How likely are we?

An interesting study looks at alternate universes with different physics to determine how frequently you get an environment where stars will form. It turns out about 25% of the time; more often than you’d guess.

Science News / Stars Ablaze In Other Skies

According to inflation, a leading theory of the birth of the universe, the cosmos underwent a tremendous growth spurt in its first tiny fraction of a second, enlarging from subatomic scale to the size of a grapefruit. This rapid expansion may also have occurred in other patches of space remote from our cosmos, creating a multitude of pocket universes, or multiverses, with different physical laws.

In his analysis, Adams simulated conditions in other universes by simultaneously varying three parameters: the gravitational constant, which determines the strength of gravity; the fine structure constant, which sets the strength of the electromagnetic force; and a composite number that determines the rate of nuclear reactions, which keep stars shining.

By allowing all three of the parameters, rather than a single parameter, to vary, Adams created a simulation that may embrace a larger number of possible universes, he says. He finds that stars are stable entities in roughly one-fourth of the universes he considered. “That’s a sizable amount of real estate.”

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Published in: on August 18, 2008 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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