III. Ecosmos: A Revolutionary Organic Habitable UniVerse
1. A Galactic, Stellar, Planetary System Spacescape
After theoretical Quantum Cosmology, here we present a survey of astrophysical vistas that have expanded from Galileo’s moon to an infinite multiUniVerse. Our “own” cosmos in its temporal course is graced by a trillion galaxies, each with billions of stars and a quintillion orbital worlds in and out of habitable zones. A good recent example is Finding Our Place in the Universe by Helene Courtois.
IAU Strategic Plan 2020-2030. iau.org/administration/about/strategic_plan. This is a 72 page International Astronomical Union document drafted by Debra Elmegreen, Ewine van Dishoeck, Renée Kraan-Korteweg and Piero Benvenuti to scope out a range of activities for new research projects and proposals, along with public and educational communication and engagement. Founded in 1919, the IAU publishes Symposia Proceedings of which the latest volume 353 is Galactic Dynamics in the Era of Large Surveys, see also Origins: From the Protosun to the First Steps of Life (345).
The International Astronomical Union, whose mission is to promote and safeguard astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation, has been the worldwide organisation of professional astronomers since 1919. In the last century, the endeavour of astronomy has grown and evolved in ways that could not have been anticipated or predicted at the time of the IAU’s founding. In the early 1900s, astronomers had not yet proven that there were other galaxies besides the Milky Way. The expansion of the Universe was unknown IAU Strategic Plan 2020 –2030. (8)
Varying Constants and Fundamental Cosmology. https://indico.cern.ch/event/462870/overview. A September 2016 conference held at the University of Szczecin, Poland, on this vast subject, as the quote cites. International authorities such as Jean-Philippe, John Moffat, Laura Mersini-Houghton, Paul Davies, Michael Heller, Thomas Naumann and others were among the speakers. Select papers are being published in the MDPI online journal Universe. As a reflection, it amazes that human beings seem to have a capacity to discover and quantify any breadth and depth of the material cosmos. Our minute third infinity of living, cognitive entities to have evolved so as to convert these atomic and cosmic realms into recorded knowledge.
This time the aim of the conference was to bring together specialists dealing with the problem of varying (dynamical) physical constants and a broad range of other topics. The last day of the conference was devoted to philosophical aspects of the variability of physical constants and the frontiers of physics and cosmology. Further topics: Modified gravity, Quantum cosmology, Quantum entanglement, Multiverse, Anthropic principle, Dark matter, Dark energy, Inflation and large-scale structure, Early Universe, Gravitational waves, Cosmic Microwave Background.
Abbott, Brian, et al. Virtual Universe. Natural History. April, 2004. The American Museum of Natural History has created a digital universe atlas which spans 15 stages from earth’s solar system to the far edges of the cosmos. These images can be downloaded at www.haydenplanetarium.org/hp/vo/du/download.html.
Aerts, Conny. Probing the Interior Physics of Stars through Asteroseimology. arXiv:1912.12300. The KU Leuven, Belgium astrophysicist and Radboud University, Netherlands Institute of Astronomy director posts a 70 page popular review of this new cosmic field
Asteroseismology, the interpretation of the characteristics of oscillation modes in terms of the physical properties of the stellar interior, brought entirely new insights in how stars rotate and how they build up their chemistry throughout their evolution.
Ambjorn, Jan, et al. The Self-Organizing de Sitter Universe. International Journal of Modern Physics D. 17/2515, 2009. This paper by Ambjorn, Niels Bohr Institute, Jerzy Jurkiewicz, Jagellonian University, and Renate Loll, Utrecht University, is also available at arXiv:0806.0397. It is introduced by saying that the 1917 cosmological solution to Einstein’s field equations by the Dutch astronomer Willem de Sitter continues to guide understandings of the nature of spacetime. (See also the author’s paper “Nonperturbative Quantum Gravity” in Physics Reports, online May 2012). Highly technical physics, (many more by each scientist at arXiv), as self-similar fractal’s appear to span from quantum to quasar.
We propose a theory of quantum gravity which formulates the quantum theory as a nonperturbative path integral, where each spacetime history appears with the weight exp (iSEH), with SEH the Einstein-Hilbert action of the corresponding causal geometry. The path integral is diffeomorphism-invariant (only geometries appear) and background-independent. The theory can be investigated by computer simulations, which show that a de Sitter universe emerges on large scales. This emergence is of an entropic, self-organizing nature, with the weight of the Einstein-Hilbert action playing a minor role. Also the quantum fluctuations around this de Sitter universe can be studied quantitatively and remain small until one gets close to the Planck scale. The structures found to describe Planckscale gravity are reminiscent of certain aspects of condensed-matter systems. (Abstract, 2515)
Ambjorn, Jan, et al. The Self-Organizing Quantum Universe. Scientific American. July, 2008. A popular article on a breakthrough conception that fittingly comes by way of Jan Ambjorn at the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Jerzy Jurkiewicz from Jagiellonian University in Kracow, Poland, and Renate Loll with Gerald t’Hooft’s Institute of Theoretical Physics at Utrecht University. Braced by a history of quantum theory, with over ten years of technical papers accessible from the author’s websites, what is proposed is indeed a cosmic Copernican Revolution. The 20th century stringy models, inappropriate and signifying nothing, ought to be set aside. Rather a material nature graced everywhere by component ‘motes’ in relational motion reveals an innate propensity to organize and develop itself into increasingly complex phenomenal form. A fractal-like spacetime thus abides whereof the same creative patterns and processes repeat at each sequential scale and instance. Quite Nobel quality work, and if properly grasped, a profound genesis universe can begin to gain its theoretical explanation.
To put it differently, if we think of empty spacetime as some immaterial substance, consisting of a very large number of minute, structureless pieces, and if we then let these microscopic building blocks interact with one another according to simple rules dictated by gravity and quantum theory, they will spontaneously arrange themselves into a whole that in many ways looks like the observed universe. (43) Similar mechanisms of self-assembly and self-organization occur across physics, biology and other fields of science. A beautiful example is the behavior of large flocks of birds, such as European starlings. Individual birds interact only with a small number of nearby birds; no leader tells them what to do. Yet the flock still forms and moves as a whole. The flock possesses collective, or emergent, properties that are not obvious in each bird's behavior. (43)
Somewhere Over the Cosmos.
An update on the growing acceptance, percolation, even acquiescence, unto a scientific mindset (e.g., Alvin Toffler in the May/June 2009 Foreign Policy) of a multiverse infinity of cosmoses, of which our present universe is but a fleeting “random accident.” The aim of this bibliographic website is to document that such misconceived doom is wrong and destructive while in our midst a novel cosmic to human gestation is arising, if only we could altogether look for it.
Andrews, Robin George. A Dance that Stops 2 of Neptune’s Moons from Colliding. New York Times. November 21, 2019. The volcanologist and science writer (see his site) comments on Orbits and Resonances of the Regular Moons of Neptune by Marina Brozovic, et al at JPL, NASA, and SETI Institute including Jack Lissauer in Icarus (338/Art. 113462, 2020). Mathematical forces seem to be at work amongst the 14 moons and counting of this gas giant outer world which serve to direct orbital traffic so they stay in their lanes.
Ashtekar, Abhay, et al, eds. General Relativity and Gravitation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. A formidable volume for the 100th anniversary occasion of Albert Einstein’s discovery of these cosmic properties, by senior scientists such as George Ellis, Malcolm MacCallum, Martin Rees, Beverly Berger, Misao Sasaki, and many others. A century later a more global, engendered effort contains Einstein’s Triumph, Gravitational Waves, Gravity is Geometry, and Beyond Einstein sections.
Bahcall, Neta. The Dark Side of the Universe. carnegiescience.edu/events/lectures/dark-side-universe. A Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington public lecture to be given on June 25, 2019 by the esteemed Princeton University astrophysicist. The quote below glimpses the latest views on the whole scale composition of this awesome cosmos, which yet seems readily amenable to our human description.
Of what is the universe made? Not only is most of the matter in the universe dark and unconventional but, surprisingly, the major component of the universe may be "dark energy" — a form of energy that opposes the pull of gravity and causes the universe's expansion to accelerate. By combining recent observations of clusters and large-scale structures, distant supernovae, and the cosmic microwave background radiation, we find evidence for a universe comprised of 5 percent normal atomic matter, 20 percent non-atomic dark matter, and 75 percent "dark energy." The observations suggest a universe that is lightweight. With only 25 percent of its critical mass-density needed to halt the universal expansion, the universe will likely expand forever. Dr. Bahcall will discuss the observations of the dark side of the universe and their implications.
Barack, Leor, et al. Black Holes, Gravitational Waves and Fundamental Physics. Classical and Quantum Gravity. 36/143001, 2019. We cite this entry among many as an example of today’s Earhtwise collaborative, multi-author (some 200 here) research projects as they proceed apace with humankinder’s self-quantitative discovery of a genesis uniVerse. The 272 page document is posted as 1806.05195 on the arXiv eprint site, search Samaya Nissanke among names for follow up studies such as A Unique Multi-Messenger Signal of QCD Axion Dark Matter (1905.04686). Within the broad Natural PhiloSophia purview of this resource site, we are invited to appreciate and recognize this phenomenal Earth capability and achievement of cosmic significance.
The grand challenges of contemporary fundamental physics - dark matter, dark energy, vacuum energy, inflation and early universe cosmology, singularities and the hierarchy problem - all involve gravity as a key component. And of all gravitational phenomena, black holes stand out in their elegant simplicity, while harbouring some of the most remarkable predictions of General Relativity: event horizons, singularities and ergoregions. The purpose of this work is to present a concise, yet comprehensive overview of the state of the art in the relevant fields of research, summarize important open problems, and lay out a roadmap for future progress. (Abstract)
Barbour, Julian. The End of Time. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2000. Amongst physicist Barbour’s ruminations about the chimera of duration resides a Leibnizian view, as opposed to the Cartesian-Newtonian materialism, which perceives a finely variegated reality with each phase formed by a common principle.