ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network













Observations

Observations


Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American
Observations HomeAboutContact

5 Unanswered Questions That Will Keep Physicists Awake at Night

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


Email   PrintPrint



Orion Nebula photo

Credit: ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA

Physics is all about probing the most fundamental mysteries in nature, so it’s no surprise that physicists have some very basic questions about the universe on their minds. Recently, Symmetry Magazine (published by two U.S.-government funded physics labs) asked a group of particle physicists to name the open questions in physics they most want answers to. Here’s a sample of the quandaries they shared:

 

“What will be the fate of our universe?”
The poet Robert Frost famously asked whether the world would end in fire or ice, and physicists still can’t answer the question. The future of the universe—the question named by Steve Wimpenny of the University of California, Riverside—largely depends on dark energy, which at this point is an unknown entity. Dark energy is responsible for the accelerating expansion of the universe, but its origins are entirely mysterious. If dark energy is constant over time, we’re likely looking at a “big freeze” in the future, at which point the universe continues to expand faster and faster, and eventually galaxies are so spread out from each other that space seems like a vast wasteland. If dark energy increases, this expansion could be even more severe, so that not just the space between galaxies but the space within them expands, and galaxies themselves are ripped apart—a fate dubbed the “big rip.” Another option is that dark energy decreases so that it cannot counteract the inward-pulling force of gravity, causing the universe to fall back in on itself in a “big crunch.” So basically, whichever way it goes, we’re doomed. On the bright side, none of these eventualities should come to pass for billions or trillions of years—plenty of time to decide if we’re hoping for fire or ice.

“The Higgs boson makes absolutely no sense. Why does it exist?”
The tone of this question was tongue in cheek, says its asker, Richard Ruiz of the University of Pittsburgh, but it points to a very real lack of understanding about the nature of the particle famously discovered last year at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Europe. The Higgs boson helps explain how all other particles got their mass, yet it raises many other questions. For example, why does the Higgs boson interact with each particle differently—the top quark interacts much more strongly with the Higgs than the electron does, giving the top quark a much greater mass than the electron. “This is the only example of a ‘non-universal’ force in the Standard Model,” Ruiz says. Furthermore, the Higgs boson is the first fundamental particle found in nature with zero spin. “This is an entirely new sector in Standard Model particle physics,” Ruiz says. “How it comes about, we have no idea.”

“Why is the universe so exquisitely balanced such that life can exist?”
Based on the odds, we really shouldn’t be here. Galaxies, stars, planets and people are only possible in a universe that expanded at just the right speed during its early days. This expansion was governed by the outward push of dark energy warring with the inward gravitational pull of the universe’s mass, which is dominated by the invisible kind called dark matter. If these quantities were different—if dark energy had been just a tad stronger after the universe’s birth, for example, space would have expanded too fast for galaxies and stars to form. But a smidge less dark energy would have caused the universe to collapse in on itself. So why, asks Erik Ramberg of Fermilab in Batavia, Ill., are they so perfectly balanced to enable the universe we live in? “We don’t know of a fundamental reason why that balance should exist,” Ramberg says. “There’s no doubt that the amount of dark energy in the universe is the most exquisitely fine tuned number in the history of physics.”

“Where do astrophysical neutrinos come from?”
Extremely high-energy neutrinos are predicted to result from the collisions of speedy charged particles called cosmic rays with light particles (photons) in the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation that pervades the universe. But what sets this process in motion, and how the cosmic rays are accelerated, are open questions. A leading idea is that matter falling into the hungry supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies gives rise to cosmic rays—but there’s no proof of this hypothesis yet. The resulting neutrinos are thought to be traveling so fast that each teensy-weensy particle has as much energy inside it as a fast-pitched baseball (which has billions of billions of atoms). “We can’t even fathom where these things are coming from,” says Abigail Vieregg at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, who posed the question. “If we find out, we can learn about the sources that are accelerating these particles to extremely high energies.”

“How come the universe is made of matter and not antimatter”
Antimatter is like matter on opposite day: it has the same properties as the stuff that makes up planets, stars and galaxies, but one vital piece is different—its charge. The universe supposedly started off with equal parts matter and antimatter, but somehow, matter won out, with most of both substances annihilating each other shortly after the big bang, leaving a small surplus of matter remaining. Why antimatter lost this tug of war is anyone’s guess. Scientists are busy searching for processes called charge-parity violations, where particles prefer to decay to matter and not antimatter, to explain the disparity. “We’re particularly interested in trying to see if neutrino oscillations are different between neutrinos and antineutrinos,” says Alysia Marino of the University of Colorado, who shared the question with Symmetry. “This is something that hasn’t been seen so far, but we hope the next generation of experiments will look at in more detail.”

Clara Moskowitz About the Author: Clara Moskowitz is Scientific American's associate editor covering space and physics. Follow on Twitter @ClaraMoskowitz.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





Rights & Permissions

Comments 44 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. jtdwyer 11:04 am 10/25/2013

    “The Higgs boson makes absolutely no sense. Why does it exist?”
    “… For example, why does the Higgs boson interact with each particle differently—the top quark interacts much more strongly with the Higgs than the electron does, giving the top quark a much greater mass than the electron.”

    I think this issue is entirely the result of the Higgs mechanism’s explanation that particles must continuously ‘re-acquire’ their rest mass from a Higgs field that permeates all spacetime.

    If the mass of stable, persistent particles is considered persistent, then the mass of quarks and electrons, for example, would have been determined by the energy density of the Higgs field at the moment of their condensation (emission) in the very early universe. In this view the Higgs boson particle is primarily associated with particle (mass field) decay or disintegration (LHC).

    The current emission of massive particles (which is relatively rare, compared to persistent particles) requires then not a universal homogeneous high energy Higgs field but rather conditions of localized high energy. The existence of the Higgs boson is a prediction of the Higgs mechanism, but its observation does not fully confirm the theory, since any mechanism of mass field mediation consistent with the standard model would require the existence of a mass mediating boson particle…

    This interpretation also explains why Higgs bosons are so rare and difficult to observe – they are not continuously mediating the exchange of mass-energy between the Higgs field and particles!

    Link to this
  2. 2. rufusgwarren 2:04 pm 10/25/2013

    The universe has no beginning or ending since the beginning could only exist within zero time, therefore does not exist.

    The Higgs Boson makes no sense because the standard model of particle physics makes no sense.

    Balanced so that life exists? What?!

    The neutrino is a misnomer for radiation produced by the change in charge in time and space, somewhere around 10 to the minus 15the or less. CERN has not answered Maxwell when collisions occur or when a neutron breaks.

    Antimatter? First, what is charge?!

    Anyway mass and inertia are impediments to motion, mathematically, no one actually proved it was a physical entity its more like velocity or absolutely nothing.

    Link to this
  3. 3. edprochak 2:11 pm 10/25/2013

    JT,

    that still does not explain why there are differences in mass between particles. What makes that difference? It cannot be the field alone.
    ed

    Link to this
  4. 4. pinetree 2:57 pm 10/25/2013

    Well if these things keep physicists up at night, I figure that they should just turn them over to Astronomers. All will be revealed in the fullness of time. Or not.

    Link to this
  5. 5. jtdwyer 3:42 pm 10/25/2013

    edprochak,
    If the ambient temperature (energy density) of the Higgs field diminished in time with universal expansion _and_ the condensation of mass-energy (initial emission of stable, persistent particles from the Higgs field) produced a stable, persistent particle mass field, _then_ the rest mass of newly emitted particles would necessarily have generally diminished in time.

    Today most newly emitted particles have little if any inherent rest mass, such as photons and neutrinos. Exceptionally high energy localized conditions (such as decay, collision and other nuclear processes) can still produce more massive particles. Please see http://www.aip.org/pnu/2005/split/728-1.html.

    Link to this
  6. 6. Owl905 3:47 pm 10/25/2013

    “Why is the universe so exquisitely balanced such that life can exist?”
    It’s just a phase the Universe is going through. It will grow out of it.

    Link to this
  7. 7. fractile 8:09 pm 10/25/2013

    It all makes perfect sense if the Universe is seen generating space in an absolute void. All of the ‘forces’ are pressure of this void on the generated timespacematter, depending on the density within the hyperdimensional structure.

    Link to this
  8. 8. Narendra Nath 11:19 pm 10/25/2013

    The proposed five questions have arisen just because we humans have developed our Physics the way it has. There must exist other ways to interpret the phenomena observed in nature. That way such questions will loose their significance!In fact, if only we learn what constitutes dark matter, things can ease out. Let me start by postulating that it was all quark sea that existed in the beginning, may be more than six types. The strength of the strong field may have had very high value to cause heavier quarks to decay into lighter ones and then it ended up to leave the present six quark picture. No need exists to have some particle like Higgs as mass is intrinsic to quarks. In fact both initial mass and energy in the Universe may have resulted from initial inhomogeneities in space nad time that no longer exist now!

    Link to this
  9. 9. houmanca 11:32 pm 10/25/2013

    I think one of the most important questions should be “what universe is expanding into?” if Time and strings just created when the big bang happened , what is the container holding and allowing all these expansion of the universe?

    Why is the universe so exquisitely balanced such that life can exist? if you are talking about life on the earth , this is just a second of the 14 billion years of universe age , life in earth is very fragile , maybe our DNA have to take a long journey to other far planet and start evolution to live in 500 centigrade and call it balanced life.

    Link to this
  10. 10. crimmo 1:03 am 10/26/2013

    The universe is ‘exquisitely balanced’ at the moment. This may be just a window of opportunity for life to exist, that wasn’t there earlier in the life of the universe, and will not be there some time in the future.

    Link to this
  11. 11. vladimir tamari 4:46 am 10/26/2013

    The last two comments about the Anthropic Principle (that the physical constants of the Universe is so balanced as to create intelligent life) make a lot of sense. Quite apart from the question of the Universe having stars that have planets, there must be countless planets in the Universe where life does not exist. We are simple lucky to have evolved from the chemicals and in the atmosphere present at each stage so that we are alive today to ask these questions.

    Link to this
  12. 12. David Marjanović 10:27 am 10/26/2013

    I think one of the most important questions should be “what universe is expanding into?” if Time and strings just created when the big bang happened , what is the container holding and allowing all these expansion of the universe?

    This question is wrong. The universe itself, empty space itself, expands. The universe is the whole container, not just the contents, and the container is expanding.

    Link to this
  13. 13. David Marjanović 10:30 am 10/26/2013

    All of the ‘forces’ are pressure of this void on the generated timespacematter

    How does that make sense?

    Link to this
  14. 14. Adam_Smith 11:27 am 10/26/2013

    “How come the universe is made of matter and not antimatter”

    It seems that the assumption is that at its earliest stage the Big Bang consisted of pure energy which should have condensed into equal portions of matter and energy. Perhaps this is wrong. Maybe there was from the very first matter of some kind, (perhaps the “dark matter” that still exists today), and it existed in both matter and antimatter forms and that there was never any particular reason for it to be in exactly equal proportion. Maybe during the Big Bang it was primarily energy being created by matter rather than the other way around — a chicken and egg kind of puzzle.

    Link to this
  15. 15. Adam_Smith 11:44 am 10/26/2013

    What is the universe expanding into?

    That the interior, i.e., observable, part of the universe expands everywhere doesn’t answer the question. The real question is whether there is some sort of exterior boundary beyond what we can observe. I believe that remains a possibility. Our time dimension has a boundary on one side at least, to the past, so perhaps the space dimensions have boundaries too. “Inflation” has pushed these boundaries too far out for us to see them now. On the other side would be a super-space of other dimensions including a different time dimension within which our time dimension had its start.

    Link to this
  16. 16. RSchmidt 1:47 pm 10/26/2013

    “Based on the odds, we really shouldn’t be here.” these types of statements really annoy me, because they give fuel to the creationists and actually confuse lay-people. If we shouldn’t be here then you are implying, based on what we know about physics, the universe is impossible, not improbable, not rare but absolutely impossible. One of the rules-of-thumb of physics is that if something is possible, it is mandatory. So viewed from another perspective; if is possible for the initial conditions of the universe to arise in such a way that permit the emergence of intelligent life, then it is mandatory for it to occur at least once. And here we are. We are so accustomed to our middle world experiences of probabilities that we are unable to understand the scale of the universe. If my chances of beating the rush hour on my commute to work are 1 in 5, I consider those low odds. On earth if something happens every million years it is considered regular. In the galaxy, if life has a 1 in a billion chance of evolving in each solar systems we would have 300 solar systems with life. We have no idea how many universes are spawned at any given time, if we can even speak in those terms. And we have no idea what level of variability is permitted in the parameters of the universe. So please, the universe is mysterious enough without science writers, who should know better, using hyperbole to spice up their articles.

    Link to this
  17. 17. Adam_Smith 2:02 pm 10/26/2013

    A correction: My post 11:27 should have read “equal portions of matter and anti-matter” instead of “equal portions of matter and energy”.

    Link to this
  18. 18. Postman1 6:54 pm 10/26/2013

    “How come the universe is made of matter and not antimatter”
    It isn’t. We are the antimatter, all the matter was destroyed. Kind of a pot/kettle type thing.

    RSchmidt’s comment #16 is right on.

    Link to this
  19. 19. Tony_Who 10:31 am 10/27/2013

    Mass, Acceleration, Speed of Light, Gravity

    Knots of Light could possibly explain why it is impossible to accelerate matter to the speed of light. With a component frequency in the direction of travel, parts of the wave travel faster than the composite wave. For the composite wave to go the speed of light, part of it would need to go faster than light, which is impossible. For the wave component in the direction of travel to maintain the speed of light, its amplitude and energy changes as the particle is accelerated. This explains why mass resists acceleration, and how kinetic energy is contained in a moving massive particle.

    Gravity could possibly be explained by knots of light composed of composite frequencies. With each component frequency described as a series, the waves can have finite energy while extending to infinite distance. In this way, every mass interacts with every other mass, at any distance, all the time.

    I hope to understand more about the nature of Space, Energy Waves, Light and Matter. It is fun to explore the concept of composite frequencies and the shapes they produce. With a modern computer and CAD program, the shapes can be drawn in higher dimensions and animated. It will take a lot of work to develop this concept. Perhaps a university will want to sponsor me to work on this project (hint, hint, Stanford).

    Thanks,
    -Tony

    Link to this
  20. 20. Tony_Who 10:33 am 10/27/2013

    The question I have trouble answering is:

    “When is it going to be done?”

    Thanks,
    -Tony

    Link to this
  21. 21. janiferkathrine 12:03 pm 10/27/2013

    I’m shocked that some one can profit $9048 in one month on the internet. did you look at this link Go to site and open Home for details >>>>>> http://x.co/2fCT6

    Link to this
  22. 22. neilrued 3:41 pm 10/27/2013

    One question raised by the Higgs Boson/Field is, how does the Higgs field interact with Fermions such as electrons, protons and neutrons, with gravity to cause objects with mass to attract each other? Why does this interaction lead to a monopolar gravitational force?

    Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein never explained the fundamental nature of the gravitational force. Newton simply stated it’s a mutually attractive force and Einstein described its effect as a warping of the local space-time field by a body’s mass.

    Link to this
  23. 23. neilrued 4:08 pm 10/27/2013

    The problem with the anthropic principle is that several ideas are trivialized:
    1. The physical constants may be interdependent (if we are to accept the possibility of an Unified Field Theory, and the idea of the existence of the Multiverse) and even if you tweaked one constant, the others would also be affected, and perhaps different forms of life would evolve in different kinds of Universes;
    2. If the physical constants are independent, in different Universes where biological forms of life may not be possible, other radical forms of life may exist such as organized patterns of energy, gas or rock crystals.

    Link to this
  24. 24. karlchwe 5:03 pm 10/27/2013

    The five real questions that keep physicists up at night:

    1. Did I shut down/leave on the generator/detector/computer?

    2. Will I get that grant so I can start the next phase of research?

    3. What did the tenure review board REALLY think of me?

    4. Will I have to teach Physics 101 next semester?

    5. Why do people think different things keep us up at night than other people, as if we aren’t human?

    Link to this
  25. 25. Layer_8 6:11 am 10/28/2013

    Question #6: http://www.nature.com/news/astrophysics-fire-in-the-hole-1.12726 what happens there?

    Link to this
  26. 26. Austriak 10:58 am 10/28/2013

    Maybe I have food for thought here. I made a personal investigation about the deep secrets of universe and life’s origins calculating the reverse way of biological evolution and following beyond, through cosmological evolution.

    How this galactic system produced the first cell system? Comparative anatomy and the mechanisms of Darwin’s evolution were the methods used for. The final result is a new model of galaxies, where the building blocks of galaxies have the same configuration and functions of the building blocks of DNA. My galaxy is a mechanical/biological galaxy.

    Then, how the initial atomic nebulae produced galaxies? Same methods and the final result is a new model of atomic systems, with biological properties also.

    Then, how the Big Bang produced atoms? Mÿ “big bang” have the same real facts that Physics have, but the interpretation is totally different. Then,this new world view has answers for some of those questions and suggests that other questions makes no sense.

    I am supposing that Nature does not play dice with its creatures. And the Universe is not magical, it can not creating information from nothing. Then, the process used by Natural Universe for doing you, is the same process by which the Natural Universe was created: genetic reproduction. Yours own body began with a “big explosion” inside an ovule, did you forget that?

    I know that at this time you will stop reading this post, because you still keeps the magical thinking, you believe that Nature has created the information of processes for creating natural systems by magics, from nothing or by some kind of God.

    How the Universe is so balanced for life? Well… how the ex-universe world is so balanced for universes? Why the mother’s womb is so balanced for a new life? The logical answer is that the process that produces wombs so balanced for life is the same process that produced the Universe in its world.

    What is dark matter? What is the substance called amnion that fits the womb? What cause the Universe to expand? Well… what causes a fetus to expand?

    I am trying to say is that Physics must understand that it needs to realize its evolutionary jump, like Nature did from the physics’s realm to the biological and after that, to the conscious realm. The next step to physicists is learning Biology and joining with biologists, so, they will fills some of these gaps in our knowledge. The biological organization of matter works as feed-back upon quantum, particles, and cosmological dimensions. And after that, go to neurology, the brain’s sciences, because consciousness must have effects at those invisible realms also.

    If a intelligent particle inside a cell of our bones try to understand its world, it never will go beyond the skeleton, and will believe that the physics of skeletons is everything that explains a human being.Sorry, but Physics alone never will build a Theory of Everything.
    If you are curious about my models, search “The Universal Matrix/DNA of Natural Systems and Life’s Cycle Theory”. As I said it is merely food for thought by now and 1.200 articles at my website arrested as evidences e right previsions.

    Link to this
  27. 27. Dr. Strangelove 3:03 am 10/29/2013

    Two unanswered questions that will keep non-physicists asleep at night:
    Why do physicists like to ask hypothetical questions?
    Can they not ask more practical questions like how to make a fusion reactor work?

    Link to this
  28. 28. Witold 5:35 pm 10/29/2013

    I doubt if mainstream physicists can answer any of these questions without a good chance of sleeping on it! After all, our brains need a lot of down-time…

    These questions, however, are great food for thought. For example, if the amounts of matter and antimatter were originally equal but infinite, then random infinite annihilations could leave a residue of just one kind.

    Link to this
  29. 29. KirkMcLoren 1:40 pm 10/30/2013

    the orbit of the Earth is special as well as its speed of rotation. Imagine the winds if a day was 20 hours.

    Link to this
  30. 30. krill_pill_q.d. 5:29 pm 10/31/2013

    hey SA, can’t you find a way to block the spammer comments? i resent the wasted 0.8 sec.

    Link to this
  31. 31. DrDaystrom 5:38 pm 10/31/2013

    1. Could it be that looking for the HB actually caused it to come into existence?

    2. Anti-matter in our universe (or dimension) could be plain old matter in another ‘anti-matter’ universe.

    3. Speaking of our universe – it exists as long as we perceive it. When we’re not ‘looking’ – it ain’t there.

    There now, all mysteries solved – to the level that we can currently understand.

    Link to this
  32. 32. davidhannon976 7:08 pm 10/31/2013

    The universe had all one polarity in the beginning. The infinitesimal point nothingness, . , was rastered by time into timespace, U , which being one substance exerted its oneness in one direction, / , stirring closed circuitry, O, that all going the same way, vO^XvOx, repelled, X , a Big Bang. If it is said that the exertion, /, was equal on both sides, no, it was different due to the increasing of pi, from the globally bent timespace of a pi value of zero, to our relatively flat timespace, 3.14159265…, (perfectly flat timespace has a pi value of 20612/6561) and beyond, the “saddle” timespace caused by “dark energy” on a grand scale, probability. And, the pressure of repulsion forces circuits to turn around, again by the mechanism of closed circuitry, so that circuits can undifferentiate by confluency, =, into nonexistence.
    The final fate of any universe, in the “multiverse”? Nonexistence.
    The other problems are caused by Murphy’s real law, “If anything can happen it will happen”.

    Link to this
  33. 33. davidhannon976 7:26 pm 10/31/2013

    In “Living Systems” by Dr. James Miller, he made the basic statement that, “There are two things in the universe: energy; and, information, which is the conformation of energy. It is obvious that energy is the “one substance” of the universe. It is also obvious that in one substance motion can only be in closed circuitry, that there be something to move out of the way and fill in behind. Some of these closed circuits have been called “magnetic fluxes”.
    It is also obvious that these basic closed circuits would only slip by one another, and no one would be conscious of anything, if there wasn’t the granuality of Planck’s volumes to provide a frictional grip. Planck’s volumes are moving in closed circuits of Planck’s volumes in the matrix composed of Planck’s volumes.
    This is how information is differentiated from energy. Dr. James Miller called matter “alpha code information”. I have seen these concepts printed elsewhere around the internet. I am writing this in my own words from what I remember, much of which is unforgettable, especially the scheme of compulsory and inevitable manifestation.
    The perpetual and eternal mechanisms of manifestation are: The infinitesimal point nothingness, . , is rastered by time into timespace, U , that exerting its oneness in one direction, / , stirs closed circuitry, O , that all going the same way, vO^XvO^ , clashes (a Big Bang), X , forcing confluency, = , undifferentiating individual closed circuits into nonexistence. The energy that maintained their differentiation is released as photons.
    Closed circuits being turned by that “exertion of the oneness of the one substance”, energy, on apparently both sides is allowed by one side being in timespace with a value of pi different from the other side, as this manifestation of a world expands, also fifth dimensionally. This fifth dimension was defined for science by Harvard University professor of quantum physics, Dr. Lisa Randall, in her book “Warped Passages”.
    The counterclockwise and clockwise of these closed circuits are the basic opposite polarities. Structure, maintained by orthogonality, is the cause of the separation of opposite polarities. Now we take the variously bent timespaces into consideration, that Scientific American has written about before.
    As we leave the rigid orthogonality of flat timespace, where the value of pi is 3.14159265…, like, for example, by accessing globally bent timespace by the mechanical velocity analogues in electricity, current, and thermodynamics, entropy production rate, etc., we depart from that rigid orthogonality of flat timespace that maintained the separation of opposite polarities, so that individual closed circuits may undifferentiate into nonexistence. `
    We wouldn’t be conscious if differentiation didn’t cause consciousness. Reciprocally, all the differentiations have caused energy itself to be eternally conscious. As you know, everything is “trying” to run down, or is being built up by that which is running down. In other words all differentiations are being pushed to undifferentiate. To undifferentiate is the actual true will of every differentiated thing in the universe.
    Descending into globally bent timespace matter acquires a tenuousity that has been called “spirit”, and as we descend into globally bent timespace it gets more and more flexable until, especially with the fast polarity cancellation rate allowed there, all is literally flames. But, undifferentiating being pleasure, undifferentiating into nonexistence is the attainment of the satisfaction of all desires.
    The Second Law of Thermodynamics indicates that in our infinite universe, also including what has been called the “multiverse”, the reunion of previously associated Planck’s volumes back into their original closed circuits is impossible so that the attainment of total undifferentiation is the eternal satisfaction of all desires.
    It can also be said that there are three things in the universe: entities, properties, and relationships. In the one substance, energy, a sphere can manifest as a closed circuit. A sphere can turn on itself. That could be called a particle. We know we are entities. “I hurt therefore I am”.
    Our entity is a closed circuit of the one substance, energy, in the one substance, energy, that is a ring, that qualifies to be called a unit of “dark matter”. Dark matter is composed of all those closed circuits that don’t qualify to be called particles. Remember, we are the information, not energy. If we were energy we would never sleep.
    Thinking you could figure that an entity “being almost everywhere” is a hyperdimensional view, I neglected to explain this phenomena, for, the great quantum physicist, Dr. Hugh Everett, already explained this. He said that for every possibility there is a “parallel universe”. Actually, these “parallel universes” can be called probability time lines sideways in time. This direction, sideways in time can now be called the sixth dimension.
    So, we have all the entities, and their “similarities”, in all their possible probability time lines. We can call them “similarities” rather than duplicates, though MIT professor of quantum physics, Dr. Max Tegmark, revealed that in the infinite eternal universe, that he calls the “multiverse”, each entity has an infinitude of exact duplicates, hyperdimensionally.
    “The fact that an entity is a closed circuit, its shape is a property, and the rate of its circulation, counterclockwise on one side, and clockwise on the on the other side are also properties, etc. Counterclockwise and clockwise circuits, ^OvvO^ , able to go confluent when face to face, is a relationship. Side to side they draw other entites in like a ringer, which pushes them apart, of course, also by closed circuit configurations.
    The universe had all one polarity in the beginning. The infinitesimal point nothingness, . , was rastered by time into timespace, U , which being one substance exerted its oneness in one direction, / , stirring closed circuitry, O, that all going the same way, vO^XvOx, repelled, X , a Big Bang. If it is said that the exertion, /, was equal on both sides, no, it was different due to the increasing of pi, from the globally bent timespace of a pi value of zero, to our relatively flat timespace, 3.14159265…, (perfectly flat timespace has a pi value of 20612/6561) and beyond, the “saddle” timespace caused by “dark energy” on a grand scale, probability. And, the pressure of repulsion forces circuits to turn around, again by the mechanism of closed circuitry, so that circuits can undifferentiate by confluency, =, into nonexistence.
    The final fate of any universe, in the “multiverse”? Nonexistence.

    Link to this
  34. 34. scilo 1:42 am 11/1/2013

    We need the unprovable dark matter to explain increasing expansion. What if we are being pulled by a force from outside our universe? The closer we get, the stronger and faster the effect? The big suck, such as a true absolute vacuum, or magnetic field? The pull of nearby universes? Would this defy the laws of attraction, or define them?
    We would have to know the physics of the entire universes form. Might it be that the expansion in not universal? Since we can only see a percentage of the supposed limit?
    Dark matter seems to be to physics what God is to creationists.

    Link to this
  35. 35. vinodsehgal1957@yahoo.com 9:02 am 11/1/2013

    Many of the above ananswered questions arise from more fundamental questions :

    i) Expansion of Universe : This is one single concept which forms the basis of modern cosmology and Physics but it has many unresolved issues intrinsic to it.

    ii) Big Bang ( BBT) of formation of universe: Though at present there is no theory better than BBT for the creation of universe but this theory has its own unresolved and, therefore, can;t be considered as perfect theory.

    iii) Nature of space/time : Understanding of space/time is very poorly understood in physical terms which leads to a nos. of issues

    Link to this
  36. 36. vinodsehgal1957@yahoo.com 9:27 am 11/1/2013

    To Strangelove ( 27) It is in the very nature of human beings to ask and explore complex hypothetical questions. Fusion reactors, energy and food, of course, important but life is not governed by only food and shelter

    Link to this
  37. 37. vinodsehgal1957@yahoo.com 9:44 am 11/1/2013

    Why physical constants are so balanced for we life to exist? This issue is very complex questions and can’t studied from only Physicist’s perspective. Ist our knowledge of life is quite limited. We know about life as we know on this planet only. Secondly, we have explored universe up to limited extent only and that information is also not complete and reliable. There is quite the likelihood that life in the present form as we know on this planet or might be life of some other variety might be existing at many places in this very very large ( if not infinite) universe nonetheless the fact that we don’t know about that.

    Pertinent and landmark aspect is : did physical constants came to a fine tuning at their own and life came to result as consequence of that OR since life was programmed to come, , physical constants moved that way. This is very very difficult question to answer from purely Physics perspective. My understanding and belief dictates me that second scenario is more sensible. Not only this, entire universe came into existence for conscious life to existence. had there been no intelligent conscious life, who would have indulged into these questions and to whom have perplexed 5 ananswered questions of Physics?

    Link to this
  38. 38. christinaak 9:50 am 11/1/2013

    An evolutionary cyclic model would provide the solutions to the questions: “What will be the fate of our universe?” and “Why is the universe so exquisitely balanced such that life can exist?” In this model an inherent instability in the universe is the cause of the universe expanding in order to produce structures that temporarily relieve (albeit for only billions or trillions of years) this instability. The unstable relationship between the attractive (gravitational long distance range) and repulsive (subplanck distance, range) properties of the universe result in a thermodynamically driven evolutionary process that results in incremental changes in cosmic structure from one cycle to the next. This also addresses the ridiculous notion that the universe had an ultimate beginning resulting from an unexplained ‘quantum fluctuation’.
    A possible solution to the question, “How come the universe is made of matter and not antimatter” can be provided by the extradimensional structure of space-time. If the space-time dimensional structure for both matter and antimatter are different it may tend to isolate the two types of matter except under the high energy conditions found during nuclear fusion in stars and in radioactive decay (via the weak force). In other words, perhaps the cosmic space-time geometry is hierarchically stratified with stratum specific variations in the number of space and time dimensions (resulting from stratum specific variations in the constant c) that apply to matter and antimatter. Perhaps instability between strata permits antimatter to ‘appear’ in the matter stratum via a ‘trans stratum phase shift’ that permits it to oscillate within the new space-time geometry (all of which I propose in my book). antigravitationalforce.com

    Link to this
  39. 39. algernon37 9:54 am 11/1/2013

    One more fundamental question has been left out: Since no physicist has ever seen anything outside consciousness (and there is no evidence that anything does, in fact, exist beyond consciousness), why do physicists continue to imagine/believe that it does? Planck, Schrodinger, Oppenheimer were not afraid to ask this question. Today’s physicists seem either too shy to address it, or are unaware of it.

    Link to this
  40. 40. vinodsehgal1957@yahoo.com 10:08 am 11/1/2013

    to davidhannon ( 32) The very concept of “infinitesimal point nothingness” may appear attractive and appeal intellectually in begining and may be supported by quantum concepts of Physics BUT it has its own in- built problems. Either we may subscribe to the concept that all observable universe is also nothing and an illusion of senses and mind and , therefore, arisen from nothingness or we may agree that it has come from “something”. In the first scenario also, there is also one problem viz there should be “something” to create an illusion of “something”, which we call as observable universe, from ” nothing. In my view, alternative of universe emerging from ” something” has less problems than as emerging from “nothing”.

    “Something” is required not only for space, time, energy and matter to emerge out BUT also for the Physical Laws and constants which govern the journey of universe. If we believe in pure ” nothingness” a big question shall always remain wide open: Which Law or which force propelled the conversion of universe from pure “nothingness” to “something”? This is another matter that due to our inability to know about that “something”, we brand that as “nothingness” but that should be “every thing” since that is the final progenitor of all the universe

    Link to this
  41. 41. vinodsehgal1957@yahoo.com 10:50 am 11/1/2013

    To davidhanon (33)”The universe had all one polarity in the beginning. The infinitesimal point nothingness, . , was rastered by time into timespace,”

    Yes, as you agree something is required for “rastering infinitesimal point nothingness into spacetime which you have termed as “time”. It implies time as ” something” was present for the rastering process to take place, Secondly, rastering should be also of “something” to produce”something”. In other words, two prerequisites are imperative i) “something” which is to be rastered ii) Something which is the fundamental cause ( or force?) which will set in motion the process of rastering

    Link to this
  42. 42. vinodkumarsehgal 5:35 am 11/2/2013

    Higgs Boson : Higgs boson has been theorized to endow different masses to matter particles viz quarks, electrons. Not only theorized,it is reported that LHC has detected it experimentally and nobel has been besotwed for its discovery . But one aspect of this perplexes me. Without mass, there is no meaning of a quark or electron. Actually, it is the mass which basically distinguishes a matter particle from energy. In view of this, before endowment of mass by Higgs, what is the entity which interacts with Higgs to get mass. In other words, it is the interaction of Higgs with something? which brings matter particles quarks and electrons into existence. What is that something?

    Link to this
  43. 43. bucketofsquid 5:06 pm 11/15/2013

    Just a few observations about the discussion;
    1. There are plenty of schizophrenics that have a theory of everything and they are quite willing to share their ideas.
    2. By simple definition the word universe means everything that exists. Therefore there is only one and nothing can be outside of it. If you mean a multi-planar universe then say so instead of misusing the word universe. Do not abuse the word dimension by implying that it somehow means another plane of existence because, again by simple definition, it does not.
    3. Most people in this discussion don’t really understand the difference between fact and opinion.

    Link to this
  44. 44. HalSwyers 5:08 am 11/25/2013

    Just another take on these things
    http://thefurloff.com/2013/11/25/things-that-keep-people-up-at-night/

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Dinosaurs

Get Total Access to our Digital Anthology

1,200 Articles

Order Now - Just $39! >

X

Email this Article

X