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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Has science painted itself into a corner?

Dear Readers:

I mentioned last week that for some strange reason my brain gets me to read stuff that I don't really understand, (Or at least some articles that are meant for people who have quite a bit more knowledge about a certain  subject than I do) so that a lot of the time I read about things  which don't immediately sink in  ....., but ideas then occur to me at a later date when my sub-conscious has had a chance to digest the info!

Like yesterday.

Last night around two in the morning while I was laying in bed trying to get back to sleep I had one of those examples. (This might be a bit technical, but please bear with me!)

The subject I was thinking/dreaming about was "Dyson Spheres!" (You might remember that in one episode of "Star Trek" the Enterprise encountered a Dyson Sphere!)
The concept of the Dyson sphere was the result of a thought experiment by physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson, when he theorized that all technological civilizations constantly increased their demand for energy
Image result for dyson sphereHe reasoned that if human civilization expanded energy demands long enough, there would come a time when it demanded the total energy output of the Sun.
He proposed a system of orbiting structures (which he referred to initially as a shell) designed to intercept and collect all energy produced by the Sun.
Dyson's proposal did not detail how such a system would be constructed, but focused only on issues of energy collection, on the basis that such a structure could be distinguished by its unusual emission spectrum in comparison to a star.
His 1960 paper "Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infra-Red Radiation", published in the journal Science, is credited with being the first to formalize the concept of the Dyson sphere. (A Dyson Sphere was in the news about a month ago when astronomers discovered a star with a strange light signature, and someone suggested it was surrounded by a Dyson Sphere!)
(On 14 October 2015, the realization of a strange pattern of light from star KIC 8462852, observed by the Kepler Space Telescope, raised speculation that a Dyson sphere may have been discovered.)

Image result for nutty professor clipartThis, of course,was preposterous, since the whole concept of a Dyson Sphere was not thought out properly to begin with, and was needlessly complicated for what might have been a simple solution.   (If you use that old favourite expression of mine from "Occam's Razor" you will find that "The simple solution is usually the correct one!")

So! Instead of building an impossible structure millions of miles across, to harness energies of fantastic proportions,  you look at it from the simple explanation of needing less energy in the first place through technological advances, miniaturization, conservation, or whatever method that lets you do more with less!

Ya keep it simple, folks!

Image result for nutty professorIn other words: "If you hear hoof-beats, look for horses, not zebra's!"

Which brings me to the present state of a lot of disciplines such as Theoretical Physics, Cosmology and Quantum Theory, which seems to have become hopelessly and needlessly complicated and convoluted over time.

When I was a kid we had atoms that were composed of  electrons, protons and neutrons!  (This seemed to explain everything quite satisfactorily, as far as I was concerned.)

Image result for nutty professorBut, since then we threw in  Fermions and Bosons, (which includes W Bosons, Z Bosons, Photons, Gluons, Gravitons  and the just discovered Higgs Boson) and then there are leptons and baryons and quarks (up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom) and then the hypothetical particles  like neutralinos, charginos, photinos,  Higgsinos, Gluinos, Gravitinos, Sleptons and Squarks. (Even winos and zinos. And NO ...., I'm not making those up!)

This, of course, doesn't even include "String Theory" kids. Oh no! That's where little, wee, tiny, teeny, itsy, bitsy, pieces of string-stuff vibrate at different frequencies to produce all that other shit!

By George F. R. Ellis:

In the past decade an extraordinary claim has captivated cosmologists: that the expanding universe we see around us is not the only one; that billions of other universes are out there, too. There is not one universe—there is a multiverse. In Scientific American articles and books such as Brian Greene's The Hidden Reality, leading scientists have spoken of a super-Copernican revolution. In this view, not only is our planet one among many, but even our entire universe is insignificant on the cosmic scale of things. It is just one of countless universes, each doing its own thing. The word “multiverse” has different meanings. Astronomers are able to see out to a distance of about 42 billion light-years, our cosmic visual horizon. We have no reason to suspect the universe stops there. Beyond it could be many—even infinitely many—domains much like the one we see. Each has a different initial distribution of matter, but the same laws of physics operate in all. Nearly all cosmologists today (including me) accept this type of multiverse, which Max Tegmark calls “level 1.” Yet some go further. They suggest completely different kinds of universes, with different physics, different histories, maybe different numbers of spatial dimensions. Most will be sterile, although some will be teeming with life. A chief proponent of this “level 2” multiverse is Alexander Vilenkin, who paints a dramatic picture of an infinite set of universes with an infinite number of galaxies, an infinite number of planets and an infinite number of people with your name who are reading this article.

Image result for nutty professorDon't ya think this whole thing has become needlessly complicated?

Isn't present day Quantum Theory with the holographic Universe, and Multiverse, and meta-Universe, and parallel Universes, and alternative Universes, not to mention the "Big Bang" and "Inflation" and "Dark Matter" and Dark Energy" all seem to be some sort of overkill?

Image result for nutty professorI mean, look back at the example of the Dyson Sphere. It seems like someone let their imagination run wild ....., and they came up with some structure that was millions of miles in size and completely unnecessary ..., when all they had to do was use energy more efficiently to achieve the same goal.

Could it be that some time shortly after the discovery of the atom somebody forgot about horses, and started looking for Zebras?????

Has science painted itself into a corner?