Last night I went to a physics lecture hosted by the Monterey Institute for Research in Astronomy (MIRA).
Was There A Single Big Bang? is the title of the presentation given by Dr. Brian G. Keating of UC San Diego.
Some part of this viewing equipment has to be cooled to near absolute zero (I guess it helps to be located in the Earth’s deepfreezer) in order to detect light emissions from the beginning of the universe, at which time something with infinite density and infinite temperature became finite.
From what I gather (because he said it a couple of times), there is no model in physics or mathematics by which the infinite becomes finite.
As if that weren’t problemmatic enough, there’s space dust everywhere in the cosmos, distorting wavelengths and mucking up nearly Nobel results.
The dust is so problemmatic that Planck’s constant is off by a magnitude of 7.
In short order this is what I learned:
- There are lots of theories about the universe and none of them can be proven or disproven. We may in fact be in The Matrix (he didn’t say that, but he also didn’t not say it, so it could be true.)
- People who attend these lectures want to make sure the other people attending the lectures know just how smart they are by asking asinine questions at the end. I did so enjoy the suggestion made by the Poetry lady who noted that our scientist need only redefine universe, and then, Voila! Problem solved.
- After spending a week on a Navy ship in warm, calm waters, there’s no way I’d take one to Antartica. Not for love or money.
- The beginning of the universe is not necessarily the beginning of time, which is probably the coolest thing I learned.