Friday, August 07, 2009

Science/Faith Challenge

Reader JJS P.Eng requested the science/faith challenge. Below is a short version.

What you will find are ten abstracts (or in some cases, introductions) of ten peer-reviewed papers. Five are from unbelievers, five are from believers.

The hypothesis: If science and religion are incompatible, one should be able to determine the polluting effects of religion and pick out the tainted papers. So find the five written by believers. If you can't, then the science/faith incompatibility charge has no teeth, no effect, it is in fact unfalsifiable and indemonstrable, and is therefore meaningless.

Here are some caveats and tidbits:
  • In almost all cases they are single-author papers. In a couple they have two authors. In those cases, the "target" author is the first author.

  • Some of the formatting was lost--especially some Greek characters, but that shouldn't matter.

  • One of them is from a scientist named Darwin!

  • That same scientist, who sadly passed away, I loved dearly--and was related to me by marriage.

  • I would say at least two (one in each group) and possibly four (two in each group) are by world-class (as in NAS quality) scientists. (Not to diminish the others, all of whom are competent researchers.)

  • You could, obviously, easily cheat by Google.

  • One of them should be a dead giveaway--a freebie--to members of the faith/science blogghetto.


1) The Quantum Hall Fluid and Non–Commutative Chern Simons Theory


The first part of this paper is a review of the author’s work with S. Bahcall which gave an elementary derivation of the Chern Simons description of the Quantum Hall effect for filling fraction 1/n. The notation has been modernized to conform with standard gauge theory conventions. In the second part arguments are given to support the claim that abelian non–commutative Chern Simons theory at level n is exactly equivalent to the Laughlin theory at filling fraction 1/n. The theory may also be formulated as a matrix theory similar to that describing D0–branes in string theory. Finally it can also be thought of as the quantum theory of mappings between two non–commutative spaces, the first being the target space and the second being the base space.



2) A New Class of Solutions to the Strong CP Problem with a Small Two-Loop θ


While the Standard Model (SM) has been enjoying fantastic success, it does have many loose ends which are potentially our guidepost to the new physics of the future. Two of the most significant loose ends are strong CP problem and the fermion mass hierarchy. Within the SM, the Yukawa couplings give rise to the fermion masses of all three generations and their mixings including the CP violation. Indeed it was first observed by Kobayashi and Maskawa[1] (KM) that only two generations cannot support any CP violating phase.The fact that all three generations have to be involved to create a CP violating phenomena, makes KM model an extremely subtle and beautiful model for CP violation. It also makes CP violation tightly connected with flavor physics.



3. Development and axonal outgrowth of identified motoneurons in the zebrafish


We have observed the development of live, fluorescently labeled motoneurons in the spinal cord of embryonic and larval zebrafish. There are 2 classes of motoneurons: primary and secondary. On each side of each spinal segment there are 3 individually identifiable primary motoneurons, named CaP, MiP, and RoP. The motoneurons of the embryo and larva are similar in morphology and projection pattern to those of the adult. During initial development, axons of primary motoneurons make cell-specific, divergent pathway choices and grow without error to targets appropriate for their adult functions. We observed no period of cell death, and except for one consistently observed case, there was no remodeling of peripheral arbors. We have observed a consistent temporal sequence of axonal outgrowth within each spinal segment.



4. Isoperimetric Numbers of Cayley Graphs Arising from Generalized Dihedral Groups


Let n, x be positive integers satisfying 1 <>. Let Hn,x be a group admitting a presentation of the form ha, b | an = b2 = (ba)x = 1i. When x = 2 the group Hn,x is the familiar dihedral group, D2n. Groups of the form Hn,x will be referred to as generalized dihedral groups. It is possible to associate a cubic Cayley graph to each such group, and we consider the problem of finding the isoperimetric number, i(G), of these graphs. In section two we prove some propositions about isoperimetric numbers of regular graphs. In section three the special cases when x = 2, 3 are analyzed. The former case is solved completely. An upper bound, based on an analysis of the cycle structure of the graph, is given in the latter case. Generalizations of these results are provided in section four. The indices of these graphs are calculated in section five, and a lower bound on i(G) is obtained as a result. We conclude with several conjectures suggested by the results from earlier sections.



5. The Return of a Static Universe and the End of Cosmology

We demonstrate that as we extrapolate the current _CDM universe forward in time, all evidence of the Hubble expansion will disappear, so that observers in our “island universe” will be fundamentally incapable of determining the true nature of the universe, including the existence of the highly dominant vacuum energy, the existence of the CMB, and the primordial origin of light elements. With these pillars of the modern Big Bang gone, this epoch will mark the end of cosmology and the return of a static universe. In this sense, the coordinate system appropriate for future observers will perhaps fittingly resemble the static coordinate system in which the de Sitter universe was first presented.


6. Supramolecular structure of the thylakoid membrane of Prochlorothrix hollandica: a chlorophyll b-containing prokaryote.

Prochlorothrix hollandica is a newly described photosynthetic prokaryote, which contains chlorophylls a and b. In this paper we report the results of freeze fracture and freeze etch studies of the organization of the photosynthetic thylakoid membranes of Prochlorothrix. These membranes exhibit four distinct fracture faces in freeze fractured preparations, two of which are derived from membrane splitting in stacked regions of the thylakoid membrane, and two of which are derived from nonstacked regions. The existence of these four faces confirms that the thylakoid membranes of Prochlorothrix, like those of green plants, display true membrane stacking and have different internal composition in stacked and non-stacked regions, a phenomenon that has been given the name lateral heterogeneity. The general details of these fracture faces are similar to those of green plants, although the intramembrane particles of Prochlorothrix are generally smaller than those of green plants by as much as 30%. Freeze etched membrane surfaces have also been studied, and the results of these studies confirm freeze fracture observations. The outer surface of the thylakoid membrane displays both small (less than 8.0 nm) and large (greater than 10.0 nm) particles. The inner surface of the thylakoid membrane is covered with tetrameric particles, which are concentrated into stacked membrane regions, a situation that is similar to the inner surfaces of the thylakoid membranes of green plants. These tetramers have never before been reported in a prokaryote. The photosynthetic membranes of Prochlorothrix therefore represent a prokaryotic system that is remarkably similar, in structural terms, to the photosynthetic membranes found in chloroplasts of green plants.



7. Predicting the Ionization Threshold for Carriers in Excited Semiconductors


A simple set of formulas is presented which allows prediction of the fraction of ionized carriers in an electron-hole-exciton gas in a photoexcited semiconductor. These results are related to recent experiments with excitons in single and double quantum wells. Many researchers in semiconductor physics talk of \the" Mott transition density in a system of excitons and electron-hole plasma, but do not have a clear handle on exactly how to predict that density as a function of temperature and material parameters in a given system. While numerical studies have been performed for the fraction of free carriers as a function of carrier density and temperature [1, 2], these do not give a readily-accessible intuition for the transition. In this paper I present a simple approach which does not involve heavy numerical methods, but is still fairly realistic. The theory is based on two well-known approximations, which are the massaction equation for equilibrium in when di_erent species can form bound states, and the static (Debye) screening approximation. In addition, simple approximations are used for numerical calculations of the excitonic Rydberg as a function of screening length.



8. Relativity and the Minimum Slope of the Isgur-Wise Function

Sum rules based upon heavy quark effective theory indicate that the Isgur-Wise function ζ( w ) has a minimum slope ρ2min as w → 1, where ρ2min = 0 for light degrees of freedom with zero spin and ρ2min = 1/4 for light spin 1/2 .Quark-model studies reveal sources for a minimum slope from a variety of relativistic effects. In this paper the origins of the minimum slope in the sum rule and quark-model approaches are compared by considering hadrons with arbitrary light spin. In both approaches the minimum slope increases with the light spin jl, but there appears to be no detailed correspondence between the quark-model and sum-rule approaches.



9. Channel kets, entangled states, and the location of quantum information


The well-known duality relating entangled states and noisy quantum channels is expressed in terms of a channel ket, a pure state on a suitable tripartite system, which functions as a pre-probability allowing the calculation of statistical correlations between, for example, the entrance and exit of a channel, once a framework has been chosen so as to allow a consistent set of probabilities. In each framework the standard notions of ordinary (classical) information theory apply, and it makes sense to ask whether information of a particular sort about one system is or is not present in another system. Quantum effects arise when a single pre-probability is used to compute statistical correlations in different incompatible frameworks, and various constraints on the presence and absence of different kinds of information are expressed in a set of all-or-nothing theorems which generalize or give a precise meaning to the concept of “no-cloning.” These theorems are used to discuss: the location of information in quantum channels modeled using a mixed-state environment; the CQ (classical-quantum) channels introduced by Holevo; and the location of information in the physical carriers of a quantum code. It is proposed that both channel and entanglement problems be classified in terms of pure states (functioning as pre-probabilities) on systems of p ≥ 2 parts, with mixed bipartite entanglement and simple noisy channels belonging to the category p = 3, a five-qubit code to the category p = 6, etc.; then by the dimensions of the Hilbert spaces of the component parts, along with other criteria yet to be determined.



10. LASPE: a subroutine for generating straggling distributions for positrons and electrons


Computer codes used for analysis of data from high energy electron scattering experiments generally use the Rutherford cross-section based distribution derived by Landau to calculate the energy lost by electrons due to straggling. We have developed a FORTRAN program which evaluates straggling distributions incorporating Møller and Bhabha cross-sections. In e- scattering analysis, this program can be used to evaluate the precision of existing Rutherford-based distributions. In addition, the calculation of the e+ straggling distribution is relevant to the analysis of experiments such as those investigating dispersive effects in nuclear electromagnetic processes by comparing results obtained from e- and e+ scattering from identical nuclei. In addition to a full straggling distribution, the output includes the parameters which characterize the distribution as well as a table of integrals of the distribution.

2 comments: