With regard to space access tech

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by Boris, May 23, 1999.

  1. Boris Guest


    My major is actually computational neuroscience. I guess it's not very normal for me to be taking GR classes then, is it? <<>G> But, you know, this stuff is like a hobby for me -- so sometimes I go a little bit out on the limb in pursuit of it.

    With regard to the imaginary time thing... Whoa man, this just about blows me away. I think I'm gonna have to shut up on this issue and pick up a serious QED book. Would you recommend one? (I'm not looking for a popular science book, I want a real in-depth, rigorous treatment.)

    But for now, I still don't quite get a few of your arguments.

    First of all, you cite the imaginary wavefunction and then state that it doesn't represent "real observables" directly. But, doesn't a function of the form e^(f) where f is imaginary, correspond to a trigonometric representation that directly involves real observables? I mean, given the equation you supplied, isn't it true that
    \psi(x,t) = A cos{(x p - E t)/\hbar}?

    Dualities. You're saying there's no particle, no wave -- just the wavefunction. Ok, thus far I see it. But then clarify something for me: how does a wavefunction end up turning into a particle or a wave upon measurement? What is that 'collapsing' stuff about? As I said, I need to read a serious text on the issue, but meanwhile maybe you could fill me in on this, if it's not too much to ask.

    Also, I don't understand your treatment of locality. My main issue is that wavefunctions are global, and seem to change their properties globally and instantaneously. I don't see how that can arise out of a manifold-based, local theory.

    The time/space quantization. Actually, I think it's a lot more awkward to assume that space can be sub-divided ad infinitum. For one, why would a truly continuous medium give rise to discretized quanta? It seems to me that a discrete medium will much more naturally explain quantum structure at small scales. Also, I've got the following computational argument. One can view every physical process as evolution of information -- or a computation. But, (Shannon) information is a discrete quantity that doesn't tie in well with infinities. In fact, a computation over infinities is impossible, since no Turing machine could ever represent an infinity. But, with infinitely subdivisible space you in effect end up claiming that even an infinitesimal volume of space contains infinite information. If that doesn't seem bizarre, I don't know what could. I'm looking for ultimate mechanisms behind the formulas; stating that space is non-discrete is equivalent to stating that no such mechanisms exist. Finally, look at our corpus of knowledge so far: 100% of all our empirical data represents discrete phenomena (matter, or energy). Our entire experience is discrete. So, is it more natural then to conclude that the underlying medium is continuous? I don't think so! The rules of induction would lead to the exactly opposite conclusion! Concerning falsifiability: how is continuous space any more falsifiable than discrete space? (They are both talking about behavior in the limits of scale, which will never in principle be measurable anyway. As for building models: I think a model's fitness is determined not only by its match with empirical data, but also by its intuitiveness.) So anyway, I think I just poured out the bulk of my reasons for believing that space is quantized (I may have forgotten to include a couple, but no matter.) But as soon as you assume that space is quantized, time becomes quantized automatically through the light-speed limit. So, I end up pushing a quantized spacetime, in effect... Except that I don't think time is a dimension at all.

    But to answer *your* questions:

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    Rotating black holes. Yes, they indeed 'screw' with spacetime. The effect is called 'frame dragging', and basically what happens is that the surrounding spacetime gets dragged along in direction of rotation of the black hole. Intuitively speaking, it's like water going down a drain -- you get this vortex of spacetime. So all of a sudden you need to go a lot faster (as seen by a distant observer) to escape the hole's gravity.

    As for astronomical evidence -- I don't think there is any yet (certainly haven't heard of any neutron star measurements confirming this). However, there was this attempt, at Stanford I believe, to measure frame dragging in Earth's vicinity due to Earth's rotation. They were going to put a satellite into polar orbit to do it. Of course, Earth's frame dragging wouldn't be nearly as pronounced as a black hole's, or even a neutron star's, but they calculated it to be measurable above noise with current technology. I don't know what the status of that research is; I haven't heard any news for quite a few months now.

    About wormholes: to keep them open, you basically need antigravity. That's what the 'exotic matter' with negative energy was for. Now, we do seem to have something like antigravity manifesting itself on cosmic scale as the 'inflationary force'. Due to this force, the universe seems to be flying apart at an ever-growing pace. As to what this inflationary force is, whether it can work on a small scale, and whether it can be harnessed -- who knows?

    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited May 30, 1999).]

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited May 30, 1999).]

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited May 30, 1999).]

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited May 30, 1999).]
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  3. Plato Guest

    Hello Boris, this is beginning to devellop more and more in a private discussion, if anybody else has to say anything, please feel free to join.

    Regarding quantisation :
    At the beginning of this century it became clear that atoms emitted energy in discrete quanta. This was purely experimental evidence, when Bohr came with his atomic theory he wasn't really explaining way this was so, he merely took the quantisation as a postulate and made his model with that.
    In the 1920's however, an other postulate was taken as a basis : the wavefunction as underlying description of the 'particle' (I have to be very carefull of the words here). You see if you have a wave that is bound in an atom, this wave can only have discrete modes in order to stay a wave ! So the quantisation arises from the wave nature of the 'particle', any other mode would be canceled out.

    Regarding the probability :
    Here we go back to the beginning of the nineteenth century, in 1803 Young proved in his two slit expriment that light was a wave. The intensity of light at ech point was determined by the square of the amplitude of the wave formed by superposition of the secondary waves arising from each slit. The intensity is in fact the amount of 'light' that falls on a certain point. By analogy, the wave (or state) function in quantummechanics plays the role of a probability amplitude. So the probability of finding a particle at a particluar point (x,y,z) within a volume V at a time t is proportional to \psi(x,y,z,t)^*\psi(x,y,z,t). (with A^* being the complex conjugate of A)
    If you want to go a little deeper into this I highly recommend you the book of B.H. Bransden and C.J. Joachain : "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics", Langman Scientific & Technical New York, 1989. This book gives the basics of classical quantum mechanics and shows how it originated.

    Regarding field theory
    A very good book on QED is the one from W. Greiner and J. Reinhardt, "Quantum Electrodynamics" (Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1992). This does require some background with Lagrange and Hamilton theory and I don't know a good book for that because we just learned that from a curses that the professor wrote and this guy was notorious never to quote any book that he used (as if he invented it all himself). But I think G. Arfken, "Mathematical Methods for Physicist", Academic Press inc. San Diego 1985, will get you into that stuff far enough.
    Any way if you want to know a little about renormalisation and supersymmetry M. Kaku is also good : "Quantum Field Theory, a modern introduction", Oxford university press, New York 1993.
    And if you have read all those books I think you might as well change your major to theoretical physics because you will know more about it then me...

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    This is as hard for you as it is for me to really understand it ! The problem is that our vocabulary isn't adequate enough to fully describe what a wave/particle does, that is way we are left with the math. This might come as a artificial thing to many of us but the thing is we can't trust our instincts, these have served us right during our evolution from small squirrel-like mammel who was hiding in the trees from dangerous dinosaurs to homo sapiens sapiens but they break down at the subatomic level. That is just the way nature works, I'm sorry.

    You are right to say that the quantumwave is a global thing who 'collapses' suddenly when a measurment of place has been made, but you have to remember this is just an interpretation that we give to what is actually going on. If you look at Feynmann's theory of the pathintegrals things get even more bizar ! He postulates that a particle actually propagates along every possible path AT THE SAME TIME ! So a particle is doing an infinite amount of things as long as we don't look at it. When we do look at it, the paths suddenly cancel each other out and only one remains, the one you are looking at. When you are trying to visualise this stuff it just makes your head blow. So or you stay with the save mathematics and calculate until you get something that you can measure or you walk away and say you'll get back when things don't look that weird any more.
    Still that is exactly what I find so beautiful about nature, it keeps on surprising me ! When we think we finally got a hold on it, it comes up with something completely new. So why do we still feel that there isn't enough mistery in nature ? Why do we want ghosts and aliens with their ufos and gods who are playing with our minds if things are already as exciting as they are ?
    But that is another discussion...

    About time/space quantisation,
    I hope I have answered how a discrete medium like space can come up with discrete quanta, it is because a wave can only exist in multiples of his ground state.
    Your argument of the Turinger machine kind of boils down to the Zeno paradox I think. He claims that if time and space can be infinitly divised that there can be no real movement because if Achilles want's to overtake a turtoise every time he crosses the half of the distance that is between them, there always is going to be a half left that needs to be crossed, this at infinitum. In mathematics however it has been shown that there are infinite series who do converge to a finite number.
    So if your Turing machine want's to know something about a certain volume of space he will simply take the mean-value of the information of that volume and work with that.
    Besides, in my data transmission classes I have seen that a signal of bits almost never is a clean square-wave, the computer always listens between two boundaries of voltage for the one and two others for the zero.

    About time-dimensions,
    you said a while back that you rather believed in the ten folded dimensions of superstrings than in the time dimension. This is rather unfortunate because one stand or falls with the other, the reason why the ten dimensions where postulated (and this you will find in M. Kaku's book) is because of the analogy wtih general relativity. In GR forces arise from distortion of space-time, well in superstring the same distortions of the 10-dimensional hyperspace are the reason that electromagnetism, weak and strong nuclear forces operate. Now you can talk about dualities again, or forces are mediated by bosons like photons, Z-particles, gluons or gravitons, or forces arise from hyperspace distortions but this again is due to our lack of phatoming the way nature works.

    About wormholes,
    Suppose we are able to make one, is there a way of controlling where the other end emerges ? Because I don't really want to work on a super-luminal device that just drops me 'somewhere' at in space. Suppose that 'somewhere' is in inter galactic space with 1000000 lightyear between me and the nearest star, not what you call a gate to the stars...

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  5. Bxmkr Guest

    I have a great respect for all those who are posting here. Since I am only a carpenter and an old man to boot, might I request to be excused from having to go down in flames?

    "Fundamental physics to be discovered",hmmm, an interesting thought. How would we know it when we saw it? Should we ask for proof of it through what we know already?

    If it is not to be found in wildest dreams then where?
    Some are not so well versed in the sciences. Perhaps the reason they can see it is because they do not have that classical education and so can see it. Should it not be investigated before it is judged?, after all, it is new.

    Inertia can be circumvented. It is possible.

    An underlying frame of reference does exist.

    Double Overdrive
    Smaller and smaller particles do come to an end. I suspect 'permeation' plays a role here.

    We might understand wave/particle phenomena when we create the conceptual tools that explain greater universe physics and not just 3-dimensional time/space continuum physics.

    also, could you explain the thing with "Popper" about something being falsifyable,please?

    A word about "thought", I'm thinking here that the "preferential will" may be a discrete function distinct from "thought", and there does seem to be some indication that will does function over distance without the elapse of time.

    Now, remember, you guys, I'm just an old man in a room. I don't represent any major threat to the education of youth or the general world populace. In fact, the world mostly ignores me. So, take it easy, will ya?


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  7. Boris Guest


    Well, I'll answer the particular questions you posed to me, and let Plato and D.O. take care of the rest.

    You definitely have a good point about the convergence of knowledge. It is epistemologically impossible to determine when and if we arrive at the ultimate theory. There will always be a possibility that even our best and most time-honored theories are incomplete. I suspect Plato will have something to say about that when he discusses Karl Popper, induction and falsifiability.

    The thing about dreams, and thought in particular, is: we can't think or dream of something we haven't already experienced. Basically, all 'creative thought' is only a process of recombining in novel ways those principles that are already known. However, if the 'underlying reality' is such that we cannot yet envision it given our present knowledge and experience, then it truly does lie beyond our dreams/imaginations. This is what I meant. For example, there is absolutely no way an anscient Greek, like Aristotle for example, could foresee warped spacetime. He simply didn't have the bag of mental tools necessary to tackle such a concept.

    The only way our conceptual repertoire is extended, is through observation -- not introspection. And with a widening pool of conepts to play with (as well as evolving theories), our theory-making ability continues to improve. These are some of the fundamental philosophical insights behind scientific enterprise. But hopefully it is quite clear that the process is bottom-up, and that looking ahead it is practically impossible to foresee the conceptual and theoretical frameworks of the remote future.

    As for circumventing inertia and an underlying frame of reference -- I'm hoping you are right on both counts. But, only time will tell (as I hope will become clear after Plato is through).

    As for 'preferential will'... Interesting postulate, but until you can make some empirical predictions based on your idea, it will remain just an idea.

    I am; therefore I think.
  8. Plato Guest

    I have just found a very interesting paper in the Los Alamos preprints, it talks about a modified version of the Alcubierre warp engine with a way to make the energy needs a whole lot more realistic, and what's more, no gravity shield needed at all !
    It was posted by, I'm proudly to add, a compatriot of mine of the university of Leuven : Chris Van Den Broeck.

    Check it out : http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/gr-qc/9905084

    Oh Yes, about Carl Popper. He was a science philosopher who died only a few years ago. Basically what is said is in order to formulate a valid scientific theory, one has to make sure it can be proven wrong. Normally one would expect that a theory has to be proven right to be valid but this would implicate that there exists a descisive way to proof a theory. Even the theory of gravity has to be proven day after day, suppose suddenly you start to float towards the stars after you made a leap into the air of surprise then Newtons and also Einsteins theory of gravity are not valid anymore.
    On the other had if you are holding a theory for example that every pixi in the world has green hair, then this is not a valid theory because pixis have never been seen so you can't proof somewhere a pixi with brown hair exists.
    I hope this sheds some light on your question, bxmkr. If Boris has something to add, feel free.

    [This message has been edited by Plato (edited June 01, 1999).]
  9. Boris Guest


    Regarding wormholes. As far as I am aware, not only is there no way to position the mouths of a wormhole -- there is no known way of even forming one. The Einstein-Rosen bridge is only another solution to the Einstein field equations. Whether this solution actually exists anywhere in the universe is a big question (and actually, in all probability it doesn't). As to how you go about making an artificial wormhole -- your guess is as good as mine. Though I recall at some point hearing this wild proposal of enlarging a microscopic wormhole, the likes of which supposedly exist at sub-Planck scales within the quantum foam. But you'd still need material with negative mass, or negative energy, or *some* kind of antigravity, to hold the wormhole open.

    The warp-drive paper. Whoooeeee, is that some heavy math or what? Not a bad demonstration, though I'd like to know, as do the authors, how one would go about actually creating the geometry in question. I mean it's pretty wild; with Alcubierre it was bad enough, but now in addition to the warp bubble, we've got another space bubble attached with a quantum-scale umbilical cord?! And it always has to come back to that negative energy issue... Yeah, I'd say we still have a looooong way to go

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    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited May 31, 1999).]
  10. Bxmkr Guest

    thank you for your clearly delineated explanations. Your disertation on dreams and 'creative thought' are sound and certainly in keeping with my own thinking on the subjects.

    I have long held that wherever information may be coming from (in dreams) whether it be from the sub-conscious or from some external source (assuming that's possible, a question I do not care to delve into here), in order for that information to be to be cognizable by the recipient/dreamer the information must be couched in recognizable terms for awareness to occur. Does this sound similar to the idea which you were expressing?

    About creative thought, it would seem that you have the impression that I have just created something out of whole cloth without regard for that which presently exists and if that were the case your explanation would be pointedly correct. As a matter of fact I'm glad you brought it up because I haven't made it very clear as to what some of the background is for this particular project and I can see how someone might think it to be capricious or whimsical.

    Some of the conceptual tools which I have developed are very difficult for me to write about, I do much better when I am walking around and waving my arms, but I'll try. It also helps a lot when I'm talking to someone who is interested in what I'm saying, wierd, I know, but that is just the way it is.

    OK, an example, but only an example.

    This example will be to demonstrate that fundamental and basic information can be looked at in a different way than the way in which it is usually and commonly viewed.

    That is its only purpose, It may have no other usefulness beyond this demonstration.

    take the number 1, think of it in all the various forms in which it is the central theme in any concept or idea such as; only, alone, first, win, unique,sole, primary et... now but them all in a bag and stick it somewhere in your mind, they say we only use a small portion of our brains so there should be plenty of room.

    Take the number 2, think of it in all the various forms in which it is the central theme in any concept or idea such as; binary, duality,pair, second, twin, duple, etc... Put them all in a bag, stick the bag somewhere else in your mind, plenty of room, remember?

    Number 3 same thing.

    Number 4

    and so on and so on as far as you care to go.

    Now, there is some thing I can say about about these which is not so apparent with the ordinary way of conceptualizing integers.

    Some of them are simply more sociable than others.

    What does it prove? Nothing. What does it demonstrate, I'm not even sure. At one time it seemed a lovely clarification of pitch.

    I did this whole thing with Pi one time that made it very clear to me that Pi is an absurdity, I could talk about it with some one and explain it, but writing it would just be so tedious, I have lot of trouble writing.

    Oh yes, empirical predictions. I predict that it will be shown that: "The PREFERENTIAL WILL acts directly upon matter at the sub-atomic level."

    Remember, you heard it here first.

    Prediction #2

    A group of people, arranged in a form, selected for variation of psyche, in the presence of a particular "field" will be able to initiate and maintain telepathic contact with another similarly configured group.

    prediction #3

    Another type of group, differently configured and larger, also selected for particular qualities of psyche and arranged in a distinct form, will be able, in the presence of a specific field, to initiate and receive material objects reciprocally with another similarly configured group.

    Well, thanks again for your input, I appreciate the contact with a person of your caliber.


  11. Bxmkr,

    Sorry for the delay in talking about this very interesting topic.

    Several questions,

    First, how do you identify the variations in psyche necessary for the creation of the different groups?

    Second, what aspect of the human brain leads you to believe that enough energy can be externalized to effect sub-atomic particles?

    Third, what fields are necessary to enhance the effect? Are they fields we are familiar with now or are they yet to be discovered or developed?
  12. I'm sorry I haven't replied in awhile. It is hard for me to follow what you guys are talking about. I am only 15, and still learning alot, but I still am going to try to respond.

    Regarding worm holes:

    Wouldn't a worm hole form when the mass (gravity) of an object becomes so great that it punches a hole through space/time? That would mean that only an object with a mass equal to the "black hole figure" could form a worm hole... This would present a real problem for traveling into it, unless there is a way to keep this hole open and eliminate the mass used to create the hole.

    The only way I could think of doing this is by somehow getting rid of the mass of a black hole already in existance... I don't know at what means someone would go by to do such a seemingly impossible task (maybe with a discovery of anti-gravity?).

    Well, thats about as far as my mind can go into this conversation (which seems 2-sided to me (boris & plato))

    Thanks for listening,

    We live, we die, WHO CARES!
    -Double Overdrive
  13. Sirius B Guest

    Hey "Double Overdrive"

    It seems (to me) that the entire message board is an ongoing discussion between Boris and Plato (they don't seem to "address" others in their posts, only each other). I certainly don't feel like I have enough information (on some of the topics) to join in. The only thing I can do is read in "awe."


    Can one of you start a thread that uses "laymens" terms to discuss some of the changes the Earth might go through if "Betelgeuse" goes supernova? This topic has always intrest me. Just a thought

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  14. Yeah, not all of us have a degree in astrophisics, although I do find the concept intriguing and difficult at the same time. We need to begin some serious descussions because that crazy ET forum is passing us up in posts...

    I really find stuff like worm holes and multi-universes interesting... can boris or plato explain any of these easily. You don't have to if you don't want to but it would be fun to discuss.


    We live, we die, WHO CARES!
    -Double Overdrive

    [This message has been edited by Double Overdrive (edited June 05, 1999).]
  15. Bxmkr Guest

    Dragon Mage

    experimentation, coupled with reasoning.

    The fact of the human minds affect on sub-atomic material is already in evidence.

    they need to be developed.

  16. Boris Guest

    Sorry guys for carrying out a basically 2-sided conversation here; but the level of discussion sort of necessitates the high-faluting vocabularies. Bear with us; it may become more intuitive eventually (I'll try to be easier on heavy theory whenever I can.)

    But here's the brunt of what I and Plato have been discussing: is there an ultimate 'essense', or the 'stuff' out of which absolutely everything is made. This would include the 'stuff' out of which even 'empty space' is made. Think about it: the 'empty' space is not really just a nothingness; it still has the 'three degrees of motion' (up/down, left-right, forward/backward), and if you put an object into that space, you'll watch time transpire for that object.

    Then, QED proposes that various particle/antiparticle pairs, like electron/positron, pop up and disappear constantly even in the so-called 'empty' space. This gives an impression of a space teeming with energy, the so-called 'quantum vacuum'. In fact, Plato quickly went over an idea that the 'empty' space is actually filled with a near-infinite (or perhaps truly infinite) energy at every point! That's not just speculation, there's been experimental evidence to support this (e.g. the famed Casimir effect).

    Finally, the various 'fields' exist throughout space -- like the electromagnetic field that gives rise to such things as light, and radio waves, and magnetic fields, and electrostatics. Then there is the gravitation -- some say it's a field, others say it's a property of spacetime; nobody truly knows. Then there are the so-called strong and weak nuclear forces that hold baryons (protons, neutrons) and atomic nuclei together; these forces are also thought to arise from 'fields' that span the entire universe.

    So, you've got these so-called four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear and weak nuclear. The wonderful and amazing thing is, given the current mathematical models these four forces seem to 'unite' into one under extreme conditions such as those present during the first moments of the Big Bang. Thus, there is ultimately something very common to all these different forces; this commonality is the golden grail of the search for Grand Unified Theories (GUTs) that seek to explain just how exactly the four fundamental forces merge into one under certain conditions.

    Quantum Electro-Dynamics (QED) is a theory that encompasses 3 out of the 4 fundamental forces -- all but gravity. General Relativity, on the other hand, explains just gravity and ignores the other 3 forces. So now you begin to see the dichotomy. And the need for reconciliation and unification between these complementary frameworks. On the quantum side, there have been attempts to formulate Quantum Gravity, String Theory, and god knows how many other alternatives to General Relativity. On the GR side, as far as I know, there hasn't been any major attempt to derive quantum properties since Einstein's own attempts failed (and he tried to his last days).

    Another truly amazing thing that Einstein first showed is that matter and energy are ultimately the same thing in different guises. You can transform energy (field disturbance) into matter (what is matter then?), and matter back into energy completely. This has since been verified quite rigorously in particle accelerators.

    So, let me recap where we are. The 'empty' space is actually a real, tangible entity onto itself. It is populated by the so-called 'fields' which give rise to various manifestations of energy/matter. Both energy and matter are quantized -- there indeed is such a thing as the smallest possible chunk of energy, and the smallest possible scale for matter. Both energy and matter are different forms of the same 'thing', and produce gravity on equal terms -- energy has a 'gravitational mass'! And while energy is restricted to propagating at light speed, matter has something called 'inertial mass' which prevents it from ever reaching lightspeed.

    Now, I am arguing that all these phenomena -- space, time, matter, energy, gravity, fields, inertia, lightspeed -- are different manifestations of one single underlying entity. In essense, I am proclaiming that out of the Big Bang came this (for lack of a better name) proto-substance, which then evolved into the modern universe with all of its presently complex phenomena. But even now, at the core, the protosubstance remains! And if there ever will be a common, fundamental framework and frame of reference, on whose basis to analyze the universe, I am claiming that it will be precisely this, the 'underlying medium', or 'cosmic matrix' that gives rise to everything we shall ever know or be.

    Plato, it seems, disagrees. Quite justifiably, he is wary of intuitive interpretations of mathematical equations. He is also comfortable working with extreme abstractions, like mathematical infinities or limits, as more than mere models but actually true representations of reality. I do not share this philosophy.

    My firm conviction is that the only reason math fits the physical universe so well, is because it was modelled to do so at the outset! Starting with the simplest premises -- whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions -- it is easy to see that math has evolved exactly from the way we view and experience the world. When you put 2 apples together with 3 apples, you get exactly 5 apples -- no less, no more. See what I mean? In another universe, it could've been 13.23465... apples, and the math in that universe would be totally different! Thus I claim that the validity of math is not absolute but subjective, and construed only within the domain of our universe.

    Given that, fast-forward a bit toward European Renaissance, when people begin to extrapolate things wildly. They begin to mathematically postulate that things can be infinitely subdivided, or that infinite numbers of infinitely small things could be added up. This works great, just as long as we remember that those are only mathematical constructions. You _take a limit_ when you talk about something *approaching* infinity; you never talk about something actually *being* infinite! However, this latter interpretation (mathematically unsound) is what seems to be popping up these days.

    My position is that the universe is at the finest scales granular. But because it is granular only on such fine scales, from our macro viewpoint it looks smooth and continuous. To see what I mean, think about your computer screen. It actually consists of discrete pixels which you can't see from far away (I hope

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    ). So by observing the screen from far away, you might be fooled into thinking that it's a solid picture -- that no matter how small a chunk of it you look at, it will still show you a meaningful piece of the total picture. That assumption would be wrong (as we all know) -- since the screen is not a continuous image but made up of pixels, which are ultimately made up of red, green and blue phosphor dots, which are in turn made up of billions of atoms -- but below that scale, there is nothing to usefully represent a picture element! Same with small-scale physics. At the quantum scales, we are just beginning to get glimpses of possible granularity of the universe, but we are still staring from far away even in our most intricate experiments.

    The 'granularity' hypothesis is attractive to me because of many virtues. Among them -- you don't have to talk about each volume of space containing infinite information; all you have to think is that the volume of space contains a *whole lot* of little discrete chunks of information, such that when you sum all of them up you get a finite amount. Then once you have a fundamental granularity, you can talk about the mechanisms that generate all the things that we know, from matter to energy. An analogy here would be learning of water molecules, and then using that knowledge to precisely calculate how water flows, freezes, evaporates, heats, cools, carries sound, transmits light, and so on and so forth. If only we could divine that 'fundamental molecule' of the 'protomatter', then we could simply calculate out all the phenomena that ever have, are or will occur anywhere in the universe. It would be the ultimate Grand Unified Theory!

    Of course, it will not be a molecule, and calling the cosmic matrix 'protomatter' is only a deceptive analogy. These things come from every-day experience with three dimensions and related sizes. It is the matrix that defines these very dimensions, so within it, talk about dimension, length or size makes no sense! So the real solution will be esoteric and strange-looking indeed; but I am hopeful that someday it will be achieved...

    I am; therefore I think.
  17. Plato Guest

    Just a few remarks on what Boris has to say.

    First I must point out that QED (quantum electro dynamics) only discribes one of the four forces namely electromagnetism. The weak force is incorporated in the same formalism with the unified electro-weak force as a result. The strong force, also known as QCD (quantum chromo dynamics), has basically the same formalism as the other two that is why those three can be fairly easily unified with GUT's of 'only' five dimensions. This GUT of five dimensions however has already been ruled out because it predicts a half-life for the proton of 10^31 years, experiments with hughe waterbaths have already put a lower limit on 10^33 years so... The GUT's only encorporate the three subatomically relavent forces, gravity is about 27 orders of magnitude smaller then the weak force (the weakest of the three) so has no significent impact on the subatomic scale. That is why the GUT's don't really need gravity to tag along to explain most of the subatomic properties of matter. Of course, nobody is satisfied with this situation, that is where the supersymmetrical theories come in of which string and M theory are the best known. They try to give one theoretical framework to explain the whole of physics.

    I'm surprised on your organical view on mathematics. If what you say is true than math has a direct impact on the universe. Why is it then that people could come up we so many different geometries to describe our universe : hypersphere, hypersaddle, toroid, ... if there is only one universe where we live in. How can we contamplate N-dimensional manifolds if we only have 4 (11 ?) dimensions in our universe. How can we think about volumes with only one surface ? And surfaces with only one side ? These things simply don't exist ! How come we can imagine so many different universes, since that is what the problem is with string theory they get a hughe amount of different possible universes and up until now proving that our universe is the only one possible has not been achived.
    I think that math is a tool which stands outside reality. In this century logisits have proven that there exists many different maths that are perfectly consistent and are totally apart from each other. So it is quite clear that the human mind is not bound by the universe that spawned it. This quality kind of transcents us from the crude matter that we are made from. And if you permit my philosophical comment, may be that is the purpose of concienceness : it is the universe trying to grow beyond it's own bounderies.

    we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
  18. Boris,
    Thank you for the lucid explanation. Your granular view of the universe makes sense to me intuitively. One point of clarification I would like you to address is this: Are you saying that space itself is not an empty vacuum for the most part, but a sea unique, esoteric granules?

    I have to agree with Boris about problems with solutions which approach infinity or zero but never quite really get there. It seems to me that alot can happen as you approach something, it all depends upon your perspective.

    On another note, could you briefly explain the nuances of superstring and M-theories focusing on how closed and open loops can vibrate at different frquencies to form particles? What are the loops made of?
  19. Bxmkr,

    Where can I find the evidence of the brain's effect on sub-atomic particles? I would like to read about this. Also, are we talking EM radiation or some other form of energy?

    All is not what it seems,
  20. Boris Guest


    I only went over the beginnings of math; I hope it's crystal clear where it had its start. Everything that has happened since was only building on the same foundations. The various geometries, number theories, and dimensions are only recombinations of old concepts in new ways. But ultimately, it is those unitary concepts that always end up playing a role. For example, the concept of straight line. Or the concept of an angle. Or the concept of a plane. Or the concept of dimension. Or the concept of enumerability. Or the concept of continuity. Math takes its root from a whole lot of ideas, some Gestalt, some simply numerical, that are inexorably tied to the physical universe we inhabit, and our mental perception thereof. None of these concepts are absolutely necessary nor valid in every possible universe. So it is indeed my position that all and any math (as well as any thought in general) will always be confined to things we can perceive and formulate based only on our physical experience. Therefore, math does not transcend the universe, and is doomed to always exist within. And to me, it is indeed quite clear that the human mind is bound by the universe, and does not transcend the matter of which it is made.


    Yes and no. I am saying that what we perceive as 'space' is only a capacity of matter/energy to freely move in three dimensions. It is ultimately granular. But as to what gives rise to that granularity -- that's the big mystery.

    I am; therefore I think.
  21. Sirius B Guest

    I agree with Boris

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    Without even knowing all the specifics, I have always felt that there was more to "space" than just an empty vaccum. I am also a "fan" of the idea that "our" math is basically our creation. Somewhere out there the product of 6 and 5 may really be 29.

    When more "minds" began to see what Boris has explained, we will be able to travel far beyond our universe (Effortlessly).
  22. Plato Guest

    Boris and Sirius B,

    Don't get me wrong on this but your remarks about mathematics show that you are no mathematicians at all. Nothing wrong with that but if you want to attack something's fundamentals without understanding it then you are walking on thin ice.
    First of all I 'm not a true mathematician either but many of my friends are and I had a whole lot of math myself to know a little what they are talking about.
    Second modern math is in no way similar to the ancient art of adding up numbers. You are thinking along the lines of evulotion of one-celluar life to humans, things simply get more complex but they share a whole lot of the same DNA and ultimatly the same electrons, protons and neutrons. This is not so in math. For example there is no problem what so ever in making a math where 5 times 6 indeed equals 29, the product just doesn't is the same as you think it should be. I don't know if it will form a group with the natural numbers but who needs natural numbers...
    An other example, there are maths where if one adds 1 and 1 you get 0.
    There are geometries where there are only two points who lie on a strait line and two lines in a plane no more, no less. These are all very much internally consistent and basis for a whole bunch of theorems. There is just no end to the imagination of the mind in these things.
    Do you really believe that all these things have physical meaning ? Stop kidding yourself ! Mathematicians live in their own universes, very much different of ours, just talk to one, you know what I mean

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    . I think that mathematicians are very much more alien to us poor physicts then the beings from outher space who are supposed to be visiting us

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    we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
  23. Boris Guest

    Plato, Sirius B:

    I don't think you guys read my post. It's sole and very important point is this: no matter what mathematics does, it still has only a fixed set of concepts to combine and recombine to generate new frameworks. Inductively speaking, this is an epistemological limit on knowledge: that the only things we will ever know are those that stem from direct experience. Think of it this way: we get a 'vocabulary' of concepts from nature and our own cognitive machinery, out of which we can then generate new and exotic languages, and build complex sentences, and tell wonderful stories -- but we are still limited to the vocabulary. The expressive power of thought is ultimately limited by our direct physical experience. Here, 'thought' includes math. Not only does this mean that math is doomed to forever rehashing the same old building blocks in new ways -- it also means that there are truths containing concepts that math will never possess -- therefore, truths unattainable by math.

    Among my many claims (

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    ) is that thought is entirely a product of the brain. From such an assumption, it follows that thought is a computation performed by a machine. Godel's incompleteness theorem proves that no machine can possibly be able to derive all possible true statements. If you don't accept my argument based on the foundations of knowledge, then consider this more mathematical formulation. Unless, that is, you believe in souls -- in which case, any further discussion on the issue will lead nowhere.

    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited June 10, 1999).]

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