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Expanding Space: the Root of all Evil?

  1. Jul 3, 2007 #1

    marcus

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    thoughtful paper on how to convey an idea with least confusion
    http://arxiv.org/abs/0707.0380
    Expanding Space: the Root of all Evil?
    Matthew J. Francis, Luke A. Barnes, J. Berian James, Geraint F. Lewis
    8 pages, accepted for publication in PASA
    (Submitted on 3 Jul 2007)

    "While it remains the staple of virtually all cosmological teaching, the concept of expanding space in explaining the increasing separation of galaxies has recently come under fire as a dangerous idea whose application leads to the development of confusion and the establishment of misconceptions. In this paper, we develop a notion of expanding space that is completely valid as a framework for the description of the evolution of the universe and whose application allows an intuitive understanding of the influence of universal expansion. We also demonstrate how arguments against the concept in general have failed thus far, as they imbue expanding space with physical properties not consistent with the expectations of general relativity."
     
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  3. Jul 4, 2007 #2

    Garth

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    As stated here.

    Garth
     
  4. Jul 4, 2007 #3
    Interesting paper! When I think of an expanding universe analogy I think of a gas expanding in a vacuum. The molecules of the gas behave as the galaxies in space. They are held together with molecular forces while galaxies are held together by gravity. Does this make sense?

    I am not a physicist, just an old retired Chemical Engineer with an interest in physics. Thanks for your thoughts.
     
  5. Jul 4, 2007 #4

    Garth

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    Not really, that would be a Newtonian understanding of the expansion of the universe, i.e. the galaxies expand into an already existing empty space. A General Relativity understanding would be that in one cosmological solution to the 'shape' of space-time given by the Robertson-Walker (RW) metric is that it is the space itself that expands with passing time.

    This has to be understood physically as the distance between co-moving observers, as measured by rigid (steel) rulers, increases with time .

    Garth
     
  6. Jul 9, 2007 #5
    I really enjoyed reading this paper. The tethered galaxy example is right on, and if you'd like your physical intuition to work for you in cosmology this is a must read!
     
  7. Jul 10, 2007 #6
    i can imagine time without space but not space without time...

    ...so is space whats left after time has moved on ???
     
  8. Jul 11, 2007 #7
    Waiting for Wallace to reply....
     
  9. Jul 11, 2007 #8

    marcus

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    Reply to what? I have forgotten if Wallace has distinctive views on this subject.
    I didn't detect anything controversial about the paper----it was more pedagogical or studying how best to communicate to students and the public.
    Trying to help, rather than support some kind of debate.

    did you see something potentially controversial, Matt. O.?

    Wait. Are you one of the authors of the paper?
     
  10. Jul 11, 2007 #9

    George Jones

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    Maybe matt.o is waiting for Wallace to reply because Wallace often has interesting and insightful things to say, or because Wallace started a thread titled "Does Space Expand?".
     
  11. Jul 11, 2007 #10

    marcus

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    Right! Now I remember that "Does Space Expand?" thread. And someone has just bumped it into view.

    Did we come to some peaceable consensus in that thread? something I hope like:

    "lets not talk so much about space expanding, let's say DISTANCES expand, especially distances that are out in the middle of nowhere."
     
  12. Jul 11, 2007 #11

    Wallace

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    ooo I'm famous! Thought I'd better say something so as to not disappoint!

    Actually over here there is another of the many expanding space discussions, with some interesting comments.

    I think matt.o was waiting for a reply as he has inside information that I'm one of the authors of this paper. There goes my anonymity, I'll have to stop flaming people now!
     
  13. Jul 11, 2007 #12
    that someone would be me and if anyone would be so kind as to feedback on my analogy it would be much appreciated...

    ...or would that be opening up a can of wormholes called 'units of space' ???
     
  14. Jul 12, 2007 #13
    Haha. Sorry if you wanted to keep anonymity! :biggrin:
     
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