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What is space - like most things, ultimately a mystery
#1
An interesting article on this.

At this point, science has discovered a lot of about "space", but like most things its ultimate nature is still is mostly a mystery. In the biggest scheme of things, we don't really know much. So much for the hubris of scientism.

The article explains that it turns out space isn't just relational, that is, just one and the same as the measurement relation of different objects (as posited in some philosophical concepts). It is more like a "goo" that contains all objects, that can bend and curve, as proven in experiments like the measurement of the bending of the path of massless light photons past a large massive sun.


Quote:"For example, you might be tempted to say that what we used to call space should now be called physics goo (“phgoo”) but that this goo has to be in something, which we could now call space again. That would be clever, but as far as we know (which to date is not very far), the goo does not need to be in anything else. When space bends and curves, this is intrinsic bending that changes the relationships between parts of space, not the bending of the "space goo" relative to some larger room that it fills.

But just because our space goo doesn’t need to sit inside of something else doesn’t mean that it is not sitting inside something else. Perhaps what we call space is actually sitting inside some larger “superspace.” And perhaps that superspace is like an infinite emptiness, but we have no idea.

Is it possible to have parts of the universe without space? In other words, if space is a goo, is it possible for there to be not-goo, or the absence of goo? The meaning of those concepts is not very clear because all of our physical laws assume the existence of space, so what laws could operate outside of space? We have no idea.

The fact is that this new understanding of space as a thing has come recently, and we are at the very beginning of understanding what space is. In many ways, we are still hobbled by our intuitive notions. These notions served us well when early men and women were hunting for game and foraging for prehistoric cilantro, but we need to break the shackles of these concepts and realize that space is very different from what we imagined."

...................................................

Other aspects:  space could have an inherent curvature, so if that curvature is positive, a traveller would eventually loop around and arrive at the same point he started at. "In this case, it turns out that space does appear to be “pretty flat,” - space is within 0.4 percent of being flat. Scientists, through two very different methods, have calculated that the curvature of space (at least the space we can see) is very nearly zero. 

.........But why? Because as far as we know, the fact that we live in a flat universe is a gigantic cosmic-level coincidence. ....If we had just a little bit more mass and energy than we have right now, space would have curved one way. And if we had just a little bit less than we have right now, space would have curved the other way. But we seem to have just the right amount to make space perfectly flat as far as we can tell. In fact, the exact amount is about five hydrogen atoms per cubic meter of space." 

It gets even stranger. Space evidently is flat. But it could also either be infinite, or it could have an edge, or it could even loop around itself. If it has a boundary or edge, what is beyond that? We have no idea.

Finally, space could either be infinitely continuous, or it could be divided into tiny bits like pixels on a TV screen. From a quantum mechanical perspective, it would make sense if space was quantized. But, again, we really have no idea.
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#2
What is interesting (or perhaps not interesting) about this article are the references to time.

Physicists commonly refer to space and time as inseparable concepts. Would it be reasonable to read the article and substitute every occurrence of the word "space" with the word "time"? It certainly gives food for thought.

It would then be discussing the possibility of time curving around and returning to the same point, or time shrinking and expanding, or the idea of regions of non-time.
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#3
What is space? It's not nothing.
https://youtu.be/lSqWfu8aupI
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#4
(11-25-2017, 10:08 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: An interesting article on this.

At this point, science has discovered a lot of about "space", but like most things its ultimate nature is still is mostly a mystery. In the biggest scheme of things, we don't really know much. So much for the hubris of scientism.

The article explains that it turns out space isn't just relational, that is, just one and the same as the measurement relation of different objects (as posited in some philosophical concepts). It is more like a "goo" that contains all objects, that can bend and curve, as proven in experiments like the measurement of the bending of the path of massless light photons past a large massive sun.



It gets even stranger. Space evidently is flat. But it could also either be infinite, or it could have an edge, or it could even loop around itself. If it has a boundary or edge, what is beyond that? We have no idea.

Finally, space could either be infinitely continuous, or it could be divided into tiny bits like pixels on a TV screen. From a quantum mechanical perspective, it would make sense if space was quantized. But, again, we really have no idea.

Truly amazing something that can't be acknowledged by our senses turns out to be physical. Gee wiz I wonder if those immaterial things which our senses can acknowledge are physical too.
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#5
(11-26-2017, 09:13 AM)Typoz Wrote: What is interesting (or perhaps not interesting) about this article are the references to time.

Physicists commonly refer to space and time as inseparable concepts. Would it be reasonable to read the article and substitute every occurrence of the word "space" with the word "time"? It certainly gives food for thought.

It would then be discussing the possibility of time curving around and returning to the same point, or time shrinking and expanding, or the idea of regions of non-time.

I don't think so. Time seems to be the measure of change. If so, with this definition there is no point in describing the "flow" of time as some sort of field with a vector or magnitude and direction of motion that can be distorted, because time doesn't "flow" forward but rather things simply change according to the laws of physics.
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#6
(11-26-2017, 04:40 PM)Steve001 Wrote: Truly amazing something that can't be acknowledged by our senses turns out to be physical. Gee wiz I wonder if those immaterial things which our senses can acknowledge are physical too.

What?
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#7
Gonna be a douche with my first post in a while and posit the question of what exactly do we mean by 'physical' Oh Hi Fam, I'm formerly politicaljunkie. Thought I'd take a different username given that this forum (rightly) does not discuss politics.
"Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have"
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