Monday, August 13, 2012

Emilio Segre Lecture

Today, I watched a full hour video of Andrew Lange discussing cosmology:

Here is a short discussion:

I was struck by the "radical" idea of Guth, Steinhardt, and Susskind, that the universe was once tinier than the nucleus of the atom.  Not because it was too amazing that it should have been that small, but for the opposite reason.  The idea that it was any finite size at all is problematic, because it indicates an infinite number of independent non-cauasally connected events occurring throughout a finite space.

I think it is a rational expectation that the universe started from a geometric point in space-time.  If you have it start at any finite size, whether that be a meter across, a micron across, or smaller than the nucleus of an atom, it's all the same; regardless; because you'd be talking about a bunch of events happening in different spots, spontaneously, and all at the same time, without any communication between them.

As far as inflation goes, perhaps Lange would not think it were such a "fantastic" idea if he were aware of the simplest implications of the Lorentz Transformation on an event in the immediate past.  The trouble, I think, is that though the mathematics are really obvious, the flexibility of our minds to deal with the idea that acceleration can cause a past event to move further into the past is difficult to "believe."  So long as they won't permit Special Relativity in Cosmology, of course, they won't be able to figure out how simple it is.

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