Can Drunken Physics Unravel the Mysteries of the Universe?

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In summary, the conversation discusses various topics such as the equation e = m*c², the shape of the universe, expansion, and gravity waves. They also mention the potential influence of gravity between parallel universes and the possibility of not finding gravitational waves. However, they admit to not being fully competent in these topics and acknowledge that drunken physics discussions can be productive.
  • #1
GBR
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Homework Statement



After todays exams, I'm having a few well deserved beers with a friend. We are pondering about some things we're not competent enough to comprehend (I'm a journalist and he is an architect).

1. e = m*c² -- how does lightspeed come into this equation, and why is it squared?

2. Shape of the universe: How can something have a shape if it does not occupy a tangible space? For example, if we live in a saddle shaped universe, how can we say it it is saddle shaped without any observers who are able to see it as so?

3. Expansion: Can gravity have an influence between parallel universes, and can it explain expansion and dark matter (ie. our universe is getting stretched by other universes in our neighborhood)?

4. Gravity waves: What if we don't find 'em?

The Attempt at a Solution



Beer talk.

(sorry if this is considered spam and drunken physics posting is a faux pas)
 
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  • #2
You've posted this in the wrong forum, as this clearly isn't a homework question. Nevertheless, you've got my attention:

1. This webpage has a very readable derivation with only light maths:

http://www.adamauton.com/warp/emc2.html

2. From what I understand, the shape of the universe was determined by a simple observation made by Edwin Hubble: He noticed that stars/galaxies that were farther away from the Earth were moving away faster than those nearby. (He knew they were moving away because of red-shifted light due to the doppler effect). Moreover, he noticed that this expansion speed was constant at a fixed distance no matter which way he looked in the sky.

The natural conclusion to draw from this is that the universe is spherically shaped and is expanding (imagine a balloon, where the surface expands quicker and quicker as it gets larger)

3. Parallel universes are still just a theory, and although we know how gravity *works* we don't know what it actually *is*. Connecting the two using present theories would be an excellent excercise in futility.

4. Hopefully we just find the graviton. I'm almost positive it is predicted by String Theory, so finding it would provide the first tangible evidence that the theory is more than just theoretical hot air.
 
  • #3
Far from a faux pax, drunken physical questions are perhaps the best and most fruitful.

GBR said:
1. e = m*c² -- how does lightspeed come into this equation, and why is it squared?
c squared is just a proportionality constant here---it converts between our conventional units of mass, to our conventional units of energy. There are lots of other ways of explaining the presence of [tex]c^2[/tex], but I think this is perfectly sufficient for your question.

GBR said:
2. Shape of the universe: How can something have a shape if it does not occupy a tangible space? For example, if we live in a saddle shaped universe, how can we say it it is saddle shaped without any observers who are able to see it as so?
Shape doesn't just tell you how something looks from the outside; it also tells you how things behave in that environment. Try drawing a triangle on the surface of a sphere, hopefully you can convince yourself that the sum of the angles is actually larger than 180 degrees. There are other configurations where the angle would be less. In either case, this has an effect even to an observer existing within that geometry. Another example would be walking along a mobius strip---coming back to where you started.

GBR said:
3. Expansion: Can gravity have an influence between parallel universes, and can it explain expansion and dark matter (ie. our universe is getting stretched by other universes in our neighborhood)?
No. Parallel universes cannot (for the most part) interact with our universe---thats what makes them different universes. Note also that dark energy is the one that has to do with accelerated expansion.

GBR said:
4. Gravity waves: What if we don't find 'em?
That's really really unlikely... If you ask most astrophysicists they'll tell you we've already observed gravitational radiation (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSR_B1913+16), but only indirectly. BUT, if we were to NEVER directly detect GW... i suppose it would completely change our notion of how gravity works---most notably, we'd have to throw lots of general relativity to the wind.
 
  • #4
GBR said:

Homework Statement



After todays exams, I'm having a few well deserved beers with a friend.
Usually men in front of a beer talk about women... :)
We are pondering about some things we're not competent enough to comprehend (I'm a journalist and he is an architect).
You're interested in science. That's important.
1. e = m*c² -- how does lightspeed come into this equation, and why is it squared?
Can't quite answer you, but dimensional analisys says it's coherent.
From motion laws E=F*s= m*a*s = [kg] [m^2] / [s^2].
So there must be a speed squared in the equation.

2. Shape of the universe: How can something have a shape if it does not occupy a tangible space? For example, if we live in a saddle shaped universe, how can we say it it is saddle shaped without any observers who are able to see it as so?
More than the shape we can measure curvature. If everywhere there is e.g. a constant positive curvature you can say you live in a spherical universe.
But you can't say you live on a shere. The shape of an object has sense only seen from a higher dimensions world, e.g. 4th dimensions for us.

3. Expansion: Can gravity have an influence between parallel universes, and can it explain expansion and dark matter (ie. our universe is getting stretched by other universes in our neighborhood)?
N.A.
4. Gravity waves: What if we don't find 'em?

N.A.

The Attempt at a Solution



Beer talk.
Have fun.
(sorry if this is considered spam and drunken physics posting is a faux pas)
 
  • #5


I understand the curiosity and fascination with these questions. Let's break them down one by one.

1. The equation e = m*c² relates energy (e) to mass (m) and the speed of light (c). The speed of light is squared because it is a fundamental constant in the universe, meaning it is a fixed value that does not change. The equation shows that energy and mass are directly proportional to each other, and the speed of light is a crucial factor in that relationship.

2. The concept of the shape of the universe is a complex one, and it is still being explored and studied by scientists. While we may not be able to physically observe the shape of the universe, we can use mathematical models and data from observations to make educated guesses about its shape. It is important to note that the universe may not have a tangible shape in the way we typically think of it, but rather a mathematical shape that helps us understand its properties.

3. The idea of gravity having an influence between parallel universes is a theoretical concept and is not currently supported by scientific evidence. While gravity is a fundamental force in our universe, its effects may not extend beyond our universe. The concept of dark matter and the expansion of the universe are still being studied and understood, and there are various theories about their origins and mechanisms.

4. As with any scientific discovery, the possibility of not finding something is always present. However, the search for gravity waves is a crucial one as it can provide valuable insights into the nature of the universe and help us further understand the fundamental forces at play.

In conclusion, while drunken physics discussions may be entertaining, it is important to approach these complex questions with a scientific mindset and seek out evidence-based answers. Keep asking questions and seeking knowledge, but also remember to enjoy those well-deserved beers. Cheers!
 

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