Marcoen Cabbolet's VUB homepage

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dr.ir. Marcoen J.T.F. Cabbolet
Free University of Brussels
Department of Philosophy
Center for Logic and Philosophy of Science
Pleinlaan 2
B-1050 Brussel - Belgium

Email: Marcoen.Cabbolet@vub.be


Research Interests

Although experimental results compel me to accept that modern physics is very successful in its area of application, I do not believe that it is the final answer regarding the fundamental workings of the universe. I believe the key lies in a gravitational repulsion of matter and antimatter, and I'm willing to take the risks involved in investigating that possibility to its fullest extent.

My work in the foundations of physics is based on the idea that a matter-antimatter repulsive gravity is possible if the smallest possible massive systems (e.g. systems made up of a single electron, positron, free nucleon, etc.) alternate between a particle state and a wave state: during each individual process of alternation such a system interacts with the gravitational field in its environment, which is encoded in the metric tensor field, and the impulse that the system then receives by such a gravitational interaction then depends on the nature of its component. That being said, there are no known physics by which a smallest possible system can alternate between a particle state and a wave state, but in my PhD project I have identified a collection of process-physical principles that describe, without reference to any coordinate system of an observer, the elementary processes at supersmall scale by which the smallest possible massive systems alternate between a particle state and a wave state. I've called this set the ‘Elementary Process Theory’ (EPT): it has to be viewed as a scheme of first principles that underlie a matter-antimatter repulsive gravity.

From a mathematical perspective the EPT is a very simple theory, even though the formalism of the EPT might look cumbersome at first sight. This simplicity, however, is deceptive. The EPT, namely, is not only rather abstract, but it also yields a world view that entails a drastic departure of the world view of modern physics: the physical world at supersmall scale — we can think of this as the Planck scale — is not described in terms of elementary particles and interactions but in terms of atomic occurrents and transitions. Here an occurrent is an object that has a time span, that is, a temporal extension; the atomic occurrents in the EPT are called 'phase quanta'. For someone who is used to see the physical world in terms of objects (such as particles and systems) that continuously exist throughout a period of time, this world view is completely counterintuitive.

My main research interest is to prove that the four fundamental interactions (gravitational, electromagnetic, strong, and weak) as we know them can take place in the processes described by the EPT. The first question, however, is how to prove that. This is not at all straightforward: given the degree of abstractness of the EPT, it cannot be shown by means of a so-called direct proof that any of the modern interaction theories emerges from the EPT. But I did develop a suitable method: the EPT agrees with the knowledge that derives from the successful predictions of interaction theory T if and only if the EPT has a model M that reduces empirically to T — that is, if and only if for every experiment that has confirmed a prediction of T, the outcome can be described as a prediction of M. Existing knowledge of an interaction has, thus, to be incorporated in a model of the EPT: a negative result is then that no such model exists.

Recently, I have applied this method to show that the EPT agrees with Special Relativity (SR): I have fully specified a model of the EPT that incorporates SR. This model is, in fact, a category consisting of I am now working on a (categorical) model of the EPT that reduces empirically to General Relativity (GR). In other words, I am now working on a model of an elementary process by which a gravitational interaction takes place, such that the model on the one hand predicts matter-antimatter repulsive gravity, yet on the other hand reproduces the successful predictions of GR. Although details of that model remain to be specified, it is already clear how to proceed from there towards a quantum theory of gravity.

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Updated: Sat Apr 24 14:32 CEST 2021