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Our universe is a giant hologram, and other weird scientific theories

DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy EaterRight behind you...Registered User regular
edited January 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
I stumbled across this story on New Scientist:

Our world may be a giant hologram

Not go into too much detail (read the article for more), but basically some scientist believe that the very nature of the space-time continuum is similar to that of a hologram, where a fundamental limit in the universe is reached where the observation dissolves into "grains," similar to looking closer and closer at a newspaper and you see that the print is actually a small series of dots.

So, what other scientific theories are out there (actual science, not pseudo-science like UFOs and Intelligent Design and crap) that completely blow your mind?

Dalboz on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    That's not really a theory so much as a hypothesis.

    Also we've been envisioning the universe with the concept of 2D for decades. See the classic models of how gravity works on a flat grid with a sphere.

    Incenjucar on
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    gundam470gundam470 Drunk Gorilla CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I'm read through A Brief History of Time and I'm at the part where he's explaining quarks and antiquarks and the transfer of force through virtual particles that have like 1/2 spin or 0 or 1 or 2 spin and so on and so forth.

    I mean, some of these things are concepts that I've heard of before but I find it to be extraordinary that this is the way things work.

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    DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    That's not really a theory so much as a hypothesis.

    Well, "theory" in the colloquial sense, not the official sense.

    Dalboz on
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    electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Dalboz wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    That's not really a theory so much as a hypothesis.

    Well, "theory" in the colloquial sense, not the official sense.
    But it's used by scientists, who should know better. I've made it a point to stop using "theory" when I mean hypothesis.

    Holography falls out of some of Hawking's predictions re: black holes - if all the information of their interior is on their event horizon, then all the information of the universe must be encodable in a 2D surface rather then a 3D volume, else information would still be being destroyed.

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    kedinikkedinik Captain of Industry Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    From what I gather these scientists created a microscope that is so powerful that the universe pixellates when you view objects through it, strongly implying that we exist as the low-resolution 3D graphical representations of a system that physically occurs outside the borders of the known universe.

    In other words, we may have discovered a graphical glitch of the simulation that we exist within?

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    AntimatterAntimatter Devo Was Right Gates of SteelRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    My favorite hypothesis is that of the infinite universes.

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    AegisAegis Fear My Dance Overshot Toronto, Landed in OttawaRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    7 posts and no String Theory mention? For shame.

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    Premier kakosPremier kakos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2009
    Obviously, we're now peering beyond the machine-epsilon of the universe.

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    Premier kakosPremier kakos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2009
    Aegis wrote: »
    7 posts and no String Theory mention? For shame.

    This thread is about weird scientific hypotheses, not absolutely fucking retarded "scientific" "hypotheses".

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    Hexmage-PAHexmage-PA Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Antimatter wrote: »
    My favorite hypothesis is that of the infinite universes.

    Me and my friends were talking about this a few weeks ago. I brought up the concept of a universe where people speak with word balloons, like in comics.

    One of my friends responded "DUDE. That universe exists."

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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I don't read the New Scientist because it's a god-damned rag.

    But isn't the holographic principle sort of foundational to String Theory?

    Not that I necessarily believe in String Theory. But the holographic principle is really interesting. It basically states that any three dimensional object can be wholly represented, or encoded, by a two-dimensional surface. (It is based on studies of black hole event horizons).

    It reminds me of how, in biology, a protein molecule is actually a one-or-two-dimensional object (it is literally a strip of genetic code, like a ticker tape), but that the way the molecule coils up onto itself produces something that acts like a 3-D object. And yet, the exact way the "ticker tape" coils up onto itself to form a 3-D object is encoded into the ticker tape itself.

    Here's why I think the holographic principle is so interesting: it potentially explains why there are multiple dimensions at all. Higher dimensions would "emerge" from lower dimensions. There seems to be this inscrutable boundary between "physics" and pure mathematics. It seems like any fundamental theory of physics is going to have to breach this boundary—whether it's string theory or whatever, I don't know. But the holographic principle seems like it's a pretty useful idea.

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    Jealous DevaJealous Deva Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    This is all well and good, however see http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/quantum_bits_030402.html


    Edit: For why this is important, holographic theory requires that the minimum space and time that actually 'matters', the grain of the universe, be several multiples of Planck length, however observations show that light is able to maintain precise definition on scales that are actually below Planck length.

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    Dr SnofeldDr Snofeld Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    It reminds me of how, in biology, a protein molecule is actually a one-or-two-dimensional object (it is literally a strip of genetic code, like a ticker tape), but that the way the molecule coils up onto itself produces something that acts like a 3-D object. And yet, the exact way the "ticker tape" coils up onto itself to form a 3-D object is encoded into the ticker tape itself.

    No, protein molecules are 3D, just very very small. If it were 2D it would not be able to become a 3D object.

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    AntimatterAntimatter Devo Was Right Gates of SteelRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Anyone else hear the hypothesis about gravity leaking out of our universe into another? Unfortunately, it's string theory related.

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    Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against Russian warships) Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    This is all well and good, however see http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/quantum_bits_030402.html


    Edit: For why this is important, holographic theory requires that the minimum space and time that actually 'matters', the grain of the universe, be several multiples of Planck length, however observations show that light is able to maintain precise definition on scales that are actually below Planck length.
    Whoops, and I was just about to bring up Planck Length, Time, and Mass as being the supposed smallest discrete units on existence.

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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Dr Snofeld wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    It reminds me of how, in biology, a protein molecule is actually a one-or-two-dimensional object (it is literally a strip of genetic code, like a ticker tape), but that the way the molecule coils up onto itself produces something that acts like a 3-D object. And yet, the exact way the "ticker tape" coils up onto itself to form a 3-D object is encoded into the ticker tape itself.

    No, protein molecules are 3D, just very very small. If it were 2D it would not be able to become a 3D object.
    I think you missed the point of what I said.

    Protein molecules obviously exist in 3-D. (So do their constituent molecules.)

    However, when a protein molecule is assembled, it isn't sculpted out of a 3-D blob of material. It is transcribed. Amino acids, which make up proteins, are chains of molecules that correspond to a genetic code. An RNA molecule takes this genetic code from DNA, copies it, and then transcribes it into amino acids. The "ticker tape" imagery is basically spot on: the RNA spits out a string or tape of amino acids. This string/tape then coils up into a 3-D looking blob of protein. The exact way it coils up is determined by the code (and oftentimes the coiling up messes up and the misshapen protein molecule must be thrown away).

    Point being, proteins can be thought of as 3-D objects made out of coiled up 1-D (or 2-D, if you take the width of the molecules into account) strings. Their 3-Dness, their very form, is encoded and determined by the information in the 2-D code that comprises them. This strikes me as very similar to what the holographic principle says about the dimensions of the universe itself.

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    thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    "There could still be a mundane source of the noise," Hogan admits.

    methinks this is the case.

    Also, why do we hate string theory so much? I'm not married to the idea, but it doesn't seem so horrible to me...

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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Also, why do we hate string theory so much? I'm not married to the idea, but it doesn't seem so horrible to me...
    I think the main reason is that it's not remotely testable right now, so it doesn't really deserve to be called a scientific "theory" in the first place.

    Also, I used to think that all the extra dimensions in string theory were like Ptolemy's epicycles—something astrophysicists just made up so that their preferred cosmological worldview fits into the math.

    But now I've warmed to the idea. Like I said, the multidimensionality of our universe needs to be explained, and if I understand the theory (which I probably don't), the extra dimensions emerge naturally from more fundamental rules (as opposed to being tacked on arbitrarily, Ptolemy-style). Also, my physics major friends point out that Einstein's theory was originally just mostly nonempirical math, like string theory. So I don't know.

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Also, why do we hate string theory so much?

    Basically, people don't hate string theory, they hate string theorists. They're operating on faith more than science, and that is fucking annoying. The fact that they call it a theory is especially irritating.

    Incenjucar on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Basically, people don't hate string theory, they hate string theorists. They're operating on faith more than science, and that is fucking annoying. The fact that they call it a theory is especially irritating.
    I don't think that's fair at all. I doubt you'll be able to find a string theorist who says they know without doubt that string theory is true. I imagine they talk it up more as an attempt to garner interest in their field of study.

    And the thing with "theory," I'm with you on that, but honestly this is a long-standing problem with scientific terminology (i.e. "evolution is just a theory!") Fuck scientists in general for even using that word in the first place.

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I generally consider the dilution of science, unlike cultural dilution, a real danger.

    The string hypothesis is very interesting, and I look forward to seeing them try to make it something more than a hypothesis, but touting it as a theory is just adding more confusion to a culture already horribly ignorant as to how science works.

    Incenjucar on
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    thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Also, why do we hate string theory so much?

    Basically, people don't hate string theory, they hate string theorists. They're operating on faith more than science, and that is fucking annoying. The fact that they call it a theory is especially irritating.

    given the context, I think the word faith is a little loaded. They're definitely taking ideas, and extrapolating as far as possible, regardless of experimentally verified support. Current technological limits seem tomake this a necessity. The fact that most of the ideas are untestable is bothersome, but if our ideas surpass our technology, that's just how it is. Right?

    The fact that everyone has been working on the... String Hypothesis? for thirtysomeodd years without significant sea change is disappointing, but we have yet to see many of the ideas in SH dis-proven as I understand it.

    Should the theorist stop? No more working out resonances of Calibi-Yau shapes until we can confirm super-symmetry? Do we need to stop with the theorics until our experimental approaches have developed?

    I say no.
    Keep doing the math, the labs will catch up, and sadly, many of you will have wasted your time.

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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Basically I would be happy if they would just cut back the "theory" rhetoric and use proper scientific language to make sure people don't get confused.

    I've run into too many science majors who don't -understand- science as it is.

    Incenjucar on
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    MrMonroeMrMonroe passed out on the floor nowRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    There was an article in SciAm recently written by a fellow who hypothesized that there were actual atoms of space time which could define a maximum amount of matter and energy for a given amount of space. His argument is that the universe is happening over and over infinitely as inertia from the big bang is overcome by gravity and then when the universe collapses to near a singularity those molecules of space time flip the fuck out and gravity becomes a repulsive force.

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    WildcatWildcat Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Is 'flip the fuck out' the scientific term? I'd love it if it was.

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    Armored GorillaArmored Gorilla Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Also, why do we hate string theory so much?

    Basically, people don't hate string theory, they hate string theorists. They're operating on faith more than science, and that is fucking annoying. The fact that they call it a theory is especially irritating.

    Yeah, the root problem is that string theory doesn't appear to be falsifiable. You can't test it, so you can't know, so it's not a valid theory, in the scientific sense.

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    thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Basically I would be happy if they would just cut back the "theory" rhetoric and use proper scientific language to make sure people don't get confused.

    I've run into too many science majors who don't -understand- science as it is.

    I do agree. Still, string hypothesis is what most of the physics community has been working on, and so far the math works. If I have an idea, and I run the math, and wow - this kinda works, and then 90% of the physics world does the same. For thirty years. And things just keep looking nicer (albeit only on paper) and nicer. Independent hypothesis are developed, and lo and behold, they fit together like arguing and the internet. So we still can't call it a theory. CAN WE PLEASE FIND A BETTER WORD THAN HYPOTHESIS FOR THE SUMMARY OF PHYSICS TO DATE? like working-theory or something. I fully agree with all your points, but someone needs to point out, that this, like, is our main idea.

    back on topic. What happened to this guy: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/02/ted_lisi

    I never could find anything too great on his TOE

    thisisntwally on
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    thisisntwallythisisntwally Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    MrMonroe wrote: »
    There was an article in SciAm recently written by a fellow who hypothesized that there were actual atoms of space time which could define a maximum amount of matter and energy for a given amount of space. His argument is that the universe is happening over and over infinitely as inertia from the big bang is overcome by gravity and then when the universe collapses to near a singularity those molecules of space time flip the fuck out and gravity becomes a repulsive force.

    i thought currently we were leaning towards a cold death. Before that I had always imagined just what you speak of. These days I'm digging multiverse.

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    JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The recollapsing universe idea was what came before Einstien. And before we knew about the acceleration of the expansion.

    Want to know a funny theory? Look up "The Big Rip" It is what some people theorize to be the opposite of the big bang. Since we have seen that the universe is accelerating, some people think that the acceleration will continue and speed up till everything rips itself apart, even the smallest particles.

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    Knuckle DraggerKnuckle Dragger Explosive Ovine Disposal Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Oh, bollocks. Somewhere along the line, I apparently deleted all the PMs I had back and forth with Mad_Morlock. Between disproving General Relativity and diagraming a solid state cooling system out of legos, he was a real gem for this kind of topic.

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    Gabriel_PittGabriel_Pitt (effective against Russian warships) Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    We still have his sterling contributions to science from his posts, don't we?

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    osietraosietra __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2009
    If one of the scientists controlling Hubel managed to get a piece of cheese really close up to the lens, would he see the all universes together, and then go insane?

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    Premier kakosPremier kakos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Basically, people don't hate string theory, they hate string theorists. They're operating on faith more than science, and that is fucking annoying. The fact that they call it a theory is especially irritating.
    I don't think that's fair at all. I doubt you'll be able to find a string theorist who says they know without doubt that string theory is true. I imagine they talk it up more as an attempt to garner interest in their field of study.

    And the thing with "theory," I'm with you on that, but honestly this is a long-standing problem with scientific terminology (i.e. "evolution is just a theory!") Fuck scientists in general for even using that word in the first place.

    The problem is that their field of study simply isn't science. It not only isn't a theory, it's not even a hypothesis. In the words of Pauli, "It's not right. It's not even wrong." String theory is not testable at the moment and there's a decent chance it will never be testable.

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    DalbozDalboz Resident Puppy Eater Right behind you...Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Basically I would be happy if they would just cut back the "theory" rhetoric and use proper scientific language to make sure people don't get confused.

    There seems to be bigger danger of people thinking that a scientific theory means theory in the colloquial sense. This is one of the points that the intelligent design/creationst people seem to try to attack the Theory of Evolution on.
    MrMonroe wrote: »
    There was an article in SciAm recently written by a fellow who hypothesized that there were actual atoms of space time which could define a maximum amount of matter and energy for a given amount of space. His argument is that the universe is happening over and over infinitely as inertia from the big bang is overcome by gravity and then when the universe collapses to near a singularity those molecules of space time flip the fuck out and gravity becomes a repulsive force.

    They have apparently determined what the maximum mass of a black hole is, although it's actually a point at which the black hole essentially reached equilibrium and starts spewing out as much matter as it's taking in.
    JebusUD wrote: »
    The recollapsing universe idea was what came before Einstien. And before we knew about the acceleration of the expansion.

    Want to know a funny theory? Look up "The Big Rip" It is what some people theorize to be the opposite of the big bang. Since we have seen that the universe is accelerating, some people think that the acceleration will continue and speed up till everything rips itself apart, even the smallest particles.

    "The Universe" on the History Channel actually had a show a little while ago with some physicists discussing how the universe could actually "end," assuming there's no Big Crunch. Basically, what would the universe look like in 100 trillion years time and beyond. Kind of shoots a hole in the end of the universe as described in Doctor Who.

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    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    Dr Snofeld wrote: »
    Qingu wrote: »
    It reminds me of how, in biology, a protein molecule is actually a one-or-two-dimensional object (it is literally a strip of genetic code, like a ticker tape), but that the way the molecule coils up onto itself produces something that acts like a 3-D object. And yet, the exact way the "ticker tape" coils up onto itself to form a 3-D object is encoded into the ticker tape itself.

    No, protein molecules are 3D, just very very small. If it were 2D it would not be able to become a 3D object.
    I think you missed the point of what I said.

    Protein molecules obviously exist in 3-D. (So do their constituent molecules.)

    However, when a protein molecule is assembled, it isn't sculpted out of a 3-D blob of material. It is transcribed. Amino acids, which make up proteins, are chains of molecules that correspond to a genetic code. An RNA molecule takes this genetic code from DNA, copies it, and then transcribes it into amino acids. The "ticker tape" imagery is basically spot on: the RNA spits out a string or tape of amino acids. This string/tape then coils up into a 3-D looking blob of protein. The exact way it coils up is determined by the code (and oftentimes the coiling up messes up and the misshapen protein molecule must be thrown away).

    Point being, proteins can be thought of as 3-D objects made out of coiled up 1-D (or 2-D, if you take the width of the molecules into account) strings. Their 3-Dness, their very form, is encoded and determined by the information in the 2-D code that comprises them. This strikes me as very similar to what the holographic principle says about the dimensions of the universe itself.
    Absolutely wrong. Molecular dogma goes DNA-->RNA--->Protein, however, each of these things is a collation of physical, three dimensional compounds, all with their own binding motifs and projections in three dimensions. A linear protein, which is what you are referencing, is still three dimensional, however, solvent interactions create hydrophobic and hydrophilic forces which cause the protein to form a tertiary and then quaternary structure.

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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    The problem is that their field of study simply isn't science. It not only isn't a theory, it's not even a hypothesis. In the words of Pauli, "It's not right. It's not even wrong." String theory is not testable at the moment and there's a decent chance it will never be testable.
    I disagree that it's "not science." Just because what they're working on hasn't graduated to a recognized theory yet doesn't mean that they aren't doing "science."

    Now, it might be more appropriate to call what they are doing "mathematics," but I've always thought math was part of science, or at least so closely woven with science that you can call mathematicians a kind of scientist. But it's really just semantics.

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    Fuzzy Cumulonimbus CloudFuzzy Cumulonimbus Cloud Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    DNA_12bp_WF.GIF

    has work done on it by polymerases and is transcribed into various RNAs

    this is tRNA
    7027_web.jpg

    and then is translated into a functional protein by the ribosome
    ribosome1.jpg

    The ticker tape images you commonly see in introductory and basic level biology books are simplifications because drawings including all space filling portions is a pain in the ass when you're trying to get across the basic and so incredibly important idea that genetic information (chemical) can become a functional protein downstream.

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    Handsome CostanzaHandsome Costanza Ask me about 8bitdo RIP Iwata-sanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Dalboz wrote: »
    Our world may be a giant hologram


    Woah

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    RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    One of my profs in university back in Québec was quite proud of his theory (well, really more of a hypothesis) he was developing. He basically disagreed with Einstein's special relativity interpretation of time, and proposed that time should be a radial dimension centered on the observer. He says this theory leads to a much simpler and reasonable understanding of the universe.



    EDIT: I found a Wikipedia entry about him. I quote "he is known for advocating solar power, even in a country as cold as Canada." *facepalm* Apparently, according to Wikipedia, light doesn't work in the cold. Not really related to anything, it just annoyed me.


    EDIT2: Looks like he got his theory published in Physics Essays in 2006. Here's an article from the university paper, in French naturally.


    EDIT3: Alright, I found what seems to be a recent summary of his theory he wrote in English

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    Premier kakosPremier kakos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2009
    Qingu wrote: »
    The problem is that their field of study simply isn't science. It not only isn't a theory, it's not even a hypothesis. In the words of Pauli, "It's not right. It's not even wrong." String theory is not testable at the moment and there's a decent chance it will never be testable.
    I disagree that it's "not science." Just because what they're working on hasn't graduated to a recognized theory yet doesn't mean that they aren't doing "science."

    No. It's not science because it can't be tested. It's not science in the same way that Intelligent Design is not science..
    Now, it might be more appropriate to call what they are doing "mathematics," but I've always thought math was part of science, or at least so closely woven with science that you can call mathematicians a kind of scientist. But it's really just semantics.

    Whoa whoa whoa. Math is most definitely not a science. And it's not semantics. Mathematics is not at all related to science in any kind of way. They are completely fucking different. You might as well call Literature a kind of science because scientists also use words.

    But, yeah, string theory is more mathematics than it is science (because it isn't science, see above). String theory is basically the result you get when you plug in a bunch of known data and then furiously masturbate with said data using the latest mathematical theories until something quasi-sensical comes out.

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