Tag Archives: physics

Five Major Problems with Wormholes

Five Major Problems with Wormholes 

Wormholes are supposed to be shortcuts from one time and place to another time and place.   For example, drive your spaceship into one end and exit near some other star, perhaps 1000 light years away.   Drive back through and return to earth.  Simple enough.


 Wormhole drawing from Wikipedia

If a wormhole is ever created for passage of man or machine by some future civilization, then there will be some major problems to overcome other than the biggie… creating the wormhole in the first place.  I believe this is the first time most, if not all, of these problems have been identified.  

Although the wormhole supposedly bends/warps time and space, there is a fundamental limit to how fast you can get from here to there, no matter how much time and space are warped.   That limit is c and it applies to the Long Way Around (LWA) path length.  First let me tell you why I think so as it is key to the some of the rest of my list of problems.  

A common wormhole is created by every photon that exists.   For example, a photon does a space/time warp from Proxima Centauri (the nearest star to our sun) to our eye.  The distance and time the photon experiences is zero.  It does not age during the trip and the total distance is zero at the moment of creation.   However, it still takes 4.22 years to get here, the time light takes to travel the total distance from that star to ours.     

Einstein’s equations say that the photon traveling at c has a total path length of zero and travel time of zero duration.  I believe that applies to every photon.   However, we know that the photon takes 4.22 light years and travels about 28 trillion miles from that star to our eye as we measure or calculate it.   Even though the path the photon sees is zero length and the time it ages is zero time during the trip, it still does not arrive until the entire 4.22 light years elapses.  

It is my theory that this is because the space/time warp of our photon wormhole connects the emission point on Proxima Centauri and the landing point in our eye only in a virtual sense and only in the first instant of its creation.   

After that first instance, the photon moves away from the emitter at light speed and the path behind it expands as the photon travels along it at c.   The photon’s path to our eye always remains zero length, but it traverses the path at c, leaving an expanded path behind until the entire path is traversed.   The photon never transfers its energy until the entire path is completed at the maximum velocity of c.   

My first wormhole problem is that the time required is no less than the long way around travel time at c.   Anything entering the wormhole is imposibly close to the other end (as for our photon example), but cannot actually get there until the path from the entry point expands behind the object moving at c throughout the entire trip, the LWA, just as it does for the photon wormhole.  

Even if the wormhole spans a time/space warp of 1000 light years, it will still take no less than 1000 years to get from here to there even if the wormhole appears to be of zero length.   The crew of the space ship that manages to get into a wormhole would not age during the trip, a distinct advantage for the crew and the ship’s lifetime.  It would seem to be instantaneous and if it were indeed reversible, then the return trip would be just as fast.  Drive into one end and return immediately and likely not be but a few hours older.   However any companions that were left behind on earth would be dead nearly 2000 years.   All this assumes the problems that follow can be solved.

The second problem is that a wormhole cannot be established before it is created at each end.  If  one end is created today and the other is somehow created on a distant star, the wormhole would not be operable until the second wormhole is created, presumably at least the normal space ship travel time from one construction site to the other, even if the construction crew travels at c.    Unless the wormhole acts like a reversible time machine, a much more difficult arrangement, it will take the same amount of time each way through the wormhole with the arrow of time aging both ways and it cannot begin to be used as a shortcut until both ends are finished.    It would take a very patient civilization to plan for such a feat.

My third problem involves getting into any wormhole that moves you along at light speed.  The nose of the ship would presumably be accelerated to light speed even before the crew compartment made it into the opening.   The result would be powdered spaceship and crew with photons leading the way, larger particles and atoms dragging behind, but no survivors or anything recognizable.  

The fourth problem is getting out of the wormhole.  Let’s say somehow you can get your space ship in and up to speed.   Everything going out the other end arrives there at light speed.   A huge blast of various rays and light burping out the other end, frying anything loitering near the exit.  A great light show, but hardly useful for the crew wanting to get from here to there in a hurry, or their greeting party for that matter.  The wormhole turns out to be a great ray gun! 

My fifth problem involves reversibility.  We assume that entering the wormhole at either end establishes the direction of travel.  However, it appears to me that it is very likely that the arrow of time exists only in the direction of the creation of the wormholes.  That is, from the first wormhole to the second.  Items entering the first one created would be moving in an arrow of time from the earliest time to the latest.   Items trying to enter the second wormhole to come back would be rejected in a smoldering heap or blast of rays.   If that logic is reversed, the problem still exists:  One way only!

Arrow of Time Established? 

I believe this applies to photons and particles in general.  The equations for physics always seem to allow collisions to be reversable and there are no laws that would not allow any set of particle interactions to be reversible.   However, it is my opinion that photons are not reversible for the reasons listed above.  They are zipping through non reversible wormholes.   Energy is transferred from point of creation to some other point where it is absorbed or transferred to another particle and can’t go back though the wormhole as it is a one way street, from first end created to the second end and never the other way around.  That means the arrow of time always moves forward and is never reverseable.  It can be stopped but never reversed.

SuperLumal Transmission?

As a side note, for the reasons listed in the problems listed above, there will be no speedup of communications through a wormhole.  No superlumal transmissions, no advantage over sending it across space the normal way, and very likely, no two way communications.   I hope these revelations do not stop any projects in progress as science will advance no matter what.  8>)  Photon wormholes are the best anyone will be able to do.


PS – check out my earlier wormhole article

Copyright 2007, James A. Tabb  (may be reproduced with full credits)



Black Holes and Density

 A question asked of me by klcrace earlier inspired this article. 

Black Holes and Density.

Here is a good source of information on black holes:

Our atoms are mostly empty space, lots of room for things to fit into. Normally, the fields/forces around atoms keep them relatively far apart and the spaces in between remain mostly empty.  All mass have gravitational effects on surrounding masses and the more mass the higher those effects, but as long as the density remains below a certain point there is no black hole. It is not so much the mass that makes a black hole but the density – mass in a tiny space.

As a star gains mass, it’s outer mass compresses the inner material but the internal pressure keeps the atoms apart and the interior spaces empty. When a star grows too much or its internal pressure decreases because its fuel is depleted, it can collapse and when the density reaches a certain point, it technically becomes a “black hole”, one in which the gravitational pull is too great for light to escape. This is often accomplished by a stellar explosion that implodes the mass toward the center of the star, greatly increasing its density.

The mass is still the same but it is concentrated in such a small space (essentially zero space) that the density is enormous (essentially infinite), and the space around it is so severely warped that light does not get out. The density is self sustaining because the gravity of the masses within it is high enough to keep it together, except after much evaporation.

It is thought that much smaller masses can also be compressed by outside forces to the point that the small mass achieves black hole density, but none are known to exist. It would take enormous energy to accomplish this.

For example if you were able to compress a baseball enough, it would become a micro black hole. But it would have to be compressed so much that its outer radius would be essentially zero (much smaller than an atom).  The mass would still be that of a baseball, but the density would be so high that light could not get away from it. Space would be severely warped around this very tiny black hole, but only very very near its center, probably too small to be detected.  Gravity from such a source at the distance you would normally pick up the ball would be no more than for a regular baseball because the mass is still a baseball mass. If you could weigh it, (a real problem) it would weigh the same. It is the ratio of the mass to the radius that is important. Make the mass high enough and/or compress to an extremely small radius and you have a black hole.

Known and predicted black holes contain mass greater than our sun. Sometimes thousands and even billions of times greater. Yet the size of the space occupied by the mass in the black hole is still essentially zero. The gravity around such large masses is extremely high and will capture all light out to a certain radius, the event horizon. The event horizon can be far from the central mass depending on the amount of mass. The capture range is usually further out than the size of the central mass, and grows as the black hole captures more and more mass while the central region does not grow measurably, if at all.

Black holes can evaporate and if there is no nearby mass that it can capture to replenish itself with, a black hole could evaporate to a smaller mass than what was required to establish it. Smaller in mass than our own sun.

Black holes do typically have very high gravitational pulls, proportional to the mass inside and inversely to the distance to the center.  But a micro black hole could theoretically be floating around a lab that created it (such as with a high energy accelerator) and never be noticed as it would likely evaporate before it hit anything and even if it did encounter a part of the lab, it would be so tiny and have such small gravitational pull at atomic-size distances that it would not capture more “stuff” needed to grow. Likely it would just poof out of existence unnoticed.

At least I hope so.

What I want to emphasize it that any given mass has a certain gravitational pull at any given distance, black hole or not. Super-massive black holes at say 1000 light years away have the same gravitational effects as that of a group of stars of the same total mass that are close together (but not close enough to be a black hole) at the same 1000 light year distance. The difference is the black hole has much higher concentration of mass, occupies much less volume, and also warps space much more tightly than the group of stars with the same mass. The stars shine brightly and the black hole is, …well, black.


Virtual Particles – A new look at double slit weirdness

I was looking at a web site by Hitachi Global concerning “Advanced Research – Electron phase microscopy” today.   They have a neat movie based on the diagram of an electron microscope which you can find here:

(link to diagram)     http://www.hitachi.com/rd/research/em/doubleslit-f1.html

 These pictures are theirs and are copyrighted by them so all that can be done is show you the link.

Here is a link to their video of the results of a 30 minute run (sped up to just a minute or two):


They send electrons one at a time from the source, about 10 per second.  Those that make it around the rod are detected and displayed on a monitor.  

 After about 20 minutes, clear interference patterns develop on the monitor as shown in their video.   

The electrons are accelerated through 50,000 volts, and achieve velocities about 40% of the speed of light.

 These electrons appear to be passing simultaneously around the barrier and interfering with themselves.  Either that or they have some sort of lingering effect due to ctime as I posted in a recent article.   I have a new thought:

Virtual Particles

I believe that there is one obvious answer to such a weird quantum effect – virtual particles.   Photons and any particle achieving significant relativistic effects, such as high speed electrons, atoms, molecules, bucky balls, cats, and anything that can be raised to near the speed of light can also produce companion virtual particles – virtual photons, electrons, etc. when their flight paths are significantly disturbed.  (Well maybe not cats, but who knows?)   

We are getting into new theory here with a new thought experiment!   If an electron such as those in an electron microscope is accelerated to a high enough speed is then jostled by close encounter with a small barrier, it will generate an identical virtual electron on the other side of the barrier.  This applies to any particle raised to relativistic speeds.  If the other side of the barrier is closed off by a detector, then the virtual particle disappears without effect on either the detector or the original electron, being absorbed by the barrier along with the original electron.  If the barrier is open, however, it recombines with the electron after passing around the barrier to produce an interference with itself during the recombination process.

It is similar in effect to the process described in my Quantum Weirdness – Part 2 Double Slit Weirdness post whereby the photon melds around a slit.  Perhaps it is not a meld but a virtual photon recombination - the effect would be the same.

A photon, or any relativistic electron, or other particle jostled by the fields around atoms in a close encounter with the edges of a slit or other barrier would generate a virtual photon, electron or particle that would appear on the other side of the offending barrier and then recombine at a point downstream to cause an interference.   Barriers that block the other side would kill the virtual particle.   A particle that did not exist long enough to recombine with its generating particle would die without causing any effect on the offending detector or barrier.    Only particles that come close enough to be jostled by the fields of the barrier atoms would generate virtual particles on the other side.  Others not close enough to the barrier to be jostled by it would not create the virtual particles.

It is my thought that where there is such jostling, both the particle and its virtual particle might die in the edge of  the barrier if one or the other side were not open, and only those electrons that are far enough from the barrier to not create a virtual pair would continue through the open port to the screen, and thus not show any interference pattern.   

Only if both sides are open would a virtual pair survive a close encounter with a barrier and then be attracted together to recombine on a path toward a pattern maximum.   Scattering around the maximum would be a result of random spacing of near misses and pure chance.

It is another thought that if an electron is buffeted by a barrier and survives the trip but its virtual electron is lost in the material of the barrier, the electron that survives will still be affected by the virtual particle at the point of its destruction, perhaps its phase or displacement or both.   It just won’t show an interference pattern, but it would show some effect of the structure of the barrier material at the point the virtual particle is destroyed, making it possible to “see” the structure of the material within the barrier itself.  Maybe that is just a description of how an electron phase microscope actually works.  The phase is changed by the destruction of the virtual electron and that change depends on the structure at the point the virtual electron lands. 

Copyright 2007,

James A. Tabb

Marietta, Georgia

Fun with time travel

Fun with Time Travel

worm hole from Wikipedia

 Wormhole drawing from Wikipedia

There has much been written about wormholes being used potentially for time travel and popularized by science movies and novels, Contact, Farscape, Stargate. and Sliders, for examples.    It is a familiar topic of some top physicists and not excluded by the Theory of Relativity.

Create a wormhole, drag one end “E” to a vast gravitational source such as a neutron star and wait.   Time for the dragged end will slow down dramatically in comparison with the other end located far from the gravitational source.   This is due to an intense gravitational field’s effect on time – it slows it down, it doesn’t age as fast as the other end.    Then drag the “slow time” end “E” back to the lab and set it beside the “real time”, “L”, and you have a time machine. with ends labeled E on the slow end and  L on the fast.  

If some future civilization could somehow do such a thing, the speculation is that if someone tossed a ball into the L (Late) end, it will come out the E (Early) end before it goes in the L end.   Time travel, back to the past.

Now that may sound confusing, but consider this.  If the E end were put in the gravitational field on July 11, 2007, it would remain at July 11 until it was removed on July 12 and then be a  day early forever.    A ball put into the L end on July 14 would come out on July 13 at E, and a ball put into the E end on July 14 would come out a day later on July 15 at L.   Both ends are at the same date as you sit there watching it, but an object put into either end responds as if it were moving through time.


Looking into a wormhole  – don’t blame me if you get dizzy.

Now there is a situation that needs some explaining.  The person sitting there observing both ends, which are now together, is living only in the “real time” which we call fast time, but it is early time for himself a day later.   He can see both ends at once and both ends of the wormhole are visible at the same time, the one on the left labeled E and the one on the right labeled L.     Suppose he sees a ball with his signature on it pop out of the hole at E.   That implies that someone (presumably him) will put a ball into the L end the next day.    Suppose he decides to lock the lab and prevent someone from doing that.    Where did the ball come from?

Physicists who may accept the possibility of time travel have taken great pains to explain why an action at L cannot be changed by something coming out of E. For example, you can’t go into the L end and come out of E and prevent yourself from going in.  Or kill yourself in the past, or let the ball you toss in be knocked off course by the ball coming out, or lock the door to prevent the ball from going into the L end.  So the answer to the question, “where did the ball come from” is this:  he can’t prevent the ball from being put in the next day if it has already come out early.  The future is already defined for that event.  If he could prevent the ball from going in, it would not have come out early.  Something would intervene or someone from an parallel universe would have to have done it.  Things that come out the E end define what goes into the L end later.  Future foretold.

It occurs to me that it would be apparent soon after it was created whether and how well it works, and if a person could survive the trip or not. It is clear to most physicists that such a machine cannot go further into the past than when the end was dragged into the gravity source because the dragging can only be done in the present.   Merely dragging it does not open a portal to an earlier time than when it was put into the gravitational source.

To determine if and how well it works, you only need to observe the E end. If a ball comes out, it works for some objects. If hamburger like meat or juices come out wearing a name tag, it would not be wise to later go in yourself.  But you would not be able to prevent someone wearing that tag from going in.   His or her fate is sealed.  If your name is on the tag, give it to your worst enemy quick!

Once the end is dragged away, it might work, but it can only begin then. Lets say that the end E is dragged to the lab and placed beside L before any experimenting is done, and the time differential had been built up to 1 hour between the ends. Soon after the two ends are brought near each other, the physicist standing nearby might see a ball pop out with his signature on it.  “It works!”, he shouts.  At that moment, before he ever starts his experimenting, he knows it works with balls. Then he puts the ball back in. Where did the first ball come from? Who signed it? Does the ball come out again? When?

Some Answers:

The first ball came from someone an hour later who puts in a ball previously signed by the physicist. It is the same ball, but cannot come out unless initiated an hour later by action by someone in the future, acting in their present, sending the ball to their past.

If the ball is put back into L, it can’t come out in the lab at E unless the physicist has waited at least an hour after the portal has been established, finds a ball somewhere, signs it and then puts it into L, such that it comes out while portal E is active and in the lab. The initial appearance of the ball at E requires a corresponding initial action at L an hour later.  Predestination.

If the physicist puts the ball back in immediately, it might come back out, but not in his or her laboratory unless the portal has been open in his lab for at least an hour. For example, the portal is only 5 minutes old when the first ball comes out (implying it was put in an hour from then) and if it is immediately put back in, it would be put in 55 minutes before the original one – before the portal is established and comes out somewhere along the dragged path preceding the first one he saw come out.  

In other words, if less than an hour, it must come out somewhere along the path that the port E was dragged through, and thus his evidence would be lost in space. In addition, an unsigned ball must be found, signed and put into the portal L prior to putting the first ball back in. To fail to do so would have meant the initiating event never happened and he/she would have no knowledge of it, much less a signed ball to admire.

The physicist must wait until enough time has elapsed that the time differential from E to L has elapsed (in this case 1 hour) to avoid losing the ball. The physicist must also initiate the process with a newly signed ball. This requires an hour’s wait the first time, but might not if, say two hours (or 48 hours) elapsed before the initial action is taken.

Then putting the ball back in would enable it to come around again and not be lost in space. However he would first have to find a ball and sign it to start the original process and such an action would have already resulted in earlier balls pouring out of the E end. 

Major Problem 

There is a major problem brought to light right here, but it was a problem from the beginning and just now evident.  Lets say that he just got the portals working and they are side by side.  He has a signed ball on the table waiting for the hour to elapse and a signed ball unexpectedly comes out of E.  Now he has two signed balls!   Matter Created?   Energy created?   Violations of energy conservation all over the place!   Can he go into the ball manufacturing business by putting the balls back in quickly and getting a never ending supply of perfectly identical balls?   I don’t think so!  If he could, he should find a large carat diamond and switch to that.   They would pour out of E by the shovel full after a few minutes!  First 1 then 2 then 4 then 16 until they started to pile up and he is shoveling them back in as fast as possible.   Not going to happen!   Whatever happens, energy, and thus mass, and thus new balls (or diamonds) are not got going to be created.  No matter what. 

The answer may be that the ends cannot be placed close enough together that light can go from one to the other within the time frame of the experimental time warp.  That would put a real damper on the project, although it would work as a good portal between far flung space stations.  Set two of them up with a time delay of the light travel time and have one with E at one end and L at the other, then a second set of L at the first end and E at the other.  Then someone could go from one star to the other and back in a matter of seconds, round trip.   The traveler could never be in the same place at the same time.

Lets say this is one sharp physicist that thought that this paradox of having matter creation would prevent it from working at all, so he put his original signed ball into a box and never opened it.   Did it cease to exist?  Can he use the ball that came out of E to put back into L an hour later?   If so, who signed that ball and when?  He only has one ball to deal with and he carefully reuses it no often than once an hour but we still have a major problem to deal with when he opens that box.    Actually the answer to all these is this:  If he puts the first signed ball into the box, seals it, and never opens it, he will never get a signed ball out of E the first time.  

We just can’t deal with that situation logically.  So lets move on to another scenario and see if we do any better.   Suppose somehow the balls can co-exist and if you put one in now, it comes out an hour earlier, no problem.  Suppose our physicist is very conservative, thinks about things thoroughly and decides in advance to wait 3 hours before putting in the first ball. If he actually did wait for the 3d hour, it would come out at the 2d hour.   It would still be matter created because he has at that time still not put the first one in, so he has two.  The happy physicist thinking “this is neat!” might be tempted to put both back in immediately.   He can’t.  Somehow he can’t because to do so would have meant that he would have had 3 at the first hour (the original plus the 2 from the second hour) and he did not.    As soon as one comes out, the future of the portal at L is fixed for that event.   Unless parallel universes come into play.  The portals in different but parallel universes.   You would never know unless the laws and/or sequence of history were different and your ball came back signed by someone else. 

Each appearance implies that the future event will take place.  If a new ball  appears at hour 2 at E,  that ball is destined to be put into L an hour later. 

The above sequence may seem like the past is forcing the future to comply with past events.   Deterministic.  Maybe that is already happening.  Everything we do is pretty much dictated by our past actions.   We have very little room to maneuver.  

“Whenever the future repeats itself the price goes up.*”   Maybe we just can’t afford a time machine.  

 * The original version of this quote is more than 4000 years old!  Future foretold!

Time machine lost! 

When it comes down to the bottom line, a time machine for travel into the past is an energy and matter creator and would have to violate a fundamental law.  Travel into the future also violates the same law because matter and energy in the past “disappears” when it enters the portal. 

During the transition from the past to the future, the universe would have less matter and energy than before. 

Sorry folks, but we aren’t going either way.


(Reliving the past)

What’s Up with Gravity?

Gravity is a problem for physicists.

It not only affects mass, but all forms of energy. If you add energy to a mass, its gravitational effect is increased as well but only minutely because an enormous amount of energy is equivalent to a small amount of mass.

Gravity is weak, far weaker than electrostatic forces. Jump off a building and you go splat when you hit the earth. What took perhaps 20 stories to accelerate you to the splat speed is gravity. But the thousandths of an inch that you were stopped in was due to electrostatic forces. Electrostatic forces are the forces that keep your fingers from going through the keyboard.

Gravity also affects matter at a distance – forever like distances. Every atom in your body contributes to the earth’s attraction of the moon and the sun. Consider a molecule of water in the ocean. It is pulled as part of a tidal force by the sun and moon and it in return pulls on both the sun and the moon. Taken together it all adds up.

Gravity is not shieldable.  Elctrostatic effects are. You can build shields to protect you from most radiation and from electromagnetic fields. But gravity is different. If you could shield from gravity, you could build a big enough room to float around like spacemen. But the gravity force on a pea is just as strong no matter what you put around it.

Einstein developed a theory for gravitation – General Relativity – in which gravity is the effect of a distortion of space and time in the vicinity of mass. We can visualize that in the isolated case of the earth moving around the sun as a depression of a membrane representing space and time around the sun.

However, we can’t get our minds around that being the case when you or I standing on a set of scales. What space and what time are we distorting? How does an individual electron’s mass affect another one a mile away? A million miles away? What is going on?

Lets make a distinction: Gravity and Gravitation. “Gravitation” is the attractive influence that all objects exert on each other, whereas Gravity is the force that objects exert on each other due to their relative masses.  Maybe I can state it more simply: one is an influence (gravitation) and the other is a measurement (gravity). For example, a marine sergeant can influence a recruit to jump by yelling at him/her; how high they jump is a measurement. Gravitation is the attractive influence of you or I on the scales by the earth’s mass in relation to our mass. The scale indicates the weight. The force causing that scale’s hand to move is a measurement of gravity.


Fields are invisible lines drawn around objects to represent the points of equal strength of some measurable value. For example we can draw field lines around a magnet’s poles – points where the strength of the magnetic pull are equally strong. You have probably seen (or seen pictures of) magnetic filings on paper above a magnet. Those are lines of force that represent the effect of field gradients, not the points of equal strength that I’m making a point about here. The filings line up along gradients of the fields of the magnets, dipole to dipole so they create lines running from one pole to the other. These lines are often called fields. The ones I’m speaking about are equal strength fields that surround each pole. The filings are linked across those equal strength fields and bridge across the gradients, dipole to dipole.

Fields around single (isolated) objects, such as a charge field around an electron or such as a gravitational field around the same electron, are spaced outward like a shell, keeping the shape of the object but expanding as they go, unless interfered with by another field from another object. The difference is that other objects don’t interfere with the gravitational field (unless it is supermassive like a black hole) All points an equal distance from the object have the same intensity or measurable value. Field lines get weaker as you go away from the object due to the measurable effect becoming weaker as you move away This results in a field gradient from one field surface to the next.

A disturbance at the object (say somehow its mass doubles as two atoms merge) changes the fields at the speed of light, like a ripple in a pool of water. In other words, if the moon were somehow removed at a given moment, the earth would still feel the gravitational pull for just over 1 second (1.2 to 1.3 seconds). If the sun were removed at a given instant, we would not know about it (visually or gravitationally) for about 8.3 minutes.

A disturbance of the type where the mass doubles would cause the field shell that represents a given strength to jump to a distance further away from the mass center. The change would occur at the speed of light, so it is dependent on the distance to that field line or surface. It does not change instantaneously as some suppose and it does not change gradually as might otherwise be supposed. Therefore an object at that point would become affected by gravity at the same instant that light would arrive, not before.

The gravitational fields around an object have gradients that decrease with distance, but go on forever. An atom in your arm has a field that reaches the sun and beyond, but very very weakly and completely swamped (for measurement purposes) by all the other fields generated within the earth. Just the same, it does contribute. Everything adds up. Move your arm and the fields change throughout the universe at the speed of light.

Isolated static (electrical) charges affect each other though the gradients of the fields. They want to move toward each other if the charges are different and the fields tend to cancel or else move away from each other if the charges are alike. They move or experience forces across the gradients. Moving charges affect each other in different ways and their movement produces magnetic fields and magnetic fields also induce movement of charges. They are strongly attracted or forced apart if they are close together because any outside influence that would pull or push them are effectively shielded over relatively short distances by their environment.

What about gravity? Gravitational pull is very weak. What causes that weakness? Why don’t objects closer together (such as your fingers on the keyboard with the keyboard) strongly attract each other? Why doesn’t the massive earth crush us in its gravitational field?

My thoughts

These are just my thoughts, part of my personal theory of gravity. Feel free to discount it or shoot it down.

Isolated static gravitational objects also affect each other through gradients of the fields. Atoms, particles with mass, and all forms of energy are always moving. They jiggle. When they vibrate they do so in the gradient of another object’s gravitational field. I’m not talking about the vibration of one atom against another as being any significant part of the gravitational effect, but instead talking about the quarks and other ingredients of the atoms that are always in motion, those most intimate particles that have mass of their own. The gradients they encounter are also jiggling because the remote masses are ultimately composed of the component parts of atoms, and free particles, always moving.

They are affected only minutely by the gravitational field, which has a very small gradient over the volume of the effective mass of the particle, but they are affected nevertheless. The effect is somewhat like the small magnetic particles which form dipoles in magnetic fields and line up across the magnetic gradients, but these are not magnetic but instead gravitational. There is a gravitational tendency to move toward the other object’s mass, toward stronger gradients and away from smaller ones. Masses tend to congregate, group into crowds, pull together, clump up and possibly create cosmic objects, even suns and earths.

It is not that the gravitational field is so small. It is the competition of the gravitational field of our localized individual component masses within the earth’s gravitational field gradients embedded within the background of all the fields of all the masses of the universe also affecting us.

This competition is not present for electrostatic and electromagnetic fields, so they appear stronger – much stronger.

Our jiggling particles have masses that operate within a gradient that is quite small compared to the size of those masses. All the masses in the universe are contributing to the fields experienced by the particles in our body and the result is a small but measurable attraction that is normal (perpendicular) to the gravitational fields of the individual particles with a tendency to be pulled (a force) toward the center of those fields, force and/or movement toward the stronger gradient of the field. But the overall effect is small even though the earth is huge in relation to us.

When an object absorbs energy, its mass goes up because its jiggling goes up and it has a measurably (but very small) higher gravitational effect as it interacts with the field gradients. Cooling a mass to near absolute zero reduces the energy within the mass, those parts that bang against each other, but does not stop the motion of the quarks and other ingredients that make up the rest mass of the object’s atoms. So the gravitational attraction for that object does not diminish appreciably as it cools.

Bring objects closer together, and the gradients get higher at a quickening rate and the attraction gets higher and that effect swamps any energy effect due to cooling or heating. Just the same, the gradients from the masses of the rest of the universe are there all the time and tend to keep the gravitational force small compared to other forces generated by other fields which have limited effect. The gravitational effect can be quite large, but the gravitational force quite small. Gravitational fields around particularly large objects such as black holes and even our sun do get warped because space and time are also warped in those vicinities.

Space-Time Warping

What I leave unanswered with this paper so far is what gravity actually is. What I’ve described above is why I think that a field gradient makes things tend to have gravitational attraction and develop a force between them that we call gravity. I didn’t say anything about what makes the fields themselves. You can go to a certain point around an object and trace out a measurable effect and call it a field but you can’t say what caused the measurable effect without resorting to Newton or Einstein or perhaps gravitons.

In my opinion I have no quarrel with Einstein’s general relativity and its gravitational predictions or his development of the theory of gravity. It is a beautiful work. The mathematics are wonderful to behold and I don’t pretend to know anything about them other than they work and continue to stand up to careful study and experiments, and they also answer the question as to what makes the fields possible, why you can measure an effect at any distance from an object with mass.

It is a matter of relativity!  

 It is space-time warping, the same as with photons. Gravitation seems to be part of the same effects that I’ve been describing for quantum weirdness, and the fact that fields expand or adjust themselves at the speed of light helps make that case.

Fields as I’ve described them don’t move at the speed of light, they are static for static objects. Changes in the field at the source do adjust the fields at the speed of light. However, you can make a case for the changes to be constantly and forever moving the ripples because the masses within every atom (quarks, etc) are always moving and we and all our masses are forever moving on this earth and through the universe. In other words, the changes in the fields, though minute, are always moving at c and always present.

It may be these changes moving at the speed of light that is always running on zero-time zero-distance that are the foundation of action at a distance and gravitation in particular. Every particle in every atom is moving and so there are always field changes moving away at the speed of light, always attached to both the particle and the masses it encounters elsewhere in space and always applying a minute force on any mass it encounters wherever in the universe that might be.


I personally do not adhere to the idea that gravitons exist. Gravitons are a hypothetical theoretical particle that mediates the force of gravity within gravitational field theory. Such a particle would move at the speed of light and have a spin of 2. It would also be massless as a necessity of its speed. It has a lot of problems including “blowing up” (becoming infinite) in situations involving more than a couple of them at any time at energies in the ultraviolet range. The equations in the latter case cannot be renormalized. String theory helps the graviton, but it too has enormous problems.

If there is such a thing as a graviton, it is actually an effect of the changes in the ripples of the field that is caused by the motion of the components of the atoms or free flight particles. As such it could be conceivably be quantized and thus the ripples in the fields might be quantized. So maybe there is such a thing after all, but I’m not sure you can call it a particle and I’m not convinced it has to be a quantum object. The ripples I’m talking about moving from one mass to another are changes in the field that expands as it grows, and diminishes in strength as it goes flying out into space in all direction at once like a shell of a balloon expanding at c. That would be stretching the definition of a graviton quite a bit.

I think my way of looking at it is much simpler and has the effect of making sense to my feeble brain. I’ll leave it to Newton’s equations for most purposes and Einstein’s for special cases for the calculations. They work well. I’m sorry, but gravitons don’t excite me.

Copyright 2007 by James A. Tabb

Marietta, Ga.

aka  Oldtimer

Introduction to Quantum Weirdness

Quantum Weirdness 

Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) theory has developed to be the theory that defines almost all of the understanding of our physical universe.    It is the most successful theory of our time to describe the way microscopic, and at least to some extent, macroscopic things work.

Yet there is experimental evidence that all is not right.  Some weird things happen at the photon and atomic level that have yet to be explained.  QED gives the right answers, but does not clear up the strange behavior – some things are simply left hanging on the marvelous words “Quantum Weirdness”.   A few examples of quantum weirdness include the reflection of light from the surface of thick glass by single photons, dependent on the thickness of the glass; the apparent interference of single photons with themselves through two paths in double slit experiments; the reconstruction of a polarized photon in inverted calcite crystals, among others.

This paper introduces some ideas that may explain some of the weirdness.

I want to introduce the subject in a way that appeals to the non-scientist public, but also introduce some ideas about what is going on, ideas that may explain some of the weirdness and include a few thoughts about the speed of light and relativity that should stimulate thought on the subject.  Hopefully a few physicists will look in and not be too annoyed with my thoughts.   This will not be a mathematical treatment other than some basic equations from Einstein that most of us are already familiar with.   The later chapters will be more theoretical, but easily understood if I do it justice.   I will include some experimental diagrams and discussion of results.

First let’s review a few facts about one of our most commonly known quantum objects.   Light is a quantum object.  When you see the light from a light bulb it is likely you do not realize that the light you see comes in very tiny packets called photons that are arriving in really huge numbers.   Your nearby 100 watt bulb emits around 250 billion billion photons a second!  A photon can travel unchanged completely across our universe from some distant star or across a few feet from a nearby lamp.   Once emitted, it continues until it hits something that stops it.  It lives a go-splat existence.

When we read this page, we are intercepting some of the billions of photons of light bouncing off the page, those that come off at just the right angle to illuminate rods in the back of our eyes.    Physicists tell us that photons are tiny bits of massless energy that travel at the speed of light.   These bits are indivisible; you can’t split them up into smaller pieces.   In transit they are invisible.

Here are some tidbits of information you will need to know later:

Every photon of a particular frequency has the same intensity (energy).     

If you make the light brighter, you are just making more photons, not changing the energy of the individual photons.  If you make the light very dim, only a few photons are being emitted.  Reduce intensity enough and you can adjust the source to emit one photon at a time, even minutes or hours apart.

The energy and frequency of blue light is higher than that of red light

The energy of each photon is dependent on the frequency of the light but not dependent on the intensity.   A brighter (more intense) light of a particular color is the result of more photons per second, not higher energy in the photons. 

Maybe I can illustrate some of the above this way.  Bird shot is a very small pellet load for a shotgun.  It is small and used for hunting birds.    If you drop a single bird shot pellet from a porch onto a pie pan below, it would make a small sound when it hit.  It would have a certain energy when it hit and every pellet of that size dropped from the same height would have the same energy.  The sound each makes at impact would have the same intensity.  If you dropped a hundred at a time, the energy of each pellet would be the same, but the combined impact and sound intensity would be much higher and louder.  Similarly all red photons hit your eyes with the same energy.  If you step up the current to the light source, the number that hits your eyes goes up accordingly, so you see a higher brightness as the number hitting the rods in your eye each moment is increased.  

Changing from a red photon (light) to a blue one is somewhat like changing from bird shot to buck shot, a much larger pellet.  The blue photon hits harder, as does the buck shot, no matter where it comes from.   

Regardless of color, if you make a light very dim, you can get it down to one photon at a time, sort of like dropping one pellet at a time.   Getting a photon down to one at a time is a bit tricky, much harder than getting a single pellet to pour out of a barrel of pellets, but not impossible.

Photons, unlike shotgun pellets have no mass, but they still have energy.  This energy is transmitted from whatever emitted it to whatever it finally hits.   Thus the photon is an energy carrier in a hurry, always moving at the speed of light.

Next I’ll tell you a little about an easily duplicated experiment using double slits that can be used to prove that light is a wave but also can be used to prove that light is a particle.  It is a good illustration of quantum weirdness.