maybe the Sarumpaet Rules will be worked out afterall
April 16, 2006 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Before the Big Bang - way, way out of my depth, but I thought this comment was intriguing: "The paper as published, along with a longer follow up paper, looks to my untrained eye a nearly complete quantum gravitation theory, which is an exciting prospect in itself. However, as with all physical theories, we will await for experimental support before popping the cork." Here's some more on loop quantum gravity, spin networks, the big bang and ekpyrosis.
posted by kliuless (18 comments total)

 
Thank you. Holidays are usually so lonely, and I've reread all my Feynman =)
posted by shownomercy at 8:00 AM on April 16, 2006


So this Loop Quantum Gravity... It vibrates?

But seriously, I'll just wait untill holywood makes some kind of disaster/sci-fi/thriller movie out of this... I'm sure to understand it then - It worked with global warming.
posted by Meccabilly at 8:34 AM on April 16, 2006


I wanted to discover loop quantum gravity. You know, for the kids.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:55 AM on April 16, 2006


...and that's the true story of Easter. Praise loop!
posted by arialblack at 10:05 AM on April 16, 2006


Meh. I hate all these science articles about quantum physics, 99% of the time written by people who don't know what they're talking about.
posted by delmoi at 10:22 AM on April 16, 2006


looks to my untrained eye

This is not an auspicious or confidence-building phrase to include in a discussion of potential theories of quantum gravity.
posted by gramschmidt at 11:01 AM on April 16, 2006


99% of the time written by people who don't know what they're talking about.

I would imagine only someone who did know what they were talking about would be able to tell the difference.
posted by Meccabilly at 11:03 AM on April 16, 2006


I hate all these science articles about quantum physics, 99% of the time written by people who don't know what they're talking about.

Yeah, what business do these ignoramuses have publishing shit in Physical Review Letters? Tell you what, why don't you put your freshly baked BS to work and show them how things should be done.
posted by c13 at 11:11 AM on April 16, 2006


...and c13 totally misses the boat.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:46 AM on April 16, 2006


100% of the people studying, theorizing, and experimenting with quantum mechanics don't know what they're talking about. The difference is in how well they can predict and describe what they don't know.

But I will have to agree with delmoi, that articles written about advanced physics for the media are almost universally dreadful. I don't really blame the journalists. It's weird stuff; the most basic of the basics are very counterintuitive; and it's just as hard, if not harder, for the scientists to explain it to the journalists as it is for the journalists to explain it to the rest of us.

It's amazing that we've gone so long without a complete theory of quantum gravitation. I'm not talking about an accurate theory that has been tested and accepted; that's even further off. But, as near as I can tell, there's not even an internally consistent theory that makes predictions, even ones that we don't have the resources to test yet. I wonder if any journalists have written much about this distinction. Anyone know?
posted by ErWenn at 12:02 PM on April 16, 2006


that articles written about advanced physics for the media are almost universally dreadful. I don't really blame the journalists.

Its not just about physics. Articles written for the general public *have* to be simple. If for no other reason than if you like your articles complex, you might as well read the original publication.
Furthermore, saying that X% of articles about a particular topic is crap presupposes that one has read 100% of them, as well as the original publications that these articles are describing. I'm somewhat skeptical that this has been the case here.

and c13 totally misses the boat.

Whatever do you mean? I'm fresh off of one...
posted by c13 at 2:00 PM on April 16, 2006


c13, delmoi was talking about the very first link, not the links to arXiv.
posted by daksya at 2:03 PM on April 16, 2006


The very first link on in my browser is not an article, but a blog post that links directly to Phys Reviews. Now, I haven't gotten past the first page of the pdf, but so far I really don't see how it is so far off base. Besides, would you prefer just a direct link to something, without any explanation?
But we're getting off topic here. The *original* is a pretty interesting article, I wish my math skillz were little better though..
posted by c13 at 2:20 PM on April 16, 2006


The very first link on in my browser is not an article, but a blog post that links directly to Phys Reviews

Yes, but the blogger describes the paper; that's the 'article' part.
posted by daksya at 2:34 PM on April 16, 2006


c13:
Yes, articles written for the general public have to be simple. This doesn't mean those articles have to be wrong. There are ways of being simple without actually lying (though I imagine that in most cases, the journalist is not intentionally saying anything incorrect). When it comes to advanced physics, this is understandably quite difficult. Feynman always did a very good job at this (check out the publication of his lectures on quantum electrodynamics, QED), but he was an anomaly.

There is much bad reporting of all science, of course, but modern physics is particularly difficult to write about.

I would like to see science journalists take an approach that actually recognizes which aspects cannot be properly communicated in the space alotted them. When they can't comprehend what they are being told, they would either leave it out, or leave what they were told as an exact quote with a comment to the effect that they didn't properly understand it. If they have a really clever analogy or simplification, they would run it by the actual scientists before printing it. If the scientists say that it's of limited use because it ignores certain things, they would put in a caveat saying that the simplification is not perfect (giving reasons if possible). Journalists would be very careful about drawing their own conclusions about the ramifications of the result of the research. I've recently seen articles written about the same study but presenting nearly opposite conclusions as to what the study's results actually were. It'd be nice if that sort of science journalism was around.
posted by ErWenn at 4:33 PM on April 16, 2006


If the universe started as a singularity and any information from a pre-Big Bang universe is lost, then we simply never will know. I think it's best to rely on the most logical explanation: God farted.
posted by eperker at 8:20 PM on April 16, 2006


Entirely nifty, thanks kliuless.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:44 AM on April 17, 2006


See also - related, but different.
posted by zoogleplex at 2:35 PM on April 17, 2006


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