Maths theories may give clues on origins and future of life in Universe

June 13th, 2009 - 2:23 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 13 (ANI): In a new research, a Maths Professor is looking to mathematical theories for clues on origins and future of life in the Universe.

Louis Crane, K-State professor of mathematics, is studying new theories about why the universe is the way it is.

He has a grant from the Foundational Questions Institute to study new approaches to the quantum theory of gravity, his primary research area as both a mathematician and a physicist.

Crane hopes to uncover implications of these theories for the origin and the future of life.

He said that the standard model, which is the accepted theory of physics, has a large number of fundamental constants.

Examples are the strengths of fundamental forces and the masses of fundamental particles.

According to Crane, what complicates things is that the theory does not explain the values of these constants. Rather, they are known by measurement and put into equations by hand.

“If they had just slightly different values, we would live in a different universe,” Crane said. “If they were a little different, we wouldn’t be here,” he added.

Crane said that his ideas build on the work of Lee Smolin, a theoretical physicist. Instead of a universe fine-tuned to produce stars, as Smolin suggests, Crane proposes that the universe is fine-tuned to produce successful industrial civilizations, possibly including us.

“Life couldn’t exist if stars didn’t shine for billions of years,” Crane said. “Only a fine-tuning in the constants causes them to do so. Another fine-tuning in the constants causes carbon, the foundation of life, to be abundant,” he added.

Crane suggests that if he is correct that artificial black holes are possible, then successful industrial civilizations - maybe ours - will eventually produce them.

That’s because at a certain size they would be a perfect energy source for interstellar travel.

“If you can build one, it has implications for the future of life because we would eventually spread life throughout the galaxy if we could build starships,” said Crane.

Black holes are believed to produce a new universe on the other end of the singularity, but one that lies in our future and is always out of reach.

Yet such universes also would be fine-tuned to produce life, civilizations and, eventually, more black holes, according to Crane.

“If this is possible, then we will fill the universe with life. I’m suggesting that life forms are part of a grand evolutionary cycle, which includes universes and black holes,” he said. (ANI)

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