How the Universe Remembers Information

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Topic 226858

Memory Effect

Nonetheless, physicists are on the hunt for evidence of an observable “memory effect” left behind by gravity that could soon be picked up in a lab. In the 1970s, Soviet physicists Yakov Zel’dovich and Alexander Polnarev suggested that gravitational waves would not only cause a fleeting oscillation in a detector, such as those famously picked up by the mirrors of the LIGO system, but they would also leave a permanent shift. “The mirrors wiggle and, after the wave passes, they don’t return to their original position,” Strominger says.

The vacuum of general relativity may provide a memory matrix that preserves this information in the universe, beyond the black hole’s demise.

There is probably someone around here who can understand this, as long as his name is Hewson.

Mike Hewson
Mike Hewson
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I'll give this a go. :~} I

I'll give this a go. :~}

I think they are describing a version of physics which melds General Relativity with Quantum Field Theory. In this theoretical framework of the universe there can be field transitions ( aka quanta aka particles ) that have zero energy but have non-zero angular momentum and other dynamical variables. So you can have regions of vacuum - with the lowest energy state of the field - composed of very different dynamical states but each with the same total ( zero point ) energy. Hence the memory, as it were, of previous dynamical events can be located within the values of those non-energy variables. No doubt one can model this with suitable mathematical constructs and so forth with the effect of sweeping under the rug a couple of alleged paradoxes.

But is it true ? Well, that is what scientific measurement is all about and at least there are testable predictions from this framework eg. the change in position of interferometer mirrors with the passage of a gravitational wave : the mirrors don't go back to the original positions that they were prior to the wave arriving. Now this implies a really, really long reach for cause and effect. Not that there is anything wrong with that, the EM force and gravity are supposed to have infinite range. What seems to be unexpected is the level of disturbance implied : there is no such thing as 'flat' spacetime anywhere or at anytime. There will always be a non-zero field energy value somewhere in the universe, this energy has a mass equivalent and thus gravitates, and then all spacetime volumes ( in causal connection ) will 'know' of that via one of the above zero energy state changes and so everything/everywhere/everytime is a connected whole. Hey presto ....

There are some serious philosophical implications here, at least on the face of it. For instance if I merely change my mind about what I'll have for dinner tonite ( but do nothing about it ), then because 'changing my mind' involves a state change in my brain ( without actually changing my behaviour ), I shall have altered this so called memory matrix of the universe. Might a clever observer suitably interact with the memory matrix and deduce my change of intent ie. 'read my mind' about spaghetti vs chicken ? What a boggle indeed ! But this is the sort of stuff you will face when you slip down this particular rabbit hole, and you have to be careful of theoretical/mathematical results that seem right because they are 'beautiful' eg. String Theory. 

Cheers, Mike.

I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter ...

... and my other CPU is a Ryzen 5950X :-) Blaise Pascal

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