From my studies in Cosmology I've come to the conclusion that, in line with the first law of thermodynamics, that the universe was not created, or caused if you like. I believe that before the universe arrived at it's present form of matter and energy, it existed timelessly in the form of vacuum fluctuation energy. I don't have a complete understanding of the subject, and any further insights, especially by experts, would be greatly welcomed.

Tags: Cosmology, universe

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Luara, I'm here replying to your post from Monday around 1800 UT; it's getting difficult to use the reply system of this BBS software. Here's your post in it's entirety:

Two things that are interesting to me about this information/entropy business:

- apparently, the fundamental reason for the increase in entropy over time is quantum wavefunction collapse.  That is the "toss of the dice" that generates new information.

- When computers do irreversible computations, they lose information and so there is a theoretical minimum to how much heat they can radiate!  It's a direct connection between the abstract concept of information, and the physical reality of heat ...


Regarding your first point, think in terms of the wave packet for a particle. It expands over time, meaning that we lose information about it. That's just Second Thermo. No, there is never "new information" generated by any physical process; merely transfer of one bundle of information into a smaller bundle.

I'm not up on the recent work on the thermodynamics of computers. I've seen a bit of it, and I recognize what you're talking about, but I don't know enough to offer a useful comment, other than the obvious fact that all computers obey Second Thermo. For a more specific analysis of this problem, see Maxwell's Demon, and especially the proof that he can't operate as specified, published by ?Brillouin? around ?1951?. 

From Wikipedia,

"A notable exception is the wave function collapse in quantum mechanics, which is an irreversible process. It has been conjectured that the collapse of the wave function may be the reason for the Second Law of Thermodynamics. However it is more accepted today that the opposite is correct, namely that the (possibly merely apparent) wave function collapse is a consequence of quantum decoherence, a process which is ultimately an outcome of the Second Law of Thermodynamics."

I think Roger Penrose likes the first idea - as usual, he's a maverick.

It's Landauer's principle (first proposed in 1961) which states that a computer doing an irreversible computation must generate a certain minimum amount of heat.  Anyway, I find that intriguing :) I don't know how close actual computers are to the Landauer limit.

BullMan, it may be that we, indeed, cannot get outside the universe. It's farthest reaches are moving away from us at velocities faster than light, though I think I read somewhere that it may be slowing down somewhat. As for the possible fate of the universe see the link I've provided.

http://www.livescience.com/27329-higgs-boson-universe-apocalypse.html

It would be very interesting if the Higgs boson were capable of causing an instability that results in the disappearance of rest mass. 

Rest mass is what gives a scale to spacetime.  If rest mass disappeared, Roger Penrose's scenario of a new Big Bang resulting from the disappearance of a scale in the universe, could become reality. 

However I don't know what kind of instability is possible.  In that link you gave, they talk about an apocalypse that could result from an instability of the vacuum - where some region of the universe would tunnel to a lower vacuum energy, and that area of lower vacuum energy would spread.  This would have catastrophic consequences, and possibly cause the disappearance of rest mass?

BullMan:

That is cool man !

Check out this website that I found. If anyone reads it what is your opinion on the matter ?

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mark_vuletic/vacuum.html 

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