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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Emmy Noether and The Fabric of Reality

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I'm happy to present Ransom Stephens today. He is a really diverse character and I'm happy

to be meeting him today in person for the first time although we've corresponded a bit

over e-mail. He was on the Physics faculty at University of Texas at Arlington. He was

a collaborator on the team at Fermilab that discovered the top quark. He is National Science

and Society correspondent at He's a noted public speaker. He's author of

numerous technical and non-technical publications including his novel, the God Patent, which

is the first novel to advance from online e-book status to print success. The God Patent

includes a major character based on the protagonist of today's talk, Emmy Noether. I'm happy to

present and please welcome Ransom Stephens. >> STEPHENS: Thank you. All right, so how

many of you have heard of Emmy Noether before, at least, before reading the--god, I love

you. See, I gave this speech in the Valley and I don't have to explain quite as much,

right? So as you know then Emmy Noether was a turn of the century mathematician who lived

in Germany.

It's amazing I've converted this little area to my office already. So this is what I want

to cover today and I really appreciate you coming out and I'd like to thank Robert for

having me. So here's our agenda, this talk is a mix of science and history. The history

is biographical of Emmy Noether's life. Emmy Noether led a very interesting life that was

challenging but she was a very happy person. So we will cover that. We'll talk about Noether's

theorem. I will explain the Physics behind Noether's theorem and more history. We'll

go back to history with Emmy's reality over there. And then we'll talk a little bit about

two major problems in particle Physics because they directly relate to Noether's theorem.

First, the matter-antimatter symmetry and then second, the origin of mass problem which

translates into this search for the Higgs boson going on at Fermilab outside Chicago

and at CERN straddling the Swiss-French border. Then finally we'll wrap up with just a few

words about Emmy Noether and then I'm going to sell you my book. We'll see. So first,

Emmy Noether was born in 1882 in Erlangen, Germany. Her father was a Math professor at

the university there at the University of Erlangen. In 1900, when she was 18, Emmy got

a teacher's certificate, this was pretty standard fare for a brilliant young woman. The plan

was that she was going to teach French and English and German to students, to girls at

girl schools. But then she decided she wanted to be a mathematician. Now this was kind of

a weird development in 1900 Earth but specially 1900 Germany, right, because she did have

this problem of being female. And so she couldn't register for classes at the university. She

did have the advantage that she knew a lot of the Math faculty since her father was a

professor there. And so she was allowed to audit classes, right? We've all thought of

these, I think every time I ever--when I was an undergraduate and took the check, you know,

from the financial aid office across the street to the cashier, that three hour thing where

you stand in one line for an hour and a half, you got the check, you go stand in the other

line for an hour and a half, you give them the check that, you know, I could just take

this check and I could sit down on those classes and learned the same stuff. She actually,

sort of, did it. She did her bachelors degree in Mathematics without ever actually enrolling

in a class or taking a test. But she did take the final exam. In Europe then, and still

in many cases, now it's common to have one grand exam at the end of the program upon

which all things are based. And she did very well on that exam and was granted a bachelors

degree without ever actually having to pay registration. Though, I dont know that

they actually paid then. In 1904, she went ahead and applied for graduate school and

ran into many of the same obstacles. But then having performed so well on the grand exam

of the undergraduate program, she was allowed to enter the university as a graduate student.

And three years later she was--obtained one of the first Ph.D. that was granted to a woman

in Germany. Well, after that what do you do, right? What do you do with a Math degree when

there's no software industry to go into? You want to do more Math so you do some pure Math.

So she set out for a faculty position in Germany which was rather ridiculous at that time,

of course, with that same handicap being a woman. She went to Gottingen, the University

of Gottingen, which at that time was kind of the center of the mathematical universe.

This was the place where all the heavyweights were working right around 1907. And remember

1907 is seven years after Planck discovered that something was funnier about light than

was expected prior to that. So it was a very exciting time to be in Mathematics and Mathematical

Physics in particular. She took an unpaid position and what that means basically, she

was teaching some classes as a guest lecturer and studying with--doing Math, right? Cutting

edge. Her parents died and she got a small inheritance from her father, of course. Her

brother got the lion's share of the inheritance by virtue of being a man but she was able

to survive at the university on a combination of her inheritance, her natural lack of interest

in those things material. Well, I don't know if it was natural but she certainly ended

up with a lack of interest in things material by virtue with, at least, of her inability

to obtain them. She was also floated the occasional Deutsche Mark for covering for professors.

They needed her there, they knew how good she was and she needed some cash to stay.

Then in 1916, she formulated what would come to be known as Noether's theorem, which we're

going to talk about in a minute. But as she struggled through producing lots of papers

which, of course, is the thing that professors are expected to do even now, but she couldn't

be a lead author on a publication. So she was a secondary author on many major publications,

not the least of which came to be known as Noether's theorem. And then in 1919 it came

to the faculty, a meeting of the faculty at the University of Gottingen, that they had

this brilliant mathematician and, "Can we grant her a faculty position?" It was 1919

which, of course, it was just after the armistice of World War I and this is rather in the center

of Germany. In 19--I always print this up so I can get the quote just so. In 1919, the

history in philosophy faculty in the faculty senate at the University of Gottingen said,

"What will our soldiers think when they return to the university and find that they are required

to learn at the feet of a woman?" It's unthinkable. But she did get, again, through the back door

what's called privatdozent position, which is somewhat below an instructorship in America,

somewhat below an adjunct professor position, which means basically that she was kind of

a TA, like a graduate student but she wasn't a graduate student, of course, because she

couldn't enroll there anyway if she hadn't already--anyway, so you get the picture. But

it was, finally in 1922, she finally got her first academic income. So let us turn now

to some of the science. And Noether's theorem is most succinctly put like this, "For every

symmetry, there's a corresponding conservation law." And this is how it works, rather than

developed the formulization and do a bunch of Mathematics, pull up the screens and go

forth on the white board, I have built a machine and this is how it works. We take the principle

of least action, which I'll describe in a minute, and then a symmetry, and I will define

what I mean by symmetry in another minute. We take those, we apply Noether's theorem,

do a bunch of math. You know, couple of pages of, not even, but page or so of algebra and

calculus and then bingo, out comes a law of nature, okay? So prior to that, when Newton

formulated his three laws of motion, what did he do? Well, he observed things. Things

like apples falling from trees and candle's flickering and light through lenses and so

forth to come up with them very empirically. But now, Emmy Noether provided some mathematical

formulism from which, presented with a symmetry, a law of nature could be derived. So something

very special is going on in there. Oh, and here's, of course, a copy of the original

paper. I'm sure you've all read that already in the German and digested it. Good. So the

first ingredient to developing the laws of nature is the principle of least action. Now

the principle of least action is a fascinating thing. And if it were attributable to one

person then I would have an accompanying talk about that one person, but it's not. It started

in optics, the observation of the way that light rays travel by Fermat. And then Maupertuis,

another one of the French mathematicians of the 1700s, formulated a more general theory

which was then elaborated by Euler, Lagrange and then finally Hamilton put it together

in a fashion that we know today. And basically, it is this; stuff happens in such a way that

a quantity defined as the action is a minimum. And the way I've always explained this very

hand-wavingly is that the universe is lazy. And it will take the path from point A to

point B whether that is cooling a beer in the fridge or the trajectory of a golf ball

or what have you, the trajectory of an electron through a circuit port. Nature is going to

do it in a way that is easiest. And by easiest, mathematically, what I mean is that the action

is minimized. Now the action is defined up there to be the sum of the difference in kinetic

energy and potential energy as things happen, all right? So if we take any system and add

up the difference in kinetic and potential energy, the energy of motion and the energy

available to do work, add that up over each incremental step of the system and then postulate

all possible steps, The actual process will be that which minimizes this quantity, the

action. So here is an example, the golf ball flying across a golf course. We add up the

action, if we follow the yellow line, which is kind of a weird trajectory it might have,

then the action will be larger than the orange line, which is also clearly a nonphysical

trajectory, which is larger than the actual path which the golf ball takes. So that's

how it works. That's the principle of least action, the first ingredient. The second ingredient

is symmetry. Now what I mean by symmetry is this, if we take a uniform sphere in the top

left and rotate it, it looks the same. Doesn't matter which axis we rotate it about but the

sphere will always looks like a sphere. If we go to the top right and look at a disc.

A disc looks the same about rotations through about an axis that goes through its center,

okay? So those are simple continuous symmetries. An example of a discreet symmetry is what

you have when you look in the mirror. I look the same except that left and right are switched,

okay? So that's a discreet symmetry. So that's what I mean by symmetry. Now we have the principle

of least action and symmetry. So, let's plug them in to Noether's theorem, okay? So that's

what we do. And here's what we're going to do. We're going to posit a symmetry. The first

symmetry we're going to posit is very straightforward and it is spatial translation. Now if I look

out upon the universe it looks the same if I'm standing here as if I'm standing over

here, okay, or even farther away. The universe is more or less isotropic. Another way of

looking at this, and probably a more accurate way, is to say that if I do an experiment

here I will get the same result as if do that experiment over there, okay? That's spatial

translation. Now that symmetry, all I do is switch in my equations X prime to X. Plug

that in to the principle of least action and use the mechanics of Noether's theorem and

lo and behold, we get Newton's first and second laws. Conservation of energy covers them both.

Force equals mass times acceleration and a body that is in uniform motion will continue

in uniform motion until it is acted upon by a force, which is easier stated as a conservation

law, the conservation of momentum. So what this tells us is that there's something very

fundamental between the relationship of the geometry of space, just moving along one coordinate

system in a straight line, and momentum, all right? The dynamics of the laws of motion

are determined by the geometry of space. Simple linear geometry. Okay, so let's do it again.

Here's a better one. Let's say if I do an experiment now, I will get the same result

as if I do that same experiment, now. Time translations, very much like spatial translations,

only now I'm saying, well, lets switch from T to T prime in the principle of least action.

So we've apply those, we stick it in Noether's theorem, we turn our mathematical crank and

we get conservation of energy, which from my money is really very fundamental. The conservation

of energy is something that we bump into pretty much all the time. No perpetual motion machines,

no way to derive energy without doing something, right? Say spilling oil all over the gulf.

It's not funny. But it might as well be. So this is the first law of thermodynamics and

we have tied it to the way that time evolves in the universe. There's something extremely

poignant about that. I don't know what it is but energy and time are intricately related

through Noether's theorem. This very simple symmetry comes right out. So the story goes

on. If we rotate a system, right? If I do an experiment with this orientation I get

the same result if I rotate the whole thing around and do the experiment like this. That

gives us conservation of angular momentum, which is the reason that when you ride a bicycle,

it's easier to stay vertical when you're moving than when you're at a stop. Also it's why

tops stay up, it's why tornadoes form, it's why the water goes down the sink the way it

does with the vortex. So this is what I mean when I put it the title of this talk, the

Fabric of Reality. It's not just that I like to say, Fabric of Reality. Who doesn't like

saying Fabric of Reality? Anyone? I didn't think so. Okay, there's one guy. There always

is. I love that guy. So, Noether's theorem shows that the laws of nature result from

symmetries, from geometries in this--the universe that we live in. The laws of motion are tied

to spatial geometries. Work, heat, mass, all forms of energy are tied to the way that time

evolves to duration. And then what this starts to indicate is that space and time are a thing,

that they have some properties that affect the stuff that fills them. That in fact, the

laws of nature are not dictated by the stuff so much as by the background. The painting

is dictated more by the canvas than the paint, if you will. Canvas being a fabric, see? Tying

that around. Yes, witty. So a vacuum is then--we start to get a hint that its a complicated

state. So I'll just go back. Emmy Noether has just had her theorem published. It makes

some waves. And these are her mentors and friends there at the University of Gottingen

during her tenure there from 1908 to 1931. These are some big names in 20th Century mathematics.

Felix Klein from the Klein-Kaluza Formulations. Hermann Minkowski did a tremendous amount

of work in the geometry behind general relativity. David Hilbert did the mathematics for advance

quantum mechanics. Hermann Weyl did geometry and math for a great deal of quantum mechanics.

Major dudes, and Emmy was there with them the whole time. And in 1920, as quoted here,

Hermann Weyl said "To the faculty senate, I am ashamed to occupy such a preferred position

beside Emmy, whom I know to be my superior." And among these guys, they are all close to

her, Felix Klein was one of her closest friends. Well, I guess I can't really say that. Biography

of Emmy is sparse. So, it's 1931, 1932 Germany. Emmy Noether is Jewish. She's an intellectual.

You know, they always come after the intellectuals first. You noticed that? It doesnt matter.

The communist came after the--Stalin went after the intellectuals. Taliban went after

the intellectuals. Some of the republicans come after the intellectuals. They always

come after the intellectuals first. And she was also a liberal pacifist. She really wasnt

on-board with World War I. So, what happens? Well, you know what happens. So I suppose

I was not Emmy's friend. And she was one of the first six professors in Germany to be

fired. Now, her brother, who I haven't mentioned, was also a math professor. Her brother took

their father's position at the University of Erlangen. And when in 1931, when the writing

on the wall was becoming clear, it was much clearer for intellectuals than it was--or

for academics than it was for people in business, but they had to leave. They couldnt make

a living. It was unpleasant. Her brother went to--went to Siberia, went to a university

in Vladivostok, which eventually became a pretty big university, but there was a hiccup

there. And Emmy didnt want to go there because it wasnt where all the math was

going. Where all the math was going on. And there is--there is one line of thought that

permeates Emmy's existence and that is a deep passion for doing mathematics. It's simply

what she wanted to do. She never got notoriety. While most of you have heard of her, you also

know that very few people out there have. But theyve all heard of Einstein. So, well,

that's who she turned to in 1933 for help. She wanted to go to United States. And Albert

Einstein convinced this--the Rockefeller's Foundation to match the Emergency Committee

to aid displaced German scholars and got this woman who has set the stage for formulation

of the laws of nature from fundamental symmetry, got her a one year gig at Bryn Mawr. And for

the first time in her life, she actually had an official faculty position; a one-year position.

Now, a little bit of background on Emmy's relationship with Einstein. She did a lot

of the mathematics, the tensor mathematics, the multidimensional matrix formulations that

are needed to describe warped space times. She set up a great deal of that mathematics

that he ended up using. So, they knew each other and Einstein was her mentee. A year

after that when her position ended, she had to once again, scramble for--to have it extended.

All right, it's kind of weird, right? Perhaps, the greatest mathematician alive at that time

and she can't get a job at Bryn Mawr, while her mentee is of course leading the institute

for advanced study at Princeton, such as it was. The thing is, I dont think Emmy really

cared that much, as long as she could find a place to do math. So lets carry on the--go

back to the science. Now, the interesting thing in physics is when the theory falls

apart. What happens when it doesnt work? That's what experimentalists always want.

Proving a theory works is boring. But if you can take something that is on the pedestal

and knock it off, ah, that's--that is where careers are made. So we look at this and say,

"Well, what happens when we think we have a symmetry and then we plug it in, Principle

of Least Action, apply the symmetry, turn the mathematical crank through Noether's Theorem

and we get a result, something that ought to be a law of nature if that symmetry is

truly symmetric." So, we apply that in that. Well, the Principle of Least Action is built

on a pretty strong foundation. Noether's Theorem is simply mathematics, right? So, you can

prove it. It's mathematics, just prove it. There's nothing really to question there.

So, what you would question is the symmetry at the other end, your hypothesis. So what

do you do? Well, of course, I have another box, this one considerably more expensive

than the mathematics, the experimental green box. So what do you do? You do some experiments

and you find out, do the predictions. Because that law of nature doesnt hold up to experimental

scrutiny. If not, then its what you call a broken symmetry. And broken symmetries then

beg a lot of questions, "What is their ultimate impact on the nature of matter?" So, here

are some interesting symmetries. They look, at first glance, some of them look at first

glance as if they ought to obviously hold, for example, parity. Parity is this left-left-right

switch. When you look in a mirror, if I do--remember when we did time translation? The issue was

if I do an experiment here, I get the same result as if I do it over here, right? Time

translation. Now, parity, the switching of left to right means if I do an experiment

here, do I get the same result? As if I do experiment and rather than watch the experiment

in--rather than take the data from the actual experiment, if I take the data from the mirror

image, do I get the same results? It seems like you probably would, doesnt it? Well,

you almost always do. So it's kind of obvious symmetry, but you plug in and something strange

happens. Now, here's another symmetry; time reversal. If instead of going forward in time,

if I go backward, will things look the same? Well, it really doesnt seem like it because

my hair is not getting any less gray, right? Time has an arrow. So this looks to me like

a completely obviously broken symmetry. But if you look at the laws of nature, you know,

the trajectory of a particle, the evolution of simple systems, not big statistical systems

but systems where you can track every piece, the equations are symmetric under time translation.

So at the fundamental level, there's this problem that time translation looks mathematically

like it ought to be a symmetry, though it clearly violate something. In fact, it violates

the third law of thermodynamics, entropy increases. So there's something funny there. Now, here's

another one that's somewhat esoteric that we need to string all of these together and

that's called charge conjugation. Now, a charge conjugation is that we switch all of the charges

of matter the opposite way. So, for example, we take an electron turn it into a positron.

We make it from negative to positive. We just switch the charges of everything. A proton

becomes an antiproton. Now, charge conjugation amounts to switching matter and antimatter.

Now, since antimatter is defined to be the equal of matter, except for this change, then

in a universe full of antimatter, we would certainly expect the laws of nature to be

the same. Everything would look the same, it just have flip charges. Instead of having

electrons flowing through motherboards, you'd have positrons, big deal. Okay. But there's

something funny there, too, right? Because this is an annoying problem. Is that in every

case where matter is created from energy, there are always equal amounts of matter and

antimatter. So, how come this universe has almost all matter and almost no antimatter?

There's a huge broken symmetry. So one of the experiments that's been going--well, various

experiments that have been carried out since the mid 60's have been trying to figure out,

"Where is this broken symmetry?" So let's have a quick look at that. First, we switch

the direction of time and we do the left-right switch and we switch all these charges. We

apply all three of these apparent symmetries at once, and lo and behold, the product of

them all seems to hold. It seems to hold, okay? It holds in every case. But if we reduce

that, if we remove the switching of forward and past, if we remove the time translation

symmetry, then--and we apply just this left to right, the parity and the matter and antimatter

switching of charge, then there's a broken symmetry. There are just a tiny handful of

processes involving these esoteric particles, Kaons and B mesons, things that we just dont

bump into everyday and there's this little itty-bitty asymmetry there where there's a

tiny, tiny bit more matter than there is antimatter. That gives us two things. First, it gives

us a hint as to why there's more matter than antimatter in the universe. But more interesting

than that--well, I don't know--but equally interesting to that is that if CP, if the

product of C&P is broken but the product of CP and T is not broken, then that means that

somewhere along the line that time reversal is broken too. So we can all breath a sigh

of relief because the third law of thermodynamics is then allowed to continue because there

is a broken symmetry. Dont know what it is, trying to figure it out. So, finally,

the standard model has a problem. The standard model is this--is this great big theory which

is built on way too many experimental details. It involves nature at its most fundamental

level. All of the matter that were aware of, that we can easily observe, is made up

these things, quarks and leptons and force fields that are given there--on the side,

photons, gluons, Zs, Ws and I drew in the big G for graviton. We dont need to know

what any of those are to realize that the standard model of physics, it would be perfectly

happy if none of these things had any mass at all. But once again, we have a great deal

of empirical evidence that we have mass. And in many cases, our mass is increasing as we

eat more. There's mass. Where did it come from, how did it happen? In fact, if we do

a rotation among all these particles, just switch their names and leave the masses out,

none of the laws of physics change, okay? There's a problem. This is the Origin of Mass

problem. And this guy here, Peter Higgs, at St. Andrews University, I think, maybe Edinburgh.

He's a Scotsman. He formulated a theory about--and to say he formulated the theory is really

giving him more credit than he deserves--but there is a lot of theory behind broken symmetries

and he used that to hypothesis a particle which appears when a symmetry is broken in

a certain way, and he called it Higgs boson. When I discovered a particle that decayed

very quickly, I called it the R because I thought it would be too obvious if I called

it the S because my last name is Stephens. I thought I could get it by with the R, the

Ransom, but everyone knew. So this is what you do. Anybody here ever solved the differential

equation? Yes. So, you know, differential equations, what a pain in the ass. There's

really, for an interesting differential equation, there is no simple pedestrian way. We start

here, we try, you know, we do go through these steps to get the solution. They just dont

work that way. There's a few that do, but they dont. Those ones aren't on the final,

right? So what you do is you learn a lot. And what it looks like when you're a freshman

and you have TA who solves the problem on the white board, it looks like she's pulling

something out of her hat. It's like, "I'll never think of that in a test. There's no

way I'm just going to come up with that." But later, as you become a junior and senior,

you realize that the building up of experiment--of experience gives you an edge. And what that

edge is, is you try things that worked before and that's how you solve differential equations.

Well, that's how you do most of mathematics and physics, is you need to just start trying

stuff. It's like debugging problems with Microsoft code, right? It's not working, what do you

do? Well, let's just go to options, go to the next thing, it's going to work eventually.

Reboot a couple of times, get Star Office. So, here, the thing is--magnetism is a similar

case. And a magnet--a magnet is manifestly asymmetric, right? It's got a north pole,

a south pole, but the equations that described magnetism are radially symmetric. The equations

have spherical symmetry; the solutions do not. They like to have north and south poles.

They're dipoles, they like to quadropoles. They dont have radial symmetry. So thats

similar to what's going on in the standard model. So what we do is, is we try the same

thing. So what another interesting thing with magnets which is directly related, is if you

take a bar of magnet and you heat it up, there is a well-defined temperature, called the

Curie point, where it loses its magnetism. Where the equations that describe that magnetic

field go from being manifestly asymmetric to being bing at one temperature, they suddenly

become radially symmetric. Starts to sound a lot like what might have happened at the

Big Bang. A very hot universe cools and as it cools, something happens. So, this is what

happens. Particles obtain their masses through interaction with something that pervades,

that permeates the vacuum. The vacuum really is something special and it's got this background,

the canvas of this--of this painting might be the Higgs field; that heavy particles are

constantly interacting, that the Higgs is slowing them down like a viscous fluid, whereas

Maslow's particles dont interact with the Higgs. They go zipping right through; photons;

light is massless. So where the iron filings line up with the magnetic field, the particles

line up with the Higgs field. The top is the heaviest one on there, 171 times the mass

of a proton and it lines up with that Higgs really sharp. Its got a very, very strong

coupling. So that's the idea of how the Higgs work. So, now, we turn to the straw experiment.

This is very high-tech. Who wants a straw? Who wants to carry on this experiment with

me? Some of these symmetries have been broken before. Just fix your straw and go with it.

It's an advantage to giving this, and oh, my there's no end of straws over there. Let's

not. So, this is the idea, okay? At the beginning--during the Big Bang, at the beginning of time, the

beginning of space, the beginning of space time, the universe was so hot. Thank you.

See, Carson goes off the air and no one knows the line. How hot was it? Yes. It was so hot

that the energies of these particles were just way, way bigger than their rest energy,

than their mass. So if we look at Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2, and then write it

down the way it's actually used by physicists, which is to say it's the rest mass, M0 times

the speed of light2 plus the energy of motion, in this case, the thermodynamic energy. But

that thermodynamic energy was so much larger than the rest energy that it was effectively

massless. That these particles were massless, okay, when it was hot. So then, the universe

cooled, the universe cools. We press down on the straw. And as it cools more and more,

the straw bends. It picks a direction and bends. It's no longer--it no longer has that

typical, spherical or cylindrical symmetry that we look for in a straw. It's a broken

symmetry. And when that symmetry breaks, the particles begin to interact with the Higgs

and obtain mass. The Higgs then becomes prominent at those temperatures and below. So, you look

at your straw and you say, "But you know, they didnt have this quirky little thing

in it. Then maybe if I pressed it just right with all perfect symmetry, then it would collapse

on its self," like that. Kind of like flipping a coin and having it land on its side, you've

probably managed to do it, but I bet you couldnt right now, something happens. Now, whether

the universe was symmetric before it cooled or whether there was an underlying asymmetry

that caused this symmetry to be broken in a given way just like the straw chooses a

direction when I pushed down on it, I dont know; it doesnt really matter. The particles

have mass. So this is then the fabric of reality with the Higgs boson. So, the geometry of

space time dictates the laws of nature; Noether's Theorem gives us that. And the space time

vacuum is saturated with this Higgs Field. So if we want to detect this Higgs Field,

well, how do you detect the canvas on a painting? Youre looking at the painting, right? How

do you do it? Well, you have to bring the canvass to light. You got to move some paint

off. You have to do something. And here, we have to inject energy into the system. The

current state of our space time inter [INDISTINCT] random spot, this spot of space time right

here in my hand, is too cool for there to be any Higgs. So we have to inject energy

and to get one to pop out. So the idea is basically like this, if we think of the Higgs

field as a pool of water then a wave in that pool is a Higgs particle and we have to give

them energy. So, yes, there's your--the experiment, the very expensive green box of experiment,

is this true or false? It's a broken symmetry. We have a concrete prediction to an experiment.

So that's what these experiments are doing at Fermilab and at CERN. The Tevatron at Fermilab

which is in Batavia, Illinois, there are two experiments; the D0 Experiment and the CDF

Experiment. These are great big things, four storeys high. And I think D0 ended up costing

I want to say 200 million just for the detector not including the accelerator. And then there's

at CERN, the ATLAS Experiment, there are two major experiments there that will be looking

for the Higgs, the ATLAS Experiment which is an acronym. ATLAS stands for A Toroidal

LHC ApparatuS, ATLAS. Yeah, real creative, these guys. And there's another one, the CMS

which is Compact Muon Solenoid. So there are these two experiments going on and they are

dumping, literally dumping energy into the vacuum and try and look for certain signatures

that will tell them if there is a Higgs. Now, interesting thing, there are various constraints

that you can put from other measurements where the Higgs, where evidence of the Higgs must

lie, even though it's not clear evidence that limits the processes. So that if the Higgs

is not found at either Fermilab or CERN then it's out of plane, that mechanism doesn't

work. And if that happens, well, then things get even more interesting, right? The experimental--the

theorist--I bet Peter Higgs would really like for the Higgs to be detected in his lifetime

that would be tidy and nice. But the experimentalist across the hall from him, "Ha ha ha ha. No

Higgs." They want Technicolor. Technicolor would be cool because it's another layer off

the onion. We had that little chart of quarks and leptons. Technicolor would say that there's

another layer, that quarks and leptons can be broken up into smaller things. It's always

kind of, you know, the first knee-jerk response since we've all seen the way things go, right?

We have atoms, then atoms are made up of stuff, then protons are made of stuff, it only seems

natural that there's another layer. And there's other approaches. One of the interesting ones

is that there could be extra dimensions, that there could something happening in an extra

dimension that leaks into our reality and gives these particles mass. Finally, Emmy

Noether, all these laws, all these theories that involves symmetry are built on top of

Noether's theorem. In fact, super-strings, the standard model of the standard model of

physics, these are all called gauge theories. And gauge theories are built immediately on

Noether's theorem. Every law, every thing that they predict is ultimately predicted

by something that you can get using Noether's theorem. So that's the reason that I think

that Emmy Noether made arguably the most important discovery of humanity, this relationship between

the fabric of reality and the way reality is. How it works, the affect of the canvass

on the painting. So, anyway, so what she did, she moved to Bryn Mawr where she got a one

year position which she was--got generously extended for a year. She had a reputation

for being a very challenging teacher. She was the kind of teacher who would put a really

hard problem on the board and then ask you how to do it by name. And this can be very

painful, right? But she was one of those teachers that we've all had that at first we hated

and then as time went on we realized, "No, wow, she's really clueing me into something.

There's something special here." And then you really learn. So she had a squad of students

that followed her around in Germany that ended up being called, Noether's boys, of course,

she didn't have any female students because there weren't any. And then she went to Bryn

Mawr where it was an all female school and it was the first time she'd had female colleagues

and she was very, very happy there. But in the--during her second year as an instructor

at Bryn Mawr, she didn't feel well and she didn't tell anybody about it. She went to

the doctor and the next day she missed her lecture and no one was like, "Emmy never misses

a lecture. It's never been done before in history." But she was dead. So she went to

the doctor, she had an ovarian cyst, it was removed. It was 1935, things didn't go too

well and she died two days later. But, and that's why I set this here, that from my impression

of researching her, is that this lack--this complete lack of notoriety that she had through

her life and after her life, I don't think it mattered to her. I think she was very happy.

I think she really enjoyed doing mathematics. She was well-known for doing things like walking

into, you know, walking into walls and stuff, thinking about math and forgetting things

except her students and her classes. So those are good reasons to remember Emmy Noether,

and she's not completely without notoriety. You can see a picture up here, which is on

a library at a girls' school in her hometown of Erlangen. They ought to trim the bushes

out of the way but it's a plaque in her honor. And she is honored in various spots and including

Bryn Mawr and now at Google. So here's a list of things she did, and if any of you are real

pure mathematicians then you might be writhing in your seats that I didn't even mention her

most important contributions because I dont really understand them so I wasn't going to

mention them, but I figured some of you might have known them. But she did a tremendous

amount of work in noncommutative algebras. Do you remember that? That's where the love,

the distributive property doesn't work; A x B is not equal to B x A. And group theory,

which all seems to have to do with donuts. And hypercomplex numbers and rings, and the

theory of ideals in ring is known to be one of her greatest contributions. But as a physicist

and as an existence in this universe, for my money, Noether's theorem was really huge

for all of us. So how does that fit in? Well, Robert told you at the beginning that this

brilliant novel that was composed by someone in the room, involves a character that is

based very loosely on Emmy Noether. My character is named Emmy Nutter. And I proposed this

that had Emmy Noether grown up in 1980s Los Angeles, she would have been quite like my

character Emmy Nutter. But Emmy Noether grew up in the Kaiser's Germany, that's the only

reason they were different. Truth is when I wrote this book, Emmy Noether was sort of

a hero of mine just by being a physicist and so in the first chapter where she appears,

it's her giving a lecture of teaching her students at Cal Noether's theorem, but she

doesn't call it that. She doesn't say what it is. But when I wrote the book I hadn't

done any research on her at all, I did all the research afterwards. So by very loosely,

I mean, very loosely based. So this is my book. I have a few copies. If you want it,

you're welcome to buy it on Amazon. Actually, I get a really nice royalty if you get it

there. It is available, of course, in Kindle and so forth. And what I want you to do, if

you can just take a couple more minutes, is I have some evaluation forms. I'd really appreciate

it if you could crank them out real quick. Let me hand them to you now. Would that be

okay? All right, thanks. I'll take questions. Yes. I'll happily take questions. Shoot.

>> So while he's working out the story with the evaluation forms I'll ask the first question.

This question is actually inspired by a piece of email I got from someone who I don't know

whether this person was able to attend the talk or not, but someone sent me email and

said just a question for Ransom Stephens and I won't tell you initially what the question

was because... >> STEPHENS: That will make it easier to answer.

>>Well, I want you to answer a different question and that's why.

>> STEPHENS: Okay. >> This is a question begged by the question

I was asked to proxy to you in email. So Noether's theorem that you told us about starts you

with asymmetry and gives you a conservation law. And the question begged by the question

I got in email is, is it the case then that for every conservation law there is asymmetry.

>> STEPHENS: Yes, for every conservation law there is asymmetry.

>> So the question I got in email is given conservation of information in quantum mechanics,

what is the corresponding symmetry. >> STEPHENS: I don't know. It's a very interesting

question. I don't know. I don't know. Damn it.

>> I'd gather--the person who asked didn't know either.

>> STEPHENS: Yes. >> But...

>> STEPHENS: I'd bet this person didn't know. But information is--no, I don't know the answer

but it's certainly worth trying to dig up. I know some people that I can ask. Sorry.

>> So, first, thanks for the talk. If I only understood half of what you said, it would

have been even better. The question is, I think I read this morning or maybe yesterday

something about in the LHC there was this experiment that the result seemed to indicate

there might be five different mass Higgs bosons or something.

>> STEPHENS: Yes. One of the things abut the Higgs is that it takes more than one and there

could be a lot of them, okay? The Higgs gets complicated very quickly. Yes, there's likely--if

there is a Higgs, there's probably--five is a good number. Five is, I think, the minimal

number, one for each generation and they couple differently and they'll have different properties.

Some of them might be charged. The minimal Higgs boson is a neutral scalar; it's a neutral

spinless object. >> I'm curious with the title; why the God

Patent? >> STEPHENS: Oh, the God Patent. The reason

that my book is titled the God Patent--I did not pay him to ask this question--the reason

that this book is titled the God Patent is this; its the story of a laid-off engineer

trying to rebuild his life after making a great deal of stupid decisions, okay? So he

was, in 1999, he was working for a company in North Dallas that did fiber optics. And

it just started doing fiber optics, right? It was 1999; it was a very exciting time to

be in high-tech. And as you probably did when you were first hired here at Google, in his

orientation package, there was a memo that said, "If you submit a patent, you will get

a bonus. And if you--if that patent is then granted, you will get another bonus." And

so, Ryan McNear, and his buddy Foster Reed, two of the characters in this book, sitting

there looking at it and Ryan says "You know, we got a couple of hours and the patent attorneys

for this company, they don't know anything about the kind of high-tech we're doing. Let's

just crank some of these out. We can get a boat." So they did. And what Ryan thought

of was to defy--to submit a patent, which ultimately was patenting the soul and calling

it software algorithm; that it was a Nero network that begot other Nero networks in

a semi-biblical way. But it was artificial intelligence dressed up in enough--in enough

engineering ease that it could ease--that it could get by the patent examiners for that

company. He didn't expect it to be granted, but it was. His friend Foster, patented creation

and made it--called it, of course, a Power Source, a generator, a power generator. Now,

so those are kind of funny, right, that you submit some crazy thing, you dress it up with

enough engineering jargon and it actually gets granted as a patent. I'm sure no one

in this room has ever done that. But I know a guy who works at a company that makes semi-processors

over here somewhere or I guess over there somewhere, and he has the patent for drilling

a hole in fiber glass. Not vertically, right? That would be AVIA, an FR4, right? But he'd

be drilling it horizontally. Patented that. Called it an optical coupling channel and

dressed it up in a great deal, you know, lots of flow diagrams and stuff but boils it down

horizontal hole in the fiber glass. You're going to have to pay intel royalties for that

bad boy. Next question? Any question at all? >> Okay. So in the abstract, you said that

Noether's theorem was violated and you would give examples. But my understanding is that

it only applies to continuous symmetries, so it wouldn't apply to your discreet symmetry.

>> STEPHENS: No, it does so. It applies to discreet symmetries. In fact, one--some slides

that I actually left out because we didn't have time, is that the first one you learn,

the first application of Noether's theorem that you do in a textbook in quantum physics

is the conservation of charge. And that's actually a discreet symmetry. You multiply

a phase to the wave equation and then go through Schrödinger's equation and require that nothing

change, right, because just altering a phase can't change anything. And charge conservation

comes right out. >> Yes. It comes out of the global, the global

phase. >> STEPHENS: Yes.

>> I actually wanted to comment on the popularity of Noether's theorem--the relative popularity

among mathematicians and physicists because in Algebra, for example, it is completely

impossible to publish a paper without mentioning Noether's theorem, whereas in Physics it is

still possible to publish a paper... >> STEPHENS: It is possible.

>> ...that will not mention Noether's theorem. >> STEPHENS: Right. Thank you. Ah, in defense

of mathematics. You don't get that at the Atlas Café in San Francisco.

>> This is a really dumb question, I'm sure, but you said that--you talked about experiments

and their results being invariant. I mean, I wonder what you meant by invariant experiment

over space. >> STEPHENS: Okay.

>> Because if I take a measurement on my GPS and then do it over there, the result's different,

right? So that experiment is not invariant. >> You didn't move the whole system.

>> STEPHENS: Yes. You didn't move--yeah. >> I have to move the whole system? Okay.

Got it. >> STEPHENS: Yes. The whole experiment, the

whole system you're doing needs to move, right, or you're changing the symmetry of the system.

But for GPS, if you measure GPS, I think a way you could gauge that is that you throw

out a--you measure it twice, right? You measure it with a--how far you're moving away with

a yard stick, so you actually measure. And then, you put in the right X prime and that

will change your result, your measured result and your predicted result and you get the

same, okay? So you do--you can't sweep anything under the rug except the isotropy of space.

That is what we're testing. Is that it? I have one more? Another?

>> Hi. It's about the Higgs boson. So I heard that the way that the Higgs boson would explain

all the masses of the fundamental particles is that different particles would couple to

the Higgs Field with different strength. And so, if we indeed find the Higgs boson then

we're just exchanging all these mass values with a set of coupling constants to explain--I

mean, it's like we're exchanging a set of unknown within a set of unknown. So what's--I

mean, why--what's the advance in that case? >> STEPHENS: Right. This is a good point and

frequently experiments feel like this, right? It's the issue of we answer one question and

it brings up more and more. So the answer is that if we discover the Higgs boson that

hopefully we'll make measurements that will dictate what those--how it couples to different

particles, but they'll all be tied back to the way that the symmetry breaks or to something

fundamental. Yes, if we have a different coupling for every particle that exists that has mass,

then we haven't bought ourselves anything. We're just, in fact, we've lost because we

got more particles and more in the same number of things we have to measure. So that doesn't

get us further down the road. But the thinking is that understanding the mechanism will get

us further. >> Before we let you close, I just want to

check and see if there are any questions from the remote sites. Okay. Looks like there are

not. Are there any more questions here? Please help me thank Dr. Stephens.

>> STEPHENS: Thank you very much.


The Description of Emmy Noether and The Fabric of Reality