What's the (Dark) Matter?

By John Conway | February 27, 2008 7:43 pm

There really is something out there, bending the light from distant galaxies:

a2218.gif

Galaxies, and galaxy clusters, appear to be surrounded by clouds of something invisible which interacts gravitationally. It apparently also causes the rotation of galaxies to deviate from the simple prediction of Newton’s laws assuming that only the visible matter in galaxies is present.

This “dark matter” makes up nearly a quarter of the mass/energy density of the universe, whereas “light matter” (stars, interstellar dust and atoms) make up only a few percent.

Our prejudice is that dark matter has a particle nature. Theories of particle physics beyond the Standard Model these days offer many possibilities for dark matter candidate particles, many of which could be detected via their weak interactions with ordinary matter. Here we mean weak in the sense of interacting by exchanging a W or Z boson with the ordinary matter particles. The common thread among the particles proposed for dark matter is that they are weakly interacting and massive (of the order of hundreds of times the proton mass – one to several hundred GeV). Particles in this general class of dark matter candidates are called WIMPs.

If WIMPs are really there, there are only a few per cubic meter in our galaxy, and most fly straight through ordinary matter without interacting. But, if they can and do interact weakly, occaisionally they could transfer enough energy to a nucleus of ordinary matter that it would be detected, if our equipment is sensitive enough. Also, there is hope that WIMP dark matter particles could be created in the high energy collisions of the Tevatron at Fermilab or soon at the LHC at CERN, and detected indirectly by the fact that they carry away apparently missing energy.

Experimentally, now, in the area of direct detection there is a race on between two main competing technologies for observing the feeble signal of WIMP interactions. Until a few days ago, the most sensitive search for WIMPs was that of the XENON10 collaboration, using a detector of liquid and gaseous xenon as the target for the WIMPs. The detector is kept deep underground at the Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy. But at the Dark Matter 08 meeting in Marina del Rey last week, the lead in this search was recaptured by the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search collaboration. They use solid crystalline silicon and germanium detectors, cooled to liquid helium temperatures, to sense the nuclear recoil from WIMP interactions, taking extraordinary measures (as all these experiments do) to avoid false signals from cosmic rays, natural radioactivity, and stray neutrons. They did a blind search, making carefully controlled predictions of the number of WIMP signal events they expected to see, and then “opened the box” earlier this month. They expected 0.6 background events, give or take about half an event. The result: nothing. No signal from WIMPs or backgorund or anything!

To “measure nothing” is usually a great experimental challenge. You do have to convince the world that you would have seen something if it had been there, that your apparatus isn’t just mute for some other reason. CDMS have done a great job convincing the world of this, I’d say, and their result is nearly a factor of three more constraining than the previous Xenon 10 result. They show it in this plot of WIMP interaction strength versus WIMP mass:

mahapatra.jpg

What the plot is saying is that assuming that all dark matter is a WIMP of a certain mass, there is less than a 10% chance that, if the spin-independent cross section had some value greater than that indicated by the heavy black line, they would have seen no events in the detector. This can be turned around to say that at the 90% confidence level if such WIMPs exist, they must have even feebler interaction strengths than that indicated by the heavy black line.

These exclusion limits are starting to cut deep into the theoretically favored regions indicated on the plot…and the fact that there really are zero events at this stage means that any sort of five sigma discovery could be a long way away.

In the mean time, there are larger xenon based experiments planned, including a larger version of the Gran Sasso one and the LUX experiment, to be based at the nascent deep underground facility DUSEL.

And, perhaps as early as later this year, the LHC experiments CMS and ATLAS will begin to get a glimpse of the results of protons “colliding in anger” as a colleague of mine likes to put it. The Tevatron has seen no hint of WIMP production/decay yet, and so with seven times more energy, the LHC maybe able to produce the heavy particles that decay down to lighter ones which may include WIMPs such as the neutralinos predicted by supersymmetry.

I muse from time to time on the possibility that dark matter may really only interact with “light matter” gravitationally. Perhaps it is composed of an entirely separate sector which does not interact with light matter. It may be several or many particles which interact amongst themselves, forming structures we can only speculate about. If our only probe of dark matter is gravity, there will be a very long road ahead to understand it. I hope the cosmologists among the readers here can offer us more hope that indeed, there are strong reasons to believe dark matter interacts weakly…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science
  • Aaron Bergman

    You expect dark matter to be produced in the early universe and can relate its observed abundances to the scale of its interactions which is why one expects a weak scale interaction with visible matter. I don’t know what the bounds are on dark matters self-interaction, however, but I’m sure someone reading this does….

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    “Our prejudice is that Dark Matter has a particle nature”….

    Well spoken, Sean…good word choice too!

  • http://elayneriggs.blogspot.com/ Elayne Riggs

    I’m sorry, I’m still convinced that “dark matter” is what scientists have made up to help all their sums add up correctly.

  • Aaron Bergman

    Well spoken, Sean…good word choice too!

    Sean didn’t write that — John did.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/john John

    Elayne…adding up sums is one thing. But how do you explain the lensing photo? There simply is not enough ordinary matter to bend the light that much…by a factor of six!

  • http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/ Lab Lemming

    Thanks, John. A basic question:
    “Here we mean weak in the sense of interacting by exchanging a W or Z boson with the ordinary matter particles.”

    Is this the same sort of interaction that neutrinos have with protons/neutrons?

    Also, when you say there was no background, does that mean that nothing at all was detected by the detectors, or that the observed detector response matched the predictions for electronic noise/background radiation/etc?

  • JeffF

    Hi John – thanks for the publicity for our result!

    As the maker of this plot, I should note that the confidence levels are 90% rather than 95%.

    In answer to Lab Lemming’s second question, we did observe many thousands of events in our detectors – we’re quite sure they’re working. We developed a series of “cuts” on the data, defining a region of parameter space in which we expect dark matter signals to lie but background events to avoid. These cuts were developed “blindly” – we didn’t know exactly where all of the events were when we set the cuts, so we couldn’t “force” the answer to be zero or any other number. When all the cuts were applied, no events were seen. This was consistent with our expectations from our understanding of the events in our detectors and the performance of our cuts.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/john John

    Thanks Jeff, I changed 5%/95% to 10%/90%. We all do 95% CL in the collider physics world…

  • charly

    Direct detection dark matter experiments are finally probing SUSY theoretical estimates, and these are indeed exciting times for both theorists and experimentalists. Even though CDMS-II just recently “recaptured” the title of most sensitive in the world, the XENON10 (which, by the way John, *must* be capitalized – people in the collaboration like it that way) experiment was a mere prototype of double-phase noble liquid detection mechanisms, and it made a strong case against cryogenic technologies, which will not be able to keep up with tonne-scale xenon/argon detectors in the next decade.

    I happen to work on the LUX experiment, and I’m quite excited for this next-generation dark matter detector to probe unexplored regions of the WIMP’s parameter space. XENON100, XMASS and WARP (if they figure out how to get rid of Ar39) should also yield interesting results in the next couple of years.

  • charly

    btw, I believe the spin-independent plot you’re showing needs some reference (it’s from Richard Gaitskell, Mandic and Filippini)

  • Rick Romano

    I’m no scientist but I agree with Mr. Cox. Why does dark matter have to be matter at all? If it only presents itself as a gravitational manifestation pushing galaxies apart at ever increasing speeds then maybe it IS gravity or the opposite of gravity “leaking” out of the other dimensions string theorist are so adament about.

  • JeffF

    charly:
    I am exceedingly impressed by the performance of the noble liquid prototypes, and I’m also excited by the prospects of LUX, WARP and the rest. There’s still a lot to be proved for all of us in terms of background rejection, of course, but the prospects are good. Cryogenics should not be counted out just yet, however!

    Rick Romano:
    There are theories of dark matter of this ilk, but my impression is that it’s generally hard to make them agree with the whole range of current observations.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

    John, great post. Although (despite getting mistaken credit for it above) I wouldn’t quite say that it’s a prejudice that dark matter is particles. It acts like it’s made of particles, in particular non-relativistic one. From what we know, it clumps and distributes itself just like a massive non-interacting particle would. (And, say, cosmic strings or a smooth potential field would not.) Not a proof, obviously, but a bit more than a prejudice.

    We should distinguish between the technical term “weakly interacting massive particle” and “particles that don’t interact very much” — the DM is the latter, and possibly the former (in which “weak” means “the weak nuclear force”), but not necessarily. Axions are a standard example — they don’t feel the weak force, which is consistent with what Aaron says above because they were never in thermal equilibrium in the early universe.

    There certainly may be DM particles that have no more than gravitational strength interactions with ordinary matter; Wimpzillas are an example. An overview of limits on self-interactions for DM is here.

    It’s okay to contemplate the possibility that there is no DM, just modified gravity, but the data are running strongly against that idea.

    Mark had a nice post about the theoretical side of these issues.

  • karl strom

    Ah, the naming of particles. Wimpzilla sounds to me like the least scary sci-fi monster ever. As I’m only interested in physics, but not an initiate, that’s all I can add to the discussion, I’m afraid.

  • Jason Dick

    If the only interaction between normal matter and dark matter was gravity, though, how would it have ever been produced? It seems to me that the fact that it exists at all is an indication that dark matter and normal matter must interact at some level. I guess it’s just a question of how high in energy you have to go.

  • Jess Riedel

    FYI, a .png or .gif would be a better format choice for plots. .jpg ‘s are a lossy compression format designed for photographs. With many computer generated content, like plots or text, .jpg ‘s are hard to read.

  • Garth Barber

    This “dark matter” makes up nearly a quarter of the mass/energy density of the universe, whereas “light matter” (stars, interstellar dust and atoms) make up only a few percent.

    It is also instructive to realise that most of the “light matter” is in fact dark!

    The visible matter in the universe comprises of ~0.2% stars, ~0.1% nebulae, whereas the baryonic component of the universe is ~4%. (Percentages of the critical density)

    The baryonic percentage is constrained by the standard Big Bang Nucleosynthesis (BBN) model, which more of less fits the observed element relative abundance, but which is sensitive to the expansion rate of the early universe.

    There is about 13 times the amount of baryonic matter in unseen components as in visible components. This may be in the forms of Warm Hot Intergalactic Medium (WHIM) , Intermediate Mass Black Holes (IMBHs) , inter-cluster atomic hydrogen and the like.

    Could it be that some form of DE acted during the nucleosynthesis stage thus slowing down cosmological deceleration and prolonging the BBN epoch thus increasing the baryonic component of the universe? In this scenario all DM may be baryonic in form and invisible in the same way that the majority of baryonic matter in invisible in the standard model.

    The problem with this hypothesis is of course is that of finding concordance with other cosmological constraints – and finding all that conjectured the ‘missing matter’!

    Garth

  • John Merryman

    Rick,

    Why does dark matter have to be matter at all? If it only presents itself as a gravitational manifestation pushing galaxies apart at ever increasing speeds then maybe it IS gravity or the opposite of gravity “leaking” out of the other dimensions string theorist are so adament about.

    That would be dark energy. Dark matter is gravitational effect with no apparent source. It might be that the source is invisible, or it might be a problem with the model.

    If dark energy is something “leaking” out of other dimensions and consequently falling into gravitational wells, then expanding space wouldn’t be a BB event, but a process, one side of a convective cycle. So the age of the universe isn’t limited and galaxies are far older then currently assumed, so they might have had the time to overcome all drag and pull the outer bands up to speed with the inner ones. Especially since this “expansion” would also create external pressure on galaxy systems. This warping of space by expansion/gravitational contraction would bend light a fair amount. Just an idea.

  • anonymous

    Now that was a post worthy of a scientist. Good use of conditional language – ‘apparently’, ‘prejudice’. Informative. Totally devoid of name-calling and snarky comments.

    Thanks, John – it’s a lot to absorb for a non-physicist, but I’m working on it.

  • Wayne

    This can be turned around to say that at the 90% confidence level if such WIMPs exist, they must have even feebler interaction strengths than that indicated by the heavy black line.

    I don’t mean to add this to such a great physical discussion, but isn’t this invoking the exact argument of the paranormal post a week ago? It is simply that we are seeing a mass scale form of “weakly interacting” force particles. Perhaps if we had mass scale psychics… hehe, joking… kind of. Just a note.

    For relevant information, this is an article that made an impression. I am aware that data pushes for actual particles (force particles? is this possible or would that be incorrect?), but the idea of a model that, after given the proper time or attention for construction (which there clearly hasn’t been enough of either), may fit data at some point in the near future?

    Also, I enjoyed Garth’s post thoroughly. I feel that argument fits so much more simply. It could be possible our cosmological horizon hides the remains of interacting matter that simply isn’t visible as space is warped at this horizon. Imagine this, two ‘dots’ on opposite sides of a piece of paper normally unable to interact gravitationally, with us at one of the dots. Then, some mass at the horizon is so great that it folds the paper, or the dimension of space, and the dots can then interact because the space between them, through the higher dimension, is reduced through the folding of the lower dimension.

    [Imagining the Tenth Dimension]

    The DM we observe as adding to the gravitation of these galactic observations, may simply be matter on the other side of that fold interacting through the higher dimension, with the matter we observe. No DM, straight baryonic.

    May be a bit for most to wrap (or fold, hehe) their minds around, but I would consider it legitimate. Especially since our current model of the big bang assumes that at our horizon (that we cannot yet see) the mass of the universe is ‘very large’ (I won’t use ‘infinite’ here), as this would be the ‘beginning of time and space.’ If all matter is conjoined at this one point, the beginning of expansion, then of course at that point there is some form of dimensional warping because of its high density. Matter warps space. Absolute observable matter at one point, warps all observable space at one point absolutely.

    Perhaps I overextended myself, but I hope this doesn’t deter the argument at hand.

    I feel that a lack of creativity in the world has led to arguments of a mysterious nature. We require leaps of consciousness to find answers, rather than leaps of ‘faith’ in dark matter/energy. Be careful not to become as faithful as the religions you so heavily deride, scientists and physicists. For this is what you call the schmoe on the street to do in this case, in this 96% darkness, these WIMPS. Can’t see it, can’t touch it, we must have faith in it? Preposterous.

    Wayne

  • Count Iblis

    The WIMP density is inversely proportional to the annihilation cross section, which in turn should be of the same order as the WIMP- Nucleon cross section. One of the reasons why WIMPS are a favored DM candidate is because weakly interacting particles have cross sections that are consistent with the known DM density.

    However, as the cross sections are constrained to be lower and lower by direct detection experiments, they’ll soon lose their “most favored status” :)

  • Jeremy Chapman

    The new dark matter sensitivity limit reached by CDMS is quite extraordinary indeed. I have to agree with Charly (my lab mate in fact, we both work on LUX) that currently the most scalable technology is that of the noble liquid detectors (tonne scale talk is getting quite prevalent). Of course, this new result does in fact show that Si, Ge detectors are still worthwhile. In fact, for dark matter to be considered ‘detected’ it needs to be found by several experiments and even several different technologies (direct and/or indirect). This is, of course, the nature of experimental science.

    Once again, congratulations to the CDMS collaboration!

  • Shantanu

    John or Sean, what is the latest status of the
    DAMA claim for detection of Dark matter. I thought they were building a bigger detector for it.

    Sean , besides the bullet cluster, another pristine test (besides of course
    direct detection or production of dark matter) of the existence or non-existence
    of dark matter would be through grav. wave observations.

  • macho

    Re DAMA, there is a new paper out by the COUPP collaboration that effectively rules out the remaining DAMA region ( putting new limits on “spin-dependent” interactions)

    See COUPP Results

    which contains links to the press release and paper.

  • MedallionOfFerret

    Ask and ye shall receive. My thanks, and compliments, John–it couldn’t have been better. I also note that the excellence of your post is echoed in the clarity of the comments.

  • Wayne

    Sorry, Count, could you provide a brief explanation or link for those of us not as versed, for what you mean by cross-sections and annihilations, etc?

  • Count Iblis

    The new DAMA/LIBRA results will be announced at the end of this year. The only thing that has been “ruled out” is that the DAMA signal could be due to WIMPS. Although the DAMA team will dispute this for the spin dependent case, because for spin dependent interactions it is more difficult to compare different results from different detectors.

    There are many other ways one can account for both the null results of CDMS and the positive DAMA results (just search the arXiv for DAMA), so it would be wrong to say that just because other searches didn’t find anything, the DAMA results must be due to experimental error.

  • Count Iblis

    Wayne, I have to go now, but very briefly, lower sigma means that in the early universe WIMPS decouple earlier As the universe expands the density becomes lower so interaction proability will become lower as a function of time. At a certain point the WIMPS don’t interact at all, but that will happen sooner the lower the cross section is. This means that the lower the cross section the higher the temperature of the WIMPS at the point they decouple. This leads to a higher final WIMP density.

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    Dark matter appears to be what I would call cosmic cobwebs. The stuff appears to form strings and tendrils which connect galaxies and galactic clusters. Dark matter astronomically appears to interact with itself, or that it has fluid-like properties very different from a gas. This would suggest that DM is different from a standard particle with a mass.

    I frankly think it is related in some ways to a vacuum state. Maybe if dark energy is a vacuum state with w = -1, then dark energy is some alternate state, similar to gas bubbles in ice, embedded in a overall cosmic vacuum state which might be some sort of quantum critical point analogous to what occurs with Landau liquids of electrons and the so called breakdown of the fluid at the critical point with quasiparticles.

    It does not surprise me that WIMPS were not found, and I have reasons to think that SUSY pairs are not particles in the standard sense. Maybe the LHC will produce SUSY pair particle. Yet I think that the SUSY pairs in E_8xE_8 are associated with an intersection form for gravitational instantons.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Thanks Aaron…John’s name is tucked way up there!….at any rate…

    Again a great thread, with many interesting reflections on DM. Waynes’ comments on dimensional effects was interesting. A 4D framework can only accomodate macroscopic dimensions a millimeter or so in size, but I don’t see why we need to look (curiosity perhaps) for additional dimensions in an observed universe which is already known to be defined by only 4.

    Higher dimensions may be huge, vast, whatever. As Wayne points out, they are just not found in the ways they are presently being searched for. Addtional mass in the universe is a great clue to the possibility of extra large dimensions. So is the mathematical determinism implicit in SR/GR and QM…for starters.

  • md

    I’m not sure of the relevance of the scientist Nigel Cook’s article here

    http://nige.wordpress.com/2008/01/30/book/

    where among other things he states what he believes is the “correct model of quantum gravity…gravitons are
    spin-1 gauge bosons, not spin-2.”

    He acknowledges that his thinking is outside the mainstream. I just wonder how far outside, or is he on to something?

  • Wayne

    Well Sam, to us, can’t we very well be within a 3D space that is the size of a millimeter? We’d never know, would we? Physics doesn’t break down if we simply change the order of magnitude we consider our universe to be occupying. It’s a matter of perspective in my opinion.

    Here’s another article that shows how even accelerated expansion attributed to DE may be false.

    http://www.physorg.com/news123429057.html

    Enjoy, good hunting fellas.

    Wayne

  • http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/ Lab Lemming

    If the rotation of galaxies is dominated by dark matter, how far from the sun would a spacecraft have to get before the dark matter gravitational field started to dominate that of the sun?

  • http://tyrannogenius.blogspot.com Neil B.

    So MOND is kaput for sure, since we have enough data on DM distribution? (That’s the key, variations in density versus a general tweak to gravitational attraction.) I’d heard though, MOND was the only way to deal with Pioneer 10 anomaly. But could distributions of DM have to do with that also? MOND was theoretically interesting because the tiny acceleration regime below which attraction was non-linear, happened to be given by c divided by the lifetime of the universe (then it would have to change.) REM also the concept of “shadow matter” which is not quite the same idea (the form of stuff which only interacts gravitationally with ordinary matter.) DM may be SM however, presumably.

  • JeffF

    One more small note on this posting: the CDMS detectors are actually cooled to about 40 milliKelvin, about 100x colder than liquid helium temperatures.

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    MOND is really nothing more than phenomenology. You could modify gravity perfectly to account for the gravitational rotation of the galaxy by dark matter. MOND is to my mind almost a gravitational “form factor” of sorts.

    MOND as a new fundamental theory of gravity is not likely.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Wayne,

    There are key proportions, mass and energy limits involved in the observed universe, which when replicated, would produce somethng on the order of “size” that we observe. I can tell by your use of “3-Space” that you know that what is commonly- and pretty loosely- referred to as “the 5th dimension” is really the result of adding an additional 3-space to the geometry of the universe. Such an antimatter based particulate reality, would not be measurable, space wise because it would be completely “over the horizon” in a Schwarzschild two-sphere, “mirror” (actually quite chiral, with quite different physics) other unseen side of the universe. The mass WOULD be detectable though, from our frame of reference. Its also interesting that we live in a universe of random events, though the models which describe reality most accurately, are at their conceptual hearts, deterministic in the extreme. quantum fluctuations in the Planck Realm are random, but in the model we are presently using, overall, half the fluctuations would be expected to occur in one three space and half in the other…the basis for duality, which happens to also be mathematically implicit in our models!

    Lab,

    Good thought. Testable theories emerge by extrapolating from such conceptual ideas. The answer, by the way, is a long way. John used the word “prejudice” in sizing up the present search for dark matter as particles. In fact, being invisible, it is quite obvious that either dimensional horizons (as Wayne mentioned) are involved, or that dark matter may indeed just be another form of dark energy…an interesting subject. Quite a few scientists just speak of a universe made up of 96% dark energy…

  • Tom Renbarger

    “One more small note on this posting: the CDMS detectors are actually cooled to about 40 milliKelvin, about 100x colder than liquid helium temperatures.”

    Isn’t the final cryogenic stage of CDMS a dilution fridge? That’s still liquid helium, although two different isotopes and the awesome power of the entropy of mixing are involved.

  • http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/ Lab Lemming

    Sam, got an order of magnitude there? Are we talking 1000 au or 10,000? Or light years? If we can find some oort cloud objects, would it effect their orbital dynamics within observational error?

  • JeffF

    Tom #38:

    Touche – that’s completely right. It is a dilution fridge so it’s cooled by liquid helium, just unusually cold liquid helium.

  • http://mingus.as.arizona.edu/~bjw/ Ben

    Lab Lemming,

    The question is not quite well posed as is. The sun orbits the galactic center. Anything going around the sun is also revolving around the galactic center. Just like Earth’s moon goes around the Sun as well as the Earth. The question could ask, at what radius does an object no longer orbit primarily the Sun, but orbit the galactic center independently of the Sun? That is essentially the outer limit of the Oort cloud by definition – the Hill sphere (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill_sphere) of the Sun. Outside that radius, the tidal field of the galaxy’s mass unbinds an object from the Sun.

    I haven’t mentioned dark matter yet. The outer radius of the Sun’s influence is set by the Galactic mass distribution, and in the solar neighborhood, that’s mostly due to ordinary matter: stars, a bit of gas, old copies of the Astrophysical Journal. To get to a radius where dark matter dominates over the baryonic matter contribution to the rotation curve, you have to go out to perhaps 15-20 kpc – the exact number is hard to measure, especially in our own galaxy since we’re inside it.

  • http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/ Lab Lemming

    Thanks for the tip, Ben.
    I was under the mistaken impression that the speed of rotation out here in the arms was dominated by dark matter, not light.

    I’ll go back to earth rocks, now that I’ve failed to con you cosmologist types into funding an outer solar system space probe for me, on which it would have been foolish not to include instrumentation for monitoring Io’s volcanoes during the mandatory Jupiter gravity assist.
    ;)

  • Richard E.

    I have made this comment here before, but it is worth making it again.

    The “dark matter” hypothesis makes successful *predictions* — the form of the fluctuations in the microwave background would be radically different if the universe did not contain dark matter: the “acoustic peaks” rely on the presence of dark matter in the early universe. This prediction was made before the acoustic peaks were observed, and the theoretical calculations and observations match with astonishing precision.

    Not only that, attempts to modify gravity in ways that explain either lensing or galactic dynamics without relying on dark matter typically cannot account for the observed form of the microwave background.

    So there we have it: several different theoretical proposals, one of which (dark matter) makes successful predictions and several others which don’t.

    There are certainly open questions about dark matter, but it is not simply a “fudge factor”, given that the dark matter hypothesis makes verifiable and tested predictions. (And from a particle physics perspective, we have very good reason to believe we have not observed all the particles that exist in nature, so it is not a radical suggestion to propose that there is some heavy particle that has not yet been seen accelerators.)

  • Wayne

    http://pda.physorg.com/lofi-news-dark-matter-energy_120998817.html

    That is an article about what you were talking about Sam, in response to Lemming’s question. Dark Fluid. Spooky.

    Thanks for clarifying the “mirror” (chiral) duality phenomenon. I see more of what you mean. Still the question arises that these two 3-Spaces would need to be embedded in a higher dimension to be detected at all? What I mean is, this still implies we wouldn’t just experiencing 3D space embedded in 4D time, but an intermediary “space” known as 5D through which we can detect our complementary, anti particulate neighbor. Also, the detectable mass should be able to interact with mass from our “side” too, right? How different is the physics involved on the other “side?”

    So the 3D we experience could potentially be folded in such a way (not necessarily a sphere) that both the matter and antimatter realities could be quite close, able to be detected and interacted with, but still not be touching, maintaining the appearance of the “horizon.”

    I feel like I’m throwing down a concept or two I might not be using correctly, but I would like to know what the proper usage is, if incorrect, to contribute more soundly in the future.

    Thanks.

    Wayne

  • Wayne

    http://www.physorg.com/news290.html

    And one last one on the DF.

    Wayne

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Wayne,

    You have the idea very well. The physics on each “side” would be different, but would completely make sense to particulate observers occupying a given 3-space. Remember in GR gravity, for example is a fictitious force…an acceleration resulting from the resistance of mass to peridic motion. Your link about acceleration outward by the way, is one of a number which questions whether the universe is actually accelerating outward in space and time. The Doppler effect is well understood, but many point out that gravitational time dilation on an antipodal (astronomical, big bang) event horizon as remotely observed would be expected to be extremely red-shifted, time and space (as remotely observed in that location) being tranformed and reduced. No actual motion need take place…the redshift is gravitational. This static interpretation is reasonable, and consistent with the way a GR universe would be expected to be observed.

    Richard,

    Well stated. The presence of that initial, very low acoustic peak is very interesting, as is the size of the second, which has led to our understanding that baryonic matter comprises not 2% but 4% of the universal mass.

    Particles are energy according to the great proportion, so perturbations in the power spectrum could be caused by almost any kind of set of energy concentrations. I think what John is pointing out by using the word “prejudice” is that vast numbers of stellar sized black holes, observed from a distance in galactic arms could have the same effect overall, as particles. As you know, efforts to this point to detect these DM “particles” have been unsuccesful. What makes the situation even more mystifying is the invisibility of DM….

  • Wayne

    Sam, outstanding website. I thoroughly dig it. It complements every spiritual and physical concept that I’ve pursued in the years of my life, and offers an elegant explanation for the physical side of the cosmos. A healthy argument for the physicists at heart.

    I’ve always viewed Einstein’s conclusions as deeply significant because of how intuitive they were, the ways they seamlessly melded the spiritual and the physical interpretations of experience and existence.

    Thank you for the site. Fantastic. Thank you also for the discussion.

    I suppose what remains after one follows their path in the cosmos towards reaching their personal understanding of such an intuitive concept, is to share their contentment, peace, and understanding with others by example; leaving their seeds wherever they fall, smiling inwards and outwards at the grand majesty of it all.

    It’s never been a matter of one’s right or one’s wrong, but how we all get to the same place in the end, how worth it, how colorful, how gorgeous the experience of the path has been, and how blissful it feels to know we are entirely here, entirely there, that we could never be destroyed, never created– but ever reshaped, reformed, and reconnected by each other into the beauty we inhabit as creatures of the cosmos, here to experience this glory, love, wonder, happiness, awe… No God, no science, no law, no chaos. We only ever are, and only ever could be exactly what we need to be, where we need to be, at exactly the right time.

    The spirit is for the spiritual, the physical for the physicist, but in either pursuit, as emphatic as each can be, will always hold the same answer. At the moment every one feels this brilliant intuition, and not a single moment before, will all be through and end, when we all start over and begin again.

    Stay well Sam, good hunting to the rest,

    Dearly,

    Wayne

  • Richard E.

    I don’t want to get ensnared in the lovefest between Sam and Wayne, but it is interesting to see what happens if you examine the suggestion that all the dark matter in the universe is in the form of stellar mass black holes. This certainly works in the sense that they are dark, and they are matter.

    However, you then have to explain how they *formed* — and to explain the acoustic peaks in the CMB you need to have these black holes in existence when the universe was much younger than 300,000 years old. But you have to do that without making any big stars (whose radiation would stave off the recombination of the electrons and protons into hydrogen, and dramatically distort the CMB) at a redshift of 1000 or so, or other collapsed structures.

    And then you have to explain where these black holes are today — since this many black holes in the galaxy would lead to far more microlensing events than we observe.

    Hmmm.

    And you would have to do all this without messing up nucleosynthesis — which, oddly enough, wants a baryon to photon ratio very similar to what we observe in the CMB.

    So I can come up three or four objections to this idea while eating my lunch. In many ways cosmology is like whack-a-mole — solving any one problem is easy, but solving it in ways which do not make three or four new problems is hard.

  • http://tyrannogenius.blogspot.com Neil B.

    Lawrence B. Crowell : “MOND is really nothing more than phenomenology. You could modify gravity perfectly to account for the gravitational rotation of the galaxy by dark matter.” Sure, in typical cases, but the important thing is that dark matter has its own distinguishing results, especially if not uniform all over (and it wouldn’t be.)

  • John Merryman

    Richard,

    How much of the current Standard Model would you consider falls in the category of easy solutions that only create more problems?

    For example, one of the issues I’ve raised about the assumption that redshift is due to recessional velocity caused by expanding space is that the speed of light remains constant, so it would seem this would be increased distance in stable space, not expanding space. Which would put us at the center of the universe.

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    Dark matter is not composed of black holes, for as you point out there are not enough microlensing events. Yet I would presume that what ever composes dark matter, even if it is a vacuum state of one sort or the other, that this mass energy does enter into black holes. So this raises the question of whether there might be stronger microlensing events in regions of dark matter, such as galactic halos or the tendrils which connect galaxies.

    A black hole might grow quite nicely and quietly in a region of dark matter. The black hole could absorb mass-energy without frictional heating and resistive effects of luminous matter which pushes most matter away from the black hole. Contrary to popular thought it is a bit hard to get a particle to enter a black hole. It has to come in pretty much dead on in a near perfect radial impact. A black hole immersed in a local “sea” of dark matter might find this to be an optimal zone of spacetime in which to “feed” and grow.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Wayne,

    Thanks, and I really am awestruck by the universe, but it also has this nasty feral quality about it. Sailors have told me that the sea “waits”. If the unwary want to survive, they had better reproduce in vast numbers, quickly! As observing beings, we feel like we are forever on a tightrope, making critical decisions which must be informed if our existence is to continue…or maybe better, extended. Even if the universe is cosmologically deterministic, we have to assume there is some kind of phylogenically developing observational, informational complexity struggle going on against chaos, cosmologically, and that the uncertainty of events we observe at our frame of reference have roots somewhere in cosmological reality.

    Richard,

    Interesting points. It isn’t however, hard to understand why most of the universe is and must be singular. It is easy to drift to the geometric point conceptualization of the big bang and not carefully consider the fact that all frames of reference (information) in the GR system remains eternally at the same coordinates…that it is the collapse of space and time which causes everything to “be together” in a single low-entropy object. The standard model places constraints on the manner in which the universe developed and I agree this also places limitations on the role of black holes in this developing process of stellar and galactic formation. Without further be-laboring this, it is also pretty obvious that early stars were generally large and unstable, and that black hole development is a by-product of such instability. I’m willing to venture that scientists, at this point are very much underestimating the proportion of stellar sized black holes to “normal” stellar sequences and populations found in the universe.

    LC,

    To continue from that last sentence, black holes may not be dark matter, but your other comments are very appropriate, implying the presence of certain possible mechanisms for the the develpment of large amounts of invisible and pervasive”dark matter”. Mond is truly an interesting but incorrect concept. The jury is still out on WIMPS…

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    A thought occurred to me about dark matter. It must have a temperature. Some measurements last year I think did bring about some estimate of a temperature of dark matter. The idea is this. A black hole has a temperature given by T ~ A/4, for A = 4pi r^2 and r = 2M, the area of the black hole event horizon. Presumably black holes can absorb dark matter. After all the no hair theorem of black holes indicates they are determined by mass, charge and their angular momentum. So how a black hole acquires its mass is independent of the conditions or state of that matter. If a black hole absorbs a unit of mass then its mass changes as M —> M + &m and its temperature decreases by T —> T + 4pi M&m + O(&m^2). In order for this to make thermodynamic sense the dark matter must have a temperature larger than the black hole temperature.

    I’ll have to look this up but I recall (as I am still drinking coffee to wake up) last year that some measurements of dark matter velocities (measured by some means) indicated a temperature for dark matter.

    Another thought occurred to me, which is that dark matter might play a bigger role in galaxy formation by its dynamics in an expanding cosmology. Dark matter appears to be like cobwebs, or as a fluid a bit like goo. As the universe expands it is stretched into longer tendrils which connect up galaxies. As these are stretched if this “fluid” will the constrict these tendrils and “blobs” around galaxies. I think this should then tighten the region of space which binds luminous matter together.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • John Merryman

    Lawrence,

    Dark matter appears to be like cobwebs, or as a fluid a bit like goo.

    This description reminds me of plasma cosmology;

    http://www.plasmacosmology.net/

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  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    Of course dark matter can’t be plasma of charged particles. That would be luminous, and plasmas being a gas of charged particles is the epitome of luminous matter.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • Tom Davis

    Dark Matter is a 2nd state of matter, or matter could be a 2nd state of dark matter.

    It’s like what came first, matter or dark matter.

    If strings are ever found, they would exist in a different state in dark matter. The question is want would cause these changes. Black holes, over expansion of matter, ect.. Think of the universe as if it was in a cycle.

    The web between galaxies are trails. put some bubbles on a counter top and blow on it, as it travels across the surface it leaves a trail, expansion works the same way.

    Tom

  • spaceman

    What else holds the cosmic web together if not dark matter? On the other hand, the persistent null results each time we progress further into the favored ‘parameter space’ should, by this point, be a major concern for CDM adherents. If DM only interacts gravitationally, then we will never be able to extinguish for empirically equivalent theories.

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    The dark matter tendrils might be analogous to cosmic strings. During the inflationary phase of the universe gauge fields and their sources may have entered into condensate states which defined a BPS mass M ~ QQ*, for Q and Q* the “charge” of a field and Q* its dual. This duality is given by an S-duality or Montonen-Olive duality between gauge electric-like and magnetic-like monopole charges. The Montonen-Olive duality is an interesting version of the Sommerfeld quantization condition

    $latex
    QQ*~=~n/hbar.
    $

    These condensates also have some properties dual to the interior of a black hole on a D-brane. The rapid exponential expansion of the universe then stretches these condensates into cosmic strings.

    Some RHIC data suggests that quark-gluon plasmas have properties similar to this. Further, textures in the cosmic microwave background have a kertosis which indicates a possible Einstein lensing by a cosmic string.

    The dark matter tendrils may well be dark matter analogues to cosmic strings. A tendril may during the current “eternal inflation,” the observed accelerated expansion of the universe, evolve into a form of cosmic string in the distant future. So we might posit there exists some symmetry, eg, supersymmetry or S-T-U duality or some new form of symmetry, between dark matter and regular matter as well as with the two inflationary phases of the universe — the early one which inflated the universe and broke the symmetry of gauge fields and the current one which is stretching dark matter tendrils into a possible new form of cosmic string. Oh, yeah — maybe we have to throw dark energy into the mix as well!

    All of this profoundly challenges our basic understanding of physics and cosmology. Yet this is what makes science interesting. Questions are far more interesting then answers, and we are faced with some very big and serious questions about the foundations of physics and the universe.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • spyder

    I don’t know if it is simply coincidence or relative synchronicity, but just this past week i was preparing to write to Cosmic Variance and request an update on WIMPs, dark matter, and other aspects of theories. I had been rereading several books from the 1990s and had begun to wonder how the research had been going. And alas i get John’s thread and comments to fill me in. Huge and grateful appreciation for it all, thanks.

  • http://lablemminglounge.blogspot.com/ Lab Lemming

    “A black hole might grow quite nicely and quietly in a region of dark matter. ”

    So find a black hole/white dwarf* binary out in a dark, massive part of the galaxy, get radial velocity on the dwarf, and see if it increases with time**.

    Bob’s your uncle.

    * No stellar wind- simpler system

    ** As a geologist, I see nothing wrong with experiments that take millions of years to complete.

  • rw

    Lawrence that was great.

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    Within a lifetime you would not observe much change in a black hole mass. A region of dark matter has a mass-density only about 10-100 times that of the whole universe 10^{-29}gm/cm^3. So a black hole there would take a while to absorb a whole lot of dark matter. It just seems to me that the dark matter would not resist very much being gravitationally pulled into a black hole. A black hole would just sip it down over time and slowly grow, while luminous matter has a lot of frictional resistance. Ordinary matter falling in heats up, emits radiation, and that pushes matter away from the black hole.

    So maybe light passing through regions of dark matter would microlens around black holes that are statistically more massive than regions free of dark matter. Obviously this is fraught with other issues concerning the distribution of black holes in a region removed from a galaxy, but a lot of work has been done on mass distributions with microlensing. To be honest I am no expert in this area.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • http://cosmicdarkmatter.com Tissa Perera

    In order to account for the observed galaxy dynamics,
    It was natural to invent the extra mass that was needed
    to explain the kinetics of the large scale. Since the extra
    mass was never observed directly it was called dark matter.

    The irony of the situation is that scientist’s started to
    believe that there was such matter existing in real life.

    In spite of having painstakingly developed the standard
    model of real fermionic and bosonic matter, they were ready
    to accept the existence of a third kind of matter i.e. dark matter,
    in order to account for the unusual behavior of gravity, while all the time
    having known that they could not unite gravity into the standard
    particle model.

    Some have therefore tried the next best obvious solution to the
    problem and resorted to modify the behavior of gravity at large scales.
    MOND and relativistic attempts of extending MOND are more
    logical but fails.

    I have pursued another alternative to all of the above. I announce that
    the Newtonian law of gravity is universal, but the real observed mass of
    objects are virtually multiplied at very long range from the object,
    effectively mimicking the so called dark matter. I declare that the secret
    of the mass multiplier is the existence of a cosmic size 4th bounded
    spatial dimension. The 4th dimension also gave me a bonus, I can
    now explain most of other problems in physics.

    Folks, see my web site for a preview of things to come at:
    cosmicdarkmatter.com

  • Wayne

    Tissa, see discussion starting 20 down. There are a lot of people in that boat. Don’t get trapped thinking you’re the “all seeing I.” Science isn’t for nabbing the Nobel all oneself, but for the progression of the discipline.

    The notion of a possible reduction in mass over distance is interesting, where distantly observed mass is stretched or spread out with a decrease in ‘intensity’ much like the propagation of light. Perhaps if Lawrence reads these comments again he can give his two cents.

    Wayne

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    Well this web site (cosmicdarkmatter.com) is a “I have a theory” sort of thing. For myself I have a whole lot more questions than theories. I also dislike the term “theory of everything.” A moment’s thought should indicate a theory that explains everything in fact might explain nothing.

    A particle in an orbit with a constant mass-energy density of dark matter will orbit according to the dynamics

    $latex
    {vec F}~ =~mfrac{d^2{vec r}}{dt^2}~=~frac{Gmrho {vec r}}{R^3}
    $

    where R is the radius of a dark matter halo or ball in space containing dark matter. I am doing this off the top of my head, but I think this is right “modulo” maybe a 4-pi. But the crucial thing is that the equation of motion is that of a mass on a spring or harmonic oscillator. So all particles in the dark matter halo will orbit with the same frequency of rotation. This is why our galaxy rotates a bit like a wheel, instead of there being a Kepler law motion that would wind up the arms of the galaxy.

    There are a few little issues about this, but for our astro-phys 101 discussion this is good enough.

    I suspect this website comes down to the adage “A little knowledge is … ” Dark matter should exist in some grand system of gauge fields and gravitation. This presumably requires physics which appeals to the heterotic group E_8, or in string theory the complexified CE_8 = E_8xE_8, which is a model of the heterotic string.

    In the ADE classification of standard groups E_8 is the largest real group. It might sound strange, but you run out of group theory beyond this level. Except if you go to sporadic groups, which are modular systems often composed of ADE groups. The E_8 is the largest classical group which is defined in the 256 elements of N = 8 supersymmetry or a graded algebraic system which satisfies the Coleman-Mandula theorem. The C-M theorem tells us that physics can only involve a system of external symmetries (relativity) a system of internal symmetries (gauge theory) and the CPT discrete symmetry.

    There is a bit of a debate on energy conservation in general relativity or cosmology. I can illuminate this more later. The E_8 breaks down into subgroups with spin(6) = SO(8) ~ SO(4)xSO(4). One of these involves the Pati-Salam weak interaction model and the other relativity. Yet with relativity the gauge group is SO(3,1), which is hyperbolic. Hyperbolic groups are a bit strange, for they are non-compact. A sequence of group generators will not converge in a Cauchy sequence. The hyperbolic asymptotic behavior insures that some sequences will head off “to infinity” with no finite convergence. So there is a whole set of problems with equating holonomies, loop space variables etc, with the group theory of curvatures. One consequence of this is that the Noether theorem does not apply in the same way, except on tensors — such as D_aT^{ab} = 0 continuity condition on the momentum-energy tensor.

    There are 26 sporadic groups from the Mathieu groups leading up to something called the Fischer-Griess group (the Monster group). The primary focus of mine is with the Mathieu group M24 with 196560 elements in 24 dimensions on a 24-dimensional lattice, with roots for 3 “copies” of the E_8. The elements of the M24 define a normalizer of the Monster, which along with the Conway group Co1 are richly involved with the structure of the Monster, with about 8.8×10^{50} elements. There is an actual integer number for this based on the prime composition of the group, but that gets a bit “heady.” Beyond the monster group, or some Borcherds extensions into so called “moonshine” or monsterous moonshine, you again run out of group theory. If there exists symmetry beyond this level of sporadic groups it involves mathematics unknown to us.

    So dark matter might presumably be lurking in this. Don’t ask me where, for I am asking the same question — I have more questions than theories.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    Correction. There should be no 1/R^3 in the formula for gravity

    L. C.

  • Wayne

    /nod

    Well, Lawrence, I’m very glad you are one of the guys working on the

    Mathieu group M24 with 196560 elements in 24 dimensions on a 24-dimensional lattice

    because honestly, we as humankind wouldn’t get that far without minds like yours working in realms like that. Cheers to you.

    I followed as long as I could, but sir, as Sam Cox said, we are in your classroom. Thanks for hanging out with us. I’d add something more constructive if I could.

    Wayne

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  • http://cosmicdarkmatter.com Tissa Perera

    Thanks Wayne, looks like I got a lot more than two cents worth
    from Lawrence. I believe in Keep It Plain & Simple(KIPS). What
    I have found is that the universe can be modeled using simple
    mechanical geometric arguments, if and only if, we are prepared to
    accept the additional existence of a large cosmic size(a few Kpc)
    bounded 4th spatial dimension. By the way, all I am trying to do
    is if I can convince some of the professionals to investigate my
    hypothesis on dark matter before dismissing it off hand. My feeling
    is one day, dark matter is taking the course of what happened to the
    fictitious Luminiferous Aether , after a lot of wasted effort.
    As for the Nobel, forget about it, the chances are as good as
    winning the lottery.
    /Tissa

  • Wayne

    I didn’t mean that as too hard a stab, there was just a tad feeling of “mine” syndrome from the previous post. I completely agree with you on the nature of DM being something that can in further discovery be ruled out unanimously as the ever-recurring Aether. Whenever some data set appears in experiments that defies conventional thinking, generally all cases that attempt to use conventional criteria in understanding such phenomena will discover a new “Aether object” or a concept equally as mysterious and vague.

    It is only when a new perspective, a novel approach is taken on the phenomena that we truly understand its, as you put it, plainness and simplicity. The pattern recurs from Galileo to Newton to Maxwell to Einstein, and finally the modern Schroedinger brainchild QM. Approximately every 100 or so years humanity has taken a leap of awareness in the perspective of empirical science. We are due for a new perspective, and I firmly believe this lie in the extension of our as yet primordial grasp of 4 dimensions to additional dimensions to accurately conceptualize the cosmos. Whatever leaps of consciousness are required, they will be taken to solve such conundrums, and I have no doubt in the tenacity and success of our modern (and developing) physicists to do so.

    Wayne

  • Brian

    Great post, John. I have been very interested in the CDMS and noble gas dark matter searches. I have often wondered, as apparently you have, if dark matter interacts weakly. Do we have any evidence to suggest that it does, or are we just hoping that it might?

    Brian

  • http://physicsmuse.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    Where did I read that dark energy and dark matter might just be (due to) a scalar field. And, does scalar field have anything to do with scale?

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    There are some theories by Moffat and others which have scalars in gravitation. I am a bit agnostic about these things, but these theories give so called MOND gravitational theories which supposedly account for dark matter.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • John Merryman

    New research headed by Sebastien Peirani (at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France) suggests only a very small fraction of a SMBH is composed from dark matter as it evolved. Dark matter is predicted to be collisionless and will be scattered very easily by baryonic gas clouds and stars. It seems unlikely that dark matter will be able to stay inside the black hole’s accretion disk for very long before it is repelled by all the “normal” matter being pulled toward the event horizon.
    By modelling a “typical” accretion disk and comparing the results with observations of quasar luminosity, the French group found that most of the matter fuelling the SMBHs is relativistic baryonic matter. At a critical distance, outside the black hole, baryonic matter from the accretion disk is accelerated to a significant fraction of the speed of light, emitting radiation. Comparing this with simulations of a collisionless disk (i.e. the characteristics of dark matter), the baryonic model fits observations the best.

    http://www.universetoday.com/2008/03/08/greedy-supermassive-black-holes-dislike-dark-matter/

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    I am convinced that dark matter and dark energy are part and parcel of the same cosmic entity. This assumption is at its heart, rooted in the equivalence of matter and energy and the great proportion itself.

    I have (on the NASA website) been reading the recent papers on the WMAP results and note that dark energy was (as measured by the WMAP equipment) a negligable percentage of the universal mass in the earliest epochs but that the percentage of same has been increasing progressively (to presently better than 70%) as the universe has developed.

    This increase is very likely the result of the increasing percentage of the universes matter progressively relegated to the singular condition…the Planck Realm as a whole and related (entangled) multitudes of Black Holes…huge energy compactions- as observed and measured from our location in scale (coordinates/frame of reference).

    I cannot conceptually grasp why some scientists persist in a search for extra large dimensions in what is by definition, a 4 dimensional hierarchy. If other dimensions exist, as is almost certain, they are just as “large” as the 4 with which we are familiar…only over the horizon…detectable most reasonably (and most likely) ONLY by their mass….and there is no shortage of “missing mass” in the universe!

  • http://physicsmuse.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    So….gravity is not scale invariant, yet photons are. When we look out in space we are seeing these two things. Whatever effect scale has, we might see it.

  • Wayne

    Whenever someone says scale invariance it makes me smile. The un-particle idea is fantastic stuff, I think the intuitive leap it takes to define a potentially significant effect in the cosmos based on scale invariance (in contrast to the scale variance of particulate matter) seems to add a missing piece that I think may show up as gravity en masse, instead of say, the graviton. Does anyone know what evidence says gravity cannot be scale invariant?

    Here’s an article on it. I think someone had mentioned it earlier, I think its good to have a source here too.

    http://www.physorg.com/news100753984.html

    Sam, I had a query about eternally fixed coordinate system of the 7 Dimensional, I didn’t want to fill up space here, but the email contact you have on your site doesn’t work. Just curious if you might have another contact to ask a couple clarification questions.

    Wayne

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Sandy,

    Appreciated your comments- and your intuitive sense! Photons seem to be close to scale invariant, from our frame of reference anyway. Photons not only can be measured as wavelike or particulate…they vary in mass from the negligible- as Schwarzschild asserted 0+ mass- to a universe filling entangled matrix. Yet, as you point out, they have a certain, but not perfect scale invariant quality about them…think of the “constant” speed of light!

    Remember however that photons ARE affected by gravity…albeit slightly, and that ultimately, they- as a form of matter/energy are very subject to gravity near Black holes. In fact, the way photons behave near the 4D event horizon “particulate” surfaces near the Planck Realm relates to the way the universe is observed by us…gravitational red shift and time dilation, for examples.

    Gravity, almost by definition, is related to energy density variation and is obviously affected by same- and scale. In fact, scale, dimensions and the like result from the relationships between singularity based energy densities which we as observers measure (partly) by assigning the property of “gravity”…the inverse square with distance law etc.

    There is not enough space here to get into the mechanism by which we cross-read the universe…holigraphy…but the process by which (from a 4D frame) a black hole with an event horizon radius about the size of the solar system is able to contain all the information in the universe is a matter of very advanced cosmological study (I resist the temptation to use the word “speculation” because we know with reasonable certainty the “information paradox” does NOT exist and that all information in the universe (including what “evaporates” as Hawking radiation), is eternally conserved in the hierarchy.

    Interesting thoughts…

    Wayne,

    The concept on my site is archived material and I have updated only the description on the home page from time to time. Sean has my Email address, and I don’t mind giving it to you. I would be interested in your thoughts! The address is samacox@comcast.net

    Best wishes…a very interesting thread! Sam Cox

  • http://physicsmuse.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    It makes sense to me that some aspect of gravity, possibly having to do with scale, will eventually be replacing dark energy and dark matter. We really haven’t fully cracked gravity yet, have we?

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/print/24991
    http://pda.physorg.com/lofi-news-dark-matter-energy_120998817.html

    Also (at the risk of gross oversimplification) if dark energy is primarily used to explain why the expansion of the universe is (or appears to be) accelerating, and if dark matter is used to explain why parts (or the whole) stay together, why not assume they are the same, subtract one from the other, and use that number as the “missing” force/matter that we are looking for in the universe? And….if we are dealing with something that acts both particle-like and non-particle-like, does that narrow things down a bit?

  • http://cosmicdarkmatter.com Tissa Perera

    Wayne

    A Dark Matter thought experiment.

    1) Dark Matter was invented to augment the observed motion of
    real visible matter, right? right!
    2) Dark Matter interacts with real matter via gravitational forces
    only, right? right!
    3) Dark Matter too interacts with Dark Matter gravitationally
    right? right!
    4) Therefore Dark Matter must take part in the orbital dynamics
    of the system, right? right!
    5) The only difference is that Dark Matter cannot be seen, other
    wise, it takes part in the gravitational dynamics of the system,
    which is purely Newtonian motion, right? right!

    Now that we agree, let us do a pure thought experiment.
    Let us do an N-Body simulation, where N will be in the billions.

    6) All N Bodies will therefore do a Newtonian Samba. Each of the
    N Bodies will clearly have rotational motion velocities defined
    by Newton’s laws. Therefore only Newton’s Law accounts for
    their motions.
    7) Now we will use some magic, we will make 90% of the N bodies
    invisible, and call them Dark Matter!
    8).What do you think would happen to the 10% that are still visible?
    9).You guessed! they will keep moving as before and still obey
    Newtonian Law’s with no velocity discrepancies.
    10)Moral of the story is, Dark Matter don’t matter.
    11)There must be another way like I said before!

    /Tissa Perera

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    I wrote this on physics list (no a blog) and it involves cosmology and consciousness. I present a sort of conjecture which is interesting, though some of the more metaphysical things I say here I offer as possibilities and not as anything serious. I fugured this might be interesting.
    ——————

    We have to admit that science explains everything which is measurable. Does science explain everything? I am non-committal on this question, and to be honest I can’t answer this in the affirmative with a strong sense. Consciousness, or what some call the hard problem or qualia or … , might simply be outside the perview of science to address. Also Hawking’s question on what makes the equations “fly” might also not be scientifically answerable.

    So suppose you have this holographic universe, and I have written on this with respect to the duality between AdS and conformal field theory and the path integral of the universe, then this is a path integral that takes one form of nothing and maps it into another form of nothing. As a digression this is how a set of non-equivalent vacua are one nothing, and where the symmetries on one vacua define particle states on another, which means there is no global symmetry to the universe. This means there are only local symmetries that act on a vacuum, but these symmetries do not act on a Lagrangian or path integral determined by a cosmological action. Bruce and I talked a bit about this with energy conservation in cosmology. So, okay we have one “nothing,” and the other nothing is the attractor point for the cosmology. This is a Minkowski space and a perfect void = conformal infinity of the AdS. So all of this stuff going on in the universe, collapsing black holes, mitosis of cells, Spitzer having fun with call girls and …, are just a way of mapping conformal group structure around locally so as to connect these two nothings.

    Ok, now we are in this hologram! We are caught in this holographic map. We have consciousness and we percieve things, feel things and make judgements about things, such as “That train exists and I’d better not cross the tracks in front of it.” So we assign this abstract category called ontology to things, or we make these holographic phase interferences into “thingy” things which we assign ontology to. So maybe, and I am not committed to this idea and only find it interesting, this holographic map is assigned an ontology because it gives rise to conscious entities within it that observe it, or if nothing else stub their toe on that stone and yell ouch! Further, we assign ontology to the early universe by collecting light it emits in the distant past and form images and other forms of information, and I use the present tense “emits” because light is timeless or null and this process has a timeless element to it.

    Does this have any connection to physics? Maybe at best weakly, for as I mentioned at the Planck scale I suspect states exist in self-referential loops of entanglements with no “structure.” On a scale larger than the Planck scale what is called physical structure or symmetry is something which proximally emerges as some accident because consciousness can observe it. Think of symmetry emergent by a chaotic process similar to a MonteCarlo simulation of possible outcomes and optimizing for structures which can exist on a larger scale. On the other hand consciousness may also be a matter of Godelian loops (and whether quantum or classical is not relevant), Hofstaedter seems to think so, which is a part of “closing the loop.” Also the universe with a cosmological constant is one which, as we argued a couple of weeks ago, has no time Killing vector and thus there is energy conservation law. If my inequivalent vacua theory is correct then it means the universe admits no global symmetry, including the Coleman-Mandula theorem on the maximal permissible set of symmetries for the S-matrix. So this “loops” again from the Planck scale to the cosmological scale, where after all the universe is a chaotically inflated region near the Planck scale and problably ultimately from the Planck scale.

    This is likely where physics connects with meta-physics. If physics reaches this point, ideally if we have some physical theory of quantum gravity & cosmology with observational and experimental evidence, then this would be the beginning of where foundational physics might begin to end. As this continues we might find that physics ends off at the same stage it left off from, called philosophy. I think we are a ways from an end of physics, but we might be seeing the light and the end of the tunnel (or what some might say is a darkness at the end of the light) before terribly long. It is an optomistic/pessimistic thing, for it means that there is some end result to this and it is not just an endless game, but on the other hand it might mean a sort of dismal future awaits future generations. Physics may become a sort of service field to molecular biology and applied fields this century. But all things must end, and frankly I suspect our tenure on this planet will be ending pretty shortly — at least on a geological time scale. So maybe we will at accomplish this, which might elevate our existence here some epsilon distance above absurdity. Then again it might just all be howling at the moon.

    So am I committed to this idea of consciousness and ontology in the universe? It is an interesting idea. It suggests that these hard things which we call particles are considered as ontologically real because, well we consciously determine them to be.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • John Merryman

    Dark matter and dark energy are the gap between theory and observation.

    What if the age of the universe is much older, say infinitely. Would an infinite timeframe overcome the drag of galactic evolution, so that the outer rings are pulled along at the same speed as the inner rings?

    If space expands, but the universe doesn’t, since gravity is collapsing space at similar rates to which it is expanding, wouldn’t this create additional pressure on these gravitational systems and this explain some of the dark matter effects?

  • John Merryman

    Lawrence,

    Units of time always go from beginning to end, but the process of time is constantly going on to new beginnings.

    Think of left brained structure as the units/nouns, the narrative structure from beginning to end, birth to death, Genesis to Armageddon, Big Bang to fadeout, prologue to postscript, dawn to dusk.

    Meanwhile the process, the verb, is constantly going on to the next generation, the new day. These clear points in time have no consistancy, other then that of frames of a film, going from being in the future to being in the past, aspercveption, energy, life, etc. goes on to the next frame, past to future…

    The universe consists of expanding energy and collapsing mass. Mass is the unit/structure, going from start to finish, initiation to consumption, birth to death. The energy is constantly radiating away from old collapsing structure to join with and grow new structure. Yes, all the details don’t always perfectly connect, but that doesn’t mean these missing links didn’t exist, only that the information of them is lost.

    So the basic pattern is of a cycle of expansion, contraction. Two directions of time, as physical reality goes from past events to future ones, while these events go from future potential to past circumstance.

    The real illusion is that the structure appears to be the reality, when it is just passing impermanent information. Consciousness, like the energy, goes to the future, even though what it is conscious of goes into the past.

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    LC,

    “So am I committed to this idea of consciousness and ontology in the universe? It is an interesting idea. It suggests that these hard things which we call particles are considered as ontologically real because, well we consciously determine them to be.”

    I think physics strongly implies that information and complexity are real, that they are conserved, and probably slowly built upon. Yes there is a connection between observation and existence. In fact the way we observe determines the reality each of us measure and must contend with in our daily lives.

    However, is there such a thing as non-existence (and therefore non-observation)at all? I doubt it. Not only is the universe continuously observed and therefore eternally existing…WE are continuously existing. From separate coordinates and in an infinite variety of ways the universe is eternally being observed and is therefore fully and continuously (eternally) existing.

    I laugh when someone says that they look forward to the “rest” of death. There is no passage of time in death. At death we instantly become re-aware of existence. Nobody attends his or her own funeral- only those of other folks! Only the quality of our consciousness changes as we pass “death” and once again begin the process of “life” and the re-experience of the process of our individual identity.

    The same thing applies to the antelope taken by the lion or the fish eaten by a shark, the tree in our yard…to all living. We are permanent, embedded and conserved information at a certain “place” in space and time…specific coordinates…and with that location and information, have unique perspective and point of view.

    When we try to grab anything in the universe, we find it attached to everything else…dependent on everything else. Good ecology and good GR too.

  • John Merryman

    Sam,

    We tend to equate awareness with intellect, whether it’s the all-knowing ideal of theism, or the emergent consciousnesss of atheism, but it it would seem that knowledge is structural organization that grows in complexity, until its supporting organism breaks down and dies, leaving intellectual achievement and biological remnant as foundation and fertilizer for succeeding generations of life. So this structure starts as future potential and passes into past circumstance. Meanwhile the element of awareness passes onto the next generation, which has had the mental reset button pushed by death of older generations. To the extent we are this raw physical existance, proceeding through the generations, it would seem we are all part of one larger awareness/organism that is recycling its cells. So to the extent we continue beyond our own death, it is through those to whom we have passed our knowledge and emotional strength. We are like sentences in a larger story, in that our purpose is how well we communicate and expand on what came before to what comes after. Our end is just punctuation, not destination.

  • Wayne

    This all warms my spirit. I couldn’t have said it better than Lawrence, Sam, or John. Well put everyone. Indeed it seemed like each of you were providing a different solution to respond to each other, but truly, you all said the exact same things. It is the fact that each of us feel so strongly that there is this idea, this one notion that we as humanity have this compulsion towards, this drawing into a higher form that everyone wants to share their understanding of that compulsion, to show that they are each thinking alike. That this feeling is shared, and communal, and indeed inseparable.

    It has taken a long time in the experience of life on Earth, and humanity as a brief spectacle upon in, where we as the cells or sentences or pieces or wholes have come to realize the form that has arisen, and indeed has always been present, from the inclusion of each member, each individual. We are sentences reading our own story, cells witnessing the beauty of a sunrise, pieces feeling the structure of wholeness.

    The most indomitable strength from this loftiness, in my honest opinion, arises from our admittance of the unique quality of this existence on this planet in this moment in the cosmos. This moment, and this, and this, has never happened before, and will never happen in the same way again. Each decision, each observation, each measurement and feeling and combination and recombination is written into the consciousness of the cosmos, embedded and recorded, and integrated into the next cycle, to arise as something ever novel, ever renewed. That each and every one of us is necessary for the structure of the next grand artistry, that every moment of our lives and our ancestor’s lives and our children’s lives will have twinged the fabric of the next passing age.

    I looked at the stars last night, and wondered of all the astrological stirrings of our ancients ancestors, and the cultures and spiritualities that formed from their observations of the heavens. The very awareness and consciousness of our present lives, every religion, every science, is entirely entwined in the eyes of what the ancients had seen, and what they felt from those observations, what they passed to their children, and what their children passed to us. If we look up at the night sky, as we drift about a star, as we sway through a galaxy, as we swirl through the vacua, every one of those point-like objects, whether they have beings like us or not, revere our star and those like us as heavenly, as the same travelers and gods and goddesses across their own sky as we see in ours.

    We are the gods and goddesses, the light matter and dark matter of their lives, their cultures, their science, their spirit; as they are the celestials of ours.

    If we now approach some new end, or some new beginning, then at the very least let us offer them the best of ourselves we can give.

    Brilliance to you all,

    Wayne

  • John Merryman

    Wayne,

    I suspect Lawrence would be a little reluctant to think he and I are reaching the same conclusions, given that while my point about time being a measure of motion, not the basis for it and that while energy goes toward the future, the resulting information falls away into the past, may seem fairly innocuous, given that physics is a bit opaque regarding time, it does fundamentally tie into my argument that the universe is spatially (and temporally) infinite.

    That said, I too do agree that humanity is working toward a state where it functions as the central nervous system of a planetary organism.

    Here is what I thought a very interesting post on another blog that I frequent;

    http://agonist.org/sean_paul_kelley/20080313/reality_check#new

    i watched it twice to make sure
    i heard it right, but in one of the Bill Buckley retrospectives that Charlie Rose was showing on his program the day WFB died, Charlie asked him who was to take up the mantle of the movement he built…any up and coming stars?… and WFB said the most curious thing…that it would be someone who was espousing socialism, for that is about as much discredited now as conservatism was when he was starting out.

  • http://physicsmuse.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    I just don’t see individual consciousness or observation as so centrally important in the larger scheme of things. I could more easily argue for a conscious universe, because that would help explain many of our current unexplainables. This is similar to the idea of god, but different in that it is more a fractal expansion, bottom-up, of consciousness at all levels, not just within living things.

    We have wonderful minds, maybe a total quirk, maybe a human manifestation of something that exists everywhere. Within living things there only needs to be 2 things to give rise to consciousness – self-awareness and memory. It’s not really that complicated is it? A complex system such as the universe at multiple scales, should be able to pull it off.

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Sam Cox said,

    “However, is there such a thing as non-existence (and therefore non-observation)at all?”

    My answer, “I doubt it” is not metaphysical speculation at all…it is based on the assumptions of closed space and finite mass for the universe…a megaverse. Were the universe to be open (don’t confuse this with observed “flat space”!) and infinite in mass, the result would be a multiverse.

    The obvious question is: “How about the infinite number of possible events which theoretically could have happened, and might yet happen, but didn’t and possibly could”.

    In a marginally closed universe of finite mass, the answer is: All such extra possibilities are illusory, caused by the way we observe a quantum universe at our place and coordinates in scale.

    In an open universe, infinite in mass, the answer is: Everything which can happen, does happen, in every possible combination.

    I won’t take the time here to assert my reasons for believing that the universe is in fact marginally closed and of finite mass. However, we can see from what has been said on this thread that the physics of the situation is closely linked, VERY closely linked to metaphysics.

    When the calculations end and the conclusions begin, as often as not we make a transition from physics to metaphysics. Metaphysics has been given a bad name by many physics “purists” but in fact, it is is as an essentail part of physics as the “thought experiment”.

    The scientific method itself, in which conclusions are drawn after determining a problem, formulating and following procedures, ,making observations and then drawing conclusions, contains the conceptual seeds of this important link between “physics” and “metaphysics” and explains why physics is (without question by anyone) referred to as:
    “Natural Philospophy”.

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Sandy said, (Comments in bold type to distinguish)

    “I just don’t see individual consciousness or observation as so centrally important in the larger scheme of things. THIS IS POTENTIALLY A “HOT POTATO”. IN A QUANTUM UNIVERSE WHERE EVERYTHING IS ENTANGLED AND RELATED TO EVERYTHING ELSE, THERE PROBABLY IS A PROCESS BY WHICH INFORMATION IS COMMUNICATED, RELATED, INTEGRATED AND BUILT UPON PROGRESSIVELY OVER ETERNITY. THE CAVEAT IS THAT SO FAR AS WE KNOW, INTELLIGENCE OF ANY KIND IS BASED IN PARTICULATE- NOT NON-PARTICULATE REALITY. could more easily argue for a conscious universe, because that would help explain many of our current unexplainables. I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT THE UNIVERSE IS IN AND OF ITSELF, CONSCIOUS, FOR THE REASONS I JUST GAVE. This is similar to the idea of god, but different in that it is more a fractal expansion, bottom-up, of consciousness at all levels, not just within living things.” THE IDEA AND SENSE OF SOME KIND OF A PERVADING RELATING AND GUIDING PRESENCE IN THE UNIVERSE IS COMMONLY FOUND IN AND DESCRIBED BY THE RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD…THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN “GREAT SPIRIT”…THE CHRISTIAN “HOLY SPIRIT” ETC.

    “We have wonderful minds, maybe a total quirk, maybe a human manifestation of something that exists everywhere. THIS RELATES TO YOUR QUESTIONING HOW SIGNIFICANT WE ARE. WE ARE SMALL, FRAIL AND FLEETING, YET ARE THESE DESCRIPTIONS OF SCALE, POWER AND MOMENTARY UNIVERSAL EXISTENCE ALL THAT DEPRECIATING OF OUR SIGNIFICANCE IN A QUANTUM UNIVERSE? I DON’T REALLY THINK SO. Within living things there only needs to be 2 things to give rise to consciousness – self-awareness and memory. THERE IS NO LACK OF “MEMORY” IN A DETERMINISTIC QM/GR UNIVERSE. WE KNOW THAT AS PARTICULATE BEINGS WE ARE SELF AWARE, THOUGH NOT AT ALL STAGES OF OUR EXISTENCE. WHETHER THE UNIVERSE ITSELF HAS THE PROPERTY OF SELF AWARENESS IS A VERY HOT QUESTION! I WILL SAY THAT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSE IS PERSONAL IN THE EXTREME. It’s not really that complicated is it? A complex system such as the universe at multiple scales, should be able to pull it off.”I’LL LET THAT COMMENT STAND ON ITS OWN “TWO FEET”!

  • John Merryman

    Sam,

    I think the particulate paradigm is only half the equation. Consciousness is every bit as much a function of connections and process, as it is of particles. While the nodes define the network, it’s the network that creates the nodes. Our bodies function as multiple processors on many different levels and that is what we are as individuals, parallel processors. Our individuality is as much an adaptation as the individual fingers on our hands. It is only this focus on the reductionistic particle that makes us think consciousness is something that only exists within our cranium. It is when we examine consciousness that this complex wave of interaction and connectivity collapses down to the focal point of our heads, yet even then we can’t pinpoint where it is in there.
    This relationship of the physical and the space across which it acts, the being and the non-being, is fundamental to consciousness and life. We define consciousness in terms of intention, yet the reality is that it manifests as aspiration. The past appears intentional, while the future is aspirational.

  • http://physicsmuse.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    Sam, If you want to let my comment stand on it’s own “two feet “(why the quotation marks? I like it), why did you separate it from its lead-in sentence?

    Sure, anything is possible, the entire existence, all matter and energy may depend on us observing it. Particles may not exist if we didn’t define them as particles. Or, they would exist, but be nothing like particles. But, the fact that we affect the outcome of everything we measure does not show that we are central, just participatory.

    To see if the universe is conscious how about an experiment where we adjust the double slit experiment to let photons hit buttons that answer yes or no, and then ask them questions? Of course, photons themselves not being conscious does not prove that the universe isn’t. I know this idea is bizarre, I just can’t really find much wrong with it.

  • Lawrence B. Crowell

    It sounds as if I started a bit of a firestorm. Mind you, what I said about consciousness bringing ontology to the universe is a metaphysical statement. I do not claim there is any objective “creation” of the universe by the presence of consciousness. As such this being metaphysical means that it is sort of where we might be leaving the proper bounds of physics or science. Also again, this is conjecture to be pondered over a “scotch and cigar,” and not an idea that consciousness plays some role in the objective or measurable aspects of the universe.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Sandy commented on this section: I WILL SAY THAT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSE IS PERSONAL IN THE EXTREME. It’s not really that complicated is it? A complex system such as the universe at multiple scales, should be able to pull it off.”I’LL LET THAT COMMENT STAND ON ITS OWN “TWO FEET”!

    Sam: The universe has had to “pull it off” or it would not exist, nor would we. When I spoke of the sum of the moments in the universe not quite being equal to 0, I thought somebody would jump me immediately!…it was like speaking about the world trade center 1 second after the impact by those airplanes. From that instant, althogh the buildings continued to stand- for a while- they were doomed and eventually came down like a house of cards. The universe is analogous…it must be completely stable from an engineering standpoint or it wouldn’t exist and we wouldn’t be discussing dark matter- or anything else, for that matter. Depending on our training and background, there are certain aspects of engineering systems which are easy to overlook- or ignore- thus undermining the veracity of our conceptual work.

    LC,

    “It sounds as if I started a bit of a firestorm. Mind you, what I said about consciousness bringing ontology to the universe is a metaphysical statement. I do not claim there is any objective “creation” of the universe by the presence of consciousness. As such this being metaphysical means that it is sort of where we might be leaving the proper bounds of physics or science. Also again, this is conjecture to be pondered over a “scotch and cigar,” and not an idea that consciousness plays some role in the objective or measurable aspects of the universe.”

    Sam: I think ALL of your comments, including these, are VERY appropriate. Earlier on this thread I made some comments on the relationship between the physical and the metaphysical. You are correct. There is and must be a line. We must not draw (and believe) extended or extrapolated conclusions…we must stick closely with those conclusuions which are verifiable by the evidence we are examining. Yet we must also speculate to formulate new problems, which in turn can be scientifically investigated.

    Entropy in the universe is a critical issue, and I have felt for a long time that this issue is far more profound- and complex- than a simple study of thermal entropy…ice cube stuff, although we have to start somewhere, and in most of todays college freshman classrooms, studying melting and freezing ice cubes is a pretty good place to start. On a universal scale, I’m inclined to believe that there is a tradeoff of thermal entropy (an increase overall) for decreasing informational entropy, in the part of the universe we presently observe, anyway. The application of energy to the biosphere has resulted in the evolution of increasing informational complexity…thermal for informational entropy. In the dual universe model, the second 4D “hemisphere” experiences an increase in informational complexity with a corresponding decrease in thermal entropy.

    However, even in “n” dimensional models, while entropy overall is better conserved, there is still a general loss…the total amount of (thermal) energy in the universe is constant, yes, but this energy tends to “spread out” evenly and thus the whole becomes a high entropy object…motion and change eventually cease and the system dies…is not eternal. I believe a possible (if partial)solution is the control of the universe by the sum total of its ever so slightly decreasing informational entropy…its gradually increasing complexity. Such a relating and organizing process is implied by the way the universe and its internal processes are organized at the microscopic scale…for example, the set of conditions in the hearts of stars which results in the production of the correct amount of carbon for the origin of life to occur…

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Errata: increase in informational entropy (not complexity)…end of second to last paragraph.

  • Wayne

    THERE IS NO LACK OF “MEMORY” IN A DETERMINISTIC QM/GR UNIVERSE. WE KNOW THAT AS PARTICULATE BEINGS WE ARE SELF AWARE, THOUGH NOT AT ALL STAGES OF OUR EXISTENCE. WHETHER THE UNIVERSE ITSELF HAS THE PROPERTY OF SELF AWARENESS IS A VERY HOT QUESTION! I WILL SAY THAT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSE IS PERSONAL IN THE EXTREME.

    Sam, the question is not of whether particles are “self-aware” in the ways that you conventionally consider awareness. Certainly we are not as “self-aware” when we are young in comparison to other humans who have had more time to develop, it is absurd to think those are the same level of awareness. This is the point, though, it is not the same kind of awareness, but awareness all the same. A photon is certainly aware, it is simply aware in a sense that is so foreign to us because we cannot fathom it in comparison to ourselves. It takes a bottom-up approach to understand awareness in the primordial, not top down. Indeed, we started at the bottom as it is.

    THE CAVEAT IS THAT SO FAR AS WE KNOW, INTELLIGENCE OF ANY KIND IS BASED IN PARTICULATE- NOT NON-PARTICULATE REALITY. could more easily argue for a conscious universe, because that would help explain many of our current unexplainables. I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT THE UNIVERSE IS IN AND OF ITSELF, CONSCIOUS, FOR THE REASONS I JUST GAVE.

    Here, again, it is a matter of anthrocentrism in assuming “consciousness” of a cosmos would be akin to human consciousness. Which it will not. There may be similarities or resonances in the form of that consciousness, but it will be so foreign to our minds we automatically assume it cannot be so. We assume consciousness is central to particulate matter, but this is a biased statement. As John said, consciousness depends on both the particulate and non-particulate in a dynamic to and fro. Complexity, hence organization and a decrease in entropy, arises only in aspects of the universe that lie in between mass scales of nearly non-particulate regions, which are in a state of increasing entropy. The void is just as necessary for life as particulate matter is.

    Information is consolidated over and over again in segments of the universe like our own stellar neighborhood and galactic clusters and superclusters, and it is this consolidation on the background of near emptiness that allows for us to exist as we do. John touched on an interesting fact about nodes arising from the network, not the other way around. If one considers us the nodes (or phenomena like us that simply “arise,” like nuclear fusion), these hubs of increasing complexity and organization, they have formed because of the personal relationship we have in the flow and consolidation of information through this network, quantum or otherwise.

    Don’t go there with the Trade Center Sam, at least not for an analogy to the universe. Poor choice of words in my opinion. Two commercial jets did not cause two vast structures able to maintain the punishment of multiple jets without collapse, to fall. That is another discussion. Still, I understand what you meant, but don’t use such an example, there are more appropriate analogies.

    I feel that the existence of, however illusory, a multiverse with infinite combinations of present reality is a conscious way of interacting with change in the universe. If one considers how humans themselves plan out their day and make decisions, we are entirely dependent on the preparation of a future that may not come, but our ability to speculate on possible futures is what allows us to organize and consolidate our lives into cohesive paths. It is the appearance of possibility in our conscious experience that allows us integration into the future change in the cosmos. That we are aware of these possible outcomes (and that this awareness of possibility varies from person to person and hence, each person’s capacity to act is varied, allowing for change) is reason enough to assume that we have an influence, that observations are entwined with the observer, especially because we make observations based on expectation, one more time, expectation of possible futures.

    A lawyer doesn’t ask a question he doesn’t know an answer to, that’s how he becomes successful. Physicists ask questions they assume they know the answer to, and then watch, calculate, and wait. When have we ever had scientific discovery when a collective of scientists looked into the prospect of a measurement and thought, “Well this isn’t going to work.”? We make experiments based on prior observation that would hypothetically, possibly explain more of prior measured phenomena. It is absurd to approach experimentation unless you have some notion that the outcome may prove one’s “gut” or theoretical construct, or disprove it (ie. there was intent in cutting two slits in a board to observe what electrons could do in theory). The fact that physics as a discipline is more successful than say, paraphysics, because it is describing clear-cut, logically successive observations of the human organism, the natural philosophy. It is the unnatural, “flying equations,” stuff that is hard to observe in conventional means, and hence, impossible to measure in the ways we attempt to measure it in (namely physical measurements for very likely non-physical [at least in our sense of “physical”] entities).

    Wayne

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Wayne,

    Appreciated your caefully reasoned comments and strongly agree that it is interaction between baryonic complexity/energy densities and electromagnetic energy/singularity which makes higher level consciousness feasible. In the light of the fact that the universe is organized in the sub-microscopic in such a way as to produce carbon, for example, in exactly the right proportion to permit the development of carbon based life, it is reasonable to assume that the universe may well have undiscovered aspects of consciouness… I don’t contest that assertion!

    “I WILL SAY THAT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNIVERSE IS PERSONAL IN THE EXTREME.”

    It has been asserted that the universe is very impersonal. I feel the oposite is true. I thank you for getting my point about the WTC and apolgize for offending those who may have lost loved ones in that terrible disaster. Here is another analogy which may be a bit offensive, but nevertheless has an important element of truth. Our relationship with the universe is analogous to our relationship with the state. We occupy an “envelope” in our relationship with either and both…and our relationship with both is very, actually intimately, personal. If we violate natural law…not as defined by us, but as it actually exists in the universe and relates to our physical existence, we “pay the price”…we may freeze to death, die early of disease, or affect the overall quality of our lives. Our relationship with the state is similar. We don’t enact laws…others do. If we push the envelope…drive on the wrong side of the road, or too fast, or violate some injunction, it may shorten our lives or adversely affect the quality of our lives. Therefore, our relationship with both the natural and cultural order are personal in the extreme.

    We live in a world which would have been unbelievable to people living 100 years ago. Imagine a person in 1908 being ushered into a 747 jet and flown around the world in a day!….or shown a HD TV or cell phone.

    Within reasonable limits, consciousness is what we define it to be. The 64 dollar question is: “Is the universe self aware?…when it looks in a mirror does it recognize itself?…is the universe and its relationship with us personal in that intimate a sense?” Maybe in the 22nd or 23rd century we will have a scientific and affirmative answer to that question. However, just as past visions of technological progress have been right in some ways and very wrong in others, if we find God in the universe, I can guarantee everyone that that “God” will be in many ways be very different than the one portrayed by the worlds religions!

    Interesting thoughts, Wayne!

  • http://physicsmuse.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    Relationships are the basis of everything, – creating time and space. When a quantum entity enters into a relationship, that entity becomes actual in a way that it was only potential before. Consequently, the universe is not entirely impersonal…we (as individual humans) are involved in relationships at multiple scales…within our bodies, with other entities, with everything. We, as part of these relationships, create. Maybe the fact that our minds are so complex gets us involved with many more observations (which are just relationships) than inert matter. So, in that way we have a special place. But, that special place is our sphere of influence, no more, no less.

    Sam I completely agree that information is somehow key to the question of entropy in the universe. But, I have always wondered what a working definition of information would be.

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Sandy, You said…

    “Relationships are the basis of everything, – creating time and space.”

    “Sam I completely agree that information is somehow key to the question of entropy in the universe. But, I have always wondered what a working definition of information would be.”

    There is a defintion of “information” implicit in these two statements.

    Mathematically describable (and testable) physical principles, as these principles relate to the photonic (electromagnetic) realm, the singular condition, and sets of similar baryonic energy densities, organized so as to result in complex and/or self-reproducing structures defines “information”.

    Seans latest post: “Science and unobservable things” relates to the discussion we have been having on this thread. In my opinion, he discusses this issue in some depth and with great clarity…

  • John Merryman

    Sam,

    “Is the universe self aware?…when it looks in a mirror does it recognize itself?

    I recall, as a teenager, staring into my own eyes in the mirror, wondering what “I” am and just getting this totally blank look in return. We are aware, but are we really “self aware?” We are aware of what we are aware of, but we really don’t know what it is that is aware.

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    SC said:

    “Is the universe self aware?…when it looks in a mirror does it recognize itself?”

    JM replied,

    “I recall, as a teenager, staring into my own eyes in the mirror, wondering what “I” am and just getting this totally blank look in return. We are aware, but are we really “self aware?” We are aware of what we are aware of, but we really don’t know what it is that is aware.”

    Sam Cox,

    I thought about that first statement of mine, above for a while after I posted it, but was resolved to keep my further reflections to myself unless someone pointed them out and discussed them further.

    It occurred to me that when we look in the mirror, the universe IS recognizing itself, or at least is attempting to recognize itself, which brings us to the process of science…the scientific method, by which we try to understand- fully understand- what we and our universe truly are.

    So far as I can see, however, for the most part the universe itself, overall is not self-aware…it is OUR function to make the cosmos self-aware. I don’t care for theories which place humankind at the top of some hierarchy or other, or make our consciousness more significant in some way than the existence of other less conscious informational complexity in the cosmic structure. Yet, we serve a purpose and play a role, however fleeting the role or minimally significant the purpose.

    However, in any deterministic hierarchy where everything is linked with and dependent on everything else, I don’t think any kind of inorganic information or biological complexity can be correctly termed “minimlally significant”!

    The ultimate- and unanswered (in my opinion)- question is whether the universe as a whole is self-aware and conscious and if it is, in what way is it? This is why, I think, some people on this thread have been toying around with defintions of consciousness.

  • Wayne

    I actually have a response to that ultimate question, Sam. This may in a fell swoop entirely dissociate this thread from it’s beginnings in dark matter (though I believe that happened long ago), but I feel the mysterious nature of DM is deeply within the realm of the mysterious cosmos, and so all of these comments have a validity to them.

    There has long been talk of the “cosmos simulation” or “computer universe” or whatever one wishes to dub it, but all that can truly come close to explaining the nature of our cumulative experiences as a species, seemingly alone in this place, are those that consider humans and life like us to be “testing out” the world we live in. The more complex a relative observer becomes, the more complex their interactions and the more complex the states (mental or physical) they embody through their experiences. Humans have, within their specific set of states, limitless combinations of the emotions, feelings, actions passive and active, perspectives, and experiences that have the potential to arise within them. In the particular way that we have grown into this humanity, we have a particular set of states to work within our awareness of the cosmos, including the awareness of ourselves. All of these states are mixed up and exchanged throughout the planet, between humans, between humans and animals, between humans and the Earth, and each of these interactions and states seem to be successively flowing with the present in such a way that we maintain the accumulated interactions and states that have arisen before us (“the cosmos remembers”).

    In our lives as humans, we experience the world more efficiently through the concept of “games.” Starting as children, little girls playing house or mommy or single-parent executive, boys playing soldier or astronaut or superhero. Going back to possible futures and our awareness of possible states that may arise within our lives, we play these games to simulate a general understanding of what could occur so that in time, if that situation arises, we will already be prepared to act and able to do so comfortably. Games have arisen in humanity, and in all organisms that predate us (think of how mammals teach their young how to hunt, by wounding it first), and games have arisen as a way to evolutionarily set us up to survive. The more possible futures one can prepare themselves for, the more aware one is of the possible, the more successful one will be in interacting with change in the world; one will survive, procreate, and pass on valuable knowledge (and successful genes that endow similar awareness of possibility) to their young.

    Now let’s do a bit of extrapolation. Say the cosmos is conscious through beings such as we, those who at some stage in their complex accumulations and stabilizations of states and interactions can look in the mirror and be self-aware. Let us say self-awareness in this case, is for one to look in the mirror and see the cosmos looking back at them. To put another way, if one looks in the mirror and can with confidence say “I am,” one embraces a trust in consciousness. This trust or faith could only arise if one “knows” enough about their own complexity, and the grossly obvious complexity of the cosmos beyond them, to say with absolute confidence that as I stand before my reflection, this being I have arisen as is conscious and aware, and that complexity in this form is possible because I am conscious and aware of that complexity, and that I am that complexity.

    If the cosmos is conscious through beings such as we, and we have beings dispersed at particular energy densities and singularities through and through this webbing of photons all looking at their reflections in the mirror saying “I am,” then the cosmos has indeed just become aware of itself, through each and every being that can. What happens after the universe realizes once again that it is alive and well, conscious once again?

    As we organisms have seen, the more aware we become about our possible futures and our own interactions and states, the more we begin to play games, don’t we? Indeed, the more we play games, the more prepared we are for whatever may arise. When the cosmos becomes more aware, what’s to say it will not begin to play games? We as organisms simulate expected futures to prepare for possible futures, to up our odds of survival in the increasingly complex and intricate relations of states and interactions that arise in any relative observer capable of looking into the mirror and saying with confidence “I am.”

    When the cosmos becomes a relative observer of itself, to ensure its own survival, would it not expect its own possible futures through the speculation of every being that resides within it, and thus begin to play games in order to prepare for those possibilities, hence increasing its odds for survival? For persistence? For infinity? Would not the cosmos, in realizing itself, come to realize that it must in its own best interest, take any pains necessary to prepare for its infinitude and in so doing play games to simulate how it’s immortality is to be attained?

    We, as humans, have come a long way in realizing ourselves, in becoming aware of ourselves and the cosmos. If one considers the universe to be operating through us, then it has every single discovery, every understood notion, every invention and limitless, unbounded creativity at its disposal- spread through every solar system, every galaxy, every supercluster and every being like us that resides within them. What will stop it from playing its games and ensuring, through any means necessary, its own immortality?

    If the cosmos is aware through us and those like us, through this complexity that arises within it at whichever energy density is capable, its very compulsion to survive, its limitless desire for immortality, will arise within each of us and spur us to ensure that it is so, at the possible expense of our present selves. We are the mechanism. We are the renewable resource. We are the reactor in the belly of the most perfect machine imaginable, and yet, we are that machine.

    It is we who desire immortality, as it is the cosmos who desires immortality. Whatever it takes.

    Wayne

  • http://countiblis.blogspot.com Count Iblis

    Without doubt we are conscious. Consider the gas cloud that collapsed to form our solar system. There exists a unitary transformation from that gas cloud to the present state (you have to include other sectors of the wavefunctions, i.e. alternate histories).

    This means that, theoretically, an alien visiting our neighborhood when there was only a gas cloud, could communicate with us today. In practice this is almost impossible because local operators today correspond to nonlocal operators involving all the molecules in the gas cloud.

    Nevertheless, if you believe in the Strong Artificial Intelligence hypothesis, you have to admit that we are somehow “burried” in that gas cloud. The existence of the gas cloud alone would lead to us subjectively experience living on Earth in the year 2008.

    Another argument:

    The alien visiting the gas cloud theoretically post in this blog and we would really see that that posting. Then that alien could perturb the gas cloud so that billions of years later it would still be a gas cloud.

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Wayne and CI,

    I like CI’s description of embeddedness. Even before we came to exist, we were there, though the coordinates were different…we might be able to affect the future, or quite possibly even the past, depending on the universal geometry, were we to have (or develop) adequate technology.

    I think our very existence as conscious beings is A priori evidence that we live in a universe where, as I say on my site; “Everything which can be done, has been done, and exists somewhere (eternally) in the fabric of space-time…

    which leads to Waynes assertion that our level of consciousness, as incomplete as it is , is more than adequate proof that the universe is indeed, in an important sense, aware of itself, and again, depending on the nature of the universal geometry and mass, which most likely are, respectively marginally closed and finite, that the universe is likely proactive over eternity to assure its collective survival, though the universes consciousness, being collective, would be much more vast than anything we could possibly imagine.

    And how profound it is that all this complexity and the very existence of space and time could be inextricably linked to the mathematical irrationality of pi!

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    One other brief thought…

    Consciousness is probably heirarchical. We can observe in our own ecosystem, that our existence (and level of consciousness) depends on certain universal mathematical constaints, on the nature of the inorganic world, on our relationship with the biological world and on sub-conscious aspects of our personal bodily existence…we are made of cells, and so on.

    It is justifiable, I believe, to assume that the universe itself is organized in a similar manner. Only a perfect fool would assume that we humans stand at the apex of conscious observation in the universe! At best, we are at an incomplete, intermediate level in the universal process of recognizing itself and acting proactively to assure its survival. However, it seems obvious from what we know about SR/GR/QM and the work of Schwarzschild and what we know about the level of complexity we observe in the universe, and experience ourselves, that the universe is a fairly rigid, strictly controlled affair.

    The universe is too far “wild” a place to have, in and of itself, been logically made or created by some being. In fact the word “creation” implies a beginning and the universe is eternal, so the “creation of the universe” is a misnomer. Rather the universe and the consciousness within it have evolved over eternity from a certain set of conditions and constrants, which made existence and consciousness possible, yes, but at the same time placed severe limitations on the way what we observe today could come about and develop over eternal time.

    None of what I have said in any way makes the process by which the universe is cumulatively observed, modified and proactively guided over eternity any less awesome. Nor does what I say diminish the fact that our personal relationship with the universe is survival related…the universes survival and existence- and ours.

  • John Merryman

    Wayne,

    It is we who desire immortality, as it is the cosmos who desires immortality.

    We desire imortality, but maybe the cosmos seeks mortality. What would life be like if there was no pain and the consequences thereof. We would be all creating our own reality, just like Bush. The price we pay for feeling in the first place is that much of it is pain. In limits there is definition. In definition there are limits.

  • Wayne

    What would life be like if there was no pain and the consequences thereof. We would be all creating our own reality, just like Bush. The price we pay for feeling in the first place is that much of it is pain.

    Without pain, there would be no feeling at all. John, you said yourself that without void there can be no life, well, there can be no pleasure without pain. I also disagree with you that most of feeling is pain. That is simply untrue. One may not consider every moment in their life to be a grand pleasurable ecstasy of experience, but you are not immersed in pain every moment either. There is a constant flow, back and forth between the two and it is our conscious experience that differentiates between the them. Consciousness works to observe the pain arising in our lives, and the more aware one is of such a dual nature reality, will use the experience of that pain as a guide towards pleasure again.

    The nature of life is to experience both sides, the dual nature of existence is apparent everywhere, in every moment, and it is only when we become comfortable with both that we can truly live in peace. One can learn nothing in their life without being pushed in a direction they aren’t comfortable with, they must push back. That is why we are here to begin with! We, as the primordial, were pushed against the harsh environment of void and it was we who pushed back. In fact, the more you embrace what we consider good and bad, pleasure and pain, and realize that both are necessary, the richer one’s experience becomes and the more one embraces the true nature of why we are here. We are here to experience, and to experience everything we potentially can.

    Feeling never came from pleasure or pain alone. Life never came from energy or void alone. The dual nature of existence, and hence the non-dual, are what immerses us, it is comfort in that thought where a being can truly accept themselves, and accept the cosmos, and act as wholly as potentially possible.

    The universe wishes immortality because if it does not persist, it is as good as nothing ever happening before. Einmal ist keinmal, Nietsche said if something happens only once, it is as good as never happening at all. That is why we are here. We are eternal, and every moment we spend acting and participating and feeling in this place, we twinge the next cycle in our own entirely unique way that could never be forgotten. The cosmos remembers indeed, it remembers every single thing we do and have done, every thought and emotion we’ve ever had and will have, and it lives dynamically with us and through us to share in our experiences again, in some new incredible creativity that arises in our every moment, in every moment to come.

    However, it seems obvious from what we know about SR/GR/QM and the work of Schwarzschild and what we know about the level of complexity we observe in the universe, and experience ourselves, that the universe is a fairly rigid, strictly controlled affair.

    I feel that the universe is indeed a strictly controlled affair. There are fundamental processes that direct it, but I feel those processes are altered by us, by ‘events’ like us that arise within the universe. Think of the concept of complexity in engineering. If the highest consciousness of the universe in the past cycle, ie. before our cognizant horizon of origin, re-engineered its (possibly failing) universe into ours, and perfectly designed the inception of life-directing DNA, the mere fact that they are no longer here to witness the machine automatically implies that we are running renegade, disposed to quite possibly following in our ancestors’ shadow. Following immortality. Engineering the next cycle in our image. Hm?

    The very appearance of these ideas is exactly what makes existence so curious. There will never be a lack of outstanding creativity to go around. Creativity drives us. Creativity drives complexity. It is why we can communicate on the internet, it is why there have been men on the moon, it is how we adapt. Novel connections, novel states, all in combination and recombination with themselves and others, this is the drive to complexity. A drive to creativity. Creation even. Not creation in the sense of beginning and end, creation in the sense of beginning. Transcendence and inclusion. There is no end. We are only ever, only always, beginning again and again.

    Wayne

  • John Merryman

    Wayne,

    I said “much,” not “most.” The fact is though, that we have been living in an economic updraft that has made our lives more comfortable, at the potential expense of others on the planet. Unfortunately something else has hit the fan.

    If you consider the consequences of the point I’ve been making about time as a consequence of motion, rather than the basis for it, it changes ones perspective from a left brain particulate/node understanding of life and reality, to a more right brain process/network understanding, where what we think of as distinct units flow together in a larger unitary context. We don’t really fear the spatial limits to our existence nearly as much as we do the temporal one.

  • Wayne

    I apologize for the “much” discrepancy. Even still, I consider it evenly distributed. “Much” or “most” to me implies an imbalance.

    Spatial limits to our existence versus temporal limits to our existence. Meaning given so much motion or complexity our temporal limit may eventually hit such a limit and… then what? Why do we fear the limits? What do spatial and temporal limits imply for our existence?

    I completely agree with what you mean by the network/process thinking, right brain as you say. Before, I hadn’t attributed time as a consequence of motion to that, but I see it now.

    However, and I don’t know if you meant this, but left brain and right brain still have to work together to achieve a whole, unitary understanding. Regardless of how much we integrate our network awareness into our lives, as is presently occurring on this planet, we will still experience node awareness in our daily lives and remain entirely dependent on both to attain any valuable progression of ourselves and our network.

    I’ve long thought of how interesting it is to watch water flow, or cells divide, because they seem to do so without having to “think” about it. We are presently at a level in existence where we must think about how we interact with ourselves, our fellows, and the environment. Perhaps those levels beneath us, such as the cellular and atomic, had to transition through a state similar to our present one. Perhaps we are inevitably going to transcend the necessity to “think” about interaction in a way that optimizes growth and progression, and whatever organism is created through this lack of necessity to “think” will arise in yet another state that must repeat a similar cycle to which we are now bound. The “higher” organism must again begin to think about its interaction with itself and its environment (and even other organisms it interacts with beyond itself, ie. other planets of beings such as we).

    I would venture to say this higher calling to order and dissolution of complexity to simplicity is what we call God. God being the union of conscious thought into unconscious thought, the drawing compulsion into unconsciousness from the conscious.

    Wayne

  • http://physicsmuse.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    Yes, the universe is conscious because it contains conscious beings. But, there is evidence that the universe COULD be conscious at a higher level. If all the electrons that exist are potentially entangled that could represent potential “brain power”. Our brains are matter, energy, and organization (through evolution). From that we magically get self-awareness and memory. This could happen at other scales.

    Evolution is a process where the environment at a macro scale affects a molecule, DNA. Macro processes affecting micro (quantum) processes and evolves the complexity of life. We don’t even know how that happens, how these scales interact. But, just as they do interact in life on earth, they likely interact in the cosmos. We aren’t ready to assign consciousness to something not alive, we haven’t seen evidence of this (computers and artificial life comes close). But I wonder, are we looking?

  • John Merryman

    Wayne,

    I apologize for the “much” discrepancy. Even still, I consider it evenly distributed. “Much” or “most” to me implies an imbalance.

    Given the quantity of human feeling, relative to the individual perspective, “much” can be quite a lot and still a minority. Our brains and the thought processes they express evolved as a navigation function in an often hostile environment. So it is reasonable that our default attention is toward whatever is disturbing or suspicious in our environment. Since the inherent survival instinct is to focus on the bad, even if it is a small percentage of our context, this explains alot of negative behavior, from malicious gossip to the ability of demagogues to start wars.

    What do spatial and temporal limits imply for our existence?

    We are defined by our limits. Without them, we couldn’t exist in the first place, since we would be constantly breaking the very things that make us what we are. No order and no structure.

    but left brain and right brain still have to work together to achieve a whole, unitary understanding.

    Left and right brain work together like yin and yang. Particles and process permeate our reality. Consider string theory; It seems most of the surface consideration is trying to figure our what the strings are, but in reality they are just a vehicle to explain the vibrations that are the reality, but imply some object.

    Perhaps we are inevitably going to transcend the necessity to “think” about interaction in a way that optimizes growth and progression, and whatever organism is created through this lack of necessity to “think” will arise in yet another state that must repeat a similar cycle to which we are now bound.

    You are confusing thinking with memory. We do lots of thinking without remembering it. It’s those mind squinching moments that our focus imprints memory which our minds dredge up when we are thinking about thinking. Those are the mental nodes that remain from the much larger network of thinking that we are constantly doing, but forget. We have large complex brains that are capable of lots of calculation and memory, but less developed minds are aware. It is said that insect brains are essentially thermostats. They register energy, more then information. While our minds are stores of information. Even for higher order minds, there will always be that dichotomy between broad awareness(right brain) and focused information(left brain).

    God being the union of conscious thought into unconscious thought, the drawing compulsion into unconsciousness from the conscious.

    Possibly it’s also connecting these nodes of consciousness to and within their network, whether it is learning to unwrap those kernels of memory so that they meld back into the subconscious network, illuminating it all, or even seeing the network of which we as individuals are the nodes in such a way that we sense the actual network, rather then group focusing on a specific point of reference or concept, such as a religious symbol, monetary issue, or other shiny object.

    It is more of the convective cycle of expanding energy and collapsing structure that are the two directions of time, energy going from past to future, as the information/structure goes from future potential to past circumstance. So the raw energy/awareness is constantly going into the future and whenever it picks up too much information/junk code/mutations, the big reset button gets pushed, the old dies off and it resets to a fresh start, with a few additional lessons learned inserted into the genetic code.

  • http://home.online.no/~avannieu/darkmatter/ Rudi Van Nieuwenhove

    My God, so much discussions about dark matter while it not even exists!
    Dark matter has never been observed. The flat galaxy rotation curves (as an example) just indicate that our present theory of gravitation is wrong, especially when applied over long distances. This is not so surprising since Newton’s law has been derived based on observations within our own solar system and extrapolating this over a factor 1E6-1E12 or more asks for problems. All attempts to detect dark matter particles have failed and this has been repeated over and over again over the last 70 years. Is it then not time to admit that it does not exist? Luckily, one needed only one Michelson-Morley experiment to show the constancy of the speed of light, otherwise we would still be in the middle ages. Because of the stubborn attitude of so many physicists (not accepting the experimental facts about the non-existence of dark matter) we are still in the “dark ages”. There are alternatives to dark matter but they do not get the attention they deserve. You can find a recent alternative theory on the Arxiv website (see my website).

    Rudi Van Nieuwenhove

  • Wayne

    Funny, I mentioned a vast majority of this discussion is not about DM earlier. I suppose you didn’t read the discussion. Might do you well to.

    Wayne

  • PaulNDyment@msn.com

    Whoever started this forum, rocks. I think your ideas are great.
    I have a few questions for you:
    Could it be that dark matter is repelled by Baryonic (visible) matter, and that it desires to be in a state of equilibrium thereby causing the gravitational force?

    I was thinking about what dark matter would look like if it were visible and at first I thought it could be like a planet or star, but then from the idea of repulsion I concluded that it was not a possibility unless there was more Baryonic matter than than dark matter, and then we wouldn’t have planets. (according to the properties repulsion theory.) To draw to a point, I researched further into dark matter and found that some scientists have constructed an image of what dark matter would look like based on data, and it was exactly what I had pictured. Furthermore, I also went on instinct to believe that scientists were wrong about dark energy and dark matter being two separate things, the 96% (or more) of the unseen had to be to mass support my theory of repulsion. As it turned out researchers just announced that they were mistaken about the whole “Dark Energy” thing. I’m not saying that I am right

    I predicted two properties all from a little imagination based off of the simple physics we experience and observe in everyday life. The answers to our questions are probably staring us in the face. I highly doubt there will be any interaction between the Baryonic and dark matter, other than a gravitational one, just because of its nature to repel matter and seek a state of equilibrium, theoretically.

    I don’t really know, I may sound foolish, is there any truth in what I am suggesting? In terms of a concentration gradient at least? Of course it gets a lot more complicated from there… but I have just started with this idea and it has blossomed since yesterday.

  • http://None Jamahl Peavey

    Dark matter and many other inconsistencies between observation v.s. theory highlights the urgent need for a synthesis.

    The last synthesis in physics occurred well over one hundred years ago with James Clark Maxwell. Particle physicist might like to say the Unification of weak nuclear and electromagnetism counts. It only counts if you disregard all physics before the 1900’s. That’s not a synthesis and Einstein knew it. Quantum physics is the problem and the next synthesis is the solution.

  • anon

    hi,
    way off topic,
    similar to a current of charge, a moving ‘current’ of
    mass would lorentz contract and cause larger
    than expected gravitational attraction.
    is that maybe related to dark matter observations?
    or is that already included in general relativity
    by definition?
    or way too small on galactic rotation scales
    to affect anything?
    thanks

  • Franky

    People say dark matters exist and that there are observational proofs. But the more serious question maybe why and how they are there in such a specific distribution. The answers to these questions may be related to the question of “what are they”.

    What if and just what if, the dark matters are part of the jets as the theory of dipole gravity(by Jeong) suggests.

    I’m wondering what will be the problem with this picture. Ordinary matter in the mode of a constant travel around the surrounding space of the spiral galaxy. I think it is a very attractive and economic concept.

  • Wayne

    I am sure no one is following this thread anymore, but I will post it for the passerby.

    http://www.physorg.com/news126955971.html

    It is relevant to discussions between Sam, myself, Lawrence, John, and a few others earlier in the thread, considering a hypersphere universe and the merging of GR/SR/QM.

    Wayne

  • http://www.geocities.com/aletawcox/ Sam Cox

    Hi Wayne,

    Things are really starting to come into focus for these guys in theoretical physics. I feel confident Sean has anticipated a developement like this. The folks at UNC Physics and UCLA Physics with Ned Wright have also been working along these lines. By the end of the decade, with the new Hadron equipment, the twin universe will be as “old hat” as black holes in Physics. Everyone will be busy looking at phase transition, chirality and other features of the “other side”.

    The 10-11D “triad” will be next, but it is only implied mathematically…I don’t know if the Hadron equipment or other experiments with existing equipment will nail it down experimentally.

    Simple stuff like our knowlege of the existence of the big bang, yet denial of the existence of white holes by so many has been a real stumbling block. I think many folks in the field know their math, but are deficient in their knowledge of engineering, geometry and the history of science…especially 20th century physics.

    Have no fear. you will be hearing PLENTY more about this!

    I hope this finds you well. Best Wishes, Sam

  • http://science-community.sciam.com/blog/Hasanuddins-Blog/300005039 Hasanuddin

    There is an alternate solution for dark-matter, that it is neither WIMP nor producible in LHC. I am advancing such a new model. Within the new model, dark-matter is deductively shown to be migrating mini and micro black-holes (MBH). The model’s central hypothesis is that matter and antimatter gravitationally repel. The tie-in with dark-matter is as follows: in early development, a matter-based galaxy produced antimatter mini black-holes once conditions of immiscibility were established between the two types of material. Because of gravitational repulsion, these MBH were expelled from the early galaxy. Between the creation and the expulsion of these MBH, Hubble expansion caused galaxies to become exponentially further away. The MBH are current en-route to the nearest like-typed galaxy to them. Because they were all formed and expelled at approximately the same times, this also would account for the observed “structures,” though “fronts” would be a more appropriate description. Join the debate over the new model at my blog http://science-community.sciam.com/blog/Hasanuddins-Blog/300005039 Try to read it first, a free version can be had at http://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/u56srb or you can purchase the book, The Dominium, at online bookstores.

    PS: Because of this implication, that MBH are stable, I have joined the campaign to stop LHC. If that machine succeeds in the stated goal of synthesizing MBH, we are all in trouble. Therefore it was written in a style more oriented to the lay-audience… but it is still backed up with a tightly referenced bibliography.

  • Count Iblis
  • Pingback: Guest Post: Juan Collar on Dark Matter Detection | Cosmic Variance()

  • Pingback: arxiv Find: The Local Density of Dark Matter | Cosmic Variance | Discover Magazine()

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