Mendel Sachs

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Mendel Sachs
Born April 13, 1927
Portland, Oregon, United States
Died May 5, 2012(2012-05-05) (aged 85)
Buffalo, New York, United States
Nationality United States
Fields Physics
Institutions State University of New York Buffalo
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Known for Unified field theory

Mendel Sachs (April 13, 1927 in Portland, Oregon – May 5, 2012 in Buffalo, New York) was an American theoretical physicist who was Professor of Physics at the State University of New York Buffalo (1966–97) (Emeritus since 1997).[1][2]

Education and career[edit]

Sachs studied for his A.B., M.A., and Ph.D., all in physics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Following the award of his PhD he was employed at the University of California Radiation Laboratory (1954–56). Then, he was a Senior Scientist at Lockheed Missiles and Space Laboratory (1956–1961). He was also employed as Assistant Professor of Physics at San Jose State College (1957–1961). In 1961 he became a Research Professor at McGill University; this was followed by a post as Associate Professor of Physics at Boston University (1962–1966). In 1966 he was appointed Professor of Physics at State University of New York at Buffalo. On his retirement in 1997 he was given the title Professor of Physics Emeritus.[1]

Completion of Albert Einstein's unified field theory[edit]

Sachs progressed towards completing Albert Einstein's unified field theory, i.e., unifying the fields in general relativity, from which quantum mechanics emerges under certain conditions.[3]

His theory rests on three axioms. The general idea is (1) to make precise the principle of relativity, aka general covariance. To do this, Sachs found, requires (2) generalizing Einstein's Mach principle, positing that all manifestations of matter, not only inertial mass, derive from the interaction of matter. From this, (3) quantum mechanics can be seen to emerge via correspondence principle, as a nonrelativistic approximation for a theory of inertia in relativity.

The result is a continuous quaternion-based formalism modeling all manifestations of matter. Sachs called the transformation symmetry group that Einstein sought in completing general covariance, the Einstein group, which approaches the Poincaré group towards the flat spacetime of special relativity. Sachs described how quantum mechanics, first in relativistic two-component spinor form, and then under low energy-momentum as Schrödinger's equation emerges therefrom.[4]

"The well known trouble with RQFT," Sachs wrote, is that when its formal expression is examined for its solutions, it is found that it does not have any! This is because of infinities that are automatically generated in this formulation."[1] Through general relativity, he, instead, produced a myriad of theoretical results without resorting to arbitrary parameters or renormalization, some in closer agreement with experiment than derived from quantum field theory, e.g., for the Lamb splitting with N = 4.[5]

Yet another phenomenon that Sachs' theory can accommodate that standard cosmology might not is the Huge-LQG large quasar group, since general relativity does not presuppose homogeneity or isotropy, i.e., the cosmological principle.

Sachs believed that fundamental incompatibilities between relativity theory and quantum theory preclude there from being a quantum theory of gravity.[6]

Sach's symposium and the festschrift[edit]

A symposium was held in Sachs honour in 1997 and a subsequent festschrift published Fragments of Science: Festschrift for Mendel Sachs ed Michael Ram.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Mendel Sachs Web site". Retrieved 2011-03-24. 
  2. ^ "Obituary of Mendel Sachs (1927-2012)". Physics Today. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  3. ^ Pais, Abraham (1982), Subtle Is the Lord, Oxford University Press, Oxford, p. 463, ISBN 0-19-280672-6 
  4. ^ Sachs, Mendel (1986), Quantum Mechanics from General Relativity, Reidel, Dordrecht, ISBN 90-277-2247-1 
  5. ^ Sachs, Mendel (1982), General Relativity and Matter, Reidel, Dordrecht, ISBN 90-277-1381-2 
  6. ^ Sachs, Mendel (2004), Quantum Mechanics and Gravity, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, ISBN 3-540-00800-4 
  7. ^ "UB Physicist Mendel Sachs to Be Honored At Symposium - UB NewsCenter". 1997-08-18. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 


The derivation of the unified field theory:

  • M.Sachs:'General Relativity and Matter' is based on original research by the author.

The derivation was inspired by early writings on this subject by Albert Einstein and his collaborators and by Erwin Schrodinger. See:

  • A.Einstein, 'Autobiographical Notes', in "Albert Einstein': Philosopher-Scientist" (Open Court, 1949), ed.P.A, Schilpp
  • A.Einstein and W. Mayer, "Semi-Vektoren und Spinoren", Preussiche Akademie der Wissenschaften Phys.-Math. Klasse Sitzungsberichte, 1932, p. 522
  • A. Einstein, "Generalization of the Relativistic Theory of Gravitation", Annals of Mathematics 46 (1945), p. 578
  • A. Einstein and E. Straus, "Generalization of the Relativistic Theory of Gravitation", Annals of Mathematics 47 (1946), p. 731
  • E.Schrödinger, Space-Time Structure (Cambridge University Press, 1954)

The origin of the quaternion algebra is shown in:

  • H. Halberstam and R. E. Ingram, editors, The Mathematical Papers of Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Vol. III, Algebra (Cambridge University Press, 1967).

A complete bibliography of the writings of Mendel Sachs, until 2002, are in the back of the book, M. Sachs, "Quantum Mechanics and Gravity" (Springer-Verlag,2004). The latest book by Mendel Sachs is:

  • "Physics of the Universe", Imperial College Press, (2010).

External links[edit]