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On The Structure
  of Time

  • About Relativity
  • Rationale
  • On Time [part 1]
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Delving In To The Relationship Between Relativistic Dynamics and Quantum Phenomena
Copyright © 1999 - 2013 John K. N. Murphy, Auckland, New Zealand, All rights reserved.

 Last modified August 2013

This Site: Rationale
The ideas discussed on this site are the result of a persistent curiousity about the apparently paradoxical situation whereby Einstein's Special Relativity appears to:
  • Underpin some of the core aspects of quantum theory.
  • Be contradicted by the same phenomena.

The evidence for Special Relativity being a fundamental component of quantum theory is very impressive.
In 1975, during my second year at Univeristy of Canterbury, (Christchurch NZ), I had the privilege to attended one of the Erskine lectures given by P.A.M. Dirac, on of the most prominent figures in the development of quantum theory. In the late 1920's and early 1930's Dirac developed a relativistic theory of the electron by applying special relativity to quantum electrodynamics. The eventual result being: "a (quantum) field equation accurately describing all elementary matter particles".

Even though I could not fully follow the mathematical development of Dirac's work, I was inspired by the outstanding power of Dirac's work to predict and model some of the most fundamental aspects of nature, such as antimatter and quantum spin, and furthermore that the relationships within Einstein's special relativity were the key.
For a look at the lectures see:
1. Quantum Mechanics
2. Electrodynamics
3. Magnetic Monopoles
4. Does 'G' vary? (Large Numbers Hypothesis)

Later, as I continued my studies, my understanding of the fundamental role of Special Relativity within physics expanded. For example, I also learned that one could also straight-forwardly derive Maxwell's equations for electrodynamics, by applying Einstein's special relativity to static electric fields around moving charges. Again, this was striking: magnetic fields and elecrodynamics simply result from the relativistic structure of space-time.

From what I can recall, it appeared to me that it was reasonable to expect that the dynamics of special relativity played a fundamental role in generating the 'odd' and counter-intuitive behaviors of quantum systems rather than being at odds with them.

For example, every quantum exchange of energy that involves the emission of or absorption of a photon changes the mass of the system involved by an amount that can be calculated by applying Einstein's famous formula E=mc^2 to the photon energy.

In other words, I thought that the "weird" features of quantum theory would be found to the result from relativistic effects that could not be modelled in "classical" non-relativistic space-time because, non-rleativistic space-time is a reduced represenation that discards vital information and relationships.

Special Relativity describes phenomena that break the fundamental rulesof classical space and time in a way that goes well beyond meredistortions that need to be taken into account at high relativevelocities.

This situation suggests that classical space-time is a partialrepresentation that fits in to relativity in a particular way, and ifso, identifies three items that are "missing" from the picture:
  1. What kind of background model of existence is consistent with Special Relativity.
  2. How does such a model relate to classical space-time.
  3. How are physical phenomena represented within such a model.

Summary:
There are currently two main articles on this site:
  • [On The Structure of Time] an article that explores the question of developing an interpretation on relativity.
  • [Quantum Theory Wave/Particle Duality] which explores there could be an avenue to interpret Quantum theory in a manner consistent with relativity by recognizing that the scattering of particles of matter in to so-called 'interference' patterns does not involve the same processes as for photons.