I did a fair bit of walking in Tanzania on our Kilimanjaro expedition – a whole week’s worth, in fact. That meant I had plenty of time – besides chatting to my companions – to ponder, contemplate and reflect – on all kinds of stuff.
I never once thought about business, but then, not thinking about business was one of the chief aims of the trip. So, naturally, my mind turned to non-work stuff, like life and eternity, nature, man, the universe – and man’s insignificance in it. The latter was reflected upon mostly at night, when I’d look up to the extraordinarily brightly twinkling stars – so much more vivid for being up a mountain; much better than how they look down near sea level.
Like I say – lots of walking time = lots of chatting time, including long chats… with oneself! All sorts of different thoughts arose in my little gray cells, including, for example, the following:
The moon gets three centimeters a year further away from Earth (that’s a scientific fact). At some point Earth will eventually lose its ‘gravitational interest’ in the moon, which will then become one more satellite of the sun. It’s possible that the trajectories of the moon and Earth will intersect again at some distant point in the future, and the moon will again become a satellite of Earth. Or maybe it will collide with Earth? It’s difficult to calculate… but my specific questions (related to this) are easier…
Question No. 1
This will happen earlier than when the sun becomes a much huger, redder and hotter giant than it is now and swallows up the planets near it (Mercury, Venus and Earth) or later? What will happen soonest: the moon will return to Earth, or the sun will eat up this question?
Question No. 2
Where (on Earth?:) did water on Earth come from? No one really knows. There are theories, some more reasonably reasoned than others, but all together they make things even more confused and unbelievable. Heck, maybe the process of water’s ‘becoming’ on earth is still ongoing?
Ok, my question: Is it possible to confirm or refute the assumption that water on Earth is becoming increasingly plentiful? If so, how can this be confirmed (checked, measured)?
Question No. 2.1: Mars lost nearly all its water; is it possible that on Mars the ‘water processes’ (whatever they are) didn’t quite work out? If so, why?
Question No. 3
The theory of the multiverse. This is a completely new ‘theory of everything’. Google it if curious. I sure was – and still am – curious. As a cat.
In each separate multiverse, are constants constant or do they change over time? That’s just the intro.
Going deeper, there’s more curiosity: Do consistent (constant!) physical constants change over time in the universe, or are they constant?
This is a complex question, so let me break it down, alas with many words…
The Big Bang theory: there was a great big bang and all that is was created. And in terms of this theory I’ve a question relating to the theory of the multiverse.
Is it possible that, before the Big Bang, the physical constants in our universe were ‘far from perfect’. That all matter was compressed into a single object (btw, what size – if we use contemporary linear characteristics of the microworld?). All matter (neutrons, protons, neutrinos, bosons, (bison and giraffe), and even quarks and others) – all this mass was located in the space of an ‘uncomfortable constant’. As soon as ‘our universe’ crossed the border of the comfort zone there was an IMMENSE BANG. And ever since we’ve been flying around, observing different cosmic effects through the telescopic devices we invented, never ceasing to be amazed.
That was long, yes.
Now – shorter:
If constants do change over time, then the Big Bang is perfectly logical. Before the Big Bang physical constants were ‘incorrect’, but they gradually changed and… bang. It’s clear that the constants changed over time very slowly; however, there exists on Earth (and on the Moon, and elsewhere) matter (rocks, for example) whose age can be measured in billions of years. Is it possible, based on some characteristics of this matter, to confirm or refute the theory of ‘changing constants’?
Attention – the main question!
Our universe’s physical constants: are they constant or changeable? And can we check this through scientific experiment?
See what happens when you have some time to yourself and your thoughts when climbing up Kilimanjaro? On the other hand, when descending Kilimanjaro your only thoughts are: ‘where am I?’ and ‘how much longer till we get to base?’
PS: Btw, the multiverse theory is a response to the Fermi paradox of ‘where is everyone?’ All other civilizations, after reaching the required level of development, long ago disappeared into parallel universes in which physical constants are more comfortable than ours :).
Such thoughts also entered my brain, especially during the last push of the ascent to the very top of Kili. For that last stretch was particularly difficult. I dreamed of disappearing into a parallel world where altitude sickness doesn’t cause such bad headaches.