HomeISANProjects/PartnershipsJohn Dobson MonthHistoryJohn DobsonAstronomy NewsNewslettersRecognitionArticlesGalleryTelescope PlansshopLocal ContactsBoard MembersNat'l OrganizersRegional Org.LinksResourcesSchedule/EventsFlyersIYA 2009Dark SkyPlanet EarthKey contacts

Energy

What energy does has long been known by the European scientists. But what it is is considered to be unknown. That is our question. What is it that we call energy, and why is it conserved? Why, when the form of the energy changes, does the amount never change?

 

Energy takes many forms. There is the energy of a wound watch, the energy of a pitched ball and the energy of a moving train. There is the energy of a hurricane or a tsunami, the energy of sunlight, and the energy of an exploding star. And we also have several kinds of energy in the world. We have gravitational energy, kinetic energy (which is the energy of motion), radiation, electrical and magnetic energies, and what is called nuclear energy. And the energy can change from form to form. In the collapse of a hydrogen cloud to form a star, the gravitational energy is converted first to kinetic energy and thence to radiation, but with no change in the amount. In a swinging pendulum, gravitational energy is transformed to kinetic energy on the down-swing, and back to gravitational energy on the up-swing, but the total amount of energy remains constant. It is easy to change the form of the energy, but impossible to change the amount.

 

But what is this thing we call energy, and why is it conserved? And why is matter heavy?  Matter is heavy because it is energy, and energy is what's heavy and hard to shake. Einstein pointed out in 1905 that what we see as matter is just potential energy, (E = m). That equation is usually seen with a c2 after the m which Einstein added to clean up the units in the physics department. When we found that mass and energy are the same thing we had a problem. We already had a unit for energy, the erg. And we already had a unit for mass, the gram. And we had to know how many ergs make a gram. What that c squared says in that equation is simply that nine hundred billion billion ergs make a gram. That's all it says. But because of that c squared, that equation is usually taken to mean that mass can be converted to energy, and energy can be converted to mass, that is, that the sum of mass and energy is a constant. But if that were true, the equation would be written E + m = K, and if that was what Einstein had meant, that's what he would have written.        

    

So now that we know that all energy is massive, the question still remains: What kind of potential energy makes all this stuff heavy? Since we are here concerned primarily with potential energy (which does not involve motion), kinetic energy, radiation and magnetic energy, which all involve motion, may be left out. We are left, then, with gravitational, electrical and nuclear energies. But let us start with spring-wound watches.       

 

Suppose we have two identical watches, one wound up tight, and the other completely unwound. Which one would be heavier? Which one would be harder to shake? The wound one, of course, because we put some extra energy in it by winding it up, and energy itself is what is heavy. Energy is the only thing that is hard to shake. Now what will be the final difference if we dissolve the two watches in equal beakers of acid? The one with the wound watch dissolved in it will be warmer. And this time the extra energy, the extra weight, will be the energy of motion. As seen by the batter a pitched baseball weighs more than an unpitched baseball.      

 

Now how do we wind up a cuckoo clock? We pull up the weights. We raise its center of gravity in the gravitational field of the Earth. So putting the clock on a higher shelf winds it up even more. That is the plain fact. If it falls from the higher shelf, the destruction of the clock will be severe. If you drop it to the basement, the destruction will be even more severe. And if you were to drop it to the surface of a black dwarf star, you'd need to stand away because the splash would be explosive. And if you were to drop your cuckoo clock to the surface of a neutron star, (with the density of a hundred thousand battleships in a one-pint jar), the energy released in the splash would be enough to vaporize all the buildings in the Los Angeles area. About a tenth of the energy which was itself the clock would be converted to kinetic energy in the fall.      

 

Things are wound up against gravity by being spaced away from each other in the gravitational field. Gravity wants everything to be in one place. So the energy required to get a ten gram marshmallow away from a neutron star is the energy of an atomic bomb. The energy required to get it away from the event horizon of a small black hole is about three times that much. And the energy required to get it away from all the rest of the matter in the observable Universe is the energy of ten atomic bombs. That is what the marshmallow really is. Ten grams of anything is the energy of ten atomic bombs. I know, they sell you a whole bag of marshmallows at the grocery store for a dollar sixty-nine or something. They have no idea what they are doing. So all this stuff is heavy by being wound up against gravity.     

 

But things are wound up against electricity as well, and it's the same wind-up. So how do we wind things up against electricity? Not by pulling like charges apart, but by pushing them together against their mutually repulsive electrical charges. Suppose you push two electrons toward each other. Do they like it? No. Do they weigh more pushed together? Yes. You put some extra energy in, and energy is what's heavy and hard to shake. Now suppose you had an infinitely large electron, but with only the charge of one electron, and you squeezed it down to the size of one electron. The work you would have done, that is, the energy you would have put in, would be the mass of that electron. There's no one else at home. There is no material particle with an electrical charge in there. There is just the electrical charge and the smallness of the electrical charge. The mass of the electron is simply the energy that you would have to put in to make it that small.        

 

So then you might ask, “Why is the proton so much heavier than the electron?” That is because of its gravitational wind-up. It is wound up to five hundred atom bombs per pound by being gravitationally separated from all the rest of the matter in the observable Universe. It is both smaller and heavier than the electron because its electrical wind-up must match its gravitational wind-up. They are both the same thing. They are two sides of the same coin. But as Richard Feynman once said, “The electron is purely electrical; the proton is not.” The proton is the canoe; the electron is the outrigger. And the canoe is 1836 times as heavy as the outrigger.     

 

But, you might ask, “Where does nuclear energy fit in all this? Is it also part of the same thing?” Are gravitational, electrical and nuclear potential energies all the same thing? They are, and the question is this: What do you mean when you say that you know where something is in space and time?       

 

When we say that we know where something is, we mean three things. We mean that we know where it is with respect to other things; we mean that it's small enough so that we could accurately designate its position; and we mean that it's in space and time. Now if we know where a proton is with respect to all the other matter in the observable Universe, it will be wound up against gravity to five hundred atom bombs per pound. And if we know that it is small enough so that we could accurately designate its position, it will be wound up against electricity to the same five hundred. And finally, if we know where it is in space and time, it will be wound up against Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, and again, to the same five hundred atom bombs per pound.        

 

In 1926, Werner Heisenberg pointed out that if we can know where a particle is in space, we cannot quite know its momentum. And that if we can know when a particle has some energy, we cannot quite know how much energy it has. That is Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. It says that the product of our uncertainty in where something is, and our uncertainty in its momentum, can never be less than Planck's constant over 2p. Also that the product of our uncertainty in when something has some energy, and our uncertainty in how much energy it has, can never be less than that same small amount. That is why the electron won't sit down on the proton in the hydrogen atom in spite of the enormous electrical attraction between them. If we could know that the electron is sitting on the proton, our necessary uncertainty in its momentum would be so large that the momentum associated with that uncertainty would be enough to jump it off. But we can't quite tell when it will jump because if we know that it has enough energy to jump, we can't quite tell when it has it.    

 

Now suppose the electron were to sit on more than one proton, say two, or four, or twelve. Then it wouldn't be required to jump away because we wouldn't quite know where it was. That is why the nuclear energy goes down from hydrogen, through helium, to carbon and oxygen. The energy released when hydrogen fuses to helium is seven tenths of one percent of the rest mass of the hydrogen. And if the electrical charge of the protons did not interfere with the formation of larger nuclei (so that the nuclei could become indefinitely large), the nuclear energy might also fall to zero as the position of the particles became indeterminate.      

 

But why does matter show gravity, electricity and inertia which the physicists at the universities have had to take for granted? Why do the dispersed particles fall together by gravity? Why are the minuscule particles electrically charged? And why does matter fight every change in its state of motion? Why, when matter is standing still, does it want to stay standing still, and why, when it's moving, does it want to stay moving in the same direction? Why should gravity, electricity and inertia characterize what we see as matter? Could it be simply that through some sort of misperception we see what we see as if in space and time? Could there be something which underlies what we see, something that's not in space and time, and which shows up in our physics as these potential energies? If so, what could it be?    

 

Instead of asking what might exist in the absence of space and time, let us ask instead what could not exist in the absence of space and time. That's easier. What could not exist is the changing, the finite, the divided, since change is in time, and smallness and dividedness are in space. So what might exist behind what we see, in the absence of space and time, would necessarily have to be changeless, infinite and undivided. But since what we see as the Universe is changing all the time, finite, made of minuscule particles, and divided into atoms, it could only be due to a misperception, since you cannot change the changeless nor cut up the undivided. But if our physics is due to such a misperception, like mistaking a rope for a snake, then the nature of the misperceived must show up in our physics just as the length and diameter of the rope must show up in the snake for which it is mistaken. Perhaps, then, potential energy is like the nature of the rope showing up in the snake. Gravitational potential energy would be the undivided. Electrical potential energy would be the infinite. And inertia would be the changeless. And simply because we see it in space and time, it would be wound up against Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle imposed on us by the fact that it is a misperception. You cannot identify the snake for which a rope has been mistaken.

 

But gravity causes things to move, and if you see them moving with respect to you, you'll see that they have what we call kinetic energy, related to the direction of motion. But electricity also makes things move, and if you see them moving with respect to you, then you'll see that they have magnetic energy in the plane perpendicular to the direction of motion.  And apparently, if this energy changes, you'll see also what are called the photons of radiation.       

 

Why apparently? Because in 1905 when Einstein put time into our geometry where it belongs, and changed our geometry from 3-D to 4-D, he put time and space in as a pair of opposites. And although Einstein didn't see it that way, that geometry leaves no room for the photons of radiation. It puts the total separation, the space-time separation, between the emission and absorption events of the photons at zero. If we see the bright star Sirius eight and a half light years away, we see it also eight and a half years ago. And the “ago” comes into Pythagoras' equation squared with a minus sign and cancels the “away” which comes in squared with a plus sign, so that the real separation between us and what we see stands always at zero (S = Ö x2 – t2 ). And as Richard Feynman long ago pointed out, there is no way that our physics makes sense if we allow that there could be energy in the radiation state.

 

When Einstein threw out the luminiferous ether, in which the photons swam, he should have thrown out the photons that swam in it.       

 

The fact that Einstein's four dimensional geometry denies the separation between the perceiver and the perceived is itself sufficient to cast doubt on the actuality of our observed Universe, and to suggest that it might indeed be due to a misperception.

 

Now the Universe is made out of energy. It is not made out of anything else, like force or momentum or electric charge. And since energy appears to be the underlying existence showing as changeless through the changes in time, we have both the conservation of energy and its inertia. And also, since momentum is the space component of the energy, we have the conservation of momentum, both linear and angular, as well. But the Universe is not made out of momentum, so momentum comes in as pairs of opposites like plus and minus electrical charges so that the total goes to zero. The energy of the Universe does not go to zero. The Universe is made out of energy. But momentum to the right plus momentum to the left goes to zero, and spin-up plus spin-down goes to zero. That is why our inertial guidance systems get us where we're going. Momentum is always half of something, and the other half is packaged in the Universe at large. And that is why our gyros can keep track of it.        

 

But why do we have both linear and angular momentum? And why, when gravity makes things move, do we have kinetic energy which appears to be linearly related to the direction of motion, whereas, when electricity makes things move, we have magnetism angularly related to the plane perpendicular to the direction of motion? And why do we have three dimensions of space and only one dimension of time?      

 

It has been suggested long ago that what we see in this world is pairs of opposites, east against west, north against south, up against down and future against past. We see momentum to the right against momentum to the left, angular momentum in one direction against angular momentum in the opposite direction, and spin-up against spin-down (particle spins). We see plus against minus, and the gravitational direction (spaced out) against the electrical direction (spaced in). And the question is this: Since Einstein's geometry puts space and time in as a pair of opposites, why does space have three dimensions and time have only one?       

 

It might be that if space had only one dimension, space and time, as a pair of opposites, might cancel each other out so that we would see no Universe at all. We see the Universe away from us in space by seeing it back in time, and in just such a way that the space and time separations between us and what we see add to zero. But we see it as a picture spread out in two dimensions in the plane perpendicular to our line of sight. But in the absence of those other two dimensions we might see no Universe at all.        

 

The Universe could have been real in three dimensions. It could not be real in two, for it would lack depth and substance. When we watch a movie or a television screen, we seem to see a three dimensional world behind the screen. But there is always the awareness that the screen is two dimensional and that the three dimensional world which we seem to see behind it is illusory. And we watch with the conviction that the movie theater or the room in which we watch the television is three dimensional and real. But alas, the physics won't allow it. The Universe which we see is 4-D and the separation between us and what we see, in the line of sight, stands at zero.        

 

Einstein was much concerned about the origin of our concepts of time and space and he wrote, “It appears to me, therefore, that the formation of the concept of the material object must precede our concepts of time and space.” It would seem, then, that the concept of a material object arises in the genetic programming through the identification of the perceiver with a physical organism, his or her own body.

 

Perhaps, then, it is the genetic programming itself that veils the changeless, the infinite, the undivided, and projects, in its place, the changing, the finite, the divided in which we see the changeless as inertia (energy), the infinite as electricity and the undivided as gravity and the attraction between opposites like plus and minus charges and spin-up and spin-down. 

 

And if the genetic programming is indeed responsible for this apparent misperception, then we can understand why we run after peace, freedom and love. Peace and security is the changeless. Freedom is the infinite. And love is the undivided showing through in the genetic programming. But the genes have us persuaded to chase these reflections in ways that get the prime directives of the genetic programming fulfilled. The only thing that survives in the gene pool is babies (offspring). And any programming that gives rise to babies survives. And our “vital energy,” by eating and breathing, is borrowed from the Sun.