Rollin' Like Sisyphus

Physics as Performed by Abbot & Costello – Part 2

Posted in Who's On First? by Huckleberry on May 19, 2014
It's all his fault. All of it.

It’s all his fault. All of it.

It all started with the electron.
Once upon a time, we had a pretty coherent model of how the universe worked within the constraints of the Laws of Physics as detailed by Newton. This worked out well for centuries, until some Einstein had the bright idea to reconcile an incongruity between light and motion. What resulted was, eventually, the famous equation E=MC².
It’s a useful, handy equation of the type that physicists love to call “elegant” but it presents a problem for Newton’s model, and for what would later be termed the Standard Model.
The electron is a sub-atomic particle that we can see and verify the existence of. It possesses an electrical charge but no mass.
Now take a look at Einstein’s equation again:
Energy = Mass * C²(speed of light squared)
This model clearly asserts that a particle’s energy is directly related to its mass – and as a simple mathematical matter, the more mass, the more energy it possesses.
Yet we have the electron, packed full of energy – it is in fact nothing but energy – and no mass to speak of.
Urp.
How in the Hell do you square THAT circle, you ask?
Well, you begin to do what physicists will continue to do for the next 100+ years: you guess your way out of it.
So born was the idea of “anti-matter” and the model of the positron is inferred into existence. The positron is considered a complementary “heavy” particle to the electron, possessing a weaker opposing positive electric charge along with enough mass for both particles to make the equations work. The two particles are essentially a pair; one bringing mass to the table, the other energy.
Now, to be fair, because the physicists of that generation were much more intelligent and less concerned with going viral on I Fucking Love Science, the existence of the positron is confirmed (mostly) as its emissions regularly feature as a byproduct when particles collide in, well, particle colliders.
But this place-holder style of physical modelling only got worse, as suppositions were piled on top of each other, while our informed ideas about the physical universe began to far outstrip our ability to competently interrogate them. Throw in the Uncertainty Principle at the quantum level and our (very) limited ability to physically manipulate anything at the speed of light beyond light, and admittedly imagination does have to take the wheel for a while.
As the quantum world was further “explored”, the idea that our universe was constructed with a foundation of particles that were fixed points had to be shelved. The tighter physicists made experiments to achieve precision at the quantum level, the more uncertain the results became. It was as if trying to put the constituent bits of the universe in a box to test made the universe uncooperative. This all goes back to the collapsing probabilities I mentioned in the last post.
So String Theory was developed partly as a way to explain this behavior. Along with the discovery of a few other sub-atomic particles, String Theory really made the reconciliation of math a chore. So to make the math work, most of the particles we can “see”* ended up wedded to an opposing complement that we could only hope was there – “heavier” particles that had the mass necessary to make the energy possessed by the visible partners adhere to the math.
This is basically Supersymmetry, though I will admit it’s a crude rendering. For the simplicity of the argument, this should suffice – the particles we can see and interact with** have anti-particle pairs that we cannot, and those complementary particles are bonded in a way that essentially supersedes both spatial and temporal concerns. What happens to one immediately happens to the other, no matter the distance between them; which, if you’re paying attention at home sort of violates an important aspect to the thing that kicked all of this off: Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity.
Is that a problem?
No.
Why?
Due to the location of the opposing particles.
Where are these complementary particles located?
I’m so glad you asked.
Turns out, they’re in another dimension***.
More on that, the Uncertainty Principle, Observer Bias and the Wheeler Experiment in the context of Backward Time Interpretation in the next post(s).
* See not with our eyes, but pretty much our imagination and math
** By basically surrounding the particles and doing a great job at eliminating everything that they aren’t from the list
*** Not entirely, but sort of.

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