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Thread: Saul Perlmutter

  1. #1

    Default Saul Perlmutter

    Here is an interview he did on NPR's fresh air after winning the Nobel prize:

    Is he this ages Carl Sagan?

    What are your reactions to his thoughts about science?

    Particularly, this:
    People sometimes think of science as if it were the lone scientist disappearing into the laboratory and, you know, with their white coat and coming up with the eureka moment. But my experience of science is almost the opposite, that it's perhaps the most social thing you can do. You're working with people all the time. And the best ideas are the ideas you're coming up with in groups of researchers that are getting together every week, in the larger groups that meet at meetings, you know, every few months. And I think it's that social aspect that people often forget about.
    What about his characterization of the Big Bang Theory?

    Well, exactly. And I think the very term the Big Bang is getting in the way for most people here because whenever you hear the term Big Bang I think everybody immediately imagines that the universe is sort of this explosion of stuff out into empty space.
    But then the empty space is the universe, right, so that doesn't make any sense. So what I've been trying to trying out is there a different way of describing it and to see whether it helps. What I've been saying is just talk about today. Right at the moment as far as we know the universe could be infinite. It's likely to be infinite. And you have galaxy after galaxy after galaxy, as far as you want in any direction, and the only thing that's characteristic of it is that maybe there's an average distance between those galaxies. And when we say that the universe is expanding, all we really mean is that we're just pumping a little bit of extra space between all those galaxies.

    So every distance is getting a little bit bigger. It's infinite now. It will be infinite, you know, in the future. There's an infinite number of galaxies now. There's infinite number of galaxies now. There's infinite number of galaxies in the future. The only difference is how dense is it, how crowded is the whole thing. Do you pump more space in between those galaxies? Or are they, you know, are they on top of each other?
    Or anything else you want to comment on.

    I suppose speculating on type is appropriate on TypologyCentral .

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  2. #2
    The Eighth Colour Array Octarine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    10w so


    Carl Sagan was also a television presenter/champion of science and so Saul Perlmutter cannot be the Carl Sagan of this age. I think it is Neil deGrasse Tyson who is vying for that title, remaking Cosmos and all.

    By the way, just because the rate of expansion of the universe appears to be increasing doesn't mean it is always going to be expanding. We could have an oscillating universe, it is simply that we do not know the boundary conditions yet (if we ever will)...

    The acceleration of the expansion can also be questioned if we question the homogeneity principle. With an accelerating expansion it means that stars that are closer to us will show increased expansion of the space between them than stars further away (which are further in the past). This leads to limitations of the precision of the data that can be gathered and imposes a sort of 'local bias'.

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