OK, folks. This is the moment the entire scientific community has been holding its breath for. Here comes my well thought out explanation for why the universe appears to have begun with a so-called big bang when I have shown such a thing to be impossible.
Imagine, if you will, two separate universes drifting along in what we might call the multiverse and which we can conceive of as being a ‘something’ containing many universes. These two universes drift towards each other and then suddenly touch. At the point where they touch (which might be vanishingly small), they start to merge. This is the beginning of our universe, which is basically the bits of the two universes that overlap.
As an analogy, you might want to imagine two amoebae in a pond. They touch and one absorbs the other or – more precisely – they absorb each other, creating an ever-expanding zone that is a mixture of both creatures and their respective characteristics.
This overlap steadily grows which is, of course, why our universe is expanding. If we play the film backwards, the universe gets smaller and smaller until the moment at the beginning of time when it comes into existence. This is what gives the illusion of there having a been a big bang. It’s not so much a big bang as the start of fusion.
My solution to the big bang conundrum also rather elegantly explains why physicists have made no progress in being able to merge the two theories that explain how our universe works – quantum mechanics and relativity – into a single unified theory. It seems that the universe works according to two different sets of rules, which perplexes most physicists as they firmly believe there should only be one set.
But, if our universe is the product of two other universes, each universe would have brought its own rules to the game in the same way each parent bestows his or her own genes on their progeny. In other words, we should look upon our universe as a hybrid.
Just a thought.
My three questions concerning certain fundamental facts of the universe generated some interesting answers both on this blog and on facebook. Someone mentioned Richard Feynman’s notion that perhaps all electrons are the same electron. (It was actually John Wheeler who suggested it to Feynman who immediately shot the idea down. Or maybe not. Depends on whose version of the story you believe. As with all things to do with quantum physics, there’s a certain amount of uncertainty.)
The thing about electrons is that they are all the same. You pick an electron out of a deck, put it back in and shuffle the deck, and you have no idea which was your electron. There is absolutely no way of telling one from another.
For all we know, the electrons of the universe are forever swapping places with each other, like identical twins in a cheesy Whitehall farce. They could be mocking us – having a laugh at our expense. We have no way of telling.
And that’s the point of my asking why there is more than one electron. Somehow the universe manufactured zillions upon zillions of the little buggers without deviating from the original blueprint in any way whatsoever. If you’re not staggered by that fact, you should be.
We have factories that produce supposedly identical goods over and over again, and yet they’re not actually identical. Take a look at two Mars bars that have come off the same production line. They’re made by the same process according to the same recipe, yet even a cursory glance can spot differences between the two.
Not so with electrons.
Which is why it’s tempting to think that all electrons are the same electron popping up all over the universe at the same time. After all, in the world as we experience it, nothing is 100% the same as anything else. If you pardon my Zen, things that aren’t the same thing will always be different in some way.
Well then, supposing we follow our logic and accept that there is indeed only one electron. How do we explain the multiplicity and ubiquity of that one particle?
I have two possible explanations. (I actually had three until I sobered up.)
Let’s suppose there’s a huge multidimensional particle bigger than the entire universe which I shall call the super electron. Most of it exists in dimensions beyond the four we can directly experience. The bits that poke into our reality are identical because they’re bits of the same thing constrained by the same laws and parameters. These bits are what we call electrons.
This is a variant of string theory, whereby instead of each electron being the manifestation of its own unique string, they all arise from one string.
If this were true of the electron, it would hold true for all particles. And that would explain quantum entanglement.
My second explanation posits that the universe is a hologram, a projection of some other reality which is 2-dimensional in nature. (The idea of a holographic universe has been around for ages and is worth Googling should you be so inclined.) Suppose in this other reality there is only one electron (and one neutron and one proton and one of every other subatomic particle). If that electron is projected into our universe once, it can be projected many times over in the same way that a picture can appear on millions of television screens at the same time.
This is, of course, just idle speculation on my part and should be totally ignored. Maybe one day someone who knows what they’re talking about will give me a satisfactory explanation as to why there’s more than one electron. In the meantime, I’ll go on pondering the imponderable.
1. Why is there more than 1 electron?
2. How much does the universe weigh?
3. What’s the speed of gravity?
It is an indisputable fact that sometime in the future mankind will stumble upon the secret of time travel. We can be certain of this because time travelers from the future have been captured on film as a quick perusal of the Internet will show:
Sceptics will of course point out that there is little or no scientific evidence to show that time travel by humans is even possible let alone an actuality, but such people are – ironically – living in the past. Experience has shown time and again that science is fallible. The Internet, however, isn’t.
But seriously folks…
As much as I love Dr. Who and H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, I am forced to conclude that time travel does not and will not happen. I’m not saying that it’s a scientific impossibility but possible does not equal inevitable or actual.
Every now and then, some publicity hungry scientist will trot out some far-fetched scheme for traveling through time by taking advantage of the quirks inherent in Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or the weirder extremities of quantum mechanics. This leads to somewhat lurid articles in the popular press about how one day our grand kids will be spending their vacations hunting dinosaurs or attempting to assassinate Hitler before he comes to power. There is, however, always a huge gap between what the physicists say and what the newspapers would have us think the physicists say.
What the physicists really do say invariably comes down to not an awful lot. It’s usually some head-up-their-arse guff along the lines of using vastly more energy than we could ever get our hands on to warp space-time and zap the odd atomic particle a few milliseconds into the past. Great big fat hairy deal. The basis for a temporal tourist industry it isn’t nor ever will be.
But let’s suppose for the sake of open-mindedness that a time machine isn’t beyond the wit of man. Our understanding of the workings of the universe is far from complete so maybe, just maybe…
Well, if we go down that route, we ought to ask ourselves one question: where are the time travelers?
The future is a long, long time. Whether time machines come into existence ten yours from now or ten thousand, makes very little difference. There are potentially millions of years of human history ahead of us. If only a few people from every one of those years decided (or will decide depending on your point of view) to pop back to see what homo sap got up to in this day and age, that would amount to an awful lot of people. In fact, its not entirely silly to posit that if time travel lies in our future, then most people on Earth today don’t belong here and haven’t actually been born yet.
Which brings me back to my question. If time travel is possible, where are the time travelers?
If there’s one of the buggers, there must be millions. And if there are millions, I for one would have spotted them. And I haven’t. Ergo, they ain’t here.
So let me, in the spirit of philosophical inquiry, put forward a hypothesis that explains this apparent paradox. Let us suppose that the laws of physics and human ingenuity could – and will – one day combine to build a time machine.
As we all know, if you travel into the past, you change the future. So Mr. Proto-Time-Traveler, by messing with causality, creates a future in which he is never born and therefore does not build a time machine.
No matter. We now have a new time stream in which someone else builds a time machine. Back they come to our time and yet again the future ain’t what it used to be.
And so on.
So we have ourselves a seemingly infinite set of futures, each one superseding the other and wiping out all previous futures.
With infinite futures, we end up with infinite possibilities, so somewhere down the line there has to be a future where time travel is never invented. Once that future comes into existence, it stays in existence because no time traveler ever pops back into the past to destroy it.
In other words, if time travel is possible, it will inevitably lead to time travel never happening (or have happened).
Think about it.