Bohm, Bell, Weisskopf, Costa de Beauregard, J.P. Vigier, Aspect, d’Espagnat

Victor Weisskopf-2John S. BellDavid Bohm

Looking Back: An Open Letter

by Bruce Camber, End-of-the-week wrap up  Prior homepage: Our Universe, An On-going Construction Project

24 March 2019 / Revised and resent: 3 August 2019

Adam Becker, Author, “What Is Real?” by Basic Books, March 2018
Author and Astrophysicist
RE: Nov. 15, 2018 Lecture, Harvard,  “The Trouble With Quantum Physics And Why It Matters

Dear Adam,

I just listened to your presentation, the November 2018 lecture at Harvard about your book and quantum physics. Harvard’s Jacob Barandes was there for the Q&A.

In 1971 I was a regular at the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science (Cohen, Wartofsky, Shimony) and got caught by a lecture about the EPR paradox and John Bell’s work. In 1977, Viki Weisskopf (MIT) helped clear the way for me to visit with Bell at CERN and for a return a few years later. I was also able to visit with David Bohm at Birkbeck College in London where with eight other graduate students we spent the better part of a day exploring points, lines, triangles and the tetrahedron. When I finally learned about Bohm’s death in 1992, I took down his book, Fragmentation and Wholeness, autographed and given to me in 1977. During what would be an honorary read, I declared out loud, “David Bohm! You never asked us what was most-simply inside the tetrahedron!” I quickly figured it out on my own.

In 1971, I was also part of the Philomorphs with Arthur Loeb at Harvard.

Forty years later, helping my nephew with his high school geometry classes, we chased that tetrahedron, going within, by dividing the edges in half, connecting those new vertices, to discover the four half-sized tetrahedrons in each corner and the octahedron in the middle. Doing the same with the octahedron, we found the half-sized octas in each of the six corners and the eight tetrahedrons, one in each face, all sharing a common centerpoint. Elegant.

Getting in the spirit of Zeno and people like Gian-Carlo Rota (Combinatorics, MIT), we chased the exponentially greater number of internal objects, back deeper and smaller within. In 45 steps, we were in the domain of particle physics. In another 67 steps within we were in the domain of the Planck scale. In 112 steps from the classroom, and we finally met Max Planck.

We multiplied by 2. In just 90 steps we were out at the edge of the universe and the age of the universe. With just 202 steps or base-2 notations or doublings, we had encapsulated the universe.  You can imagine the joy of those high school students.

Such a finding it was but we had nowhere to go with it.

We shared our chart as a rather fun STEM tool but the first 64 notations were unsettling. We had numbers but nothing to match up with them, except perhaps such illusive things as strings, preons, gravitons, instantons, and dark matter and dark energy.

How stupid. How silly.

What would you do with these numbers? Shall we speculate that planckspheres manifest at the Planck scale, and have been filling the universe for the past 13.82 billion years, thus the expansion and, and, and….?

You know so much; you are playful. What do you do with such simple logic, simple math, but entirely idiosyncratic results. Shall we just flush it down and out of our systems? Thanks.

Most sincerely,


PS. My last efforts within this arena was in 1980 in Paris where on one day at the Institut Henri Poincare, I studied with Costa de Beauregard and then the next day with J.P. Vigier. One day Vigier took me down to d’Orsay to meet Alain Aspect. Bernard d’Espagnat also joined us.  Beyond just dropping  the names of extraordinary scholars, at no time was the simple little sphere a point of any discussion. Isn’t that our collective problem?