Matryoshka World

Friday, June 21, 2013

A New Equation Reveals Our Exact Odds of Finding Alien Life

...well, not exactly.  But the new equation, the Seager Equation, hopes to estimate the number of worlds we can hope to find in the near future with detectible biosignature gases.  This isn't a search for intelligent life, but instead a search for any type of life that is somewhat similar to our own.

According to Seager's estimate, we should be able to detect a few planets with biosignatures, indicating they are inhabited by some form of life, within the next decade or so.

The Seager Equation

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A theory of everything ... has physics gone too far?

Jim Baggott and Mike Duff debate the limits of physics

I agree with Duff.  While observation and confirmation of theory will always be fundamental to the process of real science, the fact that we can not directly observe something in the present does not invalidate a theory that is developed through scientific analysis.

As Duff explains:

 Similarly, string theorists did not assume supersymmetry, extra dimensions, the dualities of M-theory or the myriad possible universes; they discovered them to be consequences of a theory that subsumes empirically well-established features such as general relativity, gauge field theory and chiral quarks and leptons. Current research is devoted to finding out what else M-theory requires.  Moreover, there is a feeling, hard to convey to the layman but shared by many experienced theorists, that these ideas all hang together. As Peter Higgs said recently, "I'm a big fan of supersymmetry because it seems the only way to get gravity into the game''.
Finally, you offer no credible alternative. If you don't like string theory the answer is simple: come up with a better one. The battle for the correct theory will not be won on Amazon or on the blogosphere, however. It will be won in the pages of scholarly scientific journals. Sadly, many critics of string theory, having lost their case in the court of science, try to win it in the court of popular opinion. A science writer calling the theorists who are actually doing the research "confidence tricksters'' or Stephen Hawking "a fairytale physicist'' doesn't cut the mustard.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New Physics Complications Lend Support to Multiverse Hypothesis

Is Nature Unnatural? by Natalie Wolchover 

 With the discovery of only one particle, the LHC experiments deepened a profound problem in physics that had been brewing for decades. Modern equations seem to capture reality with breathtaking accuracy, correctly predicting the values of many constants of nature and the existence of particles like the Higgs. Yet a few constants — including the mass of the Higgs boson — are exponentially different from what these trusted laws indicate they should be, in ways that would rule out any chance of life, unless the universe is shaped by inexplicable fine-tunings and cancellations.

Eric Weinstein may have found the answer to physics' biggest problems

"A physicist has formulated a mathematical theory that purports to explain why the universe works the way it does – and it feels like 'the answer'"

LINK to article in The Guardian

The Guardian article was written by mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, who is a supporter of Weinstein's theory which has been dubbed Geometric Unity.  However, most scientists remain skeptical, and Weinstein's equations have not been submitted for review yet, as discussed in this New Scientist article.