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Einsteinian Unification?

  1. Nov 17, 2003 #1
    Einsteinian, I hope you have taken the speculation part of this seriously. I am a wild card and have read way too much science fiction, so my ideas should rightly be held suspect. Nevertheless, here goes. No doubt other more grounded members will correct me as needed.

    My guess is that the whole idea of forces is provisional. We observe forces on a macroscopic scale, which involves huge numbers of co-interacting particals and fields. Objects seem to move, they interact with each other, we propose fields and particals to explain why they move and interact as they do. However, on the very small scale their movements and interactions become mysterious. Objects (particals) and fields are proposed based on macroscopic observations, but their projected (calculated, and observed under tightly controlled conditions) qualities do not make sense in our usual world view of three non-colinear spatial dimensions permeated by a single arrow of time. Feynman in QED for example has to explain certain processes by invoking the idea that electrons under some conditions must travel backwards in time. We call them positrons when they do that.

    I have taken it as my first postulate that time and space at the submicroscopic level are nothing at all like what we see around us in terms of say billiard balls and lightbulbs. Quantum effects tend to cancel each other out in the realm of the huge, which we humans inhabit. Yet at the sub-nuclear scale, they underlie everything we know.

    Now, forces are an expression of energy which is equivalent to mass, so they always involve motion or the potential for motion. You may have heard that mass-energy is conserved, which means that the total amount of mass-energy in a closed system does not change as time progresses. Noether proposed that all conservation processes are connected to symetries. When a symetry is broken we observe a force, that is the motion of particals in fields.

    I am emphasising motion here because I want to challenge our concept of time. As Feynman and many others have explained, time at the quantum level is not the same thing we observe at our scale. We don't see trucks and airplanes and such popping in and out of time like electrons in a Feynman diagram seem to do.

    It is interesting to me that Einstein proposes that space and time are equivalent. I immediately wonder then if there are three basis lines in space, should there not also be three (at least) basis lines in time? This opens up the speculation that at the most fundamental level, there are other dimensions, which in branching off in time, leave our 3+1 space entirely.

    So, as for what this has to do with your question, the number of forces has to do with the number of possible motions that can be undertaken in a closed system, and therefore the number four has to do with the 3+1 space we seem to inhabit, and then the investigation of quantum behavior seems to indicate that there are many more dimensions than those we commonly observe at the macroscopic level, and so we may speculate that there are as many other forces as there are other dimensions.

    No doubt someone sharp will stick pins in my bubbles, but that is what I think I see. No doubt if you are studying physics and trying to make the grade, you will be best off following the program presented by your teachers, and leaving such "raw speculations" as I present to the dreamers of the world. However, since you were so bold as to question the fundamental forces, I thought it might be helpful to have a look at where such thoughts may lead.


    Richard T. Harbaugh
  2. jcsd
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