Of Particular Significance

Could CERN open a portal to… somewhere? (anywhere?)

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

POSTED BY Matt Strassler

ON 08/17/2022

For general readers:

Is it possible that the particle physicists hard at work near Geneva, Switzerland, at the laboratory known as CERN that hosts the Large Hadron Collider, have opened a doorway or a tunnel, to, say, another dimension? Could they be accessing a far-off planet orbiting two stars in a distant galaxy populated by Jedi knights?  Perhaps they have opened the doors of Europe to a fiery domain full of demons, or worse still, to central Texas in summer?

Mortals and Portals

Well, now.  If we’re talking about a kind of tunnel that human beings and the like could move through, then there’s a big obstacle in the way.  That obstacle is the rigidity of space itself.

The notion of a “wormhole”, a sort of tunnel in space and time that might allow you to travel from one part of the universe to another without taking the most obvious route to get there, or perhaps to places for which there is no other route at all, isn’t itself entirely crazy. It’s allowed by the math of Einstein’s theory of space and time and gravity.  However, the concept comes with immensely daunting conceptual and practical challenges.  At the heart of all of them, there’s a basic and fundamental problem: bending and manipulating space isn’t easy.  

The amount of energy required to bend space into a new shape can be enormous.  For example, if we want to get a rough idea of what it might take to make a wormhole whose exit is the size of a doorway, let’s ask what it takes to make a black hole of that size.  A doorway-sized black hole would have mass comparable to that of the planet Saturn, a hundred times larger than our own planet.  While CERN’s electricity budget is big, you’ll run through it in a hurry; there’s not that much energy on Earth, or even in Earth. Even if you magically converted the Earth’s entire rest mass, via E=mc2, into the energy of two beams of particles, and funneled the two beams into a small place all at the same time, you still couldn’t even make a human-scale black hole.

Is there another approach? Sure! All we have to do is obtain a Saturn-sized planet and shrink it down to the size of a dinner table. I’m not sure yet how we’ll obtain the technology or the energy required to crush something that large, but, hey, let’s write a grant proposal and maybe Elon Musk will fund it. At least it shouldn’t be too hard to get the planet; we know nowadays that the universe has lots of them out there, ripe for the taking. Be warned, though: a check of Amazon reveals that there are currently supply chain issues, and delivery is not free even with Amazon Prime.  I suspect, also, that environmental agencies are going to insist on a lengthy permitting process if we want to bring something with so much mass into the Solar System.  There is, after all, the risk of kicking the Earth out of orbit and into the Sun.

These challenges with black holes are bad enough, but at least we know that nature does make big black holes. There’s no evidence that nature has ever made a wormhole that you could actually travel through, and it’s not at all clear how humans could make one even in principle. Moreover, were scientists to make one, they’d find it very hard to control. In science fiction, portals sit on the ground and wait for you to walk through them. In reality, a wormhole’s far less polite, with no intention of staying put on the Earth’s spinning surface, and with no qualms about ruining your laboratory and a lot more all around it.   A human-sized doorway to somewhere else would represent a risk to the entire planet’s present and future, so you’d have to store it far away in distant space [note that CERN does not deal in space, so this is ESA’s or NASA’s problem]. And don’t go very close unless you know what you’re doing; you could easily fall in and never return.


But even if we can’t have big wormholes, what about a wormhole the size of, say, a virus? Maybe scientists could be making those? Hmm… perhaps dangerous pathogens could leak through to Earth from a distant planet’s bachelor’s refrigerator?  

Well, even to make a black hole the size of an atom, far too small for a pathogen, lies far beyond the capabilities of CERN, even in extremely optimistic scenarios. Lots of energy would have to be focused all at once into an atom-sized region. While CERN’s proton beams do carry as much energy as a freight train, that energy is spread out around 15 miles (27 km) of the circular tubes that make up the Large Hadron Collider. It’s not squeezed, or squeezable, into an atom-sized box. What CERN can actually do with its beams doesn’t even come close to what is needed.

And again, even if you could make a black hole this size, what next? You still couldn’t control it. Such a tiny thing with so much more mass than a typical atom would sink into the Earth or fly off into outer space, unconstrained by the walls of a box or of a room.

So what about a wormhole this size? This requires somehow making a space tunnel with two atomic-sized ends, and ensuring that you don’t lose track of the first end while also sending the second end far, far away to somewhere interesting, rather than to a random location in the universe’s vast tracts of empty space. We have now moved beyond fiction to the land of silly.

You can be cavalier with space in science fiction, but in the real world, space isn’t simply going to bend to your whim. Rest assured, CERN scientists are not making literal portals to anywhere

A Couple of Rabbit Portals

As with any rich topic, there are many other alleyways to explore here. But today I’ll limit myself to a paragraph about two of them.

There actually is something that CERN scientists might encounter that scientists sometimes call a “portal”.  But let’s be very clear: it’s not what science fiction or even English means literally by “portal.”  This figurative portal isn’t like a tunnel or doorway, and it’s not something we, or even elementary particles that we’re made of, could go “through”.  It’s simply a means by which familiar types of particles could be converted to or interact with new types of “hidden” particles, and vice versa.   (In fact, we only exist because of a portal like this, albeit a particularly open one. You can view the electromagnetic field and its particle [the photon, the particle of light] as a “portal”; without it, quarks and gluons would be nearly hidden from electrons, and not only couldn’t you easily produce electrons from quarks or vice versa, their interactions with each other would be so weak that atoms could never have formed.)

Creatures stuck in the blue slab, who know only the directions of motion that keep them within the slab, may discover they can move in the extra dimensions (the directions of the green arrows). No tunnel/doorway/portal is needed to exit the slab, just a great deal of energy to counter the forces that trap them in the slab. (Note: not to scale! In a universe with so much additional room to travel in, Newton’s law of gravity would have failed centuries ago.)

Meanwhile, confused science fiction stories notwithstanding, no one will ever make “a portal to another dimension”, because you don’t need one.  You need a portal to go to another place, but another dimension is not a place, it is a direction. The dimension is already there, sideways to the ones you’re aware of.  You and I usually wander on the two-dimensional surface of the Earth, because various forces trap us there.  But if we want to move in the third direction — up or down — we don’t need a doorway or a tunnel to get there.  We just need energy — energy for jumping up, or energy for digging down, or a rocket’s energy for flying away.  Similarly, if the universe has additional dimensions — additional directions which we can neither see nor feel but in which we could move — then what we need is a lot of energy so that we can try to escape the forces that trap us in the three-dimensional surface that we normally think we live in.  You can be sure, though, that moving ourselves a macroscopic distance into any extra dimensions, if they are out there, is impossible.  If it were easy, then individual elementary particles would be observed doing it all the time, after particle collisions.  Since we don’t observe this, we know it’s not easy, and so making anything human-sized move sideways out of our usual three-dimensional prison would require, yet again, absurd and unrealistic amounts of energy.

Oh, and I can’t resist mentioning (just to prove that all rabbit holes are secretly connected like wormholes) that in certain cases the two previous paragraphs can be related to each other.  That, however, is another three stories.

Have a great week! And stay away from glowing doorways.

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41 Responses

  1. Dr. Strassler, Thanks for the reference. I read the discussion and found it to be similar to a 2018 paper looking at wormholes in 4D. You are right about the possibility of the existence of wormholes. However, I am going to stay on the negative side of this due to the need for black holes and negative energy.

  2. “I am claiming it is impossible to make wormholes of any interesting size (and lifetime) without a huge amount of energy. CERN doesn’t have nearly enough; and if I were somehow wrong about that, then lots of wormholes should have been spontaneously created during the Big Bang and should be found everywhere.”

    Could it be possible that there are lots of wormholes to be found everywhere that we have not noticed yet? What would have to be special about wormholes we would not have discovered yet, different from the normal wormholes we would have noticed?

    1. A sea of wormholes through which anything interesting would travel would randomly remove particles from certain processes or add them to certain processes. This would cause apparent and otherwise unexplained violation of known conservation laws, such as the conservation of energy, momentum and angular momentum. If a wormhole can’t do this, it wouldn’t be noticed; but a wormhole through which no particles can travel is like a highway tunnel through which no vehicles can travel; it’s not actually a highway tunnel.

  3. Dr. Strassler, very interesting paper, thank you. I completely agree with your analysis regarding portals, worm holes, and anything else that these things can be called. I put the portal controversary right next to the time travel controversary, you can’t do that either. However, I would like to point out an observation that I believe should be considered, the math says these things are possible, the reality of our universe says they are not, maybe we are missing something in the math that is allowing for these extra solutions?

    1. Notice, I’m not claiming it’s impossible to make wormholes. In fact there is evidence that it *is* possible to make extremely microscopic, short-lived, very short wormholes… very different from tunnels that can take you half-way across the universe. Here’s a paper with a concrete example: https://arxiv.org/abs/1608.05687 . But studies of these wormholes make it clear that its extraordinarily difficult to make wormholes that could take even subatomic particles to interesting places.

      In this post, my claims are more limited. I am claiming it is impossible to make wormholes of any interesting size (and lifetime) without a huge amount of energy. CERN doesn’t have nearly enough; and if I were somehow wrong about that, then lots of wormholes should have been spontaneously created during the Big Bang and should be found everywhere.

      Time travel, by contrast, might be logically inconsistent. Short, short-lived, extremely microscopic womholes are not logically inconsistent, nor are they necessarily impractical in some distant future. This suggests that science fictiony big wormholes are not logically inconsistent, but are wildly impractical even into the distant future.

  4. Well, this is unlikely to work as well: “let’s write a grant proposal and maybe Elon Musk will fund it.” Musk is a fan of first principles, e.g. insisting on that they can fill their rockets as fast as they empty them. It was brought up regarding ESA’s test balloon to get EU green money for rocket development.

    “Although the concept of space-based solar power is alluring, it has no shortage of critics. Among the critics is Elon Musk, whom one might expect to favor a technology that is based in space and provides solar energy. But he has, rather infamously, been utterly dismissive of the technology.

    “It’s the stupidest thing ever,” he said, several years ago. “If anyone should like space solar power, it should be me. I’ve got a rocket company, and a solar company. I should be really on it. But it’s super obviously not going to work. It has to be better than having solar panels on Earth. With a solar panel in orbit, you get twice the solar energy, but you’ve got to do a double conversion: Photon to electron to photon, back to electron. What’s your conversion efficiency? All in, you’re going to have a real hard time even getting to 50 percent. So just put that solar cell on Earth.””
    [Ars Technica, “Europe is seriously considering a major investment in space-based solar power”]

    By the way, I’m hoping there will be an equally charming article on the proton charm signature. I assume we can fit a valence charm quark into the smaller proton mass if we observe it only a fraction of the times we try, a “wormhole” to smaller mass contribution?
    [Nature, NEWS AND VIEWS 17 August 2022, “Evidence at last that the proton has intrinsic charm”]

    1. Yes, I do have to write about there not actually being a charm quark in the proton. But the issue is subtle enough that I should not rush it; the article must be written carefully in order to be both clear to a layperson and scientifically correct.

      1. In quantum physics, particles don’t take on a definite state until they’re measured — they are instead described by probabilities.
        The small probability means that the full mass of the charm quark and antiquark isn’t added to the proton’s heft, explaining how the proton may contain particles heavier than itself.
        The intrinsic charm quarks carry about 0.6 percent of a proton’s momentum.

        It is not “intrinsic” but the “intrinsic connection (in Penrose stairs)”. The mirror image of a “probability amplitude” in Proton has a “mirror image (without left-right change)” from other Universe (#ColdSpot), is much heavier than the Charm quark (#Phosphorescence) ?

      2. When the system absorbs energy (gravity), electrons are excited and are lifted into a higher energetic state (Penrose stairs connection).
        The photon is also the graviton, but with twice the gravity of an energy-equivalent particle.
        The photon is part of the quantum theory. Through photon-graviton duality, gravity follows the same theoretical treatment as the photon.

        Photons, particles of which electromagnetic radiation or light consists, have to have a certain energy value to be able to excite electrons.
        So also “correct graviton” is needed to replicate the charm quark to keep the Proton intact, what we call “strong force”?

        Sometimes, a radiative decay can occur in form of fluorescence and phosphorescence (Stokes shift).

      3. Penrose stairs or like “Negative absolute temperatures or #NegativeKelvin temperatures”.?

    1. This may be true, and I have no doubt you believe it, but is a faith-based, unverifiable remark. As such, it does not belong on a science website, which concerns the search to understand aspects of the universe that *can* be experimentally verified or inferred from direct observation.

    1. No, that’s simply not true. Even though there is a gigaton of TNT’s worth of energy stored in your body, it is not possible that while you are in your kitchen cooking dinner that your body will undergo a nuclear explosion and destroy the city you live in. Even less possible is that you will explode with the strength of a supernova (much more energy than is in your body) and destroy the Earth. Even less possible is that you will explode and destroy the universe. Most things that are impossible remain impossible forever.

  5. One question about whether we’re seeing particles moving through dimensions at the colliders. If a collision were to send a particle forward or backward in the time dimension wouldn’t it only be observed when it appeared within the detectors at the moment when our reality reached that point in time it had moved to? If so, wouldn’t the detectors need to be on to see it? Would they?

    1. This isn’t the right way to think about what a particle is.

      A particle is an object which occupies a small region of space but is found everywhere in the time dimension from the past moment when it is created until the future moment when it is destroyed; it neither moves forward nor backward, it is simply present.

      (In a similar sense, an east-west highway moves neither in the easterly nor westerly direction; it is simply present, occupying the east-west direction from its western end to its eastern end.)

      When a particle moves, its spatial position changes as time changes. That spatial change may occur in familiar space dimensions or in unfamiliar ones. But it’s not moving forward or backward in the time direction.

  6. Degree of freedom?
    Julian Schwinger in 1962, written papers in which he demolished the folklore that it is gauge invariance alone that requires photons to be massless.

    It became obvious that the Goldstone massless mode became the longitudinal polarization of a massive spin-1 “photon,” just as Anderson had suggested.

    #PenroseStairs :
    On the state of mirror symmetry, “Mathematicians Explore Mirror Link Between Two Geometric Worlds,” the field was discovered by accident.
    In their search for Extra dimensions Physicists stumbled onto an intriguing connection between two seemingly unrelated types of Geometry. Underlying this connection are numbers called “Zeta values”.

    We understand the #TIME from repeated Sun movements. But long observations says, it is not a circle but a Spiral (incomplete circle or dance like), because the whole Solar system and Galaxy moves. But the photon a Quantum reality Shows us as Electromagnetic wave (angular momentum), a Physical reality.
    The photon is also the graviton, but with twice the gravity of an energy-equivalent particle (👀), what we call Black hole or the phase transition of space (dark energy star) or space expansion.

    In order to keep this energy propagation through time, light travel with a conserved speed ‘c’ or Electromagnetic wave, thus keeping the Energy within the “#Blue Slab”, what we call Physical reality, a Parameter of Space or Spacetime itself. Eventhough photon view on Time (quantum reality) and space differ from human perception, the variation in the Space geometry (bend) is connected by an impossible mathematics called “quantum field theory” or “Zeta values” or “Penrose stairs”.

    Conjugate vector are quantum reality of Line and Anti-Line unlike the energy of interaction between quarks and gluons, which is massive by “Penrose stairs connection”, photon “Pockets or quanta” is massless without the “Penrose stairs connection” (graviton to photon), regardless of it belongs to different universes (went in extra dimensional directions and bounced back).
    So this quantum reality manifest in physical reality as “Time dilation”! ?

    Particles (rest mass?) based on waves can explain time dilation. When a particle is in motion, it experiences the Doppler effect. Much like the sound you hear in a passing car, the Doppler effect compresses waves on the leading edge in the direction of travel and elongates the waves on the trailing edge.

    1. Eventhough photon view on Time (quantum reality) and space differ (#scalar) from human perception (#vector or arrow of time), the variation in the Space geometry (bend) is connected by an impossible mathematics called “quantum field theory” or “Zeta values” or “Penrose stairs”.?

  7. Do not forget that there is already a portal that requires almost nothing of energy, knowing for almost a century, even by Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen, besides Bell. Ghostly? Above the speed of light? No, it is a traffic or transportation for another dimension, everything you just explained here. Or will I be wrong? So explain us about because you never approached that subject here.

    1. I don’t really see why one would call entanglement a doorway or tunnel, and the word portal, as used in English, therefore seems to be misapplied. If you do call that a portal, then portals are absolutely everywhere in nature, throughout our bodies and our surroundings, and there’s nothing exciting about humans making one.

  8. There’s a picture at the bottom of the page, despite my complete lack of terminology, do you know what I see? From two particles that possess 2/3 charge you get a flurry of particles traveling in 1/3-2/3 paths along perfect arcs being squished out of their intended path and destroying the natural symmetries of the collision.

    Is there any way at all you’d be open to hearing about what I see when I think of the base level of interaction? I think if someone who knows terminology would help teach me this language you all use I’d be able to one day contribute to the field.

    Because if what I understand is true amd is able to be communicated about then we are talking in theory being able to influence the fabric of spacetime through a form of resonance. It would define time as the creation of new base particles which collisions due to creation cause the passage of it. It would create an energetically perfect ‘antiverse’ that only becomes manifest when viewed from outside of the ‘universe’. It would define dark matter as uncharged base particles whose presence causes the ‘vaccum’ of space and whose ‘repulsive’ nature causes universal expansion in regions lacking enough energy to counteract it.
    The base particle’s multiple ‘resonant’ forms give cause to all higher energy ‘forces’ the particles who carry such ‘force’ as well as their travel paths being defined in time as time which then travels through our universe and the ‘antiverse’, the future being 1/2 of time but occupying 1/3 the antiverse and 2/3 our universe until it leaves our ‘mathematically knowable realms’ and travels forward in its ‘momentum’ and yet ‘backwards’ in ‘time’ until it reaches the end of time and reemerges in the absolute ‘past’ T=0 giving birth to the next cycle.

    If you can rationalize any of what I’ve said, can you at least point me in the right direction for a dictionary/encyclopedia of relevant terminology that might let me communicate what I see better.

  9. Where you say it would require too much energy, is that (please excuse my horrible terminology) by doing so like flipping a switch? Would there be a way to invest every over time(sounds like an immensely long time) and then release all that energy to accomplish the task?

    Could there be a way to craft a ‘vehicle’ that causes force to be emitted in these ‘extra directions’ and thereby travel everything within it along them?

    Sincere questions (:

    1. No, energy has to be stored in elementary particles, and the problem is that particles don’t like to stay put. If the energy is stored in their motion, which is the easiest way and the way used at the LHC, they will keep moving and leave the area, rather than staying around for you to use them later. An alternative is to have a huge number that are motionless, with all the energy stored in their masses via E=mc^2; but they will still not do what you want; first, if they have similar electric charges, they repel each other, and second, the uncertainty principle of quantum physics and the ambient temperature of wherever you’re trying to store them will disperse them. The best you can get is a ball of pure neutrons (which is what neutron stars are made from) but to squeeze neutrons star material (which would be very difficult to make and to handle) and crush it down into a black hole would require far more energy and technology than we have. CERN definitely can’t make stuff like that, nor can it convert a planet into stuff like that.

      Since elementary particles don’t seem to easily move in extra dimensions, and a vehicle would have to be made from such particles, it’s not going to be easy. Perhaps you could imagine pulling a little ball of blue slab away from the rest of the blue slab, carrying ordinary particles along with it; but the forces holding the blue slab together and in place must be enormous — otherwise these balls would form spontaneously in particle physics collisions. So it’s clearly going to be incredibly difficult to do.

      Good questions; I hope I understood them properly and gave you answers that are helpful.

      1. Yes your answers are very much appreciated, my questions are assuming the ability to directly interact with what I imagine is the true base particle.

        I’m not involving cern in my comments, but they are in truth looking for such a particle no?

        So if you would do me the sincere favor, would you please take a few minutes to imagine (just imagine) what the smallest possible particle is?

        You can see the provable evidence of what happens when you have near infinite numbers of them.

        Could you imagine using logic what the smallest piece would /need/ to be to get what we currently have?

        Everytime it collides it transfers its entire energy into the next in the ‘lattice’, think newton’s cradle but where energy being within the ‘mass’ makes the ‘mass’ manifest exponentially based on how much energy is present in that ‘moment’

        So the ‘matter’ is charged base particles. The energy is purely itself it has infinite dimension.
        Matter (so far known) can only travel within the 3 dimensional cubic resonances because of how energy propagates /through time/ being a perfect circular path. Time being the production and annihilation of the ‘lattice’ itself which is the conversion of ‘energy to mass’ and ‘mass to energy’

        Could you tell me what you imagine when you try to picture the smallest particle that gives form to all others? It’s a nearly infinite fractal of 1. ‘nearly infinite’ being limited only in the current cycles ability to sustain itself until the energy transfers become so stifled it all collapses back together, it’s collapsing momentum switching the available energy amount between the universe and antiverse. Think a sphere collapses into a circular plane and then that plane collapses back into a sphere then into a perfectly perpendicular plane, but within the sphere are consolidations of mass/energy that ‘change position’ and thereby change the ‘shape-wave form’ om the next generational momentum sequence of collisions. Each time will be different than the last, but it is in a logical pattern amongst the chaos of ‘movement within the system’

        But this is what I see.

        Tell me what it is you see when you imagine 1. To me the base particle itself is the manifestation of number (addition and subtraction of 1) causing time.

        I’ll leave it be after this unless you’d like to talk in email.

        1. There is no such thing as “a base particle”, nor “smallest particle”; and neither CERN nor anyone else is specifically looking for such a thing. As far as we currently know, all the known apparently-elementary particles may be of zero size. Logic will not tell you whether this is true or not; only experiment will do that.

  10. Very nice post. Enjoyed reading it.

    Calling fields “portals”? Not digging the terminology. QFT is confusing enough without such euphemisms.

    1. 🙂 blame Frank Wilczek. . Before he introduced the term, I was calling them “communicator fields”, and other people used “mediator fields”. Those are clunkier and less poetic, but also less misleading to nonexperts.

  11. Would something entering another dimension, say some of the particles in a particle accelerator be experimentally perceived as a leak of energy,disappearing energy or non-matching energy budgets? Thanks!

    1. It depends. If the particles went in extra dimensional directions and did not return, then yes, momentum transverse to the beam would be mismatched. (At LHC we can’t measure energy conservation because energy escapes down the beampipe.)

      Alternatively, if they went in extra dimensional directions and bounced back, then we need to account for quantum physics more carefully; the modes that bounce back would appear as particles with higher masses, known as Kaluza Klein modes, and we would potentially observe them decaying back to known particles. See https://profmattstrassler.com/articles-and-posts/some-speculative-theoretical-ideas-for-the-lhc/extra-dimensions/how-to-look-for-signs-of-extra-dimensions/kaluza-klein-partners-why-step-1/ and https://profmattstrassler.com/articles-and-posts/some-speculative-theoretical-ideas-for-the-lhc/extra-dimensions/how-to-look-for-signs-of-extra-dimensions/kaluza-klein-partners-why-step-2/ .

  12. Also of small note, we did observe particles with much higher energy in the cosmic rays than the one generated in the Large Hardon Collider. So everything we see in there was already created many many times in the history of Earth.

  13. Extra dimensions, micro-rabbit-portals, literally mind-blowing stuff, as the late Carl Sagan would say. Whatever it is, it’s not physics. Take my advice, Matt, and go back to basics. If your assumptions lead to absurd conclusions, it’s time to review your assumptions. Why has physics turned into this sad caricature of itself? There was no single wrong turn, there were several in fact, but let’s stick with one that I mentioned before, the invention of the strong force by Eugene Wigner. The Ruthefordian atom had a fatal flaw in that the hypothetical nucleus was inherently unstable due to the presence within its confines of positively-charged particles in close proximity. In the 1930s Wigner came to the rescue by inventing a force strong enough to keep the hypothetical nucleus intact, His logical reasoning was roughly as follows. Given the fact that matter is largely stable and does not instantaneously disintegrate, the atomic nucleus must be stable as well. Therefore some strong force must be counteracting the repulsive force of its constituent protons. This force, otherwise unobservable, only manifests itself at the unimaginably tiny distances of the hypothetical atomic nucleus and does what it was invented to do, that is, to keep the atomic nucleus from disintegrating. How very Ptolemaic of Wigner. Just add an epicycle and everything will be alright. In ancient drama this used to be called “deus ex machina”. When all seemed lost and there was seemingly no way out of some seemingly impossible dead-end situation, a deity would appear and fix everything by his or her superior powers. That’s an exact analogy to the conjuring up of a strong force to save the failing Rutherfordian atom.
    If your assumptions are contrary to fact, your chances of reaching correct conclusions are exactly zero. Rutherford hypothesised a fatally-flawed tiny nucleus made up of discrete particles, including ones with positive charges that, when observed in the real world, strongly repel one another. To save Rutherford’s assumption from its fatal flaw, Wigner conjured up a force that counteracted this mutual repulsion and kept the Rutherfordian nucleus stable. Building on such foundations, you may get rabbit portals, but you don’t get physics.

  14. Matt Strassler, great post! The idea that space bending somehow becomes “free” at low levels has been making the rounds lately, promoted, unfortunately, by links to and promotion of one of Einstein’s last and most self-contradictory papers, with Rosen, on the idea that particles are wormhole between two universes.

      1. The difference is you care about data and excruciatingly well-verified physics using actual, replicable experiments. Anyone who proposes fempto scale curvatures in spacetime does not. In sharp contrast, lattice QCD folks pay exquisitely close attention to such issues, and have done so for decades now. That’s real physics.

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