III. Ecosmos: A Revolutionary Fertile, Habitable, Solar-Bioplanet, Incubator Lifescape
1. Quantum Cosmology Theoretic Unity
Rickles, Dean, et al, eds.
The Structural Foundations of Quantum Gravity.
Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Philosophical physicists discuss what if anything is real. From the time of Newton and Leibniz, is space-time composed of monadic things, or do interrelations possess equal primacy. Are phenomena ‘background dependent,’ as string theory would have it, or is a preferred ‘background independence’ the case. Lee Smolin, John Stachel, and colleagues advance a ‘relational’ phase of quantum physics that converges on an obvious complementarity of part and field, node and link.
There is a common core to the views expressed in these papers, which can be characterized as the stance that relational structures are of equal or more fundamental ontological status that objects. (Preface) A ‘stronger’ form of structuralism might urge a more radical reconceptualization of objects, such that they come to be understood as mere ‘nodes’ or ’intersections’ in the structure. More generally, objects might be understood as being secondary to the structure; the relations are then to be regarded as having ontological primacy over the objects. Alternatively, one might eschew talk of ’primacy’ and adopt a view that is committed to both categories but privileges neither over the other. (26)
Robles-Perez, Salvador. Quantum Cosmology in the Light of Quantum Mechanics. Galaxies. 7/2, 2019. In this MDPI journal, a Spanish mathematician (search) continues his studies which are a good example of how human collective sapience can readily cast imaginative quantifications across any breadth and depth of this awesome presence. Again we beg to ask whoever are we infinitesimal peoples to be able to envision, describe and take forth this grand vista?
There is a formal analogy between the evolution of the universe, when it is seen as a trajectory in the minisuperspace, and the worldline followed by a test particle in a curved spacetime. The analogy can be extended to the quantum realm, where the trajectories are transformed into wave packets that give us the probability of finding the universe or the particle in a given point of their respective spaces: spacetime in the case of the particle and minisuperspace for the universe. The wave function of the spacetime and the matter fields altogether can then be seen as a super-field that propagates in the minisuperspace. The super-field can thus be interpreted as made up of universes propagating, i.e., evolving, in the minisuperspace. (Abstract excerpt)
Samuel, Eugene. What Lies Beneath. New Scientist. February 9, 2002. A report on the work of Nobel prize physicist Robert Laughlin who contends that the search for bottom level particles and laws is misconceived because they are not really there. Rather the universe is a spontaneous emergence which springs from quantum criticality.
For example, in some magnetic solids individual spins become so highly correlated that the behavior of one affects them all, and the collective wavefunction of the material lacks any sense of scale….And to Laughlin, this is a highly desirable property, because scale invariance is also a fundamental property of space-time. (26)
Sanchez, Norma. New Quantum Phase of the Universe before Inflation and its Cosmological and Dark Energy Implications. arXiv:1912.06655. A Sorbonne University, CNRS Observatory of Paris, astrophysicist posts a mathematical treatise with sections such as Classical-Quantum Duality through the Planck Scale and Total de Sitter Universe and its Dual Symmetry. These theories as displayed in a Fig. 1 become The Universe Completed by Quantum Physics in Terms of Gravity History (second quote). So by a natural philoSophia view, human women and men seem to be innately capable, whoever and wherever possible, of achieving cosmic quantifications across any depth and reach. By a further stretch, all spatial and temporal creation seems trying pass to and through our sapient acumen. See also New Quantum Structure of the Space Time by NS in Gravitation and Cosmology (25/2, 2019) and Predictive Physics of Inflation and Grand Unification at arXiv:2001.04795.
The physical history of the Universe is completed by including the quantum planckian and trans-planckian phase before Inflation in the Standard Model of the Universe in agreement with observations. A new quantum precursor phase appears beyond the Planck scale. We extend de Sitter universe to the quantum domain: classical-quantum de Sitter duality. As a result, the classical and quantum dual de Sitter temperatures and entropies are naturally included, and the de Sitter regimes characterized in a precise and unifying way. Relevant cosmological phenomena then allow us to describe Quantum spectra and their CMB observables, including the classical Inflation spectra. A unifying picture for the Universe epochs and their quantum precursors emerges with the cosmological constant as the vacuum energy, entropy and temperature. (Abridged Abstract)
Gravity's Engines: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos.
New York: Scientific American Books,
The Columbia University astrobiologist explains how such cosmic phenomena (Black holes are massive objects or regions of space with a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape), such as one at the center of the Milky Way, actually foster the conditions for the evolution of lively creatures who might wonder at it all. An excerpt “The Benevolence of Black Holes” appears in Scientific American, for August 2012. But as the quote conveys, cosmological speculations remain caught in a perplexing dichotomy. Paraphrasing Columbia physicist Brian Greene (search), it is concluded that we valiant humans are yet lost in a vast, forbidding, insensate reality. But it is alluded, left ajar, that some celestial phenomena might seem made for our observer presence.
Our existence in the place, this microscopic corner of the cosmos, is fleeting. With utter disregard for our wants and needs, nature plays out its grand acts on scales of space and time that are truly hard to grasp. Perhaps all that we can look to for real solace is our endless capacity to ask questions and seek answers about the place we find ourselves in. One of the questions we are now asking is how deeply our specific circumstances are connected to this majestic universal scheme of stars, galaxies and black holes. (Scharf)
Scoville, Nick., et al. The Cosmic Evolution Survey Overview. Astrophysical Journal. Supplement 172/1, 2007. A special issue devoted to a compilation of results, with over a hundred authors, from space telescopes and probes, on the spatial and temporal galactic universe. Surely an example of humankind, or rightly earthkind altogether, or more widely the very cosmos, engaged in a concerted project to describe and discover itself. But how can this realization dawn in time?
Siegfried, Tom. A ‘Landscape” Too Far? Science. 313/750, 2006. A news report on the June 2006 Conference on Supersymmetry and the Unification of Fundamental Interactions where a revival of the anthropic principle, seemingly merited by string theories, was acrimoniously hashed out. The article notes a growing upheaval in quantum physics and consequent multiverse cosmology to move beyond a two decade hiatus due to the string mindset, whose mathematics can take on a life of its own. And it makes me wonder why this totally male field so abhors any thought that human beings might be cosmically worthwhile.
Simcoe, Robert. The Cosmic Web. American Scientist. January-February, 2004. Its subtitle reads: “Observations and simulations of the intergalactic medium reveal the largest structures in the universe.” A collaborative project of humankind achieves graphic visualization of filamentary webs of stars and galaxies.
Smolin, Lee. A Perspective on the Landscape Problem. arxiv.org/pdf/1202.3373. A paper to appear in Foundations of Physics special issue on String Theory, see Susskind below. Smolin, a senior philosophical physicist at the Perimeter Institute, Waterloo, Canada, finds deep flaws to persist which beg even more arcane straits to deal with. But if one samples a list of recent conferences via the Perimeter Institute Recorded Seminar Archive such as Laws of Nature: Their Nature and Knowability (2010) or Emergence and Effective Field theories Conference (2011), one gets a sense that the very physics and cosmology scenario or paradigm is Ptolemaic at best, seeming to require constant excuses, revisions, or band aids. In any event, Smolin’s posting has many clickable references in this regard.
String theory brought the landscape issue into focus but, as we have seen, it was inevitable that as physics progressed we would have encountered the problem of explaining how the universe chose its laws. We can call this the generalized landscape problem. Whether string theory is the right theory of unification or not, it is clear that this general landscape problem must be solved. But as we have seen, this problem can only be solved if we abandon the idea that ultimate explanations in physics are to be given in terms of laws organized according to the Newtonian paradigm, with timeless laws acting on a timeless space of states. (26)
Einstein’s Unfinished Revolution: the Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum.
New York: Penguin,
Another insightful volume by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics natural philosopher as he continues to sort out and clarify a past century of entangled quantum theories. Smolin presses on because the field seems to have reached an impasse that only a novel, missing dimension can resolve. In regard, a first part, An Orthodoxy of the Unreal, recites personal opinions, aspects and arguments since the early 1900s that have mostly wound up with ephemeral, anti-realist schemes. A survey of Leibniz, Mach, Einstein, Bohr, de Broglie, Schrodinger, Hugh Everett, and many others is covered to prepare for further glimpses such as by David Bohm and John Bell. A Realism Reborn section then avers that an independent reality outside our human conjectures must be seen to exist on its distinct own. By so doing, Smolin lays out the contrast between giving in to unintelligible quandaries or allowing that clouds can clear and a resolve be found.
Quantum physics is the basis of our understanding of atoms, radiation, and so much else. But it has been plagued by intense disagreements between its inventors, strange paradoxes, and implications that seem like fantasy. In Einstein's Unfinished Revolution, theoretical physicist Lee Smolin argues that the problems which have bedeviled quantum physics since its inception are unsolved for the simple reason that the theory is incomplete. Our task - if we are to have simple answers to our simple questions about the universe we live in - must be to go beyond quantum mechanics to a description of the world on an atomic scale that makes sense. (Publisher excerpts)
Smolin, Lee. The Trouble with Physics: The Rise of String Theory, The Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. The philosophical physicist worries that things are not well, out of kilter, with quantum mechanics and its cosmology paradigm. Now gone astray into arcane landscapes of multi-dimensional strings and mega-universes, it takes leave of natural reality along the way. Smolin goes on to chart pathways toward a better approach and agenda, which includes perceptive considerations of how science should conduct itself.
Smolin, Lee. Three Roads to Quantum Gravity. New York: Basic Books, 2001. A report on efforts to unify quantum and relativity physics by means of loop quantum gravity, string theory, and black hole thermodynamics. Smolin goes on to offer glimpses of a fractal and hologram-like cosmos, a duality of particles and relations, self-similar networks, and an inherently self-organizing development.
The world must be a network of holograms, each of which contains coded within it information about the relationships between the others. In short, the holographic principle is the ultimate realization of the notion that the world is a network of relationships. (178) It may seem fantastic to think of the universe as analogous to a biological or ecological system, but these are the best examples we have of the power of the processes of self-organization to form a world of tremendous beauty and complexity. (201)