[FOM] Question about theoretical physics

Arnold Neumaier Arnold.Neumaier at univie.ac.at
Tue Feb 26 11:25:58 EST 2013

On 02/25/2013 09:24 PM, Jay Sulzberger wrote:
>    Is there a consistent theory of QED, consistent to the usual
>    standard of professors of mathematics?
> To repeat: Experts disagree as to whether there has been
> published a consistent theory of QED.  There is further
> disgareement as to whether such a theory is possible without some
> stuff most would consider not part of QED.

Experts agree that there exists a consistent theory of QED that predicts 
an asymptotic power series in the fine structure constant alpha
for the anomalous magentic moment of the electron (and for other 
physical quantities such as the Lamb shift, the positronium lifetime, 
etc.). It is based on renormalization and can be nicely described 
mathematically in terms of the work by Kreiner mentioned in the discussion.

Experts also agree that there is currently no consistent theory of QED
that predicts actual values for the anomalous magentic moment of the 
electron (etc.). This would require a nonpertative definition of QED in 
logically impeccable terms, which is one of the big unsolved problems in 
theoretical physics. (A Clay millenium prize is offered for the
solution of another quantum field theory, which experts think is easier 
to construct than QED.)

Arnold Neumaier

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