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Light and Mass

I. Universal Units of Observed Time, Distance and Mass:

Implications for the Expansion Model of the Universe and the Inertial Field

by A. C. Sturt

Summary. The analysis of The Timeless Universe suggested that as a system the expansion theory of the Universe does not add up, because it contains no feedback and does not accord with the principle of homogeneity through time. The papers collected here under the heading Light and Mass proceed logically from that analysis, and examine some fundamentals of time, light and mass.

One of the main pieces of evidence for expansion, the Doppler redshift of light from galaxies, implies that the individual atom, which is the locus of light emission, can detect the bulk velocity of gas when it emits a photon, since it is this bulk velocity which Doppler purports to measure. What is the effect of the thermal kinetic velocity of atoms? What would be the Doppler shift of a single atom? The usual analogy with the Doppler behaviour of sound may not be valid, because that is certainly a bulk phenomenon.

Some unusual behaviour has been reported on the frequency of light emitted by atoms. For instance apart from the Einstein shift of light from certain massive stars, where frequency is in effect converted as a result of gravity into potential energy by some means, H. E. Ives of Bell Laboratories reported in 1936 (!) that hydrogen atoms moving at high velocities emitted light with a lower frequency of vibration than hydrogen atoms at rest. There is no reason to doubt the measurement. It was considered to be in exact accordance with the predictions of Einstein's equations. The question is, how did the atoms detect which way they were going? Were they moving away from the observer, which is what a Doppler explanation would require? Would the frequency have been observed to increase rather than decrease, if the observer had shifted his relative position to upstream? In fact the observation was almost certainly made perpendicular to the direction of velocity of the hydrogen gas, out of the direct line of fire. This is the point at which no Doppler shift is observed at all.

For that matter, does light emitted from hydrogen atoms 'at rest' take account of their thermal kinetic motion? If it does, it means that the energy levels of excitation should come with temperature and pressure coefficients.

As an alternative I suggested in The Timeless Universe II. The Redshift Reinterpreted (Footnote 3) that they have an internal mechanism which compensates for their individual velocities.

Redshift of light seems to be a phenomenon which is subject to a variety of different influences. I suggest that the observed redshift of light from galaxies may be caused by progressive interaction of light with, say, ionised molecules and any other matter or field with electromagnetic properties along its path, which over vast distances could appear as a wavelength increase proportional to distance travelled i.e. redshift is characteristic of the path from the galaxy rather than its movement.

In fact time and distance are now defined in terms of the number of wavecrests of emissions from caesium-133 and krypton-86 atoms, which are homogeneous through time i.e. valid everywhere and at all times. A fundamental principle of science is that they must always have been valid, since the energy relationships which give rise to them are invariant in time and space. This alone makes it difficult to reconcile with an expanding Universe.

But this is not just a problem for cosmologists. If time and distance are now reduced to numbers, and are homogeneous through time, the main reasons to postulate that mass increases with velocity disappear. It may be necessary to reconsider the relativistic view that these fundamental parameters change with velocity.

I suggest that the equation of force needs to be modified by the introduction of an inertial resistance factor which increases hyperbolically with acceleration. This factor represents the existence of an inertial field which interacts with accelerating mass.Equations are derived for the form of the interaction and the energy absorbed by such a field during acceleration.


3.Universal Units of Observed Time and Distance

4.Limits of Measurement

5. Mass

6. Force

7. Inertial Fields

8. Non-inertial Forces

9. Relationship of inertial and Non-inertial Forces

10. Light

11. Observed Time and Distance as Continuous Functions

12. Quanta of Mass

13. Summary of Assumptions and Postulated Interactions


Atomic Clocks on the Move


The Doppler Effect - Sound and Light

Derivations of units for time, distance and mass tend to involve phenomena which themselves are measured in terms of time, distance and mass. This results in circular arguments, in which conclusions are used to prove analyses, and further development may lead to misunderstanding. Moreover, such a process tends to mask the assumptions, which may cause difficulties when these units are extrapolated to extreme conditions. This analysis develops definitions which stand alone.

1. Time and Distance

Einstein himself said that time is nothing without an event to mark it. Starting from that point, an event may be defined as an occurrence which is observed. The definition may be extended to occurrences which we believe could be observed if we were present - a philosophical question.

A clock is a regular series of events. The period of time which elapses between these events is the unit of time.

Clocks are based on physical phenomena, and so they incorporate into the time measured between such events any variation of the particular physical phenomena which they use. Variations in the periods of events which the clock is being used to time, are therefore inseparable from variations in the events which the clock is using to tell the time. In statistical terms the effects are confounded. Units of time are therefore specific to the type of physical phenomenon used, the time when measurements are made and the place where they are made. So gravity, rotation, luminosity, viscosity etc.

This is quite different from the 'accuracy' of the clock, which depends on its construction and skill in use. It is a fundamental property which is inextricable from the nature and variation of the physical phenomena being used.

So if a quartz pendulum is used to measure a unit of time, that unit will be of a different length, when measured by an independent clock, if the pendulum is moved to a different location, simply because the Earth's gravitational pull varies from place to place on its surface. Indeed it will vary even in the same location if the pendulum is left long enough for the Earth to change under it: the iron core may shift, underlying rock may change etc. Similarly units of time based on the observation of noon as the highest point of the Sun in the sky vary because of variations in the rotation of the Earth, the orbit of the Earth around the Sun etc. On a grander scale, variation in the period of rotation of a galaxy observed from Earth would be indistinguishable from variations in the rotation of our galaxy.

Such variations cannot be detected within the framework of the chosen physical basis of the clock. They become clear when the clock is compared with a clock using a larger framework which encompasses it e.g. the orbit of the Earth (the year), which encompasses the rotation of the Earth (the day).

If such variations of a clock occur, their variations become incorporated in all other units which depend on the measurement of time, and in all analyses derived from them.

2. Atomic Clocks

The sole exception to this is the atomic clock. Atoms are defined as homogeneous through time and hence space. An atom of a particular element is, and always has been, indistinguishable from any other atom of the same element in the same state, anywhere in the Universe. This is a fundamental hypothesis which underpins all science; hydrogen atoms are identical to all other hydrogen atoms at all times and everywhere without exception, whether in the laboratory or in a refinery or on a distant star.

The excitation energy levels of atoms are also homogeneous through time and space, and so the light produced by excited atoms is itself homogeneous through time and space in the form of very specific wavelengths.

Atomic clocks cannot vary. However, detection of their 'regular series of events' or emissions may itself produce phenomena which are not part of time, but arise from the interaction of light with the atoms of the detector e.g. quantisation, in effect an artefact of the method of measuring time.

The usual element chosen for atomic clocks is caesium. The caesium clock may be used to 'recalibrate' the year, the day etc.


cyclical derivation of units

events mark passage of time

clock as regular series of events


clocks embody inherent variations of physical phenomena

effect on derived units

atomic clocks

atoms and excitation energy levels homogeneous through time

caesium-133 clock
ŠA. C. Sturt 2002 continued on page 2
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