On learning about the work of David Malament…

David B. Malament, University of California – Irvine, Irvine, California

ArXiv. Classical General Relativity, 2005 https://arxiv.org/pdf/gr-qc/0312085.pdf
Homepage(s): CV, CV, Twitter, Wikipedia, Video

Within this website: In the beginning…  Causal set theory, Scholars‘ listings

Most recent email: 31 October 2021 at 11 PM

Dear Prof. Dr. David Malament:

I was re-reading one of my webpages about spheres at the Planck scale and causal set theory; and of all those people linked, only yours went deeper into the site to a prior reference to you. Linked right here and then again within our contacts page and, of course, this page.

2008, when I discovered your work, we had just moved into Irvine (for about a year).

I thought you might find it all a bit amusing, possibly interesting, that ten years later I have been visualizing causal set as infinitesimal spheres, a result of those never-ending dimensionless constants within the qualitative state of continuity-symmetry-harmony whereby cubic-close packing of equal spheres is the beginning of all the geometries within and the Planck scale.

…just silliness? …perhaps a modest possibility?



PS As a result of this little review, I found your Irvine colleague, James O Weatherall ‘s copy of Christian Wüthrich‘s Spacetime from causality: causal set theory, March 2015, where you are quoted and referenced extensively. Thank you. -BEC

Second email:  Thursday, August 9, 2018, 2:51 PM

Dear Prof. Dr. David Malament:

This work started within a high school geometry class where we emerged with a totally mathematical but rather idiosyncratic view of the universe. We went deep inside the tetrahedron by dividing each of the edges by 2. Initially we encountered the four half-sized tetrahedrons in each corner and the octahedron in the middle. We continued that process with both objects until we were in the range of the fermion. We had divided by 2 no less than 45 times. In just 67 more steps within, we were in the range of the Planck scale. We then multiplied our original objects by 2. Within 90 steps, we were within the range of the observable universe. There was a total of just 202 doublings.

Our original poster from 2011 is here: https://81018.com/big-board/
Our earliest discussion from 2012 is here: https://81018.com/home/
Our current chart with the four Planck base units started in 2016: https://81018.com/chart/

Does it make any sense? https://81018.com/functions/
Can we use the Planck scale in such a manner? Is it logical? Is our sense of the doubling functions appropriate? 

Is it just too simplistic? If so, could you help us articulate our failure of logic? Current work: https://81018.com/

Most sincerely,


First email: Wednesday, December 3, 2008, 10:47 AM

Dear Prof. Dr. David Malament:

You are a scholar yet you have a special irascible part of your being that refuses to tow the line. Congratulations.

I was reading Wiki’s “causal sets” and found you.  The path is given below. Back in 1972, I attended a lecture with Adolf Grünbaum at the Boston University’s Cohen-Wartofsky-Stachel series, and became a graduate student from 1973-1979.

I was never a very good student.  I was too focused on perfected-states in space-time, i.e. order-continuity, relations-symmetry, and dynamics-harmony… born-again Plato-Leibniz aficionado.  In 1977, I did a little bit of studying with David Bohm. In 1980 I did a little with Olivia Costa de Beauregard, JP Vigier, and others around EPR work in D’Orsay. Much more recently, I was a guest of John Conway’s for a day of discussions. So, to say the least, I am fascinated with your work and we are neighbors.

We  moved into Irvine in August to legacy our 14 years of work on PBS about best business practices.  Of course, that story is too long for this brief introduction. Suffice for me to say, “With the disintermediation of space-and-time vis-à-vis the web, the study of its derivative nature becomes ever more compelling, and it is good to know there is somebody in the neighborhood like you who is doing such primary thinking.”

As I begin to read your work, may I open an occasional dialogue with you? Thank you.



PS. You may find some of the links below useful as further backgrounder info.

Bruce Camber, founder, Executive Producer
Small Business School, Inc.
Private Business Channel, Inc.

“…the longest-running television series on PBS stations in the USA and the Voice of America around the world about best business practices.”

“Nobody can pay or has ever paid to be on this television show. Every business owner was recommended by many local business advocates, often the local Chamber of Commerce, and confirmed by their national trade association for their leadership, generosity of spirit, ethics, and courage.
References: “Author Meets Critics” session, chaired by David Malament, featured Patrick Suppes (“Representation and Invariance of Scientific Structures”) and included Jeff Barrett, Jean-Claude Falmagne, and Brian Skyrms as critics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causal_sets The causal sets program is an approach to quantum gravity. Its founding principle is that spacetime is fundamentally discrete and that the spacetime points are related by a partial order. This partial order has the physical meaning of the causality relations between spacetime points. The program is based on a theorem[1] by David Malament which states that if there is a map between two past and future distinguishing spacetimes which preserves their causal structure then the map is a conformal isomorphism. The conformal factor that is left undetermined is related to the volume of regions in the spacetime. This volume factor can be recovered by specifying a volume element for each spacetime point. The volume of a spacetime region could then be found by counting the number of points in that region.

Causal sets was initiated by Rafael Sorkin who continues to be the main proponent of the programme. He has coined the slogan, “Order + Number = Geometry” to characterize the above argument. The programme provides a theory in which spacetime is fundamentally discrete while retaining local Lorentz invariance.


More references:
^ D. Malament, 1977. “The class of continuous timelike curves determines the topology of spacetime,” Journal of Mathematical Physics, July 1977, Volume 18, Issue 7, pp. 1399-1404 online
^ D. Malament, 2005. “Classical General Relativity” (gr-qc/0506065, to appear in Handbook of the Philosophy of Physics, eds. J. Butterfield and J. Earman, Elsevier) online
^ D. Malament, 1977. “Causal Theories of Time and the Conventionality of Simultaniety,” Noûs 11, 293-300
^ A. Grünbaum. David Malament. The Conventionality of Simultaneity: A Reply, online
^ S. Sarkar, J. Stachel, Did Malament Prove the Non-Conventionality of Simultaneity in the Special Theory of Relativity?, Philosophy of Science, Vol. 66, No. 2
^ R. Rynasiewicz, Definition, Convention, and Simultaneity: Malament’s Result and Its Alleged Refutation by Sarkar and Stachel, Philosophy of Science, Vol. 68, No. 3, Supplement, online
^ Hanoch Ben-Yami, Causality and Temporal Order in Special Relativity, British Jnl. for the Philosophy of Sci., Volume 57, Number 3, Pp. 459-479, abstract online

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