This conversation is closed.

If the universe is expanding - what is it expanding into?

what is THAT space called
and why isn't it part of the universe now?

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    Aug 18 2012: The beautiful magnificent boundless unlimited beyond our perception of imagination Universe is expanding cause it just is ... :)
    • Aug 18 2012: I don't believe our imagination is limited , we will eventually know the answer to that question. Why do I think that ? Because I just do :) or hope ... ehhh , i don't know what the hell I'm talking about.
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        Aug 18 2012: haha :D i believe our imagination is the key to discovering the unknown and creating things beyond what we think we know :) which makes us life forms quite remarkable beings :) haha idk what the hell I'm talking about either haha, but I'm happy :P
        • Aug 18 2012: You should be happy , you look like you're from and exotic place or something , I live in Eastern Europe , it's all concrete here , everything is grey
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      Aug 18 2012: Actually you guys have a point because I've sat here thinking "If we have to imagine the expansion due to the limit of light reaching us then the only viable answer is that it's expanding only within our minds,it's actual calculated size does not mean that what we see today will actually be there at what they think is the actual size of today's universe at this given moment in time.
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        Aug 18 2012: some nice pondering mate :) love that idea...or perspective of looking at it ...
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          Aug 18 2012: We can only guess at best what's beyond the deepest detected galaxies and give a projected placement for each galaxy for it's real time co ordinates but that's a prediction rather than fact,we don't know if they still exist or have gone black or are at where we think they are,i'm sure once we get a few more space based telescopes up that we'll be able to expand our sphere of detection but not in any considerable leap of distance.

          If you're interested look up Halton C Arp,the astronomy community has rejected his data but the data is still sound.He questions Hubble's Law, i can't say he's right but it is interesting.
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        Aug 18 2012: sounds awesome!...and i have looked him up...he does have some really interesting articles...i enjoyed his article on "is physics slowly changing?" thanks for the heads up :)
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        Aug 19 2012: oh wow...thats amazinggg...!

        so many mysteries to this whole expansion deal
        so many great ideas
        its incredible...
        i never really noticed the quasar part of the equation, i always went straight to looking and studying the black holes as they seemed more mystical and the event horizon...
        but this seems rather interesting as well to ponder on...hmm ...
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          Aug 19 2012: I use this site to glean what is being published,another person far more knowledgeable than me put me onto it,he use to trawl this site but has probably gone back to his usual haunts arguing the plasma universe theory.

          http://phys.org/space-news/astronomy/
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        Aug 19 2012: WOW!!!
        what an AWESOME WEBSITE! i both love astro and physics! i realy love the idea of quantum physics!!!

        so thanks so much!!! awesome awesome awesome!!!
  • Jul 23 2012: THAT space is called "Garp", and it smells like a giraffe!
    But seriously, there is a point beyond which all conjecture becomes nonsensical.
    Then it's time to back away, and return to what we love and understand.
    • Jul 25 2012: It seems that for me, and many others, we enjoy this nonsense.
      • Jul 25 2012: Dear Barry Palmer,
        I meant no offense.
        • Jul 26 2012: Dear Andrew Jones,

          No offense was taken, and I am sorry if you took my comment that way.

          This discussion is far more varied and amusing than I ever expected.

          Thanks for your contribution.
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    Jul 21 2012: Just at the moment, the idea of an expanding universe is not 100% proven fact.
    There is yet to be a good hypothesis to explain why the expansion appears to be non-linear.
    Accepted belief is all based on the dopler fequency shift explaination of what is observed.
    If it can be proven that photons decay into red-shift, then the dopler/expanding universe idea will become just another false assumption, and the universe will no longer be expanding.
    The un-know-ability of it all is beautiful, the hypotheses themselves are elegant and inventive - and as it all evolves, each new moment is a new and wonderful thing - specially when you observe even the past and future moments drifting from idea to idea.
    There is no "what" there is only "next" and it applies to all moments expanding infinitely into wonder.
    Just jump in - make hyptheses and enjoy!
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      Jul 21 2012: Hi, I agree to your idea, but I still have a question : a photon escaping from an intense gravity field (such as a black hole) will see its wavelength increase. Can we imagine that the redshift effect, that we explain by universe expansion, could be the consequence of the total energy density decreasing, due to the expansion of matter in the universe ?

      Indeed, a single photon would "have the impression" to go from intense gravity field to low gravity field (though there is no such gradient in space, as it happens in time).
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        Jul 22 2012: Paul Laviolette has some interesting hypotheses on these things - also, he does not believe that black hole singularities exist. And yes, his model suggests constant generation of matter in the form of subatomic particles (an exception to the Newtonian model).
        Time is always the booger in these things. The notion of before and after seems to suggest some kind of wave-front, but it all seems part of the same thing .. how can a wave propogate through itself?.
        • Jul 25 2012: A function of the probability that it would indeed occur in a closed resolved system in which the probability exists as a function of the resolved whole.
        • Jul 26 2012: "Paul Laviolette ...does not believethat black hole singularities exist."

          I realize what the equations imply, but does anyone really believe that super massive black holes are "infinitely" dense and are smaller than an atom? It seems much more likely that the equations need some adjustments.
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          Jul 26 2012: No, I don't think that black holes are infinitely dense, nor do I believe that it is a singularity.
          Does an electron infinitely fall on his proton !
          - If, a black hole can only be defined by mass, movement, rotation and charge, it means that it IS ONLY made of that... PLUS something else : spacetime.

          Entering a black hole converts anything in pure, massive particles of energy : It must be the lowest energy, lowest entropy state of the energy-space-time continuum.

          If I'm right, we must find quantum laws not only for matter and light, but also for space an time : in a black hole, all degrees of liberty are blocked, positions, time, rotations, and even those that separate a particle from another, a particle from a photon or a gluon.

          Perhaps, the Theory of Everything that we seek, is seen in black holes just as the Big Bang.
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        Jul 22 2012: As an after-thought: perhaps an oscillation?
        We observe big things getting bigger(more massive) - then we observe them suddenly getting smaller (supernovae).
        If we accept Einstein's work, there would also be time waves in such a system..

        If, for instance, a galactic core mass oscillation occures, it could send a compressional time-wave.
        THose experiencing it would not notice, but all their observations would become skewed - light entering the wave would be affected, but only within the wave.

        It would follow that what we see as an expanding universe is just an artifact of observation.
        If we are, indeed, within a time wave (leaving one?), teh observed light entering from outside teh local time compression would appear blue-shifted. As teh compressional wave passes, we would then see it all red-shift .. but it might take a few million years to observe it ;)
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          Jul 22 2012: Thanks for your imaginative response. I think you have indicated a link between gravity and time.
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        Jul 22 2012: @ Jon, Well . there has to be .. If E is equal to M times Csquared, then gravity is in mass M and time is in C - which is distance over time.

        Gravity has been demonstrated to occur in waves - and that such waves can be induced by electrcial discharges (E) .. I can't see why time cannot also be subject to waves ..
        If time is subject to waves just as space and energy, then the observer's reference needs more consideration.

        What one wonders is that: if a large time/gravity wave propogated from a single event at a single point, would the observer experience it? Or only the observer's observer? for instance, the time wave would travel with the energy wave .. would the time wave negate the gravitational affect?
        Certainly, we observe energy coming from supernovae .. and there is speculation that gravity waves can travel faster than light under certain circumstances .. given that time is part of velocity, what speed would a time wave travel at? How could such a thing be measured?
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        Jul 26 2012: @Paul,
        Yes, it is hard to imagine anything that is not a closed system. Perhaps that is a failure of imagination?
        But, supposing that any system can be closed, one then has to deal with concepts of unity.
        Such unity seems reasonable, but is it necessary?
        Personally, I am attracted to an asymetrical modal of the universe(es?) - that it is the asymetry itself that gives rise to everything - and that the asymetry is so small that you might as well call it 1/infinity. But dealing with singularities does not help much.
        The asymetrical universe allows for an infinite spherical wave propogating in infinite dimensions.
        I am attracted to the idea of probability as a dimension at 90 degrees to time. If that is the case, then probability itself will have rules of continuity - infering another dimension at 90 degrees of both time and probability (in addition to all the other 3 dimensions we are used to).
        One could imagine a spherical time continuum arising from the asymetry of every point existing in in such a multi dimensional framework.
        What then is the rule governing the prohibition of any energy flow from a point to itself, or the one before? Is the rule asymetry itself?
        Expressed like that, are all waves an expression of asymetry?
        This would be troublesome to Newton - a shame he's dead.
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    Jul 19 2012: we don't know. what we know that the so called "observable" universe is expanding. as a result of the theory of relativity and our current understanding of cosmology, there is a limit how far we can see. and up to that point, we see expansion. what is outside of that is unknown, but there are these possible solutions i can tell:

    1. no boundary - finite universe. it is like a surface of a sphere for two dimensional creatures. suppose there are bugs living on a ball, and their current observable universe is a dot on the ball. if they could observe the entire universe, they would discover that it is circularly connected, if you look far enough, you can "see your own back".

    2. infinite universe. the universe has no size at all, it goes on forever. the expansion does not mean it gets bigger, it just means it gets more sparse.

    3. there is some sort of boundary to the universe, and the outside is separated from us. it can be a boundary similar to the event horizon of a black hole.
    • Jul 21 2012: What however if we can only observe things through which some form of energy has traveled.
      I personally think that particles are some sort of reaction between 'energy' (not entirely sure what that is except that it has to do with light and radiation) and 'empty space' (outside of our universe which I think is a merger between dark matter and normal matter which totals up to nothing).
      Just like when we try to observe what light actually is it acts like a particle but when we observe light it acts like a wave. Which to me keeps the opportunity there that when light reacts with a photon you can get a particle (aka there is a strong link between pure energy (more pure than light) and the comming into existence of matter).

      So let's say that once an energy wave travels through "nothing" it can seperate dark matter from normal matter while the energy itself is (possibly) not influenced. Then the place where our universe meets with "nothing" is a place where a wave of pure energy is traveling into nothing... creating everything thereafter.

      It almost sounds philosophical when I write it like this... but I'm failing to find the right words at this moment :(
    • Jul 25 2012: Isn't it possible that all 3 are true? So, there is a finite universe that is ultimately connected at its expanding "end" to its also expanding "beginning", making a sphere of some sort. But also, based on the rate at which it grows and distance it would take to lap an instance on the sphere renders it infinite and limitless. At the same time, it also has a boundary in that the aspects of this sphere are not a constant across its entirety - similar to how an ant walking across a sidewalk really only has to cross one "finite" piece of asphalt, but along the way there are dips, cracks, possibly even holes to the "other side" (the Earth beneath the sidewalk).
  • Aug 18 2012: The universe is probably expanding until there is nothing left. If big bang theory is correct then we all live in debris , or in a "nuclear explosion's" mushroom cloud. Logic tells us the dust will eventually disappear , or the debris will be pushed further apart , but don't start making sandwiches.
    Therefore , you are maybe asking us what is nothingness !
    Hmm ...
    I know , but I am not going to tell you , it's my little secret.
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    Aug 17 2012: We don't know the answer to this question.

    So it's speculation.
    Within that speculation, there are some plausible ideas, though some are in conflict with what we do know.

    I follow the mainstream (scientific) interpretation that it's no use talking about space-time outside our universe.
    We can assume that the expansion creates the spacetime as it expands, but we don't need to assume anything to exist "outside" i.e. there is no outside.

    However, if we assume a multiverse, then we have some kind of dimentionalities or fabrics that might be somewhat similar to spacetime. maybe holographic, maybe multidimentional. If so, then it would probably expand in our dimensions.

    If you take the methaphor of a cone on a plane, where the start is the tip, and the cone stretches over a time axis, then you can think of this universe as existing already in that total space-time. Only thing in such a case is that we are currently somewhere along the time line (and not able to move back and fro at our own will), but it all "exists" from an outside perspective. (but then again, that outside perspective might be non-existent...)
    To us, it expands in what is the total shape of our space-time continuum.

    I think that's quite plausible...
  • Aug 15 2012: Reality is an illusion caused by lack of alcohol said someone, and I believe that he was right. It's strange how we love to fall in our own mind traps by inventing things so big like universe, god etc and then struggling to explain them logically!!! Good headache to everybody, I’m going for a cold beer. Cheers!!
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    jing du

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    Aug 15 2012: we are limited by our human being's brain.our logic may be not right,why every thing needs an edge?
  • Aug 15 2012: It seems to me that the whole drama is much more temporally variable. We speak of the big band "happening" all at once, which, of course, begs the question of what came before. Then we try and break down what may have "happened" in the first units of time, which runs roughshod over our own simultaneous supposition that time, like space, was only just being created. How do you measure something with something that is yet nonexistent?

    Time and space are somehow identical. You cannot have one without the other, and you cannot use one to measure the other.

    Imagine instead that the whole process is ongoing. The bang is forever "happening". Time, along with space, is not so much expanding as accumulating.

    If Einstein was on the mark in supposing that time slows down as we approach the speed of light, then we might conclude that time halts once the speed of light is reached. A photon traveling, naturally, at the speed of light would take "no time at all" to wander freely through the universe. In fact, it might roam playfully about CREATING the universe, outside of time as we know it, accumulating both space and time in its abandon. Then that photon might step into time at will to perceive and enjoy its own creation.

    Just a playful little analogy ...but it helps me to break free of the philosophical conundrums with which science often leaves us.
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    Aug 13 2012: I don't think TED is the appropriate platform to answer this type of question. It's a pure science question. A forum about physics is right place to put this question. Come here: http://www.physicsforums.com/

    I think the question in TED Conversations should be social-oriented.
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      Aug 14 2012: Well, Chung, we are being very sociable here. What a party pooper you are!

      I looked into the site you recommended, and it is for the *very* serious scientist. We are having more fun here, sort of like a fireside chat after dinner with friends, talking about a fascinating subject without needing a PhD in the stuff. That, of course, until you showed up with instructions for us to pick up our marbles and go to bed. Maybe you should let us decide what is appropriate where, OK?
      • Aug 15 2012: Classic...Lol
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        Aug 18 2012: Problem with online conversation is that people tend to less kindness to strangers. Throw rock to the person, not the arguments.

        I still think this kind of conversation (about pure science) is misplaced, wasteful and distracted to what we should do and can do on this medium.
  • Aug 12 2012: Maybe what we observe is only one of many universes! Maybe there is primordial energy for everything and a "center of all" force organization far more powerful than our so called big bang!

    Interesting discussion from everyone. It appears we all are required to wait until our next life station to learn more. Maybe?
  • Aug 4 2012: Our space is expanding, but why does that have to mean it is going into "another space"?
    Not sure that makes any sense. We cannot see outside or beyond our universe, our space, so I think not to assume it is more space or another space. But, from within our space, we supposedly see our edge moving away from us in all directions. Perhaps our space is creating more space.

    I think some in science and in metaphysics too, consider this in the same way: potentiality or infinite possibilities.
    This so-called other space is nothing, and only nothing could be infinite in potential and possibilities but only through the manifestation of expansion.

    It all exists or just is really, at the level of classical mechanics and at the quantum level. Yes?

    Are there any theories that it isn't expanding, because we are seeing a mirage of sorts that leads us to believe it is, even though measurements that have been taken seem to confirm it is?

    I believe there is a way to show it isn't really expanding but is a sort of optical illusion.

    But, I'm not really very smart. I like to practice my typing.
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    Aug 2 2012: Space implies something that has coordinates, i.e. a place that can be determined. At the big bang, initially, neither space nor time existed, they were created much as everything else was created. Since the universe has been expanding since that time, it only makes sense that beyond the boundaries of that expanding reality, neither space nor time nor anything else has actually made it. Therefore, the universe is not expanding into anything but the same void that the big bang was in.

    What it is, that void, we don't know, but most definitely, it is not empty space or time.
  • Aug 1 2012: Dark energy
  • Jul 28 2012: Consider space respiration. It's really not expanding into more. Consider the possibility of two axis respiration. One axis contracts for a while as the other expands. Consider the possibility of reversing direction, say after a billion years or so.

    Consider our viewpoint from Earth. What a small scene we have from such a tiny planet. Even our exploratory vehicles cannot observe the whole.

    Keep the questions coming!
    • Jul 28 2012: Neat! But what about the fact that expansion is speeding up. I thought we were not expecting the big crunch anymore.
      • Aug 2 2012: Not sure what is the big crunch. Consider the possibilities of relationship to other space bodies and angle of view to each. Maybe we are not speeding up, but our perspective makes such appearance.

        Others are far more qualified to comment.
        Humbly,
        MK
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          Aug 2 2012: The big crunch was the idea that gravity would eventually overcome the expansion of the universe and then we'd all end up hurtling towards where the big bang originated.
          And the increased expansion comes from an increase in red shift observed over the years and it's expanding exponentially
    • Jul 30 2012: Mr. Kurtz, I find your analogy of space very interesting, I often wondered if anyone had the same thought of space. That is awsome :)
      • Aug 2 2012: Well Michael, I am not an astronomer, but I like to visit NASA's APOD daily (astronomy picture of the day) online. I don't know what is pictured there, usually, but do enjoy the ongoing comments from NASA.

        We are here on Earth for such a short time and then we are gone. What of the possibility we will learn a lot more of the Cosmos at our next life station? We are awed now, but wait until you see more from that next viewpoint!!

        Keep thinking of possibilities!!!
  • Jul 27 2012: Imho, you are asking what something is that per definition does not exist. Our perception of "being" includes there being a fabric of space and time to "be" in. The Universe is not expanding into anything, but it's structure is changing in a way we perceive as expansion, measured by the red shift of light from far away objects. It's like asking what would happen if there would be no time - nothing would happen since per definition things don't tend to "happen" when there is no time.
  • Jul 27 2012: There is another way to look at this.

    If all objects are accelerating away from one another simultaneously, you could say that space itself is expanding but you could also say that space is remaining constant and matter is shrinking.

    From our prospective we would be unaware of our shrinking because everything else is shrinking at an equal rate. It would just appear that everything is accelerating away.

    If we are shrinking then the universe isn't "expanding" into anything.
    • Jul 27 2012: Think the ratio of the amount of perceived travel so far, compared to amount stuff would have to shrink to Crete that perception, is off to the amount of everything having long ago disappeared. Remember though, just because matter is not bumping off of anything that does not mean it's not matter (dark matter).
      • Jul 27 2012: What I'm saying is that there is a ratio between the size of the universe and the size of matter within it.

        You can express a change in this ratio by saying that the universe is expanding or by saying that matter is shrinking and you'd be equally correct because they are the same thing.
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          Jul 27 2012: Right. The way I figure it, the cosmos is like a machine or organism that produces significance, order, or 'sense' through privately experienced time at the cost of the production of entropy as a kind of topological exhaust (public space).

          It sounds crazy, but I think it works, and it explains the existence of order, life, and consciousness in the universe.
        • Jul 27 2012: I agree in respect to the the ratio of stuff to space being constant in ratio regardless of expansion or retraction. But the amount of space coud not remain "constant" relative to shrinking matter and maintain a ratio. I totally agree though, in a universe of Infinite paradox and subdivision infinite shrinkage might as well be a consideration. Could you frame this in regards to the perception of expansion speeding up? Or in this case shrinkage speeding up?
      • Jul 28 2012: I believe this probably explains the concept much better than I could;

        http://martinelli.org/rexpansion/
  • Jul 26 2012: A new theory I've come up with. I'm going to stay with Milo Wolf and a Standing State Universe. The New thing I've come up with is this. The Universe is not expanding, it is fixed. Everything within the Universe bubble is condensing. Our solar system is just one of billions with its own Black Hole in the center pulling everything together smaller and smaller. We cannot measure it because everything is relative. Everything is shrinking in such a way the it appears that everything else is moving away form us. There is so much space inside every molecule of energy that this can go on until we reach a singularity a long time from now. At some time in our future we will be a lot denser so that we will exist at a higher frequency much like condensing gas in a pressure vessel. When the density of the matter we are made of reaches higher levels, we will began to experience greater abilities to understand the totality of the universe. This is a brief summary of my conclusion on the subject. What do you all think about that?
    • Jul 26 2012: Not bad. It's funny because you actually stare the exact opposite of a theory I saw on YouTube a while ago stating that everything is actual expanding relative to everything around it and that this is the mechanism of gravity. If you consider it this theory works with one of the deepest contemporary scientific mysteries, dark energy. A term describing the ever inflowing suspect for inflation which does not interact with regular matter but along with dark matter and constitutes 80 percent of he mass in the universe or something like that. We know it exists because it's been proven that the universe is expanding. My interest is peaked however regarding this photon decay I have been hearing about here and it's effect on the Doppler light shift.
      • Jul 26 2012: Is it not true that the universe, its planets, its matter, and every things solid has formed from the condensing of gas into smaller volume of space. It may be that there was a big bang that stated things off but soon after that everything had to condense into what we call our know universe. It's my belief that it is only our perception of the universe that is expanding. It is being reviled to us as we evolve. Some one said once that nothing exist until it is perceived to exist by consciousness. At one time the world was flat, then the center of our universe and so on. Technology for example, is condensing into smaller and smaller periods of time as our world evolves. Could there be such a thing as Dark Matter pressure much like the water pressure on a fish in a large body of water holding everything together? Stars, it seems, are collapsing into their black holes all the time. Besides, if we are moving away from something fixed at great speed, would not the Doppler shift have the same effect even if the other object is not moving?
        • Jul 26 2012: Not so much with the Doppler effect thing. The type of measurement scientists are conducting with light requires the standard candle of a particular type of star ( can't remember the type off hand) which is known due it's proportions and energy state to be a very stable and therefore it's light is a standard like the liter or meter which allows cosmologists to measure the light of other objects in space and measure their relative distance and speed. This is possible because like sound in which sound waves are compressed or extended relative to the listener causing the Doppler effect vrooooooooom! So are light waves extended in the color spectrum regarding the speed of a galaxy or star. Compared to the standard candle cosmologists can measure distance and speed accuratly. So, it appears as if the universe is expanding to cosmologists and physisists at an exponential rate because faster a source of light is moving the more red the light will appear to the observer us thus the term red shift.

          The "measurement problem" backs up you thoughts regarding the revealing of the universe and counciousnesses role in the creation of reality. No one can really say you are crazy for believing in a rendered illusery world for the exact reason people will always be able to say we are in a created one. Consciousness and the interaction of the mind withas a reflection of a whole is the frontier of ultimate knowing not the edge of the universe.
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    Jul 21 2012: Imagine empty space is filled with theoretical, invisible particles, ("vacuum particles" ?) and imagine every energy in our world acts as a waves on/around/through these particles. As well as sound waves travel through "air" molecules, energy waves would travel through "empty space" which would be "empty of matter, empty of light, empty of gravity" but not "empty of vacuum" (quite funny expression huh ?).

    Imagine that these theoretical particles all expand in "real empty vacuum", giving "more available empty space" for real particles and interactions.

    Imagine a force that brings these particles closer to each other (gravity for instance, or global energy density, resulting in something like dark matter) and another force the other way (resulting in an accelerated expansion). At the limit, you will have seperate universes that can't reach each other, because there are no "vacuum particles" between them.

    All this is purely imaginary, of course... Reality is more complex, interaction fields and quantum effects lead to really difficult mathematical constructions.
    • Jul 25 2012: Nice try there ate elements of "truth" in what you say pertaining to m-theory an innate expansion. The role of the speed of light in this universe now characterizes our ability to perceive beyond. Also is is now foreseeable that there are regions of space where the laws of physics result in casual formalities separate from those in our pocket. It will be interesting o see what happens when voyager truly enters interstellar space soon.
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    Jeff L

    • +1
    Jul 20 2012: The universe will expand the way we want it to. What ever our limited sensory and intellectual capacity can experience is what it will expands to. If our abilities to fathom evolves to greater capacity then we will experience the expansion the universe in that way. For this reason we will allways find what we are looking for. Because we can't find what we can't fathom. Every scientist knows this.....
    • Jul 21 2012: doesn't sound scientific to me though.
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        Jeff L

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        Jul 23 2012: Science is what we can prove through trial and repetition. You can't prove string theory and most call it science. Allow for a greater interpretation or stay strict to the tenant of the field. Either way we can only work with the tools we have. We can fathom the possibility of string theory therefore we can look for it. It's that simple. That in my opinion is science in a nutshell. Fathom and search to prove. Not prove what you can't fathom.
        • Jul 25 2012: Sorry but fact is what we can prove through trial and repetition.
          Science is the search for facts.

          We can explain several things with string theory that we have a hard time explaining with other theories.... which is why we persue ways of discovering if string theory is fact. The search is always called science. Even when a search for fact is done not scientifically (structured/ordered/mathematical/etc.) you can still call it science and get away with it.

          Also all science, in the pure basics, come from describing that which we see... not that which we understand. The describtion we obtain leads to better understanding -> better observations -> better describtions -> better understanding.

          If we already understood it there would be no fun in trying to describe/understand it now is there?
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    Jul 19 2012: The general idea is that it creates what it expands into, the LISA satellite will be able to see whether we are a baby universe or if our universe has created a baby universe. But then general idea is the universe creates the space it expands into.
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    Aug 19 2012: My vision is that the thing that is more than no-thing radiates from every point and every moment into every dimension.
    These moments and dimensions are infinite in number. For the sake of simplicity I use the word moment - but these, are just points.
    The difference between the thing and the no-thing is 1/infinity - this gives rise to everything and is the expression of the single assymetry.
    Every thing progresses from one point to another along its primary dimensional vector which gets experienced as "time" - regardless of which, and how many other dimensions the "thing" participates in.
    The progress along the primary dimensional vector is set in motion by the assymetry.
    Whether the "universe" that we observe is expanding or not has nothing to do with any "big bang" that can be traced by extrapolating our time vector - because the big bang is happening in each instant and at every point in our observable universe.
    And, as it turns-out, it's not such a big bang - it is the smallest bang possible.
  • Aug 19 2012: Known space around our universe might be someThing that we think of as nothing, but I do think empty space has to exist where all things can be, and has to be endless. Otherwise you would have to explain what are the things that limit space and what is beyond our limits. Three dimensionally, how can there be an end other then empty?
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    Aug 18 2012: The Universe is expanding into itself.

    Space is not as you think it is - some finite stretch that is able to be covered with time.

    It is a globular structure coiling in on itself.
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    Aug 18 2012: as long as we as human expand in our consciousness so to will the Universe... :)
  • Aug 17 2012: "what is THAT space called
    and why isn't it part of the universe now?"

    I think there are universes (plural) beyond our known universe. Together can be referred to as an absolutum. So perhaps as a galaxy consists of a central sun, the absolutum consists of a central sun, with multi universes part of a spur.
  • Aug 17 2012: Here's a really crazy idea which I've come up with through my observations of life. I believe that since life is a continuous cycle, so is the universe. We have solar systems and galaxies which make up the universe as we know it, why wouldn't there then be more universes as it's never ending. Second, really crazy thought...they say our universe is expanding in a conical shape...is it possible...even if ever so slight there there's some giant black hole out there, and we're in one of the pole jet streams that shoots out. Possible? I think so, considering that there are some suns out there that are bigger than our entire solar system put together.
    • Aug 19 2012: An interesting idea to me is that since super massive black holes aren't very dense locally, the universe itself could be the product of one and everything we see may simply be at the event horizon of it. This would explain why the universe seems to be flat. Time may be something which is experienced as matter passes through this area. In other words we may all be a very long strings of spaghetti, might this explain the arrow of time, impermanence and dark matter too?
  • Aug 16 2012: As i know the time and space are define after the big bang so there was nothing before it... i mean NAUGHT...so the existance is limited to the universe... and if there was a bigger space than universe ... where was THAT space placed?
    so its just a circle that never ends...
  • Aug 15 2012: I think the universe and all of time and space it's self need to be looked upon as an ever expanding never ending 4 dimensional plane that's only borders are that of itself. In that the only extent it can reach is the other end of itself so when time and space (as they are the same but also very different in very unique conditions) come to what may seem like an end it is actually the beginning. I feel that the questions of the universe can only be answered in these paradoxical forms and situations because of the variables and unknowns that we may never find out. Theoretically it makes complete sense for the big bang to have been the rexpansion of a collapsed you universe previous to ours. When anything gains too much mass it will collapse in upon itself forming a black hole in both time
    In space and taking with it all the matter and energy that it encompasses and as Einstein though spewing it out of a "white hole" eIther at a different location in our universe or someone's else's. So what's to stop us from believing we are
    Merely the reciprocated and reformed matter of a previous perhaps larger universe
  • Aug 15 2012: The Universe is expanding in consciousness. If all life, and life forms in the absolutum act as a collective consciousness - as in improving its awareness, then it's suffice to assume its expanding in consciousness, making way for more intelligent life and life forms to evolve even higher.

    Just as we find that 'thought' is the first part of creation. Like we create plans, then construct it till completion. Thought went into the project, however along the way, perhaps while consulting others, it improved...becoming more 'aware' of...
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      Aug 17 2012: Shane, I think you may be on to something here. You are introducing metaphysics into this conversation, which precedes physical science and seems to be making a comeback. The basic question here is whether or not life, and therefore consciousness, is an intrinsic property of matter which manifests itself under appropriate conditions. The problem, of course, is that we don't have enough empirical knowledge to get very far with it. This is a whole new area worthy of a separate talk.

      A good effort in this regard is "The Quantum Self", a book by Danah Zohar, a physicist and philosopher who collaborated with her husband, a psychiatrist. She explores the subatomic world in terms that are accessible to the layman, and proposes a model for human consciousness. I found it to be a great read and I think you'll enjoy it.
      • Aug 17 2012: Thanks Hipolito, it sounds interesting, I will check it out.

        I realize there aren't measures (at this point) to verify subjects of consciousness and perhaps what lies beyond the atom.

        Regarding consciousness, is an intrinsic property of matter which manifests itself. I often understand it to be so in that it lies beyond physicality and separated by an invisible membrane of the atom - which is the product of solidified light. Light to be seen as frequencies - when consistency is reached it constructs matter. of course it goes into much more detail but just thought I'd share that.
  • Aug 15 2012: good question. my professor in uni (way back when) said it is expanding into itself, then changed the topic.
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    Aug 15 2012: If we took off today and went as fast as current technology goes we would never reach the edge unfortunately.
    Bit hard to find out
  • Aug 14 2012: things that make ya go hmmmm .......

    my brain is neither big nor serious enough to provide a PURE science reply.
    being that today we have PURE science to look to, wouldn't it be neat to compare the answers provided by PURE science of universal expansion from 1000 years ago with today's and with what will be "known" 1000 yrs from now
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    Aug 14 2012: thoughts like this make my brain hurt..Just remembering how tiny earth is and how much more is out there yet to be discovered... whoah
  • Aug 12 2012: said prevoiusly: coldam rice 0Reply
    1 hour ago: Try to imagine something that is not inside something else. That's what it's expanding into.

    Is there anything that is not inside something else? Is "space" or "the universe" the final container?
  • Aug 12 2012: Quantum flux is an event, if even in theory. It had to have been preceded by a prior event. I know of no example wherein there is a singular CAUSAL event, upon which all other effects are observed.
    My sense is that all events witnessed now or that ever were, are EFFECT from prior events, which proceeded from an eternal dynamic state I name a UNIVERSAL CONTINUUM.
  • Aug 12 2012: I work with three basic rules that assist me in seeking to understand all these situations, as follows:

    1. Every Event in the Universe, so matter how small or large, was preceded by another event.
    2. Every event is unique.
    3. One can predict a future event(s) if one has sufficient information of prior events.
  • Aug 12 2012: Try to imagine something that is not inside something else. That's what it's expanding into.
  • Aug 12 2012: Your point is well taken, thank you. But...

    Wasn't matter uniform before the big bang? How could it have been otherwise? How could matter have been any thing else but homogenous plasma?

    Isn't is crucial to the big bang theory, that there was no matter outside the big bang mixture? If there was matter outside the big bang, then this alleged big bang was not homogenous and not a singular, all encompassing, phenomenon exclusive to one point or area? If matter also outside the big bang, how could it be there, exclusive of the Big Bang event? WHere did it come from? Do colliding galaxies suggest different amounts of matter came out of the big bang at different times? and therefore the Big Bang was not a singular event which evenly spread from the focal point?
  • Aug 12 2012: There are pictures of galaxies mixing and colliding with each other. IF....the Big Bang is true, how can this be possible?
    How can matter exploding out and away from the same point of origin, with the same increasing velocity collide?
    How could some masses be moving faster or slower than others that would possibly facilitate collision, if all space is expanding uniformly?
    How can any quantity of masses expanding away from the same point, collide with another, when the path of each mass is unique and has no other body of force (gravity) in front of it?
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      Aug 12 2012: This would be true if there was uniform amounts of matter, but due to the imperfections it's possible for galaxies to slingshot each other into collision courses with others.
  • Aug 12 2012: The word 'Universe' is defined as "All matter and energy, including the earth, the galaxies, and the contents of
    intergalactic space, regarded as a whole."
    THEREFORE, by this definition, the Universe is merely expanding in and unto itself.

    A question I like much better is one that questions the idea of entropy on the Universal scale.
    The question I have asked and have yet to get an answer from any astronomer or astrophysicist is:
    Can you explain how the Universe run UP TO...the Big Bang?
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      Aug 12 2012: You'd like to listen to Lawrence Krauss then on youtube, he answers just this, and so does Stephen Hawking, The most feasible answer is that instantly prior to the big bang there was a quantum flux which produced all matter and energy in the universe.
  • Aug 12 2012: Fascinating and thought-provoking! The very question inspires our own human mind to expandinto uncharted territory on a micro scale just as the universe itself. I would add just this now, a recomendation: pick up a copy of Joel Primack & Nancy Ellen Abrams's "The View from the Center of the Universe", Riverhead Books, 2006.
    A marvelous offering to help explain the nature of the cosmos. Cheers!
  • Aug 12 2012: we lack the technology to look beyond our universe at this moment. lets hope that we will be alive to see where that expansion is heading. in my view expansion doesn't mean that the length of the universe is expanding. it simply means that the galaxies are moving away from each other. well, i'm not sure of the destination though.
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      Aug 12 2012: The current consensus among cosmologists, as I understand it, is that the galaxies appear to be moving away from each other because the *space between them* is expanding. You can visualize this if you think of a balloon being inflated with the galaxies sitting on its surface This explains why the more distant galaxies are moving faster. In fact, the cumulative speed of this "inflation" is such that the more distant galaxies are moving faster than the speed of light relative to us. Thus, the end of the visible Universe. Keep in mind that the speed of light limitation does not apply to the expansion of space, only to moving objects.
  • Aug 12 2012: Matter-energy is expanding into time that does not exist yet, its called the future. The future does not exist yet, so anything within it by definition is also nothing, The future is only a concept of your head, some wierd brain reflectioning of the past.
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    Aug 12 2012: Well, here's my take on it. We define space by the matter and energy that occupy it. Without matter & energy, the familiar 4 dimensions have no meaning. Space is defined by the matter/energy that occupy it (the distance between two points, for example), and time is fluctuations in matter/energy. Without matter & energy, "space" is undefined and unknowable, even inconceivable.

    The sudden evolution of matter/energy that was the Big Bang also gave birth to the 4 dimensions. We can't even talk meaningfully about a time before that because there was no time. The universe now exists to the extent that the first matter/energy from the BB penetrates it. Beyond that, unknowable.
  • Aug 11 2012: Well, I dont know if somebody has already given this answer. I dont even know whether its right or outrageously wrong. But anyways about a year ago, when I started on a course in Math, this question hit me when I was studying about an open interval. I though the universe does seem like an open interval.There is a boundary but an expansion from anywhere inside that region will only get u closer and closer to the boundary never really attaining that boundary at all. I hope that makes sense.
  • Aug 11 2012: i believe space is not what you think it is
    we are not in something like in a liquid
    we are on the out side of something like how we are sitting on the ground not in the earth
    thats why every thing looks like its getting farther away because the object that we are on is expanding
  • Aug 11 2012: The theory of the big bang claims a microscopic start point, and then total expansion which seems to require a scenario as I would imagine:

    Black holes pull matter and energy out of a dimensional world, which ends up in an adjacent dimension to "ours". Finally the total carry capacity of the afore mentioned dimension is exceeded, a pinhole opens between dimensions, all matter/energy spills into "our" dimension and fills it in the required minimal time period. Would this also help explain the expansion of the universe.....

    Well, it was a shot...
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    Aug 11 2012: As much as I respect scientific analysis, I think that a bit of philosophical logic may help, so I am throwing my two cents into this pool:

    If indeed there was a big bang, as it is generally believed, it clearly was a *change* from one state to another. Since a change from one state to another implies the presence of time, time had to exist for the big bang to occur. A change can only happen in time.

    As a corollary, and accepting the theory that time and space are one and the same thing, there also had to exist space.

    Thus, it seems to me almost obvious that we are in the midst of an expansion or an explosion that happened within the same medium that existed before the big bang.

    I'm going to tighten my bandana now, before I get a mental hernia...
  • Aug 10 2012: Simplify "The Universe" into any other inanimate object and think on a smaller scale. A chair in a room, a room in a building, a building in a city, a city on a planet, a planet in the solar system, a solar system in "The Universe" ... inevitably the Universe in something larger (or smaller) that we have not yet discovered. Cheers!
  • Aug 10 2012: it reminds me of that startreck eppisode with the traveler and they travel to the outer reaches of the universe. weird things... mabey the universe is like jello just put into a lower atmosphereic pressure. them it could then be assumed that we are surrounded by some different kind of space right?
  • Aug 10 2012: hehe very incorrect question - no answer possible.

    If the universe is expanding why the earth doesn't get bigger? - if we keep asking questions like those we might just spend our lives without understanding the important things like how to Love one-another

    Best wishes to all :)
  • Aug 10 2012: Seeing in universe is not the same as seeing on earth. Here we just turn our eyes to a direction and the object is at a straight line from us. Some distortion from air temperature can bend this line or refraction when light goes from one medium to another (glass-water-air). Light travels in universe always non straight. It travels, following the space that is shaped by massive objects, like stars, black holes, etc. I believe that the concept of a bubble like universe is very simplified and misleading. Observable universe appears to be under expansion, but we cannot be sure about the direction of this. Maybe universe is self folded like a crumbled ball of paper, we are living in the surface of this paper. Again this is an analogy maybe misleading as well. I don’t thing that there is something outside of the universe, because there is not outside. This expansion is like un-folding the ball of paper. The paper remains the same the shape changes only. But do not stick to this analogy again. Thanks for the inspiring question.
  • Aug 10 2012: space and time are expanding along with the universe. its not expanding "into" anything.
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      Aug 10 2012: It is impossible to rule out the idea that the universe is expanding inside of something. In fact, there are physicists considering this very possibility. If there are other bubble universes, then certainly, they are all contained in a larger space of undetermined attributes.

      Any claims to the contrary would demand, at least, a theoretical structure, which I have yet to see forth coming...
  • Aug 9 2012: Yeah, punctuation was never my strong point, I guess that's why I never became a writer. Sorry Jules Vern, or Webster, or the universe!
  • Aug 9 2012: thanx for the very illucidating explanation, Luis - I hate to admit it: it's WAY over my head; my mental horizon extends to our comfortable three dimensions and in all other things, including punctuation marks, the here and now.
    Uncle. I give up. I threw out the question for gigs and shittles, knowing in advance I'd get answers ranging from ridicule to religious dogma to indecipherable mathematical concoctions. And that's what I got. Thanks one and all, seriously. Universe 101 is over, out, finished, kaput. No mas. My very earth-bound brain hurts. You may, of course, continue to do battle with that subject yourselves, boys and girls but I'm out of the loop.
  • Aug 9 2012: I'm not a scientist but as I understand it - space is a something, but like fish in the ocean we simply don't perceive it because it's all around us all the time. As to the question of what it's expanding into; I am taken back to Enstien's view of a black hole, in a back hole time and space exchange places, but space has at least three dimensions and on of time, well an extrapolation of that is that space is 3d what is there to keep time from being 3 dimensional also? If we then look at current string theory it states space may have as many as 26 dimentions or 11, or a minimum of 4 with the other Dimensions curled up. If time is 3 dimensional then space expands into each time dimension as a factorial of 3!.in our 1d time space: 3 Dimensions plus one of time=4,in 2d time space: 3X3 = 9 Dimensions plus one of time=10, in 3D time space: 3X3X3 Dimensions with time completely factored-in leaves 27 (3X3X3=26 + 1 time) Nambu originally stated strings had to have 26 Dimensions - that could only be possible if time is 3 dimensional. Those curled up spaces beyond 3d are temporal. In membrane theory the "Brain" is temporal we are tied to all space by time.

    This is just my guess, but like Jules Vern sometimes imagination beats out science.
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    Aug 9 2012: Nice question..in fact when I first read it..the first thought that came was it is simply expanding..but then it dawned that it must be expanding into something. When a balloon expands, most common simile given for universe expansion, it expands into our atmosphere. The same thing should hold for universe as well going by the same logic. May be our brains are not evolved enough for such cosmic scale discoveries yet. But a good question indeed.
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    Aug 8 2012: It is expanding into itself I would say and, one day, as I understand it, it will collapse.
  • Aug 8 2012: There isn't any beginning nor is there any end!
  • Aug 8 2012: And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it. (Qur'an, 51:47)
  • Aug 8 2012: Expanding until it's time to collapse back, which is end of time (4th Axis),
    Or what is called Judgmenet day.
  • Aug 4 2012: ...it could be making places for the spirits who dwell on heaven--ongoing.

    Possibly :) lol
  • Aug 4 2012: I think an easy answer could be:
    The Universe is only expanding because the light it emits can't travel faster than...light.
    It's also a good reason to say: "you can't travel FTL because if you could, then you could also travel to the limit of the Universe...and beyond".
    So there is nothing in that "space", but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist, it just mean it is not containing anything...not even a particule of light...so you can easily imagine what could happen if you were suddenly teleported there...you just couldn't see, couldn't hear and couldn't feel anything, because there would be nothing else than you.

    The Universe is just expanding in space. Space is not "the sky", nor "the universe" nor anything else...it's just three (or more) dimensional possibilities...a space.
  • Aug 4 2012: There is a theory that there are multiple "verses," which are alternately expanding and contracting. Think of it as a bunch of unpopable bubbles in a bath tub. As some get bigger, some get smaller, and the smaller they get, the closer they get to "bursting" back into expansion. However, that leaves the question of what is outside the tub. I don't rightfully know. There are other theories that the Universe is curved and is expanding in the sense that it is completing the "curve," which is four or five dimensional. I think that outside of the Universe, there is nothing. And humans cannot understand that concept, so they choose not to believe it.
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    Tao P

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    Aug 2 2012: The Universe is 'growing', much like a plant grows. The plant grows into an environment that people used to believe was 'empty' just as those same people believe that there is nothing outside the universe. WHat is it? A sea of energy perhaps, or maybe other expanding and contracting Universes, so Polyverses.
  • Aug 2 2012: Yea absolutely fascinating. Inspiring to be honest, you know I'm 36 now. High school diploma, not much college very little. You know I could have cared less about the stars in the sky, until recently. And i don't know what it is but something in my brain just clicked and turned on, now I'm fascinated, heh I find myself contsantly trying to catch science channel for shows on planets, totally fascinated by "through the wormhole" with morgan freeman. I am trying to learn as much as i can, and i've never had a drive like this before, its crazy i know. :) I really liked the apod site, I had never seen that site before, but its definitely going to be a new daily one. Please feel free to share links, sites, anything, I'm like a sponge. :) Thanks!!!
  • Aug 2 2012: I think universe is expanding into nothing. I consider that nothing is another dimension that people don't understand yet. Like Dark Matter or Dark Energy. Also nothing is faster than speed of light. We humans have not enough knowledge to understand this kind stuff because we are in universe that came from nothing.
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    Aug 1 2012: We will find out one of these days.Into itself.
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    Aug 1 2012: It is virtually impossible for humans to truly grasp the answer to this question at this current time. What we see (or fail to see) is an infinite empty 'space'. Who knows what it really is? And if it has it's own energy which we are just unable to see at this point... that would change everything.
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    Aug 1 2012: The void.
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    Jul 31 2012: I like to think that it isn't the universe but that we become smaller and smaller. Practically, it's the same thing)
    If you consider the idea of multiverse (there's a beautiful talk about it) we could consider this expansion as a "theft" of space (?).
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    Jul 31 2012: I shudder to consider the possibility of going in THAT direction. I have it on reliable authority that the current version of hell entails forced listening to Scottish bagpipers for eternity.
    • Jul 31 2012: good one, George ! hadn't thought of that possibility
      If the prospect of that doesn't keep you on the straight and narrow .....
  • Jul 31 2012: Well I think ,in explaining the space .we are somehow similar to a fish explaining the water around it.We can not imagine what and explain what has been before the"creation" of space.Yes "creation" of space.That is true.The space is created with the creation of the universe.Before the big bang space has not been created and had no meaning.
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    Jul 31 2012: Well, not into but onto just a bigger turtle ... :o)


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down
  • Jul 31 2012: see response to Richard. Sometimes how=why when we don't have the capacity to understand something with our limited sensory abilities
    • Jul 30 2012: (chuckling)...I'm pretty sure you can't understand anything about the universe by watching youtube.
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        Jul 31 2012: I'd say if you watched Carl Sagen or Neil Degrasse Tyson you'd definitely learn something. Maybe not understand the math but you'd learn something.
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      Jul 31 2012: If you don't "believe" that our universe is expanding, you should do some observations.

      Not only is it expanding, but it's expansion is accellerating.

      To learn from youtube is quite possible, but i'd rather see one of the several hundred lectures from stanford university again, than to watch more of the pseudo-scientific, unjustified, musings about the nature of reality spouted as fact by people with little to no education and expertise in the area of which they are speaking.
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    Jul 30 2012: What a deluge of theories and suppositions! The more we think about it, the
    confuseder it gets. I guess we'll have to wait until we finally go to that
    22-dimensional heaven.
    • Jul 30 2012: what makes you so sure you're going that-a-way? we keep this conversation up any longer we might wind up in very old-fashioned 3 dimensional hell :-)
  • Jul 28 2012: It is expanding into energy
  • Jul 28 2012: Question.
    The Bling Blang, was not an actual explosion. Yes?
    It was a singularity whereby an uneven distribution of something (gas?), initially created pressure that grew by creating more uneven distribution, thereby forcing or creating a great expansion. Viola! the Unique-verse.

    If there was nothing for anything to exist in to begin it all, then there had to be blackness.
    Is it possible that this blackness also was the absorption, really, of all light (which is energy, power and the ability for animation), and the expansion released it or became permeable enough that it began to show?

    I know there is more than one accepted theory and more than one kind of singularity theory that science believes in or accepts and I am very limited in my understanding of any of them, as one might be able to tell.

    I just wanna go back to being able to see the night sky and all the stars for the sense of awe. I think the world could really use that on a nightly basis.
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      Jul 28 2012: Just to clarify, the big bang didn't create light, nuclear fusion did
      • Jul 31 2012: Forgive my ignorance, but did the Big Bang create energy? If nuclear fusion is responsible for light, is it also responsible for heat? Are all the EM waves of the universe today results of nuclear fusion? I know gravity was responsible for the formation of stars and planets, but was there any form of electromagnetic waves or other form of energy before stars came into existence? Or was it simply just mass that gravity pulled together?
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          Jul 31 2012: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background_radiation
          This explains it well. There was light prior to fusion but that was through a super heated plasma but it didn't last relatively long. And I should have been more careful to explain that it's not only nuclear fusion you need to create light, just something hot enough to cause particles to fire photons off.
          And if you're being technical no the big bang didn't create energy, for a few reasons, the big bang isn't any creating force, it's just expansion. It's theorized that it was a quantum flux instantly prior to the big bang that created the particles and energy of the universe. Also the total energy of the universe is 0. This is calculated by taking all the energy created by matter and then subtracting gravity from that and you get 0. This explains how a flux could create everything.
  • Jul 27 2012: Creationists, attack!

    On a serious note, the whole theory of the expanding universe needs more concrete arguments, and the existing ones need reinforcing before it's implications could be seriously considered.
    • Jul 27 2012: Seriously, what are you saying? Fake it till you make it or embrace a belief system in the meantime. It's funny though. Considering that physisists are predicting infinite multiple universes as an explanation for the tiny ratio of dark energy in the universe and the astounding amount of possible shapes of extra demensions in the standard model, is it not just as forseable that this was a planned model? I prefer to believe that we are an ancestry program in a future super computer. Who's off their rocker now? Not that I am implying at all that you are sir. It's just I know it must be tough to be a creationist right now. Or is it easier?

      Signed ironically; Devil's Adovocate

      P.S. Why do creationists tend to focus on evolution as an earthly debate and not a cosmological one. There is way more evidence for god is the cosmos than on earth!

      Cheers!
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        Jul 27 2012: I'm a creationist but i don't knock the professionals that live or lived to bring us this data, the rest is points of view,curiosity is our greatest trait,i hope it never abates.

        are we not a vibration of the first vibration?

        I'm of the idea that some galaxies are at some point are spore dispersal units,they create qassars that eventually turn into galaxies or encounter other qassars that when combined form new galaxies.

        It's the qassar that's the unspoken mystery.
      • Jul 31 2012: I too have wondered why creationists tend to focus on evolution.

        I, as a believer, find modern science to actually increase my faith, so I am one of those who find it to be easier. The whole debate on the existence of God seems rather circular though. Science says the physical constants and scientific laws made the universe, so the theist says that God made those constants and laws. Science cant ever disprove God any more than theism can prove him. It seems to be much more of a philosophical topic than a scientific one.
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    Jul 27 2012: If we perceive the Universe as an isolated system, if matter is expanding and increasing its entropy, what's contracting? Weird to give so much relevance to the behaviour of matter when matter is, actually, such a tiny portion of the Universe. The Phylosophy of the "Vacum structure" is an inspiring idea to look somewhere else for the driving forces of the Universe,
    at least that's what I think.
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      Jul 28 2012: Our perception it what is contracting. I conceive of at sense-motive nature to phenomena in which deepening qualitative richness to persist from the inside out can be accounted for. This is a physical phenomenon, tied to a variable (like Euler's number), the expression of which is subjective by definition. I call this property of cumulative sensory depth 'significance', and its Couchy-like progression of signal elaboration I call solitropy.

      The more the universe drags behind reminders of all previous states and eras, the more significant each moment of time can potentially be. This is not mere negentropy from an unseen source, I'm suggesting instead a whole other way that entropy might be conjugated.

      Entropy in either a thermodynamic or information sense does not have a way of distinguishing desirable from undesirable outcomes, yet we do have this ability and value it very highly. It could be argued that other species of animals, and perhaps all entities rely on this to the same extent.

      With solitropy, (the universal promise of private experience), there is a difference between building up part a city and burning down a whole one, even though they may cost the same amount of energy and produce the same entropy. The clarity of that preference for quality of life and enjoyable experiences over meaningless chaos is what has not been understood yet in physics other than as a superficial function of human evolution.

      We have spent a centuries on the cold, hard facts of work. Now we need to appreciate the warm, soft fiction of play and how it pertains to awareness.

      Think then, of a spinning top, slowing down as it rotates in space, but subjectively intensifying in our estimation the longer and faster and more perfectly or interestingly it spins. We get a story out of it, and the cost is that there is a little heat lost, some wear and tear...but the story or play is the purpose for the top in the first place. We know all about work but have failed to discover play
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        Aug 5 2012: For the modern physicist dark matter is the 'constructive force' and dark energy is the 'destructive' force, but they are almost purely abstract concepts, with little empirical proof to support their existence. But they simply have to be there for the current model to work... Maybe the accepted model should be reviewed, but not to give birth to other abstract concepts, like with the super string theory.

        I share your your core premises: everything we perceive is Universe, so we can establish parallels between everything we know, every drop of knowledge needs to have a place within the unified theory of everything. The biological models must have deep ties with astronomy, sociology and psychology, music, art, anthropology, geology every subject should be integrated in the grand scheme of things.

        What are your thoughts about the quest for the 'god particle', the building block of everything?
        Don't you think it is an endless journey?
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          Aug 5 2012: I agree that the discovery of the Higgs Boson, or of whatever Higgs-like phenomenon we think we have discovered, will only usher in another era of speculation and uncertainty about the building blocks of everything. As long as we have no theory of awareness, we are looking at a toy model of the cosmos and bending over backwards to make that model's nonsensical conclusions apply to anything other than mathematics.
  • Jul 27 2012: Wow.

    You people are brilliant. When I was a young child, the heavens were visually available to me every night.
    When there was no moon, I could stretch my arm out in front of me and not be able to see my hand!

    I used to look up at the Milky Way, at all the stars and the incredible beauty, and just wonder about it all.

    I think my brain would have exploded if someone had told me, "all that, kid, is expanding."
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    Jul 27 2012: Well,we can only see 13.7 billion lys yet there is evidence that it is expanding beyond this due to a supercluster that looks to be being pulled out rather than expanding but then it could just mean the universe is curved.I'm not a fan of the bang or the steady state though those are the current theories in vogue.

    The oscillation theory banks on the contraction of the universe or the instant ignition system.

    One interesting idea i heard was the "many bangs" where matter accelerates to near total entropy and then by some funny law ignites and changes form and accelerates even further out,full of holes but interesting.

    Or are we in a blackhole?

    Look up Halton c Arp,he has some interesting ideas.
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      Jul 27 2012: little correction:

      "The age of the universe is about 13.75 billion years, but due to the expansion of space humans are observing objects that were originally much closer but are now considerably farther away (as defined in terms of cosmological proper distance, which is equal to the comoving distance at the present time) than a static 13.75 billion light-years distance. The diameter of the observable universe is estimated to be about 93 billion light-years, putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46–47 billion light-years away."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe
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        Jul 27 2012: Yes you're right,i forgot about the actual calculation of present time coordinates due to too many variables,for me it's like trying to visualise ten years from now,we can safely see 5 yrs ahead but ten starts to lose focus,twenty is speculation,100 unknown,500,blackness,for all we know the universe could have hiccupped and is rushing back at us in all directions.

        We can calculate any given point but it's actual journey is unknown,i'm lazy,what spectra we see is the limit for me.

        Sadly we are not immortal and get to see what we think.
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        Jul 28 2012: You hit the nail squarely on the head with 'the diameter of the observable universe . . . . '. The whole point being that our understanding of the universe only goes as far as we can observe it.
  • Jul 27 2012: what if the universe is expanding because it is being pulled by some other thing?
  • Jul 27 2012: Noone knows what it expands to. Well, actually noone knows whether if it expands or not. And if it does, it might be nothing, an alike-universe or even a giant bowl of oatmeal.
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    Jul 27 2012: Into nothing, maybe? Nothing out of here. Or nothing out of the another place(s) into which our universe is expanding.
  • Jul 27 2012: there had to be an unmoved mover
  • Jul 26 2012: The comments I have read here are so profound and imaginative that the universe (the actual universe) that resides within my brain -and probably yours too- continues to expand without limitation as it strives to confront this concept.
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    Jul 26 2012: Expansion is a condition that we can relate to because we exist inside of the universe, but since the Big Bang is responsible for generating all of space as well as all of time, then we should understand the universe as a Big Diffraction of a singularity which is as much "everythingness" as it is "something" or "nothingness".

    Philosophers and mystics have tried to describe this with terms such as Totality, Tao, Ein Sof, Brahman, monad. If we accept the concept of a singularity prior to the Big Bang, such a thing could not exist as we might imagine, as some kind of exploding sphere that we might, as scientific voyeurs, observe from a distance. That is not possible as the singularity prefigures all other things, so that it has no exterior and there is no moment yet in which any event can take place. This is why the singularity could not have been sitting there for x billion years before suddenly exploding, because time, like space, can only exist for something in relation to something else.

    Imagine a universe with nothing but a ping bong ball in it. There is nothing that you can do to give the ball anything like a position or movement. It's like the old Asteroids arcade game when there are no asteroids on the screen - just a self-centering vector that can turn, but has nowhere to go because there isn't anywhere else to be. Despite what we believe currently about vacuum flux, it makes more sense to me that space is not in fact a plenum (a fullness of intangible immaterial), but is a true void between material-phenomenological bodies.

    With space as nothing but an expression of scale and distance relations between 'things' and time nothing but a sequential ordering of repeating changes, the Big Bang becomes more of the hub of the wheel of spacetime, having never actually happened but rather is always happening and never happening. The singularity is a floating superlative - a perpetual locus of perpetual 'expansion' (diffraction). We live on its periphery.
  • Jul 26 2012: The edge of the universe is the shock wave of the big bang which today continues to convert nothingness to space time fabric of immense weight, the gravitational effect of which pulls everything within the universe away from the centre. The shock wave is incredibly thick, approximately half the thickness of the observed universe and varies from pure fabric on the inside to pure nothingness on the outside. The universe that we know is expanding into the newly created fabric and the universe that we don’t know (the front of the big bang shock wave) is expanding into nothingness as it converts that nothingness to fabric.
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      Jul 26 2012: Is it possible for 'nothingness' to be transformed into a space time 'fabric' of immense weight though? If something has the potential to be converted in any way, then it isn't really nothing to begin with. It's a bit like saying that you are turning the emptiness of a cup into water by adding water to it.

      In this context, instead of water, we are talking about spacetime itself, so that what it is being added to can't be described as any kind of space or time. In order to make our equations seem to make sense, we have to resort to this kind of handwaving in the direction of 'space except that it isn't space'.

      Ultimately its just trying to squeeze a boundaryless condition of first cause into some kind of ordinary framework that is familiar to us. We want to try to think of the universe like an egg spreading out on a pan, but it doesn't work. There is no pan and everything that has ever existed, including the ideas of pans, has always only been inside the yolk of the egg.
      • Jul 27 2012: The fabric is an anomaly in the nothingness, it is made of nothingness that has taken on structure. The shock wave continues to act on the nothingness causing it to take structure and this structure is the undifferentiated fabric of matter and energy, which is very heavy. As this fabric is created, it expands into the nothingness pushing the shock wave further from the centre of the universe.

        Your analogy of the egg is interesting since it has been used both in Greek and Chinese proto-science to explain the structure of the world. Using an egg as an example, the yolk is the known universe, the albumin is the shock wave, the surface of which is probably not smooth but wispy. As the albumin expands, it pulls the yolk with it, making an egg that is ever increasing in size. At the same time, the part of the albumin closest to the yolk turns into yolk.
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          Jul 27 2012: "The fabric is an anomaly in the nothingness, it is made of nothingness that has taken on structure. "

          I understand what you mean and I understand that it is considered a perfectly valid model to explain our empirical observations, but I see it as a total loss. It is a fantasy to explain something that we have interpreted incompletely.

          Nothingness can't have an anomaly. It is either a thing that has anomalies, which would have to be explained as far as its origin, etc, or it is nothingness, in which case it can never have or be anything.

          The key to it all is what I call 'sense'. Literally, afferent sensation/detection/integration and efferent participation/motivation/action. Without accounting for these principles in a fundamental way in physics, we will only ever be able to construct an idea of a universe in which we do not experience directly in any way. We wind up with an intangible anti-universe of unexperienced quantities and an anti-humanity of unexplained neural correlate simulated epiphenomena.

          The reason that we are interested in the universe is because we are in it. Any complete model of the universe must begin with a satisfactory explanation for that fact. What we have now takes that for granted from the start and then builds a model based on reverse engineering facts, leaving our ourselves out of the picture, and effectively painting ourselves in a corner. If we start with the sense relation as primordial and irreducible, then it all makes more...sense.
      • Jul 31 2012: According to your argument, we need a model of the universe that explains it in logic that we have today. I'm not sure if that is the best way to approach the problem.

        Trying to imagine how something is an anomaly of nothing tends to fry our brains. It works on the principle of nothing being like a piece of string which if you twist it enough gets knots in it. The knots are the fabric. Now take away the string, which is nothing, but keep the knots and that is the universe we live in, fabric made of nothingness.

        We find it easier to imagine a universe that is expanding into nothing - the fabric moves into the place where there was nothing before. But is that not also a brain-frying argument? There was no place to move into because there is nothing there. There is no space outside of the universe. Alternatively, you could say that the universe is not expanding into anything, rather the distance between objects is growing. What is growing to make the distance greater? Nothingness. There is increasingly more nothing between stars. It is an increase in nothingness that makes our universe larger.
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          Jul 31 2012: Sometimes things that fry our brains seem that way because they don't actually make sense. If we tie string in knots and then take away the string, we can't 'keep the knots'. This is almost a literal description of the 'Emperor's new clothes'. There are no knots-in-string independent of string. I can tie other things into a knot because different materials can produce conditions which we experience as similar or identical. A knot is pattern recognition (and so is the string, ultimately, but on a lower level).

          As far as nothingness being the engine of expansion, yes, I agree that it can seem equivalent whether the nothingness is conceived of as being an exterior event horizon or an interior multiplication of distances, but because this is happening in time as well, the Big Diffraction model has the advantage of remaining perpetually in singularity. The initial moment of the Big Bang is a single 'now', as much the fullness of eternity as it is each granular instant because there is no external 'not now' outside of it to give it closure. The totality of 'being' is subdivided not by nothingness but by the accumulation of somethingness. The expansion of space is not the important part, it is the meaningless consequence of the retention of eternity. As eternity gets longer, the compass is perpetually opening, but only in relation to itself http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7tm7uz08N1qeenqko1_1280.jpg

          I agree that spacetime is a kind of nothingness in that it is a true void rather than a plenum of vacuum flux or zero point energy. The potentials and dynamism we think we see in the void are, I suggest, actually within the connectedness of the matter of our instruments (including ourselves). We are pinging the singularity of what we are made of and mistaking it for magical 'dark energy'.

          More nothing between the stars only means that more time has passed since the last time that the stars were one. There may no such thing thing as an 'increase in nothingness
      • Jul 31 2012: Understanding what the nothingness outside the universe is is difficult. It is obviously not a mathematical nothingness where nothing is possible. Perhaps it is a quantum nothingness which continues to be nothing until a random event causes it to cease to be nothing. The interaction between events in the fabric and the nothingness is probably causing the nothingness to take structure.

        The corollary of the knot theory is not that there is no fabric but that we could destroy the fabric if we could work out how to untie it. It would also require rebuilding the original fabric of undifferentiated energy and matter to untie, which would be difficult.

        I am curious how your model explains what is happening at the edge of the universe (the "event horizon/singularity") near the most distant galaxies that Hubble has spotted. I assume that your model would say that if we were there today and had a Hubble telescope there, we would see fewer galaxies if we point the telescope towards the singularity than if we pointed it in our direction since the universe is flat and we would be near the edge of the universe. However, it is unlikely that we are at the center of the universe and yet we see no obvious imbalance in the distribution of stars. Plus our time today, 14 billion years after the big bang is not significant and yet we see no thinning of the number of galaxies as we look further into space, except that they become fainter and harder to see. That is because the universe has continued to grow in all directions after the big bang, beyond the "singularity".
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          Jul 31 2012: "Understanding what the nothingness outside the universe is is difficult. "
          It's not difficult, it is impossible. Understanding why that is a fact is difficult. There is no nothingness. Nonsense is an absence of sense, and nothing is an absence of things. They have no meaning when they are not preceded by sense and things. Sense isn't a type of nonsense. Things aren't temporary non-nothings. I understand that this seems like a step backward to you, but I assure you it isn't. Unfathomable as it seems, I feel quite comfortable in saying that our current model of the universe is as misguided as it was before Copernicus. We are in the dark ages of cosmology - literally. Everything that matters is shunted off to the never never land of 'emergent properties', 'representation', 'information', dark matter & energy, etc. What is left is meaningless quantitative relations of a non-universe we will never experience.

          My model opens the possibility that our current astrophysical observations reflect a narrow band of perception, no more infallible than any other form of perception we have access to, only its flaws are hidden from us in a different way. The promise of certainty and objectivity has a price. I'm not trying to question them though, I only question their interpretation. Whatever physics can discover fits equally well with my model because I am looking at sense as the sole primitive of nature.
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          Jul 31 2012: In other words, we need to find the next way of observing the universe like Galileo,yes we are kind of stuck but i think we will always be stuck,one level to the next.

          I describe that indescribable place where the current belief system of our universe is expanding into as "Blackness",i use the same word for infinity.

          One can only imagine the colour black.
      • Aug 1 2012: You are confusing "sense" with "logic". The two are different. Sense makes sense because it matches what our senses observe. Logic is entirely within the brain.

        The concept of a singularity is logic, not sense. We like it because it matches mathematics, but if we try to see the universe as an expression of mathematics, we get into the same problem that the ancient Greeks did. The Greeks were geniuses. They worked out that the world was round. This happened because they believed that the sphere was the perfect shape and the world and sun were perfect. This was a great approximation but it was wrong because the earth is not a sphere and the sun is not perfect. Our senses know that the sun is not perfect but the Greeks and later scientists could not believe what they saw about the sun and the non-spherical nature of planet orbits etc and it took hundreds of years to accept the facts and work out new theories.

        Singularity is the same. It is based on the idea of a point, a mathematical perfection. Scientists today are wondering "if the universe began as a point, how did space become unbalanced and galaxies form, rather than an undifferentiated soup where everything is balanced?" It is absurd logic. There is no singularity. The universe is an anomaly in the nothingness based on a random event. Can you explain a knotted string with mathematics? Only with the help of a creator, some great boy scout who makes wonderfully neat knots.

        We like singularity because it is pure, like the idea of creation. If it were messy, it would make a PhD really hard work. However, what we sense is not a singularity but a continuation, full of random chunks of unevenly distributed fabric. Have a look at the sky, have a look at the data and tell me it isn't true. What we see is a repetition of the same random distribution from the nearest galaxy right through space to the most distant.
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          Aug 1 2012: "You are confusing "sense" with "logic". The two are different. Sense makes sense because it matches what our senses observe. Logic is entirely within the brain."

          I try to avoid arguing word definitions, especially about broad informal terms like logic and sense. The word logic can be used in a lot of ways, to refer to logic gates for example. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing that is entirely 'within the brain' except for biochemistry. The word sense can also refer to sensemaking that is entirely mental. Helen Keller made sense of a world that she could not see or hear. Not to criticize you personally, but if your objections to my ideas are going to be based on knee-jerk linguistic corrections then I am already not interested.

          "There is no singularity. " There is nothing that could prevent the existence of singularity. On some level of description there is nothing except the universe if your description is sufficiently all-encompassing. Singularity is a matter of how you frame the universality of the universe; how absolutes can manifest in the absence of precedent.

          "We like singularity because it is pure, like the idea of creation" ..".Have a look at the sky,"
          You dislike the singularity because you think that interior realism doesn't need to be reconciled with exterior realism. Have a look at the anthropological data - the universality of holistic models of the cosmos. We are interested in these ideas for a reason. This doesn't mean that kind of truth can be a substitute for science, but neither can scientific data be a substitute for subjective experience. It is the symmetry between them that reveals the whole truth about the cosmos.
      • Aug 1 2012: We seem to be talking about two different things and I can feel your frustration.

        Sense: we see wonderful patterns all across the universe from the microscopic scale to the galactic. However, on a universal scale we don't see any patterns. We see clusters which all look similar in their randomness. We see nothing to say that any place is in the center or on the edge. I don't think that "singularity" describes this appearance very well. Singularity implies one event, one center, everything stemming from one, therefore having mutual influence as you might find in a galaxy for instance. That is why I dislike the term "singularity" to describe the universe - it does not seem to fit the reality.

        You say that nothing is entirely "within the brain", but I would argue that things exist in our minds that do not exist in nature. Perfection is the most obvious. There is no perfect woman in the world but we might be able to dream one up.

        Ancient Greeks thought that perfection was a higher level of reality than the imperfect world that we live in. There is no evidence of this. Yet we still use the idea that perfection exists in the formation of the universe, that it somehow evolved from mathematics: it began as a dot (something with no size or as near to that as possible) and was made of perfectly balanced fabric. This seems illogical to me. We see randomness in the universe and it is more logical that the randomness was there at the beginnings than superimposed later. It appears that patterns emerge from the randomness, not randomness emerging from patterns. That is to say, the universe looks as random as a smashed windshield but on a smaller level, there are things swirling to make galaxies, crystals and atoms, all of which look wonderfully mathematical.
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          Aug 1 2012: When you say "on a universal scale we don't see any patterns" but then go on to say "We see clusters which all look similar", it tells me that indeed we are talking about two different things. To me, in order for me to say 'we don't see any patterns' means that we don't see anything at all. Randomness is a pattern, especially clusters of similar randomness'. For there to truly be no pattern we could not even see blackness or emptiness. It could only look like what you see now through the back of your head.

          That you assume that the mind is 'in the brain' also tells me that your model of the cosmos assumes that interior experience is subordinate to, and an imperfect model of an generically real object universe. My model questions that assumption and sees it as an extension of naive realism. While technology has extended our capacity to see and hear, it has also amplified the bias of relying exclusively on those most empirically tangible channels of sense at the expense of all other modes of experience.

          If you turn it around, it is the world of bodies in space that fails to live up of the much more significant experiences of subjectivity, including 'perfection', rich qualia, etc. Just because they are private experiences rather than public objects, your model disqualifies them to the never never land of less-than-real.

          If randomness contains any possibility of pattern, especially patterns which live and dream of perfection, then they cannot be said to be truly random. The fact that hydrogen atoms eventually turn into human beings does not mean that any mathematical function that seems to do what hydrogen does may turn into a human being. On the other hand, it is easy if you start from a place of sense, to project appearances of entropy and signal attenuation. What we feel in being ourselves is closer to what the universe is than a map of cosmic dust.
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    Jul 26 2012: Want another quandary? What existed before the BIG BANG? Perhaps there is an oscillating cosmos - one which had collapsed down into the single point of the BIG BANG's origin. And this conjures up the picture of a continually oscillating cosmos.
    One BIG BANG after another. But, if that is the case, when did all these oscillations start?
    Enough to give a man a headache!
    • Jul 26 2012: You will love this on YouTube trust me! Enjoy!

      Some mind blowing stuff for you viewing and reading pleasure:

      BBC 4 - Dangerous knowledge (on YouTube)
      The Atom
      M- theory
      PBS Nova (on you tube)
      -Hunting the Hidden Dimension (fractles)
      -The Elegant Universe (series of 3 or four shows related to the bbc material but older-optional but simply explanitory)

      (all of the below available on YouTube)
       (hokey but thought provoking)
      Holographic Universe (Part 1) 

      Introduction and Illustration on the Holographic Principle
      -explains the role of black holes and potential information storage


      Quantum Consciousness, Quantum Mind STUART HAMEROFF (P.1)
      (also check out his website by the same title for a little light reading)



      Check out on Ted.com -
      Lucianne Walkowicz: Finding planets around other stars

      Aaron O'Connell: Making sense of a visible quantum object

      Andrea Ghez: The hunt for a supermassive black hole

      Sean Carroll: Distant time and the hint of a multiverse

      http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/io9/vip/~3/peGfJikxy74/the-human-mind-may-secretly-follow-the-laws-of-quantum-mechanics

      http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011-09/two-key-computing-advances-bring-quantum-computers-closer-reality
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        Jul 27 2012: Thanks Paul. I'm aware of these, but all of them have questions, no sensible answers.
        • Jul 28 2012: What seems sensible about quantum computing via mysteriously entangled photons and yet working quantum computers are now in use. I now feel like sensible answers only come from the most credible people now due to the utterly astounding information they are providing. I walk around talking about valid theory and people look at me like I'm nuts! Cheers!
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    Jul 26 2012: Quoted from Wiki Answers - I think this isa very good answer:
    "There is no 'edge' to our Universe; even if you were able to somehow able to travel faster than light, and go beyond our observable universe, you would never encounter an edge, no matter how far you looked. Likewise, the Earth is finite in size, but there is no edge to the Earth; it's a curved surface. Mathematicians would call this a 2-dimensional surface of positive curvature, embedded in 3 dimensions---you can travel around the earth, and eventually end up where you start. The universe works the same way, except that it is a three-dimensional curved surface embedded in four (spatial) dimensions. Just like we can't find the center of the Earth anywhere on its surface, there is no center to the Universe that we can find, because we are stuck on its 3-dimensional surface; the center is in a higher dimension. (I know that sounds bizarre!)"

    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_on_the_other_side_of_the_universe#ixzz21jvUUXiI
    • Jul 26 2012: This is not true anymore. Taurus and donut shaped concepts are now not as popular due to the fact that space is indeed expanding. And the Kepler space program is indeed showing that the universe is flat and expanding outwardly. "spooky action" as Einstein put it aka dark energy seeps into our universe pushing it outwards and indeed onwards. Seriously now think about it. We see as far as light has been able to travel in 13 billion years since the big bang and right down to the second it happened. But we can only this far. That does not mean that there is nothing "spacey" past this point. It just means that is where it began for us. 3 years ago we were pretty sure we were one of kind as far as the Goldylocks zone for habitual planets but look where we are now. We do only perceive in limited dimensions and there are other ones all around us, i personally think the Higgs field has a lot to do with the Brane connecting dimensions but its is just my pipe dream, our universe does not have to be closed to other ones just because we are blind before time. It just means it wasn't our time grandly speaking.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jul 28 2012: For millennia we are asking the same question :' What is moving wind or a flag ? Neither, answered the monk, it is your mind that is moving. "
      How old are Zen koans ? :)

      Hi, Ed !
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    Jul 26 2012: To be honest, leave all this along to the physicists until they maybe figure out, instead of many plausible theories. I am still confused about this.
  • Jul 26 2012: it rather depends on which drugs you r taking!
  • Jul 25 2012: Mike,

    If you expect to find an answer that will make you yell "eureka!" you have another thing coming. It is hard for me to properly grasp this whole enchilada, since I am no physicist. It all starts with time not being constant. We do not even have a language proper for expressing that (perhaps except for the language of math). Anyway, just like time is not constant, "space" is what's "formed" as the Universe expands. There is no "out there" no "outer space" for the Universe to expand into. Since these fields of research are quite hot, physicists are still on the figuring out of these questions, and it seems like the answer in in many dimensions, strings, and membranes ("branes" for short) and such shit. I have no idea. But essentially, your question is wrong because it assumes something it should not assume, which is something that you assume out of our ordinary experiences, which are too far removed from such stuff as timelessness and spacelessnes for any of us to be able to find words that could help you get your eureka.

    So there.
  • Jul 25 2012: According to recent observations the (Kepler) universe can be characterized as expanding flatly and exponentially faster the further out you go. Contemporary theory points to the possibility that or universe is expanding into another universe which is expanding at a faster rate than ours therefore being impossible to ever measure unfortunately. It has also been suggested that the edge of our universe is only as big as light has been able to travel since the big bang and is vatstly larger than we are able to ever see. This coincides with cutting edge theory that suggests that the because the universe is expanding faster all the time that we are witness to a depleting resource of information regarding the cosmos which will disappear completely from view of our future selves. Not to mention some bizzar but credible theories regarding black holes as possible mechanisms of information storage or even universe incubators! Nuts I know. Regardless, it remains true that the fractal nature of physical relationships in the universe continues and extrudes apart from just the "local" universe.

    Word Tanka!
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    Jul 24 2012: If you could stand above the universe looking from the outside in, would you really want to? and why?
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    Jul 24 2012: The universe is a gigantic lifeform that is still growing.

    We're all universes, every lifeform is a universe in which tiny lifeform will emerge on the atomic level, it's just a big fractal with no beginning and no end. In which time laps is inversely proportional to the scale of the mass.

    So during a few minutes of your time, entire civilizations are born and die on the atomic level. One thousand years for us would represent only a few seconds on the universe's being scale. And this being is also on another atomic level for something even bigger.
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    Jul 24 2012: As I understand it, there is no space beyond the universe. Instead, empty space expands along with the rest of the universe. This thought requires an understanding that the universe (along with the empty space) has a limit, which is a difficult concept. I'm carefully trying to avoid using the word "edge," because there is no edge of the universe. If you were able to reach out further and further into the expanding universe, you would also be reaching further back in time, finally reaching a point moments after the big bang where the multiple dimensions of this universe had not yet "set" into the dimensions we understand, so there's no way to reach an "edge."

    Argh! I don't feel like I've explained it very well, but it's a slippery concept.
  • Jul 24 2012: andrew - Amen to that, brother
    I am not sorry to have started this discussion - but I can see that when everyone is done contributing it might just as well be called Garp and smells like a ... where did you ever come up with that one :-)?? Good one.
    Have a pleasant evening and don't let the smell get to you
    Michael
    • Jul 25 2012: Hello Michael,

      Glad that you decided to revisit. Thanks for an entertaining discussion. Garp was especially amusing.
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    Jul 22 2012: IN MY VIEW:
    All aspect of Universe from creation, direction and much feared end have always been a heated debate. Several concepts, theories, prediction etc have been made but none can completely convince all. So people make theories to calm themselves of the complete chaotic nature of the Universe. In my view more than the word Universe the word Existence can better integrate or relate time, universe and the so called empty space. Now lets compare them as an orange; time is the outer cover of the orange, space inner pieces and universe the contents and when they expand they expand one after another.
    Now the question might be "What is the space in front of time?". This however is the uncharted territory for me
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    Jul 22 2012: The theory of the expanding universe tries to explain the data that we collect with ever more powerful instruments and theories. There are many things that we don't understand.
    I think the expansion that we theorize is a function of the speed of light, and the limitation of our ability to see out in to space in any ways except those embedded in the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Jul 21 2012: I fear that the universe will one day be a gigantic shopping mall selling inter-galactic fashions and all kinds of exotic goodies at the food court. There will be millions of races of different beings that are obese and wearing ill fitting clothes while holding gallon sized smoothies and frisbee sized Cinnabons bopping along to their i-phone implants in their brains.
  • Jul 20 2012: What is mathematics and what is apriori? It.s not something you can talk about after a certain point.
  • Jul 20 2012: I think the only legitimate answer to this would be an equation or a set of equations. You have to understand the math to understand the only objective explanation.
    • Jul 21 2012: wrong choise of words there... you never have to understand math to understand the world. You "need" math to objectively describe the world not the other way around.
      Just like putting an equation like E=Mc^2 up there and telling you what it means... doesn't mean you can understand it.
      I mean I know what it stands for... and I can somewhat understand the basic concept behind it.... but what all of it's implications are well I'm not sure if Einstein himself realized them (although he probably did which is why everyone is still so lyrical about him). However everyone can understand the math behind it as it's a simple equation right?
      • Jul 30 2012: Just have to disagree. Sometimes "how" is the answer to "why" (if you catch my meaning). Understanding the math and the images/graphs/models is the closest you will ever get to "why". Quantum mechanics is counter-intuitive which is short hand for "it doesn't really make sense from our perspective with the senses that we have", so the math/picture is all we have. Douglas Adams touched on this with his answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything (which of course is 42). Of course this is not what Adams was really talking about, but clearly this is not a subject with easy analogies
        • Aug 2 2012: Just have to disagree.
          Even some of the most complex math we have for instance the math behind chemical reactions or how things propagate/dissapate/spread out and magnetism all have easy to grasp basic concepts.
          Take electricity for instance all math in there basicly sais charge wants to neutralize itself and therefor energy flows from high charged areas to low charged areas. Then you can use (complex) math to calculate exactly when lightning will strike between a charged and non-charged metal bowls how much water will be attracted when it falls past a charged plate etc.. You don't need to know exactly how electricity influences it's surroundings to have a decent grasp of why it happens.
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      Jul 23 2012: Well sorry but inorder to understand the fundamental processes which happen you dont need math at all... take the simple formula v=s/t for instance what does it tell you? In this form all it does is nothing it doesnt tell you what velocity is ... it only tells you how to calculate it :P
  • Jul 20 2012: I wonder, when the matter in the universe finally all rushes to the event horizon of the universe, will it cause the universe to contract and cause the "big bounce?"
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    Jul 20 2012: At this moment(At least this is what I believe) our universe is pushing on the edges of other universes. These universe may have different laws of physics and may lie in a different dimensional state, so are universe can't expand into it because of these fundamental differences or, in simpler terms, they aren't the fitting puzzle pieces so they can't come together. So, are universe can't go into THAT space, it's just expanding it's own space. Eventually, all the galaxy's will be so far apart, you won't be able to see other ones(except Andromeda which is on a collision coarse with the Milky Way).
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      Jul 20 2012: Do you have a time frame on that collision with Andromeda? I've got plans.
      • Jul 20 2012: Don't worry, Edward, the 'collision' will not interfere with your plans unless your plans extend for billions of years. The collision of galaxies is actually a merger rather than a collision. I think scientists like to use the word collision because it is more dramatic and gets more attention. I suppose they feel neglected.
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          Jul 20 2012: Cool! I'm ok then. Back in the 40's Hubble said the universe was 2 billion years old. Now the number is 14+ billion years. The Standard Model seems sketchy in places so I am not going to put a lot of stock in the predicted galactic merger 4 billion years upstream. Thanks Barry!
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          Jul 22 2012: Time for a coffee then.
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        Jul 20 2012: Yeah, the merger isn't estimated to occur for another 4 billion years.
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          Jul 20 2012: OK Kevin, I'm over sweating about the coming galactic collision. But now I have a new concern, if the universe is 14+billion years old why are there no single-field galaxies? Why are all known galaxies clumped together in clusters? After billions of years of expanding shouldn’t galaxies have become detached and isolated from one another?--Edward
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        Jul 20 2012: Gravity Edward, though even though they may appear close together in most clusters they're still extremely far apart. And is Andromeda part of a cluster? Surely most of the deep field galaxies in the hubble photos are single fielded.
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          Jul 21 2012: Yeah, that pretty much sum's it up.
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          Jul 21 2012: You say "surely most of the deep field etc." glibly Kevin. Let's just talk confirmed data ( Messier objects) for now.
        • Jul 24 2012: FYI Andromeda is part of our local cluster, along with the Milky Way and a bunch of smaller galaxies.
      • Jul 26 2012: " Back in the 40's Hubble said the universe was 2 billion years old. Now the number is 14+ billion years."


        Hubble's math was right, his idea was right, and his data was right, but his plot wrong because he did not have a "standard candle". Today astronomers have been able to set standard candles with supernova, which is how we now know why Hubble was wrong and also why the current numbers are much more accurate.
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          Jul 26 2012: Thaks for the explanation. Perhaps tomorrow's numbers will be even more accurate, which is why it would be a mistake to think that we now know enough to fully explain the origin, operation, and fate of the Universe.
      • Jul 26 2012: Very true, one day we may know the numbers right down to the nearest second. One neat thing about Hubble's experiment was even at the time it was well known that the earth was older than that, so Hubble got quite a lot of grief. But today the principle is known as "Hubble's Law" :-)
  • Jul 20 2012: Yeah.
    But what if the universe is flat?
    Or flat enough, long enough, to never be able to see your own back?
    I thought the infinite was just a mirror image of the finite or eternal, so that it just looks like it is infinite, when it isn't.
    We can't travel to it anyway, in a mirror or in reality if it really is infinite.
    We can only see that it looks like it goes on and we can only understand or relate to what we can see in our finite understanding.

    What really got me was the idea that it wasn't getting bigger, but only more sparse.
    I sorta can but not really, grasp that. It makes sense but I don't know how.

    More please.
  • Jul 20 2012: Never Never land and Peter Pan is bummed!
    • Jul 20 2012: I really like this idea, of calling the space outside of space 'Never Never Land'.
  • Jul 19 2012: Five answers, nay: opinions, to my query. I am thankful for every one. What did I expect? Empirical answers? that would cause to to slap my forehead and say “Duh, why didn't I think of that?”
    Sadly, for me, almost all 'answers' far exceed my minutia-oriented earthly mental horizon. And since it soon won't make much difference, again, for me – I think I'll stick to a good meal, a good woman and a good book. I have empirical evidence for all three.
    Thank you one and all.
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      Jul 19 2012: Michael-
      You have 30 days remaining on your very relevant question. You cannot seek refuge in food, women and fantasy for a whole month, it's like intellectual Ramadan, or really extended Lent. Buck up lad! Lead us to enlightenment. You can do it!
      • Jul 20 2012: Thank you for your encouraging comments, Edward
        I am sorry to disappoint you. I seem to have have stumbled into a collection of Mensa-sized minds and am way out of my league. Not an excuse – just acknowledgment and acceptance of fact. I's just that I do question my world, it's mysteries intrigue me and with nothing better to do on a lazy afternoon I thought I'd throw out a question and see what happens.
        To maybe better understand: after years of WW2 experience up close and personal as a child and totally alone, disillusioned with the world I had inherited from my parents and their peers I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to buy a steam ship ticket to the new world and leave Europe. At 21 I finally was and did. Although incredibly difficult, without a trade or English language skills, I persevered and became exclusively occupied with wordly success. At the expense of education, enjoying the finer things in life – and seeking the company of men and women of intelligence, knowledge, wit and experience.
        I never doubted my capacity. Still don't. As sorry as I am now at 76 to never have put this capacity to work on an intellectual level (it has proven itself in many other ways) I have to concede my failure to not have changed, altered course, some 50 years ago.
        Again, I thank you and implore you to grab a young mind and mold him or her into something I could have been. You're welcome to use my story as a deterrent to do anything less :-)
        Michael
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          Jul 20 2012: Oh balderdash! I hear in your story the delight of painting a word picture which passes information from you to another wandering pilgrim. Trust me Michael these TED folks are wrong as often as they are right, we all are. It is not about age, or education, or intelligence. It is about a free exchange of ideas worth sharing in an atmosphere of mutual respect and decency. Your question is most excellent and you should respond briefly to each contributor. You can start with me by answering my request for a definition of the word "space" as you understand it. I look forward to the vigorous exchange your question will surely generate. Hang in there friend and thanks for sharing your incredible story.--Edward
        • Jul 20 2012: In my humble opinion, you are giving us FAR too much credit.

          Please stick around. This is educational and entertaining.

          Edward, an excellent question, What is space? Is any space actually empty? Is all space full of multiple 'fields' for gravity, electromagnetism, and who knows what fields dark matter might generate? I too would like answers, even if they are just opinions.

          Addition: Please note the first three words of the first reply.
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      Jul 20 2012: what a waste of time
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    Jul 19 2012: What does the word "space" mean? What is the definition of "space"? Is it a perfect vacuum, aka "nothing"? Is it dark energy? Is it dark matter? Is it turtles all the way down? May I have the definition please?
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    Jul 19 2012: I think there are 2 sets of laws one are the laws of the physical universe the other are the laws of the spiritual universe. It is hard to think about the latter in terms of this universe. What makes you think there is only one universe? I can't believe how small we have become.
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    Jul 19 2012: If there was a "Big Bang" you could ask where did it happen in what realm did it occur?

    Maybe there really is nothing but that singularity, that ignited that first appearance of all we know of including space and which still is at the same time an expression of that same singularity.

    There really isn't anything but a flow of events with the only thing real the point from which it originates.