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Forces of nature and such

Discussion in 'Physical & Life Sciences' started by Tom 1, May 14, 2020.

  1. Tom 1

    Tom 1 Optimistic sceptic Supporter

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    Anyone have any thoughts on this?

    We have seen hints of a new fundamental force of nature:

    Read more: We have seen hints of a new fundamental force of nature

    We have seen hints of a new fundamental force of nature

    There may be a paywall but the article is quite long so I'll post a couple of main points here:

    But we don’t know what new actor to expect, other than a quantum force. This tallies with the idea that even if gravity can’t yet be described in quantum terms, most physicists believe it eventually will be, in a long sought after marrying of relativity and quantum field theory. “Any sensible physicist believes gravity’s force-carrying particle exists,” says Frank Wilczek, a particle theorist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who won a share of a Nobel prize in physics for the quantum theory behind the strong nuclear force. Follow that logic and any fifth force has to be quantum, too.

    ...It is known as a chameleon force, and the idea is that the particle transmitting it changes its mass depending on the local density of matter. Chameleon particles would be heavier where the average matter density is high, as for example around Earth, meaning the force associated with them would have a smaller range in our neighbourhood and so would be practically invisible to us. The mass of these particles would be much smaller in the vast swathes of empty space between galaxies, where they would have a larger range of influence – just the ticket to explain the dark-energy effect of distant galaxies racing away from us ever faster.

    “It is not quite as strange as it sounds,” says Burrage, pointing out that the massless photon undergoes a similar metamorphosis when passing through a plasma of charged particles, experiencing a drag and effectively gaining mass. Wilczek agrees in principle, while being sceptical of the models themselves. “That sort of thing is allowed by the rules of quantum field theory,” he says...“There have been some attempts to see if the chameleon can play a role on galaxy and galaxy cluster scales, maybe replacing some of the need for dark matter,” says Burrage. Indications so far, however, seem to suggest that chameleon forces can’t explain all the effects we ascribe to dark matter.

    Anyhow, rather than a unification of forces, the smart money is on diversification. With the four fundamental forces we already have, we have contrived to explain only normal atomic matter, which appears to make up only 5 per cent of the matter and energy in the universe. “It seems unlikely that all the vast majority of the universe would be made of just one or two components,” says Brax. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we find more than one new force.”

    All these efforts speak to a wider truth, says Brax: that what we have now with our standard cosmological model is akin to a rough draft of the script for the story of the universe. “To embed our model in something larger, something we could call a theory, usually that involves new particles or fields, and those are going to give you new forces,” he says.
     
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  2. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    Quite frankly, it is obvious our cosmological picture is off. Not only is Relativity Theory and Quantum Theory irreconcilable, but our cosmological models have more than enough flaws. The only reason people even think we more or less know what is going on, is from a misguided idea of the efficacy thereof. It reminds me of Copernicus in many ways, as the Ptolemaic model had functioned for a millenium with its epicycles, and even after him, we still had the Tychonian interlude prior to acceptance of heliocentrism. This is very relevant here, as fundamentally we are trying to 'save the appearances', to describe what we see. Humans used to describe the existence of rotating heavenly spheres with a layer of fire, with the same confidence we now "spin yarns of blackholes", etc.

    The Catholic Church gets a lot of flak for persecuting Galileo, but essentially they were right. Galileo was not prohibited from teaching heliocentrism, but from declaring it true. We should not run into the same pitfall, as it ossifies our thinking into statements like "there are four fundamental forces". Even that statement is a glaring problem, as we have no particle for Gravity. It should be remembered that Gravity is itself an hypothetical construct, inferred from acceleration or weight, but not directly observed. Another how many inferred Forces is just as possible, and people had been investigating physics empirically for centuries prior to Newton.

    This Chameleon force or particle, if accepted, will not save our current cosmological beliefs - but shatter them. Essentially we are arguing a force that acts differently out there than it does here. One of the central axiomatic tenets of the Sciences is Uniformitarianism, that what we observe here has fundamentally similar action out there - after all, we can never go and check. So if we acknowledge this in this case, then our Uniformitarian assumptions on concepts like the speed of light or how elements act, lose their theoretical underpining - essentially a glaring hole opens up in our saving of Appearances as bad, if not worse, than the old Epicycles. If we cannot be sure that our observations on earth are similar to how things act elsewhere, then anything could have happen in the ether between worlds to alter what ultimately reaches us to be observed. The Cosmological modelling from assumed Uniformitarianism, and the ingrained beliefs in the fundamentally validity in some way of what we now 'know', is too well established to be easily overthrown, but this would leave its support structure rotten. The analogy with the established mediaeval model, followed by Copernicus, Tycho Brahe and Kepler, is strong here.
     
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  3. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    It seems like speculation with no evidence behind it.

    And they've been looking for it for decades now...
     
  4. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    What they did to him was pretty rotten, but those who said "if what you say is true, there should be stellar parallax, and we don't see any" had a valid point.

    That's not true; we've been observing gravity since 1798, like this:

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    This is untrue. Cavendish measured the gravitational constant, he did not directly observe gravity. In this case, it was inferred by applying Newton's laws to the spheres, and measuring the angle of the rod and torque of the wire. Without already assuming Gravity, the experiment is meaningless.
     
  6. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    The point is that Cavendish-type experiments, on their own, prove that there is an attractive force between masses satisfying F = G M m / r^2. You can show that by varying M, m, and r.

    There has actually been a lot of laboratory research trying to nail down the limits of the power: is it exactly 2, and does that depend on r? This research uses apparatus far more sophisticated than that of Cavendish.

    Of course, Cavendish would never have set up the experiment without the hint from Newton.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
  7. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    My point was though, that Gravity is not directly observed - as it is not here, either. Certainly you can find data that supports its application, but we aren't measuring it directly, but other things entirely. I am not doubting Gravity, but pointing out that a Force can be hypothesised and then actions thereof 'found', so other Forces could be thought to exist.
     
  8. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    When I say "gravity," what I usually mean is "an attractive force between masses satisfying F = G M m / r^2."

    And that's observable, as I said.

    The Einsteinian understanding of gravity is more complex; but that's observable too.

    The hypothetical graviton has, as yet, not been observed, of course.
     
  9. Quid est Veritas?

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    I disagree. You measure m, M and r, and apply G, then compute F. So the latter is inferred from the measurements of the former by the application of the hypothesis that they bear a relation. It is 'observable' only by way of a circular argument. In Cavendish's experiment, the torsion coefficient and angle are similarly substituted for F. Nothing here is directly observed.

    If anything, this illustrates the strength and durability of an entrenched paradigm.
     
  10. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Incorrect. You measure m, M, r, and you also measure also F.

    You then notice that F(r^2)/(Mm) is a constant regardless of M, m, and r. You call that constant G.

    In Cavendish's classic experiment, you directly observe the torsional force through the deflection. In modern torsion pendulums, you observe it through frequency. It is also possible to measure the force by balancing it against a known electrostatic force.

    There is no "circular argument" here.
     
  11. Quid est Veritas?

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    I am still awaiting this example of a directly measured F, though. Cavendish is measuring a deflection, and inferring therefore a force applied. This is not directly observed. This is similar to saying Gravity is observed because apples fall from trees.

    We are going around in circles though, over merely an illustration of my main point, so I have said my peace for now.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  12. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    I will grant you that he is assuming a torsional theory of fibres. But that theory stands on pretty solid ground. It's also used in the design of torsional galvanometers:

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Tom 1

    Tom 1 Optimistic sceptic Supporter

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    Yes it's a speculative piece, for information rather than stating anything definitive.
     
  14. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    By those criteria, nothing is ever 'directly' observed, but how do you define direct observation? - there must inevitably be some intermediate forces and actions between observer and observed - followed by interpretation.

    We observe objects and events in the world, we make models to describe, predict, and explain their behaviour and we give the models, and their components, names to help us understand them.

    Gravity is the name we give to the weak attraction between masses, the law of gravity is its mathematical description, and the theory of gravity is the model we use to explain it.
     
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  15. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    Interesting idea - it may sound a little ad-hoc, but as long as it's got some theoretical foundation and doesn't break stuff that works, it should be followed up. Positing new fields, particles, or forces as possible explanations for phenomena is not unusual in physics - much of what we currently have today came about that way (the Higgs boson is a canonical example).
     
  16. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    Of course if you go the ad absurdam route, you can always say there must be light bouncing off and then perceived by the eye, pruned by the sensory neurons and then interpreted, etc. So any perception requires participation in a sense between observer and observed. But that is certainly not what I mean.

    Certain things can be directly observed. I can pick up an object and feel its weight, its mass, its temperature and heat. I can visually perceive speed and acceleration, length and luminosity. Of course, for precision and intersubjectivity, we create scales and surrogate measuring apparatus to make sure we are all on the same page, that had been calibrated via direct human perception thereof at some point. So although often not directly observed today, they are ultimately directly observable phenomena. Other things are second order, in that they are determined via these, such as F=ma, or derived.

    Anyway, as far as I know, physics defines direct observation as observation via your senses (or more generally, when I have an instrument derivitive from that sensory effect for that quality); and indirect observation, as that made by measuring something and using that to determine something else, via relation or computation. Apologies for the rough definitions, but I am not completely sure where to find my old physical measurements textbook.

    Anyway, so Cavendish directly measured the angle of deflection and the length of the wire, then indirectly computed a force of torque (which is indirectly derived via measuring length ultimately) and then assuming Newton's laws, declares it equal to the force that opposes it when the system is in equilibrium, and ascribing that to the attraction between the objects. Little of that is a direct observation, and the whole only means something if you are already assuming Newton valid from the get go. It is a good experiment, but philosophically and logically, it is a circular argument as an observation of Newton's laws or gravity.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
  17. Radagast

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    He didn't "assume Newton's laws," he assumed the already known behaviour of fibres under torsion. That is, he used a scientific measuring instrument to measure attractive force. Similar instruments get used to measure other forces.

    And he didn't "ascribe" the force to attraction between the objects, it was attraction between the objects. An attraction satisfying satisfying F = G M m / r^2, to be precise.

    No, it's not "a circular argument." You're just not understanding this.
     
  18. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    Yes, he used the behaviour of fibres under torsion to indirectly determine the force. What is your point? This force was balanced by an opposite force, which based on application of Newton's laws, is then ascribed to an attractive force between the masses. Outside of that, stating it 'was' attraction, is certainly an unscientific statement. On what basis 'was' this force necessarily due to the attraction between the masses otherwise?

    Regardless, it is still not directly observed. If I am misunderstanding something, please enlighten me, but constantly just stating I am, is frankly pointless. This is not my idiosyncrasy though, but what I had been taught a few years ago. If I have the inclination, I'll go and look for my old physical measurements textbooks sometime. I certainly did not think anything I said was 'controversial' in the least.
     
  19. Radagast

    Radagast comes and goes Supporter

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    Not in the least. It's simply describing the direction of the force. That is the force is ☐ → ← ☐ and satisfies F = G M m / r^2.

    Well, if you don't allow scientific instruments, pretty much nothing is. Not a helpful point of view.
     
  20. Quid est Veritas?

    Quid est Veritas? In Memoriam to CS Lewis

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    That does not mean that the attraction of the objects necessarily creates said force, and by stating it satisfies the equation, you are applying Newton's laws - so that supports the hypothesis, but does not mean it was directly observed.

    I defined direct and indirect observations above, and most scientific instruments are direct observation, in that they can be directly related to sensory observation in calibration of the instrument for that measurement. This most certainly cannot, and requires computation and application of relations in addition to simple measurement with a calibrated device.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
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