November 30, 2010
If you have ever come across any accounts of what science is or what the nature of a physical world is, you often come across two things. Randomness and beauty. And both of these are often sited pretty carelessly. This leads to a misunderstanding of science and true understanding of the world we live in and its extraneous, the vast cosmos and its interplay. Collectively we may name it Our Universe. (And then there is what we know as a conceptual Multiverse and we need to go into them when it interests us, may be in another article)
Now I don’t want to go into why exactly people misunderstand science and our understanding of the world, there are several issues; reasons, circumstances and they constitute a new science in themselves. But one quick remark, I would like to make is, it’s a necessary facet of our interaction, communication, practices and traditions in the human communities, the so-called earthlings. I just resisted myself, from the temptation of calling it a necessary facet of nature, which it is nonetheless. Some precision is helpful, like in this case, in the scope of this article.
But if there are aliens, they are not going to misunderstand our science like they are not going to understand any of it, whatsoever. They may come up with an advance civilizational democracy and scientific understanding. They might pop up through the unresolved and ununderstood part of the Universe in our locality, the vast amount of dark matter and dark energy that permeates our Universe and dominates its fabric. Who knows? Theirs may even be a sulky set up, sulkier than ours and they may think that they are here on earth to mess up with our women in a Friday night and get a gun shot or two from the rednecks. Who knows? Their blood may be radioactive and creates a disaster in The Triangle University region in North Carolina. They may refuse to take the alcohol taste from the cops because they don’t breathe in regular intervals. Who knows?
One of the misunderstandings of science comes from the way we have come up to use the word, Random. You may come across; the enlightened, that remark ours is a Universe, which has come into its existence and its present day form through a random process. The usual enlightened religious fanatic and the great learned scholars and practitioners of western religions have countered such understanding of the Universe vehemently. Now, the usual and outstanding scientists, they all struggle with wordplay at least as much is mastered by the fanatics of which a sizeable population could come from anywhere, no geography chosen with impunity, no culture and social kind selected with prejudice. So it wont go away if I were to come with a more aptly word contingent.
Universe is contingent upon us and we are contingent upon Universe. God did not intervene; he might have liked it that way though, God is an illusive, reclusive, all weather sucker. Pardon my language. God is not a party to the dispute between the scientists and the Religionists and the lawyers are demanding a high bail out to God. People,, please consider me an advocate of science, for that reason, I demand a high price from God if I were to bring him as a necessary master of the Universe in my understanding of the world. How can our Universe be so beautiful and replete with so many things that we revere as truly, a Gods benevolent offering, to the citizens of this world? God does not like the randomness because we don’t want to see our world that way. But randomness is not the right word neither is the right process.
By random we mean an arbitrary, variable. A variable, which we set in our calculations and computation so that there is no prejudice or bias, as an input, so truth and ultimate truth comes out as a result. But the way we chose our variables it may follow certain patterns and principles. By contingent, I rather mean ours is a Universe, which we have found at present in the state in which we see it, and like it, or not there is hardly anything (actually and factually) that could pertain as a Gods work. God’s work of art or act of silliness notwithstanding.
If you think you may question this understanding of the scientists it’s a good way to revert all your emails to a random address, so that you first come up with an understanding what randomness is. If you send it to Hawking he may not be any interested to answer you despite of his great efforts towards making his work accessible to all of us. He has written so many books and he would be thinking at least as a matter of humor, why don’t you read and criticize all my works rather than what I said on just God.
Its silly, if you are silly may be your God is silly too. Actually Hawking may not say so, but Weinberg may come up with such a remark. And if you go to Professor George Smoot, a great experimentalist of the last century and a recent Nobel Laureate he may say in his characteristic tone, ah ah ah even if God was really subtle I was going to find Him out like I found the Cosmic Microwave Back Ground Radiation. (CMBGR, they usually call it CMBR, but that’s the right one) So if you ask another scientist say Lederman he is possibly going to avoid it, saying, if God is the answer then what’s the question.
If you ask me I would come up with some silly jokes that you may not understand so I may come up quickly, if you don’t understand my jokes how can you come up the ladders to sit with me on my roof to look at the stars and take a deep sigh of relief, Only if I can be like this for ever, here on the roof, with you and take a little love and compassion why do I need a God at all. God is an unnecessary homage in the scheme of things of all scientists. You may then try to discover all the little things people said, like Albert Einstein. The scientist said there is no God, it’s just not an elegant concern.
The people factor in Albert says well you know I don’t mind once in a while to say Subtle is Lords ways, or some such thing. I am just too tensed from all the workings of the Universe I have been thinking lately and I need a break, what better occasion to lean on my own and rant with you, Oh God, benevolent, thou work of Universe is incomprehensible, let me rest on my own understanding. The most incomprehensible facet of Universe is its comprehensible.
Randomness is chosen often to keep the scientific studies minimally biased. It’s not a way to reduce any bias that may be there on its own but a smart understanding here or there may use a random number to study exactly the amount of bias prevalent in the system. Some statistical studies in a work of science are completely necessary such as where populations of certain things are studied. In a branch of science (more appropriately Physics) known as elementary Particle Physics where I have a good deal of expertise, the elementary particles are studied in samples of millions of these and its necessary that many variables of interest are simulated through random variables. The angular distributions, when these particles are created and move through space and their fractions from their parent modes, these are all studied through random variables.
Now there is another widely found nature of our world that comes up when we study our Universe. Beauty. Everyone loves them. A thing of beauty is a joy forever, so say the poets. And the philosophers have a love of wisdom, when beauty comes across they give up on their wisdom. The politicos are a slave of beauties as they are the masters of our destiny. The scientists are eternal seekers of beauty, they do not believe in God, but little do they know that’s because they are constantly in search of beauties. The medicos and the patients, the showmen and the pimps, the kings and the street keepers, they all are enchanted by beauty. And they all often repent because those who are beautiful often do not realize what it is about them that make people gasping.
But when it comes to beauty in our World, the way scientists see it or rather aptly appreciate it, it is the concept of beauty. And since the poet said a thing of beauty is a joy forever the scientist replaces it by Beauty is what is conserved.
This is linked to what’s called the Noethers Theorem in Mathematicians terminology. Not to talk about the feelings of mathematicians when it comes to beauty, the mathematicians are often mad about the beauty of the equations, so it’s a timely tribute to them that the idea of beauty in the physical world is often described by the above theorem.
Noethers theorem is more about what we call as symmetry transformation and conservation theorems. Symmetry is like you make something undergo some change and the result is still the same in some way. Eg you swivel your car through a complete rotation and you see the beautiful lady still standing at the same place.
So here rotation of the car is the transformation or change, the surrounding is the same, this is called symmetry. It’s a coincidence that you see a real beauty. Most often you imagine a beauty when you make a rotation. So string theorists are essentially mathematicians because they are not confident enough to find a beauty in the real world, they focus their skill on the imaginary beauties. They want us to believe that they can somehow someday find a real beauty when they spin their wheel every other way known to the mathematicians.
Now Noethers theorem says that every symmetry transformation is associated with a conservation theorem, eg some quantity is conserved each time any transformation is a symmetry, that is, no change is attributable to the system overall, for certain predefined change. The other part of the Noethers theorem is the exact reverse. For every conservation theorem there is one associated symmetry transformation.
But look how easily we can see that when we rotate our car everything is same again, we rotated through, 360 degree of angle and the beauty is still standing there. Notice that the beauty has to be there to start with and if we rotate our car in a reasonably small time, the beauty is still there. Of course it’s not a vampire, it does not vanish as soon as you rotate your car. Vampires do not count as beauty because they do not show up on mirror, and that means in the language of Physics, Vampires Violate Parity. Parity is a transformation of space symmetry where Vampires do not stand a chance as a beauty. But if you take your favorite actress and ask her to stand in front of the Mirror, she shows up, albeit her nostrils flipped in the mirror so if there is any difference from the left to the right it shows up as right to the left. Watch out.
So beauty is something, which is a measure of reality of the world we live in. Beautiful actresses are as real as you know they exist but vampires are a construct for a movie.
Now beauty is only one aspect of the reality of the physical world. What’s reality? Reality as we define it, is something that truly happens, to a reasonable degree of argument. If you fell through a sand bag, you don’t get wet, unless the sand is wet and so on. Beyond the argument it’s a meaningless exercise, you may come across a group of gossip lovers who find this as a pleasurable exercise to find meaning out of nonsense. But reality is what makes sense. Sometimes common sense is a fiercely debated and vehemently argued commodity. Most of us lack it, but it gets to be defined common sense. That’s because it still is usable by the common. That’s the end of my article. This is the second article of the day and if you read this one, this one is actually the one I liked a lot. Except I don’t remember the last one I wrote.