Science and Matter-centrism

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From Wikipedia article on Copernican heliocentrism:

“Copernican heliocentrism is the name given to the astronomical model developed by Nicolaus Copernicus and published in 1543. It positioned the Sun near the center of the Universe, motionless, with Earth and the other planets rotating around it in circular paths modified by epicycles and at uniform speeds. The Copernican model departed from the Ptolemaic system that prevailed in Western culture for centuries, placing Earth at the center of the Universe, and is often regarded as the launching point to modern astronomy and the Scientific Revolution.”

From Wikipedia article on Galileo Galilei:

“Galileo’s championing of heliocentrism and Copernicanism was controversial within his lifetime, when most subscribed to either geocentrism or the Tychonic system. He met with opposition from astronomers, who doubted heliocentrism due to the absence of an observed stellar parallax. The matter was investigated by the Roman Inquisition in 1615, and they concluded that it could only be supported as a possibility, not as an established fact. Galileo later defended his views in Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, which appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII and thus alienated him and the Jesuits, who had both supported Galileo up until this point. He was tried by the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy”, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.”

The geocentric viewpoint was so embedded in the minds of the 17th century scientists that the heliocentric viewpoint took a long time to be accepted. But when finally that happened it created a scientific revolution.

The prevailing viewpoint in science today can aptly be described as matter-centrism. Current science looks at space and energy through the filter of matter. The Theory of Relativity looks at light travelling relative to matter. Quantum Mechanics looks at energy as discrete “particles” in the fashion of matter.

Recently I asked the following question on Quora,

Relative to light, all objects are moving at the “speed of light”. So what is the big deal about a spaceship moving at the speed of light?

This question innocently reversed the prevailing viewpoint on relativity. It looked at matter moving relative to light instead of light moving relative to matter. Nothing else was changed. The “speed of light” remained a universal constant as before.

But the protests were immediate. “Your opening assumption is not consistent with the known physics.” “There is no such thing as the frame of reference of light.” “To say we’re traveling at the speed of light relative to a light ray is superficially true, but irrelevant.” “None of what you said makes sense. That is not how speed of light is defined.” etc.

Why can’t we consider matter moving relative to light? Did Einstein provide a reason against it? Or, did he simply never consider it?

This question put on Quora was definitely jarring, but it was not out of line. Maybe it will improve known physics if we consider matter moving relative to light. There is no reason why light cannot be used as a reference. Our minds are conditioned to using matter as the basis. But we can certainly turn that around and pursue new paths.

If we take the viewpoint that all matter is already traveling at ‘c’ relative to light, then the motion among material objects seems to occur on a different plane. It is as if light forms the bottom of a lake, matter floats on the surface of the lake relative to other matter.

The theory of relativity correctly points out that there is no material aether. That makes space itself a medium in which light appears as a disturbance. This brings about a new concept of “undisturbed space”, which replaces the concept of “void”. The universe is now seen as a disturbance spreading out into undisturbed space.

The undisturbed space appears at the lower end of the light spectrum as frequency approaches zero. Matter then appears at the higher end of the light spectrum where increasing frequency finally collapses.

This Disturbance theory presents a “light-centric” approach, which is no less valid than the “matter-centric” approach. It opens the door to a whole lot of new possibilities. It does not change the “speed of light” as a fundamental constant. That constant can now be seen as the wavelength to period ratio that does not change while frequency changes.

There is nothing unscientific or illogical about the postulates of the Disturbance theory. Its basis rests in the recognition of an assumption that current science makes unwittingly. Recognition of this matter-centric assumption opens the door to a myriads of new possibilities.

This is good for science.

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Comments

  • vinaire  On March 27, 2016 at 7:36 AM

    Here is my mindfulness walking contemplation (audio) from this morning:

    Relativity as such

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    • Chris Thompson  On March 27, 2016 at 10:31 AM

      I enjoyed that. I see how walking and saying aloud in cogent sentences helps organize and lend substance to otherwise wispy thoughts.

  • Chris Thompson  On March 27, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    When research seems exhausted and stopped upon existing ideas, the counterintuitive approach seems to be what all the Great Ones have used to get science moving again.

  • vinaire  On March 29, 2016 at 8:33 AM

    Here is an excellent answer from Quora to the question “How do I study physics without going to university?”

    There are literally many ways to do so.

    Gerard ‘t Hooft, a nobel-laureate in physics, has even created a website in which you can make yourself a good theoretical physics. ( It is titled ‘How to become a GOOD theoretical physicist). Here’s the link: How to become a GOOD Theoretical Physicist

    You can go to YouTube and you will get amazing lectures of many levels. I’d highly recommend you to start with Yale’s physics lectures (Professor Shankar is witty and awesome). You could also try Berkeley’s lectures by Richard Muller. (I like the way he speaks!) I personally dont prefer Walter Lewin’s lectures but they are pretty cool. They are also in YouTube. Just hit the search button!

    You can buy yourself amazing textbooks! Just search in.
    However, you may prefer free lectures on YouTube taught in the top universities of US, if not ‘world’. I am not sure about Berkeley’s but Yale has even uploaded all the work sheets on Yale Open Courses website!

    You can become a GOOD theoretical physicist, or experimentalist!

    Physics really is profound. Explore more and see the fascinations that await you.

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    • Chris Thompson  On March 29, 2016 at 12:40 PM

      “Physics really is profound. Explore more and see the fascinations that await you.”

      That is good advice and a great tip Vin… Thank you.

  • 2ndxmr  On April 4, 2016 at 2:40 AM

    V:”The theory of relativity correctly points out that there is no material aether.”

    Where exactly did Einstein point that out?

    • vinaire  On April 4, 2016 at 5:45 AM

      Per Wikipedia (see “Aether theories”):

      “Aether theories in physics propose the existence of a medium, the aether (also spelled ether, from the Greek word (αἰθήρ), meaning “upper air” or “pure, fresh air”[1]), a space-filling substance or field, thought to be necessary as a transmission medium for the propagation of electromagnetic or gravitational forces. The assorted aether theories embody the various conceptions of this “medium” and “substance”. This early modern aether has little in common with the aether of classical elements from which the name was borrowed. Since the development of special relativity, theories using a substantial aether fell out of use in modern physics, and were replaced by more abstract models.[2]”

      “Material aether” is the same thing as “substantial aether”. It is an aether that has substance. It is opposite to “void” or “space”.

      You may check out the writings of Einstein as well.
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    • vinaire  On April 4, 2016 at 5:49 AM

      See Einstein: Ether and Relativity

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    • 2ndxmr  On April 5, 2016 at 2:26 PM

      (from wiki quote):”Since the development of special relativity, theories using a substantial aether fell out of use in modern physics,…

      That is the real case: it was simply observed that the theories of relativity did not require an aether for predictions. However the general theory breaks down at the singularity of a black hole, and quite possibly right at the event horizon. GR has not yet been reconciled with QM, which means that at the small scale there is a fundamental error in thinking. The resolution of this problem will come when physicists are willing to discretize space – in essence, to validate an aether. If you were to make a proper study of AdS/CFT you might see that they already have the math and physical/geometric structures at hand that do describe an aether structure.

      • vinaire  On April 5, 2016 at 7:47 PM

        In my view the aether is “disturbed space”.

  • vinaire  On April 4, 2016 at 5:52 AM

    I look at “disturbed space” as aether. I also see it as the “electromagnetic field”.

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