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Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.


 Thomas Jefferson

[Notes on Virginia (Query VI)]

Here are some common myths which are prevalent in the physics literature.

Myth #1 The Michelson-Morely experiment, and others like it, disproved the existence of an aether.

    Wrong! This experiment, and others like it, simply demonstrate an inability to detect absolute motion (or motion relative to an aether). The result is consistent with a theory of matter consisting of waves propagating in a medium with physical properties. See "The Other Meaning of Relativity" for a detailed explanation.

Myth #2 Physical space has been proven to be non-Euclidean.

    Wrong! Experimental confirmation of General Relativity indicates that 'measurement space' is non-Euclidean. However, this result may be attributed to changes in the speed of light in a gravitational field, implying that all wave measurements are distorted compared with physical space. See Chapter 4 of The Classical Theory of Matter Waves.

Myth #3 Maximal parity violation (non-existence of certain mirror-image processes) has been proven in experiments involving beta decay.

    Wrong! No one  has yet performed (or ever will) an experiment in which physical space is pulled inside out and inverted. What has been demonstrated is that certain physical processes occur with one type of handedness (e.g. left-handed) but not the other. That is interesting (and worth a Nobel Prize for Lee, Yang, and Wu) but it is not maximal parity violation unless the mirror image process cannot occur in nature. In the case of beta decay the mirror-image process can occur if mirror-imaging also exchanges matter and anti-matter. The conventional mathematical implementation of the parity operation does not exchange matter and anti-matter, which is why physicists generally believe in maximal parity violation. However, a better interpretation of the existing data is that the conventional parity operation is incorrect. The correct parity operator is derived in the paper, "The Mirror Symmetry of Matter and Antimatter".

Myth #4 There is no classical interpretation for wave functions with spin 1/2.

    Wrong! Solutions of the one-dimensional wave equation consist of a superposition of forward and backward waves. In three dimensions these independent waves are separated by a 180 degree rotation. Hence they have spin of one-half and can only be represented in three dimensions using complex spinors (or bispinors). It is also possible to represent ordinary scalars and vectors as bilinear products of spinors, but these do not have spin 1/2 because the states which are 180 degrees apart are not linearly independent. 

Myth #5 Quantum correlations cannot be obtained by classical processes.

    Maybe! Rotational waves in an elastic solid have the same physical operators and correlations between wave functions as found in quantum mechanics. However, the relation between wave functions and measurement outcomes is not yet clear. See "Classical wave description of electrons" for details.


Created: 27 February 2006;  Last updated: 27 March 2011

Copyright © 2006-2011  Robert A. Close