Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Circular time

While driving home after class yesterday I could not help but to think about Shild's Ladder I'm kind of a physics junkie so I enjoyed some of these concepts. The one thought that kept coming to me was the Eastern and Native American belief in time being circular rather than linear. So follow me on this. Is it possible that the creation of the Nova Vacuum actually sparked a Big Bang and beyond the boarder is our expanding universe as we know it. This would leave the beings in Shild's Ladder as ethereal beings not within our ability to understand (angels ghosts gods, what ever your personal belief maybe). This would me that time beyond the boarder would continue and eventually reach the point where the Nova Vacuum is created sparking the Big Bang and so on. It may be a little out there but it's just a thought.


Clif said...

That's an interesting thought. There's no doubt that the novo-vacuum represents a new universe, but as we'll find out, it can't be ours (at least not as developed along this world line; it might be one of the multiple, parallel universes created by Quantum Weirness...). But time might still be "circular", or at least not (entirely) linear. Stephen Hawking pointed this out in A Brief History in noting that if there is sufficient mass in the universe, the expansion of the universe can only go so far, at which point it will have to contract. In a sense, Hawking suggested, Time's Arrow, which had been following universal expansion, would now have to run backward, eventually leading to a Big Crunch (at the beginning of Time), which in turn would lead another Big Bang; Time would be reversed in our universe, but the Time of the meta(?)universe would be cyclical, alternating Big Bangs and Big Crunches. Hawking does not seem to have taken this too seriously, and during the 1990s, cosmological evidence suggesed that this would not happen, that the universe would continue to expand. Recent theories about Dark Matter and Dark Energy have suggested that in fact there's a lot more mass and energy out there than we thought, and there might be a Big Crunch waiting in the universal future (past?).

Another wild idea about time was proposed by John Archibald Wheeler (the guy who proposed the Participatory Universe) as told to his student, Richard Feynman. One way to understand electrons and positrons is to think about them moving through time. Electrons, which have a negative charge, could be understood as moving forward through time. Positrons, which have a positive charge, are the exact opposite of electrons. Therefore, they might be considered as moving backward through time. In other words, electrons and positrons are exactly the same kind of particle, but we observe one moving forward and one moving bakcward in time, which accounts for the different charge.

Feynman developed a series of diagrams (called Feynman Diagrams) that illustrate how particles move through spacetime. You can view some such diagrams here:

because Blogger won't let me post them on the blog.

Feynman recounted how Wheeler called him him up one day exclaiming that every electron and positron in the universe was really just one particle seen moving back in forth in time! There's only one "real" electron.

Anyway for the curious, I highly recommend John Gribbin's _In Search of Schrodinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality_ (the source of the information above). Or, for those of you with a little more ambition, try Kip Thorne's _Black Holes & Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy_.

Egan's fictional physics, the Sarumpaet Laws and Quantum Graph Theory (QGT), are based on actual physics, as he suggests at the end of his book:

John Baez, "An Introduction to Spin Foam Models of Quantum Gravity and BF Theory",

Lee Smolin, "The future of spin networks",

Smolin has written extensively on this subject; see his _Three Roads to Quantum Gravity_ and _The Trouble With Physics: The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next_.

Sean compared weird physics to both eastern and Native American philosophies. For those of you with such interests, I recommend Fritjof Capra's _The Tao of Physics_ and F. David Peat's _Blackfoot Physics: A Journey Into The Native American Universe_ respectively.

Kirk Plankey said...

Interesting thoughts Sean. I do not know that I agree with your claiming that the Novo Vacuum beings would be ethereal, if that were the case then all beings in other universes would all be ethereal. It seems to me more so that the property of ethereality would or at least could exist in each universe. Say for instance in the first/main universe of the humans, there it seems that the acorporeals are more akin to being ethereal in that universe than the beings in the Vovo Vacuum are in their universe. Although they to may have their equivelant of ethereal beings.

One of the most amazing (and perhaps impossible) ideas in the book was the moving back and forth between the two universes. Although I do wonder how to classify the Novo Vacuum since it is in the main universe. Is it therefore part of it since it came from it? The thought that came to mind was the phrase "when universes collide" but this is more like a bubble in a bubble, I think.

If your speculation is correct that the Mimosans did indeed create a new big bang with their efforts then/they are looking at becoming "God" like, since that would seem to be a first and necessary prerequisite of Godlyness, i.e. the creation of life and/or space and time as well.

You are quite right in bringing up Native American beleifs in specific, but there are also other cultures around the globe that have different metaphysics and ontologies about the nature, origin, and begining of the universe. It is a very good perspective to bring them into cosideration.

Maybe there are times accidental or planned where universes do intersect, overlap, and even collide. I for one am a fan of multi-verse ideologies and of not limiting the ideas of what space and time may be or be capable of. I like the fact that in Schild's Ladder we are taken beyond the known into the unknown to explore possibilities and potentialities of the ideas of quanum physics.

Josh said...

At least this big bang that you are suggesting will actually have matter that was formed, not that came from nothing.

I am sorry for any sarcasm you might derive from my tone, but everytime hear mention of the Big Bang theory, I explode (okay, that was horrible, but I just had to do it). I am only repeating the same argument that was made by many who promote intelligent design, but how did all the matter of the universe came into existence? Certainly you don't expect me to believe that everything was just formed without something (or more specifically, Someone) to create these particles. That's why I made that opening comment. I would be more inclined to believe in a "big bang" formed from a compression of existing matter, but unless someone explains how the matter was originally formed, I can't believe it would be a "second" big bang. And if the first one didn't happen, where is the evidence of a second one? For me, this is another reason why it requires faith to believe in evolution. I for one will never choose this religion of science. It makes more sense that a creator formed the universe. I mean, someone had to create the matter the big bang can't explain.

Josh said...

Sorry about the previous rant. Any reference to evolution tends to trigger strong emotions in me and I have to respond. You can imagine the difficulties I might have with some of this reading. Your comment is not my problem. I just felt like I had to offer something, considering I have done this all semester in class. I won't apologize, however, for the view I expressed.