Being several hundred miles away from my girlfriend for the summer is torture. And while I get to play with animals once in a while at work, the heat is killing me. So I am trying to live inside my brain to endure all of the natural disasters which I seem to be magnetized to. One of the problems I’ve been contemplating is the pixelation of spacetime.

A long time ago, a greek philosopher named Zeno of Elea proposed that the distance between any two points is infinitely divisible. This would mean that to get anywhere we would have to take an infinite amount of steps. He concluded that space, motion, and existence are illusions. But wait, there’s hope! Modern science believes that spacetime is not infinitely divisible.

The revelation did not come in response to Zeno, but with a little playing around with physics. Towards the end of the 19th century, Max Planck invented Planck units in a straightforward manner. He took all of the known constants in physics: G, h, c, Kb, and Ke, to determine the precise size of a single unit of spacetime. A Planck unit is 1.6 x 10-35 meters, and 5.4 x 10-44 seconds. But this solution also causes tremendous problems.

When I first heard about spacetime pixelation, I was struck by the fact that at that level, geometry must be essentially like an atari video game. As an observer magnifies inwards, clean lines break into jagged staircases. The Euclidian sense of circles and triangles was laughable, and even fractal patterns would break down.

Secondly, it confuses me whether matter conducts or wades through spacetime. I feel it is a scientific assumption that spacetime is the medium in which matter exists. Matter is of course, just a form of energy; but we really have no idea why matter behaves in such super complex ways.

Assuming that energy and particles conduct within the medium of spacetime, it follows that particles simply exist within a Planck unit, and no motion within that unit is possible, or else it would be further divisible. Instead, motion is a conductive transfer from one pixel to another.

Futhermore, the arrangement of spacetime in relation to itself troubles me. Does it form a cubic lattice, as we artificially impose on it? Or does it form a chaotic mass, as gumballs in a jar slide into various patterns? What lies between spacetime?

According to relativity, spacetime is quite flexible, and can warp under gravitational stress, so how would one measure the change in that subjective unit, when it is the basis of our reality? I suppose that the irrationality of the smallest building blocks is necessary in order to compose the rational world. Just as mathematics is built of irrational assumptions.


6 responses »

  1. Gunta says:

    I don’t always understand it, but I enjoy the attempt… 😉

    patience… the summer is already about halfway over. Talk about time warps. As you get older, time speeds up like you wouldn’t believe. From my POV, end of summer will arrive in what seems like just a few days (now that we’ve passed the solstice.)

    • Was the post too complicated or unclear? There’s a lot more research I want to do about quantum physics. I don’t even know the basics really.
      It’s killing me being away from my girlfriend for so long. We skype every day, but the internet cuts out a lot.

      • Gunta says:

        The writing is good. My problem is that most of quantum physics is over my head. I enjoy reading what you have to say and expect to learn much from it, but not always understand or follow because I lack the basic foundation.

        I’m probably old enough to be your grandmother. I can’t help but smile at the impatience. Relax, learn to enjoy where you are at any given moment. You’ll find life to be a lot more fun that way, but it’s a very (VERY) hard lesson to learn.

  2. I do try to live my life in the slow lane. I am probably the only one in my school who actually stops to smell flowers. 🙂 I am generally carefree about large matters, its small stuff I get impatient with.

  3. Mr T says:

    What about on the larger scale? Is the entire universe like a water balloon made of impervious and infinite space fabric that in “being filled” causes time to pass. Next to this would be an infinite number of small balloons bulging from this one. But where is the motherverse? HMMM Which balloon are we in, and when does the filling/expanding effect stop.?

    • In that case it may not matter. For example the debate about galaxies sparked by the creation of general relativity whether the universe looks approximately similar from every galaxy.

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