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III. Ecosmos: A Revolutionary Fertile, Habitable, Solar-Bioplanet Lifescape

1. Quantum Cosmology Theoretic Unity

Lightman, Alan. The Accidental Universe. Harper’s Magazine. December, 2011. How curious and worrisome that a venerable icon of American literature, founded in 1850, would in the 21st century publish an article like this purported to be the despairing epitaph of centuries of physical science. An MIT cosmologist and author, Lightman wholly buys the string theory multiverse that male physics has spun itself into to hand down an erroneous, ill-considered death sentence. Life, persons, and earth are but a vicarious happenstance of insensate, soulless, cosmoses that bubble in and out of existence. In fact, as the January 2013 Foundations of Physics on this theory (search de Haro) contends, the physics jury is still out, quite divided, so no such rush to judge and condemn should be made. A new book by Perimeter Institute director Neil Turok The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos, reviewed below takes strong issue with these myopic pronouncements. A deep polarity palls these theoretical realms over “to be or not to be,” such a dire fate should not be foisted on a public unable to challenge it.

This long and appealing trend (that nature has an intelligible purpose) may be coming to an end. Dramatic developments in cosmological findings and thought have led some of the world’s premier physicists to propose that our universe is only one of an enormous number of universes with wildly varying properties, and that some of the most basic features of our particular universe are indeed mere accidents—a random throw of the cosmic dice. In which case, there is no hope of ever explaining our universe’s features in terms of fundamental causes and principles. (35)

If the multiverse idea is correct, then the historic mission of physics to explain all the properties of our universe in terms of fundamental principles—to explain why the properties of our universe must necessarily be what they are—is futile, a beautiful philosophical dream that simply isn’t true. Our universe is what it is because we are here. (38)

Why does such fine-tuning occur? And the answer many physicists now believe: The multiverse. A vast number of universes may exist, with many different values of the amount of dark energy. Our particular universe is one of the universes with a small value, permitting the emergence of life. We are here, so our universe must be such a universe. We are an accident. From the cosmic lottery hat containing zillions of universes, we happened to draw a universe that allowed life. (41)

Linde, Andre. The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe. Scientific American. November, 1994. The Russian-American cosmologist describes the universe as a “self-generating fractal” which reproduces in an analogous biological fashion. In late September 1983, to a packed physics auditorium at Harvard, I heard the young emigre from the Lebedev Physical Institute in Moscow present his first public lecture in the United States on this vast scenario.

Linde, Andrei. Inflationary Cosmology after Planck 2013. arXiv:1402.0526. By this March 2014 revision, the Russian-American, Stanford University, physicist posts his latest understandings of an initial vast expansion of a universe from a singular point of origin. Linde, along with Alan Guth, were the prime conceivers of this theory in the 1980s. The 84 page paper summarizes his talks at the summer 2013 Post-Planck (Satellite) Cosmology conference in Grenoble, France. It offers a unique vista on the frontiers of physics whence a string theory landscape might imply an inflationary multiverse, anthropic principle, and so on.

In September 1983 I attended Linde’s first public lecture in the United States at Harvard, where he spoke of myriad bubbling fractal cosmoses. He remains on message three decades later. But at these speculative reaches, versions still vie, often as opinions and metaphysics, with little reference to an independent mathematics, or independent reality. And our human collaborations that are able to quantify such infinities are rarely factored in or given a place and purpose.

And readers know that on March 9, 2014 it was announced as front page news that the BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) project at the South Pole had detected gravitational waves in the early universe that appear to prove this inflation conjecture, crucial to the main cosmological scenario. Its main posting is at arXiv:1403.3985. In the meantime this report has come under much scrutiny, for example arXiv:1402.6980 (March 13), Big Bang Finding Challenged in Nature (510/20, 2014) and in Physics Review Letters Editorial: Signals from the Dawn of Time? (112/240001, 2014. ADDENDUM: In February 2015 a joint Planck and BICEP report concluded that dust was in the data and a primordial inflation cannot yet be confirmed. However, as Science notes (347/595), the year long exercise is seen as a good primer for how to really prove what is still thought to be the cosmic origin.

The best available explanation of the observed uniformity of the universe is provided by inflation. However, as soon as this mechanism was proposed, it was realized that inflation, while explaining why our part of the world is so uniform, does not predict that this uniformity must extend for the whole universe. To give an analogy, suppose the universe is a surface of a big soccer ball consisting of multicolored hexagons, see Fig. 2. During inflation, the size of each hexagon becomes exponentially large. If inflation is powerful enough, those who live in a black part will never see parts of the universe of any different color, they will believe that the whole universe is black, and they will try to find a scientific explanation why the whole universe must be black. Those who live in a red universe will never see the black parts and therefore they will think that there is no other universe than the red universe, and everybody who says otherwise are heretics. But what if the whole universe started in the red state? In the next section we will show how quantum fluctuations can lead to transitions between different colors and simultaneously make inflation eternal. This means that almost independently of the initial state of the universe, eventually it becomes a multicolored eternally growing fractal. (16-17)

When inflationary theory was first proposed, its main goal was to address many problems which at that time could seem rather metaphysical: Why is our universe so big? Why is it so uniform? Why parallel lines do not intersect? It took some time before we got used to the idea that the large size, flatness and uniformity of the universe should not be dismissed as trivial facts of life. Instead of that, they should be considered as observational data requiring an explanation, which was provided with the invention of inflation. Similarly, the existence of an amazingly strong correlation between our own properties and the values of many parameters of our world, such as the masses and charges of electron and proton, the value of the gravitational constant, the amplitude of spontaneous symmetry breaking in the electroweak theory, the value of the vacuum energy, and the dimensionality of our world, is an experimental fact requiring an explanation. A combination of the theory of inflationary multiverse and the string theory landscape provides a unique framework where this explanation can be found. (62)

Linder, Eric. Mapping the Cosmological Expansion. Reports on Progress in Physics. 71/5, 2008. A good introduction to the theory and experiment of a universe that seems to be flying apart. One is curiously led to wonder why such cosmos has evolved to accomplish its own descriptive observation by our earthmind. See also “Dark, Perhaps Forever” by Dennis Overbye in the New York Times for June 3, 2008 for latest views on dark energy, matter, and acceleration disputations.

A century ago our picture of the cosmos was of a small, young and static universe. Today we have a far grander and richer universe to inhabit, one that carries information on the strongest and weakest forces in nature, whose history runs from singularities and densities and temperatures far beyond our terrestrial and laboratory access to the vacuum and temperatures near absolute zero. Understanding our universe relies on a wide range of physics fields including thermodynamics, classical and quantum field theory, particle physics and gravitation. (2)

Lloyd, Seth. The Digital Universe. Physics World. November, 2008. The director of the Center for Extreme Quantum Information Theory at MIT makes a succinct case for a cosmos essentially composed of and understandable by software and hardware, a “computational” reality. A cousin to Stephen Wolfram’s “cellular automata” new science, this approach, although advancing a dual realm, remains mechanistic in kind. Yet one wonders since Lloyd extols the molecular double helix as a prime example, might by a simple turn of metaphor could a “genetic” universe be apprehended. Such an informational literacy could in a stroke become akin to a “cosmic genetic code.” This fertile materiality, akin to a person, would both be an independent source while manifest in the complex living forms unto us that it spawns and evolves. And by consequence, would it not imply primordial, maternal and paternal complements? This is the grand Ptolemaic to Copernican, machine to gestation, revolution just now there for the asking.

Information and computation are not merely social and technological phenomena. Information lies at the heart of physical law: the physical quantity called entropy is in fact information about the microscopic motions of matter. Every atom and elementary particle carries with it bits of information. (30) The digital nature of the universe finds one of its most elegant expressions in the genetic code: a strand of human DNA contains two bits per base pair and registers about six billion bits in its three billion base pairs. (32) The combination of the holographic principle with the quantum geometric limit suggests a full computational picture of the universe. The universe consists of information/bits located in space, and events/bit-flips occurring in space-time. (35-36)

Loll, Renata. Quantum Gravity from Causal Dynamical Triangulations: A Review. arXiv:1905.08669. The Radboud University and Perimeter Institute theorist continues her collegial studies of a fantastic cosmos which we peoples evolve and emerge and awaken from with our phenomenal abilities to explore and learn. A natural philoSophia might then be that we are the very microcosmic selves who are made and meant to so quantify, realize, affirm and take forward a procreative genesis universe.

We give a topical, comprehensive overview and assessment of recent results in Causal Dynamical Triangulations (CDT), a modern formulation of lattice and quantum gravity nonperturbatively from a scaling limit of the lattice-regularized theory. In this manifestly diffeomorphism-invariant approach one has computational access to a Planckian spacetime regime, which is explored with the help of invariant quantum observables. During the last few years, there have been numerous new and important developments and insights concerning the theory's phase structure, the roles of time, causality, diffeomorphisms and global topology, and renormalization group methods. We will focus on these new results, primarily in four spacetime dimensions, and their geometric and physical implications. (Abstract edit)

Loll, Renate. The Emergence of Spacetime or Quantum Gravity on Your Desktop. Classical and Quantum Gravity. 25/114006, 2008. The Utrecht University physicist describes her work with colleagues Jan Ambjorn and Jerzy Jurkiewicz (see Quantum Cosmology) related their theory of “causal dynamical triangulations” (Google for more info). As a novel approach to loop quantum gravity, it portends to reveal a self-similar fractal structure as the essence of time and space. Also Google their 2005 arXiv paper: Reconstructing the Universe.

Luminet, Jean-Pierre. The Status of Cosmic Topology after Planck Data. Universe. December, 2015. In this online journal, the CNRS Marseille astronomer reports that an overall cosmic geometry does indeed exist, as found by our composite Earthwide technical investigation. We cite for this reason, and once more to record how fantastic it is that such beings as us on the frozen crust of a bioworld are yet able in a few years to fathom these vast dimensions and lineaments. Surely there ought and must be an intent and purpose for such discoveries, some greater creation to participate in and contribute to.

In the last decade, the study of the overall shape of the universe, called Cosmic Topology, has become testable by astronomical observations, especially the data from the Cosmic Microwave Background (hereafter CMB) obtained by WMAP and Planck telescopes. Cosmic Topology involves both global topological features and more local geometrical properties such as curvature. It deals with questions such as whether space is finite or infinite, simply-connected or multi-connected, and smaller or greater than its observable counterpart. A striking feature of some relativistic, multi-connected small universe models is to create multiples images of faraway cosmic sources. While the last CMB (Planck) data fit well the simplest model of a zero-curvature, infinite space model, they remain consistent with more complex shapes such as the spherical Poincaré Dodecahedral Space, the flat hypertorus or the hyperbolic Picard horn. (Abstract)

Mastichiadis, Apostolos, et al. A Roadmap to Hadronic Supercriticalities. arXiv:2003.06956. A Roadmap to Hadronic Supercriticalities. arXiv:2003.06956. We cite this entry by National University of Athens astrophysicists for itself and for wider implications. When this site went online in the early 2000s there was little if any notice of such complexities across the celestial raiment. Today it is readily accepted that nonlinear phenomena like critical phase transitions occur in this widest realm, just as everywhere else. Once again a natural universality is found which well implies an independent, mathematical source. A philoSophia glimpse would be how grand it is that collaborative persons from this ancient land are now able to travel to and quantify this cosmic breadth and depth.

Hadronic supercriticalities are radiative instabilities that appear when large amounts of energy are stored in relativistic protons. When the proton energy density exceeds some critical value, a runaway process is initiated resulting in the explosive transfer of the proton energy into electron-positron pairs and radiation and the increase of the photon-to-proton efficiency. We show that supercriticalities are possible for the whole range of source parameters related to compact astrophysical sources. We also provide an in-depth look at the physical mechanisms of hadronic supercriticalities and show that magnetized relativistic plasmas are excellent examples of non-linear dynamical systems. (Abstract)

The basic premise of a hadronic scenario as applied to the compact high-energy emitting region(s) of an astrophysical source can be summarised as follows. The model assumes the presence of a relativistic proton population that interacts with its environment in two main ways. First, the gyromotion of protons in the magnetic fields of the source produces synchrotron emission, and secondly, the photohadronic interactions with low-energy photons lead to the production of many secondary particles. (1)

Mathews, Grant, et al. Origin of Matter and Space-Time in the Big Bang. AIP Conference Proceedings. 1594, May, 2014. A paper from the Origins of Matter and Evolution of Galaxies 2013 held in November in Tsukuba, Japan by University of Notre Dame, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, and Soongsil University, Korea astrophysicists. Akin to Wainwright herein, what fantastic abilities do we phenomenal human beings have in and of a self-observing and discovering universe?

We review the case for and against a bulk cosmic motion resulting from the quantum entanglement of our universe with the multiverse beyond our horizon. Within the current theory for the selection of the initial state of the universe from the landscape multiverse there is a generic prediction that pre-inflation quantum entanglement with other universes should give rise to a cosmic bulk flow with a correlation length of order horizon size and a velocity field relative to the expansion frame of the universe. If this interpretation is correct it has profound implications in that we may be observing for the first time both the physics that occurred before the big bang and the existence of the multiverse beyond our horizon. (Abstract excerpts)

We are at a unique period in the history of the human understanding of the cosmos. For the first time, we have a clear picture of what the universe is comprised of, how long it has been in existence, and how it will evolve in the future. This knowledge is the culmination of investigations via a number of cosmological probes including supernovae, observations of the large scale distribution of galaxies and the inter-galactic medium, analysis of the cosmic microwave background, and studies of the nucleosynthesis of the elements in the first few moments of cosmic expansion in the big bang along with the first stars of the early universe. In these notes, however, we review a number of outstanding questions and highlight the input that big bang nucleosynthesis (BBN) provides toward answering them. (5)

McCormick, Katie. Particle Physicists Puzzle Over a New Duality. Quanta. August 1, 2022. A science journalist describes a confluence of recent empirical physics findings that infer a certain code-like relation in a gluon phase. A prime investigator Lance Dixon, a Stanford University astro-particle physicist, whose collegial paper is Folding Amplitudes into Form Factors: An Antipodal Duality in Physical Review Letters (128/111602, 2022). Dixon was joined by Anastasia Volovich and others which led to a “letters” identity for a particle’s energy and momentum. Our interest is how readily a genetic view is adopted so to consider that some similar correspondence might be going on.

A hidden link has been found between two seemingly unrelated particle collision outcomes. It’s the latest example of a mysterious web of mathematical connections between disparate theories of physics.

Dixon compares this new antipodal phenomena to the genetic code, in which four chemical building blocks combine to form the genes in a strand of DNA. Like the genetic code, the “DNA of particle scattering,” as he calls it, has rules about which combinations of words are allowed. Some of these rules follow from known physical or mathematical principles, but others seem arbitrary. In Dixon’s DNA analogy, the duality is like reading a genetic sequence backward and realizing that it encodes a totally new protein unrelated to the one encoded by the original sequence.

McGaugh, Stacy, et al. Dynamical Regularities in Galaxies. arXiv:1090.02011. Case Western Reserve University, European Southern Observatory, Munich, and University of Oregon astrophysicists post a chapter to appear in the IAU Symposium 353 (Shanghai, June 2019) volume Galactic Dynamics in the Era of Large Surveys.

Galaxies are observed to obey a strict set of dynamical scaling relations. We review these relations for rotationally supported disk galaxies spanning many decades in mass, surface brightness, and gas content. The behavior of these widely varied systems can be summarized with a handful of empirical laws connected by a common acceleration scale. (Abstract)

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