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Hints of structure beyond the visible universe - Comments

King of NH's Avatar Comment 1 by King of NH

This is fascinating, and over my head. I took a course on Astronomy, but was rather baffled by the higher end material. My professor was brilliant and passionate, but seemed to assume we already knew quantum theory and how it applied to star formation, and went from there.

Is there any layman's rebuttal to the less extraordinary claim (in my opinion) that the 'universe' is not expanding, but only the kernel of matter and energy we occupy is. Why is it a wrong hypothesis that the universe is infinite, and that as far as our instruments can see is only a scratch on the surface of that eternal infinity? What evidence is there that there was nothing anywhere before the Big Bang?

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 05:40:00 UTC | #181520

mmurray's Avatar Comment 2 by mmurray


The entire "global" universe is about 10100 times as large as the universe we can see.


What is that 10100 ? Wikipedia gives 14x 10^9 light years for the radius of the visible universe and 78 x 10^9 light years as a lower bound on the radius on the whole universe based on the sphere occupied by the cosmic background radiation.

Michael

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 05:57:00 UTC | #181537

GBile's Avatar Comment 3 by GBile

mmurray,

10100 might be a typo for 10-100, somewhere between 10 times or 100 times. Does that make sense ?

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 06:07:00 UTC | #181545

Geraint's Avatar Comment 4 by Geraint

If you look at the original article, it's 10^100 (ten to the power of one hundred). Sub- and superscript formatting often seems to get killed.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 06:33:00 UTC | #181556

GBile's Avatar Comment 5 by GBile

Geraint,

If 10^100 is true ... wow !
You might get lost in such a place.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 06:56:00 UTC | #181571

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 6 by rod-the-farmer

"Seems like an awful waste of space", he said, origin-ally.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 07:25:00 UTC | #181585

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 7 by mordacious1

I like the caveat, that this is only the "framework of a theory". This area of cosmology is getting a lot of interesting info lately, but it's going to be awhile before solid theories can be put forth.

Does anyone know if this asymmetry was predicted by anyone? or was a complete suprise? I would expect the big bang to have been symmetrical, maybe because everyone else did. Interesting stuff.

"A rapid growth spurt called inflation". Well, that part I can argue with, inflation continues today, and hopefully for awhile still. Big crunches are hard to deal with.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 08:00:00 UTC | #181596

7Fred7's Avatar Comment 8 by 7Fred7

Cor! Big init!

Well, the predictions will be tested pretty soon, thanks to the accelerating expansion of science and technology.

"A rapid growth spurt called inflation". Well, that part I can argue with, inflation continues today, and hopefully for awhile still. Big crunches are hard to deal with.
The (theorised) inflation was something a special. Like an almost instantaneous change in dimensions from the microscopic to the astronomical. Different to the expansion we see now.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 08:04:00 UTC | #181598

Synchronium's Avatar Comment 9 by Synchronium

If you look at the original article, it's 10^100 (ten to the power of one hundred). Sub- and superscript formatting often seems to get killed.


Formatting aside, I'd still rather read the articles on here without getting about 3 popups trying to sell me something.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 08:34:00 UTC | #181613

Double Bass Atheist's Avatar Comment 10 by Double Bass Atheist

Interesting article.
Unfortunately, it will simply become just another item for creationists to misquote and/or mischaracterize. All the creotards are going to hear is "structure beyond the universe".

...another example of "god's perfect plan."
...or, See, science has shown that there was always order in the universe, immediately after creation."

Now we all know that this precisely NOT what the cosmologists are saying, but that certainly won't stop the creotards.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 08:43:00 UTC | #181619

ridelo's Avatar Comment 11 by ridelo

"Seems like an awful waste of space", he said, originally.

Or: "Seems like an awful waste of real estate", he said, still more originally.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 09:06:00 UTC | #181637

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 12 by mordacious1

7Fred7

Yes, I realize your point. But the word "inflation", can be used either way. For example, Some suggest that we have: inflation, crunch, inflation, crunch...These guys use inflation to mean expansion, including the rapid inflation immediately after the BB. I know it's just semantics, but I prefer: rapid inflation, or rapid expansion for right after the BB. Then inflation or expansion there after, though you're right when you suggest that most cosmologists use expansion for the later time, it gets confusing for people who don't understand the diff.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 09:08:00 UTC | #181641

kaiserkriss's Avatar Comment 13 by kaiserkriss

" Hints of structure beyond the visible universe"

Don't they get it, that's obviously HEAVEN. (sarcasm) jcw

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:02:00 UTC | #181663

Scep's Avatar Comment 14 by Scep

It is good to see comments like this on other blogs. This one is from the Huffington Post, written by a man who knows all about (un)reality:

Dr Chopra writes, "The second reason for today's bad news is an addiction to unreality".

There is another addiction to unreality, it is bad news too. It is when seemingly normal people are threatened and intimidated by logic, reason and critical thinking. On your own blog, intentblog.com, comments promoting these traits are often removed.

The latest removal is a report that a team of physicists has claimed that our view of the early Universe may contain the signature of a time before the Big Bang.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7440217.stm

So on one hand you, or whoever looks after IB, remove scientific opinions but go on telling us that you "know" that there is "Life after Death". Or you cite that bizarre University of Virginia study that to date has found over 2,000 children who vividly remember their past lives . . . Even more astonishing, over 200 of these children exhibit birthmarks that resemble the way they remember dying in their most recent lifetime. http://dangerousintersection.org/2007/02/28/the-great-afterlife-debate-michael-shermer-v-deepak-chopra/

In "Peace is the Way" you even tell us that mental spoon bending is a fact our culture is trying to deny us. You tell us how you and your wife have been part of many spoon-bending get-togethers.

Thank goodness for Arianna's blog, here everyone is welcome no matter how addicted one is to unreality or reason.

Note: Dr Chopra once called Richard Dawkins a bigot because of a disagreement about consciousness.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:13:00 UTC | #181671

A.Lex's Avatar Comment 15 by A.Lex

10^100 = googol!

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:20:00 UTC | #181674

Drool's Avatar Comment 16 by Drool

Synchronium, use Firefox.

But these asymmetrical spots are expected to be few and far between, meaning that there is only a 1% chance that our observable universe would happen to occupy one.
When I read that, I immediate thought of the anthropic principle.

If our "observable universe" lies within asymmetrical (hot?)spots, would it not be difficult to determine if even the laws of physics in other regions are the same as ours (i.e. no 'boundary condition'). Was it Stephen Hawking who said that if one element of the laws of physics were ever-so-slightly 'off', conditions probably wouldn't support a life-sustaining universe?

If the structure and physical laws vary across the unseen global universe, might we be fortunate enough to be placed [edit: sic] in a spot that is "just right"? Or maybe I've completely misunderstood the article, my scientific knowledge of the field is at best, poor. :)

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:22:00 UTC | #181676

Scep's Avatar Comment 17 by Scep

Ref 16. Comment #191205 by Drool

'If the structure and physical laws vary across the unseen global universe, might we be fortunate enough to be placed in a spot that is "just right"?'

This must be the case. Even in a "Multiverse Universe" we are in the one that permits complexity to arise from simplicity.

The anthropic principle: cosmological version.

Richard Dawkins says that we can now apply these principles to the existence of the universe. He says that physicists have calculated that if the laws of nature that govern this universe were just slightly different, then the evolution of life would not have been possible.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:40:00 UTC | #181680

Barry Pearson's Avatar Comment 18 by Barry Pearson

mordacious1 said: I like the caveat, that this is only the "framework of a theory". This area of cosmology is getting a lot of interesting info lately, but it's going to be awhile before solid theories can be put forth.

Last week's New Scientist had an article about problems with "Inflation". The complete article isn't available free online:

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/fundamentals/mg19826591.500-inflation-deflated-the-big-bangs-toughest-test.html
http://arxiv.org/abs/0712.1148

Evidence one way or another will be arriving over the next year or two!

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:48:00 UTC | #181683

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 19 by huzonfurst

I have a Bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics and still think the concept of faster-than-light inflation of space is absurdly ad hoc, considering the leap of 'faith' it takes that such a thing is even possible. Apparently it's the only way to get from the early Big Bang to the present universe, but what the theorists really mean is "it's the only way we can think of so far." It was still called the inflationary *hypothesis* the last time I looked.

Einstein never fully accepted quantum physics and I've never fully accepted inflation. Another example of the essential similarity of our thought processes ;>).

PS: Deepak Chopra is a frickin' idiot!

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:53:00 UTC | #181686

eclampusvitus's Avatar Comment 20 by eclampusvitus

And now for something completely different.

Huzon, my Los Angeles Dodgers have a player named Hu.

I've been waiting for the announcers to say it.

PS: You're right about Chopra.

ECV

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:11:00 UTC | #181693

gcarrison's Avatar Comment 21 by gcarrison

Unfortunately, it will simply become just another item for creationists to misquote and/or mischaracterize. All the creotards are going to hear is "structure beyond the universe".

...another example of "god's perfect plan."
...or, See, science has shown that there was always order in the universe, immediately after creation."

Now we all know that this precisely NOT what the cosmologists are saying, but that certainly won't stop the creotards.


I think we all understand that due to the nature of creationist that they will always find some kind of argument even if its to argue that an apple is not really an apple. Just be glad that you and alot of other folk are rational enough and have enough common sense to be able to argue our point well enough to put them in their place and show them up to be intelectual idiots.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:17:00 UTC | #181694

hoops mccann's Avatar Comment 22 by hoops mccann

"...another curious pattern in the CMB called the axis of evil, which some scientists have..."


Who says that scientists are humorless?

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:21:00 UTC | #181697

oskorei's Avatar Comment 23 by oskorei

#1: QM has little to do with stellar structure. It is mostly rather standard thermodynamics and nuclear physics, but I see your point...;)

In any case, the Universe is usually taken to be our spacetime continuum, and that is most likely finite. We use the word "multiverse" for everything else, and that is, just as likely, infinite, although such terms may not even be applicable to it.

#7: The era of inflation is defined as that time within which the universe, in a fraction of a second, inflated 10^30 times its size...or so. It is certainly over, although normal expansion is still ongoing and is, perhaps, accelerating (there are other solutions to the supernovae problem that do not involve accelerating expansion, but it is the most likely one).

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:27:00 UTC | #181699

William1w1's Avatar Comment 24 by William1w1

King of NH:

What you have suggested is possible. The thing to remember about science is that it does not make assumptions without evidence. We assume that the universe is similar to what we can currently see and that it is relatively uniform. In fact, one of the principles that you must accept in order to give credence to any version of the Big Bang theory is that the universe is uniform. Frankly, you might as well jump to the conclusion that some supernatural being created everything we can see if you're going to assume that there was something before the universe that we have no evidence for.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 13:04:00 UTC | #181753

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 25 by perkyjay

Synchronium: You do not have to suffer through pop-ups. There are a number of pop-up preventers available for download free. I haven't had a pop-up in 4 years - mine is called "No pop-ups".

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 15:22:00 UTC | #181802

perkyjay's Avatar Comment 26 by perkyjay

I'm sorry Synchronium - that name should have been
no-pops.com

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 16:40:00 UTC | #181821

utelme's Avatar Comment 27 by utelme

A universe so vast that it's been estimated that there are more stars in the current universe than grains of sand on every beach on earth. Now an infinite universe posited that makes that universe seem tiny. Yet, people believe that a finger on the edge of that atom (earth) points down to a bunch of moving, talking quarks on this infinitely small spot in the middle of nowhere and is also interested in what we do. Crazy!

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 17:34:00 UTC | #181828

rebelest's Avatar Comment 28 by rebelest

huzonfirst wrote:

I have a Bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics and still think the concept of faster-than-light inflation of space is absurdly ad hoc, considering the leap of 'faith' it takes that such a thing is even possible.


I don't have a degree in astronomy or physics but what I understand this faster than light expansion of space to mean (and of course I may be wrong) is that if space is expanding from some given point, at or near c then the addition of expansion in opposite directions equals space itself expanding at or near twice c.

It may be easier to think of two space spaceships that are speeding away from each other in opposite directions: each of them is traveling at three-quarters the speed of light (so neither of them is traveling at the theoretical speed limit of light) and the speed which they are moving away from each other is 2 X 3/4c = 1.5 c-the speed that they are moving away from each other is faster than c but neither spaceship is traveling at c.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 18:54:00 UTC | #181846

William1w1's Avatar Comment 29 by William1w1

rebelest:

Your argument would make sense were it not for Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity. There are no absolute points in space; there is no aether.

Let's imagine galaxies instead of spaceships. Now, let us say that there are 3 galaxies in a row: galaxies A, B and C. Galaxy A is on the left, galaxy B is in the middle, and galaxy C is on the right. From our reference frame, we will claim that galaxy B is "stationary." Galaxy A is moving to the left at 60% the speed of light (c), and galaxy C is moving to the right at 60% c.

A man in galaxy A wants to send a message with radio waves (a form of light) to galaxy C. However, based on your logic, his transmission would never catch up with galaxy C because he would see galaxy C moving at 120% c. Instead, the man decides to send the message first to galaxy B, which in turn can relay it to galaxy C. AHH, but herein lies the flaw in your logic. If the message could go from galaxy A to B at 100% c, and another message could move at the exact same speed from galaxy B to galaxy C, then actually we can take galaxy B out of the entire system and the radio transmission STILL MAKES THE JOURNEY.

The reason this is possible has to do with time dilation and length contraction based on relative velocities of different systems. Read up on the Special Theory of Relativity, specifically the clock paradox. It will blow your mind.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 20:24:00 UTC | #181860

Scep's Avatar Comment 30 by Scep

"Read up on the Special Theory of Relativity, specifically the clock paradox. It will blow your mind."

Stephen Hawking's "A Briefer History of Time" is a fascinating read.

Tue, 10 Jun 2008 21:52:00 UTC | #181866