17 May 2013

Down quark mass in the spaghetti model

"Anonymous" is asking questions about the mass of the d-quark tangle. I am not the right person to discuss the problem, but I'll try. I recall that when I first read about tangles defining mass, I was confused. Schiller does not explain the issue very well; but he says that more complex tangles have higher mass and rotate more slowly.

Somewhere else he writes that there is a problem with the down quark: the spaghetti model predicts a smaller mass than the up quark, because the down quark is simpler. A simpler tangle has a smaller mass. What does symmetry have for an effect? I don't know; "Anonymous" writes that it should ease rotation.  Then symmetry reduces the mass and makes the problem worse. And now?

And what is the difference between an up and down tangle anyway? The tangles (page 287) seem the same to me.


  1. 'We note that a large mass value implies, for
    a given momentum value, both a slow translation and a slow rotation. [...] When an asymmetrical body is moved through a viscous fluid, it starts rotating. The rotation results from the asymmetrical shape of the body. All the tangle cores of elementary particles are asymmetrical. The strand model thus predicts that tangle cores will rotate when they move through vacuum.' -- Motion Mountain, vol.6, p180

    Well maybe the down quark is a bit too symmetrical then. It doesn't get made to rotate as much as the other quarks, and so maybe THAT is why it has a bigger mass than expected from just its rope length.

  2. "...he says that more complex tangles have higher mass and rotate more slowly."

    If mass is a signature of how complex the strand tangle is, what defines gauge charges in Schiller’s theory? Furthermore, since mass varies with both the frame of reference and with the observation scale, the complexity of the tangle must also vary. But what does this mean precisely? Also, if the strand model approaches gauge and scale invariance in some limit, masses must be vanishing. How can the complexity of the tangle be vanishing?

    What does it mean that the tangle rotates more slowly if it has higher complexity? Rotation relative to what? a fixed observer? a fixed space-time background? What generates this rotation?

    It seems to me that there are too many open questions to take Schiller’s model seriously. At least not for the time being.

  3. Ervin,

    I guess mass is rest mass. Somewhere he says that the rotation is the same rotation that Feynman calls "arrow rotation". I imagine this rotation as stemming from the way that these tangles squeeze through the vacuum. About scale invariance I know nothing! Gauge invariance does not lead to vanishing mass - why do you say so?

    1. "I imagine this rotation as stemming from the way that these tangles squeeze through the vacuum."

      Without a sound interpretation in terms of measurable observables (such as angular momentum, spin or charge for example), I am afraid that these words are at best metaphors with no physical content.

      Local gauge invariance in quantum field theory implies massless particles. A massive theory breaks both local gauge symmetry and scale invariance.

    2. Ervin,

      I started reading Schiller's text again, and that is how I understand it. I find his derivation of Schroedinger equation rather convincing, but it could be better.

      Local gauge invariance only implies massless vector bosons. I did not arrive at the relevant chapter yet, but if I recall, all data is reproduced by the spaghetti model, including SU(2) breaking.

    3. "Local gauge invariance only implies massless vector bosons".

      I disagree. Fermion masses are also forbidden from the Lagrangian because they couple the left- and right-handed components of the fields, which behave differently under the SU(2) transformation. Such mass terms can therefore produce an explicit breaking of the gauge symmetry and this is the reason why the SU(2) ⊗ U(1) Lagrangian contains exclusively massless fields.

      To be credible, the spaghetti model needs to prove that it can reproduce ALL the predictions and the parameters of the Standard Model. This means all cross sections, lifetimes, branching ratios, mass and gauge hierarchies, mixing angles and CP violating parameters. This also means that it has to be free from quantum anomalies and has to properly connect to the local, unitary and renormalizable behavior of gauge theories underlying the Standard Model.

      There is little to no evidence that Schiller's model satisfy these requirements.

    4. Ervin,

      you make many points. I think that we agree that the standard model has fermion masses. Schiller writes that he can reproduce the standard model, with all the numbers. But indeed, he calculates only a few numbers, so far. He discusses mass hierarchies quite a lot, though.

      What he does not at all, in my eyes, is to explain anomalies. This is a big issue, and maybe he is hiding something?

    5. Clara,

      What I find it to be deeply troubling is that Schiller's work is nothing but wishful thinking and empty speculation. All his (many) grandiose claims are based exclusively on graphics and metaphors.

      Contrary to what you say, there is zero numerical evidence that Schiller reproduces the physics of the Standard Model and the General Relativity. Few equations that he borrows from textbooks are meant to impress the reader, but there is simply no credible substance to his arguments.

      After a second reading of the book, my conclusion stands: the strand model is not about observable physics, it is about one's vivid imagination and about losing contact with reality. Schiller's model is simply "not even wrong".

    6. Ervin,

      I have fun being Schiller's bulldog, and therefore I disagree completely, of course. I enjoy his model of quantum theory, and I like his deduction of the three gauge groups. He also has a non-trivial approach to limit the particle spectrum to a finite range of possibilities. This is interesting, and has substance.

    7. "This is interesting, and has substance".

      I will concur only when I see compelling numerical evidence based on testable physics and not the flimsy hand-waving arguments that Schiller promotes.

      Let's agree to disagree.



    8. Of course we disagree. Obviously we read different books! I'll post about this issue in a few days.

    9. Clara,

      Here is a paper that it may be of interest to you. It summarizes derivation of the gauge structure, mass hierarchy and three chiral families from the Renormalization Group flow. The paper awaits publication this Summer and its full content links to previous research on these topics.

      Unlike Schiller's model, it makes no assumption on the behavior and topology of space-time at the Planck scale (is compliant with the cluster decomposition principle of QFT) and does not invoke unobserved structures (strands) evolving on a fixed space-time background.



    10. Ervin,

      assuming fractality is an assumption on the behavior of space-time at Planck scale and much beyond that! (What is a fractal space-time anyway? I can picture fractality only in a background.)

      Spaghetti make numerical predictions (the standard model is valid "always"), fractality in fact introduces a new parameter, namely the fractal dimension, and makes no prediction...

      Ervin, Ervin ...

    11. Clara,

      You have obviously no idea what you are talking about.

      Low level fractality is present in the form of dimensional parameter epsilon = 4-D, where epsilon << 1, in dimensional regularization of QFT and in the Landau-Ginzburg-Wilson Hamiltonian.

      It is also quite clear that you launch into making statements without first reading the paper and taking the time to digest its content.

    12. Ervin,

      Fractality is an assumption on the behavior of space-time at ALL distances, also on the tiniest ones.

      It seems to me that fractality exists only in/on a background of integer dimension.

      I read your paper, and I ask you to behave.

    13. Clara,

      I apologize for loosing my temper and making offensive remarks.

      Since I don't share your enthusiastic views on the strand model and I have serious objections about many of its premises and outcomes, I decided to end my attendance to your blog.

      Take care,


    14. Life leads each of us along our paths. All the best to you!

  4. Clara,

    I see what you mean about the up and down quark tangles. I thought the difference was obvious -- the up quark tangle has an extra crossing -- but when I tried to make the tetrahedron skeleton with my headphone cable, I couldn't do it. They both kept turning out the same.

    What is the answer?

    1. I think I found the difference: the topology is the same, but the shape differs.
      Page 287: the end in the middle right must be thought above the paper, the upper and lower right ends must be thought below the paper. Then the down quark is symmetric, as you pointed out, but the up quark is not: two ends are exchanged, which changes the shape into a non-symmetric one. Really tricky.

    2. Thanks. I followed your tips and made an up quark tangle in my headphone cable. Of course then I looked at the picture of the strange quark, and I had to make that too just to make sure it wasn't the same. Fortunately it wasn't.

      I did an experiment. A sphere is totally symmetrical I thought, but a disc would be less so and an ellipse less than that, so I cut a few out of cardboard and tossed them around to see how much they tumbled. I tried three different sizes and kept the areas of the disc and ellipse roughly equal to each other in each case. Unfortunately I wasn't able to demonstrate that more symmetrical shapes rotate less in a viscous flow -- in both cases, it depended most on how I tossed them, and I didn't see any very big differences between the two.