Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Infinitely Smaller Universe

Earlier I wrote about the possibilities of using Fractals in SecondLife.

One of the most beautiful things about Fractal geometry is that the more you zoom in on a fractal, the more detail you reveal, and this process goes on forever.

Below is a video clip showing Arthur C Clarke putting the question to Stephen Hawking, is the physical universe like fractal geometry? Does the universe gain more detail as you zoom in on it?

This is an important question. We know about molecules and atoms and can even infer about quarks and other sub-atomic particles, but would the physical universe go on infinitely smaller than that if we could somehow zoom in to that detail?

Hawking answers the question quickly and flatly, that there is a limit to the physical universe somewhere near the level of quarks. The universe doesn't get infinitely small.

I have a problem with this. Granted Stephen Hawking is a god of physics and I'm a god of not shit, but how can he so answer so flatly and finally about things we have no way of perceiving?

Couldn't it be that the universe does in fact get infinitely smaller, but we simply haven't the tools to zoom in any further? And if we don't have the tools to zoom in any further how can we possibly state what might (or might not) be there if we could?

An infinitely small universe could solve some problems currently facing physics. For instance, there may be no need for dark matter or dark energy if the universe gains infinite detail the closer you get to it.

I don't hope to actually win this argument. I'm completely incapable of proving even the smallest portion of it mathematically. It's something to think about though.

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