I'm interested in fractals, self-similarity, and chaos. Many physicists disregard these phenomena as candidates to explain the fundamental properties of the universe. However, when I read about concepts such as renormalization, and non-linear PDEs I feel as though some of the concepts I mentioned are already incorporated in our physical theories and could even be extended.

My question is this. Can I study fractals, renormalization, chaos, self-similarity, as they relate to physics, and not be labeled a "crank"?

It should be kept in mind I live in a near scientific vacuum. Neither of my parents are scientists and I'm in high school so I can't read the newest/relevant literature. I do have a mathematical background for QM, Fluid Mechanics, Classical Mechanics. I also know the basics of perturbative techniques for QFT. I also have knowledge of fractal geometry and dynamical systems.


closed as primarily opinion-based by Qmechanic Aug 14 '15 at 5:10

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


Self-similarity and chaos have been very influential in physics. They help us understand a lot of very interesting physical phenomena on the macroscopic scale, especially fluid flow and many-body problems. So, you can study these things and not be labelled a crank by physicists.

But (you heard the "but" coming, right?) if you are talking about "fundamental properties of the universe" you are probably talking about the microscopic scale which is described by quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics is ruled by randomness, which is very different from chaos. There is good reason to suspect that chaos is not important on the quantum scale (there is a very interesting sub-field of physics called "quantum chaos" but let's not get into that - it's very technical).

The upshot is, nobody will think you are a crank if you try to apply ideas of chaos to macroscopic problems. But they probably will think you are a crank if you try to apply them to quantum mechanical problems.


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