6a. Chicken and Egg; Matter and Field

In ordinary life, all fields describe properties of something material. But what are materials made from?

In the post-Einstein view of relativistic fields, widely adopted across modern physics during the last century, relativistic fields are what matter is made from; all material things are in fact manifestation of relativistic fields in action. But if that’s true, what are those fields made from?

If you think relativistic fields are associated with an ordinary medium, you’re wrong; that’s impossible. An ordinary medium can be stationary, or not; if you have two observers moving relative to one another, at most one of them can be stationary relative to an ordinary material. This is just a way of saying that if you have two drivers who are driving on a highway at different speeds, at most one of them can be driving at the same speed as the bus in the next lane. But if a relativistic field has a medium, then it’s a very strange one, because all observers are stationary with respect to the medium even though they are moving relative to each other!

It’s such a weird notion that most physicists take the point of view that there’s no medium at all. And certainly no experiment has ever forced physicists to accept that there is a medium there.

But there are people who don’t accept that there can be fields without a material medium. And the comment section to this webpage is where the discussion about who is right, or whether it is decidable who is right, can take place. Have fun! Just do your best to make sure you’re not making statements that violate experimental data. I will join in occasionally when I can.

67 responses to “6a. Chicken and Egg; Matter and Field

  1. In a sense, it all boils down to Ernst Mach’s concept that it does not make any sense to consider a physical magnitude or entity that cannot be detected nor measured. Mach’s concept was a source of inspiration for Einstein when he devised special relativity, or to Heisenberg and Born when they were considering that precise orbits for electrons in an atom cannot be measured, so, they do not exist (but orbitals do exist!)

    Mach was not always right when he applied his concept: it was OK with the aether (experiments proved him right), but he was wrong about applying this concept to atoms, when he rejected Ludwig Boltzmann’s ideas about the existence of atoms based on statistical mechanics applied to thermodynamics of gases (experiments proved Mach wrong in this respect).

  2. ‘Ether and the Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein’
    http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Extras/Einstein_ether.html

    “According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable”

    “the state of the [ether] is at every place determined by connections with the matter and the state of the ether in neighbouring places, … disregarding the causes which condition its state.”

    The state of the aether at every place determined by connections with the matter and the state of the aether in neighboring places is the state of displacement of the aether.

    There is also the following from his youth.

    Einstein’s ‘First Paper’
    http://www.efiko.org/material/Albert%20Einstein%5C%27s%20First%20Paper%20by%20Anonymous.pdf

    “The velocity of a wave is proportional to the square root of the elastic forces which cause [its] propagation, and inversely proportional to the mass of the aether moved by these forces.”

    • Let me look at this history carefully. Please keep history separate from your own comments about whether Einstein was right or wrong about physics; that’s a separate discussion.

      Your second quotation is inappropriate; the paper was written in the 1890s when Einstein was a teenager, before he’d invented the theory of relativity. So of course he (like almost everyone else) thought there was an ether then.

      The first quote is later, and you’ve misunderstood it. Look at the last paragraph.

      “we may say that according to the general theory of relativity space is endowed with physical qualities; in this sense, therefore, there exists an ether. According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable; for in such space there not only would be no propagation of light, but also no possibility of existence for standards of space and time (measuring-rods and clocks), nor therefore any space-time intervals in the physical sense. But this ether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it.”

      Look at what he says: “this ether may not be thought of as endowed with the quality characteristic of ponderable media, as consisting of parts which may be tracked through time. The idea of motion may not be applied to it.”

      It’s completely consistent with what I wrote; if you want to say that there is a medium, then it has to be something completely different from ordinary matter. It’s what Laughlin called “relativistic matter” in the quotation that you mentioned on the other page.

      As to whether one should or shouldn’t use the term “ether”, that’s a matter of taste. Wilczek prefers to use it. But it doesn’t MATTER what words you use if the equations are the same for those people who say “ether” and those who say “vacuum”. Wilczek uses the same equations I do, so we’re doing the same thing; an ether by any other name would smell as empty.

      I think Laughlin believes that relativistic matter is a real substance that you could actually measure someday with experiments. Maybe he’s right. The question is open; but at this point I don’t think there is a working theory of relativistic matter that is entirely consistent. If there is such a theory, that would be interesting to know. In any case, relativistic matter, if it exists, isn’t at all like ordinary matter. (And it isn’t like non-baryonic matter in the cosmos, which is non-relativistic matter just like all the other matter you’ve ever seen.)

      • On the other thread you said Einstein stated there was no aether. I think you are referring to the following.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annus_Mirabilis_papers

        “These two postulates suffice for the attainment of a simple and consistent theory of the electrodynamics of moving bodies based on Maxwell’s theory for stationary bodies. The introduction of a “luminiferous ether” will prove to be superfluous in as much as the view here to be developed will not require an “absolutely stationary space” provided with special properties, nor assign a velocity-vector to a point of the empty space in which electromagnetic processes take place.”

        Einstein is saying an absolutely stationary space is superfluous.

        ‘Interpretation of quantum mechanics by the double solution theory – Louis de BROGLIE’
        http://aflb.ensmp.fr/AFLB-classiques/aflb124p001.pdf

        “If a hidden sub-quantum medium is assumed, knowledge of its nature would seem desirable. It certainly is of quite complex character. It could not serve as a universal reference medium, as this would be contrary to relativity theory.”

        de Broglie is referring to a relativistic aether. The same aether as Einstein.

        ‘Ether and the Theory of Relativity – Albert Einstein’
        http://www.tu-harburg.de/rzt/rzt/it/Ether.html

        “As to the mechanical nature of the Lorentzian ether, it may be said of it, in a somewhat playful spirit, that immobility is the only mechanical property of which it has not been deprived by H. A. Lorentz. It may be added that the whole change in the conception of the ether which the special theory of relativity brought about, consisted in taking away from the ether its last mechanical quality, namely, its immobility.”

        An immobile aether is a universal reference medium. Both de Broglie and Einstein are stating the aether is not an immobile universal reference medium.

        The mobility of the aether is its displacement by matter.

        • Here’s what I wrote:

          for light waves — which were known for decades to be waves in electric and magnetic fields (“electro-magnetic waves”), all of which travel at the same speed in empty space — there is no medium. There are only the fields. [The hypothetical medium had been called the ``aether''; Einstein argued there was no such thing, and wrote down a set of equations where indeed none was required.]

          Now, which of these statements was false? As far as I can see, every statement here is correct; I did not say no ether exists, I said merely that Einstein wrote down equations where none was required, and he argued it wasn’t there. (And he makes some relevant statements about this point in his talk of 1922 that you quoted.)

          Would you be happy if I added a statement to this paragraph that “the question of what “aether” is or isn’t, and whether one is necessary, has continued to this day; even Einstein stated that one could view his theory of gravity as suggesting that space and time form a sort of aether, albeit one very different from the media discussed above. Scientists’ viewpoints vary; but there is no way to distinguish most of these views experimentally, so it may just be a philosophical question, not a physical one. See the ongoing discussion in http://profmattstrassler.com/articles-and-posts/particle-physics-basics/fields-and-their-particles-with-math/fields/chicken-and-egg-matter-and-field/

  3. Not sure why there is no “reply” on your last comment where you say, “Now, which of these statements was false?”

    The following statment of yours is 100% incorrect.

    “The hypothetical medium had been called the “aether”; Einstein argued there was no such thing”

    Einstein said there was no such thing as an absolutely stationary space.

    Einstein defined motion in terms of the aether as the aether does not consist of individual particles which can be separately tracked through time.

    This in no way impacts the mobility of the aether.

    The mobility of the aether is its displacement by matter.

    Einstein’s curved spacetime is the state of displacement of the aether.

    • You’re not making sense. In *your* quote from his 1905 paper, he says: “The introduction of a “luminiferous ether” will prove to be superfluous”. I.e. — there is no need for one.

      • You realize you are chopping the sentence in half correct?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annus_Mirabilis_papers

        “The introduction of a “luminiferous ether” will prove to be superfluous IN AS MUCH AS THE VIEW HERE TO BE DEVELOPED WILL NOT REQUIRE AN “ABSOLUTELY STATIONARY SPACE” provided with special properties, nor assign a velocity-vector to a point of the empty space in which electromagnetic processes take place.”

        The aether is NOT and absolutely stationary space. Aether is displaced by matter.

        • Fair enough; I can see you could interpret what he says two ways. I stick by mine. In any case, there is no aether in the equations, and THAT is what matters — there is nothing about the aether that can be measured in that theory, whether you say it is there or you say it is not there.

          However, your last statement is non-Einstein. It is a statement made by mpc755@gmail.com . It has no basis in experimental data. Unless you just mean that aether is gravitational distortion of space and time (a la the 1922 Einstein paper you quoted) and in that case, as he says, it’s nothing like a ponderable medium.

      • Prof. Strassler, I think you should redacting the email address below (or above — I can’t tell where my post will end up). Regular viewers cannot normally see mpc755’s email, and there is no point in feeding the spammers.

  4. “According to the general theory of relativity space without ether is unthinkable” means general relativity is an ether theory. The equations of general relativity apply to an aether theory because general relativity is an aether theory.

    Curved spacetime is the state of displacement of the aether.

    • Look, you’re mixing very different types of things into your messages.

      First, there’s the historical question of what Einstein did or did not think. We can discuss that.

      Then there are these insane notions of what the aether is that you’re throwing into your huge comments that I’m not going to permit. (In particular your notion that gravitational waves have something to do with De Broglie’s pilot wave is a lot worse than silly.) This is not a website for people to popularize their own personal theories of what the world is like; nothing wrong with you having your own theory (though it would help if you had some equations behind it that actually would allow quantitative tests) but put that stuff on your own website if you want, or turn it into scientific papers (even better) which is what I do. [You don't see my own personal theories on this website, do you? that's not the role of this site.]

      What we can discuss here is what current theories of the universe and of particles and fields, ones widely accepted by a large community of scientists, do and don’t mean. If you don’t agree with those theories, that’s fine, but please go have that argument within the scientific community, where it belongs, and not on a website intended for the public understanding of modern science.

      • If you want to correctly understand what occurs physically in nature then understand what is presently postulated as non-baryonic dark matter not anchored to matter is aether with mass.


        [Abridged by host: I will not permit this website to be an advertising site for non-mainstream viewpoints (unless I personally think they've got a good chance of being right); that's not its purpose.]

        You think you are doing a public service by explaining the current theories associated with mainstream physics. What you fail to realize is mainstream physics is completely screwed up and can’t even explain something as simple as gravity.

        Displaced aether pushing back and exerting inward pressure toward matter is gravity.

        • On the contrary; mainstream physics might be completely screwed up, but it is still important for the public to understand what mainstream physics says (so that, if it’s wrong, it can be properly debunked.)

          However, you’re way off base with your “scientific” ideas, and I’m not going to permit any more of them here.

          And history has a lot of good things to say about mainstream physics. Mainstream physics predicted a Higgs boson would be discovered with a mass below 200 GeV; it also predicted the top quark, and the W and Z particles, before they were discovered. So it isn’t always wrong.

  5. Hi Matt.

    I am willing to risk posting an extraordinary silly remark. But somehow i saw electromagnetic waves traveling through a vacuum through the “emergence” and “dissapearance” of virtual photons. Can you explain why this can’t be?

    Regards,

    Michel Beekveld
    The Netherlands

  6. Oh, by the way, i solved the chicken and the egg matter. If the question is solely “what was first the chicken or the egg”, then the answer should of course be: the chicken. If the egg was first, there wouldn’t be a chicken to keep it warm now would there.

    Keep up the good work.

    Michel Beekveld

  7. In the main article on fields, you discuss how waves’ media can affect the waves, if the wavelength of the wave is as small as the medium’s internal structure.

    Presumably, any structure to the aether would similarly be visible for sufficiently-short-wavelength waves. Do any of the aether theories give any predictions about how short a wavelength is sufficiently short, and what sort of effect one would see?

  8. Prof. Strassler,

    I didn’t make a comment about your post here last week because I let myself get distracted by the comments of others here and I was flabbergasted about how to proceed. Regarding this statement of yours:

    “But if a relativistic field has a medium, then it’s a very strange one, because all observers are stationary with respect to the medium even though they are moving relative to each other!”

    That statement is true only when each observer is comparing his own reference frame. His measure of space and time is absolute in his own frame. When an observer looks at a reference frame that is not his own, a frame that is moving differently than his own and consequently has a different measure of space and time, there will be a Doppler effect increasing or decreasing in the energy of the signal, which we all know, depends whether or not the motion is approaching or moving away. 

    That Doppler effect should mean that the signal is moving faster or slower than when it is measured from the reference frame the signal originated in.

    Light that arrives moving faster or slower will interact with our local medium (atmosphere, windows, etc.) before it arrives to our measuring instruments. After the faster or slower light has interacted with the local medium it will come out from the medium at the local value c but at a different wavelength that corresponds to a higher or lower energy. Do you agree that these comments clarify matters on this point? If not please explain with non mathematical language.

  9. My answer to your questions:

    “In ordinary life, all fields describe properties of something material. But what are materials made from?”

    “In the post-Einstein view of relativistic fields, widely adopted across modern physics during the last century, relativistic fields are what matter is made from; all material things are in fact manifestation of relativistic fields in action. But if that’s true, what are those fields made from?”

    I think the answers are straight forward. Material and fields are made from matter. Matter are particles that exclusively occupy space and have inertia*. Fields are large numbers of particles interacting together producing waves of compression and rarefaction. The neutral states of the fields don’t convey information. It is only the states of the fields that are more compressed or rarefied that pass on quanta of information commonly referred to as energy. Example: A deep sea creature doesn’t notice the crushing pressure of the great depth it lives its life at because the pressure inside its cells is similar to that outside its cells. There always has to be a differential in matter density or matter action for information and work to be passed on. Modern physics idea that matter is made from fields is ass-backwards apparently due to misunderstandings with special relativity.

    * Some things just have to taken as a foundation. This definition is most logical to me.

  10. interesting but confusing – movement may be relative mathematically but does not appear so physically: if I turn on my heels I may have the same experience as when standing still and the whole universe rotating around me, but surely the second requires considerably more energy than the first -?

  11. It seems to me that all this ether-vs-no-ether stuff indicates a mis-phrased question. People seem to be having a hard time accepting what’s being perceived as a wobbling nothingness. And so they should – it’s neither wobbling nor nothing.

    As well as the fields in the standard model we could also propose fields in maths that don’t exist in nature. How about a 6th power term in the Lagrangian, or a 3-spinor? Clearly there’s a sense in which some fields “exist” and others don’t, with or without any quanta being in them. Why not call them ethers?

    What Einstein was trying to say is that this “new ether” or “no ether” (take your pick – who cares?) is not something that you can move relative to. Neither can it blow around relative to you. This is the key point, and merely saying that the new ether doesn’t exist doesn’t do justice to that. People need to know what would happen if you called it an ether and proposed that you and it were in relative motion, i.e., why it wouldn’t make a difference. I’m not sure what the answer is but I’m sure Matt does.

    Adrian.

  12. This sounds quite Socratic to me. Socrates considered that we can look at any number of very different-looking physical items for sitting and recognize them as “chairs”. He therefore postulated they all have a quality of “chair-ness” which enables us to recognize a “chair” when we see it.. Note that “chair-ness does NOT require any actual object for it to exist! So if “chair-ness” (or “dog-ness” or “theoretical physicist-ness”) does not require an actual physical object to exist, why should a field need a medium in order to exist? Makes perfect sense to me. (Socrates thought of this 2,500 years ago.) Am I totally off-base here or are the concepts similar?

  13. At the risk of silly question of the year, how do we know there is no motion relative to aether? As far as I know (and my knowledge of physics is patchy) it is mainly due to the nul result of the Michelson Morley experiment, but surely that experiment was destined to give a nul result? Reason: the purpose of the aether is to define the velocity of light, and the propagation of the action of electromagnetic and gravitational effects, and as such has to interact in some way with such fields. But if the aether interacts with such fields, surely such fields interact with the aether. If so, air molecules have random motion and their strong electric fields around them should give random directional effects on the aether. Accordingly, if there were such a thing as aether that defined a frame of reference with respect to light, it would have the same frame of reference as the lab due to the randomizing effect, or possibly the holding effect of the gravitational field. The argument is a little like a river. Water may be flowing vigorously in the middle, but be stationary in reeds at the edges. If it is stationary with respect to the lab, the fixed interferometer cannot record a velocity through it.

    I am not saying there is an ether, but I cannot see why everyone is so sure there is no motion through it. Interestingly, there would be a way to put this argument to rest: do the interferometer experiment outside the space station (in an accelerating frame of reference). This would not permit the determination of an absolute velocity through space, but it should help decide whether there is an aether. Or have I missed something that is obvious to everyone else? Please help me – preferably politely, but I guess I shall have to take what I get.

  14. The medium could be space/time. The relativistic fields can only exist within space/time as they are by definition movement. We know space/time has a “fabric” as it can be warped, stretched, slowed and accelerated. All observers would appear stationary relative to the medium even though they are in motion relative to each other. We can see this in that no matter where an observer is in the universe, he will appear to be at its center while everything around him appears to be in motion. This is true of all observers anywhere. At the same time, space/time is stationary, or steady, to all observers, even though it, too, might be moving at different speeds for different observers standing on different sized planets, for instance. It would still appear to be steady for all observers.
    I believe all quanta might just be harmonic disturbances in the fabric of space/time, without which they could not exit..Their oscillations constitute a “bunching up” of the fabric of space time, slowing time and reducing space, which also stretches the fabric of the surrounding space/time. This stretching creates an elastic attraction between quanta, drawing them together. When they touch, if they possess the right harmonics, they can intertwine, forming new, and larger, particles. I suggest this elastic attraction could be gravity.

  15. For me, the problem is what do the terms in such statements mean? For me, the minimum required by space/time is that it is a coordinate system that makes the equations of Einstein’s relativity work, but I am not sure that requires there to be “something” there any more than space had to be “something” in Newtonian mechanics or Galilean relativity. There may be or there may not be. I do not see how observers see other matter behave helps; the equations define the dynamics but they do not require “something” to support them, any more than they deny “something”. At least, as far as I can see.

    The use of the term quanta is something that confuses me. To me, quanta are discrete units of action, and has specific dimensions. The motion of any particle must generate action, surely, and that surely would not be a harmonic disturbance in teh fabric of space-time. Have I misinterpreted something?

  16. I see space/time as a thing. This is why it can be warped and altered. It has “properties”. It is the primary energy field out of which all emerges. We can quantify it in many ways, including as electric energy. Just the existence of space/time means that there is potential energy. When oscillations, or disturbances, in space/time occur, we sense them as particles, even though they are only “concentrations” in space/time. This is why they can move in any direction in space/time, because they are part of the field. Potential energy becomes energy in the form of oscillations in space/time. If space/time did not exist then quanta could not exist as they are motion through space/time.
    There are basic oscillations that have staying power and we call these quarks, which are quanta. There are different types of quarks and they are harmonic in different combinations allowing them to intertwine to form new particles.
    Space/time is not just a coordinate system. It figures in all our calculations of relativity. It is treated as a fourth dimension.
    In a black hole, space/time curves back upon itself instantly. Time stops and space has no meaning. It is a “thing”, even though we cannot say what it is made of.
    The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation is made up of harmonic tones and I believe this is evidence of the harmonic nature of quanta.
    I personally believe space/time is created by a Divine awareness of the “I am That I Am”. I am “here” (space) “now” (time) and that the oscillations are created by Divine Discontent. I also believe the very fact that the universe is logical is proof that it was built by logic, but of course I can not demonstrate that, though to me it is clearly obvious in my spiritual life and awareness.

    .

    • Cass: Yes! Excellent and basically irrefutable logic. Spacetime is not nothing. It is Some Thing. It has been said that Einstein banished the ether with Special Relativity but brought it back with General Relativity. Spacetime warps in gravitational fields, and, as you very eloquently say, oscillates as energy reverberates through it.
      The spacetime field has a medium. To say it is a Field of Nothing is to say it has no existence. But every point in the vaccuum of spacetime, has at least a minimum energy, and the conjugate of energy, time.
      If we stick to our guns in this argument, we have argued for a spacetime that is not Nothing, not a purely abstract coordinate system, but a field, which is a property of a medium, composed of quanta of energy, which change value over time.
      I have argued that these quanta of spacetime are the equivalent of minimum energy neutrinos. Neutrinos have only energy (which is to say, existence), spin 1/2 (they are fermions and take up 3D space), and helicity (this gives them a clock).

  17. Hey Lavaroy. Thanks. I also think this explains the dual nature of quanta: particle and wave. Because they are concentrations of energy within the field they act as particles, but since they are oscillations within the field they also act as waves.
    I am trying to figure out how to assign frequencies to the quarks based upon the mixing of the harmonic tones of the CMBR. I think if we can do this that we can do away with the Big Bang theory, which I find totally unacceptable due to all the unfounded assumptions required to make it work.
    I am concentrating on the Up and Down quarks as most matter seems to be made of these and the other quarks seem to just be temporary aberrations of these two. Gluons seem to me to be other oscillations that can interact and bond with both the with the Up and Down quarks to bring them more closely into harmonization, making it possible for them to bond through gluon/quark to gluon/quark entanglement..
    Any ideas on this? Do you know of any frequency assignments given to the quarks?

  18. I think Prof Strassler is going to kick us out. (I didn’t mean for that video to post here.)
    But here’s the thing about fermion fields, in his words:
    >Matt Strassler | April 6, 2013 at 4:46 PMThe Pauli principle (like the Bose-Einstein principle for bosons) is not due to a force, but rather a consequence of the nature of the things themselves. If you try to make a state with two electrons doing the same thing, you will find that state equals zero; it’s not a state at all. So no physical phenomenon can violate the Pauli principle; no amount of pressure and gravity can change it.In a world with three or more space dimensions, there are two types of fields; ripples in boson fields (like photons) must be symmetrically related, whereas ripples in fermion fields must be antisymmetrically related. No force is required to make this so; it is in the nature of the ripples. Since antisymmetrically related objects cannot be in the same place doing the same thing, the Pauli exclusion principle applies to them.<
    …… So if spacetime is a fermion field…… no Big Bang, no physical singularities.

  19. I watched Lisi’s video several times. I do not argue against known science regarding the spin of particles and their other properties. All of that seems to be well founded and proven through experimentation. However his concept of an “inner space” where there is no space/time is nonsensical to me.
    Space/time is relativistic. If we go to a pre-matter universe state we have a space/time that can be perceived as either extremely large and extremely fast or extremely small and extremely slow. This is predicated on the speed of light being constant, but in a pre-matter universe there is no light to judge things by. What we really have is an eternal moment in a void that can perceived of as being any size.
    Because my spiritual experience has proven to me that we can ask for things and have them materialize for us, I firmly believe that the universe springs forth from life and not life from the universe. There will never be any way I can think of to prove this through math. It can only be observed and confirmed through spiritual experience. I do, however, believe our science and math can, and eventually will, lead us to that conclusion. We know the observer affects the observed, for instance.
    I do not believe there can be state where space/time does not exist as I believe there is a single consciousness that has always existed, and will always exist, and that it creates space/time just by existing “here” (space) and “now” (time).
    If there were only one particle in space/time, its size and movement through time could not be determined because there is nothing to relate it to; no relativity. It could be perceived as being extremely large and fast moving or extremely small and slow moving, again due to the constant speed of light.
    Once there are two particles they can be compared relative to each other and thus we have relativity. I do not believe a single particle could exist by itself because the math tells us that each quanta must have an anti-quanta. Because one. exists, the other must exist to balance it.
    If one wants to talk about an aether, then I believe the aether must be space/time. All particles are moving within, and therefore through, space/time.
    The Big Bang Theory requires too many unfounded, unproven, concepts and is partly derived from the theory of the accelerating expanding universe. I believe Hubble was wrong in his assumptions based on red shift and that the red shift we perceive is much more likely caused by the attenuation of light due to other reasons, perhaps through vacuum polarization or something similar. Space is not a void. It is filled with crisscrossing radiation the light from distant bodies must pass through to get to us. This has to have an attenuating effect, especially over vast distances and times.
    This would also pertain to the supernova used for their standard candle power to determine intergalactic distances. I don’t believe we have enough knowledge yet to determine what actually happens to light over such vast space/time distances. Likewise, I believe we have not yet developed the technology to observe quanta at a level where we can quantify them accurately. As they are oscillations, they most likely have frequencies we just can’t measure yet.

    In any event, we have wondered away from Prof. Strassler’s purpose for this page, so I make my apologies while affirming my believe that all matter is derived from fluctuations in the fabric of space/time. In larger masses we can see this in the bending in and slowing of time towards the center of the mass, which is a condensation of space/time.

  20. Prof. Strassler, if you haven’t given up in disgust and are still monitoring this page, your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for a place to mull over these things.

  21. Cass. Your instincts are good. If spacetime is a field without medium, it is merely a co-ordinate system. That is a thought category, not a physical system. That is Max Tegmark saying math is real, everything else is illusion.
    I see that as contradicted by experiment. A co-ordinate system is three intesecting number lines. You can choose to infinitely subdivide the number line, if you want to invent calculus, and get exact solutions to math problems. But, Planck showed you can’t infinitely subdivide physical space. There is a Quantum of Action. This leads to Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Pauli Exclusion Principle and they all say that you can’t divide space or time down to nothing. Space is a thing, uncuttable at the Planck level.

  22. I read Aron Wall’s page. My big problem with all these theories is that space/time is completely relative. I believe the “universe” began because of what we see through the Hubble telescope. But talking about negative time is to me nonsensical. It makes for fun math problems, but that is all.

    If we start with an “I Am That I Am”, we are talking about what I discussed above, an eternal moment in a space that can seem incredibly large or small, even infinitely large or small in a time that lasts forever or doesn’t pass at all.
    In the universe, our concept of time, and the size of space, is completely relative to our perception. In modern times we use the atomic clock to give us a “time standard”, but even that is an arbitrary tool we use with no real absolute meaning. It allows us to figure out a great deal, but it is still just a tool, like any clock.

    My early education was not just in science, but also mysticism. I learned how to wash my hands in acid without harm when I was 22 and learned the power of faith and of how we directly influence each succeeding instant in the creation of our world.

    The “I Am That I Am” is a very potent force in my world so I know It exists. To me It is the only true reality and the universe is just a logically constructed illusion, the laws of which can be overcome through faith. In faith we have our divine connection because the Creator is living here through us. It is possible to walk on water. My teacher’s teacher could do that.

    To think, therefore, that this is the only universe that ever existed through all eternity is to me a total non-starter. It is very ego-centric to me and very short-sighted. It ignores the true meaning of “eternity”. The “I Am That I Am” has been creating these illusions throughout eternity to escape the agony of Its eternal loneliness. Just imagine being totally alone in the dark forever……What a horror. It is no wonder to me that the harmonic tones of the CMBR, when taken together, sound like a cosmic scream.

    I also believe the only singularity the universe sprang from was the “I Am That I Am”.

    Consider the phrase, “Let there be light”. Is that not a Big Bang of sorts? Now consider the light expanding out at the speed of thought or perception. Is that not an inflationary universe, like we have come to through our science, happening in the time frame we expect through our calculations?

    This all leads me back to all particles having their origin in the fabric of space/time, the first “thing”. They can’t come from nothing. That violates all of our known laws of physics. Space/time is a very real thing to the “I Am”. And as all particles are defined by their movement through space/time, and can not exist without space/time, where else can they come from?

    I also disagree with Wall’s ideas on “YHWH”. My understanding of the origins of the term “YHWH” is that the Creator has no name. It can not be pronounced so they used an unpronounceable set of letters to represent it…….If It had a name, it would be different in every language.

    So how will this universe end? If it began with “Let there be light”, it should end with “Let there be no light”. Unless we can learn how to leave this pebble we live on, we will never really know how that will happen. Our Earth will probably be long gone by then. But it could be as simple as that. The “I Am” might just get tired of it and “close Its eyes”. It is, after all, what we all experience at the end of our lives and personal universes.

  23. If space/time spins, time slows, space compresses and density increases creating “particles”, mass and gravity. There is also more time because time slows. Thus we have space/time bending in towards rotating bodies and time slowing towards the centers of mass, which are concentrations in/of space.
    Yes?

    • Yes, I agree spacetime Spin is the mechanism creating particles and mass-inertia-gravity. It’s fairly intuitive. A force accelerating a particle will transfer angular momentum to the Spin of the particle, increasing the mass-inertia. Check out this website http://www.kapillavatsu.com/index.html this person G. Srinivsan has a deeper understanding.
      Harmonic tones of the cmb, I have no idea, but ask him.

  24. What I am trying to figure out is how to demonstrate that the interactions of the harmonic tones of the CMBR can create “breaking waves” that create the spin in space/time.

  25. Fantastic! Thanks Lavaroy. The link as posted doesn’t work, but this one does: http://www.kapillavastu.com/ . Unfortunately there is no way to contact him there. I did a search and can’t find a way to contact him. Any ideas on that?

    I read the Bhagavad Gita years ago (I’ve studied all the basic sacred texts of all the great faiths) and am now surprised to see how it relates to his concepts.

    Now we seem to be making some progress……

    Are you a professional physicist? I found some comments from you on the Scientific American site and you seem very well versed in these things.

  26. I emailed him directly at gsvasktg@gmail.com and he answered promptly. Go ahead and ask him about the cmb.
    I am not a professional physicist. I am not good enough at math. I understand these concepts geometricaly.
    I have read shelves of books since 2000 on astro/particle/cosmos/physics, and hundreds of articles online.
    I keep finding bad arguments, weak concepts, unfounded assumptions, and at the bottom, the mathematical system is based on dividing by zero! (Infinitessimal calculus, trying to describe a discrete, quantized, space-time.)
    G. Srinivsan’s system is built from natural numbers, so it can describe quantized space-time.

  27. Thanks. I emailed him yesterday but have received no reply yet. I will post again if he replies. I am hoping the delay is a good sign.

  28. I posted my email to Prof. Srinivsan and his reply, but the site says my post is awaiting moderation, probably because it is long and contains several links. I don’t think Prof. Strassler is being active here anymore so it might never show. I asked Prof. Srinivsan about the roll of the harmonic tones of the CMBR and if quanta could be created out of the fabric of space/time. I also told him I was a theist like he is and that I felt space/time was created by the awareness of the Creator being aware of existing “here” (space) “now” (time). His reply minus the links was:

    “Axiomatically or using just common sense SOMETHING exists. No question on that issue and we have to accept that as the basic fact just as we accept ourself whatever we are. No excape!!!!

    Now curiosity rises on a full stomach. So let us wander – into reality not fancy and so an axiomatic set of logical derivations arise –a theory is born.

    You are correct in your premise on the quanta but it is not as enigmatic as you see it. Seen a whirlwind, water spout, tornado etc. You have seen the QUANTA. Now go to it from all levels and angles.
    Numerics makes it correct and repeatable. See PHO state on my website . All the answers are there -the same eternally- because this universe is the living God that primitive man searches for so he can continue with his attrocities and ask forgiveness from G.”

    I hope this posts…….

  29. I read an article today about Higgs Boson decay.
    There is nothing to it. It simply decays to less massive boson-or-fermion pairs. WW, ZZ, bb, TT, gamma-gamma.
    They all spin down to electrons, giving off neutrinos, quanta of spin.
    So the Higgs is just another over-stressed particle, a temporary kink in highly spun-up space.
    I think you have to start with a quantum, and work your way to a field. A field is not fundamental.
    A field has values. A quantum has spin. Spin is the only thing we know for sure is absolutely conserved.

  30. I’m still thinking about Prof. Srinivsan’s reply. I believe he has said that all quanta are just spin in the fabric of space/time, as I postulated. I haven’t had time to really go through his PHO site, the math will take some time, but he did indicate that I was correct in my theory that all quantum particles are turbulence in the fabric of space/time, that there is a basic harmonic oscillation that manifests all things.
    He said I was looking for too enigmatic, or mysterious, a solution in the harmonic tones of the CMBR. I took that to mean that it is just the harmonic oscillation of space/time that should be looked at. That it is like a tornado or waterspout of whirling particles. This means to me that the harmonic tones of the CMBR are just the manifestation of that oscillation.
    If what you read is correct, then so much for the Higgs field overlaying the other dimensions. He deals with mass on the PHO site, but, again, I haven’t had the time to really go through it.
    I very much doubt there is a Higgs field or that Higgs bosons are responsible for mass in so-called mass-less particles . Like you, I think mainstream particle physics has gotten way off track with ridiculous assumptions and “renormalizations” that just don’t make sense. They are looking for things they want to find in a Creator-less universe.
    The observer affects the observed. I think if you slam enough particles together you can get all kinds of things you want to find, but that doesn’t mean they are stable building blocks of the universe. They could well be just temporary particles we have created, which what you read seems to indicate. I think quarks other than the up and down quarks are probably also such aberrations.

  31. http://bcove.me/s3wnu0l3 According to Prof. George Musser: “Higgs condensate makes the vacuum of space a physical medium.” That is a profound statement.
    It seems inevitable that spacetime is a medium, characterized by bosonic and fermionic fields. Particles are local maxima of these fields. I don’t see any grounds for saying gravity is privileged to be a purely relativistic field with no medium. Gravity is a field, characterizing the medium. The medium is also characterized by fermion fields, and Pauli Exclusion must stabilize the medium against collapse to a singularity.

  32. As an innocent looking in to this discussion, I confess to being confused, largely because I am not sure everyone means the same thing when they use the same words. I think I can say that a field is something that has a value at any given coordinate; either that is true or it is not. If not, please correct me. Now, if that is true, the field has a value from a cause. True or not true? Thus I have considered the value of a gravitational field depends on the distance from whatever is causing the field at that point in space. The question now is, what is a medium? In Newtonian physics, space was, as I understood it, nothing more than a coordinate system in which fields were superimposed, i.e. space was the absence of all other physical entities (but of course fields were always superimposed). My question now is, what has changed? Is the medium space? Is the medium space plus field? Are they separable?

    Where I am puzzled is by the assertion that space cannot be continuous. We know that action is quantised, but if space is merely a coordinate system, there will be no action associated with it alone. The fields superimposed on this space will have action, but interestingly we might consider the quantisation parameters of the action of the fields to depend on position, i.e. distance from the source. What I am suggesting here is that any given volume of space will not be uniformly quantised when compared with another. And before everyone throws eggs at me for this heresy, don’t forget that on a cosmological scale, the usual predictions of acceleration based on QFT with uniform space has an error of about 120 orders of magnitude, which is at least suggestive that some form of revision is required of our views of space.

  33. Space is not just “space”, a coordinate system. It is space/time. Space does not exist without time and time does not exist without space. I would say it can be considered a field, the primary field out of which all else manifests. All quanta are concentrations formed by spin in the fabric of space/time.
    I have trouble with the Higgs boson and the Higgs field. I think if you slam enough particles together you will get a number of combinations that quickly degenerate because they are not stable. They are not true building blocks of the universe. The Higgs field is being used to support the theory of an accelerating expanding universe, which I do not think exists as it leads to irrational conclusions and the universe is nothing if not rational.
    I think the red shift we see is caused by vacuum polarization or a similar cause that attenuates the light coming to us over the vast distances of space/time. Also, though it looks empty and dark, space/time is filled with light and energy waves crisscrossing each other and fermions and bosons. This has to have an attenuating effect on the light crossing space/time to us.
    I think gravity might be the result of the stretching of the fabric of space/time as particles condense out of it. As space/time spins to form particles, it thins between particles creating a tension that draws them together as space/time tries to normalize itself.
    I don’t think we need a Higgs boson to confer mass to particles. Even photons, which are considered mass-less have a relativistic mass generated by their speed, hence they can turn the little vane in the glass bulb we have all seen. The speed of spin of a particle should also therefore create relativistic mass.
    Under this scenario, fermions would be high spin particles in space/time while bosons would be waves in space/time. The fermions with the same spin could not occupy the same space because they spin in the same direction into tight little knots, while the bosons can share the same space because they are waves that can overlap each other. Fermions with different spin could occupy the same space because they could become interwoven or intertwined.
    This is just theorizing on my part.

    • Yes. Spacetime is a substantial medium. Way back at the top of this page, Dr. Strassler says “But if a relativistic field has a medium, then it’s a very strange one, because all observers are stationary with respect to the medium even though they are moving relative to each other!” I would counter that by saying, The observers are NOT moving through the medium. The observers are part of the medium. There is no movement through space. There is only spacetime, deforming, transmitting energy in the form of radiation (bosons) and spin (fermions).

  34. I should have said all quanta are concentrations caused by disturbances in space/time. Some are wave-like concentrations and some are spin concentrations. A “breaking” wave would go into spin.

  35. Spacetime can equally be considered a coordinate system required to make General Relativity tractable but that does not make it “real”. I would also argue that time is conceptually different from space, thus you can always, in principle, determine exactly when you are, because all observers can in principle determine how much time has passed after the big bang. (The fact that you have trouble doing this accurately enough to be helpful is beside the point.) There is no special position in space, but there is one in time, and hence you can work out (in theory) how fast you are travelling through the time coordinate.

  36. I disagree. Time is relative, too. It changes with speed through space and with the mass of the object you are standing on. Since time moves more slowly on a massive object like the Earth, there is an always increasing gap in time between us and what we are observing in space. Over the course of the lifetime of the Earth, a huge gap has been created in time between us and open space and other celestial objects of different mass. Everything we see is actually in a different time than ours, just like it is in a different space. Two objects of different mass at an equal distance from us are actually at different points in time from each other and us.
    We do not even know if there was a Big Bang or if it only appears to be so. It is a still an unproven theory. I personally believe this universe “began” because of what we see through the Hubble telescope, but the nature of the origin is totally debatable. To say it all began in a singularity where all current energy was compressed is to me just ludicrous, which is why I am trying to prove a different origin in the “I Am That I Am”. My personal spiritual experience, on a daily basis and in other much more dramatic ways, has proven to me it all begins with an eternal consciousness. For more on this you can go to my site at http://www.captcass.com/symbolofunity.htm.
    If this universe “began” just 13 or 14 billion years ago, well, that is just a blink of the eye when considering eternity. To think it is going to just keep expanding at an accelerating rate is totally nonsensical. It in no way accounts for eternity.
    We have the ability to use space/time as a coordinate system, just like we can use Newtonian laws. But we also know that Newtonian laws are not absolute, just close approximations dependent upon relativity. We can not even ever determine the actual circumference of a circle because Pi has no absolute value. We can not even define a smallest point or the number of points in a line.
    If space/time were not a thing, it could not be compressed and slowed, warped and twisted. At C, space becomes flat and time stops. The two are inseparable, which is why they are considered a single thing with dual properties.

  37. I would think we would have a very different picture of the universe if we considered not just where objects were relative to us and each other in space, but also in time dependent on their relative masses.

  38. First, my comment obviously requires the Big bang to be correct, or at least something happened that gives a unique event. I believe there is enough observational evidence to make this seem reasonable. Now, suppose you determine your time after said Big Bang and let it be X. Now, fly to Andromeda at the speed of light (not practical, but assume so). Following relativity your clock will have stopped and you will not have aged. Nevertheless if you once again determine when after the Big Bang, it should be X + 640 My should it not? This light from the earliest galaxies thinks it is about 1 Gy after Big Bang (say) but if a vessel travelling with them stopped here, it would have to reset “when” to 14+ Gy would it not?

    I never claimed Newtonian dynamics are correct. Of course Einsteinian dynamics are more correct but the time dilation effect may simply mean the velocity determines the performance of the clock, and I doubt anyone can disprove that with evidence. Who says you compress space or time? In relativity, the clock slows, but that does not mean the underlying time does. Warped space-time is a very useful concept for dealing with General Relativity, but that does not make it real in the sense it is a thing, as opposed to a different way to treat coordinates.

  39. Dear Cass: Ian Miller is taking the side that relativistic coordinate systems have no underlying physicality. You and I agree that coordinate systems are describing a physically real medium. It’s more than a subtle point. They would say that objects fly through the Void. We say the Medium warps, deforms, and transmits momentum and energy.

  40. Actually I would say that time stops for the traveler at C, not the clock. That is why the traveler doesn’t age. The rest of the universe is still aging at its various relative rates. At C space would flatten out for the traveler. An outside observer would see the traveler as infinitely long.
    This just means to me that both time and space are totally relative and that no one really knows “what time it is” anywhere.
    I agree that the traveler would see the surrounding universe at the same point in age from the creation event when he stopped, but that is the relative illusion of the universe. He would still be in a different relative time when he stopped.
    The rest of the universe would now be older than when he left, even though he hasn’t aged.
    If all mass is relative and not absolute, then photons “traveling” at C are actually timeless and going nowhere. It all becomes just illusion, which it most probably ultimately is.
    The great thing is that we have an apparently logical universe we can try to figure out and play with. But really, ultimately, it is all just illusion constructed out of space in time.
    You are the “I Am That I Am”. You are eternally alone and you know this deep inside yourself. This is your divine self. It is why you are the Creator’s child. It is how you are “in Its image”. Just imagine yourself, your consciousness, existing in a void. You could imagine space as being infinitely large, or infinitely small. Likewise, you could imagine time as flying by or crawling along at a snails pace. It would all be completely relative to your own imagination. Now imagine creating disturbances within that space/time. Try to curve space back upon itself. Imagine waves and spin the space. This would slow time for you. It would create substance and heaviness. This makes space/time a field of action with energy, not just a perpetual void. Not like any other energy field, because all those energy fields are imaginings within space/time, but a field none-the-less. It is a “playing” field. You create the disturbances in space/time out of space in time. This gives “substance” to space/time, making it a “thing” that can be manipulated and given “properties”.
    The warping of space/time by mass is not a speculative concept that is just convenient in dealing with relativity. Space/time is actually being warped and time is being slowed. We can see it. We can see stars that are behind the sun. Space/time therefore has “substance”, even if that “substance” is only because space/time is filled with stuff.

  41. I agree, Lavaroy. We are seeing things differently than Ian. Fundamentally different theories and perspectives.

  42. We see a cohesive field with “densities” in it, he sees a void with separate particles in it and empty space between the particles.

  43. Just to clarify my point, I was stating that the clock stops when travelling at c because that is all we can observe. That does not mean time stops, as the light can travel for Gy in terms of non-relativistic clocks in terms of the initial point.

    The “warping of space-time by mass” is not observed. What you observe is the bending of a ray of light. There are various ways of interpreting that, and as an aside, such light bending was also predicted by Newton. His prediction was out by a factor of two, so his mechanics were not correct, nevertheless he had an explanation that worked if space was “nothing”. Cass’s last statement summarises what I see, except I would add in fields that are superimposed on the void. The space is not empty, but how I interpret it is that there is void, to which all the various extras are added or superimposed. It is extremely difficult to think of a way of testing the system to determine which interpretation is correct.

  44. If time did not stop for the observer he would age. If he left Earth and returned to Earth, he would be the same age but everyone else on Earth would have aged. To me that means time stops for the traveler.
    I agree that testing the hypotheses is currently impossible, which is why we have all these theories.
    Great fun, though, heh?

  45. Indeed, great fun. Let me alter the scenario. A traveller sets out at time X as determined from the Big Bang, and resides outside the event horizon of a black hole. (Let us not quibble about him being spaghettified.) He does not age significantly, but after a time (for him, y) he records the time as X + y. He now returns to where he started, and finds the time is X + Z, where Z >>y. What does Z – y tell us? If you regard (which most don’t) that the time is absolute, we must say that the reason that time appears to slow around the black hole is because all electromagnetic effects have slowed around the black hole. Note that all clocks, observers, etc function solely on electromagnetism – all chemistry etc is an electromagnetic phenomenon. This suggests that the apparent time dilation effect is nothing more than the effects of mass on electromagnetism. That could be a starting point on a search for unifying gravity and electromagnetism. My view is that such an approach could be more promising than considering warped space-time, if for no other reason than Einstein thrashed the latter option and got nowhere. And if nothing else, Einstein was a rather creative physicist.

    Fun?

  46. Yes, but I’ll leave that to you. ;-)

  47. If space is a void, “nothing”, then to say the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate because more space is being created is to say more “nothing” is being created. It is impossible to create more “nothing”. “Nothing” is nothing, “no thing”. It is only possible to create more of “something”. So if more space is being created, space is a “thing”. If no more space is being created, it is still a “thing”.
    In a black hole, the distance between particles, the space between them, is compressed. Again, you can not compress nothing. Space therefore has to be something.
    Science is our ability to figure out the logic of how things work. When we get to a point where logic and reason do not apply, then we are no longer in the realm of science. Theories can be postulated that are based upon certain assumptions, but until those assumptions are proven we do not have science, just speculation.
    To say that all the energy in the universe was once compacted into a tiny singularity that for some unknown reason suddenly exploded out into the volume of the universe at faster than the speed of light sounds crazy because it is. Even black holes grow in size as more energy is sucked into them and in a black hole time stops. The singularity is therefore illogical and therefore outside the realm of science.

  48. As you might have expected, I do not agree. Assume the Universe is finite. What is outside the Universe? The only reasonable answer is nothing. So, if we consider the Universe to be expanding, you are not creating more nothing – you are merely requiring larger values of distances within your coordinate system. Similarly, in a black hole you are not compressing nothing, you are merely moving things closer together. That is perfectly self-consistent within logic.

    I have a problem with a singularity because strictly speaking it has no dimensions, so no current physics can describe it.

  49. I am assuming you are saying there is no “nothing” “outside” the universe, no “empty space”.. If so, I agree. If you are saying there is space there with nothing in it, I disagree. If there was “empty space” there, it would be part of the universe. The universe has to fold back upon itself somehow, unless it is infinite, which I doubt. By the same token, it has nowhere to expand into.
    I believe it could be getting larger, but not at an accelerating rate as that is nonsensical. It might even pulse inwards and outwards.
    We will just have to agree to disagree about the space/time issue. In my view space/time folds back upon itself in a black hole. Space is compressed and time stops. I think matter is pressed “flat” back into the raw fabric of space/time from which it emanated in the first place, completing the cycle.

  50. Yes, we shall have to agree to disagree. I am not saying I am right, but I am saying it is a view worth considering. As for “no nothing”, that lies outside my definition. For me, nothing is exactly that and you cannot take it away. It is the complete absence of any “thing”.

    As for the accelerating rate of expansion of the Universe, I find this somewhat difficult to swallow, but that does not mean it is not. My greatest concern is this. The evidence for the expansion is supposed to be the fact that very distant Type 1A supernovae are dimmer than expected. If you look at the data, it is very scattered (i.e. a lot of observational error) but there is a reasonable inference of the trend. Now, what concerns me is that I think it was last year there was a paper published (I think in Nature) that shows that the luminosity of Type 1A supernovae is a function of metallicity, and lower metallicity stars are dimmer. This was no surprise to me because what you see tends to be the luminosity from the outside of the expanding matter, which should largely come from the associated star, and lower metallicity in that star offers fewer radiators. I asked an astrophysicist about this, and got the response, “That was taken onto account.” What I want to know is, how was it corrected for 15 – 20 years before the phenomenon was discovered?

  51. To me it also means the absence of “space”.
    As for the supernova, I do not have an opinion.They provide a standard candle that helps in determining distance, but as I noted above, I do not think we are fully aware of all the influences affecting the light reaching us from vast distances.

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