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Our Universe: It’s Geometry and

Physical Laws

“ Strange is our situation here upon Earth.
Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why; Yet
sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.”

--------- Albert Einstein.

One can speak about the motion of an object. (ii): The constancy of the speed of light has resulted in a replacement of the traditional view of space and time as rigid and objective structures with a new conception in which they depend intimately on the relative motion between observer and observed. There is no “absolute” notion of motion. --.Special Theory of Relativity (STR): There are two simple yet deeply rooted structures that form the foundation of STR : (i) Principle of Relativity (ii) Properties of Light (i): It concerns not with any specific physical law but rather with all physical laws. but only relative to or by comparison with another. .The concept of motion is relative.

“Invariance” theory. among other things ----.  The conflict between the “age-old intuition” about motion and the constancy of the speed of light is resolved by Einstein through Special Theory of Relativity. This limit applies not only to material objects but also to signals and influences of any kind.  The dictum “nothing can outrun light” is incompatible with Newton’s Universal Theory of Gravity.  resolved by Einstein through GTR. To reflect the unchanging character of the speed of light.  Central feature of STR  the absolute speed barrier set by light. . • What is E = mc ?? 2  Energy and mass are convertible and exchange rate is ever a constant.

gravity and accelerated motion are profoundly interwoven. it offers no insight into what gravity is  By what means does gravity execute it’s mission ?  But what about individuals who are experiencing accelerated motion ? According to Einstein.  Though Newtonian Gravity can be used to make highly accurate predictions about how objects will move under the influence of gravity. This indistinguishability between accelerated motion and gravity is called by Einstein as the Equivalence Principle – a central feature in GTR. Newtonian Gravity:  m1m2  F =G r r3 The strength does not depend on how long the objects have been in each other’s presence. .

may proclaim that they are stationary and the rest of the world is moving by them”. Accelerated frame without a gravitational field Non-accelerated frame with a gravitational field. regardless of their state of motion. GTR finishes a job initiated by STR. Hence one can say : “ All observers. GTR ensures all possible observational vantage points on equal footing. curvature of spacetime Gravity Accelerated Motion . so long as they Include a suitable gravitational field in the description of their own surroundings. Equivalence Principle put constant velocity and accelerating frames within one framework.

merely setting the stage on which the events of the universe play themselves out. Space was thought to provide an inert theatre. the presence of mass causes the fabric of space around it to warp. the answer was nothing.Revolutionary idea: Space and time warp and distort to communicate the force of gravity. . Euclidean geometry does not hold – (Pseudo) Riemannian Geometry Gravity Warping of space and time Accelerated Motion Q. According to GTR. What happens to space if a massive object is present ? Before Einstein.

 According to Einstein. This effect on the motion of the object is referred to as the gravitational influence of the mass. Space is not merely a passive forum providing the arena for the events of the universe. the greater the gravitational influence it can exert on other objects.  This warping in turn. .  The gravitational tether holding the earth in orbit is not some mysterious instantaneous action of the Sun – it is the warping of the spatial fabric caused by the Sun’s presence.  Two essential features of gravity : (i) The more massive the mass is. the warping of space is the mechanism by which gravity is transmitted. affects other objects moving in the vicinity of the mass. the greater the distortion it causes in the space fabric surrounding it  the more massive an object. as they now must traverse the distorted spatial fabric. rather the shape of space responds to objects in the environment.

The fabric of the cosmos. “ Gravity must be caused by an agent” ------. GR vs QM Central pt. .(ii) Distortion of spatial fabric gets smaller as one goes further from it  the influence of gravity becomes weaker as the distance between objects becomes larger. of Black holes GR Massive and Micro The whole universe at the QM moment of the big bang violent catastrophe Well-formulated physical problems elicit nonsensical answers when the equations of both theories are commingled.

 Gravitational field undulates up and down due to QF – average value is zero for empty space. Everything is subject to the quantum fluctuations inherent in the uncertainty principle – even the gravitational field. up and down (and even before and after) lose their meaning – Fundamental incompatibility between GR and QM.  On smaller regions of space.  The description of the frenzy revealed by such an ultra microscopic examination of space (and time) – Quantum Foam (John Wheeler) ---. Gravitational field ≡Curvature of the space-time QF manifests themselves as increasingly violent distortions of the surrounding space.Severe warping of space that it no longer resembles a gently curving geometrical object.an unfamiliar arena of the universe in which the conventional notions of left and right. ---. the size of the undulations of the gravitational field gets larger. back and forth. .

Ultramicroscopic scale: The uncertainty principle (the central feature of QM) is in direct conflict with the central feature of GR (the smooth geometrical model of space).Quantum Geometry . Quantum Geometry: String Theory: A quantum-mechanical description of gravity – a modification of GTR over Planck scale.The equations of GR cannot handle the roiling frenzy of quantum foam. Riemannian Geometry – the mathematical core of GTR must be modified to reflect the short distance physics --. --.a new kind of geometry over Planck scale --.

Q. astronomers can get a pretty good handle on the average amount of visible matter in the universe and it turns out to be significantly less than the critical value. A Cosmological Playground Big Bang Model: The whole of the universe violently emerged from a singular cosmic explosion. we can see that the debris from this explosion. is still streaming outward – The universe is expanding (Hubble). some 15 or so billion years ago. in the form of many billions of galaxies. Will this cosmic growth continue forever or halt at one time? Depends on the average density of matter Critical density ρ ≅ 10 −29 gm/c.c. . Today. c ρ > ρc ⇒ leads to Big Crunch ρ ≤ ρc ⇒ ever expanding universe Studying the distribution of galaxies throughout space.

. Big bang solution to Einstein’s equations by Alexander Friedmann – a solution that declares that the universe violently emerged from a state of infinite compression and is currently in the expanding aftermath of that primeval explosion. Howard Robertson and Arthur Walker refashioned Friedmann’s work in a more systematic and effective form – FRW Cosmology. Later. Hubble observed with a hundred-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory that the universe is expanding – a confirmation of Friedmann’s time dependent solution. the universe is neither eternal nor static. Einstein thought that according to GTR. The Standard Model of Cosmology The modern theory of cosmic origins dates from the decade and a half after GTR.

• At about a hundred-thousandth of a second after the bang. things had cooled sufficiently ( ≈ 10 trillion Kelvin – about a million times hotter than the sun’s interior) for quarks to clump together in group of three.A detailed process of evolution: • The universe erupted from an enormously energetic. − 32 • At time 10 43 sec (Planck time): Temperature ≈ 10 Kelvin (some 10 trillion trillion times hotter than the deep interior of the sun). which spewed forth all of space and all of matter. singular event. . the universe expanded and cooled. forming protons and neutrons. • About a hundredth of a second later. conditions were right for the nuclei of some the lightest elements in the periodic table to start congealing out of the cooling plasma of particles. the initial homogeneous primordial cosmic plasma began to form eddies and clumps. • As time passed.

which interact only with electrically charged objects. • For the next few hundred thousand years there were only further expansion and cooling. where bumped and jostled incessantly by the thick bath of charged particles. . mostly hydrogen and helium. • Prior to the era of electron capture. wildly streaming electrons slowed down to the point where atomic nuclei. • When the temperature had dropped to a few thousand degrees. traversing hardly any distance before being deflected or absorbed.period of primordial nucleosynthesis. like electrons. similar to the experience in a dense morning fog. became transparent. along with trace amounts of deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and lithium --. as the simmering universe cooled to about a billion degrees. from this point forward the universe by and large . The charged particle barrier to the free motion of photons would have made the universe appear almost completely opaque.• In the next three minutes. could capture them. the pre-dominant nuclei that emerged were those of hydrogen and helium. • Photons. forming the first electrically neutral atoms. This was a pivotal moment. the universe was filled with a dense plasma of electrically charged particles – some with (+)ve charges like nuclei and others with (-)ve charges.

one can marvel at both the magnificence of the cosmos and at our collective ability to have pieced together a reasonable and experimentally testable theory of cosmic origin. the charged obstructions disappeared and the dense fog vanished. with the universe having substantially calmed down from its frenetic beginnings. Q. it is possible to see light. some 15 billion or so years after the bang. So one can verify the expansion of the universe with the prediction of the Big bang theory. How much faith should we really have in the Big bang theory? Possible Way: With powerful telescope. From that time onward. emitted from galaxies and quasars just a few billion years after the Big bang. galaxies. . Today. • About a billion years later.• But when (-)vely charged electrons were brought into orbit around (+)vely charged nuclei. photons from the Big bang have traveled unhindered and the full expanse of the universe gradually came into view. yielding electrically neutral atoms. stars and ultimately planets began to emerge as a gravitationally bound clumps of the primordial elements.

this gas of freely streaming photons expands as well and as a result the temperature of this photon gas decreases. . the universe is filled with a gas of photons (uniformly distributed). photons are free to travel in every direction of the universe. • George Gamow and his students Ralph Alpher and Robert Hermann (1950’s) and Robert Dicke and Jim Peebles (mid 1960’s) speculated that present day universe should be permeated by an almost uniform bath of these primordial photons.e. which through the last 15 billion years of cosmic expansion have cooled to a mere handful of degrees above absolute zero. i. To test the theory to yet earlier times. • After electrons and nuclei join together to form atoms. astronomers make use of the most refined approaches known as “Cosmic Background Radiation”. This was confirmed by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson (1965) of Bell Laboratories by detecting this after glow of the Big bang while working on an antenna for communication satellites. As the universe expands.

• In early 1990s NASA’s COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite collected data which have confirmed to high precision that the universe is filled with microwave radiation. between a hundredth of a second and a few minutes ATB. ---. • Can we push further in our tests of the Big bang theory to even earlier times? • Standard principles of nuclear theory and thermodynamics.7 degree Kelvin.A confirmation of the Big bang picture of cosmology as far back as the time that photons first moved freely through the universe. exactly in accord withy the expectation of the Big bang theory (If our eyes were sensitive to microwaves. about a few hundred thousand years after the bang (ATB). Also there is confirmation regarding deuterium abundance and recently that of lithium. we would see a diffused glow in the world around us). whose temperature is about 2. physicists can make definite predictions about the relative abundance of the light elements produced during the period of primordial nucleosynthesis. • Beyond that: The arena of string theory . Theoretical prediction of about 23% helium in the universe is supported from the measurement of helium abundance in stars and nebulae.

Planck time to a Hundredth of a second ATB: “Super force” Strong force 10 −35 sec 28 Weak force Temp > 10 Kelvin Electromagnetic force strong force Phase Transition: weak force (Temp< 1028 Kelvin) Super force electromagnetic force Weak force Phase Transition: (Temp ≈ 1015 Kelvin) Electromagnetic force .

the temperature of the radiation is the same. have temperatures that are so finely matched? • A natural answer is to know that two diametrically opposite places in the heavens are far apart today. consistent and calculationally tractable framework for understanding the universe in the post-Planck era. Why should different locations in the universe. separated by enormous distances. • Detailed studies of the cosmic background radiation have shown that regardless of which direction in the sky one points the measuring antenna. . to about one part in 100. • A detailed further investigation shows some problems – one is the horizon problem. A Cosmological Puzzle The standard Big bang cosmology provides an elegant. but during the earliest moments of the universe they were very close together. So it is not at all surprising that they share common physical traits such as their temperature.000. This is quite strange.

ATB – in which the 30 universe expanded by a colossal factor of at least 10 . • Thus through Guth’s momentary burst of cosmological inflation – followed by the more usual expansion of the standard cosmological model – these regions of space were able to become separated by the vast distances we observed today --. • Before this expansion. Inflation (Alan Guth. . the standard cosmological model is modified during −36 a tiny window of time – around 10 to 10 −34 sec. • This means that in a brief flicker of time. compared with a factor of about a hundred during the same time interval in standard scenario. matter that is now in far flung regions of the cosmos was much closer together than in the standard cosmological model. making it possible for a common temperature. MIT) • In this framework. the size of the universe increased by a greater percentage than it has in the 15 billion years since.a solution to the Horizon Problem as well as a number of other important problems. 1979.

The boldness of asking deep questions may require unforeseen flexibility if we are to accept the answers. . nucleosynthesis galaxies formed (Big bang) inflation grand unification 104 yrs 1010 yrs 10−45 10−30 −24 −18 10 −6 sy ad01 10 10 c es 1 y adot Time: today (in sec) 10−36 10−12 1025 K 1010 K 104 K Temp: 1019 K (in Kelvin) 16 1028 K 10 K 10 K 1013 K 22 32 107 K solar system K01 10 K atoms formed formed Planck time electroweak unification The meta-lesson of both relativity and quantum mechanics is that when we deeply probe the fundamental workings of the universe we may come upon aspects that are vastly different from our expectations.

Thank You .