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 Current Replies for "The Shape of the Universe"
  The Shape of the Universe (Richard)
Posted: 15/4/2004
I see from The Guardian (15.04.04) that German cosmologists are suggesting that the universe is horn shaped. The article reports; ‘This is the shape of creation, known as a Picard topology, that makes the most sense to Professor Frank Steiner, a theoretical physicist at the University of Ulm.’

The article tells how this shape best explains the pattern of cosmic background radiation when the universe was only about 380,000 years old as discovered by the Wilkinson microwave anistropy probe made by NASA last year. The latest calculation for the age of the universe as a result of this investigation is 13.7 billion years.

The piece goes on to suggest that the horn shape is ‘a possible answer to the great spacetime riddle. A spacecraft could go on for ever – but if it reached the flared end of the horn, it would start travelling back in on the opposite side’. Apparently another suggestion, made by a team in Pennsylvania, is that the universe is like a squashed sphere.

There is some discussion as to where the concept of infinity fits into all this. One theoretician is quoted as saying; ‘Anyway, the universe can have a shape and still be infinite.’

I wonder what shape that would be! Feels as though some thinkers are determined to hang on to the ‘uncashable’ notion of infinity come what may.

I wonder why.


  Re: The Shape of the Universe (maikel annaley)
Posted: 3/5/2004
as occam would say: "each to his own in true measure."
to interpret the quote thus: "the universe can have a shape"(in space)."and still be infinite."(in time)
this accords with the hawking view that: "the black hole limit on the concentration of information is fundamental...."
maikel .
  Re: The Shape of the Universe (Richard)
Posted: 7/5/2004
Many thanks for taking the time to comment.
I agree that if the word 'infinite' had any 'cashable' meaning then it would be possible to think of the universe as being finite in spatial dimensions and of 'infinite' duration but I don't think that this was what the German cosmologists meant (though it could have been). The whole tenor of their contribution was about physical shape and they tried to cover the 'infinite' angle by allowing for a thin tail which, supposedly, has no end. In other words, they are claiming that the universe is 'infinite' in one long, thin aspect.
For me this is all very unsatisfactory and the problem stems, I believe, from the need to preserve the notion of infinity. Much better to acknowledge the fact that the word has no basis in reality.
  Re: The Shape of the Universe (Evan Poncelet)
Posted: 17/6/2005
Well Richard, I think the german cosmologists suggested that the universe is or was at some point in space/time horn shaped is because of a "volume of rotation" problem found in your handy dandy calculus text book. It's the "Gabriel's horn" problem and you could probably google it to find out the specifics. Anyhow, the crazy part about the problem is that when you graph the function y=1/x and rotate the curve about the x-axis of a cartesian coordinate system, it looks like the horn on a trumpet, and according to the Fundamental Theory of Calculus the surface area (example: square footage) of that horn is infinite but the three dimensional volume (example: ammount of water it can hold) is limited. So essentially, the universe can contain a set ammount of junk: push pops, humanity, energy etc. and never be able to be fully covered by aluminum siding, no matter how good a contractor you hire. Though this sounds impressing when a cosmologist says it, it's basically just an blind and unscientific application of a neato math problem to the shape of the universe which may be entirely unrelated. I gave up believing that we (humans) had correctly identified the form of the universe when some scientists compared it to the shape of a pringles potato chip.
  Re: The Shape of the Universe (Evan Poncelet)
Posted: 17/6/2005
... On second thought, however ironically, the nature of our universe may very well be related to pringles potato chips. The big bang theory, which is warmly embraced by alphomism, holds that at one point in time all matter in the universe gravitationally compacted itself untill it resulted in a chaotic explosion of energy and matter. A deeper meditation reminds us of the pringles potatoe chip slogan...

"Once you pop, the fun won't stop"

Cosmology indeed....
  Re: The Shape of the Universe Richard
Posted: 17/6/2005

Nice one! Made me smile! Pringles, eh?

Thanks for the comments, especially the bit that queries the leaping about from maths to cosmology which occurs, I believe, all too readily.

  Re: The Shape of the Universe (Renzore)
Posted: 2/12/2005
lol a pringles potatoe chip, i agree and god must be the can!
  Each to his own, i agree... (Fatimah)
Posted: 4/8/2011
On the day the Trumpet is blown and everyone in the heavens and everyone on the earth is terrified — except those Allah wills, everyone will come to Him abject. (An Naml 87)
Posted: 9/8/2011

Thank you for contributing.



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