Skip to comments.Rethinking Einstein: The end of space-time
Posted on 08/09/2010 7:25:58 AM PDT by LibWhacker
Physicists struggling to reconcile gravity with quantum mechanics have hailed a theory inspired by pencil lead that could make it all very simple
IT WAS a speech that changed the way we think of space and time. The year was 1908, and the German mathematician Hermann Minkowski had been trying to make sense of Albert Einstein's hot new idea - what we now know as special relativity - describing how things shrink as they move faster and time becomes distorted. "Henceforth space by itself and time by itself are doomed to fade into the mere shadows," Minkowski proclaimed, "and only a union of the two will preserve an independent reality."
And so space-time - the malleable fabric whose geometry can be changed by the gravity of stars, planets and matter - was born. It is a concept that has served us well, but if physicist Petr Horava is right, it may be no more than a mirage. Horava, who is at the University of California, Berkeley, wants to rip this fabric apart and set time and space free from one another in order to come up with a unified theory that reconciles the disparate worlds of quantum mechanics and gravity - one the most pressing challenges to modern physics.
Since Horava published his work in January 2009, it has received an astonishing amount of attention. Already, more than 250 papers have been written about it. Some researchers have started using it to explain away the twin cosmological mysteries of dark matter and dark energy. Others are finding that black holes might not behave as we thought. If Horava's idea is right, it could forever change our conception of space and time and lead us to a "theory of everything", applicable to all matter and the forces that act on...
(Excerpt) Read more at newscientist.com ...
Particle Physics gives me a hadron.
Sometimes I think being smart enough to think about subjects like this beyond the realm of just understanding would be a great burden.
How did that electron meet up with that proton in the first place, and where did THEY come from?
OK, I’ve read the article ... now my head hurts.
Don't I know it.
It is a burden.
We have all heard that Einstein determined that space and time were actually aspects of the same thing: Spacetime. And we’ve all seen the “world-line” funnels, and the super-C forbidden action zones and suchlike, so we know in an important sense, space IS time.
Since from the Science of econimics we also know that time is money, does it follow that space, therefore is money?
[Another but related subject:]
My former partner was fond of observing that, “time is money, but it ain’t cash.”
I expect that the String Theory Lobby will not be happy with this development. Personally I like it since it is testable, a feature that seems to be lacking in ST.
General Theory ver. 2.0!
the list ping
Ask Laz or C.D.
I don’t think GR and Quantum mechanics can be reconciled by such tricks. We’re missing some facts, some kind of measurement needed to reconcile the two theories.
staying on FR over two hours....real time travel!
Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar.
One says, ‘I think I’ve lost an electron.’
The other says ‘Are you sure?’
The first says, ‘Yes, I’m positive.’
Oddly enough, the value of this idea is less that it might provide a great theory, than that it challenges existing theory, and forces its reexamination.
This is the underlying problem with such theories. As soon as they are accepted, they become barriers, like walls. All you can do is to build up the wall further. You cannot transcend it without destroying it. Fortunately, the taller a wall gets, the less stable it becomes, contributing to its own destruction.
And this is a great general theory of knowledge, by the way.
As far as the subject goes, I rather like the idea of space-time, and I think that this theory gives it short shrift, in the quest to discover the gravity particle, which may or may not exist.
Just because mass and gravity affect time-space doesn’t mean they are the same things. In fact, it implies that mass and gravity transcend time-space, and affect space-time so strongly that it is bent into their mass and gravity dimension.
You should be pants'd for saying that.