Cosmology News

If spacetime is a superfluid, light speed could vary

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spacetime as fluid/Deyan Georgiev, Fotolia

Not only might spacetime be a fluid, some say, but perhaps a slippery one at that:

Now researchers suggest that if spacetime is a fluid, it must be an extraordinary kind of fluid known as a superfluid. These findings could help test models of quantum gravity.

A superfluid is a fluid that flows with virtually zero friction or viscosity. In comparison, water might seem as slow as molasses. Liquid helium can behave like a superfluid when cooled to temperatures just a few degrees above absolute zero, the coldest possible temperature.

Scientists have looked for paradoxical or unlikely predictions in models that treat spacetime as a fluid in order to support or disprove these models. For instance, past research suggested that photons might travel at different speeds depending on their energy if spacetime is a fluid.

The researchers found that if spacetime was a viscous fluid, it would rapidly dissipate the energy of photons and other particles along their paths. Since astronomers can see photons traveling from stars and galaxies located billions of light years away, Liberati and Maccione’s calculations revealed that if spacetime is a fluid, it must be a superfluid. More.

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18 Replies to “If spacetime is a superfluid, light speed could vary

  1. 1
    VunderGuy says:

    Okay… so… is space time actually a fluid, super or otherwise, or is this a ‘if this were so’ kind of thing that you’d find in sci-fi?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    For instance, past research suggested that photons might travel at different speeds depending on their energy if spacetime is a fluid.

    to which:

    GRBs Expand Astronomers’ Toolbox – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: a detailed analysis of the GRB (Gamma Ray Burst) in question demonstrated that photons of all energies arrived at essentially the same time. Consequently, these results falsify any quantum gravity models requiring the simplest form of a frothy space.
    http://www.reasons.org/GRBsExp.....ersToolbox

    It always amazes me that materialistic scientists are always trying to find variance in one of the fundamental constants of the universe so as to give the slightest bit of credence to their materialistic conjectures. These scientists do not seem to realize the havoc that would ensue in science if the constants of the universe were found to vary:

    Scientists Question Nature’s Fundamental Laws – Michael Schirber – 2006
    Excerpt: “There is absolutely no reason these constants should be constant,” says astronomer Michael Murphy of the University of Cambridge. “These are famous numbers in physics, but we have no real reason for why they are what they are.”
    The observed differences are small-roughly a few parts in a million-but the implications are huge (if they hold up): The laws of physics would have to be rewritten, not to mention we might need to make room for six more spatial dimensions than the three that we are used to.”,,,
    The speed of light, for instance, might be measured one day with a ruler and a clock. If the next day the same measurement gave a different answer, no one could tell if the speed of light changed, the ruler length changed, or the clock ticking changed.
    http://www.space.com/2613-scie.....-laws.html

    Wigner referred to the correspondence between the unchanging laws of the universe and our ability to mathematically model them as a ‘miracle’:

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    It is interesting to note that Dr. Craig used the example of Peter Higg’s mathematical prediction of the Higg’s boson (God Particle) itself, which Peter Higg’s had made 3 decades ago before it was discovered by the LHC, as a philosophical proof for Theism:

    Mathematics and Physics – A Happy Coincidence? – Dr. Craig – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/9826382/

    1. If God did not exist the applicability of mathematics would be a happy coincidence.
    2. The applicability of mathematics is not a happy coincidence.
    3. Therefore, God exists.

    Supplemental notes:

    Latest Test of Physical Constants Affirms Biblical Claim – Hugh Ross – September 2010
    Excerpt: The team’s measurements on two quasars (Q0458- 020 and Q2337-011, at redshifts = 1.561 and 1.361, respectively) indicated that all three fundamental physical constants have varied by no more than two parts per quadrillion per year over the last ten billion years—a measurement fifteen times more precise, and thus more restrictive, than any previous determination. The team’s findings add to the list of fundamental forces in physics demonstrated to be exceptionally constant over the universe’s history. This confirmation testifies of the Bible’s capacity to predict accurately a future scientific discovery far in advance. Among the holy books that undergird the religions of the world, the Bible stands alone in proclaiming that the laws governing the universe are fixed, or constant.
    http://www.reasons.org/files/e.....010-03.pdf

    Stronger and More Comprehensive Tests Affirm the Universe’s Unchanging Physics – July 1, 2013 By Dr. Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: For thousands of years, the Bible has been on record stating that the physical laws governing the universe do not vary. For example, Jeremiah 33:25, God declares that he “established the fixed laws of heaven and earth” (NIV, 1984).,,,
    Laboratory measurements have established that variations any greater than four parts per hundred quadrillion (less than 4 x 10-17) per year cannot exist in the fine structure constant, which undergirds several of the physical laws.,,,
    ,,they confirmed with 99 percent certainty that possible variations in the fine structure must be less than two parts per 10 quadrillion per year over the past 10 billion years. This limit is about a thousand times more constraining than the one I described in More Than a Theory.
    http://www.reasons.org/article.....ng-physics

    Verse, Quote, and Music:

    Psalm 119:89-91
    Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven. Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans.

    C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”
    John Lennox – Mathematician
    http://www.christianpost.com/n.....how-80307/

    Michael W. Smith – You Won’t Let Go LIVE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNZusL1OHG4

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    We are indeed immersed in an immense energy field, a discrete lattice of energetic particles. It is neither spacetime (a motionless abstraction) nor a fluid. Super or not, a fluid implies friction and this is not observed. Why is an energy field necessary? It is because, without it, there could be no motion at all. Zilch, nada. Newton’s laws of motion never explained why a body in inertial motion remains in motion. Newton merely observed that this is what happens. Amazingly, physicists have been living with this gaping hole in their understanding of motion for centuries and yet they act as if they know everything there is to know about it. But something essential is missing, something huge.

    I predict that, when we finally understand motion and necessity for the lattice, when we can fully grok the properties of the particles that comprise the lattice, we will have discovered a virtually limitless source of energy. It’s everywhere, free for the taking. If only we knew how. Our future vehicles will move silently at tremendous speeds: New York to Beijing in minutes, earth to Mars in hours.

    Just saying.

  4. 4
    VunderGuy says:

    @Mapou

    Energy lattice? What?

  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    VunderGuy wrote:

    Energy lattice? What?

    Wrong questions. The question you should ask is:

    What keeps a body in inertial motion moving?

    If you can answer this question, then you understand motion. And if you do understand motion, then you understand the lattice.

    My bet is that you don’t know the answer to the question.

  6. 6
    VunderGuy says:

    I thought what kept it moving was the fact that… well… that’s sort of how it is. The more mass that object has, the harder it is to get it moving and, once it gets moving, the harder it is to keep it moving.

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    VunderGuy wrote:

    I thought what kept it moving was the fact that… well… that’s sort of how it is.

    Exactly. Saying “that’s just the way it is” is not an explanation. It is an observation in dire need of an explanation.

    By the way, Newton did wonder about the problem but could not come up with a reasonable answer. He eventually gave up and ascribed the cause of motion to direct divine intervention in the workings of the universe. It’s too bad that subsequent generations of physicists rarely thought about the problem. Only a handful may be aware that there is a problem in need of a solution.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    If spacetime is a superfluid, light speed could vary

    Does this mean that the universe really could be only 6000 years old? Or perhaps even created just last Thursday?

  9. 9
    Mapou says:

    Mung wrote:

    If spacetime is a superfluid, light speed could vary

    Does this mean that the universe really could be only 6000 years old? Or perhaps even created just last Thursday?

    Light speed is a constant for reasons having to do with the nature of motion. Sure, light appears to slow down when it moves through a fluid but it’s not because the speed of light changes but because light particles interact with the particles in the fluid through absorption and emission (decay).

    I’ll tell you a little secret. There is only one speed in the universe and that is c. Nothing can move faster or slower. Surprise.

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    There is only one speed in the universe and that is c. Nothing can move faster or slower.

    Nothing, or nothing physical?

    Of course, attributing motion to the non-physical is itself puzzling, eh?

  11. 11
    VunderGuy says:

    “I’ll tell you a little secret. There is only one speed in the universe and that is c. Nothing can move faster or slower. Surprise.”

    Yes. WITHIN the universe, but haven’t scientists said that the universe itself is faster than light or could move faster than itself, the universe in this case being space?

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    Space is physical.

  13. 13
    Querius says:

    VunderGuy,

    Lots of things move slower than c. Check out the speed of light in glass or water.

    The inflation of the universe is supposedly faster than the speed of light. That’s how it would be possible for stars can be farther away in light years than they are old.

    -Q

  14. 14
    Mapou says:

    Mung wrote:

    Space is physical.

    Space (distance) is a perceptual illusion. It does not exist. The lattice is not space. It is an immense collection of particles. Nothing and nobody escapes the lattice.

    Querius:

    Lots of things move slower than c.

    I beg to differ. Motion (and the universe) is discrete. That is to say, motion consists of discrete jumps. The jumps occur at c. What appears to be an object moving slower than c actually consists of jumps interspersed with rest periods. In fact, at ordinary speeds, moving objects are at rest most of the time and the jumps are few in comparison. An object that is observed to move at half the speed of light is actually at rest half the time during the observed motion. Needless to say, you will not find this in any physics books. Take it or leave it.

    The inflation of the universe is supposedly faster than the speed of light. That’s how it would be possible for stars can be farther away in light years than they are old.

    IMO, this is just a tub of mainstream hogwash. The physics community is neck deep in it.

  15. 15
    Querius says:

    Mapou speculated

    . . . motion consists of discrete jumps. The jumps occur at c. What appears to be an object moving slower than c actually consists of jumps interspersed with rest periods.

    This is very possible when you consider the hypothesized Scharnhorst effect, which reduces the density of virtual particles for light to interact with (being absorbed and re-emitted).

    IMO, this [inflation of the universe] is just a tub of mainstream hogwash. The physics community is neck deep in it.

    Maybe. But how would you otherwise explain the increasing red shift with distance from the Earth? The red shift of some galaxies would indicate that they’re receding from us at faster than the speed of light.

    -Q

  16. 16
    Mapou says:

    Querius @15:

    Maybe. But how would you otherwise explain the increasing red shift with distance from the Earth? The red shift of some galaxies would indicate that they’re receding from us at faster than the speed of light.

    In my opinion, the redshift is not caused by receding galaxies but by a cumulative decrease of the energy of light as it travels vast distances. I can’t go into details but suffice it to say that, based on my understanding of the causality of motion, it is nature’s way of correcting violations of the principle of energy conservation. These small violations occur when photons occupy the same position at the same time.

    Let me add that gravity, too, is the result of similar but more frequent violations involving large numbers of particles in close proximity. This is just my theory. Nothing to get excited about for now.

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    If the speed of light varies enough, could God have created the universe and everything in it yesterday?

  18. 18
    Querius says:

    It always amuses me when someone announces that the universe is 13.8 billion years old. By what clock? One on Earth? Was anything moving near the speed of light or within a large gravitational field?

    Consider the Hafele–Keating experiment (1971), which has been repeated successfully since then.

    -Q

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