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Horton Hears a Who and the Whos hear

  1. Aug 1, 2010 #1
    I just spent some time trying to see if this question has already been brought up and couldn't find anything definitive... so please forgive me if my search was not thorough enough. And please bear with me if this question sounds jouvenile or otherwise ridiculous. I am hoping that in your replies I will finally be able to put this nagging hunch or suspicion out of my head.

    My understanding is that there are 4 known fundamental forces in the Universe: gravity, electro-magnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces.

    I also understand that there are some rather large holes in classical physics and that theories like dark matter and energy are attempts at patching at least some of them. This together with the interest in unifying the math and theories used to expain behaviors in the quantum world with those used to explain every day life has had me thinking that perhaps there are really only two forces: gravity/weak and EM/strong.

    Could the curvature of space/time that we attribute to gravity also be responsible for radioactive decay? Could the force responsible for a planet's EM field be the same as the force that holds an atom's nucleus together? If either of these are true, is there still a need for the unseen and undetected dark matter and energy?

    If the above is possible (could be mathmatically demonstrated to be equivelent but on different scales), then is it possible that the there are quantum universes and that our universe may be a quantum universe within a larger framework?

    Can you explain to me how this cannot possibly be true? (So I can stop thinking about it!)


    Horton (or am I a Who?)
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 2, 2010 #2
    Interesting question.. I see where you are coming from, I think.. Imagine this.. we exist in a universe.. What is a universe?? One dictionary definition says it's basically a place where something exists. If you want to get deeper into it, a universe works through planes and other dimensions to describe the matter of which it is composed. Lets take an ordinary sheet of paper and randomly draw an X and a Y on it.. Would that piece of paper not be considered a universe, because that X and Y exist on it. The paper can be considered a universe, because it has many characteristics of a universe: Dimension, etc. So reasonably, the paper is a universe within a universe. I believe your hypothesis has some logic behind it. We know that quantum particles behave under laws of gravity and electromagneticity. We haven't found a way to unify it, but I believe there is a way. If those quantum particles behave under laws such as these? Who's to say that planets don't work the same exact way? I mean, quantum particles still obey laws of conservation, laws of Newtonian physics as well. They are just scaled down. Since they obey the same laws of physics large scale objects do, large scale objects should behave in a similar, if not the same, manner. I'm really not so sure about the quantum worlds question though. I mean, like my paper example, we have a "universe" within a universe. It's a two dimensional universe existing in a three dimensional plus time universe. So, I would say that the possiblility of quantum universes is true, but not in a sense like is seen in Horton Hears a Who.. I think we can see dimensions below our dimensional level, but not at an equivalent or higher lever. Please correct me if I am wrong..
  4. Aug 2, 2010 #3
    I don't really see how your question and ideas correlate to the universe being a quantum version in a larger universe. Another problem is that the forces are seperate for a good reason, they have vastly different properties. For example, Gravity albeit a "weak" force, acts over large distances, it has nothing to do and cannot have anything to do with beta decay (weak force). By the same token the mitigator of the weak force, W & Z bosons, have no effect on the curvature near a massive body, they simply change neutrons into protons and electrons as well as other forms of decay, this is a vastly over simplification of the process. As for the other "force" EM/Strong, again they are vastly different. The EM force force acts over very large distances and is mitigated by photons. The strong force is the force which keeps the protons within a nucleus from flying apart due to like charges. Not to be rude, but what made you come to the conclusion that these forces are one in the same? Hope this helps.


  5. Aug 2, 2010 #4
    Thank you both for your responses! I know this is skirting the area between physics and metaphysics (and perhaps hokus and pokus as well!), but I really appreciate the thoughtful replies.

    Agent, thanks for including the link with force properties. Let me try to dig in a little more on my thoughts about "scale". If we know that most of an atom is empty space (the area between the nucleus and the electron orbits), given the relative sizes of the quantum particles that make it up, could the weak and strong nuclear forces just be scaled down versions of what we see in the macro world? For example, is there any proportional relationship between the mass and distance (from eachother) of quantum particles and the mass and distances of celestial bodies? If the weak and strong forces only act on a nucleus (or particles in the nucleus) of an atom, then could the atom be considered a discrete system... a universe unto itself?

    Most importantly, would a theory of scale and proportionality do anything to resolve the standard model's mathmatical separation of the quantum world from the macro world (e.g. Gravity). And would we still need to search for particles of dark matter and wonder about the nature of dark energy? Or could those be explained by a new interpretation of elementary forces?
  6. Aug 2, 2010 #5
    No matter what type of scaling you do, the forces are all separate from each other. For instance a proton will still have a gravitational effect on another proton, but this is not enough to overcome the like charges, enter the strong force. Even at the atomic level the strong and weak forces are not analogs of the macro world although they influence the macro world, because they are completely different.

    The only force which is proportional to mass is gravity, all others rely on the properties of the particles considered.

    The atom can be considered its own system and can be called a "universe". But this is like saying black is white, it is just an arbitrary designation.

    Also from your post these ideas would not constitute a rescission of dark energy and dark matter.

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