Friday, August 22, 2014

Particles, Dark Matter, and Dark Energy

In my last post, we gave birth to the spacetime model that the physicists are missing—one of the reasons why they’re not making progress. Now we need to flesh out the model by adding the structural details that will allow us to explain the standard models of particle physics and cosmology.

Our baby spacetime consists of two coupled point fields, one fermionic and one bosonic. The points are quantum states characterized by intrinsic quantum numbers or labels: position, time, and spin. Starting from a single point, the points multiply with amazing speed, a phenomenon that we recognize as the big bang, followed by inflation. As the explosion of points continues, the bosonic points attract each other and carry the fermionic points with them, sweeping everything closer together until the fermionic points call a halt because no two can ever have the same position. The halt is very abrupt, sort of like a train wreck, except that the trains bounce off each other and then crash again and again, so the entire space is left in a state of oscillations. The expansion continues at a much slower, but still accelerating pace.

There is no preferred observer or reference frame here, meaning that the universe must look the same regardless of where in it the observer is located. A geometry that meets this requirement for our three-dimensional universe is the three-dimensional surface of a four-dimensional sphere. It’s like the two-dimensional surface of an expanding balloon, but with one more dimension. All of the fermionic points have to fit in this finite surface area without touching. That’s why they run out of room, halting the superfast expansion. But their positions fluctuate randomly, so there’s always going to be a hole here and there that’s large enough for another fermionic point, and the expansion doesn’t stop completely. The physicists call the energy that’s causing this accelerating expansion dark energy, and they don’t have a clue what it is.

When the fermionic points are as close together as they can be, each one is confined to a little cell, which we can imagine is roughly spherical. The walls of the cell are other points. If a point tries to escape from its cell, it immediately runs into another point and bounces off. The positions of the points are random, but within limits. At the beginning there are few points, the limits are very loose, and the points can vibrate all over the place, but as time goes on the vibrations get smaller. In the language of the standard cosmological model, the universe starts out very hot right after the big bang and cools down rapidly as it inflates.

Each spacetime point vibrating in its tiny cell looks very much like a particle in an infinite spherical well, but there are no particles yet, only spacetime. However, the walls are oscillating, and that’s energy above and beyond the vibrational energy of spacetime points. We can make particles out of that. This condition, a particle in an infinite spherical well with oscillating walls, has been studied. In our case, if the oscillation energy is greater than the point’s vibrational energy, the point will absorb the energy and become an excited point—a particle! If the oscillation energy is too small, it just stays there and causes gravitational effects—gravity without matter! This condition has also been studied. It was found that this energy looks exactly like dark matter. I’ve done some rough calculations that show that a maximum of 22% of the oscillation matter could become luminous matter in this way. Observations show that the actual ratio of luminous matter to total matter is about 16%.

The physicists have been trying to figure out what dark matter is for decades and haven’t succeeded because they don’t have the right spacetime model. The physicists who studied gravity without matter sheepishly admitted that their work probably didn’t have any practical use because there was nothing in fundamental physics to support it!. Sabine Hossenfelder at Backreaction has just posted on recent dark matter results and how frustrating they are for physicists.

But not for us. We already have luminous matter, dark matter, and dark energy. Our baby spacetime has grown a bit but there’s still a lot of structure to be added. I’ll continue in future posts.