Setting Myself Up for Failure

This is my first attempt at blogging. I expect that most of my posts will concern theoretical physics, but not exclusively. On occasion I might write about a book, a person, a picture or my confusion.

There is enormous amount of blogging activity in physics, some of which is wonderful. I decided to add another blog to this already thriving ecosystem, because most of the activity focusses on research ideas far from what I am personally involved with. Perhaps I will fall on my face, but at least I will have tried.

If you’ve read to this point, this is me. The link is to my picture (with a little more hair than I currently have) and brief bio at the Niels Bohr Institute (the original Niels Bohr Institute at Blegdamsvej 17. Every physics institute in Copenhagen now is part of the “Niels Bohr Institute”, even if they already have perfectly good historical mascots, like H.C. Oersted). In fact, I am full time at Baruch College, which is a part of the City University of New York, located in Manhattan.Featured image


5 thoughts on “Setting Myself Up for Failure

  1. Hi – Thank you for your needed new blog! Well-done, indeed.

    Is anyone interested any more in very strongly-coupled QED in 3+1 i.e. for example magnetic charges ≥ g=e/alpha, esp. with (pseudo-)scalars? Can it be possible that even low mass magnetic monopoles could be effectively confined? When monopoles are pair-produced, the internal bremsstrahlung via the strong coupling would be large indeed – bremss is proportional to energy (in the semi-classical calculation, the brem probability also exceeds unitarity as the charge goes to g). As the pair tries to escape from each other, the extreme deceleration between the monopoles might radiate & dissipate the monopole pair energy (the energy of escape) rather quickly into a gas of mostly lower energy photons and then the pair would recombine – or hide itself: If the lowest mass monopole was light enough, ~mass electron for example, any monopole pairs at even modest energy could dress themselves like quarks, and be very difficult to detect (the simple-minded Bohr radius of a spinless magnetic “satom”: ~ size of a proton, and unable to exchange the vector bosons with ordinary matter; the simplistic binding energy is ~GeV’s). A scalar “down-squark” with charge -3g would be a strongly coupled thingy indeed to others of its ilk, and could not decay into an electrically-charged down quark. Perhaps a spectrum of bound magnetic particles could be dark matter candidates – it would be unusual I think if there were not a whole spectrum of magnetic charged particles, akin to electric-charged particles, rather than just one …. A SUSY-like magnetic Dual to ordinary matter that would not require R-parity to prevent proton-decay (prot-rot, as us experimentalists on such experiments are wont to say) – magnetic charge is conserved at every vertex. The recipe for a magnetic Dual: for every particle: a) change spin by 1/2 unit; b) change all RHLH so that invisible width of Z ok – as is done for sneutrinos; c) change e to the appropriate g; d) let the masses be near or identical to the ordinary mass. Then Higgs mass is stabilized by the tadpoles, as in unbroken SuSY. I have no idea if an algebra could be concocted to allow this. It is amusing to contemplate the consequences of a massless photino, a pair of which is degenerate with the photon; a massless photino would be supremely indifferent to ordinary stable matter. I think that all the limits presently at colliders are based on calculations that are manifestly not unitary nor sensible (that is, internally inconsistent) – all limits below 1 TeV seem to be based on very simple minded appeals to duality which are certainly wrong when higher order diagrams are included. The smesons that would result from such a Dual would be stable against weak decay as the charge of the wino is 1g whereas the squarks would be charges -3g and +2g – and would become the basis for satoms. I would posit that chromo charge should also be changed to chromomagnetic charge in the Dual – 1/alphaS would be close to alphaS – it is unclear how the massless chromomagnetic gluinos would interact, assuming chromo and chromomagnetic charges are conserved.


  2. Hi David,

    Thanks for commenting!
    Your query is extremely long and highly research-specific, and you may have better luck with it at a forum for people working on similar things. You touch on a lot of things, from monopoles to supersymmetry to dark matter. I just skimmed most of what you wrote, and there is too much for me to comment on.

    I think there has been some interest on strongly-coupled QED in both the lattice and the supersymmetry communities (I don’t know if the two communities talk to each other about it), but I have not seen anything very recent on the topic. This probably won’t help you much, but there you have it.


  3. Hi Peter,

    Well, this is exciting, I have noticed your remarks on Not Even Wrong, but how great that you are setting up your own shop! We met ages ago, at the 1994 Landau Summer School, where you introduced me to the Trotter formula and explained path integrals in a way that they made some sense to me for the very first time. That, and listening to Khmelnitsky talk fluid mechanics, certainly made it worth braving those myriads of mosquitos!

    Cheers. Rasmus Hvass Hansen.


  4. Hej Rasmus, selfoelgelig husker jeg dig!

    Great hearing from you, even if you had to remind me of the mosquitos. I still have some of the notes from that meeting, including Khmelnitsky’s. Zakarov’s lectures on classical integrability were packed with insights.


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