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(io9)   New theory claims that the universe isn't expanding, just getting tubby, huffing and puffing a bit on stairs   (io9.com) divider line 48
    More: Interesting, logical possibility, redshifts, Big Bang theory, speed of light  
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2136 clicks; posted to Geek » on 18 Jul 2013 at 4:34 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-07-18 04:32:45 PM
Interesting generalization, but it would require all masses everywhere to linearly increase at exactly the same rate. I suppose that's not much weirder than the fabric of space stretching.
 
2013-07-18 04:41:07 PM
Oh, great. I bet the universe washes itself with a rag on a stick.
 
2013-07-18 04:45:09 PM
And Leon is getting larger!
 
2013-07-18 04:45:14 PM
It makes sense, as the hydrogen in the stars are making heavier and heavier atoms. However that would imply some kind of input of hydrogen from somewhere in the universe? Perhaps I read this wrong, and that would be easy with the shortness of the TFA.
 
2013-07-18 04:50:23 PM
I wonder if this might be detectable through mathematical constants over time that are dependent on (theoretically) changing mass values related to other static values.  If mass is slowly increasing but volume isn't, for example, could the increase in density be detected as an impact on a constant in some formula?
 
2013-07-18 04:52:33 PM

Lonestar: It makes sense, as the hydrogen in the stars are making heavier and heavier atoms. However that would imply some kind of input of hydrogen from somewhere in the universe? Perhaps I read this wrong, and that would be easy with the shortness of the TFA.


The Nature article is somewhat better.  The idea is that if you had a 1KG reference weight sitting outside the universe, and a 1KG weight in the universe, the weight in the universe might slowly be gaining more absolute mass.  Normally we measure mass in relative units to other masses within the universe, but compared to a static amount outside the universe it might be increasing within the universe.  With everything gaining at the same rate though the ratios hold steady and there is no obvious way to measure it.
 
2013-07-18 04:53:25 PM
As Krauss said "nothing is unstable".
 
2013-07-18 04:55:52 PM

NkThrasher: Lonestar: It makes sense, as the hydrogen in the stars are making heavier and heavier atoms. However that would imply some kind of input of hydrogen from somewhere in the universe? Perhaps I read this wrong, and that would be easy with the shortness of the TFA.

The Nature article is somewhat better.  The idea is that if you had a 1KG reference weight sitting outside the universe, and a 1KG weight in the universe, the weight in the universe might slowly be gaining more absolute mass.  Normally we measure mass in relative units to other masses within the universe, but compared to a static amount outside the universe it might be increasing within the universe.  With everything gaining at the same rate though the ratios hold steady and there is no obvious way to measure it.


So...you're telling me to lay off the Pringles?
 
2013-07-18 04:56:30 PM

Lonestar: It makes sense, as the hydrogen in the stars are making heavier and heavier atoms.


Negatory; hydrogen fusion does not result in a net gain in mass.
 
2013-07-18 04:57:55 PM

Lonestar: It makes sense, as the hydrogen in the stars are making heavier and heavier atoms. However that would imply some kind of input of hydrogen from somewhere in the universe? Perhaps I read this wrong, and that would be easy with the shortness of the TFA.


I think he's proposing that electrons are getting heavier?? How and why I don't think is even proposed.
 
2013-07-18 04:58:44 PM

miss diminutive: So...you're telling me to lay off the Pringles?


Pringles are fine, it's the layering with thousand island dressing that's the kicker.
 
2013-07-18 05:03:06 PM
NkThrasher:The Nature article is somewhat better.  The idea is that if you had a 1KG reference weight sitting outside the universe, and a 1KG weight in the universe, the weight in the universe might slowly be gaining more absolute mass.  Normally we measure mass in relative units to other masses within the universe, but compared to a static amount outside the universe it might be increasing within the universe.  With everything gaining at the same rate though the ratios hold steady and there is no obvious way to measure it.

Presumably you could measure the change over the very long term. If the mass of everything is increasing then shouldn't the gravitational attraction of all objects increase as well?
 
2013-07-18 05:03:51 PM

NkThrasher: miss diminutive: So...you're telling me to lay off the Pringles?

Pringles are fine, it's the layering with thousand island dressing that's the kicker.


And then there's the big glass of caramel milkshake to wash it down.
 
2013-07-18 05:09:01 PM

To The Escape Zeppelin!: NkThrasher:The Nature article is somewhat better.  The idea is that if you had a 1KG reference weight sitting outside the universe, and a 1KG weight in the universe, the weight in the universe might slowly be gaining more absolute mass.  Normally we measure mass in relative units to other masses within the universe, but compared to a static amount outside the universe it might be increasing within the universe.  With everything gaining at the same rate though the ratios hold steady and there is no obvious way to measure it.

Presumably you could measure the change over the very long term. If the mass of everything is increasing then shouldn't the gravitational attraction of all objects increase as well?


Yeah, my thought is that constants in equations might change over time if this were true and the universe was trying to maintain consistency.  Where a given star and planet would orbit eachother consistently throughout the universes timeline due to those dials getting tweaked as the absolute mass values shift.

Or something.
 
2013-07-18 05:20:00 PM
I knew the universe was American. USA! USA!
 
2013-07-18 05:20:50 PM
He ain't heavy, he's my universe.
 
2013-07-18 05:29:26 PM

qorkfiend: Lonestar: It makes sense, as the hydrogen in the stars are making heavier and heavier atoms.

Negatory; hydrogen fusion does not result in a net gain in mass.


In fact it results in a net loss in mass, as a portion of of the mass of the fusing hydrogen is converted to energy.

He was, of course, reading it wrong.
 
2013-07-18 05:43:32 PM

Lonestar: It makes sense, as the hydrogen in the stars are making heavier and heavier atoms. However that would imply some kind of input of hydrogen from somewhere in the universe? Perhaps I read this wrong, and that would be easy with the shortness of the TFA.


Steady State Theory of the Universe?
 
2013-07-18 05:55:48 PM
FTA: the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

So we are at the point in the universe's evolution where things aren't expanding or contracting to any significant degree? I guess it could be the case as the time it would take for everything to slow down and reverse towards a big crunch would probably be a very long time.

Just a weird thought; do we know if the force of gravity is infinite or is it finite in reach?
 
2013-07-18 06:03:47 PM

Befuddled: FTA: the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

So we are at the point in the universe's evolution where things aren't expanding or contracting to any significant degree? I guess it could be the case as the time it would take for everything to slow down and reverse towards a big crunch would probably be a very long time.

Just a weird thought; do we know if the force of gravity is infinite or is it finite in reach?


Technically and mathematically, all forces are infinite in reach, it's just that they get really, really small the farther away you get from whatever is exerting the force.
 
2013-07-18 06:34:12 PM
This is a fairly old hypothesis.  Scott Adams even talks about it in one of his Dilbert books.  The problem has been no one's ever been able to figure out a way to test it.

And IO9 being run by total numbskulls, they call it a "theory".  Sigh.
 
2013-07-18 06:38:23 PM
Estimated to most distant part of universe: 13.5 billion light years

Actual: 'bout tree-fiddy
 
2013-07-18 06:39:22 PM

LrdPhoenix: Befuddled: FTA: the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

So we are at the point in the universe's evolution where things aren't expanding or contracting to any significant degree? I guess it could be the case as the time it would take for everything to slow down and reverse towards a big crunch would probably be a very long time.

Just a weird thought; do we know if the force of gravity is infinite or is it finite in reach?

Technically and mathematically, all forces are infinite in reach, it's just that they get really, really small the farther away you get from whatever is exerting the force.


Hmmm, keep in mind that changes in fields (gravitational, electromagnetic) propagate at the speed of light. So actually they have finite extent, maximally bounded by the speed of light and the time that the field is in existence (often decribed as a "light cone").
 
2013-07-18 06:40:58 PM
An interesting corollary of this theory is that electric and magnetic fields produced by particles must also be increasing at a similar rate. Otherwise a mass spec would exhibit target shift, your microwave would frequency shift, etc due to the change in larmor radius. If you can figure out a demonstrable mechanism for this you'll have made a big step to a theory of everything.
 
2013-07-18 06:57:03 PM

Shazam999: This is a fairly old hypothesis.  Scott Adams even talks about it in one of his Dilbert books.  The problem has been no one's ever been able to figure out a way to test it.

And IO9 being run by total numbskulls, they call it a "theory".  Sigh.


An accelerating universe is considered "fact" by many based of the same evidence that supports this "theory". The proposed mechanisms for the former are essentially unobservable things like dark matter and dark energy. Neither meet my personal bar for a good model of reality which is "is it useful".
 
2013-07-18 06:58:44 PM

Cucullen: An interesting corollary of this theory is that electric and magnetic fields produced by particles must also be increasing at a similar rate. Otherwise a mass spec would exhibit target shift, your microwave would frequency shift, etc due to the change in larmor radius. If you can figure out a demonstrable mechanism for this you'll have made a big step to a theory of everything.


All we need to do is find some microwave ovens from a few billion years ago, and see if the popcorn setting is much greater or smaller than now.
 
2013-07-18 07:03:08 PM

Cucullen: An interesting corollary of this theory is that electric and magnetic fields produced by particles must also be increasing at a similar rate. Otherwise a mass spec would exhibit target shift, your microwave would frequency shift, etc due to the change in larmor radius. If you can figure out a demonstrable mechanism for this you'll have made a big step to a theory of everything.


What if there is a shift, though, but it's just too small for us to detect over the duration of our measurements?

I'm not sure what the exact rate of change this hypothesis would require, but if it's taken billions of years without drastic changes in the structure of the cosmos then that'd indicate it was hyper-miniscule.
 
2013-07-18 07:13:28 PM

ISO15693: All we need to do is find some microwave ovens from a few billion years ago, and see if the popcorn setting is much greater or smaller than now.


Dude, you should apply for a grant.
 
2013-07-18 07:28:31 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: LrdPhoenix: Befuddled: FTA: the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

So we are at the point in the universe's evolution where things aren't expanding or contracting to any significant degree? I guess it could be the case as the time it would take for everything to slow down and reverse towards a big crunch would probably be a very long time.

Just a weird thought; do we know if the force of gravity is infinite or is it finite in reach?

Technically and mathematically, all forces are infinite in reach, it's just that they get really, really small the farther away you get from whatever is exerting the force.

Hmmm, keep in mind that changes in fields (gravitational, electromagnetic) propagate at the speed of light. So actually they have finite extent, maximally bounded by the speed of light and the time that the field is in existence (often decribed as a "light cone").


Yep, and therein lies the problem, considering the universe is expanding faster than light.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-07-18 09:20:38 PM
You can't just change the mass of the electron. We have spectra of distant objects showing that physical constants were real close to present day values. That means not only masses but coupling constants. Fine structure constant, ratio of proton to electron mass, nuclear forces to ensure nucleosynthesis works, etc. Lots of ratios have to be maintained. Once you postulate that everything except light is changing in proportion, you are back to a "tired light" theory.
 
2013-07-18 11:27:27 PM

DirtyDeadGhostofEbenezerCooke: Estimated to most distant part of universe: 13.5 billion light years


*eyetwitch*
 
2013-07-18 11:36:38 PM
Even weirder:

What if it's not that particles in the past were lighter.

What if there's some property of the universe that makes particles LOOK lighter the farther away in spacetime they are.

As the Hawaiians say:

Hwoah.
 
2013-07-18 11:45:56 PM
The red shift of the universe can be explained by looking at 4chan. The rest of the universe is trying to get further away from us.
 
2013-07-19 12:09:08 AM

Shazam999: This is a fairly old hypothesis.  Scott Adams even talks about it in one of his Dilbert books.  The problem has been no one's ever been able to figure out a way to test it.

And IO9 being run by total numbskulls, they call it a "theory".  Sigh.


No, Scott Adams' thing was just some nonsense he personally made up about replacing gravity with a theory of "everything getting bigger". It had no relation to any actual science.
 
2013-07-19 12:39:54 AM
And since it's io9, you just KNOW it's true!
 
2013-07-19 01:57:50 AM

Wellon Dowd: And Leon is getting larger!


img43.imageshack.us
 
2013-07-19 02:08:09 AM

Lonestar: It makes sense, as the hydrogen in the stars are making heavier and heavier atoms. However that would imply some kind of input of hydrogen from somewhere in the universe? Perhaps I read this wrong, and that would be easy with the shortness of the TFA.

-
The hydrogen is making heavier atoms yes, but not for the same reason. 2 hydrogen atoms fuse to form deuterium (hydrogen with a neutron) which then fuses with another hydrogen to form Helium 3 (two protons and a neutron) which fuses with another Helium 3 to form 2 hydrogen atoms and a helium 4 atom. TFA is saying that the actual mass of atoms is increasing (as in, a single hydrogen has more mass now than a hydrogen X years ago).
-

NkThrasher: To The Escape Zeppelin!: NkThrasher:The Nature article is somewhat better.  The idea is that if you had a 1KG reference weight sitting outside the universe, and a 1KG weight in the universe, the weight in the universe might slowly be gaining more absolute mass.  Normally we measure mass in relative units to other masses within the universe, but compared to a static amount outside the universe it might be increasing within the universe.  With everything gaining at the same rate though the ratios hold steady and there is no obvious way to measure it.

Presumably you could measure the change over the very long term. If the mass of everything is increasing then shouldn't the gravitational attraction of all objects increase as well?

Yeah, my thought is that constants in equations might change over time if this were true and the universe was trying to maintain consistency.  Where a given star and planet would orbit eachother consistently throughout the universes timeline due to those dials getting tweaked as the absolute mass values shift.

Or something.

-
Theoretically, we could probably use gravitational waves to measure this. If the amplitude of these gravitational gets less as we look further back, I guess that could potentially show that actual mass is increasing (although they would also be redshifted, so there'd be some convolution effects in there).
-

Befuddled: FTA: the colours of old galaxies would look redshifted in comparison to current frequencies, and the amount of redshift would be proportionate to their distances from Earth. Thus, the redshift would make galaxies seem to be receding even if they were not.

So we are at the point in the universe's evolution where things aren't expanding or contracting to any significant degree? I guess it could be the case as the time it would take for everything to slow down and reverse towards a big crunch would probably be a very long time.
-

Actually, the expansion of the Universe is increasing, meaning a Big Crunch would never happen. In order for the Big Crunch to happen, the Universe would have to be closed. In an open universe, the universe increases in its expansion. A flat universe will continually expand at the same rate. Our universe is only very slightly open, so it is only now starting to accelerate in its expansion.
-

From TFA: "But as Cartwright notes in his article, other physicists are not hating the idea. " - Basically, this is code for "no one has made fun of me to my face about this theory."

Also, let us remember: a theory is anything that could be used to explain something whereas a Theory is something that has repeatedly shown to be correct.
 
2013-07-19 02:38:23 AM
Can I tell my girlfriend that her mass is getting larger?
 
2013-07-19 06:42:59 AM
Gotta say I often wonder if there is only one possible solution to the redshift at distance. We may just be not understanding the real reason and have made up this amazing story to fit reality where the entire universe forms at once in a magical event, created almost...

It`s a human problem.
 
rpm
2013-07-19 09:34:44 AM

NkThrasher: Lonestar: It makes sense, as the hydrogen in the stars are making heavier and heavier atoms. However that would imply some kind of input of hydrogen from somewhere in the universe? Perhaps I read this wrong, and that would be easy with the shortness of the TFA.

The Nature article is somewhat better.  The idea is that if you had a 1KG reference weight sitting outside the universe, and a 1KG weight in the universe, the weight in the universe might slowly be gaining more absolute mass.  Normally we measure mass in relative units to other masses within the universe, but compared to a static amount outside the universe it might be increasing within the universe.  With everything gaining at the same rate though the ratios hold steady and there is no obvious way to measure it.


Yeah, there is. He's proposing that the shift is due to change in mass.

So, keep a constant mass and watch how the spectrum changes.
 
2013-07-19 10:24:58 AM

Befuddled: Just a weird thought; do we know if the force of gravity is infinite or is it finite in reach?


Gravity follows the inverse square law
 
2013-07-19 10:35:18 AM

Alonjar: Befuddled: Just a weird thought; do we know if the force of gravity is infinite or is it finite in reach?

Gravity follows the inverse square law


I just realized that link is probably horribly confusing.  Basically, every time you double the distance from the source, the signal strength is squared.  So if gravity had a strength of 10 at a distance of 10, when you move to a distance of 20, your strength is only 3.162.

So a mathematician might say that gravity can travel an infinite distance at infinitely weaker strengths... and someone who isnt an asshole would say that eventually, the strength would become so weak that its useless and not measurable.  So no, its not really infinite..... to everyone except mathematicians.
 
2013-07-19 11:20:41 AM

rpm: Yeah, there is. He's proposing that the shift is due to change in mass.

So, keep a constant mass and watch how the spectrum changes.


He's proposing not just that the mass changes, it's that mass gets more massy-er.  The problem is measuring it over a time period that will show the effect if it were true, if it takes several million years to change enough to be measured meaningfully then that's not a way to measure it that is useful.
 
2013-07-19 01:32:55 PM

Cucullen: Shazam999: This is a fairly old hypothesis.  Scott Adams even talks about it in one of his Dilbert books.  The problem has been no one's ever been able to figure out a way to test it.

And IO9 being run by total numbskulls, they call it a "theory".  Sigh.

An accelerating universe is considered "fact" by many based of the same evidence that supports this "theory". The proposed mechanisms for the former are essentially unobservable things like dark matter and dark energy. Neither meet my personal bar for a good model of reality which is "is it useful".


Are you a dumb-dumb???  Did you even read the farking article?
 
2013-07-19 01:55:43 PM
Hm, what if it has something to do with an emergent effect of the Higgs field that grants mass to matter? This is just a laymen's random philosiraptor idea...but for example, maybe the appearance of acceleration caused by increase of mass is itself a consequence of observing large objects from a very large distance?

Perhaps the Higgs field located along the light's path over space between us and the faraway objects is subtly distorting what we see. Fields and its virtual particles can have a infinitely large superposition (correct me if wrong). Therefore maybe faraway objects just appear to have extra mass because we're observing them from the point of view of the objects appearing to interact with "extra" Higgs forces than they actually are.
 
2013-07-19 02:04:20 PM

Alonjar: Alonjar: Befuddled: Just a weird thought; do we know if the force of gravity is infinite or is it finite in reach?

Gravity follows the inverse square law

I just realized that link is probably horribly confusing.  Basically, every time you double the distance from the source, the signal strength is squared.  So if gravity had a strength of 10 at a distance of 10, when you move to a distance of 20, your strength is only 3.162.

So a mathematician might say that gravity can travel an infinite distance at infinitely weaker strengths... and someone who isnt an asshole would say that eventually, the strength would become so weak that its useless and not measurable.  So no, its not really infinite..... to everyone except mathematicians.


Gravity doesn't interact at infinite distance, it interacts at the speed of light. So, sure, it's effects are mathematically infinite, but that's just because the formula is a measure of force under the assumption that the measured object is within your light cone.
 
rpm
2013-07-19 02:30:34 PM

Alonjar: I just realized that link is probably horribly confusing.  Basically, every time you double the distance from the source, the signal strength is squared.  So if gravity had a strength of 10 at a distance of 10, when you move to a distance of 20, your strength is only 3.162.


You might want to check your math. Double distance = quarter strength. 10 * 0.25 = 2.5
 
2013-07-20 03:38:10 AM

torusXL: Hm, what if it has something to do with an emergent effect of the Higgs field that grants mass to matter? This is just a laymen's random philosiraptor idea...but for example, maybe the appearance of acceleration caused by increase of mass is itself a consequence of observing large objects from a very large distance?

Perhaps the Higgs field located along the light's path over space between us and the faraway objects is subtly distorting what we see. Fields and its virtual particles can have a infinitely large superposition (correct me if wrong). Therefore maybe faraway objects just appear to have extra mass because we're observing them from the point of view of the objects appearing to interact with "extra" Higgs forces than they actually are.


Photons don't interact with the Higgs field though. And you read it incorrectly, in that the further objects have less mass. Basically, the idea utilizes the full relativistic mass-energy equivalence, where E^2 = (m*c^2)^2 + (p*c)^2, with E being the energy, m the invariant mass (colloquially the rest mass), c the speed of light, and p the momentum of the object in question. So, really what the researcher is doing is saying that if we look backwards in time, we'll see that mass gets smaller (inversely, mass increases as the universe ages). Say an object, in the past, emits a photon of energy E0 = sqrt( (m0 * c^2)^2 + (p*c)^2 ). Now fast forward to now, where the object is more massive. Now it'll emit a photon with energy E1 = sqrt( (m1 * c^2)^2 + (p*c)^2 ). Because m1 > m0, E1 > E0. Photons are massless, so the mass term of the equation drops out. So then the energy of the original photon, E0 = p0 * c and the energy of the modern photon would be E1 = p1 * c. So here you can see that because E1 > E0, p1 > p0 which means that the past photon would appear redder than if the same object had emitted the photon more recently.

(N.B. The momentum term in the object's energy equations is NOT the same as the momentum term in the photons' equations.)
 
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