Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Am Become Chaos

(((cool science stuff: matter in the universe distributed in a fractal pattern; how can we hook this up with process philosophy? also: difficulty squaring general relativity with a fractal universe.)))

According to the New Scientist:
According to their latest paper, which has been submitted to Nature Physics, Sylos Labini and Pietronero, along with physicists Nikolay Vasilyev and Yurij Baryshev of St Petersburg State University in Russia, argue that the new data shows that the galaxies exhibit an explicitly fractal pattern up to a scale of about 100 million light years.

And they say if the universe does become homogeneous at some point, it has to be on a scale larger than a staggering 300 million light years across.
Apparently no dispute about the smaller scales. The question is mainly whether there's been enough time for gravity to produce clumps. The smoothing factor is also apparently connected to Einstein's theory of general relativity, which makes it easy to model the universe as smooth, but not so much to model it as, er, striated?

Regarding the latter point, doesn't that just mean that maybe it's time for a new model, or principle for the model? Like that's never happened before? Like we always expect that the stuff we know now is going to be how it actually is for all time? Because we're just that smart.

On the former point, doesn't the question of there being enough time leave us with the idea that the universe is in the process of forming fractal patterns on the largest possible scales? We're a chamber in a mighty big nautilus. Or something like that.

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