Rigor Vitae: Life Unyielding

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Of all the powerful, innate drives that guide our behavior, my vote for favorite goes to that drive to understand the natural world. We've come a long way since the days of a geocentric universe composed of four elements. The universe described in Sir Isaac Newton's Principia gave us a sensible, useful model for over two centuries that only began to fray at the edges upon the closest scrutiny. During the 20th century, troublemakers like Einstein, Planck, Heisenberg and Bohr left us with two irreconcilable models, one describing physics on a grand, cosmic level and the other describing it on the most minute level. Later physicists, the perpetrators of Superstring and M-Theories, snuck through the back door, designing elaborate algorithms to mathematically reconcile the theories of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity.

Science periodically goes through awkward stages. Our recently acquired skills at genetic analysis will one day lead to a biological nomenclature that describes the relationships of living things far better than it ever did before, but for the moment it's left us with a confused taxonomy that's all but useless. Similarly, physics at the beginning of the 21st century paints an insane picture of an 11-dimensional universe where space and time are woven into a fabric that's curved into higher dimensions by matter, which on the subatomic level cannot be understood or predicted, but can be affected by simply observing it. At its very core, according to current physics, nature makes no sense.

Obviously, the picture still lacks a piece or two.

It's possible that an important missing piece is the quantization of space-time, or, the idea that space itself is structured the same way as matter: of tiny “particles.” Hartland Snyder first proposed this idea in the 1940s, but didn't receive much attention for it. When viewed through the hindsight of M-Theory, though, Quantized Space-time creates a common-sense model of quantum mechanics that seems to explain away all of the last century's counter-intuitive observations. In this model, space is composed of particles, or quanta, one Planck length (about 1.6 x 10-35 meters) in diameter, randomly moving about in superspace, much like the gas molecules that make up our atmosphere. The 11 dimensions required by Superstring and M Theory can now be defined. The three familiar dimensions, x, y and z, can pinpoint a location no more accurately than to identify a single space quantum. To describe that quantum's place in superspace, one needs another set of x, y and z coordinates, and to describe locations within the quantum, another set of three. The final two dimensions are temporal ones, one for space and one for superspace. In this model, the gravitational curvature of space described by Einstein is nothing more than an increased density of space quanta. One can visualize the particle/wave duality of light once it is seen as a wave propagating through space quanta. The bizarre behavior of subatomic particles becomes understandable when one visualizes those particles interacting with space quanta. The Quantized Space-time model restores logic to nature.

Salt Lake whiz-kid Thad Roberts recently found himself with some extra time on his hands, and he put it to good use writing an excellent book on this topic, Einstein's Intuition. Thad's still fine-tuning his manuscript, but he's ready to share his ideas with us, and he'll be giving a free lecture at the main Salt Lake Public Library on 4th South and 2nd East, that promises to be fascinating and exciting. Thad's a skilled communicator, and he believes that everyone will walk away being able to visualize 11 dimensions and the Quantized Space-time model. The presentation will be geared to the lay person and free of obscure jargon and advanced mathematics. It's bound to be the best two and a half hours you'll spend next week.

When: Monday, March 30, 2009 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Downtown City Library; 210 E. 400 S.; Salt Lake City, Utah
Conference Room A
Seating will be limited. Please RSVP to qst AT moebiusgroupe DOT com to reserve a seat.
digital illustration by CPBvK


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