Upon following John W. Moffat…

John W. Moffat, Professor Emeritus of physics, University of Toronto
Adjunct Professor of Physics,  University of Waterloo
Member, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

ArXiv: Finite Quantum Field Theory and Renormalization Group, 2021
•  Ultraviolet Complete Quantum Field Theory and Particle Model, 2018
•  Dynamical Mechanism for Varying Light Velocity as a Solution to Cosmological Problems, 1998
Books: The Shadow of the Black Hole, 2020
•  Cracking the Quantum Code of the Universe, 2014
•  Einstein Wrote Back, 2010
•  A review: Backreaction, Sabine Hossenfelder, 2014
Homepage: Perimeter
YouTube: Einstein Wrote Back, 2010. Interview with John Moffat, 1989

First email: 3 February 2022 at 11:11 AM

Dear Prof. Dr. John Moffat:

You appear to be comfortable out on the edges of physics. You are speculative, imaginative, and you do not appear to be afraid of new ideas. The young artist and adventurer within you works. Yet, there are always people who inadvertently find another path which opens another set of questions. Ours was in a high school geometry class in 2011. Out of naïveté, we went inside the tetrahedron and a silly question was asked, “How far inside can we go?” The initial answer seemed reasonable enough, “Let’s find out!” So, we set off dividing the edges by 2, and connecting those new vertices. We already knew there’s an octahedron inside every tetrahedron with the four smaller tetrahedrons, one in each corner. But that octahedron dominates, so we knew we would be going inside it as well. There we discovered six smaller octahedrons, one in each corner and eight tetrahedrons , one in each face, all sharing a centerpoint and all with four hexagonal plates surrounding it.

We had our work cut out for us. Within just a couple of steps going inside, it was getting hard to keep track of all the smaller and smaller octahedrons and tetrahedrons. We asked Wolfram to help. That learning curve was too steep, so we just settled down and did that grunt work. We thought we had a long, long way to go.

In forty-five steps, we were within the domain of particle physics. Within another 67 steps we were within the domain of Max Planck’s base units. It was a natural stopping point and time to recalibrate. Instead of using the length of a side of our tetrahedron, we decided to use Max Planck’s Length. It was sweet because when we multiplied by 2, we were back out to our classroom desks in just 112 steps.

“How far out can we go?” The quick response, “Let’s guess and then find out.” We were all over the map. Anywhere from 112 steps to “over 1000!” We were so flummoxed with our results, we asked a NASA physicist and mathematician to help. There were just 90 steps. We made a big board of our 202 steps, a little universe. It was fun. Colorful. A surfing safari!

And, we had viscerally discovered what an odd duck base-2 exponentiation can be. And, what results! There were just 202 steps from the smallest measurement to the largest. We looked everywhere for an expert to tell us what it all meant. We found Kees Boeke’s work of 1957 where he did a limited base-10 progression. We also found 27 notations that he missed (he had 40 and we found 67)!

I wrote it up for Wikipedia and they kept it up for about a month when some hot shot MIT professor said, “Original research.” Of course, we laughed. We were just playing around in a high school class, “You can’t call that original research.”

Then we asked an old acquaintance, Freeman Dyson, about it. He had some encouraging and discouraging words. Frank Wilczek was a bit more enthusiastic, “Keep exploring!” So, although the class had to move on to the next lesson, I had some time to think about it, “It’s a STEM tool.” It certainly organized a lot of data very well. I sent it around. The sounds of “No” and the sounds of silence were deafening. AAAS, Nature. Scientific American. Letters to editors. Nobody would touch it.

“Bleep them!”

In 2013 we made a desktop model of the big board. We then added Planck Time to the progression. That was really cool, a sweet validation that we were on a good path. Planck Mass and Planck Charge in 2014, but what about Planck Temperature? Could Max be wrong? Might it always be in the future? It was too confusing even to guess. “It has to be about the future! Stick it in Notation-203 and divide by 2.” We had to do something with it!

In 2016 I took all our silly charts and put them on a horizontal plane. Wow. We could more easily watch the numbers grow (and decrease). That was a new beginning. Creativity was re-awakened.

Today, our postulations have gotten out of hand. We are thinking about the structure of the first particle. That old Planck Temperature is being re-engaged. And I discovered you by looking at our line 10 of the chart and asking, “Is anybody talking about a variable speed of light?” Of course, we cited your work.

To whom might we turn? To whom might we get some thoughtful guidance? When I looked at the video of you and your workspace with so many references and texts all around, I could only hope it might be you.

Thank you for all you do to ruffle the feathers of scholarship.

Most sincerely,