Physics, Logic and Mathematics of Time



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PIRSA Number: 
14050032

Abstract

Consider discrete physics with a minimal time step taken to be
tau. A time series of positions q,q',q'', ... has two classical
observables: position (q) and velocity (q'-q)/tau. They do not commute,
for observing position does not force the clock to tick, but observing
velocity does force the clock to tick. Thus if VQ denotes first observe
position, then observe velocity and QV denotes first observe velocity,
then observe position, we have
VQ: (q'-q)q/tau
QV: q'(q'-q)/tau
(since after one tick the position has moved from q to q').
Thus [Q,V]= QV - VQ = (q'-q)^2/tau. If we consider the equation
[Q,V] = k (a constant), then k = (q'-q))^2/tau and this is recognizably
the diffusion constant that arises in a process of Brownian motion.
Thus, starting with the simplest assumptions for discrete physics, we are
lead to recognizable physics. We take this point of view and follow it
in both physical and mathematical directions. A first mathematical
direction is to see how i, the square root of negative unity, is related
to the simplest time series: ..., -1,+1,-1,+1,... and making the
above analysis of time series more algebraic leads to the following
interpetation for i. Let e=[-1,+1] and e'=[+1,-1] denote, as ordered
pairs, two phase-shifted versions of the alternating series above.
Define an operator b such that eb = be' and b^2 = 1. Regard b as a time
shifting operator. The operator b shifts the alternating series by one
half its period. Regard e' = -e and ee' = [-1.-1] = -1 (combining term by
term). Then let i = eb. We have ii = (eb)(eb) = ebeb = ee'bb = -1. Thus ii = -1
through the definition of i as eb, a temporally sensitive entity that
shifts it phase in the course of interacting with (a copy of) itself.
By going to i as a discrete dynamical system, we can come back to the
general features of discrete dynamical systems and look in a new way at
the role of i in quantum mechanics. Note that the i we have constructed is
already part of a simple Clifford algebra generated by e and b with
ee = bb = 1 and eb + be = 0. We will discuss other mathematical physical
structures such as the Schrodinger equation, the Dirac equation and the
relationship of a simple logical operator (generalizing negation) with
Majorana Fermions.