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Complex_Number_States
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I too am a math nazi.

Things cannot be virtually infinite any more than they can be infinitely virtuous.

There are levels of infinity. Some things are more infinite than others. But be careful how you think about that, since the guy who thought the levels of infinity concept up died a raving nutter.

I don't tell my students that, though. The last thing I want to do is give them another excuse to hate math.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But if the universe is finite, then that implies that there is something outside it, which, by definition, is part of the universe. Anyhoo, the only proof for "big bang" theory is that lots of stuff seems to be going away from other stuff. However; all we can see is like a ripple in the sea: just because that which we can see is expanding doesnt mean everything is.

And if anyone disagrees with me then I'll poke 'em with a big stick.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You forgot the background radiation...
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Physics doesn't know the answers, it's the study that searches for them.

Raziel wrote:
But if the universe is finite, then that implies that there is something outside it, which, by definition, is part of the universe.
Time and space, for all we know, are qualities only possesed by this universe alone. There is nothing outside, and nothing before, or after. The unvierse coicindientally is mathematically proven to have no 'edge' and no center, go in any one direction in the unvierse and eventually you'll reach that same spot in space you started off from.

Raziel wrote:
Anyhoo, the only proof for "big bang" theory is that lots of stuff seems to be going away from other stuff. However; all we can see is like a ripple in the sea: just because that which we can see is expanding doesnt mean everything is.
Even that isn't proof, it coudl easily 'prove' steady-state theory as well as big-bang theory. The proof is, as said, the background cosmic radiation that wouldn't be there without a big bang in the past.

Raziel wrote:
And if anyone disagrees with me then I'll poke 'em with a big stick.
And I'll nuke your non-open-minded ass.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2006 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As paradoxical as it may seem, I seem to remember from cosmology that it is possible for the universe to be both infinite and expanding.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe that the universe is infinite and that the only reason people think it might be finite is because we are finite. We die. It's hard for a being with an awareness of its own mortality to imagine anything not being so.

On the other hand, our self-awareness and vanity (as a species) is directly responsible for the ridiculous notion of an afterlife. It's also difficult for a being with an awareness of its own mortality to grasp and rationalize its end.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that we can't contemplate infinity because our own brains are finite... However, if I remember correctly from physics class, the Theory of Relativity more or less states that if an object reaches the speed of light it has infinite mass and infinite size, maybe than one might be able to contemplate the size of the universe, if said one is still alive... Blaster will probably contradict me on this...
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope. Nothing can accelerate to the speed of light; something has to be created at that speed.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

42
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blaster wrote:
Nope. Nothing can accelerate to the speed of light; something has to be created at that speed.

Seeing as accelerating to the speed of light would both require infinite energy and time.

Then you have the problem that even if you do get there, time basically stops, you're going to be caught at lightspeed forever according to outside observers. Of course you'll eventually you'll decelerate the damn thing, maybe, and you'll find you'll have alot of stuff to catch up on.
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Complex_Number_States
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raziel wrote:
But if the universe is finite, then that implies that there is something outside it, which, by definition, is part of the universe


Which is just finite again. You have made an arguement utterly lacking internal logic.
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Complex_Number_States
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

M theory.

11 dimensions.

Branes.

Tachyons.

It is currently pointless to argue about such. Unless you have the math to discuss it, which I don't. Much less the physics.

Vibrate that on your string.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's probably beyond the scope of most of us to debate the finer (and, to be honest, even the grosser) points of string theory. However it is possible to discuss many cosmological concepts in layman's terms. There is a fine tradition of this, stretching from George Gamow's One, Two, Three...Infinity to Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is all this stuff actually proven facts or is it just theories and such?

I don't know how you could prove some of this stuff.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Theories based on laboratory evidence.

Which laboratories? Thiose giant multi-mile wide particle accelerators.

Which do work nicely. It aint exactly new technology.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not only is string theory currently unproven, there is widespread doubt whether it is even provable. Currently we cannot even imagine a way to prove it.

The math is very very elegant, however.

I recommend Greene's The Elegant Universe as an excellent exposition of both the history of and the current state of theories of everything. It exists as both a book and a wonderful three-part series on NOVA.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And that is where you're wrong... okay, where did I find that article *Scrounges among magazines* aha, here it is: Discover magazine August 2005.

Pages 30 - 37

Essentially there are five possible methods listed.

1 - Gravity-Wave Test
Discover - August 2005 wrote:
What is it?
The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, scheduled for launch in 2013, utilizes three Y-shaped instruments (left*), each equipped with two lasers and two mirrored cubes. Laser beams bouncing between these instruments (below*) measure their relative positions to within just a few billionths of an inch. A passing gravitational wave - a ripple in space caused by the acceleration of a massive object - should measurably change the spacing between them.
How the test works…
String theory predicts that the ultra rapid expansion of the universe during the first second after the Big Bang should have produced a distinct pattern of gravitational waves, whish should still resonate through space. If the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna can detect them, String theory is supported.


2 - Particle-Accelerator Test
Discover - August 2005 wrote:
What is it?
The $2.5 billion collider, under construction on the Swiss-French border, will direct opposing beams of high-speed protons around a giant ring (left*) and toward each other. The colliding proton’s energy is converted into matter, creating types of particles not seen under ordinary conditions. Detectors (below*) will sort through those particles, seeking ones described by String Theory but not yet discovered.
How the test works…
According to String Theory, colliding protons might create “sparticles,” massive partners of ordinary particles. One version of String Theory holds that the collisions might also create miniature black holes. Finally, string theory predicts that powerful smashups could fling some energy out of three-dimensional space into higher dimensions, The Large Hadron Collider will search for all these effects.


3 - Laboratory Gravity Tests
Discover - August 2005 wrote:
What is it?
Roughly a dozen teams are studying how gravity behaves over small distances. One of these experiments, at the University of Colorado, measures the attraction between a vibrating plank and a nearby mass (below*). A shield (at left*) separates the mass from the plank, canceling out air motions and electrostatic attraction. The amount of induced vibration in the plank shows exactly how strongly it is pulled by the force of the vibrating mass.
How the test works…
The latest formulations of String Theory hold that our universe contains many more than three dimensions. Over short distances, gravity might leak out of the familiar three dimensions into some of those higher ones. If the experiments measuring short-distance gravity show that some of the expected pull is missing, that would provide indirect evidence of higher dimensions.


4 - Dark Matter Searches
Discover - August 2005 wrote:
What is it?
The Cryogenic Dark Matter Search uses an array of germanium and silicon crystals (left*) to hunt for hypothetical dark matter particles. Occasionally, a dark particle should strike an atom, setting off small but detectable pulses of heat and electric charges. Re experiment is located deep in a mine shaft (below*) to weed out signals from other, well-known particles. Several other groups are running similar experiments.
How the test works…
The superparticles, or sparticles, predicted by String Theory are consistent with astronomical observations, which imply that the universe is full of invisible dark matter. Nobody has yet been able to detect this matter directly. If the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search can identify dark particles, physicists will be able to study the particles’ properties and see if they match the predictions of String Theory. Unfortunately some other theories make similar predictions.


5 - Pure Mathematics
In general, if someone finds master equation of String Theory that can describe quantum effects, 11 dimensions, & blah blah dee blah blah, the case is shut. The author of the article states that a good test of the equation would have it attempt to describe the properties of each element in the periodic table perfectly. If it does, the physicist has nabbed it.

However I’ve yet to see propositions on how to disprove String Theory.

*Diagrams were included in the article, but as I’m too lazy to scan them all, you’ll have to use your imaginations.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon_Says wrote:
And that is where you're wrong...

I was prepared to acknowledge my failure to keep up with the subject.

I was aware of the future particle accelerator test and the sparticle/dark matter issue.

But those experiments, and the others listed, cannot prove string theory. They can only provide evidence consistant with what the theory predicts.

Simon_Says wrote:
However I’ve yet to see propositions on how to disprove String Theory.

That, sir, is the crux of the biscuit. When I said it couldn't be proven, I did not mean that experiments supporting its existence couldn't be performed. I was addressing that very concept, the concept of "this experiment could disprove string theory." That test has not been even imagined.

And until that is found, it will remain nothing more than pretty math. I stand by my statement. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

complexnumbers wrote:
But those experiments, and the others listed, cannot prove string theory. They can only provide evidence consistant with what the theory predicts.
And Blackholes have been 'proven' (technically simply just widely supported) on similiar grounds: via indirect evidence and measuring real-world effects that would be consistent with the predictions. If String Theory isn't contradicted it can be held as valid for real-world application.

So yes, Strong Theory may not be proven empirically, but would have worth if it's supported.

complexnumbers wrote:
Simon_Says wrote:
However I’ve yet to see propositions on how to disprove String Theory.

That, sir, is the crux of the biscuit. When I said it couldn't be proven, I did not mean that experiments supporting its existence couldn't be performed. I was addressing that very concept, the concept of "this experiment could disprove string theory." That test has not been even imagined.
Okay you got me there. Barely understood what you said, but you got me.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simon_Says wrote:
Barely understood what you said

Oh, I get that all the time. I am, after all, a math teacher.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Proof" in mathematics and physics has different meanings. A mathematical proof is an set of statements that follow logically from first principles and reach a conclusion. Proof in the natural world simply means that a given theory explains known phenomena and makes testable predictions.

Solid mathematical proofs are very unlikely ever to be disproven. Physical theories like Newton's theory of gravitation get disproven the more we learn and observe.

That said, String Theory is difficult to prove, even by lesser standards.

As I understand it, the mathematics of String Theory is so complex that physicists can only make approximate solutions; however, since there is reason to believe that the mathematics are nonlinear, approximate solutions may be way off the mark.

I've followed in a desultory fashion Peter Woit's blog "Not Even Wrong" and am looking forward to reading his book of the same name. He explores the controversies, especially the non-falsefiability, of String Theory. Other notable String skeptics include Sheldon Glashow and Richard Feynman.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the end, all we have is theories - nothing can really be proven and a theory is always a simplification of 'the universe'.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rene Descartes wrote:
In the end, all we have is theories - nothing can really be proven and a theory is always a simplification of 'the universe'.

Cogito Ergo Sum?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as I can tell, modern psysisists seem to think rather as follows:

" Physisist A: Uh oh, we don't know how this works/ this contradicts our current assumptions. I guess that proves our earlier theory wrong.

Physisist B: Don't worry! Rather than modifying our current assumptions or hypothesis, we can just MAKE SHIT UP! That way, we can get out of admitting we were wrong earlier, and maybe win a Nobel prize or something!

Physisist A: woah, that's deep man ... "

Many physisists seem to agree that they don''t really know what's actually going on.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PROOF! I DEMAND PROOF! THE PEOPLE CRY FOR PROOF!

And until we get empiracle evidence of at least one incident that such an incident has occured, your accusations are unfounded and biased.

Jsut because you don't understand it doens't mean it's not right.

What does happen is that, in such a scenario when a theory is proven wrong, a different theory is searched for/put into place that encompasses the new information. Shit is not made up, it is made up and supports new and past observtions.

Now before you ask for proof, here it is.

Mid 20th century, physicists have two models to describe the universe: Big-Bang and Steady-state, which both explained pretty convincingly why the universe seemed to be expanding at the time.
Then some folks discovered cosmic background radiation and steady-state theory was rendered obsolete. Big bang was adopted almsot universally (there are those still searching for a new form of steady state theory that will accomodate background radiation) and has since served physics for about 40 years.

A widely held theory starts leaking, and the scientists rush to other theories that will hold water. That's how the scientific method works.
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