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# Is the universe stationary?

Sun 17 Feb, 2008 09:23 am
Is this possible to know?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 891 • Replies: 18
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Sun 17 Feb, 2008 05:31 pm
What do you mean by stationary? The observable bits all move in relation to each other. To ask the question in relation to an external reference is an ontological/definitional dilemma - by definition, nothing exists outside the universe, therefore there is no external reference point.

So maybe the answer is 'it doesn't matter' or 'everything I say is a lie'

If you define stationary as not moving in relation to an external reference point then clearly in the universe's case it is stationary because there are no external reference points. Or am I dividing 1 by 0?
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spendius

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Sun 17 Feb, 2008 06:11 pm
It was reeling around all over the place like a drunken sailor when I was walking home from the pub. I had a job staying on my feet.
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curtis73

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Mon 18 Feb, 2008 05:40 am
Re: Is the universe stationary?
Gilbey wrote:
Is this possible to know?

I guess the question is... is motion simply relative to another object, or is it based on the physical qualities we associate with location? Its possible that the universe is moving at 9 trillion times the speed of light to the left... but without anything to compare it to, is it moving at all?
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Brandon9000

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Mon 18 Feb, 2008 10:44 am
Relative to what other object?
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raprap

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Mon 18 Feb, 2008 04:28 pm
By stationary do you mean staatic?

Rap
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Gilbey

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Mon 18 Feb, 2008 04:31 pm
I mean is the universe as a whole, moving or not.
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curtis73

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Mon 18 Feb, 2008 05:27 pm
Brandon9000 wrote:
Relative to what other object?

I was introducing an existential proposal. Does the definition of motion require the relativity of a reference object?

Kinda like a bird's flight. Do you measure its speed relative to the air around it, or by ground speed? My question was not if there IS another object, rather; is another object required in order to determine whether or not its moving.

I was attempting to help Gilbey narrow his scope so we can answer more intelligently in our opinions.
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ebrown p

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Mon 18 Feb, 2008 05:29 pm
If it were, think of how big the pen would be!
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Brandon9000

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Mon 18 Feb, 2008 09:46 pm
curtis73 wrote:
Brandon9000 wrote:
Relative to what other object?

I was introducing an existential proposal. Does the definition of motion require the relativity of a reference object?

Yes. Motion has no meaning except relative to something else.
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1
Mon 18 Feb, 2008 09:51 pm
If a tree grows from an acorn is it moving? Many theories say the universe is expanding - is that movement?
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Brandon9000

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Mon 18 Feb, 2008 10:16 pm
If a tree grows from an acorn is it moving? Many theories say the universe is expanding - is that movement?

No, because that doesn't constitute motion through an external medium.
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1
Tue 19 Feb, 2008 12:03 am
I'm not so sure it's composite parts are moving in relation to itself. So it is moving but it isn't changing position (ha - semantics, it'll be the death of us all - I want a definition of stationary).
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Brandon9000

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Tue 19 Feb, 2008 06:54 am
I'm not so sure it's composite parts are moving in relation to itself. So it is moving but it isn't changing position (ha - semantics, it'll be the death of us all - I want a definition of stationary).

Okay, here it is. An object is stationary relative to another object if the distance between them is constant. Motion has no meaning except relative to something else.
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fresco

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Tue 19 Feb, 2008 08:22 am
Gilbey,

The closest answer to your question comes from Einstein's overthrow of Newton's "fixed reference frame". i.e. All motion is relative to other objects, so unless you postulate "another universe" against which to compare this one as a separate entity, the question is meaningless.
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1
Tue 19 Feb, 2008 08:30 am
ebrown_p wrote:
If it were, think of how big the pen would be!
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TheCorrectResponse

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Wed 20 Feb, 2008 07:40 am
There are two possibilities of determining if the "universe" is rotating. These do not even make it to the level of hypothesis; they are currently only wild speculation at best. One is based on Mach's Principle the other on off-shoot of QM.

Mach's principle (if you forgot) is an attempt to explain the strange property of matter called inertia. Mach conjectured that an object's inertia comes from its interaction with all other objects in the universe. If this is true and we could somehow develop a model that correctly describes this and observations show that objects contain more inertia than they should it could mean that objects "outside the universe" are also contributing to the inertia.

If you are familiar with frame-dragging, i.e. that an object such as the Earth embedded in space and spinning twists space locally along with it, there could be an analog in QM. If there is an analogous process in QM then a spinning object could warp the quantum potential field locally. If this can happen on a level of classical objects, such as the universe, and we could detect this anomaly in the quantum potential field it could demonstrate rotation relative to it.

I wouldn't wait for any of these to be written up a journal anytime soon, the first would almost certainly require a unified field theory the second surely would or more likely a radical new concept of basic physics. Then even if we could develop a "reasonable" mathematical model the problem of actual observations comes into play. But they can be fun to think about
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spendius

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Wed 20 Feb, 2008 06:36 pm
We were thinking about it in the pub late on last night.

Vic, one of my mates, reckoned that somewhere in the wide blue yonder there are two blokes leaning on a bar, one in a striped jersey and one in a green pullover with a knitting flaw in the cuffs drinking John Smith's Extra Smooth and talking about our itsy-bitsy universe being in every bubble in the froth that's sticking to the side of their glasses.

I had to shut him up because I can take it a lot further than that and Belle, our new mature barmaid, was looking for something underneath a table at 12 o'clock with her pants undergoing an intelligently designed degree of slippage.

Fun must be "the" fundamental principle of biology. Only killjoys would think evolution theory was.
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rosborne979

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Fri 22 Feb, 2008 09:46 am
Brandon9000 wrote:
curtis73 wrote:
Brandon9000 wrote:
Relative to what other object?

I was introducing an existential proposal. Does the definition of motion require the relativity of a reference object?

Yes. Motion has no meaning except relative to something else.

It also has no meaning without the passing of time, and we don't even know if that happens outside of our Universe.
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