A dissertation on time and space
Albert Einstein was perhaps one of the greatest scientific minds that ever lived. He gave us the Theory of Relativity that has allowed us to
understand many of the mysteries surrounding time and space. He had a unique way of thinking about science, utilizing something he deemed the
In a thought experiment, one imagines a situation and examines it in detail. The advantage is that a thought experiment is cheap to produce and can
override physical limitations. Arguably the most famous of these concerns the nature of gravity and inertia. In it, Einstein envisioned a box sitting
in empty space, devoid of any gravitational effects of nearby object. The box is enclosed completely; an observer inside the box cannot see out.
Obviously, the observer is weightless inside the box.
Now Einstein considers what would happen if the box were to be pulled 'upward' (as related to the observer's point of reference). If this movement
were steady, there would be no observable change in the observer's surroundings. He would be moving at the same speed as the box enclosing him, and
thus would observe no motion relative to the box. However, if the movement should not be steady, an interesting thing would happen to our observer.
Just as when an elevator car accelerates one feels a slight momentary pull downward due to inertia, so the observer in the box would feel a similar
tug downward. If the acceleration were steady, that is, the rate of change of speed were constant as opposed to the speed itself being constant, the
observer would continue to feel this downward pull. Einstein concluded that this downward pull would affect everything the observer could observe; if
he threw a ball, it would experience a downward vector component in its trajectory. If he released an object, it would move toward the floor of the
box as though it were being pulled by an invisible force. Even his own body would feel pulled to the floor. In other words, there was no experiment an
observer could make that would not give the identical results as what would be observed in a gravitational field; hence, Einstein concluded, gravity
and inertia must be one and the same.
Let us now expand on this thought experiment. If we accept that gravity and inertia are the same, then gravity on the earth must also be due to
inertia. In other words, every gravitational experience we encounter on earth may be considered as though the surface of the earth was expanding
outward toward us, with a constant acceleration which is equal to the gravitational constant of the planet. This, however is not a feasible
explanation. If this were happening, then the earth would be increasing in size at an exponential rate which we know is not happening. It would also
mean that all matter would be doing the same, since we also know that any matter has a gravitational pull of its own, not just planets.
So is this a flaw in Einstein's logic? No, rather it is a clue. Remember that movement is relative. There is no difference that can be drawn between
two object moving relative to each other about which one is actually moving. Movement is only applicable in the sense that it is relative to an
Instead of considering the earth to be growing in size, along with all other matter in the Universe, we can consider that the Universe is accelerating
into matter. If we consider the Universe to be not truly 'empty', but comprised of something that is inexplicably tied to all matter, then that
something can be seen as accelerating into all matter. Since it is tied to all matter, that would yield the same result as though all matter were
growing in physical size at an accelerating rate.
To demonstrate this, hold a strip of rubber between your hands, with each end in each hand. Now pull on the rubber. You will feel the rubber trying to
pull your hands back together. This is the same thing we feel when we experience gravity, except the rubber is invisible to us.
Of course, the rubber in the preceding experiment is one-dimensional. Space is three dimensional (in our experience). This brings us to another
observation: since physical space is three dimensional, the area of the space surrounding an object increases rapidly as the distance increases. That
means that as the distance form an object decreases, the amount of space decreases as well. Should matter be pulling on this invisible 'continuum'
(as I tend to refer to it) at a constant rate, the physical characteristics of three dimensions would cause an acceleration in movement of the
continuum as it grows closer to the object exerting the pull. In simpler terms, as the continuum gets closer to the pull, there is less room for the
continuum to exist in and it must move faster, accelerating.
Another bit of evidence that fits this theory is the fact that objects appear to fall at the same rate, regardless of mass. Since both objects are in
the continuum around a massive gravity-producing body such as a planet, both will move within the continuum. The speed of the continuum is constant
from one point to another, based only on the distance form the planet, and therefore anything in that continuum at a certain height will fall at equal
(Actually, since all matter exerts its own pull on the continuum as well, there may actually be a slight differential in speed between objects of
sufficient mass differential; however since the gravitational effects of a small object pale so much in comparison the gravitational fiel of a planet,
this possible difference would be so small as to be practically undetectable.)
Now that we have established the probable existence of something that occupies what we know as 'empty' space, we must determine what that something
is. It certainly cannot be matter, as we have already established that matter exerts a pull on the continuum due to its inherent mass. The only other
component we know of in the Universe is energy.
Now, energy in its broadest sense can be used to describe anything that can affect matter, be it kinetic (motion) energy, potential (based on ability
to produce motion) energy, heat (molecular motion) energy, or electromagnetic energy (which encompasses electrostatic attraction/repulsion, light,
radio waves, cosmic rays, etc.). 'Energy', in the sense that is used here, is mainly focused on the latter, electromagnetic energy.
Of course, the first question that comes to mind is that of "Why haven't we detected this energy?" The most obvious answer is that it isn't there,
and that is closer to the truth than one might think. For energy to be detected, it too must be measured relative to some established zero point
reference. For example, the voltage in high-power electrical transmission lines is definitely lethal. Yet, how many have not seen a bird sitting
happily on a transmission line, unharmed by this lethal surge of power directly under its feet? I believe all of us have seen that. The bird is not
harmed by the high voltage because the bird does not experience a difference in voltage; when it is sitting on that power line, it is at the same
electrical potential as the line itself. No current will flow under that condition. Should the bird touch two lines of different voltage at the same
time, however, the result will be fried bird.
Regardless of the 'value' of the energy contained in this continuum, as long as the energy level does not vary from one location to the next, there
will be no way to measure and thus no way to observe the inherent energy contained within it. An apt analogy is that of the surface of a body of
water; if the water is perfectly calm, there is no way to retrieve energy from it, since there is no movement. Water is there, yes, but there is no
differential of water to produce a detectable flow.
Like the surface of a body of water, however, it is indeed possible to detect waves. A water wave is simply a motion that alters the surface of the
water in a pattern, transporting energy form one position to another. A water wave does not alter the overall surface of the water it is in; any rise
in water level at one point is offset by a fall in the water level at another point. Overall there is no difference in the water level, yet there is
energy flowing thorough the water. The continuum is similar in this respect to a body of water. While speaking of the average energy level is as moot
as comparing the altitude of the ocean to sea level, we can see the waves of energy as they flow through it. I use the terminology 'see the waves'
here in not only a figurative way; the light we actually see with our eyes is akin to waves in the water.
This brings us to another question: what is matter? Science defines matter in a circular method. Matter is anything that has mass; mass is an inherent
property of matter. In other words, we know what matter does, how it behaves under known conditions, but we do not know what matter actually is. We
can, however, increase that definition of matter/mass: Mass is the tendency for matter to 'suck in' the continuum around it, producing the effect we
know as gravity.
If matter is producing a pull on the continuum, it follows that matter would not be a separate entity form the continuum, but rather a part of the
continuum itself. Experiments have produced rough estimates of the physical size of protons and neutrons, which make up the bulk of matter as we know
it. The measurements are far from precise due to the obvious problems when dealing with something as small as a subatomic particle. Yet, should one
calculate the energy that would be inherent in a waveform of the same wavelength as the measures size of a proton/neutron, with the amplitude to make
the waveform fit inside a circular area, one determines that the energy inherent in such an electromagnetic wave is consistent with the mass of a
proton/neutron according to the equation E=mc².
That indicates that it is entirely plausible that matter is a trapped wave of electromagnetic energy, trapped by some harmonic resonance inherent in
If there is one such harmonic, it stands to reason there would be others, and this would account for the existence of other particles: quarks, muons,
neutrinos, electrons, etc. However, some of these harmonic frequencies would be less stable than others, and so we also have an accounting of why
certain particles decay more rapidly than others. The main harmonic of the Universe would seem to be the proton/neutron wavelength, with other
particles existing sporatically at other harmonics. It also explains the quantum nature of matter, since particles could only exist at these harmonic
One aspect of this theory is intriguing, however, and does not align with traditional thought. If matter is a standing wave function of energy in the
continuum, then the amount of mass is not proportional to the physical size of the particles produced by this function. That is a fancy way of saying
that the larger an particle is, the less mass it contains and vice versa.
In everyday life, it is simple judgment that the bigger someting is, the more mass it has. A small rock typically weighs more than a large rock. A
small sliver of steel is lighter than a large block of steel. But the reason for this observation is that the small sliver of steel contains many
fewer particles of matter than the large block of steel does. It is the quantum effect of particles of identical size and mass comprising the steel.
When one enters the subatomic realm, however, this relationship is reversed. We are no longer dealing with quantity of particles, but rather with
individual particles themselves. In this world, larger is smaller.
Of course, we were all taught in science class that electrons, which are much lighter than protons/neutrons, are also much smaller. But science has
yet to be able to effectively measure the physical size of an electron; the sizes accepted are based on the mass as opposed to the mass of a
proton/neutron; therefore they are an estimation rather than an observation. In actuality, an atom is a tiny group of small particles in the center,
surrounded by huge (but light) electrons that are so light they tend to act in many cases like energy rather than like mass.
The heaviest things in the Universe are black holes. A black hole is an area where gravity has become so strong that not even light can escape it.
This is logical only when combined with this continuum theory. According to Einstein's equations, any mass moving at the speed of light relative to
an observer will have infinite mass relative to that observer. This is why the speed of light is considered to be an unbreakable barrier; infinite
mass means infinite energy would be required to accelerate (or decelerate) the mass in question. Light cannot, then, have rest mass, since it would
then have infinite mass relative to any observer of it. One 'photon', if it contained any rest mass at all, would blow right through our eyeballs
and out the back of our heads with no decrease in speed, since it would become infinitely massive to us.
Instead, light has energy, as explained earlier. Yet, this energy is contained within the continuum, since light is only a wave in that continuum.
Therefore, it will have gravitational effects as the continuum it is in moves physically in a gravitational field. In order for a black hole to
capture light, there must be some point at which the continuum is moving faster than the speed of light. Light attempting to escape would be akin to
paddling a canoe against a current; if the current is moving faster than one can paddle, one will actually move backwards.
This point where the continuum is moving at the speed of light is the Schwarzschild Radius, commonly referred to as the 'Event Horizon'. Beyond this
point, the continuum is moving faster than the speed of light. Strangely enough, all matter has a Schwarzschild Radius, even the humble proton. The
difference between a 'normal' particle such as a proton and a black hole is that the Schwarzschild Radius of a black hole is outside the physical
size of the black hole, while the Schwarzschild Radius of a proton is buried deep within its physical size. This is plainly obvious from a quick
examination of the characteristics of a sphere; at some point, the area of a sphere will be small enough so as to cause the speed of the continuum
through that sphere to reach the speed of light.
Remember from our earlier examination into the characteristics of matter particles that the more mass a particle has, the smaller it will be
physically. This is the mechanism behind black holes. The singularity at the center of a black hole is actually a particle, of such intense mass that
it no longer needs a standing waveform harmonic to maintain itself; the sheer gravity of the black hole will allow it to exist. This also means that
since black holes are a function of the sheer mass of a particle (singularity), the concept of 'mini black holes' is a misnomer. A particle cannot
be massive and still be light. There are, however, different situations that could mimic the effects of a black hole; these will be explained
The very fact that the continuum can move faster than the speed of light, apparent when one considers the black hole, brings up another question: how
is this possible? According to Einstein's equations, the speed, mass, and length of any object changes with velocity, approaching limits of infinity
and zero at the speed of light. Beyond this speed, a mathematical riddle appears: i.
Mathematically, i is the square root of negative one. It is a number that cannot exist. No number when multiplied by itself can produce a
negative number. If the original number is positive, then its square is positive. If the original number is negative, its square is still positive. So
what does i, the square root of negative one, mean?
Let us diverge for a moment to examine this impossibility. Since i is, by definition, the square of negative one, then what would i²
be? By definition, the square root of a square is itself. Therefore, i² = i. Now, what is i³? Well, since i³ =
i² · i, it follows that i³ = -i. Raising i to the fourth power is the same as (i²)², which would be
-1² or 1. Now, look at the pattern we have. If we envision a graph, with the 'x' axis being real numbers (-3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3) and the 'y'
axis being imaginary numbers (-3i, -2i, -i, 0, i, 2i, 3i), we see that the powers of i indicate the
four extents of a circle. In other words, each power of i indicates a 90° shift around the origin (0, 0).
Einstein's equations accomplish the feat of invoking i by using the expression √(c² - v²), where c is the speed of light and v is the
observed relative velocity. At the point where v = c (velocity equals the speed of light), this reduces to the square root of zero, or simply zero.
Observed time approaches zero, since rest time is divided by the foregoing expression; observed distance (in the direction of motion) approaches zero
for the same reason; observed mass approaches infinity since rest mass is divided by this expression. The expression itself is interesting because it
is an exact analogy to the Pythagorean Theorem which equates sides of a right triangle.
The Pythagorean Theorem can be visualized via a circle around the origin of a graph, with both the 'x' axis and the 'y' axis representing real
numbers. As a finite line is rotated around the origin, the 'x' component and the 'y' component at the end of the line segment conform to the
Pythagorean Theorem d² = x² + y², with d being the length of the line segment. Therefore, to calculate the y coordinate at a particular 'x'
coordinate, one algebraically arranges the Pythagorean Theorem into y² = d² - x², or y = √(d² - x²). This is exactly the same as Einstein's
equations, with d representing c and x representing v. In other words, every object is moving at the same total speed at all times, with that total
speed being the speed of light. Any physical movement reduces the movement through time, resulting in a slowing of time.
Of course, in everyday life, our motion is so slow compared to the speed of light that this effect is undetectable. Yet, astronomical research has
shown time and time again that Einstein's calculations are accurate.
If we mentally rotate the line segment around the origin of our graph, remembering that the length of the line segment is d, our physical speed is y,
and our speed through time is x, we reach a strange occurrence when we reach 90° (physical speed is the same as the speed of light). Passing this
point means our physical speed decreases! In other words, any attempt to go faster would result in going slower, and time would begin to move
backward! Obviously an increase in speed would not result in a slower speed, so something must be wrong... and it is.
[edit on 11/4/2009 by TheRedneck]