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C. Flower
13-06-2010, 08:51 PM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article7149095.ece

SOME of the greatest mysteries of the universe may never be resolved because they are beyond human comprehension, according to Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society.

Rees has some hope for String Theory, but has started a discussion on the limits to our potential for understanding the universe and matter.
Personally I think he's a bit of a quitter. Its early days before we give up on reconciling quantum theory and relativity.:confused:


Rees suggests that the inherent intellectual limitations of humanity mean we may never resolve questions such as the existence of parallel universes, the cause of the big bang, or the nature of our own consciousness.
He even compares humanity to fish, which swim through the oceans without any idea of the properties of the water in which they spend their lives.
“A ‘true’ fundamental theory of the universe may exist but could be just be too hard for human brains to grasp,” said Rees, who is also the astronomer royal.


“Just as a fish may be barely aware of the medium in which it lives and swims, so the microstructure of empty space could be far too complex for unaided human brains.”
Rees’s thesis could prove highly provocative to other scientists, especially those who have devoted their careers to understanding such mysteries.
He is well placed to understand the potential limitations of science. Besides heading Britain’s premier scientific organisation, he is also professor of cosmology at Cambridge University, where he is one of Britain’s most respected astrophysicists. He is currently delivering the annual BBC Reith lectures.

Rees’s warning, in a Sunday Times interview, is partly prompted by the failure of scientists working on the greatest problem of modern physics — to reconcile the forces that govern the behaviour of the cosmos, including planets and stars, with those that rule the so-called microworld of atoms and particles.
Rees points out how Albert Einstein was able to use mathematical theories developed in the early 19th century to build his 1915 theory of general relativity, describing how gravity controlled stars and planets.

Similarly, early 20th-century physicists such as Paul Dirac used “off-the-shelf” mathematical systems when devising quantum theory, which describes how nature works at a sub-atomic level.

The problem faced by their successors is that the two theories are deeply contradictory — and no one can find the mathematical tools needed to bring them together into a “unified theory”.
Rees points out that thousands of scientists have been working on this problem for several decades and are still nowhere near an answer.

moss
13-06-2010, 08:57 PM
Can you get your head round string theory ?? I thinks it's crazy.

Doubtless though my other selfs in the infinity of selfs will have different views.

moss
13-06-2010, 09:38 PM
As an aside, did you know infinity + 1 = infinity ?

The reason why lots of mathematicians refuse to use it in their calculations. Most do though.

C. Flower
13-06-2010, 09:57 PM
As an aside, did you know infinity + 1 = infinity ?

The reason why lots of mathematicians refuse to use it in their calculations. Most do though.

While you're at it, got any explanation for the stickiness of gravity, or grabity as it might better be known ?

moss
13-06-2010, 09:59 PM
While you're at it, got any explanation for the stickiness of gravity, or grabity as it might better be known ?

No. I'm with Rees.

Well, this me is with Rees.

Lapsedmethodist
13-06-2010, 10:27 PM
Fools ! It's turtles all the way down !

mutley
13-06-2010, 10:34 PM
I like it that some things still remain a mystery

BrendanGalway
13-06-2010, 10:43 PM
pffffft. String Theory. Something so theoretical, we do not have experiments to prove its existance either way. It makes for great sci-fi : Branes, Parallel universes, 10 or 11 dimensions but its strange to see how seriously its been taken. Yer man Michio Kaku has made some career out of it yet has never produced a shred of evidence for his claims. Good work if ya can get it. Maybe we should investigate that particular phenomenon.

As for the Unified field theory, I expect to see it proven in my lifetime, the LHD will be a big help for that.

eskerman
13-06-2010, 10:52 PM
Excellent stuff here in BBC iPlayer, and worth a download to catch the first episode. Slightly off the subject matter but very much related in my opinion

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00802dg/The_Reith_Lectures_Scientific_Horizons_Episode_2_S urviving_the_Century/

Quote:
The Reith Lectures - Scientific Horizons -
Episode 2: Surviving the Century
Hide information
In the second of this year’s Reith Lectures, recorded for the first time in Wales in its capital city Cardiff, Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society and Astronomer Royal, continues to explore the challenges facing science in the 21st century.

Our planet is coming under increasing strain from climate change, population explosion and food shortages. As we use up our natural resources ever more quickly, how can we use science to help us solve the crisis that we are moving rapidly towards?

We need international consensus, and global funding for clean and green technologies. The challenge, for scientists, governments and people everywhere, is to confront the threats to our planet and find the solutions in science.

Enjoy

C. Flower
13-06-2010, 11:30 PM
pffffft. String Theory. Something so theoretical, we do not have experiments to prove its existance either way. It makes for great sci-fi : Branes, Parallel universes, 10 or 11 dimensions but its strange to see how seriously its been taken. Yer man Michio Kaku has made some career out of it yet has never produced a shred of evidence for his claims. Good work if ya can get it. Maybe we should investigate that particular phenomenon.

As for the Unified field theory, I expect to see it proven in my lifetime, the LHD will be a big help for that.

Any chance of a little explanation ?

Xray
13-06-2010, 11:44 PM
The maddest thing in the universe is light, no matter how fast you travel away from it, it still approaches you at the speed of light. Think about it. It is crazy.

jmcc
13-06-2010, 11:51 PM
It sounds like the claims of someone who is smart but not quite smart enough. The beauty of the human mind when applied to mathematics or theoretical physics is that it can construct tools where none have existed before in order to understand things. Most people are not geniuses so it is easier for them to find refuge in failure. The thing about genius is that it will try to find a way and will not accept failure so easily. True genius is driven by the need to understand and not by the need to explain failure.

Regards...jmcc

moss
13-06-2010, 11:55 PM
It sounds like the claims of someone who is smart but not quite smart enough. The beauty of the human mind when applied to mathematics or theoretical physics is that it can construct tools where none have existed before in order to understand things. Most people are not geniuses so it is easier for them to find refuge in failure. The thing about genius is that it will try to find a way and will not accept failure so easily. True genius is driven by the need to understand and not by the need to explain failure.

Regards...jmcc

Good point jmcc. He doesn't sound the brightest :rolleyes:


He is well placed to understand the potential limitations of science. Besides heading Britain’s premier scientific organisation, he is also professor of cosmology at Cambridge University, where he is one of Britain’s most respected astrophysicists.

C. Flower
14-06-2010, 12:01 AM
It sounds like the claims of someone who is smart but not quite smart enough. The beauty of the human mind when applied to mathematics or theoretical physics is that it can construct tools where none have existed before in order to understand things. Most people are not geniuses so it is easier for them to find refuge in failure. The thing about genius is that it will try to find a way and will not accept failure so easily. True genius is driven by the need to understand and not by the need to explain failure.

Regards...jmcc

Will we crack it here then, jmcc.....:D

jmcc
14-06-2010, 12:02 AM
Will we crack it here then, jmcc.....:D42 :)

Regards...jmcc

Cassandra Syndrome
14-06-2010, 12:05 AM
How we interpret the universe is dictated a lot from the precedent set from day 1 when someone became self aware and started to question things thousands of years ago. Its all like a form of tacit knowledge that gets added from generation to generation since then. A lot of our modern day thought is a further advancement of the Ancient Greeks interpretation of reality. Thats were our present day mathematics more or less began.

So the meaning of life may be perfectly simple, its just we may have been learning the wrong language to interpret it all this time....

Cassandra Syndrome
14-06-2010, 12:07 AM
I like it that some things still remain a mystery

Such as love?

C. Flower
14-06-2010, 12:15 AM
Such as love?

Love isn't a mystery at all. People would throw their babies away if they didn't have it. It's evolved.

moss
14-06-2010, 12:21 AM
I'm touched, or atleast I wish I was :(

C. Flower
14-06-2010, 04:12 PM
42 :)

Regards...jmcc

Thanks :confused:

Cassandra Syndrome
14-06-2010, 04:19 PM
Love isn't a mystery at all. People would throw their babies away if they didn't have it. It's evolved.

:eek:

Ruin the mood there!

C. Flower
14-06-2010, 07:25 PM
:eek:

Ruin the mood there!

Something that has evolved and self-refined for millions of years as a necessity for the survival of our species is surely of more potency that any passing cerebral notion of romance ?

mutley
14-06-2010, 09:21 PM
Something that has evolved and self-refined for millions of years as a necessity for the survival of our species is surely of more potency that any passing cerebral notion of romance ?


When you think about the emotions experienced as part of loving someone or losing someone, the amount of songs written, about love gained and love lost,
can it really be reduced to a cerebral notion?

YouTube- You Oughta Know

C. Flower
14-06-2010, 09:23 PM
When you think about the emotions experienced as part of loving someone or losing someone, the amount of songs written, about love gained and love lost,
can it really be reduced to a cerebral notion?

YouTube- You Oughta Know (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPcyTyilmYY)

No, my point exactly: its not much to do with the brain, and its essential to our survival.:p

Cassandra Syndrome
14-06-2010, 10:18 PM
Something that has evolved and self-refined for millions of years as a necessity for the survival of our species is surely of more potency that any passing cerebral notion of romance ?

Is it all down to neurochemicals?

C. Flower
14-06-2010, 10:20 PM
Is it all down to neurochemicals?

Neuro chemicals, hormones, DNA. An explosive mix. :o

Cassandra Syndrome
14-06-2010, 10:23 PM
When you think about the emotions experienced as part of loving someone or losing someone, the amount of songs written, about love gained and love lost,
can it really be reduced to a cerebral notion?

YouTube- You Oughta Know (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPcyTyilmYY)

Indeed. Its a force on its own for some people. I still think its a mystery.

mutley
14-06-2010, 10:26 PM
Indeed. Its a force on its own for some people. I still think its a mystery.

Of course it is a mystery :)

C. Flower
14-06-2010, 10:28 PM
Of course it is a mystery :)

Not to a behavioural scientist :p

BrendanGalway
14-06-2010, 10:32 PM
Any chance of a little explanation ?

The Unified Field theory, sometimes called the theory of everything, is an attempt to join the Standard Model and Relativity.

The Standard Model (http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A666173) details all the Fundamental Particles or Fermions that make up the Matter of the Universe and the Forces that govern their behavior. These Forces are basically what dictates how the Fundamental Particles(Quarks and Leptons) interact with one another. So far, it has detailed extensivley : Strong Nuclear Force, Weak Nuclear Force and Electromagnetism. The Forth, Gravity, is detailed by Einsteins Relativity but it cannot yet be reconciled with the Standard model.

In spite of the fact we see Gravity absolutely everywhere on this planet, theres a lot we dont understand about it at he smallest (Quantum) levels. We know the other three forces interact with Fermions through another particle set called Bosons, whose job it is to carry the Energy of the Force. No one knows what carries the force of Gravity or even if it is carried like this at all. The best theory at the moment is that the Higgs Boson may be what gives other Particles Mass as it interacts with them. If the LHC at CERN is able to detect this Boson and verify that is indeed what gives the Universe its Mass, happy days. Thats the Standard Model cracked.

C. Flower
14-06-2010, 10:39 PM
The Unified Field theory, sometimes called the theory of everything, is an attempt to join the Standard Model and Relativity.

The Standard Model (http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A666173) details all the Fundamental Particles or Fermions that make up the Matter of the Universe and the Forces that govern their behavior. These Forces are basically what dictates how the Fundamental Particles(Quarks and Leptons) interact with one another. So far, it has detailed extensivley : Strong Nuclear Force, Weak Nuclear Force and Electromagnetism. The Forth, Gravity, is detailed by Einsteins Relativity but it cannot yet be reconciled with the Standard model.

In spite of the fact we see Gravity absolutely everywhere on this planet, theres a lot we dont understand about it at he smallest (Quantum) levels. We know the other three forces interact with Fermions through another particle set called Bosons, whose job it is to carry the Energy of the Force. No one knows what carries the force of Gravity or even if it is carried like this at all. The best theory at the moment is that the Higgs Boson may be what gives other Particles Mass as it interacts with them. If the LHC at CERN is able to detect this Boson and verify that is indeed what gives the Universe its Mass, happy days. Thats the Standard Model cracked.

Thanks for that. Not too much has been heard from CERN in the last while. I wonder how they're going.

Skrimshander
08-11-2010, 04:15 PM
The Unified Field theory, sometimes called the theory of everything, is an attempt to join the Standard Model and Relativity.

The Standard Model (http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A666173) details all the Fundamental Particles or Fermions that make up the Matter of the Universe and the Forces that govern their behavior. These Forces are basically what dictates how the Fundamental Particles(Quarks and Leptons) interact with one another. So far, it has detailed extensivley : Strong Nuclear Force, Weak Nuclear Force and Electromagnetism. The Forth, Gravity, is detailed by Einsteins Relativity but it cannot yet be reconciled with the Standard model.

In spite of the fact we see Gravity absolutely everywhere on this planet, theres a lot we dont understand about it at he smallest (Quantum) levels. We know the other three forces interact with Fermions through another particle set called Bosons, whose job it is to carry the Energy of the Force. No one knows what carries the force of Gravity or even if it is carried like this at all. The best theory at the moment is that the Higgs Boson may be what gives other Particles Mass as it interacts with them. If the LHC at CERN is able to detect this Boson and verify that is indeed what gives the Universe its Mass, happy days. Thats the Standard Model cracked.

Alternatively, If the higgs bosson is not discovered its a big kiss goodbye to about 3/4s of everything that came after the standard model. There s a lot of smart conjecture flung around these days thats practically passed off as fact. take dark matter. its spoken of as a discovery..when in truth its a conjecture put fwd to combat the apparent breakdown of the laws of gravity when we reach galactical levels... and in truth the mond model works just as well if not better.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
08-11-2010, 04:24 PM
By some strange coincidence ... an update on the work of the LHC at CERN which yesterday smashed lead prions together to produce a temperature in excess of ten trillion degrees, a million times hotter than the core of the sun.

This produces something called quark-gluon plasma which is also the substance science estimates existed just after the Big Bang. It will take some weeks for computers to sift the data.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11711228

Seán Ryan
08-11-2010, 10:21 PM
Rees is not saying anything that hasn't been said before.

Gödel, Einstein's mathematician buddy came up with the 'incompleteness theorem.' This is a mathematical proof that shows that more can always be known about any given subject or system, no matter what our level of knowledge of it is. In other words, there is no full description of anything and no matter how much information you have, you will never exhaust the pool of information available.

We should not despair at this mind you, at a certain point, all knowledge beyond what's known about a specific subject becomes probabilistic and beyond this it becomes negligible (though this itself changes over time as needs and knowledge change).

We can unlock the secrets of the universe (or the multiverse for fans of M theory). And every generation that follows can do it too. It's awe inspiring, it's as close as I can come to having a religious experience.

Captain Con O'Sullivan
08-11-2010, 10:27 PM
'Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible' (Lord Kelvin 1824-1907, mathematician and physicist).

Responding to the question 'Why climb Everest?' George Mallory famously replied 'Because its there'.

matt
08-11-2010, 10:36 PM
I suppose, speaking as a very unscientifically-minded layman here, that what we discover about the universe is to some extent limited or 'contained by' the language we codify it in. Or rather, the type of template or map we have to convert it into to make it intelligible (and by the limits of the questions asked to make the map). So even when it appears that we have gotten to grips with huge areas of it, old, trodden ground can continue to throw up new findings that change the nature of what we thought we knew.

whydontwe
08-11-2010, 11:18 PM
While you're at it, got any explanation for the stickiness of gravity, or grabity as it might better be known ?

Sorry C Flower...I know..I know, you'll give out to me...but can't resist; Will we ever decode the science that the geniuses in the Dail use...that says we can't have UNIVERSAL health-care? What exactly, is the stickiness in the Dail chamber seats that seems to attract familial bodies only? Is the string theory in danger of becoming a "rope" theory if the politicians don't realise the pain their 'science' is inflicting?? Sorry again.

Sam Lord
09-11-2010, 01:12 AM
"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour."

William Blake

Captain Con O'Sullivan
09-11-2010, 02:42 PM
An update on Fermilab's Collider which may shut down in September as the funding has run out ... $150million dollars needed to keep it in the race for the detection of the elusive Higgs Boson cannot be found at the moment...

Physicists divided over life extension for US collider

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19394-physicists-divided-over-life-extension-for-us-collider.html

Captain Con O'Sullivan
09-11-2010, 02:46 PM
And in the same issue and open to non-subscribers is a handy little review of current efforts toward a grand unified theory;

Knowing the mind of God: Seven theories of everything

'The "theory of everything" is one of the most cherished dreams of science. If it is ever discovered, it will describe the workings of the universe at the most fundamental level and thus encompass our entire understanding of nature. It would also answer such enduring puzzles as what dark matter is, the reason time flows in only one direction and how gravity works. Small wonder that Stephen Hawking famously said that such a theory would be "the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God".'

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18612-knowing-the-mind-of-god-seven-theories-of-everything.html?full=true

C. Flower
09-11-2010, 03:24 PM
And in the same issue and open to non-subscribers is a handy little review of current efforts toward a grand unified theory;

Knowing the mind of God: Seven theories of everything

'The "theory of everything" is one of the most cherished dreams of science. If it is ever discovered, it will describe the workings of the universe at the most fundamental level and thus encompass our entire understanding of nature. It would also answer such enduring puzzles as what dark matter is, the reason time flows in only one direction and how gravity works. Small wonder that Stephen Hawking famously said that such a theory would be "the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God".'

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18612-knowing-the-mind-of-god-seven-theories-of-everything.html?full=true


But we have another thread here in which Hawking is quoted as saying that the idea of a God is superfluous to understanding the universe.

http://www.politicalworld.org/showthread.php?t=3782

Captain Con O'Sullivan
09-11-2010, 04:33 PM
Scientists just use the term 'god' in its correct sense- that which is not yet known. A peculiar debate between the religious and scientists where both use the same term for the unknown.

I don't think its a matter of catching Hawking out as if he is being two faced about a supernatural being. Its a term loaded with meaning for the religious and a description of a target for the scientist in my opinion.

I think in Hawking's latest book his comment about not needing god has been lifted and been blown out of all proportion as usual. An awkward way of saying we now have enough data to be able to say that there may, as usual, be a reason for that which up to now has for some people been explainable only by the presence of a god.

Don't really want to derail this thread into the usual arguing over nothing between science faction and moonhowler faction but I've been doing some reading up on the correspondence between Galileo and the Vatican Mafia of the 17th century courtesy of Dava Sobel and it struck me how similar the pinhead arguments are now between science and religion.

I'll add what I've found into that argument when it inevitably rears its head again. Suffice to say that the same arguments used now by the moonhowlers about evolution and Darwin were also used against science in the 17th century over heliocentrism.

With I am sure the same inevitable end-result.

Skrimshander
10-11-2010, 03:21 AM
hawking said that when he refered to "god" he seen it the same way einstein and bohr did, as the sum of the laws of nature. Im not diggin up the link but its on youtube. Its himself, sagen and arthur c clarke with magnas magnasan chairing..
A precarious position at best.
When einstein famously said he did not believe god rolled dice, in dealing with particle wave duality, Bohrs response was, not to presume to tell god what to do,
and besides that and i maybe dwelling here but, even after the "copenhagen interpretation" was adopted and Bohr had suggested Eintsein forgot relativity when dealing with the light box thought experiment...... on the night of his death he was still working on einsteins light box.

Sam Lord
10-11-2010, 03:45 AM
Of course it is a mystery :)

Any highly intelligent, sensitive, and artistic (but ultimately weedy looking) young man, sitting on his own at the end of the night while all the hot chicks leave the nightclub with square jawed, big biceped, six-packed guys (but the IQ of peanuts) will tell you that C. Flower is indeed correct on this matter.

No mystery at all .....

It is possibly even worse than she has indicated. The inbuilt drivers are not what is necessary for survival today but what was necessary for survival over the longest periods of our existence as a species.

C. Flower
10-11-2010, 09:46 AM
Any highly intelligent, sensitive, and artistic (but ultimately weedy looking) young man, sitting on his own at the end of the night while all the hot chicks leave the nightclub with square jawed, big biceped, six-packed guys (but the IQ of peanuts) will tell you that C. Flower is indeed correct on this matter.

No mystery at all .....

It is possibly even worse than she has indicated. The inbuilt drivers are not what is necessary for survival today but what was necessary for survival over the longest periods of our existence as a species.

I write an OP post about gravity and string theory, and I end up in a nightclub, making interesting choices late at night?

Could there have been some kind of wormhole between threads ?

Sam Lord
10-11-2010, 11:47 AM
I write an OP post about gravity and string theory, and I end up in a nightclub, making interesting choices late at night?

Could there have been some kind of wormhole between threads ?

Sorry. I was reading the entire thread and came across a discussion about love you were having on it with Mutley and Cassandra Syndrome and thought that your position was insightful and worthy of support.

C. Flower
10-11-2010, 11:59 AM
Sorry. I was reading the entire thread and came across a discussion about love you were having on it with Mutley and Cassandra Syndrome and thought that your position was insightful and worthy of support.

You're right. I just didn't make the connection with the square jawed guys.

It isn't a mystery at all, just an instrinsic part of how our species survives.

The poor square jawed guy, down another wormhole in space and time, is probably wondering how come the weedy and introverted troubadour always pulls.

Diversity is also an evolutionary asset for a species.

Kev Bar
10-11-2010, 12:02 PM
As an aside, did you know infinity + 1 = infinity ?

The reason why lots of mathematicians refuse to use it in their calculations. Most do though.

Moss, pray tell:
How can there be a 'plus' to infinity? Cos in order to add something to something - something's got to be finite.

Count Bobulescu
29-06-2014, 11:34 PM
What if we’re a really big accident? The Fermi Paradox says: If the universe is so vast, why are we apparently alone? The science blog Wait But Why unpacks all the mind-boggling possible implications (http://us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=610c6c88d981c23e5c6638b14&id=65094a2e4b&e=ffdd87b22c). One of these is that the evolution of intelligent life is just fantastically improbable.