Archive for 10/25/2003

Random Quote..

A random prediction from sci-fi writer and futurist Robert Heinlein in 1950: “The cult of the phony in art will disappear. So-called modern art will be discussed only by psychiatrists.”
In 1980: “One pay hope…While “fine” art continues to look like the work of retarded monkeys, commercial art grows steadily better.”

Listserv: A Theory on the Basic Nature of the Universe


A Theory on the Basic Nature of the Universe

October 25, 2003

It’s been a while since I talked about physics, so I’d like to present my pet theory on the origins and the fundamental nature of the universe. To explain it, I will use four helpful analogies: a shattered pane of glass, a spider web, a drop of water, and a computer-generated fractal.

The explanation starts at the pre-big-bang singularity. It does not have to be the popularized version of the “big bang,” but it is some sort of point-like singularity. Initially, the singularity comprises the sum total of the universe – the rest is not just “empty space,” but empty in a fundamentally different way, as I will explain. The common question presented at this level is “why” the singularity is there. There is no “why” – the question of “why” only applies to volitional (human) action. Existence exists – there is no alternative. The only valid question is not why but “how” – and while this is an important question, it is outside the scope of my theory.

At some point, the singularity “explodes.” Although I say “at some point,” the concept of time only applies to change, and because there is no change prior to the singularity, it marks the beginning of time. Thus far, my theory has been consistent with the popular big bang version, but here it begins to diverge. By “diverge” I don’t mean that it contradicts with the big bang, but that it describes the universe at a much more fundamental levels than atoms or even subatomic particles.

The basic building blocks of the universe can best be described as “super strings,” because just like common strings, they connect discrete points together by a thin line. In fact, the (extremely small) diameter of the strings is the basic physical constant of the universe. The “strings” connect every single particle in the universe to one another. In fact, the interconnections between the strings [i]are[/i] the basic particles of the universe. Consider a pane of glass that is shattered by some small object. The cracks proceed outwards from the center, forming a spider web-like network of cracks. The points where the different cracks meet form the basic existents of our universe. Now imagine a drop of water into a body of water. When it impacts, the drop sends concentric waves radiating out at a specific speed. Just as glass and water conduct the change at a certain velocity that corresponds to their physical nature, so do the super strings. That speed is what we know as the speed of light, and it measures the speed at which the universe expands. The universe is thus a sphere of finite size, with a radius equal to the distance light has traveled since the beginning of the expansion — approximately 13 billion light years.

The strings conduct vibrations just as normal matter does. They have specific frequencies and amplitudes that represent the energy generated in the original bang. The vibrations they carry may be converted into new strings or vice versa – allowing matter to be converted into energy and back. Because the energy cannot be dissipated into any other particles, (there are no other particles) it is gradually converted into more and more string-connections (or “cracks” in the glass) until the universe becomes a uniform, extremely complex network. This is equivalent to the “heat death” or eventual entropy of the universe. (What happens afterwards is outside the scope of my theory, but a possibility is the web collapses onto itself to start a new round.)

The interactions between the strings explain the basic physical forces of our universe – the nuclear, electromagnetic, and gravitational attraction and repulsion of the particles made from the string interconnects. Because the string is like a web, the motion of any one particle affects every single other particles in the universe – but the change is propagated at the speed of light. This explains the so-called “ether” theory of space-time, by describing how the fundamental forces are able to act at a distance.

Now regarding the “random” pattern formed by the strings: it is not at all random. That is, the structure of our universe is a string-generated fractal pattern than can be reduced to a few simple string properties, but aggregates together into very complex patterns. If you have ever seen a Mandelbrot fractal pattern, it is the same idea. Simple rules can generate highly complex patterns at large scales. If there were multiple “bangs,” but the properties of the strings remain the same, the same universe would be created each time. This means that there is no “quantum uncertainty” at the basic level. The strings interact in an entirely causal manner according to their properties.

A side note: if it were possible for a number of strings to separate from the main cluster that comprises our known universe, than that cluster would in effect become a completely independent system, with no casual link to our system. (I don’t say that it would be “it’s own universe” because “universe” denotes everything that exists, including multiple independent clusters.) It is even conceivable that there exist many such systems in the same space, since the strings are small enough to allow many coexisting system. (To say that they could become “entangled” is taking the string analogy too far.) This is merely arbitrary speculation, but the point is that the strings are the basic causal link between all known existents. The string patterns (including spaceships) cannot travel outside of them or outside of the sphere comprising the expanding universe.