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the universe is a soccer ball?


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25 replies to this topic

#1 of 26 Mike Wladyka

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Posted October 10 2003 - 02:58 AM

http://www.space.com....er_031008.html


anyone else buying into this?
Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you've got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem. Maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash.

#2 of 26 Dave Poehlman

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Posted October 10 2003 - 03:21 AM

Quote:
"Hypothetically speaking, if you head off into space you can travel in a straight line and come back to the starting point,"


Hmmm.. so the Asteroids video game is looking pretty realistic now, eh? Posted Image

#3 of 26 Josh Lowe

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Posted October 10 2003 - 03:24 AM

this thread will go one of two ways:

informative discussion into things like superstring theory, quantum physics and other stimulating topics.

or a debate of the lowest common denominator.

i hope it's the former.

#4 of 26 Andrew Testa

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Posted October 10 2003 - 03:30 AM

Not any more or less so than any other theoretical topological spacetime model. The question is; are there any other explanations for the inconsistencies in the background radiation, and do all current physics operate in this new topology?

[homer] ...mmmmmmm, spacetime manifolds.... [/homer]

Andy
EDIT: Josh, I'll try for the former, homerisms aside Posted Image

#5 of 26 Mike Wladyka

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Posted October 10 2003 - 03:33 AM

Josh--me too

I haven't come across it yet, but i am wondering where the individual galaxies are? do they lie along the outside of the soccer ball? or on the inside? How does the doppler effect fit into all of this, after all scientists have been measuring the rate of expansion for years...how could this be in a spherical universe? is the giant soccer ball rotating?
Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you've got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem. Maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash.

#6 of 26 Dave Poehlman

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Posted October 10 2003 - 03:58 AM

So, it's sort of like a 3 dimentional version of a Mobeus strip? A 3 dimentional sphere twisted four dimensionally and joined with itself? That would explain how one could travel in one direction and wind up at the same place. The galaxies would be within that sphere, I suppose. I don't know where the dodecahedron comes in... why couldn't be some other polyhedron?

I wish the article had more details. Or... maybe my Asteroids theory is right and we're all just living in some video game in a bowling alley. Posted Image

#7 of 26 Andrew Testa

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Posted October 10 2003 - 04:32 AM

Mike,

Everything would be on the inside. The "edges" don't really exist; the transition from one side to the other wouldn't appear any different from traveling internally. So the expansion model still works, and galactic doppler shift is still valid. It's a topology that's both infinite and bounded. Meaning that while the volume of the universe could be contained within a measurable volume, Internally you can travel forever and never reach an edge. The expansion of the universe means that the container gets larger, so the distance you would have to travel before you returned to your origin would increase.

It's an old concept, actually. What's new is that the background radiation data may actually show it exists.

The classic 2 dimensional analogy for this is to imagine an ant on a balloon. The balloon obviously has a bounding volume, but the ant can walk forever and never reach an end to the surface. Blow more air into the balloon and it expands. Individual points on the balloon move away from each other at a constant rate, the ant sees his universe expand, and he can still never walk to the edge.

In the case of the soccer ball model, remember that big bang theory states there is no center of the universe; it all started from the same point and from anywhere it appears to be expanding away from that point. The ball boundaries could be anywhere within that universe. If you were right on the edge or in the center of the ball, the universe would look exactly the same.

Further experiments that would pin this down would be (as mentioned in the article) to see if any objects appear in more than one place. We can currently see some 10 billion light years away, so with a dodecahedral topology there are 6 pairs of surfaces that light from any object will pass through, to reappear on the other side. The trick would be to find some very distant object, then scan for a double of that object somewhere else in the sky, but at a much larger distance. In reality though we'd be very lucky to find such a phenomenon, since the wrap around distance could likely be farther in light years that we can see, or it could be farther in light years than the universe is old, so that the light from it hasn't even reached us yet.

Lots of very interesting repercussions from this kind of topology.

Andy

#8 of 26 ThomasC

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Posted October 10 2003 - 05:12 AM

OK, methinks I'm not going to understand this until I see a model of what they're talking about, or maybe I'll get even more confused after that. Posted Image Does anyone know where I can see what they're talking about?

#9 of 26 Christ Reynolds

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Posted October 10 2003 - 05:15 AM

hmm interesting. well, dare i ask what they think is outside of the boundary of the soccer ball shaped universe?
Quote:
In the case of the soccer ball model, remember that big bang theory states there is no center of the universe; it all started from the same point and from anywhere it appears to be expanding away from that point.
wouldnt that suggest that the point where the big bang originated IS the center? since everything is expanding away from that point, i would think that could be considered the center.

CJ
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#10 of 26 Mike Wladyka

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Posted October 10 2003 - 05:19 AM

Quote:
The expansion of the universe means that the container gets larger, so the distance you would have to travel before you returned to your origin would increase.


right, but isn't that true of the "old" model of the universe? How is this a new concept, then? I always thought of the universe expanding in every direction, wouldn't that be theoretically a sphere if it were to start from one point as the big bang depicts. What am i missing? i took the article to mean that the universe has a finite boundary, which implies being able to travel around as an "ant on a balloon" I am not seeing why you would be able to do this if the universe is expanding, theoretically you would never be able to come back to the point where you started if the universe was expanding because the diameter would be expanding in either direction which would make the circumference bigger yet.
Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you've got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem. Maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash.

#11 of 26 Mike Voigt

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Posted October 10 2003 - 06:37 AM

Quote:
well, dare i ask what they think is outside of the boundary of the soccer ball shaped universe?


Italy Posted Image

Andy brings up a good point, though. The very item we are trying to observe in two different places may not have been in existence sufficiently long and in the right place for us to see the light, as it were, in the second place.

This has interesting possibilities...

Mike

#12 of 26 Dave Poehlman

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Posted October 10 2003 - 07:16 AM

Quote:
wouldnt that suggest that the point where the big bang originated IS the center? since everything is expanding away from that point, i would think that could be considered the center.


It would if the universe had boundaries. Once you take the boundaries away... there's no center.

Quote:
right, but isn't that true of the "old" model of the universe? How is this a new concept, then?

The old model was an expanding sphere with an edge and we're contained within the sphere. If you travelled in one direction in the old model you would eventually reach the edge of the universe.

This model suggests that that sphere is "looped" in all directions, meaning if you travelled in a straight line you would eventually come back to where you started.

All of this will be proven true when Voyager comes crashing back to Earth. Posted Image

#13 of 26 Christ Reynolds

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Posted October 10 2003 - 08:11 AM

Quote:
It would if the universe had boundaries. Once you take the boundaries away... there's no center.
right, but it still has a point of origin. if you dont think of it as finding the center of a sphere as the midpoint between two opposite tangent planes, then it works. something with no boundaries can have no mathematical center, but that point is certainly closer than any other point. but i see what you are saying as well. its not like we as humans have a definitive answer to how big the universe is, so much of this is semantics. i am, however, impressed with how much we are able to determine in a relatively short period of studying the skies.

CJ
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#14 of 26 BrianW

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Posted October 10 2003 - 11:53 AM

Quote:
wouldnt that suggest that the point where the big bang originated IS the center? since everything is expanding away from that point, i would think that could be considered the center.
As a two-dimensional analogy, consider the surface of a sphere. Would you be able to select a point on the sphere that could be considered the center of its surface? Even if it is expanding, can you pick a spot on the surface that the rest of the surface is expanding away from? And if the sphere's surface began expanding from a single point, would you then be able to observe from the beginning the point on the sphere's surface where everything began?

No, it's not possible to do any of these things. But it's a lot easier to think of these things in a lower dimension. (Alternatively, you could go down another dimension and speculate on which point would be the center of a line that forms a perfect circle.) This new (old) model accomplishes the same thing, but in three dimensions.
Quote:
Everything would be on the inside. The "edges" don't really exist; the transition from one side to the other wouldn't appear any different from traveling internally. So the expansion model still works, and galactic doppler shift is still valid. It's a topology that's both infinite and bounded.
Are you sure you don't mean finite and unbounded?
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#15 of 26 Eric_L

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Posted October 10 2003 - 04:42 PM

OF course there's a center of the universe, I just don't like to flaunt it...

#16 of 26 Andrew Testa

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Posted October 11 2003 - 08:40 AM

Quote:
dare i ask what they think is outside of the boundary of the soccer ball shaped universe?

This is my favorite cosmology question, because the answer is so hard to wrap your head around.

There is no outside.

Consider: Our entire concept of something existing has to do with its composition of energy and its path within a spacetime lightcone. That is: everything exists in space and moves through time, and is composed on energy that conforms to the laws of that spacetime. It's all integrated and inseparable. Time cannot exist without space, and space cannot exist without time. However, spacetime, energy, matter, are all products of the Big Bang. They exist because of the interactions that took place in the first infinitesimal instant of existance. Space, time, and the energy that occupies it only exist within the universe created at that instant. If sapce spaceime only exist within the bounds of the universe, then there can be no outside in terms of a space or time happening outside of the universe.

If there are any laws of physics that exist other than within our universe, they may not contain space, time, or energy as we can conceive.

Quote:
wouldnt that suggest that the point where the big bang originated IS the center? since everything is expanding away from that point, i would think that could be considered the center.

One problem in visualizing the expansion is the tendency to imagine that the boundary of the universe is expanding, and we're unaffected by it. The reality is that everything is expanding. The galaxies are all moving away from each other because the space between them is expanding. As you sit there, the space your quarks occupy is expanding. And no matter where you sit in the universe, it appears to be expanding away from you. There isn't any one origin of the universe. That would impy the existance of an origin that existed before the big bang that everything expands relative to. Every point in the universe is the origin.

Since everything in the universe originated at once and expanded together, every single point in the universe appears to be the center. There is no real center since the edges are unobservable and unreachable, according to the classic theory. No matter where you are, you will see the same thing no matter how far you look in any direction. The visual concept of a sphere is a simplification that unfortunately has an easily found center. Brian's analogy of defining a center on an expanding balloon surface is more correct.

Quote:
So, it's sort of like a 3 dimentional version of a Mobeus strip?

Yes, but a mobeus strip with connections in six directions, rather than the one direction of the traditional strip.

Quote:
I don't know where the dodecahedron comes in... why couldn't be some other polyhedron?

I don't know either, but I think I can guess. Like so many things in cosmology theory, the data probably fit the model best when the variable N for number of sides was 12. As to why 12 sides works, that's a new line of study.

I'll definitely be looking for more info on this. Particularly the rebuttals and counter arguments.

Andy

#17 of 26 Cees Alons

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Posted October 11 2003 - 10:26 PM

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Of course there's a center of the universe, I just don't like to flaunt it...
But you're right. Every observer is in the middle of the universe.


Quote:
but there has to be a center
Oh, yes. The expanding balloon does have a centre of expansion: but it's outside the surface of the balloon. So in this 3-D reality, the centre of the universe exists, but it's situated outside the universe. In fact we immediately need a 4-D model (like the balloon, with its 2-D surface, really is a 3-D structure). If you add time as another dimension, we would need a 5-D model.

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#18 of 26 Mike Wladyka

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Posted October 12 2003 - 11:50 PM

Quote:
So in this 3-D reality, the centre of the universe exists, but it's situated outside the universe. In fact we immediately need a 4-D model (like the balloon, with its 2-D surface, really is a 3-D structure). If you add time as another dimension, we would need a 5-D model.


sorry, i wasn't thinking fourth dimensionally...."i have a real problem with that" (just watched that movie)

this actually makes more sense to me when i think about it with the fourth dimension...thanks Cees

Quote:
Lots of very interesting repercussions from this kind of topology


Andy, like what? wormhole travel?
Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains, a pretty violent image there. I think if you've got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem. Maybe you should get rid of the body before you do the wash.

#19 of 26 Andrew Testa

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Posted October 13 2003 - 05:08 AM

Quote:
Are you sure you don't mean finite and unbounded?


Hrmm hrmm, (cough),

Finite and unbounded. That's what I meant to say. Seeing as how it's actually spelled out in the article:

Quote:
If the universe is closed, though, then what is beyond the universe? Weeks took his best shot at answering this confounding question:

"The universe is finite," he said, "but there's no boundary to it," implying that there is no beyond, or that if there is, then its nature is left to your imagination and is outside the closed system that astronomers can ever hope to see.


Andy, being kept honest by Brian

#20 of 26 Andrew Testa

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Posted October 13 2003 - 05:22 AM

Quote:
Andy, like what? wormhole travel?


Actually, I was thinking of more mundane things, like being able to accurately measure cosmic distances if you can triangulate on multiple images of the same object. Or using the relative positions of multiple images to determine the exact flatness of space. Also, whether or not this geometry changes the calculations for an infinitely expanding (current consensus) or eventually collapsing universe. What kind of manifold this dodechahedral surface describes (flat, stretched, wrinkled, are the vertices smooth or are there holes, etc) and how its incorporation into spacetime fits with the standard model of particle theory. I'm sure there are a lot more.

Andy


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