måndag 16 maj 2016

Simultaneity as Non-Physical Convention along with Special Relativity

The book Concepts of Simultaneity: From Antiquity to Einstein and Beyond is presented by:
  • Max Jammer's Concepts of Simultaneity presents a comprehensive, accessible account of the historical development of an important and controversial concept—which played a critical role in initiating modern theoretical physics—from the days of Egyptian hieroglyphs through to Einstein's work in 1905, and beyond. 
  • Beginning with the use of the concept of simultaneity in ancient Egypt and in the Bible, the study discusses its role in Greek and medieval philosophy as well as its significance in Newtonian physics and in the ideas of Leibniz, Kant, and other classical philosophers. 
  • The central theme of Jammer's presentation is a critical analysis of the use of this concept by philosophers of science, like Poincaré, and its significant role in inaugurating modern theoretical physics in Einstein's special theory of relativity. 
  • Particular attention is paid to the philosophical problem of whether the notion of distant simultaneity presents a factual reality or only a hypothetical convention. The study concludes with an analysis of simultaneity's importance in general relativity and quantum mechanics.
In earlier post on I have argued that simultaneity in time at distant points in space is a man-made convention, which is useful to humanity in many ways including GPS, but as convention has no role in describing the physics of material bodies without GPS receivers.  Jammer presents much evidence supporting this view without closing the door to simultaneity as some form of factual reality.

Einstein's special relativity came out from an a simple thought experiment showing that agreement on distant simultaneity defined by a certain conventional form of clock synchronization set up by Einstein, cannot be established for different observers moving with speeds comparable to the speed of light with respect to each other. 

Einstein thus started from a certain ad hoc man-made convention and from the impossibility of making the convention work for moving observers Einstein jumped to the conclusion that our concepts of the physics of space and time will have to be fundamentally changed. And the world  jumped along. But is it possible to change physics by man-made convention? Can we change physics by changing our man-made conventions to measure time and space, by changing from yard to meter? I think not. 

Why believe that special relativity is real physics, when special relativity is based on an impossibility to make a certain man-made convention work?

I have stressed that the notion of distant simultaneity is present in the standard form of Newton's law of gravitation as Poisson's equation $\Delta\phi =\rho$, seemingly creating a gravitational potential $\phi (x)$ depending on a Euclidean space coordinate $x$ from instant action at distance by a primordial matter distribution $\rho (y)$ with $y$ different from $x$,  represented as $\phi =\Delta^{-1}\rho$ with the inverse $\Delta^{-1}$ a non-local (integral) operator.

On the other hand, viewing the gravitational potential $\phi$ as primordial and $\rho =\Delta\phi$ as derived by local differentiation, there is no need to explain the physics of instant action at distance, which Newton left open under the criticism of Leibniz and which has resisted all attempts after Newton.

We conventionally view matter $\rho$ as primordial, since we can see matter at distance if it is sending out light, while we cannot see the gravitational potential $\phi$, only feel that it is there. 

But with a different eyes we may be able to see the gravitational potential $\phi$, but not $\rho$, and we would then naturally view $\phi$ to be primordial. With such eyes we might be able to see a gravitational potential of dark matter and dark energy, which we now cannot see, only feel that it is there.   

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