Authors: John A. Gowan
The significance of proton decay is that it is the end-point of time and temporal entropy for matter, in much the same way we might say the black hole is the end-point of space and spatial entropy for light. Again we find that "the extremes meet": proton decay is surely commonplace inside black holes, while Hawking's "quantum radiance" returns bound energy to free energy and temporal entropy to spatial entropy. The notion that the ratio of force strengths relates the "heat death" and the "information death" of the Cosmos via proton decay suggests that if we knew one we would know the other; unfortunately, we know neither, and our force ratio is a pure number, without units. Nevertheless, I will use it to make a naive guess at the proton's lifetime. The lower experimental bound on proton decay is currently 10(35) years. According to the hypothesis advanced here, that the proton lifetime reflects the force ratio, in 2.5 x 10(41) seconds all protons will have decayed, which, curiously enough, yields an observational expectation (8 x 10(33) years) not far off the current lower experimental bound.
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