Posts Tagged ‘expanding universe’

The Metric Contraction of Matter vs. The Metric Expansion of Space

By Perry Bradford-Wilson
Author of Tales of McKinleyville: Big Doin’s at the Chinese Baptist Church, Tales of Placerville: Booksellers to the Savage West, and co-author of Midnight in Never Land

This matter (pun intended) has been floating around my temporal lobe for some time (that pun intended as well).  Physicists, cosmologists and astronomers have long believed that space-time is expanding and that any two points in the universe (or polyverse, or whatever multidimensional structure this expansion may include) are growing further apart as we follow the arrow of time from the past toward the future.  I have no reason per se to discount this accepted theory.  I enjoy mental puzzles, however, and the theory of spatial expansion seems on its surface to have potential holes (ooh, more puns.)  The following discussion is strictly for intellectual exercise and the potential for learning a few new things:  I have no interest in being lumped with superstitious flat-earthers, creationists, and other crazies.

As a non-mathematician I have a difficult time reading the calculations which support the theory of spatial expansion, although I will take it as gospel from those who eat numbers for breakfast that they do confirm it.  Personally, I tend to gravitate (enough with the puns) toward the observational evidence.  The first and most famous piece of observational evidence, first suggested by Edwin Hubble, is the redshift of electromagnetic spectra, a “Doppler effect” in which light waves shift toward the red due to expansion of wavelength caused by the “stretching” of space.  This is a good clue, although I might note that it turns out space is full of Dark Energy and Dark Matter, the nature of which we have virtually no understanding.  It’s possible, is it not, that an undiscovered property of these mysterious elements, whether on a level of quantum or celestial mechanics, is that electromagnetic spectra extend their wavelength as they pass through or around them, and therefore exhibit the redshift?

But I digress.  Let’s just say that the redshift is caused by exactly what has been supposed:  the space between us (the observer) and the electromagnetic source is increasing.  What if it’s not space that is expanding but, rather, matter that is contracting?  On an atomic or quantum level matter is growing smaller?  If that was the case, all sources of electromagnetic wave/particles would be moving away from each other as they contracted.  As opposed to the universe modeled as an expanding balloon we instead have every atom in it as a deflating one.  Space seems to expand because everything in it is shrinking.

Whether or not this theory still supports the isotropic & homogenous models of the universe I leave to cosmologists.

But it does explain why my mother, as she has gotten older, has gotten shorter.

You can hit me now.

© 2011 Perry Bradford-Wilson

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