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Old Jun 18th 2013, 10:03 AM   #1
MBW
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Are singularities Real?

A recent post by topsquark indicated that electrons (and similar particles) are volume-less singularities.
While I recognise that many mathematical systems will include singularities, my "gut feeling" is that they had no place in the "real" world.
Indeed I always thought that when physicists refer to a singularity, what they actually mean is "we don't know what happens here".

So do singularities actually "exist" or are they rather a portion of reality for which a sensible explaination has not yet been devised?
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Old Jun 18th 2013, 02:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by MBW View Post
A recent post by topsquark indicated that electrons (and similar particles) are volume-less singularities.
While I recognise that many mathematical systems will include singularities, my "gut feeling" is that they had no place in the "real" world.
Indeed I always thought that when physicists refer to a singularity, what they actually mean is "we don't know what happens here".

So do singularities actually "exist" or are they rather a portion of reality for which a sensible explaination has not yet been devised?
Nobody really expects that point particles are, well, point particles. The solution is probably going to rely on a Quantum Gravity theory and it's going to take a while to work out those details. There are a few theories around already that don't have a point particle. The most likely and well known theory to remove the singularities is String Theory.

-Dan
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Old Jun 20th 2013, 05:09 AM   #3
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What about the other "Famous" singularities
Black Holes and the Big Bang.

Is it generally accepted that these are also artefacts of the current mathematical theories?
rather than "genuine" points where reality breaks down.
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Old Jun 20th 2013, 01:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MBW View Post
What about the other "Famous" singularities
Black Holes and the Big Bang.

Is it generally accepted that these are also artefacts of the current mathematical theories?
rather than "genuine" points where reality breaks down.
As far as the Big Band is concerned the Universe may well be inside the black hole that would otherwise have formed the BB. This is obviously hard to prove or disprove!

As to the black hole we can't get to the singularity that is inside it. I'm skeptical about this and the way my compatriots talk about it, but hey let them have their fun.

-Dan
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Old Oct 2nd 2013, 07:43 AM   #5
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Depends on the theory. Some (standard model) have point particles, some (String theory) don't. Personally, I don't think they are, which is due to my thought on what they actually are.
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Old Oct 2nd 2013, 07:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by RelativityIsWrong View Post
Depends on the theory. Some (standard model) have point particles, some (String theory) don't. Personally, I don't think they are, which is due to my thought on what they actually are.
What are they, then?

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