Ask a Spiritual Physicist

Recursive causation

I have considered that the path of motion that a singular vector point (of an entity) is to "Spin".

Innert EMF initiates a "Spin" of a vector point ---it spins about it's central core [like rolling over in bed].

The centrifical motion encounters 'resistence' to the spinning movement.

The Power output [of the spinning vector] is later measured in terms of overcoming 'resistence'.

Thus a good equation [the spinning vector that's induced to spin further] shall yield a measurable output.

<Smiley Face>
Take a bar magnet (say 18 inches in length) and put it inside the smallest piece of PVC pipe the magnet will fit in. Now take about 500 feet of fine enameled wire (the enamel is the insulation on the outside. Wrap the wire along about a foot of the PVC, winding tightly, using non-conductive glue (like rubber cement). Now attach the ends of the wire to a sensitive milli-Volt meter.

Move the bar magnet in and out of the pipe and the needle on the meter will oscillate from right to left (depending on the direction of the windings and the pole orientation of the magnet).

I'd like to do a graphic . .. OST it's too simply but it was fun understanding the rudimentary example you described.

The electrons given off by the magnet is picked-up in the windings and thus a very low 'current' flows.

And how the electric contatcs of a slot car ['HO Cars', Lionel Trains too] will simulate an AC currents 'alternatings'.

Enameled? Wont this act as a dieletric barrier?

BTW, I am prompted to ask you radar whether this was a Boy's World or Popular Mechanics or a boy scout school project that you never had forgotten type of old lesson?
First, electrons do not fly off the magnet. Photons transfer the energy from the magnet (in the form of the magnetic field). When conductive metal (like copper) interacts with a moving magnetic field (like you moving the magnet in and out), the outer shell electrons are "stripped" from copper atoms and "flow" perpendicularly to the field. When the direction of the movement is changed (when you switch from moving it in to moving it out), the direction of this "flow" is reversed (hence "alternating" current).

The current or flow is local only, but by winding the wire one increases the effective length (hence the potential or voltage). By putting a small light bulb somewhere in the circuit, one changes some small proportion of these electrons which are slowly flowing (vibrating at low frequency and long wavelength) into work (light).

One can do the same thing by putting a light-bulb in the middle of a whip antenna and holding it near a radio transmitter (at, say, 60 hertz).

In one case it is the moving magnet creating the flow; in the other it is the radio waves moving past the antenna that creates the flow.

The slot car or model train has a small motor in it. When (using it normally) the alternating current flows through the windings (just like the ones you created in the first part), they make a little permanent magnet move. With commuters (little gadgets that switch the direction of the current so the magnet "thinks" it is always flowing in only one direction this magnet reacts by spinning; hook it to the wheels and voila, a speeding car or train.

If you reverse the process and rotate the wheels quickly one way and then the other the little magnet creates a flow in the windings (armature). This flow can be harnessed just like in the first case by soldering a light-bulb in-between the contacts. Voila, a complete circuit transforming some of the current to light.

You want the insulation (the dielectric barrier). Find an old electric motor and take it apart... you will see that the windings are red-colored. That is the enameling. You do not want electrons (electric flow) to go across the wires (which would happen if there was not the dielectric barrier) but down the wire. That maximizes output and voltage by "stacking up" the electrons along the length of the wire.

Nope, you wanted a simple explanation. You got it. I did do the magnet/coil experiment in technical school (government electronics technician training). The slot car output was something one would note if one (no, not me) played with the car on a table edge and accidentally put a thumb across the contacts.
Great readings.


inre: Hertz --the measurement, sside from the relevence to electronic currents.

Q. Does a functioning electric instrument that produces Hertz [by dint of it's AC current] . . . also produce actual sub-audio waves in the air?

IOW is Hertz of an AC current also infer a certaion amount of Hertz of real air-turbulance [wavelengths]?
Hertz is merely a measure... cycles per second. Applies to alternating current, electromagnetic waves, and other regular phenomena. So it can be applied to tones (these tones differ according to the material it is propagating through--ever hear someone speak after inhaling helium or nitrous?). What we are used to is propagation through air. An electromagnetic field (like radio or micro waves) does not propagate through air and, while it could influence air, usually is not powerful enough to. Hint: look up plasma speakers, where an EM wave in a noble gas plasma is used as the speaker (it moves the air around it). When I could tell the difference, they were just splendid. Now I cannot tell the difference between them and earphones (a function of too many Blue Cheer, Grateful Dead, Meatloaf, and Who concerts--all famous for being "the loudest band").

The key is that the electromagnetic field emanating from the AC wuold have to be really, really strong (near breakdown voltage) to have any impact on air. Hint, that is an arcing event.
Hey Radar,

I have always wondered where the center of the universe is. According to the Big Bang theory, there one spot where the Bang occurred, and then all the stars and planets zoomed off from this point. (I think this is called the blowing-up-a-balloon analogy?)

This would also suggest the idea that the farthest objects are moving away from the original Big Bang point faster than the objects which are closer to the Big Bang point. But scientists say that all objects in the universe are moving away from each other at an equal rate of speed and that there is no one point that we can track galactic movement backwards to. They also say that the universe started from one, universal, everywhere-at-once point in 'space.'

The idea that there is no one point in the universe that can be traced back to a single Bang seems to contradict the idea of a Big Bang.

Is all of this right so far?
Yep. The whole shebang was collapsed into one point smaller than a nucleus (if the standard theory of physical cosmology is correct). What we do know is that at the time of the "freezing of the cosmic microwave background" (or CMB, perhaps the strongest evidence for the Big Bang) what became earth was a little off-center. See the CMB happened only then the universe became transparent to photons. In the first 400,000 or so years before the "freezing" because the universe was a very active, high temperature plasma (over 3,000 degrees) which absorbed all the photons.

So, because it was a "singularity" the Big Bang was a compression of all space-time and all matter-energy, there was no center. But, at the time of the emission of the CMB, per (the usual reference), "From the CMB data it is seen that our local group of galaxies (the galactic cluster that includes the Solar System's Milky Way Galaxy) appears to be moving at 627±22 km/s relative to the reference frame of the CMB (also called the CMB rest frame, or the frame of reference in which there is no motion through the CMB) in the direction of galactic longitude l = 276±3°, b = 30±3°", so we are slightly "off-center".
Hi Radarmark —

How big's a universal 'center'?

The one thing I think I got from A Brief History of Time is that rather than the universe expanding out from a point, like from a V, in all directions, it's more like a U, in that the space into which the centre expands is necessarily simultaneous, otherwise you have a wave front with 'space' on the one side and nothing on the other?

Tomorrow's New Scientists has articles on 'infinity in the real world', '3 proofs that the universe is not infinite' and 'what truly exists' ... and it hits the doormat 30 minutes after I leave for work!

God bless

On your first point, yes more like a U... but even in a U there is a point of symmetry. There is no space-time except within the universe (that is what Big Bang cosmology demands).

As to your second. The universe is (most likely) not truly infinite but bounded (a hypersphere). But since there are "hidden" parts of it (the boundary is receding from us at over the speed of light) that "most likely" can never be proved.

What truly exists (doing a little digging) is probably some version of structural realism (see ). Works quite well for me, though I see it in a process-like way.

If the whole universe expanded from a single nucleus, shouldn't we be able to pinpoint a single spot from which the universe began expanding?
No, because all points (including those so far away from us that they are now receding from us over the speed of light) were all there. They were all in the singularity (which just means it is beyond the capability of relativity theory).

Yes, it does not make common sense. Funny, relativity and quantum theory (at the extremes) rarely make sense.
Okay, did some serious physics-thinking last night. The problem is that we have (at this time) no information from anything earlier than the CMB at 400,000 years after the big bang. And we really (under the Standard Model) know no way to find any.

So first, there may be some artifact(s) that await discovery. If we find some kind of "Big Bang" gravitational waves (something we have tried but not been able to do), then relativity gets yet another big check and we may be able to find where they originated from. BIG IF, though, because by definition the singularity of the Big Bang is beyond the applicability of relativity.

Second, M-brane-string theory (all really just one approach) could end up predicting some Big Bang artifact (an early dimension now collapsed?) which would be verifiable directly or in terms of some later behavior (like magnetic monopoles). I did my physics in pre-string days and really am not qualified to prove this statement... it seems possible from very simplified string explanations (equations).

Lastly, a cyclic system (like Penrose and Heller have hypothesized) may leave some artifact (like the subtle circles and ellipses in the CMB). I do not know what artifact could identify a center of expansion, but it might be possible.

All three of those guesses are non-empirical, but rational (metaphysical) only. As far as what science can say at this time (and teach to its practitioners), it is the balloon analogy. Regardless of which of the three structures the universe has (Euclidean, Elliptic, or Hyperbolic--what we think of as geometry, geometry on a sphere, and geometry on a saddle-point) it behaves (and in the far past probably still behaved) like a balloon. Before the Big Bang the balloon was deflated to nothingness. The Big Bang blows up the inside, expanding the outside... the outside is the universe. It came from nothing... no time, no space. The universe is expanding time and space (like the outside of the balloon) which drags along the potentiality that becomes what we see as mass energy (which, in turn changes the space-time).

OK, Radar, I'll try to get my head around this. Thanks.

Also, if I remember correctly, the universe is about 13 billion years old, right? So we can only see objects that are 13 billion light years away? Is that right?
Well, not quite. Because of the expansion of the universe, the actual edge of the observable universe is about 46 million light years in distance. Those things that far away are about 14 billion years old. You have to remember light-years measure distance, not time; and years time, not distance.

The proof of this is the cosmic microwave background. It dates from about 400,000 years after the Big Bang and is about 46 million light years away.
The next question, then, is about the farthest-away things. How fast are they traveling away from us? Are all farthest-away objects (from us) moving away from us at the same speed?
Yes, the edge of the observable universe (not the whole universe) is symmetric about us. The edge is receding at the speed of light.

Remember, this is what, by definition, we can see. Now one hemisphere of the CMB is receding with a longer wavelength (that is what post #207 is based on). So we see the whole observable universe expanding away from us at the same velocity (at the edge), but we know that our position now is not where the center was at the Big Bang.

That all assumes that, first, at the time of separation ("freezing of the CMB) the universe was symmetric (we have no evidence for anything else). And, second, that the equations of physics (like general relativity) are invariant in space-time (the same everywhere and everywhen).

There are some "fringe theories" that explain the universe by allowing the gravitational constant or speed of light to vary in time and place.
Before I start, I wish to apologize to wikipeia for so many references to them and quote from them. Why did I do that? Most of my paper and electronic references tend not to be public (on the web) or really too hard (25 pages of Niels Bohr boringness to get one super line or lots of tensor or M-theory nomenclature).

Now for the question of physics (see Conjectures and Refutations). To borrow from wikipedia: physics (from Ancient Greek: φύσις physis "nature") is a natural science that involves the study of matter[1] and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force.[2] More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.[3][4][5]

Early in the XXth century, two anomalies were noted in physics (what I will call Classical Physics). In matters of the small scales of atomic theory it was the ultraviolet catastrophe. If electrons really were little clumps of charge whirling around a very small and positive nucleus, by those same electromagnetic propagations the electron would instantly radiate a strong continuous electromagnetic signal and spiral into the nucleus (as the electron spirals down the frequency of the signal goes from infra-red to the visible spectrum, from red to violet, and into the ultraviolet—hence the name). Obviously this did not really happen. In matters of space and time underlying the motion o heavenly bodies, it was the Michelson-Morley experiment wherein the presence of an hypothesized “luminiferous aether” (needed to explain how electromagnetism propagated) was tested for; the result was perhaps the most famous experimental failure (the aether was not found).

The first discrepancy, the ultraviolet catastrophe, was addressed in a 1901 paper presented in 1900 by Max Planck, On the law of distribution of energy in the normal spectrum. The paper, in turn inspired Niels Bohr to publish the original paper on quantum theory, "On the Constitution of Atoms and Molecules", in 1913. The second discrepancy the missing luminiferous aether, led to the famous 1905 special relativity paper by Albert Einstein, "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies". That was the birth of relativity theory, which culminated in his "Die Grundlage der allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie", general theory of relativity, in 1916.

Somewhere between Planck’s 1901 presentation and Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity in 1916, classical physics was supplanted by modern physics with its two theories, quantum and relativity. Quantum deals (as did Planck’s initial presentation) with the microscopic scales of atoms, their constituents, and light. On the other hand relativity deals (like the Michelson-Morley experiment) with large scales of mass and its result, gravity, along with energy, space, time, and light. Please note that as originally formulated, the link between quantum and relativity is light and electromagnetism.

Since 1916 relativity theory has been used to explore the mass-energy and time-space relationships at the macroscopic level, oh, and to predict certain microscopic details due to its explanation of mass-energy (E = mc2, used to explain nuclear masses). By the 1930s astrophysics and physical cosmology began explaining nearly all astronomical and cosmological phenomenons in terms of relativity, a trend that continues today. By 1926 quantum theory integrated (see “On Quantum Mechanics II”) two earlier (and seemingly contradictory) forms, Schrödinger’s wave theory (“"An Undulatory Theory of the Mechanics of Atoms and Molecules" ) and Heisenberg’s matrix theory ("Quantum theoretical re-interpretation of kinematic and mechanical relations"). This version of quantum theory implemented “The Copenhagen Interpretation” (CI), the mathematics of which dominate quantum theory to this day.

Relativity is hard math (Einstein had to have old professors formulate the math, that is how difficult it is. It is so hard that a student of Sir Arthur Eddington once asked, "Professor Eddington, you must be one of three persons in the world who understands general relativity." Eddington paused, unable to answer. The student continued "Don't be modest, Eddington!" Finally, Eddington replied "On the contrary, I'm trying to think who the third person is."

Quantum is also hard math (“I think it is safe to say that no one understands Quantum Mechanics” Richard Feynman). But on top of it, quantum is just wierd (“If anybody says he can think about quantum physics without getting giddy, that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them” Niels Bohr); really, really weird (like the HHG entry on space, but substitute “weird” for “big”). But very accurate (“Richard Feynman compared the [the precision of quantum mechanics] to predicting a distance as great as the width of North America to an accuracy of one human hair's breadth. Dawkins, 2006, pg.36); so while “t is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it is that” it is unquestionably correct (thanks, Michio Kaku).

There are two meta-issues that must be addressed here: the Bohr-Einstein debates and multiple interpretations of the math of the CI. The Bohr-Einstein debates were a series of exchanges between the Father of Quantum and the Father of Relativity. Einstein could never accept the role of probability in the quantum world (either in the math or in the words around the math, the CI). He kept pushing and pushing the notion that “the weird action-at-a-distance’ required in quantum just could not be part of the physical universe. The summation and final farewell to quantum was his famous "Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality be Considered Complete?" AKA the EPR paradox, written with Boris Pololsky and Nathan Rosen in 1935. Because (as Feyman, Bohr, and Kaku stated above) the CI is so weird a number of alternative interpretations of the math have been formulated, ranging from DeBroglie-Bohm Theory to Many Worlds to Consistent Histories to the Ensemble Interpretation to Many Minds to the Quantum Logic Interpretation to Quantum Information Theoretics to Quantum Bayesianism to the Landé Interpretation to the Prowave interpretation to the Pondicherry interpretation to the Ticker Tape Interpretation to the Montevideo Interpretation to the Vaxjo Interpretation. All of these have one thing in common, like Einstein, the role of probability theory and “weird action-at-a-distance” in the math had to be explained away.

Let me be clear on my viewpoint. I do not love the weirdness of the CI, but I believe in Ockham’s principle and the principle of parsimony and by apply these I end up firmly in the CI camp (see the works of Stapp and “Quantum Theory Needs No ‘Interpretation’”), with an information and quantum logic spin.

In response to the EPR paradox another one of those unrecognized mathematical geniuses, John Bell wrote "On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox", known colloquially as “Bell’s Theroem” in 1964. Bell took both the ERP paradox and the Quantum Interpretation at their lowest level (that is, he just used the math of each without interpretation or revision). And made some then untestable predictions that (for the time, at least) seemed to strongly support the anti-CI interpretations (see the whole article and the references at Bell's theorem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Well about 1981, after developing the technology required (kinda like having to build the LHC to find the Higgs Boson) a series of experiments were performed (see “Bell Test Experiments”), all of which validated the CI.

So in terms of the Bohr-Einstein discussions, the EPR paradox, and Bells Theorem the evidence is in (there are always one or two theorists or papers adding still more assumptions to Einstein to overcome the evidence—like I said, quantum is weird and any sane physicist would like it better behaved, but these guys and gals will it wrong, regardless of the evidence (all though tests)).

The other issue, the CI and the many replacements is far from resolved. It is even more confused with the advent of string/M-theory as a grand unifying theory. The evidence is all over the place, so usually the “school” a quantum physicist is a member of is determined by her or his education and mentors. I admit mine were Finkelstein and Stapp, so Quantum Logic and CI were part of “my mother’s milk”. But for the most part these kind of decisions are driven by metaphysical, not scientific or empirical, considerations. Why? Quantum measurements depend on how the apparatus is set up and the decision of what to measure (set up to measure the photon as a wave, you get a wave; as a particle, you get a particle). Set up to disprove CI and one may influence the results against CI (and vice versa).

So I retreated to metaphysical contemplation, reading a lot of Whitehead and other scientific philosophers. Plus I had to earn a living outside of physics as practiced in academia. Just my humble opinion, but with the evidence murky (to say the least) that the simplest and most succinct explanation which works is probably the best. I believe that to be CI.

Oh, just to note, on a deeper level the whole issue of “multiverses” is murky as well (see Gale’s “Comological Fecundity” in Leslie’s Physical Cosmology and Philosophy (pg 189). Multiverses can be temporal only (like Hiller’s and Penrose’s cyclic cosmology), spatial only (like the layers of an onion, or perhaps in the “hidden dimensions” of string/M-theory) or more complex (like Everett). But please look up each of the interpretations above and you will find “multiverse1” (say Everett’s) does not equal “multiverse2” (say Omnes’ consistent histories) does not equal “multiverse3” (say Khrennikov’s Vaxio Interpretation.
Subatomic calculations indicate finite lifespan for universe

BOSTON (Reuters) - Scientists are still sorting out the details of last year's discovery of the Higgs boson particle, but add up the numbers and it's not looking good for the future of the universe, scientists said Monday.

"If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation, it's bad news," Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, told reporters.


Subatomic calculations indicate finite lifespan for universe - Yahoo! News
Nick, have you seen that there is also (at the same time) really good evidence for the universe being flat, infinate and timeless?

That is why physics is fun! The entire structure hinges on one's metaphysics. Many worlds theory could be true, as can holographic (Bohmian), as could skepticism (Copenhagen), or even old-fashioned Einsteinian materialism. The fun part is how much of experience or reality you can map in a consistent and coherent manner.