Some Random Quantum Thoughts

Guest post by Rud Istvan

This guest post was inspired by a long delayed lunch (by Covid-19, with our first two traditional restaurants found still closed for lunch by Wuhan virus fears despite now open South Florida) between CtM and myself. We discussed much, including WUWT. I complemented Charles on the recent months more eclectic science coverage, for example his recent post on a new independent purely geometric method for measuring the discrepancy between standard model theory and observations of the Hubble constant (using 4 gravitationally lensed galaxies), strongly implying the model is wrong—but nobody knows why, or how to fix. This post follows that.

A few days ago, Live Science posted a piece on a new astrophysics paper showing observationally that Einstein’s general relativity universal gravitational acceleration postulate, the Strong Equivalence Principle (SEP), holds true in deep gravitational wells. The paper analyses a two white dwarf plus one neutron pulsar system, one white dwarf closely orbiting the neutron pulsar, both then orbiting the more distant other (probably much more massive) white dwarf. Although the analysis is a bit complex, the precise ‘clock’ of the rapidly spinning pulsar showed that gravitational acceleration was at the same rate always for all three stars in the system. Showing Einstein’s SEP holds in extreme gravitational fields is very cool.  

Galileo first showed that all masses gravitationally accelerate at the same rate on Earth via the Leaning Tower of Pisa by simultaneously dropping equally sized metal balls of different masses (lead, iron). Apollo astronauts again proved this on the Moon by dropping a feather and a hammer simultaneously in the Moon’s vacuum,…but those are astrophysically VERY weak gravity fields.

Even the Sun’s gravity holding together the solar system is weak compared to general relativity applied to the universe. So the new neutron star+two white dwarf paper provides a much stronger demonstration of general relativity’s SEP correctness.

Now, I am for sure NOT an astrophysicist. But I have studied Feynman’s Lectures on Physics (and have 13 issued US patents in electromagnetic (EM) involved fields like RFID, wireless patient monitoring, and energy storage materials).  We know Maxwell’s EM field equations must be ~correct because electricity generators and electric motors both actually work! Dyson’s switched reluctance vacuum cleaner motors are another Maxwell demonstration.

I got to thinking, how the heck can a neutron star have a magnetic field necessary to become a pulsar? It doesn’t have any electrons for the corresponding electric field. Butscept, we know they do have magnetic fields because those fields create the rapidly flashing pulsar EM radiation that we see in our telescopes!  What follows is a layman’s explanation of this apparent astrophysical puzzle. The solution is similar to many WUWT climate ‘puzzles’: first grasp the basic science facts, then think things through.

Astrophysical stellar objects come in five basic flavors (ignoring planets), distinguished by their EM spectra or lack thereof.

  1. Red dwarfs. These are the smallest main sequence stars. They have enough gravity to initiate hydrogen fusion at lowish levels, and last almost forever. Mainly hydrogen spectra.
  2. Regular stars. These come in various spectral flavors depending on mass.
  3. White dwarfs. These are the many, many stellar remnants not having enough gravity to fuse beyond carbon. The ‘standard candle’ 1a supernovas are white dwarfs that accumulated more mass via gravity from a companion star, to the point that they initiate carbon fusion, and then in just seconds blow themselves to smithereens. (Type 1b and 1c are for purposes of this post just uninteresting variations on 1a carbon intensive spectra). Type 1a supernova can have two outcomes depending on the white dwarf mass: nothing left for smaller ones, or a neutron star as explained below having a minimum mass of about 1.4 solar masses (sol), and a maximum of about 2.1 sol.
    As an aside, white dwarfs are dense/small enough that their heat cannot dissipate inside the time frame of the currently known universe since the big bang, so even the oldest still radiate at several thousand ‘white hot’ kelvins. So there are LOTS around, so sufficient T1a standard candles.
  4. Type 2 supernova. These originate from larger stars of at least 8 sol. Their greater gravity allows them to fuse all the way through iron (which is energy negative, so iron ‘ashes’ are the end of stellar fusion). They produce T2 supernova at the end (no hydrogen, lots of iron spectra) that ‘instantaneously’ produce all of the heavier than iron elements in the universe as a result of their gravitational implosion then explosion. The non-gravitational ‘mechanical’ shock waves of T2 enable further energetic fusions. They leave behind either neutron stars or black holes depending on mass.
  5. Black holes, which form when the supernova remnant mass is greater than about 2.1sol. These are ‘infinite’ gravitational anomalies explained only by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, with an event horizon within which spacetime is so curved by gravity that even light cannot escape. Super massive black holes formed by accretion of lesser black holes sit at the center of most galaxies. Ours is Sagittaurius A. The one in galaxy Messier 87 was recently ‘imaged’ as a black center surrounded by the glow of matter falling into it. More black hole quantum weirdness follows.

What separates white dwarfs from neutron stars from black holes?

The answer lies in the quantum physics of Pauli’s Exclusion Principle (which is surprisingly easy to prove mathematically). It states simply that two fermions (elementary subatomic particles with non-whole number quantum spins, for example electron spin 1/2) CANNOT occupy the same place at the same time. For the mathematically inclined, the quantum ‘place’ is some multiple of the Plank constant, ‘hbar’, roughly E-35 meters. Pauli’s exclusion principle applies to electron degeneracy, neutron degeneracy, and (probably) quark degeneracy—from which a black hole math puzzle follows since quarks are still fermions.

  1. Electron degeneracy. Pauli’s exclusion theorem says no two fermions can occupy the same space at the same time. Electron degeneracy is easy to ‘comprehend’. As gravity increases, electrons disproportionally occupy their lowest quantum mechanical orbitals around the atomic nucleus. When these are filled, electrons cannot descend further in energy, nor overlap (exclusion principle) and hence generate a quantum counter ‘pressure’ to gravity. This works up a limit of about 1.4-1.44 solar masses in a white dwarf depending on its angular momentum (angular momentum = energy = mass per E=MC^2).
  2. Neutron degeneracy. Past the electron degeneracy limit, gravity forces protons to merge with electrons to become more neutrons via the weak force, creating neutron stars. (I might be missing a neutrino somewhere). This is just the inverse of Weak Force radioactive beta decay, and also the speculated inverse weak force physics behind observational LENR (explained and illustrated in my ebook The Arts of Truth). The concept is the same as for electron degeneracy, but the forces are different. Neutron stars are about 1.4- 2.1 sol depending on angular momentum. Below 1.4 they remain white dwarfs without electron/proton merger. Above 2.1, they further collapse into black holes.
  3. In theory, there should be a third gravitationally degenerate state of fermion matter, a quarkstar, since neutrons are ‘just’ bundles of quarks, in quantum theory still fermions. In fact there is serious astrophysical speculation that in larger neutron stars, the core IS a ‘quarkstar’. Nothing such has been observed except (inferred from their surroundings) black holes. This leads to two weird possibilities. Either general relativity is ‘wrong’ in this extreme, and black holes are not an ‘infinite’ gravitational  well ‘point’ as general relativity would predict, but rather a quarkstar (by definition not a singularity point). OR all the quark fermions are somehow directly converted to bosons (like photons) concentrated by extreme gravity into a ‘point’ boson singularity. The problem with that is bosons do not have mass to create black hole gravity. Quantum weirdness.

Nobody knows (yet) about black hole details, because macro general relativity gravity and micro quantum physics have not been reconciled even using string theory. There is no viable theory of quantum gravity, unlike for the other three known forces. Just here an none asrophysicist noodling a deep astrophysics conundrum.

Original post question answered given the background astrophysics

If neutron stars are all neutrons, where the heck do their magnetic fields come from since Maxwell’s equations are likely correct????

Turns out, we dunno. There are three plausible theories presented below, ranging in (IMHO) order from probably at least partly true to maybe not true.

  1. The neutron star pulsar magnetic field is a fossil, a ‘magnetic field conserved’ remnant of the original white dwarf’s magnetic field before its electrons and protons merged. The speculative issue is that Maxwell’s EM equations are ‘instantaneous”=>speed of light, so partial field collapse in small places should occur. Because the original white dwarfs are so ‘big’, and the neutron star collapse result so ‘small’ ( about 12-15km, with field strength a function of radius), the magnetic ‘fossil’ field calculations can get to about 10^12G assuming no partial collapse (G=Gauss—with super cooled superconducting magnets we have only been able to get to ~12 Gauss on Earth). But such speculative ‘fossil’ calculations still do not explain neutron star magnetars with inferentially observed magnetic fields up to >10^15G.
  2. There is an additional ‘residual’ EM force during a neutron stars very rapid formational collapse. From first gravitational field considerations, the electron/proton collapse from ‘ordinary matter’ to ‘just’ neutrons must start at the bottom of the gravitational well, the star center. So the outer layers are still electrons and protons (increasingly rapidly rotating thanks to conservation of angular momentum as the object shrinks in diameter). And as these accelerate thanks to conservation of angular momentum, they create the extra Maxwell equation dynamo forces for magnetars.
  3. Neutron stars are never only just neutrons. They have a thin (think 3 cm of ‘normal matter’ comprised of atoms with a nucleus and electrons) residual ‘atmosphere’ just outside their neutron star gravity well, and this ‘atmosphere’ creates the observed magnetic field in a rapidly rotating (up to 700 revolutions/second measured, the figure skater conservation of momentum spin effect in the extreme)) neutron star. The issue here is what keeps the thin supposed normal atomic ‘atmosphere’ from eventually also collapsing? Frictional heating from the enormous angular momentum at the interface?

I dunno. But I do find astrophysics conceptual modeling interesting to noodle.

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June 19, 2020 6:52 am

Magnetic implications ?
Superfluidity in the Solar Interior: Implications for Solar Eruptions and Climate

Oddly enough neutrons are even more taboo than climate, be warned.
What if we actually live right nearby a pulsar?

Krishna Gans
Reply to  bonbon
June 19, 2020 7:54 am

Strength and quantity of thunderstorms may depend on the charge and polartity of the ionosphere by magnetic storms of the sun.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
June 20, 2020 3:15 am

we’re starting to go through a solar field current thingy presently(very sciency of me)
and the quakes have been large last 2 days
and the lightning storms hail events etc in uk eu have been pretty speccy
Uk homes got hit n caught fire
mid asia a few human n more animal hits as well

Reply to  bonbon
June 19, 2020 8:15 am

Superfluidity means BEC, Bose-Einstein.Condensate.
So fermion neutrons can form bosons, rather like electron-pair fermion bosons in superconductivity.

Reply to  bonbon
June 19, 2020 10:07 am

neutrons are even more taboo
We accept that heavier elements are concentrated towards the earth’s core, but ignore the obvious for the sun.

Why would hydrogen concentrate towards the solar core? You would expect it to be excluded by heavier materials.

Reply to  ferdberple
June 19, 2020 12:33 pm


Reply to  ferdberple
June 20, 2020 4:11 am

Then sun doesn’t contain enough heavy elements or even helium to exclude hydrogen from its core.

Lance Wallace
June 19, 2020 6:52 am

Maybe the 3-cm “atmosphere” in your example #3 is continually replenished by interstellar dust grains and H2 being drawn in by the gravitational field of the neutron star (or pulsar).

M Courtney
Reply to  Lance Wallace
June 19, 2020 12:23 pm

That’s what I was thinking.

Along with creation of fermions by pulling potential particles out of the raw space. The half-formed idea being that the potential energy from proximity to something so massive cannot be immediately lost to entropy due to the time dilation from proximity to something so massive.
So something just pops into existence to “hold” the energy until is can dissipate.

And the dissipation creates the magnetic field.

M Courtney
Reply to  M Courtney
June 19, 2020 2:44 pm

I know that sounds ridiculous but it is directly analogous to hw money is created.

Pat Frank
Reply to  M Courtney
June 19, 2020 4:56 pm

Neutrons have an intrinsic magnetic moment (dipole).

Perhaps the neutron star magnetic field arises because all the neutron magnetic moments align.

It’s true that’s a higher energy configuration than that they alternate dipoles. But perhaps there is a an external perturbation making alignment the ground state configuration. Maybe coupling with the huge angular momentum?

Reply to  Pat Frank
June 19, 2020 7:27 pm

Of course they would be aligned because the magnetic atoms were all aligned before electron capture. Magnetic moment has to be conseved as well. I don’t think this is a big mystery.

Reply to  Pat Frank
June 19, 2020 11:40 pm

This 👍

Reply to  M Courtney
June 19, 2020 6:54 pm

“pops into existence”, eh?

You mean pops from nonexistence into existence instantaneously?

I have a problem with that.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
June 20, 2020 11:10 am

… so, then, the universe (matter) has always existed?

June 19, 2020 7:00 am

OR all the quark fermions are somehow directly converted to bosons (like photons) concentrated by extreme gravity into a ‘point’ boson singularity. The problem with that is bosons do not have mass to create black hole gravity. Quantum weirdness.

I thought mass AND/OR energy deforms the space-time fabric (gravity). So if fermions convert to bosons, that in itself wouldn’t change the locally-produced space-time deformation. Wasn’t there experiments showing high levels of light actually does create (at the particular experiment’s level barely detectable) space-time distortion, which is gravity? Plus, right after the Big Bang, there weren’t any particles per-say, just “energy”, and I assume that blob of energy produced “gravity”.

John Tillman
Reply to  beng135
June 19, 2020 7:23 am

The Big Bang involved subatomic particles.

Reply to  John Tillman
June 19, 2020 8:13 am

Don’t think so — the initial energy-density at first was too high for any known particle to exist, even quarks. AFAIK, the only description of that state was simply “energy”.

Pedro Oliveira
Reply to  beng135
June 20, 2020 1:21 am

If the initial energy density was so high why didn’t the universe turn into a black hole? I think that Wheeler postulated black holes from pure energy density.

Reply to  Pedro Oliveira
June 20, 2020 4:13 am

A closed universe would mean we exist in a black hole

Reply to  Pedro Oliveira
June 20, 2020 7:03 am

Don’t know — perhaps the spatial inflation rate was so high that collapse couldn’t happen……

Pedro Oliveira
Reply to  beng135
June 20, 2020 2:16 pm

@Analitik If by closed you mean finite I don’t know. Maybe. If our universe is a black hole it will eventually slowly evaporate through Hawkins radiation. Otherwise our universe is really infinite, meaning it will expand forever. Postulating that time is a dimension and goes forever, and that the other dimensions (space) are expanding, the universe is infinite as it will expand forever.
I wonder if space inside black holes expand to avoid that matter that falls into them exceed C.

John Tillman
June 19, 2020 7:18 am

The plural of “kelvin” is “kelvin”.

Reply to  John Tillman
June 22, 2020 4:35 pm

Watts’ pots never Boyle.

Reply to  brians356
June 22, 2020 4:37 pm

Er, Watt’s …

June 19, 2020 8:04 am

“where the heck do their magnetic fields come ”

It’s the inverse of the electro-gravitational effect theorized as how to achieve reaction less propulsion. My hypothesis is that differential gravitational fields results in a current and currents produce magnetic fields. For example, a core spinning at a different rate from the rest of the stars (or planets) mass.

Note as well that a current isn’t necessarily the flow of electrons, for example, in a P-type semiconductor, current is a flow of holes. A neutron star with an execss of electrons is like an N-type semiconductor, while one with a deficit of electrons is more like a P-type semiconductor. Note as well that the deficit (or surplus) of electrons doesn’t need to be very big.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  co2isnotevil
June 19, 2020 12:54 pm

CO2 Note well…

I recall a comment by Leif Svalgaard a few years ago that if you could gather and add 6000+ tonnes of electrons to the earth, it would counteract the gravitational pull between earth and the sun and we would drift away from the solar system. How’s that for celestial travel!

Reply to  Gary Pearse
June 24, 2020 7:54 am


There’s a common thread between this and field propulsion arising from specifically crafted EM fields.

The difference from the ordinary EM exitation of space-time with an antenna is that rather than drive the free space impedance, Z0, the power driven into the fabric of space-time must be tuned (matched) to a much higher impedance (Z0/a), where a is the fine structure constant. Note that Z0/a is also the characteristic impedance of a photon.

Curious George
June 19, 2020 8:17 am

The neutron has a magnetic moment., approximately 2/3 of that of a proton.

tsk tsk
June 19, 2020 8:22 am

Neutrons have moment. And once you have a time variant magnetic field due to the rotation of the star, you have an E field. Not sure what the “mystery” is here. Perhaps you think the numbers don’t work out and it shouldn’t have the field strength it does. I haven’t done the numbers so I couldn’t say one way or the other.

June 19, 2020 8:23 am

Science is the philosophy and art of plausible inferred through dreams and signals of unknown fidelity sourced from outside of a limited frame of reference.

Krishna Gans
June 19, 2020 8:28 am

There exists an very interesting book by John A. “Jack” Eddy, “The Sun, the Earth, and Near-Earth Space”
Opens directly the book as PDF, even telling, page not found
Published posthum, worth at least a look, 289 pages.

Curious George
Reply to  Krishna Gans
June 19, 2020 10:11 am

Thanks for the link.

A C Osborn
June 19, 2020 8:35 am

I suggest that to solve your problem of where do the Magnetic fields come from you read about the Electric Universe.
The work currently being done by the SAFIRE team who have morphed in to Aureon Energy shows that the EU physcists appear to be on the right track as far as Suns are concerned.
You can find the SAFIRE presentation videos here
and here
There is also some fascinating history here
and here

If you watch the videos there is one on the theoretical and the empirical world called Collaboration in Science, there is a very interesting section on Sailing Boat design.

A C Osborn
Reply to  A C Osborn
June 19, 2020 8:39 am

PS, the Electric Universe should actually be called the Plasma Universe, the 4th state of Matter.

J Wurts
June 19, 2020 8:48 am

You lost me here…

“Just here an none asrophysicist noodling a deep astrophysics conundrum.”



Reply to  J Wurts
June 19, 2020 11:43 pm

We’re all none asro physicists 😇. Apart from the real ones.

June 19, 2020 8:58 am

I got to thinking, how the heck can a neutron star have a magnetic field necessary to become a pulsar? It doesn’t have any electrons for the corresponding electric field.

Neutrons have a magnetic moment. That moment comes from the internal structure of charged quarks. Apparently, a neutron star can aligned enough neutron magnetic moments to create a magnetic field–much like a permanent magnet aligns the magnetic moments of ferromagnetic atoms.


EdA the New Yorker
June 19, 2020 9:06 am


“been able to get to ~12G on Earth”

To be nit-picky, the current highest lab magnetic field is 91 Tesla, obtained at the Dresden magnetic field laboratory. 1T = 10000G. Superconductors quench, which limits their fields to much lower levels, although 3T is common for MRI.

But, we’re still at “only” E+6 G, and this does not significantly change the thrust of your enjoyable post.

(This is just in case you inadvertently switched units.)

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  EdA the New Yorker
June 19, 2020 1:41 pm

I saw that too. For me it was kinda hard to read the rest of what Rudd wrote without needing to go verify everything he claimed was known.

Rudd also needs to go read up on the mass gap problem between neutron stars and the lowest mass stellar origin black holes.

June 19, 2020 9:55 am

Long, long ago I took a class on GR. This had been prefaced by a class in Differential Geometry. In DiffG we learned that on a Riemann Surface a trajectory into a singularity emerges on another surface. This has caused much thought over the years, e.g. is dark matter actually curvature from the other side of a Riemann surface? Are Black Holes portals to big bangs in another space? Lots of other results from this including discontinuities at the Plank Radius.

Pedro Oliveira
Reply to  wsbriggs
June 19, 2020 1:52 pm

I like this comment. For the last few months I’m wondering about the big bang as follows: if all energy/matter in the universe was contained in the ‘primeval atom’ why didn’t it turn immediately into a black hole?
That made me think about Eddington’s refusal to believe that a star could turn into nothing. My take is that to avoid exceeding C, space stretches (possibly with C speed) so that inside a black hole there will be plenty of space (depending on black’s hole mass and age), as it happens with our universe. So if this is rational we could be living inside a very massive black hole in another universe. That could also explain the existence of starts that seem to be older than the universe, as in a very large black hole the gravity wouldn’t shred the star as it entered the event horizon.
I’d like criticism on this. Maybe it’s nuts.

Jørgen F.
Reply to  Pedro Oliveira
June 19, 2020 5:00 pm

…so the convoluted dimensions from string- or M-theory is actually the number of times we already have been crunched by a black hole – or the universal compression algorithm?

Pedro Oliveira
Reply to  Jørgen F.
June 20, 2020 1:17 am

For what I’ve read about string/M theory, it can explain anything… It fits our universe, but it will also fit countless different ones.

June 19, 2020 10:07 am

We know Maxwell’s EM field equations must be ~correct because electricity generators and electric motors both actually work!

Maxwell’s equations are only approximately correct. Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) is more correct and replaces Maxwell’s equations. However, like most of classical physics, approximately correct is close enough in many cases.


Reply to  Jim Masterson
June 20, 2020 4:20 am

Just don’t worry about the renormalization

Reply to  Analitik
June 20, 2020 9:40 am

Just don’t worry about the renormalization

I never said that, did I? Not even Feymann said that.


June 19, 2020 10:25 am

“where the heck do their magnetic fields come from … ? …
So the outer layers are still electrons and protons (increasingly rapidly rotating thanks to conservation of angular momentum as the object shrinks in diameter)”

Since the electrons have much smaller mass then their angular acceleration would be far greater than that for the protons, generating electric field. For a dynamic electric field the Faraday’s law implies induction of a magnetic field.

Reply to  Vuk
June 20, 2020 2:44 am

Vuk , well said.
If you replace the Bohr model with the electron cloud model. How big is the electron cloud holding a neutron star together.

Reply to  jmorpuss
June 20, 2020 9:55 am

Bohr model is not valid for plasma.

Reply to  Vuk
June 20, 2020 2:50 am

“Every atom is made up of a nucleus surrounded by electrons that orbit the nucleus. Electrons orbit the nucleus because they are attracted to the protons inside of the nucleus while simultaneously repelled by the other electrons.
Electrons have a negative charge, and protons have a positive charge. Electrons orbit the nucleus in various ways. Some electrons on the outermost fringes of the atom can break away, moving around the SPACE between all of the other atoms.”

Does anyone else see what SPACE is full of????

Reply to  Jmorpuss
June 20, 2020 12:14 pm

“Every atom is made up of a nucleus surrounded by electrons that orbit the nucleus. . . .”

Electrons do not “orbit” the nucleus. This idea that an atom looks like a miniature Solar System is wrong. Electrons exist as a probability distribution function or a wave (as in Schrodinger’s wave equation) in an atom.

The solution to Schrodinger’s equation for an electron in its lowest energy state in a hydrogen atom is a probability function WRT the radius from the proton (nucleus). It’s zero at the proton, increases to a maximum at about the Bohr radius, and then decreases rapidly toward zero as you get further away–but never actually goes to zero. Except for the proton nucleus, an electron in its lowest energy state in a hydrogen atom has a non-zero probability of being anywhere in the Universe. However, it spends most of its time at roughly the Bohr radius.

Does anyone else see what SPACE is full of????

It’s probably virtual particles, but that would require delving into the nature of the vacuum and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.


June 19, 2020 12:26 pm

You might do well to ponder the implications of using linear equations, (relativity) with smooth curves running from zero to infinity, to model a quantum world, which is essentially digital

Gary Pearse
June 19, 2020 12:41 pm

Re fusion of elements under extreme gravitational and explosive mechanical forces, it is interesting that cosmic abundances have a regularity to their distribution. Even numbered elements are flanked by elements of lower abundance.

This is perhaps a piece of data that may have been neglected in musings on ’cause’ that might give ’cause’ more granularity -say why there may be magnetism where it ‘shouldn’t be’ and other aspects. Perhaps, the element creating forces are oscillatory at a sub-atomic scale (quantum?) rather than just increasing. This should, of course, be an early understanding of the processes of gravitational development in formation of neutron stars and supernovae explosions. Even Newton’s 3rd Law would predict this (a force on an object resists with an equal and opposite force). Perhaps this is well known (I’m also not a an astrophysicist- and being geologist, mining engineer and metallurgist doesn’t offer any weight to the idea!).

Moreover, this even/odd relationship between elemental abundances is largely preserved in the elemental abundances in the earth. It has been somewhat confounded here, because of fractionation processes, nuclear decay (gives more lead than we started with) and elements like Technetium and Promethium dont exist here anymore, except we make some by irradiation of molybdenum (Tc used in medical diagnoses, Pm for Star War green glowing swords). Being hit by iron nickel meteorites and a steady settling of meteoric dust onto the surface, etc has also distorted the abundances over time.

Mihail Amarie
June 19, 2020 1:56 pm

These are my thoughts on 3 questions that are very pertinent and you framed here.
1. Where does the magnetic field come from?
Because a neutron star is a degenerate object, we have to think of it through the lens of quantum physics. If it were to be at its ground state, at T=0, it would show no spin and no magnetic field. It is clear that after the collapse it is not at T=0 and more so, because it originated from a star that that did have angular momentum and magnetic field, its free energy is not zero either. Inside the degenerate object, each neutron has its own spin and own orbital angular momentum number. If more neutrons have the spin aligned in 1 direction, then this amounts to a magnetic field in the neutron star (neutrons don’t have a charge, but they do have magnetic moment).
2. How does the Pauli exclusion principle go together with the concept of point-like singularity?
Here is a large misunderstanding that I noticed everywhere, stating that upon the collapse of a neutron star, you form a singularity. The only black holes that in theory exhibit singularities are the primordial ones and they are highly abstract objects (we don’t know if they exist). If you look at the Swartzschild equation, upon the collapse, from the point of view of an external observer, the whole matter forms a crust on the event horizon and exhibits an asymptotic collapse that never crosses the horizon, with an infinite red-shift. It basically freezes on the horizon. If we look at it quantum-mechanically, we still have fermions and the largest energy levels have a position uncertainty that spans the whole horizon.
3. Is there such a thing as a quark degenerate object that is distinct from a neutron star?
A white dwarf is distinct from a neutron star, because in order to go from a white dwarf to a neutron star, a nuclear reaction needs to take place, that involves the exchange of W bosons and formation of neutrinos. A neutron star is already in a quark-gluon plasma already. The proof for that is that a standalone neutron has a half-life of 15 minutes, while neutron stars are stable. Neutrons are already form out of quarks, so there is no other nuclear reaction that involves boson exchange to go from one to another. Rather than a collection of neutrons, you can regard the neutron star, as a single nucleus, of very large mass and low charge that is stable. An open question in nuclear Physics is what is the lower nuclear stability limit for such an object.

June 19, 2020 2:26 pm

The joy of reading this blog is the invariable capacity (as English is my Mother Tongue and reading every word is easy) of taking everything in, yet not understanding a word that’s written.

Yet I’m a BSc Hons and a Chartered Engineer.

“It’s all Greek to me” and, “Questions are easy if you know the answer”

Reply to  AleaJactaEst
June 20, 2020 1:15 pm

“It’s all Greek to me”

Many years ago (too many to count), Mad Magazine offered free textbook covers in one of their monthly issues. I still remember one of the covers: “French, Spanish, Italian, it’s all Greek to me.” Only the letters spelling “GREEK” were in large, bold type–the rest were in smaller type.


Martin Cropp
June 19, 2020 2:27 pm

Has it been confirmed, or is it still theory, that the center or inside of a black hole is positive or negative pressure.

Reply to  Martin Cropp
June 19, 2020 9:11 pm

I’ve always wondered why it was not thought that the collapse of a sol 2.1 or larger stellar object would result in the only truly solid, impenetrable object in the universe. A singularity composed of quantum particles that were compressed to the extent that there was no longer any empty space between them. This would result in an object having a temperature of absolute zero as there is no possibility of heat producing interactions in such an object. Anything that crosses the event horizon becomes a part of the singularity which will grow continuously, always strengthening the attractive force it generates.

It appears that everything in the universe is, or is composed of combinations of quantum particles and everything in the universe has what we humans sense as temperature such as the 2.6 K temperature of the background radiation from the big bang. Since everything has a temperature and all of the interactions that are taking place in the universe will not sustain heat production forever, the ultimate temperature of everything will ultimately be absolute zero. I suspect this results in all of the quantum stuff that everything in the universe is made of to exist in the state of singularity, whether all quanta are captured by existing singularities, or lacking any heat energy they all coalesce to a singular state.

As a result the only force that ultimately exists in the singular state universe will be that weak force we call gravity. All singularities will be attached to one another by the inexorable bungee cords of attractive force. The great sphere of a universe that has expanded and thickened since the big bang will collapse in on itself. After trillions, even quadrillions of equivalent rotations of our planet around our star (years) all of this singular material containing all the quantum in the universe will arrive from all directions at a distance of a little less that 600,000 kilometers travelling at 0.9999999999999….(take it out as far as you like) C, the speed of light. All of the quantum stuff in the universe will be crushed to the size of a proton and the temperature of all quanta will equal the sum of all quantum particles in the universe multiplied by 2C, the speed of the collision. The equation for this should be written as T=b(2c). T is upper case because temperature is the controlling variable of the universe. The lower case b represents quanta as the basic existential elements that everything in the universe is made of. C, the speed of light, is the mathematical cosmological constant that Dr. Einstein was searching for.

We are constantly reminded by the PHD’s on the show, “How the Universe Works” that nothing travels faster than light. That being the case nothing can collide at faster than two times the speed of light. Dr. Einstein squared the speed of light to achieve a number large enough to show maximum energy potential. When the Large Hadron Collider fires two packets of quantum particles together at twice the speed of light the collision produces a temperature that should be measured T=b(2c). If what I read is correct, that 115 billion proton ions are contained in each packet, and those ions are composed of three quarks, then each packet contains at least 345 billion quantum particles with 690 billion of them slamming together at twice the speed of light. This briefly heats those quantum particles up to levels similar to the big bang and the number is certainly large enough to achieve Dr. Einstein’s goal.

Suggestion to Astrophysicists, Theoretical and/or Quantum Physicists: Stop squaring and cubing the speed of light in your equations. Try counting the actual physical things that everything in the universe is made of. I know you haven’t identified them all yet, but at least they represent a real number. Something you actually can count as opposed to numbers that have varying scales of measurement.

What I’ve described produces a different form of Cosmological Constant: An infinitely reiterating universe that continues forever. If you take the number a quintillion (1,000,000,000,000,000.000) and multiply it by itself a quintillion times, that enormous number will always be less that one divided by a quintillion taken to the quintillionth as it relates to the infinite cycling of the universe. In such a universe it is inevitable that the same sperm and egg containing the same DNA that resulted in the existence of every human that ever lived will come together again. That DNA will build us out and as we grow the brain that develops will be the same brain within a few percentage points each time it happens. The cells and connections will be the same and as you mature information will be programmed in your brain Your reincarnation is evidenced when you experience deja vu or a clairvoyant moment. Your brain is telling you that you have lived in that moment before or is telling you something is going to happen in your future. So called psychic experiences of this type come from memories that you have but aren’t usually accessible. DNA programs two things for all organisms it produces. 1) achieve reproductive maturity and 2) reproduce. For those organisms that come into existence in a helpless state there is programming that at least one parent, surrogate or family group must assist those offspring to achieve reproductive maturity. And that is all that DNA requires.

Consider also the books of Dr. Brian Weiss who used hypnotic regression find the cause of patients with debilitating fears and phobias. Hypnosis opens access to the brain’s memory. Finding no causal agency for a patient’s problem the doctor at some point asked a patient what was happening before the life they were currently living and they described a previous life, in detail to include how the previous life ended.
Some patients volunteered to be regressed through multiple lives. Lives in which they were not always the same race, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc. Nor did they always have the same personalities. Consider mental issues such as multiple personality disorder, schizophrenia, gender identity issues etc.

Consider Nostradamus and St. Augustine who had visions of what they believed were of the future with fantastical machines and powerful nations in conflict. But they could only describe this information in the terms and language of the life being lived at the time so they were vague and inarticulate in their descriptions. Were they accessing memories of previous lives experienced in previous iterations of the universe?

Your brain with its 100 billion cells, millions of connections and processes contains much more information than you can access and no two brains can be exactly the same. However, for each of us our brain is the thing that establishes our awareness and our knowledge that we exist in this physical, infinitely repeating universe that we are forever riding to all of the places it is going to take us.

Geoff Sherrington
June 19, 2020 5:21 pm

I gave up interest in my teens in the field of astrophysics because it was composed of excessive imagination based on minuscule observation. Not much has changed. The field has low practical value (What have the Astros ever done for us?) beyond finding harmless employment for dreamers. I have avoided reading science fiction for similar reasons. It matters not how the universe was formed. It is here, it is what it is, deal with it. Geoff S

Dave Fair
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
June 20, 2020 10:55 am

Mental masturbation is also alive and well in CliSci, Geoff.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
June 21, 2020 11:46 am

To bring people into scientific research, curiosity must be engaged.
And it’s not all irrelvant.
British scientists Rudolf Peierls and Otto Frisch (German and Austrian born respectively) at the University of Birmingham calculated, in March 1940, that the critical mass of pure uranium-235 was as little as 1 to 10 kilograms. This was the trigger for what became the Manhattan project and the atomic bomb that ended WW2, which otherwise would have continued till about 1950 with a million or so more allied deaths and leaving half of Japan in Soviet hands.
Meanwhile in Germany Werner Heisenberg, while brilliant for his quantum uncertainty principle and the S-matrix, got the sums wrong about fission, declaring that many thousands of kilograms of uranium-235 would be needed, an impossible task. That stopped the 3rd Reich’s atom bomb project.
Was Heidenberg’s mistake deliberate, or accidental? We may never know.

In either case, it made a difference.
Imagine if it had worked out the other way round – the Axis got the bomb and not the allies?

Izaak Walton
June 19, 2020 11:05 pm

The level of ignorance about basic physics on display here is perhaps only matched by the amount of confidence displayed by the posters. And Rud seems to have started it (despite having read some popular textbooks). For example the statement “The problem with that is bosons do not have mass to create black hole gravity” is wrong on several levels. Firstly the definition of a boson is that it is a object with integer spin. So atomic nuclei like Helium 4 are bosons as are atoms which is why you can see macroscopic bosonic effects like superfluidity or Bose-Einstein Condenstates. Even at the level of fundamental particles plenty of bosons have mass like the Higgs boson for example. So the statement get the basic understanding of quantum mechanics wrong. Next Einstein showed that energy and mass are related through E=mc^2 and so even a boson with zero mass (like a photon) will have a gravitational effect and if you had enough energetic zero mass bosons in one spot then they would form a black hole. And hence Rud manages to get both quantum mechanics and relativity wrong in a single sentence which is an impressive achievement.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
June 20, 2020 12:28 pm

But without Rud’s article, I never would have been able to read your comment! Izaak, please write more comments, as I have enjoyed reading this article and its comments immensely.

Thanks to all.

Pedro Oliveira
Reply to  Izaak Walton
June 20, 2020 2:23 pm

What is said is that a photon has a 0 rest mass. The problem is that photons always travel at C (or slower in a denser medium such as water or glass fiber) so they have energy which is the same thing as having mass.

June 20, 2020 7:57 am

Deep Thoughts for lunch! Thanks for sharing!

Dave Fair
June 20, 2020 11:06 am

E=m*c^2. E=0*c^2=0. Energetic bosons?

June 21, 2020 7:04 am

In theory, there should be a third gravitationally degenerate state of fermion matter, a quarkstar, since neutrons are ‘just’ bundles of quarks, in quantum theory still fermions.

It has now been confirmed that there is a quark soup-like degenerate state of neutrons. Theory and observation both indicate that such degenerate quark-soup regions form when neutron start collide:

The gravitational waves from such an event include a neutron “fart” from the collapse to quark soup.

June 23, 2020 8:09 am

“If neutron stars are all neutrons, where the heck do their magnetic fields come from since Maxwell’s equations are likely correct?”

Maybe it’s some kind of analog to liquid water. Water, below it’s local boiling point, continuously has some molecules evaporating, while at the same time some molecules of water vapor in the atmosphere condense into the liquid water.

So, maybe there is a continuous breakdown of neutrons into electrons and protons, while some of the encircling electrons and protons are combining into neutrons, in a kind of equilibrium. For water, partial pressure helps explain what’s going on. Could there be an equivalent for electrons, protons, and neutrons?

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