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What we think we know

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19Merlin69
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« on: March 06, 2007, 12:39:46 pm »

Let's take a look at something that is not only reported on (at length) by the media, but is also taught in most every school in the Western world (except the Amish ones); The Astrophysical Standard Model.  It can also be called the Big Bang Model (BB).  I'm certain that most of you understand what the BB is but you may not be as familiar with a little alteration added after the fact to correct the theory against observations.  That correction is called "Inflation".  In a nutshell, Inflation is defined as:  "The rapid expansion of all energy and coalescing matter, appearing at the very earliest phase, post-big bang in  cosmological models.  It is required to solve several problems in current big bang cosmology."   - Copied from Princeton Astrophysical Cosmological Glossary.

This is not the first (or the last) "tweak" made to an accepted theory of something within science that is made for no other reason than to maintain the originating theory.  In other words, BB cosmology was proven incorrect, and only through the application of Inflation was it salvaged.  "Inflation" was a necessary creation predicated upon the fact that observations disproved BB models...  So - Inflation was formulated to fix the broken model, not because it was obvious, predicted or theorized...  This is an important distinction - but not necessarliy damning.  What would salvage Inflation would be evidence that it is correct.  Let's take a little trip...

The Astrophysical Standard Model works from the assumption that everything emanated from the Big Bang even though there is absolutely no evidence that [EVERYTHING] did.  A multitude of satellites, balloons, telescope devices and interferometers were commissioned to look for evidence to support the BB theory (including Inflation) in hopes of proving the BB with Inflation (BB+I) model.  Each device built upon (and improved upon) the previous one in an attempt to evidence the BB Theory’s ability to make accurate predictions.  Here are the players involved:

1.      COBE - measured the very large scale fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB).  Returned data indicated clumpiness in the universe, and a flat-universe emerged from the images.

2.      Cosmic Anisotropy Telescope - measured the very small scale fluctuations in temperature,
in specifically small regions of the sky, of the CMB

3.      Boomerang – a balloon flown over Antarctica that created precise high fidelity images of
the CMB temperature anisotropies; data further supported the flat-universe theory

4.      Cosmic Background Imager - interferometer at an elevation of 5000 meters at
Llano de Chajnantor atop the Chilean Andes.  Again, images of a non-homogeneous universe
emerged, and the flat-universe theory gained more proof.

5.      Very Small Array - interferometer at an elevation of 3000 meters at Observatorio del Teide
on Tenerife (Canary Islands)

6.      Degree Angular Scale Interferometer - interferometer designed to measure temperature
and polarization anisotropy of the (CMB) and operates from the Antarctic circle.

7.      The Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) – a passive microwave radiometric
satellite orbiting at the Earth-Sun L2 liberation point.

As a point of fact, the COBE data did not support the predictions of the astrophysicists, cosmologists or physicists; it turned a few of them on their ear.  It was quickly revealed that there was far less consistency than anticipated and the lack of a lensing effect pointed to a flat universe (contrary to the established belief of curved space).   This was a very powerful message sent back from the cosmos – one that the astrophysicists still refuse to acknowledge.  They just quietly adjusted their initial predictions and formulated a handful of post-dictions to accommodate the results.  No one (but them) need be the wiser to the truth. 

By studying the BB+I theory, it quickly becomes obvious that the only way it works is if homogeneity exists in the CMB and the agglomeration of matter within the perceivable universe is uniform.  Now, considering that the BB+I theory has already been adopted as “The Answer”, the idea that the proof of its accuracy was vanishing caused a serious upheaval; spawning a “hustle-up campaign” to adjust the theory along with its evidentiary data so that they co-mingled.  Note that I did not say converge.

Today, the hierarchy of science shows everyone the COBE and WMAP images and chants “homogeneity” though they themselves don't “see” it either.  This is why they recently created new language to explain why the universe appears inhomogeneous, while still being completely consistent with their predictions.  The vast expanses of nothingness are said to be where matter first formed (even though some of those expanses are quite close to us) and the extremely “hot” portions are postulated to be regions of active star birth; which runs counter to the accepted evolutionary timeline for the universe.  So, do they now go back and revise theory for active regions of star birth?  Maybe they should - but they don't.  It is just one parlor trick after another with this theory and I am reminded of the words, "Liars aught have good memories."    Spoken by Sidney Algernon (January 1623 – December 7, 1683), an old English professor.  As I read new details of the CMB program, it rings ever-more true in my mind.   That theory has become so convoluted with rationale, word-smithing and weasel-wording that they are having trouble remembering all aspects of it, what changes they've made and what other theories have to be ignored in order to agree with this one. 

I agree that something has to be done with the BB theory to make it viable, if it is a viable theory, but I do not agree that arbitrarily assigning "Inflation" to it is the correct way to go about it.  Particularly when the additional theory is unable to stand up to the observational predictions made with it.  Something needs to be proffered to explain the clumpiness of the non-homogeneous , albeit similar, universe and the fact that we are seeing greater density the further we peer into the past.  There needs to be an easy to reconcile answer for why the expansion is increasing, and why the further you look, the faster its moving.   

Take, for example, the enigma of the agglomeration of quasars at the outer reaches of the universe for a moment.  They are thought to be super-massive black holes (SMB) that have swallowed up billions of stars and hundreds of millions of galaxies and become active.  If we calculate the math from the pictures of them, those we are receiving today, we have a problem:  The images are between 8-12 billion years old, meaning, we are seeing what was happening 8-12 billion years ago.  At this point, they are only 2 billion years into creation according to the current theory.  But in that short time, they have managed to vacuum up all of these formed stars and celestial matter?  The Astrophysical Standard Model has matter only starting to coalesce into solar systems at the 300,000,000 year mark after the bang, shortening the available time for quasar creation to a staggeringly small 1.7 BY.  By most "best guesses" quasar production would have had to have been created "in-situ" from what was there, or they would have had to have been formed from the collapses of billions of stars simultaneously.  Either way, 1.7 BY is way too short.  So, what do we do?  Do we readjust the theory again?  If so, which theory?  Remember what I said before, "keeping track of which theories need to be ignored" in order for BB+I to work?  The Standard Model for Star Creation, Evolution and Death is one such theory requiring ignorance. 

There just simply isn’t enough time for them to have formed out of nothing post-BB.  There is either an error in that theory, or there needs to be yet another "change" made to it in order to correct it without refuting a handful of other theories.  I personally think there might be errors in the Standard Models of (most sciences), hidden in plain sight, like easter Eggs - waiting to be found.

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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2007, 01:15:03 pm »

Very nice Merl,
Over 10 years ago I watched this presentation in Oklahoma by Mike.  You might find it interesting although it is a bit out of date and I don't think Mike is an astrophysicist.

THE BIG BANG NEVER HAPPENED
by Michael Wisenbaker
Illustrated
http://www.urantiabook.org/archive/science/bigbang_frames.htm
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2007, 03:58:41 pm »

Very nice Merl,
Over 10 years ago I watched this presentation in Oklahoma by Mike.  You might find it interesting although it is a bit out of date and I don't think Mike is an astrophysicist.


Yes, a lot of the information he offers is quite literal and logical.  He takes a couple of liberties, but overall, it is a pretty fair accounting of the "State of Affairs" within the Astrophysical community.  There is an aspect of his argument that is missing though, old friend, and it's the same thing that I have complained about in the past; evidence that his alternative is correct.  It is not enough to say, "Since this theory is falling apart - this theory must be correct."  Let's have some proof.  You should know me by now...  Show me the evidence!
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2007, 11:53:37 pm »

Hi Merlin,

Nice work!  Are there anymore scientific forums you would like to see around here or is what we have sufficient? Thanks.

Brooke
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« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2007, 12:13:16 pm »

Looks good Brooke - thanks for checking in on me.
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2007, 07:58:51 pm »

I was planning on doing a really fun post this evening.  Unfortunately, when I was working on a little ditty about Dark Matter, MOND and TeVeS - I made the mistake of Googling one of the terms...  I was looking for a picture, and I wound up at Wikipedia.  For the hell of it, I decided to read their Dark Matter page.  The Lords of the Holy Physics Trinity (Oppenheimer, Einstein and Newton) sent a lightening bolt down my spine.  My OCD kicked in full-tilt, and an hour later my wife convinced me to stop editing the page for them...  We think it would be best to either "Leave it alone" or "blow it up and rewrite it for them".  No wonder I hate that website so much.  Aside from the stuff anyone could have picked up from a Science magazine, the entire page is either - wrong, vague, misleading or incomplete.  I did what I could do in an hour, and I'm proud of my work, but please do not go there for any references in this thread (until I go back and finish correcting it  Wink  )  Hmmmm....  Did I say that out loud? 

My "ailment" slows me down too much to visit that site.

Gray's Anatomy is on, and the Little Woman wants my company.  Have a wonderful evening all.
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2007, 05:18:13 pm »

Alrighty then - back to where we began...  Let's take a quick (kidding) look at a page that has a little bit (really kidding) of information.  http://www.astro.umd.edu/~ssm/mond/litsub.html  This has a whole lot of information on the upcoming topic of MOND, and it's revision TeVeS.  MOND stands for Modified Newtonian Dynamics and TeVeS stands for Tensor Vector Scalar. 

MOND is an empirically motivated modification of Newtonian gravity or inertia theorized by Milgrom as an alternative to dark matter. The basic idea is that at accelerations below ao ~~ 10−8 cm/s2 ~~  cHo/6 the effective gravitational attraction approaches the sqrt(gnao) where gn is the usual Newtonian acceleration.

Basically, at extremely low velocites, gravity become non-relativistic and changes proportionately to the distance of separation instead of the square of its distance.  The model does a much better job of describing certain aspects of spiral galaxies and gravitation lensing and it has not been proven incorrect - the first hurdles to get over.  The really attractive part is that, unlike Dark Matter, it does not need to create a whole host of new (unseen) particles which follow physics we don't know of, cannot be detected and do not apply to the laws of physics as we know of. 

Here's a great paper on the subject.  http://www.citebase.org/fulltext?format=application%2Fpdf&identifier=oai%3AarXiv.org%3Aastro-ph%2F0204521

Anyone interested in discussing something less mysterious than 96% unseen, undetectable and unprovable?  This is a perfect example of what I was trying to explain to Allison, Jason and Byron in another Thread.  It isn't pretty, it ain't popular, and it is hardly being moved upon by the mainstream; however, it is more correct than the "popular" & "pretty" theory that the media loves so much.  In the end, if it turns out to be wrong, it will have been a whacky idea that never measured up to the completely nonsensical idea that is currently beating it out in the journals; The Concordance Theory of DM & DE.
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2007, 06:22:42 pm »

Quote
Merlin==
MOND is an empirically motivated modification of Newtonian gravity or inertia theorized by Milgrom as an alternative to dark matter. The basic idea is that at accelerations below ao ~~ 10?8 cm/s2 ~~  cHo/6 the effective gravitational attraction approaches the sqrt(gnao) where gn is the usual Newtonian acceleration.


Interestingly enough our minds seem to working in harmony Merl.   Just today I was about to bring up this exact point.   Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2007, 07:27:35 pm »

Quote
Merlin==
MOND is an empirically motivated modification of Newtonian gravity or inertia theorized by Milgrom as an alternative to dark matter. The basic idea is that at accelerations below ao ~~ 10?8 cm/s2 ~~  cHo/6 the effective gravitational attraction approaches the sqrt(gnao) where gn is the usual Newtonian acceleration.


Interestingly enough our minds seem to working in harmony Merl.   Just today I was about to bring up this exact point.   Smiley

That's pretty exciting (as long as you weren't being sarcastic). 

I've been working on an alternative to DM for the past three years.  I have modeled my theory after TeVeS in a sense, as MOND seems to describe the mechanics quite well.  I also introduce some newer concepts that can only be described with M-theory.  I guess we'll have a much better idea once the LHC @ CERN comes online as to who has the better idea.  Dark Matter relies on supersymmetry - a theory that flopped on its own, but one that should be evidenced at the LHC.  If it runs its cycle and finds no SS particles, SS is out and DM is in serious trouble.  I can hardly wait; I think DM is silly (as offered) since it relies on hidden particles, hidden forces and new physics - none of which can be demonstrated.  Crimeny, I would have thought that we (as scientists) would have proposed a geometric possibility prior to a completely theoretical one.  Silly me.  At any rate, that's what my theory is:  a geometric description for the action of galaxies, the lensing of light, and the {apparent} dislocated time distribution across the cosmic fabric.   
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2007, 04:01:57 pm »

Quote
MOND is an empirically motivated modification of Newtonian gravity or inertia theorized by Milgrom as an alternative to dark matter. The basic idea is that at accelerations below ao ~~ 10?8 cm/s2 ~~  cHo/6 the effective gravitational attraction approaches the sqrt(gnao) where gn is the usual Newtonian acceleration.



Quote
Interestingly enough our minds seem to working in harmony Merl.   Just today I was about to bring up this exact point. 
 

Quote
That's pretty exciting (as long as you weren't being sarcastic). 

I've been working on an alternative to DM for the past three years.  I have modeled my theory after TeVeS in a sense, as MOND seems to describe the mechanics quite well.  I also introduce some newer concepts that can only be described with M-theory.  I guess we'll have a much better idea once the LHC @ CERN comes online as to who has the better idea.  Dark Matter relies on supersymmetry - a theory that flopped on its own, but one that should be evidenced at the LHC.  If it runs its cycle and finds no SS particles, SS is out and DM is in serious trouble.  I can hardly wait; I think DM is silly (as offered) since it relies on hidden particles, hidden forces and new physics - none of which can be demonstrated.  Crimeny, I would have thought that we (as scientists) would have proposed a geometric possibility prior to a completely theoretical one.  Silly me.  At any rate, that's what my theory is:  a geometric description for the action of galaxies, the lensing of light, and the {apparent} dislocated time distribution across the cosmic fabric.   



Merl,

My apologies if you misunderstood my post.   I was NOT being sarcastic.  I have long ago stopped being sarcastic

with you.  I consider you to be one of America's national treasures,  one of our secret weapons.

I was simply jesting with you because usually I have no idea what you are talking about.  Smiley  I doubt there are

more than a small handful of people on these boards that do know what you are talking about  and even when they do

know,   there are even less who can keep up. 

  I am usually considered a fairly intelligent person,  even flirting with Mensa standards,  but have learned over the years

that there are some people who are  light years ahead of the herd.  I would imagine that you are in that savant catagory from

what I have seen.  Comparatively,  when it comes to physics,  I am in the autistic camp.  Smiley   

I know that when we first encounterd each other I termed you a clown rather

than a magician.  I am almost ready to give you back the magician title.  Smiley 

I came across an interesting post by another scientist which rang very true.

"in the classrooms of today, anything which cannot be proven by the scientific method or by traditionaly accepted academic sources is prohibited, and personal opinions of religious faith presented as academic fact, could easily cost me my prospective profession, and may actually result in incarceration. Teachers are paid to teach; not proselytize."
« Last Edit: March 20, 2007, 04:04:10 pm by Majeston » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2007, 07:39:06 am »

Merl,

My apologies if you misunderstood my post.   I was NOT being sarcastic.  I have long ago stopped being sarcastic

with you.  I consider you to be one of America's national treasures,  one of our secret weapons.

I was simply jesting with you because usually I have no idea what you are talking about.  Smiley  I doubt there are

more than a small handful of people on these boards that do know what you are talking about  and even when they do

know,   there are even less who can keep up. 

Nahh...  I didn't think you were, I was just remarking (in a left-handed way) that my reply would have been pretty funny if you were being sarcastic.  Either way, I would have posted just the same.  Thanks for the compliment though, it's nice to feel treasured.   Grin


I am usually considered a fairly intelligent person,  even flirting with Mensa standards,  but have learned over the years  that there are some people who are  light years ahead of the herd.  I would imagine that you are in that savant catagory from  what I have seen.  Comparatively,  when it comes to physics,  I am in the autistic camp.  Smiley 

I have no doubt that you are intelligent, hence why I debate with you.  Over the years, it has become obvious that you are definitely one of the "bright-bulbs" in the box - leaving many a burnt ones behind.  I'm sure that we could both remember a dim-one or two if we put our minds to it.

I know that when we first encounterd each other I termed you a clown rather than a magician.  I am almost ready to give you back the magician title.  Smiley 


I don't mind being both.

I came across an interesting post by another scientist which rang very true.

"in the classrooms of today, anything which cannot be proven by the scientific method or by traditionaly accepted academic sources is prohibited, and personal opinions of religious faith presented as academic fact, could easily cost me my prospective profession, and may actually result in incarceration. Teachers are paid to teach; not proselytize."

Well, he's right - on a couple of counts.  To a degree, it's unfortunate; however, without guidelines - our schools could very well wind up teaching some real nonsense.  I have enough problems keeping a pair of elementary school teachers from dipping into the bible for anecdotes, history and morality as it is - I certainly do not need the regulations loosened. 

On the other hand, as I have often said, many aspects of today's science smacks of "faith", and to teach it based upon theory, anecdotal information and the application of minimalist logic (even though it goes wholly unproven/substantiated), is likened to Biblical Science of the Dark Ages.  I think a case could easily be made, if the "Intelligent Designers" had their act together, that astrophysical theories are now bordering on the preposterous.  There is a growing body of theory (typically intersecting with observation) which would have us believe that 99% is "known", and that the rest is simply "unknowable".  It reminds me of a story....  We won't go into that.  At any rate, once you delve into the details, you find out that, of "all that is known" - 70% is in the form of something we cannot see, measure or test, only it's effects remain - 25% can also not be seen, measured or tested, but it is different from the aforementioned unseen, unmeasurable and untestable stuff.  Of the remaining 5%, 3% exists in the form of gases and energy streaming through the "known universe" and 1% is the matter that we can see in the form of stars, planets and debris.  Remember, the remaining 1% is unknowable unless you were here at the Big Bang.  Sadly, that goes against the tenaments of the standard theories (Energy Conservation), but it gets swept under the rug in the form of "anomolous results", "Oddities", "irregularities", "cancelled inifinites" and my favorite - "Renormalization".  The mountain that has grown under that rug has become so large that most don't even realize it's there anymore.  That non-glacial and unnatural super structure on the face of the planet is the physical representation of all that we have sacrificed in order to maintain the direction of the status-quo, and by this time, most don't remember what they put there, when or why. 

I am in the process of auditing a course in Astronomy that is taught by a former NASA scientist who lead a team in the development of Hubbell.  I have to tell you - to sit down at night an read my notes on the subject makes me think an altar needs to be erected in that auditorium where he teaches...  So much is professed on faith alone, as little science manages to creep into the affair.  It's difficult to bite my tongue - so I chew a lot of gum...
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2007, 01:48:40 pm »

Gravity's Rainbow: GRACE Mission Pushes Forward
By Tariq Malik Staff Writer
posted: 12:29 pm ET
24 July 2003

Researchers have patched together a revolving map of Earth's gravity -- the most accurate ever made -- using a dynamic duo of satellites drifting around the planet.

The map, a colorful tapestry of space-based cartography, establishes the variations in Earth's gravitational field depending on location. It's the first of many gravity maps to be generated by the twin satellites of GRACE, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, underway by NASA and the German Aerospace Center.

Oceanographers can use the new gravity map and its successors to better understand ocean circulation, global weather and climate. Future GRACE studies could also help third world nations track the water supply of subterranean aquifers when modern well-monitoring devices are unavailable, researchers said.


"This instrument is really a paradigm shift in the way we do gravity measurements," said Byron Tapley, principal investigator for GRACE, in a telephone interview. Tapley is also the director of the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas. "Usually, you'd think if you measure gravity once, then you're done. For the first time, we start to think of it as an ongoing, changing thing."


GRACE

The amount of gravity tugging down at any point of the Earth is proportional the amount of mass sitting at that point. The more mass an area has, the stronger the gravitational force appears there. Such gravitational variations, however, are imperceptibly small.

For example, while American's living in the northeastern United States didn't feel any heavier during the heavy snow storms of this past winter, the weight of all that snow increased the local gravity. But just by a bit.

"You wouldn't feel it at all," Tapley said. "But this is precisely the type of variation GRACE will see."

A comprehensive map of the Earth's gravitational field can give scientists a better picture of the planet's surface as it would be if defined solely by gravity. The oceans, for example, would lie perfectly still on this bumpy imaginary Earth model - called a geoid - perfectly if currents, tides, winds and the Sun were absent.

The GRACE satellites measure gravitational fluctuations by flying in a caravan formation, one after the other, and constantly tracking the distance between them with microwave range finders. As the lead satellite passes over an area of greater gravity, it feels and reacts to the pull before the trailing craft. The satellites fly about 137 miles (220 kilometers) apart, with the ranging finding system between them accurate down to a micron, or smaller than the average red blood cell.

"We've been able to make a significant improvement on the gravity studies conducted over the last 30 years," said Michael Watkins, GRACE project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "And we haven't even pulled out all the stops."

Watkins told SPACE.com that the new map is at least 10 times better than any other gravity study to date, and some measurements are up to 100 times more accurate depending on the size of the gravity feature targeted.

The gravity map is also just an early version of the type of data GRACE will be capable of, he added. Over the next few months, improvements in software and data management should make GRACE's gravity maps even more precise.

A continuous watch on gravity

GRACE researchers plan to generate a new gravity map about every 30 days, the length of time it takes for the satellite pair to pass over each point on Earth once, and about 60 maps total over the mission's initial five-year timeframe. By building a monthly picture of the Earth's gravitational field, researchers hope to precisely determine the planet's average tug of gravity and track variations due to changes in weather or climate.

The consistent observations should also allow scientists to eliminate the effect of gravity on water cycle studies of the oceans such as the NASA's Topex/Poseidon and Jason projects run out of JPL. Both projects measure the height of the sea surface, as well as ocean heat storage and global ocean circulation.

"Basically this is just a new kind of remote sensing tool," Watkins said of the GRACE satellites. "But it's kind of amazing, knowing that we're able to take these measurements of such small differences."




I find this to be interesting and wanted to share it with you all.  What they are measuring is Newton's gravity, but the funny part is that they are having to utilize Einstein's General Relativity in order to make the readings make sense.  Still, however, they are having to "zero out" every so often and recalibrate due to the fact that GR isn't precise enough to maintain a zero accumulated error.  Me thinks this points to a clue...  Anyone up for a game of "Blue's Clues"?   Grin

After reading my previous postings it shouldn't be difficult to figure out why we are unable to ascertain all data necessary in order to make the precise measurements anticipated, or, why we cannot keep the "twins" in the right place, the right space and the correct speed all of the time.  Corrections in speed, altitude and atitude are bright purple flashing neon signs - screaming for attention. 

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« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2007, 08:20:15 pm »

I love the GRACE animation sequence.  I could watch it for hours.  Of course, I think that there is "something" important / pertinent to be gained by so viewing.  It'll come to me someday:

 foresthttp://www.csr.utexas.edu/grace/gallery/animations/ggm01/ggm01_gif-455.html

Quote
Still, however, they are having to "zero out" every so often and recalibrate due to the fact that GR isn't precise enough to maintain a zero accumulated error. Me thinks this points to a clue...  Anyone up for a game of "Blue's Clues"?

I'll bite.

One obvious answer is that we still don't fundamentally understand "gravity."  If I were a betting man (I am), I'd bet that Merlin's "purple flashing neon signs" are saying (to him) "Superstrings/Dark Matter, next exit." 

Now, I don't understand either alleged phenomenon? enough to talk intelligently about them, so I'll talk unintelligently.  Hey, it's a free country.  I don't like Superstrings.  Just personal bias - I'm OK in my comfort zone of space-time, I don't need another 7 dimensions.  No offense to theoretical physicists.

http://superstringtheory.com/

Hey, if they eventually solve for everything, everytime, I'll be all aboard.

Another obvious answer (to me) is that a great deal of our observations (and perceptions) are in error, due to our biased frame of reference.  Our 'laboratory' is not clean.  This, for me, goes to the core of "What we think we know."  For example, if we were to hypothetically place Merlin (his scientific mind intact, but all preconceptions erased) halfway between Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies and challenge him to devise intermediate theories that lead to a Theory of Everything, based on his observations and experimentation (materials provided, equipment made to order), my bet would be that he would develop equations radically different that what we have now. 

I base that premise on the fact that he would have no concept of time, for one.  Distance would probably be beyond his capability to measure.  Sure, he could develop a unit of length fit for his spacial surroundings (nose to fingertip, etc.), but would he ever accurately ascertain the distance to Andromeda?  Have we yet?  Would he "sense" motion?  Relative to what? 

Well, these are the type of things I think about when I think of "gravity," and look at the lumpy, uneven mass distrubution from GRACE.  Something 'appears' out-of-kilter.
 
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2007, 03:10:23 pm »

I'll bite.

I went fishing and I caught a duck...  Must be my lucky day!   Grin

One obvious answer is that we still don't fundamentally understand "gravity."  If I were a betting man (I am), I'd bet that Merlin's "purple flashing neon signs" are saying (to him) "Superstrings/Dark Matter, next exit." 

You are close, but you actually get a little closer as you continue on.  Call them strings or superstrings - I don't care either way, but I suspect that they are incorrect.  I think the symmetry principles are on track, but I believe the concept to be a flawed human attempt to create a physical entity where none exists.  It's like the noises in an old house...  We've all heard them, but unless there are billions of "Boogeymen" world-wide, no such entity exists.  He becomes a physical manifestation of what we think; just like strings.  Dark Matter/Dark Energy was where you got "close", though I don't think either one of them are correct either.  Again, I think that they are the "Boogeyman" of high-E physics and astrophysics.  Another physical entity used to describe the fact that we don't &$*@#! know why all of our predictions come up slightly wrong.  But yes, I think the actual force that we have named "Dark-something" is at play when General Relativity leaves us banging our heads on the table.

Now, I don't understand either alleged phenomenon? enough to talk intelligently about them, so I'll talk unintelligently.  Hey, it's a free country.  I don't like Superstrings.  Just personal bias - I'm OK in my comfort zone of space-time, I don't need another 7 dimensions.  No offense to theoretical physicists.

None taken - it's an absurd precept to the human mind.  Having said that though, I have to tell you that I do, in fact, believe that there are multiple "planes" (dimensions) affecting our current worldsheet.  I'm a subscriber to M-Theory in principle but not in application and certainly not in all of its grandeur.

Hey, if they eventually solve for everything, everytime, I'll be all aboard.

I'd be sitting behind you, drinking a beer; ahoy matey.

Another obvious answer (to me) is that a great deal of our observations (and perceptions) are in error, due to our biased frame of reference.  Our 'laboratory' is not clean.  This, for me, goes to the core of "What we think we know." 

DING!  Give that man a cigar (Cuban)!

Seriously now, you have hit the nail on the head after only 1 (and a half) swings.  All of our perceptions of the past 60 years [it seems] have been colored by that which came before.  We do not look for Dark Matter to be anything other than a mysterious particle so how do you think it appears in our theory?  That's right, as a "mysterious particle!"  With Dark Energy, we assume that it must be an, as of yet unseen, force - so, where do we look for it?  Exactly, everywhere it shouldn't be!  From a physicist's point of view, I'm personally stunned by the encroachment of DM & DE in science.  It makes me think of that moronic a-hole of a guy that starts dating your cousin and no matter how much you realize this guy is a turd - no one notices but you.  Heck, Hollywood has made umpteen movies about it, yet no one ever seems to notice that the nice guy is an ass and the ass is a nice guy...  That's how I feel about DM & DE.  Hope that analogy made more sense than previous ones have; I'm working on that problem.

You are also right on another aspect - "Our laboratory" really isn't clean.  Sad but true, we know it.  I seem to remember posting something about this years ago, but, my memory might be fading.  Here goes anyway:  Gravity ain't all it's cracked up to be.  It's an inverse square law, meaning its effects change with the sqaure of a number.  In this case, it is the square of the separation distance between the two objects.  As the objects separate, the effects of gravity diminish at a predetermined rate.  We know this to be true (or at least very close to being true), and we know that it works well at very close distances (astronomically speaking) and slow speeds.  General Relativity (GR) is a refinment of that law of Newton's in that it accounts for the curvature in space and applies the necessary transformations for relativistic speeds.  IT works well at large distances & energies, FROM LARGE DISTANCES and stationary reference frames. 

So, since we know that gravity becomes less the further you move away from an object, why do objects appear to speed up "inexplicably" once they get beyond our solar system or above 60o across the eccliptic?  Furthermore, we hypothesize that "Dark-stuff" exists because of the things we see from a distance (spiral galaxy formation, motion of galaxies & 'lensing' from distant objects).  But what if....?  What if the theory of MOND (or a variation like TeVeS) is correct and gravity actually begins to drop off not as the square of the distance, but linearly with distance?  It would also have to account for the cosmological expansion, so it would need to deal with that as well.  Interestingly, MOND and TeVeS reconcile with the vacuum energy levels in open space that QM describes.  It would paint a picture of an undulating terrain instead of a smooth sheet of silk, but most of all, it does away with "Dark-Stuff".  Is it correct?  Who knows, but it's testable - so it's easy to determine its legitimacy.  All-in-all, what's being said here is simple:  gravity isn't solved yet, and it may very well be less "consistent" than we estimate it.  Measuring the voltage of the atmosphere from within it, during a lightening storm will net you different results from second to second, so why bother using that data to establish a baseline?  Same goes for gravity.

For example, if we were to hypothetically place Merlin (his scientific mind intact, but all preconceptions erased) halfway between Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies and challenge him to devise intermediate theories that lead to a Theory of Everything, based on his observations and experimentation (materials provided, equipment made to order), my bet would be that he would develop equations radically different that what we have now. 

Great point.  It's like the fish in a pond philosophy:  What does the fish interpret us as?  He sees the water as the air we breathe and if he jumps out of the pond he would be no different than we are in space.  But what does the fish do, how does he act, and how will he describe his world to his other fish friends if we pick him up and place him in a new pond?  Will there be talk of God?  What does the fish see at night when he peers up at the sky?  We would be no different in a new region in space.  All pre-conceived notions aside, I would probably see things entirely differently than I do from this perspective.  Naturally, I would be out in the middle of things, aspiring to get to the big Galaxy on the block, trying to figure out the unseen force holding the bodies together as they spin.

I base that premise on the fact that he would have no concept of time, for one.  Distance would probably be beyond his capability to measure.  Sure, he could develop a unit of length fit for his spacial surroundings (nose to fingertip, etc.), but would he ever accurately ascertain the distance to Andromeda?  Have we yet?  Would he "sense" motion?  Relative to what? 

I would sense motion - relative to other objects.  It would be purely visible, but I would be able to perceive movement.  I would be able to sense the passage of time as well; in life and in physics.  In life, time measures the distances between action and reaction (Cause & Effect), in physics it is the buildup of entropy in systems.  For me, 1 AU would equal the distance from me to the next object I see, but I would need to go to it to measure it.  Grin  I get your point though; things would definitely be very different.

Well, these are the type of things I think about when I think of "gravity," and look at the lumpy, uneven mass distrubution from GRACE.  Something 'appears' out-of-kilter.

Our theory and the application of it I suspect.
 
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« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2007, 03:58:45 pm »

The deafening silence always makes me a little nervous...   Undecided

I begin to wonder if I have lost people with my words or possibly bored them to death.  Worst case scenario - they don't find the subject matter interesting.  In order to envigorate the topic, let's look at some more interesting subject matter.


Quantum Cosmology
Relativity via quantum gravity
Cambridge University

The physical laws that govern the universe prescribe how an initial state evolves with time. In classical physics, if the initial state of a system is specified exactly then the subsequent motion will be completely predictable. In quantum physics, specifying the initial state of a system allows one to calculate the probability that it will be found in any other state at a later time. Cosmology attempts to describe the behaviour of the entire universe using these physical laws. In applying these laws to the universe one immediately encounters a problem. What is the initial state that the laws should be applied to? In practice, cosmologists tend to work backwards by using the observed properties of the universe now to understand what it was like at earlier times. This approach has proved very successful. However it has led cosmologists back to the question of the initial conditions.
Inflation (a period of accelerating expansion in the very early universe) is now accepted as the standard explanation of several cosmological problems. In order for inflation to have occurred, the universe must have been formed containing some matter in a highly excited state. Inflationary theory does not address the question of why this matter was in such an excited state. Answering this demands a theory of the pre-inflationary initial conditions. There are two serious candidates for such a theory. The first, proposed by Andrei Linde of Stanford University, is called chaotic inflation. According to chaotic inflation, the universe starts off in a completely random state. In some regions matter will be more energetic than in others and inflation could ensue, producing the observable universe.

The second contender for a theory of initial conditions is quantum cosmology, the application of quantum theory to the entire universe. At first this sounds absurd because typically large systems (such as the universe) obey classical, not quantum, laws. Einstein's theory of general relativity is a classical theory that accurately describes the evolution of the universe from the first fraction of a second of its existence to now. However it is known that general relativity is inconsistent with the principles of quantum theory and is therefore not an appropriate description of physical processes that occur at very small length scales or over very short times. To describe such processes one requires a theory of quantum gravity.

In non-gravitational physics the approach to quantum theory that has proved most successful involves mathematical objects known as path integrals. Path integrals were introduced by the Nobel prizewinner Richard Feynman, of CalTech. In the path integral approach, the probability that a system in an initial state A will evolve to a final state B is given by adding up a contribution from every possible history of the system that starts in A and ends in B. For this reason a path integral is often referred to as a `sum over histories'. For large systems, contributions from similar histories cancel each other in the sum and only one history is important. This history is the history that classical physics would predict.

For mathematical reasons, path integrals are formulated in a background with four spatial dimensions rather than three spatial dimensions and one time dimension. There is a procedure known as `analytic continuation' which can be used to convert results expressed in terms of four spatial dimensions into results expressed in terms of three spatial dimensions and one time dimension. This effectively converts one of the spatial dimensions into the time dimension. This spatial dimension is sometimes referred to as `imaginary' time because it involves the use of so-called imaginary numbers, which are well defined mathematical objects used every day by electrical engineers.

The success of path integrals in describing non-gravitational physics naturally led to attempts to describe gravity using path integrals. Gravity is rather different from the other physical forces, whose classical description involves fields (e.g. electric or magnetic fields) propagating in spacetime. The classical description of gravity is given by general relativity, which says that the gravitational force is related to the curvature of spacetime itself i.e. to its geometry. Unlike for non-gravitational physics, spacetime is not just the arena in which physical processes take place but it is a dynamical field. Therefore a sum over histories of the gravitational field in quantum gravity is really a sum over possible geometries for spacetime.

The gravitational field at a fixed time can be described by the geometry of the three spatial dimensions at that time. The history of the gravitational field is described by the four dimensional spacetime that these three spatial dimensions sweep out in time. Therefore the path integral is a sum over all four dimensional spacetime geometries that interpolate between the initial and final three dimensional geometries. In other words it is a sum over all four dimensional spacetimes with two three dimensional boundaries which match the initial and final conditions. Once again, mathematical subtleties require that the path integral be formulated in four spatial dimensions rather than three spatial dimensions and one time dimension.

The path integral formulation of quantum gravity has many mathematical problems. It is also not clear how it relates to more modern attempts at constructing a theory of quantum gravity such as string/M-theory. However it can be used to correctly calculate quantities that can be calculated independently in other ways e.g. black hole temperatures and entropies.

We can now return to cosmology. At any moment, the universe is described by the geometry of the three spatial dimensions as well as by any matter fields that may be present. Given this data one can, in principle, use the path integral to calculate the probability of evolving to any other prescribed state at a later time. However this still requires a knowledge of the initial state, it does not explain it.

Quantum cosmology is a possible solution to this problem. In 1983, Stephen Hawking and James Hartle developed a theory of quantum cosmology which has become known as the `No Boundary Proposal'. Recall that the path integral involves a sum over four dimensional geometries that have boundaries matching onto the initial and final three geometries. The Hartle-Hawking proposal is to simply do away with the initial three geometry i.e. to only include four dimensional geometries that match onto the final three geometry. The path integral is interpreted as giving the probability of a universe with certain properties (i.e. those of the boundary three geometry) being created from nothing.

In practice, calculating probabilities in quantum cosmology using the full path integral is formidably difficult and an approximation has to be used. This is known as the semiclassical approximation because its validity lies somewhere between that of classical and quantum physics. In the semiclassical approximation one argues that most of the four dimensional geometries occuring in the path integral will give very small contributions to the path integral and hence these can be neglected. The path integral can be calculated by just considering a few geometries that give a particularly large contribution. These are known as instantons. Instantons don't exist for all choices of boundary three geometry; however those three geometries that do admit the existence of instantons are more probable than those that don't. Therefore attention is usually restricted to three geometries close to these.

Remember that the path integral is a sum over geometries with four spatial dimensions. Therefore an instanton has four spatial dimensions and a boundary that matches the three geometry whose probability we wish to compute. Typical instantons resemble (four dimensional) surfaces of spheres with the three geometry slicing the sphere in half. They can be used to calculate the quantum process of universe creation, which cannot be described using classical general relativity. They only usually exist for small three geometries, corresponding to the creation of a small universe. Note that the concept of time does not arise in this process. Universe creation is not something that takes place inside some bigger spacetime arena - the instanton describes the spontaneous appearance of a universe from literally nothing. Once the universe exists, quantum cosmology can be approximated by general relativity so time appears.

People have found different types of instantons that can provide the initial conditions for realistic universes. The first attempt to find an instanton that describes the creation of a universe within the context of the `no boundary' proposal was made by Stephen Hawking and Ian Moss. The Hawking-Moss instanton describes the creation of an eternally inflating universe with `closed' spatial three-geometries.

It is presently an unsolved question whether our universe contains closed, flat or open spatial three-geometries. In a flat universe, the large-scale spatial geometry looks like the ordinary three-dimensional space we experience around us. In contrast to this, the spatial sections of a realistic closed universe would look like three-dimensional (surfaces of) spheres with a very large but finite radius. An open geometry would look like an infinite hyperboloid. Only a closed universe would therefore be finite. There is, however, nowadays strong evidence from cosmological observations in favour of an infinite open universe. It is therefore an important question whether there exist instantons that describe the creation of open universes.

The idea behind the Coleman-De Luccia instanton, discovered in 1987, is that the matter in the early universe is initially in a state known as a false vacuum. A false vacuum is a classically stable excited state which is quantum mechanically unstable. In the quantum theory, matter which is in a false vacuum may `tunnel' to its true vacuum state. The quantum tunnelling of the matter in the early universe was described by Coleman and De Luccia. They showed that false vacuum decay proceeds via the nucleation of bubbles in the false vacuum. Inside each bubble the matter has tunnelled. Surprisingly, the interior of such a bubble is an infinite open universe in which inflation may occur. The cosmological instanton describing the creation of an open universe via this bubble nucleation is known as a Coleman-De Luccia instanton.

The Coleman-De Luccia Instanton

Remember that this scenario requires the existence of a false vacuum for the matter in the early universe. Moreover, the condition for inflation to occur once the universe has been created strongly constrains the way the matter decays to its true vacuum. Therefore the creation of open inflating universes appears to be rather contrived in the absence of any explanation of these specific pre-inflationary initial conditions.

Recently, Stephen Hawking and Neil Turok have proposed a bold solution to this problem. They constructed a class of instantons that give rise to open universes in a similar way to the instantons of Coleman and De Luccia. However, they did not require the existence of a false vacuum or other very specific properties of the excited matter state. The price they pay for this is that their instantons have singularities: places where the curvature becomes infinite. Since singularities are usually regarded as places where the theory breaks down and must be replaced by a more fundamental theory, this is a quite controversial feature of their work.

The Hawking-Turok Instanton

The question of course arises which of these instantons describes correctly the creation of our own universe. The way one might hope to distinguish between different theories of quantum cosmology is by considering quantum fluctuations about these instantons. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics implies that vacuum fluctuations are present in every quantum theory. In the full quantum picture therefore, an instanton provides us just with a background geometry in the path integral with respect to which quantum fluctuations need to be considered.

During inflation, these quantum mechanical vacuum fluctuations are amplified and due to the accelerating expansion of the universe they are stretched to macroscopic length scales. Later on, when the universe has cooled, they seed the growth of large scale structures (e.g. galaxies) like those we see today. One sees the imprint of these primordial fluctuations as small temperature perturbations in the cosmic microwave background radiation.

Since different types of instantons predict slightly different fluctuation spectra, the temperature perturbations in the cosmic microwave background radiation will depend on the instanton from which the universe was created. In the next decade the satellites MAP and PLANCK will be launched to measure the temperature of the microwave background radiation in different directions on the sky to a very high accuracy. The observations will not only provide us with a very important test of inflation itself but may also be the first possibility to observationally distinguish between different theories for quantum cosmology.

The observations made by MAP and PLANCK will therefore turn the `no boundary' proposal and instanton cosmology into real testable science!



This article makes for a very interesting discussion piece in my opinion.  Hopefully you folks agree.

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