September 26, 2005

Connections Between Space, Time, and Energy

Here's a paper I just finished writing for my physics/philosophy class. Trying to write a concise and logical paper on your conception of space and time is a PAIN IN THE ASS. Enjoy.

Conceptually space and time appear disconnected from one another. Ask a city planner how much space a new park occupies, and the response will probably be in acres or city blocks. Ask a friend how much time it takes to drive from the local grocery store to the post office, and more than likely the answer will be given in minutes. In both cases just mentioned, space and time are quantified to help comprehend an idea. It is a somewhat Kantian approach to present space and time as organizational tools of the mind (24). If space and time are simply organizational tools, what exactly is being organized? Leibniz would argue that relationships between objects and events are organized by space and time respectively. From a more materialistic viewpoint, perhaps measurements of space and time provide a tangible concept of organization, and time and space are entities. Without space or time, whether conceptual or tangible, the world would be vastly different. Could space exist without time and vice versa? It is hard to say. Maybe space and time are mutually inclusive.

Einsteinís famous formula, energy is equal to mass multiplied by the square of the velocity of light, shows that a particle with a mass is equivalent to an energy. Therefore, an object with zero energy is equivalent to a particle with zero mass. Without mass or energy, an object becomes intangible; it does not physically exist. If physical existence depends on energy and mass, then space must be either energetic, massive, or energetic and massive. This complies with the expanding of the universe in a forward-time dimension as proposed by the Big Bang model. As cosmic radiation and matter travel outward from the central explosion, space is stretched which causes the universe to expand.

How is time affected by an expanding universe? Perhaps time is a result of the expanding universe and is measured by a change in energy. A change in energy could also result from a chemical reaction, a radioactive emission, or the movement of an electron. If time is measured by a change in energy, time conforms to Leibnizís relational world. The interdependence of energy and time can be seen in the physical sciences. For instance, an electric current requires charge to flow over time. In fact, every measurement of time is taken with respect to a change in energy. Digital clocks and atomic clocks are two examples of time being measured by a change in energy. Timeís relation to energy is important when determining if a relationship between time and space exists. If energy ceased changing, all forms of temporal measurement would lack a measurable quantity, and time would halt.

The constant change of energy in the world seems to bind space and time together. In order for space to exist, energy or mass must be present. Mass is equivalent to energy, so a change in mass is equivalent to a change in energy. The existence of time requires a change in energy. Without space there is no energy to change, and thus time cannot exist. If time and space are connected as just described, a relativistic notion of time suggests that space is also relative.

works cited:
Sklar, Lawrence. Philosophy of Physics. Boulder: Westview, 1992.

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September 20, 2005

why TAs suck ass (except ralph)

Here's an e-mail I sent to my physics 419 TA upon receiving a graded paper. He or she doesn't seem qualified to be grading papers written in english. I dunno, I'm just really pissed off at the moment so I feel like posting this to my blog.

Oh, here are the 6 grading deductions I think are bullshit.
[1] comma (g: -0.5)
[2] "de Brahe's"; why do you put a space between an apostrophe and the "s" following it? (g: -1)
[4] it was a made-up concept rather than a mathematical one! (c: -1)
[6] the same exact argument was used before: "The Newtonian model of the universe is derived from Isaac Newton's laws of motion" (c: -1)
[7] remove the semicolon; use a comma (g: -1)
[8] the subject of the modifier "when examining a theory's validity" modifies the wrong
subject, i.e. "testable predictions" (dangling modifiers - section 23D) (g: -1)
change it to something like this: "...which are important when one examines a theory's validity"
Here's my e-mail\

I have a few concerns regarding the grading of assignment two. The numbering of my conerns coincides with the grading comments.

The prepositional phrase is short and there is no danger of misreading the sentence without the comma.

Apparently doesn't handle pdf files very well. I attached my original document showing no spaces, so hopefully I can get this point back. From now on I will submit my homework in a different format.

The word epicycle is used in mathematics. It is "a circle whose circumference rolls along the circumference of a fixed circle, thereby generating an epicycloid or a hypocycloid." It is a geometric model which explains the apparent motions of the planets.
quotation taken from

I first introduced the Newtonian model, and then later contrasted it with Brahe's model. I used the same argument again to place importance on Newton's laws. I'm not sure why this warrants a deduction.

I'm not sure why a comma would be used in this situation. Neither of the phrases are subordinate, and there is no coordinating conjunction joining the phrases. Perhaps if I wrote "data, but it also explains the data" a comma would be necessary.

The subject of the first clause is "testable predictions" and the verb is "comes." The modifier modifies the subject of the first clause. I'm not sure why this is considered a dangling modifier. However, the verb "comes" should be "come," so there is still a mistake in the sentence.

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