Some More Random Thoughts In Physics

Sometimes you have a new thought, an idea, or eureka moment, but it’s not gutsy enough to expand into a reasonable length article or essay. So, here’s a second pot-pourri of thoughts within the realm of physics too good not to record, but with not enough meat available to flesh out.

* In our Universe there are two kinds of astronomical objects. There are cosmic faucets like stars and anything else that gives off or reflects electromagnetic (EM) waves. That’s the cosmic “In Tray”. Then there are cosmic sinks and drains that absorb electromagnetic waves – Black Holes, the cosmic “Out Tray”.

It would seem to me that over the course of 13.7 billion years, an awful lot of EM (light, IR, UV, radio, microwave, gamma-ray, etc.) photons, not to mention neutrinos and cosmic rays, would have gobbled up and removed from the Universe’s inventory by being sucked into and forever residing in the insides of Black Holes. Since all astronomical observations, hence conclusions about the state of the Universe, rely on the detection of that which is emitted or reflected by cosmic faucets, then it stands to reason that in order to arrive at valid conclusions, what cosmic sinks and drains remove from the Big EM Picture must be taken into account. But is it? I’ve never read any account where the removal of EM photons from the Universe’s inventory has been considered.

One example that springs to mind is the minor temperature variations in the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) – perhaps those slightly cooler spots are due to a large Black Hole between our measuring device and the CMBR that is sucking up those microwaves before they reach our measuring telescope or space probe or high altitude balloon. I seem to recall cosmologist George Gamow back in the 1940’s making a theoretical prediction that the (then undetected) CMBR would be somewhere between 5 to 7 degrees Kelvin, instead of the roughly 2.7 degrees Kelvin that eventuated. Perhaps, the overall cooler than Gamow expected CMBR is due to Black Holes sucking up lots of those CMBR photons over all those billions of years.

* Another case of non-causality that’s oft given is when an electron gives off a photon, loses energy, and drops to a lower ‘orbit’ around a nucleus. The opposite isn’t lacking in causality however. A photon is absorbed by an electron which gives it additional energy which kicks it upstairs into a higher ‘orbit’ around a nucleus. Now its nuts to suggest that a process has causality in one direction while lacking causality in the exact opposite direction. We may not know why an electron gives up a photon and loses energy in the process, but there is most definitely a why causality – of that I’m convinced.

* To be honest, I reject the idea that space itself is expanding. To me distant galaxies are expanding farther and farther apart throughout an already existing space. That makes way more sense. Expanding space appears to me to be a case of getting a free lunch – something from nothing – in violation of standard conservation principles.

Is there any actual observational evidence that proves conclusively that it is space expanding and not cosmic flotsam and jetsam moving apart through existing space? Not to my knowledge but I can think of a possible test that might conclude the issue. Two objects receding apart, like the Earth and the Moon (due to tidal forces) are going with the expanding space grain and should be separating more rapidly than otherwise would be the case due to tidal forces alone. The experiment, measuring the increasing Earth/Moon separation should be a relatively easy experiment to do. Due to the reflective mirrors left on the lunar surface by the Apollo Moon-walkers we know the Earth-Moon distance to extreme precision. It should be straightforward whether the Moon is receding from the Earth faster than tidal forces can account for.

* The cosmos is easily divided into matter and energy related ‘things’ (products of nature) and space and time related ‘not things’ (concepts invented by humans and maybe by other animals). IMHO, ‘things’ are probably those which ultimately reside in the world of the quantum and are discrete. Many ‘not-things’ can be divided and divided indefinitely and are continuous.

* If an electron acquired enough mass (say by being accelerated to near light speed), would it become a Black Hole, and if so, would the ‘inside’ still be an electron, which after all, is considered a fundamental particle?

* If you like symmetry, then the most perfect object of all things symmetrical is a sphere.

* We frequently read of a “world without time” or “time standing still” or “time doesn’t exist” when it comes to that never-never-land of singularities, be then Black Hole related or that which was at the moment of the Big Bang which somehow created time. I consider that an impossibility since the absence of time means that nothing changes or conversely if nothing every changes it would be meaningless to talk about the existence of time. But the froth and bubble of the vacuum energy is omnipresent (even inside a Black Hole or the structure that was the Big Bang event) and that involves change and therefore the concept of “no time at all” is kaput.

* It is said the electron is a fundamental particle that cannot be divided or split into simpler components. An electron can of course be converted to energy (all mass can be) say by coming into contact with a positron, the electron’s antimatter alter ego. An electron can emit and absorb a photon, but it doesn’t decay into anything simpler. So I gather if you could smash two electrons head on with as much oomph as one could muster, you’d end up with as close to as makes no odds, that is nearly, a case of the irresistible force failing to move (shatter) the immovable (un-shatterable) object. Another case illustrating the irresistible force and immovable state of affairs – it is impossible to isolate a quark (they come as a trio take all) or its force particle, a gluon.

* Space is not the final frontier. The ultimate challenge is to ‘boldly go’ past the event horizon of a Black Hole and see what’s to be seen.

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