Abstract

THE STRUCTURE OF THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE

DEWEY B. LARSON

Description of Contents

The objective of this work is to show that two simple postulates incorporating four assumptions as to the physical nature of the universe and three as to its mathematical behavior are sufficient to account for all physical phenomena. In the first few pages these postulates are developed and explained. The remainder of the work is a demonstration that a logical and mathematical development of the consequences of the postulates necessarily leads to a theoretical universe identical both qualitatively and quantitatively with the actual physical universe. The following is a detailed description of the contents.

Section I
Points out that existing physical theory is totally inadequate to cope with the flood of discoveries now emanating from the experimental laboratories, and suggests that the root of this difficulty lies in the steps which have been taken in recent times which have had the effect of divorcing physical theory from physical reality. The philosophy of this present work is defined as a return to reality, accomplished by setting up a new theory entirely on solid factual foundations and conservative extrapolations thereof, without recourse to pure hypothesis or ad hoc assumptions. On this basis two Fundamental Postulates as to the nature of space and time, including a total of seven separate assumptions derived from extrapolations of known relationships, are developed and explained.
Section II
Begins the development of the consequences of the Postulates. It is demonstrated that one of the first consequences is the existence of radiation in the form of photons traveling outward in all directions from various sources at unit velocity. This theoretical radiation is shown to have the same characteristics as observed radiation. It is demonstrated that the dual wave-particle nature of the relation is a result of its inherent characteristics and that no medium is necessary. The constant velocity irrespective of the velocity of the reference system is also shown to be an inherent property of the radiation which is a direct result of the nature of space-time as defined by the postulates and does not require any special explanation of the kind advanced in relativity theory.
Section III
Shows that a portion of the theoretical radiation must develop into matter, and that this matter must exhibit the behavior which we know as gravitation. Here again the theoretical characteristics of the phenomenon are identical with the observed characteristics, including the conformity with the inverse square law and the fact that no medium is required. It is also demonstrated that as a direct consequence of the Postulates and without the intervention of any other factor, the matter must exist in the form of atoms of different kinds and it is shown that the theoretically stable atoms constitute a series which is identical with the series of chemical elements.
Section IV
Develops the concepts of force, energy and mass from the Postulates and relates each of these quantities to the fundamental entities, space and time. Since all of the mathematical consequences of the postulates will necessarily appear in terms of natural units, the conversion factors connecting the natural and customary units of space, time and mass are derived from the measured values of the velocity of light, the Rydberg frequency and the gravitational constant, respectively. Newton’s laws of Motion are derived from the Postulates and the Second Law is developed into the gravitational equation by a further application of the Postulates. It is shown that Newton’s Laws are universally applicable and that the supposed breakdown of the Laws at high velocities is an erroneous inference which has resulted from an inadequate understanding of the fundamental nature of time.
Section V
Identifies and describes the inter-atomic forces as they are defined by the principles derived from the Fundamental Postulates and formulates an equation from the calculation of these forces. The nature of the force equation in the solid is explained and an extension of the force equation yields an equation for the inter-atomic distances in this equilibrium condition.
Section VI
Calculates the inter-atomic distances of the chemical elements from the equations of Section V, and shows that the results thus obtained are in agreement with the experimental values. The differences in these distances between two or more forms of the same element are shown to be due to variations in orientation, and the possible variations are identified and explained. The reason for anisotropy in certain groups of elements is explained on the basis of the fundamental principles previously developed and it is shown that further extension of the factors responsible for anisotropy results in the formation of glasses rather than crystals.
Section VII
Extends the calculation of inter-atomic distances to chemical compounds. Part of this material was included in Section VI. The omitted portion completes the calculation of distances for all of the common inorganic binary compounds crystallizing in the normal structural forms, including both isotropic and anisotropic crystals. The normal distances between the atoms in complex crystals are also evaluated.
Section VIII
Takes up the subject of the specific volume of complex compounds in which the volume is not a direct function of the inter-atomic distances. An expression for the calculation of these volumes is derived from the general principles previously formulated, and this expression is applied to the calculation of specific volumes for a substantial number of typical inorganic compounds of this class. The applicability of the same expression to organic compounds is also indicated, but actual calculations are deferred to a later section.
Section IX
Develops from the inter-atomic force equation a general expression for the effect of compression on solid structures. It is shown that the inward force acting on the solid under equilibrium conditions is equivalent to an initial pressure, and the total effective pressure is the sum of this initial pressure and the applied external pressure. An equation for the calculation of the initial pressure is derived from the general pressure expression and initial pressures are calculated for the elements and a large number of compounds. A simple relation between the initial pressure and the initial compressibility is derived and initial compressibilities are calculated for the elements and many compounds. It is shown that these values agree with the experimental results within the probable margin of error. An additional equation is formulated from the general pressure expression to enable calculation of the relative volumes of solids under pressure. Values obtained from this equation are then compared with most of Bridgman’s data on solid compression, including practically all of his results on the elements and a large amount of the data on both organic and inorganic compounds.
Section X
Takes up the subject of valence. It is shown that the factors determining valence are entirely separate and distinct from those entering into the determination of the inter-atomic distance, and the valence equilibrium is something of a totally different nature from the inter-atomic force equilibrium. The various types of valences, their derivation, and characteristics are described and explained and the possible valences of each element are tabulated. The factors governing the relative stability of the alternate valence combinations are determined. The nature of radicals and their participation in the molecular structure are explained and the composition and characteristics of the common inorganic radicals are covered in detail.
Section XI
Extends the principles developed in the preceding section to the compounds of the organic division. It is shown that the accepted “bond” theory of organic structure is not a true representation of the nature of these compounds, and that they are in reality constructed in the same manner as the inorganic compounds, differing from the latter in some respects only because of the two-dimensional nature of most of the inter-atomic forces in the organic compounds. The effect of this factor on the characteristics of the organic radicals and the interior structural groups of the organic compounds is explained. A condensed, but substantially complete, discussion of the chain compounds then follows, indicating how the special structural features of the various classes of compounds of this type result from the operation of the general principles previously derived. It is pointed out that the new theory derived from the Fundamental Postulates not only accounts for the major structural features equally as well as the accepted “bond” theory but also explains many facts on which the bond theory is silent ; for example, the difference between the hydroxyl hydrogen (replaceable by Na) and the methyl hydrogen (replaceable by C1), the reason why CO exists as a separate compound but CI-12 does not, and so on.
Section XII
Is a similar detailed discussion of the ring compounds. The reason for the existence of the ring structure is explained, together with such other factors as the unusual stability of the benzene ring. the ability of the aromatic rings to utilize structural groups which do not appear in the chain compounds, the structural relationships in the condensed rings, etc. Each of the principal families of cyclic, aromatic, and heterocyclic compounds is discussed and the special features of these various groups are shown to result from the operation of the applicable general principles. A number of revisions of chemical nomenclature are suggested to conform with the new relationships which are established.
Section XIII
Introduces the property of heat. The nature and characteristics of thermal motion are derived from the Fundamental Postulates. The concept of temperature is defined and the conversion constants relating the natural and Celsius scales are evaluated. Mathematical expressions are developed for the heat content of the solid and its derivative, the specific heat. The general specific heat pattern for the elements is derived from the latter equation and the nature of the possible variations is determined. Values are calculated for the specific heats of elements of different types and a number of diagrams are presented to show the correlation between these theoretical specific heat curves and the observed values. It is shown that the specific heats of the simple inorganic compounds follow the same pattern as those of the elements and additional similar graphs are included for these compounds. T he concept of the thermal group is introduced and the specific heats of representative organic and complex inorganic compounds are calculated with the assistance of this concept. These calculated values are also compared with the experimental data in appropriate diagrams.
Section XIV
Applies the relationships of the preceding section to the inter-atomic force equation to determine the nature and characteristics of thermal expansion. An equation is developed for calculating the expansion of different substances and the expansions thus obtained for a number of elements are compared with experimental values.
Section XV
Examines the effect of a continued increase in thermal energy on the force system of the individual molecule and shows that at a particular thermal level, which varies with the nature of the substance, this system experiences a drastic change. The transition temperature is identified as the melting point and the new condition beyond the transition is identified as the liquid state. It is made clear that physical , state is a property of the individual molecule and not as generally assumed, a “state of aggregation.” In the vicinity of the melting point the liquid aggregate is a mixture of solid molecules and liquid molecules in proportions determined by probability considerations (not a mixture of solid and liquid aggregates, but a liquid which contains some solid molecules). The existence of both kinds of molecules in the aggregates in this and the similar region in the vicinity of the critical temperature has a major effect on the properties of the aggregates in these regions and much of the mathematical development in the next few sections is devoted to a determination of the magnitude of these effects. At this time the effect on the liquid specific heat is examined. A general liquid specific heat expression is derived and it is shown that modification of this expression as required by the presence of solid molecules results in a curve which reproduces the experimental results. The nature of the heats of fusion and transition is explained and the method of calculating the heat of fusion is indicated. In order to obtain some information needed in the subsequent development, some further attention is given to the property of mass and the concept of secondary mass is introduced and explained. The mass of the H1 atom and the mass equivalent of unit atomic weight are calculated and from the latter figure Avogadro’s number is derived.
Section XVI
Establishes the relation of the low temperature volume (or density) of the liquid to the solid volume and derives a mathematical expression for computation of this liquid volume. A liquid equivalent of Avogadro’s Law is formulated on the basis of this expression. The liquid volume at these temperatures is shown to consist of two separate components: a constant initial component and a temperature-dependent component. Densities of approximately 100 organic compounds and 100 other substances (elements, fused salts, etc.) calculated on this basis are shown to be in agreement with experimental values. The nature and magnitude of the structural factors involved in these calculations are discussed.
Section XVII
Considers the transition from liquid to gas at the upper end of the liquid temperature range and produces further evidence supporting the theoretical conclusion that physical state is a property of the individual molecule. The general nature of the gaseous state is considered and the Gas Laws are derived from the Fundamental Postulates. The molar gas volume is computed from the basic conversion constants by means of the Gas Laws. Equations for the specific heat; of gases are derived and their scope of application is indicated. The critical temperature is defined and an expression for calculation of the value; applicable to different substances is formulated. Critical temperatures are calculated for approximately 200 elements and compounds and the results are shown to be in agreement with experimental values.
Section XVIII
Extends the liquid volume relationships to the higher temperatures. It is demonstrated that these high temperature volumes include a third component in addition to the two which make up the low temperature volume. An equation for the orthobaric volume is developed and it is shown that the volumes of approximately 50 elements and compounds computed over the range of temperatures from the boiling point to the critical temperature are in agreement with the measured values. The computations for water are extended down to the freezing point in order to illustrate the effect of the increasing proportion of solid molecules on the liquid volume. The probability relations applying to this situation are developed and from the probability. values the percentage of solid molecules in liquid water is computed for each temperature. A composite solid-liquid volume is then obtained in each case and the resulting values are shown to agree with the measured volumes of the liquid aggregate.
Section XIX
Is a discussion of liquid compressibility. Further elaboration of the relationships previously developed indicates that the compressive forces act on each of the three volume components separately, and a mathematical expression is derived for each effect. An equation for calculating the initial pressure applicable to the liquid (which is not the same as the solid initial pressure) is also formulated and the initial pressures for a large number of liquids are calculated. All of this information is then applied to a computation of the compressions of various liquids studied by Bridgman and calculated values for 25 compounds at several different temperatures and over a wide range of pressures are shown to be in agreement with Bridgman’s results. Following these comparisons, which apply to liquids in which the solid component is still negligible at the highest pressure of observation, the discussion is extended to those liquids which begin the transition to the solid state within the experimental range. The effect of pressure on the probability relations is evaluated, and the proportion of solid molecules in the liquid aggregate is calculated for each individual temperature and pressure of observation, using the same methods as in the water calculations of Section XVIII. A good correlation with Bridgman’s results is shown on 16 different liquids over a wide range of temperatures and pressures. A very extensive tabulation of values for liquid water is included.
Section XX
Examines the corresponding situation on the other side of the melting point : the modification of the solid volume due to the presence of liquid molecules. The percentages of these liquid molecules in the solid aggregates under pressure and the resulting aggregate volumes are calculated by the methods of Section XIX. The tabulated comparisons of that section are then extended into the solid state up to Bridgman’s experimental pressure limit. This section also examines the volume relations in the liquid-gas transition zone. An expression for the compression of the critical volume component is derived and applied to the volumes calculated by the methods of Section. XVIII to determine the volumes of the high-temperature liquid under pressure. Values for water and six hydrocarbons are shown to be in agreement with experimental results.
Section XXI
Is a discussion of surface tension. This phenomenon is explained as another manifestation of the same force that is responsible for the liquid initiate pressure, and the initial pressure equation is modified for application to the calculation of the surface tensions. Values are computed for more than 100 substances over the normal liquid temperature range and it is shown that these values agree with the experimental results. The nature of the structural factors which determine the individual values is discussed.
Section XXII
Extends the application of the principles developed in connection with the discussion of the melting point in Section XV and shows that a similar change of state of the individual molecule takes place at the critical temperature. The process of evaporation at temperatures below the critical point is indicated to be a result of the operation of the probability principles. The general nature of the vapor state is explained. A mathematical expression for the specific heat of the vapor is developed and a number of curves based on this expression are compared with experimental data. T he relation of vapor volume to liquid volume is discussed and a general equation for saturated vapor volume is derived. Volumes calculated from this education for 16 compounds over the normal liquid temperature range are shown to agree with experimental results. An equation is derived for the critical volume and calculated values are compared with experimental data. It is shown that the factors determining the total heat of liquids and vapors are the same as those determining the volume, and the volume equations are modified to apply to total heat. The total heat of liquid water and saturated steam is calculated at 20-degree intervals all the way from the melting point to the critical temperature and it is shown that the calculated values agree with the experimental results.
Section XXIII
Analyzes the results of superheating a vapor and develops an expression for calculating the superheated vapor volume. Because of the rather small amount of variation between substances and the large amount of tabular data required to cover the normal temperature and pressure range of each substance, the comparisons between calculated and experimental values are limited to five compounds at Constant pressure over a range of temperatures and two more at constant temperature over a range of pressures, plus water vapor over a wide range of conditions. The relation of the superheated vapor volume to the volume of gases in the range above the critical volume is discussed and the superheated vapor equation is modified to apply to the volumes of real gases. Close agreement is shown between the experimental values and the volumes calculated from this equation for seven compounds. This comparison includes a very extensive tabulation of water volumes.
Section XXIV
Shows that the volumetric behavior of gases in the range below the critical volume is totally unlike that in the range covered in Section XXIII, and the condition existing below the critical volume and above the critical temperature is defined as a different state of matter: the condensed gas state. It is shown that the theoretical principles require condensed gases to follow volumetric relations analogous to those of the liquid, and values calculated on this basis for representative compounds are shown to agree with the observed volumes. As in the preceding sections very extensive comparisons of water volumes are included, covering the entire range up to 2500 atm. and 1000 degrees C at 50-degree intervals.
Section XXV
Returns to the subject of Section III and demonstrates that the principles therein developed also require the existence of certain sub-material particles. The following particles of this nature are shown to be required by theory: neutron, neutrino, positron, electron and one hitherto unrecognized transient particle, closely related to the element hydrogen. The relation of these particles to the atoms of matter is explained, and it is shown that only two of the particles, the electron and the neutrino, can exist as independent units in the terrestrial environment in sufficient quantities to produce any unique physical phenomena.
Section XXVI
Is a discussion of the phenomena originating from the presence of electrons in the material environment. It is demonstrated that the nature of the electrons, as defined by the Fundamental Postulates, precludes motion in open space, as long as they remain in their normal state, but permits free motion through certain kinds of matter. The electron motion is identified as the electric current and the application of Newton’s Law of Motion and other general principles governing the motion of material particles, to this current is explained and expressed in mathematical form. The thermal effect of the current is analyzed and included in the mathematical expression. The nature of resistance is explained and the difference between conductors and non-conductors is related to the structural factors developed in Section VI. A mathematical expression for the calculation of resistivities of conductors is derived from the basic principles and resistivities computed for the elements are compared with such experimental values as are available. Theoretically derived relative resistivities at selected temperatures are also compared with the observed results on a representative group of elements. The various basic electric quantities, other than those already covered, are defined and their relation to space and time is indicated. The natural unit applicable to each of these quantities is calculated from information previously developed. The nature of superconductivity at low temperatures is explained. An equation is developed for the effect of compression on resistivity and the values calculated from this expression are shown to be in agreement with Bridgman’s results on 23 elements.
Section XXVII
Is a further discussion of electric current phenomena. The concepts of potential and current flow are examined in more detail. The contact potential, the thermoelectric effect and the Peltier effect are shown to be necessary results of the principles previously established. The relation of the conduction of heat to the conduction of electricity is explained and a modification of the Widemann-Franz equation is developed for the calculation of heat conductivities.
Section XXVIII
Introduces the concept of charge, and shows that the existence of charges of various kinds is required by the Fundamental Postulates. The nature of electric charges is explained, together with the difference between positive and negative charges. The quantities involved in static electric phenomena are defined and related to the basic quantities previously described. The natural unit of each of these quantities is evaluated. The electric force equation is developed from the Fundamental Postulates, and the behavior of the forces between like and unlike charges is explained. The properties of the charged electron are discussed and the mass of the electron is computed. The process of ionization of gases and liquids is described and the electrolysis of liquids is discussed in considerable detail.
Section XXIX
Defines the magnetic charge and indicates its relation to the electric charge. The nature and units of the various magnetic quantities are discussed, with particular reference to the effective dimensions, which have hitherto been generally misinterpreted. The magnetic force equation is derived from the general principles previously established. It is shown that magnetic charges can be either positive or negative, but that negative charges have properties totally different from those recognized as magnetic. All of the charges which we commonly consider as magnetic are therefore positive. The existence of directional magnetic effects is explained as a result of the geometry of the magnetic charges. The nature of permanent magnets is discussed. The existence of other phenomena which are in some respects equivalent to magnetic charges is shown to be a necessary consequence of the nature of the charges, and these other phenomena, electromagnetism and gyromagnetism, are examined. The electromagnetic equations are developed from the basic principles. Induction of charges is shown to be a result of the inherent properties of charges and the characteristics of both electrostatic and electromagnetic induction are explained. The reason for the existence of the dielectric constant and the magnetic permeability is stated and the distinction between diamagnetic, paramagnetic and ferromagnetic substances is discussed. An equation is derived from calculation of diamagnetic susceptibility and the values calculated for a large number of substances are compared with experimental results. The relation of the susceptibility to refraction is explained.
Section XXX
Discusses the phenomena due to the presence of the second of the two abundant sub-material particles, the neutrino. Since very little experimental information regarding this particle is available, most of this section is theoretical, but the theoretical conclusions are in agreement with observation wherever experimental data are available for comparison. It is shown that the presence of varying numbers of neutrinos results in a magnetic ionization level which increases cumulatively with the age of the structure. (This is the negative magnetic charge, which was excluded from the discussion in Section XXIX). The nature of isotopes and their relation to the magnetic ionization level is explained. It is demonstrated that there are 117 possible elements and that all of these elements are stable at zero magnetic ionization. Increasing magnetic ionization is shown to create instability by reducing the upper limit. An equation relating the center of the zone of isotopic stability to the magnetic ionization level is derived from the basic principles. These values are calculated for all elements stable under terrestrial conditions and are compared with experimental results.
Section XXXI
Takes up a consideration of the processes which are initiated when the limits defined in Section XXX are reached. It is shown that alpha radioactivity takes place whenever the mass of an element is above the overall limit and that beta radioactivity occurs when any isotope is outside the zone of stability as previously defined. The origin of natural radioactivity is indicated to be a rise in the magnetic ionization level, which lowers the limiting atomic number and makes all elements above the new limit unstable. It is pointed out that this means that the radioactivity of any specific element is determined by the environment and is not inherent in the structure of the element itself. It is shown that natural radioactivity is only one of a general class of atomic transformations, all of which are governed by the same principles. The basic processes involved in these transformations are described, and the radioactive decay of uranium is followed through all of its successive steps as an illustration of the operation of these processes. The available processes for atom-building are deduced from the general principles previously established and the origin of the material elements is explained. The factors controlling the abundance of the various elements, as they are originally formed, are identified and it is shown that the observed scarcity of heavy elements requires the existence of a process whereby the elements heavier than the nickel-iron group are continually removed from the system.
Section XXXII
Is an examination of energy relationships. Einstein’s mass-energy equation is derived from the Fundamental Postulates, and it is shown that this derivation leads to a somewhat different interpretation of the equation. The usual conclusion that an increase in energy involves a corresponding increase in mass is demonstrated to be inconsistent with the Postulates, and it is indicated that the equation is merely a statement of the equivalence of alternate forms of the same basic entity and it applies only when and if conversion from one form to the other actually takes place. It is shown that the decrease acceleration found by experiment at high velocities is not due to an increase in mass but to the fact that force vanishes as unit velocity is approached; that is, the zero value of a in the relation of a = F/m, which is indicated by experiment as the limiting condition at unit velocity, is not due to an infinite value of m, as inferred by Einstein, but to a zero value of F, which necessarily results from the nature of force, as derived from the properties of space-time defined by the Fundamental Postulates. Further attention is given to the subject of secondary mass introduced in Section XV and an equation for calculating this mass (the deviation from the nearest whole number) is derived. The values thus obtained are compared with the results of measurement. It is shown that radioactivity and the other atomic transformation processes discussed in Section XXXI involve the secondary mass only. The concept of a destructive limit is introduced and explained, and it is demonstrated that the primary mass must reach the thermal destructive limit somewhere in the neighborhood of the probable interior temperatures of the stars. It is shown that the hydrogen conversion process commonly regarded as the source of stellar energy has the wrong direction from a probability standpoint and it is deduced that the destruction of primary mass, rather than the hydrogen conversion, is the primary source of stellar energy. It is pointed out that this process accounts for the scarcity of heavy elements discussed in Section XXXI. Another destructive limit, that applicable to magnetic ionization, is examined and it is deduced that all galaxies which survive as independent units long enough must ultimately reach this limit.
Section XXXIII
Begins a more detailed examination of radiation. The role of radiation in the atomic transformation processes is discussed briefly. The process of absorption of radiation by matter, the photoelectric effect, and related phenomena are interpreted in the light of the previously established principles, Planck’s constant is evaluated and shown to be merely a conversion constant which is applicable only in the field for which it was originally developed and is totally foreign to many of the areas in which it is being utilized in current physical theory. It is pointed out that the dimensions ergs × seconds are not the true dimensions of the constant and have not physical significance. The nature of the work function is explained and a method of determining the value of this function is given. The work functions of the elements are obtained in this manner and are shown to be in agreement with the observed values. The details of the process of emission of radiation are described and the radiation constant is calculated from the basic data. The origin of the various radiation frequencies and the difference between the production of continuous and line spectra are explained. The usual expressions for the frequencies of hydrogen and ionized helium are derived from the Fundamental Postulates and the nature of the expressions for the more complex spectra are indicated.
Section XXXIV
Is devoted to refraction. The characteristics of this phenomenon are deduced from the basic nature of radiation as explained in Section II and it is shown that there are two separate components involved. Equations for both refraction and dispersion are developed on this basis and numerical calculations are made for approximately 500 substances. The calculated values are shown to agree with the results of measurement.
Section XXXV
Begins the application of the Fundamental Postulates and the various relationships derived therefrom to the problems of cosmology. It is shown that the Postulates require the universe to be infinite in extent and unchanging in its general aspects. As a consequence of the latter requirement all basic processes must necessarily be cyclic in character. The Postulates also require an expansion of the material universe such as is indicated by astronomical observations, but it is demonstrated that this expansion is only part of the total cycle and that it is entirely consistent with the concept of an infinite and permanent universe. The stellar evolutionary cycle is examined in the light of the foregoing principles and it is brought out that the direction of evolution must necessarily be opposite to that usually envisioned; that is, the stars must be adding matter by accretion from the surroundings and moving up the main sequence to where they will ultimately reach the destructive thermal limit and explode. It is shown that this hypothetical cycle produces a straightforward and logical explanation of all of the major evolutionary features revealed by observation of the stars.