China Should Not Build Super Particle Collider.

Chen-Ning Yang Says China Should Not Build Super Particle Collider.

On 7 September, Dr. C.N. Yang released an article on WeChat expressing his views that China should not build the world’s largest particle collider. His main reason, other than being very costly, is that such a machine would not gain us much scientific knowledge or benefit to society. We may even read into his reason as a hint that particle physics – strictly the Standard Model of particle physics – may lead us to nowhere. We will examine if particle physics is indeed useful.

International Press of Boston:

David Gross, a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Science, responded to Dr.Yang’s comment on:
High-energy physics produced any “tangible benefits” to society?

Yes! Even taking an extremely narrow view of this question, the technologies directly springing from particle physics have spawned huge industries that generate revenues far exceeding the magnitude of the investment in basic science. The multi-billion dollar accelerator industry, operating thousands of small-scale particle accelerators around the world ranging from light sources, to medical accelerators for cancer-fighting radiation therapies, owes its existence to particle physics. And the need for powerful magnets at proton colliders necessitated the development of superconducting magnet technology, itself a billion dollar industry, which are the critical component for MRI machines, a five billion dollar industry.

David Gross, being a physicists, seems to not know much about economics. You can hypothetically create a “billion dollar industries” from a huge unused mountain and you spend billions moving it back and forth between two locations – repeatedly ad infinitum. Surely, billion dollar secondary industries may arise around new technologies for moving mountains around  “better and faster” giving larger revenues – they somehow would still end up to be of some use somewhere.

It is a myth that particle physics from CERN (operator of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which discovered the Higgs Boson) has given society any new physics that resulted in any new technology – not one item, directly. The Standard Model involves so far only in fanciful concepts like quark, color charge, etc and none has anything to do with what engineers could use in their work. The very great technological advances of the past decades have nothing at all to do with the experiments carried out at CERN; they were nothing other than the result of empirical experimentation based on physics that have been around for decades since the breakthrough in quantum mechanics of the 1930’s.

Einstein’s Special Relativity and E=mc² Fictitious
(What follows has minimal physics which any freshman physics undergraduate could easily follow – and see for themselves; don’t ever need to blindly believe)
Most people would react with disbelief when told that E=mc² is fictitious. Is it not the famous “atomic bomb” formula, the reason why the atomic bomb works, why the nuclear reactor works. Yes indeed! The formula is probably correct as a estimate of the huge energy released from nuclear fission reactions when some mass goes “missing” and it is estimated to be converted to energy according to E=mc². What is fictitious is not about the physics of the relation between mass-deficit and nuclear binding energy, but when E=mc² is extended through special relativity to the topic of relativistic mechanics. According to relativistic mechanics, a particle’s mass approaches infinity (just keep increasing) as the particle is accelerated to near the light speed c (299792458 m/s). Its speed may go as close to c as technology permits, but it will never go faster than c – nothing travels faster than light. That’s the theory from special relativity. But is the theory good and well tested? Yes! – and so they say from the physics departments of  top universities like Princeton and Cambridge.

They Invented Relativistic Momentum
Relativistic mechanics began when they invented a “new” momentum to replace the old momentum of Newton’s which was the working momentum that never ever failed for three centuries and still is as valid as ever before – with a caveat of course depending on which “camp” you belong to. Classical Newtonian mechanics defines momentum  as: p=mv;  the Newtonian force F = d/dt(mv) = ma giving the famous formula of Newton’s second law as : F = ma or mass x acceleration. It is also through this definition of force in physics that the standard SI unit of force, the newton, is defined as kg.m/s² (kilogram.meter/second²). After the introduction of Einstein’s special relativity in 1905, they began developing a “new and better” mechanics to replace Newtonian mechanics. They first invented a new relativistic momentum – through a redefinition of momentum. They replaced momentum p=mv with
p = (1/√(1-v²/c²))mv = γmv where  γ = 1/√(1-v²/c²). In other words, having an extra “gamma” factor to the old momentum of p=mv.

The New and The Old Mechanics Do Not Mix
Of course, when a fundamental definition of a physics theory is changed, it becomes a new physics – another physics and another mechanics. The new and the old do not mix – the Heaven accepts one and will reject the other. So which of the mechanics will Heaven accept – the 300-years-tested Newtonian mechanics or the popular-100-year special relativity mechanics? Only Heaven knows? But we may try to find an answer based on a rigorous scientific argument.

With a new relativistic momentum definition of p= γmv, the new relativists assumed that they could invoke Newton’s second law for their definition of force.  In “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”, the “Principia” of Newton, the second law is:

Law 2. Change of motion is proportional to impressed motive force.

Newton’s “motion” is our momentum of mass x velocity; in calculus, it would mean: force is proportional to rate of change of momentum; or F = d/dt(mv) = ma. Isaac Newton himself wrote “force proportional to motion”  – and forgot about what he had written earlier about proportionality! He just used “force= mass x acceleration” himself. No one after Newton tried to define a “new momentum” and then invoked the original Newton’s second law with it until physicists invented relativistic mechanics. They then go back to the “original” laws of motion of Sir Isaac Newton, picked the second law, hoping to create a new mechanics to be “better” than Newton’s mechanics. You have the wish to create a “better” mechanics, but how about the Heavens – will your new creation find favor with Heaven? Newton’s mechanics received the full Blessings of the Heavens for a full 300 years and Heaven showed no sign that Newton was ever wrong – not once. What about relativistic mechanics? Heaven permits controversies on Einstein’s relativity theories to rage unabated on Earth for more then a hundred years since special relativity was proposed in 1905.

LHC Protons with energy 6.5 TeV or 470 MeV?
The new definition of force in relativistic mechanics is now f = d/dt {(1/√(1-v²/c²))mv}; any freshman physics undergrad can easily see that it is very different from f = d/dt(mv) = ma. Kinetic energy is derived from the work-energy theorem of : work = force x distance. So a new definition certainly would give rise to new formula  for kinetic energy. The classical kinetic formula for kinetic energy is KE = ½ mv². Of course, we expect a very different formula of kinetic energy for relativistic mechanics as momentum and force definitions have changed. The derivation of relativistic KE formula is given in most modern textbook of physics; the formula is  KE = (1/√(1-v²/c²) – 1)mc² or KE = (γ-1)mc². As an example, it is reported by CERN that the kinetic energy of their protons have been accelerated to as high as 6.5 TeV (6.5 x 10¹² electron volts). This is because the speed of the protons are traveling at almost 0.99995c  – almost at the light speed (γ is large and therefore KE large). But if we use the classical kinetic formula of
KE = ½ mv², the kinetic energy would be just 470 Mev (½ mass-proton x c²) – different by a factor of 15,000!  So what is the true kinetic energy of the protons within the LHC – 6.5 TeV or 470 MeV? No one knows the answer! No one has ever measured the energy of such protons directly (the only direct measure in general is through calorimetry – conversion to heat energy for measurement).

Relativistic Kinetic Energy is Fictitious
Physics need to have a system of standard of units for various fundamental quantities. We currently have the SI units which has standard definitions of mass, length and time with the kilogram, meter, second. The standard unit for force is the newton (symbol N) making use of Newton’s second law as an axiom: force = mass x acceleration giving the newton to be kg.m/s². The definition of force determines the unit for energy and energy in SI unit is the joule, or
kg.m²/s²  or newton-meter. What about the new relativistic mechanics with their definition of force as:

f = d/dt {(1/√(1-v²/c²))mv} — (I)

Question: What is the relativistic standard of unit for force in the SI units?

Answer: There is no provision in the SI units for a standard of force for relativistic mechanics.

Raw from gut feelings, you react immediately with disbelief  – How could it be! How could anyone create a mechanics and which has not a defined standard unit for force.  Without a defined unit for force, how are they to have a standard unit of energy (work = energy= force x distance) with which they calculate energy? I don’t know – you may try and think about it yourself. The SI unit of newton comes from f=ma and the relativistic force comes from : f = d/dt {(1/√(1-v²/c²))mv} – try staring intently at this latter formula and see if you could convince yourself that you could finally come out with a way to a unit of energy (W=E = force x distance) that is the same SI units as the joule.

Only a miracle could make the unit of energy for Newtonian mechanics compatible to any unit of energy (if any) in relativistic mechanics.

You could go ask the physics professors in Fudan university, Tsinghua University or the Chinese physicists from the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP).

The relativists 100 years ago created a new relativistic mechanics redefining momentum arbitrarily and assumed that – just because they followed Newton’s original second law to the letter – that everything else would follow naturally. Heaven allows only one way to define the concept of momentum so that the mechanics may be used to predict dynamic motions with their equations. You either define p = mv or p = γmv – only one will work. The Newtonian units for force and energy have been implemented and used successfully for a full 300 years without failure. The new relativistic mechanics cannot be used at all to define any real standard unit of force or energy with which to calculate. So how have they “successfully” incorporated relativistic mechanics into their high energy physics and their Standard Model of particle physics? Answer:  They are all calculating energy based on a fictitious scale; they just assume that they still could calculate force in SI newton and energy in SI joule. They cannot! Their physics are all based on fictitious values.

It is not without reason that the Standard Model of particle physics has not given us any technological innovation from their physics that enters into our everyday life – not one! CERN initially was meant to be for peaceful nuclear research for the betterment of society, but they have not given us any practical nuclear physics despite their “God” particle of the Higgs boson. They could not solve the fundamental of fusion of hydrogen into helium which would have solved all our energy needs – hydrogen is cheap and freely available from water(H₂O).

So the reason for the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters (also the smog “disaster” of China) is because we are still using the same “dirty” fission nuclear reactors whose basic physics is no different from what we already know a hundred years back – all very old physics.

We have been sidelined from investing our resources into real physics by pursuing  fictitious particle physics. Should China build the next generation of super particle accelerators? Should China follow the lead of the physicists from Princeton and Cambridge? Following the leaders on a sure path to nowhere!

Chan Rasjid Kah Chew,