Fun With Physics: Symmetry And Undiscovered Forms Of Matter

If there is anything I have read numerous times, it’s that physicists (and by association astronomers), love symmetry. And there’s a lot of symmetry about in the natural world. Of course not all of nature is symmetrical, such as the 2nd ‘law’ hardware of thermodynamics (time’s arrow). However, that ‘law’ is really only a prediction of possibilities. Therefore, it’s not really a universal physical ‘law’ at all (IMHO). If you wait long enough (under the guise that ‘everything not forbidden is compulsory’) that ‘law’ will be broken. For example, sir the cream into your black coffee, and sooner or later (probably much, much, much later) said cream mixed into said coffee will separate out to one side leaving, however briefly, black coffee on the other side.The crypto mania - Cover Story News - Issue Date: Nov 29, 2021

Symmetry in the physical sciences has had a history of making successful predictions. For example, observed symmetry within the three families/generations of the fundamental particles enabled the prediction of the existence of some missing theoretical particles that would have to fall within in order to make the symmetry come out right. Naturally, these theoretical particles were found, spot on where symmetry predicted.

A more familiar example is the Periodic Table of the Elements. When the overall order or symmetry of the chemical elements was realized, it was further realized that there were gaps – undiscovered elements. Of course it came to pass that all of these predicted elements, required to exist in order to save the symmetry, were eventually discovered.

If that were that, all would be well. However, yet another form of matter has been discovered in our Universe that goes by the phrase ‘dark matter’. Astronomers have verified that ‘dark matter’, apparently, must be non-baryonic in nature, and nobody really has a solid clue as to exactly what ‘dark matter’ actually is, other than it’s not electrons, protons, neutrons, positrons, anti-quarks, etc.

But that breaks our nice symmetry of baryonic matter and baryonic antimatter on one side, and non-baryonic ‘dark matter’ on the other. To restore symmetry, we also should have non-baryonic ‘anti-dark matter’ as well. That awaits discovery (if it exists) and thus I call that the first of our undiscovered forms of matter.

The one thing that both ordinary baryonic matter (and ordinary baryonic antimatter) have, as well as non-baryonic ‘dark matter’ (and presumably its antimatter counterpart), is that they all have properties of positive gravitational attraction. A ‘dark matter’ planet would orbit a ‘dark matter’ star just like Earth orbits the Sun (assuming ‘dark matter’ is the type of matter that can actually form macro objects like planets and stars).

Symmetry has been found to be preserved now when it come to gravity. Relatively recently (1990’s), astronomers discovered a new form of energy which has been called ‘dark energy’* (although ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ probably have no real connection apart from the label ‘dark’ – ‘dark’ because we can’t directly ‘see’ either). That ‘dark energy’ is not a pulling force like gravity, but a pushing force that’s causing the expansion rate of our Universe to accelerate (when everyone expected good old straight forward gravity to slow the expansion rate down). Translated, ‘dark energy’ is, for all practical purposes, antigravity.

But oops, ‘dark energy’ apparently breaks symmetry with the matter component of our Universe. According to Einstein, energy and mass are but two sides of the same coin (E equals M C squared). A tiny bit of ordinary mass (or matter) gets converted to ordinary energy say when you burn a piece of paper; a greater percentage of ordinary mass (or matter) gets converted to ordinary energy in say, a nuclear explosion; and 100% of ‘ordinary’ mass (or matter) gets converted to ordinary energy when ordinary mass (or matter) meets ordinary antimatter mass. And, the reverse is possible – M equals E divided by C squared).

Now I assume that ‘dark energy’ is real energy seeing as how it has the power to accelerate the expansion of The Universe. I further assume that ‘dark energy’ is as obeying of Einstein’s equation as any other form of energy. So, what kind of mass (or matter) can be converted via Einstein’s famous formula to ‘dark energy’? Or, what kind of mass (or matter) will ‘dark energy’ turn into in the reversible situation? Does ‘dark energy’ become ‘dark matter’ (or dark mass in this case) – (probably no connection); or ordinary mass (or matter) – (highly unlikely); or some other kind of mass (or matter) – (maybe ‘doesn’t matter’)?

Here I will go off the deep speculative end, and suggest, for the sake of symmetry, that just as three known (and probably four) forms of matter produce positive (pulling) gravity, so too should four forms of matter be associated with negative (pushing) ‘gravity’, or antigravity, now commonly called ‘dark energy’.

Beyond that statement I’m unable to wax lyrical – perhaps theoretical particle physicists (and kin) might be able to come up with exotic candidates. I mean particle physicists not only love symmetry, but are well into the theory of super-symmetry (SUSY) as being part and parcel of their quest to uncover a unification of all the known forces in nature. In addition to SUSY, throw in aspects of string or superstring theory, and/or M-Theory, and/or extra and hidden dimensions which may have a bearing on things, and who knows what sort of impossible things they (theoretical particle physicists) can come up with for us to believe in before breakfast!

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