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Quantum Gravity Well

Fundamental ideas
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Wade Hampton III

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Quantum Gravity Well

PostTue Dec 18, 2018 7:17 am

A common problem folks have with trying to come to terms with the Big Bang
is the weird, very uncomfortable feeling of the word beginning in the context
of the universe. And it’s a very reasonable feeling to have — after all, any
time we define a “beginning” for something, it’s not really the beginning.
There was always something that preceded it. Cause and effect.

Your life didn’t begin with just you, it began with your parents. Before your
parents, there was all the life on Earth that existed before your parents as
your ancestors. Before that, you had nucleic acids self-replicating into other
nucleic acids. Those nucleic acids were made out of heavy elements forged
inside a supernova explosion. The star that made that explosion was born from
that of other stars, back to the first stars which were made from the first
hydrogen and helium of the universe. That first matter coalesced from energy,
as energy began to take on distinguishable forms after the universe expanded
enough that all the physical forces and interactions were no longer identical.
And before that…

Here’s where things always get dicey. You probably have seen a diagram like
this before:
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Where For Arth Thou Huh?
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Let’s talk about this thing at the bottom called the quantum gravity wall.

There’s a point, about 10-43

Seconds after the “beginning” (whatever that means), before which we can no
longer even describe events. During this first 10-43 seconds, called the
Planck era, information, traveling at the speed of light (the fastest
anything can travel), will have only had the opportunity to travel one
Planck length. One Planck length, about 10-35 meters, is the interval over
which all points in space and time fluctuate enough that our entire coordinate
system breaks down. This means not only can we no longer describe an object’s
position effectively, but we can’t even describe whether an event preceded
or followed another event.

Perhaps we just need better physics (maybe quantum gravity) to understand how
the universe behaves on this scale, but right now we are at a loss. The weird
part though is that the universe doesn’t necessarily need to be well defined
on these scales. For this reason, these fluctuations are often called quantum
foam. It’s perfectly reasonable for space-time to always be fluctuating on these
scales, but still be well defined on the larger scales. Everything is fluctuating
on quantum scales and mostly well defined on the macroscopic. That’s basically
the crux of all quantum mechanics. There’s no reason why gravity can’t be the
same way.

The problem is then, how do we go about describing the first 10-43 seconds when
we can’t even describe causality effectively during this period of time? Maybe
causality itself isn’t defined on these scales. That would be weird. Without
causality, can we even really define time any more? Or space for that matter?
Or anything? Did this period of time really last only 10-43 seconds then? What
would that even mean if “duration” has no meaning?

The chain of events that represents the course of the entire history of the
universe might be asymptotic. This means that as we approach this point that
we’re calling t = 0, our ability to describe events is no longer defined,
because the continuity of causality itself asymptotes. The universe began
as an infinitely fluctuating, infinitely dense, infinitely compact, infinitely
energetic, infinitesimally sized, soup of energy. And it existed for an undefinable
amount of time in this way, until it expanded enough that information of any
kind could propagate longer than a Planck length, and causality came into
clearer definition. This is what we have been effectively calling the Big Bang.

So maybe that makes the Big Bang an effective beginning to the universe, but
perhaps the universe just “existed” in an undefined state, for an undefined
amount of time, before it came into clarity. But if nothing is defined, then
it effectively doesn’t exist yet anyway. This is a very unsatisfactory answer
for most, since it makes it sound like the universe just fizzled itself into
existence.

…zzzzzzzzZZZZZOOP and there is the whole infinite universe.

It just doesn’t feel right that we can have existence without something preceding
existence right? The trouble is, if something preceded existence, then clearly
we haven’t included all of existence in our very definition of what existence
comprises. So, regardless of our discussion of our own observable universe,
existence is either infinite or it isn’t. And depending on whom you ask, you’ll
always get a different opinion on the matter, because, well, we don’t actually
really know yet.

But the Planck era represents a pretty gigantic roadblock for us being able to
figure that out. Unless we get some pretty divine insight from developing a
grand unified theory of everything, including a fully fleshed out metric for
quantum gravity and how it relates to the other physical forces, the Big Bang
pretty much signifies the real beginning of everything, even though it really
wasn’t a very exciting beginning, or even really a true beginning. If anything,
it was just a phase transition from not being able to describe causality to
being able to describe it. And then, after reaching this conclusion, we get
the even spookier question:

Well… Why?

An infinitely near-infinitely compacted universe (meaning, infinitely close to
being infinitely dense in energy) would be immediately driven to start expanding.
The moment time exists, the universe is expanding. Perhaps the progression of
time is tied to the progressing rate of expansion of the universe rather than
the other way around. Or perhaps they are actually the same physical concept.
Perhaps all of this is tied together in some unbelievably elegant way that we
just haven’t figured out yet. And yet still that weird question hangs in the air.

How does anything even exist in the first place? Welcome to the astrophysicist’s
version of an existential crisis. For all we know, the answer to this question
could just be a tautology. If existence at one point didn’t exist, then it wouldn’t
just start existing, because there wouldn't exist anything to beget its existence,
because that’s what existence is. Therefore it must start by existing in the first
place, and there simply was no before. It doesn’t sit well with me either. But
that is the universe that we observe.

The word “before” doesn’t even make much sense if time didn’t exist yet. But perhaps
there is another temporally infinite plane of existence beyond our observable universe
from which our universe was born from. Multiverse and cyclical universe theories are
popular and certainly not unheard of, not to mention countless religious interpretations
on the origin of the universe. But we have yet to see particularly strong tangible
evidence for any of these yet. Some would argue that existence itself is the evidence,
but that really is the dilemma we have here. We have the universe that we observe to
work with, and that is what we observe, and that presents us with what we can say
about the universe.
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Weighting The Question At St. Peter's
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Wade Hampton III

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Re: Quantum Gravity Well

PostTue Dec 18, 2018 9:18 pm

Beyond the sundown...
...is tomorrow's wisdom...
Today is going to be...
..long long ago.
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Jim Mathias

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Re: Quantum Gravity Well

PostWed Dec 19, 2018 2:10 am

These posts about the universe around us are appreciated, Wade. Keep it up.

Being a part of the all and where we fit into it brings to mind what Pierce wrote in The Path https://nationalvanguard.org/2010/09/co ... -the-path/ and this topic in particular shows us a glimpse of that which is around us on a very large scale---and that which we are a part of.
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Wade Hampton III

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Re: Quantum Gravity Well

PostSun Dec 30, 2018 2:58 am

Aristotle thought we were the center of the universe, every star, every
planet was spinning around us. Sometimes, as humans, we tend to overestimate
our own importance, forever caught up in how vast even our own planet seems.
The diameter of the sun is more than 100 times that of Earth.
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Even in our own solar system, Earth makes up only 0.0003% of the total mass.
The total weight is equivalent to about 333,345.997 Earth masses. Somewhere
between 99.8 and 99.9 percent of the mass in our solar system is our sun.
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This is our sun compared to VY Canis Majoris, the largest known star. The
sun is around 2,000 times smaller, an 860,000-mile diameter compared to
1.8 billion miles. If a plane was traveling at around 550 mph, it would take
1,100 years to fully circle the star.
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Wade Hampton III

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Re: Quantum Gravity Well

PostSun Dec 30, 2018 3:01 am

Astronomers estimate that in the Milky Way alone, there are between 100 and
300 billion stars. Our solar system is moving at 514,000 mph. We do not feel
a thing. At this speed, we have made 15 laps around the Milky Way since life
on Earth started. This is just one galaxy, our galaxy.
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This is the Local Group, a collection of our neighboring galaxies, the number
is estimated to be around 47. Two galaxies were detected recently, with the
help of infrared radiation. In our own area, our own group, there could be
entire galaxies that go unnoticed by us, invisible. Some of the larger clusters
can contain hundreds of galaxies.
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The Virgo Supercluster is one of these. Spanning 110 million light years, it
holds about a hundred galaxy clusters, like our own local group. Then there’s
the Pisces-Cetus Supercluster Complex, comprised of about 60 superclusters
of galaxies. About 1.37 billion light years across, it holds around a tenth
of the observable universe. If all the grains of sand, from every beach, every
desert, everywhere on Earth were equivalent to the universe, Earth would not
even be 1 single piece of sand.
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93 billion light years across, and housing an estimated 10-billion superclusters,
this is the observable universe. We are not even ants in the scheme of things.
We are small, microscopic, infinitesimal.

WLP would say, "Or are we? It is up to us."
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Jim Mathias

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Re: Quantum Gravity Well

PostMon Dec 31, 2018 2:21 am

Wade Hampton III wrote:Astronomers estimate that in the Milky Way alone, there are between 100 and
300 billion stars. Our solar system is moving at 514,000 mph. We do not feel
a thing. At this speed, we have made 15 laps around the Milky Way since life
on Earth started. This is just one galaxy, our galaxy.
58873
58873.jpg

This is the Local Group, a collection of our neighboring galaxies, the number
is estimated to be around 47. Two galaxies were detected recently, with the
help of infrared radiation. In our own area, our own group, there could be
entire galaxies that go unnoticed by us, invisible. Some of the larger clusters
can contain hundreds of galaxies.
58874
58874.jpg

The Virgo Supercluster is one of these. Spanning 110 million light years, it
holds about a hundred galaxy clusters, like our own local group. Then there’s
the Pisces-Cetus Supercluster Complex, comprised of about 60 superclusters
of galaxies. About 1.37 billion light years across, it holds around a tenth
of the observable universe. If all the grains of sand, from every beach, every
desert, everywhere on Earth were equivalent to the universe, Earth would not
even be 1 single piece of sand.
58875
58875.png

93 billion light years across, and housing an estimated 10-billion superclusters,
this is the observable universe. We are not even ants in the scheme of things.
We are small, microscopic, infinitesimal.

WLP would say, "Or are we? It is up to us."
We have a long way to go to be Masters of the Universe! :lol:

Especially since we have yet to master ourselves...
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Wade Hampton III

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Re: Quantum Gravity Well

PostMon Dec 31, 2018 3:39 am

Jim Mathias wrote:We have a long way to go to be Masters of the Universe! :lol:
Especially since we have yet to master ourselves...


Yes. The hour is late. It will either be our world, or Donya's world. Uncomfortable
as it may seem, we Caucasians may be destined to be replaced by a better human
in Earth's remote future
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Wade Hampton III

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Re: Quantum Gravity Well

PostTue Jan 08, 2019 1:38 am

Banging around...

The Big Bang is the process of expansion of the universe, which appears to have started
in a singularity, 13.8 billion years ago. The Big Bang is still happening. We are still
in this expansion process. There is a thing called the Big Bang Theory. It is a scientific
theory that describes this process of expansion. Scientific theories are hypotheses which
developed a great level of merit by accumulating a a great deal of empirical evidence
and corroboration. That applies to the Big Bang Theory as well. We do have a great set
of empirical evidence for the expansion.

Nevertheless, there are two things that are commonly believed to be covered by the Big
Bang Theory, which are not:

1. The singularity itself (time = zero);

2. The non-existence of a time prior to the singularity.

The mathematical model used to describe the process of expansion of the universe in fact
points to a singularity at time = 0 and is undefined for time < 0. This may be interpreted
as the non-existence of time before the singularity (which may actually be the case),
but also may be interpreted as a time irrelevant to the development of our universe (which
also makes sense, since causality breaks at the singularity). The fact is that we cannot
currently assess any empirical information that corroborates the idea of the physical
singularity at time = 0 or the nature (or non-existence) of time at time < 0. Any statements
about these conditions are, at least currently, unfalsifiable, therefore unscientific. Thus,
such claims cannot be part of any scientific theory, including the Big Bang Theory. The
bottom line is that, for all that we know, we are not justified to say that there definitely
was no time before the Big Bang’s singularity. We can say at best that, according to the model,
no time prior to the singularity has a causal relationship with our universe, which may mean
“no time at all” or a “time with no relevance to the dynamics of our universe”.

Let’s see what (Caucasian) Stephen Hawking says on the matter:

“A Brief Story Of Time” - Chapter 3:

This means that even if there were events before the big bang, one could not use them to
determine what would happen afterward, because predictability would break down at the big bang.
Correspondingly, if, as is the case, we know only what has happened since the big bang, we
could not determine what happened beforehand. As far as we are concerned, events before the
big bang can have no consequences, so they should not form part of a scientific model of the
universe. We should therefore cut them out of the model and say that time had a beginning
at the big bang.”

“A Brief Story Of Time” - Chapter 8:

At the singularity, general relativity and all other physical laws would break down: one
couldn’t predict what would come out of the singularity. As explained before, this means
that one might as well cut the big bang*, and any events before it, out of the theory,
because they can have no effect on what we observe. Space-time would have a boundary – a
beginning at the big bang.

These excerpts clearly mean that there is nothing we know (or at least that Hawking knew
at the time of the writing) that excluded the existence of time before the singularity,
but we choose to “cut them out of the model” because “events before the big bang can have
no consequences”, since causality breaks at time = 0. They also clearly mean that the Big
Bang Theory states nothing about the non-existence of time before the singularity.

Note: Stephen Hawking uses “Big Bang” and “singularity” interchangeably in the book,
although he recognizes that the singularity is a mathematical model and that the singularity
is not part of the Big Bang Theory (“one might as well cut the big bang*, and any events
before it, out of the theory”).

* That means, the singularity.

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The Singularity
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Wade Hampton III

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Re: Quantum Gravity Well

PostThu Mar 21, 2019 12:59 am

Space-Time & The Multiverse

Fluctuations in space-time itself at the quantum scale get stretched
across the Universe during inflation, giving rise to imperfections
in both density and gravitational waves. Whether inflation arose
from an eventual singularity or not is unknown, but the signatures
of whether it occurred are accessible in our observable Universe.
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Behold The Wonders Of Infinity
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https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswith ... b2dab36d08

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