Cosmology, The Expanding Universe & Other Stuff……

9 Oct

‘And the Paradoxes that Arise from it’……

Cosmology, Astrophysics and Quantum Mechanics are uncomfortable bedfellows.  They throw up some seemingly irreconcilable paradoxes such as mathematical infinities, which to a Theoretical Physicist is a disaster in their numerical descriptions of the Universe.  Many of the greatest names in physics, including Nobel Laureates such as Albert Einstein, Wolfgan Pauli, Richard Feyman and Niels Bohr were all well aware of this fact and it has been somewhat swept under the carpet……

‘In my Humble Opinion’……

Despite the greatest minds from Newton to Hawking having revealed some astonishing insights into our Universe, I believe we have failed to arrive at a definitive explanation; instead we have several theories for the different areas of physics, which may work on a practical level but fail to adequately explain the bigger picture……

‘Gravity’……

Gravity has proven to be a tricky ‘force’ to explain.  In Cosmology it is an attractive force.  Most famously tackled by Sir Isaac Newton in ‘The Principia Mathematica’,published in 1687 and was anecdotally inspired by an apple falling from a tree in his orchard.  Although this story appeared years later and was probably invented by Newton to add a little gloss to his story, led him to deduce that all objects produce an attractive force upon one and other.  The larger the object, the greater the force.  In the case of the falling apple, the Earth pulls on the apple but the apple also pulls on the Earth.  In an enlightened foresight, Newton postulated that the same attraction was also responsible for keeping the Earth orbiting the Sun and the Moon orbiting the Earth.  Newton also gave us his famous laws of motion, the most famous of which is F=ma.  Newton’s picture of Gravity remained unchanged for almost 300 years until a Swiss Patent Clerk called Albert Einstein redefined our picture of Gravity.  However, although both are legendary names in physics, neither new what the force of attraction called Gravity actually was.

Later observations would put Gravity on shaky grounds.  One of the main problems thrown up by Gravity is what is

Rotation Curve of the Solar System

known as a Rotation Curve.  In our Solar System the outer planets take longer to make one revolution around the Sun.  The inner planets take a shorter time.  This is partly dependent upon the mass and partly to do with distance of the planets from the Sun but produces a rotation curve as shown in this diagram.

Using this observation, one would assume that the same phenomenon would be expected for the entire Milky Way Galaxy i.e. the further from the centre, the slower the rotation.  However, it does not (See Diagram).  This observation led physicists to reach the conclusion that there must be more mass in the Milky Way Galaxy than was visible to account for the steady

Rotation Curve of The Milky Way

rotation curve; only when they checked it appeared to be missing.  Quite a lot was missing as it happens; 93% to be precise.  Not wanting to upset the now well established theory of Gravitation and how it affects the Universe, the physicists simply inserted the extra mass into the equations and called it ‘Dark Matter’.  Dark, due to the fact that you could not see it, neither, despite it constituting 93% of all matter, were they able to detect it.

So, 93% of the Universe is made from ‘Dark Matter’ which you cannot see and can’t be measured but conveniently is acted upon by Gravity, stopping galaxies from simply flying apart and, most importantly for the Physicists, is justification and supports the Standard Model of Cosmology……

‘More Problems with Gravity’…….

From the instant of the Big Bang, in which all matter that now exists in the entire Universe appeared from one of those unsatisfactory infinities, should, due to Gravity, be slowing down.  However, it is speeding up.  Not only is it speeding up, it is speeding up exponentially with every point in space moving away from every other point at an ever increasing rate.  This was some what of a shock to it’s discoverers as the theories of Gravitation suggest it should be slowing down.

Again, not wanting to upset the Standard Model of the Apple Cart which states that Gravity should be slowing these massive galaxies down a mechanism was needed to explain the anomaly.  Enter, ‘Dark Energy’, an as yet unexplained force that pushes the galaxies in the Universe away from each other at an ever increasing rate but only acts at the large distances involved, thereby not forcing individual galaxies apart.  The current estimation for the amount of this ‘Dark Energy’; 75%.  Until the work of Edwin Hubble we had absolutely no idea that this ‘Dark Energy’ existed or that the Universe was indeed still expanding.

‘What Does the Future Hold?’……

These two problems with Gravity and it’s implications for the Standard Model of Cosmology are only one small issue.  There are many, many more appearing in almost all fields of modern physics.  I am now strongly of the opinion that either we have been led down a blind ally by our ‘ingenuity’ and the whole of physics needs to be re-evaluated or that we continue to use the indisputable benefits of Quantum Theory in our technology, whether we fully understand it or not, or, I am beginning to lean toward this conclusion; we are a primitive accident of nature with the ability to convey abstract ideas through speech and writing, locked into a 3 dimensional space and time from which we will never be able to comprehend the complexities of this wonderful universe we call home……

‘More Problems with Universe to Follow in Future Posts’

 

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