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Symmetry For Its own Sake

  1. Aug 12, 2003 #1
    Please, anyone who wants to rant about symmetry or relativity, please feel free. Here's my rant.

    In relativistic terms, whether or not something is moving at all through space or time depends upon your frame of reference. This includes not least of all the entire universe. To a photon traveling at the speed of light, nothing in the universe ever changes.

    Similarly, someone falling into a blackhole would seem frozen forever from our point of view. Note that this is only true from a photon's point of view or in the case of a singularity. Everything else we observe is traveling through both space and time, and the rate of travel varies with their relative velocity to us. How something appears to us depends upon our relative velocity as well. If we were to move at the speed of light, we would become light as far as anyone else is concerned.

    If an unchanging monoblock universe explains the phenomenon, then time can be thought of as the forth and overwelmingly the largest of the dimensions. Dwarfing all three other dimensions combined, it would then be unsurprising that we can only see so far into time, just as we can only see so far in any other direction. Not only do our brains limit our perception of time, but the limits of our senses in general. To put this limit into perspective, everytime we look up at the stars we are seeing events billions of years in the past, yet we cannot predict the next moment with nearly as much accuracy.

    As we accelerate towards the speed of light relative to our surroundings, space seems to contract in front of us while time expands and vice versa. The slower we move relative to our surrounds, the more space in front of us expands and time contracts. This relationship suggests that space and time are indivisible parts of a single whole known as the spacetime continuum.

    If our universe is not a monoblock, an indivisible and unchanging unified whole, there are countless alternatives of what it could be. All of these possibilities, however, must still explain the relativistic universe we observe. The expansion and contraction of the spacetime continuum appears to be an entirely symmetrical process. However, there are some things physicists have discovered which appear to violate this principle of absolute symmetry.

    Symmetry is integral to virtually all physical theory, and both Relativity and Quantum Mechanics contain what is called "supersymmetry". Charge parity violation was the first example of symmetry breaking discovered in the 1960s. Recently, new violations have been discovered and the race to discover more is ongoing. Many of these it is assumed, but not necessarilly all of them, will be reconciled symmetrically.

    Relativity implies a supersymmetrical universe Einstein compared to a flawless jewel, while Quantum Mechanics incorporates what is called noncommutative mathematics, a fundamentally asymmetrical supersymmetry where a+b=c but not b+a. Which is correct, if either, is anyone's guess. It may be we will have to settle for never knowing.

    The speculation continues nonetheless of course. What is obvious, is that the aetherial space and time of Isaac Newton is a thing of the past and the picture emerging today merely confirms what we already knew, human senses and other perceptions of life are limited and often flat out wrong. In the last thirty years the growing consensus among theoretical physicists is that our parochial views of time must become "fuzzier" and less distinctive. More ambiguous and possibly more paradoxical than ever.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2003 #2
    For a photon moving at the speed of light change is practically instantaneous.
  4. Aug 13, 2003 #3
    Yes and no, when a photon is absorbed it becomes something else entirely and stops moving at the speed of light. It is the actual state of being a photon and the changing universe around it that it is entirely unaware of because it has no subjective time. In other words, there are two distinctive subjective perspectives of the phenomomenon, continuous and discontinuous, similar to the distinctions between Relativity and QM. This may be the bridge that connects the two theories and, simultaneously, that divides them.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2003
  5. Aug 13, 2003 #4
    if photon knows no time, it does infinite interactions concurrently.
    In fact, it would suffice single photon to 'service' the whole universe.
    And who knows what photon is doing while its absorbed...maybe its 'servicing' some other tiny universe.
  6. Aug 14, 2003 #5
    Nah, I know this photon. He's a lazy bum. All he does is drink beer and watch football on his day off.
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