February 28th, 2013
Reblogged from Irene Klotz with Yahoo News.
Scientists are still sorting out the details of last year’s discovery of the Higgs boson particle, but add up the numbers and it’s not looking good for the future of the universe, scientists said Monday [Feb. 18].
“If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation, it’s bad news,” Joseph Lykken, a theoretical physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, told reporters.
Lykeen spoke before presenting his research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.
“It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable and at some point billions of years from now it’s all going to get wiped out,” said Lykken, who is also on the science team at Europe’s Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, the world’s largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.
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February 14th, 2013
The bulk of my graduate research is focused on the work and thought of Max Tegmark, an MIT astrophysicist/cosmologist, who’s responsible for a tremendous contribution to multiverse models. In honor of Charles Darwin’s 204th birthday he did an article for the Huffington Post, “Celebrating Darwin: Religion and Science are Closer Than You Think.” There are some very interesting survey results regarding faith and conflict between evolution and big bang cosmology.
So is there a conflict between science and religion? The religious organizations representing most Americans clearly don’t think so. Interestingly, the science organizations representing most American scientists don’t think so either: For example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science states that science and religion “live together quite comfortably, including in the minds of many scientists.” This shows that the main divide in the U.S. origins debate isn’t between science and religion, but between a small fundamentalist minority and mainstream religious communities who embrace science.
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January 14th, 2013
The properties of our universe appear to be finely-tuned for the existence of life. Cosmologists would like to explain the numbers and values that describe these properties we observe. Their attempt is to show that these constants and values in nature are completely determined as a product of inflation, which entails multiverse scenarios. Inflationary cosmology seems to not only solve fine-tuning implications but it also solves the horizon problem. That is, the early universe’s expansion rate was exponentially fast—faster than the speed of light and if it expanded at such a rate information (light) could not propagate beyond the cosmic horizon. Due to these problems much theoretical focus and work has been implemented in to the field of cosmology and physics developing an inflationary cosmology and string theory.
The eternally inflating multiverse is often used to provide a consistent framework to understand coincidences and fine-tuning in the universe we inhabit. This theory primarily appears in several forms, which attempt to explain the mechanism that drives the rapid expansion of the universe. Before developing these models there are a few basic premises that must be agreed upon: the size of the universe, the Hubble expansion, homogeny and isotropy, and the flatness problem.
It is unanimously agreed upon that the Hubble volume we inhabit is incredibly large. According to standard Friedmann-Lemaître-Robertson-Walker (FRW) cosmology, without inflation, one simply postulates 1090 elementary particles.
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October 18th, 2012
In honor of today’s lecture on fine-tuning and the multiverse I recorded the lecture and I’m posting it online here. I hope you enjoy it and make good use of it.
Audio lecture from 18 October 2012.
The fine-tuning argument argues that when the physics and the laws of nature are expressed mathematically their values are ever so balanced in a way that permits the existence of life. This claim is made on the basis that existence of vital substances such as carbon, and the properties of objects such as stable long-lived stars, depend rather sensitively on the values of certain physical parameters, and on the cosmological initial conditions. I’m merely arguing that the universe/multiverse is fine-tuned for the essential building blocks and environments that life requires for cosmic and biological evolution to even occur.
- Given the fine-tuning evidence, a life permitting universe/multiverse (LPM) is very, very epistemically unlikely under the non-existence of a fine-tuner (~FT): that is, P(LPM|~FT & k’) ≪ 1.
- Given the fine-tuning evidence, LPM is not unlikely under FT (Fine-Tuner): that is, ~P(LPM|FT & k’) ≪ 1.
- Therefore, LPM strongly supports FT over ~FT. 
*Remember, k’ represents some appropriately chosen background information that does not include other arguments for the existence of God while merely k would encompass all background information, which would include the other arguments, and ≪ represents much, much less than (thus, making P(LPM|~FT & k’) close to zero).
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October 15th, 2012
We’ve all probably heard of string theory. I’ve seen specials devoted to it on PBS, it in major science and philosophy books/papers, dialogues with skeptics, and even in [the greatest film of all time... ever] Good Will Hunting. It’s a very complex and confusing field of research. My hope is that my summation here will help give a introductory grasp of the material.
The spontaneous breakdown of symmetries in the early universe can produce linear discontinuities in fields, known as cosmic strings. Cosmic strings are also common in modern string theories in which the most fundamental reality are astronomically tiny vibrating strings (either closed or open depending on the interpretation of the mathematics). The combination of the string/scalar landscape with eternal inflation has in turn led to a markedly increased interest in anthropic reasoning. In this multiverse scenario life will evolve only in very rare regions where the local laws of physics just happen to have the properties needed for life, giving a simple explanation for why the observed universe appears to permit the evolutionary conditions for life.
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