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Thread: Infinity - Renormalising Reason?

  1. #1 Infinity - Renormalising Reason? 
    Forum Freshman Quantumologist's Avatar
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    Infinity is a problem to scientists, that seems to be a given thing, although I'm setting myself up for an argument here so I've posted this in the Philosophy section.

    Does the prospect of infinity give rise to reasoning about energy, zero point, and possibly even the potential of the electron to invite concepts beyond realms of standard physics, but which might explore territory of wider interest?

    Or does Renormalisation rule OK?

    Here is someone else's view which I thought interesting: https://massgap.wordpress.com/2017/0...y-free-theory/ .... Feynman diagrams, quantum mechanics, all in there in desirable format (I think).

    Looking forward to other's thoughts (notwithstanding those I'm not really looking forward to so much). There's probably something in this post that constitutes Woo.


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    "Infinity is a problem to scientists"

    {{citation needed}}


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  4. #3  
    exchemist
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quantumologist View Post
    Infinity is a problem to scientists, that seems to be a given thing, although I'm setting myself up for an argument here so I've posted this in the Philosophy section.

    Does the prospect of infinity give rise to reasoning about energy, zero point, and possibly even the potential of the electron to invite concepts beyond realms of standard physics, but which might explore territory of wider interest?

    Or does Renormalisation rule OK?

    Here is someone else's view which I thought interesting: https://massgap.wordpress.com/2017/0...y-free-theory/ .... Feynman diagrams, quantum mechanics, all in there in desirable format (I think).

    Looking forward to other's thoughts (notwithstanding those I'm not really looking forward to so much). There's probably something in this post that constitutes Woo.
    In answer to the first question, I would say I don't really think so. As far as I am aware, the prospect of infinity leads to no specific reasoning about "energy, zero point" by which I presume you mean zero point energy, or about the potential of the electron.

    Zero point energy is a very simple QM concept, according to which bound systems, such as an electron circulating around an atomic nucleus, have a lowest possible energy level, called a "ground state", which still possesses some residual energy. The classic example would be the 1s orbital of the hydrogen atom. The electron still has kinetic and electrostatic potential energy in this ground state. There is similarly a ground state for the vibration and rotation of molecules. Matter that is in its ground state for all degrees of freedom still therefore would have residual zero point energy, even at absolute zero. As you can see, infinities don't come into this explanation.

    Regarding the "potential of the electron" I presume you refer to potential energy. This can only be spoken of if the electron is part of a system involving another charged or magnetic entity. You can't really speak of an electron that is isolated from all other matter and fields, as having a potential. Here, I suppose infinities do come, somewhat marginally, into the discussion, since the only way to get an electron truly isolated in this way is to remove it to infinity, so as to reduce to zero any influences from other matter and fields in the universe.

    However your renormalisation question is more intriguing. I don't know much about QFT and can't comment with any authority on the modern view of renormalisation, but I found the link you posted interesting. I had not appreciated there is a connection between renormalisation in QFT and ideas about "granularity of space". Quickly looking up Planck Length, however, I could not see a link back from it to QFT normalisation, so I think I would need more guidance on this in order to grasp what it signifies.

    But certainly this article does suggest that the removal of the infinities in question - which you absolutely have to do if QFT is to be useable - does have some possible implications for physics at even smaller scales than the usual atomic scale.

    Perhaps a real physicist can comment further.....
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