The universe

I am in a very philosophical frame of mind tonight, and have been philosophising recently about the Universe.

The universe, infinite in size, is mostly empty. On average. I know there are at least one hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe, with at least one hundred billion stars in each galaxy. There are massive, stupendously big clouds of intergalactic dust and gas. There are black holes aplenty. There are rogue brown dwarves, planets and asteroids floating around the interstellar medium. But on average, given the incomprehensible size of the universe, it is mostly just that. Just space. Empty space. In fact that empty space is a vacuum, defined by the Encyclopaedia Britannica as “space in which there is no matter or in which the pressure is so low that any particles in the space do not affect any processes being carried on.” But the definition of vacuum refers to an enclosed space. The universe is not enclosed by anything, or anyway nothing that we can detect. If the universe is infinite, that is unbounded, can the vast nothingness that is space be called a vacuum if it is not enclosed?

But that is just word games. If there is nothing out there, really nothing, then it is a vacuum.

Vacuums exert negative pressure on their surroundings. How much “negative pressure” does this uncontained, infinite sized near perfect vacuum create, and what is its influence on matter? How does it compare to gravity’s influence? Can the vacuum overcome gravity to accelerate the expanding universe? Is the universe vacuum itself the source of dark energy?

Picture a large rigid container. Remove all the air inside, so it is as near a perfect vacuum as possible. Then introduce a single drop of water. The water would vapourise instantly in the vacuum, its molecules spreading out to form a homogenous vapour, which would be virtually undetectable in a sufficiently large container.

Now picture the void, empty infinite space. Place a star in the void: what would happen? The star would continue to shine, throwing off stellar wind in all directions while being held together by its own internal gravity. Eventually the star burns out, forming a black dwarf once all its energy has been dissipated, but holding together because of gravity. The void now contains a trace quantity of elementary particles gradually dissipating in the vacuum, but the void actually continues to contain nothing on average because of the vast size and dilution of matter in the space.

The cosmological “Big Bang” contains a logical inconsistency, in that if all matter were concentrated at one point in the universe, that would be by definition a singularity – a black hole, from which neither matter nor electromagnetic radiation can escape. How then can this singularity undergo spontaneous decomposition into particles which escape the event horizon for Big Bang to occur? How can the singularity overcome the universal attraction of gravity? Is it possible that in the universal singularity there was spontaneous conversion of all matter to energy? If that was the case (and because of the mass of the universe it would have to be total conversion of all mass to energy to overcome the effects of gravity) this still leaves the question of what the gravity was converted to. Even though matter is directly proportional to energy where would the gravity go if there were instantaneous conversion of matter to energy? If this was even possible, why should it occur? If the Higgs theory is correct where did all those mass carrying bosons go in the instant of conversion, and why did they come back afterwards?

Or perhaps there was no matter, just a tiny blob of infinite energy, which escaped in all directions, converting to matter on the way in accordance with Einstein’s equations of relativity. Is it possible that the tension and pressure of infinite vacuum created a rip in the nothingness, which created a patch of infinite energy?

It does not seem likely that we will ever know. But one thing is for sure, which is that we, and the universe as a whole definitely exist.

But the biggest question is: is the fabric of space-time machine washable? And could somebody please tell me how to contact the interstellar medium for a reading?

Published by admad43

Veni, vidi, lusi conkera - I came, I saw, I played conkers. The word is "marmalade". Spread the word. If you don't like what I write, just move on. If you do like it, please do not be embarrassed about sending me money. I will certainly not be embarrassed about taking it. Open your wallet and repeat after me “help yourself”.

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