Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Pet Peeves in Physics

What are your pet peeves in physics?

Over the past couple of years I get irritated by two questions or comments I continually see.

1. Atoms are mostly empty space thus you are mostly empty space.

I hate the way the concept space is used. Space refers to that which lacks form. An object cannot be made of mostly empty space. This to me is a stupid thought rooted in Rutherford and the planetary model of the atom. Rationale would seem to suggest that an atom or a human is a fullness of whatever fundamental entity comprises all matter. Wherever an atom or a human or a star is, there is an abundance of whatever it is that fundamentally comprises these. All one need do is get over the unique properties and behavior of this fundamental entity such as superposition.

2. What if we took a spaceship into the far reaches of space beyond all the observable stars and galaxies. What would happen? What would we discover?

Lets just say we had a spaceship with unlimited energy to take us anywhere. In my current understanding of physics when that spaceship begins to travel beyond the furthest galaxies, like the ones at the 'edge' of our current Universe, the electrons of the spaceship would collapse, the atoms would decay, the chemical compounds would dissolve, etc. In other words the spaceship would never make it far beyond the farthest galaxy. There would be no spaceship to go anywhere. An object such as a spaceship needs a continual feed of the fundamental entity in order to changes locations. Beyond the furthest galaxy, there is no abundance of whatever that fundamental physical entity is, so as to uphold the integrity of all the atoms of the spaceship. So we would discover that we are idiots and that this whole hypothetical is useless.

3. Discreteness. Reason seems to suggest that everything is connected and continuous even if the fundamental physical entity acts in a manner that can be comparatively analyzed or measured in discrete values. No one can seem to get over the conundrum that maybe in spite of the fact that we can measure these discrete values everything is still physically connected.

4. Ascribing motion to concepts. Concepts such as energy cannot move or change, perform causal actions or undergo change effects. Duh. Space cannot possibly bend, Time cannot move forward or backward.

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