Evidence suggests Universe isn't infinite, doughnut shaped

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by peter2002, Mar 10, 2003.

  1. peter2002 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    New microwave data that has been analysed from the COBE (pronounced KOE-bee, for Cosmic Background Explorer) suggests that the Universe is not infinite in all directions, but loops on itself like a doughnut.

    Long ago in the dawn of the computer age, college students often whiled away the nights playing a computer game called Spacewar. It consisted of two rocket ships attempting to blast each other out of the sky with torpedoes while trying to avoid falling into a star at the center of the screen.

    Although cartoonish in appearance, the game was amazingly faithful to the laws of physics, complete with a gravitational field that affected both the torpedoes and the rockets. Only one feature seemed outlandish: a ship that drifted off the edge of the screen would reappear on the opposite side.

    Real space couldn't work that way.

    Or could it?

    Imagine that the Spacewar screen is wrapped around to form a cylinder or a section of a doughnut so that the two edges meet.

    That is the picture of space, some cosmologists say, that has been suggested by a new detailed map of the early universe. Their analysis of this map has now provided a series of hints — though only hints — that the universe may have a more complicated shape than astronomers presumed.

    Rather than being infinite in all directions, as the most fashionable theory suggests, the universe could be radically smaller in one direction than the others. As a result it may be even be shaped like a doughnut.

    In principle, in an infinite universe, the waves in the cosmic fireball should appear randomly around the sky at all sizes. But, according to the new map, there seems to be a limit to the size of the waves, with none extending more than 60 degrees across the sky.

    The effect was first noted as a puzzle in the COBE data, according to Dr. Gary Hinshaw, an astronomer at the Goddard Space Flight Center and a member of the Wilkinson probe team, and now seems confirmed.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/11/science/space/11COSM.html?pagewanted=1
     
  2. Chef Ramen macrumors member

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  3. G4scott macrumors 68020

    G4scott

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  4. peterjhill macrumors 65816

    peterjhill

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    #4
    Well, if scientists think that the Universe is expanding, then they probably also think that it is not infinite. Though a long time ago, I did read about transfinite numbers. Like what you get when you multiply infinity by itself, or add one to infinity, and the book was saying that there are infinities greater than others.

    Concerning the universe, I can imagine a Universe that is of a volume less than infinite yet has no boundries. Let's see who else can... Taking everything down one dimension to a two dimensional area less than infinity with no boundries. How can that be? Imagine that the two dimensional area is the surface of a sphere. That's cheating! You might say, but certainly people 500-1000 years ago thought the Earth was flat. Now add another dimension and you have our three dimensional space that if you went far enough you would end up where you started. This would not be a doughnut shape. It would be a hypersphere. It would be impossible, even travelling at the speed of light to make this journey in any reasonable amount of time, but is an interesting enough explaination that I think it might be true.
     
  5. Chad macrumors member

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    Jan 20, 2003
    #5
    as I say then what is on the outside area of the Donut shape ???

    or if it is expanding what is it expanding into ???

    all that stuff bugs me !!!

    I love how scientists think they can explain things then a few years later they are like WHOOPS we are wrong

    Science theory is needed but not needed to be taken serious
     
  6. peterjhill macrumors 65816

    peterjhill

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    #6
    Who says that it needs to be expanding into anything? I can imagine such a situation. I asked myself that same question, 25 years ago. If the universe has an end, how does it end? a brick wall? If it is getting bigger, what is on the other side? With the theory that I mention above, I can imagine that the volume is getting bigger, but since the whole thing wraps around on itself, there is no edge, thus no brick wall. If there is no edge, there is no place where "the other side" can exist, after all, to have an "outside" to the system, you need to be able do define the "inside" and a border between them.
     
  7. Sol macrumors 68000

    Sol

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    #7
    Infinity too big for the human brain

    When we talk about the Universe are we talking about all the gasses, rocks, etc or are we talking about the empty space in-between all that? If we are talking about the empty space then I would give more favor to any theory where it is infinite simply because any other theory could not be tested. I mean, suppose that we are told that the universe is a bubble, how would we ever see what that bubble looks like from the outside of it?
     
  8. peter2002 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #8
    "white space"

    The evidence suggests that our 3D Universe is finite. What is beyond? Well, another universe with multiple dimensions and a new set of laws of physics. Kind of like when Captain Kirk crossed outside our galaxy into "white space" where everything was all those groovy colors. Anyone remeber that episode of StarTrek?

    Pete :)
     
  9. Mr. Anderson Moderator emeritus

    Mr. Anderson

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    #9
    Re: "white space"

    Think of it more like a mobius strip - in 3d (mind bending, actually) but you wouldn't be able to get to the 'other' side just be going in one direction - you'd have to figure out how to break out of the 3 dimensions and move in another. Too weird, and something we're not going to have to deal with or really worry about for quite sometime.

    D
     
  10. peterjhill macrumors 65816

    peterjhill

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    #10
    Re: "white space"

    What drugs are you on? :) just kidding, that episode sounds like it is made for an acid trip
     

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