philosophy of cosmology
https://plus.maths.org/content/category/tags/philosophy-cosmology
enEstablishing the philosophy of cosmology
https://plus.maths.org/content/establishing-philosophy-cosmology
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Rachel Thomas </div>
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<p>Do the dramatic advances in cosmology in the last century herald a new golden age of philosophy? A new collaborative project between cosmologists and philosophers is leading the way.</p>
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"We live in a golden age of cosmology," says <a href="http://www.trin.cam.ac.uk/butterfield/">Jeremy Butterfield</a>, a philosopher of physics from the University of Cambridge. Since the mid 20th century, we've seen dramatic advances in our understanding of the Universe. It started with Einstein's development of the general theory of relativity in the beginning of the century, which provided a deeper understanding of the structure of stars and galaxies and their formation. In the 1960s the unprecedented precision of observations provided an enormous stimulus.<p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/establishing-philosophy-cosmology" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/establishing-philosophy-cosmology#commentscosmologyphilosophy of cosmologyMon, 09 Dec 2013 06:43:52 +0000Rachel5983 at https://plus.maths.org/contentThe puzzle of time
https://plus.maths.org/content/puzzle-time-0
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Marianne Freiberger </div>
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<p>Why does time only ever move in one direction? We talk to philosophers of physics Jeremy Butterfield and David Wallace, as well as the eminent Roger Penrose about the puzzle time poses to physicists and what it has to do with the Big Bang and the second law of thermodynamics.</p>
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<div class="rightimage" style="width: 250px"><img src="https://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/articles/2011/time/time.jpg" width="250" height="173" alt="clocks"/><p>What is time?</p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/puzzle-time-0" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/puzzle-time-0#commentsBig Bangcosmologyphilosophyphilosophy of cosmologystatistical mechanicsthermodynamicstimeThu, 26 Sep 2013 11:32:45 +0000mf3445944 at https://plus.maths.org/contentDo infinities exist in nature?
https://plus.maths.org/content/do-infinities-exist-nature-0
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Marianne Freiberger and Rachel Thomas </div>
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<p>Is the Universe finite or infinite? Is there infinity inside a black hole? Is space infinitely divisible or is there a shortest length? We talk to philosophers and physicists to find out.</p>
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<p>What would you see if you came to the edge of the Universe? It's hard to imagine so it's tempting to conclude that the Universe doesn't have an edge and therefore that it must be infinite. That's not a necessary conclusion however. There are things that are finite in extent but still don't have an edge, the prime example being the surface of a sphere. It's got a finite area but when you walk around on it you'll never fall over an edge.<p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/do-infinities-exist-nature-0" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/do-infinities-exist-nature-0#commentsblack holecosmological inflationphilosophyphilosophy of cosmologyPlanck unitwhat is infinityThu, 26 Sep 2013 09:42:03 +0000mf3445945 at https://plus.maths.org/contentWho's looking at you?
https://plus.maths.org/content/whos-looking-you
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Rachel Thomas </div>
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<img class="imagefield imagefield-field_abs_img" width="100" height="100" alt="" src="https://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/abstractpics/4/21_jan_2015_-_1047/cosmo_icon.jpg?1421837260" /> </div>
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<p>Observers are, of course, vital in physics: we test our theories by comparing them to our observations. But in cosmology, as Jim Hartle explains, we could be one of many possible observers in the Universe and knowing which one we are is vital in testing our theories.</p>
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<h3>View from the inside or the outside?</h3>
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"Observers, of course, are important in all of physics," says <a href="http://web.physics.ucsb.edu/~hartle/">Jim Hartle</a>, Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This is because predicting, making and comparing observations is fundamentally how physics is done. We (or rather, our fellow human physicists) use theories to predict what our observations will be and we test these theories by checking if the observations that are predicted match what we actually observe.
</p></p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/whos-looking-you" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/whos-looking-you#commentsBoltzmann brainFP-carouselNewtonian mechanicsphilosophy of cosmologyquantum mechanicsWed, 21 Jan 2015 11:44:17 +0000Rachel6274 at https://plus.maths.org/contentSteady on, Einstein
https://plus.maths.org/content/steady-on-Einstein
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Rachel Thomas </div>
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<p>To celebrate the release of more English translations of Einstein's papers, we revisit one of his previously unknown models of the Universe.</p>
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Albert Einstein's impact on our understanding of the Universe is so widely regarded by both the physics community and the general public, that his name is now a synonym for genius.<p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/steady-on-Einstein" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/steady-on-Einstein#commentscosmologycreativityEinsteinphilosophy of cosmologysteady state modelMon, 12 Jan 2015 13:50:37 +0000Rachel6297 at https://plus.maths.org/contentIn the beginningâ€¦
https://plus.maths.org/content/beginning
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<p>Bob Wald tells us why probabilities are important in cosmology.</p>
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Scientific theories need to be tested in order to be accepted as a fully fledged piece of our scientific understanding of the world around us. To do this, you need an example of your physical system that the theory describes. Your theory should make predictions about how the physcial system will behave, and so by observing your example system you can test whether the predictions of your theory play out in reality. But in order for a theory to predict how a system will behave over time, you need to know what that system looked like at the beginning of your experiment.<p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/beginning" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/beginning#commentsBig Bangphilosophy of cosmologyprobabilityThu, 20 Nov 2014 14:13:37 +0000Rachel6214 at https://plus.maths.org/contentDreams of the Universe: Is particle physics unscientific?
https://plus.maths.org/content/dreams-universe-particle-physics-unscientific
<div class="rightimage" style="width: 300px;"><img src="https://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/articles/2014/carr/hubble.jpg" alt="A Hubble image" width="300" height="225" />
<p>An image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, courtesy <a href='http://www.nasa.gov'>NASA</a>, <a href="http://www.esa.int/ESA">ESA</a> and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI).</p>
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<p>How important are experiments in science? Scientists use experiments
to check whether a theory's predictions match up with
reality, so without them you can't pick out bad theories.</p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/dreams-universe-particle-physics-unscientific" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/dreams-universe-particle-physics-unscientific#commentsm-theorymultiverseparticle physicsphilosophy of cosmologystring theoryWed, 19 Nov 2014 10:18:17 +0000mf3446237 at https://plus.maths.org/contentCosmology, philosophy and the multiverse
https://plus.maths.org/content/cosmology-philosophy-and-multiverse
<div class="rightimage" style="width: 138px;"><img src="https://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/articles/carr/bernard.png" alt="Bernard Carr" width="138" height="179"/>
<p></p><p><a href='http://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/podcast/bernard.mp3'>Listen to our interview with Bernard Carr</a></p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/cosmology-philosophy-and-multiverse" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/cosmology-philosophy-and-multiverse#commentsphilosophy of cosmologyMon, 13 Oct 2014 09:58:07 +0000mf3446197 at https://plus.maths.org/contentThe multiverse: Science or speculation?
https://plus.maths.org/content/cosmology-science-or-speculation
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Marianne Freiberger </div>
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<p>If you like to have your mind blown cosmology is a great field to go into. But is it science?</p>
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<p>An image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope showing two clusters full of massive stars that may be in the early stages of merging. Image courtesy <a href='http://www.nasa.gov'>NASA</a>, <a href="http://www.esa.int/ESA">ESA</a> and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI).</p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/cosmology-science-or-speculation" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/cosmology-science-or-speculation#commentsastronomycosmologymultiversephilosophy of cosmologyMon, 13 Oct 2014 09:39:47 +0000mf3446196 at https://plus.maths.org/contentWho made the laws of nature?
https://plus.maths.org/content/laws-nature
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Marianne Freiberger </div>
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<img class="imagefield imagefield-field_abs_img" width="100" height="100" alt="" src="https://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/abstractpics/5/1_oct_2014_-_1037/laws_icon.jpg?1412156227" /> </div>
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<p>What gives an equation the right to call itself a law?</p>
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<p>I was a bad physics student at school. Not only did I have no
physical intuition whatsoever, I also didn't believe most of it. How,
I wondered,
can we possibly claim that
nature "obeys" the "laws" that we have written down in text
books? </p>
<p>It turns out that in my ignorance I had something resembling a point. While
physicists are busy coming up with equations that express the
laws of nature, philosophers are thinking about what a law of nature
actually is. And they don't all agree.</p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/laws-nature" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/laws-nature#commentsphilosophy of cosmologyWed, 08 Oct 2014 11:52:45 +0000mf3446195 at https://plus.maths.org/contentDreaming the dream
https://plus.maths.org/content/dreaming-dream
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Marianne Freiberger </div>
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<img class="imagefield imagefield-field_abs_img" width="100" height="100" alt="" src="https://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/abstractpics/5/19_sep_2014_-_1622/brain_icon.jpg?1411140178" /> </div>
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<p>Why cosmologists worry about isolated brains that randomly fluctuate into existence.</p>
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<p>Imagine you're an isolated brain floating lonely through
the vast
expanse of the Universe with all your thoughts, memories and
perceptions just figments of your imagination. That's a depressing
thought, but not a new one. There'd even be a name for you: you'd be a
<em>Boltzmann brain</em>.</p>
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<p>Isolated brains could randomly fluctuate into existence.</p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/dreaming-dream" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/dreaming-dream#commentsBoltzmann brainphilosophy of cosmologyWed, 24 Sep 2014 10:36:12 +0000mf3446190 at https://plus.maths.org/contentWhy does cosmology need philosophy?
https://plus.maths.org/content/phil-cos
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Marianne Freiberger </div>
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<img class="imagefield imagefield-field_abs_img" width="100" height="100" alt="" src="https://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/abstractpics/5/18_sep_2014_-_1527/cosmo_icon.jpg?1411050469" /> </div>
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<p>George Ellis explains why the study of the cosmos poses some very deep questions.</p>
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<p>Cosmology is the study of the cosmos. If we take the word "cosmos" to mean everything there is, then this makes cosmology a pretty ambitious subject. It's not even that long ago that cosmology was regarded as unscientific, something that belongs to the realms of speculation or even religion. Today, with
sophisticated space and ground based experiments providing hard evidence about the Universe, this has changed somewhat, but there are still many deep questions that need to be asked.</p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/phil-cos" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/phil-cos#commentscosmologymultiversephilosophy of cosmologyTue, 23 Sep 2014 09:12:45 +0000mf3446188 at https://plus.maths.org/contentWhy does cosmology need philosophy?
https://plus.maths.org/content/why-does-cosmology-need-philosophy
<div class="rightimage" style="width: 200px;"><img src="https://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/articles/2012/Ellis/georgeellis.jpg" alt="George Ellis" width="200" height="300" /><p>George Ellis</p><p><a href='http://plus.maths.org/content/sites/plus.maths.org/files/podcast/ellis_limits.mp3'>Listen to our interview with George Ellis</a></p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/why-does-cosmology-need-philosophy" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/why-does-cosmology-need-philosophy#commentsphilosophy of cosmologySun, 14 Sep 2014 08:59:00 +0000mf3446187 at https://plus.maths.org/contentProblems of gravity
https://plus.maths.org/content/problems-gravity
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Marianne Freiberger </div>
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<p>Why (some) physicists want to modify Einstein's general theory of relativity.</p>
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<p>Albert Einstein is an icon and for good reason. His general
theory of relativity, which describes the force of gravity, was an
intellectual tour de force. Not only were his ideas entirely new, they have also stood the test of
time.
Despite this success, some physicists are doing what many would consider sacrilege: they are tinkering with the theory, producing modified versions of it. But why? </p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/problems-gravity" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/problems-gravity#commentsEinsteingeneral relativitygravityphilosophy of cosmologyrelativitysymmetryWed, 23 Jul 2014 09:01:32 +0000mf3446099 at https://plus.maths.org/content'Our Universe and Others' by Martin Rees
https://plus.maths.org/content/our-universe-and-others-martin-rees
<p>We are the outcome of a process which took nearly 14 billion years during which atoms, stars, planets and biospheres emerged from a hot and dense <em>big bang</em>. The details of this process are sensitive to a few important numbers â€” the so-called <em>constants</em> of physics.</p><p><a href="https://plus.maths.org/content/our-universe-and-others-martin-rees" target="_blank">read more</a></p>https://plus.maths.org/content/our-universe-and-others-martin-rees#commentsBig Bangcosmological inflationcosmologymultiversephilosophy of cosmologytheory of inflationFri, 13 Jun 2014 11:01:25 +0000mf3446116 at https://plus.maths.org/content