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SmashTheState's avatar

What would an anti-entropic star look like?

Asked by SmashTheState (14228points) April 13th, 2015

Years ago, I read a fascinating article in a science journal about computer modelling of anti-entropic matter. Entropy is one of the reversible arrows of time; that is, there’s no particular reason why it should point the way it does and could just as easily point the other way. It just doesn’t. To put it another way, if you were to drop an egg on the floor, there’s no reason why the shattered pieces couldn’t re-assemble themselves and leap back up into your hand. They just don’t.

It has been theorized that anti-entropic matter (that is, matter in which the entropic arrow of time is reversed, going from a less to a more ordered state) may once have existed in the early Universe. Previously it was believed that any anti-entropic matter which existed would long since have ceased to exist as a result of interaction with entropic matter. This paper, however, showed that with modern computer modelling they saw that anti-entropic matter was much more robust than previously thought, allowing for at least the possibility of the existence of anti-entropic matter.

This got me thinking about, for example, anti-entropic stars. If sufficient anti-entropic matter accreted to begin fusing… what would it look like? Remember that anti-entropic isn’t just matter run in reverse. There are a number of arrows of time (like the quantum arrow) which are not arbitrary the way entropy is, and are one-direction only. Anti-entropic matter would have some of the properties of entropic matter, but also move from a state of less order to more order. I’m afraid I haven’t the imagination or mathematical and scientific chops to conceive of the physical properties of an anti-entopic star.

Remember that this is General. I’m looking for scientific rigor in your answers.

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10 Answers

flutherother's avatar

Does the idea of ‘anti entropic matter’ make sense? Entropy and matter are two quite different things. Entropy is a law in physics that all systems must obey including the matter that makes up a star. There is such a thing as anti-matter but not anti-entropic matter.

SmashTheState's avatar

@flutherother Er… since there is a paper on anti-entropic matter and I just asked a whole question about it, yes, anti-entopic matter makes sense. And no, entropy is not “a law of physics that all systems must obey.” Entropy is one of the arrows of time. Some of the arrows are reversible. Entropy is one of them. The direction the entropic arrow points is arbitrary.

stanleybmanly's avatar

If the direction of the entropic arrow is arbitrary, how would you even recognize the anti entropic “star” for what it is. In fact, how could you “see” it at all? There’s an awful lot of speculation required of your question. For example, how is it possible for matter of an opposite entropy to accrete? Isn’t gravity and its effects only discernible with “time”? Wouldn’t the very term “anti entropic” star imply thermonuclear reactions running backwards. In fact, shouldn’t the “star” be disassembling itself while heat, light and ALL other radiation moves TOWARD the “stellar” interior? While the arrow of time should in theory be reversible, the fact that nothing we observe (above the quantum level) defies our notions on “aging” pretty much indicates that anti entropic matter (if it exists), must be undetectable.

Bill1939's avatar

@stanleybmanly, while the question anti-entropy seems to suggest something that is unlikely, wouldn’t the idea that “heat, light and ALL other radiation moves TOWARD the ‘stellar’ interior” define the interior of a black hole? Given the limited time span that our knowledge covers and the fact that nothing about the first moments of the big bang and especially before its existence is known, anti-entropy might be possible. If as conjectured by some scientists that the universe might collapse to a singularity and reemerge from a big bang, wouldn’t the collapse be anti-entropy?

stanleybmanly's avatar

@Bill1939 GREAT POINT! But the whole concept is a lot more to wrap your head around than even a black hole. I mean doesn’t anti entropy imply order increasing with time?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Yes, @stanleybmanly, Over time things would become more ordered. How does that happen ? I went looking for the scholarly article about “anti-entropic matter” but only found blogs about what it would be like. How would something like a puddle from a melted ice ‘know’ it was a ice sculpture of a Blue Marlin?

SmashTheState's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I’ve asked this question a number of times in different fora over the years, and most of the answers I get are mocking, telling me my question is nonsensical, that anti-entropic matter doesn’t exist, that I’m making it all up, and so on and so forth. The first few times I got annoyed enough to go and hunt down the actual paper. At the time, I found it on, if memory serves, the database of the American Physical Society, but I’ve since lost track of it. The original article on the paper was published in either Discover or SciAm, I can’t remember which, but I’ve also been unable to locate it on their websites.

stanleybmanly's avatar

All of us have come across and visualize speculations on time running backwards, but evidence of violations of the 2nd law beyond quantum level considerations are either just not possible, or beyond detection. Perhaps if we do share a universe where objects are growing younger as we age, perhaps we don’t coexist in the same time long enough to discover one another. Anyway, thinking about this sort of stuff can drive you toward alcohol, The solution to everything.

Bill1939's avatar

At a macro level, an anti-entropic reality is improbable if not impossible, as @Tropical_Willie points out in the example of a puddle returning to its earlier existence as an ice sculpture. Though it is my understanding that mathematics suggests that at a quantum level time reversal is possible, I am unable to accept that the direction of time can be reversed and likely will not be able to until anti-gravity has been demonstrated.

While the nature of what existed at the moment the big bang began is currently inconceivable, a return to this condition is not outside of the realm of possibility. As entropy reaches its limit when the universe has expanded to the point where matter and energy no longer exist, time would have been stretched until it no longer existed.

Should something remain, perhaps the substance that existed in the (Planck?) singularity preceding the big bang, time will slowly restart as my imagined substance begins to contract. This wildly hypothetical notion does not include the possibility that the opposite of the sequence that entropy followed would occur. My proposed substance would not recombine, but time would accelerate as space contracts until reaching Planck’s velocity. At this point, the universe would begin again.

SmashTheState's avatar

@Bill1939 There’s a literal Universe of difference between highly improbable and impossible, especially given the resurgence of steady state as a viable model, with the implication that all non-impossible things will eventually occur. The paper to which I’ve been referring was about computer modelling of anti-entropic matter, and it had revealed that anti-entropic matter, if it had ever existed, would be more resistant to interaction with entropic matter than had previously been believed. What got me thinking about the properties of anti-entropic matter is that while the entropic arrow would be reversed, other arrows would not be. It’s literally inconceivable for me to imagine the physical properties of something which has familiar qualities for the other arrows, but a reversed entropic arrow. The physical properties of hypermasses like stars are already edging on the surreal; throwing anti-entropy into the mix is completely mind-boggling for me.

(And incidentally, I don’t know if you’ve been following, but a growing number of physicists are starting to believe our Universe is virtual, that the “just so” nature of physical constants is becoming increasingly suspicious. If that’s the case, the limits of the Planck length really represent the granular resolution of the simulation.)

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