Adapted for the Internet from:

Why God Doesn't Exist

    1.0   Big Foot prints

    Suppose that you find a shiny silver dollar on the street and you see a curved mark on it (Fig. 1). What would you conclude
    with respect to how this line was made? Was it scratched with a knife? Did someone make the holes with a single bite? Are
    the marks footprints left by something that rolled over the coin gradually?
Anderson's footprints

Fig. 1   Wafer with a curved line marked on it

    In 1932, Carl Anderson was confronted with this dilemma. Anderson placed a metal wafer in a cloud chamber and, when
    he retrieved it, he discovered a curved line on it. Anderson concluded that the line was a geodesic: a trace made by a
    particle (Fig. 2).

    “ On August 2, 1932, during the course of photographing cosmic-ray tracks produced
       in a vertical Wilson chamber… the tracks shown in Fig. 1 were obtained, which seemed
       to be interpretable only on the basis of the existence in this case of a particle" [1]

    Anderson had to account for the sharp deflection in his report. Since he was just a mathematician,  Ander-son got busy
    calculating the mass and speed necessary to produce such a curve. He fudged with the numbers until he got them to
    match his preconceived notions. Eureka! Anderson realized that he had confirmed the existence of the positron, a particle
    that Dirac had 'predicted' 4 years earlier. This discovery garnered him the Noble Prize of Relativity or of Quantum (or
    something like that) of 1936.

    Anderson's saga was another success story in the history of Quantum, an early milestone in what would be an
    uninterrupted string of 'confirmations'  of particles, the bread and butter of Mathematical Physics.

    Apparently, Anderson arbitrarily and without any evidence opted to say that his trace consists of a series of locations of
    ONE particle. But since the background is a physical medium and not empty space, we are left with two possibilities: the
    continuous trough and a series of footprints. Anderson is suggesting that we are all staring at a collage: a series of marks
    imprinted in succession by one entity on a still image. Any way we look at it  --  collage, movie, footprints, trough --  we are
    not looking at a still image. Anderson and his successors are pointing to a photograph and telling us that we are staring
    at a series of frames comprising a movie. He is not talking about a geometric figure. He is talking about tracks or a groove
    left by ONE particle.

    4.0   The source of the problem: the 'particle' gas chamber

    The reason Anderson felt comfortable with his conclusion can be traced to Wilson's  cloud chamber, the tool that the
    mechanics have used for decades to win Nobel Prizes.  Wilson's cloud chamber (and later Glaser's  bubble chamber) is
    supposed to work via particles that ionize more particles:

    "In its most basic form, a cloud chamber is a sealed environment containing
     a supercooled, supersaturated water vapour. When an alpha particle or beta
     particle interacts with the mixture, it ionises it. The resulting ions act as
     condensation nuclei, around which a mist will form (because the mixture is
     on the point of condensation). The high energies of alpha and beta particles
     mean that a trail is left, due to many ions being produced along the path of
     the charged particle." [2]

    The bubble chamber works in a similar way:

    " A bubble chamber is a vessel filled with a superheated transparent liquid
      used to detect electrically charged particles moving through it. The charged
      particle deposits sufficient energy in the liquid that it begins to boil along its
      path, forming a string of bubbles. Bubble chambers are similar to cloud
      chambers in application and basic principle." [3]

    These explanations already make at least three a priori assumptions that seal the fate of the physical interpretations the
    mathematicians offer:

    1.       the entire Universe consists of particles

    2.       the atom looks like Bohr's thoroughly debunked planetary model (electron
    orbiting a nucleus)

    3.       ionization consists of a debunked Bohr atom which has lost a marble

    So it is not surprising that the mechanics end up concluding that they are staring at the trace of a particle. They believe
    they are 'proving' particle tracks through experiment when the alleged particle is actually an assumption from the start.
    The mathematicians who 'accelerate particles' at places like SLAC and CERN never proposed any alternative. Ergo,
    Anderson's positron was already a particle before he started his experiment. The infamous 'positron' was a foregone
    conclusion. If the assumption is wrong, Anderson has to return his gold medal.

    It is to note that Anderson's fateful 'discovery' is an important milestone in the history of Quantum Mechanics. Spurred by
    his easily won Nobel, dozens of wannabes rushed to see if they could get one too. Anderson's prize initiated a massive
    gold rush that hasn't abated till today. It set off an incessant series of experiments in which researchers 'discovered'
    more and more particles in similar ways. A particle mathematician saw a trace, gave it a Greek letter, and demanded that
    his peers recognize his immense contribution to science. The trickle of imagined and tentative particles became a deluge.
    So many particles were ‘predicted’ and then predictably ‘discovered’ that a suspicious Oppenheimer exclaimed facetiously
    that “the Nobel Prize in physics shall go to the physicist who does NOT discover a new particle that year.  A skeptical
    Fermi added sarcastically that “if I had known there would be so many particles, I would have become a botanist rather
    than a physicist.”

    Today the Standard Model lists over 200 particles. A system that was supposed to be simple just got more and more
    complicated. The fundamental particle that underlay all matter is ever farther from reach, and Ockham’s Razor  has today
    become an anachronistic tradition.

    5.0   The rope hypothesis

    So what is the alternative to Anderson's 'trace'?

    One possibility that needs to be considered is the rope. Like the little girl said, the wafer could have just been whacked
    by a rope coming from the side (Fig. 5). Electromagnetism doesn't consist of particles. An electromagnetic 'wave' consists
    of two twined threads. (Here you can visualize how threads swing around a magnet to get a rough idea of how a rope can
    produce this effect.)

    If Anderson's suppositron did not jump up and down, perhaps it made 'continuous' contact with the metal throughout its
    trip, increasingly piling up more and more metal in front of itself as it ripped through the surface! Under this scenario,
    Anderson would be compelled to factor the increasing inertia the particle felt as it pushed against more and more matter,
    and to calculate the amount of metal that was accumulated in front of it until the particle finally skipped over the ditch to
    win its freedom. Or perhaps Anderson should check the wafer again! Maybe his particle is still there at the end of the mound!

    Fig. 2   Anderson's Suppositron

    2.0   Review of Anderson's 'discovery'

    Let's review Anderson's conclusions just to make sure he crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's.

    Let's assume you paint a wall on the outside of your house and you see Dennis the Menace, the neighborhood brat,
    bouncing his little ball against the wall next door. You can already imagine what pranks are running through this evil
    boy's mind because he has done many of them before. You absolutely hate this kid. You have built a great animosity
    towards him. You have it in your mind that you're going to run him over with your car some day.

    You finish painting your wall and go inside for a lemonade. You can still hear the echo of Dennis' ball bouncing against
    the wall outside. Sometimes it stops. Then, it begins again. No problem. You are not going to let it trouble you. You finish
    your break, go outside, take a good look at your masterpiece, and discover a long streak like the one in Fig. 1 on it.

    That's it! You've had enough! You've held it back for too many years! There's just too much pain! Too many memories!
    Not enough patience! No more Mr. Nice Guy! Without a word, you go inside, grab your shotgun, load it, go outside, look
    for Dennis, point, and a second later the frantic cries for help go deaf. Justice has finally been served.

    Dennis' mom comes out crying and yelling that you killed her little baby. You tell her that he deserved it.

    "Why," she asks.

    "Look at what he did to my wall," you answer angrily. "He waited until I turned my back, and marked all these holes on it
    with his ball. He just couldn't resist the temptation, could he?"

    A trembling little girl appears timidly from behind you. She is your daughter. She is holding a rope in her hand. She
    apologizes in a sweet little voice and says "I'm sorry daddy. It was me. I was skipping my rope near the wall. I got too
    close and involuntarily gave it a whack. Please don't shoot me!"

    This heartwarming story entertains the possibility that Anderson may have rushed just a little too fast to get his noble
    medal. Anderson and his team were so eager to believe that the mark on the wafer was made by a particle (to confirm
    once again their beloved Quantum Mechanics) that he never stopped to consider other hypotheses. He summarily
    concluded that he was staring at a trace made by a particle.

    3.0   So why isn't Anderson's positron a particle?

    Anderson's corpuscular version of what he saw raises troubling questions. Did the particle make a continuous groove
    as it slid on the surface of the wafer (Fig. 2) or did it bounce up and down like a kangaroo, making discrete pock marks
    in the sand (Fig. 3)? Is the alleged trace continuous or segmented? Are we staring at a ditch, at Big Foot's footprints, or
    a series of oranges laid side by side  (Fig. 4)? Are we staring at a photograph, at a collage, or at a movie? What is it that
    we are looking at?

Fig. 4   There are lines and there are lines

    Fig. 3   Jumpin' Jehosaphat! A jumpin' bean!
Fellas! I know that I'm not
an expert. But I think
there is something you
should know.

Fig. 5   Whacking a mechanic

How the rope generates a 'positron trace'
Anderson supposed that he was
staring at the trace made by a
particle. He concluded that he had
discovered a particle 'predicted' by
Dirac four years earlier and known
today as the
positron. His friends
decided to give him a
Nobel Prize
in Quantum for this great discovery.
If Anderson's suppositron ball jumped up and down to create
a series of pock marks, we have a different ball game. It
would mean that the motion of the particle was in a direction
perpendicular to the wafer. This opens up a nasty can of
worms that no one can close. Quantum Mechanics holds
that a particle behaves as a wave when it is not in contact
with matter. This means that Anderson's stupid ball went
from particle to wave and back as it hopped around to
produce each footprint. This would require that he calculate
and account for the time the particle spent when not in
contact with the wafer. Perhaps his corpuscle travels a little
faster than what he calculated.
The mathematicians are idiots by nature. They call everything a line. To them a geodesic is a line, a
distance is a line, a trace is a line, a segment is a line, a string is a line, and an infinite line is a line.
A mathematician is unconcerned about Physics or grammar, so he doesn't care about qualitative
aspects of the things he stares at or defines. Therefore, he never found a need to discriminate
among the different types of lines.

Which one of these is Anderson's famous 'suppositron'?


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        Copyright © by Nila Gaede 2008