NASA paper leaked!


EmDrive is a possible propulsion system granting no apparent expulsion of propellent. It has been reason of hot debate with strong criticisms from the scientific community championed by Sean Carroll and John Baez. Harold "Sonny" WhiteNotwithstanding this, NASA went ahead performing in-depth experiments to test this technology. It was announced that, on December this year, a paper will appear in a reputable journal reporting on the last measurement campaign. But to today the paper leaked out on reddit. The results, at a first sight, appear to be striking confirming the effect, with all the possible mundane disturbing causes excluded. You can also find other material there as a small video.

I hope this will go properly evaluated by the scientific community moving to a more serious addressing of this effect.

Update: The links were removed from the subreddit’s moderator. I have copies of these files but I do not mean to publish them in any form.

Update: Here is the published paper.


In the aftermath of ICHEP 2016



ATLAS and CMS nuked our illusions on that bump. More than 500 papers were written on it and some of them went through Physical Review Letters. Now, we are contemplating the ruins of that house of cards. This says a lot about the situation in hep in these days. It should be emphasized that people at CERN warned that that data were not enough to draw a conclusion and if they fix the threshold at 5\sigma a reason must exist. But carelessness acts are common today if you are a theorist and no input from experiment is coming for long.

It should be said that the fact that LHC could confirm the Standard Model and nothing else is one of the possibilities. We should hope that a larger accelerator could be built, after LHC decommissioning, as there is a long way to the Planck energy that we do not know how to probe yet.

What does it remain? I think there is a lot yet. My analysis of the Higgs sector is still there to be checked as I will explain in a moment but this is just another way to treat the equations of the Standard Model, not beyond it. Besides, for the end of the year they will reach 30\ fb^{-1}, almost triplicating the actual integrated luminosity and something interesting could ever pop out. There are a lot of years of results ahead and there is no need to despair. Just to wait. This is one of the most important activities of a theorist. Impatience does not work in physics and mostly for hep.

About the signal strength, things seem yet too far to be settled. I hope to see better figures for the end of the year. ATLAS is off the mark, going well beyond unity for WW, as happened before. CMS claimed 0.3\pm 0.5 for WW decay, worsening their excellent measurement of 0.72^{+0.20}_{-0.18} reached in Run I. CMS agrees fairly well with my computations but I should warn that the error bar is yet too large and now is even worse. I remember that the signal strength is obtained by the ratio of the measured cross section to the one obtained from the Standard Model. The fact that is smaller does not necessarily mean that we are beyond the Standard Model but that we are just solving the Higgs sector in a different way than standard perturbation theory. This solution entails higher excitations of the Higgs field but they are strongly depressed and very difficult to observe now. The only mark could be the signal strength for the observed Higgs particle. Finally, the ZZ channel is significantly less sensible and error bars are so large that one can accommodate whatever she likes yet. Overproduction seen by ATLAS is just a fluctuation that will go away in the future.

The final sentence to this post is what we have largely heard in these days: Standard Model rules.

Higgs or not Higgs, that is the question


LHCP2016 is running yet with further analysis on 2015 data by people at CERN. We all have seen the history unfolding since the epochal event on 4 July 2012 where the announcement of the great discovery happened. Since then, also Kibble passed away. What is still there is our need of a deep understanding of the Higgs sector of the Standard Model. Quite recently, LHC restarted operations at the top achievable and data are gathered and analysed in view of the summer conferences.

The scalar particle observed at CERN has a mass of about 125 GeV. Data gathered on 2015 seem to indicate a further state at 750 GeV but this is yet to be confirmed. Anyway, both ATLAS and CMS see this bump in the \gamma\gamma data and this seems to follow the story of the discovery of the Higgs particle. But we have not a fully understanding of the Higgs sector  yet. The reason is that, in run I, gathered data were not enough to reduce the error bars to such small values to decide if Standard Model wins or not. Besides, as shown by run II, further excitations seem to pop up. So, several theoretical proposals for the Higgs sector still stand up and could be also confirmed already in August this year.

Indeed, there are great news already in the data presented at LHCP2016. As I pointed out here, there is a curious behavior of the strengths of the signals of Higgs decay in WW,\ ZZ and some tension, even if small, appeared between ATLAS and CMS results. Indeed, ATLAS seemed to have seen more events than CMS moving these contributions well beyond the unit value but, as CMS had them somewhat below, the average was the expected unity agreeing with expectations from the Standard Model. The strength of the signals is essential to understand if the propagator of the Higgs field is the usual free particle one or has some factor reducing it significantly with contributions from higher states summing up to unity. In this case, the observed state at 125 GeV would be just the ground state of a tower of particles being its excited states. As I showed recently, this is not physics beyond the Standard Model, rather is obtained by solving exactly the quantum equations of motion of the Higgs sector (see here). This is done considering the other fields interacting with the Higgs field just a perturbation.

So, let us do a recap of what was the situation for the strength of the signals for the WW\, ZZ decays of the Higgs particle. At LHCP2015 the data were given in the following slide

Signal strengths at LHCP2015

From the table one can see that the signal strengths for WW,\ ZZ decays in ATLAS are somewhat beyond unity while in CMS these are practically unity for ZZ but, more interestingly, 0.85 for WW. But we know that data gathered for WW decay are largely more than for ZZ decay. The error bars are large enough to be not a concern here. The value 0.85 is really in agreement with the already cited exact computations from the Higgs sector but, within the error, in overall agreement with the Standard Model. This seems to point toward on overestimated number of events in ATLAS but a somewhat reduced number of events in CMS, at least for WW decay.

At LHCP2016 new data have been presented from the two collaborations, at least for the ZZ decay. The results are striking. In order to see if the scenario provided from the exact solution of the Higgs sector is in agreement with data, these should be confirmed from run II and those from ATLAS should go down significantly. This is indeed what is going on! This is the corresponding slide

CMS data LHCP2016

This result is striking per se as shows a tendency toward a decreasing value when, in precedence, it was around unity. Now it is aligned with the value seen at CMS for the WW decay! The value seen is again in agreement with that given in the exact solution of the Higgs sector. And ATLAS? This is the most shocking result: They see a significant reduced set of events and the signal strength they obtain is now aligned to the one of CMS (see Strandberg’s talk at page 11).

What should one conclude from this? If the state at 750 GeV should be confirmed, as the spectrum given by the exact solution of the Higgs sector is given by an integer multiplied by a mass, this would be at n=6. Together with the production strengths, if further data will confirm them, the proper scenario for the breaking of electroweak symmetry is exactly the one described by the exact solution. Of course, this should be obviously true but an experimental confirmation is essential for a lot of reasons, last but not least the form of the Higgs potential that, if the numbers are these, the one postulated in the sixties would be the correct one. An other important reason is that coupling with other matter does not change the spectrum of the theory in a significant way.

So, to answer to the question of the title remains to wait a few weeks. Then, summer conferences will start and, paraphrasing Coleman: God knows, I know and by the end of the summer we all know.

Marco Frasca (2015). A theorem on the Higgs sector of the Standard Model Eur. Phys. J. Plus (2016) 131: 199 arXiv: 1504.02299v3

They did it!


This is a great moment in history of physics: Gravitational waves were directly detected by the merging of two black holes by the LIGO Collaboration. This is a new world we arrived at and there will be a lot to be explored and understood. I do not know if it is for the direct proof of existence of gravitational waves or black holes that fixes this great moment forever in the memory of mankind. But by today we have both!

You can find an excellent recount here. This is the paper



Thank you for this great work!

Abbott, B., Abbott, R., Abbott, T., Abernathy, M., Acernese, F., Ackley, K., Adams, C., Adams, T., Addesso, P., Adhikari, R., Adya, V., Affeldt, C., Agathos, M., Agatsuma, K., Aggarwal, N., Aguiar, O., Aiello, L., Ain, A., Ajith, P., Allen, B., Allocca, A., Altin, P., Anderson, S., Anderson, W., Arai, K., Arain, M., Araya, M., Arceneaux, C., Areeda, J., Arnaud, N., Arun, K., Ascenzi, S., Ashton, G., Ast, M., Aston, S., Astone, P., Aufmuth, P., Aulbert, C., Babak, S., Bacon, P., Bader, M., Baker, P., Baldaccini, F., Ballardin, G., Ballmer, S., Barayoga, J., Barclay, S., Barish, B., Barker, D., Barone, F., Barr, B., Barsotti, L., Barsuglia, M., Barta, D., Bartlett, J., Barton, M., Bartos, I., Bassiri, R., Basti, A., Batch, J., Baune, C., Bavigadda, V., Bazzan, M., Behnke, B., Bejger, M., Belczynski, C., Bell, A., Bell, C., Berger, B., Bergman, J., Bergmann, G., Berry, C., Bersanetti, D., Bertolini, A., Betzwieser, J., Bhagwat, S., Bhandare, R., Bilenko, I., Billingsley, G., Birch, J., 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Chao, S., Charlton, P., Chassande-Mottin, E., Chen, H., Chen, Y., Cheng, C., Chincarini, A., Chiummo, A., Cho, H., Cho, M., Chow, J., Christensen, N., Chu, Q., Chua, S., Chung, S., Ciani, G., Clara, F., Clark, J., Cleva, F., Coccia, E., Cohadon, P., Colla, A., Collette, C., Cominsky, L., Constancio, M., Conte, A., Conti, L., Cook, D., Corbitt, T., Cornish, N., Corsi, A., Cortese, S., Costa, C., Coughlin, M., Coughlin, S., Coulon, J., Countryman, S., Couvares, P., Cowan, E., Coward, D., Cowart, M., Coyne, D., Coyne, R., Craig, K., Creighton, J., Creighton, T., Cripe, J., Crowder, S., Cruise, A., Cumming, A., Cunningham, L., Cuoco, E., Canton, T., Danilishin, S., D’Antonio, S., Danzmann, K., Darman, N., Da Silva Costa, C., Dattilo, V., Dave, I., Daveloza, H., Davier, M., Davies, G., Daw, E., Day, R., De, S., DeBra, D., Debreczeni, G., Degallaix, J., De Laurentis, M., Deléglise, S., Del Pozzo, W., Denker, T., Dent, T., Dereli, H., Dergachev, V., DeRosa, R., De Rosa, R., DeSalvo, R., 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Kondrashov, V., Kontos, A., Koranda, S., Korobko, M., Korth, W., Kowalska, I., Kozak, D., Kringel, V., Krishnan, B., Królak, A., Krueger, C., Kuehn, G., Kumar, P., Kumar, R., Kuo, L., Kutynia, A., Kwee, P., Lackey, B., Landry, M., Lange, J., Lantz, B., Lasky, P., Lazzarini, A., Lazzaro, C., Leaci, P., Leavey, S., Lebigot, E., Lee, C., Lee, H., Lee, H., Lee, K., Lenon, A., Leonardi, M., Leong, J., Leroy, N., Letendre, N., Levin, Y., Levine, B., Li, T., Libson, A., Littenberg, T., Lockerbie, N., Logue, J., Lombardi, A., London, L., Lord, J., Lorenzini, M., Loriette, V., Lormand, M., Losurdo, G., Lough, J., Lousto, C., Lovelace, G., Lück, H., Lundgren, A., Luo, J., Lynch, R., Ma, Y., MacDonald, T., Machenschalk, B., MacInnis, M., Macleod, D., Magaña-Sandoval, F., Magee, R., Mageswaran, M., Majorana, E., Maksimovic, I., Malvezzi, V., Man, N., Mandel, I., Mandic, V., Mangano, V., Mansell, G., Manske, M., Mantovani, M., Marchesoni, F., Marion, F., Márka, S., Márka, Z., Markosyan, A., Maros, 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I tried in different ways to get this paper through the community with standard channels. As far as I can tell, this paper is unpublishable. By this I mean that journals not even send it to referees to start a normal review process or all people try to stop it from making it known. The argument is always the same: A reformulation of quantum mechanics using stochastic processes but using noncommutative geometry this time. I apologize to the community if this unacceptable approach has bothered people around the World but this is the fate of some ideas. Of course, if somebody has the courage and the willing to publish, let me know and I will appreciate the tentative with infinite gratefulness.

Now, back to sane QCD.

Happy new year!

Quantum gravity


Quantum gravity appears today as the Holy Grail of physics. This is so far detached from any possible experimental result but with a lot of attentions from truly remarkable people anyway. In some sense, if a physicist would like to know in her lifetime if her speculations are worth a Nobel prize, better to work elsewhere. Anyhow, we are curious people and we would like to know how does the machinery of space-time work this because to have an engineering of space-time would make do to our civilization a significant leap beyond.

A fine recount of the current theoretical proposals has been rapidly presented by Ethan Siegel in his blog. It is interesting to notice that the two most prominent proposals, string theory and loop quantum gravity, share the same difficulty: They are not able to recover the low-energy limit. For string theory this is a severe drawback as here people ask for a fully unified theory of all the interactions. Loop quantum gravity is more limited in scope and so, one can think to fix theAlain Connes problem in a near future. But of all the proposals Siegel is considering, he is missing the most promising one: Non-commutative geometry. This mathematical idea is due to Alain Connes and earned him a Fields medal. So far, this is the only mathematical framework from which one can rederive the full Standard Model with all its particle content properly coupled to the Einstein’s general relativity. This formulation works with a classical gravitational field and so, one can possibly ask where quantized gravity could come out. Indeed, quite recently, Connes, Chamseddine and Mukhanov (see here and here), were able to show that, in the context of non-commutative geometry, a Riemannian manifold results quantized in unitary volumes of two kind of spheres. The reason why there are two kind of unitary volumes is due to the need to have a charge conjugation operator and this implies that these volumes yield the units (1,i) in the spectrum. This provides the foundations for a future quantum gravity that is fully consistent from the start: The reason is that non-commutative geometry generates renormalizable theories!

The reason for my interest in non-commutative geometry arises exactly from this. Two years ago, I, Alfonso Farina and Matteo Sedehi obtained a publication about the possibility that a complex stochastic process is at the foundations of quantum mechanics (see here and here). We described such a process like the square root of a Brownian motion and so, a Bernoulli process appeared producing the factor 1 or i depending on the sign of the steps of the Brownian motion. This seemed to generate some deep understanding about space-time. Indeed, the work by Connes, Chamseddine and Mukhanov has that understanding and what appeared like a square root process of a Brownian motion today is just the motion of a particle on a non-commutative manifold. Here one has simply a combination of a Clifford algebra, that of Dirac’s matrices, a Wiener process and the Bernoulli process representing the scattering between these randomly distributed quantized volumes. Quantum mechanics is so fundamental that its derivation from a geometrical structure with added some mathematics from stochastic processes makes a case for non-commutative geometry as a serious proposal for quantum gravity.

I hope to give an account of this deep connection in a near future. This appears a rather exciting new avenue to pursue.

Ali H. Chamseddine, Alain Connes, & Viatcheslav Mukhanov (2014). Quanta of Geometry: Noncommutative Aspects Phys. Rev. Lett. 114 (2015) 9, 091302 arXiv: 1409.2471v4

Ali H. Chamseddine, Alain Connes, & Viatcheslav Mukhanov (2014). Geometry and the Quantum: Basics JHEP 12 (2014) 098 arXiv: 1411.0977v1

Farina, A., Frasca, M., & Sedehi, M. (2013). Solving Schrödinger equation via Tartaglia/Pascal triangle: a possible link between stochastic processing and quantum mechanics Signal, Image and Video Processing, 8 (1), 27-37 DOI: 10.1007/s11760-013-0473-y

News from CERN


Two days ago, CERN presented their new results at 13 TeV to the World. Of course, collected data so far are not enough for conclusive results but the these are exciting anyway. The reason is that both the collaborations, CMS and ATLAS, see a bump at around 750 GeV in the \gamma\gamma decay. Summing up the results of the two collaborations, they are around 4\sigma without look elsewhere effect, not yet a discovery but, probably, at the summer conferences they will have something more conclusive to say. This could be an unlucky fluctuation but this situation remember us the story of the discovery of the Higgs boson more than three years ago. The question if this is beyond Standard Model physics is what I will try to answer in these few lines.ATLAS diphoton reults at 13 TeV

Firstly, if this particle is real, it decays with two photons exactly as the Higgs boson. Secondly, with a final state like this it can have only spin 0 or 2. We will be conservative and assume that this is not a graviton. Rather, it is a sibling of the Higgs particle. Besides, it was not observed in run I but is not inconsistent with data from there. It appears like the increased luminosity favored its appearance. We want to be more conservative and we take for granted just the Lagrangian of the Standard Model. So, what is this beast?

My answer is that this could be an excited state of the Higgs boson that, having a production rate lower than its ground state seen at run I, needed more luminosity to be observed. You do not need to change the Lagrangian of the Standard Model for this and it is not BSM physics yet. You do not even need a technicolor theory to describe it. The reason is that the Higgs part of the Standard Model can be treated mathematically yielding exact solutions. The quantum field theory can be exactly solved and the spectrum of the theory says exactly what I stated above (see here, and here). The Higgs model per se is exactly solvable. So, Jester’s idea to add another scalar field to the Lagrangian model is useless, it is all just inside and you will get a two photon final state as well.

Of course, it is too early to draw a final conclusion and a wealth of papers with a prompt explanation flooded arxiv in these two days. With the restart of LHC on spring and the collecting of more data, things will be clearer than now. For the moment, this hint is enough to keep us excited for the next few months.

Marco Frasca (2015). A theorem on the Higgs sector of the Standard Model arxiv arXiv: 1504.02299v2

Marco Frasca (2015). Quantum Yang-Mills field theory arxiv arXiv: 1509.05292v1

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