"Think binary. When matter meets antimatter, both vanish, into pure energy. But both existed; I mean, there was a condition we'll call 'existence.' Think of one and minus one. Together they add up to zero, nothing, nada, niente, right? Picture them together, then picture them separating--peeling apart. ... Now you have something, you have two somethings, where once you had nothing." -John Updike
Looking out at our Universe, at the myriad of stars, galaxies, and, well, "stuff" in our Universe, it's hard not to ask yourself where it all came from.
When we look out at the Universe, each point of light that's out there, whether a planet, star, galaxy, cluster of galaxies or something even bigger, contains the entire history of the Universe as part of its story.
There's a great cosmic spider-web of structure that's traced out by the galaxies in the Universe, with each pixel of light representing the location of a single galaxy.
When we consider our Universe, sure, it's full of dark matter and dark energy; that's how you make the structure we observe today. Even if we allowed ourselves to modify the laws of General Relativity, there's simply no other way to reproduce/recreate the Universe we have today.
Looking at the matchup between simulations and observations, the cosmic web of great clusters, filaments and empty voids fills the entire modern Universe.
How did they get there? It took the billions of years the Universe has been around, the irresistible force of gravity, and the runaway growth of structure in the expanding Universe to bring it all together.
The beautiful simulation below, by Ralf Kähler, scales out the expansion of the Universe so that we can visualize just how matter -- both normal and dark -- collapses over time into galaxies, filaments and clusters.
Simulation: Oliver Hahn and Tom Abel (KIPAC).
But it's the normal matter -- the protons, neutrons, and electrons -- that produce the visible light we pick up with our telescopes. The stars and galaxies that we see are all, as best as we can tell, made out of normal matter. And yet, this, itself, is a puzzle.
Because the laws of physics don't allow you to create or destroy matter without also creating or destroying an equal amount of antimatter!
At least, this is true experimentally and observationally. But it couldn't always have been true, otherwise the Universe would have an equal amount of antimatter in it to the matter that's present.
And it doesn't. In fact, if there were an equal amount of antimatter created to the amount of matter we presently have in the Universe, the Universe would be so sparsely populated that there'd only be about one subatomic particle per cubic kilometer.
It would be less than one-billionth as dense as the Universe we have today.
So let's go back to the very early stages of the Universe, when it was filled with a hot, dense plasma, with equal amounts of matter and antimatter, and see if we can't make the Universe we have today.
Against the background of this hot, dense, fully ionized plasma, an equal quantity of particles and antiparticle flit back-and-forth. They collide with one another, annihilating, while other particles, like photons, interact with one another, producing equal amounts of matter and antimatter when they do.
If the Universe were of a constant size, a constant temperature, and all the particles and antiparticles in it were stable, it would be impossible to create more matter than antimatter, or vice versa. But in our Universe, none of those things are true!
The Universe is expanding and cooling, and what this means is that -- when the temperature drops below a certain point -- you can no longer create matter/antimatter pairs as quickly as you destroy them! Why's that? Because E = mc2, and once the energy of your Universe drops below the mass necessary to create the particles/antiparticles you're looking to make, the ones that already exist simply go away.
How do they go away? They annihilate away, as only matter and antimatter can. But as they do, it gets more and more difficult for the matter and antimatter particles to find one another. Because the Universe is expanding, the density is dropping, and these particles/antiparticles are disappearing, you reach a point where they can no longer find one another. This "leftover" stuff you get, after all the annihilation the Universe can muster, is called freeze-out.
Getting this "frozen out" stuff is a consequence of the Universe being out of thermal equilibrium. For example, for example, at some point, you're going to be left with a Universe that contains a bunch of muons and anti-muons. Like most particles we know how to make, these are unstable, and will decay. For most particles/antiparticles, like muons/antimuons, this isn't a big deal. Whatever the particle decays into, the antiparticle will decay into the anti-counterpart, giving you a net gain of nothing.
But some particles are fundamentally different from their antiparticles, and this difference can create more matter than antimatter in the Universe! Here's how.
Let's imagine the Universe is filled with a new kind of unstable particle, the positively-charged Q+, and its antiparticle, the negatively-charged Q-. Because of certain conservation laws, they have to have the same mass, the opposite charge, and the same total lifetime.
But they don't have to be the same in every way. Let's say the Q+ can decay into either a proton and a neutrino, or into an anti-neutron and a positron. That means the Q- must be allowed to decay into an anti-proton and an anti-neutrino, or into a neutron and an electron.
Although this looks weird, because you sometimes have matter decaying into antimatter and antimatter decaying into matter, there are three important things about this type of decay:
- it allows you to violate the conservation of baryon number. (That is, the number of protons + neutrons combined.)
- This is allowed by the standard model, so long as the number of baryons minus leptons is conserved, and
- it can, if things work out correctly, create more matter than antimatter.
In addition to being out-of-equilibrium, there's one more thing that we need.
If the percentage of the Q+'s that become protons and neutrinos is the same as the percentage of Q-'s that become anti-protons and anti-neutrinos, this won't help you at all. The protons and anti-protons will be equal in number, and you won't create any more matter than antimatter.
Same deal with the anti-neutrons/positrons and the neutrons/electrons. But although it's possible that these individual percentages are equal, it isn't mandatory. The other possibility is -- and this happens in nature -- that particles will prefer one type of decay, while antiparticles will prefer a different type!
If this happens, then the Q+'s would make more protons and neutrinos than the Q-'s would make anti-protons and anti-neutrinos, while the Q-'s would make more neutrons and electrons than the Q+'s would make anti-neutrons and positrons.
Looking solely at the protons/neutrons/anti-protons/anti-neutrons that result from this decay, what would we wind up with?
More matter than anti-matter! In fact, so long as you fulfill these three famous criteria:
- Out-of-equilibrium conditions,
- Baryon-number-violating interactions, and
- C- and CP-violation (the differences in decays, above),
you not only can create more matter than antimatter (or vice versa), but an asymmetry is inevitable. And since something like this is required to create more matter than antimatter in the Universe, and that's the Universe we have, this is why there's something instead of nothing!
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"But although it's possible that these individual percentages are equal, it isn't mandatory...
...particles will prefer one type of decay, while antiparticles will prefer a different type!"
That just baffles me. Seems like running an equation backwards and not arriving where you started.
Do we know why this happens?
Ethan, I find you get ever more sloppy, which is sad. You know well that "why is there something rather than nothing" is an entirely different issue, e.g. see here
and if anti particles annihilated all particles, the ensuing radiation is not nothing but energy-wise for example as much.
Your explanation for why there is more matter than anti matter has not changed from the last time, except that instead of Y going into p+ and e- you use a Q+ turning into a p+ and neutrino now. The problem is still the same, namely if you look at the quark content, it makes little sense. Moreover, it isn't so much an explanation than a mere shifting of the question to a different spot. "Why is there more? Because look there is more, 60 instead of 40." Well, why? It would be much better to just enlighten the reader about that it is simply a misconception to assume that "anti" means to be opposite in all properties rather than being a more or less traditional terminology.
Is this new work? I've been hearing that we have no idea why there's more matter than antimatter, but you just explained it pretty clearly. Was this just figured out, or do I need to read better science mags?
Mark M @1, it might be baffling, but this is how real particles and antiparticles undergoing weak decays behave quite frequently. This includes mesons and baryons with strange and bottom quarks, as well as (quite probably) neutrinos and antineutrinos. As long as the total decay rate of the matter and antimatter versions are equal, nature is happy.
Sascha @2, you become indignant every time I use a colloquialism, which -- as you must have noticed by now -- is (unapologetically) all the time. "Nothing" is used it colloquial English to mean "something of little-to-no importance", which is how I used it in the title here. We still don't know all the details of baryogenesis, and I thought providing a clearer explanation of the problem and this solution for a general audience would be more useful than going into the latest details of electroweak baryogenesis and the latest data on CP violation. But you have your own blog, if you care to elaborate on the latest findings.
Artor @3, you definitely need to read better science mags (which is to say, better science mags will hopefully exist in the future), but we still do not know all of the details as to why there's more matter than anti-matter. I would hope that people would stop conflating "we don't know all the details" with "we have no idea."
For instance, I made up these Q-particles; they very likely do not exist with those exact decay channels in those branching fractions, as far as we know. But something very much like this certainly happens, and these general conditions given here have been known since the late 1960s.
I remember when you explained this in less detail. I appreciate the revisit to go a little more in depth. For me the images helped the concept click. Makes me wonder why the universe is so filled with imperfection.
I like this blogpost. It's very interesting and informative. However, I feel compelled to point out the obvious. Whatever the answer to why there is anything at all is, if there even is one, it can't be that there was something, which made it so. For instance, you can't answer the question with "because there was this hot, dense, fully ionized plasma, which eventually became asymmetrical and thereby causing there to be more matter than antimatter." You still haven't answered why there was something rather than nothing. You've just answered why there is an asymmetry of something rather than a symmetry of something. Why was there a hot, dense, fully ionized plasma instead of nothing?
Ethan, ignore SV's comment. Excellent basic intro to how C and CP violation lead to an asymmetry in what we find in the universe. Keep up the good work.
I, too, have huge problems with this post. It seems to rely on quite a bit of special pleading: we know there's more matter than anti-matter, therefore something like the hypothetical Q particle and it's associated anti-particle must exist and they must have differing decay paths.
"And since something like this is required to create more matter than antimatter in the Universe, and that's the Universe we have, this is why there's something instead of nothing!"
While this may be true this is still no answer as to why there's more matter than anti-matter in our real universe. I am not an expert in formal logic but I am pretty sure your post runs into problems here. In essence you're saying: 'The world is the way it is therefore the history of the world must lead to this moment.' Maybe, but we can't exclude any of the other possibilities since we're here and now and not there and now.
Your posts about this subject tend to rely heavily on assumptions we haven't got much grasp on, yet they read like the answers are all already there and we know how this happened. This is obviously not the case otherwise you wouldn't have had to invent a hypothetical Q particle and you wouldn't even have had to post this article.
Perhaps something is lost because you're trying to explain things in too simple a way.
In any case, I hope I haven't confused the matter even more :).
Thanks for an explanation a non-physicist can follow.
Does this imply some sort of imbalance in energy? If it ends up with more normal matter than anti-matter, which might otherwise have annihilated to create energy, does that imply some initial impulse of energy? I'm not at all sure I'm asking this properly, but there it is.
@Tomato: At the moment we call the big bang there was a huge amount of energy in a very small volume, when space expanded and cooled a bit this energy was transformed (maybe condensed is a better term) into both matter and anti-matter. Which promptly went on to annihilate, although as we can see there was a slight imbalance. Where this initial energy came from is unknown but one thing should be clear, there is no negative energy which is responsible for anti-matter.
Harold @8: I don't see any special pleading in this post. That we exist is an observational constraint on theories of cosmology. Ethan sketches out one type of theory which satisfies this constraint. It's not necessarily the only solution, and the post makes no claim that it is the only solution. When this topic arises in colloquia I have attended, the speaker generally mumbles something about spontaneous symmetry breaking, which is usually something different (although it could be that different decay path probabilities is the form the spontaneous symmetry breaking takes in this case).
As far as this question about answering why is there something instead of not-something, I wouldn't worry about it because it isn't a well formed question to begin with. Its like asking, "Why is there blue instead of not-blue?" These questions are silly because they already assume causality. All these questions ultimately have the same answer, there is some sort of structured hierarchy in which these questions make sense. So the question presupposes the existence of something. So the answer is always the same, we have to assume there is something the extends beyond ourselves.
It seems then that the correct question is why is there something that extends beyond ourselves? (or perhaps, what extends beyond ourselves). These are questions dealing with the continuum. In some sense the question might as well be why is there infinity and not zero? Well the answer may very well be that there are natural limits to induction that we can not overcome because we are simply incapable.
The physical problem though, as discussed above, is still tractable and will get to more relevant answers.
Maybe a bit off-topic from baryogenesis, but has anyone else noticed the striking similarity between large scale structures, especially in simulations and a the microscopic images of brain tissue?! I mean, wow! The center clumps are identical in shape to neuron nucleus with dendrites around and all interconnections around.
Am not saying or alluding to the universe being one big brain. But the similarity in structure is astounding!
What is even more curious to me is this section from wiki:
"Despite the critical role that dendrites play in the computational tendencies of neurons, very little is known about the process by which dendrites orient themselves in vivo and are compelled to create the intricate branching pattern unique to each specific neuronal class".
Any thoughts? :)
Great article. I often wonder, though, when reading explanations about why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe is whether or not that's really true. Has it been conclusively ruled out that there isn't some aggregate of antimatter somewhere that is unobservable? The universe and the observable universe are two different things, right? During the inflationary period, is it not possible that two aggregates of matter/antimatter got separated (in the sense that they now lie outside each other's light cones), with one aggregate having just by chance a slight preponderance of matter (which would have led to our observable universe) and the other having a slight preponderance of antimatter. Since the two are outside each other's light cones, they can no longer influence each other, and we cannot, even in theory, observe this hypothetical "antimatter universe".
While I'm sure that your explanation is the one that is most widely accepted in the physics community, and I'm not attempting to suggest that my scenario is more plausible, I just wonder if my scenario is even theoretically possible.
So, of the things required, from last to first....
"it can...create more matter than antimatter" - Okay, I think we've seen many hints of this (kaons, right?) in experiments, but nothing definitive? Still, seems reasonable.
"This is allowed by the standard model" - I'll take your word on that, as I certainly can't do the math.
"it allows you to violate the conservation of baryon number" - Hmm. Wouldn't this imply proton decay, which we've been doing some serious looking for and have found nary a hint of? We already have results showing proton half-life above 10^33 years. Does the proton decay have a correlation with baryon number conservation via these other processes, such that these experiments could rule this mechanism out as not providing enough of a discrepancy between matter and antimatter to produce the universe we know today?
Thanks Harold (@10), that's the answer I needed. It even makes sense that any amount of imbalance would lead to cooling/condensing with more of one type of matter than the other (because annihilation just heats things back up again).
Is the preference for matter in the decay really needed?
Since the decay paths are just a probability, at any given moment, there may be a small imbalance between matter and antimatter, just like there may be an imbalance between heads and tails for a series of coin flips at any given moment. If the universe froze out during a small imbalance, you would end up with either more matter or antimatter. In this scenario, it would just be a matter of luck ending up with a universe of matter instead of antimatter (or no matter) and not a result of decay preference for matter.
Also, is the timing of events wrong or could inflation be another possible explanation for the dominance of matter in the observable universe? If there are causally disconnected universes as a result of inflation creating pocket/island universes, and there was some local asymmetries or uneven distributions during inflation, maybe across the meta-verse of all island universes total matter and antimatter are in balance, but because the island universes are disconnected, the remaining matter and antimatter in those universes cannot annihilate.
Harold @8, the question is not whether we can create more matter than antimatter; the known physics we have can do that. The detail that we don't understand is how to get the right amount of matter leftover in the Universe. Based on what we know, if there were no CP-violation, the matter+antimatter-to-photon density would be something like ~10-20, while the observed amount is somewhere around 6 x 10-10.
Now, we observe some CP-violation and we have this picture of a gradual out-of-equilibrium cooling of the Universe, which can up that amount (and make it a matter-over-antimatter asymmetry), but only by a few orders of magnitude. Certainly not by the 10 or 11 orders of magnitude necessary.
So, we either need something to go out-of-equilibrium very quickly (which is the appeal to symmetry breaking in EWSB or Affleck-Dine baryogenesis), or we need a much larger amount of CP-violation (as in GUT baryogenesis, some variants of EW baryogenesis, or the case I outlined above).
Sean t @14, yes, that scenario has been ruled out. We have calculated what the observable consequences of having a region of anti-stars, anti-galaxies, and anti-clusters would be in the Universe, and the annihilation signatures would be easily observable with our current technology. Their absence, combined with the abundance of matter found in the Universe, highly disfavors any scenario with a large anti-matter region in the Universe.
However, if you are willing to go beyond the Universe's horizon and hypothesize that the CP-violation in nature is different in different, causally disconnected regions of spacetime, then your imagined scenario is theoretically possible.
Benhead @15, proton decay has been used to constrain various models that would have "too much" proton decay. However, the standard model on its own predicts that the proton should be unstable. To give you a little more detail, there are dimension-6 operators (that could be Higgs-mediated, for example) that would lead to a very, very long lifetime of the proton -- on the order of 1042+ years -- but not an infinite lifetime.
It doesn't mean that every possible decay channel happens that frequently, but the proton by itself shouldn't be perfectly stable.
You may want to look up "sphaleron interactions" if you want to learn about how the standard model can violate Baryon and Lepton number individually, while conserving B-L.
Karl @17, again, in your scenario, you would get some matter and some antimatter in the Universe, but it would be about 11 orders of magnitude less than the observed amount. This, for me, is part of the beauty of physics being a quantitative science.
What experimental constraints have been discovered for the size of the CP-violation?
And are there any other theories for the preponderance of matter vs anti-matter that do not rely on CP-violaton? At least anything shy of outright crankery.
Stating the universe is billions of years old is simply incorrect.
Think about the realities invloved. There is no beginning or end of time and there is no beginning or end of space.
The large pop that occurred 11-12 billion years ago was in essence a zero matter event in comparison to the actual size of the universe.
Man's ability to interject his ego and self worth = the big bang theory, which is rediculous at all levels.
For a closely related topic Of Particular Significance
has a good article on matter/anti-matter interactions.
ps. I love his blog too
"Because the laws of physics don't allow you to create or destroy matter without also creating or destroying an equal amount of antimatter!"
I'm confused! I was taught at school that matter cannot be created nor destroyed.
Now, according to the statement, you can create matter if you create equal amount of anti-matter, and no matter what, you did create matter at the end, right? So, they taught me wrong?
(this reminds me of this great post http://thehappyscientist.com/blog/teach-it-right-first-time)
"Stating the universe is billions of years old is simply incorrect...."
Stating something like that without providing any explanation or "proof" for your claim is simply ridiculous.
For philosophical/conceptual clarification, the WITSION question is about "existence" per se versus "nothing" (er, nothing except the Platonic forms, unless they *are* all that exist anyway per Modal Realism/MUH.) It is not about how details of the workings of what happens to exist, lead by self-consistency to various outcomes.
@13b Sina Lazarek,
...think about "Nerve Growth Factor" and compare its effect to gravity between galaxies and you maight have an idea, why the structure is so similar...
thank for linking the article about NGF. But wiki says that NGF is mostly linked to axon growth not so much with dendrites.
I don't know if I can compare it with gravity, even figuratively since they do two opposite things. Namely gravity causes "shrinking" or compacting while NGF does the opposite in case of neurons.
It's just fascinating to me how the structure is almost identical. Maybe it's the case of Nature/Universe using a "template" of sorts. Just like we see golden ratio in nature all over. We know how it works, but we don't know why it so. Why is this spiral used as a "template" for so many things. Just like that, this similarity between large scale structures and neurons (btw. mushrooms also make very similar interconnections below ground) might also be an example of another "template" the Universe uses for some things.
In the end, my belief is that science needs to interconnect between different fields at a much greater level than it is now. Maybe true breakthroughs will come when we have astrophysicists with Phd in biology also. And similar fields. In the old days (ancient Greece etc.)it use to be like that, a mathematician i.e. used to be an astronomer and a surgeon also.
Of course, am aware how difficult something like that is in today's age. Would probably spend need to spend 30 years as a post-grad student with all the things one would need to know. But perhaps some individuals might go that path.
"Stating the universe is billions of years old is simply incorrect"
So what would be the correct statement about the age of the universe?
"I'm confused! I was taught at school that matter cannot be created nor destroyed."
a) you were taught wrong
b) you learned wrong
c) you were taught before E=mc2 was known
destroying mass creates energy. To create energy you need to destroy mass and you can (with appropriate setups) create mass and remove energy.
The rate at which these items are exchanged are related by the formula E=mc2
"the big bang theory, which is rediculous at all levels."
Do you have a non-ridiculous theory?
@Wow, A Steady State universe or an Aether theory is as possible as a Big Bang. The main argument for Big Bang is Red shift, but place a heat element (lamp/sun) in the middle of the swimming pool (Water/Aether) and the water surrounding that element will heat up, and those vibrations will proportionally shift up just like Red shift does. From our view point it is impossible to spot the difference between reality and/or the illusion that everything is moving further away.
Thanks for the explanation.
(I am 100% sure that this is what they taught us in primary and secondary school, and I'm 26 now. We were also taught that E=mc^2, but still the claim "matter cannot be created nor destroyed" was taught as an essential thing in physics and chemistry classes).
But this question is beyond current physics capability to answer. We need more detail in observation, experiment and theory. And there are so many other unanswered questions that need explanation. Like: what exactly are dark matter; does antimatter gravitationally attract matter or not; why do we observe only left-handed neutrinos?
So what we have is a bunch of observations of the universe that are unexplained, except in the hypothetical sense that it might be so. Let me quote Ethan, "The other possibility is -- and this happens in nature -- that particles will prefer one type of decay, while antiparticles will prefer a different type!" Yes and the other possibility and the other possibility, etc, etc,.. ; but my point is that we really do not know and until we do know; well there is not much point in pretending that we do know and understand what we don't know. We don't know what dark matter is and we don't know why our universe is composed of matter (not antimatter).
Here is an article that, I think, agrees with Ethan's above explanation http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/44489 Nice hypothesis but it is just a hypothesis now. It might be so; but it might not; so I will wait for some kind of confirmation.
"but still the claim "matter cannot be created nor destroyed" was taught as an essential thing in physics and chemistry classes"
Not for me, and I went to school in 1974.
OK, that was the infants school, but still school. The books we had were antiquated, but even we had managed to get books that were printed since 1914 in our physics classes in the 80's.
The funding of schools in your countries (USA?) must be worse than even the UK...
"@Wow, A Steady State universe or an Aether theory is as possible as a Big Bang."
Sorry, you're not the one that I was talking to.
But please, explain these two rather fundamental problems with your theseses:
Steady State: Olber's Paradox, redshifting, not collapsed into a big ball.
Aether: Michelson Morely, doesn't actually say anything about the existence of the universe.
again, I think you're making a mistake and equating mass with matter. Matter and mass are not the same thing.
But even that aside, seriously doubt that you had Relativity and QM in elementary school. Did you have Newtonian physics and differential calculus in kindergarten then, in 1970?
a post I made earlier doesn't show :( Yet the one I made #33 shows. Weird. Was a long post :(
Was addressed to Wow and Filip.
Filip is talking about matter, and wow is citing mass. Those two are not the same. Relativity doesn't know matter. And matter is a tricky thing to define these days. Not everything that has mass is matter.
"Matter and mass are not the same thing."
And the amount of matter you have is measured by its mass.
"again, I think you're making a mistake and equating mass with matter"
again, you're wrong.
"But even that aside, seriously doubt that you had Relativity and QM in elementary school"
Never said I did QM in elementary school. Since your reading comprehension is pegged at zero, here it is again:
"books that were printed since 1914 in our physics classes in the 80's"
Since infants was started in 1974, the 80's would be my teens.
"And the amount of matter you have is measured by its mass."
only half the answer. You forgot to mention volume. In strictly classical sense, matter can be defined as something that has mass and occupies a certain volume of space. Photons have mass yet we don't think of light as matter.
Instead of explaining something to someone (in this case Filip), who's question is honest, you're throwing tantrums as usual... Useless.
Since you obviously can't distinguish between mass and matter. And in your posts your citing relativity and mass. Please explain to me and Filip how to create a cup of lemonade from electricity using only E=mc2? No? Ok, how about some bricks? Not even that? Ok.. hmm.. 3 grams of copper?
This picture from J. Imamura is confusing in my opinion.
Because during the reverse process "B", the creation of an electron-positron pair is only observed in reality when there is also a third nucleus in the middle.
There has never been observed a direct collision of photon "particles" resulting in a birth of an e-p+ pair without a mediator.
This shows that there is a real difference between creation and destruction between fermions (photon) and bosons (electron, positron).
Thus there is a reason why this happens.
And in a universe starting from fermions alone, one cannot create an e-p+ pair.
Time therefore goes from e-p+ pair to photons and not the other way around. Which is fine with the second law and entropy - creating disorder.
Which means I believe in a contracting universe. But that should be known by anyone who read my postings before.
@wow, regarding Olbers' paradox you might want to check:
"Thus, Olbers' paradox can not decide between a finite (e.g. some variants of the Big Bang model) and an infinite (Steady State theory or static universe) solution."
And I don't get your point about Aether and The MichelsonâMorley experiment, it only proves there is no luminiferous aether, it doesn't say a thing about an Aether at rest, so?
OK, so we are talking about two different things, matter and mass, that I understand well. Einstein's equation also. Then, it is understandable that mass and energy are lets say the same thing, i.e. we can go from one to another.
However, forgive my ignorance, but I still don't know if we can create/destroy matter or not, and if we can, under what conditions. If I am correct, when matter and anti-matter meets they vanish, so if you create equal amounts you are left with noting at the end.
One more thing Sinisa please, I thought that photons are massless particles?
I wrote a rather long comment this afternoon that would have answered some of your questions, but for whatever reason it doesn't show.
So here's a second attempt. :) Hopefully this one doesn't vanish in cyberspace.
1. Photons: you are correct that a photon is a massless particle (at least to great number of physicists, there are some theories that say that photon is actually traveling a bit slower than ideal "c"). After all how can it move at the speed of light and have mass. But look at it from a different perspective. Photon has some energy depending on the frequency/wavelenght of light, thus it has mass. And it does contribute to the energy of a system that you are measuring, since it contributes to the the energy, it contributes to the mass as well. So go figure :) But in general, rarely will you hear physicist talk about the mass of photon. I used them as an example to show how inappropriate it can be to only stick to E=mc2 like it was some sort of holy grail.
2. Mass and energy. From wiki: "massâenergy equivalence is the concept that the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content. In this concept, mass is a property of all energy, and energy is a property of all mass, and the two properties are connected by a constant". I like this way of looking at it more than saying they are same.
3. When matter and anti-matter meet they don't vanish. They annihilate. Big difference. Yes they "vanish" but in doing so they release a super mega huge amount of energy.
4. Creation/destruction of matter. This is tricky because when you look at subatomic world the line between matter and energy gets very blurred. Is electron matter or energy? Is quark matter? Wave/particle duality tells us that in theory at least everything behaves like particles(matter) and waves(energy). Quarks, atoms, molecules, bacteria, humans, planets etc... Is it true? I don't know. Doing a double slit experiment with a human is still in domain of science fiction :)
In short. Yes we can create subatomic matter/anti-mater pairs in certain high energy colisions. But like we said earlier, these last only a fraction of a second before they annihilate. Creating atoms and molecules from just energy, maybe in a thousand years if ever. As for destruction... If you split an atom, you won't have matter any more, not in a classical sense, you'll have huge amount of energy and some exotic particles some of which will decay or not.
But in everyday life, no.. you can't create i.e. iron from energy, nor can you destroy iron. That's why in school you learn you can't create or destroy matter. Only later on when you have some knowledge of physics and math do they teach you that there are cases when that isn't so black/white.
Hope this helped a bit :)
Causal thinking cannot explain why or how it all started. I'm not advocating for other kind of thinking, I'm just stating.
In another article, Ethan mentionned a quantum fluctuation from a non-descript state as the triggerring of inflation and big-bang.
But the concept of quantum fluctuation is blurry to me. It is not clearly related to time, maybe not even to space.
Quantum fluctuation seems also to be sometimes posited as causeless, which is the same as saying: sometimes, things happen with no reason at all, even the birth of a universe.
"But the concept of quantum fluctuation is blurry to me."
Well, a fluctuation IS (in a sense) a blurring. So I'd say you're on the way to understanding quantum mechanics...
"which is the same as saying: sometimes, things happen with no reason at all"
Yup, is this a problem?
"And the amount of matter you have is measured by its mass."
only half the answer. You forgot to mention volume."
An electron has mass. What is its volume?
"seriously doubt that you had Relativity and QM in elementary school."
Seriously, I doubt you had Relativity and QM in elementary school.
"The MichelsonâMorley experiment, it only proves there is no luminiferous aether, it doesn't say a thing about an Aether at rest"
How can something that doesn't exist be at rest? Heck, how can something that doesn't exist be MOVING?!?
"However, forgive my ignorance, but I still don't know if we can create/destroy matter or not"
As you have defined it now, we can destroy matter by combining it with antimatter and matter can be created by a sufficiently energetic photon in the presence of another piece of matter (see: Pair Production: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pair_production).
"If I am correct, when matter and anti-matter meets they vanish, so if you create equal amounts you are left with noting at the end."
You are incorrect. You're left with energy.
"1. Photons: you are correct that a photon is a massless particle"
A particular bugbear of mine: the photon is NOT massless. It has zero REST MASS, but since you can't get a photon that is at rest, then you get a relativistic mass for as long as the photon exists.
"An electron has mass. What is its volume?"
- Exactly! Therefore electrons on their own are not matter. Do you call lightning matter? Are you saying that matter is traveling inside copper wires?
"Seriously, I doubt you had Relativity and QM in elementary school."
- I never said I did. I had them in high school and later in collage. You're the one who said you had Relativity in elementary school.
"... then you get a relativistic mass for as long as the photon exists."
- exactly what I wrote afterwards, since it has energy, it has mass. You intentionally cut the rest of my comment. So much for that...
thanks a lot for your time and effort, I really appreciate it. Now some thing are more clear.
Ethan, based on the recent pictures of you at MidSouthCon and the general vitriol I get from Sascha's comments on your blog I can't help but wonder if he is in fact your Arch Nemesis (tm). It is, of course, a sign of one's own super-abilities at what they do to have acquired an arch nemesis. So kudos!
Oh, yeah. Great blog post too. ; )
@43 wow, Aether
"How can something that doesn't exist be at rest? Heck, how can something that doesn't exist be MOVING?!?"
The MichelsonâMorley experiment was only there to prove "aether wind" which it failed to do. It never said that Aether does not exist.
Albert Einstein writes literally in the end of his book - "Ãber die spezielle und die allgemeine RelativitÃ¤tstheorie" - that his theory does not contradict the theory of an Aether at rest:
"Betreffend den Versuch von Michelson und Morley zeigte H. A. Lorentz, daÃ dessen Ergebnis wenigstens nicht im Widerspruch sei mit der Theorie des ruhenden Ãthers."
We all like to think that the MichelsonâMorley experiment proves that there is NO Aether, but this is wrong, in only proves there is NO aether WIND. Elementary particles could be moving like moving fish in water (Aether). What about the Higgs-field did MM prove that it can't exist?
If you look at the facts, than you can only conclude that a Steady State Universe is still an option. You might think that its overruled old school 19th century physics, but it is not. Remember Maxwell dug up Aether from the grave after Newton formulas to come up with his formulas, well the next great generation of scientists will do the same.
"The MichelsonâMorley experiment was only there to prove "aether wind""
Nope, it was there to detect if there was an inertial frame of reference, the aether, that allowed the wavefront that we see as light to propogate in the vacuum of space.
It wasn't there to detect it moving.
And it showed that it doesn't exist. Therefore how could it be not moving?
"If you look at the facts, than you can only conclude that a Steady State Universe is still an option"
What facts contradict the expansion of the universe or allow a steady state in the face of it?
What facts ensure a start of the universe in the definite past (else you're back at Olbers paradox) yet steady universe since then?
"Nope, it was there to detect if there was an inertial frame of reference, the aether, that allowed the wavefront that we see as light to propogate in the vacuum of space."
No, that's not it, you want to check, measuring Aether:
Since the Earth is in motion, it was expected that the flow of aether across the Earth should produce a detectable aether wind."
"What facts contradict the expansion of the universe ..."
You might want to check, Big Bang - Features, issues and problems:
Anyway no need to get off your high horse right now, for now you are right.
"Wave/particle duality tells us that in theory at least everything behaves like particles(matter) and waves(energy)."
As Richard Feynman said in his wonderful QED lecture series, 'wave/particle duality' was the pre-QM conundrum that light would "act like a wave on Monday, and like a particle on Tuesday". As in in some experiments it acted like a classical wave, in others like a classical particle.
In QED light does not behave like a classical wave or particle. It's a new thing that has some properties superficially similar to both but has other properties not similar to either and it has these properties all the time.
"It has zero REST MASS, but since you can't get a photon that is at rest, then you get a relativistic mass for as long as the photon exists."
There's apparently some disagreement as to whether 'relativistic mass' is a useful thing to discuss. Since in any case where you would say 'relativistic mass' you could instead say 'energy', it makes some sense to not use it and in that case 'mass' would be shorthand for 'invariant mass'. However I think relativistic mass is extremely useful especially when talking to those who haven't internalized mass-energy equivalence. Most of the things that we see mass as meaning -- the weight of an object on a scale, the resistance of an object to acceleration -- are provided by its relativistic mass.
Anyway, it's fair to say photons have no invariant or rest mass, and that they do have relativistic mass. Whether they have "mass" is simply then nomenclature. *shrug*
"No, that's not it, you want to check, measuring Aether:
Since the Earth is in motion, it was expected that the flow of aether across the Earth should produce a detectable aether wind."
You're misinterpreting what that means. The "wind" was simply the earth's motion relative to the presumed FIXED ather frame, and it would be evidenced by a different speed of light parallel vs perpendicular to the earth's motion.
The entire reason the aether was hypothesized was to explain how two things could be true at once: 1) according to Newton, velocities add and 2) according to Maxwell, the speed of light in a vacuum is constant.
So the aether was proposed as a special inertial reference frame and it was relative to this frame only that Maxwell's laws applied. This frame would necessarily have to be immobile and exceedingly rigid.
Therefore, if the speed of light is constant only relative to the rigid reference frame of the Aether, and the earth was in motion, then we would measure a relative difference in the speed of light based on the direction of earth's motion. That's the "wind" -- the relative motion of the aether and earth as a consequence of the earth's orbit.
The Michelson-Morley experiment demonstrated that the speed of light does not depend on the velocity of the reference frame it is measured from. Because it turns out that (1) above is not actually correct.
The entire reason to propose an Aether, the only thing it's hypothetical existence contributed, was made moot. Michelson-Morley disproved the Aether as much as anything could possibly be disproved in physics.
I think we might be talking past one another. Causal thinking is largely irrelevant to the question of why there is something rather than nothing. As Neil Bates pointed out in post #24 the question is about any existence at all as opposed to none, not about causation. It's at heart a modal question. It's not inquiring about the causation of everything going from not existing to existing. It's quite plausible that in our world there was never a time whereat nothing existed. It's asking about the possible world at which nothing exists, nothing has ever existed, and where nothing will ever exist. Why isn't that our actual world instead of this one?
Now, if you, like Hal in post #12, think that this non-causal, modal existence-question isn't meaningful, that's fine. Regrettably, though, a lot of people think this without ever bothering to explain why it isn't meaningful. Unfortunately Hal's reasoning doesn't seem to pass muster. Sure, the question wouldn't make sense, if nothing existed. (And couldn't possibly be asked to boot!) However, that's also the case for the question "why are there planets?" The question presupposes the existence of planets, and wouldn't make sense, and couldn't possibly be asked if there weren't any. Nevertheless most people would consider the question meaningful all the same, since most all think that it's genuinely possible that there be no planets. So perhaps the absence of everything whatever isn't a genuine possibility like the absence of planets is? An argument to that effect would be precisely what's required to diffuse the question as meaningless.
On the other hand, a quantum fluctuation trigger of the Big Bang doesn't do much. Whatever a quantum fluctuation is, it's not the absence of everything: i.e. it presupposes the existence of space-points and a physical field.
I am not talking about light. ;) Not only light. Note that I said "everything". And I mean everything. It has nothing to do how Feynman or others thought of light. Double slit experiment works with light, protons, atoms... and at present has even been done with molecules. There seems to be no upper limit. Only the amount of energy needed and the size of apparatus.
@53 - CB - Thanks for your correct explanation. But one thing you have to consider is that at the time of the Michelson-Morley experiment (1887), light was considered to be 'only' a wave in a medium (Newton), like a ripple in water and this is what the experiment disproved, correctly. But 18 years later in 1905 Einstein brought up the fact that also light was particle (photon), waveâparticle duality. And what I said in post 49 was:
"Elementary particles could be moving like fish in water (Aether)."
Now if you do the whole Michelson-Morley experiment again from that perspective, than you'll see that using an Aether might again be an interesting reference frame. And overall if you trow on this ever rotating planet, on a windless day, a tennis ball that bounces back and forth, in a test set-up like the Michelson Morley experiment, than you'll notice than there is no way that you can prove or disapprove the fact that there IS Air and Air-pressure on this globe. So to say Aether doesn't exist is a rather premature statement. btw what about the 'impedance of free space' shouldn't one without an Aether have none?
Am not sure why would the impedance of free space be a hint for the existance of aether? It's a property of vacuum. I can understand that it might look like that there's something "thick" under vacuum, but it's a way of looking at it. I don't see any problem of current physics that would need aether.
I'm more curious to know what properties would you ascribe to the Aether that you think exists? This is not a mocking question. I'm genuinely interested. If something like it exists, it should have some properties. I've spent quite a bit of time pondering this question and couldn't find a single one that hasn't been thought of before and experimentally disproven. Well, one remains.. that it exists in some extra dimension, but to me that just doesn't cut it without some serious mathematical proof at least, but again, the question of it's properties isn't even touched.
It comes down to hidden variable theory. I.e. I really like the Pilot Wave theory, especially since it's been proven in recent times that it could work. In a way I share Einstein's view that "God doesn't play dice". But! The math underlying it is almost exactly the same as regular QM. The only different thing is that the uncertainty has been moved from a property of nature to a state of our knowledge. But the result is the same. Meaning, that whatever problem you tackle, you will get the same result as if you used regular QM. And you don't get a single thing that Pilot Wave can do better than QM.
So our personal preferences aside, why would you need Aether? That's what I'm curious about.
@57 Sinisa Lazarek
"I don't see any problem of current physics that would need aether."
That's true, ... it is just not interesting enough imho.
"... why would you need Aether?"
I've got some ideas of what a elementary particles might look like, maybe there are others. But if I use empty space than I have no way to try something out with these imaginary knot-ish organisms (fish). But when I have a complex medium (Water/Aether) than things can be tested, and become interesting. Lots of interaction could be going on that may provide for some analogies and clues of what is going on in the real world. And this is something very different from the mathematical tools we have been using up until now, therefor it is important keep a door open for ...
To get a better understanding of what I'm talking about you might want to check:
Uhh!! I took a look at the blog you linked. And honestly I don't know weather to laugh or cry. I did try some funny drugs in my time, but this guy is on some seriously looney stuff. Might explain why he has no comments on his blog for 3 years.
He seems to be mashing physics as it suits him with disregard to other laws of physics when in doesn't suit him. His basic premise that elementary particles are solitons simply doesn't hold water. I understand now why he/you would need a medium. What he forgot to adress is what creates a wave in the first place. But all that aside, someone who writes a sentence like this:
"The sun could be a 8 sphere, just like the core of the earth and creating magnetic fields. Earth might very well had a chance to condense and form water thanks to the shade created by the moon, who later on might have been pushed aside by the earth, to rotate around our planet."
I mean... what the hell??? The rest gets even worst. I would highly recommend you find other sources for alternative theories that are at least rooted in accepted physics. This blogger could as well write that sunshine is created by lepricons farting, it wouldn't look strange on his blog.
@ Sinisa Lazarek
"I am not talking about light. ;) Not only light. Note that I said "everything". "
What I said about light not being a wave or particle or 'both at once' either applies to everything. Photons, electrons, quarks, whatever, are neither classical particles or classical waves, nor "both". They're a different thing that exhibits unique properties. You can conduct experiments that are consistent with it being a particle, or wave, but there are many other experiments whose results can only be predicted by understanding their true(er) nature.
"Wave/particle duality" was a term preceding this understanding. It is not an accurate description of the current state of affairs, which is the much more bizarre QM discription. That's all I'm getting at (and what Feynman was pointing out).
It was natural to think that light would have a medium to travel through like other waves, but the Aether wasn't proposed just to satisfy that assumption. The aether hypothesis was supposed to solve the conundrum of Newton vs Maxwell. The MM experiment was strong evidence that this hypothesis was wrong.
You could still propose that light moves through a medium that remains motionless relative to whatever frame of reference you are in. Regardless of elevation or motion, it moves at exactly the same rate as you are. This doesn't solve the problem, though, because now the aether isn't just one inertial reference frame. It's like an ocean, where different parts of the water -- and thus things in it -- move at different relative velocities. How then do we explain constant speed of light? Special Relativity, with "there's a medium, too" thrown in for no reason?
So you could say MM didn't disprove the existence of some kind of medium for light. But there's no reason to suppose one like this, indistinguishable from no medium, exists. And now that we know that light no more needs a medium than atoms do, because they're not waves they're quantum -things- that are new and bizarre and defy previous common sense. But even previous common sense didn't require that *everything* have a medium. Just waves. But now we know they aren't.
@S59 Sinisa Lazarek,
I have no words to express how dumb you are, ha ha.
Thanks for your reply it gives me something to think about, the coin is still up in the air for me, I might accept your view ...
If you and the author of that "800 million particles" blog are the same person, then your remark of my intelligence I can only take as a compliment. Meaning our views of Nature are completely different. Same as if a religious fanatic was to call me dumb for not believing that women were created from Adams rib or whatnot.
If that blog is not yours, then you are just a rude person and there's nothing more to it. I was honestly trying to point you in the right direction because that blog is filled with bull that won't help you one bit to gain a better understanding in the workings of Nature.
Physics isn't about what we would like to be, but what we can observe and prove. Am a bit surprised by your sentence: "... it's not interesting enough." IMHO, this shows me that you either haven't even scratched the surface of QM, or that you're not an honest scientist. Higher dimensions, uncertainties, modal realism, quantum-pseudo-telepathy, etc. Not interesting enough? Wow! Sorry, but if it was a "soliton" world, it would be a much duller place than it is now.
""Wave/particle duality" was a term preceding this understanding. It is not an accurate description of the current state of affairs, which is the much more bizarre QM discription."
Agree completely. But I had no better word to use. :)
@61 Sinisa Lazarek, You can regard that previous comment of mine as a compliment if you wish, but are you 100% sure that, "His (my) basic premise that elementary particles are (a form of) solitons simply doesn't hold water", because if you aren't, than it would be a dumb thing to say.
And yes I post anything that comes to mind on that blog, I am not a reference of any sorts, and I don't have the intention to be otherwise.
I see that in my earlier comment @37 above I somehow accidentally switched bosons and fermiosn. Sorry for that.
Boson = photon
Fermion = electron/positron
This doesn't effect the conclusion though.
"...but are you 100% sure"
No, but am 95% sure. Let me put it another way. Soliton as an elementary particle is a purely mathematical construct, like many others out there. It isn't based on any observation or experiment. Further they require non-linearity in order to work, so far there is no proof that quantum world is non-linear. Secondly, non-linearity produces fractals, chaotic solutions etc. which cause more problems than they solve, not to mention that again, no physical observation can collaborate it. In the end, such a description requires much more work and much more tweaking and tuning in order to come to same results that we already have. Far from it that QM is easy to begin with, so why complicate it even more than is necessary.
Mind you that I'm not saying you can't use non-linear fields to calculate something. But math is math. Just like you can solve some problem by either using differentials or integrals. It's a matter of approach, it doesn't change the reality in question.
For example, last I heard, quaternion functions can be used in such a way to represent certain quantum processes in terms of fluid dynamics. The pitfall is in thinking that somehow this makes quantum world a fluid. It doesn't, it just allows you get some better insight in certain things while not being able to know others. I.e. you'll get results that will show as pressure instead of showing as probability distribution. You can't break Heisenberg principle.
My issue with solitons is that you first have to prove certain pre requirements in order for them to exist. And you haven't done that. You tackle the end result without giving any thought to causes. That's a flaw in logic. It would be like saying: "humans can breathe underwater(without scuba)." And then analysing the consequences. But first you need to explain how you think our lungs can extract oxygen from water without us drowning first.
@66 - Sinisa Lazarek
Solitons are indeed non-linear, but I added in post 64 "a form of", consider the toruses that I'm using as compressed Aether-rings, like how heated white sand turns into a liquid-solid.
note, "breathe underwater" look at these bubble rings:
and compare it to this simulation:
Them bubble rings are called vortex rings instead of solitons, but they are a form of solitons.
ps: yes you are right it looks like Walter White always wins in the end ; )
I must ask - and the answer may be well known by some, but not by me.
How do we know that there is more matter than antimatter. Certainly here in our galaxy that is true, but is there any characteristic of the radiation we receive from other galaxies that tell us with certainty that they are matter and not antimatter?
@ Sinisa Lazarek
Fair enough. :)
I see you have a pet theory where the existence of an aether-like medium is useful in some way. Disregarding the merits of the hypothesis, let me just ask you to consider: What if the properties you suppose particles have were exhibited without a medium? As per how wave-like properties are seen in QM but without a medium.
Also, consider more than just the properties lent to particles by the medium, but also the properties of the medium itself. If light is included in the things this medium mediates (as would be implied by calling it the Aether) then you have to deal with all of the experiments that show constant light speed for all inertial reference frames. If you accept the conclusions of these experiments that would seem to imply that the medium must perfectly follow all reference frames such that motion relative to this medium is never observed. So two ships traveling in opposite directions nevertheless see the entire ocean moving with them, and them alone.
Or, this is simply a consequence of the principle of relativity and constant c, that everyone's view of space-time is dependent on their own motion. No medium necessary.
See what I'm saying? Gotta ask "do I need this?"
I don't think there is anything wrong with QM it are mathematical formulas it is all good, it works perfect for predicting and such, I don't think there ever will be anything better at that level.
In my pet universe I just use Euclidean space instead of the mathematical principle of SpaceTime, where space itself becomes smaller or larger relative to the distance and mass of an object, in pet-space the area around such a massive object just becomes more or less filed by screw like gravity particles that look like an 8-knot, the principles are different but the results are both the same. And in my hypothesis light is a similar 8-knot particle/organism that works its way forward through the medium at a constant speed defined by constant the pressure of the medium, so the medium indeed just is. Its similar to how our body temperature stay's at about 37 Â°C transferring disk-like blood cells, and if it goes to far up or down than our body will die, because the bionic mechanisms will no longer function properly.
You ask the question, "do I need this?"
Perhaps you don't, but for me 'yes' because the movement of this 8-knot has tickled my imagination so I'd like to find out if there is some truth in it or not, some first tests seem to indicate that it rotates and works its way upward. You could look at this also as some kind of reverse engineering thing, where you start of with the most basic forms, shapes and principles and move on (evolve) to see if something comes in the picture that has some resemblance to what is described by QM. It is something that we now can do thanks to advanced computer technology, maybe the results won't be any good, but I believe this is something simple that needs to be tried out, at least once.
And if it would work, than you'll have possibly a deeper understanding â¦ can't see why that wouldn't be beneficial, and perhaps it could prove over time that Big Bang might be a hoax and that we are all just different kinds of bubbles, bubbling along in one giant Aether bath ... Who knows we could create our own Big Bubble Bang by starting up some turbulence in the middle of a bath we create (sci-fi), now that would piss off some religious nuts ; )
"No, that's not it, you want to check, measuring Aether"
I did. You have read the words but have reified them incorrectly.
The michelson morely experiment was measuring the existence of the aether as an inertial frame. Since we on planet earth are NOT an inertial frame, WHATEVER motion the aether has, we will change our motion within it.
Trust me on this one. It was a huge part of my first year degree dissertation.
""What facts contradict the expansion of the universe ..."
You might want to check, Big Bang - Features, issues and problems:"
reading your link gives:
"the scientific community was once divided"
"the solutions to them have been obtained either through modifications to the theory or as the result of better observations."
and nowhere does it give anything that contradicts the expansion of the universe.
"There's apparently some disagreement as to whether 'relativistic mass' is a useful thing to discuss. Since in any case where you would say 'relativistic mass' you could instead say 'energy'"
You could use just energy, but energy doesn't come with the baggage of "momentum" or "gravitational effect".
Therefore you're ALWAYS using "relativistic mass" except for 99.99999% of the cases we bother with, the difference is nothing to consider. So to make things shorter, you use "rest mass".
"- Exactly! Therefore electrons on their own are not matter."
They definitely ARE matter. Ask the guys who work with plasmas, or the positronic colliders.
"Do you call lightning matter"
""Seriously, I doubt you had Relativity and QM in elementary school."
- I never said I did."
So what? Like I said: I seriously doubt you had relativity and QM in elementary school.
You're the one who said you had Relativity in elementary school.
""... then you get a relativistic mass for as long as the photon exists."
- exactly what I wrote afterwards, since it has energy, it has mass."
So you agree that photons have mass. Why all the crying about it?
"Am not sure why would the impedance of free space be a hint for the existance of aether? It's a property of vacuum."
It's also quite acceptably a property of a vacuum: it would be hard to move something through a gap, but if there's a something there to transfer it, then that would be easier.
Most matter is made of of empty space.
"What I said about light not being a wave or particle or 'both at once' either applies to everything. Photons, electrons, quarks, whatever, are neither classical particles or classical waves, nor "both"."
Indeed. It's also true to say they're not even both. They're something that is nether wave nor particle.
But our experiments and tests are experimenting and testing their nature as a wave or a particle, therefore we see their proportion as a wave or a particle.
If we knew what they *really* were, we'd find a different test to display this one "correct" attribute.
There are many things that don't *really* exist but we use as if it were real because we can use it that way. I.e. the spin on an electron. An electron to have spin but be of the extent that it cannot be any more than (because we tested it as a particle) would require that its surface be spinning faster than the speed of light. Impossible.
But it has angular momentum, that momentum is quantised as it would be if it really WERE the spin like the spin of a spinning top, and it preserves and transforms the "correct" way.
But we know it isn't spinning like a spinning top because that would be impossible.
But it acts like it does, so we accept that it does for our use of it.
"but is there any characteristic of the radiation we receive from other galaxies that tell us with certainty that they are matter and not antimatter?"
They'd have to have finished all their interactions with each other (since there is no reason to assume that the universe clumped antimatter and matter in different proportions) and have never since come in contact with a sufficient volume of "normal" particles from the interstellar wind from other galaxies to reveal their process.
The volume and content of the galactic wind that we can observe in our and other galaxies show no imprint of matter-antimatter annihilation and we don't observe a proportion of antimatter in the particle stream that gets to us.
Therefore it doesn't look as though our galaxy or cluster or visible superclusters are antimatter galaxies or we'd get "wind" of it (pun intended!).
"The Michelson Morley experiment was measuring the existence of the aether as an inertial frame. Since we on planet earth are NOT an inertial frame, WHATEVER motion the aether has, we will change our motion within it."
If you launch a torpedo from a submarine, will it move at a constant speed towards its target, or will it also include the velocity the submarine had? Question, if the target is sailing towards, or away from, the launching spot, in which case will it be hit first? Anyway, does it actually matter what kind of inertial frame the water has, except to know that it neutralizes the velocity speed of the sub, making the torped run forward at a constant speed, no matter from which 'intertial frame' you are looking at the bogey.
"If you launch a torpedo from a submarine, will it move at a constant speed towards its target, or will it also include the velocity the submarine had?"
At launch, addition, after launch and after leaving the bow wave effect of the sub and the retardation of the excessive momentum, constant speed.
I think you'll enjoy this paper:
Sascha is at the fringe of physics, and that's why I like to read his posts. Doesn't matter if I agree or disagree with him at time, but he has razor sharp intellect and that's why I respect him. But he is perfectly aware of what can and can't work. So even in the above paper he clearly states: "No space-substance can be the ultimate foundation."
His treatment of eather is purely an abstract one. While you believe it to be a physical thing (if I understand you correctly).
You are right about plasma and lighting. I gave a wrong example and chocked on it as soon as I hit "send" button. Shame there's no "edit" option here. But not about electricity. In the end, the term "matter" is ill defined from the start and you and I have different definitions of what it is or isn't.
Anyway, I don't understand your obsession with splitting hairs on other topics (such as photons). Especially your condescending attitude. A lay-person asked for clarification to something and I tried my best to explain it in lay terms. I haven't seen you even try to do the same. You know perfectly well what I'm talking about. You may not like my explanations, but have a decency to give a better one that a lay person will understand if you can.
"In the end, the term "matter" is ill defined from the start and you and I have different definitions of what it is or isn't."
And at the beginning, I *did* note:
"1. Photons: you are correct that a photon is a massless particle"
A particular bugbear of mine: the photon is NOT massless."
The problem is your definition has nothing with any mass.
"A lay-person asked for clarification to something and I tried my best to explain it in lay terms."
That's fine. I clarified where you were incorrect!
"I haven't seen you even try to do the same."
I hear Nelson had the same problem in seeing enemy ships.
@78 - Sinisa Lazarek
Thanks for the paper it was interesting, and also a bit funny in regard to your opposition to Aether at first, and a previous rather rude reply of mine. Its this part from the introduction that I'm referring to (p.3):
"Thinking in terms of ether models helps understanding relativity. Those who refuse to consider ethers even as mere didactic tools often fail to understand the weakness of their arguments. If people who are expected to know better in light of their established position nevertheless uphold obviously false arguments, perceptions of establishment conspiracies against the truth are confirmed. Also in order to work against such perceptions, we will here argue for relativity/relationism/abstractness in a unique and perhaps counterintuitive way, namely by emphasizing the relevance of the absolute/ether/space-substance point of view."
In your latest reply you say:
"So even in the above paper he clearly states: No space-substance can be the ultimate foundation."
But if you read two lines further, he writes (p.5):
"Note that as much as this argues against space-substances, it allows them."
Basically the tittle of the paper says it all: "Supporting Abstract Relational Space-Time as Fundamental without Doctrinism Against Emergence"
Well he puts Space-Time next to the others (emerging) and concludes that it still is the best thing out there, on all levels, but that Aether or any other hypothesis are sometimes interesting and not so bad.
"His treatment of aether is purely an abstract one. While you believe it to be a physical thing (if I understand you correctly)."
The simulations I present on my blog are indeed a pure physical thing, but the idea is abstract, as are the other aether examples he brings up in the paper.
I have nothing against the Aether in the abstract/metaphysical sense. But that aether has to be "outside/not directly part of" (maybe not the best term) our reality. As a tool for philosophical debate it's great. But I do not believe that any physical aether exists in our Universe. You could call the m-brains of string theory aether of sorts. But, as I said, it's sort of "outside" of our existance. Or you could say that higg's field is eather of sorts. Or you could say that if one day we find some Grand Unifying Theory where all the forces and energies merge and emerge, that that's aether. But no eather around us. No "fluid" like thing that causes some "drag" or is the cause for light's propagation. In this last I do not believe. For us it's only vacuum :) Ironic a bit.
@81 - Sinisa Lazarek
"But no aether around us. No "fluid" like thing that causes some "drag" or is the cause for light's propagation. In this last I do not believe. For us it's only vacuum"
I understand, its not easy to imagine somthing you can't see.
"You could use just energy, but energy doesn't come with the baggage of "momentum" or "gravitational effect"."
Agreed, which is why I like the term and *especially* like the term when talking to people who haven't already internalized mass-energy equivalence.
"Indeed. It's also true to say they're not even both. They're something that is nether wave nor particle.
But our experiments and tests are experimenting and testing their nature as a wave or a particle, therefore we see their proportion as a wave or a particle."
Huh? Now I'm confused. There's plenty of experiments where they do not behave as either particle or wave, but as the "something that is neither wave nor particle". The machines we're using to communicate depend upon those non-wave non-particle properties to function.
I get what you're saying about useful mathematical models that defy literal physical interpretation, though. I mean I don't *really* think that my RLC circuits have an imaginary component. :)
"You ask the question, "do I need this?"
Perhaps you don't, but for me 'yes' because the movement of this 8-knot has tickled my imagination so I'd like to find out if there is some truth in it or not, "
I meant within the context of your pet theory, is the medium absolutely essential? What if you hypothesize that the 8-knots have the properties you imagine the medium gives them, but *without* the medium? As in those properties just *are*. Does anything break? Why? And if the medium must exist, what are the further implications of its existence outside of granting properties to particles? What properties does it have on its own?
And if this medium affects the propagation of light, what properties would it have to have in order for the Michelson-Morley experiment to show nothing? For two observers in different inertial frames at different velocities to see the *same* photons -- and thus the medium -- traveling at constant velocity.
"I understand, its not easy to imagine somthing you can't see."
Oh come on. It's easy to imagine something you can't see, and not even that hard to provisionally believe it even exists if there is evidence. Dark Matter is by definition unseen, but we can infer its existence through other means.
If on the other hand galaxy rotations behaved exactly as they would without dark matter, if galaxy cluster formation and the CMB and gravitational lensing all looked exactly how they would without Dark Matter, then proposing that Dark Matter exists but has no effect on the universe at all would be unjustified.
Similarly, what's hard to imagine is a reason why we should suppose a Luminiferous Aether exists when all observations show results exactly equivalent to it not existing. We can suppose that this is the case, that the Aether exists but behaves in such a way that it makes no difference. Then we'd apply Occam's Razor and end up where we are today.
If in your theory the medium makes a measurable difference (somehow, accounting for the difficulty wrt constant speed of light), then once your theory has a prediction different from current theory, and experimental evidence to support these predictions, then I'll be happy to imagine that the Aether exists.
@83 - CB
"â¦ is the medium absolutely essential? What if you hypothesize that the 8-knots have the properties you imagine the medium gives them, but *without* the medium? As in those properties just *are*. Does anything break? Why?"
When I hypothesize that an 8-knot would rotate around like a helicopter, and move upwards like a screw, and apply exponential pressure on the area through which it passes, than wouldn't you want the proof that it does all this by itself thanks to only the pressure in the medium, I do.
I see these pet-simulations also more like how Michael Faraday did experiments with electricity and magnetism. I'm not a mathematician but a practitioner who's trying stuff out with a new medium wherein different kinds of basic elements/objects/organisms naturally can interact. So once things start to happen you can describe your observations, and perhaps poor them into a mathematical constructions, like Maxwell did. After that you'll no longer need the medium, â¦ one step at a time.
"And if the medium must exist, what are the further implications of its existence outside of granting properties to particles? What properties does it have on its own?"
It's a collection of fluid mechanics, reynolds number related, but I'm not going to reveal the secret ingredients of the Aether that's being cooked. No seriously we still have tests to do for a month or two and than it will be open for others to check and/or to join in, otherwise people might think that it are just a bunch of visual effects, and after that it will be again a year or so to scale up the program.
btw playing around with it will tell us more about what properties and implications that there might be, you see that is what is interesting about using this type of Aether, you just set up some basic principles let it roll and see how things interact.
"And if this medium affects the propagation of light, what properties would it have to have in order for the Michelson-Morley experiment to show nothing?"
Very Agile with extreme high pressure, this way there is relatively close to no drag, and light propagates through it like a torpedo shoots through water at a constant speed. But with a 300.000 km/s velocity I guess we'll have to do tests at a few picometers if we ever want to reach a result.
"I understand, its not easy to imagine something you can't see."
"Oh come on."
hihi, yes that was just a bit of a provocative (pun intended) reply to the colourless "No fluid, No Aether, I don't believe â¦"
I should have written what you just wrote, perfect. Thanks for keeping an open mind.
"The machines we're using to communicate depend upon those non-wave non-particle properties to function."
If you're talking about quantum entanglement, this is nothing to do with the existence, only information about its existence.
e.g. the velocity.
Both particles and waves have it, but it's not a thing it acts like. An electron has a DeBroglie wave and a position, therefore it acts like a particle or a wave depending on what you're looking at. But it doesn't look like a "velocity".
On the imaginary stuff being reified, the best example I can ever give would be evanescent waves.
The maths acts *precisely* like the imaginary part *really* exists. And the experiments to see if it works in real life comfirm it *really* exists.
Though all we've *actually* proven is that it acts like the imaginary part really exists.
But unless you want a dissertation of reality and effect, you're going to have to say the imaginary part of the wave *really* exists.
""I understand, its not easy to imagine somthing you can't see."
Oh come on. It's easy to imagine something you can't see, and not even that hard to provisionally believe it even exists if there is evidence."
I understand bravery. I understand hot. I understand the interior of a solid. Plenty of things you can't see can be easily understood.
What can't be understood is why you put something that can't be seen into the system then fail to say what it is doing.
Read up on what "begging the question" means.
Your aether medium is begging the question of why did you put it there in the first place?
As far as I can tell, merely so that you can say science which doesn't have it is wrong.
Might as well posit invisible elastic bands being the reason why "gravity" exists and that, since gravitational theory doesn't have invisible elastic bands, it must be wrong and my "invisible elastic band" theory must therefore be right.
"When I hypothesize that an 8-knot would rotate around like a helicopter"
Doesn't require a medium.
"and move upwards like a screw"
Still doesn't require a medium.
"and apply exponential pressure on the area through which it passes"
Still doesn't require a medium and now begs the question: why must it be applying exponential pressure? And from where is it getting the force?
"than wouldn't you want the proof that it does all this by itself thanks to only the pressure in the medium"
That is, rather, what we've been asking. Proof that it does this all by itself thanks only to the pressure in the medium.
"It's a collection of fluid mechanics, reynolds number related"
OK, you don't know what fluid mechanics is, nor what a reynolds number means or what it's for.
"but I'm not going to reveal the secret ingredients of the Aether that's being cooked"
So you say "wouldn't you like to know... but I'm not telling you".
Something is being cooked.
"like a torpedo shoots through water at a constant speed."
Except that it doesn't do that. A torpedo goes faster whilst within the bow wave of the submarine since the water is being pushed forward at nearly the speed of the submarine, therefore to the torpedo, the velocity it is passing through that water is less than the observer standing to one side is seeing.
"Very Agile with extreme high pressure, this way there is relatively close to no drag, and light propagates through it "
But that means there's a bow wave before each and every moving object, with a size dependent on the drag (relates to the viscosity ***and Reynolds Number***) and velocity through that medium where the medium's local speed is different from the inertial frame of the rest of the medium.
There will also be vortex shedding and a reduction in pressure behind the moving object, therefore you'd have a definite absolute motion frame of reference: the vector between the highest over-pressure to the lowest under-pressure of this medium, visible by a change in the speed of light viewed.
And if it has no drag, therefore no viscosity, then it doesn't let you have the medium to propogate without falling foul of the MM experiment proving it doesn't exist.
Oh, additionally, the torpedo has to continue to expend energy to pass through the medium it is travelling through. For the torpedo, this is the chemical energy in the rocket.
What is the energy source and how long does it last until drained for your 8-knot?
Couple of times now you have used the word "organism" in relation to your elementary particles and pet Universe.
What are you implying by this? That your particles are somehow sentient, dare I say "alive"? Self aware? Have free will of sorts? Instincts? You can't be serious!
"What are you implying by this? That your particles are somehow sentient"
And apparently (see:
"and move upwards like a screw")
@ 87, 88 - wow
So you say "wouldn't you like to know... but I'm not telling you".
Lol, yes that's it. But like I said, I'll tell you in a month or two, so relax.
@89 - Sinisa Lazarek
An organism is a whole with interdependent parts.
Check this video: http://youtu.be/tijRPVXeIdo
"So you say "wouldn't you like to know... but I'm not telling you".
Lol, yes that's it."
I can tell you the answer now, if you like: you won't find squat showing your hoped-for Aether.
"An organism is a whole with interdependent parts."
So a gun is an organism? Smacks to me of a humpty-dumpty defence.
Ok, Webster has something like what you've written as one of the definitions for it, and am a bit surprised that in english it can also be used for non-living things... but ok. English is not my native language so I won't argue that point.
Since organism by definition can't be fundamental. What is the fundamental building block of those "organisms"? Those "dots" you have that make your toruses, what are they? Also one important question, what is the scale or dimension of that dot?
The more I try to understand how you make this work, the more I'm drawn to string theory. If in fact it boils down to that, then there's nothing novel about your pet Universe. So please shed some light if you can. Thanx.
Read what I said to Wow @91
"I'll tell you more in a month or two, so relax."
I've already told you the results, Chelle.
You'll find nothing supporting your ideas since they're not even formed.
@95 - Wow
"I've already told you the results, Chelle.
You'll find nothing supporting your ideas since they're not even formed."
Chelle: "Very Agile with extreme high pressure, this way there is relatively close to no drag, and light propagates through it like a torpedo shoots through water at a constant speed. But with a 300.000 km/s velocity I guess we'll have to do tests at a few picometers if we ever want to reach a result."
Naw, you should be able to get more than enough accuracy with 300nm visible light. Since light propagates at a constant velocity through it, and there's almost no drag, then it should be pretty easy to detect the earth's motion through this medium as a difference in relative velocity of light parallel vs perpendicular to the earth's motion. It will be evidenced as an interference pattern. Hmm, wait, I think we already did this experiment... Of course if you aren't happy with the precision of 100-year-old instruments, then LIGO is the same apparatus only sensitive enough to detect gravity waves.
As far as we can tell from experiment (and our equipment and speed of the earth is more than sufficient to show if this was not true), the speed of light is constant for all inertial reference frames. You say the speed of light is constant in your Aether. That means the medium must be motionless relative to every inertial reference frame. How can things move through the medium yet simultaneously be motionless relative to it? How can a medium be motionless relative to two inertial frames with different velocities?
This is a very basic question. You really should have a pre-thought-out answer for this. I'm not reassured by the lack of one. The difference between a crackpot and a scientist is that a scientist can't ignore all the experiments and evidence that already exists. you're a scientist, right? So how do you reconcile light propagating at constant speed relative to a medium, and light propagating at constant speed relative to frames moving through that medium?
@97 - CB
The picometer scale vs. speed of light is because of rendering reasons, one such a simulation might take a whole week. For the rest I'm happy with all the apparatuses from now and those from the past.
As is scaling an answer to your second question, regarding the 3th one who cares, and that 4th question is no different from your 2nd one, so here again the same answer, scale, scale, scale.
Weren't it Galileo and others who realized a big leap forward thanks to using high quality lenses for their telescopes who increased the scale.
Posted by: Chelle | April 4, 2012 12:52 PM"
I may have 99 problems, but that ain't one.
"Weren't it Galileo and others who realized a big leap forward"
They, however, were educated enough to be able to spell properly.
"The picometer scale vs. speed of light is because of rendering reasons"
They also knew about the difference between distance and velocity.
My prediction still holds: you'll find nothing to uphold your completely hair-brained and ill-formulated work.
@99 - Wow
I may have 99 problems, but that ain't one.
Isn't it great that you came up with that Ice Tea verse at post 99 : )
Anyway you are absolutely right that I'm a dumbass, although only for 99%
See, I also have 1% of pure smartass in me ... and I'm going to make it count, so you better don't bet too much money on that prediction of yours, cause you might loooooose it all.
hi. i think this website is so bad because it doesn´t comes to the point of why is there a universe. and the movies? just always show the same. sorry. but cool pic...
I don't understand the argument I look at it as a radom number generater and the amought of particles stopped at a prime number so matter won.
The "Jocaxian Nothingness" explain the reason of that question :
OK, open access, apparently an engineering site, contents nonexistent on first page.
Explain why anyone should read further and not discard the effort as wasted?