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John Winders

Beginning in the late 19th century. Settling for a job as a patent clerk. I think Einstein's trouble with mathematics brought out his true genius. String theory is currently leading science in some of those directions. James Clerk Maxwell gave us beautiful mathematical equations that revealed a fundamental truth about nature that led Einstein to invent special relativity. Many of today's physicists seem to be primarily mathematicians with scientific leanings. a priest. Newton showed us that equations describe nature. alchemy. but somehow it got stuck a few inches above the priest's neck. Science used to be inextricably linked to philosophy. so he said it might also come after 2060. Enrico Fermi was too preoccupied with timing the arrival of the shockwave and calculating the kilotonage of the blast to think about Hindu scripture. I can appreciate the seductive appeal of its abstract beauty. and trying to understand how reality “works. This was taken as a divine augury of the priest's innocence. chemistry. As an engineer. I admit I understand nothing about string theory beyond what I've read in the popular literature. 1 . but he also had a keen interest in philosophy and eastern religion. and as the executioner raised the blade for the third time. The same thing happened with the drunkard. He worked out the math. quantum physics. so he was set free. and Bible prophesy. Then it was the engineer's turn. and cosmology as I can get my hands on. When blade was released it almost reached the bottom. spent most of his time working on astrology. By all accounts. I think I see what the problem is. although nobody knows why nature should follow mathematical rules. physics became increasingly dominated by mathematics. There's an old story about the engineer and the guillotine. Despite all the progress that science has made. but scientists shouldn't follow the mathematicians blindly. a drunkard. yet they remained close friends throughout their lives. I think I see what the problem is!” Engineers aren't known for our political survival skills.♫ I'm not a true scientist. He wan't much into it anyway. physics. He said he recalled lines from the Bhagavad Gita while watching the first atomic fireball rise over the desert near Alamogordo. the father of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. Isaac Newton. and many other scientific subjects while pursuing a couple of engineering degrees. he stole time from his daily chores to tackle relativity.2 It's too bad there aren't many great philosopher/scientists around today. but we sure know how to troubleshoot a technical problem. and he was also released. the engineer shouted.1 I always considered Albert Einstein to be an even greater philosopher than a scientist. was another truly great philosopher/scientist/genius. He asked to be placed on the guillotine facing upward without a blindfold. I've read that string theory is extremely difficult to master. One of my favorite hobbies is poring over as many books and articles on relativity. but an engineer (retired) by trade. Niels Bohr. I think that is the crux of the problem. his fertile imagination enabled him to see beyond the 19th century paradigm that inhibited many of the great scientific minds of that era who were far more mathematically competent than Einstein.” I call it solving the reality riddle. “Hey. J. Robert Oppenheimer was steeped in math and physics. having learned higher mathematics. The priest was the first to be put to death. I used it all the time in my work. His famous thought experiments used images rather than mathematical formulas. But he was a rational man who hedged his bets. which undoubtedly hindered his early scientific career. He and Einstein held very different views on the true nature of reality and they had heated arguments over them. Using this technique. but it has produced the most beautiful mathematics ever. I'm quite familiar with “pure” science. especially when equations lead in the wrong direction or in too many directions at the same time. I have nothing against math personally. and an engineer were condemned to be executed by the guillotine. perhaps the greatest scientist and mathematician of all time. and it told him the End would come in 2060. During the French Revolution. Oppenheimer could actually read Sanskrit. I don't doubt that 1 2 He was interested in knowing when the world would end. it got stuck only inches away from solving it – just like the figurative guillotine blade. he was just a mediocre mathematician. The engineer's unusual request was granted. NM.

for an instant. these probes are in deep space well beyond the orbit of Pluto. He wasn't. Expanding universes will either stop expanding then start to contract or they will expand forever. or is this another indication that the current theories of gravity need to be revisited and maybe even revised? Then there is the problem with the rate of expansion of the universe. Why place money on quantum physics? Because when the classical view opposes the quantum view. Peeling away the layers of the problem. It conforms to the 19th century belief that the universe is like a giant machine that works in the same predictable manner as a clock or a steam engine. other scientists who were mired in 19th century orthodoxy thought he was a radical. otherwise the equations 2 . Everything that has happened. the rates of expansion decrease in either case. Cosmologists have filled in that crack with dark matter. I have this nagging suspicion that those models aren't quite right. and still sending radio signals back to earth. GPS navigation is only possible by allowing for time dilation and the fact that gravity slows clocks as predicted by general relativity. When Albert Einstein proposed relativity. To remove this contradiction without abandoning general relativity. Can astrophysicists fix this anomaly by adding a halo of dark matter around the sun. the quantum view is always proven right by experiment. but it seems to indicate that something is amiss. but shouldn't string theorists have come up with at least one testable theory after 30 years of hard work? I'll return to this topic later on. Infinities and violations of causation are some of the problems I see with them. or ever will happen is completely determined by the initial state of the machine. and infinitely divisible into smaller parts just like in Newton's world. Everything else remained smooth. NASA launched the Pioneer 10 and 11 interplanetary space probes in 1972 and 1973 to explore the outer planets of the solar system. A bit more of that later. predictable. Cosmologists use general relativity to model the birth and evolution of the universe. Also. he pretty much stuck with Newton's classical universe. are proven facts. General relativity is a classical theory in the tradition of Newton and Maxwell with the underlying premise that every phenomenon in the universe has a cause that is explained by universal laws expressed in equations. Along with dark matter. The problem is that dark matter can't be explained in the current version of the standard model based on quantum field theory. even after adding dark matter to our galaxy. Take for example the fact that galaxies seem to rotate significantly faster than general relativity predicts. and lumpy. It's almost as if God refuses to do calculus and prefers to count and roll dice instead. cosmologists invented dark energy. which contradicts theory. is happening. still moving away from the sun. Solutions to the field equations of general relativity produce dynamic universes that expand or contract. By now. Time dilation and E = mc2. predicted by special relativity. except that he merged space and time into a space-time continuum. I'm not saying they won't pull that off. Quantum physics agrees with me: everything is jagged. Analysis of these signals shows that the rates of deceleration from the sun for both spacecraft exceed the deceleration calculated from the current theory of gravity by 10-9 meter/sec2. we see that modern physics embraces dual theories: general relativity and quantum mechanics. Now I don't argue that most predictions based on relativity have proven to be accurate in the everyday world. a kind of anti-gravity force that pushes space-time apart. In fact. The Ulysses and Galileo spacecraft show similar anomalies. I think those underlying premises are completely wrong. The problem with dark energy is that it confronts quantum physicists with a new form of energy requiring the addition of a new force carrier particle to an already overcrowded table of fundamental particles. Other phenomenon such as gravitational lensing of light and the precession of Mercury's orbit closely match Einstein's own predictions. there is the problem of time travel. it's a main premise underlying special relativity. Astronomers have found that the rate of expansion is increasing lately. If relativity teaches us anything. there is another gravitational anomaly much closer to home: the so-called Pioneer anomaly. it means they will have to revamp quantum field theory. however. it's that the principle of causation is inviolate. unpredictable. Finally. Other cracks are beginning to show in the relativistic edifice as well.

but I'm afraid it creates some serious paradoxes. By by that I mean they should stop using a 4-dimensional space-time continuum as the starting point. Various hypothetical time machines have been constructed on paper by imagining extremely long and massive cylinders that rotate rapidly in 4-dimensional Einsteinian space-time. and Alain Aspect and others were finally able to carry them out in the 1980s. This makes for great sci-fi movies. however. profound. To borrow a phrase from modern software engineers. the evidence was so overwhelming that if Einstein were still alive in the 1980s. but he remaining true to his classical roots and never accepted Bohr's belief in indeterminacy. they should build a new theory on quantum principles. Einstein. he surely would have conceded that Bohr was right all along. He thought a universe that violates causation is absurd. Now let's turn back to the conflict between quantum mechanics and relativity. using the authors' initials. but they insisted they are the only way to avoid violating causation. yet simple type of experiment that would show whether the idea of hidden variables holds water. I suspect backward time travel also violates the second law of thermodynamics (see Appendix D). Now I'm fairly open-minded when it comes to time travel (it provides wonderfully entertaining plot lines). I think I can see what the problem is: when space and time are combined into a continuum. and assumed that events have hidden causes even when they appear random. Bohr sort of defended himself by publishing a response to the EPR paper. and Rosen didn't explain how the hidden variables operate. Einstein remained ever faithful to his clockwork universe. Unfortunately. Boris Podolsky. some of the solutions of the general relativity field equations allow backward time travel. gravity can twist it to such an extent that space and time are interchanged. Until 1964 that is. there was a collective shoulder shrug by quantum physicists. 3 . then the idea of hidden variables is false.are meaningless. Their results did violate Bell's inequalities. Podolsky. quantum physics “just works” so why bother explaining why? They just continued with their research as if nothing had happened.3 In fact. then results from those experiments would obey statistical inequalities. The paper said that quantum mechanics is “incomplete” because without hidden variables it could not satisfactorily explain (at least in the minds of the authors) certain changes that occur simultaneously in two remote systems that are quantum-mechanically entangled. thus proving EPR were wrong and validating Bohr's Copenhagen interpretation. and Nathan Rosen. called Bell's inequalities. Maybe liberating time from its space-time prison would avoid these paradoxes. His proof was published in 1964. the engineer within me sees a problem when a theory makes predictions that violate one of its own fundamental principles. but there was no technology available to carry out the kinds of experiments proposed in his paper. If Bell's inequalities are violated. Einstein never denied that quantum effects are real. offering what some might call a handwaving argument using the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Einstein. Over decades. Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr engaged in a friendly sparring match about the true nature of reality. Quantum physicists should give up trying to duplicate Einstein's field equations from quantum mechanics. nobody could envision an experiment that would prove whether Einstein or Bohr were right. 3 This topic is covered in much more detail in Appendix A. Quantum mechanics really does describe how the universe works. a brilliant Irish mathematician/philosopher/physicist relooked at the EPR paradox and came up with an elegant. The point I'm trying to make with this long-winded historical detour is this: if scientists want to merge quantum physics with general relativity. along with two Princeton University colleagues. If hidden variables do in any sense exist. and not the other way around. Following the publication of the EPR paradox. John Bell. presented one of his most clever thought experiments in a paper published in 1935. The avant garde mathematician Kurt Gödel created an entire universe based on general relativity that violates causality. That paper came to be known as the EPR paradox. even if it seems counter intuitive or it violates classical principles. and he kept challenging Bohr with clever and inventive thought experiments that attempted to prove the falsehood of the Copenhagen interpretation. At any rate. Science had to wait for technology to catch up.

But whenever there's a case that can't be solved that way. Assigning real numbers to three dimensions of space and imaginary numbers to time. Okay. once said. and why must we always merge space and time into a continuum? If time and space 4 . I totally get why Einstein introduced the 4-dimensional space-time continuum. if not impossible. The question Einstein et al proposed in the title of their EPR paper was. Okay.” I'm not saying relativity is wrong exactly. continuous. Minkowski space. filled with fields that are smooth. So it's not hard for me to understand why Einstein fell in love with Minkowksi space and why others were seduced by it also. But Newton's theory of gravity also works in very many cases. Instead of just three spatial dimensions represented by real numbers with time pointing in the imaginary direction. It also makes the important formula E = mc2 emerge naturally. it doesn't matter how smart you are. but why do we keep insisting that space and time are smooth and continuous instead of jagged and lumpy. and yet everyone agrees it's incomplete. they have too many arbitrary constants that can't be explained from first principles. We use Steinmetz's methods because they're easy to work with. it think string theory made some faulty assumptions from the get go by repeating some of Einstein's mistakes about the nature of time and space. elegant. and combining all of these numbers into a single entity called space-time makes the mathematics clean. and infinitely divisible into smaller parts? It's very clear that reality is lumpy and discontinuous. it just isn't complete. realizing there are irreconcilable differences between general relativity and quantum mechanics.As an electrical engineer. although quantum field theory and the standard model make successful predictions. No sane engineer actually believes that voltages and currents have real and imaginary parts – it's just math. Unfortunately. It was a handy mathematical device that provided a convenient way to work out the “currency exchange rate” between units of space and units of time. Charles Steinmetz was the first person to represent voltages and electrical currents as complex numbers. and beautiful. It's not obvious to most physicist that general relativity is incomplete because it works for them most of the time. who was no slouch when it came to creating theories. so when doesn't relativity work? Well. the famous Feynman diagrams. What was needed was a whole new set of first principles where both quantum mechanics and gravity would emerge together from the theory. If it doesn't agree with experiment. it's wrong. However. but doing that just seems too ad hoc for my taste. I get the math part. a. This was a very sensible approach and I applaud it. Why do quantum physicists keep using Einstein's model of space with time woven into it.a. Why a total of 10 dimensions? Well. Furthermore. which is kind of cool. Engineers use similar mathematical devices we know aren't real. string theory uses nine spatial dimensions with time pointing in the imaginary direction. the imaginary parts of the complex numbers take care of the phase angles of sine functions in a natural way that just rolls right through the calculations. “Can [a] quantum-mechanical description of physical reality be considered complete?” It would also be fair to ask the question. without using complex numbers. I cited a couple of examples earlier where gravity is stronger over large distances than it ought to be and where the expansion of the universe is a bit quirky. just because it makes the math work. You are probably asking how an engineer with only an elementary grasp of general relativity would have the audacity to question the validity of general relativity. and then apply that technique to everything.k. I forget the whole idea of complex voltages and currents in a heartbeat and use a different method instead. in special relativity. show particles zooming along “world lines” in an abbreviated 2dimensional version of Einstein's space-time continuum. it's a mistake to conflate an elegant mathematical technique that works for a special case with reality itself. Sure you can plug dark matter and dark energy into relativity and make it work. when every renowned physicist for the past 100 years says it is simply beyond question? Richard Feynman. “It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is. we use them simply because they work. used to explain particle interactions. Doing analysis of AC circuits would be extremely difficult. String theory was an attempt by physicists to start over with a clean sheet of paper. In fact. “Can a relativistic description of reality using Minkowski space be considered complete?” Quantum mechanics also starts out with that framework.

you still end up with almost 10 500 more theories left to examine. or is there some deeper truth behind them? John Wheeler took Bohr's interpretation of quantum theory to a whole new level. If the computer runs 24/7 for a trillion years. When the real and imaginary parts of the z-values in the set are plotted as points on an x-y plane. Everything that fills the universe. We know those “virtual” particles are present because 4 5 6 That's unimaginably many theories. What little “matter” can be found in all that empty space seems to consist of quantum states. heads of broccoli. you don't need complex numbers to generate fractals. and so forth up the chain. it's equal to a googol raised to the 5th power in case you're interested. beautiful. In fact. with quantum field theory having too many arbitrary constants that can't be explained from first principles. fires. Fractal shapes are much more than quirky blobs. The Internet is replete with beautiful computer-generated animations of Mandelbrot solids.” String theory may be 100% mathematically consistent and full of beauty and elegance. Something can be factually true and beautiful without being useful. are made out of information. oceans. Fractal objects seem to be ubiquitous in nature. string theory has hidden variables. 5 . which makes me wonder what a doggie universe created by canine consensus is like. can also be generated from simple functions that employ feedback. But there's more: empty space isn't really empty. and galaxy disks. Infinity minus something huge equals infinity. engineers call such a thing “a solution in search of a problem. Or many rabbit holes to be exact.6 I'm not sure I'd go as far as Wheeler. Dogs get most of their information through their noses. the atoms. The functions that generate fractals not complicated: a basic one is z new = z 2old + c where z is a complex variable and c is a complex constant. Using very simple mathematical formulas that feed output variables back in as new inputs over and over again. The number of string theories the computer examined would be more than the number of water molecules in your swimming pool.5 However. which are bits of information. the computer could examine around 3. where does science go for answers? Maybe we should put all the complicated math aside for a while and just look at nature. but it's obvious that there isn't much matter to be found in the material universe. Another problem is that string theory is infinitely more complicated than the existing theories. You can Google them using the keywords “mandelbulb video” or you can download some free Mandlebulb 3D graphics software on your computer and create your own animations. That's why I'm not putting my money on anyone finding the right string theory. and with string theorists seemingly chasing tangents. Solid 3-D fractal shapes. How big? Imagine owning a swimming pool 15 meters wide by 30 meters long by 2 meters deep – smaller than Olympic-size. molecules. Unfortunately it hasn't. but still pretty nice.15 ×10 31 string theories. and Bell's EPR experiments proved beyond a doubt that there are no hidden variables in the real universe. The answer to the reality riddle may be hiding in plain sight – everywhere. I mean really look at it. if you take the original number of string theories and subtract that very large number of string theories examined by the supercomputer over a trillion years.are really separate things. It seems there are at least 10 500 different string theories. A vacuum is filled with “virtual” particles that constantly enter and exit reality. unless I'm way off target. Are the similarities between fractal structures and things seen everywhere in nature mere coincidences. Human beings get most of our information through our eyes. and other natural objects. but I'm afraid it's leading us down a rabbit hole. Furthermore. they form 2-dimensional fractal patterns with structure. and bizarre structures emerge seemingly out of nowhere. stating that nothing in the universe even exists until it is observed: we live in a universe created by consensus among observers. commonly known as fractals. In fact. That would be okay if it produced new results that aren't found in existing theories. each one describing a different reality. that number seems pretty much like infinity to me and here's how I finally got my head around it: Suppose computer engineers design a supercomputer that can examine a trillion string theories each second to find the right one. Now that's also a pretty big number. The computer didn't even make a tiny dent in the total. The late Benoit Mandelbrot was the father of Mandelbrot sets. Most of what we humans consider “solid” – including atoms – consists almost entirely of empty space. such as breaking ocean waves. Now. some amazingly complex. maybe it's wrong to keep modeling them as a continuum. all the fundamental particles and force carriers. veins in a leaf. many of the 3-D “special effects” seen in modern animated movies employ computer-generated fractals that look exactly like landscapes. called Mandelboxes and Mandelbulbs.4 With general relativistic being fundamentally flawed because it's deterministic.

This is meant only as a conceptual visualization. Alan Turing came up with a concept of a universal computer in 1936 that did nothing more than read bits of information from a strip of paper moving back and forth. will finalize what I needed to say. Could that explain those discrepancies astronomers are seeing. If quantum interactions are equivalent to data processing on a microscopic level. Quantum interactions do essentially the same thing: interacting particles exchange quantum information about themselves. perhaps these processes also generate Mandelbrot sets. Physicists use dark matter to explain away that discrepancy. I hope these remarks. it occurred to me that I needed to fix the abrupt ending and wrap things up with a few more concluding remarks. After thinking about the reality riddle some more. The first version was six pages long. Looking over the landscape of different “realities” that science has postulated. replacing the bits on the strip with new bits by following a set of logical rules. 1 for a line.58. consider some of the properties of Mandelbrot sets. 2 for a triangle. I've published several more versions. It needs to be pointed out that according to thermodynamics. Motion and inertia would also deviate from classical laws in such a space. Finally. over and over at ever smaller scales. Structure. These “virtual” particles also must have quantum states. The main essay abruptly ended on Page Six because I simply ran out of clever things to say. fractal geometry has dimensionality with peculiar properties. reading bits and writing new ones. plus a couple of appendices. we could switch that around and say the “virtual” particles carry quantum information about empty space itself. 6 . applying the basic “and”. and the self-similarity property also results in interconnections among all parts of the set. In fact. either by accident or by design. Since then. The Hausdorff dimensions of common geometric objects are integers: 0 for a point. the field should be more confined in a lower-dimension space than it would in three dimensions. suppose space itself is a Mandelbrot set with Hausdorff dimensions that approach 3 at small scales and decrease over very large scales. This essay has been very much a work in progress. like a Mandelbub. I don't know whether or not gravity has any actual fields. meaning that pattern of the whole is repeated by similar patterns everywhere.they exert pressures on metal plates suspended in a vacuum that can be measured experimentally. Mandelbrot sets also have characteristically jagged and discontinuous features extending down to the smallest imaginable scales. Fractal solids. which follow here. Entropy. we live in a dataverse. echoing the lumpiness found in the quantum world and throughout the universe at large. so even empty space is filled with information. The Hausdorff dimension of a Euclidean space equals the number of orthogonal directions in that space. adding several more appendices on some related topics. Alternatively. and its Hausdorff dimension is approximately 1. 3 for a sphere. entropy always increases. We know that over very large distances gravity seems to deviate from both Newton's inverse square law and solutions to general relativity's field equations. A Turing machine could perform any task that a modern digital computer is capable of. Instead. it seems to me that all of them are really just models that map data that Nature presents to us through our senses and instruments 7 8 Appendix B discusses Information. a Sierpinski triangle is a fractal that fits into a 2-dimensinal plane. and expanding the entire essay to about 27 pages. If we picture gravity as a classic gravitational field8. as well as the Pioneer anomaly? Variable dimensionality would even affect the way the universe at very great distances is perceived through telescopes. “or” and “not” logical operations on the quantum states themselves. If all of this sounds crazy. and Meaning from the standpoint of modern information theory. On the other hand. In other words. Maybe our universe is just the totality of countless Mandelbrot-set-producing processes.7 Data processing and computations are performed by combining bits of information according to certain rules to produce new bits of information. Most physicists are coming around to the idea that the universe is essentially non-local where everything is interconnected. and intelligence won't emerge spontaneously on their own unless some organizing Process or Principle is causing them to emerge. fractals have non-integer dimensions that are smaller than the dimensions of the Euclidean spaces they fit into. have dimensions between 2 and 3. Fractals have a property called self-similarity. maybe our entire universe actually is a Mandelbrot set. For example. meaning. but suppose space itself does't have fixed Euclidean-type dimensions.

they are very difficult to analyze. there is a consensus among physicists that none of the existing theories are complete and none are able to describe reality in total. In fact he says every possible past. Included in this group are Platonia. The engineer in me sees nothing wrong with this. which is often the case. Platonia has countless dimensions. All of these techniques have survived into the 21st century because they have been largely successful – within prescribed limits. and each point in this space represents an entire universe. and quantum field theory. the one technique that can do it all. present and future – are mapped as single points in Platonia. The analytical results – data – are mapped back into the space of the physical structure. Albert Einstein proposed a method to map data into an alternative 4-dimensional space where he could work around those constraints and make calculations. I've included some appendices at the end of this essay about some topics I find interesting. As long as these theories can consistently map data from “our world” into an alternative space and back again. This is known as the theory of relativity. 3-phase electric power networks should be balanced. I hope you'll find them interesting also. Data are mapped into a fictional space represented by Mohr's circle. perfectly-balanced 3-phase circuits. 9 Data mapping seems to be the common feature among all theories. when analyzing the normal and shear stresses in I-beams and other structures for computing strains. which has taken on various forms: the wave function. science invented quantum physics. named after its inventor. invented by Erwin Schrödinger. The extra steps of mapping and remapping the data back again are well worth the effort. The dataverse concept – Wheeler's “it from bit” – has received harsh criticism from certain parties who don't consider information as “real” because it lacks material substance. 7 . For example. The analytical results are then mapped back into the unbalanced physical circuit to obtain useful values. and the Anthropic Principle. to decompose an unbalanced. Any of them might explain why things are the way they are. physical 3-phase circuit into three idealized. also lacks material substance. Scientists have become very inventive lately.into alternative spaces. Confronted with the problem of uncertainty. That's why there are so many ongoing efforts to solve the reality riddle by finding the one theory. because it greatly reduces the overall amount of computational work. or just an alternative way of thinking about it? The same thing could be said of string theories or any of the other current models of reality. I think we'll discover that our “reality” consists of only data. However. Christian Otto Mohr. Barbour says our entire reality – our entire past. The one feature of Platonia that makes it unique is that time does not exist in it. and yet quantum physicists consider ψ to be very real. civil engineers map these stresses into a 2-dimensional space known as Mohr's circle. the one model. Maybe science alone can't provide an answer. as long as we view it as just an alternative way of arranging the data that are presented to us in our reality. developed by Richard Feynman and others. But is Platonia reality. In response. Science is confronted with time and simultaneity issues because of the constraints imposed by causation and the finite speed of light. can the riddle be solved at all? Some of the current candidate theories may be plausible but they cannot be proved or disproved by experiment or observation. When circuits are unbalanced. Schrödinger's wave function. In the final analysis. and the analysis is done there. where the analysis can be carried out much more easily. but none of them yields to the scientific method. present. However. where all possible configurations of the universe are mapped as single points. and future are mapped as single points. Electrical engineers use similar techniques. Edith Clarke came up with a way. the Eternal Inflation Theory. In his book The End of Time. Ideally. all of them might be equally valid.9 But do any of them actually solve the reality riddle? And if some data are fundamentally unknowable to us because of uncertainty. called symmetrical components. Julian Barbour explores an alternative space known as Platonia. the Many Worlds Theory. Engineers use remapping techniques all the time. ψ.

You can repeat the calculation by assuming Bob's photon arrives first. Bell's theorem proposed experiments that would disprove the existence of hidden variables if certain statistical inequalities are violated. and the result will still be 25%. In 10 Alice and Bob are undoubtedly the most famous pair of experimental scientists in the world. Whether Alice's photon passes through her filter or not. Filter 1 is oriented at 0°. and immediately so does its partner over in Bob's lab. After doing this billions of times. It was published by John Bell in 1964 as a belated response to the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paper published in 1935. if either of the entangled photons passes through a filter.. Bell's inequality proves that if different filters were chosen and hidden variables directed the photons to go or not go through the filters. if Alice's photon doesn't pass through her filter. if there are no hidden variables. It's easy to show why there is ¼ agreement probability if there are no hidden variables. There are several ways that such an experiment can be set up. If a photon passes through. it becomes polarized at 0°. It has a 50% chance of passing through the filter. Alice and Bob will be in agreement for at least ⅓ of the pairs of entangled photons.e. but it's simple to understand and doesn't require much math in order to work out the results. Now Bob's 90° photon has a 75% chance of passing through his Filter 2. Now if Bob chooses Filter 2. elegant. It is the instantaneous polarization of both photons by one filter that would have given Einstein heartburn. Alice and Bob randomly choose a filter and record which filter was chosen and whether or not a photon is detected. meaning that each photon has a 50% chance of passing through a polarizing filter oriented at an arbitrary angle. and no communication is allowed to take place between them while the experiments are performed. Alice's and Bob's results will agree in 25% of all cases. or use any combination of filters. However. and immediately so does its partner over in Bob's lab. According to EPR theory. 8 . Moreover. Their two labs are many feet apart. It's slightly harder to show that hidden variables increase the probability of agreement above ⅓. Bob's photon has a 25% chance of not passing through the filter. Filter 2 is oriented at 120°. and yet simple theorem. then there will be agreement for ¼ of the pairs of entangled photons. On the other hand. There are photon detectors behind Alice's and Bob's filters that record whether or not photons pass through their filters. his 0° photon as a 25% chance of passing through that filter. at least for the time being. The photon pairs are initially unpolarized. In order for Bob and Alice to agree. when both of them observed a photon or neither of them observed one in a given pair. Alice and Bob both randomly select one of three polarizing filters. Only those experiments where different filters were chosen are compared. Therefore. They perform almost all of the experiments requiring teamwork that are found in the Scientific literature. both it and its entangled partner will be polarized at the same filter angle. i.Appendix A – The EPR Paradox and Bell's Inequality Bell's inequality is an amazingly powerful. this instantaneous action at a distance was at the heart of the EPR paradox. so those results contain no information and they are discarded. or neither of them do. Alice and Bob compare their notes of each experiment and count how many times they are in agreement. then it becomes polarized at 90°. and Filter 3 is oriented at 240°. I chose one that's different than Bell's original idea. either both photons pass through their respective filters. Here it is: Pairs of entangled photons are created and are sent in opposite directions toward separate laboratories where Alice and Bob10 perform experiments on the photons as they arrive. Each time a photon is scheduled to arrive. it becomes polarized at that angle. The experiments where Alice and Bob chose the same filters will always agree. Suppose Alice randomly selects Filter 1 and her photon is the first one measured. Hidden variables are cause-and-effect mechanisms we don't see that keep the universal clockwork running. even if we're unable to ascertain the mechanisms that make it so. If it does. quantum mechanics is deterministic. Now immediately before the arrival of each of their entangled photon.

If any pairs of photons or individual photons go missing. it is technically very difficult to carry out. Finally. if Alice's and Bob's results agree less than ⅓ of the time.+) and (. There are three pairs of hidden variables in each set that show how photons behave when Alice and Bob use different filters. and the random filter selections in Alice's and Bob's labs must be exquisitely timed and synchronized with the arrival of each photon. less rigorous EPR demonstrations using polarized light have been carried out in college undergraduate physics labs that show effects similar to the full-blown experiments. (++-). His statistical results violated Bell's inequality with a high degree of certainty. the same set of hidden variables must be imprinted on both photons of each photon pair because both photons must do exactly the same things when they are tested with the same filters. Fortunately. there is literally no information that Particle A could communicate about its own quantum state to Particle B or vice versa. Arranging the plus and minus signs in the order of Filter 1. Looking back at the EPR paper. The last set is also comprised of three pairs that are all alike (. So the minimum rate of agreement among all eight sets is ⅓. Each of the other six sets of hidden variables has one pair out of three that is either (+ +) or (. The last requirement makes sure that no hidden communication at or below light speed can take place between the photons. Alice's and Bob's experiments will agree at least ⅓ of the time.-). there are eight possible sets of hidden variables: (+++). We don't know for certain which set of hidden variables is imprinted on any given pair – they're hidden after all – but no matter which set is actually imprinted on them. Let a plus sign represent a hidden instruction to go through a filter. Using Bell's air-tight chain of logic.-).) Richard Feynman said.. "If you think you understand quantum mechanics. this will skew the statistical results. both experiments must start and finish in less time than it would take a signal to travel between Alice's and Bob's labs at light speed. Clearly he didn't understand it completely. (. This was the final nail in the coffin of the classicaldeterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics outlined in the EPR paper. and a minus sign represent a hidden instruction not to go through a filter. It's important to remember that according to EPR. Since Particle A and Particle B are in the same quantum state. (. Now look at each set. 9 . (+. 2. The polarizing filters must be nearly 100% efficient.++). or photons pairs become disentangled in transit to Alice or Bob. I think Niels Bohr could have easily dismissed Einstein's paradox by pointing out that the collapse of a quantum wave function over extended distances does not involve communication of any kind. so no communication can take place between them. Pairs of entangled photons must be generated with a high level of reliably. the gap between a ¼ agreement rate and a ⅓ agreement rate is large enough to provide an unambiguous verdict if the experiment is carried out properly and it shows a violation of the inequality. (+-+).essence. Since the 1980s. Modern communication theory wasn't invented until the late 1940s. proving conclusively that no hidden variables exist. but sensitive EPR experiments were performed years later. and 3." Einstein thought he understood quantum mechanics from a classicaldeterministic viewpoint.. (. and 3. then the EPR hidden variable theory is false. there are a total of eight possible ways that hidden variables can predetermine whether a photon will go through Filters 1. you don't understand quantum mechanics. I don't know if Bohr understood it either. Darn.-). (This is why engineers can't exploit the EPR paradox to create an intergalactic instantaneous communication system. so neither Einstein nor Bohr could have realized in 1935 that communication requires an exchange of information. The technology to fulfill Bell's experimental requirements did not exist in 1964. 2. The first set is comprised of three three pairs that are all alike (+ +) meaning Alice and Bob will be in 100% agreement if their photons are imprinted with that set of hidden variables. but he probably came a lot closer than Einstein did. Yet as simple as the experiment is in principle. and therefore it cannot violate causation.+ -). Alain Aspect accomplished this feat in the 1980s using polarized light.-) meaning that there's 100% agreement with that set too. so agreement will occur ⅓ of the time with those sets.

the second law of thermodynamics states that entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time. You already knew the coin would come up heads without me even telling you. This is an enormous number of ways. but there wasn't any formal language to express it. When we send a message in English. Since there are two possible ways the coin might have landed. Statistical thermodynamics defines the entropy of a system as equal to the Boltzmann constant times the natural logarithm of the total number of microstates of the system.) Finally. which happens to be somewhere between 5 and 6 bits (5. there wasn't a good definition of what information is.Appendix B – Entropy. The amount of information I gave you is log2 52!. Shannon stated flatly that information equals entropy. I conveyed exactly one bit of information. but their probabilities. How many bits of information did I convey to you? Well. which was a concept that was fairly well understood from thermodynamics. suppose I keep drawing cards off the deck and tell you what each card is. There are 52! possible ways a shuffled deck could be arranged. People had a fairly good intuitive idea of what it means to communicate.0658 × 10 67 ways. and Meaning Prior to Claude Shannon's work in the 1940s on the subject. or log2 52. the number of bits equals the base 2 logarithm of 2. which is equal to ¼ of the number of Planck areas on that surface. There are 52 possible cards I could have drawn. where a Planck area is equal to 2. Only after shuffling the cards will any information be contained in that deck. because it's a trick coin. which is about the same amount of information that's conveyed by the results of 226 coin tosses. It equals 2 225.11 11 According to the holographic universe model. so the amount of information is the base 2 logarithm of 52. Next. which is equal to one bit. The human 10 . Information. Now suppose I hold a deck of 52 cards that is thoroughly shuffled. it can be computed as log2 52 + log2 51 + log2 50 + … + log2 1 = 225. This is the gist of information theory and the connection with entropy. This is because the number of bits of information I gave you concerning the state of the coin is equal to the base 2 logarithm of the number of possible ways the coin might have landed. the answer is 0. the amount of information about the universe that an observer can receive is limited by the surface area through which the information passes. Suppose I flip a trick two-headed coin. you can work backwards from the number of bits. Shannon had to account for the fact that information content is dependent not only on the total number of states.7 bits to be more precise). As a side note. I draw a card from the top of the deck and inform you that it's the deuce of clubs. To put the icing on the cake. Shannon defines the information of the nth letter as equal to – (p n log 2 p n) bits (note the minus sign in front of that expression). It turns out that there is a connection between information and entropy. I draw all the cards from the deuce of clubs through the ace of spades and tell you which cards I draw. and I inform you that heads came up.6 × 10-66 cm2. I think you'll know by now that me telling you the precise order of the cards conveys 0 bits of information because you know that every new deck of cards is arranged exactly the same way. Now suppose I flip an ordinary coin. How much information did I convey? According to information theory. the letter “e” contains less information than the letter “z” because “e” occurs much more often in English. Let's see how that relates to information.581 bits. Conversely. so giving you precise information about the order of the deck conveys a lot more information than only telling you what the first card is. According to information theory. the total amount information contained within a volume is limited by the number of bits that can be encoded on the surface surrounding the volume. This suggests that the total amount of information in the universe is increasing over time and a universe constructed from information would have to expand.581 = 8. suppose I purchase a new deck of cards with all of the cards in ascending order. I didn't tell you everything about the deck. If you don't like dealing with factorials. only what the first card was. and I inform you that heads came up. Suppose each of the 26 letters in the alphabet have a probability of occurring equal to p n. (If you want to know how many ways the deck can be arranged. So increasing entropy also increases information.

Whether reality possesses the necessary amount of nonlinearity is an open question. structure. mentioned earlier. How can meaning emerge in a universe built upon simple quantum states? Here's where Mandelbrot sets may play a role. a Shakespeare sonnet has more meaning than the taking the words from that sonnet and jumbling them up. which is quite a lot of information. it's the pattern of those letters that give it meaning. So it appears that actual words have much more inherent meaning than the individual letters that make up the words. In an English sentence. the sufficient conditions have not been found. and Kurt Wiesenfeld. Unfortunately. There is an entire class of systems that display self-organized criticality (SOC) that has been studied extensively by Per Bak. and non-linearity. For example. See Appendix C.This seems very neat and tidy. the universe is not (yet) in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium. a similar statistical definition of meaning seems to be quite elusive. and the ubiquitous “pink noise” (or 1/f noise) that permeates reality are good indications. If a sentence in English is translated into Chinese with precisely the same meaning. etc. The second law of thermodynamics should quickly drive a quantum universe into chaos. they remain close to it even if they are disturbed. although Bak. they probably don't because Chinese characters have different probabilities than English words. The bottom line is that although entropy usually connotes randomness and chaos. Obviously. and meaning in a Mandelbrot universe could emerge from what seems to be quantum uncertainty and chaos. Even with a solid mathematical definition of information in hand. Reality undoubtedly possess the first two. et al identified three necessary conditions for SOC. and there are spatial dimensions to provide at least three degrees of freedom. One of the features of SOC is an “attractor. The point is that there is still a certain amount of information that is “unknowable” to any observer. Of course. brain has a surface area around 1. Mandelbrot sets aren't the only way this could come about. A universe as a Mandelbrot set with meaning could be generated from elementary quantum states that have information without any more meaning than individual letters in a random character string. extended degrees of freedom. If meaning can be ascribed to fractals. information and meaning are two different things. you may be tempted to compute the information contained in a message expressed in English by simply adding up the bits contained in each letter of the message. How did structure and meaning arise in such a place? We need to examine the concept of meaning a little further.500 – 2. and word order and context are more meaningful still. The prevalence of fractal-type geometric forms. Fractals have complex patterns that mysteriously emerge from very simple mathematical expressions. 11 . we'll finally be able to solve the reality riddle. There is one class of attractors known as “strange” attractors. will both sentences convey the same amount of information? According to Shannon's definition of information. There is some evidence that SOC is a feature of our universe. That would take into account the probabilities of the individual letters. Three conditions must exist in a system in order for SOC to arise: non-equilibrium. There is a good Wikipedia article on pink noise that gives many examples found in nature.” If points get close enough to the attractor. Chao Tang. there seems to be an underlying self-organizing principle at work in the universe. Clearly then. Quantum states fit into Shannon's definition of information perfectly because they're so simple. Maybe when that question is answered.000 cm2. Maybe the role of space and time is to cordon off unknowable information while letting in the information that is important to the observer. So the amount of information about the universe that is available to the human brain has a theoretical limit of around 2 ×1068 bits. it comes from those patterns. because they have non-integer dimensions – these are the fractals discussed earlier – but there are other types as well. The sentence “the cow jumped over the moon” is more meaningful than the string of characters “ehw ejo toprhv emtd eon coum” although both sets contain the same number of bits according to Shannon's definition. but not the order in which they appear. Likewise. but it isn't complete. binary states like spin up versus spin down. pattern. positive charge versus negative charge.

Bob had to “cash in” some time in order to “buy” space for his world line whereas Alice's world line used up all her time by staying put. Everything about what I've just stated above can be described by simple mathematical formulas that any high school algebra student can understand. Having traveled a long distance. End of story. As Bob zooms past Planet X. these three principles have direct consequences: when clocks and distances are observed from different frames of reference in uniform relative motion to each other. which wraps space and time in a neat package that is invariant (doesn't change) seen from frames of reference in iniform motion. The fallacy of that explanation is that in order for Bob to do that. According to the literal interpretation. All motion is relative. c is the speed of light. When he returns to Earth. and Bob's accelerations violate the “special” part of special relativity. all objects in the universe are traveling along “world lines” through space-time at the speed of light. Voilà! Space and time are now combined into a single invariant entity called space-time. Minkowski space has three spatial dimensions like the Euclidean (flat) variety used in Newtonian physics.) When Charlene arrives at Earth. (Thought experiments are very convenient that way. Nobody shifted frames of reference or accelerated at all during their travels. The whole “paradox” is easily explained by the fact that the distances between Earth and Planet X in Bob's and Charlene's frames of reference are shorter compared to Alice's. and a fourth dimension is stuck in there as j·c·t. non-accelerating. Distances appear foreshortened in the direction of relative motion. so this fourth dimension also has spatial characteristics. motion. Excuse me?? Remember what the second fundamental priciple of special relativity said? It said there is no such thing as absolute motion or a universal frame of reference. Special relativity applies only to uniform motion. Mathematically. That violates the “relative” part of spacial relativity. the measurements are different. 1. First. there is no such thing as absolute motion in a universal frame of reference. Here j is the square root of -1 (an “imaginary number”). and again when he reversed direction back toward Earth. Alice was born on Earth. first when he blasted off toward Planet X. would you expect her to be the same age as Alice? Of course not. Alice has aged considerably more than Bob. as we will see shortly. Physicists sometimes forget these first two principles. He used Minkowski space. Bob leaves Earth and heads for a distant Planet X. there is stay-at-home Alice and her traveling twin brother Bob. although it points in the imaginary direction. Alice will be older. makes a U-turn and heads home. the theory only applies to special cases involving uniform. But Einstein wanted use something that all frames of reference could agree on. and clocks in relative motion appear to slow down. Einstein took his 4-dimensional space-time literally. traveling at nearly the speed of light. 12 . Bob and Charlene exchange biometric data. 2 is using Minkowski space to model cases where special relativity doesn't even apply. even if the math happens to give the correct results. they exchange biometric data and notice they're exactly the same age! What a coincidence. So using Minkowski world lines within the framework of special relativity isn't the correct explanation. and guess what? They're also exactly the same age! Another amazing coincidence. everything is in absolute motion with respect to the universal space-time frame of reference. It is here where I think relativity ran aground. distances are foreshortened and clocks slow down while their spatial coordinates change. In other words. which is Fallacy No. and Bob is an astronaut who just happens to be passing Earth on his way toward Planet X. hence the word special. Fallacy No. That's it. the speed of light is the same for every frame of reference that's in uniform motion with respect to all other frames of reference. As surely as night follows day. As Bob zooms by Alice. Alice.12 If any acceleration occurs. and t is time. There is no need for Bob or Charlene to cash in time to buy space in order for Charlene to be younger than Alice. and Charlene. Take the so-called twin paradox (which isn't really a paradox at all). Suppose there are three individuals. just like with the simple high school algebraic formulas. Bob. He reaches Planet X. In this thought experiment.Appendix C – A Few Comments About Space-time Albert Einstein developed the theory of special relativity using a very simple set of principles. Minkowski space has been used to explain the apparent paradox. Second. Charlene just happens to be zooming by in the opposite direction toward Earth. he had to accelerate at least twice. Third. born at different times on different planets. hence the word relativity. you are 12 There's a very easy way to explain the twin paradox without cashing in time for space or using any hand-waving arguments about Bob shifting frames of reference.

Therefore. but not accurately. Minkowski space is a model with flatness as its rest state and curvature as a perturbation. This equivalence principle allowed Einstein to learn what gravity does to Minkowski space by examining what happens in an accelerating frame of reference. but apparently they don't. I'll still be exactly at the center. Nothing travels “through” spacetime and here's why: every “thing” is at the exact center of the universe all the time. but Arthur Eddington was. The results will be fine as long as the changes (perturbations) from the rest state are small. Even talking about what is going on in the Adromeda galaxy “right now” is absurd becuse “right now” only applies to “right here”. Note that Minkowski space started out as Euclidean (flat) in special relativity and it ended up being curved in general relativity. Physicists should see a paradox like that as a huge red flag. He had another brilliant insight that unlocked the whole thing: experiments performed in a gravitational field are indistinguishable from experiments performed in accelerating frames of reference without gravity. When perturbations become too large. 13 Unfortunately I am not one of them. gravity curves space-time so much that infinities start cropping up in the math. and only a few people in the world could handle it13 when Einstein published his theory in 1915. Another way to make the model break down from too much curvature is by trying to model the entire universe. which Newtonian mechanics does predict. The mathematics of Minkowski space worked so well for special relativity that Einstein decided to keep using it for the general case. The engineer within me sees this as a model perturbation. however. which includes acceleration and gravity. Even if I “travel” ten billion light-years from where I am right now.” I have a hunch. In some cases. Eddington!" Finally. But is 4-dimensional space-time real. I'm trying to think who the third person is. so how can anyone model the entire universe all at once and say it has a certain size and structure at a given point in time like a grapefruit or a basketball? Another discrepancy is that relativistic field equations permit backward time travel. "Professor Eddington. There are other cases where general relativity does a better job of predicting how objects move and how light behaves than Newton's laws. which I find puzzling. including accurate predictions of Mercury's orbital precession. The physicist Ludwik Silberstein approached Eddington once and said. This means that space-time is curved in their vicinity.compelled to abandon special relativity. Einstein had already proved that mass and energy are equivalent. that there could be instances in nature where even general relativity breaks down completely. which Newtonian mechanics can't explain. or just a mathematical gadget? There are cases where Newton's laws agree almost exactly with general relativity. I won't get any closer to the edge of the universe than I was originally. the models break down." 13 . you must be one of three persons in the world who understands general relativity. he said gravity is mathematically equivalent to curvature of Minkowski space in the presence of mass-energy. Silberstein continued. There are other things that general relativity predicts that Newton's laws can't explain at all. How do you measure the size of something? Well. In special relativity. but then the math really starts to get hairy. The math that goes along with this is extremely difficult. he was able to show that two objects falling toward each other from their mutual gravitational attraction is equivalent to their world lines intersecting as they travel through space-time. Engineers view mathematical infinities with a great deal of suspicion – it's hard to find infinities anywhere in nature – but physicists seem to take the math as literal truth. it is that there is no such thing as events occurring simultaneously over cosmological distances. Hanging on to the idea that every object travels through space-time at the speed of light. Cosmolgists readily slip into fallacy mode when they talk about the “size” of the universe or traveling “through” space-time as if it's some kind of fixed coordinate system. But those who could handle it produced some very powerful results. Considering the universe as a “something” you can model seems fishy to me. Engineers apply model perturbations all the time. One of Einstein's insights was that inertial mass and gravitational mass are the same. such as a clock slowing down when it's at the bottom of a “gravity well. Eddington replied "On the contrary. "Don't be modest. and the bending of light. unable to answer. like when we use linear equations to model non-linear systems. If special relativity teaches us anything. which he thought was no mere coincidence. as Kurt Gödel proved. like within or around black holes." Eddington paused.

14 . Every point is always at the center. time. appearing as a fuzzy patch of light at 40° northern latitude. Everything looks flat.14 So very distant objects were actually much closer to each other than they appear to be from our vantage point. 16 … which is why cosmologists keep referring to silly. or measuring the size of the universe. I don't doubt that the universe had a beginning where everything was crunched together. I think physicists will eventually come up with a more complete theory of space. Think of the entangled photons in Alice's and Bob's labs during the EPR experiment. you can do what modern surveyors do: stand at one point. given that every point is always at the exact center. when you look at objects that are really. There's an old saying about space and time: Time is what keeps everything from happening all at once. or today make any sense at all when talking about the universe). because you won't find any. I'm not sure at all about the details of how this happened or why the universe decided to have a beginning. I consider general relativity to be a big improvement over Newtonian physics. the farther apart those objects seem to be from each other.16 Here's the bottom line: space-time is not a “thing” you can travel through. The purpose of space and time is to draw a curtain in front of the information we're not permitted to know.15 In fact. there can be no space or time between them no matter how far they traveled. The problem is. Think of the uncertainty principle. However. nonsensical things like traveling through space and time. looking at the distant universe from any vantage point is like looking at it through a fun-house mirror. It is literally impossible for our puny little 3-dimensional brains to properly visualize a universe in its entirety. and reality. and 3dimensional. which is actually quite close to us in cosmological terms. Unfortunately. which isn't much better). but that's an illusion. or too long ago. Euclidean. Beyond the Milky Way. therefore. really far away. things look pretty “normal” in our little corner of the cosmos. Traveling is only meaningful when you do it relative to something else. we substitute a fictional version of reality that we can wrap our heads around: a giant 3-dimensional coordinate system with a clock ticking away in the background (or alternatively. cosmologists aren't any better than the rest of us at comprehending the universe in its entirety. and covert that time into distance. Appendix I offers a somewhat farcical account of the current scientific belief system in that regard. really. you might see the Andromeda galaxy. a 4-dimensional space-time coordinate system. Now that's the ultimate optical illusion. I believe there's a grain of truth in that. but I can't help the feeling that there is something fundamentally wrong with using 4-dimensional space-time as a model of reality. Minkowski spacetime simply provides a way to take measurements between objects and events so that all frames of reference can agree on those measurements. so which two points do you pick when measuring the size of the universe? That's a trick question. so as far as those two photons were concerned. and here's where things get strange. which was an infinitesimal point. I believe a theory based on quantum entropy and data processing will emerge as the right one. in other words. then you place a measuring stick between them. If your eyes were as good as the Hubble telescope. Alternatively. those measurements lose meaning entirely (in our 3-D version of reality) when the objects or events are too far apart. 15 If you could see all the way back to the big bang. Space and time can't isolate two observers that already “know” everything there is to know about each other. How big is the universe? All anyone can say is that it's really big. it would seem to fill the entire sky. 14 This is according to the big bang theory. so no two points can be found that define the extent of the universe. you might see some really distant objects. Space and time are there as a form of censorship.you pick two points that define the extent of the thing you're trying to measure. and maybe even the Milky Way if you are far away from city lights. measure the time it takes for the light to bounce back to you. The farther out you look. you see nearby planets and stars. because from today's vantage point there is every indication that the universe really did start out that way. You see. There is a fundamental limit to the amount of information about the universe that is knowable. and space is what keeps everything from happening to me. what do you see? Well. you're looking at a universe that's much younger and much smaller than it is today (to the extent that terms such as age. smallness. shine a beam of light at a corner reflector placed at the other point. When you look out into space on a clear moonless night. like a ship traveling through the ocean. too far away. Okay.

it has a 50% chance of being reflected toward photon detector D1. If an idler photon comes from Slit A. which means it could have come from either Slit A or Slit B.” That seems like a plausible explanation. Over in the idler circuit. it passes into a quantum eraser. If an idler photon comes from Slit B. which combines its path with the path of idler photons from Slit A that pass through their mirror. I can explain that. the measurement disrupts the flight of particles through the slit. Each slit contains a beta barium borate crystal that converts one photon into a pair of entangled photons. A beam of photons (light) is directed at a double slit. with apparently no way of telling which slit this photon came from. When we do this. which means it definitely came from Slit B. dark. which means it definitely came from Slit A. one photon at a time. D0 hits correlated with D1 hits show bullet-like particles coming from Slit A. 4. For each primary photon aimed at the double slit. it has a 50% chance of being reflected toward photon detector D3. A photon is detected at D4. Einstein says. 3. It seems that this experiment is a complete failure. Charting millions of photon “hits” versus distances along the track should produce a clear wave interference pattern. destroying the wave interference. These combined paths go to detector D4. named after Thomas Young (1773-1829). let us turn our attention back to the D0 detector. which means it could have come from either Slit A or Slit B. there are four possibilities: 1. A photon is detected at D1. 2. Take for example. The other entangled photon goes into an “idler circuit” where quantum weirdness takes place. four distinct patterns emerge at D0: 1.” The gist of the experiment is that particles aimed at a double slit produce wave interference patterns on a detector screen placed behind the slits. the wave interference pattern is destroyed and the particles behave like bullets instead of waves.17 D0 hits correlated with D4 hits show a “negative” wave interference pattern. A photon is detected at D2. D0 hits correlated with D3 hits show bullet-like particles coming from Slit B. If a particle detector is placed at one of the slits. But if an observer tries to measure which of the slits the particles pass through. Otherwise. “Okay. But suppose we correlate the photon hits at the D0 detector with hits from their entangled twins in the idler circuits using a coincidence recorder. as we shall see. D0 hits correlated with D2 hits show a “positive” wave interference pattern.18 17 A positive light pattern would be bright. The idler circuit has partially-silvered mirrors that give idler photons from Slit A or Slit B a 50/50 chance of being reflected or passing through the mirrors. However. It's just a problem of the measuring device imparting extra momentum to the particles. it passes into a quantum eraser. bright. This detector is placed on a track so it can be moved back and forth parallel to the positions of the slits. This experiment is truly weird and it is impossible to explain it using classical arguments. Richard Feynman is quoted as saying. which combines its path with the path of idler photons from Slit B that pass through their mirror. A variation of Young's experiment is the so-called Quantum Eraser Experiment. Now. 2. bright. dark … 18 A negative light pattern would be dark. but it's wrong. Albert Einstein wasted much of his career vainly attempting to debunk quantum mechanics by explaining away the results of experiments that violated his cherished classical principles. which go in two different directions: One entangled photon goes toward a photon detector D0 that is set up to look for interference patterns. Young's famous doubleslit experiment. Otherwise.Appendix D – Space and Time with Quantum Weirdness Many “quantum” phenomena can also be described in classical terms. “All of quantum mechanics can be gleaned from carefully thinking through the implications of this single experiment. dark. 4. the raw results show only an ill-defined smudge pattern of hits. bright … 15 . one entangled photon arrives at the vicinity of D0. These combined paths go to detector D2. containing no information at all. A photon is detected at D3. since the photons originated in the beta barium borate crystals with no a priori way of telling which slit they came from. 3.

they are the very things that give information. There is a much more fundamental reality concerning space and time than is visible in our workaday world. D2. it will have to account for the Quantum Eraser Experiment and it will have to conform to the second law of thermodynamics. however. permanently becoming the past. photons will be detected at D0 before any correlated photons could arrive at D1. In our puny little 3-dimensional brains. it will collapse in deepest humiliation (using Eddington's words). it looks like the D0 photons and their idler twins head in different directions and exist in different places and are detected at different times. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. In most instances it's invisible and hiding just below our threshold of perception. From the perspective of the photons themselves. even if the idler photons are detected millions of years after the photons are detected at D0.19 Another corollary is that you can't see into (or remember) the future because information about the future simply doesn't exist. It also seems to violate the speed of light limitation from special relativity because there is no limit. What we humans see going on in space and time (at least in this experiment) is clearly an illusion. Entropy and uncertainty are not the enemy of reality. there are no such spatial or temporal distinctions. There is a corresponding law of information: Information cannot be destroyed. (Note that observation doesn't necessarily require intelligence. in principle. Remember what the second law of thermodynamics says: Entropy cannot be destroyed. Otherwise. and future. Information is created in the present. Once something happens. there is no violation of either causation or relativity because no “information” is really being sent backwards through time or instantaneously across space. It's as if the D0 photons knew ahead of time where their entangled twins would be detected. and meaning to it.” Whatever physicists decide the “theory of everything” turns out to be. present. the Quantum Erasure Experiment redefines space and our concept of past. no distinct patterns will emerge at D0 until the photons are properly correlated. Information can only arise by shuffling the deck and introducing uncertainty and entropy. you can't use this kind of apparatus to instantaneously send Morse code signals across the galaxy. but breaking up the smudge into correlated groups of photons reveals its true nature: Both particle and wave patterns emerge.The sum of these four patterns produces that awful smudge pattern at D0. Darn. But its effects are real and they cannot be ignored or glossed over. A deterministic universe is a dead universe.) In the final analysis. Now here's the truly weird part: If you make the paths of idler circuits much longer than the D0 path.” These results would leave Einstein scratching his head because there is simply no classical explanation for them – there is nothing happening in the idler circuit that could “disrupt” photons arriving at D0 or impart any momentum to them. This experiment is similar to John Wheeler's delayed choice thought experiment. It's important to remember that quantum mechanics never violates causation or special relativity. I'm convinced that any theory that is based on classic space-time or determinism in any way will fail because of this. there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation. Thus. it seems to violate causation by sending signals backwards in time. to how far away D0 can be from the idler detectors and still be affected by events taking place there. (No. The reason backward time travel is impossible is because it violates the second law of thermodynamics. She will always provide sensible answers. However. If you ask Nature sensible questions. Two particles colliding is the same as an observation as far as those particles are concerned. it happens for good. Now here's a very important corollary to this: Once an observation is made. 19 Arthur Eddington (one of the few people who understood general relativity in 1915) is famously quoted as saying. life. At first blush. Observations in the “present” seem to depend on events in the “future. D3 or D4. This is because of the deep connection between information and entropy. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope.) The correct interpretation is this: Until and unless an observation is made. there is literally no information regarding the past. based on the “decisions” the entangled photons made at the half-silvered mirrors in the idler circuits. “If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell's equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell's equations. 16 . Nonsensical answers are always the result of asking nonsensical questions. devoid of information and meaning. there is no way to “undo” the information and change history.

” which is a shorthand for all the mass in the universe. nothing happens. except for the most simple 20 This can be expressed mathematically as bending space-time. In other words. According to both special and general relativity. its occupants feel the acceleration just like they're immersed in a uniform gravitational field pointing in the opposite direction of the rocket motor's thrust. In the Newtonian world. First of all. since mass is more or less uniformly spread throughout the universe. Some of these books refer to spinning as motion relative to “the fixed stars. However. According to Newtonian physics. although I don't think that's what reality is. so let's set the sphere into rotation around an object and see what happens. there is an exact symmetry between the uniform motions of two objects. Let's start off with uniform motion. All the literature I've read conerning general relativity state that the sensation of spinning is somehow linked to gravity and bending of spacetime.Appendix E – The Problem of Spin There is the problem with angular momentum – at least it's a problem for me. and those clocks seem to run fast. which is held perfectly still by the thrust of the rocket motor. and those clocks seem to run slow. the gravitational influence of the universe (i. It's rotational equivalence described by relativity that doesn't make sense to me. Now here's the part I don't get.. When an object spins. As far as the rocket ship's occupants are concerned. Okay. 17 .20 Here's another way the gravitational equivalence works: When a rocket ship accelerates. it doesn't take a rocket motor to keep a spinning object accelerating toward the center of rotation – it just keeps spinning and accelerating forever all by itself. even if it isn't a very plausible explanation of what's really happening. and freely-accelerating frames of reference in a gravitational field are indishtinguishable from non-accelerating frames of reference without a gravitational field. 21 This is not to be confused with the “red” and “blue” Doppler shifts due to relative motions.” So when I spin around.e. and we would both be right. But unlike linear acceleration. An accelerating frame of reference without a gravitational field is indistinguishable from nonaccelerating frames of reference in a gravitational field.21 Although this scenario seems unlikely. I'm having some serious problems with that equivalence. 22 I dislike the term “fixed stars” intensely because nothing in the universe is fixed. it knows it's spinning because every atom accelerates toward the center of rotation and there is a centrifugal force felt in the opposite direction. the “fixed stars”) on an spinning object would be equivalent to being surrounded by a hollow sphere having a uniform mass density. it could be physically realized if there were an actual a uniform gravitational field extending forever. A similar equivalence exists in general relativity between gravity and objects accelerating in a straight line. This is saying that the sensation of spinning is equivalent to being surrounded by a universe that's spinning. so good. the spinning sensation is caused entirely by a mysterious gravitational influence on the spinning object by all the mass in the universe. the equivalence between gravity and acceleration makes sense logically. Distant clocks ahead of the rocket ship are seen by the occupants as being at the top of a gravitational well. The same thing is true in general relativity if the hollow sphere is stationary. rotating matter-energy “out there” has peculiar effects on the local space-time “right here. The effect of acceleration/gravity on clocks is in addition to those Doppler shifts. according to the equations of general relativity.22 So according to this account. the gravitational field inside such a hollow sphere is zero because the masses in all directions cancel out. it's exactly equivalent to the entire universe rotating around me and causing bending and twisting of space-time near me.v with respect to Object A. Distant clocks behind the rocket ship are seen by the occupants as being at the bottom of a gravitation well. I use that term here only because many other authors use it when talking about rotating bodies. If I say Object A moves at velocity + v with respect to Object B. So far. the entire universe is accelerating backwards due to a gravitational field extending to infinity – except the rocket ship itself. If there were no “fixed stars” there would be no sensation of spinning. I'm just an engineer who doesn't know how to solve Einstein's equations. then you can say Object B moves at velocity .

and there would be no way in principle for me to know which scenario is causing my motion sickness. Engineers don't have strong emotional attachments to theories. I have some serious reservations about general relativity. Due to an historical accident. as if it's a pure number. the units of Planck's constant describe a spinning physical object and that fact is undeniable. a photon has a spin of 1. I lack the mathematical skills to solve Einstein's equations for a rotating universe on my own. quantum physicists leave out ħ altogether when talking about spin. However. but it doesn't bother me at all. 18 . I can be tricked into believing the fantasy that the entire universe except me is accelerating due to gravity. In the case of linear acceleration. including spin. I'm sorry. Quantum physicists go to great pains to stess that their spin property ħ has absolutely nothing to do with the L of spinning baseballs. In fact. If I've misinterpreted what I've read. therefore. which is equal to 6. what if spin really is an intrinsic property of a rotating object. elementary particles turn out to have quantum spin values that are multiples of ½ ħ. which is equal to h divided by 2π. physicists use the socalled “reduced” Planck constant. however. It seems much more reasonable to suppose that angular momentum – unlike linear momentum and linear acceleration – is an intrinsic property of an object that doesn't depend on relationships with other objects or other frames of reference. As I've said over and over. and it could bring down the entire edifice. it works pretty well when describing local phenomena and it makes better predictions than Newton's laws. etc. Although such a thing is implausible. not only for electrons but for baseballs too? I may be wrong. There is a quantum-mechanical property known as “spin. But in the case of rotation. we just find another one that does. 24 It took quantum physicists several tries until they finally got the value of spin right. and the reality riddle won't be solved until science abandons that theory or modifies it. let alone the “fixed stars” much farther away. As you may have guessed. 23 I'm only repeating what I've read in the literature.e. That is something physicists don't like to contemplate. L. there would be no sensation of spinning.. ħ or “h-bar”. make one revolution around me every second without going faster than light? I know that a universe rotating around me once per second is not only implausible. as if they're embarrassed that there's a connection between their field of study and everyday reality. saying that the electron has ½ spin. For technical reasons. so I guess I'll just have to go along with those results. a spinning object accelerates toward its axis of rotation regardless of what the rest of the universe is doing. it's impossible according to the very principles the theory is based on. but this would conflict with general relativity. But what if that isn't true. I could attach rocket motors to myself and spin around as fast as I want and not feel a thing. it doesn't violate the principles of general relativity. Let's consider the hypothesis that without “the fixed stars” exerting their mysterious gravitational influence over me. general relativity stresses that there are no intrinsic motions – all motions are relative. how can the sun. In other words.23 But here's the thing that bothers me: If I'm spinning around at one revolution per second. Planck's constant is one of the most fundamental constants in nature – it's the most fundamental constant in quantum physics – and isn't it odd that this most fundamental contant happens to have the exact dimensions of angular momentum? I think I know why physicists are so reluctant to admit there's any connection between ħ and L: the definition of quantum-mechanical spin says that it is an intrinsic form of angular momentum carried by elementary particles. and something tells me this picture just isn't right. I just think that general relativity gives us a distorted picture of the universe as a whole.626068 × 10-34 m2-kg/sec. the same spinning sensation could be produced by the universe rotating around me at one revolution per second. then according to the general relativity equivalence principle. This sounds more like astrology than physics. i. h.24 Now notice the physical dimensions of Planck's constant: m2-kg/sec. I cannot be tricked into believing that such an equivalence is true. which is eight light-minutes away.” The basic unit of spin is given by Planck's constant.. that a pitcher imparts to a baseball when he throws a curve. If it were true and I were the only object in an otherwise empty universe. a graviton a spin of 2.cases. If one theory doesn't work. They are exactly the same dimensions as the angular momentum.

There are many critics of Verlinde's work. Even mentioning the concept of a holographic universe puts most physicists' teeth on edge because it sounds all squishy and new-agey. a force resists the change. like talking about energy vortexes and crystal therapies. Verlinde says that this force has nothing to do with energy – it's caused simply by the arrangement of the atoms of the strand in space. and the natural tendency of all things is to maximize entropy. Pressure and temperature are also emergent properties. I would urge anyone who has an interest in this subject to read Verlinde's paper for a much better and more complete treatment than I can possibly give it here. We certainly don't need curved 4-dimensional space-time to explain pressure or temperature. If I understand the concept of entropic gravity correctly. like Leonard Susskind. I truly believe that when and if the theory of entropic gravity is fully developed. neither do gravity and inertia. All four of these phenomena can be shown to be closely related to entropy.Appendix F – A New Theory of Gravity Newton's theory of gravity and Einstein's general relativity both try to explain the obvious fact that massive objects tend to pull toward each other. but entropy only applies to aggregate collections of particles and not to the individual states of the particles themselves. who view any deviation from the orhodoxy of relativity and quantum field theory as heresy. However. Pulling on the strand and stretching it reduces the entropy of the strand's hologram. and just as neither pressure nor temperature exist on the submicroscopic level. Likewise.25 Verlinde begins his paper with the idea of entropic force. In 2004 he engaged in a heated email exchange with Lee Smolin. In my opinion both theories are flawed because they are classical-deterministic and backgrounddependent theories. and he will have to go much further than that if he expects his theory to gain any traction. Newton's theory postulates a gravitational potential that is inversely proportional to distance. Yet even some old-school physicists. Einstein's theory treats gravitational attraction as geometric properties of curved space-time. using forces in a polymer strand immersed in a temperature bath as his model. Lately. According to his paper On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton. When you pull on the strand. 19 . he's been sidetracked as being an advocate of the anthropic principle. it starts out from the holographic principle that says that all information contained within any volume of space is actually encoded on a hypothetical surface surrounding that volume. gravity is an emergent force that originates from entropy. Erik Verlinde has approached the question of gravity and inertia from an entirely new direction. By their logic. forcing it to give us a theory of gravity. punishable by excommunication from the scientific community. Well. They argue that gravity is a reversible process. whereas entropy isn't. who argued that the anthropic principle is not science. which produces a force that is inversely proportional to distance squared. the reason that two masses fall toward each other is because the configuration of “togetherness” maximizes the entropy of their hologram. hence. pressure is also a reversible process and it is clearly related to entropy. He derived both Newton's equations and Einstein's equations of general relativity from entropy. You don't need a hammer to pound nature into submission. a reversible process like gravity simply cannot emerge from an irreversible process like entropy. The salient point is that gravity and inertia are both emergent properties that arise naturally from thermodynamics. There is no need to use exotic strings vibrating in 10-dimensional space-time continua or incomprehensible mathematics to explain these things – they should explain themselves using rather basic and simple first principles. there is certainly nothing new about those equations. it will lead science in a new and better direction than any of the other prevailing theories being explored at the present time. it exerts a force that tends to resist straightening it. take the holographic principle seriously because it happens to explain the properties of black holes rather nicely. and we shouldn't need it to explain gravity either. 25 Susskind (the Father of String Theory) gave some very convincing lectures on the holographic principle as it relates to black holes. The paper then goes on to derive Newton's laws of inertia in the same bottom-up manner.

everything always moves relativistically.Appendix G – Trying to Erase Relativity I recently watched a video of a lecture on string theory by Leonard Susskind at Stanford University. but the boosted room is moving very fast in the z-direction instead. If we boost the room to just under the speed of light in the z-direction. What happens next is very interesting. According to special relativity. Instead of a box of particles. Notice that the mass of the planet (small m) disappeared from the formula. He introduced the concept of strings with a thought experiment involving a box of elementary particles that are moving relativistically. you'd say that's just a matter of time scaling. After I thought about this lecture for a while. What happened was that we have (almost) eliminated time in that room by replacing its dimension with the z-dimension. let's imagine a room full of ordinary objects (which could include people) that are all moving relativistically with respect to each other. When everything is boosted in the z-direction. information sent from one person takes a very long time to reach another person.28 But have we eliminated relativity and created a classical world? Well. so doing the reverse Lorentz transformation would speed everything back up in our reference frame. That's true. all objects “fall through” Minkowski space-time at the speed of light. From our perspective. so there is very little available motion left for the other two directions. 27 Actually. because it works pretty well in the solar system. and they become very narrow. By setting the centrifugal force equal to the force of gravity and solving for velocity. Here. the Lorentz transformation slows down time and everything shrinks in the z-direction. light cones project from all objects into time (the future and the past) in Minkowski space-time. What about gravity? Well. he looks at the universe as collections of elementary particles. The Lorentz tranformation increases the masses of the sun and 26 Susskind is a particle physicist.26 He then boosts the box to nearly the speed of light in the z-direction of space.27 We can make the room as big as it needs to be. the x-dimension and ydimension. The increased masses also show up as increased inertias in the x-y plane. where m is the planet's mass. v is the planet's velocity.994 times the speed of light. Time consumes the z-dimension and we wind up with one less dimension to worry about. 20 . I had a deep insight. Now. you get v = √GM/r. Also. our “fall” is mainly in the time dimension. He then went on to lecture about strings as both relativistic and classical objects. M is the mass of the sun and G is the universal gravitational constant. everything in the room does move a lot slower in the x. 28 Remember that according to special relativity. We didn't eliminate any special relativistic effects in the room by boosting it in the z-direction. Now let's boost the solar system in the z-direction to around 0. but all of the special relativistic effects are still there in the boosted room because we can still see them from our reference frame. which makes even these slow motions seem “relativistic” in the room. he means according to Newtonian physics. which makes it harder to change motions of objects in those directions. But so does light. the Lorentz transformation increases all the masses in the room. but we can increase the size of the room to include the solar system where gravity plays a bigger role. Now gravity isn't really too important in a room full of ordinary objects. and r is the radius of the circle. Let's see what happens (I promise to keep the math very simple).and y-directions. but strings really aren't the point of what I have to say. those light cones are in the z-direction. (By classically. as seen from our frame of reference. events not inside an object's light cones are “unknowable” to that object.) It's as if he magically erased relativity from the picture with a wave of his marker pen. let's make the planets' orbits cicular because that's easier. almost all of the “available” motion is “used up” in the zdirection. We just don't notice relativistic effects because ordinarily they're too small to observe. when we reverse the Lorentz transformation. The centrifugal force of a planet revolving in a circle is equal to mv2/r. We'll stick to good ol' Newton's theory of gravity and inertia. According to Susskind. also. the particles start behaving “classically” in the other two dimensions. First. Like most particle physicists. flatter. making the room slower. The gravitational attraction between the sun and the planet is equal to GMm/r2. and more 2-dimensional. Ordinarily. those effects return in all their glory. Let's boost the room to nearly the speed of light in the direction perpendicular to the plane of the planets' orbits.

Transforming a system of objects from one reference frame into another is the same as data mapping. even at a tiny ε below the speed of light. the universe conspires against us somehow to prevent us from doing that. When you plug in the new mass of the sun. into the formula for v. My point is that in the boosted solar system. It's probably perfectly okay to do that in string theory. so why not “go all the way” and see what happens when we boost the room to 100% of the speed of light? This should erase relativity because all motions would cease and time would end. velocities. Now here's the kicker: if you reverse the transformation. It seems that whenever we try to defeat entropy. velocities. boosting the room close to light speed won't make those effects disappear or even diminish them. etc. In summary. discussed in Appendix F. Remember. however. 29 Refer to Erik Verlinde's entropic theory of gravity and inertia. 30 I must admit that string theory is still way over my head. which I discussed a little bit at the end of the main essay. even after I watched the lecture. Let's assume that Newton's laws in “Pancakeland” are the same as everywhere else. objects in the boosted room still move very slowly in the x-y directions. the planets would just hang motionless around the sun. gravity-induced velocities actually increase relative to other velocities. There would be a timeless. The sun and planets turn into flat pancake-shaped objects. so the effects of gravity certainly don't go away. 21 . The new data may look different by altering positions. If we try to return “Pancakeland” back to normal and reverse the Lorentz transformation. you see that the orbital velocities increase by a factor of √9 = 3. they will have to account for all information as it's presented to us in this universe. But there's a twist to this story that's much more interesting. It's no good to take shortcuts and omit some data from your theory – if you even try to do that. all information concerning x-y motion is lost and reversing the data mapping won't retrieve any of that information. and gravity are somehow fundamentally connected with information through entropy.. 9M. Getting back to Susskind's video lecture that started this whole thing off.. into a new space. which makes no sense. Since the second law of thermodynamics states that entropy cannot be destroyed. inertia. round factor of 9. of objects in the new space. But we've only gone to 99. reducing it to 1/3 of its original value. Well. But if you don't. Entropy is a stern master. your transformations aren't right. You can transform data about those objects concerning their positions. you can't do that. But right at the speed of light. By boosting a room to the speed of light. time stops completely. etc. information concerning the effects of gravity and relativity in our universe still must be encoded into that model somehow. the other velocities in “Pancakeland” are reduced to 1/9 of their original values. On the other hand. Those effects must still be considered whether the room is boosted or not. the original data are still present. to the extent that any special or general relativistic effects exist in the nonboosted room.4% of the speed of light.the planets by a nice. Adding the effect of time dilation will divide the new v by 9. the universe will conspire against you and render your theory invalid. even if it takes extra dimensions to do it. If someone creates a theory of the universe without gravity or relativity. static room where nothing ever changes. but encoded in a different way. but the radii of the orbits in the x-y plane don't change.30 I only mentioned his lecture because it triggered some insights about how information seems to be inextricably linked to the reality riddle. I can't comment on the validity of boosting a box full of particles and treating them classically within the context of string theory. as every high school physics student knows. If scientists decide to use a different model of the universe. implying that mass. That's what led me to a very deep insight. Remember Claude Shannon's statement: information equals entropy. Nature increases the masses of moving objects in order to stop us from destroying entropy. there's an immediate corollary that says information cannot be destroyed. Entropy was destroyed. requiring the addition of infinite energy to make that happen. information concerning time and motion here must be encoded into that universe. The standard reason is that the masses of all objects in the room would equal infinity at the speed of light.29 Entropy and information keep poking their noses into reality in unexpected ways. you should get the original data back and come up with exactly the same configuration of objects you started with. If someone creates a timeless model of the universe.

or any other units you like. A lot of weird things happen at the Schwarzschild radius. which is known as the “relativistic metric. the hands on their watches would never move. There the velocity of light equals ± zero! That's right: light goes nowhere at the Schwarzschild radius. throw in a black hole to prove your point. dθ and dφ. r is really large. named after Karl. 32 You can use either an expensive Rolex or a cheap Timex to measure the relativistic metric. then the angles are constant and their changes. It's equal to 2MG/c2. the same thing 31 He did it while serving in the German army on the Russian front in WWI. and of course c is the speed of light. they'll both work the same.” τwhich is simply the time shown on the dial of your wristwatch as you travel through space-time sitting in your easy chair. The constant Rs is called the Schwarzschild radius. which is nice. Here's his relativistic solution of the non-spinning black hole in all it's glory: ds2 = c2 (1 – Rs /r) dt2 – dr2 / (1 – Rs /r) – r2 (dθ2 + sin2 θ dφ2) On the left-hand side of the equation is the quantity. 33 If photons wore wristwatches. You can measure that in meters. However. things are going to get a little “mathy” right about now. where G is the good ol' universal gravitational constant we all know and love from high school physics. We are left with this: ds2 = c2 (1 – Rs /r) dt2 – dr2 / (1 – Rs /r) You can relate the “relativistic metric” with “proper time. It just stops cold.” which is how “distances” are measured in space-time. so there velocity of light is just equal to ± c. as we will see shortly. r.Appendix H – There's Trouble on the Horizon No essay on scientific theory would be complete without a discussion about black holes.32 Proper time is designated as τ. from the origin and the latitude and longitude are the two angles. if you ignore the math and just read the words. “When you're in an argument. where a point in space is defined by a distance. The last term of the equation is ugly. Karl Schwarzschild was the first person to calculate an exact solution to Einstein's field equations. He accomplished that feat in 1915. M is the mass of the black hole. The distance r in the equation is the radial distance of an object from the “center” of the black hole as seen from afar.33 So if you want to study light rays. The quantity “ds” means “the change in s. are zero. which I guess is why a black hole is black. He died in 1916 from a rare skin disease.31 He did it for a single spherical non-rotating mass. you'll still get the gist of what I'm trying to say.” Unfortunately. 22 .” and ds2 is the square of the change in s – not the change in s squared. (By the way. miles. θ and φ. But something peculiar happens when r equals Rs. which later became popularly known as the black hole. of course. where dτ2 = ds2 / c2. Light rays have the peculiar property that dτ2 for them is always zero everywhere in the universe. and Rs /r goes to zero. If we let objects only move along radial lines. so let's get rid of it. s. As they say. you must set the right-hand side of the equation equal to zero: c2 (1 – Rs /r) dt2 – dr2 / (1 – Rs /r) = 0 (for light rays only) Solving the above formula for dr/dt gives the radial velocity of light at any position r: velocity of light at r = dr/dt = ± c (1 – Rs /r) Notice that when light is really far away from the black hole. Schwarzschild used the spherical coordinate system. They are the quintessential features of general relativity and physicists tend to use them to explain everything from soup to nuts.

it's a time.) 35 You might ask how Alice keeps from falling in. I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.” Alice lets out 5 feet of rope.”34 Now outside and inside the black hole. Specifically. “I said. What's happens is that the closer Bob gets to the event horizon.”) The surface where all hell breaks loose in the equation of a black hole is euphemistically called the “event horizon.35 Say Bob starts out 10 feet over the event horizon and he yells. this was not proved until the late 1950s. So if Bob finally lets go of the rope and falls in.) But special relativity says that light has a constant speed. the equation is just fine. everywhere. that object will approach the event horizon. I'm sure what the physicist said is true. and Bob moves less and less each time. a refrigerator. This raises the question of how a black hole is formed in the first place. Alice lets out miles and miles of rope. Alice sees Bob's watch slowing down. when a coordinate transformation was found that eliminated the singularity. I think he would see himself as falling. like this: (1 – Rs /r + jε). But nothing is physically going on at r = Rs to make a singularity happen there. It's like the Cheshire cat in Lewis Carroll's Through the LookingGlass. Additional coordinate transformations have been discovered since. what happens when a typical object. So what happens at Rs? Well infinity happens. Here. Inside the Schwarzschild radius. signs are flipped and space and time reverse roles. like a chair. or a person is dropped into a black hole? Well. becoming more 2-dimensional near the 34 Too mathematically complex to consider here? Try me. Alice keeps letting out 5 feet of rope. It's only when r equals Rs that things get messed up. It's the only way I can see to properly map Bob's experiences as data in Alice's space. then how did all that stuff get in the inside? And if Bob does get inside. As Bob falls toward the event horizon. it's the “future” where everything comes to an end. “Let out 5 feet of rope. because dr2 / (1 – Rs /r) equals infinity when r = Rs. as they are mathematically complex. These will not be considered here. This keeps happening. I think you're trying pull one over on us. Alice's and Bob's situation here is very similar. but Bob never reaches the event horizon. Physicist. That one makes sense if the black hole's entire mass is squeezed into a tiny point at the center of the hole. This means that the center of the black hole isn't a place. let out 5 feet of rope!” and Alice does it again. Physicists pooh-pooh the whole thing by calling it “just a coordinate singularity.happens to a light ray that's traveling horizontally along the surface of the event horizon. if you must know. That's right. Finally. If stuff on the outside stops before it gets to the event horizon. how do we resolve the serious data mapping discrepancies between what Bob experiences and what Alice sees? Remember what happened when we tried to erase relativity (and information) by boosting a room full of objects to the speed of light? Nature intervened and prevented that from happening. This is called a “singularity” and engineers don't like singularities one bit. “Toto. It's all smile and no cat. but Bob only moves another ¾ of an inch. Now an engineer like me might “fix” this glitch by adding a small imaginary number to the denominator to make sure it's never zero. but it will never get there. Well. as seen from outside the event horizon. but the event horizon would keep receding away from him. But physicists say that the object itself will experience going right through the event horizon like it was nothing – they say it's just a matter of watching things from different perspectives. and sees him flatten out. over and over. Mr. Suppose Alice lowers Bob into a black hole with a rope. c.” Here's what one physicist had to say about it: “Although the singularity at [the Schwarzschild radius] was long suspected to be a coordinate singularity. So Bob yells. it's a crazy bizarro world. the equation isn't fine at all inside the Schwarzschild radius.” Now if light slows down and stops at the event horizon. But that would be cheating. but Bob only moves an inch lower. 23 . it just stops. Let's do an experiment. or as Dorothy would say. Now there's another singularity for the dt2 term at r = 0. (I'm only kidding. (Actually. the more stretched out distances become in his frame of reference. especially when they just pop into space for no good reason. she uses rockets to stay aloft. and What Alice Found There.

So according to the equations of spinning black holes. Of course I'm referring to quantum mechanics. meaning all of them can occupy the same quantum-mechanical state simultneously. It could be that such a theory is simply beyond human comprehension. 24 . maybe these will have to be treated as quantum-mechanical objects instead of using Einstein's field equations. In fact. What I'm saying is that maybe Einstein's field equations work well in some circumstances. treating electrons. which are normally thought of as very small. Our entire universe might also qualify as a quantum-mechanical object. That sounds downright indecent. since the helium-4 atom has two electrons. we could be looking at something that doesn't even exist. spin forms the fundamental unit of measurement in that theory. we reexamine all the assumptions that were used in deriving that equation. and they do this when the helium is cooled to a low enough temperature. thereby preventing a huge data mapping discrepancy? No. representing the “future”? From what I've read on the subject of spinning black holes. and the entire universe the same way. A beaker full of superfluid helium-4 behaves almost like a single elementary particle. and physicists recoil in horror at the very thought of it – as well they should – because if such a thing really happened. even when temperatures approach absolute zero. I believe the underlying assumption was that a given mass can physically fit inside its Schwarzschild radius. Things get even worse when the black hole is spinning.” visible to everyone outside the event horizon. When engineers see an equation that expresses nonsensical results. I think this points out a difference between engineers and physicists. but they break down in others. Black holes aren't the only cosmological objects that may need a quantum-mechanical treatment in order to make sense out of them. We'll see. it will be something that we just can't write down as mathematical equations. String theorists say they are on the verge of something huge. Now we learn that a spinning black hole might reveal a naked singularity that shows us the future. but never quite getting there. There is one theory. It doesn't solidify. as in Schwarzschild's solutions. It could be that such a cosmological theory is right around the corner. Then the fluid suddenly starts spinning as if it jumped into an excited quantum state. two protons. Furthermore. Physicists often fail to do this.event horizon. The superfluid inside the beaker won't begin spinning until the beaker reaches a certain critical speed of rotation. Let's face it: general relativity just doesn't handle the problem of spin well at all. Liquid helium-4 is a very unique substance. we could literally look into the future. quarks. so we'll have to settle for what we've got. This makes the helium-4 atoms act as bosons instead of fermions. and two neutrons. But there are laboratory situations where fairly large things behave quantum-mechanically. I'm referring to things like Josephson junctions and superfluid helium-4. Or it could be that if we discover The Thing That Explains All Things. especially the spinning ones. What science is lacking is a cosmological theory that encompasses everything. general relativity is a wonderful theory when it's used in the appropriate context. it's possible to unveil the “future” as a “naked singularity. Regarding the Schwarzschild equation. Does anyone besides me see a problem with that? Kurt Gödel employed a spinning universe to create his time loops that permitted backward time travel. Scientists have invented a quantum theory that applies to small things and a theory of general relativity that works for larger things (at least some of the time). the intrinsic spins of these particles add up to multiples of whole units of spin instead of multiples of half units. like black holes. I'm just not convinced that that context includes the entire universe. known as Planck's constant. Now it may seem odd to imagine looking at huge objects. If there really are black holes. At least not according to the equations. The only problem with that is the future doesn't exist because information about the future hasn't been created yet. however. as quantum-mechanical objects. Others used spinning cylinders in space to create similar time machines on paper. As I've said over and over again. But does nature intervene and keep Bob from actually crossing over. that does handle spin. Remember the other singluarity at the center of the black hole. which of course violates causation and probably the second law of thermodynamics as well. One way this manifests itself is by spinning the beaker.

So gravity said. The reason why cosmology earned its place in the Dewey Decimal Classification. and unpopulated planet orbiting a star about 500 light years away. Books by unfamiliar authors lurk around on those shelves along side works by renowned physicists like Stephen Hawking and Alan Guth. Not very far from my beloved 530 series is a small section between 523. They're consigned to the dreaded “FIC” section of the library. 25 .36 Unfortunately. Gravity. These books kind of remind me of science fiction. verdant. It started out as quantum soup where nothing made any sense – time and space were interchangeable and everything was pure energy. I like reading those books because even serious scientists like Hawking and Guth can let down their hair and get all wild and crazy. and die on the ship. The descendents of the original crew finally arrive at Arcadia. Yuck! That made it nearly impossible for me to find good science fiction books by simply browsing through library shelves. “¡Adiós amigos!” and there was this huge phase transition. and they were killing each other and destroying Arcadia when The Adventure arrived. I'm going to paraphrase that story using the style of the science fiction genre. the universe might have stayed that way forever. Left to its own devices. where the books on cosmology are found. but it's even more evil and in worse shape than the Earth was when their ancestors escaped.000 spaceships there to exploit its riches. He names the planet Arcadia and organizes a group of 100 or so enlightened individuals to construct a spaceship named The Adventure and travel to Arcadia. So I finally decided just to stick it in at the end as an appendix. but only by the last names of the authors. I hated to leave it out altogether because it's so darned interesting. A really cool sci-fi book might even be buried between a murder mystery and a romance novel. (Up to this point my story followed a very familiar plot line. because general relativity wasn't enough. live. But that's it. science fiction books don't even warrant a decent place in the Dewey Decimal Classification. It needed a jump start. At least the “BIO” section is organized by the last name of the person the book is about. But here's the problem with this: scientific theories don't do an adequate job of supporting what cosmologists are trying to explain. er engineer. just a single Force. Traveling at over 97% light speed. plus it seems to have some relevance to the main topic. I've just about cleaned out that series from the public libraries in my area. He discovers a rich. They set up evil mining colonies all over the planet. which is on the brink of calamity and destruction. Hard-core physics books are in the 530 series of the Dewey Decimal Classification. so the crew can survive in space indefinitely. but they find the planet is not only completely overrun by humans. But it didn't seem to fit anywhere in the main part of the essay. and the other explaining gravity a little better than Newton did. The End. a tiny speck of nothing exploded into a blazing super-hot speck of something. Even without much in the way of scientific theory. It turns out that shortly after The Adventure left.) Okay. It takes 250 spaceship years for The Adventure to reach Arcadia traveling at 89% light speed. You see. so the spaceship is completely life-sustaining. so about 6 generations of people are born. Then gravity decided to split – it's been nature's problem child ever since.1 and 523. 36 I wrote my own science fiction story in junior high school for an English assignment: An evil ruler reigns over the Earth. But everything in the “FIC” section is amorphous and lacks definition – nothing is arranged by subject. plus it's pretty vague and speculative. one describing what goes on in the submicroscopic world. the evil ruler found out about Arcadia and he sent 10.Appendix I – The Cosmological Conundrum Note: I had trouble deciding whether to even include a topic about cosmology. A fantastically wealthy scientist owns an observatory that has a super telescope. and I've dabbled around in that section quite a bit as well. cosmologists can still spin a pretty good yarn. electromagnetism. all controlled by the evil ruler. they got to Arcadia 50 years ahead of The Adventure. whereas science fiction didn't. I read a lot of science fiction books when I was a kid – before I matured and became a real scientist. but bear with it. I call this the cosmological conundrum.2. is because cosmology is supposedly based on good scientific theories whereas science fiction is based on … well … fiction. Philosophy and metaphysics are way down in the 100 series. and the two nuclear forces were like identical quadruplets that you just couldn't tell apart. there was no gravity. About 13 or so billion years ago. Sure there's quantum physics and general relativity. Cosmology is the place where physics and metaphysics meet. thus escaping the inevitable annihilation of Earth.

With no free electrons on the playground. Then just as suddenly as it started. and plenty of photons. The protons kept banging into each other because there were so many of them. the universe just kept expanding and cooling down.37 The proton-neutron combinations got along very well. and quarks condensed out of the quantum soup. The alphas let two electrons move in and they called themselves helium. After inflation was finished. The electrons were feeling bored and lonely with all this space and nothing to do. deuterons. thanks to the strong force. Deuterons banged into each other and also with protons. It was a win-win situation. and they found out they could even buddy up with another hydrogen atom to form a molecule. Then a strange thing happened. which prohibits members from getting into each others' spaces and learning each others' secrets. At this point. which the electrons found positively irresistible. protons. so they quickly partnered up with each other to make protons. and the universe suddenly became transparent! Those original photons 37 According to Richard Feynman. but nothing really interesting ever happened. So they just zoomed off into oblivion. and alphas? Not only were they positively charged. but energy kept filling up space as it inflated. You couldn't see very far because the photons kept banging into the electrons – not that there was much to look at anyway. they called themselves a hydrogen atom. After an electron moved in with a proton or a deuteron. But then the whole thing stopped. inflation stopped. with deuterons and alphas forming and everyone getting together like a great big party. I won't mention them again. The identical quadruplets had grown up. which they found pretty repulsive. forming foursomes known as alphas. 26 . So now there were hydrogen molecules and helium atoms and no electrons left over. and boy did things change then. But then they came up with a great idea: why not team up with the protons. The universe was now a pretty dull place. The entire universe went from a tiny seed smaller than a proton into a humongous space that stretched farther than we can see with our most powerful telescopes. They couldn't get together because a) they were all negatively charged. One of them is called the Exclusion Principle. general relativity thanked inflation for giving the universe a jump start and took over from there. and thanks to the weak force one of them would occasionally change into a neutron. sending off a positron is the same as absorbing an electron coming from the future. Inflation kicked in right away.This gave the universe the jump start it needed. but they also didn't have any problems sharing some empty space with electrons. 38 There were also some kinky ménage à trois combinations with one proton and two neutrons and one neutron and two protons. Sure there were electrons. So the electrons hired the law firm of Bohr Heisenberg & Pauli to draw up some contracts. All the charges canceled out and everyone was happy. and finally those split into a strong and a weak variety. Photons. so they decided to stick together. which is a good thing because I don't think humans could live in a universe that keeps inflating forever. electrons. Some of the deuterons stuck together. It cooled enough for electromagnetism to split off from the two nuclear forces. The electrons were allowed to move in with the positively-charged particles as long as they stayed in their assigned shells and respected each others' privacy. The whole inflation event took less time than it takes light to travel from one side of an atom to the other. alphas. things were pretty darned hot. Things cooled down too much and it seemed like the strong and weak forces were finished. sending a positron off to find an electron to annihilate. but I feel uncomfortable talking about that. the photons didn't have anyone to bully anymore. which have strict secrecy rules. deuterons. I kid you not. but the helium atoms couldn't form molecules because having two electrons as roommates was all the company the alphas could handle. and b) they belonged to a secret society known as the Fermions. Things were going along just fine. They were also getting pretty tired of being pushed around by the photons. and they didn't even look like each other any more. only red plasma that kept getting thinner and thinner – there was just this reddish glow everywhere you looked. but it gave the universe plenty of elbow room and made space flatter than a pool table. Now you'd think that stretching something the size of a proton into trillions of cubic light years would make things pretty sparse.38 It was kind of like sitting inside a neon bulb with the juice turned on. But thanks to general relativity. Quarks can't stand living alone. calling themselves deuterons.

the universe has cooled off to a chilly 2. Things were getting boring again. so they call it dark matter. Dark matter frowned. but the expansion of the universe made them lose most of their original energy. Then. making heavier and heavier elements all the way up to iron. Even the photons were dying of boredom.. Not only that. I built short-wave radio receivers. intelligence. without warning. Their dark neighbors were friendly with gravity. but nobody thought I deserved the Nobel Prize for that. They formed stringy lumps so gravity could begin attracting stuff. I heard an awful lot of static in my headphones that summer. I don't know if Dad gave me that nickname as a compliment or he just thought he was being funny. The hydrogen atoms minus their electrons started making alphas again. Everyone thought the strong and weak forces were history. My dad started calling me “Marconi” after the famous guy who invented radio. yada. The other kids (electromagnetism. Eventually. yada. helium and photons thought they were alone. which won them the Nobel Prize. The static persisted. They were really bothered by static and they tried everything in their power to eliminate it. I literally spent an entire summer in my bedroom listening to ham radio operators from as far away as Australia (I lived in New Jersey). yada. At that point. The rest of the story gets pretty repetitive: more stars. could be summoned from the nether regions to stop this madness . but I just figured it was par for the course. dark energy.are still around today. enough atoms got pulled together by the stringy lumps that they started heating up again! Gravity was behaving like a teenager on testosterone overload.7°K. stepped in. galaxies. and these provided data that matched the cosmologists' predictions to an astounding degree of precision. and finally turning into dull microwaves. because if you work the equations backwards you find out that the temperature of the early universe was exactly as hot as it needed to be at the exact moment it became transparent. scientists put the receivers in high-altitude balloons. and I even wound my own tuning coils. Things were getting out of hand until gravity's siblings. and they kept picking up static. 39 Here's where the story about Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson comes in. After starting out red hot at thousands of degrees. mind you. but they suspect the lumps were caused by unseen matter from dark nether regions. but the pattern of the universe's temperature in the COBE data has just the right amount of graininess and stringiness. 27 . but they were waiting in the wings all along for the opportunity to get back into action. gravity just sits there. Not Penzias and Wilson. the strong. but now it turns out they had lots of company. You can actually take the temperature of the universe by pointing a sensitive microwave receiver at it. lumps just appeared out of nowhere. life. I'm pretty sure my 1LE3 triode tube picked up some static coming from outer space too. Well. Gravity didn't have much to do until now because it needs lumps in order to attract stuff. collapsing giant balls of gas into roiling infernos. Without lumps.. some of the atoms started drifting together. When I was a kid. going from red to infrared. Not from a kit. They were two radio engineers from Bell Labs who were fooling around with a large microwave horn antenna. the strong and weak forces could do no more and they threw in the towel. but they ignored his three sibling forces. So it looks like the universe really does have the right temperature. which temporarily stopped the gas balls from collapsing. planets. scattering debris all over the place while gravity laughed hysterically.39 At first. They blamed it on pigeon droppings – it never even occurred to me that bird droppings on my antenna could be making the static – so Penzias and Wilson scrubbed down their antenna with soap and water. Not even Dad. because then they realized that the static was coming from outer space. Cosmologists aren't certain. Nice Guy. But for some strange reason. From schematic drawings and a bunch of parts I bought at the local Lafayette Radio Electronics store after saving up my allowance. The hydrogen molecules and helium atoms were thinning out pretty fast. pulled in by that bad boy gravity. Today those stringy lumps can be seen as those grainy patches in the temperature pictures taken by the COBE satellites. which was 25¢ per week at the time. It could even bend space and time! The strong and weak forces tried to stop their evil sibling. Some of the giant iron gas balls blew up. Then they launched a couple of satellites named COBE. and weak forces) had their fun. but their fastidiousness certainly paid off. Gravity was in charge now. the strong and weak forces. I built a single-tube regenerative receiver using a 1LE3 triode powered by a 45-volt battery. but that wasn't the end of it. Either way. Now that was sure a surprise because up until now the hydrogen. but now it was gravity's turn. But the bottom line is the universe became a very exciting and chaotic place! The End. Maybe its younger sibling. no more Mr. duh. wondering if it had made a terrible mistake.

… . 2. which tail off much more slowly than predicted by the standard laws of gravity. whatever DM particles are. There are many other layers of gas surrounding the first shell that are not shown. All galaxies. Moreover. marked x. As far as the shell is concerned. it will be stable because internal pressures are in perfect balance with the gravitational forces. weak. and mass. Thus. Of course.40 40 By applying the ideal gas law. r. including our own Milky Way. 28 . DM only interacts with ordinary matter through gravitation. The figure below shows an inner sphere of gas having a radius. the gas in the sphere resists being compressed.” Scientists believe that DM spherical halos are also required to account for anomalous orbital velocities in the outer regions of spiral arms. so I looked at this question by comparing the formation of a hypothetical DM halo against a toy model of a cloud of ordinary gas molecules using Newtonian physics. a spherical cloud made of ordinary matter can build up and be contained by gravity alone. and it exerts an outward pressure that exactly balances the total inward pressure. and the pressure from the inner sphere keeps the gas in the outer layers from collapsing inward. i . I'm just a simple engineer. ΔF i. you could write down a differential equation that can be solved for internal pressure as a function of distance from the center. M. but that is way beyond what I want to discuss here. the distribution of DM particles within these proposed spherical halos must be fine-tuned in order to produce the desired gravitational effects that would produce those anomalous observations.Appendix J – Can Dark Matter Really Form Halos? According to the prevailing cosmological theories. to this model. there is five times as much “dark matter” (DM) as ordinary matter in the universe. supposedly formed within primordial DM “halos.1 The total inward pressure applied on the sphere is the sum of the incremental pressures from all the shells surrounding the sphere: P = Σ ΔPi. In my view. The incremental gravitational force. they do not interact through electromagnetic. or strong nuclear forces – the only forces besides gravity that are known to exist. pulling the shell inward is then given by Newton's law of gravitation: ΔF i = G × M × Δm i / r 2 The inward gravitational force on the shell applies incremental pressure ΔPi = ΔF ÷ area of the sphere: ΔP i = ΔF i / 4π r 2 = G × M × Δm i / 4π r 4 M= Σ Δm j j =1. Δm i. surrounded by a thin shell of gas having mass. 100% of the gravitational force it experiences comes from the mass of the inner sphere as if M were concentrated at a point in the center. PV = nRT. The key principle is this: The inward pressure from the outer layers keeps the gas in the central sphere from expanding. the lack of particleto-particle interactions raises a very serious question about whether DM halos could be formed.

29 . The balance between internal pressure and the inward gravitational forces allows the formation of a stable spherical structure that is contained by gravity alone. weak. GR is an approximation of a more complete theory of gravity. But exactly what are they orbiting? You might want to think that DM particles orbit around the halo's center of mass. it therefore must consist entirely of DM particles that are in orbit. Perhaps DM particles actually do experience some kind of internal pressure by interacting with each other through some new. Even if a DM halo could be formed artificially. but they would experience no gravitational force pulling them inward so they would eventually drift away again. there is no pressure inside a hypothetical DM halo. There are other problems with DM besides the inherent problem of forming stable DM halos. space and time. 42 I'm excluding a central black hole because according to DM theory. 41 It's easy to show from Newtonian physics that an object inside a hollow sphere will feel no gravitational force from the matter in the surrounding sphere. It is hoped that supersymmetry (SUSY) will come to the rescue by providing stable “super partners” of the existing standard-model particles that can serve as stand-ins for DM. the initial runs of the large hadron collider (LHC) showed no evidence of those hoped-for super partners. GR may be a very good approximation when gravitational fields aren't too strong or distances too large. there are problems with GR because it permits solutions that violate its own first principles. SUSY will be in big trouble and physicists may be forced to rethink or abandon this model altogether. just as Newtonian gravity is an approximation of GR.42 With little or no gravitational field near the center and no internal pressure. As stated previously. and this new approach may also require science to modify its current understanding about the nature of space and time. the DM particle is free to migrate outward. the standard model (SM) of particle physics is now complete.Now let's compare ordinary gas to a hypothetical halo of DM. From what I've read – and I admit I don't completely understand much of what was written – it seems that the current MOND proposals are all somewhat ad hoc and a bit too a posteriori (“curve-fitty”) to suit me. but it starts to fall apart when those conditions no longer apply. If those runs still produce no super partner candidates. Gravitationally-bound DM systems are completely unstable. it would immediately start to disintegrate from the middle out. thus preventing any voids from forming. As I stated repeatedly in this essay. ordinary gas in the center of a cloud will experience inward pressure from all the gas layers that surround it. Pressure in an ordinary gas comes from collisions between gas molecules. Since this applies to every DM particle near the center. DM does not interact through electromagnetic. With the discovery of the Higgs particle. which mainly involve repulsive electromagnetic forces between the electron shells of colliding atoms. This is impossible without internal pressure. In contrast. attracting additional layers of gas. Of course DM particles could wander back into the void. Without a viable DM halo structure or any evidence of DM particles themselves. It feels no gravity at all because all of the halo's mass is in concentric shells that surround it on all sides. The next set of LHC runs will take place in 2015 at much higher energies. 43 Particle-to-particle interactions through gravity alone would be far too weak to generate pressure. The gas confined in the center forms the gravitational nucleus that pulls all outer layers inward. there is nothing to hold the halo together.43 But this would require rewriting much of fundamental physics as we know it. But consider a DM particle very near that center of mass. a central void would start growing as more DM particles leak away. undiscovered force of nature – not electromagnetic. Thus. Some theorists have developed theories known as modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND) that provide some semblance of agreement between theory and observations without having to drag problematic dark matter into the existing theory of gravity. another way to resolve the observed gravitational anomalies is to modify general relativity. This situation is equivalent to countless “planets” in a “solar system” without any “sun” in the center to keep them in orbit. or strong nuclear forces.41 With no gravity at the center. Unfortunately. M. DM halos formed before black holes existed. and therefore halos naturally formed entirely of DM are not possible. weak or strong nuclear forces. Extra DM particles that clutter up the SM landscape would be most unwelcome. I think a radically different bottom-up approach is needed that allows gravity to emerge from a whole new set of first principles. each subsequent layer increasing both the volume of the sphere and its gravitational mass.

Snyder published a paper entitled “On Continued Gravitational Contraction. all of this was grist for numerous science fiction48 books.44 But are black holes real or just a figment of the imagination? I've done a little more digging on this topic and came up with some relevant historical facts: • • • • 1915 – Albert Einstein published his theory of general relativity 1915 – Karl Schwarzschild came up with the first exact solution to Einstein's field equations. I honestly don't know what motivated this. Meanwhile. Stephen Hawking. the inevitable contradictions and paradoxes concerning black holes kept piling up and were swept under the carpet until 2012 when a genuine “crisis” erupted after a paper was published by Ahmed Almheiri. What made this even more impressive is that he did this during WWI on the Eastern Front while he was under enemy fire and suffering from a fatal skin disease. it is possible to form a black hole. and James Sully (AMPS). But what happened next? Kip Thorne. because her talk was rather incoherent. 45 The fact that Schwarzschild accomplished this feat so soon after Einstein published general relativity is amazing enough. particle/string theorists like Leonard Susskind.” although that's pretty much what he said in the paper. i. Even today. yes. Of course. Lisa Randall gave a talk recently where she said she was really excited about the possibility seeing extra-dimensional black holes in the TeV range emerging from the strong brane into the weak brane through a warped 5th dimension. the collapsing object will completely evaporate into space. In the meantime. So the issue of black holes should have been put to rest in 1939. 46 Einstein was always very polite and reserved. Hawking and Jacob Beckenstein blended black holes with thermodynamics and information theory. cosmologists and lately. Robert Oppenheimer and H.” They concluded that. astrophysicists identified a large number of very distant objects as being “black hole candidates” or BHCs.47 1939 – J.45 His solution revealed the fact that a sufficiently large mass would collapse behind a singularity radius. Ironically. thousands of papers were written and entire careers were built on what had been previously shown to be a fallacy. 48 Physicists often forget that the operative word here is fiction. the flood gates opened. For example.” The dying field of cosmology was rejuvinated by black holes. but I can't help feeling that Einstein knew a lot more about the nuances of general relativity than any physicists living today. Joseph Polchinski.” 1939 – Albert Einstein published a paper entitled “On A Stationary System With Spherical Symmetry Consisting of Many Gravitating Masses. a black hole could never form. unlike modern apologists who use handwaving arguments like “pathological coordinate systems” to blow away the singularity problem and the obvious paradoxes it raises. Maybe I'm just too “weak-braned” (pun intended) to wrap my head around those extra warped dimensions.e. but it would take an infinite amount of time to complete the task due to time dilation. some of their early papers on black holes actually referenced Einstein's 1939 paper. but to me it sounds like people are speaking in tongues when discussing such things. he probably would be too circumspect to entitle his paper “Black Holes Are Completely Bogus.Appendix K – There's Trouble on the Horizon (Part II) Black holes have become a very popular plaything for astrophysicists. and a whole new generation of brilliant physicists resurrected black holes in the 1960s and early 1970s. 30 . Anything that was unexplainable by ordinary physics could be easily and effortlessly explained with the help of black holes. while others speculated about black holes as being portals to wormholes and extra dimensions. It should be noted that Einstein was no slouch when it came to interpreting the theory of general relativity he invented. The authors considered 44 At least that's what I think she said. and the television series “Stargate. called the “event horizon. he said a sphere of gravitating masses could never achieve a radius less than (2 + √3) times the singularity radius.”46 Basically. movies. 47 I realize that appealing to authority is a classic logical fallacy. after the proton beam energies in the Large Hadron Supercollider are sufficiently ramped up. It seems that almost anything in physics nowadays can somehow be connected to a black hole. involving a single spherical non-rotating mass. Did they even read it? In any case. Although nobody has examined any black holes up close. Donald Marolf.

One string physicist51 proclaimed that AMPS revealed something that is very. but Dirac kept it. made a similar observation in 1964: “Give a small boy a hammer. this solution requires that the mass of the black hole is zero. both the collapsing object and the event horizon beneath it will shrink until the object's mass equals zero. Since the 2012 bombshell. The end result is similar to Oppenheimer's 1939 paper: a collapsing object will asymptotically approach the size of the Schwarzschild radius while it radiates away mass-energy. despite the fact that general relativity strictly forbids a black hole from having any magnetic field at all. The case in point is taking the theory of general relativity – a model that has been confirmed only on the scale of the solar system and under conditions of relatively weak gravitation – and applying it to cosmological scales and conditions of extremely strong gravitation. conferences assembled. there have been numerous papers written. the final result is the zero-mass black hole that is allowed from Mitra's solution. Mersini-Houghton's argument is that Hawking radiation makes a collapsing star explode before it can form a black hole. whose surname was Kaplan. One of them usually reflects physical reality while the other is utter nonsense. 50 This is attributed to the observation made by Abraham Maslow in 1966. it appears the vacuum still remains intact and everything is cool so long as Alice falls through the looking glass before the the black hole has had its critical midlife crisis. At least I think that's how it's supposed to work. The only thing this latest paradox reveals to me is that black holes can't truly exist. This kind of reasoning is referred to as Maslow's Hammer50. Over a very long time. but it's a mistake to conflate the two. very deep and that when the paradox is finally solved. Nevertheless.” 51 This person also believes in wormholes. I prefer Mitra's argument.and negatively-charged electrons.52 What we do in those cases is to keep the physical solution and simply throw away the other one. It turns out that quite a few BHCs in the astrophysicists' collection are associated with stupendous magnetic fields. Being exact and repeatable.a typical Alice & Bob thought experiment with Alice falling into a black hole. there will be dire consequnces for the vacuum if the black hole has reached half of its lifespan. and reached a frightening conclusion: When Alice becomes maximally entangled with the Hawking radiation emitted at the event horizon. and large magnetic fields are among their hallmarks. Unlike engineers. they tend to see maximal quantum entanglement everywhere. Recently. of course. Engineers frequently use mathematical “laws” that take the form of quadradic equations that generally have two solutions. which I find kind of weak because it's too mechanistic. 49 I could never grasp how a full-sized human being can attain maximal quantum entanglement with elementary particles. This is a common error that occurs when using reductionist methods and logic. showing that using proper boundary conditions. A different Abraham. physicists tend to take quite literally anything an equation can dish out. As an engineer. I believe this blind faith in mathematics started back in 1928 when Paul Dirac predicted the existence of an anti-particle from mathematical solutions that described both positively. and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding. I won't reveal his name in order to spare him the embarrassment. 31 . 53 Confirmation of Dirac's prediction probably had a lot to do with his winning the 1933 Nobel Prize. a mathematical model may resemble a law. it will usher in a golden age of physics – along with a theory of everything based on string theory. which addresses Schwarzschild's mathematical solution directly. Abhas Mitra and Laura Mersini-Houghton published independent papers that disproved the existence of black holes.53 I think it's important to remember that mathematical equations aren't really physical laws. I'd probably throw away the solution describing the positively-charged electron. Luckily for him. I think the true physical laws are hidden fundamental principles that are much simpler than the behaviors that emerge from them. they simply describe behaviors that emerge in systems as they become organized.49 I guess when particle physicists aren't able to come to terms with the paradox of Schrödinger's cat. 52 Examples would include negative surface areas and imaginary lengths. which possibly inspired the song “Maxwell's Silver Hammer” by The Beatles. It's hard to say what might have happened if the positron prediction had turned out to be false. without much resolution to the paradox. He calls these objects “eternally-collapsing objects” (ECOs). the positron was discovered experimentally a couple of years later. and lectures given about AMPS. Being an expert in general relativity while at the same time believing that BHCs truly are black holes is an interesting case of cognitive dissonance.

based on what little was known in 1935. The paper asked the question whether particle physics could be unified with general relativity. one arrives at the following conclusion. r is the distance from the center of the “particle” coordinate system that is being modeled. ds2 = – 4 (u2 + 2m) du2 – (u2 + 2m)2 (dθ2 + sin2θ dφ2) + u2 dt2 / (u2 + 2m) “As u varies from . or quantum entanglement. 32 . If one tries to interpret the regular solution [in the first equation] in the space of r.” The above interpretation from Einstein and Rosen is diagrammed below. meaning the same. and I found out that Einstein and Rosen discovered no such thing. and two known forces. 48. In 1935. electromagnetism and gravity. I went to the trouble of downloading a copy of the ER paper54and read it. Equating space-time geometry to elementary particles never panned out. In other words.∞ to ∞. who claimed that the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paper was somehow equivalent to the Einstein-Rosen (ER) paper written in the same year. Well. at r = 0 and at r = 2m. ER propsed that an exact solution to the field equations of general relativity – the Schwarzschild solution – might be combined with Maxwell's equations of electromagnetism in a way that would be equivalent to the known particles. different parts of our universe.' corresponding to u > 0 and u < 0 which are joined by a hyperplane r =2m or u = 0 in which g vanishes. Einstein and Rosen used the following form of the Schwarzschild solution. Einstein-Rosen bridges) connect entangled particles.k. anything that “happens” in one sheet would also be expected to occur in the other sheet. Although Einstein's ashes were scattered. ER=EPR. The operative word they used to describe these sheets is congruent. The two sheets are of the same four-dimensional space. mathematically split into two sheets with no singularity at r = 2m. r varies from + ∞ to 2m and then again from 2m to + ∞. φ. There are two singularities. it makes no difference whether u is negative or positive. With u2 substituted as the new variable in the equation. 1935. hence. but nowhere is there any mention of extra dimensions. which says that quantum properties don't exist until they are measured. and some of it is showing up in Wikipedia. The bridge does not connect two different universes. As you may recall. We call such a connection between the sheets as a 'bridge' [italics added]. Using the change of variables u2 = r – 2m gets rid of both singularities and converts the equation to the following form. there were four known elementary particles. physicists will exhume him metaphorically whenever they need to authenticate some new wormhole theory. The paper went on to add electric charges to the equation. the two sheets are duplicates of each other.a. wormholes. I watched a video lecture given by a famous physics professor. ds2 = – dr2 / (1 – 2m/r) – r2 (dθ2 + sin2θ dφ2) + (1 – 2m/r) dt2 Here. 54 “The Particle Problem in the General Theory of Relativity” Physical Review Vol. neutron and positron. Or to use his terminology.Appendix L – The Einstein-Rosen Wormhole Fantasy There is a lot of strange stuff being taught in the physics departments of major universities these days. The four-dimensional space is described mathematically by two congruent parts or 'sheets. this was a very early attempt to come up with a Theory of Everything. proton. Einstein and Rosen “discovered” wormholes. Recently. θ. According to popular science talks shown on YouTube. and the clever formula ER=EPR means that wormholes (a. the EPR paper introduced a pair of entangled systems in a thought experiment that challenged the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics. and t. Page 73 July 1. and the vertical direction shown is not a 5th dimension. the electron. or even two entangled particles.

Competition among physicists is extreme. as depicted below. The circle of beliefs may include a small amount of speculation in the white area that surrounds the truth. so anyone who openly questions the prevailing beliefs of the group would be committing professional suicide. it should be highly aligned with the gold disk. It's instructive to note the difference between knowledge and beliefs. such as schizophrenia. The circle of beliefs has shifted to the right. so long-term survival for them depends on obtaining scarce research grants and securing tenured university professorships. Purple unicorns would fall into this category. defined as holding a strong belief despite superior evidence to the contrary. When delusion occurs in an individual. and now includes more unproven speculation in the white area. however. or they may be proven by applying deductive or inductive reasoning along with the scientific method. 56 Major scientific journals employ an insidious anonymous peer review process that is extremely effective in screening out any inconvenient facts that suggest that a previous Nobel Prize may have been awarded based on an invalid idea. An ideal belief system is modeled using the following Venn diagram. it should deinitely exclude any falsehoods in the brown area. they may be learned from direct experience.g. we believe some things we really aren't certain are true. Beliefs form our attitudes. Closed groups are extremely prone to having delusional beliefs55 – “groupthink” is a popular term describing a dysfunctional collective belief system – and clear evidence of it can be observed within the scientific community today. e. especially in physics. Physicists don't produce anything tangible. 55 Especially in cults like Marshall Applewhite's Heaven's Gate and to a lesser extent within a corporate culture. and not because of a lack of intelligence. Facts may be self-evident. Belief systems can sometimes be poorly aligned with the truth. It is also reasonable to catagorize ideas as false if they lack both logical necessity and evidence of being true. 33 . Although beliefs should be guided by knowledge. as well as some falsehoods in the brown area. The blue circle represents a set of beliefs.Appendix M – Beyond Belief Science is the method of discovering the truth about the physical universe as being part of general knowlege. including hypotheses that are contradicted by evidence plus statements that are prima facie false. 57 Its leaders have true rock-star status and are frequently seen promulgating their latest fantasies on TV and YouTube. behaviors. and the things we say in public. Belief is not the same as knowledge. The brown area represents the set of things that are known to be false. with constant pressure to get their papers published56 and having those papers cited by other physicists. The gold area represents truth and knowledge. the set of things that are known as facts. This belief system represents what is commonly known as delusion. such as the logic statments A = A and A ≠ ¬A. A = ¬A. Some truths in the gold area are also excluded from the circle of beliefs. These factors plus the hierarchical structure of the scientific community in general57 have allowed cosmology and particle physics to acquire certain aspects of science fiction. it's often caused by a brain pathology. and ideally.

In 1968. 2. and lost opportunity for doing useful work – in other words. Nevertheless. Thus. the quantity of information has nothing to do with the content or how it is organized. disorder. Q. entropy is much more closely related to information than it is to heat. Albert Einstein could never come to terms with this fact.58 3. But as far as I'm concerned. associate entropy with heat. Confusing entropy with heat The temperature. The fallacy he committed was conflating “as if” with “is. Leonard Susskind. it was a completely pointless exercise that added nothing to the understanding of why mesons scatter that way. and gas that the burning book generates actually contain more information than the book itself did before it was set on fire. Susskind was able to prove that if two such two such objects collide with each other and scatter. The fact we cannot decipher that information doesn't matter. Quantum mechanics simply is what it is. They would conclude that incinerating a book in a furnace would completely destroy all the information the book contains. wasted energy. Equating organization with information Humans have a natural tendency to value things that are new and shiny and debase things that are old and decrepit. it wasn't very good at doing much else. They meticulously measured those properties and compiled and published that data in steam tables. The smoke. scientists typically try to construct classical models that fill in the blanks. This was yet another example of a physical “law” that describes a behavior perfectly without actually explaining it. When mathematical laws don't adequately explain things. In fact. looked for a physical mechanism that would explain the observed scattering amplitudes. 59 This was an amazing accomplishment. For example. Quantum interactions are inexplicable . S.59 being essentially the same as Claude Shannon's definition of information.” In other words. who was a young associate professor at Yeshiva University at the time. considering that classical physics was all Boltzmann had to work with. Although Susskind's model was able to duplicate scattering amplitudes. This leads to the fallacy that order and organization equals information. the amplitudes would match Veneziano's formula exactly. including physicists. and physicists everywhere began to model everything in the universe from soup to nuts using tiny vibrating strings.Appendix N – Common Scientific Blunders While pondering the question of why science is not solving the reality riddle. it occurred to me that the difficulty involves a set of common scientific blunders. Gabriele Veneziano discovered that the scattering amplitudes of strongly-interacting mesons were described by the Euler gamma function. He had apparently unlocked the secret of why Veneziano's theory worked. Ludwig Boltzmann defined entropy as being proportional to the logarithm of degrees of freedom. Unfortunately. most people today. and it seems many scientists have trouble accepting it even today. He miraculously came up with a model of the meson consisting of two electrically charged particles attached to the ends of a tiny string. enthalpy and entropy were very well-known by mechanical engineers in the Steam Age. and they cannot be properly “understood” by using inappropriate classical models. which are quantum objects. entropy is 58 Leonard Susskind refers to this as “The Minus First Law of Physics. Using classical models to explain quantum phenomena The origin of string theory is a perfect example of this blunder. and temperature. While it is true that entropy. string theory was born and Susskind was thereafter known as its father. in the equation dS = dQ/T. scatter as if they were tiny classical pieces of string with electrical charges attached to the ends. most people (including scientists) would jump to the conclusion that a book is rich in information simply because it is highly organized and has meaning. does not mean meson actually are a tiny classical pieces of string with electrical charges attached to the ends. 34 . ashes. 1.” The fact that mesons. pressure. I don't deny that Susskind's coming up with a model made out of string that closely matched meson scattering amplitudes was a very impressive intellectual tour de force. is related to heat. There is a fundamental quantum principle that once information is created it can never be destroyed – period. T. entropy was thereafter always associated with heat. Here are a few of them. the non-destructibility of information is so basic to quantum physics that it precedes and supersedes all other laws. It also happens to be the basis of the second law of thermodynamics.

all of the dispersed perfume molecules would find their way back into the perfume bottle and condense back into a liquid. it's difficult for people to accept the fact that entropy and information are really the same thing. physics is fundamentally irreversible. He used the example of planets revolving around the Sun. So how did the universe get to be infinite and when did that happen? But if the universe is finite and you keep traveling in a straight line. Scientists habitually use classical toy models in an attempt to explain quantum mechanical processes that are fundamentally unexplainable. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. simple cases. but despite this obvious fact. Thinking of the universe as having an outside Everything we observe in the universe has a border with an inside and outside. I watched Brian Greene giving a lecture about the universe. we associate information with “good” things like texting and Facebook. In order for the perfume to spontaneously go back into the bottle. A classic thought experiment reveals this misconception: Imagine a room with a bottle of perfume in it. that's just wrong. This blunder is related to Blunder #1. It's the most fundamental law there is. where it is impossible to tell if the planets revolve counter-clockwise with time moving forward or revolve clockwise with time running backward. Because quantum processes similarly work in both directions. what would be on the other side? The universe is unique because it's the only object that has neither spatial or a temporal edges or borders. entropy never decreases. which is an impossible God's eye perspective of reality. there's a problem with that. The problem with an infinite universe is that it contradicts the big bang theory. This leads to the common blunder of trying to conceptualize a model of the universe from the exterior. then it just kept expanding. 5. which says the universe was initially smaller than a proton until inflation expanded it to the size of a grapefruit. As far as I can tell. The only way the dispersion of perfume molecules can be reversed is by reversing time.associated with a lot of bad things. The problem is that universe doesn't have an edge. then the process of perfume dispersion would be completely reversible. information is never destroyed. the entropy of the room increases according to Boltzmann's principle. As perfume fills the room. In other words. 35 . On the other hand. which clearly violates Susskind's Minus First Law. who made the astounding claim that all physics is reversible. really long time. this requires the destruction of information. Consequently. it's just highly improbable. The only possible way you can travel in a straight line forever is if the universe is infinite. No. where he talked about three-dimensional space going on and on forever without end. and time never goes in reverse. the Second Law is not just some statistical byproduct that can be overridden given enough time and patience. and since everything in the universe has a border. cosmologists go right ahead and try to make those measurements anyway. entropy would have to decrease. One of the big mysteries that deeply troubles cosmologists is why the universe seems to be so darned 60 Perfectly elastic billiard balls only exist in Plato's world of metaphysics. but according to the myth of “all physics is reversible. perfectly elastic billiard balls. the perfume evaporates and eventually the perfume molecules are uniformly dispersed. Since entropy equals information. If it did. the entropy cannot decrease spontaneously. not classical physics. Well. Well. When the bottle is opened. above. we slip into thinking of the universe as having a border also. The Second Law isn't really a law at all – it's merely a statistical byproduct of random reversible molecular motions. it's not really impossible for entropy to decrease.” if we are very patient and wait a really. some scientists mistakenly conclude that everything is reversible. There are no external measuring sticks or clocks that you can use to measure it spatially or temporally. But gas molecules aren't tiny billiard-balls60 and interactions between molecules are based on quantum mechanics. Real billiard balls collide irreversibly. a proton and a grapefruit are both finite. This sets up the classic subject-object problem of “observing” something from the inside. you'll hit the edge. living in the Information Age. Brian. Robert Boyle's gas model uses perfectly elastic billiard balls as molecules. If gas molecules truly were tiny. 4. Mistaking the Second Law of Thermodynamics as a mere statistical byproduct I watched a lecture by a well-known physicist. Except for some very special.

62 I used a painted tennis ball for the Sun and ping-pong balls. Everything is relative inside the universe. I made a diorama of the solar system for a science fair project. Since true science is based on observation. The illusion that light travels in straight lines seriously distorts cosmological observations. Everything in the universe can only be measured relative to something else in the universe. creating the illusion of a much larger separation. The fact is that nobody – including a cosmologist – can comprehend the universe without trying to mentally step outside and observe it. separated by 180° in the sky. They call it the Flatness Problem. light travels in straight lines. the inability to observe the universe renders cosmology as non-science. The point I'm trying to make is that scientists tend to think of the universe as if it's a three-dimensional miniature model – a diorama. When I was a kid in junior high school. my diorama of the solar system was not built to scale. This means the two quasars visible now could not have been 24 billion light years apart when their light was emitted – what we see doesn't match reality. It's understandable that a 7th grader could conceive of a model universe that fits into a three-dimensional box because he would think of the universe the same as everyday objects. Suppose we observe two quasars 12 billion light years from Earth. so all we can do is measure the universe on the inside using light rays. The inside of the box was lined with black construction paper with stars painted on it. We would naturally think of the two quasars as being separated by 24 billion light years. 61 Light rays do curve near a large gravitating mass like the Sun. Adult cosmologists should know better. curved objects would look straight. Obviously. I thought it was pretty cool.61 so yes. The solid light paths and the observer's light cone converge in the present. The universe is far stranger than any human being can possibly conceive. assuming the standard cosmological model is correct. Well. they only curve relative to other light rays that are far away from the gravitating mass.flat. not in the present. and this is one of the reasons Alan Guth invented inflation. By definition. but stepping outside the universe simply is not possible even in principle. there is no standard straight edge that exists outside the universe that can measure flatness on the inside. based on light traveling in straight lines in flat space along an observer's light cone. and little wads of clay for the planets. Seeing the entire universe as flat and three-dimensional is an illusion. the curvature due to an expanding universe. Those quasars are from when the universe was 12 billion years younger. and the universe was much more compact then than it is today. which we define as traveling in straight lines. Space is shown horizontally and time vertically. I would ask. why wouldn't it seem to be flat? You see. But bear in mind it's true only because we assume light rays travel in straight lines. The dotted lines indicate a large apparent separation between two very distant stars. The problem is we are seeing both of those quasars from the past. and this causes us to greatly miscalculate distances between very distant objects and thus completely distorts our perception of the universe. using light rays makes the universe seem flat from every vantage point. If we use curved yardsticks as references. A diorama is a three-dimensional miniature model. The sketch below schematically illustrates the cosmic distortion. marbles. there are no absolute measurements. The solid red lines are the light paths from the stars with a much smaller actual separation in the past. however. 36 . I used a large cardboard box with one of the sides cut out and suspended the Sun and planets62 from the top with string. The present only really exists here where we are. How could we ever tell whether anything is truly straight or curved? This perception of universal flatness comes from the diorama fallacy.

By doing exhaustive research that involved attending lectures and interviewing a number of notable scientists. this conclusion is consistent with the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. and it all boils down to the subject-object problem. and it includes both feet and legs. depicted below. may lead to a far more radical conclusion that the thing we refer to as “the universe” may not really exist. She concluded that since every observation is dependent on the observer's particular frame of reference. The caption reads. The subject-object problem makes it impossible to form any consistent hypothesis of the universe. and therefore nothing is real. He was strongly influenced by the relativity principle that states space and time are observer-dependent and not absolute. Consequently. This inspired Harding to develop The Headless Way. expanding universe. I'm convinced think humans are just not capable of conceptualizing the universe. so it became known as Flammarion's engraving. 37 . Mach was a harsh critic of Isaac Newton and a forerunner of Albert Einstein in the development of special relativity. so there is no way to conceptually separate ourselves from the universe. a trunk. 65 Some of these folks are mentioned throughout this essay. I showed that although cosmologists are (or should be) aware that we live in a dynamic. flat. but no head. Ultimately.. If you remember. But the universe doesn't have an exterior. also slip into committing this blunder. This self portrait was drawn from a peculiar perspective of zero distance.63 Our medieval friend is shown peeking under the firmament to get a better God's eye view of the cosmos. eye socket and mustache. In order to make an observation. That is not a problem for most objects because they all have exteriors. which holds that something does not exist until (or unless) it is observed. the current cosmological standard model isn't really much of an improvement over the one from the Middle Ages. nothing could satisfy her invariance criterion. three dimensional dioramalike models to describe it.65 she was eventually able to cross everything off her list.64 Amanda Gefter's book “Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn” describes her quest to discover what is ultimately real based on observation. Harding realized that Mach drew his portrait this way because his self was located inside his head and the self cannot observe the self. Harding stumbled on an amazing “self portrait” (shown on the following page) drawn by none other than Ernst Mach. both arms and hands. so he tried to discover who or what the observer ultimately is. a practitioner of 63 The artist is unknown. She used invariance as her criterion for deciding whether things are real. including scientists. “A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he had found the point where the sky and the Earth touch. and part of a nose. but the drawing first appeared in Camille Flammarion's book “The Atmosphere: Popular Meteorology" in 1888. She and her father compiled a list of candidates of invariant things on a table napkin while eating in a Chinese restaurant. the subject must be separated from its object.” 64 While it sounds strange.Appendix O – The Headless Way and Wheeler's Big U In Appendix N. We laugh at this primitive naivete. Douglas Harding had explored this problem in detail by paying very close attention to the spatial aspects of observations and meticulously recording what he observed. they tend to revert to using static. but modern people. which involved a series of experiments and exercises that force a person's attention to turn inward. In fact.. Blunder #5.

Not only do conscious beings have the ability (at least in principle) to observe their own origin. This makes achieving a Grand Unified Theory of Everything very doubtful in my opinion. But I believe most cosmologists would agree that some kind of signal coming from the big bang is possible. they often sound completely bat-shit crazy. The universe begins at the big bang singularity and evolves and expands into the letter U. the more sense they make. John Wheeler pondered this and concluded that the universe must be a kind of giant feedback loop. The reason I broached Gefter. while the light path from the origin to the eyeball goes directly along the straight dashed line. the telescope provides us the ability – in principle at least – to see our own origin. which is very weird indeed. depicted below. Imagine we look back through space and time using a very powerful telescope that is able to observe the big bang. He called it The Big U. would have serious disagreements over important details. possibly gravity waves. But the more you think about them. Wheeler insists they actually participated in bringing it about.this technique comes to the realization that the self does not exist. Wheeler could not draw this as the typical false diorama of flat space. and Tolle is because their ideas support the principle that unobservable things don't exist. So what does exist? That brings us to another interesting thought experiment. Harding. I'm afraid myriad conscious observers. While conscious beings might be able to reach some sort of consensus about the general features of reality. because the observer's light cone would then expand backward in time and eventually hit a non-existent edge of space it reached the singularity. A conscious being in the present is represented by the big eyball looking back at its own origin. as Gefter recognized.66 Since the big bang is the origin of everything in the universe. but it serves as a schematic diagram or mental aid for grasping Wheeler's unique concept of reality. this telescope would have to use something other than electromagnetic radiation. reality boils down to a Big Thought. Mach. Eckhart Tolle also prescribes certain mental practices and meditations that produce the same result. 67 When initially encountering Wheeler's ideas.67 The Big U diagram encapsulates Wheeler's “it from bit” conjecture. In Wheeler's participatory universe. mentioned several times in this essay. Bear in mind that the Big U should not be taken literally as his toy model of the universe. 38 . 66 In order to penetrate beyond the so-called CMB curtain to the big bang itself. all having unique frames of reference.

is credited with coming up with this idea. The famous cosmologist. that idea just doesn't work.Appendix P – Gravity Waves. our South Pole team took a PowerPoint slide used by another research group for a presentation on microwave polarization caused by dust. In this case. it turned out that the measurements were bogus. you can't cancel out one source of noise by “subtracting” noise coming from a different source. Any deviations from this temperature are impossible because this would violate the second law of thermodynamics. these are not problems at all.” Electromagnetic waves. It carried the primordial label because the polarization was supposedly established by gravity waves when the universe was only 10 -32 seconds old. meaning their electric field components are oriented in a single direction instead of every which way.7°K can be explained as the mean temperature of the universe everywhere (and everywhen) once all the red shifts are taken into account. press conferences were held. So the idea was to look for B-mode polarization and thus prove that inflation really had taken place. So they had a brilliant idea. because that would make the job of communication engineers a whole lot simpler. the team had collected enough data to confirm that primordial B-mode polarization was real. All that remained was a ticker-tape parade down Broadway and a trip to Stockholm to pick up the inevitable Nobel Prizes. dust in our galaxy and between the galaxies also polarizes electromagnetic waves. lonely months of making measurements at the frigid South Pole. after long.7 billion years ago). all this talk about what is the “size” of the universe today or what it was in the past is complete nonsense. Case closed. Here's their logic: Signal at South Pole = Primordial B-mode Polarization + Random Noise from Dust ∴ Signal at South Pole – Random Noise from Dust = Primordial B-mode Polarization Well. and cosmology was “solved. Unfortunately. 69 Of course. The apparent temperature of the “cosmic background radiation” (after being red shifted over a 13+ billion-years interval) equals the temperature of the intergalactic matter in the foreground. although I wish it did. can be polarized. there is no real evidence that inflation ever took place. during an incredibly short time interval.7 billion light-years away (and 13. all that intervening dust would have generated an awful lot of random noise on top of the polarization signals they were looking for. 39 . the exponential inflation that started the Big Bang must have generated colossal gravity waves that bent and twisted space-time of the early universe. Higgs Bosons and All That Noise The standard model of cosmology (SMC) today holds that inflation supplied the initial “kick” for the Big Bang.” Champagne bottles popped. Now according to inflation theory. By reading the imprint of B-mode polarization on the CMB. and trumpets blared. and the temperature of the cosmic background radiation being so darned uniform. the universe expanded exponentially from a size smaller than a proton to something around the size of a grapefruit. microwaves. all those fancy curlycues they interpreted as “primordial B-mode polarization” were essentially noise 68 Of course. papers were published. and then they simply digitized the image from the slide and subtracted those numbers from their own numbers! Thus. Why not just subtract that noise from the measurements they took.68 Inflation supposedly solves the “problems” of the universe being so darned flat. This bending and twisting would have squeezed the CMB waves into recognizable patterns called primordial B-mode polarization. as I pointed out earlier in this essay. In other words. Doing that can only increase the total amount of noise. Well. inflation was proven. This receiver was specially designed to measure something called the “primordial B-mode polarization.69 But despite that. the scientists believed they could look behind the red-hot CMB “curtain” of ionized matter and actually “see” the grapefruit-sized universe that existed right after inflation stopped. Therefore. The magic value of 2. Alan Guth. and light. which equals the apparent temperatures of every part of the universe at all distances corresponding to earlier epochs. So a team of scientists traveled to the South Pole and set up a microwave receiver to measure the cosmic microwave background (CMB) that made Penzias and Wilson famous. since random noise is random. leaving nothing but a pure signal. You see. It is impossible to define beginning and end points for making such measurements. such as radio. According to Guth. The universe appears to be flat simply because a straight line is defined as the path light takes and using light is the only way we can measure flatness from within the universe. somewhere between 10 -33 and 10 -32 seconds. gravity waves were detected. Unfortunately. and there is a very large amount of dust between the South Pole and that primordial grapefruit 13.

Particle physicsists refer to that noise as “background. the difference just had to be the Higgs signal. so it seems that Smoot hadn't really seen God's face after all. So looking for a primordial signal from 13+ billion years ago is kind of like trying to find a very distant grey object through a thick London fog. Penzias and Wilson didn't have the foggiest idea of what they had found until a group of scientists at Princeton told them it was CMB.74 The problem is those “signals” are completely swamped out by noise. It's the same bogus technique they used at the South Pole to “detect” gravity waves. So what do the scientists do? You guessed it: They “subtract” the foreground dust noise from the COBE. considering the exploding galaxies. Later. 72 They are also very far away from any bird poop that could contaminate microwave signals coming from space. generated a sensation when its results came back. They need to bone up on Claude Shannon's work to fully undersand the problem of extracting signals from noise and how to solve it.” So in order to detect the Higgs. I wish an electrical engineer specializing in communication would take these PhD Nobel Prize winning physicists aside and tell them they simply can't extract meaningful information from signals when the signal-to-noise ratio is less than 1%.000 physicists and engineering types. superstrings. Maybe. or from any other technique for that matter.5 TeV beams of protons (later ramped up to 6.5 TeV in 2015) traveling in opposite directions and smashing into each other at four separate locations. extra dimensions.7°K. produced vastly more detail than COBE and even more spectacular false-color images. In fact. The long sought-after Higgs boson was finally detected by the LHC in 2012. it was featureless. 73 Images of various personages. often emerge from fractal patterns.scraped off a PowerPoint slide from anoother group. 71 The word discovered is too strong. The problem with all this CMB hoopla is that scientists know very well that dust also radiates microwaves. “proving” in one way or another various pet theories involving quantum gravity. leading Nobel Prize winning cosmologist George Smoot to gasp.70 When Penzias and Wilson first “discovered” the CMB71 back in 1964. the “background” had to be removed. WMAP and Planck satellite signals. those images are turning out to be scale-invariant fractal patterns. 70 This is surprising. magnetic monopoles.000 – between different regions of the sky. Can you guess what technique they used? You're right! First. parallel universes. They initially thought it came from bird poop. gravity waves are like the “luminiferous aether” that nobody could detect. The signal appeared to be black-body radiation coming from a surface with a temperature of 2. Should anyone be surprised to find protons in the shower of particles that come from two beams of protons smashing together? 40 . That machine generated two 3.72 The first of these satellites. which would be a lot cheaper than creating fractal images using satellites. and it was uniform in every direction. Satellites are much better than ground-based receivers because they are above the Earth's atmosphere.5 TeV with Higgs bosons completely absent. no actual gravity waves have been detected from primordial B-mode polarization. By dialing up the contrast settings. With greater resolution. “It was like seeing the face of God!” Data from later satellites. interstellar dust happens to have the same temperature as the CMB. just maybe. WMAP and Planck. or whatever else might catch their fancy. stars collapsing into black holes and other violent activities going on all around us. a multibillion-euro machine operated by CERN that employs about 10.73 You could also generate beautiful fractal patterns using an old laptop picked up at a yard sale for $50. To date. 74 Some of the most prominent decay products are protons. Next we turn to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Higgs “signals” are a set of particles that Higgs bosons give off when they decay. most proton-proton collisions produce a virtual cacophony of signals that are not even remotely related to the Higgs boson. Actually. It should be pointed out that fractal patterns are essentially the same as noise.5 TeV collisions. COBE. I'm guessing it's because of how our brains are wired. When those signals were “subtracted” from the signals from the 3. But this doesn't stop cosmologists from judging those CMB false-color images as being very significant. these variations could be displayed as vivid false-color maps of the sky. which blocks much of the cosmic microwave radiation. primordial black holes. right? Don't you see the fallacy here? Is science solving the reality riddle? You be the judge. “Subtracting” noise from noise just won't do it. especially Jesus and the Virgin Mary. they computed “background” from data generated by earlier collisions with energies well below 3. a series of satellites were launched that took more precise 360° latitudinal and longitudinal surveys of the CMB. COBE proved the CMB was indeed thermal and there were tiny variations in temperature – about 1 part in 100.

converting the mass of many Suns into pure gravitational energy. the team designed digital filters matching the waveforms from the computer output. apparatus. however. Albert Michelson and Edward Morley didn't use lasers and the LIGO apparatus is much bigger.0001 times the diameter of a proton. • The ability of the interferometers to detect movements of a mirror that are a mere 0. They used computers to sift through the noise and look for a signature of a signal matching what they believed waves from colliding black holes would look like. with a peak power output exceeding 50 times that of all the stars in the visible universe.Appendix Q – An Update on the Gravity Wave Quest I released the previous appendix before this big announcement was made: Einsteinian gravity waves were detected at 05:51 EST on September 15. coming from an engineer and amateur scientist like myself. Since Einstein's equations are non-linear. The LIGO device looks a lot like the interferometer used by Albert Michelson and Edward Morley in their failed attempts in 1887 to measure the Earth's velocity through the ether. This was a truly cataclysmic event. There are two LIGO interferometers. I'm a bit skeptical about the ability of this instrument to accurately measure deflections that small. 41 . 2015 using a machine named LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory). their vibrations match that of a piano. deflecting the mirror in one of the interferometer legs a mere one ten thousandth of the diameter of a proton. The announcement started a flurry of breathless news reports in the mainstream press and popular science media. and there undoubtedly will be several Nobel Prize nominations coming out soon. and Ping Yu of Cognitech Calculating Technology Institute in Los Angeles. Considering that defects on the mirror's surface are billions of times larger than protons. But there are others who share my doubt. one located in Hanford.75 The source of the gravity waves that LIGO reportedly detected was a collision of two black holes 1. Based on the computer simulation. my skepticism probably sounds like the rantings of a crackpot. predictions.3 billion light years away. admits that the gravity signal was buried in an awful lot of noise.76 The Journal of Modern Physics published a paper by Mei and Yu entitled “Did LIGO Really Detect Gravitational Waves?” that questioned the assumptions. Everyone.77 The LIGO team didn't actually “hear” the black holes colliding. and data analysis that led to the conclusion that gravity waves really were detected. • The ability to screen out electromagnetic influences that are on the order of 1040 times stronger than gravity waves. LA.E. Among them are Xiaochun Mei of the Institute of Innovative Physics in Fuzhou. Of course. China. which would certainly make any physicist highly suspicious of him. expensive science projects is that there is just too much at stake if the results don't pan out. I'm just saying there could be a bit of confirmation bias at work here. CFM56 jet engine running full throttle. CA. so it was simulated on a computer. WA and the other in Livingston. Their doubts centered around the following. I'm not saying the LIGO team is corrupt or dishonest. 75 Of course. Yu might be an engineer. • The ability to calculate fingerprints of gravity waves resulting from the collision of two black holes based on Einstein's field equations. What do you suppose are that the odds that the piano made the vibrations and not the noise from the jet engine? The problem with big. using those filters to extract the expected signal from the interferometer noise. so I use a tuning fork matched to Middle C plus other tuning forks matched to all of the piano's overtones and mount the tuning forks on a table next to a G. including LIGO's cheerleaders. 76 Mei and Yu don't seem like a couple of crackpots. nobody can solve such a collision analytically. Even so. methodology. Someone hits the Middle C key on a piano in the background. and when tuning forks are checked. as the press releases claimed. the gravitational effect on the LIGO apparatus was small. 77 I would think a tractor trailer rolling down I90 near Hanford and hitting a pot hole could easily jar the mirrors by more than the width of a proton. Yikes!! Let me use a crude analogy: Suppose I'm trying to detect a piano playing a Middle C note.

A semi-serious critical commentary of what science says about the universe, exposing some of the flaws about the current models. The author concludes that the universe is comprised of information, ...

A semi-serious critical commentary of what science says about the universe, exposing some of the flaws about the current models. The author concludes that the universe is comprised of information, with space and time being essentially forms of information censorship. He backs this up with an example of how nature conspires to prevent us from destroying information. There are several appendices that expand on the ideas presented in the main body of the essay. Written in a somewhat humorous vein, the ideas presented are nonetheless factual, based on the author's understanding of the current state of scientific knowledge. The essay summarizes some key concepts and quotations from Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Hermann Minkowski, Arthur Eddington, Niels Bohr, Boris Podolski, Nathan Rosen, Kurt Gödel, John Bell, John Wheeler, Richard Feynman, Claude Shannon, Alan Turing, Benoit Mandelbrot, Erik Verlinde, Leonard Susskind and others.

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