Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Jesus, Quantum Cosmology, the Church, and a few Verses

I'm doing a quick series on standard quantum cosmology as science understands it today. Though to the novice reader these series of articles may seem complicated, to the trained undergraduate in quantum physics they are all quite simple and simply stated.

In order for me to discuss a process-based metaphysical cosmology related to open and relational process theology, including process philosophy itself (ala Alfred North Whitehead and John Cobb), the physics of astronomy and cosmology must be considered (along with evolution or, what I like to call "quantum evolution," which I spoke to in the early years of this website through hundreds of articles but not recently except in general descriptive terms of processual (quantum) evolution, psychology, sociology, and ecology.)

The next two cosmology areas to be covered before I return to examining process theology via John Cobb's encapsulation of process philosophy and theology will be articles related to quantum gravity, our holographic universe and what process relational philosophy means for cosmic time and consciousness. More simply, without a relational creation (sic, universe), time and consciousness are not present; but with it, they are present as secondary affects/effects, more generally described in perhaps cosmic holographic terms rather than as psycho-illusionary terms by psychology, neurology, etc.

Lastly, by the additiin of these more recent article series I'd like to also update Relevancy22's exploration of space and time by covering local- and mega-clustering quantum cosmic bubbles (as different from, but likely, in working conjunction with, dark matter and dark energy). In this way, as readers and contemporary thinkers, we can better approach the subject areas of the bible, God, and generally, theology, with a more nuanced view than typically found in the traditional work-a-day pseudoscience view of the church.

Moreover, there is no reason to jettison one's faith unless one's faith has been built upon sand, and not rock. I find Greek Platonism and Aristotelianism quite unhelpful in grasping the earlier Hebraic faith grounded more in relationality, narrative, and organic thinking than in the ethreal metaphysical "substance" of organic things; or as expressed in "mind v matter, reductionary, mechanical thinking" of the Greeks up to today's modernistic thinking.

In comparison, process philosophy takes the past 2000 years (or more actually 4000 years in my mind) and moves the Semitic outlook forwards into today's contemporary organic worlds of processual societal structures, fluid quantum thinking, and the tech-cyberworlds to come.

Thus and thus, I write of a new kind of Christianity embracing a "post-evangelical, socially progressive, and non-literal bible." One which keeps to the ancient categories of literary nuances and genres, their cultural world views and ancient histories, etc... but not the wooden kind of thinking present in today's classically interpretive  evangelicalism when reading a bible skewed towards inorganic Hellenistic thought and enlightenment+modernistic modelism).

Reading Scripture requires a more organic philosophical foundation embraceing a more processually-rooted relational, and open-ended, contemporary eschatology pregnant with native possibilities and opportunities. A processual theology which can ably drive progressive church ministries, community outreach, and polyplural global missions.

Too, I much prefer to write to non-Christians; to non-dogmatic, open-minded, post-evangelic and progressively-minded Christians; to those seeking truer forms of transformative spirituality; and even agnostics and atheists than I do Bible-belt Christians who live inside of closed fictitious worlds filled with formulistic enlightenment thinking, and defensive dogmatic platforms. These earnest folk have not been given the tools to see God outside the theological boxes of their own construction. If they stumble into here we will welcome them. But my experience has been largely dismissal, silence, and hardened hearts to the biblical truths spoke here in non-traditional ways outside the church's conservative platforms.

I should also mention to those who approach God and faith in their own forms of atheism - as I had in years past when I wrote of these things - that atheism is far harder to prove than theism is to disprove. In fact, it is nearly an impossible task to prove atheism. The articles I've produced in the past have shown this argument in some detail. However, they most likely need updating, so if a reader or two are willing to review those 20 or so articles and add their own thoughts please link me to your text that I might review with you your proofs and qualify your thoughts before posting them here.

Finally, unless uncertainty and doubt are embraced, a growing Christian faith will surely lose its "saltiness" and become tasteless and bland. A strong faith, like science, must always test itself and be willing to be examined if it is to stay realistic and conversant with society. This doesn't dismiss the surety of one's faith laid down upon Jesus, but speaks to interpreting our faith so that the ancient teachings of Scripture are driven by God's love and not by our religious urges to make of God an image in our own likeness.

And unless new "wineskins" are brought forth to put the new wine of the Gospel in (sic, Jesus), the old wineskins will rip and tear apart losing all. This means to me that the faith I was raised in deserves to be kept (but its best parts that is) while the rest must be let go and replaced.

Relevancy22 is not creating a new wheel, it is dispensing with the old wooden wheels for the newer electromagnetic Torus wheels (or whatever). Wheels that will work better with today's 21st Century global religions and societies.


R.E. Slater
April 5, 2022

Matt 5.13-20 NASB

13“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how [d]can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by people.

14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a [e]hill cannot be hidden; 15nor do people light a lamp and put it under a [f]basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

17“Do not presume that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. 18For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not [g]the smallest letter or stroke of a letter shall pass from the Law, until all is accomplished! 19Therefore, whoever nullifies one of the least of these commandments, and teaches [h]others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever [i]keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20“For I say to you that unless your righteousness far surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matt 9.17 NASB

14Then the disciples of John *came to Him, asking, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”

15And Jesus said to them, “The [j]attendants of the groom cannot mourn as long as the groom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the groom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

16But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for [k]the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results.

17Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”


I should mention that these old world maxims are given an escalational spin upwards when rereading them not as maxims but in terms of the person of Jesus and what his gospel of atonement and redemption means in relation to the Old Testament system of Law-keeping. Thus, Law v Grace as thematic types interplaying off each other from Genesis through Revelation.

Moreover, the true Abrahamic faith of the Hebrews was always grounded in faith and never law. Jewish Law then can be liken to the church's systems of confessional creeds, dogmas and rites today.

That is, we are fleshly, symbolic beings who will always need ways of encapsulating our faith and beliefs. The trick is to not let the latter usurp the former... for when it does, faith becomes mere religion and institutionalized beliefs cut off from its living, growing, suffering, dying faith to self and worldly needs.

The goal is love in all things.

Not religious rites of asceticism, monasticism, stoicism, hedonism, legalism, etc.

Love goes with what's there and uses selfless sacrificial serving people to be the hands, feet, mouths, and heart of God.

Jesus is God's love.

Jesus is God.

God is love.

Keep it simple.

Jesus was the true salt of God who returned God's lost love back to its covenanted forms found in Abraham. 

Jesus was the cloth patch that pulled away from the religious ritualism of his day which had lost God's love in its works-righteousness schemes and austere religious rites.

Jesus was (and is) the new wine of the gospel spilt in his blood on the cross which binds up the wounds of the harmed and suffering. Who replaces the good wine of mankind with the better wines of God.

Nay, these observations of Jesus were not simply culturally observed maxims. It was Jesus' way of saying, "Look, I'm here, the New Covenant of God walks in the flesh with man this day. 'See Me. Hear Me. Touch Me. I AM the God you seek. REJOICE!'"

R.E. Slater
April 5, 2022

Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) - Heaven on their Minds
(Carl Anderson) ENG Sub - A. Lloyd Webber
Dec 29, 2016

"Christ, I know you can't hear me"
Comparison (Jesus Christ Superstar)
posted: Apr 28, 2016

youtube soundtrack

How Did The Matter In Our Universe Arise From Nothing?

On all scales in the Universe, from our local neighborhood to the interstellar medium to individual... [+] NASA, ESA, AND THE HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (STSCI/AURA)

How Did The Matter In Our Universe Arise From Nothing?

by Ethan SiegelSenior Contributor
January 5, 2018

When you look out at the vastness of the Universe, at the planets, stars, galaxies, and all there is out there, one obvious question screams for an explanation: why is there something instead of nothing? The problem gets even worse when you consider the laws of physics governing our Universe, which appear to be completely symmetric between matter and antimatter. Yet as we look at what's out there, we find that all the stars and galaxies we see are made 100% of matter, with scarcely any antimatter at all. Clearly, we exist, as do the stars and galaxies we see, so something (or process) must have created more matter than antimatter, making the Universe we know possible. But how did it happen? It's one of the Universe's greatest mysteries, but one that we're closer than ever to solving.

The matter and energy content in the Universe at the present time (left) and at earlier times... [+] NASA, MODIFIED BY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS USER 老陳, MODIFIED FURTHER BY E. SIEGEL

Consider these two facts about the Universe, and how contradictory they are:

  • Every interaction between particles that we’ve ever observed, at all energies, has never created or destroyed a single particle of matter without also creating or destroying an equal number of antimatter particles.
  • When we look out at the Universe, at all the stars, galaxies, gas clouds, clusters, superclusters and largest-scale structures everywhere, everything appears to be made of matter and not antimatter.

It seems like an impossibility. On one hand, there is no known way, given the particles and their interactions in the Universe, to make more matter than antimatter. On the other hand, everything we see is definitely made of matter and not antimatter. Here's how we know.

The production of matter/antimatter pairs (left) from pure energy is a completely reversible... [+] DMITRI POGOSYAN / UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA

Whenever and wherever antimatter and matter meet in the Universe, there’s a fantastic outburst of energy due to particle-antiparticle annihilation. We actually observe this annihilation in some locations, but only around hyper-energetic sources that produce matter and antimatter in equal amounts, like around massive black holes. When the antimatter runs into matter in the Universe, it produces gamma rays of very specific frequencies, which we can then detect. The interstellar and intergalactic medium is full of material, and the complete lack of these gamma rays is a strong signal that there aren't large amounts of antimatter particles flying around anywhere, since that matter/antimatter signature would show up.

Whether in clusters, galaxies, our own stellar neighborhood or our Solar System, we have tremendous... [+] GARY STEIGMAN, 2008, VIA HTTP://ARXIV.ORG/ABS/0808.1122

  • In our own galaxy’s interstellar medium, the mean lifetime would be on the order of about 300 years, which is tiny compared to the age of our galaxy! This constraint tells us that, at least within the Milky Way, the amount of antimatter that’s allowed to be mixed in with the matter we observe is at most 1 part in 1,000,000,000,000,000!
  • On larger scales — of galaxies and galaxy clusters, for example — the constraints are less stringent but still very strong. With observations spanning from just a few million light-years away to over three billion light-years distant, we’ve observed a dearth of the X-rays and gamma rays we’d expect from matter-antimatter annihilation. What we’ve seen is that even on large, cosmological scales, 99.999%+ of what exists in our Universe is definitely matter (like us) and not antimatter.

This is the reflection nebula IC 2631, as imaged by the MPG/ESO 2.2-m telescope. Whether within our... [+] ESO

So somehow, even though we aren't entirely sure how, [the universe] had to have created more matter than antimatter in it's past. Which is made even more confusing by the fact that the symmetry between matter and antimatter, in terms of particle physics, is even more explicit than you might think. For example:

  • every time we create a quark, we also create an antiquark,
  • every time a quark is destroyed, an antiquark is also destroyed,
  • every time we create-or-destroy a lepton, we also create-or-destroy an antilepton from the same lepton family, and
  • every time a quark-or-lepton experiences an interaction, collision or decay, the total net number of quarks and leptons at the end of the reaction (quarks minus antiquarks, leptons minus antileptons) is the same at the end as it was at the beginning.

The only way we’ve ever made more (or less) matter in the Universe has been to also make more (or less) antimatter in an equal amount.

The particles and antiparticles of the Standard Model obey all sorts of conservation laws, but there... [+] E. SIEGEL / BEYOND THE GALAXY

But we know that it must be possible; the only question is how it happened. In the late 1960s, physicist Andrei Sakharov identified three conditions necessary for baryogenesis, or the creation of more baryons (protons and neutrons) than anti-baryons. They are as follows:

  • The Universe must be an out-of-equilibrium system.
  • It must exhibit C- and CP-violation.
  • There must be baryon-number-violating interactions.

The first one is easy, because an expanding, cooling Universe with unstable particles (and/or antiparticles) in it is, by definition, out of equilibrium.

The second one is easy, too, since "C" symmetry (replacing particles with antiparticles) and "CP" symmetry (replacing particles with mirror-reflected antiparticles) are both violated in the weak interactions.

A normal meson spins counterclockwise about its North Pole and then decays with an electron being... [+] E. SIEGEL / BEYOND THE GALAXY

That leaves the question of how to violate baryon number.

In the Standard Model of particle physics, despite the observed conservation of baryon number, there isn't an explicit conservation law for either that or lepton number (where a lepton is a particle like an electron or a neutrino). Instead, it's only the difference between baryons and leptons, B - L, that's conserved. So under the right circumstances, you can not only make extra protons, you can make the electrons you need to go with them.

What those circumstances are is still a mystery, however. In the early stages of the Universe, we fully expect equal amounts of matter and antimatter to exist, with very high speeds and energies.

At the high temperatures achieved in the very young Universe, not only can particles and photons be... [+] BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LABORATORY

As the Universe expands and cools, unstable particles, once created in great abundance, will decay. If the right conditions are met, they can lead to an excess of matter over antimatter, even where there was none initially. There three leading possibilities for how this excess of matter over antimatter could have emerged:

  • New physics at the electroweak scale could greatly enhances the amount of C- and CP-violation in the Universe, leading to an asymmetry between matter and antimatter. Sphaleron interactions, which violate B and L individually (but conserve B - L) can then generate the right amounts of baryons and leptons. This could occur either without supersymmetry or with supersymmetry, depending on the mechanism.

These scenarios all have some elements in common, so let's walk through the last one, just as an example, to see what could have happened.

In addition to the other particles in the Universe, if the idea of a Grand Unified Theory applies to... [+] E. SIEGEL / BEYOND THE GALAXY

If grand unification is true, then there ought to be new, super-heavy particles, called X and Y, which have both baryon-like and lepton-like properties. There also ought to be their antimatter counterparts: anti-X and anti-Y, with the opposite B - L numbers and the opposite charges, but the same mass and lifetime. These particle-antiparticle pairs can be created in great abundance at high enough energies, and then will decay at later times.

So your Universe can be filled with them, and then they'll decay. If you have C- and CP-violation, however, then it's possible that there are slight differences between how the particles and antiparticles (X/Y vs. anti-X/anti-Y) decay.

If we allow X and Y particles to decay into the quarks and lepton combinations shown, their... [+] E. SIEGEL / BEYOND THE GALAXY

If your X-particle has two pathways: decaying into two up quarks or an anti-down quark and a positron, then the anti-X has to have two corresponding pathways: two anti-up quarks or a down quark and an electron. Notice that the X has B - L of two-thirds in both cases, while the anti-X has negative two-thirds.

It's similar for the Y/anti-Y particles. But there is one important difference that's allowed with C- and CP-violation: the X could be more likely to decay into two up quarks than the anti-X is to decay into two anti-up quarks, while the anti-X could be more likely to decay into a down quark and an electron than the X is to decay into an anti-down quark and a positron.

If you have enough X/anti-X and Y/anti-Y pairs, and they decay in this allowed fashion, you can easily make an excess of baryons over antibaryons (and leptons over anti-leptons) where there was none previously.

If the particles decayed away according to the mechanism described above, we would be left with an... [+] E. SIEGEL / BEYOND THE GALAXY

In other words, you can start with a completely symmetric Universe, one that obeys all the known laws of physics and that spontaneously creates matter-and-antimatter only in equal-and-opposite pairs, and wind up with an excess of matter over antimatter in the end. We have multiple possible pathways to success, but it's very likely that nature only needed one of them to give us our Universe.

The fact that we exist and are made of matter is indisputable; the question of why our Universe contains something (matter) instead of nothing (from an equal mix of matter and antimatter) is one that must have an answer.

In this century, advances in precision electroweak testing, collider technology, and experiments probing particle physics beyond the Standard Model may reveal exactly how it happened. And when it does, one of the greatest mysteries in all of existence will finally have a solution.

Two Short Courses in "Matter - Antimatter"

In the late 1920's Paul Dirac applied to quantum mechanics the ideas of Einstein's special theory of relativity. It followed from Dirac's equations that there must be states of negative energy.

Dirac suggested that a deficiency of an electron in one of these states would be equivalent to a short-lived positively charged particle, or a positron with the same mass as the electron, but intrinsically opposite in terms of electrical charge. In ordinary matter, a positron would rapidly encounter an electron and annihilate, resulting in a very short lifetime for it, but in a perfect vacuum a positron can live forever.

Actually, for every matter particle there corresponds an anti-matter particle. Anti-matter particles can correspond to matter particles in every respect except that any kind of charge (or quantum characteristic) is opposite.

When a particle and an anti-particle meet, they annihilate into pure energy and may give rise to energetic neutral force-carrier particles, such as gluons, photons or Z-bosons. Conversely, energetic force-carrier particles can give rise to matter particle/anti-particle pairs (pair production).

An unsolved mystery of cosmology is why the universe is dominated by matter rather than anti-matter. That's just what the LHCb experiment see violation CP).aims to find out.

The experimental High Energy Physics Group at the University of Santiago de Compostela (SPAIN) focuses its research activity in quark physics, trying to probe the limits of the Standard Model. The main current project is Flavour Physics and CP-violation at the LHCb experiment at CERN

The first ever creation of atoms of antimatter at CERN has opened the door to the systematic exploration of the anti world. The recipe for anti-hydrogen is very simple - take one antiproton, bring up one anti-electron, and put the latter into orbit around the former - but it is very difficult to carry out as antiparticles do not naturally exist on earth. They can only be created in the laboratory. In even rarer cases, the positron's velocity was sufficiently close to the velocity of the antiproton for the two particles to join - creating an atom of anti-hydrogen

Three quarters of our universe is hydrogen and much of what we have learned about it has been found by studying ordinary hydrogen. If the behaviour of anti-hydrogen differed even in the tiniest detail from that of ordinary hydrogen, physicists would have to rethink or abandon many of the established ideas on the symmetry between matter and antimatter. It is believed that antimatter "works" under gravity in the same way as matter, but if nature has chosen otherwise, we must find out how and why.

The next step is to check whether anti-hydrogen does indeed "work" just as well as ordinary hydrogen. Comparisons can be made with tremendous accuracy, as high as one part in a million trillion, and even an asymmetry on this tiny scale would have enormous consequences for our understanding of the universe. To check for such an asymmetry would mean holding the anti-atoms still, for seconds, minutes, days or weeks. The techniques needed to store antimatter are under intense development at CERN.

* * * * * * * *

Ask Ethan: What's So 'Anti' About Antimatter?

Senior Contributor

High-energy collisions of particles can create matter-antimatter pairs or photons, while... [+] FERMILAB

For every particle of matter that's known to exist in the Universe, there's an antimatter counterpart. Antimatter has many of the same properties as normal matter, including the types of interaction it undergoes, its mass, the magnitude of its electric charge, and so on. But there are a few fundamental differences as well. Yet two things are certain about matter-antimatter interactions:

(1) if you collide a matter particle with an antimatter counterpart, they both immediately annihilate away to pure energy, and

(2) if you undergo any interaction in the Universe that creates a matter particle, you must also create its antimatter counterpart.

So what makes antimatter so "anti," anyway? That's what Robert Nagle wants to know, as he asks:

On a fundamental level, what is the difference between matter and its counterpart antimatter? Is there some sort of intrinsic property that causes a particle to be matter or antimatter? Is there some intrinsic property (like spin) that distinguishes quarks and antiquarks? What what puts the 'anti' in anti matter?

To understand the answer, we need to take a look at all the particles (and antiparticles) that exist.

The particles and antiparticles of the Standard Model obey all sorts of conservation laws, but there... [+] E. SIEGEL / BEYOND THE GALAXY

This is the Standard Model of elementary particles: the full suite of discovered particles in the known Universe. There are generally two classes of these particles:

(1) the bosons, which have integer spins (..., -2, -1, 0, +1, +2, ...) and are neither matter nor antimatter, and

(2) the fermions, which have half-integer spins (..., -3/2, -1/2, +1/2, +3/2, ...) and must either be "matter-type" or "antimatter-type" particles.

For any particle you can think about creating, there are going to be a slew of inherent properties to it, defined by what we call quantum numbers. For an individual particle in isolation, this includes a number of traits you're likely familiar with, as well as some that you may not be familiar with.

These possible configurations for an electron in a hydrogen atom are extraordinarily different from... [+] POORLENO / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The easy ones are things like mass and electric charge.

An electron, for example, has a rest mass of 9.11 × 10-31 kg, and an electric charge of -1.6 × 10-19 C. Electrons can also bind together with protons to produce a hydrogen atom, with a series of spectral lines and emission/absorption features based on the electromagnetic force between them.

Electrons have a spin of either +1/2 or -1/2, a lepton number of +1, and a lepton family number of +1 for the first (electron) of the three (electron, mu, tau) lepton families. (We're going to ignore numbers like weak isospin and weak hypercharge, for simplicity.)

Given these properties of an electron, we can ask ourselves what the antimatter counterpart of the electron would need to look like, based on the rules governing elementary particles.

In a simple hydrogen atom a single electron orbits a single proton. In an antihydrogen atom a single... [+] LAWRENCE BERKELEY LABS

The magnitudes of all the quantum numbers must remain the same. But for antiparticles, the signs of these quantum numbers must be reversed. For an anti-electron, that means it should have the following quantum numbers [remember, mass stays the same but electrical charge reverses]:

  • a rest mass of 9.11 × 10-31 kg,
  • an electric charge of +1.6 × 10-19 C,
  • a spin of (respectively) either -1/2 or +1/2,
  • a lepton number of -1,
  • and a lepton family number of -1 for the first (electron) lepton family.

And when you bind it together with an antiproton, it should produce exactly the same series of spectral lines and emission/absorption features that the electron/proton system produced.

Electron transitions in the hydrogen atom, along with the wavelengths of the resultant photons... [+] WIKIMEDIA COMMONS USERS SZDORI AND ORANGEDOG

All of these facts have been verified experimentally. The particle matching this exact description of the anti-electron is the particle known as a positron [a positive antielectron]. The reason why this is necessary comes when you consider how you make matter and antimatter: you typically make them from nothing. Which is to say, if you collide two particles together at a high enough energy, you can often create an extra "particle-antiparticle" pair out of the excess energy (from Einstein's E = mc2), which conserves energy.

Whenever you collide a particle with its antiparticle, it can annihilate away into pure energy. This... [+] ANDREW DENISZCZYC, 2017

But you don't just need to conserve energy; there are a slew of quantum numbers you also have to conserve! And these include all of the following:

  • electric charge,
  • angular momentum (which combines "spin" and "orbital" angular momentum; for individual, unbound particles, that's only "spin"),
  • lepton number,
  • baryon number,
  • lepton family number,
  • and color charge.

Of these intrinsic properties, there are two that define you as either "matter" or "antimatter," and those are "baryon number" and "lepton number."

In the early Universe, the full suite of particles and their antimatter particles were... [+] E. SIEGEL / BEYOND THE GALAXY

If either of those numbers are positive, you're matter. That's why quarks (which each have baryon number of +1/3), electrons, muons, taus, and neutrinos (which each have lepton number of +1) are all matter, while antiquarks, positrons, anti-muons, anti-taus, and anti-neutrinos are all antimatter. These are all the fermions and antifermions, and every fermion is a matter particle while every antifermion is an antimatter particle.

The particles of the standard model, with masses (in MeV) in the upper right. The Fermions make up... [+] WIKIMEDIA COMMONS USER MISSMJ, PBS NOVA, FERMILAB, OFFICE OF SCIENCE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, PARTICLE DATA GROUP

But there are also the bosons. There are gluons which have for their antiparticles the gluons of the opposite color combinations; there is the W+ which is the antiparticle of the W- (with opposite electric charge), and there are the Z0, the Higgs boson, and the photon, which are their own antiparticles.

However, bosons are neither matter nor antimatter. Without a lepton number or baryon number, these particles may have electric charges, color charges, spins, etc., but no one can rightfully call themselves either "matter" or "antimatter" and their antiparticle counterpart the other one. In this case, bosons are simply bosons, and if they have no charges, then they're simply their own antiparticles.

On all scales in the Universe, from our local neighborhood to the interstellar medium to individual... [+] NASA, ESA, AND THE HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM (STSCI/AURA)

So what puts the "anti" in antimatter? If you're an individual particle, then your antiparticle is the same mass as you with all the opposite conserved quantum numbers: it's the particle that's capable of annihilating with you back to pure energy if ever the two of you meet.

  • But if you want to be matter, you need to have either positive baryon or positive lepton number;
  • if you want to be antimatter, you must have either negative baryon or negative lepton number.

Beyond that, there's no known fundamental reason for our Universe to have favored matter over antimatter; we still don't know how that symmetry was broken. (Although we have ideas.) If things had turned out differently, we'd probably call whatever we were made of "matter" and its opposite "antimatter," but who gets which name is completely arbitrary. As in all things, the [our] Universe is biased towards the survivors.

Pillars of Cosmology: How the Universe Got Its Structure [During the Thesan Cosmic Dawn]

click to enlarge
The universe’s first structure originated when some of the material flung outward by the Big Bang overcame its trajectory and collapsed on itself, forming clumps. A team of Carnegie researchers showed that denser clumps of matter grew faster, and less-dense clumps grew more slowly. The group’s data revealed the distribution of density in the universe over the last 9 billion years. (On the illustration, violet represents low-density regions and red represents high-density regions.) Working backward in time, their findings reveal the density fluctuations (far right, in purple and blue) that created the universe’s earliest structure. This aligns with what we know about the ancient universe from the afterglow of the Big Bang, called the Cosmic Microwave Background (far right in yellow and green). The researchers achieved their results by surveying the distances and masses of nearly 100,000 galaxies, going back to a time when the universe was only 4.5 billion years old. About 35,000 of the galaxies studied by the Carnegie-Spitzer-IMACS Redshift Survey are represented here as small spheres. Credit: The illustration is courtesy of Daniel Kelson. CMB data is based on observations obtained with Planck, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States, NASA, and Canada.

Pillar of Cosmology: ‘Elegant’ Solution
Reveals How the Universe Got Its Structure

April 28, 2020

A direct, observation-based test
of one of the pillars of cosmology

The universe is full of billions of galaxies — but their distribution across space is far from uniform. Why do we see so much structure in the universe today and how did it all form and grow?

A 10-year survey of tens of thousands of galaxies made using the Magellan Baade Telescope at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile provided a new approach to answering this fundamental mystery. The results, led by Carnegie’s Daniel Kelson, are published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“How do you describe the indescribable?” asks Kelson. “By taking an entirely new approach to the problem.”

“Our tactic provides new — and intuitive — insights into how gravity drove the growth of structure from the universe’s earliest times,” said co-author Andrew Benson. “This is a direct, observation-based test of one of the pillars of cosmology.”

The Magellan telescopes at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, which were crucial to the ability to conduct this survey. Credit: Photograph by Yuri Beletsky, courtesy of the Carnegie Institution for Science

The Carnegie-Spitzer-IMACS Redshift Survey was designed to study the relationship between galaxy growth and the surrounding environment over the last 9 billion years, when modern galaxies’ appearances were defined.

The first galaxies were formed a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, which started the universe as a hot, murky soup of extremely energetic particles. As this material expanded outward from the initial explosion, it cooled, and the particles coalesced into neutral hydrogen gas. Some patches were denser than others and, eventually, their gravity overcame the universe’s outward trajectory and the material collapsed inward, forming the first clumps of structure in the cosmos.

The density differences that allowed for structures both large and small to form in some places and not in others have been a longstanding topic of fascination. But until now, astronomers’ abilities to model how structure grew in the universe over the last 13 billion years faced mathematical limitations.

“The gravitational interactions occurring between all the particles in the universe are too complex to explain with simple mathematics,” Benson said.

So, astronomers either used mathematical approximations — which compromised the accuracy of their models — or large computer simulations that numerically model all the interactions between galaxies, but not all the interactions occurring between all of the particles, which was considered too complicated.

"A key goal of our survey was to count up the mass present in stars found in an enormous selection of distant galaxies and then use this information to formulate a new approach to understanding how structure formed in the universe,” Kelson explained.

The research team — which also included Carnegie’s Louis Abramson, Shannon Patel, Stephen Shectman, Alan Dressler, Patrick McCarthy, and John S. Mulchaey, as well as Rik Williams, now of Uber Technologies — demonstrated for the first time that the growth of individual proto-structures can be calculated and then averaged over all of space.

Doing this revealed that denser clumps grew faster, and less-dense clumps grew more slowly.

They were then able to work backward and determine the original distributions and growth rates of the fluctuations in density, which would eventually become the large-scale structures that determined the distributions of galaxies we see today.

In essence, their work provided a simple, yet accurate, description of why and how density fluctuations grow the way they do in the real universe, as well as in the computational-based work that underpins our understanding of the universe’s infancy.

“And it’s just so simple, with a real elegance to it,” added Kelson.

The findings would not have been possible without the allocation of an extraordinary number of observing nights at Las Campanas.

“Many institutions wouldn’t have had the capacity to take on a project of this scope on their own,” said Observatories Director John Mulchaey. “But thanks to our Magellan Telescopes, we were able to execute this survey and create this novel approach to answering a classic question.”

“While there’s no doubt that this project required the resources of an institution like Carnegie, our work also could not have happened without the tremendous number of additional infrared images that we were able to obtain at Kit Peak and Cerro Tololo, which are both part of the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory,” Kelson added.