Book of the week: “Our Mathematical Universe”

Book: “Our Mathematical Universe”

Posted by Max Tegmark

Released: 2017

Publisher: AST: CORPUS

Source language: English

Original title: Our Mathematical Universe

about the author

Max Tegmark is a world-famous scientist: two hundred publications, constant references to the media. Analyzing the data of the WMAP spacecraft, Tegmark, together with his wife, Angelica de Oliveira-Costa, proved that the cosmos are not the same everywhere - some mathematical tricks allow us to detect the axis of symmetry passing through the entire Universe, which generally cannot be, because it cannot be never. More than anything, Tegmark loves to argue that everything in the world is controlled by mathematics, and if there is a consistent mathematical description of something, then something is sure to be found somewhere. So that not only fellow professors would understand his complex mathematical calculations, he wrote the popular book Our Mathematical Universe, in which he explains furiously complex things in a very simple language.

About the book

According to Tegmark, everything is mathematics, and vice versa. But before proceeding with the proof of this main thesis, the scientist gently introduces the reader to the course, starting, according to the tradition of all the popularizers of space science, from the ancient Greeks. Gradually, the reader seems to independently prove that the Earth is round, the Solar system is our Homeland, and the thermal death of the Universe is inevitable. The emphasis on Tegmark, of course, is on what he himself knows very well - on the redshift of galaxies, which he himself worked on for a long time, on relic radiation, which he studied, made his main discovery, and on the Big Bang theory (the theory that popular sitcom).

Following the author’s reasoning, one can at least roughly figure out what is impossible to understand fundamentally - for example, in the theory that the world has the shape of a donut (torus), but at the same time remains infinite. Tegmark raises a bunch of questions along the way. to which he himself answers. This format makes it very easy to get acquainted with the complex principles of modern cosmology. Here's an example: how did infinite space appear in the finite time of the Big Bang? First you need to read the entire previous chapter on the inflation of space, but when the reader has mastered this chapter, the answer becomes clear, which reads as follows: “Inflation creates an infinite number of galaxies and lasts forever.”

Having told everything that can be told about the Big Bang without equations and graphs, Tegmark sets about absolutely fantastic things, like the multiverse and parallel universes. He explains that the hypotheses of parallel universes are (so far) not even theories, but allusions to theories that physicists will or will not build in the future. Without a hitch, Tegmark summarizes the opinion that prevails today in the scientific community regarding hypotheses about the multiverse and all who exercise the mind to develop them. “Although these parallel universes remain the subject of controversy, the main criticism of them has changed from“ It does not make sense, and I hate it ”to“ I hate it. ” It's nice to read serious scientists who have everything in order with a sense of humor.

So, gradually complicating the topic and moving away from special questions to general ones, Tegmark leads the reader to what everything was up to - for a story about his hypothesis of the mathematical Universe (GMV). Here are two of her postulates:

1. There is an external physical reality, completely independent of people.

2. Our external physical reality is a mathematical structure.

This hypothesis, if properly developed, can claim the role of the Holy Grail of physics - the General theory of everything, says - or rather believes - Tegmark. The mathematical structures, which are discussed in the second position of the GMP, are eternal and unchanging, and in them everything exists as an implementation in specific data, as points on the graph of a function exist as part of a function. Such points are, for example, time and space. Man is also a mathematical structure, only unusual is self-conscious.

From the two provisions of the GMV many conclusions are made, physical and philosophical, about the nature of man, knowledge and faith. As a result, the book, which began with a story about simple things - tides, planets, and parallaxes, turns into a mathematical catechism. The author says so: not “I proved the IV multiverse, ” which would be quackery, but “I believe in the IV multiverse”. The scientist in his earnest faith supports the desire to know the Universe. After going over existing theories, hints of theories and hypotheses, he chose one that does not imply a fundamental threshold for insight into the essence of things - and made it his religion. What distinguishes him from the fanatic is that Tegmark admits that his faith is wrong. If one day there is evidence, the scientist, of course, admits his defeat. But it will be infinitely sad.

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