A little over a month left til season four, and I’m working on a GoT series. The Iron Islands of House Greyjoy. We do not sow.
On one thing most physicists agree. If the amount of dark energy in our universe were only a little bit different than what it actually is, then life could never have emerged. A little larger, and the universe would have accelerated so rapidly that matter in the young universe could never have pulled itself together to form stars and hence complex atoms made in stars. And, going into negative values of dark energy, a little smaller and the universe would have decelerated so rapidly that it would have recollapsed before there was time to form even the simplest atoms… .
We are an accident. From the cosmic lottery hat containing zillions of universes, we happened to draw a universe that allowed life. But then again, if we had not drawn such a ticket, we would not be here to ponder the odds.
|—||Physicist and writer extraordinaire Alan Lightman, the very first person to receive dual appointments in science and the humanities at MIT, on dark energy, the multiverse, and why we exist – superb, mind-bending read. (via elucipher)|
Artist Name: Vanessa Hile
life’s too short for pants
All the planets as one
These concerns stem from an overly simple demarcation between science and nonscience. Science depends on being able to observe something, but not necessarily everything, predicted by a theory. It’s a mistake to think of the multiverse as a theory, invented by desperate physicists at the end of their imaginative ropes. The multiverse is a prediction of certain theories—most notably, of inflation plus string theory. The question is not whether we will ever be able to see other universes; it’s whether we will ever be able to test the theories that predict they exist.
Imagine a tribe of primitive cosmologists living on a planet perpetually covered with clouds. They cannot see the sky, so all they can do is speculate. Most of them might be content to imagine that their gray atmosphere stretches on forever, but others start imagining huge numbers of other planets, many very different from their own. These folks go so far as to suggest that their picture helps explain why their own planet is so hospitable: On the planets that aren’t so pleasant, there aren’t any cosmologists asking that question.
This scenario is much like our current situation. We find ourselves surrounded by an opaque barrier past which we can’t see—the Big Bang. The distant universe might be uniform, or it might be full of different universes scattered throughout space. The conditions of our local environment might be the unique consequence of fundamental laws of physics, or they might just be one possibility out of a staggering number.
Right now we don’t know, and that’s fine. That’s how science works; the fun questions are the ones we can’t yet answer. The proper scientific approach is to take every reasonable possibility seriously, no matter how heretical it may seem, and to work as hard as we can to match our theoretical speculations to the cold data of our experiments.
Very interesting and thought-provoking read, if you’re interested in this sort of thing.(via wilwheaton)