Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The Multiverse

Max Tegmark has an opinion piece in the Huffington Post arguing that the universe is not just described by mathematics, but is in fact purely mathematical. As such, it exists within some huge ensemble of other universes.

I find it rather light...in other words, not terribly convincing but giving us so little in the way of actual argument that there's little to say. I do wonder what it would take for one to construct some new, mathematical universe...can one just have a set of numbers? Do you need an operator?

Apparently, he's got a book to sell, but this piece doesn't prod me to look at it.


cristi said...

isn't this the old idea of Pithagora, just in new form?

Angry said...

Pythagoras? I would have guessed Plato (you know, with his cave and all). But my knowledge of classical Greek philosophy is a bit rusty.

Douglas Natelson said...

Between that level of speculative exercise, and this paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.1219
it's hard for me to take Tegmark too seriously. It pains me that this is how laypeople get their conception of physics and physicists.

David Pollard said...

A Turing machine can be constructed which runs on a surface covered with Penrose tiles. It can be guaranteed, provided that the area is sufficiently large, that any such machine can be duplicated. When the program that they run includes observation of their local environment, which in a similar manner to the first part of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem represents the basis of the calculations, the output of the two 'identical' programs will not be the same.