15 February 2011

Maximum force - and men

A few physicists - Mazza, Kostro, Gibbons, Schiller - state that there is a maximum force:
  • c^4/G or about 10^44 N.
I did something simple. I told this to a researcher in the field. Then I asked another. And another. All got enraged. Really enraged. Why? They say it is wrong. So I emailed a few of the proponents to ask; they wrote back saying that the limit exists and is correct (up to a factor 1/4).

So I started asking. Can anybody show a system in nature with a higher value? No. Can anybody imagine a system with a higher value? In Schiller's book on relativity I found a discussion of all sort of attempts to exceed the value, and all are in vain. As I was told, this is related to the hoop conjecture by Thorne; when energy gets too compressed, it turns into a black hole.

Wow. A maximum force in nature? This sounds like the best statement on general relativity since decades. I did a literature search. Nobody else talks about it! This seems like the greatest missed marketing opportunity for general relativity since its discovery. I cannot believe it! When will they give a Christmas lecture about it?

But now the other side. Do people get upset because they hear religious overtones? Do they see their religion in danger? Or are they upset because they missed the discovery? Is it envy?

There are two lessons form this story:
  • Testing who is stronger is a typical male occupation; and fights about maximum force seem about the most nasty ones.
  • Many physicists make truth into a taboo subject.
Maximum force confirms the theme of this blog: truth and fundamental physics research are usually separate. O tempora, o mores!

Update: two references.

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0210109  GW Gibbons, The Maximum Tension Principle in General Relativity

http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0607090 C Schiller, General relativity and cosmology derived from principle of maximum power or force

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