Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Vast expanses of nothing

According to some show I watched recently in the far distant future I night sky may be a loner place. In the show it was talking about how galaxies aren't so much moving away from each other but the area of nothing in between galaxies is expanding by some yet to be explained physics. But the shocking thing is these expanses of nothing between galaxies seem to be expanding faster than the light from nearby galaxies can reach us. So billions of years into the future all other galaxies maybe to far away for the light ever to reach because the void in between galaxies is growing to quickly.

The thing that strikes me as odd about this is apparently there is in fact something that can move faster than the speed of light, which there isn't supposed to be according to modern physics. If the universe itself can expand at a rate faster than light itself does that other things can going faster than the speed of light? What does that mean for Einstein's theories of relativity? If I remember his theory correctly moving faster than the speed of light would make it seem that time in the rest of the universe had stopped, or something to that effect.

I've been thinking about this concept of the universe expanding faster than light can travel and it got me thinking about other times that stuff seems to break through this supposedly impossible barrier. And I started to think about black holes. Once anything goes passed the event horizon of a black hole it becomes impossible to escape. Even light can't escape the gravitational pull of a black hole it is said, thus the name black hole. A hole in space that is black because no light escapes.

Now I don't know much about the physics of black holes. Maybe the gravity there is able to slow light down to below it's max speed. I don't know. But it seems to me what is happening is in a black hole the speed at which stuff falls towards the center is faster than the speed at which light can radiate out, thus not even light can escape. Thus we have another instance that something is traveling faster than the speed of light.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm no expert on this stuff. But it does give me something to think about. The first step in making new scientific discoveries is questioning the theories and mysteries around us. Maybe someone will read this and start thinking about it and figure out a new theory that explains everything in a nice neat new way. If they do I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Back Here in that post I said I can't doubt that nothing exists. Well as it turns out I have managed to doubt it. Doubt crept in silently and stealthily at first. Minor tingling in the back of my thoughts nagging at me about some undefined thing. Eventually I realized that the basic argument that I used to say that nothing exists is the same argument that some Christians use to say their god exists. And when those Christians use that argument I always laugh, at least internally, because it holds no logic what so ever.

So I started to read about nothing, and recently watched a whole hour long show about nothing, and I now have come to the belief that nothing is hard to prove to exist. First off let's get some simply ideas about nothing out of the way.

"The emptiness of space is full of nothing." Couldn't be farther from the truth. There is all sorts of light and energy flowing through space, so while it may be empty of matter for the most part it does still have stuff in it.

"The space between electrons and the nucleus of an atom is full of nothing." Well as it turns out that while there is indeed no matter in there, there is truly vast amounts of energy packed into that tiny space. I am probably wrong here but I think I read somewhere that the amount of energy packed into one atom, were it to be released all at once, would make the atom bombs we've detonated on this planet look like firecrackers. Let's hope that I'm wrong or that we never figure out a way to make that happen.

According to the show I watched about nothing, in same way that was never clearly explained as it would probably take untold hours of highly complex physics lectures to truly understand, the closer you get to a space of nothing tiny particles of matter and antimatter can pop into existence for the tiniest amounts of time and then annihilate each other back into nothing. So apparently something can be created from nothing.

So this begs the question for me of did nothing exist before the Big Bang? That I'm afraid will have to come another day as my thoughts on that matter are still trying to arrange themselves into a semi-coherent format.