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History of the Universe

 
 
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2007 01:58 am
I watched a science documentary called "The Creation of the Universe" and made some notes on the program that I would like to post here to maybe stir up some constructive discussion:



Albert Einstein dreamt of finding a Unified Field Theory. A single equation that might account for every fundamental process in nature, from the jostling of atoms to the wheeling of the galaxies. Today science is close to fulfilling Einstein's dream. The nucleus of the atom has yielded up evidence of an elegant simplicity underlying the wild diversity of the universe.

New unified theories are being written that reveal traces of this primordial simplicity. These theories indicate that the universe began in a state of perfect simplicity, evidence of which was burned into the heart of every atom in the heat of the big bang at the beginning of time.

We can't observe the early universe near the beginning of time, but we can observe its consequences in the universe today.

Every single atom in 'your' body was once inside a star. We are all brothers in that sense.

To know the atom it seems that we must know the universe and to know the universe we must know the atom.
---

What we see in the [night] sky is the past. The big dipper is 75 light years away. That means it takes the light from the big dipper 75 years to reach earth. So if you live to be 75, then you get to see the big dipper as it existed on the day you were born.

Also, every stone on the beach is a galaxy of atoms which have a history that is older than the earth. Before the earth was formed those atoms were adrift in interstellar space. Before that some of them were incorporated into ancient stars. The subatomic particles that make up these atoms can trace their lineage back fifteen billion years to the beginning of time.

In Times Square New York: It has been shaped by its natural history too. The natural planetary processes that shaped it are by and large too slow and imperceptible for us to see on a human scale.

Walking away from Times Square we imagine that each step we take is equal to one hundred years in the past:

The first step and a hundred years back in time and Times Square was then called Long Acres Square was dark and a non-commerical area with electricity just being invented.

The second step and two hundred years into the past and Times Square was farmland. The "Hopper" family raised cabbages at Broadway and 50th Street.

A few more steps into the past and Broadway was an Indian trail...and only 70 steps, 7,000 years ago and Manhattan has yet to be discovered by the Indians...A little over a hundred steps and we come to the epoch of the Mastedons "This" was one of the Mastedons favourite grazing grounds, we today call it "Central Park".

Only 150 paces suffices to take us back to the most recent ice age, when Manhattan was buried under a sheeth of ice over 1,000 feet thick. And you can see that some of the large rocks in Central Park were polished by glaciers that once moved over the area. But the rocks themselves are millions of years old.

Now we walk in the past with each step equaling ten times the previous step: 100 million years ago and Manhattan lay at the floor of the cretacious sea. Prior to that North America was still connected to Africa. Volcanoes spewed forth lava in over skies in the place where Manhattan would one day take root. One billion years ago and New York city was the site of a mountain range as imposing as the Alps. ...Four to five billion years ago and the earth was still condensing from fragments of rock circling the sun. ...Before that there was no earth, just a drifting interstellar cloud from which the sun and the planets were to form.

"O earth, what changes hast thou seen! There where the long street roars, hath been The stillness of the central sea.
The hills are shadows, and they flow From form to form, and nothing stands; They melt like mist, the solid lands, Like clouds they shape themselves and go."
[RIGHT]--Tennyson[/RIGHT]

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We can investigate history by looking at nature on the atomic and the subatomic scale.

The pollen blossoms the he finds caught in a tree he says, 'are young' but their Colour and Form are generated by genes that are older than the plant itself. The genes in turn are built upon DNA molecules (molecules become visible at a magnification of 10x one million). Each DNA molecule is a library of genetic information that has been accumulated over eons in the evolution of life.

Looking more closely still, we can see the carbon atoms of which the DNA molecules are made of. They're even older than the earth. The outer precincts of the carbon atom are 'patrolled' by a shell of negatively charged particles: the electrons. And 'photons' carry the electromagnetic force between the electron shells.

Then we pass through the inner-shell of the carbon atom and we are approaching one of the oldest and one of the most magnificent structures in nature, the nucleus of the atom. The nucleus is made of protons. And also the electrically neutral particles, the neutrons.

These nuclear particles are, in turn, made of trios of even older and more fundamental particles, the Quarks. We've reached the realm of the nuclear forces. The "weak force" mediates the process of radioactive decay. While the "strong force" binds the Quarks together weaving webs of energy into the forms we call matter.

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Particle accelerators reveal a wide variety of particles that interact by way of four fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism and the weak and strong nuclear forces. The way physics sees it forces and particles are the authors of every event in our world, from the exotic to the everyday.

Matter is mostly empty space. It's solidity is an illusion created by the electromagnetic force field that binds atoms together. Infinite in range electromagnetism in the form of photons is what carries to us light from the sun and stars. And the weak nuclear force is what helps power the sun and presides over the phenomenon of nuclear decay. Tremendous amounts of energy are bound up in the nucleus of each atom some nuclei are unstable and can't contain their energy forever. When they decay it is the weak nuclear force carried by particles called weak bosons that governs the process. The strong nuclear force binds Quarks together to make protons and neutrons. Without it there would be no atoms and the universe would be a Quark-fog. The strong force is carried by particles called guons because they act like glue. Gravitation, the universal attraction of all massive particles toward one another is the weakest of the four forces. But gravity has infinite range and it always attracts, never repels.
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But no laboratory on earth can produce the energy in which the four forces would act as one. Only the fires of the big bang genesis were hot enough for that. The search for simplicity in the realm of the atom draws us out into the realm of the galaxies and back toward the beginning of time.

We live in a major spiral galaxy that we call the Milky Way. Our galaxy belongs, in turn, to a cluster of galaxies. Astronomers call it the 'local group'. And the local group is part of the Virgo Super Cluster, an archipelego of galaxies stretching across one hundred million light years of space. The galaxies are marching away from one another as the universe expands.

The expansion of the universe is predicted by Einstein's theory of general relativity in 1915. In 1929 Hubble discovered that the universe is indeed expanding.

The further you look into the universe the older the light that you see.

If we were to plot our place in cosmic history we might make a line representing time starting with the big bang beginning of time and stretching down some 15 billion years or so to the present day.
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ogden
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Feb, 2008 08:58 pm
@Pythagorean,
  • I sense unification. All is mater and all from one origin. The infinite outer extremities and the inner infinitesimal all bound by the same laws.
  • I sense the relative inconsequence of earth and life. What effect can the Earth have in the universe, and how much less significant is humankind? In the vast scope of time we are just a flash of lightning.
  • I sense appreciation for the uniqueness of life and conditions on Earth. What is life nothing but star dust? How can dust take a form that can contemplate itself? How fragile and rare are the conditions that have stabilized to favor the life that we know?
  • I begin to get emotional. I feel bliss that I am able to see and experience life, but this grand perspective also brings remorse that human life is not managed in a manner that reduces avoidable anguish dread and disease. I mean the kind of suffering that is the result of being forgotten, neglected and unwanted (unloved), of being tortured, of being hated, ignorant and powerless. Remorse that human kind has such a heavy footprint on our environment and fellow creatures.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Feb, 2008 09:39 pm
@Pythagorean,
The human effort to put forth a unified mathematical demonstration of the four fundamental forces (and all their implications) makes me wonder somewhat about the honesty or perhaps validity of this effort.

Mathematical demonstrations are only useful in the real world when measurable things can get plugged into their variables. But string theory or other unified field theory efforts may result in mathematical statements that are rationally or mathematically coherent, but are completely untestable. Branching, multiple dimensions are being invoked with string theory -- so can we be sure that a solution to this whole effort actually has truth in the physical world?

And does there scientifically (or rationally) need to be a unified equation? Is it not possible that even the most fundamental units of energy and matter have qualities and behaviors that do not stem from some unifying principle? Maybe all the heterogeneity in the universe is possible only because there isn't a single unifying force.
Rasputini
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Apr, 2008 06:20 pm
@Pythagorean,
WOW!! That's amazing! That really backs up my own beliefs and oppinions. I've come to realize that ultimately nother really matters. That all value and meaning come from our emotional connections to things (good or bad). But even then, those emotional connections are meaningless. How can anything have an intrisic value when, as the previous post stated, everything is rooted in the simplicity of atomic and sub-atomic particles, connected only by energy?

Seperate from my own beliefs, I was thinking about this thread, and began to wonder if perhaps we are not as alive as we perceive. If there is unity between all matter in the universe, and this matter is being consantly recycled (i believe there is a law in physics that states matter cannot be created or destroyed, im not 100% on that though, so feel free to tell me otherwise) than perhaps it is really the universe that is alive, and we merely a part of that larger, for a lack of a better word, "organism." It sounds silly, but I'm just throwing it out there for thought. hheheh good stuff
0 Replies
 
ogden
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 06:44 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
The human effort to put forth a unified mathematical demonstration of the four fundamental forces (and all their implications) makes me wonder somewhat about the honesty or perhaps validity of this effort.


What do you mean by honesty? Do you think physicists and mathamatitians are intentionally fooling or missleading?

Quote:
Mathematical demonstrations are only useful in the real world when measurable things can get plugged into their variables. But string theory or other unified field theory efforts may result in mathematical statements that are rationally or mathematically coherent, but are completely untestable. Branching, multiple dimensions are being invoked with string theory -- so can we be sure that a solution to this whole effort actually has truth in the physical world?


No, we can't be sure about any theory until it is verified scientifically, but that does'nt mean we shouldnt theorise.

Quote:
And does there scientifically (or rationally) need to be a unified equation? Is it not possible that even the most fundamental units of energy and matter have qualities and behaviors that do not stem from some unifying principle? Maybe all the heterogeneity in the universe is possible only because there isn't a single unifying force.


It is not imparative that we have a unified field theory or that the universe is rulled by a singular priciple, however, it sure seams that these are the kinds of things sciece has always tried to answer and why should we stop now?

I would rather use science to solve more practical problems but thats just my view.
0 Replies
 
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 10:16 am
@Pythagorean,
Quote:

How can anything have an intrisic value when, as the previous post stated, everything is rooted in the simplicity of atomic and sub-atomic particles, connected only by energy?


Energy and atoms would have intrinsic value, without them we cannot exists to give things value.
0 Replies
 
Rasputini
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Apr, 2008 12:09 pm
@Pythagorean,
How can atoms have an intrinsic value if 1) value only come from a conscious mind, and 2) even with a conscious mind, there are those who may not value existance. To suggest that atoms have their own value because they make up existance assumes there is value in existance and value in giving things value. As I mentioned above, value comes from emotional connections; therefore, there needs to be an emotional connection to existance for there to be any value in atoms. Although value comes from emotional values, those values are in turn a product of chemical reactions, composed of energy and atoms (as you have stated), because those are incapible of producing emotional connections, our connections are therefore meaningless aswell (even if you go in circles of giving your connections further connections, it's ultimately the same thing).
0 Replies
 
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Apr, 2008 06:04 pm
@Pythagorean,
Quote:

1) value only come from a conscious mind


Why can value only come from a conscious mind? I'm going to play stupid, because, frankly, I am, but what is it about 'value' that makes it so it can only come from a conscious mind?
Rasputini
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Apr, 2008 08:45 pm
@Pythagorean,
I figure if there's no conscious mind to value something, than how can it have value? There's that, and my own ideas regarding value requires there to be an emotional connection to something for it to have value. Only a conscious mind can have those kind of emotional connections... or so i figure. But I honestly dont think anything has an intrinsic value of its own.... its value must come from something else.
0 Replies
 
Doobah47
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2008 05:45 am
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
Why can value only come from a conscious mind? I'm going to play stupid, because, frankly, I am, but what is it about 'value' that makes it so it can only come from a conscious mind?


Maybe he's trying to say that an electron is conscious
0 Replies
 
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2008 08:24 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
-- so can we be sure that a solution to this whole effort actually has truth in the physical world?


I'm feel inclined to say no, but that doesn't mean the efforts are futile and they may at least be leading us in the right direction. One example that strikes me is the string/M-theory ideas about many spacial dimensions bound up in a tiny super small ball. The idea is so abstract and impossible to relate that it has no effect on my understanding, what does though is this childish analogy I found on a string theory DVD ('elegant universe' I think); it starts with a piece of string at a distance appearing to have 1 dimension, then it zooms in showing the other spacial dimensions- it was this next part I liked- then an ant is introduce walking on the string. The ant has the ability to walk around the string which- the DVD suggests, is like a 4th dimension.
This was probably the first time I started considering the limitations of our perspective and still today (three years later) I often wonder about how the universe really is, outside of living perception, a 0 dimensional membrane of billions of waves that interact? Ooo! Or maybe simple binary? We just interpret the data as ourselves perceiving spacial dimensions, colors, sound and invent the world we love and know.
Sorry, I know this only simple brain in a vat stuff, but I like it!

Hey de Silentio, maybe true value is only hypothetical and consists of values drawn from my wonder world of waves! Very Happy

Dan.
0 Replies
 
Rasputini
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2008 12:04 pm
@Pythagorean,
Hey, just to add to your universe of wave, try picturing what we suppose physical reality is. Just try to wrap your head around everything being at an atomical level where there's no perception or anything... just interactions between atoms drawn by an unseen energy force. Then say blow that up to a molecular level, then cellular, then a tissue, organ, system, and then you. It's crazy to think that reality is more than just our perception of things. But then just as ya think of this, your realize that this isn't just our body, but its EVERYWHERE going on forever..... I LOVE IT! Hhahah
0 Replies
 
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2008 02:48 pm
@Pythagorean,
Well maybe it's a self-similar chain, at some point down the chain we could find what appears to be a universally sized atom, resulting in a far larger but relative chain continuing on, fractals seem to be everywhere else, I hear even our veins and alveoli are self-similar. Maybe we're one big Koch Curve.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fd/Von_Koch_curve.gif/180px-Von_Koch_curve.gifDan.


.
0 Replies
 
Rasputini
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2008 04:37 pm
@Pythagorean,
You mean like Hydrogen? where its 1 proton and 1 electron? then everything else has more from there?
de budding
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Apr, 2008 08:34 am
@Rasputini,
Yeh, if on zooming into hydrogen you see a relative system making up the hydrogen.

After I wrote the post it struck me how much a solar system is like an atomic structure- with the Sun being the nucleus.

So I if all the solar systems were equivalent to and had a relative atomic structure to the atoms we know, they would- on further zooming out, create masses of uber-matter, in turn making cells, tissue and us again living on a planet in a solar sytem which is relative and equal to an atom and along with all the other solar systems making up an even larger form of uber-mater.

Dan.
0 Replies
 
Rasputini
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Apr, 2008 04:22 pm
@Pythagorean,
well what I was thinking with the Hydrogen atom was the 1 proton and 1 electron. That's the bare minimum an atom can have... If you think of it in those terms, than you could make the claim that all other atoms are based off that one.

Actually, you're right. I never thought about it but the solar system does resemble an atom. and really if you thinkg about it, so does the galexy, and perhaps even the universe. I suppose that's what sparks the concept that perhaps our universe is just an atom in yet another universe. It's a crazy concept, but its fun to try to wrap your head around.
0 Replies
 
 

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