Saturday, July 04, 2009

The process never ends

1) A Dream, by Jorge Luis Borges, from July 6, 2009 issue of The New Yorker

“In a deserted place in Iran there is a not very tall stone tower that has neither door nor window. In the only room (with a dirt floor and shaped like a circle) there is a wooden table and a bench. In that circular cell, a man who looks like me is writing in letters I cannot understand a long poem about a man who in another circular cell is writing a poem about a man who in another circular cell . . . The process never ends and no one will be able to read what the prisoners write.”

2) The (Multi)verse(s), from Radiolab, August 12, 2008

In this episode of the program, Brian Greene says that if the Universe is infinite and if the particles that form the Universe are finite, then our world and everything we know about it must repeat endlessly and in endless variety. Just like a finite wardrobe can only me mixed- and matched a finite number of times before it must repeat.

He goes on to hypothesize about multiple universes contained within a single system. He compares it to Swiss cheese: the universes are the holes and the system is the cheese. In this model, everything is expanding — both the universes and the substance between the universes. But the system — the “cheese” — is expanding faster than the speed of light, meaning: faster than anything can travel. Therefore, no matter how fast something moves through the “cheese,” it can’t cross the distance from one universe to the next.

In this model, each universe is contained and finite, while the system as a whole is pervasive and infinite. Because our universe is finite, we would theoretically be able to know everything there is to know about it. But we would never be able to know whether the other universes we assume are out there are really out there.

1 comment:

Mary said...

you're back.
you're back.
you're back.
you're back.