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Some general questions for those who like a challenge

  1. Dec 20, 2004 #1
    There seemed no board where these were all appropriate. Rather than spreading them around the place I'm hoping this may be the place to start with these.


    1) If the Higs Bosun gives particles mass, what gives the Higgs mass ? And considering our best understanding of mass and gravity to date comes from einstein and space-time being distorted by mass, is there no way to consider this to be the same thing in the quantum world by considering the ZPF to be kind of related to space-time ?

    2) What is the exact difference between dark energy and the cosmological constant. I don't want to know what they are in terms of derivation - just the difference between them in actuality ?

    3) What is the difference betweeen dark matter and the fact that all particles rise out of the ZPF ? Again not the definitions of each, just something basic. You could even include in your answer an explanation why the fact matter drags space-time with it is not enough to explain the reason we speculate on "dark matter" ?

    4) Why are we so confident on our predictions of the de sitter universe and accelerating expansion of the it based on supernovae when we don't even know what type of supernova our closest one is ?

    5) Why do quantum interpretations of the quantum formalism never work from first principles in relativity that from the perspective of light there is no time ?

    6) Why do cosmologists and quantum physicists have such different values for the amount of energy in the ZP vacuum ?

    7) If the space-time started in the big bang, how can any aspect of it be infinite ?

    8) If science considers occams razor to be a useful tool, how can the multiverse be considered good theory ?

    9) If M theory comes purely from the maths and its only the maths that has given us the idea of extra dimensions, why do theorists spend (waste) so much time considering the "shape" of these dimensions ? Is it anything like considering the sound of a banana ?

    10) Is the idea of quantisation (as in photons) purely a result of the fact that both the emitter and the detector in experiments are made of quantised matter ?

    11) Is the idea of two branes colliding instigating the big bang at best wild speculation, and at worst crazy fumbling ?

    12) What is mass ?

    13) What is gravity ?

    14) How come cosmologists use Cantor's maths, when he started counting off members of sets (when counting plainly doesn't come to an end in this case), and considered he could quantify the end of counting ?

    15) Considering all the anthropic based factors that permeate almost every aspect of science as "extremely unlikely", is there any way in which science should concentrate on admitting how little it understands some pretty fundamental things more openly to the public ? Is there any chance this would take the rug out from under the feet of all the pseudo scientists and new age crazies ?

    16) If our best scientists are claiming that the known universe comprises at most 4% of everything, is there space to consider the creationsits are almost as crazy for insisting that the world was made in a few thousand years, as any physicist is to claim that god does not exist ?

    17) Is there any space for us to go back to the concept of an atom as a kind of vortex ?

    18) Relativity predicts anti-gravity - but so small that gravity will always overcome it. Has this effect ever been experimetally proven ?

    19) If I can use numbers, well perhaps better to say if Maxwell, Newton and Einstein could use numbers, to predict reality, must it be true that numbers connect deeper to reality than plain labels ? If so, is that platonic ?

    20) If light in a vacuum always travels at c, but in a medium always rests at each particle in the medium for a period set by the nature of the medium (and ignoring quantum tunelling filters and the like for now), when "photons" depart each particle they meet in a medium, do they have infinite acceleration and jump to c immediately on departure ?

    21) If the whole universe began in the big bang, are all particles entangled at some level ? If so does that cause inertia, if not, what does cause inertia ?

    22) Is not entanglement a fairly natural thing if all particles rise out of a non local and non temporal ZPF ? And would this be a clear boundary or would it have phases and levels just as electrons do in their orbits ?

    23) Is there any chance we see things upside down, and that the only things that are truly firm and stable is that which has infinite frequency ?

    You don't have to answer all - any suggestions on any of them are welcome :)

    Simon
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2004 #2
    And a kind of important addition to point 20 I missed out;

    ....If so, what causes them to decelerate at c ?
     
  4. Dec 20, 2004 #3

    Kane O'Donnell

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    (20) You are thinking about the physical situation the wrong way. Light doesn't 'rest' in a medium at all. As a bulk phenomenon, light propagation in a medium is just the statistical result of gazillions of photons being scattered or absorbed/reemitted. The delay for the individual photons depends on how close their frequency is to the resonance frequency of the medium and how long their path through the medium is due to scattering.

    Statistically, when you take these gazillions of photons and look at them as a single electromagnetic wave, it appears that the wave itself has slowed down in the medium. However, the 'wavefronts' in the medium never actually stop, their slowdown is a statistical effect.

    Hecht's "Optics" has an _excellent_ description of how slowdown is explained directly from electromagnetism by approximating an atom as a harmonic oscillator. The argument is still statistical, since each atom will re-radiate in a circle, not just in the forward direction. Obviously this method can't be used to derive n for a particular medium (unless it's outer electron has a optical oscillator strength very close to 1) because the outer or optical electron in an atom isn't quite like a harmonic oscillator, but it does show the statistical nature of what's going on.

    At all times that a photon exists, it travels at c. *Always*. The experiments that slow/speed up light depend strongly on the resonance peaks of the medium, they don't actually change the speed of the photon/s involved.
     
  5. Dec 20, 2004 #4

    Kane O'Donnell

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    (16) This question makes no sense whatsoever. There is no evidence whatsoever for creationist theories apart from the various religious documents around the world, all of which are human creations. In fact, anytime a creationist makes a statement such as "the Earth is 10000 years old", it can be falsified with other evidence, except for two situations:

    (a) when it agrees with the scientific theories, or

    (b) when the statement is "God/Allah/Gumbawallah created the universe".

    The fact that we have extreme difficulty falsifying the scientific theories should be a strong indication as to why we are not crazy pursuing them.

    The mass problem in cosmology concerns the *dynamics* of galaxies. If we suppose that we know General Relativity holds in this situation, we know the mass must be there because we know about gravitational dynamics and we can observe how the galaxy moves. The question is then "what is that mass?" rather than "is there mass?".

    On the other hand, maybe General Relativity is not enough to explain the problem, and a quantum theory of gravity is required. In that case, the mass problem is unable to really be tackled because we don't have a good theory of QG. Maybe when we do it will provide an answer. That would be nice.

    There is no case to compare Science to Creationism - the latter is not a science at all. If the religious *want* scientists to try and disprove the existence of a God, they have to give us some *thing* that we can experiment on - it's their theory, the burden is on them to provide evidence. On the other hand, I don't think the religious really want a scientific investigation, and we don't really want to sod around with omnipotent thingamies when there are more pressing things to explain, so the issue doesn't come up very often.

    Cheerio,

    Kane

    Kane
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2004
  6. Dec 20, 2004 #5

    Kane O'Donnell

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    (9) The way the dimensions are wrapped up has physical consequences, owing to the fact that the other dimensions are degrees of freedom for a brane. It's important to know what branes can do, obviously, since M-theorists want to show that branes have the right properties to explain every property of every particle.

    M-Theory, of course, doesn't come purely from maths, it is required to have both General Relativity and QM as lower-energy limits.

    Kane O'Donnell
     
  7. Dec 20, 2004 #6

    Kane O'Donnell

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    (5) Can you reword this please? It makes no sense.

    Kane
     
  8. Dec 20, 2004 #7
    Hi Kane

    So you are saying that light has a quantised nature and that what we see in terms of the reduction of c is due to "scattering" ? In this simplistic understanding;

    1) Light would be so diffused passing through any medium whatsoever that no visible image of the orginal surface it bounced off would be apparent

    or

    2) The vast majority of the "photons" would still reach the target as if they had been travelling at c all the way.

    Thanks for your efforts nonetheless.

    Simon
     
  9. Dec 20, 2004 #8
    This is getting to be more fun than I expected :)

    Cite yor evidence for that! Just because creationists talk sh!te doesn't mean the bible is...



    No. There is no situation where the idea of a 10 000 year old universe cannot be denied. The only circumstance is if there was a creator god that created a ready made world in situ where we were tricked by the fact there are ongoing processes which were simluted to be the same in the past. In other words their philosophy requires a deeply deceptive god.

    There is nothing in the bible that disagrees with scientific theory except for the odd anal retentive who thinks poetry expresses the need for man to fool himself.

    You can chose the multiverse instead but then you are relying on wild speculation that is so far removed from evidence based science that it makes religion look kind of logical. And religion has never claimed to be so.

    Duh. Did you read my questions ?

    Very much so :)

    Hey I think creationists are crazy and afraid of science. I'm a catholic and despite the bad history that I'm not going to take personal responsibility for as all of us are part of larger bodies whose actions we personally cannot excuse. But the catholic church accepted evolution long ago and differentiates science from religion in virtually all aspects but ethical ones. Thats the dividing line, creationists are a US phenomena, the rest of us christians left the victorian age in victorian times.

    Thats plain junk science. No one expects science to "disprove the existence of a God". The very basic tennants of theology are that god has hidden himself from the world in order for us to learn things we would not do otherwise. Like the grape that grows in harsh and rocky soil that makes a fine wine.

    The burden on science is to be honest about what it really knows.

    Hey my questions were at least 50% science. In fact you know they were mostly science. Why do you need to turn them into a crusade against religion ? I assume you must live in the US where these things are considered so simplistic that they are like school playground battles. The rest of the world wants a more sensible debate. But I was mainly asking scientific questions!
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2004
  10. Dec 20, 2004 #9
    Bah humbug


    How can that make no sense ? Is it relativity you have a problem with or interpreations of QM ?
     
  11. Dec 20, 2004 #10

    Sorry but that answer score nill points :)

    It relies on supposition based on interpretation of mathematical formalisms that have no evidence to support them whatsoever. I actaully have a lot of time for M theory but not your false assertions on it that because its basis is relativity and QM that suddenly it doesn't "come purely from maths"


    This statement just makes me laugh;

    I admit I'm not scientifically trained - but I do what i can to educate myself and was hoping for someone with more meaningful answers to make an attempt at answering these. Did I post them on the wrong board ?

    Simon
     
  12. Dec 20, 2004 #11
    Can anyone direct me to a board where people may be able to answer these questions ?

    Simon

    PS. I'm not really interested in a debate about the creationists as they are full of it. Thats something for you americans to sort out amongst yourselves.
     
  13. Dec 20, 2004 #12

    Kea

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    Dear Simon

    Here are some brief, and highly subjective, answers to some of
    your questions:

    2) What is the exact difference between dark energy and the
    cosmological constant. I don't want to know what they are in terms
    of derivation - just the difference between them in actuality?

    The vacuum energy density r = cosmological constant / 8 pi G

    where G is Newton's constant. Normalising r by the density
    associated to 'flatness' defines Omega. According to

    http://lambda.gsfc.nasa.gov/

    the WMAP results show that Omega = 1.02 (error 0.02) and dark
    energy density is 0.73 (error 0.04), which is to say that the
    matter density is 0.27.

    3) What is the difference between dark matter and the fact that
    all particles rise out of the ZPF?

    We don't even know that dark matter exists. MOND (modified
    Newtonian dynamics) alters Newton's laws at large distances, and
    this can be used to explain, for instance, the rotation curves of
    galaxies without assuming some funny form of matter.

    4) Why are we so confident on our predictions of the de sitter
    universe and accelerating expansion of it based on supernovae when
    we don't even know what type of supernova our closest one is?

    Ahh! The Kepler star. Yes - rather disturbing. Other (more
    distant) type Ia supernovae seem to fit the mold. I guess this
    means that we shouldn't be so confident!

    5) Why do quantum interpretations of the quantum formalism never
    work from first principles in relativity that from the perspective
    of light there is no time?

    It sounds like you want a working theory of quantum gravity. Many
    of us are working very hard on this problem. It is difficult. One
    might turn your question around. Why did Einstein resort to
    differential geometry when he found the concept of light quanta so
    useful? One must work with the tools available.

    12) What is mass? 13) What is gravity?

    Well, I think quantum general covariance can be expressed in terms
    of higher categorical descent theory. Never mind what that means.
    It's just a possibility.

    14) How come cosmologists use Cantor's maths, when he started
    counting off members of sets (when counting plainly doesn't come
    to an end in this case), and considered he could quantify the end
    of counting?

    Cantor's ideas are important in the history of mathematics. I'm
    not sure exactly what cosmology you are referring to.

    In quantum physics one likes to work with axiomatics, at least
    partly because when the logic is so counterintuitive it is usually
    a good idea to sort that out properly first. Now the category of
    sets can be characterised by a short list of axioms, one of which
    is that there exists an object containing the numbers 0, 1, 2 etc.
    (axiom of infinity). The cardinality of the continuum is of course
    bigger than this infinity. Cohen showed that assuming, or not
    assuming, cardinalities in between was independent of the other
    axioms, meaning that one gets different mathematics depending on
    which option one goes for. The proof of this nice result
    essentially uses something called 'topos theory'.

    Not many cosmologists use these ideas. But some do. Well, at least
    one.

    15) Considering all the anthropic based factors that permeate
    almost every aspect of science as "extremely unlikely", is there
    any way in which science should concentrate on admitting how
    little it understands some pretty fundamental things more openly
    to the public? Is there any chance this would take the rug out
    from under the feet of all the pseudo scientists and new age
    crazies?

    You have a point. As scientists we have a responsibility to help
    the public understand what science is about. And it's quite true
    that we don't understand very much. Unfortunately, there are
    people that don't appreciate this fact.

    16) If our best scientists are claiming that the known universe
    comprises at most 4 percent of everything, is there space to
    consider the creationists are almost as crazy for insisting that
    the world was made in a few thousand years, as any physicist is to
    claim that god does not exist?

    Firstly: although we don't yet have answers to the dark matter
    problem, the physics we do have explains an awful lot of things
    quite well - we can teleport atoms, launch space probes and
    engineer strong bridges.

    Secondly: a physicist is not in the job of stating that god does
    not exist - god is simply an hypothesis that is extremely unuseful
    in understanding how to build bridges.

    17) Is there any space for us to go back to the concept of an atom
    as a kind of vortex?

    Are you thinking Maxwell? Or Klein? Or someone else? Since the
    advent of knot theory in field theory, many people have thought
    along these lines.

    19) If I can use numbers, well perhaps better to say if Maxwell,
    Newton and Einstein could use numbers, to predict reality, must it
    be true that numbers connect deeper to reality than plain labels?
    If so, is that platonic?

    In topos theory one does in fact worry about such things. As for
    being platonic: in the sense that we consider 'models' of
    axiomatic systems - yes I suppose.

    20) If light in a vacuum always travels at c, but in a medium
    always rests at each particle in the medium for a period set by
    the nature of the medium (and ignoring quantum tunelling filters
    and the like for now), when "photons" depart each particle they
    meet in a medium, do they have infinite acceleration and jump to c
    immediately on departure?

    Photons do not rest, nor do they accelerate. They travel at c.
    They may be absorbed by matter in a medium, and other photons may
    be emitted.

    22) Is not entanglement a fairly natural thing if all particles
    rise out of a non local and non temporal ZPF? And would this be a
    clear boundary or would it have phases and levels just as
    electrons do in their orbits?

    You might be interested in the (technical) paper

    A categorical semantics of quantum protocols
    by S. Abramsky and B.Coecke
    http://users.ox.ac.uk/~mert1596/QUOXIC/talks/samson.pdf

    Best regards, Kea
     
  14. Dec 20, 2004 #13
    On light propagating through a medium,... an educated guess.

    I have to say that this is a quite an interesting dilemma. If the speed of light slows down when passing through glass, and the theory is that the reduction in speed is due to photons being absorbed and reemitted that does pose the question of how any image is preserved???

    Surely the physics of optics must have an answer for this in terms of the momentum of atomic vibrations or something? But even such an explanation would seem at first sight to go against the randomness imposed by quantum theory wouldn't it?

    Seems to me that this question would have been asked and resolved early on in the study of optics. If it has never been asked and answered that wouldn't say much for the state of scientific research would it? How could the science of optics ever have progressed as a science while leaving something as obvious as this left unanswered?

    There must be an answer that doesn't violate quantum randomness. Or is the momentum of an absorption vibration sufficient to create a skewed probability? Perhaps on the molecular level instead of the atomic level?

    Come to think of it, I'm already buying into the momentum of the absorption vibration theory myself and I just now thought it up! :biggrin: That must be the answer. :smile:
     
  15. Dec 21, 2004 #14
    Cantor's asburd idea of an empty set.

    Don't get me started on Georg Cantor's stupid empty set theory! It's totally absurd!

    Here's what Henri Poincare (a famous mathematician who lived around the same time as Cantor) had to say about this,… "Cantor's set theory will be considered by future generations as a disease from which one has recovered."

    I don't even want to get started on this but I totally agree with Henri Poincare. Someday scientists will wake up to the fact that a pure mathematician really screwed things up big time! Cantor's ideas of transfinite cardinalities is nothing short of absurd. It's based entirely on subjective non-quantitative ideas. In fact, Cantor's whole empty set theory is entirely a non-quantitative formalism. Cantor built his set theory based on qualitative ideas that really have very little to do with the idea of quantity.

    I'll quit right here because I could write an book on this topic, and in fact, I really should!

    Oh absolutely! Numbers are indeed much more than just man-made ideas or labels! In fact mankind created the idea of number by observing the behavior of the universe around him! Mathematics is a painting of the behavior of the universe (at least until Cantor came along!).

    It is the quantized nature of the universe that gives rise to the phenomenological manifestation of quantities. While it's true that we, as humans, can apply our ideas quite abstractly, the fact that they work at all has its foundation in the fact that they universe itself behaves quantitatively. What amazes me is just how many people don't seem to realize this. In fact, Cantor was one of them!!!

    The universe doesn't obey mathematics. On the contrary, mathematics is a language that mankind created to communicate ideas concerning the quantitative nature of the universe.

    Yes, the phenomenon of quantity is a very real property of the universe. I think what confuses pure mathematicians is the fact that we, as humans, can arbitrarily choose what we wish to quantity. This makes it appear that we are putting this idea onto the universe instead of the other way around. But I assure you that it is indeed the other way around!

    Cantor's absurd invention of the empty set has only served to confuse the whole issue. It is also quite logically flawed in many ways. There is a much better (or I should say, more correct) way to construct a quantitative theory, and that would be to begin with the number One as the foundation rather than starting with this absurd idea of a an empty set.

    Starting with an empty set forced the entire formalism to take on a non-quantitative quality. Starting with the idea of One is actually the only correct way to go. There should be an axiom that states that there can be no empty set. Instead of thinking of zero in terms of being a collection of things that does not contain a thing (a logical contradiction). We should be thinking of zero as representing the absence of a set, the absence of quantity, and therefore the absence of a number! Cantor is really treating zero as if it is One thing! It's not anything. It's nothing. And that's what it should be formally defined to represent.

    I'm rambling and I knew that I would! Cantor destroyed mathematics, and for that I will never forgive him. He's the only man in history that started out with nothing and ended up with more than everything,…(i.e. infinities larger than infinity).

    This is a very passionate topic for me. I'm with Poincare. It's only a matter of time before the mathematical community comes to their senses. It's been almost 200 years since Cantor pulled the wool over their eyes. It will be interesting to see just how long it takes them to realize his folly.
     
  16. Dec 21, 2004 #15

    Chronos

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    I see Kea and others have been brave. Thought I'd put my 2 in before reading them
    and what gives that mass... that is philosophical, not scientific. There are cutoff energy lower limits in field theory.
    Not in my mind. A mathematical link would be required.
    Dark energy contributes to energy equivalent gravitational mass density of the universe. Cosmological constant does not.
    Particles do not arise from ZPF except under extreme circumstances [e.g., Hawking radiation]. Essentially all particles that now exist originated in the big bang. Dark matter is thought to be a non- interactive [aside from gravity] byproduct of baryogenesis.
    Particles do not arise from ZPF except under extreme circumstances [e.g., Hawking radiation]. Essentially all particles that now exist originated in the big bang. Dark matter is thought to be non interactive matter, a waste byproduct of baryogenesis.
    Supernova classifications are on very sound footing. Credible references are necessary to dispute that article of theory.
    The nature of the question is unclear.
    Quantum physics predicts a huge energy because the cutoff energy limit is assumed to be a planck mass. Cosmologists, however, measure the actual energy densisty using the equivalency principle from GR. GR predicts spacetime would be noticeably warped [curved] unless the vacuum energy density was very close [but not quite] zero.
    It may have been infinite from the beginning... the big bang occured at every point in the universe. The concept of size has no meaning on such a scale. It is equally valid to call it infinite or zero.
    There are those who would agree.
    They are easily amused.
    No.
    It's an extension of string theory. A string with sufficient energy can ascend to the rank of brane, where it possesses enough energy to promote a new universe into existence if it collides with another brane. Yes, that sounds pretty far out there to me too.
    Any object forced to travel at a velocity less than the speed of light.
    The mutually attractive force exerted by matter and energy.
     
  17. Dec 21, 2004 #16

    Integral

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    So you can argue?

    I am going to lock this.

    If you wish to get some meaningful responses you will have to break this mass up into bite sized pieces. Please take the time to learn your way around the forum and post the pieces in the appropriate places. Note that there is no appropriate place for religion in these forums.
     
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