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May 19, 2007 at 10:42 pm #138451DecsunaParticipant
This is an essay/lecture i wrote a while ago and has been published before on the FA, maybe another place or two. However, i thought i’d share it and hear your opinions.
TIME, SPACE AND PHYSICS OF THE FORCE
Time-Space is one continuum, or at least that IS how modern physics perceives it. As well as in relativistic as in quantum physics it is clear that time and space are both relative and inseparable. It clearly takes time to cross a distance, which is the most simple proof for that. The time-space continuum seems even and straight to us as we live here on Earth, where nothing we can perceive has the speed at which the relativity of time is noticeable (close to c (lat. celeritas)- light speed), and no body has the gravitational pull strong enough to significantly bend the time-space continuum. However, the rules of how time behaves in physics are not completely, but still rather well explored. It is known that time, as well as space, bends around the gravitationally strong bodies (massive bodies, such as planets, stars, and mainly more exotic, supermassive objects such as neutron stars and black holes). The bending of time might be hard to imagine, but if one takes two watches and places one close to a strong center of gravity, one will notice that time runs slower near it relatively to how time runs further away from it, in a weaker gravitational field. Likewise, time slows down when one travels very fast, close to the speed of light. But again, the time is slower only relatively to an outside observer, while the person inside the strong gravitational field will not notice any difference in the pace of time. Sort of like when you are on a train you sometimes get the feeling you are not moving, only everything around the train is, in which case you would be right in a way, since all movements can only be studied as relative to one another. The speed of passage of time, just like the speed of passage of space, is relative. What we know very little about is the human perception of time, as we know very little about how the human mind works.
It is undeniable time exists and is a valid dimension, just as space. However, everyone has the experience of relative perception of time. I have observed that a lot recently, as time as begun to pass much quicker for me. I have formed several theories on that. One is that as we grow older, we perceive time by comparing it to what we know as “all time”, that is the duration of our lives so far. For a three year old child, a year is a third of its life, but to a 50 year old person, one year is only 1/50 or their lifetime. That would explain why time passes quicker with years. Another is that as people grow older, we get familiar with the world and we begin living automatically, on schedules, performing repetitive tasks every day that make all days look the same, and seem like one. For children, every minute is a new adventure since they see something new and are impressed by something unseen before all the time. When i noticed time was slipping through my fingers i of course didnnot just sit back and watch, but began looking for solutions, and through that i can concluded that personal perception of time definitely can be manipulated by the individual, as everything else that goes on inside their head. This can be done in various ways. I have noticed there are many moments in my days when i just stare blankly and think about nothing. Those moments can add up to amazing amounts of time through the day. I have been recently trying hard to avoid them, and i also have been trying to find new values and aspects in all things i perceive. For example, trying to find something new and impressive each time on my way home, listen with interest, ponder the structure and nature of things i meet in my everyday life. This way i can say i have managed to slow down my personal time, but still not to the extent i would like to, the way i felt it when i was a child.
Can we completely master the passage of space and time as we observe it? I am certain the answer is yes. How to go about it, and how much time and effort it would take, is another matter. It is within our perception that these things form, and we are theoretically complete masters of our own perception. I think this is a very interesting topic for Jedi, and will certainly think and write more on it later.
PHYSICS BACKROUND: FORCE, RELATIVITY, ENERGY, MASS
There are several areas of physics in which the Force manifests itself very well, down to the manifestation of the four main forces (gravity, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force, strong nuclear force) which falls into the category of classic physics. If we stay on this level, we can talk about electromagnetic phenomena. Our world is electromagnetic. When we push a chair, nothing else is at work than the electromagnetic resistance between our hand and the chair that prevents the hand from going through it. What we see are photons with the wavelengths of 400-680 (approximately) nanometers (A photon is a particle with no mass; that is why it always travels at light speed. It is basically a packet of pure energy. In interaction with matter changes it by adding energy to it; like in our eyes it frees an electron in a molecule of rhodopsin, that is how we see). Every atom can radiate or accept photons. We know many kinds of electromagnetic radiation, but it all only depends on how much energy the photon carries. Low energy photons with long waves are the radio waves on which we send radio signals. A little more energized photons we call heat (infrared). Some more energy is in the photons of light, then even more in the UV rays (that is why they can damage the molecules in our skin and cause skin cancer). All higher energy photons are dangerous to us, like X rays and gamma rays, because they can damage our tissues by bombing our atoms with energy, causing electrons to flee. The electromagnetic specter contains all things that have the nature of a wave. Now what about particles. We all know that E=mc^2, most people know that, but few know what it really means. Einstein’s work is much easier to understand than people imagine, as is all of physics. So E in the equation stands for energy. In physics, energy means the ability to do something. In a place without energy nothing can happen, nothing can move, so the temperature is at absolute zero (temperature is generated by very quick chaotic movements on molecules in the matter; temperature is basically nothing else than the kinetic energy of molecules that transforms into heat energy as they collide). A good representative of energy is the photon. It has no mass, it is only a particle of pure energy (it gains virtual mass as it travels at light speed, but that’s a part of the relativity theory, i’ll explain it some other time:). Then we have m in the equation. That stands for mass, or in other words, matter. All matter, all that is “physical” in the world has mass, that is why we define matter according to its mass. c^2 is the square of the speed of light (latin: celeritas – quickness, swiftness). The light speed is 700 million miles an hour, or, in physical units, 3 * 10^8 meters per second. For our earthly conditions that’s fast, but for space travel it’s too damn slow. If we could be photons and travel at lightspeed (which we can’t because we have mass, and it takes infinite energy to accelerate a particle with mass to light speed) it would take us 4 years to the nearest star, and 100 000 years from one side of the Galaxy to the other (cheers, Han Solo:). That is why we see stars as they WERE, because the photons from them needs years, thousands or millions of years to reach our eyes. But back to the equation, we see how mass and energy are directly proportional, connected by a known constant. That means nothing else than that energy IS mass, and mass IS energy. They can both freely transform into each other as needed, and each certain amount of energy transforms into its certain amount of mass that is easy to determine using the Einstein’s equation. Since mass is composed of particles, and energy is composed of waves, that really tells a lot about the Force, as Aaron Seeker once said: “Just look at the particle and the wave. It’s all there.” Everything manifests itself in only these two forms, that are forms of the same matter-energy continuum that we call the Force.
GOING QUANTUM WITH STEPHEN HAWKING
But that is not all. To explain the deeper origins and properties of the Force we have to look into quantum physics. People always get scared when you mention anything quantum, but quantum physics is no more difficult to understand than classic physics, if you only free your mind and let go of your “common sense” (which Enistein defined as “a bunch of human prejudices”). According to most recent discoveries, there is a thing called “zero point field” that is the basis of all physical phenomena. That is very hard to explain abstractly, so i’ll explain it on an example. You have probably heard of Stephen Hawking. He is a great physicist of our age, and in spite of his disabilities (he suffers from the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) which makes him unable to move for the most part) he lectures on Cambridge and writes popular science books, which i would warmly recommend to you. In the end of this essay i will list some literature that is good for learning about scientific foundations of the Force. So Hawking explained the phenomenon that is named after him as the Hawking radiation. You have probably heard of black holes, points of very high gravity, created out of very congested stars (in normal matter there is a lot of empty space between electrons, neutrons, protons and between the atoms themselves; in a black hole they are all one giant particle, so no empty space). Black holes are known for causing a gravitational force so great that even photons (light) can not escape its field: they literally suck light into themselves. So we would expect black holes are black, as the name suggests, since no light can come from them. But they are not. Black holes emit weak light radiation, and that was confusing physicists for a very long time. What causes that phenomenon can be nothing else than quantum fields. To explain those, try to imagine vacuum. Dark, cold, empty space, where nothing is happening. There is no visible matter or energy. But experimentally, physicists found out that even in that “nothing”, there is activity, as “nothing” keeps splitting itself into plus and minus all the time. You can try to imagine that mathematically in a very simple way. You have a zero. Then you split the zero into one and minus one. If you add them together again, you get your zero back. And so on. That actually happens in vacuum (and everywhere) all the time, only that the emerged particle and antiparticle annihilate each other immediately after they are created. Positive energy adds to negative energy, and there is zero again. But something else happens of the edge of the black hole’s pull, also known as the “event horizon” (the radius out of which you can still escape the gravitational pull of the black hole; if you cross it, that’s impossible). On the event horizon, the same things happen as everywhere else, zero goes to plus minus goes to zero, only that here it makes a difference and is visible. Let me present that graphically.
IN NORMAL CONDITIONS
> + energy photon
collision and annihilation
> – energy photon /
RESULT: We see nothing.
AT THE EVENT HORIZON OF A BLACK HOLE
> + energy photon
> has enough energy, escapes the black hole, reaches our eyes
> – energy photon
> has no energy to escape, falls into the black hole
RESULT: We see the escaped positive energy photons.
Through this we see that it is not true that creation is impossible from nothing, but that creation is happening all the time, everywhere. This same process goes on everywhere, and once humanity learns to tap the power source of zero point quantum fields, there will never be energy shortage in the world again. This is the second, maybe even better scientific manifestation of the Force.
Of course there are many other realizations in physics that can make us believe in the Force. I am sorry if any of what i wrote here is hard to understand, but i had to skip the deeper explainations of certain concepts (the development of stars and creation of black holes, the energetic laws, the charge laws, the classification of particles, the theory of black holes, most of relativistic theory, EM spectre, photoeffect, the list goes on and on), otherwise this could fill books that are already written. Now for some of the books that are closely tied to the Force in physics. They are all popular science books for people with no education in physics, but won’t bite anyone:):
-The Field by Lynne McTaggart
-A Brief History of Time by Stephen William Hawking (get the illustrated edition – pretty pics!
-The Universe in a Nutshell by Stephen William Hawking
-The Quantum World : Quantum Physics for Everyone by Kenneth W. Ford
-Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe by Leon M. Lederman, Christopher T. Hill
-Many lectures by Richard Feynman, great for learning other aspects of Physics too. They can be found online.
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