Friday, February 11, 2011

Wowah! Dirac has this wonderful insight (no wonder)… Of course, this insight, or hypothesis as they would call it, has not found takers in mainstream physics. But, the boldness and even soundness with which it has been framed by no other than Dirac merits attention.

"The large numbers hypothesis concerns certain dimensionless numbers. An example of a dimensionless number provided by nature is the ratio of the mass of the proton to the mass of the electron. There is another dimensionless number which connects Planck's constant and the electronic charge. This number is about 137, quite independent of the units. When a dimensionless number like that turns up, a physicist thinks there must be some reason for it. Why should it be, well, 137, and not 256 or something quite different. At present one cannot set up a satisfactory reason for it, but still people believe that with future developments a reason will be found.

Now, there is another dimensionless number which is of importance. If you have an electron and a proton, the electric force between them is inversely proportional to the square of the distance; the gravitational force is also inversely proportional to the square of the distance; the ratio of those two forces does not depend on the distance. The ratio gives you a dimensionless number. That number is extremely large, about ten to the power thirty-nine. Of course it doesn't depend on what units you're using. It's a number provided by nature and we should expect that a theory will some day provide a reason for it.

How could you possibly expect to get an explanation for such a large number? Well, you might connect it with another large number - the age of the universe. The universe has an age, because one observes that the spiral nebulae, the most distant objects in the sky, are all receding from us with a velocity proportional to their distance, and that means that at a certain time in the past, they were all extremely close to one another. The universe started quite small or perhaps even as a mathematical point, and there was a big explosion, and these objects were shot out.

The ones that were shot out fastest are the ones that have gone the farthest from us. That explains the relationship (Hubble's relationship) that the velocity of recession is proportional to the distance, and from the connection between the velocity of recession and the distance we get the age when the universe started off.

It's called the big bang hypothesis. There is a definite age when the big bang occurred. The most recent observations give it to be about eighteen billion years ago.

Now, you might use some atomic unit of time instead of years, years is quite artificial, depending on our solar system. Take an atomic unit of time, express the age of the universe in this atomic unit, and you again get a number of about ten to the thirty-nine, roughly the same as the previous number.

Now, you might say, this is a remarkable coincidence. But it is rather hard to believe that. One feels that there must be some connection between these very large numbers, a connection which we cannot explain at present but which we shall be able to explain in the future when we have a better knowledge both of atomic theory and of cosmology.

Let us assume that these two numbers are connected. Now one of these numbers is not a constant. The age of the universe, of course, gets bigger and bigger as the universe gets older. So the other one must be increasing also in the same proportion. That means that the electric force compared with the gravitational force is not a constant, but is increasing proportionally to the age of the universe.

The most convenient way of describing this is to use atomic units, which make the electric force constant; then, referred to these atomic units, the gravitational force will be decreasing. The gravitational constant, usually denoted by G, when expressed in atomic units, is thus not a constant any more, but is decreasing inversely proportional to the age of the universe.

One would like to check this result by observation, but the effect is very small. However, one can hope that with observations that will be made within the next few years, it will be possible to check whether G is really varying or not. If it is varying, then we have the problem of fitting this varying G with our previous ideas of relativity. The ordinary Einstein theory demands that G shall be a constant. We thus have to modify it in some way. We don't want to abandon it altogether because it is so successful.

…in theory, there will be a maximum size [to this universe]. This maximum size, expressed in atomic units, would give a large number which does not vary with the time. Now, all large numbers [are] to be connected with the age of the universe so that they will all increase as the universe gets older. If you have a theory giving you a large number, of the order of ten to the thirty-nine, which is constant, you must rule out that theory." So, it doesn't make sense that the universe is expanding and at a certain point, will contract and get back to its original state of a cloud of gas -- a 360-degree cycle so to say or the myth of uroboros, the snake eating its tail.
The consequence is that this would not lead to SINGULARITY!

Singularity has become really notorious after the futurist inventor, Ray Kurzweil who projected that computers will match human brain power by around the year 2030, opening the way for a rapid merging of electronic and biological intelligence. When would that be? Ray hints a few years down in 2045 and by the way, he is hitting 100 this year!

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