Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

If everything was increased in size equally, would it matter?

  1. May 22, 2003 #1

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    does size matter? i mean if everything including the univers were biger, if it is posible to have a bigger univers, is there a limit, s
    ay 1%, 5%, 10%, would any of our laws be violated?
    cheers...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2003 #2
    I don't understand the question.

    You mean if everything was increased in size equally, would it matter?

    Well, relative to everything, no it wouldn't "matter".

    But everything would have more atoms in it.
     
  4. May 22, 2003 #3

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    Re: size

    It is possible to imagine making everything in nature bigger but keeping 26 key proportions (discussed e.g. by John Baez) the same----and the result would be that nobody could tell the difference.

    Atoms would get bigger too so there would be the same number in a given region that you started out with----both the region and the atoms would be larger.

    The 26 numbers or proportions that must be preserved if all the laws are to continue unchanged are the 26 independent parameters of the standard model.

    Of course this answer is wrong! All the answers are wrong except to say that one does not know. But this is the best answer that contemporary physics has to offer: Yes you could scale everything up, keeping certain key proportions the same, and it would be meaningless. No one could observe a difference.
    Therefore the sizes of the Planck units (the fundamental scales built into nature) are considered to have no meaning.

    One cannot make the planck area, Ghbar/c3, bigger or smaller because you would have to make it bigger or smaller relative to some more basic standard of area and there is no more basic standard known----hope this not too philosophical---and the same with the other scales.

    You should look at John Baez exposition of the 26 basic numbers. He writes plain English without too much pop-sci analogies and truck like that.

    http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/constants.html

    It is dated June 15, 2002, so fairly up to date. The title is:

    "How many fundamental constants are there?"

    Brilliant question wolram and I mean it. It is by asking this question and similar ones that one discovers what the fundamental physical constants (of presentday physics) are.

    Anybody think of one that Baez left out?
     
  5. May 22, 2003 #4

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    thanks for the link, it was very informative, trouble is it takes me back to an old posting of mine concerning the "higgs boson", it seems a great deal depends on it being found, who is looking for it and what are the latest results? cheers...
     
  6. May 22, 2003 #5

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    I cant resist telling you that the higgs seems to me like the goalie on the football team of the Standard Model

    those 26 numbers are the players and 10 describe the quarks
    and 10 describe the leptons
    and there are a few odds and ends

    but it all depends on having a good goalie

    and so there are these two very important numbers:
    (1) the higgs mass
    (2) the expectation value of the higgs field

    and nobody has seen the goalie yet! He sleeps late. He hasnt shown up. The players are standing around idle and disconnected from each other and the playing field.

    BTW these 26 numbers that the Standard Model depends on and that Baez lists are actually NUMBERS. they are not like the speed of light c or planck's constant hbar!
    They are numbers, like PI and the number of teeth in a dinosaur's mouth and the 34th prime number.

    This is very pythagorean. Some eminent Thinkers have pointed out the connection with Pythagoras---it isnt my idea (I shouldnt have to say this, it is obvious). Franck Wilczek has an article in the intellectual journal Daedelus about this Pythagoreanishness of modern physics.

    If you dont see that what Baez calls lepton masses is not a string of masses but a string of pure numbers, then ask for clarification.
     
  7. May 22, 2003 #6

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    the higgs gives resistance to acceleration

    Notice what Ian and Mary Butterworth said (in the UK Science Ministry higgs contest)

    "...The mass (or inertia or resistance to change in motion) of a particle comes from its being "grabbed at" by Higgs particles when we try and move it...."

    In order to get at the fundamentals one must throw out all the mental baggage about mass which is not simply this one thing: resistance to acceleration

    This is what the higgs field is able to impart----one might think of it as having a kind of viscosity against acceleration which becomes available to the other particles through interaction with the higgs.

    Here is what the Oxford physicist Roger Cashmore said, in the same series of short essays:

    "...proposed by Peter Higgs. He proposed that the whole of space is permeated by a field, similar in some ways to the electromagnetic field. As particles move through space they travel through this field, and if they interact with it they acquire what appears to be mass. This is similar to the action of viscous forces felt by particles moving through any thick liquid. the larger the interaction of the particles with the field, the more mass they appear to have. Thus the existence of this field is essential in Higgs' hypothesis for the production of the mass of particles...."

    http://hepwww.ph.qmw.ac.uk/epp/higgs2.html

    Mass, in other words, is fundamentally nothing but obduracy. Stubborn intransigeance. Refusal to alter one's state of motion.
    Indeed it is a kind of boneheaded bloodymindedness, one may say, on the part of matter. Photons do not have it and they do not interact with the Higgs.

    This is why one must never under any circumstances say that the photon has mass. Energy he may have indeed, but not mass. Because, look you, he does not interact with the Higgs!

    Does this make sense to you wolram?
     
  8. May 23, 2003 #7

    wolram

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    higgs

    hi marcus, your posting was perfectly clear, i am trying to think up an alternative to the higgs, what would you proposal for particles with mass without interaction of higgs, ive read all your postings i understand about 10% of it, then i pick bits out and see what i can find out, im up to about 25% now cheers
     
  9. May 23, 2003 #8

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    Re: higgs

    cheers, you probably understand about the same percentage i do myself (shhhh! dont let the others know!)
     
  10. May 23, 2003 #9

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    Re: higgs

    I now think the most interesting of those short essays is the third
    http://hepwww.ph.qmw.ac.uk/epp/higgs3.html

    I think he is trying to tell us that there does not have to be a higgs boson. There could just be a kind of inertia-giving field (that one could call a higgs field) without a "higgs boson" ever appearing in it.

    This may sound paradoxical and even impossible to some people (who are strongly geared to thinking particles for everything) but look at what he says. He is strongly suggesting this as a possibility.

    Above all, be patient with theoretical physicists when they are trying to give a non-maths explanation by imagery! It will never be satisfactory, everybody knows this, but always a gallant failed attempt. Here is what David Miller (University College London) said----after his Margaret Thatcher (!) image.

    [[...2. The Higgs Boson
    Now consider a rumour passing through our room full of uniformly spread political workers. Those near the door hear of it first and cluster together to get the details, then they turn and move closer to their next neighbours who want to know about it too. A wave of clustering passes through the room. It may spread to all the corners or it may form a compact bunch which carries the news along a line of workers from the door to some dignitary at the other side of the room. Since the information is carried by clusters of people, and since it was clustering that gave extra mass to the ex-Prime Minister, then the rumour-carrying clusters also have mass.
    The Higgs boson is predicted to be just such a clustering in the Higgs field. We will find it much easier to believe that the field exists, and that the mechanism for giving other particles [mass] is true, if we actually see the Higgs particle itself. Again, there are analogies in the physics of solids. A crystal lattice can carry waves of clustering without needing an electron to move and attract the atoms. These waves can behave as if they are particles. They are called phonons and they too are bosons.

    There could be a Higgs mechanism, and a Higgs field throughout our Universe, without there being a Higgs boson. The next generation of colliders will sort this out.]] end of quote
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2003
  11. May 27, 2003 #10
    Re: size

    Size is relative to the unit of measurement.

    Suppose we would define the unit of measurement to be the distance between two objects which are "stationary" in space (relative to the CMBR) and very far distantiated.

    Having this defined as the measuring unit, it can be argued that there is no expansion of space.
     
  12. May 27, 2003 #11

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2015 Award
    Dearly Missed

    Re: Re: size

    yes of course! but it would be a bad move to redefine like that!

    So many equations would have to be rewritten and they would become ugly---with special adjustment terms.

    Expansion of space is a nice feature that makes the Einstein equations, which are nice, work out OK----they fit the observations rather well.

    Of course you could redefine length standard so that
    the universe doesnt, at this moment, expand but it would mess up everything---ordinary physics about small scale matters would be messed up by small amounts---what a headache! And the effect on cosmology would be a disaster! One wants the universe to be expanding---and the expansion to be constantly accelerating very slightly---so as to have simple and beautiful equations.

    What's wrong with the present standards of time, distance, mass etc.?
     
  13. May 27, 2003 #12
    Re: Re: Re: size

    For all practical (that is : non-cosmological) use I would not advocate abandoning the normal standards of time, distance, mass etc.

    What is wrong on a cosmological scale is the concept of finite time / begin of time.

    I do not think time has a beginning.
     
  14. Jun 25, 2003 #13
    If EVERYTHING were bigger, including atoms, than I guess it wouldn't matter. If everything were bigger and atoms stayed the same size, everything would have more atoms, and be more fragile. From that perspective I guess atoms are just about the absolute scale of measurement.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: If everything was increased in size equally, would it matter?
  1. Does size matter? (Replies: 1)

Loading...