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Light elements abundance in a static toy universe

by TrickyDicky
Tags: abundance, elements, light, static, universe
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TrickyDicky
#55
Mar5-12, 09:52 AM
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What I cannot understand is why you won't concede that in a static spacetime there is time symmetry and therefore nuclear reactions would be reversible, so the "all iron" answer can never be the correct answer.
Ken G
#56
Mar6-12, 02:05 AM
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I can't concede it because it's wrong, the physics of that claim is confused. The static character of the spacetime has nothing at all to do with the nuclear reactions possible. The latter depends, not on the spacetime (which simply defines the inertial paths, and asserts that they are always the same), but on the conditions of the matter (temperature, density, and so on), and the physical processes allowed in those conditions. The model would have reached a steady state if the age is effectively infinite, so all processes that can occur must balance their inverse process. That doesn't mean you have some known H/He ratio, it might just mean you don't have any of either H or He. I'm saying that is what you would indeed have, because the conditions one can assume for your static spacetime (given that they are unspecified, yet you asked your question anyway, we can assume you intended conditions of T and density like we find in the universe today), do not have a process for turning He back into H, so we are on a one-way street leading to iron. Hence the answer that you don't like. Now, obviously if you are allowed to invent imaginary physics, you can get any H/He you are more happy with, but then there is also no reason to pose your question here.
TrickyDicky
#57
Mar6-12, 03:14 AM
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Quote Quote by Ken G View Post
I can't concede it because it's wrong, the physics of that claim is confused. The static character of the spacetime has nothing at all to do with the nuclear reactions possible. The latter depends, not on the spacetime (which simply defines the inertial paths, and asserts that they are always the same), but on the conditions of the matter (temperature, density, and so on), and the physical processes allowed in those conditions.
Ok, let's imagine this spacetime was a solution of the EFE, in that case the matter conditions would also be fixed by the RHS of the EFE.
Ken G
#58
Mar6-12, 09:38 AM
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Quote Quote by TrickyDicky View Post
Ok, let's imagine this spacetime was a solution of the EFE, in that case the matter conditions would also be fixed by the RHS of the EFE.
You think the H/He ratio, and the nucleosynthesis physics, shows up on the RHS of the EFE? What is actually there?
twofish-quant
#59
Mar6-12, 10:27 AM
P: 6,863
Quote Quote by TrickyDicky View Post
You are right, that is because cosmologists generally deal with physically realistic scenarios, I'm having problems getting you people into the "thought experiment mode" here.
That's because it's not clear what rules you are imposing. If you can state the rules of the game, we can figure out what goes on.

Yes, the cores of stars as isolated systems tend to p-->n, so in the hypothetical static spacetime some mechanism should be compensating this, I guess.
And once you specify that mechanism then you get whatever answer you want.
TrickyDicky
#60
Mar6-12, 10:43 AM
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Quote Quote by Ken G View Post
You think the H/He ratio, and the nucleosynthesis physics, shows up on the RHS of the EFE? What is actually there?
Stress-energy tensor.
Ken G
#61
Mar6-12, 11:17 AM
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Yes... no physics about nucleosynthesis at all. You can kind of tell this, actually-- Einstein did have a cosmological model with a static spacetime. So why didn't he go ahead and try to answer the question from your OP? Because he knew it would not be possible to do, there's not enough information without additional assumptions. Now, of course Einstein didn't know squat about nucleosynthesis, but what we do know about it now is what gives the answer "all iron", so Einstein would have then known his static solution was wrong in the absence of some new physics (which is what we are telling you, also). So the bottom line is, as has often been repeated, there are only two possible answers to your question:
1) if no new physics: all iron
2) if new physics: anything you want
I wish I had just said that from the start, but then again, I think I basically did.
TrickyDicky
#62
Mar6-12, 11:24 AM
P: 3,010
And in the simplified case of a static universe with a fluid in thermodynamical equilibrium the stress-energy tensor is proportional to the hydrostatic pressure and the inverse of the metric tensor.
TrickyDicky
#63
Mar6-12, 11:44 AM
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Quote Quote by Ken G View Post
Yes... no physics about nucleosynthesis at all.
What?? So in your opinion, what physics is the matter tensor related to?
Ken G
#64
Mar6-12, 01:54 PM
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The stress-energy tensor is what it is-- there are many different things that can lead to the same stress-energy tensor. You seem to imagine that tensor completely describes everything that is happening, but this is incorrect. Consider this analogy. As I write this, everything happening in my head can be influencing in some way the words that appear, yet you cannot take those words and infer everything happening in my head. So it is for the stress-energy tensor, and so it was for Einstein and his static spacetime cosmology, and that is also why he knew he could not use that cosmology to infer H/He. Why else do you think Einstein could design a theory around the stress-energy tensor without even knowing that nucleosynthesis existed?

To repeat: Einstein could make a static cosmology. He could not infer H/He from that cosmology, because he did not know the physics of nucleosynthesis. We do, so we can get H/He, and it's all iron, unless you want to put in some additional unknown physics, in which case you can get any answer you like.
TrickyDicky
#65
Mar6-12, 03:20 PM
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Quote Quote by Ken G View Post
The stress-energy tensor is what it is-- there are many different things that can lead to the same stress-energy tensor. You seem to imagine that tensor completely describes everything that is happening, but this is incorrect. Consider this analogy. As I write this, everything happening in my head can be influencing in some way the words that appear, yet you cannot take those words and infer everything happening in my head. So it is for the stress-energy tensor, and so it was for Einstein and his static spacetime cosmology, and that is also why he knew he could not use that cosmology to infer H/He. Why else do you think Einstein could design a theory around the stress-energy tensor without even knowing that nucleosynthesis existed?

To repeat: Einstein could make a static cosmology. He could not infer H/He from that cosmology, because he did not know the physics of nucleosynthesis. We do, so we can get H/He, and it's all iron, unless you want to put in some additional unknown physics, in which case you can get any answer you like.
You are weirdly hung upon that Einstein thing, that has nothing to do with my questions.
No, I don't think the stress tensor describes what you are thinking.
Thanks for your valuable help.
Ken G
#66
Mar6-12, 11:53 PM
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Quote Quote by TrickyDicky
You are weirdly hung upon that Einstein thing, that has nothing to do with my questions.
Yeah, why would the fact that your OP stipulated a static spacetime, which is just what Einstein had in his static spacetime cosmology, why would that be relevant? All you added was nucleosynthesis, as if knowledge of that would suddenly let H/He be calculated in Einstein's cosmology simply because our H/He "formed in equilibrium." So all equilibrium are exactly the same then, in your mind? No, they're not. But you can't get this so, this must conclude our conversation. There isn't much point in repeating further-- your question is answered: "all iron if you add nothing to your OP, or anything you want if you add some made up physics you did not stipulate."
TrickyDicky
#67
Mar7-12, 04:21 AM
P: 3,010
Quote Quote by twofish-quant View Post
That's because it's not clear what rules you are imposing. If you can state the rules of the game, we can figure out what goes on.

And once you specify that mechanism then you get whatever answer you want.
Quote Quote by Ken G View Post
So all equilibrium are exactly the same then, in your mind? No, they're not.
Certainly. But equilibrium is certainly a good condition to start with. And a static fluid in equilibrium - therefore thermodynamic and hydrostatic equilibrium- is a particular equilibrium that simplifies the problem.
So that the ratio of protons and neutrons when they are allowed to freely and reversibly transform into each other (this particular equilibrium), I understand, is determined just by their relative masses. This seems to be the only stipulating that is needed to calculate a H/He ratio under the postulated conditions. But please correct me if this is not so.
Sorry for not making this stipulations clear in the OP.
Ken G
#68
Mar7-12, 07:16 PM
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Quote Quote by TrickyDicky View Post
Certainly. But equilibrium is certainly a good condition to start with. And a static fluid in equilibrium - therefore thermodynamic and hydrostatic equilibrium- is a particular equilibrium that simplifies the problem.
So that the ratio of protons and neutrons when they are allowed to freely and reversibly transform into each other (this particular equilibrium), I understand, is determined just by their relative masses.
Not just that, also the temperature. Just saying you have an equilibrium is only the beginning, it means you have a temperature, but it doesn't tell you what the temperature is. You need that to get H/He in equilibrium between the processes that make He and those that make H. But as I said, simply having a static spacetime doesn't mean you have equilibrium everywhere, you can have stars forming and exploding and so on, and those are the processes that will turn everything into iron regardless of what is the average temperature. It sounds to me like you wanted not only a static spacetime, but also a homogeneous density, but that's generally not stable to gravity even locally (never mind the global instability that dooms static spacetimes). If we could have a stable static spacetime, that was also locally stable, so you have equilibrium everywhere at the same T, even then, you still need to know what that T is before you can know H/He. That's the crucial input from the Big Bang model-- it tells you what happens to T, and that is what inevitably gives you H/He ~ 4 (by mass).
TrickyDicky
#69
Mar8-12, 04:23 AM
P: 3,010
Quote Quote by Ken G View Post
Not just that, also the temperature. Just saying you have an equilibrium is only the beginning, it means you have a temperature, but it doesn't tell you what the temperature is. You need that to get H/He in equilibrium between the processes that make He and those that make H. But as I said, simply having a static spacetime doesn't mean you have equilibrium everywhere, you can have stars forming and exploding and so on, and those are the processes that will turn everything into iron regardless of what is the average temperature. It sounds to me like you wanted not only a static spacetime, but also a homogeneous density, but that's generally not stable to gravity even locally (never mind the global instability that dooms static spacetimes). If we could have a stable static spacetime, that was also locally stable, so you have equilibrium everywhere at the same T, even then, you still need to know what that T is before you can know H/He. That's the crucial input from the Big Bang model-- it tells you what happens to T, and that is what inevitably gives you H/He ~ 4 (by mass).
Thanks, this helps a lot.
You are correct also that I should have specified that it should be a stable homogeneous universe, which is as you very well point out an impossibility as there are no static and homogeneous cosmologies that are stable. In fact the only static homogeneous model is Einstein's universe and it is a well known fact that it is not stable .
I realize I left out a lot of important data in my OP and I apologyze again for it (I see now that could be frustrating from the answering POV).

Regarding temperature, I realize that it is a key component to compute a freeze-out neutron/proton ratio (and from that a H/He) with the Boltzmann statistics formula that includes the temperature and the mass of protons and neutrons in the BBN model. But I'm wondering if the concept of temperature would even make any sense in such a bizarre scenario as the one I'm imagining. It would seem temperature is very related to time asymmetry, and here we would have time symmetry. So I guess by pure logic a H/He ratio could be simply obtained in this imaginary setting from the fact that He-4 has four nucleons and hydrogen has one, and by chance it is also 4. But this leads nowhere so at this point I'm ready to wrap this up unless someone has any further comment to make.
Ken G
#70
Mar8-12, 08:23 AM
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I think a lot has been cleared up. I don't think the temperature concept requires time asymmetry, because it has meaning in equilibrium, but I agree that a static cosmology has a lot of paradoxes associated with it, and I'm a little surprised neither Newton nor Einstein recognized that. Perhaps it was simply that their imaginations didn't grasp the alternative, and needed a little nudge from observations.


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