Category Archives: Debates

I engaged in long discussions on physics and philosophy through email and in Internet forums. Some of them are a bit nasty, but most were conducted in good taste. Here they are, both for your reading pleasure and my archival purposes.

Risk – Wiley FinCAD Webinar

This post is an edited version of my responses in a Webinar panel-discussion organized by Wiley-Finance and FinCAD. The freely available Webcast is linked in the post, and contains responses from the other participants — Paul Wilmott and Espen Huag. An expanded version of this post may later appear as an article in the Wilmott Magazine.

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The Big Bang Theory – Part II

This post is a continuation of my earlier musings on the Big Bang theory. This one looks at the foundational assumptions of quantum gravity. In management speak, it is a high level overview, which sounds like I understand it. In a physicist’s lingo, it is merely a layman description or a hand-waving argument. In other words, the management types out there may like it better than the smart ones. You be the judge! Continue reading

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What is Space?

This post examines the realness of our space perception. (Why did you think this blog was called Unreal?) Continue reading

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Tsunami

The Asian Tsunami two and a half years ago unleashed tremendous amount energy on the coastal regions around the Indian ocean. What do you think would’ve have happened to this energy if there had been no water to carry it away from the earthquake? Continue reading

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Universe – Size and Age

I posted this question that was bothering me when I read that they found a galaxy at about 13 billion light years away. My understanding of that statement is: At distance of 13 billion light years, there was a galaxy 13 billion years ago, so that we can see the light from it now. Wouldn’t that mean that the universe is at least 26 billion years old? It must have taken the galaxy about 13 billion years to reach where it appears to be, and the light from it must take another 13 billion years to reach us. Continue reading

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Twin Paradox – Take 2

Posting an old discussion on SFN. The Twin Paradox is usually explained away by arguing that the traveling twin feels the motion because of his acceleration/deceleration, and therefore ages slower. [...] Continue reading

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Unreal Time

Another discussion from an on-line forum, this post looks at space and time. [...]The first question we need to ask ourselves is why space and time seem coupled? The answer is actually too simple to spot, and it is in your definition of time. Space and time mix through our concept of velocity and our brain’s ability to sense motion. There is an even deeper connection, which is that space is a cognitive representation of the photons inputs to our eyes, but we will get to it later.[...] Continue reading

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Of Rotation, LT and Acceleration

Here is a geometric interpretation of Lorentz transformation (or how to go from SR to GR). Continue reading

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The Unreal Universe — Discussion with Gibran

Another short discussion on the interpretations of Special Relativity. Continue reading

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Anti-relativity and Superluminality

A discussion on the meaning and interpretation of Special Relativity. The perceptual effects are known in physics; they are called Light Travel Time effects (LTT, to cook up an acronym). These effects are considered an optical illusion on the motion of the object under observation. Once you take out the LTT effects, you get the “real” motion of the object . This real motion is supposed to obey SR. This is the current interpretation of SR. My argument is that the LTT effects are so similar to SR that we should think of SR as just a formalization of LTT. (In fact, a slightly erroneous formalization.) Continue reading

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Discussion on the Daily Mail (UK)

On the Daily Mail forum, one participant (called “whats-in-a-name”) started talking about my book, The Unreal Universe, on July 15, 2006. It was attacked fairly viciously there. I happened to see it during a Web search and decided to step in and defend it. Continue reading

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Superluminal Laser Dots

A discussion in the Science Forums on the appearance of a laser dot on a ceiling. It is thought that if you pointed a laser dot on a ceiling and move the laser gun fast enough, the dot could move superluminally. Could it really? Continue reading

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What is Real? Discussions with Ranga.

This post is a long email discussion I had with my friend Ranga. The topic was the unreality of reality of things and how this notion can be applied in physics. Going through the debate again, I feel that Ranga considers himself better-versed in the matters of philosophy than I am. I too consider him better read than me. But I feel that his assumption (that I didn’t know so much that I should be talking about such things) may have biased his opinion and blinded him to some of the genuinely new things (in my opinion, of course) I had to say. Nonetheless, I think there are quite a few interesting points that came out during the debate that may be of general interest. I have edited and formatted the debate for readability.

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