"The Elegant Universe" -A Galaxy Insight

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September 12, 2007

"The Elegant Universe" -A Galaxy Insight

Brian_greene “How can a speck of a universe be physically identical to the great expanse we view in the heavens above?”

Brian Greene, The world's leading string theorist, Professor of Physics at Columbia University and author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space. Time. And the Texture of Reality.

The stunning complex of coincidences that render the universe fit for life and intelligence, is captured by British astronomer Sir Martin Rees: "There are deep connections between stars and atoms, between the cosmos and the microworld."

Scientists have been aware of this great puzzle for decades, but two recent discoveries have given the quest for an answer to why the universe seems life-friendly a new set of urgency. The first was the discovery of Dark Energy—although the predominant constituent of the universe—its strength is so astonishingly small that were it even slightly stronger, the universe would be void of galaxies, solar systems and life.

The second great discovery, which is yet to be proved, is M-theory, the reincarnation of superstring theory which posits that the subatomic world are just different modes of vibration of tiny one-dimensional strings of energy of which only a fraction corresponds to the sub-atomic particle world described by the Standard Model.

For string theory to have the kind of acceptance of general relativity, it's got to make a prediction that is borne out by some experiment. And as yet, we haven't quite gotten to the stage where we can make definitive predictions which, if they're found, the theory was right, and if they're not found, the theory was wrong.

But we have gotten to the stage where we can make some rough predictions for things that might happen at the accelerator built near Geneva, Switzerland, called the Large Hadron Collider. If some of the predictions that string theory says might happen are borne out through experiment at that accelerator, then it's quite possible that string theory would be as accepted as general relativity.

However, Steve Giddings a theoretical physicist at the University of California states that: "No longer can we follow the dream of discovering the unique equations that describe everything we see, and writing them on a single page. Predicting the constants of nature becomes a messy environmental problem. It has the complications of biology."

Posted by Casey Kazan.

Story Links:

BBC Super-String Theory -A breathtaking video about the Grand Unification Theory for the universe and its implications on our understanding of the universe's nature
String Theory -"The Elegant Universe"

http://www.charlierose.com/guests/brian-green
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/greene.html

 

Related Galaxy Posts:

The Biological Universe -A New Copernican Revolution?
"Lord of the Rings" -Europe's Galactic Machine
The God Particle -The Holy Grail of Physics: has it been found?
Search for the "God Particle"

 

Comments

Jeffrey: Apologies! And thanks. Our problem is that we post these late at night at 12 am midnight, and our copy editing doesn't take place until the next morning-Pacific Time. We're working on getting a London-based copy editor to adjust for the time differential so our brilliant prose sings on key! My thanks for the wake up call! Warm best wishes, Casey.


Although I think this is a fascinating site, I found several grammatical errors, which make it look silly, coming from such a sophisticated group of intellects. Do you need someone to edit or go over the material before you post it? Check out your posting of the Elegant Universe--you don't need a fine-tooth comb to find all the errors.

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