I recently read "Why a 762-year-old Japanese temple was the perfect setting for a hackathon" and thought why not a physics hackathon? This would possibly be the opposite of the recent, invitation only and very prestigious Marcel Grossman conference.
In a previous article "Hacking Quantum Theory", I had suggested that a second hack of quantum theory was possible. Allow me to explain.
The Airy disc, discovered by Lord Airy around 1827, is formed by the experimental set up of a pin hole at one end and an opaque screen at the other end. Light photons are projected at the screen along a central axis, through the pin hole. Over time these photons deviate from this central axis to form concentric bright and dark rings. The radii of the concentric rings are related to the photon's wavelength. The usual explanation is diffraction caused by the photon's electromagnetic wave.
But observe carefully, you have to accumulate over time a large collection of photons hitting the screen to observe this Airy pattern. This is not something that happens at the velocity of light. If it were purely an electromagnetic effect it would be practically instantaneous, but it is not.
Now, if you clean up this data and remove the wavelength based concentric rings, you get a smooth deposition of photons that deviate from this central axis. This accumulation over time depicts the frequency with which the photons will hit the screen along a radius from this central axis. That is, it reveals the photon's probability function, and informs us two important considerations:
(1) While quantum theory assumes that particle probabilities are Gaussian (i.e. Normal or bell shaped) this experiment shows that it is not. Therefore, any quantum theoretic proof that assumes Gaussian probabilities is no longer valid. Is no longer valid!
The tail of this new probability distribution is approximately 25 standard deviations long, and therefore, 5 standard deviations to determine a new particle find, is no longer sufficient. Worse, having used mathematics to find new particles, what is missing is the empirical evidence that these new particles perform the functions supposed by these mathematical models. The implicit assumption in theoretical physics is that if you can find the particle your mathematics has suggested, the rest must be correct.
In An Exploration of Physics Logic I had asked the question, how many Higgs Bosons are there to give mass to all the atoms in the Universe? It is estimated that the Universe consists of about 10^82 atoms. To be generous, assuming that a single Higgs Boson can give mass to 1,000,000 atoms, this implies that there are about 10^76 Higgs Bosons in the Universe. That is, under the right conditions one should see thousands if not millions of Higgs Boson, but CERN only found 1 (?).
Per the Airy disc experiment, Gaussian probability distribution is not correct for these statistical tests. A test requiring 25 standard deviations will invalidate the Higgs Boson find, and probably of other particles, too. Does this mean that CERN will go down in history as having acquired the largest (most expensive?) collection of false positives?
(2) Nature has demonstrated that it is possible to use electromagnetism to modify photon (and particle) probabilities. An important consideration for interstellar propulsion.
Are there other hacks?
Where did we get that [Schrödinger's equation] from? Nowhere. It is not possible to derive from anything you know. It came out of the mind of Schrödinger, invented in his struggle to find an understanding of the experimental observation of the real world (Feynman et al., 1965, chapter 16, p. 12).
"Nowhere"? The 1933 Nobel Laureate, Schrödinger, was well versed in the wave functions of the time, and could make the leap to his wave function when others could not. I am inferring, that is why Feynman described it as "nowhere".
Examining the experimental data of the Airy disc, I derived a wave function that is practically identical to Schrödinger's and falsifies this Schrödinger. It takes the form sin(x)/x. Yes, you STEM people will recognize that this equation is not integrable. The difference is that the tails of this new wave function is only just a little thinner than Schrödinger's. By falsifying Schrödinger, it raises the question, which is the correct wave function description of Nature? Can we construct experiments that are sensitive enough to differentiate the subtle differences in the tails?
With this new wave function I was able to propose a new electron shell formula (still work in progress, see Super Physics for Super Technologies). It is similar to the Rydberg equation and using the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) spectral database was able to produce spectral lines identical (error ≤ ±1x10^-9 %) to quantum theory's without the quantum mechanical orbitals s, p, d, f . . . for the first 5 elements (H, He, Li, Be & B) and without using Slater's Rules (a heuristic to correct some issues with these orbitals. The surprises you find the more you dig!). Thereby, for the first time ever, falsifying quantum theory's orbitals.
Note that in physics, falsifying means an alternative concept or a conceptual test that could potentially prove a theory wrong. It leads to testability, the experiments that confirm or deny a theory, and can get quite complicated. What if a theory was 60% correct and 40% wrong?
So what is a physics hackathon?
Vulcans would call it a mind meld, but on our Earth it is a mind meld via BYOD, bring your own device, analytical software (no restrictions, even access to supercomputers) and the necessary firewalls. You don't have to be Ivy League. I'm not. Just have an aptitude for unconventional thinking. Of course a background in physics and/or engineering would be necessary. A mix would definitely be better, and include a team member with substantial mathematical skills, just as Einstein had Marcel Grossman.
A typical team would be 5 in size. Too small and you wouldn't have the man hours to do something daring. Too large, and you would want to explore too many directions. Team discipline and team work are keys to success. The team would be given a hack for a physics theory, usually via an axiom, and work on the hack or extend a hack on location, until solved. This would probably take about a week.
What next? Need sponsors. Contact me if you would like to be a sponsor.
See you at the hackathon.