Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Development of ideas about space and time in the 20th century.

Development of ideas about space and time in the 20th century

In the late 19th - early 20th centuries. there was a profound change in scientific ideas about matter and, accordingly, a radical change in the concepts of P. and V. The physical picture of the world includes the concept of a field (see Physical Fields ) as a form of the material connection between particles of matter, as a special form of matter. All bodies, that is, are systems of charged particles bound by a field that transfers actions from one particle to another at a finite speed - the speed of light. It was believed that the field is the state of the ether, an absolutely motionless medium that fills the world absolute space. It was later established (H. Lorenz and others) that when bodies move at very high speeds, close to the speed of light, there is a change in the field, leading to a change in the spatial and temporal properties of bodies; at the same time, Lorentz believed that the length of bodies in the direction of their movement is reduced, and the rhythm of the physical processes taking place in them slows down, and the spatial and temporal values ​​change in concert.

  At first, it seemed that in this way it would be possible to determine the absolute speed of the body in relation to the ether, and, consequently, in relation to the absolute space. However, the entire set of experiments refuted this view. It was found that in any inertial reference frame, all physical laws, including the laws of electromagnetic (and generally field) interactions, are the same. The special theory of relativity (see Relativity theory) A. Einstein, based on two fundamental theses - the limit of the speed of light and the equality of inertial reference frames, was a new physical theory of physics and physics. It follows from it that spatial and temporal relations - the length of the body (in general, the distance between two material points) and the duration (as well as the rhythm) of the processes occurring in it - are not absolute values, as Newtonian mechanics claimed, but relative ones. A particle (for example, a nucleon) can manifest itself in relation to a particle slowly moving relative to it as spherical, and in relation to a particle incident on it with a very high speed - as a disk flattened in the direction of motion. Accordingly, the lifetime of a slowly moving charged p- meson is ~ 10 -8 sec, and fast-moving (with near-light speed) - many times more. The relativity of the space-time characteristics of bodies is fully confirmed by experience. It follows from this that the idea of ​​absolute P. and V. untenable. P. and V. are precisely the general forms of coordination of material phenomena, and not independently existing (regardless of matter) principles of being. The theory of relativity excludes the concept of empty space and space that have their own dimensions. The concept of empty space was later rejected in quantum field theory with its new concept of vacuum (see Physical vacuum ). Further development of the theory of relativity (see. Gravitation) showed that the space-time relations also depend on mass concentration. In the transition to cosmic scales, the geometry of the P.-V. is not Euclidean (or "flat", that is, not dependent on the size of the area of ​​the P.-V.), but varies from one region of space to another depending on the density of masses in these regions and their motion (see Cosmology, where the question of the finiteness or infinity of P. and V.) is also stated. On the scale of the metagalaxy, the geometry of space changes with time due to the expansion of the metagalaxy. Thus, the development of physics and astronomy has proved the inconsistency of both Kant's apriorism, that is, the understanding of P. and v. both a priori forms of human perception, the nature of which is invariable and independent of matter, and Newton's dogmatic concept of P. and V.

  Communication P. and V. with matter are expressed not only in the dependence of the laws of P. and V. from the general laws that determine the interaction of material objects. It also manifests itself in the presence of a characteristic rhythm of the existence of material objects and processes - typical for each class of objects of average lifetimes and average spatial dimensions.

  From the above, it follows that P. and V. very general physical laws are inherent in all objects and processes. This also applies to the problems associated with the topological properties of P. and V. The problem of the boundary (contact) of individual objects and processes is directly related to the question of the finite or infinite divisibility of P. and V., their discreteness or continuity, which was raised in antiquity. In ancient philosophy, this question was resolved purely speculatively. For example, assumptions were made about the existence of "atoms" of time (Zeno). In science 17-19 centuries. the idea of ​​atomism P. and V. lost any meaning. Newton believed that P. and V. really separated to infinity. This conclusion followed from his concept of empty P. and V., the smallest elements of which are a geometric point and a moment of time ("moments" in the literal sense of the word). Leibniz believed that although P. and V. divisible indefinitely, but not really divided into points - in nature there are no objects and phenomena devoid of size and duration. From the idea of ​​the unlimited divisibility of P. and V., it follows that the boundaries of bodies and phenomena are absolute. The idea of ​​the continuity of P. and V. more strengthened in the 19th century. with the opening of the field; in the classical sense, a field is an absolutely continuous object.

  The problem of real divisibility of P. and V. was delivered only in the 20th century. in connection with the discovery in quantum mechanics of the uncertainties of the relation, according to which for absolutely precise localization of a microparticle, infinitely large pulses are required, which physically cannot be realized. Moreover, modern physics of elementary particles shows that under very strong influences on a particle, it is not conserved at all, but even multiple productions of particles occurs. In reality, there are no real physical conditions under which it would be possible to measure the exact value of the field strengths at each point. Thus, it has been established in modern physics that it is not only the real separation of space and space that is impossible. into points, but it is fundamentally impossible to carry out the process of their real endless separation. Consequently, the geometric concepts of a point, curve, surface are abstractions that reflect the spatial properties of material objects only approximately. In reality, objects are not absolutely separated from each other, but only relatively. The same is true for moments in time. It is this view of the "point nature" of events that follows from the so-called. nonlocal field theory (seeNonlocal quantum field theory )Simultaneously with the idea of ​​nonlocality of interaction, a hypothesis is being developed about the quantization of space-time, i.e., about the existence of the smallest length and duration (see Quantization of space-time )At first, it was assumed that the "quantum" of length is 10-13 cm(of the order of the classical radius of an electron or of the order of the "length" of the strong interaction )However, with the help of modern charged particle accelerators, phenomena associated with lengths of 10-14-10-15 cm investigatedtherefore, the values ​​of the quantum of length began to move to ever-smaller values ​​(10-17, The “length” of the weak interaction, and even 10 -33 cm ).

  The solution of the question of quantizing P. and V. closely related to the problems of the structure of elementary particlesStudies have appeared in which the applicability of the concepts of P. and V. to the submicroscopic world is generally denied. However, the concepts of P. and V. should not be reduced to either metric or topological relations of known types.

  A close relationship between the Spatio-temporal properties and the nature of the interaction of objects is also found in the analysis of the symmetry of the space and the century. Back in 1918 (E. Noether ) it was proved that the uniformity of space corresponds to the law of conservation of momentum, uniformity of time corresponds to the law of conservation of energy, and the isotropy of space corresponds to the law of conservation of angular momentum. Thus, the types of symmetry of P. and V. as general forms of coordination of objects and processes are interconnected with the most important conservation lawsThe symmetry of space during specular reflection turned out to be associated with an essential characteristic of microparticles - with their parity.

  One of the important problems of P. and V. is the question of the direction of the flow of time. In the Newtonian concept, this property of time was taken for granted and did not need to be substantiated. Leibniz associated the irreversibility of the passage of time with the unambiguous direction of the chains of causes and effects. Modern physics has concretized and developed this rationale, linking it with the modern understanding of causalityApparently, the direction of time is associated with such an integral characteristic of material processes as development, which is fundamentally irreversible.

  Problems of P. and V., also discussed in antiquity, include the question of the number of measurements of P. and V. In the Newtonian concept, this number was considered original. However, even Aristotle substantiated the three-dimensionality of space by the number of possible sections (divisions) of the body. Interest in this problem increased in the 20th century. with the development of topologyL. Brower established that the dimension of a space is a topological invariant - a number that does not change under continuous and one-to-one transformations of the space. A number of studies have shown the relationship between the number of dimensions of space and the structure of the electromagnetic field (G. Weil), between the three-dimensionality of space and the helicity of elementary particles. All this showed that the number of measurements of P. and V. inextricably linked with the material structure of the world around us.


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