The Laws of Physics


What are: the Laws of Physics ?


The Laws of Physics are a set of descriptions, which describe how the reality changes and evolves.

In any discussion it is very important which parts of the total reality are included.
If in the reality only physical phenomena, of non-living origin, are included then those laws are relativily simple.
If in this reality everything on the Earth is included, including the behaviour and evolution of all living creatures, than those descriptions (laws) are much more complex.

Answer part 1

For some the following assumption applies:
The Laws of Physics are constant and as such we can predict the future.

It is the opinion of the author that this statement is of little value.

The author assumes that the Uncertainty Principle is part of "The laws of Physics" and as such there is a factor of error in those predictions.

The author agrees that an apple will always fall, where ever you are. Given the same conditions the apple will fall in the same way.

The author is more in favor of the following:
The Laws of Physics is a collection of facts, mostly in mathematical form, which describes the reality. It is the function of the physics community to discover those laws. The better we know those law the more accurate we can predict the future.

Answer part 2

You will not find a definite answer here, only some thoughts and remarks.
  1. What is the Reality?
    The Reality is the state of the Universe at a certain moment and includes all what exists.
  2. What we see is not the Reality.
    What we see is an image of the past, of parts of the Reality in the past.
    The further away is that what you see, the longer ago in the past, is that what you see.
  3. Each human being is aware that she or he exists. This awareness resides in our brains, in our mind. Only this awareness in our brains is part of the Reality. All the rest is history.
  4. The further away is that what we see, the earlier in the past, this is.
    This relation is described by the following formula: t = l/c . l = distance from the observer and c is the speed of light.
    This law is not part of the Laws of Physics, because it does not describe the reality, but only what we see.
  5. What is true for what we see is also true for the other senses i.e. what we hear (sound) and what we smell has its origins in the past. The major difference is the speed with which those influences propagate. The speed of smell is the slowest.
  6. The best way to study the reality is in the dark, in your mind. In your mind you can travel with infinite speed and you can visit all the places of the Universe all at once. That is exactly what we are going to do. Close your eyes and try to visualise in your mind the following:

That is the Reality in three dimensions.

It is the opinion of the author that the Laws of Physics is a description of the reality you just "visited". It is a reality which functions independent of human existance or influence (except if we are close to our Earth). In this Reality we observed how light behaves and propagates in the shape of a sphere. For gravity (or gravitons) the same applies. The only major question is the speed of both (photons and gravitons) is the same or different. In this Reality there is no place for Schrödinger's cat, because all processes behave independent of any human influence. Within this Reality there is no place for uncertainty. There is no uncertainty in the way physical processes behave. At least not any type of uncertainty which expresses our limited way to observe the Reality. It is this inaccuracy that is part of our descriptions of the Reality.

The Sun and the Planets are also part of the Reality.
One methode to get a good idea how this Reality evolves in 2 dimensions, is to perform a simulation. Each complete simulation shows the position of the Planets during a certain period, subdivided in time steps. The first time step shows the initial positions of all the Planets. The last increment shows the final positions. To identify between the different time increments different colours are used. At each step (or calculation) the positions of all the Planets are calculated and displayed with a certain colour. At the next step the positions are again calculated and displayed but now with a different colour. The positions of all the planets with the same colour, each represent one reality.

The calculation used to calculate the position of the planets is one of the Laws of Physics. The first approximation of this calculation is Newton's Law. However Newton's Law is not complete. Newton's Law assumes that forces propagate instantaneous. This is not in accordance with observations and to our physical model which describes this. In our model the speed of gravity propagation is finite. Newton's Law has to be extended to take this into account.

The initial positions require observations. However with those observations there are three problems:

  1. The observations should be done at the same time. If they are not than the observations have to be corrected such that they are valid for the same start time.
  2. Each planet is at a different distance. That means if your observations are valid for one moment, the true positions are different. This has to be taken into account.
  3. In order to use Newton's Law, the fact that gravity propagates with a final speed, has to be taken into account.
For the final positions a similar problem exists. Because the final positions represent the true positions at a certain moment, then that is not the position at which you see a particular planet. You will observe the planet at the true position later.

The mathematics described above, including gravity propagation, are the same as used in the simulations which are included at this site. The only problem is the speed of gravity propagation. In order to simulate the forward movement of Mercury I assume that the speed of gravity propagation is much larger than c. No experiment done until today shows that this assumption is false.

Simulations of Physical Reality

Readers interested to observe the result of professional simulations in the form of MPEG movies should visit the following:

  1. Indiana University Astronomy Department - Movies !
  2. North Carolina State University Astronomy Department - High-Mass Eccentric X-Ray Binaries !out of order
  3. The Open University - Physics and Astronomy Cataclysmic Variables replacement
The first reference shows very nice simulations in 3D of the behaviour of galaxies i.e. how they rotate in a cluster. I do not know what the observer sees is an instanteneous picture about the positions of the galaxies or that time is taken into acoount. At each iteration the program calculates the position of all the galaxies in x,y and z. If the pictures are instantenous than those positions are converted to screen cordinates in x' and y' and displayed. If the pictures include time i.e. the time that it takes for those images to reach the observer (as a function of distance), then the positions in x,y and z have to be adjusted before they can be converted to screen coordinates in order to show a true picture what an observer sees. Whatever those simulations show: they are truly magnificent.

The second reference shows beautiful simulations in 2D. The author is specific impressed because they show in a large extend the same behaviour (is eccentric) as the planet Mercury around the Sun.
The following question can be raised: is there any forward movement ?



Original: 27 May 1996
Last modified: 16 January 2002

Back to my home page Contents of This Document