You know when you are walking in the street and suddenly you see a strikingly beautiful woman and you are stopped in your tracks. That happened literally today and metaphorically with the 154 page paper from Princeton, Harvard, MIT creme de la creme. I now give excerpts and perhaps some Sarfatti Commentaries bye the bye.
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  • Jack Sarfatti "We establish a direct connection between scattering amplitudes in planar four-dimensional theories and a remarkable mathematical structure known as the positive Grassmannian. The central physical idea is to focus on on-shell diagrams as objects of fundamental importance to scattering amplitudes."
  • Jack Sarfatti "The traditional formulation of quantum eld theory|encoded in its very name is built on the two pillars of locality and unitarity [1]. The standard apparatus of Lagrangians and path integrals allows us to make these two fundamental principles manifest. This approach, however, requires the introduction of a large amount of unphysical redundancy in our description of physics. Even for the simplest case of scalar field theories, there is the freedom to perform field-redefinitions. Starting with massless particles of spin-one or higher, we are forced to introduce even larger, gauge redundancies, [1].
    Over the past few decades, there has been a growing realization that these redundancies hide amazing physical and mathematical structures lurking within the heart of quantum field theory. This has been seen dramatically at strong coupling in gauge/gauge (see, e.g., [2{4]) and gauge/gravity dualities, [5]. The past decade has uncovered further remarkable new structures in eld theory even at weak coupling, seen in the properties of scattering amplitudes in gauge theories and gravity (for reviews, see [6{11]). The study of scattering amplitudes is fundamental to our understanding of field theory, and fueled its early development in the hands of Feynman, Dyson and Schwinger among others. It is therefore surprising to see that even here, by committing so strongly to particular, gauge-redundant descriptions of the physics, the usual formalism is completely blind to astonishingly simple and beautiful properties of the gauge-invariant physical observables of the theory."
  • Jack Sarfatti "All of these developments have made it completely clear that there are powerful new mathematical structures underlying the extraordinary properties of scattering amplitudes in gauge theories. If history is any guide, formulating and understanding a physics in a way that makes the symmetries manifest should play a central role in the story. The Grassmannian picture does this, but up to this point, there has been little understanding for why this formulation exists, exactly how it works, and
    where it comes from physically. Our primary goal in this note is to resolve this unsatisfactory state of affairs.
    We will derive the connection between scattering amplitudes and the Grassmannian, starting physically from first principles. This will lead us into direct contact with several beautiful and active areas of current research in mathematics [32{40].
    The past few decades have seen vigorous interactions between physics and mathematics in a wide variety of areas, but what is going on here involves new areas of mathematics that have only very recently played any role in physics which involve simple but deep ideas ranging from combinatorics to algebraic geometry. It is both startling and exciting that such elementary mathematical notions are found at the heart of the physics of scattering amplitudes.
    This new way of thinking about scattering amplitudes involves many novel physical and mathematical ideas. Our presentation will be systematic, and we have endeavored to make it self contained and completely accessible to physicists. While we will discuss a number of mathematical results {some of them new{we will usually be content with the physicist's level of rigor. The essential ideas here are all very simple, however they are tightly interlocking and range over a wide variety of areas|most of which are unfamiliar to most physicists. Thus, before jumping into the detailed exposition, as a guide to the reader we end this introductory section by giving a big picture roadmap of the logical structure and content of the paper."
  • Jack Sarfatti "In section 2, we introduce the central physical idea motivating our work, which is to focus on on-shell diagrams, obtained by gluing together fundamental 3-particle amplitudes and integrating over the on-shell phase space of internal particles. These objects are of central importance to the understanding of scattering amplitudes ...In this picture, virtual particles" make no appearance at all. We should emphasize that we are not merely using on-shell information to determine scattering amplitudes, but rather seeing that the amplitudes can be directly computed in terms of fully on-shell processes. The off-shell, virtual particles familiar from Feynman diagrams are replaced by internal, on-shell particles (with generally complex momenta). In our study of on-shell diagrams, we will see that different diagrams related by certain elementary moves can be physically equivalent, leading to the natural question of how to invariantly characterize the physical content of an on-shell graph. Remarkably, the invariant content of on-shell diagrams turn out to be characterized by permutations. We discuss this in detail in section 3 where we show how a long known and beautiful connection between permutations and scattering amplitudes in integrable (1+1)-dimensional theories generalizes to realistic theories in (3+1) dimensions." My comment: note the artful dodge COMPLEX 4-momenta. Real particles have REAL 4-momenta.Therefore, the virtual particles are still there in the imaginary parts of the 4-momenta.
  • Jack Sarfatti "Theoretical explorations in field theory have been greatly advanced by focusing on interesting classes of observables|from local correlation functions and scattering amplitudes, to Wilson and 't Hooft loops, surface operators and line defects, to partition functions on various manifolds (see e.g. [56, 57]). The central physical idea of our work is to study on shell scattering processes as a new set of objects of fundamental interest."
  • Jack Sarfatti "Theories with maximal supersymmetry have the wonderful feature that particles of all helicities can be unied into a single super-multiplet, [62{66]. For N =4 SYM, we can group all the helicity states into a single Grassmann coherent state ... The fundamental building blocks for all on-shell scattering processes are the three particle amplitudes, which are completely determined (up to an overall coupling constant) by Poincare invariance ... the amplitude is non-singular in the limit where the momenta are taken real ... It is remarkable that three-particle amplitudes are totally fixed by Poincare symmetry; they carry all the essential information about the particle content and obvious symmetries of the physical theory. It is natural to "glue" these elementary building blocks together to generate more complicated objects we will call on-shell diagrams. ... Note that on-shell diagrams such as those of (2.13) are not Feynman diagrams! There are no "virtual" or "off-shell" internal particles involved: all the lines in these pictures are on-shell (meaning that their momenta are null). Each internal line represents a sum over all possible particles which can be exchanged in the theory, with (often complex) momenta constrained by momentum conservation at each vertex) integrating over the on-shell phase space of each. ... In general, we have some number of integration variables corresponding to the (on-shell) internal momenta, and delta-functions enforcing momentum-conservation at each vertex. We may have just enough -functions to fully localize all the internal momenta; in this case the on-shell diagram becomes an ordinary function of the external data, which has historically been called a "leading singularity" in the literature [11,69]. If there are more delta -functions than necessary to x the internal momenta, the left-over constraints will impose conditions on the external momenta; such an
    object is said to be a singularity or to have "singular support". If there are fewer delta-functions than necessary to fix the internal momenta, there will be some degrees of freedom left over; the on-shell diagram then leaves us with some differential form on these extra degrees of freedom which we are free to integrate over any contour we please. But there is no fundamental distinction between these cases; and so we will generally think of an on-shell diagram as providing us with an "on-shell form" a differential form defined on the space of external and internal on-shell momenta."
  • Jack Sarfatti "Putting all the 3-particle amplitudes in an on-shell diagram together gives rise to a (typically high-dimensional) differential form on the space of external and internal momenta. The on-shell form associated with a diagram is then obtained by taking residues of this high-dimensional form on the support of all the delta-function constraints (thought of holomorphically) as representing poles which enforce their arguments to vanish); this produces a lower-dimensional form defined on the support of any remaining delta-functions.
    Individual Feynman diagrams are not gauge invariant and thus don't have any physical meaning. By contrast, each on-shell diagram is physically meaningful and corresponds to some particular on-shell scattering process."
  • Jack Sarfatti On Sep 18, 2013, at 6:14 PM, JACK SARFATTI wrote:

    On Sep 18, 2013, at 6:08 PM, Saul-Paul and Mary-Minn Sirag <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> wrote:

    Paul et alia:

    This is an E-mail I sent to Nick (and many others) in Sept. 2010.

    I mentioned the Top Quark mass prediction by Polchinski et al (1983) in a paragraph that read:

    There were many comments to this Polchinski review: and they are contained the blog post. Most interesting to me was #23 by Tony Smith, who pointed out that in 1983 Polchinski, Wise, and Alvarez-Gaume (Nuc. Phys. B221, 495-523) in the context of supergravity theory, actually predicted a surprisingly large mass for the top quark (125 - 195 GeV). This was when the top quark was believed to have a mass of around 40 GeV (as was indeed claimed as an experimental measurement by Carlo Rubbia at CERN). When the top quark was finally detected at Fermilab in 1995, it was (very surprisingly) measured to be within the range predicted in 1983 by Polchinski et al.! (See also p. 369 of Polchinski's book, "String Theory" (Vol. II), 1998, Cambridge.)

    All for now;-)
    Begin forwarded message:

    From: Saul-Paul and Mary-Minn Sirag <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
    Date: September 21, 2010 10:16:35 AM PDT
    To: nick herbert <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

    Subject: Re: String Theory

    Hi Nick,

    The original string theory of 1970 was an attempt to model the miraculous Veneziano amplitude function (1968), which obeyed 6 of 7 of the principles of the S-Matrix approach to the strong nuclear force. This was in the context of the fierce struggle between the S-Matrix school, led by Chew (at Berkeley) and the Quark school, led by Gell-Mann (at Caltech). By 1973, when asymptotic freedom was discovered by Wilczek, Gross, and Politzer, quantum chromodynamics (the QCD of the Quark school), the string model went into nearly total eclipse. However, QCD has not been able to calculate many mass spectra. These are mainly experimental measurements using QCD as background theory.

    There were three big embarrassments for the 1970 string model:
    1. It only worked in 26 dimensions.
    2. It could only model bosons, and therefore only mesons (as a string vibrating between charges at its ends). So fermions such as protons and neutrons could not be accounted for.
    3. It contained a massless spin2 as a necessary ingredient.

    By 1971, supersymmetry was invoked in order to bring fermions into the string picture. This superstring theory had the effect of cutting the space-time dimensionality to 10 -- with hopes of reduction to 4-d. 

    In 1974, after QCD took over strong-force modeling, a couple of physicists woke up and said, "We have known for a long time what a massless spin2 particle is: the graviton. So superstring theory should be regarded as a primarily a quantum gravity theory.

    Hardly anyone paid attention to this superstring-gravity idea; but several physicists developed point-particle supersymmetry models of quantum gravity. This is called supergravity, and the main breakthrough calculations occurred in 1976. 
    [Nick, you and I heard about this from your friend Heinz Pagels even before the papers came out.]

    Supergravity can be modeled in dimensions ranging up to 11-d supergravity. Note: 11-d supergravity entails the symmetries of E7 Lie algebra. I got involved with the structure of E7 by way of the McKay correspondence, which makes a profound duality between the Octahedral Double group and E7. 
    See details in my 1993 paper at

    In 1984 John Schwarz and Michael Green, through anomaly cancellation (via certain gauge groups), showed that superstring theory is a viable quantum gravity theory. This revived string theory from it's 10 year eclipse! Soon there were 5 competing superstring theories. The heterotic string theory created by the Princeton String Quartet was especially favored since its gauge group, E8 x E8, provided a way to embed all the gauge theories of the standard model of particle physics and also the grand unified theory gauge group SU(5). 

    Meanwhile several British physicists were toying with the possibility of generalizing the string (1-d) to membranes (2-d to 9-d). Also various dualities were discovered between the 5 competing string theories.

    In 1995 Ed Witten put all these ideas and some of his own together to propose an overarching M-theory as a profound unification of all the string theories. In effect we then would have one string theory. A further consequence of M-theory is that its lower energy limit theory is the old (1970s) 11-d supergravity (a point particle theory). Of course, given my interest in E7 (entailed in 11-d supergravity), I am very happy with this M-theory development.

    Incidentally, in July of this year, Ed Witten was given the Newton prize in London. His hour long lecture (for a general audience) was videotaped and is available on the Web at: 

    The miraculous twists and turns of the "Long Strange Trip" of string theory is well described by Witten in this lecture.
  • Jack Sarfatti On the general issue of string theory predictions, I suggest that you should read Joe Polchinski's review of the books by Lee Smolin and Peter Woit. This review was put on the web as a blog. I will attach it here:

    < JoePolchinski-ReviewsSmolin&Woit-7Dec06.pdf>

    There were many comments to this Polchinski review: and they are contained the blog post. Most interesting to me was #23 by Tony Smith, who pointed out that in 1983 Polchinski, Wise, and Alvarez-Gaume (Nuc. Phys. B221, 495-523) in the context of supergravity theory, actually predicted a surprisingly large mass for the top quark (125 - 195 GeV). This was when the top quark was believed to have a mass of around 40 GeV (as was indeed claimed as an experimental measurement by Carlo Rubbia at CERN). When the top quark was finally detected at Fermilab in 1995, it was (very surprisingly) measured to be within the range predicted in 1983 by Polchinski et al.! (See also p. 369 of Polchinski's book, "String Theory" (Vol. II), 1998, Cambridge.)

    Witten's lecture emphasizes that the grand vistas of mathematics and physics afforded by the many twists and turns of string theory is far from the complete picture -- which is still opaque to us.

    I believe that string theory should be viewed as a structure within the vastness of the full set of A-D-E Coxeter graph classifications and correspondences (which by now entail more than 20 mathematical structures of great importance in physics). Accordingly, I have been advocating what I call ADEX-theory, which I define as the study and applications of all the A-D-E correspondences. See my short paper, "ADEX dimensions", which I will attach here:
    <SPS-ADEXdimensions-20Jun08 .pdf>

    As I have said before: On the extra dimensions of space-time (forced on us by string theory): these have been an embarrassment to most physicists; but to those open to the paranormal, these extra dimensions should be viewed as an embarrassment of riches.

    All for now;)

  • Jack Sarfatti On Sep 20, 2010, at 10:30 PM, nick herbert wrote:

    The original goal of string theory
    was to explain the various masses
    of elementary particles as excitations 
    of a string oscillating in many dimensions.

    How many published mass spectra
    have been published by battallions
    of string theorists?

    On Sep 20, 2010, at 10:04 PM, JACK SARFATTI wrote:

    There is no pathetic lack of data. I gave you the references on Libet, Radin, Beirman, PEAR, Global Consciousness Project - all done on a shoestring. Of course, more effort is needed and much of what you suggest below is good. If all the $ wasted on the salaries of string theorists in major universities were put into consciousness research, then, perhaps there would be more progress? 

    Also, remember Einstein did General Relativity by pure reasoning. In a similar way, that signal nonlocality is needed to understand consciousness is quite obvious - to my mind at least, if not to yours. However, I am quite happy that you do not agree with Josephson and me on this. History will decide.

    Follow the $ Nick. How much has been spent on consciousness research compared to other areas in mainstream science? Also consider the fact, that physicists who dare to come out of the closet on this are smeared as lunatics and crackpots even if they have a Nobel Prize in physics. 

    While you are at it Nick, where are your NINE TESTS for string theory?
  • Jack Sarfatti On Sep 20, 2010, at 9:50 PM, nick herbert wrote:


    (inspired by a recent paper on consciousness and quantum physics by Yu Shan & Danko Nikolic)

    "Physicists must crawl before they can walk."--Jack Sarfatti, excusing the pathetic lack of experimental tests of vague quantum consciousness hypotheses proposed by him and a few others.

    Two choices are involved in every quantum measurement--the Heisenberg choice and the Dirac choice. The Heisenberg choice is the PHYSICAL choice (made by man or nature) to deploy a macroscopic object in a particular way. It is called the Heisenberg choice because deploying an object in a particular way (to select out which path info) completely precludes deploying it in a complementary way (to select out which interference sub-class info). The Dirac choice is the irreversible quantum jump that occurs somewhere in the apparatus and brings the experiment to a close. This choice is considered by most physicists to be utterly random--an act of God--and since Dirac was the closest thing to diety on this planet, his name is attached to this choice.--Nick Herbert

    The motto of the Royal Society of London, "Nullius in Verba". loosely translated means "Talk is Cheap," Theorists are honored not for their colorful phrases, personalities or press releases but for their successful predictions of natural phenomena, such as Einstein's bold prediction of the three classic consequences of General Relativity. The field of quantum consciousness is still awaiting a Big Mind imaginative enough to tackle the Hard Problem of consciousness and deliver big results. Despite much recent attention to the problem of consciousness by physicists, in my opinion we are not even at the crawling stage of consciousness research, let alone walking upright or preparing to ascend some difficult peaks. By the tough standards we have learned to expect from conventional physics, consciousness physicists are still on their knees, praying for inspiration for the right direction to crawl. The biggest breakthrough in consciousness in the past century was not an idea but the invention of LSD which permits not only monks and meditators a glimpse of the uncharted realms of inner space, but ordinary people as well. In the words of Terence McKenna, now that even bad people can see God, what does this gift impel us to do?

    As a big problem, consciousness calls for correspondingly big standards for success. I know not what might satisfy others but, off the top of my head, I propose Nick's Nine Tests for a Real Theory of Consciousness. These tests do not explain already existing phenomena but call for brand-new 
    experiences that might be expected to follow upon a successful (presumably quantum) explanation of the origin and nature of subjective experience.

    1. A Heisenberg choice (actual deployment of well-specified physical matter that selects which quantum possibilities are viable) that permits Nick Herbert and his friends to experience a brand-new color.

    2. A Heisenberg choice that mimics the effects of LSD. Physics is a more fundamental science than chemistry and should be able to prove it by fundamentally altering human experience in direct ways that don't involve chemistry.

    3. A Heisenberg choice that reliably magnifies the power of Puthoff & Targ's Remote Viewing by orders of magnitude in the tradition of physics-based microscopes and telescopes which immensely increased the powers of our physical vision.

    4. A Heisenberg choice that magnifies the power of the Radin Effect (also known as Autonomic Presentiment) by orders of magnitude--a development 
    that would expand human perception (for short distances) backwards in time.

    5. A Heisenberg choice that would produce a purely quantum anesthesia. If consciousness is really a quantum effect, we should be able to quench it by 
    purely quantum-physical means. Professor Hameroff--set your phaser to stun.

    6. A Heisenberg choice that would directly link two human minds, verifying James T. Culbertson's Conjecture that the separation that human minds ordinarily experience is a mere biological accident.

    7. A Heisenberg choice that would link human minds to the many minds in nature, realizing the Quantum Tantra dream of a radically new and more intimate kind of Quantum Measurement.

    8. A Heisenberg choice that puts human minds in touch with the Mind of God--in one dramatic stroke physics could drive all churches out of business,
    plus all the atheists as well.

    9. Show me something brand new. A real theory of consciousness will necessarily be full of surprises.

    The reason it's called the Hard Problem of Consciousness is the same reason that the North Face (of the Eiger) is called a difficult ascent. If your theory 
    can rise above "Talk is cheap" and manages to pass even one of Nick's Nine Tests, you will be honored forever as one of this world's intellectual giants.
  • Jack Sarfatti On Sep 18, 2010, at 12:47 PM, JACK SARFATTI wrote:

    Valentini does propose an experiment on the CMB to look for imprints of primordial signal nonlocality.

    The presponse experiments Libet --> Radin ---> Bierman I say are simply explained by signal nonlocality - indeed Brian Josephson independently suggested the role of signal nonlocality in living matter in his paper with Pallikari.

    I have made a very definite Popper falsifiable prediction about dark matter - no real dark matter particles whizzing through space. Looking for dark matter particles is like looking for the motion of the Earth through the aether using a Michelson-Morley interferometer.

    I predicted supersolid helium in 1969 


    Also Ray Chiao will confirm that my 1967 paper on self-trapped laser filaments was helpful to him on his early experiments with them.

    Finally, I point out that the dark energy must be a hologram screen effect not from our past but from our future.

    On Sep 18, 2010, at 11:11 AM, JACK SARFATTI wrote:

    I agree with Nick's argument below. However, it was not Fred Alan Wolf who first suggested that consciousness collapses the wave function, I think it started with Fritz London, John Von Neumann, Eugene Wigner on to Henry Stapp & Roger Penrose (with his "orch" modification that is vague, but I think is equivalent to "signal nonlocality" violating "no-cloning" , "unitarity" et-al i.e. P =/= |Psi|^2 aka "sub-quantal non-equilibrium").
    David Deutsch also argues no consciousness in orthodox quantum theory - Penrose's of course is not "orthodox".
    However, none of these people, in my opinion, have asked the right question in regard to the physical nature of consciousness. For that we must go to P.W. Anderson's "More is different" aka spontaneous symmetry breakdown of the ground state e.g. Vitiello's mind model.

    The conscious mind field is a macro-quantum coherent ground state order parameter of the living body in which some kind of either quasi-particle or collective mode (poles of single-particle & pair propagators respectively) of an underlying dynamics, e.g. ions, dipoles in microtubules et-al are in effect Bose-Einstein condensed i.e. Penrose-Onsager ODLRO (macroscopic eigenvalues of low order density matrices).

    The effective c-number field order parameter dynamics is non-unitary, nonlinear (Landau-Ginzburg) with signal nonlocality - living systems are not in thermal equilibrium - the effective low energy Bohm macro-quantum coherent potential is local in ordinary 3D space though it has the nonlocal influence from the boundary conditions discussed e.g. at beginning of Bohm & Hiley's Undivided Universe for the single particle problem - intensity independence, context dependence etc.

    On Sep 18, 2010, at 10:49 AM, nick herbert wrote:

    Hi Danko--

    The conventional wisdom asserts that
    all the various quantum realities
    are non-testable--each gives 
    the same experimental result.

    This may or may not be true
    as imaginative experiments 
    of the type you are looking 
    for might show.

    For a time I thought that the
    Bedford & Wang thought experiment
    (a crude variation on your own proposal)
    might do the trick (see Consciousness Post)
    but after much thought and discussion 
    with other reality fans I concluded that 
    Ordinary quantum calculations showed 
    that no test for conscious collapse was possible
    with the B&W setup and its variants.

    Successful variants of your experiment might exist,
    Someone on this list might be inspired to think of one.

    Your physical setup is a very clever variation on the double-slit 
    experiment with "which-path" observations cleverly and naturally built-in.
    And more important, it is a real experiment that can easily be done.

    One sad fact about the quantum/consciousness connection is that 
    (like the quantum/gravity connection) despite tons of groundless 
    speculation and opinion (see the work of Fred Allen Wolf) 
    there exists not a single experiment that successfully connects consciousness 
    with quantum mechanics. (pace Rosenblum & Kuttner and Dean Radin). Perhaps 
    this situation will change for the better due to discussions triggered by your recent paper.

    Good luck in your work
    Nick Herbert 

    On Sep 18, 2010, at 4:59 AM, Danko Nikolic wrote:

    My criticism is that you choose a system such that quantum mechanics predicts no interference no matter 
    what you do to the entangled photons, even including leaving them forever unobserved, so that your 
    consciousness postulate is sure to be falsified. 

    Yes, but is there another system for which this does not hold? Can one make it different such that the hypothesis is not sure to be falsified? We could not think of another experimental setup that would not produce the same outcome.

    I had discussions with several experimental quantum physicists from Vienna--hoping to design and conduct an experiment. We could not think of a setup. If we could, we would have probably already ran it.

    So, perhaps our point is that an experiment of your likings (and ours), to the best of our knowledge, CANNOT BE DESIGNED.

    If someone can be more creative and prove us wrong, great! Let us go then and run the experiment. I would gladly be a part of it.

    With best regards,

    Danko Nikolic