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Physical asymmetry from symmetry

  1. Sep 16, 2003 #1
    I recall that in their most basic form, quantum mechanics and relativity do not distinguish between past and future. That is, they are each symmetric with respect to time.

    How then does a unified theory account for temporal assymetries in nature without introducing new physics? Can one solely use, say, quantum cosmology to account for the 2nd law of thermodynamics? To explain the matter/antimatter asymmetry of the universe?

    The Higgs potential is a mathematically symmetric entity that forces disequilibrium. Perhaps the Higgs itself introduces the singular randomness needed to break the otherwise symmetric wavefunction and metric. Does time's arrow arise from this skew between the true and false vacuum?
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  3. Sep 16, 2003 #2


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    Better informed people can correct me, but I don't think there's any time's arrow in any physics from Newton to Witten, including Einstein and Feynman. Only the LQG cosmologists may have one since they define their time by the expansion of the universe.

    As to how they handle it, they just throw away the "advanced" solutions.

    There are of course the two great examples of taking this symmetry seriously: The Wheeler-Feynmann absorber interpetation of Maxwellian electromagnetism, and Cramer's transactional interpretation of QM.
  4. Sep 16, 2003 #3


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    I thought the idea was that the second law of thermodynamics at least implied an arrow of time.
  5. Sep 17, 2003 #4
    do you mean that mathematically they dont distinguish between future and past?
  6. Sep 17, 2003 #5
    In theory, I believe so, lqg.
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