  # Gustafson, S

Members

8

## Community Reputation

10 Neutral

• Rank
Lepton
• Birthday 03/08/1945

## Profile Information

• Location
Dayton, Ohio
• Interests
Bicycling
• College Major/Degree
PhD, physics, Duke Univ.
• Favorite Area of Science
Physics
• Biography
Married; two sons in 20's
• Occupation
Associate Professor
1. My post, “An accurate age of the universe” is in the spirit of the well-known speculations of Nobel Prize winning physicist Paul Dirac. Essentially, it sets the electron mass energy divided by the quantum energy of the universe (Planck’s constant divided by the universe age) equal to the electron electrostatic energy divided by the electron gravitational energy. The result, after rearranging and using a factor of 2 and two factors of two times pi, is a value for the age of the universe that agrees with the value obtained from recent measurements of the cosmic background microwave radiation (13.7 billion years) to well within 1%. My questions are: Is this result interesting, significant, worthy of further study, etc.?
2. The age of the universe has recently been determined with unprecedented accuracy, by the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe or WMAP, to be 13.7 billion years to within 0.9 %. Even if this value is in error by a percentage that is an order of magnitude larger (as may be the case if certain cosmological corrections are applied), it is sufficiently accurate for renewed consideration of “numerology” in the sense of the well-known Dirac large number hypothesis. In particular, the age of the universe to within 0.5 % of the WMAP value is given by A = [h/(2π)][e^2/(4πε_0)]/[2πc^2G(4πm)^3], where h is Planck’s constant, e^2/(4πε_0) = q^2 is the squared electron charge, G is the gravitational constant, c is the speed of light, and m is the electron mass. This expression has the following intriguing interpretation. Over an arbitrary distance r, the ratio of the electron mass force to the universe quantization force is (mc^2/r) / [(hA^-1)/r]. Over the same distance the ratio of the electron electrostatic force to the electron gravitational force is [(q^2/2)/ (2πr)^2] / [(Gm^2)/(r/2π)^2], where q^2 is divided by 2 because the electrostatic force is “signed”, r is multiplied by 2π for the electrostatic force because it is “circumferential”, and r is divided by 2π for the gravitational force because it is “anti-circumferential”. The terms “signed”, “circumferential”, and “anti-circumferential” obviously require further interpretation and justification. Nevertheless, setting the two ratios equal yields the above expression, which predicts an age of the universe that is 0.5% larger than the current WMAP value and which is well within its 0.9% error.
3. To "Insane alien": I agree that abstract math concepts such as pi may seem to have little to do with measureable quantities such as the radius of the universe. However the Platonic view of mathematics (perhaps the most widley accepted view among mathematicians) is that mathematical results are discovered---not invented or formally synthesized---in the same way that results are discovered in the physical sciences. To "John Cuthber": If space is curved, as is generally accepted, then the curvature may be said to correspond to a radius of curvature, which may be identified with the radius of the universe. Also, the value of pi is constant because, as you indicate, it is a mathematical construct, but some measues of the randomness of its digits may change with location of the digits. Finaly, it is generally accepted that the universe is expanding, but over times that are much smaller than its 13.7 billion year age we may regard it as stationary.
4. This post describes a computer experiment that could be carried out and that could produce a more accurate value for the age (or radius) of the universe than the currently estimated 13.7 billion years (or 13.7 billion light years). It refers to the post of 14 Feb 07 in the Speculations Forum, but the current post considers only factual material and realizable experiments. 1. Computer experiments which used an approximate entropy metric for randomness have shown that the digits of √2 are more random than the digits of e. This result is “mainstream” and has been reported in a leading peer-reviewed journal: S. Pincus and R. E. Kalman, “Not all (possibly) ‘random’ sequences are created equal”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., vol. 94, pp. 3513 – 3518, April, 1997. 2. There is reason to believe that the randomness of pi expressed in any base (i.e., 3.14159…in base 10) changes near a precision of one part in 10 to the 121st power and that the precision at which this change (if any) occurs could be determined accurately using the following computer experiment. Find the randomness of the sequence of the digits of pi from digit 1 to digit n and from digit n + 1 to digit 2n using approximate entropy, find the fractional change in randomness, repeat for n = 2, …, 242, and plot the fractional change in randomness versus n. Examine the plot for changes in level, slope, curvature, etc., near n = 121. Generate plots using other measures of randomness and using pi expressed in other bases to characterize the changes (if any). 3. If changes in randomness are found for many measures of randomness and for many bases and if they can be interpolated to the same fractional digit location (e.g., n = 121.327), then a more accurate value for the radius of the universe (currently estimated at 13.7 billion light years) could be proposed. The proposed value would be such that the precision at which the change in randomness occurs equals three times the square of the ratio of the Planck radius (4.05 10E-35 meters) to the radius of the universe. 4. Someone fluent in Matlab, Mathematica, etc., could carry out this computer experiment. Is anyone interested?
5. Thanks to all of you for your comments on my “A CONJECTURE: PI CHANGES WITH TIME”. I completely agree with comments to the effect that pi is a mathematical construct and not a measured quantity. Some less philosophical observations are as follows. 1. The conjecture is not idle---it can be verified by computer experiments. These experiments would be similar to experiments which used an approximate entropy metric for randomness to verify that the digits of √2 are more random than the digits of e (reference: S. Pincus and R. E. Kalman, “Not all (possibly) ‘random’ sequences are created equal”, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., vol. 94, pp. 3513 – 3518, April, 1997). However, the conjecture-verifying experiments should be conducted by persons more familiar with Matlab, Mathematica, etc., than I am. 2. Here is an initial recipe for the computer experiments. Find the randomness of the sequence of the digits of pi from digit 1 to digit n and from digit n + 1 to digit 2n using approximate entropy, find the fractional change in randomness, repeat for n = 2, …, 242, and plot the fractional change in randomness versus n. Examine the plot for changes in level, slope, curvature, etc., near n = 121. Generate plots using other measures of randomness and using pi expressed in other bases to characterize the changes (if any). Note that if changes in randomness are found for many measures of randomness and for many bases and if they can be interpolated to the same fractional digit location (e.g., n = 121.327), then a more accurate value for the radius of the universe (currently estimated at 13.7 billion light years) might be proposed. 3. Is anyone out there interested in performing the conjecture-verifying experiments?
6. The third paragraph is intended to be entirely rational. It states, AS A CONJECTURE, that digits before a precision of about one part in 10 to the 121st power in a listing of calcualted digits of pi will be found to have a different degree of randomness than the following digits. It also states that this conjecture can be tested using various metrics for the degree of randomness (a particular entrpy-based metric is suggesed as an example), and it indicates that pi can be expressed in any base, where base 10 or base 2 would be common choices. In base 10 a precision of one part in 10 to the 121st power corresponds to the 121st decimal place, whereas in base 2 (binary) this precision corresponds to the 404 binary digit (i.e., more binary than decimal digits are needed to express a given precision).