
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is this?

Knot physics is a theory that describes all physical phenomena from a simple set of assumptions. The consequences of those assumptions can be considered for a variety of conditions, and in each case the theory appears to be consistent with experiment.

How should I use this site?

This theory is in many ways different from other unification theories. While the assumptions are relatively simple, most readers will find some parts unfamiliar. The information presented here is intended to be consumed in a particular order so that each step provides adequate conceptual background for the next step. We recommend the following sequence:
 Short Video Presentation
 Full Video Presentation
 The paper "Physics on a Branched Knotted Spacetime Manifold"

What are the advantages of this theory?

The following are some important advantages of this theory:
 There is a small set of fundamental assumptions with very few independent parameters. This implies that almost all of the parameters can be derived from first principles. This has already been done for the fine structure constant.
 In this theory, quantum properties are a consequence of the dynamics of the branched manifold. We show that the discrete behavior of the branched manifold can be modeled using a continuous approximation, which is a path integral. Because the underlying system is discrete and finite, the pathological infinities of the path integral never appear.
 From the fundamental assumptions, we show that the manifold can spontaneously produce pairs of knots of the form ℝ^{3}#(S^{1}×P^{2}). We show that these knots have the properties of the elementary fermions. Different embedding types of these knots explain the different generations of fermions. We therefore find that the theory spontaneously produces the elementary particles without additional assumptions. Furthermore, the theory tightly constrains the types of knots that can be created, and we therefore can mathematically constrain the types of possible particles.
 The spacetime manifold is constrained by our assumptions, but it is underconstrained. We therefore expect the manifold to maximize entropy. Using this principle of entropic maximization, we can derive a description of the dynamics of the spacetime manifold. We find that the manifold behavior is best described by a Lagrangian. In that Lagrangian, we find terms for gravity (scalar curvature R) and electromagnetism (the term F^{μν}F_{μν}). Including the effects of particle geometry and topology produces electroweak and strong forces.

If particles are knots, then what are the types of knots that can be particles?

In this theory, we assume a few constraints on the spacetime manifold. One important result of those constraints is that the ways that the manifold can change topology are tightly constrained. If particles are knots on the manifold, then every production of particle/antiparticle pair is a change of topology of the manifold. Therefore a particular topology is only a viable particle topology if it can be created on the spacetime manifold subject to the constraining assumptions.
We prove that it is possible to produce pairs of knots of the form ℝ^{3}#(S^{1}×P^{2}) subject to our constraining assumptions. The type ℝ^{3}#(S^{1}×P^{2}) is relatively simple, analogous to a twist in the manifold. We then go on to show that those knots have the same properties as the elementary fermions. It remains to be shown that no other topology type is possible. It may be that there are other possible particle topologies and the only reason we see just the type ℝ^{3}#(S^{1}×P^{2}) is that it has the lowest energy. While it is possible to mathematically eliminate many classes of particle topology, a complete list of possible particle topologies has not yet been determined.

Are the particles really knots in the same sense as knot theory?

The mathematical theory of knot theory has a very specific meaning for the word "knot". A knot is an embeddding of S^{n} in S^{n+2}. The constraint on the dimensions (an nmanifold in an n+2manifold) is a tight constraint. For any other dimensionality, the embedding would not be knotted. For example, a knot of the form S^{n} in S^{n+3} would spontaneously untie.
Every elementary fermion in this theory has topology ℝ^{3}#(S^{1}×P^{2}). This is not a knot in the sense of knot theory. Also, this 3dimensional topology can be embedded in ℝ^{n} for n≥5. A hadron, for example a proton, contains linked copies of ℝ^{3}#(S^{1}×P^{2}), each of which is a quark. Those quarks will remain linked to each other only if the 3 spatial dimensions of the spacetime manifold are embedded in a 5dimensional space. For that reason, we see that the dimension of the embedding space is perfectly constrained by the particle topology of hadrons.
In this theory, we need a word to describe particle topology. There are two reasons that we use the word "knot". The first reason is that the word is convenient and approximately describes the particle topology. The second reason is that, for hadrons, the 3dimensional particle topology must be embedded in an 5dimensional space, which is the same constraint (n=3 and n+2=5) that applies in the mathematical theory of knot theory.

If particles are knots, then why do leptons appear pointlike?

In this theory, all elementary fermions are knots in the spacetime manifold that have topology ℝ^{3}#(S^{1}×P^{2}). Leptons are elementary fermions and therefore they also have this topology. In this theory, we assume that the spacetime manifold is constrained by Ricci flatness, and we find that Ricci flatness strongly constrains the geometry of the particles. In particular, as charged leptons approach other particles, Ricci flatness forces the lepton radius to shrink. As the distance of approach goes to zero, the lepton radius also goes to zero. For this reason, leptons appear to be pointlike in collisions.
This description allows us to describe the spin angular momentum of leptons in familiar terms. For the case of pointlike leptons, spin angular momentum must be considered to be an inherent quantity that is not obtained in the normal sense of p×r, because the calculation would be meaningless if the lepton radius is r=0. In this description, radius is nonzero and the spin angular momentum can be calculated as a function of field strength from first principles.

How does quantum mechanics work in this theory?

The description of quantum mechanics here is very different from the usual description. We assume that the spacetime manifold is branched and we get all of our quantumness from that property. The viewpoint we adopt is that the path integral of quantum mechanics is useful because it is a convenient simplification of the complex dynamical system, which is the branched manifold. This is similar to saying that the heat equation is a convenient simplification of the transfer of heat energy through the vibrating molecules of an atomic lattice. The heat equation has certain pathological properties, for example energy is transferred faster than light speed. The path integral has certain pathological properties, for example various infinities that are difficult to tame. We hypothesize that the pathology results from modeling a discrete system as a continuous one. With the branched manifold, a single branch of the manifold is analogous to a single atom of the atomic lattice, and we do not try to know its random contribution. We just try to model the ensemble statistically. If we model the ensemble using a continuous approximation, the result reproduces the path integral of quantum mechanics.

Will additional assumptions be necessary to make a complete physical model?

So far all the key properties of physics (all four forces, quantum mechanics, and the known particles) have been shown to follow without requiring additional assumptions. There is a very short list of assumptions, even in comparison to the Standard Model, and the consequences of those assumptions have been adequate to describe every physical phenomenon that has been attempted. Interestingly, over the course of the development of the theory, the set of assumptions has become ever smaller as previously distinct descriptions were shown to be unified by ever simpler models.

How can I get involved?

Because this theory is relatively new, we find that most people prefer to discuss it with their friends and colleagues first. The video presentations are designed for sharing among people who are new to the theory. We have had quite a lot of time to think about the theory and have been able to address most of the questions that people have asked. If you have any questions or you are curious about future research possibilities, please feel free to email.

