More Open Universe (?)

John K Clark (
Tue, 3 Feb 1998 21:33:44 -0800 (PST)


>Quantum Mechanics has modified the law of conservation of mass
>energy, it is possible to borrow mass energy from nothing, but you
>must pay it back, and the more you borrow the shorter you can keep it.


Look at it this way, the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle says that there is
a relationship between position and momentum, the more you know about one the
less you know about the other, the same relationship holds for energy and
time. If you measure the energy in a vacuum over a short time interval there
will be a large amount of uncertainty over how much energy is there. You can't
observe it but over extremely short periods of time there is nothing to
prevent huge amounts of energy from being there, enough to make matter,
if fact enough to make every particle known. Most believe that Nature is
totalitarian, if it's not forbidden it's mandatory, so some people started to
think that these particles, called virtual particles, might really exist.

You might think that this is all pointless philosophy, like arguing about how
many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but Richard Feynman proved that
it has observable consequences, like the Lamb shift in the spectrum of the
Hydrogen atom or the photon shot noise of a LASER. Even though there an
infinite number of these virtual particles Feynman showed how they effect
real particles, you can calculate with Feynman's theory and get numbers.

Calculating the effect an infinite number of virtual particles would have on
an electron, Feynman predicted in 1948 that the magnetic moment of an electron
can't be exactly 1 as had been thought but must be 1.00115965221 . Amazingly,
the best modern experiments give a figure of 1.00115965221 with an uncertainty
of 3 in the last digit. He couldn't have been guessing, nobody's that lucky,
Feynman must have been on to something important.

>It seems to me that youre saying the big bang COULDN'T have happened
>then. Since if all the mass in the universe came from nothing then it
>couldn't stay around very long.

Quantum Mechanics doesn't even have a theory of gravity so it's certainly not
ready to explain why there is something rather than nothing.

>As for the Galactic Electrical Currents..I understand (from the book)
>that evidence of their existence has been observed.

Currents strong enough to explain how a Quasar, an object smaller than the
solar system, can produce a thousand times as much energy as a galaxy of 500
billion suns? Even if we knew for sure that such currents existed, and we
don't, it still wouldn't answer the basic question, what huge power source
generated them, where did the energy come from? Gravitational collapse is the
only thing known to be able to produce that much energy in such a small
amount of space.

John K Clark

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