Faustus Mortal is a fictional character. He is reified by an avatar in SecondLife, a 3D Virtual Reality site in cyberspace. While fictional, he does embody certain characteristics common to all celibate cenobites: namely, he practices fasting, meditation, and prayer. Those who embrace the ascetic lifestyle generally do so to better themselves or to secure the blessings of the Supreme Being on their people or on their land. One should cautiously avoid any personification of the "Supreme Being." A persistent characteristic of human religions is to create anthropomorphic deities. Mankind always seems to desire divine beings as having human attributes or human likeness.
Faustus spent much of his life in graduate school. He attained "advanced degrees" and became a candidate for a doctor of philosophy in physics. It is well-known and universally documented that graduate students in physics are the most arrogant and condescending of those in all other academic disciplines. Faustus proposed a theory that the hydrogen nucleus, the proton, could be decomposed into pure energy by the suitable manipulation of some intrinsic properties. Despite his perfect grades, stellar scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and sterling research record, he was ushered out of graduate work in physics. After struggling with jobs in the civilian sector, Faustus became the recluse. He formulated a scenario in support of his theory. Despite being ostracized from academia, he still believed that there was a clean, cheap, copious source of energy. This source would literally exist until the end of time.
Contemplating on the very beginning of the universe and the evolution of intelligent life on earth, Faustus reached some profound conclusions. First, the ultimate truth will burst forth. This is wisdom; some say the feminine face of the Supreme Being. Should an idea be set forth and rejected, it smolders and builds momentum as molten magma under a lava dome, only to spew forth at some future time and place. Yet many may suffer and want unnecessarily in the period of waiting. There is an ultimate paradox in knowledge. "If history only teaches us one lesson, it's that we learn no lessons from history." If we learn no lessons then we have not learned one. If, on the other hand, we have learned one or more lessons then we have learned no lessons at all. But the meaning, while ambiguous and a conundrum of rhetoric, is crystal clear to the pedestrian observer.
Faustus reckoned that in the beginning there was only the mind of the Supreme Being. And from nothing positive and negative, the electron and the positron, were formed and annihilated. Then, for some unknown reason, an asymmetry made the positron unfurl from a standing wave to a larger sphere. The sphere was of radius (4*pi)^3, where pi = 3.1415926535898.... Yet this was unstable and radiated a shock wave of magnitude (48*pi-8/pi)*Me*c^2, where Me is the rest mass of the electron (or positron) and c is the velocity of light in a vacuum. Thus the universe was spawned. The basic geometry of creation hidden from man's grasp. It is an axiom of the occult that if one should learn the name of the Supreme Being and recite it backwards, creation itself would be undone. So it might come to pass that the proton may be unwrapped or pushed to the unstable particle at the moment of the Big Bang, yielding copious energy. Such an energy spring would be virtually limitless, clean, and cheap. It would be as abundant as the basic element of the universe. And, as entropy is the arrow of time and determined by the presence of matter itself, the energy would be until the moment of the ultimate "heat death" of the known universe.
Dreams and visions of the geometry and the plausible scenarios plagued Faustus no end. Fasting, meditation, and prayer would not dispel this daemon of secular power and light. Indeed, the very thought that something other than fossil fuel could power the industrial, agricultural, and commercial interests of earth is worse than heresy. It is a dangerous thing to threaten the hegemony of the fossil fuel fellowship. After all, the triple triumvirate of oil, natural gas, and coal own the federal government lock, stock, and (oil) barrel. This is axiomatic and undisputed. This is the ultimate reality: "What's good for Old King Coal is good for the USA!"
Faustus vowed to return to academia and pursue his ultimate quest of cheap, clean, copious energy. But he suffered a fatal flaw. Every character has a fatal flow. Hamlet's was indecision. Achilles' was his heel. Faustus never realized that he would grow old. For sure he had witnessed senile old professors holding on to their tenured sinecures and pontificating as if they were still creative. But they were only wandering well-worn ways and plucking low-hanging fruit from the much-decayed tree of obsolete technology and ancient scholasticism. General McArthur returned to the Philippines, but Faustus would not return to graduate school. That true statement became apparent. Only the way of the ascetic cenobite was available. When all else fails, pray for a miracle. There is always hope that faith will produce a miracle. Hope may make a fine breakfast but is it a mighty poor supper!
Faustus found model after model for the amazing number 64*pi^3-48*pi+8/pi. But none would satisfy the pedants of academia. He could not prove the formula without the necessary coursework and he could not get the coursework because the formula was considered a mere coincidence and had "no mathematical merit." It was the classic "Catch 22." One is damned if one does and damned if one doesn't. One must publish but to publish one must derive the formula but one cannot derive the formula unless one can publishes it. Only one outside of academia could step up and pass between the horns of this dilemma. But she would not. So everything stood at top dead center. The number did factor. The remarkable factorization was 4*pi*(4*pi-1/pi)*(4*pi-2/pi). But this had so many pi's that it was considered a joke and something for bakers to apply.
The original paradigm also yielded many other remarkable coincidences. The prime of which was the relationship Mn/Me -- Mp/Me = ln(4*pi), where ln(•) is the natural logarithm. This would explain a mass defect and give some indication as to why the neutron was both unstable and had a long half-life of some eleven minutes. The series expansion of the natural logarithm converges very slowly. But the academics hooted and scoffed. Faustus continued his meditation and prayer, hoping that there might still be some way to create clean, cheap, copious energy. Gasoline for twenty-five cents a gallon (before tax) and electricity too cheap to meter (just pay for the 100 ampere fuse) were frequent visions. But reality was choking them out. The fossil fuel fellowship was not about to part with their stranglehold on the American consumer.
What of the unstable particle? Is it pure coincidence that the number (4*pi)^3 is slightly over 1984. And what a year 1984 was! But that is shear coincidence. Still it is unusual. What type of research would prove the existence of such an unstable particle? Could this be something that a layman might try to construct in his garage? Sophisticated scientific equipment is the domain of those same academics that refused to admit Faustus to their community. Yet, should some time in the future his paradigm be proven correct, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will be first in line to claim credit for the discovery. And what of those who are paying high prices for energy? For sure they will continue to dump trillion of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere! The fossil fuel fellowship will reap windfall profits as noxious, toxic, lachrymatory, and regurgitory [sic] effluent vapors befoul the air. No reputable scientist will deny global warming, today.
Would comely supplications, divine oblations, exquisite offerings, and expensive sacrifices save the environment and provide cheap, clean, copious energy? Well, it seems like that is the last hope. Old Faustus Mortal is just a character in cyberspace. Of course, a fictional character may be better known in the future than any public figure of the present day. What if Faustus and his arcane, bizarre, Byzantine, obtuse theories prove correct?
Faustus postulated that the Supreme Being ordained the ultimate evolution of intelligence. The final form is another matter, however. He felt that intelligence in general, and human intelligence in particular, did not evolve merely to die in its own excrement, poisoned by an atmosphere laden with Carbon Dioxide and pollution. In the beginning the oceans where alleged to be a chemical soup of long-chain hydrocarbons, amino acids, and organic compounds. Somehow replicating chains of Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen came into existence. These primitive molecules, like the virus of today, were intermediate between what we consider living and what we now consider organic, non-biological. They reduced the carbon compounds into water and carbon dioxide. The first greenhouse effect came into being. The first live consisted of bacteria-like protozoa. It was the miracle of chlorophyll that sparked the beginning of life as we have come to know and understand it. Chlorophyll required more than Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Carbon. The element Nitrogen was incorporated with the first three in the elemental, proto-bacteria. Magnesium (Mg) a metal was required to allow the first primitive plants to "split water" and turn water and carbon dioxide into simple sugars and free Oxygen (O2). Then the slow spiral up the periodic table began for life, animal and human. The human body is much more than simply of bag of organic carbon compounds and water. Iron, Zinc, Potassium, each is required for complex mammals and vertebrates. Yet the heavy metals remain poisonous.
Biological evolution is chemical. No biological being can determine via its chemistry the isotope of one of its building blocks. Carbon-14 is indistinguishable from the usual Carbon-12; however, it is an unstable isotope. Over time Carbon-14 decays into Nitrogen. The living organisms, however, have no machinery to distinguish such. Man made his quantum leap forward with the harnessing of fire. The use of fire opened Pandora's Box, as it were. Yet the great advances were still classical chemical in nature. It would take the great patriotic war (World War Two) to bring forth nuclear chemistry. At that time the isotopes of Uranium were employed to create a terrible weapon of mass destruction. Later there were peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Intelligence alone was able to construct the periodic table and consider the opportunities afforded by nuclear chemistry.
Lower life forms can manipulate chemistry. There are eels in the water that can even produce electricity! But only human intelligence can manipulate the nucleus of the atom. The sun is a huge fusion reactor. Man learned both fusion and fission, but has yet to harness fusion. Only the Hydrogen Bomb attests to man's basic understanding of nuclear fusion and its potential as a source for energy. Now Faustus proposes yet the next step in energy. The ultimate source of energy is obtained by the total annihilation of matter, the complete conversion of matter into energy. And, for the elements at the other end of the periodic table, there is another possibility: "cold fission," the acceleration of isotopic radioactive decay by altering the isotope's half-life. But that is another story of its own! What model would indicate a process or procedure seemingly in violation of the Fundamental Law of Radioactive Decay? We touched on one when we created the phenomenon of chain reaction, "hot fission," so to speak.
Every freshman in college algebra learns that the number pi, about 3.1415926535898..., is a transcendental irrational number. They quickly grasp the idea of an irrational number but the transcendental part sounds more like dentistry than mathematics. What is not generally discussed is that for some 5,000 years the number pi was considered a physics constant and not a mathematical one. One fine day an expression for pi was found mathematically. Now there is a plethora of processes to generate pi. There is a saying that if history only teaches us one lesson it's that we learn no lessons from history. This is a contradiction, it is a paradox. But the meaning is clear.
Pi was dimensionless, like any ratio of any two objects with the same units of measurement (physical units). Unlike the golden ration (written as the Greek letter "phi"), pi was not algebraic. It would take much mathematical sophistication to recognize its true character. Why would one not be surprised to see this same problem crop up again? Many physicists believe that the fine structure constant (written as the Greek letter "alpha") is, like pi, a pure mathematical construct. Faustus once suggested an approximation to the dimensionless ratio of the mass of the proton to the mass of the electron. Written symbolically it is 4pi(4pi-1/pi)(4pi-2/pi) = 1836.15.... But it was rejected because it required a proof. Of course the proof would require some background work. But entry to graduate school was denied. The formula was obviously a coincidence and therefore couldn't be proven. Besides, there were no vacant chairs in the graduate classes; the graduate program was already full. And there was a cornucopia of highly motivated, young, erudite students from the People's Republic of China (PRC). Everyone knows that the ratio of the mass of the proton to the mass of the electron, albeit a dimensionless constant, can never, ever have a mathematical representation. That would be preposterous, absurd, ludicrous! Mn/Me has no mathematical underpinnings. How could there be a geometric model for such a purely physical constant?
When two or more atomic particles fuse together, the mass of the newly created particle is generally not the sum of the masses of its constituents. If their combined mass is less than the sum of the masses of the components, it is called the mass defect. If it is greater, then the extra mass is called the mass excess. Stable particles exhibit a mass defect. Unstable particle have a mass excess. These numbers, mass defect and mass excess, are carefully calculated and studied. Heretofore they exhibited no pattern other than their relative order on the periodic table. There was no quantitative function to describe the mass excess from a model. Faustus' model predicted a mass excess in the neutron, an indication of its instability. A simple integral produced a multiple of the rest mass of the electron. The mass of the neutron differed from the mass of the proton by a constant times the rest mass. If Mn/Me is the ratio of the mass of the neutron to the mass of the electron and if Mp/Me is the ratio of the mass of the proton to the mass of the electron then: Mn/Me -- Mp/Me = ln(4pi), where ln(•) is the natural logarithm and pi = 3.1415926535898..., the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. The paradigm has yielded two results. But they must be pure coincidence. There can be no mathematical significance.
The sun is a huge nuclear reactor, converting Hydrogen ions into Helium. From the sun the solar wind fluxes out alpha particles (Helium nuclei), beta particles (free electrons), and gamma rays (high frequency electromagnet waves). This is a natural process. The atomic bomb relies on nuclear fission, or the splitting of atoms by the process of nuclear chain reaction. Fission by means of a chain reaction does not occur in nature. Only the intellect of man can fathom such a process. The solar fusion has only been created on earth as a result of the fission process. Mankind is mastering the secrets of the atom, albeit very slowly. The transistor and the laser never occur naturally. The application of quantum mechanics explains these phenomena. Other processes are less well quantified and explained by the models arising from Maxwell's Equations, the Schrödinger Wave equation, and the tensor calculus of relativity theory. These theories are grand, but they fail to indicate anything about the dimensionless physical constants. Is it unreasonable to expect a Galilean reference system in micro-studies? Certainly it is a limiting case.
Understanding the how's and why's of nature puts mankind one step closer to his eventually hegemony over nature herself. Or, a worse a man might learn to survive in a symbiotic relationship in nature. Better still is a cheap, copious, clean source of energy. With sufficient energy, water can be recycled, food grown in layers beneath the earth surface, again free from blights and insects. Much has been pointed out about the mass defect and mass excess of several elements and how it makes them stable. Yet nothing much is understood or said about the calculating and approximating the mass defect or mass excess. Only the theory that brought you a very good approximation to Mp/Me, the ratio of the mass of proton to the mass of electron, could successfully push a second approximation and proffer a theory for cheap, clean energy until the end of time. The formula is that of mass excess: Mn/Me - Mp/Me = ln(4pi).
Energy Short Story
The discussion had been heated. Avatars representing the fossil fuel fellowship had debated those concerned with global warming. There could be little doubt where the money lay. The fossil fuel avatars were immaculately tailored, expensively textured, and personally detailed. The avies of the concerned, laity and scientist alike were stock skins. The fossil fuel females were gorgeous to behold. Their skins were absolutely breathtaking, detailed, and exquisite. These were the most beautiful women in the known universe. And they were paired with the masculine nobility from the court of Old King Coal! None could be more handsome or debonair than the Knights of Carbon Dioxide.
The debate had done little to settle anything. The proponents of fossil fuel had confounded the arguments of the environmentalists. The scholars had employed ridicule, hyperbole, and contorted facts against the fossil fuel fellowship. There were the alarmists with their statistics and extrapolations. It was the usual "Dog and Pony Show." After Octanus Diesel and Faustus Mortal crossed paths. These two were long time acquaintances. Octanus and Faustus had been in graduate school together. Octanus wrote a successful doctoral dissertation entitled "The Ultimate Energy Source: Fossil Fuels." Not only did it fast track him to a PhD but also secured a lucrative grant from the vested interests of petroleum, natural gas, and coal. Faustus, on the other hand, worked with the most limited resources in the field of alternative renewable energy sources. After years of stiff opposition from the fossil fuel fellowship, he left academia and became a celibate cenobite.
The world is a crazy place. There are exactly two vestiges of the feudal system deeply entrenched in the first world. They are in academia, which worships the terminal degree, and in the established traditional church. Over time the imbalance of academia was reflected by the church. Ridicule is a very strong weapon. The tenured faculty was very sensitive to criticism. The fact that Faustus had expended eighteen years in graduate school brought cries from the congregation of the faithful to award him a terminal degree. Now advanced in years, there would be no chance for him to obtain a sinecure or funding for research. The degree would be a cheap atonement for the arrogant hegemony of the fossil fuel fellowship.
Octanus Diesel: Faustus! It's been a coon's age. Where have you been?
Octanus Diesel: We just got an "island" with evolving graphics!
Faustus Mortal: I still have a tiny apartment in a low-prim neighborhood.
Octanus Diesel: You should come back to academia. We need someone to tease.