Fundamental Theories of Physics

177 Books

There exist essentially two levels of investigation in theoretical physics. One is primarily descriptive, concentrating as it does on useful phenomenological approaches toward the most economical classifications of large classes of experimental data on particular phenomena. The other, whose thrust is explanatory, has as its aim the formulation of those underlying hypotheses and their mathematical representations that are capable of furnishing, via deductive analysis, predictions - constituting the particulars of universals (the asserted laws)- about the phenomena under consideration. The two principal disciplines of contemporary theoretical physics - quantum theory and the theory of relativity - fall basically into these respective categories. General Relativity and Matter represents a bold attempt by its author to formulate, in as transparent and complete a way as possible, a fundamental theory of matter rooted in the theory of relativity - where the latter is viewed as providing an explanatory level of understanding for probing the fundamental nature ofmatter indomainsranging all the way fromfermis and lessto light years and more. We hasten to add that this assertion is not meant to imply that the author pretends with his theory to encompass all ofphysics or even a tiny part of the complete objective understanding of our accessible universe. But he does adopt the philosophy that underlying all natural phenomena there is a common conceptualbasis,and then proceeds to investigate how far such a unified viewcan take us at its present stage of development.
The Louis de Broglie Foundation (which was created in 1973, for the fiftieth anniversary of the discovery of wave mechanics) and the University of Perugia, have offered an international symposium to Louis de Broglie on his 90th birthday. This publication re presents the Proceedings of this conference which was held in Perugia on April 22-30, 1982. It was an opportunity for the developing of physical conceptions of all origins, which may serve to throw light on the mysterious power of the quantum theory. Quantum Mechanics has reached matu rity in its formalism and although no experiment yet has come to challenge its predictions, one may question the limits of its va lidity. In fact the true meaning of this vision of the microphysi cal world remains the subject of endless debating, at the heart of which lies "the foundational myth" of wave-particle dualism. Albert Einstein and Louis de Broglie are the two discoverers of this fundamental duality, which they always considered as a deep physical reality rather than a phenomenological artifice. During the conference a survey has been given of the essential recent experimental results in corpuscular and quantum optics and the most up-to-date theoretical aspects of the specificity of mi crophysical phenomena : various interpretations of quantum mecha nics, "al ternati ve theories" and hidden parameters theories, pro· babilistic and axiomatic questions and tentative crucial experi ments. The conference took place in the magnificent atmosphere of the villa Colombella lent to us by the Universita per Stranieri di Perugia.
The principal intent of this monograph is to present in a systematic and self-con tained fashion the basic tenets, ideas and results of a framework for the consistent unification of relativity and quantum theory based on a quantum concept of spacetime, and incorporating the basic principles of the theory of stochastic spaces in combination with those of Born's reciprocity theory. In this context, by the physicial consistency of the present framework we mean that the advocated approach to relativistic quantum theory relies on a consistent probabilistic interpretation, which is proven to be a direct extrapolation of the conventional interpretation of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. The central issue here is that we can derive conserved and relativistically convariant probability currents, which are shown to merge into their nonrelativistic counterparts in the nonrelativistic limit, and which at the same time explain the physical and mathe matical reasons behind the basic fact that no probability currents that consistently describe pointlike particle localizability exist in conventional relativistic quantum mechanics. Thus, it is not that we dispense with the concept oflocality, but rather the advanced central thesis is that the classical concept of locality based on point like localizability is inconsistent in the realm of relativistic quantum theory, and should be replaced by a concept of quantum locality based on stochastically formulated systems of covariance and related to the aforementioned currents.
Lazar Mayants is a recent Russian emigre noted for his work in theoretical physics. He was previously a professor at several universities of the Soviet Union and a distinguished member of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R, where he worked for about 30 years. In this book he presents a unique, extremely detailed, and embracive version of a subject that has suffered for a long time from numerous internal imperfections. His approach is new and original, the material covered features not only the foundations of the science of probability but also most of its applications, including statistical and quantum mechanics. The key methodolOgical principle underlying the book is of extraordinary significance and deserves special attention. The treatment excels in thoroughness of presentation, in its fulness of mathe matical detail and the abundance of physical examples. The book is intended for a wide range of people interested in probability and its connection with modern science. It is written as a text for advanced students, and I predict that a reader who masters all its contents will become an expert in the subject of both prob ability and its physical implications, while enjoying its understanding and use. HENRY MARGENAU Veritas nihil veretur nisi abscondi (truth 'What tremendously easy riddles you ask!' Humpty Dumpty growled out. fears nothing except being hidden). Latin proverb Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, Chap. 6. Preface The history of producing this book is rather complicated and not quite usual.
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