Cosmologist suggests universe might not be expanding after all

Aug 14, 2013 by Bob Yirka weblog
Image credit: Hubble/NASA

(Phys.org) —Cosmologist Christof Wetterich of the University of Heidelberg has uploaded a paper to the arXiv server in which he claims it's possible that the theory of expansion of the universe might be incorrect. He suggests instead that the redshift observed by researchers here on Earth might be caused by an increase in the mass in the universe.

For nearly a century, the consensus among has been that the universe started with a Big Bang and has been expanding ever since. This hypothesis formed because researchers found that in analyzing the light emitted from stars, a redshift occurred—where its frequency changes as an object that emits light moves away from us. But Wetterich says the redshift might me due to something else—an increase in the total mass in the universe.

Wetterich's idea is that light emitted from an atom is governed by the mass of its particles—if that atom were to become larger in mass, the light that it emits would change in frequency as its became more energetic. More energy would appear as light moving toward the blue spectrum, while less energy (an atom losing mass), would move toward the red spectrum. Thus, Wetterich reasons, if the mass of observable objects were once less, we would now see them with a as they expand. If his line of reasoning is true, Wetterich says it's possible that the universe is actually contracting.

Wetterich's paper hasn't been peer reviewed yet, but thus far, comments by others in the field suggest openness to this new line of thinking. That might be because one exciting prospect of this new theory is that it would do away with the idea of a existing just before the Big Bang—a point at which conventional physics breaks down. Instead it might suggest that the universe is simply in a constant state of flux with no real beginning and no real end.

Unfortunately, Wetterich's theory can't be tested because of the relative nature of mass. Everything we are able to see has a mass that is relative in size to everything else. Thus if it's all growing, we wouldn't have anything to measure it against to see that it's happening.

Explore further: Two families of comets found around nearby star Beta Pictoris

More information: A Universe without expansion, arXiv:1303.6878 [astro-ph.CO] arxiv.org/abs/1303.6878/

Abstract
We discuss a cosmological model where the universe shrinks rather than expands during the radiation and matter dominated periods. Instead, the Planck mass and all particle masses grow exponentially, with the size of atoms shrinking correspondingly. Only dimensionless ratios as the distance between galaxies divided by the atom radius are observable. Then the cosmological increase of this ratio can also be attributed to shrinking atoms. We present a simple model where the masses of particles arise from a scalar "cosmon" field, similar to the Higgs scalar. The potential of the cosmon is responsible for inflation and the present dark energy. Our model is compatible with all present observations. While the value of the cosmon field increases, the curvature scalar is almost constant during all cosmological epochs. Cosmology has no big bang singularity. There exist other, equivalent choices of field variables for which the universe shows the usual expansion or is static during the radiation or matter dominated epochs. For those ``field coordinates`` the big bang is singular. Thus the big bang singularity turns out to be related to a singular choice of field coordinates.

via Nature

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Fisty_McBeefpunch
2.5 / 5 (29) Aug 14, 2013
"Unfortunately, Wetterich's theory can't be tested because of the relative nature of mass."

Then don't call it a theory.
antialias_physorg
4.3 / 5 (12) Aug 14, 2013
Everything we are able to see has a mass that is relative in size to everything else. Thus if it's all growing, we wouldn't have anything to measure it against to see that it's happening.

Seems to be testable if one were to take a mass and accelerate it to near light speed and keep it there for a time (e.g. in a ring accelerator. A few atoms would do). Due to time dilation those particles will experience a different mass increase than other particles. The different spectrum red-shift once these atoms are then taken out again with respect to particles of the same element that were left at rest should be measurable.

If that#s not a valid test then the biggest problem I have with this theory is that it posits a universal (Newtonian) time concept - which doesn't seem to be what the universe is based on.
cantdrive85
1.2 / 5 (39) Aug 14, 2013
Wetterich's paper hasn't been peer reviewed yet, but thus far, comments by others in the field suggest openness to this new line of thinking.

I wonder why?
Unfortunately, Wetterich's theory can't be tested because of the relative nature of mass.

Of course, makes perfect sense now. This fits right in with the rest of the "standard model" which cannot be tested, which is most of it!
panorama
4.3 / 5 (17) Aug 14, 2013
I wonder why?


That's not a question.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (17) Aug 14, 2013
Wetterich's paper hasn't been peer reviewed yet, but thus far, comments by others in the field suggest openness to this new line of thinking.

I wonder why?

Because it's on arxiv? Which is a PREprint server. There's no peer review for putting stuff on arxiv. Once he submits it for publication in a journal or conference peer review will be done - never fear.
wealthychef
4.4 / 5 (14) Aug 14, 2013
"Unfortunately, Wetterich's theory can't be tested because of the relative nature of mass."
Then don't call it a theory.


They correctly use the word "hypothesis" later in the article, but switch back to "theory" again, and it's hard for me to keep arguing that newspeople need to stop using that word in this context. I wish we scientists would stop abusing the word "theory" as we do. We should use a word that doesn't make it sound like theories are unproven hunches, like a TV detective comes up with. I spent a bit of time explaining this to an acquaintance recently, and he never really got it. It's unfortunate terminology.
Wealth
1 / 5 (2) Aug 14, 2013
Can anybody answer how we know the Universe's expansion is accelerating? I'm familiar with all the TV versions of how Edwin Hubble noted the redshift, and interpolated the big bang, and all that, but how can we possibly measure the Universe's acceleration? Just because the further out we look, the faster the universe appears to expand doesn't mean the universe is accelerating now. "It was expanding more quickly back then", is the most you can infer.

If the Universe appears to expand faster the further away you look, then surely that means the Universe's expansion is decelerating. In other words: The closer-in you look, the older is the Universe, and the slower is the expansion, so, as it's ageing, it's getting slower, right?.

Help me understand why this ain't so, because it's making my brain ache. Thanks.
Aaron1980
1 / 5 (10) Aug 14, 2013
The universe can be accelerating but there does not need to be a big bang or a singularity for a beginning.

If one assumes that each cubic centimeter of space spontaneously creates "X" number of particles and increases in size by "X" size then when looking across the universe one can see an expanding and accelerating amount of space between every cubic centimeter of space. That it looks to us like it had a beginning a specific period of time ago is just that that is as far back as we can see because the universe is bigger than the distance the speed of light can travel. It therefore appears as a singularity because we can't see any farther back in time that that.
antialias_physorg
4.7 / 5 (13) Aug 14, 2013
Can anybody answer how we know the Universe's expansion is accelerating?

Was going to type it out but the wikipedia article on this is rather straight forward:
http://en.wikiped...hange.3F

Basically it's to do with the vaiability of the Hubble constant and that if you look further back there is a discrepancy between the brightness of a 'standard candle' and the redshift expected for the light emanating from it. If the Hubble constant were truly a constant then there would be a simple ratio. But if the redshift increass less than expected the further you go back then that means back then expansion wasn't as fast.
Basically you have to look at the first derivative of the redshift
(Redshift always increases with distance. It's the speed of that increase that's important for accelerating/decelerating universe models).
Wealth
2 / 5 (4) Aug 14, 2013
"the young universe observed at remote distance appears expanding relatively slower than today."

Is that so? Wow, I'd always assumed that the redder the wavelength, the quicker away from us the object was moving, and that the further out we look, the redder the wavelengths are. I must have seen a hundred documentaries on the subject, and always came away believing that. Oh, well, thanks for putting me straight.
hemitite
2.6 / 5 (5) Aug 14, 2013
I know - there was just less blue in the universe way back then so everything looked redder!

I'm no expert here, but wouldn't a low mass early universe have a rather hard time forming galaxies?
Q-Star
4.4 / 5 (13) Aug 14, 2013
If one assumes that each cubic centimeter of space spontaneously creates "X" number of particles and increases in size by "X" size then when looking across the universe one can see an expanding and accelerating amount of space between every cubic centimeter of space. That it looks to us like it had a beginning a specific period of time ago is just that that is as far back as we can see because the universe is bigger than the distance the speed of light can travel. It therefore appears as a singularity because we can't see any farther back in time that that.


A singularity is nothing more the place where maths/physics don't work.

There is nothing in any observations that "appears" to be a singularity. What there is is the impenetrable wall of the CMB. Your reasoning can't explain the CMB or the observed redshift or the observed large-scale structure or the observed matter abundances. Or why we don't see these so-called particles being created. Other than that,,,,,,,,,,
brt
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 14, 2013
I know - there was just less blue in the universe way back then so everything looked redder!

I'm no expert here, but wouldn't a low mass early universe have a rather hard time forming galaxies?


since mass is equivalent to energy, if the energy of the early universe was continually compressed over billions of years into smaller and smaller confined areas (known as matter), then the mass of the *visible* universe is increasing by gradually confining more and more energy.

Am I the only one that read his paper? nevermind, i know the answer to that.
brt
3.2 / 5 (13) Aug 14, 2013
Wetterich's paper hasn't been peer reviewed yet, but thus far, comments by others in the field suggest openness to this new line of thinking.

I wonder why?
Unfortunately, Wetterich's theory can't be tested because of the relative nature of mass.

Of course, makes perfect sense now. This fits right in with the rest of the "standard model" which cannot be tested, which is most of it!


Are you a moderator that just makes outrageously false statements in order to get people worked up so that they'll keep coming back? I hope so. The alternative is pretty sad.
barakn
4.6 / 5 (11) Aug 14, 2013
I wonder why?


That's not a question.


Maybe he's unsure if he wonders.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Aug 14, 2013
Wow, I'd always assumed that the redder the wavelength, the quicker away from us the object was moving

True. (Though you have to becareful to not get motion and expansion mixed up here)

Parts that are farther away from us are expanding faster away from us - just not linearly so.

Hubble constant is roughly 67(km/s)/MParsec. If expansion would be uniform then stuff 1MParsec away would be redshifted as if it were moving away from us at 67km/s. Stuff 2MParsec away twice as much, etc. So in that you are correct: the further away the faster it seems to be moving (the more it is redshifted).

However in reality stuff 2MParsec away does not quite seem to move away at twice the Hubble constant...and the further out (read: back in time) you look the less this gets... if you plot this on a redshift/distance plot then expansion was slower a long time ago and right now it's speeding up.
Noumenon
2.2 / 5 (20) Aug 14, 2013
Wetterich's idea is that light emitted from an atom is governed by the mass of its particles—if that atom were to become larger in mass, the light that it emits would change in frequency as its electrons became more energetic.


I don't get this. The energy levels of the electron in an atom (wrt emission lines determining red shift) are determined by the principal quantum number,... virtual photons interacting with the nucleus,... electromagnetic. Where does mass come into play? The virtual electromagnetic field determining energy levels, would washout the gravitational field with increase in mass, no? Again I'm speaking of electron energy levels and element spectrum in determining red shift, not kinetic energy of charges as in heat radiation.
daqman
1.5 / 5 (12) Aug 14, 2013
The only evidence for expansion of the universe comes from observation of objects at cosmological distances using electromagnetic radiation, i.e. photons. It is assumed that photons will travel through a vacuum without losing energy, analogy a ball on a frictionless surface. At the quantum level the vacuum is not empty but has a zero-point energy that leads to constant production and annihilation of "virtual" particles. The road travelled by the photon is not smooth and "frictionless". That there are, using the analogy, bumps in the road. The effect would be tiny but over the travel time from far distant galaxies not negligible and would lead to the observed red shift.
brt
1 / 5 (3) Aug 14, 2013
Wetterich's idea is that light emitted from an atom is governed by the mass of its particles—if that atom were to become larger in mass, the light that it emits would change in frequency as its electrons became more energetic.


I don't get this. The energy levels of the electron in an atom (wrt emission lines determining red shift) are determined by the principal quantum number,... virtual photons interacting with the nucleus,... electromagnetic. Where does mass come into play? The virtual electromagnetic field determining energy levels, would washout the gravitational field with increase in mass, no? Again I'm speaking of electron energy levels and element spectrum in determining red shift, not kinetic energy of charges as in heat radiation.


what?!
brt
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 14, 2013
The only evidence for expansion of the universe comes from observation of objects at cosmological distances using electromagnetic radiation, i.e. photons. It is assumed that photons will travel through a vacuum without losing energy, analogy a ball on a frictionless surface. At the quantum level the vacuum is not empty but has a zero-point energy that leads to constant production and annihilation of "virtual" particles. The road travelled by the photon is not smooth and "frictionless". That there are, using the analogy, bumps in the road. The effect would be tiny but over the travel time from far distant galaxies not negligible and would lead to the observed red shift.


There are experiments being conducted right now that test something similar to this idea. There is inconclusive evidence, though it is thought that this does happen over VERY large distances resulting in a VERY small effect; but not enough to explain the red shift, not even close. Also a big "IF" it happens
hemitite
1.8 / 5 (5) Aug 14, 2013
The main problem with the steady state universe is that it is mathematically impossible: there is no temporal infinite regress. Infinity is not even a number: inf + inf = inf, etc.

brt
3.3 / 5 (7) Aug 14, 2013
The main problem with the steady state universe is that it is mathematically impossible: there is no temporal infinite regress. Infinity is not even a number: inf + inf = inf, etc.



Infinities in mathematics often times represent limits. It's not whether or not infinity has a value, it's what infinite is saying about the equation. Infinity is often times considered an asymptote, limit, or boundary. This is the first thing you learn about infinite...in high school...

Can you prove that time is not infinite?
JenCFrost
1 / 5 (10) Aug 14, 2013
Maybe I'm missing something (been a while since I've played with deeper physics concepts, so please forgive me if I'm in error). It is my understanding that E=mc^2. And, that the first law of thermodynamics tells us that energy can change forms but not be created or destroyed. Therefore, wouldn't the expansion of the universe (kinetic energy=E) and the processes of revolving and orbiting mandate a reduction in mass of the bodies in motion by virtue of Einstein's equivalency equation and the first and second laws of thermodynamics? Otherwise, where would the energy from the expanding universe come from?
agoldmine
3 / 5 (2) Aug 14, 2013
I don't think the article necessarily describes the paper exceptionally accurately; It seems to me, after reading, that this is, for the most part a new analysis from a different frame of reference. The author states pretty clearly that this should be viewed as a complement to the current model. This is simply another way to look at a (really large) math problem. While the transformation is significantly more complicated than a simple rotation, the concept is the same-using different variables essentially allows you to avoid a singular condition in the mathematics. It's really pretty clever, should the assumptions prove valid.
Claudius
2.1 / 5 (15) Aug 14, 2013
It is my understanding that E=mc^2. And, that the first law of thermodynamics tells us that energy can change forms but not be created or destroyed.


Well, that seems to be the problem they are trying to solve, since the Big Bang idea involves, basically, the creation of the universe from... nothing.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (5) Aug 14, 2013
Therefore, wouldn't the expansion of the universe (kinetic energy=E)

Careful: Expansion, not motion.
It's not the stuff that starts to move away from one another (which would be motion and kinetic energy) but the space between the stuff that expands (which is not motion and hence no kinetic energy involved).
JenCFrost
1 / 5 (7) Aug 14, 2013

Therefore, wouldn't the expansion of the universe (kinetic energy=E)

Careful: Expansion, not motion.
It's not the stuff that starts to move away from one another (which would be motion and kinetic energy) but the space between the stuff that expands (which is not motion and hence no kinetic energy involved).

Doesn't expansion, by that definition, generate potential energy?
With gravitational pull of bodies toward themselves, it seems like kinetic energy would still be the outcome along with the decrease of mass. If not, it seems like the universe's mass would be growing and energy would be converted to mass allow the expansion of space (though this seems to go contrary to the third law of thermodynamics since it would be moving toward a more ordered state). I'm probably missing something.
Q-Star
4.1 / 5 (9) Aug 14, 2013
Doesn't expansion, by that definition, generate potential energy?
With gravitational pull of bodies toward themselves, it seems like kinetic energy would still be the outcome along with the decrease of mass. If not, it seems like the universe's mass would be growing and energy would be converted to mass allow the expansion of space (though this seems to go contrary to the third law of thermodynamics since it would be moving toward a more ordered state). I'm probably missing something.


I think it is the "kinetic" energy that is hanging ya up. The expansion is manifest in "potential" energy which is opposite in sign to "kinetic" energy. So the net doesn't change. The consensus models have a "zero" sum solution to the energy balance.

By the By: That should be the 2nd Law of Thermo,,,,,,, entropy never decreases. And the expansion is just a reflection of that, increasing entropy.
Noumenon
2.2 / 5 (17) Aug 14, 2013
Wetterich's idea is that light emitted from an atom is governed by the mass of its particles—if that atom were to become larger in mass, the light that it emits would change in frequency as its electrons became more energetic.


I don't get this. The energy levels of the electron in an atom (wrt emission lines determining red shift) are determined by the principal quantum number,... virtual photons interacting with the nucleus,... electromagnetic. Where does mass come into play? The virtual electromagnetic field determining energy levels, would washout the gravitational field with increase in mass, no? Again I'm speaking of electron energy levels and element spectrum in determining red shift, not kinetic energy of charges as in heat radiation.


what?!


Never mind, the Rydberg constant would obviously change with increase of electron mass. I misread the point.
cantdrive85
1.6 / 5 (19) Aug 14, 2013
Wetterich's paper hasn't been peer reviewed yet, but thus far, comments by others in the field suggest openness to this new line of thinking.

I wonder why?

Because it's on arxiv? Which is a PREprint server. There's no peer review for putting stuff on arxiv. Once he submits it for publication in a journal or conference peer review will be done - never fear.

An astronomer, Hal Arp produced numerous papers refuting redshift as Doppler only effect. The man in charge of the Astrophysical Journal at the time chose not to "have openness to the idea", as such chose to censor the paper. His comment was that, "it was beyond his imagination". The difference, this guys mind games fits with the current theory, Arp's paper and empirical evidence would largely falsify the current paradigm entirely.
cantdrive85
1.6 / 5 (20) Aug 14, 2013
Wetterich's paper hasn't been peer reviewed yet, but thus far, comments by others in the field suggest openness to this new line of thinking.

I wonder why?
Unfortunately, Wetterich's theory can't be tested because of the relative nature of mass.

Of course, makes perfect sense now. This fits right in with the rest of the "standard model" which cannot be tested, which is most of it!


Are you a moderator that just makes outrageously false statements in order to get people worked up so that they'll keep coming back? I hope so. The alternative is pretty sad.

Nothing I said was untrue, much of the standard theory is untestable. Apparently the solar theory is untestable, BH, or ANY process that requires gravity as the main mechanism. Which is just about everything!
collinization
1 / 5 (1) Aug 14, 2013
If mass were less in the early universe, could the mechanism of Cepheid variable stars and/or Type Ia supernova be affected?
MandoZink
4 / 5 (4) Aug 15, 2013
Hmmm. Oddly this "red-shift" theory seemingly works the same way if you assume that mass is universally shrinking instead. Nearby objects would seem to be getting farther away. The further an object is, the faster it would appear to be receding. Light emitted long ago would then have longer wavelengths relative to now - thus redder.

For any mechanism like that to exist, it would have to be occurring everywhere in the universe simultaneously or our science would not have any precision. Kind of bizarre speculation going on here.
adam_russell_9615
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 15, 2013
"Unfortunately, Wetterich's theory can't be tested because of the relative nature of mass."

Then don't call it a theory.


You mean like the big bang theory it purports to replace - that also cant be proven?
Quothe
not rated yet Aug 15, 2013
Hmmm. Oddly this "red-shift" theory seemingly works the same way if you assume that mass is universally shrinking instead. Nearby objects would seem to be getting farther away. The further an object is, the faster it would appear to be receding. Light emitted long ago would then have longer wavelengths relative to now - thus redder.

For any mechanism like that to exist, it would have to be occurring everywhere in the universe simultaneously or our science would not have any precision. Kind of bizarre speculation going on here.


Yeah I've heard this kind of shrinking 'theory' before, but at least this one only requires tweaking one fundamental constant.

But surely there is a way to test it!

Since the mass changes over time relativity should cause particles that have been travelling at relativistic speeds and have experienced time dilation to be in the past relative to local rest state particles and thus they should be less massive. The same is also true for Black holes.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Aug 15, 2013
If mass were less in the early universe, could the mechanism of Cepheid variable stars and/or Type Ia supernova be affected?

Less massive stars would mean less energy created per elementary particles fused (if E equals mc squared holds).
However, you'd need bigger stars (read: stars with more elementary particles) to start fusion - so the rate of energy creation may be unaffected (which would mean that Cepheids/Type I SN had to be formed from larger bodies back then)

The real test of this theory will have to be something where you measure the ratio of a surface effect vs. a volume effect - since the change of mass will affect these at different rates (in this caes "change of mass" means it's a volume effect.)
So we should look to something like size of a Cepheid vs. it's luminosity

Best, of course, would be to find a neutron star that should (with today's mass values) have turned into a black hole - but didn't back then. But that is a very unlikely observation.
Infinity_
1 / 5 (4) Aug 15, 2013
According to this theory, M31 is actually losing mass because it's blueshifted. Doesn't seems to be right.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Aug 15, 2013
M31 is actually losing mass because it's blueshifted.

M31 is blueshifted because it's headed towards us (on a collision course) at a speed that is greater than the expansion between the Milky Way and it.

There are several ways you can get red/blushift. Expansion OR motion away from you will cause redshift (or increase in mass as the article claims). Blueshift can be had via relative motion towards one another (or local space contraction)
brt
1 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2013
I don't think the article necessarily describes the paper exceptionally accurately; It seems to me, after reading, that this is, for the most part a new analysis from a different frame of reference. The author states pretty clearly that this should be viewed as a complement to the current model. This is simply another way to look at a (really large) math problem. While the transformation is significantly more complicated than a simple rotation, the concept is the same-using different variables essentially allows you to avoid a singular condition in the mathematics. It's really pretty clever, should the assumptions prove valid.


exactly! The point he is making is that the universe could be compressing OR expanding and it would produce the exact same results, the difference being the precise mechanism of how we got those results.
brt
1 / 5 (2) Aug 15, 2013
Wetterich's paper hasn't been peer reviewed yet, but thus far, comments by others in the field suggest openness to this new line of thinking.

I wonder why?

Because it's on arxiv? Which is a PREprint server. There's no peer review for putting stuff on arxiv. Once he submits it for publication in a journal or conference peer review will be done - never fear.

An astronomer, Hal Arp produced numerous papers refuting redshift as Doppler only effect. The man in charge of the Astrophysical Journal at the time chose not to "have openness to the idea", as such chose to censor the paper. His comment was that, "it was beyond his imagination". The difference, this guys mind games fits with the current theory, Arp's paper and empirical evidence would largely falsify the current paradigm entirely.


He hasn't been peer reviewed yet and his peers have been silent on it, so he may also be rejected...when he SUBMITS IT!
Aaron1980
1 / 5 (9) Aug 15, 2013
A singularity is nothing more the place where maths/physics don't work.

There is nothing in any observations that "appears" to be a singularity. What there is is the impenetrable wall of the CMB. Your reasoning can't explain the CMB or the observed redshift or the observed large-scale structure or the observed matter abundances. Or why we don't see these so-called particles being created. Other than that,,,,,,,,,,


The virtual particles being spontaneously created everywhere is documented.

Redshift would be the same because space is expanding and accelerating at the rate observed by the increase in space between two points. The farther the two points are from each other the faster and more amount of space is seen to be growing between them.

What appears to be an impenetrable wall in the CMB is the limit of observation where the speed limit of light cannot allow anything to be observed farther back than that and hence would appear to be a single point.
TowardsTheLight
1 / 5 (6) Aug 17, 2013
Can this explain dark matter?
Moebius
1.1 / 5 (7) Aug 17, 2013
I think the fact that we see primitive and anomalous structures at the observable limit of the universe proves that it must have expanded at one time and it would be kind of strange for it to have just stopped. Whether it's really accelerating is another question.
technodiss
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 17, 2013
zzzzzzzzzzz...science? no. zzzzzzzz...
Benni
1 / 5 (10) Aug 17, 2013
"Instead it might suggest that the universe is simply in a constant state of flux with no real beginning and no real end."

Above quote can't possibly describe the state of the Universe because of a condition within the laws of Conservation of Energy disallowing this condition to exist, it is "entropy". Within the confined boundaries of any energy generating device (stars in this case) "entropy" must be established or the power generation system will shut down very quickly.

Stars cannot have existed for the billions of years of as they have without the buildup of "entropy" which eventually reaches a maximum & energy generation shuts down. Entropy within the present age of the universe can be measured & is about 15%, that's a long way from 100% at which point energy generation from stars will shut down. Energy generation will shut down even more rapidly if there is never a buildup of "entropy" within the system, "open" flat universe old fogies do not understand this.
kotyto
1 / 5 (11) Aug 17, 2013
This expansion issue always seemed like noise put forth by the "big bang between their ears" crowd :-) There are a lot of unknowns, we should accept that their are limits on our capacity to comprehend.... those that do not..... arrogant monkeys after all.
SteveL
not rated yet Aug 17, 2013
Could these changes in photon frequency due to changes in mass be due to interaction from movement in relation to the Higgs field?
SteveL
5 / 5 (3) Aug 17, 2013
This expansion issue always seemed like noise put forth by the "big bang between their ears" crowd :-) There are a lot of unknowns, we should accept that their are limits on our capacity to comprehend.... those that do not..... arrogant monkeys after all.

Hm... Interesting that our capacity for comprehending is a mark that humanity keeps advancing. I would argue that the arrogant monkey would be the one that thinks all is known, or that there are limits to what we can ever know, not the ones that continue to pursue the unknown.
Gmr
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 17, 2013
SteveL - Count me among the unknown-pursuing-monkeys. Nothing was more interesting to me than to find out science wasn't "done."
baudrunner
1 / 5 (9) Aug 17, 2013
"Unfortunately, Wetterich's theory can't be tested because of the relative nature of mass."

Then don't call it a theory.


They call String Theory a theory, and it can't be tested either.

So Chris Wetterich uploaded a paper to the arXiv server. I guess that's all we gotta do to get noticed. Or post on these ubiquitous science sites, but I don't see my name, or even my handle, mentioned. What this article does do for me is to vindicate my right to profess that the apparent expansion of the Universe is just an optical illusion, as I've been saying all along, BTW.

Atoms with more mass are generally bigger, meaning that the atomic diameter/wavelength resonance results in a lower (red) frequency, versus a smaller atom, with its concordant higher (blue) resonant frequencies. He at least knows that, too.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Aug 17, 2013
we should accept that their are limits on our capacity to comprehend

That's for the religious crowd. If you don't want to ask questions and take youreself out of the business of comprehending that which you live in: fine.

The rest of us do like to go as far as we can (because it's fun as well as useful). That's what science does. If you don't like that then there are many cults that tell you about things you may not ask about.
Physgirl
1.8 / 5 (10) Aug 17, 2013
I wonder why?


That's not a question.


Oh yes it is. " I wonder" is a statement. "Why" is a question in and of itself. Hence, in form it is a statement, but in function it is a question.

It is a common convention to add a question mark if a statement functions as a question.

In addition, this is also a rhetorical question. "A rhetorical question is a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked in order to make a point. The question is used as a rhetorical device, posed for the sake of encouraging its listener to consider a message or viewpoint"[1]

Regards
Physgirl

[1] Wikipedia "Rhetorical Question"
Anda
not rated yet Aug 18, 2013
We just can't know yet sadly.

The only thing clear from this article and comments is that there are interesting comments like @antialias, as always, and dumb comments like "waterripples"'s who has created a new nick, as always too: @teech2. Sure you'll create a new one now.
beleg
1 / 5 (6) Aug 18, 2013
"A singularity is nothing more [than] the place where maths/physics don't work." - Q
UPS. Either united parcel service or universe positioning system.
The message delivered.
CarolynKay
1 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2013
My comment on a political website back in 2006:

If the universe is expanding...
... could not the strings be expanding, too? So that everthing's getting "bigger" with the expansion? And wouldn't that make expansion relative? And couldn't it go on forever?

http://www.dailyk...319#c122
Reg Mundy
1 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2013
From the article:-

Wetterich's theory can't be tested because of the relative nature of mass. Everything we are able to see has a mass that is relative in size to everything else. Thus if it's all growing, we wouldn't have anything to measure it against to see that it's happening.

Wetterich has just summarised the explanation for why there is no such force as gravity.
Couldn't have put it better myself (well, actually, I could and did....see "The Situation of Gravity").
obama_socks
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 18, 2013
I'm not a Cosmologist, but for many years I've had the idea that the Universe that we are a part of expands and contracts over and over in endless cycles, where the Physical Laws that we are aware of and are experiencing now, would be quite the opposite of what it is now when the cycle of change begins. Similar to a flip-flopping of polarity. But I could be wrong about that.

This expanding and contracting endlessly could be compared to the breathing cycle, where the lungs expand and fill up with air, and then at a certain point of saturation, the lungs begin to deflate or contract. At the end of deflation the lungs would transition into the next stage and begin to inflate.

Whereas in the expansion cycle or stage of the Universe, all matter and energy grow further and further apart with larger spaces in between the components which make up the Universe as well as on an atomic and possibly subatomic level. (contd)
obama_socks
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 18, 2013
Then, after the transition occurs and the contracting cycle begins, polarity changes with possible changes and reversals in Physical Laws, and all components of the Universe are attracted to everything else, which makes all matter and energy come closer together.

If I understand the article correctly, we might be in a transition period, but unlike the expanding and contracting lungs, there is no place for the matter/energy components of the Universe to go and it probably all stays in a closed environment.

So what (or who) is causing the expanding and contracting over billions of years?
Q-Star
3 / 5 (8) Aug 18, 2013
So what (or who) is causing the expanding and contracting over billions of years?


Before ya ask what (or who) is causing the expanding and contraction, first ya must put forth some observational or empirical data that would lead ya to infer that it was in FACT expanding and contracting.

The only evidence we has indicates expansion. None, zero, zilch, nada even hints that it IS, HAS or ever WILL contract. But other than that,,, it is a profound question of the first order, so I will attempt to answer in my own humble way. It's the "God of the Gaps" who is causing all this expanding we see, (and the contracting that we don't have any evidence of.)
obama_socks
1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 18, 2013
I don't know, Q-Star...a contraction of the Universe (and of all things) seems feasible. That is, IF there is a finite space where everything fits in this Universe, and no leakage of matter/energy occurs into some other Universe or dimension. But I don't think that the contraction would be so severe that you might find yourself in a big square box of compacted star stuff. However, there would need to be a catalyst to begin the process over again but in the opposite direction.

Expansion within a finite environment would also be eventually halted, or at least slowed down prior to the big reversal.
That appeals to me more than a one-shot Big Bang and then oblivion.
Q-Star
3.2 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2013
The only evidence we has indicates expansion
Surprisingly even the founder of the red shift http://nimble.nim...per.html violating expanding universe model.


How many times must ya be told that Hubble was not the founder of the redshift? Redshift was being measured and discussed two full decades BEFORE Hubble related it to receding of galaxies.

And the only thing those nimbly thinking crank brains get right is the way they spell (but not use) the jargon they use to put together their gobbledygook. Hubble DID come to the conclusion that space was expanding. It was the "Big Explosion" beginning he was unable to accept. But ya know that, we (me and many others) have shown ya many times over.

But this is what ya need to try to take in,,, (it's also been pointed out to ya ad nausium) Hubble was an observer. He posited no theories, no explanations, he always maintained that his "physics" were not up to task of explaining.
Q-Star
4.1 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2013
I don't know, Q-Star...a contraction of the Universe (and of all things) seems feasible.


Pink unicorns are feasible, ya can't prove there are none anywhere.

That is, IF there is a finite space where everything fits in this Universe, and no leakage of matter/energy occurs into some other Universe or dimension.


Ya are speculating on something that has no evidence. No phenomena associated with it. That makes it unphysical.

However, there would need to be a catalyst to begin the process over again but in the opposite direction.


The 1st & 2nd principles don't allow for it. Energy is conserved. Entropy only increases. Ya would need physics that falsifies those two first principles.

That appeals to me more than a one-shot Big Bang and then oblivion.


Postulating science in accordance with what "appeals" to ya, is not science, at best it is philosophy, at worst foolishness.
obama_socks
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 18, 2013
Now if you mean to imply that the expansion is not within the limits of a finite Universe, but instead goes on forever, that is scary because, eventually, all the lights will go out as the fuel that causes stars to burn will be used up and nobody and nothing can find a nice supply of that starmaking gas/matter to turn the lights on. I don't think any of us will be around to see that sad day.
But I don't see why contraction and expansion cycle is too foreign for you to accept or even consider.
Q-Star
3.9 / 5 (7) Aug 18, 2013
Now if you mean to imply that the expansion is not within the limits of a finite Universe, but instead goes on forever, that is scary because, eventually, all the lights will go out as the fuel that causes stars to burn will be used up and nobody and nothing can find a nice supply of that starmaking gas/matter to turn the lights on.


The best consensus models are predicting just than. But don't fret or lose sleep,,,,, not for many, many, many billions of years in the future. Maybe a trillion years in the future.

But I don't see why contraction and expansion cycle is too foreign for you to accept or even consider.


I told ya why,,,, I consider such speculations, without phenomena, or even workable mechanisms to be philosophy. It can't be tested, or falsified, that means (to me at least) it is not science. I ask the philosophers to try not encroach on me and I will not try to teach philosophy.
obama_socks
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 18, 2013
Yep...all is speculation. This whole thread is a discussion of speculation on a hypothesis. There is no evidence for the end of expansion nor is there one for a reversal of that expansion. We should live so long.
DonGateley
1 / 5 (2) Aug 18, 2013
We all know, that Einstein wasn't first, who derived the special relativity, nevertheless he's still considered a founder of it.


Sure we all know that, it's just that none of us can think of the prior's name. Can you give us a clue?
Q-Star
4 / 5 (8) Aug 18, 2013
What is important at the case of Hubble is, he - as a true scientist - was able to doubt his own interpretations and change the opinion, when he faced sufficient counter-evidence.


I agree with ya 100% on that. And he DID just that. He conceded an expanding universe. His own observations lead him to acknowledge the expansion. He only disapproved of the "Big Explosion" beginning part.

Only stupid people never admit mistake - and the scientific community as a whole. As Max Planck noted, a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. Under such a situation we should rise the serious question, if we don't pay the scientists way too much for such slowing of the actual progress. We are supposed to pay the people for acceleration, not slowing of progress, isn't it true?


That part is demented.
obama_socks
1.6 / 5 (13) Aug 18, 2013
I treat my own speculation on the topic as a big "maybe", because it's too far into the future that it's doubtful the Earth would even still be spinning independently. But my analogy to a breathing apparatus is intriguing to some, because the concept is familiar even if it smacks of sci-fi.
Well, I will be taking my ball and bat out of here now. I know when I'm licked. Tks for the input, Zeph and Q-S
Q-Star
4 / 5 (8) Aug 18, 2013
Yep...all is speculation. This whole thread is a discussion of speculation on a hypothesis. There is no evidence for the end of expansion nor is there one for a reversal of that expansion. We should live so long.


Speculation if a fine thing. Much better minds than me own have worked on this over the years. To start speculating on the issue of expansion and contraction of the universe, ya should start with Friedman's solutions for Einstein's field equations. They are the gold standard for possible universes.

Ya seem to lean towards his solution which gives a closed universe which will re-collapse. The observational, and empirical evidence does not point to that as being the correct one, but it is mathematically a correct solution. Why would ya prefer it over one of the other solutions which is backed up by observation and empirical evidence? Speculate on how it can work within the physics as we know them?
Q-Star
4.1 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2013
@ Zephyr,,,,

Your demented ponderings have no magnetism tonight. I'll let ya have another go tomorrow.

So until then,,,,, May the aether, water rippling surface waves and AWT be with ya.
Q-Star
4.1 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2013
Zephyr, I have read that so many times, it hurts me eyes to even think about reading it again,,,

Red shifts represent Doppler effects, physical recession of the nebulae, or the action of some hitherto unrecognized principle in nature.


I wonder what Hubble meant by that? Or this:

We may begin with two results which are thoroughly content with the theory. The first result concerns the assumption of homogeneity ; the second, the conclusion that groups maintain their dimensions as the universe expands.


Hubble's own words, not mine.

The rate of expansion increases more and more rapidly with distance.


And the part he got most right,,,,,,,

Ultimately, the problem should be settled beyond question by the 200-inch reflector destined for Palomar. The range of that telescope, and the corresponding ranges of the dimming corrections, should be about twice those examined in the present investigations.


And in the 50's he was firmly on board with the "expansion".
cantdrive85
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 18, 2013
We all know, that Einstein wasn't first, who derived the special relativity, nevertheless he's still considered a founder of it.


Sure we all know that, it's just that none of us can think of the prior's name. Can you give us a clue?


'Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist'
by Christopher Jon Bjerknes

"All this was maintained by Poincare and others long before the time of Einstein, and one does injustice to truth in ascribing the discovery to him." -- Charles Nordmann

"[Einstein's] paper 'Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter Koerper' in Annalen der Physik. . . contains not a single reference to previous literature. It gives you the impression of quite a new venture. But that is, of course, as I have tried to explain, not true." -- Max Born

"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources." -- Albert Einstein
DonGateley
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 18, 2013


'Albert Einstein: The Incorrigible Plagiarist'
by Christopher Jon Bjerknes

"All this was maintained by Poincare and others long before the time of Einstein, and one does injustice to truth in ascribing the discovery to him." -- Charles Nordmann


I marvel at the wingnut's hatred of Einstein. I wish it could be explained rationally but then the wingnuts are hardly rational.

It is true that the transformation due to Lorentz and Poincare existed as a phenomenological way to remove inconsistencies in electromagnetic theory but the question of why it worked stood outside the developer's consideration and they retained the belief in a propagation medium, the ether.

Einstein on the other hand derived the transform as a natural consequence of one simple added principle, the constancy of the speed of light. From that all else, including the removal of the unnecessary concept of a propagation medium, followed.

Tellingly, Poincare never claimed any priority over Einstein.
cantdrive85
1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 19, 2013
The utter devotion shown by his disciples is what is hardly rational.
As Mr. Born points out, not a single reference to previous materials. I made not a single statement, just pointed to the obvious.
DonGateley
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 19, 2013
The utter devotion shown by his disciples is what is hardly rational.
As Mr. Born points out, not a single reference to previous materials. I made not a single statement, just pointed to the obvious.


You just don't get it that the 1905 paper depended on no previous material that wasn't common knowledge (to scientists.) For the first part, kinematics, Galilean relativity plus the constancy of the measured speed of light in any inertial frame of reference regardless of the light's origin was all he needed to get here from there. I believe he did reference Maxwell for the second part, electrodynamics, and I suppose he could have referenced Galileo for the first part but...

And you can't tell the difference between devotion and respect for greatness. That says more about you than about Einstein or his "disciples."
Reg Mundy
1.7 / 5 (12) Aug 19, 2013
@Franklins
You got this right:-
the true scientist must always consider both sides of problem from their very beginning.

Max Planck knew that the establishment from the distant past to the present day always want to preserve the status quo, and they have a vast army of backside-licking acolytes like Q-Star and his fellow spackers to enforce conformity.
They say there is no evidence for Wetterich's theory, yet it convincingly explains the gravitic effect without inventing a fictitious "force" for which there is no conclusive evidence whatsoever that cannot also be ascribed to Wetterich's explanation.
isaville
1 / 5 (2) Aug 28, 2013
en que te basas?
DonGateley
2 / 5 (3) Aug 29, 2013
Had Poincare eliminated the ether he would be known as the father of relativity. As to why he didn't, he just didn't have the full insight Einstein did. It's demise followed from Einstein's novel postulates. Einstein didn't just say "if this is true then that" he demonstrated without fear of contradiction why this is true. His premises were so simple, both for special and general relativity, as to be inarguable. It was the logical consequences of those premises which he worked out that were considered amazing and earned him the stature that so many cranks find repugnant. With the possible exception of Michaelson and Morely and of course Galileo he owed no one prior credit or reference. And he didn't need them to work out what might be the case given constant light speed. Their experiment pointed to that conclusion but was hardly needed to consider it. When Einstein considered it everything fell into place to produce the purely phenomenological relations that preceded him.
Reg Mundy
1.4 / 5 (11) Aug 29, 2013
@Teech2
The aether plays an irreplaceable role in explanations of all phenomena, which the mainstream physics left unexplained.

Rubbish! There are several viable theories that do not require aether, nor any other "inventions" necessary for the theory to work. Why do so-called scientists insist on bringing into being all sorts of imaginary forces and material to justify their "religious beliefs", e.g Dark Matter, Dark Energy, gravitons/gravitinos, aether, "underwater ripples", warping of space/time, etc. etc.
Reg Mundy
1 / 5 (12) Aug 29, 2013
The subject of the article covers the expansion/contraction of matter, of which we are unaware as our entire universe including ourselves solely consists of matter. Theories based on this precept do not require the invention of a "force" of gravity, for example. I use the expansion/contraction of matter in my own theories covered in "The Situation of Gravity", but there are several similar theories you can find on the internet.