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Jan 18 10 5:35 AM

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A LAYMAN’S DOUBTS ABOUT SPACE-TIME

Einstein once said, ‘Imagination is more important than knowedge’. This prompted me to imagine things beyond my reach. Obviously, it led to a lot of doubts in my mind which I dare to put before the authorities of your sort. I further beg your kind permission to present some of my views, which are of course only speculative based on intuition and not on objective science.

SPACE

1. General relativity tells us that we live in a curved ‘space’. Now let us suppose we have a straight but flexible rod. It occupies a definite place in space. We curve it. It occupies a new place in space. Now the place left vacant by the rod is occupied by ‘space’. So when the ‘space’ is curved, it also occupies a new  ‘place’. Then what does occupy the ‘place’ left vacant by the ‘space’? If it is space again, then do we differentiate between the curved space and the rest of space.

2. We are told that ‘space’ and time originated at the moment of Big Bang. What should we call the ‘place’ that was occupied by the newly created ‘space’ and that is still being occupied by the expanding universe. We are also told that the ‘space’ has  finite dimensions at any particular moment. What is out there beyond the limits of the visible ‘space’ (or, say, universe).

3.Why don’t we define ‘space’ simply as ‘empty space’, which then will have no boundaries, no finite size and no expansion. Just three infinite but static dimensions.Then we can define our finite universe (at a point of time) as a definite part of infinite ‘space’ that is filled with light and radiation etc (we shall need a term to collectively define these contents of the universe, I shall advise ‘cosmoplasm’) and studded with matter in the form of galaxies and that is expanding into the space. We can also try to find a new term for that part of ‘space’ that is filled with ‘cosmoplam’, something like ‘active space’.

            Now we can assume that the curvature of the ‘space’ that is induced by matter is actually the curvature of the ‘cosmoplasm’ and it is the ‘cosmoplasm’ that tells matter how to move. I think that this concept with this slightly altered terminology will be easily grasped by a layman like me, as he has a lot of trouble in conceptualising the curvature of ‘space’. Moreso, since the ‘cosmoplasm’ can also be studied at the level of ‘quanta’, it can suggest physicists some possible ways to uniting the Quantum theory and General Relativity.

TIME

            It is generally believed that time never stops, it always flows in a forward direction. But here again, I want to compare ‘time’ with my ‘static space’. Objects move through space. Objects are separated by space. We can measure the ‘relative displacement’ of a moving object and the ‘relative distance’ between two stationary objects in terms of the ‘static space’. In my view, TIME has a similar static nature as space. Time does not flow in any direction. Instead, objects move through it by undergoing the phenomenon of ageing. And objects age only in one direction due to thermodynamic compulsions. It is the ageing of objects that gives us the perception that time is flowing, just like in a moving train, sometimes we feel that the plateform is moving. If earth and the other heavenly bodies were not moving, there were no days and nights and no seasons, probably we would not have conceived time at all. We measure the ageing of objects in terms of time, just as we measure the movement of objects in terms of space. Similarly, we measure the interval between two events in terms of time, just as we measure the distance between two objects in terms of space. Thus, time is of course the fourth dimension of the universe, but a static dimension. It may not be like a flowing river in which objects are floating passively, but a static sea through which objects are flowing actively under the direction of thermodynamic laws.

            I have all hopes that even going by this concept of time, physicists can still describe most of the characteristics of time that are describable only through the General theory of relativity. For example, when we say that time will pass fast at speeds higher than that of light, it can be imagined that actually in this circumstance, the matter is ageing fast, ie, thermodynamic changes are taking place fast.

            Here, one may raise a question that when everything – matter, energy or even space that can be measured is either visible or at least gives some direct evidence of its presence, time gives no direct evidence of its presence. This is why, some physicists are now questioning the very existence of time. But here I would like to say that even space is neither visible, nor gives any direct evidence of its presence. We experience it by the objects and energies (such as light) present in it and we measure it also with the help of objects present in it. So is the case with time. It only becomes perceptible by the events happening in it and by the ageing of objects. And we also measure time only by the relative positions of events and by relative age of objects. Thus, in my view, time is nothing but a virtual fossil of the thermodynamic progression of the Universe.

Sir, please help me how should I deal with my doubts.

Regards.