While Ciro acknowledges that QED is intrinsically challenging due to the wide range or requirements (quantum mechanics, special relativity and electromagnetism), Ciro feels that there is a glaring gap in this moneyless market for a learning material that follows the Middle Way as mentioned at: the missing link between basic and advanced. Richard Feynman Quantum Electrodynamics Lecture at University of Auckland (1979) is one of the best attempts so far, but it falls a bit too close to the superficial side of things, if only Feynman hadn't assumed that the audience doesn't know any mathematics...
The funny thing is that when Ciro Santilli's mother retired, learning it (or as she put it: "how photons and electrons interact") was also one of her retirement plans. She is a pharmacist by training, and doesn't know much mathematics, and her English was somewhat limited. Oh, she also wanted to learn how photosynthesis works (possibly not fully understood by science as that time, 2020). Ambitious old lady!!!
Experiments: quantum electrodynamics experiments.
Combines special relativity with more classical quantum mechanics, but further generalizing the Dirac equation, which also does that: Dirac equation vs quantum electrodynamics. The name "relativistic" likely doesn't need to appear on the title of QED because Maxwell's equations require special relativity, so just having "electro-" in the title is enough.
Before QED, the most advanced theory was that of the Dirac equation, which was already relativistic but TODO what was missing there exactly?
As summarized at: youtube.com/watch?v=_AZdvtf6hPU?t=305 Quantum Field Theory lecture at the African Summer Theory Institute 1 of 4 by Anthony Zee (2004):
- classical mechanics describes large and slow objects
- special relativity describes large and fast objects (they are getting close to the speed of light, so we have to consider relativity)
- classical quantum mechanics describes small and slow objects.
- QED describes objects that are both small and fast
That video also mentions the interesting idea that:
QED is the first quantum field theory fully developed. That framework was later extended to also include the weak interaction and strong interaction. As a result, it is perhaps easier to just Google for "Quantum Field Theory" if you want to learn QED, since QFT is more general and has more resources available generally.
Note that for atoms with multiple electrons, 2s/2p shifts are expected: Why does 2s have less energy than 1s if they have the same principal quantum number?. The surprise was observing that on hydrogen which only has one electron.
Initial experiment: Lamb-Retherford experiment.
On the return from the train from the Shelter Island Conference in New York, Hans Bethe managed to do a non-relativistic calculation of the Lamb shift. He then published as The Electromagnetic Shift of Energy Levels by Hans Bethe (1947) which is still paywalled as of 2021, fuck me: journals.aps.org/pr/abstract/10.1103/PhysRev.72.339 by Physical review.
The Electromagnetic Shift of Energy Levels Freeman Dyson (1948) published on Physical review is apparently a relativistic analysis of the same: journals.aps.org/pr/abstract/10.1103/PhysRev.73.617 also paywalled as of 2021.
TODO how do the infinities show up, and how did people solve them?
www.mdpi.com/2624-8174/2/2/8/pdf History and Some Aspects of the Lamb Shift by G. Jordan Maclay (2019)
This experiment was fundamental to the development of quantum electrodynamics. As mentioned at Genius: Richard Feynman and Modern Physics by James Gleick (1994) chapter "Shrinking the infinities", before the experiment, people already knew that trying to add electromagnetism to the Dirac equation led to infinities using previous methods, and something needed to change urgently. However for the first time now the theorists had one precise number to try and hack their formulas to reach, not just a philosophical debate about infinities, and this led to major breakthroughs. The same book also describes the experiment briefly as:
Willis Lamb had just shined a beam of microwaves onto a hot wisp of hydrogen blowing from an oven.
It is two pages and a half long.
Previous less experiments had already hinted at this effect, but they were too imprecise to be sure.
Richard Feynman Quantum Electrodynamics Lecture at University of Auckland (1979) mentions it several times.
Apparently first published at the Magnetic Moment of the Electron by Kusch and Foley (1948).
journals.aps.org/pr/abstract/10.1103/PhysRev.74.250, paywall as of 2021.
Advanced quantum mechanics by Freeman Dyson (1951) mentions:
A Relativistic Quantum Theory of a Finite Number of Particles is Impossible.
- physics.stackexchange.com/questions/44188/what-is-the-relativistic-particle-in-a-box/44309#44309 says:
By several reasons explained in textbooks, the Dirac equation is not a valid wavefunction equation. You can solve it and find solutions, but those solutions cannot be interpreted as wavefunctions for a particle
Note that this is the sum of the:
Note that the relationship between and is not explicit. However, if we knew what type of particle we were talking about, e.g. electron, then the knowledge of psi would also give the charge distribution and therefore
As mentioned at the beginning of Quantum Field Theory lecture notes by David Tong (2007):
TODO find/create decent answer.
I think the best answer is something along:
- local symmetries of the Lagrangian imply conserved currents. gives conserved charges.
- OK now. We want a local symmetry. And we also want:Given all of that, the most obvious and direct thing we reach a guess at the quantum electrodynamics Lagrangian is Video "Deriving the qED Lagrangian by Dietterich Labs (2018)"
A basic non-precise intuition is that a good model of reality is that electrons do not "interact with one another directly via the electromagnetic field".
A better model happens to be the quantum field theory view that the electromagnetic field interacts with the photon field but not directly with itself, and then the photon field interacts with parts of the electromagnetic field further away.
From Video "Lorenzo Sadun on the "Yang-Mills and Mass Gap" Millennium problem":
I think they are a tool to calculate the probability of different types of particle decays and particle collision outcomes. TODO Minimal example of that.
At Richard Feynman Quantum Electrodynamics Lecture at University of Auckland (1979), an intuitive explanation of them in termes of sum of products of propagators is given.
No, but why?
fafnir.phyast.pitt.edu/py3765/ Phys3765 Advanced Quantum Mechanics -- QFT-I Fall 2012 by E.S. Swanson mentions several milestone texts including:
We shall not develop straightaway a correct theory including many particles. Instead we follow the historical development. We try to make a relativistic quantum theory of one particle, find out how far we can go and where we get into trouble.Oh yes, see also: Dirac equation vs quantum electrodynamics.
By Richard Feynman.
Talk title shown on intro: "Today's Answers to Newton's Queries about Light".
6 hour lecture, where he tries to explain it to an audience that does not know any modern physics. This is a noble effort.
Part of The Douglas Robb Memorial Lectures lecture series.
Feynman apparently also made a book adaptation: QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. That book is basically word by word the same as the presentation, including the diagrams.
According to www.feynman.com/science/qed-lectures-in-new-zealand/ the official upload is at www.vega.org.uk/video/subseries/8 and Vega does show up as a watermark on the video (though it is too pixilated to guess without knowing it), a project that has been discontinued and has has a non-permissive license. Newbs.
This talk has the merit of being very experiment oriented on part 2, big kudos: how to teach and learn physics
- Part 1: is saying "photons exist"
- Part 2: is amazing, and describes how photons move as a sum of all possible paths, not sure if it is relativistic at all though, and suggests that something is minimized in that calculation (the action)
- Part 3: is where he hopelessly tries to explain the crucial part of how electrons join the picture in a similar manner to how photons do.He does make the link to light, saying that there is a function which gives the amplitude for a photon going from A to B, where A and B are spacetime events.And then he mentions that there is a similar function for an electron to go from A to B, but says that that function is too complicated, and gives no intuition unlike the photon one.He does not mention it, but P and E are the so called propagators.This is likely the path integral formulation of QED.On Quantum Mechanical View of Reality by Richard Feynman (1983) he mentions that is a bessel function, without giving further detail.And also mentions that:
mis basically a scale factor. such that both are very similar. And that something similar holds for many other particles.And then, when you draw a Feynman diagram, e.g. electron emits photon and both are detected at given positions, you sum over all the possibilities, each amplitude is given by: Spacetime points.This is basically well said at: youtu.be/rZvgGekvHes?t=3349 from Quantum Mechanical View of Reality by Richard Feynman (1983).TODO: how do electron velocities affect where they are likely to end up? suggests the probability only depends on the spacetime points.Also, this clarifies why computations in QED are so insane: you have to sum over every possible point in space!!! TODO but then how do we calculate anything at all in practice?
- Part 4: known problems with QED and thoughts on QCD. Boring.
Sample playlist: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLW_HsOU6YZRkdhFFznHNEfua9NK3deBQy
Basically the same content as: Richard Feynman Quantum Electrodynamics Lecture at University of Auckland (1979), but maybe there is some merit to this talk, as it is a bit more direct in some points. This is consistent with what is mentioned at www.feynman.com/science/qed-lectures-in-new-zealand/ that the Auckland lecture was the first attempt.
Some more information at: iucat.iu.edu/iub/5327621
By Mill Valley, CA based producer "Sound Photosynthesis", some info on their website: sound.photosynthesis.com/Richard_Feynman.html
They are mostly a New Age production company it seems, which highlights Feynman's absolute cult status. E.g. on the last video, he's not wearing shoes, like a proper guru.
Feynman liked to meet all kinds of weird people, and at some point he got interested in the New Age Esalen Institute. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman this kind of experience a bit, there was nude bathing on a pool that oversaw the sea, and a guy offered to give a massage to the he nude girl and the accepted.
This book has formulas on it, which is quite cool!! And the formulas are basically not understandable unless you know the subject pretty well already in advance. It is however possible to skip over them and get back to the little personal stories.
From University of Alberta.