time as quanta and the plasma theory


Registered Senior Member
I'm a biologist, so my physics knowledge is limited to undergraduate physics, Hawking's book, and discovery channel.

I'm hoping for some enlightenment regarding a theory that was published in Nature a few years ago where it was postulated that time could be regarded as quanta. I don't really understand even the basics and I can't find the ref., but I believe the author was Peter Shsu (or something like that).

Also, I would like to hear some background and opinion on an alternative to the Big Bang theory called the plasma theory in which the universe is not expanding and there was no big bang origin.

Thanks in advance.

I can't find much about the time quanta you mention but my subscription to Nature lapsed about 7 years ago.

The Electrical Universe model is largely due to the work of Wal Thornhill. Unfortunately you have to buy his CD Rom to get the full overview so it is hard to address all the points. But to start a few.

Their evidence against the Big Bang is Halton Arp. Arp's 'evidence' that red shift does not exist relates to observing a few high red shift galaxies optically close to low red shift ones. Given the large number of galaxies out there this is to be expected occassionally. IMSC Arp only found a few tens of candidates, maybe a few hundred. Compare that to the millions of galaxies now observed and his case falls down.

Thornhill disengeniously claims suggests Astrophysicists ignore the affects of Plasmas except on small scales. This probably explains why I took a course on magnetohydrodynamics in Masters level and applied it to a wide variety of High Energy Phenomena. Colliding nebula (typically a plasma) are only a few tens to hundreds light years across after all.

They claim to have a model for electric galaxies, fine. But it is not expounded on. Does it explain the wide morphologies observed. They claim to explain active galaxies but what of the many more non-active nuclei? It appears like highly selective evidence to me. Again, they are being disingenuous to me, Wal seems to claim that Astrophysics had to invent black holes to explain high energy jets from galaxies. That totally ignores the fact that Black Holes where a theoretical construct found in the 1930's. There was no evidence for them (most thought they too 'out there' to be real) until the discovery of Cygnus X1. The discovery of jets from active galaxies totally threw Astrophysicists. For one thing the signals fluctuated in the order of minutes. This implies the objects providing the signal is less then the size of the Solar System. They obviously had large masses based on the velocities of gas near them. Black Holes had to be the answer.

If Thornhill is right then the signals would fluctuate on the scale tens of years.

Unfortunately I do not have enough time to address any more points. Things to do.

I just now that some one, some where is going to say Thornhill is right and 'convention' is wrong. I know it. If you do, please provide convincing evidence that you are right.
The "time is quanta" theory is a tricky one. The basic idea is that time advances discontinuously, in discrete units. It's essentially saying that perhaps time is like watching a film. The film is made up of a number of still frames projected at a certain rate. Between the frames nothing happens. Similarly, perhaps there is a smallest unit of time by which time itself advances.

The smallest time unit (or quantum of time) is likely to be something on the order of the Planck time, which is 10<sup>-43</sup> seconds.

The problem is incorporating this idea into physics. All classical theories treat time as a parameter or co-ordinate. Even quantum physics treats time as a parameter rather than as a state variable. Hence, it is difficult to see how to quantise time in a mathematical formalism.
Hey, I had this idea some time ago of time coming in quanta because it seemed like a logical thing to me. I have many ideas :D
"Time units", like metres or litres, are things we made up to describe things. I see no reason to limit our descriptions by saying there is a minimum length of time.

I'm not sure I like the idea that time happens in discrete units. It just seems silly to me.
reply to adam

Before we start calling it silly, perhaps we should read the Nature ref. and see what he was talking about. I still can't seem to find it, which is why I asked about it here.

It would be interesting to see that paper. Quantising time or spacetime is one of the holy grails of modern Physics.

In brief, to quantise something you have to construct a wave equation with discrete solutions. As far as I know, no one can do this with the equations for General Relativity, the Einstein Tensor. The equations dscribe how mass alters spacetime but they do not address what spacetime is, whether it has properties. But then again, the concepts of what space is has changed a lot since Einstein. 100 years ago the vacuum of space was just an empty 'fabric' containing the odd lump of matter distorting that fabric. Nowadays the vacuum of space is perceived as containing a foam of virtual particles and bizarre quantum events, such as wormholes.
From what I gather, the Planck time is considered to be the quantum time unit. I think its more of a "any smaller than this makes no difference" unit, rahter than a quantum unit in the classical sense. It makes sense that time would have a quantum unit, but I haven't heard anything other than what I stated that gives any impression of an experiment yielding a result or anything.
Space and time are quantized according to Plank's constants. If time weren't quantized, nothing would ever happen!
I knew someone was going to ask me about that!
I don't remember. I had it all figured out. Plus I read about it in some books. Time has to be quantized. Everything has to happen at intervals. I don't know how to explain it because I don't remember what I read, and I don't remember how I came to that conclusion.
But I'm not the only one who has come to that conclusion.
I might see how you've come to that conclusion... If we state (linearly) that

t = t + dt

And time wouldn't be quanticized, then dt would be 0 and t would remain 0.. Maybe that has been your line of thought... If dt has no lower boundary than t can't increase...

It's an interesting line of thought but I'm not really sure whether I support it.. I think the model is far too linear.. For example, relativity has already proven that dt isn't universally the same (different velocities).. So I think this model is far too simplistic...
That doesn't sound quite like what I'm thinking about.
I remember It was explained rather well in a book I read. But it was a long time ago and I have no idea what it was called anymore. Maybe I'll look for it.
The Planck length is the scale at which classical ideas about gravity and space-time cease to be valid, and quantum effects dominate. This is the ‘quantum of length’, the smallest measurement of length with any meaning.

And roughly equal to 1.6 x 10-35 m or about 10-20 times the size of a proton.

The Planck time is the time it would take a photon travelling at the speed of light to across a distance equal to the Planck length. This is the ‘quantum of time’, the smallest measurement of time that has any meaning, and is equal to 10-43 seconds. No smaller division of time has any meaning. With in the framework of the laws of physics as we understand them today, we can say only that the universe came into existence when it already had an age of 10-43 seconds.