is possibly the most deserving at the moment of the title “Theory of Everything”. According to the theory, there is really only one force: the electromagnetic force. Inertia, gravity, positive and negative attraction, all derive their behavior from this one force.
First, you have to get their model of a particle. Their model is a spinning ring, that is itself coiled. The ring is rotating near the speed of light. The ring is composed of several fibers, called charge fibers, because they carry a charge, either positive or negative. As the ring rotates, the fibers generate electromagnetism using the same physics that we use in electrical generators. A magnetic field is not spherical, it can actually be modeled better as a donut (torus to scientists who don’t like to use “donut” in a serious conversation). This donut shaped magnetic field pinches in on itself and restricts a particle to a specific shape. For those that have taken physics, this shape explains why an electron does not tear itself apart under its own force and explains why electrons act oddly in the range of the nucleus.
So, in the helicon model, the electron is a large spinning donut composed of at least three charge fibers. The proton is also a similar ring, though much smaller and spinning the other direction, and having opposite charge. Neutrons are an interesting case. It has been shown that neutrons can be formed when an electron penetrates into the nucleus and joins up with a proton to create a brand new neutron, this is called electron capture. Also, neutrons outside the nucleus will decay into a proton and a neutron. Proton + Electron = Neutron. According to CSS, while the magnetic fields of electrons and protons normally repel each other, if you line them up properly the proton can slide inside the ring of the electron. So it may be possible to artificially create neutrons with strong magnetic fields, instead of blasting them like normal. This is a prediction of the helicon model and would be pretty strong evidence if this turns out to be correct.
Common Sense returns to the Shell Game
The part that is really nice from a teaching perspective is that the physical structure of the helicon model gives a reason to the geometry of the atom. Since magnetic fields are non-spherical they have an orientation and a direction. In order to find the physical structure of a nucleus one merely needs to find the most stable configuration of all electron and proton rings. The lines of magnetic force (great circles) pass through the center of each of the rings, bringing it to the most stable state possible. On the right is depicted the nucleus of a hydrogen atom. The circle passing through all rings is the strong magnetic field holding the nucleus together.
The structure of more and more complex atoms can be modeled by the application of the same basic rules. Dr. Glen Collins is a computer programmer specializing in Artificial Intelligence and has written a program that calculates the structures. The CSS site says “For the first time, the model correctly predicts the spins of all 1,500 nuclides that have been measured”. (According to Wikipedia, nuclides are just another word for a specific type of nucleus, in case you hadn’t heard the word before.) The important aspect is that the theory provides a reason as to why atoms are the way we observe. It gives the “magic numbers” of 2, 8, 18, 32 for electron shells a concrete explanation.
On the left, is the electron shells of a neon atom. The nucleus is the small ball in the center. The first shell (1s2) settles around the equator. Then 8 more electrons fill in, 4 above and 4 below. Given the repulsive forces at work this is the closest to a sphere (low energy state). No tricks, no “that’s just the way it is”. Neon is a noble gas and will not bond with other elements, in this depiction you can see that the configuration is stable. It has the “magic” 8 in the outer layer. I think only people who have had to suffer through this sadistic portion of chemistry can appreciate how refreshingly simple and straight forward this is. If nothing else, the CSS model is way easier to teach.
Taking these orientations of electrons we can then move out to molecular bonding and show why molecules have the shape that they do. The eight outer electrons involved in bonding can be seen as the eight points of an imaginary cube. You can get fairly complex geometry by stacking these cubes in lowest state configurations. Check out this page for a series of examples.
The ultimate test of a theory is the ability to demonstrate an improved control over the physical world. I’m interested to see whether or not CSS can develop some new technology based on the helicon model. If the forces really are unified, as they say, and they have correctly identified the mathematical relations between the forces then manipulating one in a specific way can change others. So far the only solid prediction is “we think we can manufacture neutrons”. I’m not a quantum physicist but that doesn’t seem all that useful. Maybe I’m wrong. What most people would like to see (CSS included) is an artificial gravity generator. In their model, gravity is generated by the effect of acceleration of individual particles. In the presentation I saw it wasn’t yet obvious whether that made gravity temperature dependent or not. Maybe some combination of high pressure, high temperature and strong magnetic fields could increase the effect of gravity. That’s just my idea. But I do know that even if people disagree with someone on philosophical grounds, people can’t argue with technology. So I’m interested to see what the future holds.