Author Topic: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?  (Read 336 times)

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Offline One Above All

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"Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« on: May 10, 2014, 07:52:19 PM »
I heard about this theory a while ago, and I seem to recall someone trying to explain it to me, but I can't recall the explanation itself, so I'm asking someone (who knows what they're talking about) to explain how this is possible.

For those of you who don't know, the "Big RipWiki" is one of many possible ends of the Universe. It basically says that the expansion of the Universe will reach infinity in finite time, tearing open space-time and possibly create new universes in those rips. Yes, I know this is not what the Wikipedia article says, but it is what I read here (or, at the very least, on a link posted here).

Now, as far as I know, when physicists and astrophysicists give the "the Universe is like a flat t-shirt with heavy objects on it" explanation for gravity, they don't mean this literally. Space-time is not physical. It can't "rip". I'd understand if physicists said that a black hole could do it, seeing as how it's the second most powerful object in the known Universe[1], but merely by pushing things apart, it "rips"? Am I missing something here? I can even acknowledge Wikipedia's statement that atoms will be destroyed (presumably this means that they will be torn apart, rather than actually "destroyed"; if not, I am highly skeptical of this statement). However, I just can't comprehend how space-time can "rip". Or is it a metaphor/analogy for "essentially dead"?
 1. First being a quasar.
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Offline Defiance

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2014, 09:26:17 PM »
I have also heard it, quite interesting.

Basically, I don't actually know if Space Time will "rip".

But I think that it will expand so greatly that even the strongest atoms, and even subatomic particles will get torn apart, and never be able to rejoin again.

It kinda makes me sad, though. There will never be anything again, if that is true. Correct? Since nothing can really "bond", nothing will really happen.

Although the Sun, or ourselves, will kill us loooong before. :)
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Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2014, 12:52:23 AM »
Basically, I don't actually know if Space Time will "rip".

That's what the theory says, which is really screwing with my head.

But I think that it will expand so greatly that even the strongest atoms, and even subatomic particles will get torn apart, and never be able to rejoin again.

Yes, that would make sense. If everything keeps expanding, then it stands to reason that they will be torn apart, like stretching a rubber band.

It kinda makes me sad, though. There will never be anything again, if that is true. Correct? Since nothing can really "bond", nothing will really happen.

As I mentioned in the OP, I remember reading that, from the "space-time rips", new universes could arise. More than that; that scientists could predict what their laws of physics would be like.

Although the Sun, or ourselves, will kill us loooong before. :)

Maybe not.
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Offline Defiance

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2014, 06:02:47 AM »
Agreed.

But how can there be a "rip" in Space Time? All we know now are heavy distortion a of it from black holes and massive objects. But really, I don't know how it could happen.

And even if we did, I fail to understand how a "rip" could lead to another Universe. Why would it?

If the hole, the rip, is absence of Space Time, how could it possibly "contain" anything?
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Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2014, 06:07:41 AM »
But how can there be a "rip" in Space Time? All we know now are heavy distortion a of it from black holes and massive objects. But really, I don't know how it could happen.

Exactly my point. Even theoretically, black holes can't rip space-time, and the distortion they cause is infinite. How is it that, simply by stretching space-time, it will "rip"?

And even if we did, I fail to understand how a "rip" could lead to another Universe. Why would it?

No clue.

If the hole, the rip, is absence of Space Time, how could it possibly "contain" anything?

This theory is just utterly incomprehensible. Either someone was high when they suggested it (and others were higher when they accepted it), or I'm even dumber than I thought.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2014, 07:58:31 AM »
All it means is that dark energy will eventually pull things so far apart that they can no longer interact with each other (due to speed of light limitations).  As the dark energy repulsive effect gets stronger, the observable size of the universe grows smaller compared to the actual size, so things are no longer able to interact with each other - they might as well be in different universes.  More importantly, if it gets strong enough, dark energy will be able to pull apart things that are currently being held together by the fundamental forces (including matter and energy itself), and make it so that they can't interact with each other either.  Eventually, everything will be so far separated that there is no possibility of interaction between anything.  That is the "Big Rip", a universe where matter and energy effectively do not exist because nothing can interact with anything else.

The good news, such as it is, is that it's at least possible that other universes could spawn within it, which reset the clock.

Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2014, 08:02:29 AM »
<snip>
That is the "Big Rip", a universe where matter and energy effectively do not exist because nothing can interact with anything else.

So it is a metaphor/analogy for "essentially dead". Why don't they just say that? "Rip" makes it sound like space-time will literally be torn apart. =/

The good news, such as it is, is that it's at least possible that other universes could spawn within it, which reset the clock.

What's the process behind such a thing?
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 08:38:42 AM »
So it is a metaphor/analogy for "essentially dead". Why don't they just say that? "Rip" makes it sound like space-time will literally be torn apart. =/
Not unless you consider space-time to be an object that can be ripped apart.  I know people talk about "the fabric of space-time", but that's pretty much just a metaphor.

Quote from: One Above All
What's the process behind such a thing?
I'm presuming that in such a scenario, the universe would effectively become a true vacuum, which at least allows for the theoretical generation of a new universe (or universes) due to quantum fluctuations.

Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 08:41:46 AM »
Not unless you consider space-time to be an object that can be ripped apart.  I know people talk about "the fabric of space-time", but that's pretty much just a metaphor.

The problem is that, if we were to consider space-time as something that can be torn apart, we would be wrong.

I'm presuming that in such a scenario, the universe would effectively become a true vacuum, which at least allows for the theoretical generation of a new universe (or universes) due to quantum fluctuations.

That makes sense. Particles would be infinitely far away from each other, with no chance to interact. It would be nothing, in the true sense of the word.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2014, 09:17:05 AM »
The problem is that, if we were to consider space-time as something that can be torn apart, we would be wrong.
Thus my point.

You mentioned you read on another website that someone said that the "Big Rip" meant that space-time would get ripped apart.  But space-time isn't a thing, so it can't be ripped apart.  Therefore, the "Big Rip" wouldn't do anything to space-time itself; only the stuff within space-time, which it would effectively tear or rip apart.

Offline Defiance

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2014, 02:46:58 PM »
Jaime, can you briefly summarise what you mean by "quantum fluctuations"?

I have always heard that, but never quite understood it. What is fluctuating? If there is no interaction among any fundamental particles, how could anything new happen?
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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2014, 05:56:10 PM »
^^^Jaime can probably do it better, but I'll attempt to explain, in the hope at least one of us ends up better informed...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_fluctuation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle

Basically, it's a very short-duration change in the energy of space, which would normally violate conservation of energy. However for very brief periods, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle allows for such variations. If I have the (very simplified) concept right, because these spontaneously-appearing particles exist for such small fractions of time, the universe overall doesn't gain net energy, which would violate physics as we now know it.

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Offline Defiance

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2014, 06:16:30 PM »
Wow!

How big of a theory (if it is one) is it? Is it as credible as the Big Bang itself?
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Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2014, 07:37:58 PM »
Wow!

How big of a theory (if it is one) is it? Is it as credible as the Big Bang itself?

It's been proven. There was an experiment with a vibrating mirror where they managed to give enough energy to two virtual photons to be able to measure them.
Link: http://www.gizmag.com/scientists-create-real-protons-from-virtual-ones/20689/
FYI: You might want to read about the Casimir effectWiki as well.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2014, 11:58:12 AM »
If you think that's neat, Defiance, you'll love zero-point energyWiki.  Basically, it's impossible to reduce the energy of a given vacuum past a certain level, and as such it's theoretically possible to draw on that energy without expending it (which doesn't mean we'd have an infinite power source - we have to have the energy available to create the preconditions to draw on ZPE, and I don't think we could use ZPE for that energy).

Offline Graybeard

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2014, 07:56:00 AM »
All it means is that dark energy will eventually pull things so far apart that they can no longer interact with each other (due to speed of light limitations). 
This is more or less as I understand the idea: on a mundane scale, imagine a sheet of Kleenex floating in a bowl of water: eventually the fibres disintegrate as their bonds are released. As they release, they move beyond the distance at which they could interact.

In the theory, the water is now replaced by Dark Matter. There being no interaction, there is no change and thus there is no time and the universe is gone.

Where has the energy gone? Nowhere – it is simply that it is all at the same level or, in those things that have different levels, the distance is too great to have any effect.

I am acutely aware that I do not meet the criterion
... so I'm asking someone (who knows what they're talking about) to explain how this is possible.
And, in the way of many theists, this idea, pulled out of my arse, seems very reasonable…

Feel free to tear it to pieces.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2014, 10:19:58 AM »
Feel free to tear it to pieces.

Will do.

In the theory, the water is now replaced by Dark Matter. There being no interaction, there is no change and thus there is no time and the universe is gone.

You mean Dark Energy. Also, space and time will still exist. They just become (nearly) irrelevant.

Where has the energy gone? Nowhere – it is simply that it is all at the same level or, in those things that have different levels, the distance is too great to have any effect.

I don't even understand what this means. :?
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2014, 10:36:09 AM »
Where has the energy gone? Nowhere – it is simply that it is all at the same level or, in those things that have different levels, the distance is too great to have any effect.

I don't even understand what this means. :?
Is it not so that, in basic terms, things react as they are at different energy levels? i.e. If two substances were at the same energy level, nothing happens.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2014, 10:38:45 AM »
Is it not so that, in basic terms, things react as they are at different energy levels? i.e. If two substances were at the same energy level, nothing happens.

In terms of heat transfer, you're right. If object A and B are both at temperature K (and isolated from everything except each other), they won't transfer heat to one another. However, two atoms/ions that can bond will bond, even if they're at the same temperature. At least as far as I know.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2014, 11:02:04 AM »
Okay, there are only two forces which can act at a distance, electromagnetism and gravity.  Gravity requires mass to act, even though it can affect things without mass (such as light).  If the Big Rip were to cause the particles that create mass to come apart into smaller fundamental particles, there would be no mass and thus no gravitational interaction.  As for electromagnetism, both protons and electrons are believed to ultimately decay into non-charged particles, so if the Big Rip caused this, it would eliminate the electromagnetic interaction as well.

Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2014, 11:48:01 AM »
As for electromagnetism, both protons and electrons are believed to ultimately decay into non-charged particles, so if the Big Rip caused this, it would eliminate the electromagnetic interaction as well.

Electrons can decay? Linky link, please? I know about protons (IIRC their half-life is thought to be several billion years), but I didn't know about electrons. In fact, I recall my Mechanics teacher (who has a degree in particle physics) told me that electrons are stable particles (in other words, they'll never decay).

Also, I just recalled something: "Big Rip" says that everything will be infinitely far away from each other. That means that particles don't need to decay in order to stop their interactions. The distance alone would be enough.
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2014, 01:45:30 PM »
Is it not so that, in basic terms, things react as they are at different energy levels? i.e. If two substances were at the same energy level, nothing happens.

In terms of heat transfer, you're right. If object A and B are both at temperature K (and isolated from everything except each other), they won't transfer heat to one another. However, two atoms/ions that can bond will bond, even if they're at the same temperature. At least as far as I know.
I'm obviously need to be in 101 here and I'm grateful, but I wasn't talking of temperatures (although that is a consideration in energy levels) but more the energy input/output of each chemical reaction.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2014, 02:02:04 PM »
I'm obviously need to be in 101 here and I'm grateful, but I wasn't talking of temperatures (although that is a consideration in energy levels) but more the energy input/output of each chemical reaction.

It should apply to the total energy of a group of atoms/ions as well. I see no reason why atoms/ions can't interact at the same temperature, unless their temperature is below the temperature needed for them to interact.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2014, 02:25:33 PM »
Sure.

http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0312325 - theoretical paper where I got my original information from.
http://phys.org/news/2012-04-electrons.html - this is apparently a way in which an electron has been observed decaying, but not into a neutrino and a photon, but rather into two particles called a spinon and an orbiton (so named because the one carries the electron's spin and the other carries its orbit).

When I wiki'd spinonWiki, I found there was a third, a holonWiki, which carries an electron's charge.  It's also been known since at least 2009 that electrons in a crowded environment could separate into spinons and holons and quantum-tunnel past other electrons.  OrbitonsWiki are newer and were discovered by scientists firing an x-ray beam at a single electron trapped inside a sample of strontium cuprate, which forced it to separate into a spinon and an orbiton.

Offline One Above All

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Re: "Big Rip". Is such a thing possible?
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2014, 02:39:04 PM »
When I wiki'd spinonWiki, I found there was a third, a holonWiki, which carries an electron's charge.

As I read this part, I recalled something. Isn't charge always conserved, even in decay? For example, say an up quark decayed. Shouldn't it decay in such a manner that the total charge of the new particles would be the same as the up quark itself?
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