Could the objects in the universe be shrinking?

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A very hypothetical situation:

Might an observer outside the universe see the universe itself staying a constant size, with each of the objects within at (on average) a static centre of physical co-ordinates, yet the objects themselves are shrinking?

Having had a single cosmology so far where my professer stated that the universe didn't necessarily start as an infinitesimally small point, but instead that everything was more dense, this occured to me as a possibility.

Is there anything out there (doppler shift etc.) that should not occur under this model, or am I simply the next big thing in cosmology?
 
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  • #2
bapowell
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Redshift?
 
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I don't know... couldn't red shift still occur for shrinking objects?
 
  • #4
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I think its any arbitrary choice to say everything is shrinking vs the universe is expanding. I had asked some fellow physicists here at work the same question a few years ago and got no definitive answer.

However thinking about it now, if everything is shrinking then the problem becomes one of some kind of entanglement where everything is shrinking at the same rate which seems to be against GR and QM both.

You could see if the GR equations can be interpreted that way.

Its an interesting idea but it is also speculative physics and this forum tends to limit discussion on the topic.
 
  • #5
bapowell
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How does one explain the presence of a CMB without expansion?
 
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thanks
 
  • #7
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thanks

I think you should still pursue your idea comparing and contrasting it against current theory until you get a convincing answer. The journey toward the answer is reward enough unless you get a Nobel too. Sometimes these journeys lead to even more topics of research.
 
  • #8
phinds
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A very hypothetical situation:

Might an observer outside the universe see the universe itself staying a constant size, with each of the objects within at (on average) a static centre of physical co-ordinates, yet the objects themselves are shrinking?

Having had a single cosmology so far where my professer stated that the universe didn't necessarily start as an infinitesimally small point, but instead that everything was more dense, this occured to me as a possibility.

Is there anything out there (doppler shift etc.) that should not occur under this model, or am I simply the next big thing in cosmology?
THis question in one form or another is asked here a couple of times a year. The evidence against it is overwhelming. It just doesn't work.

If your prof really said "the universe didn't necessarily start as an infinitesimally small point" then you should worry about believing what he says. The fact that the universe did NOT start as a point is so firmly accepted in modern cosmology that it is incorporated in one of the two primal concepts of the "Cosmological Principle", namely that of isotropy, which is an empirically verified description of our universe and could not be so if everything had started at one point. Are you sure you understood him correctly?
 
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I think you should still pursue your idea comparing and contrasting it against current theory until you get a convincing answer. The journey toward the answer is reward enough unless you get a Nobel too. Sometimes these journeys lead to even more topics of research.
Yes I will pursue the idea, even if phinds above says it is overwhelmingly wrong, when I know enough, but for now I don't know anything about quantum entanglement and I really only know the basics of relativity, I know nothing of it w.r.t cosmology. Just a basic question for a basic answer! Thanks again.

phinds said:
Are you sure you understood him correctly?
Yes, I'm sure she probably explained it properly just that I have not had it hammered into my brain enough yet to remove the necessarily from my sentence.
 
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THis question in one form or another is asked here a couple of times a year. The evidence against it is overwhelming. It just doesn't work.
Could you briefly write down some of the reasons why it doesn't work that I can look into it in more detail?
 
  • #11
Chronos
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The shrinking universe idea has been around since at least 1937. The most recent foray into it, AFAIK, is by Wetterich, http://arxiv.org/abs/1303.6878. It works just fine so long as all the fundamental forces, constants, masses, etc., scale accordingly. The bigger issue is does this tell us anything we do not otherwise already know? Does it make novel predictions not made by the standard model? Does it solve any fundamental issues without creating new ones of its own? I would say the answer is NO. It's just reinventing the wheel.
 
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Yeah that's what I figured, it just makes a bit more sense to me than the idea of space expanding into nothingness. Questions, answers, more questions.
 
  • #13
phinds
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Might an observer outside the universe ...
I just realized that no one had commented on this statement. There IS no "outside" to the universe. There is no center, no edge, and no outside.

I recommend the link in my signature for further discussion
 
  • #14
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I just realized that no one had commented on this statement. There IS no "outside" to the universe. There is no center, no edge, and no outside.

I recommend the link in my signature for further discussion
I think the outside the universe notion comes from the multiverse / bubble universe drawings often shown in popular magazines attempting to explain cosmology to the casual reader.

http://journalofcosmology.com/images/MultiverseBubbleUniverses1.jpg
 
  • #15
Chronos
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If you look at it from a spatial respect, finding a place outside the universe is quite a challenge. The universe becomes increasingly younger as you observe at increasing distance. Taken to its logical conclusion, outside the universe means pre-big bang.
 
  • #16
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I just realized that no one had commented on this statement. There IS no "outside" to the universe. There is no center, no edge, and no outside.

I recommend the link in my signature for further discussion
You may have missed the first part of my question "A very hypothetical situation". Of course I know there is no outside to the universe, you can see this when I say "it just makes a bit more sense to me than the idea of space expanding into nothingness".

You seem to be spending more time picking apart the small fallacies of my question than actually supplying an answers to the real question at hand. It's not very helpful.
 
  • #17
bapowell
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You may have missed the first part of my question "A very hypothetical situation".
Yeah, and he's just told you that your hypothesis is wrong. Seems helpful to me.
 
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Yeah, and he's just told you that your hypothesis is wrong. Seems helpful to me.
Where everybody else has given me reasons, he has given none. No major scientific discoveries were ever made by somebody saying 'No, it is just wrong', a budding physicist learns nothing that way.
 
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Where everybody else has given me reasons, he has given none. No major scientific discoveries were ever made by somebody saying 'No, it is just wrong', a budding physicist learns nothing that way.
Before the commentary dissolved into chaos I suggest the thread now be closed.

While its true naysayers will seldom provide proof, you must learn how to deal with that form of discouragement and move on to find the answers yourself.

With cosmology in particular, we arre working with the very fringes of our scientific theory and in a few years the things we believe true now with new data and theories could have a completely different interpretation.

The academic world has many unique individuals and is very harsh in its criticism of new ideas but that's what makes you stronger, helps you find the flaws in your theory and brings forth the very best ideas. Academic evolution of the fittest. It can't be any other way so just persevere and learn from your failures.
 
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  • #20
bapowell
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Where everybody else has given me reasons, he has given none. No major scientific discoveries were ever made by somebody saying 'No, it is just wrong', a budding physicist learns nothing that way.
Did you read phinds' link? Nobody is saying "No, it is just wrong". If you spend the time to understand why there is no outside to the universe, say, by reading phinds' link, you might not feel so slighted. Part of being a "budding physicist" is to be humble and to learn as much as you can. People on this forum are simply trying to help you learn. There are good reasons for not supposing that there is an outside to the universe -- these reasons are grounded in our understanding of gravity in terms of differential manifolds. If you'd like to understand this more, please ask.
 
  • #21
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Well said theojohn4.
 
  • #22
Drakkith
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Well said theojohn4.
Please don't make posts that do not contribute to the thread.
 
  • #23
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Here is a quote from Author Eddington: "When we assert the universe expands, what is our standard of consistency???....if all these standards are shrinking relative to the universe...the theory of the expanding universe is also the theory of the shrinking atom. Thus we cannot detach the theory of the universe from the theory of the atom. We must not think of the cosmological constant as an agent which manifests itself only in the super-system of the galaxies and is insignificant in the atom and other small scale systems ...thus we ought to be able to approach the cosmological constant through the ....equations of quantum theory."

New Pathways of Science at page 223
 
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  • #24
Drakkith
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Here is a quote from Author Eddington: "When we assert the universe expands, what is our standard of consistency???....if all these standards are shrinking relative to the universe...the theory of the expanding universe is also the theory of the shrinking atom. Thus we cannot detach the theory of the universe from the theory of the atom. We must not think of the cosmological constant as an agent which manifests itself only in the super-system of the galaxies and is insignificant in the atom and other small scale systems ...thus we ought to be able to approach the cosmological constant through the ....equations of quantum theory."

New Pathways of Science at page 223
Chronos covers this in post 11.
 
  • #25
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I don't think anyone really believes atoms are shrinking - including Eddington. Its an academic exercise - to see how far one can go with the idea of shrinkage before it stalls in the face of collateral effects such as the CBR - for me, the interesting feature of Eddington's statement is contained in the last line of the quote - it raises the provocative question as to the mechanism for shrinkage and at the same time it asks at what level expansion derives - at the quantum level if space is quantized? And if so, Is it the quantums that expand or shrink or do they get absorbed to effect shrinkage or multiply to create new quantums in proportion to the number existing thus leading to exponential expansion. There is much to be pondered in the quote which is not suggested by post 11 - but admittedly, they should be the subject of new threads.
 

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