If A Tree Falls: When One Becomes Two
I don’t know if I started a former blog post out like this or not. It’s an interesting thought experiment that most of us are familiar with:
“If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to experience it, does it even exist?”
Most people are not as human-centered as they were years ago. They now know that we aren’t alone in the grand scheme of things. They now believe that there are other living things that interact in the universe. [For example: a bird or an insect will experience the falling tree, and those interactions are just as valid in the universe as humans observing that tree falling.]
Even those who follow the exact wording of The Bible know that, as humans, we have “dominion over everything that passeth through the paths of the sea.” To those who believe biblically, that means we have a responsibility to these living things but not necessarily the say-so as to whether or not these beings actually exist, or if they can experience their environment.
So, if the way we see our world, our unique perspectives as individual human beings, is just one of many POVs the universe (and God) honors, then the next thing we might wonder is how does the universe (or God) experience itself (and all its subsystems?)
This might not seem to have anything to do with what I’ve been introducing (that humans might not be the center of global existence in the universe). However, I will proceed to tell you where my thinking on this idea ended up, or began:
When does one thing become two?
Okay, so, we have a sphere in our hands of the soft, stretchable candy known as salt-water taffy. How might we examine what happens when this single sphere “breaks apart” into two halves?
[In my experiments with injecting a viscous, water-based substance (like cytoplasm) into an oil-based environment (maybe like what makes up a primitive living cell membrane), I found that the artificial cell/droplet naturally divides—an unstable trough starts the perfectly even division of the cell/droplet. This results in my assumption that perfect cell division is ubiquitous in our universe.]
Now, the universe is not separating the ball of water taffy, we do (unless you want to assume that we’re a part of the universe, and so the universe is actually doing this with a whole lot of complexity in between). But here we are just examining what happens when a human separates the single sphere of material into nearly two spheres. How does the universe see our fiddling around with it?
I say that we nearly change the shape of one larger sphere into two smaller spheres. “Nearly” refers to a dumbbell shape for our taffy. As we pull the taffy apart, we end up with a fine thread of taffy/sugar molecular chain in between the two smaller spheres:
Now let’s imagine this were at a place with little or no oxygen, like the moon. The moon has lots less gravity than the Earth, but normal spacetime gravity should work on masses equally, thus says scientific research (that means that each of the bodies we have illustrated are seen to accelerate toward the surface of the moon (or Earth) at the same accelerating speeds due to the gravity of the larger body that it’s falling toward (Newton’s Gravitational Equation)). What this means (since the mass of the thread is nearly zero) is that the centers of gravity of the smaller spheres will fall at the same rate whether they are amassed as a large sphere or not.
You might ask, why not talk about an astronaut-run experiment done on the moon with a hammer vs a feather? Notice in the YouTube video, the astronaut honors Galileo for coming up with the idea of gravitational acceleration based on Newton’s laws (Galileo had no frictionless environment to drop masses in, even though his experiment involved different-sized objects with the same atmospheric drag (opposing gravity and slowing gravitational acceleration)). My thought experiment might have been like one Galileo could have had: Take something apart (change its shape/distribution) and, excluding atmospheric drag, it will fall at the same rate as its original self).
So, what does this result mean beyond the falling of different masses at the same rate? How does the universe sees the shape of matter? And why is this important?
There are many reasons for the importance of this behavioral law of the universe (here are three): 1. The shape of something we call an object does not seem to make a difference to the universe (if we assume both shapes have a gravitational center (cg: center of gravity) from which attraction occurs). 2. The distance between shapes and the amount of mass acting at the cg of each body affects the way the bodies move (within and between each other). 3. How does the universe see the nearly massless taffy thread? How might the universe react to the thread?
- Regardless of SHAPE in universal reaction (of cgs with reference to surface of larger gravity wells (sun/planet/moon/asteroid): By our thought experiment, we find the universe sees one body and its distribution into two bodies just as if they experience the same accelerating forces. [I want to make a late observation here. Within the distribution there are varying mass resistances in universal expansion: In our experiment, this would look like two deep troughs (gravity wells) separated by a relatively flat crest. So, it might depend on the distance between the wells whether the universe returns to crestlike behavior or expansion between the resultant bodies.]
- Newton’s Gravitational Equation that applies to normal spacetime (Einstein’s General and Special Relativities modified the normal spacetime equation by what is known as the Lorentz Transformation (has to do with the sampling perspective of the detector).
- Newton’s GE gives solutions in accelerating force, but it could just as well give the gravitational equation in tension between the objects that cause them to move toward a much larger gravity well. So, when we separate a larger sphere into two smaller ones, they still, somehow relate to the universe as if they had never parted. They still possess the same tension as they did when they were one whole sphere. (Interfacial tension on the surface of a droplet has nearly the same equation as Newton’s Gravity and that will help us answer our next question about when the forces of gravity break down.)
- Is the spacetime domain of the thread (smaller EM objects/particles) the same or different from the larger masses?) How might they react differently?
This requires that we understand what mass does to the “expanding” universe (from The Big Bang to today, about 15 billion years later). It also requires that we understand the nature of the universal boundary and the nature of expansion of that boundary).
In our next installment, we’ll examine what the Saffman-Taylor Instability experiment with viscous fluids says about existence on the radial domain of this universal expansion? Can there be a theory of everything on such a boundary (when masses for the inertial troughs and very small energetic particles form the crests of the instability sine waves that populate the expanding universal boundary)?