Friday, January 29, 2010

Accidental Laws

One of the challenges for Physics is to explain where the laws of Physics come from. Why these laws and no others? Where do the constants of Physics come from? Feynman wrote in his lectures about the ratio of the repulsion of two electrons due to electricity, and the attraction of the two electrons due to their masses:
where does such a large number come from? It is not accidental, like the ratio of the volume of the Earth to the volume of a flea. We have considered two aspects if the same thing, an electron....Some say that we shall one day find the "universal equation", and in it, one of the roots will be this number.
In the same passage, he considers the possibility that this constant could vary with the age of the Universe.
In this Edge interview, Leonard Susskind suggests an alternative, based on a combination of String Theory and the Anthropic Principle: that there is no deep reason for these constants and the laws of nature. These values and laws vary from one part of the Multi-verse/Mega-verse to another, and we happen to be in a part where these values are such that they can support living creatures like us.
Gradually physicists and cosmologists are coming to see our ten billion light years as an infinitesimal pocket of a stupendous megaverse. At the same time theoretical physicists are proposing theories which demote our ordinary laws of nature to a tiny corner of a gigantic landscape of mathematical possibilities.
Interesting throughout.

No comments: