Typically when we conceptualize spontaneous particle emission from an isotope at rest, we generally view the emitted particle as having a trajectory that is determined randomly (to be clear this isn’t a statement about what particle trajectory we end up observing) In the wake of the discovery of Quantum Chromodynamics it seems more appropriate to say that the emission is the result of particle collisions in the nucleus where there was a collision with sufficient energy to emit a particle. While the trajectory may still appear random to the outside observer, we should acknowledge that the emission was really the result of complex internal particle dynamics. Since all particle dynamics occur along some energy spectrum, eventually one collision, while seemingly a remote possibility, would have enough energy to emit a particle that escapes along a trajectory reflecting the momentum of the internal parent collision (of quarks in this case).

This position would seem more consistent with discussions about Hawking radiation from black holes and the information paradox. While radiation from a black hole would theoretically appear to be thermal with a black body spectrum, it really reflects a very complex set of dynamics that is occurring at the surface of the black hole and reflects complex internal particle (or string) dynamics.

It would seem once we make this sort of conceptual leap about the universal nature of particle (or string) dynamics than we extend the logic all the way back to the Big Bang and say that our origin was really related to complex particle (or string) behavior of our initial singularity.

What would be the pitfalls or limitations (or possible strengths) of this logic, and how might it be improved?

P.S. with the respect to beta emission, this logic would seem to reinforce combination of strong and electroweak forces in the case of an isotope

P.P.S. with regards to time, under relativity we already accept that particles in motion with higher relative energy can have different local clock times, so in the early froth it would seem that it isn’t so much a question of “the birth of time” because time at that phase is highly localized and there could be in principle a whole spectrum of clock times...when we are at rest we simple experience the vacuum state time associated with our particular connected Big Bang collision outcome

  • $\begingroup$ How would this help, if we can only observe the "parent" collision indirectly, through the emitted particle(s) that we do actually observe? Also, in beta decays, a W boson is emitted which then rapidly decays to two leptons: an electron + antineutrino (or positron + neutrino). The W is fundamental (i.e., it has no components), and the distribution of energy & momentum between the 2 leptons is random. $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Nov 1, 2019 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I think it really brings a challenge our notion of fundamental. We use that term but we desire theories that achieve unification. Now I’m not suggesting that a W is going to spontaneously decay to a quark, the advent of the realization of the standard model and group theory provides evidence of some constraints,... $\endgroup$
    – Freedom
    Nov 1, 2019 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ I am suggesting that any concept where we don’t accept complex internal particle dynamics of any particle is insufficient. If we accept quantum field theory, than a particle at rest isn’t really a singular particle, it’s just a position in time and space where the detection of that particle type of particle approaches 1. At the highest resolution it really is a location representing a seething mass of more fundamental particle interactions. $\endgroup$
    – Freedom
    Nov 1, 2019 at 9:57
  • $\begingroup$ Have a look here to see how sufficient quantum mechanics is to explain data hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/Nuclear/alptun.html .You seem to ignore that quantum mechanics is considered the underlying framework of everything, strings included. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Nov 1, 2019 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, that won’t be necessary :) $\endgroup$
    – Freedom
    Nov 1, 2019 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


Your idea seems to be a return to determinism:

"While the trajectory may still appear random [my emphasis] to the outside observer, we should acknowledge that the emission was really the result of complex internal particle dynamics"

But QCD is a quantum theory. Like every quantum-mechanical theory, it makes probabilistic predictions without providing an underlying deterministic model.

Furthermore, there are well-known problems associated with explaining quantum theories with a subquantum deterministic theory. To my knowledge, the only kind of quantum field theory where we might know how to provide a deterministic explanation, is one containing only bosonic scalars, if we apply the recipe of Bohmian mechanics. And no one knows how to apply this recipe to gauge fields or fermions; and the recipe contradicts the spirit of relativity.

Also, the Bohmian theory is nonlocal in its mechanism, as it needs to be in order to reproduce the correlations caused by entanglement in quantum mechanics. What happens in the nucleus would be due, not just to internal particle dynamics, but to action at a distance depending, in principle, on the location of every other particle in the universe; that's what a Bohmian theory is like.

But perhaps I have misunderstood what you are saying or advocating.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree on your interpretation. The OP seems to ignore quantum mechanics and the probabilistic nature of interaction due to it. $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Nov 1, 2019 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ No, I am actually being very consistent with QM. The uncertainty principle deals with observations, there is absolutely nothing inconsistent if you assert that outcomes follow a spectrum. While the particular particle outcome we observe follows a probability distribution, there is nothing in that statement that prohibits post factual observation of a dynamical process...if you think in terms of very early scattering experiments leading to the discovery of the nucleus you have to accept this possibility $\endgroup$
    – Freedom
    Nov 1, 2019 at 11:04

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