Daddy, where did I come from? (Chapter One)

A question in a theoretical physics forum on the web. “Are there any new models of the universe since the standard models arose in the last century?” No one knew of any except for those  that get called get called crackpot in these discussions. But some of them may not be as crazy as others.

Here is a start. First, abandon all presuppositions and start with observations. Einstein’s spacetime was a hypothetical structure setting itself up as a real entity. It led to multiple theoretical offshoots that simply complicated (overly so) all following theories. It was beautiful, and it felt right, but at it’s center was a mathematical assumption, that “spacetime” was a real physical entity that could be distorted, stretched, bent. something no one has still ever seen. And, of course, it didn’t say where all this might have come from.

Then came LeMaitre’s conjecture in 1927, “suppose this all started with a single event, a sudden creative expansion from a single point, maybe? That would explain the notion of an expanding universe, based on Hubble’s idea, and then we maybe could trace it backwards and maybe see when it might have happened.” Fred Hoyle pooh-poohed this and called it “a big bang.” But guess what, the name stuck. And it’s still around today. But there were still questions about it, like, it didn’t explain many of the observations of the astronomers, so a “bump” in the expansion was added, called “inflation.” No one could still suggest what might have started it either, so many ideas popped up, even a rationalization for the idea of something from nothing. Even the philosophers had a problem with that! So let’s set those models aside for a minute, and go back to starting with things we’ve actually observed.

Step 1) In 1964, two Bell Labs radio-astronomers went searching for distant evidence of objects giving of radio waves. Wilson and Penzias detected a background “noise” coming from all directions as they searched the heavens with their big horn. And guess what again, The experts exclaimed, “We must be seeing the echo of “the big bang. That just proves it happened!” And that stuck. They called it the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, CMBR, for short, now shortened further to just CMB.

Here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

The CMB is a snapshot of the oldest light in our Universe, imprinted on the sky when the Universe was just 380,000 years old. It shows tiny temperature fluctuations that correspond to regions of slightly different densities, representing the seeds of all future structure: the stars and galaxies of today.[

Since then that “background” has been confirmed multiple times. It’s a lot like that static you used to hear when you spun the radio dial between stations.. We can safely say we know it’s there. Let’s say that this “snapshot” is actually what they say, “the oldest light in our universe,” but let’s say that it’s not the echo of something like a big explosion, or the ripples from millions of novae exploding through the cosmos, What is everywhere is a field of background radiation, electromagnetic in nature, the original essence of the cosmos, that may have been there forever. Imagine it as an energy field manifesting itself as electromagnetic radiation, at an average temperature of 2.725° K. existing everywhere, unmeasurable, unfathomable, our primal preferred inertial frame of reference. That then generates the real question, “How did we get from there to here, from the shimmering darkness of this primal field to a universe bursting out of its bounds with seemingly solid masses of stars, galaxies, planets, different materials, life!”

Step 2) Then let’s accept that matter, as we call it, is energy transformed by some process or set of processes that we can see happening today in our local world. We know it works the other way, we’ve seen nuclear explosions. Some have felt them. Think E=mc2. What might those assembly processes be? What could encourage these organized, coherent objects, events, phenomena to arise out of that shimmering darkness? Well, one might include the fine scale turbulence, that shimmer in the energy field itself, much like we see in our atmosphere and oceans, our local examples of turbulence, i.e. full of currents, stratifications, concentrations, dispersals. Think chaos theory. And just as in those examples, temporary reinforcements, reverberations and resonances can lead to temporary emergence of stable patterns, like whirlpools in water, typhoons in the atmosphere, sound patterns, music, down to dust devils in the desert. So can temporarily stable entities arise in the cosmos.

At first, these would be tiny and local but because we are talking about concentrations of energy, and we know that the intensity of “hot spots” or disturbances carry with them distortions of the medium around them, we can see that we’ve developed a more intense region surrounding and reinforcing the effect that started it all in the first place. Example: a hurricane starts as a small low pressure local storm, but its effect is to increase in size and intensity as it draws energy in toward it’s heart. And until some disruptive event occurs, like making landfall on a coast, it continues to grow and intensify in a rule-based form.

So now we have at least one, maybe more points of high energy and distortions in the region surrounding them, regions of higher energy that by their presence alone, encourage more energetic activity. And we know our hot spots are surrounded by an unlimited supply of energy, even if it’s only at 2.725° K.

Note that we said “temporarily stable” earlier. In cosmic terms, and at cosmic time scales, temporary can mean from a femtosecond up to billions of years, and we have local, contemporary evidence of both, just as we have local, contemporary evidence of the existence of similar entities.

Step 3) So what have we got to? A) a medium out of which orderly, perceptible entities can arise and become stable, even if only temporarily. B) high energy points of many sizes serving as focal points of high energy regional distortions of the underlying field. Now fit this model into Einstein’s General Relativity. Those regional distortions could easily be seen as the “curves of spacetime” that he imagined caused what we call gravity, except now they are manifestations of a real substance, an energy field, not a mathematical abstraction made up of two non-real hypotheticals. So suddenly we have physics, not just a mathematical abstraction.

And how do we get from gravity to magnetism? Well, we set some of those regions of high energy concentration to spinning. And this spinning further disturbs the field and from that disturbance arises the power of a magnetic field with its axis at its center giving it direction and polarity.

Does this give us a hint at possible explanations for some other mysteries? Well that field, that vast source of energy called in our ignorance “empty space” might just be what the mystical physicists have taken to calling “dark energy.” And those regions of distortions in the field might just be that other new favorite mystery “dark matter.” It’ s worth thinking about. Like, wouldn’t that behave just like gravity?

There’s more to come, of course. We need to get from little points of energy on up to stars, and galaxies, and ultimately, us. But we’ve got lots of other known mechanisms right here in the local real world that we can see as possibilities. There are phase transitions that work to make more stable forms, there are the mechanisms of rule based processes like Cellular Automata, Self-organizing systems, and Self-organizing Criticality. There’s fractal geometry to suggest some of the rules that the universe might be following, recursive geometries that demonstrate how the same simple rules can apply in both the micro- and macro- worlds. And if we give up on the unresolvable mysteries of relativity and quantum mechanics and substitute continuum mechanics; if, instead of quantum field theory with it’s dozens of interacting fields surrounding every “particle,” we think of one field, distorted locally by the presence of energy “hotspots;” if we think of the primal field as an elastic solid instead of a hornet’s nest of buzzing “particles,” we might find a route of inquiry leading to new insights as to how the real world works, and a real understanding of how the microworld relates to the macroworld. This is, of course, just a start.

There’s more. Chapter 2 is coming.

If you’re still interested, much of this is tied together in my books and the articles on my website. I invite you to take a look at them. And try to imagine the world in a different way.

Charles Scurlock June 10, 2016


About Charles Scurlock

Charles is a recently retired architect/planner and generalist problem-solver with a lifelong interest in science, physics, and cosmology, and the workings of the human mind. He has started this blog in the interest of sharing his ideas with others of like-(or not so like) minds.
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