# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?  (Read 5222 times)

#### thedoc

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##### Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« on: 12/02/2014 16:30:01 »
Mike Collins asked the Naked Scientists:

On the latest podcast, you were speaking about entropy and Mr. Boltzmann. You explained that entropy causes formal structures to degenerate to randomness.

We are told that space-time has a formal structure, which can be warped in proximity to a massive object (magnetic lensing and all that). Is it possible that entropy is acting on the structure of space-time?

My idea is that the speed of light is dependent on the medium through which it travels - it has different speeds in space, air, glass, etc. Why doesn't it go a bit faster, or a bit slower in space?

Something about space sets its speed at C = 286,000 miles/sec, and if space-time, being a formal structure of some sort, is suffering an entropic degradation, then the speed of light may be changing.

I can't envisage what the structure of space would be like, but I was
magnetic field components at right-angles to each other.

I thought that space may be something like a three-dimensional fishing net, where the knots are nodes of some sort, and the strings between them are
links. If one of these links was to break in a given volume of space, once in an indeterminate period, then that could explain the entropic degradation of the structure. They might even break due to the stress of the expansion of space.

We are told that in the very, very early moments after the Big Bang, the universe expanded at a rate greater than the speed of light. Was that calculation done in terms of the speed of light - eg - the expansion worked out at 115% of C, or was it done in absolute terms - eg, it worked out to 200,000 miles per sec, and the inference was drawn that it was faster than light?

If light is slowing due to entropy working on space time, then when the universe was brand new, just out of the box, so to speak, then the structure of space-time may have been in better nick, so that although the universe may have expanded at a rate greater than the speed of light is now, it may but not have been faster than C was then. I'm sure Einstein would find this explanation palatable, because he did say, did he not, that nothing goes faster than light.

If light is slowing down, then the light year is shortening, and all astronomical measurements are in terms of light years. Could it be that the expansion of the universe is not accelerating, but that the yardstick is shrinking?

The acceleration of expansion of the universe is determined by looking at things that happened a very long time ago (billions of years), to see what the expansion was like then, but as the light from those events has been on its way here for a very long time, its average speed over that distance (supposing that light is slowing down) would be higher than previously supposed.

My main concern with the idea is that if light set off at a higher speed, then its slowing would compress its waves, and so cause a blue shift - unless that blue shift is small compared with the red shift caused by the expansion of the universe.

So maybe the universe is expanding at a slightly higher rate than we thought, but not accelerating?

Well, I'm an ordinary guy who likes the ideas of physics and astronomy, but I don't really know much about it. I'm not a physicist or a mathematician (though I can still remember some school trig! :-) I'm afraid I'm unable to prove or disprove the hypothesis - I don't have the knowhow - but I'd certainly like to hear the comments of somebody who can.

Regards,

Mike Collins.
Groeslon
Gwynedd

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 12/02/2014 16:30:01 by _system »

#### Ethos_

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2014 18:48:47 »
Mike Collins asked the Naked Scientists:

My idea is that the speed of light is dependent on the medium through which it travels - it has different speeds in space, air, glass, etc. Why doesn't it go a bit faster, or a bit slower in space?
This is something I've been considering for some time now. Maybe a true vacuum would allow faster than light speed. And while we are speculating, if that possibility is true, maybe instantaneous action at a distance might be possible. Some people have suggested that gravity propagates at this instantaneous rate otherwise planetary orbits would decay much faster than we see them doing so. Maybe the graviton passes thru space unaffected by intervening material allowing it to propagate instantaneously?

Quote from: thedoc

We are told that in the very, very early moments after the Big Bang, the universe expanded at a rate greater than the speed of light. Was that calculation done in terms of the speed of light - eg - the expansion worked out at 115% of C, or was it done in absolute terms - eg, it worked out to 200,000 miles per sec, and the inference was drawn that it was faster than light?
While we are speculating, if the Big Bang occurred in a true vacuum, and our previous suggestions are valid, then the resultant expansion would exceed the speed of light until loosing enough energy to slow down ending the inflationary period.
Quote from: thedoc
If light is slowing due to entropy working on space time, then when the universe was brand new, just out of the box, so to speak, then the structure of space-time may have been in better nick, so that although the universe may have expanded at a rate greater than the speed of light is now, it may but not have been faster than C was then. I'm sure Einstein would find this explanation palatable, because he did say, did he not, that nothing goes faster than light.

If light is slowing down, then the light year is shortening, and all astronomical measurements are in terms of light years. Could it be that the expansion of the universe is not accelerating, but that the yardstick is shrinking?
Interesting thought my friend.

Quote from: thedoc

My main concern with the idea is that if light set off at a higher speed, then its slowing would compress its waves, and so cause a blue shift - unless that blue shift is small compared with the red shift caused by the expansion of the universe.

So maybe the universe is expanding at a slightly higher rate than we thought, but not accelerating?

Well, I'm an ordinary guy who likes the ideas of physics and astronomy, but I don't really know much about it. I'm not a physicist or a mathematician (though I can still remember some school trig! :-) I'm afraid I'm unable to prove or disprove the hypothesis - I don't have the knowhow - but I'd certainly like to hear the comments of somebody who can.

Regards,

Mike Collins.
Groeslon
Gwynedd

What do you think?
I'm not qualified myself to make intelligent judgments regarding these thoughts but I do think they are worthy of more consideration. I'm sure we shall hear from others here about these suggestions and I'm anxious to see what some of our esteemed colleagues have to offer.................Ethos
« Last Edit: 12/02/2014 18:50:55 by Ethos_ »

#### andreasva

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #2 on: 12/02/2014 20:07:46 »
I had another thought which states similarities to what you're saying, which is posted under "Could dark energy simply be gravity?" in answer to that question.  if you're interested and have a few moments to kill, give it a read.

The gist is, we are neither expanding nor contracting, we transfer energy from mass to the vacuum density of space, and contract inward while space grows denser, giving an illusion of expansion and contraction.  We're actually headed the opposite direction from which we perceive, and will eventually just fizzle out.  The graph of the universe will follow an inverse square law graph.  No constants, just perceived constants.  That sorta thing.
« Last Edit: 12/02/2014 20:31:39 by andreasva »

#### jeffreyH

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #3 on: 13/02/2014 15:26:27 »
Mike Collins asked the Naked Scientists:

My idea is that the speed of light is dependent on the medium through which it travels - it has different speeds in space, air, glass, etc. Why doesn't it go a bit faster, or a bit slower in space?
This is something I've been considering for some time now. Maybe a true vacuum would allow faster than light speed. And while we are speculating, if that possibility is true, maybe instantaneous action at a distance might be possible. Some people have suggested that gravity propagates at this instantaneous rate otherwise planetary orbits would decay much faster than we see them doing so. Maybe the graviton passes thru space unaffected by intervening material allowing it to propagate instantaneously?

If gravity propagates instantly then objects would not miss each other and settle into orbit. Everything would be one mass. It is only because of a delay in propogation that we get the elliptical shape of the orbitals.

#### JP

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #4 on: 13/02/2014 19:04:16 »
As an idea, its interesting, but you need some meat to the theory for it to be grounded in science.  If the speed of light in vacuum were changing in time, then that would presumably have more effects than just distant light.  You would have to take that into account and check if the consequences of such an idea are in line with what we observe or not.

#### Colmik

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #5 on: 20/02/2014 16:01:40 »
As an idea, its interesting, but you need some meat to the theory for it to be grounded in science.  If the speed of light in vacuum were changing in time, then that would presumably have more effects than just distant light.  You would have to take that into account and check if the consequences of such an idea are in line with what we observe or not.
Yes, I agree, that's the way to do it - though personally, I don't have the knowledge or the inventiveness / equipment to prove or disprove it.  If the speed of light in a vacuum were changing very slowly - at a rate of, let's say, one part in several billion per very long period - would we be able to measure it?  We can only measure changes in quantities over time by looking at measurements from previous experiments, but any that were available would be far too recent.  The only way I know of is to look at very distant galaxies, but how would we be able to measure or extrapolate what the speed of light was the time it was leaving those galaxies?  We can only sense it when it arrives.  Would we be able to measure the deceleration of light even if it was greater than suggested in my original question?  Bearing in mind what happened to the Michaelson-Morley experiment to measure our speed through space, I think we probably couldn't.  It would need somebody cleverer than me to devise a method.

This is something I've been considering for some time now. Maybe a true vacuum would allow faster than light speed. And while we are speculating, if that possibility is true, maybe instantaneous action at a distance might be possible. Some people have suggested that gravity propagates at this instantaneous rate otherwise planetary orbits would decay much faster than we see them doing so. Maybe the graviton passes thru space unaffected by intervening material allowing it to propagate instantaneously?
By "true vacuum", I guess you mean one that is devoid of, for example, gravitational field?  One that has no space-time structure?  It seems to me that such a vacuum would exist outside of the universe as we know it, and as this is the only universe we know, such a vacuum exists only in the realms of speculation (perhaps between the branes of a multiverse?)
If it had no structure in it at all, then as light would have no medium through which to move, my guess is that light wouldn't be able to go through it at all.  Light is described as a wave.  It's difficult to envisage a wave through nothing, and if light is a stream of photons (I don't think it is while it's traveling), then your true vacuum would be full of photons, and consequently, not a true vacuum, devoid of everything.

Certainly, if gravity propagated instantaneously, that would drown any thought about gravitational waves.  Einstein predicted gravity waves, and I'd be very hesitant about stepping on his toes.  I don't think gravity waves have been detected yet, but so much of what he postulated has been proved true, that I think this one is likely to be correct also.
Have a look at the last update, "TheDoc", to http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=48527.0

As I understand it, Entanglement suggests the possibility of instantaneous action at a distance - but how that works is yet another thing beyond my ken!

I had another thought which states similarities to what you're saying, which is posted under "Could dark energy simply be gravity?" in answer to that question.  if you're interested and have a few moments to kill, give it a read.
Thanks andreasva .  I had already read your article, though I didn't really understand all of it.  I can't find it now.  Could you give me the link?

#### Colmik

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #6 on: 20/02/2014 17:03:46 »
If gravity propagates instantly then objects would not miss each other and settle into orbit. Everything would be one mass. It is only because of a delay in propogation that we get the elliptical shape of the orbitals.

That's not the way I understand it.  Gravity is an artifact of the interaction of space-time with mass.  Space-time is warped in the vicinity of mass, and this warping produces the phenomenon of gravity.

As for the elliptical orbit, conduct this little thought experiment.  Remove the Earth's atmosphere to discount the effects of air resistance.  Now take a tennis ball a hundred miles up (arbitrary) and hold it stationary, directly above the North pole, and release it.  There's nothing special about the pole, but it makes my explanation easier.  The ball drops directly towards the centre of gravity of the Earth, and will hit its surface right at the North pole.  Now, instead of dropping it, throw it, not very hard, at 90 degrees to the Earth-tennis ball line.  The throw gives it motion in an orbital direction, but as its speed in that direction is low, it will hit the earth a little distance from the North pole.  Now throw it again, but this time, throw it much harder, so that instead of hitting the earth anywhere near the North pole, it just barely hits the Earth at the equator.  Now throw it again, but a little bit harder than last time, so it doesn't hit the earth at all.  It goes into an elliptical orbit, and that has nothing to do with the delay in the propagation of gravity.

Newton said that a body stays in its state of motion or rest unless acted upon by a force - and forces push - they don't attract, so even Newton was uncomfortable with the idea that gravity is an attractive force.  We had to wait for Einstein to put a different slant on that, and show that gravity effectively pushes massive objects together.  Gravity doesn't suck.  Nonetheless, all orbital calculations are done using the Newtonian laws of motion, and although Newton didn't have any idea of the "delay in propagation"  that you mention, he knew that orbits were mathematically elliptical.  If you want to see the maths behind it, do an Internet search for "why are orbits elliptical newton", and you'll find plenty of material.

#### Phractality

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #7 on: 20/02/2014 23:02:16 »
The meter is based on the polar circumference of Earth, and the second is based on the rotation of Earth. Both known values were used to measure the speed of light (in vacuum) c, and then the speed of light became the new basis for the meter and second. The speed of light is now c = 299,792,458 meters per second... by DEFINITION. You can only change it by changing that definition or by changing the definition of the meter or the second. So it makes no sense to talk about the speed of light varying.

If you want to define space-time with variable c, then you will need to invent new units of distance and time against which to measure the speed of light. For example, you might define the Hubble limit as a fixed number of distance units, and the time for light to travel half that distance could be your unit of time. Measured in those units, everything else would be variable.

If you measured a meter and a second, using those alternative units, you might find that they are variable. The speed of light, in meters per second would be the same as defined, but in alternative units of distance and time, it could be variable.

#### jeffreyH

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #8 on: 21/02/2014 01:49:58 »
If gravity propagates instantly then objects would not miss each other and settle into orbit. Everything would be one mass. It is only because of a delay in propogation that we get the elliptical shape of the orbitals.

That's not the way I understand it.  Gravity is an artifact of the interaction of space-time with mass.  Space-time is warped in the vicinity of mass, and this warping produces the phenomenon of gravity.

As for the elliptical orbit, conduct this little thought experiment.  Remove the Earth's atmosphere to discount the effects of air resistance.  Now take a tennis ball a hundred miles up (arbitrary) and hold it stationary, directly above the North pole, and release it.  There's nothing special about the pole, but it makes my explanation easier.  The ball drops directly towards the centre of gravity of the Earth, and will hit its surface right at the North pole.  Now, instead of dropping it, throw it, not very hard, at 90 degrees to the Earth-tennis ball line.  The throw gives it motion in an orbital direction, but as its speed in that direction is low, it will hit the earth a little distance from the North pole.  Now throw it again, but this time, throw it much harder, so that instead of hitting the earth anywhere near the North pole, it just barely hits the Earth at the equator.  Now throw it again, but a little bit harder than last time, so it doesn't hit the earth at all.  It goes into an elliptical orbit, and that has nothing to do with the delay in the propagation of gravity.

Newton said that a body stays in its state of motion or rest unless acted upon by a force - and forces push - they don't attract, so even Newton was uncomfortable with the idea that gravity is an attractive force.  We had to wait for Einstein to put a different slant on that, and show that gravity effectively pushes massive objects together.  Gravity doesn't suck.  Nonetheless, all orbital calculations are done using the Newtonian laws of motion, and although Newton didn't have any idea of the "delay in propagation"  that you mention, he knew that orbits were mathematically elliptical.  If you want to see the maths behind it, do an Internet search for "why are orbits elliptical newton", and you'll find plenty of material.

If forces don't attract how do you explain gluon interaction with quarks? This is a boson as a graviton would have to be. If you hold to the position that gravity pushes then it can not originate from within a mass so where do you suggest it originates?

#### Colmik

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #9 on: 02/03/2014 20:28:35 »

If forces don't attract how do you explain gluon interaction with quarks? This is a boson as a graviton would have to be. If you hold to the position that gravity pushes then it can not originate from within a mass so where do you suggest it originates?

Like Winnie the Pooh, I'm a bear of very little brain, and when it comes to quantum physics, I'm afraid I can't even discuss the subject with you.  However, my belief is that Enstein spent his latter years in search of the "Unified theory" - the equation that would tie macro-mechanics and quantum mechanics together - but he didn't find it.  Other physicists have attempted it too, and I believe that string theory kind-of does it - but that's also beyond the scope of my understanding.  As far as I know, the two worlds (macro and micro) still follow different rules, and Prof Feinman said that if anybody thinks they understand quantum mechanics, they don't understand quantum mechanics.  There is nothing in the realm of the macro-mechaics of Einstein or Newton that bears any resemblance to quantum entanglement.  Einstein called it "Spooky action at a distance".  No gravitational manifestation has an analogue with wave-particle duality.  At this point in the scientific endeavour, is it realistic to compare one realm with the other?

I don't know how magnets attract each other either,  but when they are in opposition (North to North) there is certainly a pushing action between them.  I can only assume that when they are North to South, the magnetic lines that flow(?) out of the more distant ends of the magnets are concentrated at the point of apparent attraction, and that the magnets are being pushed down a potential gradient, just as heat and charge are pushed away by the energy present at the environment of greater potential.  I don't know how gravity works (does anybody?), but I understand it to be a field that exists everywhere in the universe that is "warped" by proximity to a massive object.  In that case, there would be a greater gravitational potential at greater distance from the massive object, which would exert a force towards the massive body on any object in its vicinity.  We are taught at school that as a body is raised (in a gravitational field), its potential energy is increased.
« Last Edit: 02/03/2014 20:31:30 by Colmik »

#### yor_on

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #10 on: 05/03/2014 18:56:54 »
Heh :)

I don't know. Seems to me that you're suggesting a continuum, consisting of a universe in where the speed of light in a vacuum always will be measured to a same speed 'inside it', although somehow connected to the structure/limits of that same continuum? Let us assume that this is correct, how will you prove it? What you seem to be suggesting is that there should be somewhere, from where we could observe our continuum to expand, and possibly also contract, and if we just could place ourselves 'there' we would be able to notice, and define, how 'c' varies?

Because you need a 'platform' from where to define it. If there only is a 'inside', then there is no platform from where we can define light as a variable. Because 'in here', 'c' always is 'c'. You need to create a 'outside' from where we can measure this, also finding a way to guarantee this 'outside' not to behave in the same manner as our redefined 'inside', or you will have to accept that we only have a 'inside' to measure in,

#### yor_on

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #11 on: 05/03/2014 20:17:44 »
You can also think of it this way. As long as you're in a 'relative motion', aka 'uniform motion', (no accelerations involved) you will measure 'c' to be 'c'. For this it does not matter what you define that uniform motions speed to be, as relative the 'Cosmic Background Radiation', for example. Now, assuming that there is one 'right way' to define 'c', the rest having to do with it adapting to 'expansions and contractions' you can apply this on relative motions too.

Because then they must matter, and finding yourself at a faster pace relative the CBR than some other observer, the 'c' you (locally) measure then must be a result of those 'Compressions & Contractions' relative what speed you defined yourself to have (and here it won't matter what I use to measure that speed relative actually, as long as we accept that everything else also must be measured relative it.)

Doing so we now make two observers, one at double the speed of the other, traveling in a same direction. One of them will then have a contracted space, the other a less contracted, depending on their speeds relative the CBR. Both are in a uniform motion, and both measure 'c'. Measuring the sunlight from faraway stars the faster will find that light to contain more energy, than the one moving slower will. But applying an idea of an outside on this, we now are describing multiverses. Each one of the observers finding a different universe than his counterpart, although both agree on it containing the same amount of stars for example. The different contractions (measured in/through space) are locally definable for each one of them, and each one of them make their measurements relative their own local clock, which never is found to change its pace (ticking) relative themselves. Locally described each observer is 'as always', no matter what speed they define.

But they find differently contracted universes, and they will not agree on the time something takes. And we just need to define different speeds for this to happen. Now we need to agree on how we measure this, is one universe more correct than the others? Which clock is more right? And what would I see if I could go 'outside' this SpaceTime? I think you would see 'multiverses' myself, although I also don't think it is possible to discuss it as there being a 'outside'. There is no 'outside' from where we can define absolute motion, and contractions/expansions. All of those are local definitions.

The definitions we use are from uniform motion, in where we can find a common ground to define physics from, and with it constants as 'c'. So we have a commonality that we can build from, creating those repeatable experiments, and define a 'commonly shared universe'. But, it's all local definitions, and the universe those observers describe are both as correct as far as I can see. Neither one is wrong.

#### tinmen9

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #12 on: 08/04/2014 12:24:16 »
I've read that some think the big bang is cyclical, and i wondered if there was a mechanism that tied that to the accelerated expansion.  What if the universe is expanding but as a torus.  So the universe is expanding outwards but also back towards itself.  Gravity is working on itself to accelerate until it all accelerates to immense speed and meets itself at a single point in a big bang.

#### Colmik

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #13 on: 08/04/2014 22:35:57 »
yor-on, you said "Seems to me that you're suggesting a continuum, consisting of a universe in where the speed of light in a vacuum always will be measured to a same speed 'inside it', although somehow connected to the structure/limits of that same continuum? Let us assume that this is correct, how will you prove it?"

I'm not 100% sure that I understand everything you are saying, but as far as I do understand it, I am saying the same thing you are.  You say "What you seem to be suggesting is that there should be somewhere, from where we could observe our continuum to expand".  Well, no - what you say about measurement of the speed of light when travelling at different velocities is the same as my understanding, but what I am suggesting is not position-dependent ("somewhere"), but time-dependent (more like "sometime" in the past).    It stands to reason that anything we can find out, has to be found out by experiments conducted in our place and time, so I can't imagine any experiment to find out if light left its source of origin, billions of years ago, at a different velocity from what we perceive when it arrives - because we can only actually measure it when it arrives here and now.  That's not to say that no possible experiment can be done - it only says that I can't imagine what it could be.

What I am suggesting is that if the speed of light had been measured here where we are, or anywhere else in the Universe, but billions of years ago, it may have appeared faster than it does now, if these things are true ...

1. C is limited or defined by the medium through which it travels
2. The inter-stellar medium is space-time (which, we are told, has a structure)
3. Formal structures degenerate to randomness due to entropy
3. If the formal structure of space-time is degrading due to entropy, then ...
4. The higher-integrity structure of space-time may have allowed light to travel at a higher speed in the past

This could offer an explanation of sorts to two things that currently seem counter to other dearly-held beliefs.

a) So far, dark Energy has not been described, and if my idea holds any credence, then it offers a possible explanation.  If light is slowing down, then a universe that is experiencing a linear,  or even a slowing expansion, would appear to be expanding at an accelerating rate. Consequently, we would no longer need dark energy to explain the acceleration - as there would not be any acceleration!

b) I don't pretend to understand the reasons, but we are told that the universe expanded at a speed greater than the speed of light for a short period after the Big Bang.  If it was really traveling at super-c speeds, then as it slowed down to c, the mass of every particle would have been infinite, so it would never have been able to slow down to a speed les than c.  All this conflicts with what Einstein told us - and, of course, his theory may not be the ultimate theory, as Newton's wasn't - but if the structure of space-time was near-perfect when it was still very new, then light may have traveled much faster than it does now, and the expansion of the universe may have remained sub-c, which would be a more comfortable explanation of how this massive expansion could have happened.

#### JP

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #14 on: 09/04/2014 00:21:06 »
A couple of quick points, Colmik.

1) Your ideas about entropy and space-time may be interesting, but like so much in physics, the devil is in the details.  It's one thing to say that a very nebulously defined thing may make sense, it's a completely different thing to give that statement rigorous scientific meaning.  It's hard to tell if your ideas have any scientific substance without more details.

2) The universe's expansion at speeds greater than c doesn't violate relativity or give infinite masses to anything.  The limit on speed is only with respect to an object's immediate neighborhood.

#### jeffreyH

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #15 on: 09/04/2014 10:48:34 »
If light speed were a variable then the strength of gravity is also a variable. c^2 is used in the calculation of the Schwarzschild radius of a mass describing the extent of the event horizon. This means that gravity would have been much stronger in the past. If that was so it would have acted against inflation. You would also have a variation in mass. It could indicate that particles were larger as the Planck length would also vary. I don't see how it would work. Unless it all exactly balanced with scale. One way to determine this is to look at the apparent size of distant galaxies. Do we see larger galaxies at greater distances?

#### Colmik

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #16 on: 14/04/2014 18:29:00 »
Thanks, good people,

The last two responses are the kind of thing I was looking for.
Quote
It's one thing to say that a very nebulously defined thing may make sense, it's a completely different thing to give that statement rigorous scientific meaning.
Yes, I agree, JP.  I had the idea, but as you say, it's fuzzy, and I don 't have the knowledge or intellect to to add to it, or the authority to give it scientific meaning.  My hope in postulating it here was only that it might spark an idea in the mind of somebody who does have that knowledge and intellect to take it forward, or to tell me why it's nonsense.  I respect your views, which are undeniable, but if my idea is untenable, you have not told me why.

Quote
If light speed were a variable then the strength of gravity is also a variable.
Now there's a thought - one that had not occurred to me.  It could be that the answer to why my thoughts are rubbish lies in that sentence - but I don't have the background to appreciate the implications.

I have a sort-of inkling of the connection between space-time, gravity, mass and C insofar as I feel in my bones that they are intimately inter-related - but it's a non-mathematical inkling.  Could you explain it further - in layman-speak?

#### evan_au

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #17 on: 14/04/2014 23:18:48 »
Some recent results announced by the BOSS experiment measured the expansion of the universe in an earlier period of time. They are claiming 1% accuracy for the speed of expansion.

This uses a method where they use the bright light of distant qasars, shining through the hydrogen gas of intermediate galaxies to collect spectral information on the speed of matter at all points between the qasar and our telescopes.
See: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2014/01/08/boss-one-percent/

#### jeffreyH

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #18 on: 15/04/2014 01:26:36 »
Thanks, good people,

The last two responses are the kind of thing I was looking for.
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It's one thing to say that a very nebulously defined thing may make sense, it's a completely different thing to give that statement rigorous scientific meaning.
Yes, I agree, JP.  I had the idea, but as you say, it's fuzzy, and I don 't have the knowledge or intellect to to add to it, or the authority to give it scientific meaning.  My hope in postulating it here was only that it might spark an idea in the mind of somebody who does have that knowledge and intellect to take it forward, or to tell me why it's nonsense.  I respect your views, which are undeniable, but if my idea is untenable, you have not told me why.

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If light speed were a variable then the strength of gravity is also a variable.
Now there's a thought - one that had not occurred to me.  It could be that the answer to why my thoughts are rubbish lies in that sentence - but I don't have the background to appreciate the implications.

I have a sort-of inkling of the connection between space-time, gravity, mass and C insofar as I feel in my bones that they are intimately inter-related - but it's a non-mathematical inkling.  Could you explain it further - in layman-speak?

I am not the best person to ask. There are others here who could explain the current state of the theory better. It is an interesting subject to explore but gets very complicated after a certain point. This would be a good starting point.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_of_gravity

#### Colmik

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #19 on: 16/04/2014 00:38:06 »
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It [...] gets very complicated after a certain point
Oh, dear!    :P

I'm reading the article now.  Thanks for the pointer.

#### yor_on

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##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #20 on: 18/04/2014 15:05:07 »
Well, if we simplify, which I'm a great fan of, then it boils down to if 'c' is a constant, or not?

If 'c' is a constant we have a, rather weird, but still simple logic describing a SpaceTime. If 'c' isn't a constant, although non-measurably so, then it won't matter as long as the logic we use is consistent with what we measure to be true. If 'c' is measured to vary and so no longer a constant, then relativity should be wrong, but experiments so far states the opposite?
=

Btw: So, as I understands, would Maxwell's equations be? As that is where from Einstein said he based his ideas of light as a constant (SR).
« Last Edit: 18/04/2014 15:11:44 by yor_on »

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: Is the universe expanding or is it the calculation changing?
« Reply #20 on: 18/04/2014 15:05:07 »