20 January 2013

John Baez, noodles and experiment

John Baez is a well-known blogger on mathematical physics. I always like reading Baez because he is gentle and kind - a rare specimen among men in theoretical physics.

I just found a short comment in his name (thus possibly written by him) on the strand/spaghetti model. He calls the model "flaky". As a European woman, understanding the male Californian use of "flaky" is not really possible. Does it really mean "unreliable", as wiktionary says? Let me assume it does.

What is an "unreliable" model? A husband can be unreliable. (Not mine though.) But a theory of everything? It can be either wrong or right, it seems to me. I guess that Baez means "wrong". But why should he think that?

Neither "prediction of gauge groups" nor "prediction of the gauge groups" (with quotes) gives any hits in Google. Zero. Or type "prediction gauge groups" (without quotes) into the arxiv search. There are over 500 results, but the spaghetti model is the only explicit paper on the topic. The spaghetti model still is the only model that predicts the three gauge groups and agrees with experiment. If I take these results, the spaghetti model has no competition at all.

So a model based on noodles and with little math describes experiment better than all the competitors that are based on complicated calculations. Eat more noodles, researchers! It might help you finding an even better theory of everything.


  1. I also read that noodles were used for inventing the Georgian alphabet.

  2. That seems to be a racist joke by a neighbor country.

  3. I like Georgia and have many friends in Georgia. I'm Uzbek, hence I cannot be a racist. My nation is a mix of all races. See, for instance, http://www.scs.illinois.edu/~mcdonald/WorldHaplogroupsMaps.pdf

  4. Murod, I did not mean to say that you are racist. But it is a fact that the story is a racist joke: the alphabet has not been taken from noodles. It is a story made up.

  5. Ok, Clara, you did it. After months of reading your ads of spagetti model I've downloaded the book and spent 4 hours to look through it.

    Reading was fun, especially chapters related to speculation on unification and gauge symmetries.

    The first impression is as follows:

    1. Just a note: spaghetti model resembles to me the "diagrammatic notation" from the book by Penrose and Rindler.

    2. All particle physics seems to be in there. But how? I did not read carefully, but as a rule some qualitative speculations are followed by the formulas known from physics textbooks. To me it is not clear how formulas can be derived from those speculations. Unless we accept that all physics can really be be deduced from the short statements formulated as the "fundamental principles" of the model.

    3. Introduction of limits "closes" many "open issues". But it is still not clear why the light speed is 300 th. km/hour. Can this be potentially derived from the model or not?

    4. The introduction was very promising, and I expected that at the end of reading I will know why (i) there are only 3 charged leptons, (ii) alpha=1/137, (iii) proton to electron mass ratio is 2000, etc. Unfortunately it didn't happen. In fact, I did not find any theoretical derivation of any physical value (such as mass or charge of any particle, value of coupling constant etc.).

    Anyway, as stated by John Baez, "there's a lot of good stuff" in a book. Even if all mentionings of strands will be removed from the book, it will be a very good reading for better understanding of the particle physics and relativity.

    1. Murod, yes, there is good stuff in it, but not enough. Also Schiller needs to eat more noodles.