Forword to the book Subquantum Kinetics
by Fred G. LaViolette, December 2002
Midway through his undergraduate work in physics at Johns Hopkins, Paul became disenchanted with what he was being taught in class. He had expected that physics would lay the foundation for a grand plan of nature, that it would provide a fundamental framework which would accommodate all of the sciences, coordinating them into a coherent and intelligible whole. But to his dismay, he learned that physics was very insular and compartmentalized. Not only did it make no attempt to venture any kind of "big picture," its abstractions were often irrelevant to phenomena being studied in other fields. In his spare time, he attempted to intuit a more general, fundamental approach to science, one that could account for the formation and sustenance of systems at all levels of nature, living as well as non-living. He called this his theory of Existence.
Following his graduation, he turned to the study of business organization at the University of Chicago where he discovered that the theoretical approach he had been independently developing had already been elaborated in a relatively new discipline called general system theory. He also learned of breakthroughs that had been made in the fields of nonequilibrium thermodynamics and chemical kinetics which had profound implications in the life sciences for understanding the spontaneous genesis of ordered form. Pondering these ideas one night, he was struck with a flash of insight in which he saw an entirely new approach to physics, one that would allow it to be seamlessly encompassed within his general theory of existence.
I remember very clearly that night in the spring of 1973. It was 2 AM and the telephone beside my bed had begun ringing insistently. When I picked it up, I heard the frantic voice of my son. He was calling from his room at the University of Chicago and was saying, "Dad, this is something you have to know, in case something happens and I don't live until morning." I yelled back, "What's happened to you? What's the matter?" He said, "Oh, I'm fine, its just that I've made this great discovery and someone should know about it, just in case something should happen to me." His insight was that a physical subatomic particle might be conceived as an intricate concentration pattern which is continually sustained through the operation of some underlying subphysical reaction process. As I recall that night, at the time I did not greet his astounding news with any great enthusiasm.
During the times when Paul was home from graduate school for a visit, he would tell me about the new ideas he was coming up with in developing this theory. I was a good sounding board, being myself a physicist as well as an electrical and nuclear engineer. However, in the beginning I was rather skeptical. My usual response was, "Paul, don't you think you're trying to reinvent the wheel?" Then during one such visit, I proposed some "thought experiments," and to my surprise, his theories always held up. After that I began to take his concepts seriously. But it was only later, when he was working on his doctorate at Portland State University and had documented his ideas more clearly, that I began to see the far reaching scope of the subquantum kinetics methodology he was developing.
By 1979, Paul was ready to publish in a refereed journal. But, to his great disappointment, none of the physics journals would accept his papers. The reasons for rejection were varied and most always of a flimsy nature. However, it was clear that the message was always the same: "Sorry, your ideas don't conform to conventional physics." Finally, he decided that since his theory was founded on general systems theoretic concepts, it would be appropriate to submit his papers for publication in the International Journal of General Systems. The editor of that journal had them reviewed and decided that because of their importance, all three should be published in a single issue devoted exclusively to this work. It appeared in the November 1985 issue of IJGS [Vol. 11, No. 4] under the banner "Special Issue on Systems Thinking in Physics." These papers, along with other published papers and some additional material, were brought together in the form of a book which was published in 1994 under the title Subquantum Kinetics: The Alchemy of Creation. This second edition is an updated and enlarged version of that work.
No, this is not a simple remouthing of ideas from old textbooks. This is a bold adventure in scientific thinking. It resolves the difficulties and conflicts inherent in the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. It provides a unified theory of fields and particles. It also gives us alternatives to the black hole assumption and to the notion of a Big Bang creation event, both of which have encountered serious problems in recent years. Furthermore it predicts the existence of a hitherto unknown source of energy powering the universe. But, be forewarned; to fully appreciate what is presented here, the reader must be willing to put aside many familiar concepts and "conclusions" taught by current physics until he has had a chance to acquire a clear understanding of this new framework.
Subquantum kinetics presents a major advance in our fundamental understanding of nature. It takes concepts developed in the relatively new field of systems theory and uses them to forge a new approach to physics, one that leads to a description of the universe that is faithfully consistent with real world observation and that also conforms to good commonsense.
In 2010, Paul dedicated his book Subquantum Kinetics in memory of his father,
Fred LaViolette (1916 - 2008)
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