Archive for category Time
Why is the speed of light constant in the vacuum?
The constancy of the speed of light c in the vacuum was the key insight in Einstein’s work on relativity. However this was an assumption, rather than a proof. It is an assumption that has worked well, in that the resulting theory has shown good agreement with many observations. The Michelson-Morley experiment directly tested the idea of Earth moving through a stationary ether, by looking for differences in the speed of light in different directions, and found no evidence to support such a theory. There is no empirical evidence that convincingly shows the speed of light to be variable in-vacuo in the vicinity of Earth. However it is possible that the speed of light is merely locally constant, and different elsewhere in the universe. In our latest paper we show why this might be so.
Fundamental questions about light
There are several perplexing questions about light:
- What is the underlying mechanism that makes the speed of light constant in the vacuum?
- What properties of the universe cause the speed of light to have the value it has?
- If the speed of light is not constant throughout the universe, what would be the mechanisms?
- How does light move through the vacuum?
- The vacuum has properties: electric and magnetic constants. Why, and what causes these?
- How does light behave as both a wave and particle? (Wave-particle duality)
- How does a photon physically take two different paths? (Superposition in interferometers)
- How does entanglement work at the level of the individual photon?
These are questions of fundamental physics, and of cosmology. Consequently there is on-going interest in the speed of light at the foundational level. The difficulty is that neither general relativity nor quantum mechanics can explain why c should be constant, or why it should have the value it does. Neither for that matter does string/M theory. Gaining a better understanding of this has the potential to bridge the particle and cosmology scales of physics.
Is the speed of light really constant? Everywhere? At all times?
There has been ongoing interest in developing theories where c is not constant. These are called variable speed of light (VSL) theories [see paper for more details]. The primary purpose of these is to explore for new physics at deeper levels, with a particular interest in quantum-gravity. For example, it may be that the invariance of c breaks down at very small scales, or for photons of different energy, though such searches have been unsuccessful to date. Another approach is cosmological. If the speed of light was to be variable, it could solve certain problems. Specifically, the horizon, inflation and flatness problems might be resolved if there were a faster c in the early universe, i.e. a time-varying speed of light. There are several other possible applications for a variable speed of light theory in cosmology.
However there is one big problem:
In all existing VSL theories the difficulty is providing reasons for why c should vary with time or geometric scale.
The theories require the speed of light to be different at genesis, and then somehow change slowly or suddenly switch over at some time or event, for reasons unknown. None of the existing VSL theories describe why this should be, nor do they propose underlying mechanics. This is problematic, and contributes to existing VSL theories not being widely accepted.
Cordus theory predicts the speed of light is variable, and attributes it to fabric density
In our paper [apr.v8n3p111] we apply the non-local hidden-variable (Cordus) theory to this problem. It turns out that it is a logical necessity of the theory that the speed of light be variable. The theory also predicts a specific underlying mechanism for this. Our findings are that the speed of light is inversely proportional to fabric density. This is because the discrete fields of the photon interact dynamically with the fabric and therefore consume frequency cycles of the photon. The fabric arises from aggregation of discrete force emissions (fields) from massy particles, which in turn depends on the proximity and spatial distribution of matter.
This theory offers a conceptually simply way to reconcile the refraction of light in both gravitational situations and optical materials: the density of matter affects the fabric density, and hence affects the speed of light. So when light enters a denser medium, say a glass prism, then it encounters an abrupt increase in fabric density, which slows its speed. Likewise light that grazes past a star is subject to a small gradient in the fabric, hence resulting in gravitational bending of the light-path. Furthermore, the theory accommodates the constant speed of light of general relativity, as a special case of a locally constant fabric density. In other words, the fabric density is homogeneous in the vicinity of Earth, so the speed of light is also constant in this locality. However, in a different part of the universe where matter is more sparse, the speed of light is predicted to be faster. Similarly, at earlier time epochs when the universe was more dense, the speed of light would have been slower. This also means that the results disfavour the universal applicability of the cosmological principle of homogeneity and isotropy of the universe.
The originality in this paper is in proposing underlying mechanisms for the speed of light. Uniquely, this theory identifies fabric density as the dependent variable. In contrast, other VSL models propose that c varies with time or some geometric-like scale, but struggle to provide plausible reasons for that dependency.
This theory predicts that the speed of light is inversely proportional to the fabric density, which in turn is related to the proximity of matter. The fabric fills even the vacuum of space, and the density of this fabric is what gives the electric and magnetic constants their values, and sets the speed of light. The speed of light is constant in the vicinity of Earth, because the local fabric density is relatively isotropic. This explanation also accommodates relativistic time dilation, gravitational time dilation, gravitational bending of light, and refraction of light. So the speed of light is a variable that depends on fabric density, hence is an emergent property of the fabric.
The paper is available open access: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/apr.v8n3p111
The fabric density concept is covered at http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874381101306010077.
The corresponding theory of time, which predicts that time speeds up in situations of lower fabric density, is at http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/apr.v5n6p23.
Citation for published paper:
Pons, D. J., Pons, A. D., & Pons, A. J. (2016). Speed of light as an emergent property of the fabric. Applied Physics Research, 8(3): 111-121. http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/apr.v8n3p111
Original work on physics archive (2013) : http://vixra.org/abs/1305.0148
Which is better for fundamental physics: beautiful mathematics based on pure concepts, or qualitative insights based on natural phenomena?
According to Lee Smolin in a 2015 arxiv paper , it’s the latter.
Mathematical symmetries: More or fewer?
How to find a better physics?
26 February 2016, Christchurch, New Zealand
This is an expansion of a post at Physics Forum https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/smolin-lessons-from-einsteins-discovery.849464/#post-5390859
 1. Smolin, L.: Lessons from Einstein’s 1915 discovery of general relativity. arxiv 1512.07551, 1-14 (2015). doi: http://arxiv.org/abs/1512.07551
The Cordus theory proposes that TIME arises from the de Broglie frequency of individual particules. Here’s how. Each time a particule energises, it becomes available to interact with other particules. The interaction may be via one of the electro-magneto-gravitational forces, or the synchronous (strong) interaction. The interaction occurs via the transmission and receipt of discrete forces. When the particule de-energises, then the interaction no longer applies. The energisation is at the the frequency given by E=h.f. Each time the particule energises it is effectively in existence and able to interact with other matter around it. Consequently the particule only experiences TIME, e.g. the opportunity to move or decay, when in its energised state and emitting and receiving discrete forces. So time flows for for the particule at its frequency.
This also means that anything that CHANGES the frequency of the particule, will change how time flows for the particule. Typical effects that can do this are external, e.g. the particule moves into a stronger gravitational field or moves with relativistic velocity. In these situations it encounters external discrete forces (fabric) faster, and this retards its own emission of discrete forces and hence also slows its frequency, so time flows slower. Hence gravitational and relativistic time dilation can readily be explained. So it is perfectly natural that your feet age slightly slower than your head, since the atoms in the foot are exposed to a sightly greater gravitational field than those in the head (when standing up). The reason this does not rip us apart is that the matter in between is in a discoherent state, and can move to accommodate the strain.
But what about coherent matter?
Coherent matter includes condensed matter (e.g. Bose-Einstein condensates, BECs), superfluids, and superconductors (electron superfluid). The theory explains these as arising from synchronicity of emission of discrete forces by neighbouring particules. Hence this theory refers to the SYNCHRONOUS interaction, which explains the strong force. In coherence, the multiple particules are in complementary geometric locations and frequency states. In other words, the particules, which have two ends, share the location of their reactive ends with those of other particules and thus form paired or network structures.
At suitably small scales all matter becomes INTERNALLY coherent. A typical case is the atomic NUCLEUS, and the theory shows how the nuclides may be explained as a chain of protons and neutrons bonded together synchronously. Hence also NUCLEAR POLYMER. Even the individual proton is internally coherent. However, even though particules and nuclei are internally coherent, this does not mean that large assemblies thereof are coherent. An internally coherent particule can exist with an EXTERNAL environment that is discoherent. Thus matter at our macroscopic level of existence is DISCOHERENT: the metallurgical grains within the steel bar are not synchronised together in their frequency, and the organelles within the biological cell are not locked into frequency and position relative to other structures. Coherence is associated with spatial fixation, whereas discoherent bodies are free to move relative to their environment.
So what does this imply for the operation of TIME IN COHERENT MATTER? Note first that time is determined by frequency in this theory. Note also that in a coherent assembly of matter (‘coherent body’), all the particules are synchronised in frequency.
Thus for a coherent body, e.g. superfluid, the theory predicts that the whole body has one synchronised time frequency (all the particules beat together). Events are therefore synchronised within the coherent body. This is evident in the way these bodies emit synchronised radiation, as partly explains the laser. The theory also predicts that that time (frequency) of a coherent body does not depend on the number of particules in the assembly. As more matter is added, so it synchronises with the existing coherent body. Also, the theory predicts that the phase (‘spin’) of the particules will also be complementary.
Thus we predict that time will behave strangely in coherent bodies. These specific time-characteristics may be testable and falsifiable.
14 October 2014
Read more here:
- Pons, D. J., Pons, A. D., & Pons, A. J. (2013). Synchronous interlocking of discrete forces: Strong force reconceptualised in a NLHV solution Applied Physics Research, 5(5), 107-126. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/apr.v5n5107 (Open Access)
- Pons, D. J., Pons, A., D., & Pons, A., J. (2013). Time: An emergent property of matter. Applied Physics Research, 5(6), 23-47. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/apr.v5n6p23 (Open access)
- Pons, D. J., & Pons, A., D. (2013). Outer boundary of the expanding cosmos: Discrete fields and implications for the holographic principle The Open Astronomy Journal, 6, 77-89. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1874381101306010077 (Open access)
An explanation of time dilation by analogy with yacht racing
In yacht racing, unlike say motor racing, it is difficult to know which boat is in front when they have taken different paths. Consider the case of two-yachts, e.g. an America’s Cup type event. One boat might look closer to the finish line, but if it is substantially down-wind of the mark then it will be moving slower than another boat upwind but further away. In addition, the boats might move into regions of the water space where the wind is faster (or slower), or coming from a different direction, and this will affect the outcome.
For a spectator, it is very difficult to see which boat is winning, or how the boats are doing against each other when they are on different parts of the water, unless that spectator has a lot of sailing knowledge him/herself. Plus the spectators are invariably far away and low to the water, so have very little ability to perceive the depth of the visual field. All this makes watching yachting a boring spectacle.
To improve the situation Virtual Eye, based in New Zealand, has developed a data acquisition, software, and rendering system to visually show spectators how the race is progressing. This is a neat system as it shows the advantage between the boats, and avoids the need for the spectator to have specialised sailing knowledge…which of course is important in getting the wider public interested in the sport. Here for example is an image showing a red boat ahead of a black one. It would otherwise not be clear which one was leading.
Things start to get more complex when there are multiple boats, all taking very different paths across the water. In this next image, the white boat with the blue line is ahead of the black boat (Oracle). This would have been hard for a land-lubber to determine, as black looks ahead. The larger the physical space between the boats, the harder it is to see which boat is ahead. This also applies to the yachties on board their boats.
By now you will probably be seeing where this discussion is heading. Yachting is done on a 2D course where there are an infinite many loci possible. The boat’s velocity depends on which part of that 2D space it travels through, how fast the wind flows in those spaces, and the relative orientation of boat and wind.
Now replace the flow of the wind with the flow of time, and the time dilation situation emerges. If two space craft were to take different paths through space, going through different regions of gravitational strength and accelerating differently, then it would be difficult to determine from afar which was ahead in time. Hence the Andromeda Paradox.
Time dilation is often illustrated with the idea that ‘you’ stay on Earth and ‘your twin’ goes off in a spacecraft. In which case we are protagonists embedded within the time dilation, and like the yachties on their boats, find it difficult to comprehend our relative progress. Visual Eye’s software looks down on the yacht race from an independent third-party perspective, and worldlines do this for cosmology though not nearly so engagingly.
Time dilation only applies when two (or more) protagonists take different routes through space. One can never be totally sure which protagonist is ahead in time, because you don’t know what future choices they will make regarding the gravitational and acceleration regimes they will be exposed to. It is only when the protagonists are brought back together in the same location that you can see the time difference. In the case of time dilation this will show up as one clock indicating a later time or date, or a biological organism showing greater age. (This part may sound weird, and indeed it is still something of an open question as to how time occurs at the level of fundamental physics. You can just accept that the clocks will show a difference. There are many explanations of time-dilation on the internet. They invariably address the question of what is is and how to formulate it mathematically. The much harder question is how it occurs. If you want the additional mental gymnastics, start by thinking about atomic clocks (i.e. like atomic vibrations), as this feels less weird. Then you can ponder how atomic time scales up to the level of clockwork timepieces. Then explain to yourself how this determines biological time at the cellular level. Finally, work out the implication for yourself as a biological being. It is a interesting and rewarding personal gedanken experiment. The initial weirdness, which arises from the psychological incongruence between what physics and our own senses tell us of the *now*, becomes resolved and one gains an appreciation of time and the nature of the gift. Our own explanation of time is referenced below).
In the case of yachting, this time dilation shows up as one boat ahead of the other, i,e, one boat enters a region of 2D space before the second boat enters the same space. So whatever has happened before on the water, when the boats come together, heading in the same direction, then it is apparent who is in front, as the image shows. The finish line is one such 2D space, and the most important one. But there are also others where the precedence becomes visible, e.g. going around marker buoys.
So the outcomes of time dilation only become clearly evident when the protagonists are brought back to a common location in space. At this point the ambiguity of which one is ahead collapses. The Andromeda-type paradoxes exploit this ambiguity, but the ambiguity only exists when the protagonists are far away in space – bring them together again and the paradox collapses. Just like in yachting, all the ambiguity during the race collapses at the finish line: both boats have to cross the same region of 2D space, and the first one there is the winner.
- Virtual Eye software http://virtualeye.tv/index.php/the-sports/virtual-eye-sailing
- World-lines (physics and cosmology) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_line
- Pons, D.J., Pons, A., D., and Pons, A., J., Time: An emergent property of matter. Applied Physics Research, 2013. 5(6): p. 23-47.DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/apr.v5n6p23
PS: If you don’t like wet, then alternatively, time dilation is like hiking up a mountain where there are no paths and each hiker takes his/her own route. Some paths might look like a more direct route to the summit, but if they are steeper then progress may be slower. This is actually what I was thinking of first since I was hiking at the time and realised that hiking was just like yachting, and then realised both were like time dilation.
Dirk Pons 23 April 2014
A New Scientist article ‘Why space has exactly three dimensions’ by Matthew Chalmers raises the ontological question of why 3-D, as opposed to something else. The article goes on to show that mathematical representations of quantum mechanics work best with three.
Our own Cordus work also provides circumstantial evidence for space having three dimensions. This arises from the requirement for particules to emit discrete forces in three directions.
Our response to the article follows:
Coming at it from a completely different direction, namely applying the design method to a non-local hidden-variable (NLHV) solution, we also find things work out when there are three dimensions to space. In this case explaining string theory is not a big problem, because it happens that we need about the same number of internal variables to define the NLHV design, as are needed in string theory (http://vixra.org/abs/1204.0047). Entanglement and wave-particle duality are readily explained (http://physicsessays.org/doi/abs/10.4006/0836-1398-25.1.132). Obtaining unification of the electro-magneto-gravitational-strong interactions is also conceptually achievable with NLHV solutions (http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/apr.v5n5107). As a plus, it also gives a theory for time, and thereby addresses not only space but spacetime too (accepted, preprint http://vixra.org/abs/1301.0074). (Spoiler: time becomes an emergent property of matter in this theory).
I wouldn’t claim we have really addressed the deeper ontological question of why three dimensions. But we can at least show that three gives a robust and coherent NLHV solution that explains many difficult areas in fundamental physics. See Cordus on vixra for details.
The answer to that question depends on what theory you adopt for *time*. In the particular case of the Cordus theory, time is caused by matter, i.e. time is an emergent property of matter, especially discoherent matter.
This is a very different proposition to practically every other theory of time. The main other theory is to link SPACE and TIME together in the SPACE-TIME concept. This also means that such theories are locked into a concept where time is a continuous variable, and is a dimension. Therein lie a lot of deep problems: first that a continuous or ratio variable is not easy to break into discrete units, and hence the difficulty of reconciling the *time* concepts in general & special relativity with quantum mechanics; second that a dimension implies something that can go backward or forward, and it is not at all apparent that time actually does that, and no one really knows why.
The Cordus theory is different in that it proposes that *time* is the interaction of cause and effect between two pieces of discoherent matter. It provides a natural explanation for the tick of time, rooted in what might generally be considered the de Broglie frequency of matter, and for the one-way direction or arrow of time. The Cordus theory also predicts that time does not work this way for coherent assemblies of matter, which may be falsifiable. (Coherent matter is a very specialised state of matter that includes superfluids and Bose-Einstein condensates, and is not something that is typically encountered at the macroscopic level of our daily existence).
With that in mind, what does the Cordus theory say about the end of time? Well, with time being a property of matter, it implies that time emerges with matter at genesis, and shares the same fate. Therefore time as we know it will cease when the universe does.
Just how the universe will end is another question altogether. One option is that it will continue to expand, and eventually just wimp out (heat death), in which case Cordus theory predicts time would just slow down to a crawl too. The other option is that the universe collapses in on itself, in which case Cordus theory suggests time would speed up and then suddenly stop altogether. There is a third option, which no-one believes, which is that the universe is static. That seems ruled out by the red-shift.
Those outcomes are unimaginably far into the future, and there are more proximal existential threats to worry about. More interesting to us in the present epoch of the universe, is another curious prediction of the Cordus time theory. This is that there is no time (as we know it) outside the universe, i.e. beyond the cosmological boundary (DOI: http://vixra.org/abs/1303.0017.). This means that there is no time in the void into which the universe is expanding. Likewise for a being outside the universe (God) there need be no time either (atemporal). There are some interesting philosophical implications of this. We will leave that discussion for another day.
Read more about the Cordus theory here:
Pons, D.J. (2013) What really is time? A multiple-level ontological theory for time as a property of matter. vixra, 1-40 DOI: http://vixra.org/abs/1301.0074.
Pons, D.J. and A.D. Pons (2013) Outer boundary of the expanding cosmos: Discrete fields and implications for the holographic principle vixra (1303.0017), p. 1-26, DOI: http://vixra.org/abs/1303.0017. Available from: http://vixra.org/pdf/1303.0017v1.pdf.
- Which perspective of time is correct: the absolute clock of quantum mechanics or the spacetime of general relativity? (cordus.wordpress.com)
- Reality and apparent simultaneity (cordus.wordpress.com)
- Holographic principle (cordus.wordpress.com)
- It’s All Relative (stevespen.wordpress.com)
Which perspective of time is correct: the absolute clock of quantum mechanics or the spacetime of general relativity?
Neither, but in some ways both are adequate for their purposes. According to the Cordus theory, time at the fundamental level is created by the local frequency of oscillation of the particule. That effect occurs internal to the particule concerned. Such particules include the electron, proton, etc. Since frequency and energy are related, this has the side effect of making time, as perceived at the particule level, speed up or slow down depending on the energy of the particule.
As a separate effect the arrow of time arises from the irreversibility in the interactions between particules.We explain how that irreversibility arises, but the explanation is a bit long for here.
Thus time is locally generated, and Cordus suggests the QM idea of an absolute clock is only partlycorrect. Also, Cordus suggests that time is a patchwork at the cosmos scale, not a continuous spacetime, thereby not accepting this feature of GR either. However both QM and GR turn out to be approximately correct, at least at the level of detail that concerns them, which is submicroscopic and macroscopic respectively
The Cordus theory provides a more primitive mechanics for time that accommodates the thoroughly different models of QM and GR.
Read more here:
Pons, D.J. (2013) What really is time? A multiple-level ontological theory for time as a property of matter. vixra, 1-40 DOI: http://vixra.org/abs/1301.0074.