Part Three: Quantum Relativity

If the truth can sting,
And you never feel any pain,
Then perhaps you need to start listening.
Overhead view of a straight path and a wavy path.
Comparison of a Wavy Race Path to a Straight Race Path

Does the paradox of the photon Wave–Particle Duality actually confirm the existence of the Multiverse?

I can almost hear folks thinking, how the heck can those two topics even live in the same sentence, let alone make sense? Well, read and see.

By the way, you can find serious discussions of the Photon Paradox if you just perform an internet search on the subject. I have not included any of this material because it does not really dovetail into the direction I wanted to pursue. Also, this article is really top heavy already.

This article is part of the series called Quantum Relativity. If you view my Lists and About data, all the other articles can be seen.

Chapter 1 — Background

Perhaps one of the greatest myths of modern physics is the concept of the electromagnetic wave.

A little over a century ago the founding fathers of modern physics (a.k.a. Quantum Mechanics and Relativity) decreed that the Aether does not exist and thus there is nothing for electromagnetic waves to travel in, so ergo, they can not exist except as a mathematical concept. This is not a secret. Sometime prior to a physics student receiving their PhD, someone will tell them, “The Tooth Fairy does not exist and by-the-way neither do electromagnetic waves.” It is us, the people that struggle to understand science, that never get the memo. (Sorry, it’s true… there is no Tooth Fairy!)

The birth of modern physics was really the death of the Aether. Check out the Wikipedia link to Luminiferous Aether (31 May 2022, at 22:47 UTC.)

Luminiferous aether or ether ("luminiferous", meaning "light-bearing") was the postulated medium for the propagation of light. It was invoked to explain the ability of the apparently wave-based light to propagate through empty space (a vacuum), something that waves should not be able to do.The negative outcome of the Michelson–Morley experiment (1887) suggested that the aether did not exist, a finding that was confirmed in subsequent experiments through the 1920s. This led to considerable theoretical work to explain the propagation of light without an aether. A major breakthrough was the theory of relativity, which could explain why the experiment failed to see aether, but was more broadly interpreted to suggest that it was not needed. The Michelson-Morley experiment, along with the blackbody radiator and photoelectric effect, was a key experiment in the development of modern physics, which includes both relativity and quantum theory, the latter of which explains the particle-like nature of light.

That leads us to my second installment of Quantum Relativity. I will propose a thought experiment wherein I will construct a quasi-physical model of the photon. I will call this my pseudo-photon. Thus my focus now becomes, is it possible to create a pseudo-photon that behaves in a manner consistent with known scientific phenomena?

Chapter 2 — The Pseudo-Photon

Let us begin with a ping pong ball representing our pseudo-photon. What properties must it assume?

If we want to talk about the expected behavior of our pseudo-photon, we need to understand the criteria for Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR). Decades of experimentation have given us substantial information to draw on. In fact we have far too much data, so I will truncate it to fit this essay.

On that note, let us start with the Wikipedia link to Electromagnetic Radiation (29 June 2022, at 08:38 UTC.)

In physics, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) consists of waves of the electromagnetic (EM) field, propagating through space, carrying electromagnetic radiant energy.Classically, electromagnetic radiation consists of electromagnetic waves, which are synchronized oscillations of electric and magnetic fields.In quantum mechanics, an alternate way of viewing EMR is that it consists of photons, uncharged elementary particles with zero rest mass which are the quanta of the electromagnetic field, responsible for all electromagnetic interactions.

Looking at the next level, we have the Wikipedia link to the Photon (5 June 2022, at 11:22 UTC.)

A photon... is an elementary particle that is a quantum of the electromagnetic field, including electromagnetic radiation such as light and radio waves, and the force carrier for the electromagnetic force. Photons are massless, so they always move at the speed of light in vacuum, …Photons obey the laws of quantum mechanics, and so their behavior has both wave-like and particle-like aspects. When a photon is detected by a measuring instrument, it is registered as a single, particulate unit. However, the probability of detecting a photon is calculated by equations that describe waves. This combination of aspects is known as wave–particle duality.

Pay attention to the fine point where the “probability of detecting a photon is calculated by equations” and those equations “describe waves.” Obviously, photons do not necessarily travel in waves. The quantum equations merely “describe waves.” (And that’s why there is no Tooth Fairy.)

Do not think that this was done by mistake. The founding fathers knew exactly what they were doing. If they allowed photons to travel in waves, then they would need to acknowledge some form of an Aether. After years of frustration dealing with theories of the Aether, they were more than happy to see it gone, much like most of us would be happy to see an obnoxious neighbor pack up and move.

Back to our thought experiment, there is a lot to take in here, so we will begin slowly.

Rule 1: Our pseudo-photon must be massless.

The best we can do is weightless on this one and the easiest way to do that would be using a pressurized bed of air. Our pseudo-photon now floats and bobs in response to any force exerted on it. By the way, if we could actually make a ping pong ball massless, it would be nuisance to control. The first thing it would do is try to leave the planet as fast as possible, since gravity would no longer hold it back. There is an interesting side note here. Our pseudo-photon is not actually moving, the earth is leaving it behind. In contrast, an actual photon is free to move in any direction and does not care which way the earth is moving because there is no Aether. Note that both the pseudo-photon and the real photon will be slowed by traveling though the medium of air, although for different reasons.

Rule 2: Our pseudo-photon must travel at the speed of light.

How do we determine the Speed of Light and why is it a constant? See the Wikipedia article Special Relativity (17 June 2022, at 10:23 UTC.)

In physics, the special theory of relativity, or special relativity for short, is a scientific theory regarding the relationship between space and time. In Albert Einstein's original treatment, the theory is based on two postulates:1.  The laws of physics are invariant (that is, identical) in all inertial frames of reference (that is, frames of reference with no acceleration).2.  The speed of light in vacuum is the same for all observers, regardless of the motion of the light source or observer.Relativity without the second postulateFrom the principle of relativity alone without assuming the constancy of the speed of light (i.e., using the isotropy of space and the symmetry implied by the principle of special relativity) it can be shown that the spacetime transformations between inertial frames are either Euclidean, Galilean, or Lorentzian. In the Lorentzian case, one can then obtain relativistic interval conservation and a certain finite limiting speed. Experiments suggest that this speed is the speed of light in vacuum.

Quite frankly, if light ever travels faster than the Speed of Light, then the Speed of Light is no longer the top speed in the universe. We in effect have a New Speed of Light and all the equations of the Lorentz Transformations must be recalculated. See the Wikipedia article on Lorentz Transformations (4 July 2022, at 16:16 UTC.)

In physics, the Lorentz transformations are a six-parameter family of linear transformations from a coordinate frame in spacetime to another frame that moves at a constant velocity relative to the former.Three counter intuitive, but correct, predictions of the transformations are:Relativity of simultaneity... events are no longer simultaneous according to a moving observer.Time dilation... each observer measures the time interval between ticks of a moving clock to be longer by a factor γ than the time interval between ticks of his own clock.Length contraction... so from the perspective of a moving observer, areas and volumes will also appear to shrink along the direction of motion.A critical requirement of the Lorentz transformations is the invariance of the speed of light, a fact used in their derivation, and contained in the transformations themselves.

In addition to invalidating Special Relativity, if we were to find a New Speed of Light, what stops us from finding an even faster Speed of Light?

That said, for our application, we can cheat on this one. In our lab, whatever maximum speed the pseudo-photon can attain will be defined as the pseudo speed of light. Problem solved.

Rule 3: Our pseudo-photon must exhibit polarization.

Next we look at Wikipedia Wave Polarization (31 May 2022, at 10:53 UTC.)

Polarization... is a property applying to transverse waves that specifies the geometrical orientation of the oscillations. In a transverse wave, the direction of the oscillation is perpendicular to the direction of motion of the wave. A simple example of a polarized transverse wave is vibrations traveling along a taut string... for example, in a musical instrument like a guitar string. Depending on how the string is plucked, the vibrations can be in a vertical direction, horizontal direction, or at any angle perpendicular to the string.

This is a simple concept, but important for our pseudo-photon. If we assume it is round, and that is not necessarily a given, then if it travels in a straight line it can not exhibit polarization because it is round in all directions. For a round particle to have polarization, it must be able to oscillate in a single plane as it travels. It can have circular polarity where it oscillates up and down and back and forth at the same time, but it must have the ability to transition to a single plane to become truly polarized.

Rule 4: Our pseudo-photon must have wave properties.

Fine, we will assume that the pseudo-photon has oscillations that have regular timing, and thus we meet this criteria. Though not obvious, the frequencies of the wave are expected to be constant. Red light does not turn into green light without exposure to some mechanism that changes the frequency.

Rule 5: Our pseudo-photon must obey the principle of the Conservation of Energy.

See the Wikipedia article on the principle of Conservation of Energy (21 June 2022, at 21:48 UTC.)

In physics and chemistry, the law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant; it is said to be conserved over time. This law... means that energy can neither be created nor destroyed; rather, it can only be transformed or transferred from one form to another.

Some folks like to say “conservation of mass and energy,” but as they are both forms of energy, it is like saying “ice and water,” as if we are talking about completely different chemical compounds. It should be implicitly understood in a generalized statement. What is the difference between five pounds of ice and five pounds of water? (Don’t overthink it.) The answer is “the temperature,” although “one has more volume” is also correct.

Our ping pong ball is not likely to violate the Conservation of Energy, but if we make it evolve in a chapter or two, this might change. This rule limits the potential for a “Get out of Jail Free” card for all manner of ill conceived theses that might follow.

There are of course others properties, e.g. our pseudo-photon might have the ability to convert into particles with mass, but these are not material to this discussion.

Chapter 3 — Why Light is Not a Wave

Well, we should have this thing whipped. Our pseudo-photon is traveling at the pseudo Speed of Light and bobbing up and down on the way? But… the problem is that it can not do that.

Imagine that you are a track star and your best competitor is just as fast as you are. In scientific terms, the maximum speed either of you can run is the pseudo speed of light because neither of you can physically run any faster. If you were to run down a speed track and swerved back and forth, your competitor moving in a straight line (and well away from you) would be expected to win. See the illustration at the top of this article. The wavy line is obviously a longer path than the straight line. For you to be competitive you must move faster than your straight line speed on the track, but that speed is the pseudo Speed of Light and you can not run faster than that! (By the way, if you think for some reason that the wavy path is quicker, let me offer you some advice. Do not choose a gambling profession as a career.)

Just to be fair, there are situations that are abnormal where the rules can be broken. For example, if you had legs that were freakishly long, i.e. 10 meters long, you could adopt an offset stride where each foot lands on a different extreme of the wavy path as you run. Your legs would move oddly, but your body would move straight down the track giving you some hope of competing. (Don’t try this at home!)

Chapter 4 — Why is a Wave Special?

We begin with the Wikipedia article on Waves (7 June 2022, at 07:26 UTC.)

... a wave is a propagating dynamic disturbance (change from equilibrium) of one or more quantities... When the entire waveform moves in one direction, it is said to be a traveling wave... Waves are often described by a wave equation…Mechanical and electromagnetic waves transfer energy, momentum, and information, but they do not transfer particles in the medium.Waves normally move in a straight line (that is, rectilinearly) through a transmission medium.

Next we pick up the Wikipedia article on Wave Propagation (13 May 2022, at 03:48 UTC.)

In almost all cases, a wave is mainly a movement of energy through a medium.

As seen by the selected highlights, particles do not move through a medium while involved in wave motion. They can be knocked from one position to another, but are generally stuck in oscillations that facilitate the wave motion.

Two hands holding a string that is moving in a wave.
Waves in a String

In this simple illustration, we see waves in a string. Note that the region in the center of the string is not moving from left to right, but is only moving up and down, yet the wave peaks and valleys are moving to the observer’s left. One might assume this is due entirely to elastic properties of the string, but that is typically not the case. This is due to momentum induced in the string when the pictured right hand moves up and down. Segments of the string have mass and when flung up (or down) they try to maintain their motion until acted upon by another force. The other force is the slight pull of the hands in maintaining the tension in the string. This tension forces the string to straighten out and this in turn causes the particles in the original segment to bump the particles in the next segment and push them to the left, transferring momentum, i.e. energy, to that segment. In the end, energy travels across the string from the right hand to the left hand in the form of the wave. If energetic enough, the string will be yanked out of the hand on the left. You can demonstrate this to yourself with a string or a shoe lace, but be aware, some practice might be necessary.

Now, I hope, we all understand why particles typically do not move in waves. How then could we create a wave profile with a moving particle? The pseudo-photon has several options available that might allow it to fulfill all the necessary criteria.

Chapter 5 — Special Pseudo-Photon Configurations

Perhaps the pseudo-photon could inflate and deflate like a balloon as it travels. This is certainly enticing cyclic behavior, but we really need a slim profile in some orientation, otherwise polarization would never work. So, this is not a viable proposition.

We can elongate our pseudo-photon in either a fixed configuration or a dynamic configuration.

Imagine it is configured like two ping pong balls attached to the opposite ends of a straw or shaped like a toothpick or perhaps a simple ring shape. If it is oriented to tumble end over end as it moves in a straight line, it would alternate between maximum height and minimum height.

Or, imagine it is configured like two ping pong balls attached to each other with a spring or maybe a ring that expands and contracts in size or a ring that can twist into a figure eight or even a ring that can twist into an elongated pretzel. If traveling in an upright position, it grows longer and then shorter as it travels.

Or even, imagine it is configured like vibrating string. If traveling in a direction parallel to its axis, it creates highs and lows perpendicular to its motion.

Although in some cases, these would be a difficult proposition for model creation, none of them are impossible. In all cases, our pseudo-photon moves at the pseudo speed of light and creates a cyclic pattern. This solves some issues, but creates others.

Some parts of these particles would travel faster than the pseudo speed of light.

With the exception of the vibrating string, these particles do not create a sinusoidal wave. The peaks and valleys are not offset from each other, but occur at the same place and time in the profile.

These particles are not symmetrical in all axes. The frequency is dependent on the orientation. What happens if it loses its orientation in a collision? The frequency could change or disappear all together.

Nothing in this discussion makes a satisfactory pseudo-photon.

Chapter 6 — Wave Like Pseudo-Photons

If we revert to classic Electromagnetic Waves, we can truly have actual waves that have the behavior we want, but we have new problems. Without an Aether, or a carrier medium, we can not make waves. The vibrating string was examined in the previous section and concluded that it could tumble and lose its proper orientation. This means we need to anchor the string and that would mean using long filaments.

Our next problem becomes what part of a wave makes a photon? Is it a single pulse, or should we use a wavelet and call it a photon, or simply take the whole filament to be a photon? After we figure that out, how can we be sure the filament will not tie itself in a knot? Do we just create extremely long filaments through out space and anchor them in gravitational objects like planets, stars, and black holes. None of these are satisfactory because you would need to create an entirely new physics to make it all work.

Then after you have done all that, you discover a new problem, Circular Polarity.

Cork screw representation of a Circular Polarized Wave.
Circular Polarity

If you note that we now have a three dimensional path, then you see the problem is just like the two dimensional race path example we used before. Even though we have a pulse that will move through a filament medium at the Speed of Light, when we increase the distance it must move, it can not cover that distance in the expected time interval.

There is a solution, but I can not find any evidence that anyone thinks it is possible. Circularly polarized waves, or pseudo-photons, would have to move slower than the Speed of Light!

Chapter 7 — Could the Pseudo-Photon Teleport?

Let us return to a ping pong ball representing our pseudo-photon. What if it could teleport?

I am not aware of Quantum Mechanics prohibiting teleportation, so imagine that the pseudo-photon has the ability to teleport. It could “pop” between the positions on sinusoidal wave peeks and wave valleys. This would allow it to intermittently follow a wave like profile and easily maintain the speed of light in the process. It is symmetrical in all axes and it will always maintain the proper orientation. The best part is that it has no moving parts while traveling, so no part of these particles would ever travel faster than the pseudo speed of light. Modeling is really easy, just use time lapse photography and rearrange the position of the model as needed.

The only problem is that if we insist on obeying the Conservation of Energy, this is not allowed. The pseudo-photons appear and disappear with no change in the energy of the system. If they are missing, where did the energy go, when they reappear, where did the energy come from?

If all the photons (and all other particles that display Wave–Particle Duality) in the universe were synchronized, the cosmos would turn on and off like a giant light display. If you are explaining the Big Bang, this might be a tantalizing idea, but probably not a serious argument otherwise.

Before you tattoo this thesis on a sensitive part of your body, be aware there is a better idea.

Chapter 8 — Adding a Fourth Spacial Dimension

Again, I am not aware of Quantum Mechanics prohibiting extra spacial dimensions, so imagine that the pseudo-photon exists in a fourth dimension separate from our old buddy the dimension of time. It works just like teleportation, but we can sidestep the issue with the Conservation of Energy. Our Isolated System just needs to be expanded to encompass the Cosmic All.

In order to make sense of this view point, we must compress the three dimensions we live in down to two dimensions. This is done by taking a picture from the ceiling of the room that you want to view. When we look down at it, we are simulating the view of the room from a dimension “above” the room. To match this perspective, the ping pong ball must be crushed down to a white dot.

Dangling the dot above the picture illustrates a pseudo-photon about to enter our dimension. Laying the dot on the picture illustrates the pseudo-photon in our dimension and putting the dot under the picture illustrates the pseudo-photon exiting our dimension.

If we just stop here, we are missing out on an infinite number of other dimensions that the particle could enter and leave while it periodically visits us.

Chapter 9 — The Multiverse

What is the Multiverse? See the Wikipedia article on the Multiverse (10 July 2022, at 19:37 UTC.)

The multiverse is a hypothetical group of multiple universes. Together, these universes comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, energy, information, and the physical laws and constants that describe them. The different universes within the multiverse are called "parallel universes", "other universes", "alternate universes", or "many worlds".

If all the photons and all the other particles that display Wave–Particle Duality in the our universe are visiting neighboring universes and returning periodically, we pretty much have a working model of a Multiverse. Our Multiverse is built on a budget since we are reusing all of the particles in one universe in many other universes. Most likely, random numbers of these particles are distributed in the surrounding dimensions, some having more and some having less. The effect, though, is that an adjacent dimension should look very similar to the one we are sitting in.

It does have a sad feeling about it, though, because we have been teased for decades that the parallel universe right next to our arm chair could be filled with dinosaurs or other wild creatures. In this model the dimension next to us is virtually identical to ours.

The particles must circle back in order to maintain the Speed of Light for each dimension. During the trip, some particles may take longer paths than others, some may change into other particles, and some may possibly be annihilated. Thus, one would expect that there will be a fade out of the scene of our world as we progress further away from our dimension. Perhaps after a while, we could find dinosaurs!

Chapter 10— Conclusions

I really only have one conclusion and that is this, I tend to be drawn to ideas that increase the amount of mischief in a system.

For clarification’s sake, I believe that the term Electromagnetic Waves should be replaced with Electromagnetic Radiation when discussing modern physics. The only time the term Electromagnetic Waves might be useful is in the context of classic physics working in a hypothetical Aether.

As always, it is really up to you to decide whether there is any merit to these arguments, or not, and once again, I hope that this essay may inspire someone to see actual solutions to the problems addressed.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
JB Johnson

JB Johnson


I am a science and technology junky and this is my place where I can share my ideas.