Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Charge and Time

There are two big problems in physics that all clues given by nature seem to indicate that they are related, but till now, no one is capable of explain exactly what is the relationship such that both could be solved. They are the arrow of time and the baryon asymmetry.

To be brief (and very unprecise), the arrow of time problem is the problem of why time goes on only in one direction since all equations of physics are symmetric with respect to the time variable. There are a lot of conjectures, but no one is really certain about that. The baryon asymmetry comes from the fact that we observe much more matter in our universe than antimatter, what is a problem for (electric) charge is conserved and if we suppose that in the beginning there was nothing and that everytime a matter particle is created its antiparticle is created together, we should have as much matter as antimatter in our universe.

Both problems are related by a symmetry of nature named CPT, that says that if we change the signs of the time, the charges and the parity in a physical system, all the equations of motion stay the same. Then, charge and time are related somehow. Generally, as Feynman pointed out, we can consider FORMALLY that an antiparticle is a particle going backwards in time.

Now, to the crazy idea I´ve been thinking about. I stress this point: IT´S JUST AN IDEA, I have to work over this to see if it has some chance to live or if it´s just nonsense. Maybe the reason why we see more matter is the same why time only goes in one direction. Somehow, particles and antiparticles may have an internally defined direction of time and as time goes on forwards, we see much more matter. Seems to me like a symmetry breaking induced by a field or a fluctuation. Anyway, I need to work more...

Edition (04-Nov-2005): I was reading around and found that there are ideas related, so that´s not so asurd at all.

Picture: A burst of light is emitted as the electron and its antiparticle, the positron, collide. (Image credit) NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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