Ungifted amateur blog post 1 – trust in black box

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I started reading some quantum physics as a hobby. I’m scanning through, very cursorily absorbing the ideas. And thinking.

I was immediately somehow caught by the Yang-Mills challenge. It’s something that I do not understand basically at all. I wanted to know more, at least so much that I could understand what the challenge wants a person to solve.

Yang-Mills is about finding a kind of uniting beauty, the “next level”, if you wish, in quantum fields theories. It seems that during the last 50 years there’s something that has bugged theorists: fermions.

Fermions are massless particles. Pauli who was a famous nuclear physicist, invented a 6-dimensional theory but refrained from publicizing it since (perhaps) his intuition was, that the massless particles were aberrant and indicative of possibly an erroneous theory?

Fermions, I originally thought, were purely an ‘odd class’ of elementary particles. I read again the parts of Wikipedia, which tell about fermions. When coming to contact with quantum physics, my background is that I excelled in high school physics, but ever since (that’s 20+ years ago), well.. Haven’t much used any of the stuff actively.

Mechanics, kinematics, thermodynamics were all very interesting areas of high school physics. I didn’t especially like optics, because I found optics to be reliant on mostly trigonometric functions; and trigonometry was to me combining two things I absolutely detest: approximate values, given by a calculator or a table of mathematics; and having to rotely memoize “which is which” – I never seemed to remember was it sin() or cos() to be used in certain situations. So to me the use of sine or cosine was kind of this black box mentality. And I always mixed them up! 🙂

Other pieces, perhaps, than the massless particles, somehow fit the spirit of our (possibly “innate”) newtonian thinking, where there shouldn’t be oddities. Newtonian means the classical functions describing things like:

  • a falling object (under gravity)
  • bouncing (elastic) objects – momentum
  • acceleration due to a force other than gravity
  • the “conservative” friction (which is also a force), whose energy is always wasted effect

But on the other hand quantum physics does lead to some counterintuitive thinking.

I’m mesmerized by the [the margin is way too erratically set in order for me to continue writing here, right now]