Talk:Fractal cosmology

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I have created this page as a summary of the subject, to replace the re-direct to Infinite Hierarchal Nesting of Matter, which is only one of the many examples of what can be called Fractal Cosmology. Scale Relativity, for example, has an equal claim to be the right re-direct, in my opinion. Both are limited examples as there have been so many appearances of Fractals, and Fractal-like structures, which have appeared in the study of Cosmology. I intend to expand this entry, to include much more, especially summarizing what Baryshev and Teerikorpi have to say about the history of the subject.

Please do not attempt to merge this entry into the above referenced subjects, or their articles, as this would be horribly misleading. If the authors of one of the above articles want to add content here to more fully document their topic, that is all to the good. I'll get around to folding some of that in, once I complete the references, and such.

JonathanD (talk) 19:34, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Early Comments and Responses[edit]

Hello JonathanD,

I don't have time to contribute much, but I'd like to see this article not degenerate into the Survey of Random Crackpots that showed up on Infinite Hierarchical Nesting of Matter. Regarding the intro, there is no truth whatsoever to the idea that we "see fractals" at particle physics scales. AFAIK the only actual naturally "fractal" processes are those seen on chemical to landscape-y scales (snowflakes, broccoli, clouds etc.) and in some sense of large-scale structure (megaparsecs to gigaparsecs). Atomic, nuclear, and particle physics is emphatically not "fractal" in any way, nor are planets, galaxies, or galaxy clusters for which there is very particular scale-dependent physics. Even the "large scale structure" is not scale invariant---there are thought to have been scale-invariant primordial density fluctuations in the early Universe, but the large-scale structure formed after highly-scale-dependent processes (mostly acoustic waves in the pre-CMB cosmos) had left major imprints. Be careful when citing pre-WMAP (and especially pre-COBE) papers on cosmology, as this data flushed away a lot of 70s and 80s speculations. I haven't read Baryshev's book, I don't know how much of it has held up.

Good luck, Bm gub (talk) 20:26, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Thank you Bm gub ,

I want to be a good wathchdog, and to be somewhat inclusive of alternative views, as well. I think the entry on "Infinite Hierarchal..." included some useful information, but was largely unscientific, or perhaps was too opinionated about a Fringe or Alternative view. I'd like to be more even handed, but do the subject justice. As to the issue of ultra small fractals, there is some debate among theorists. In Causal dynamical triangulation theory, and Quantum Einstein gravity theory, the universe is 2-d at or below the Planck scale and evolves into 4-dimensional space-time at conventional scales. They suggest that "discrete time slices show fractal structure" of space, in their (Monte Carlo) simulations. This echoes some of what 't Hooft said in his landmark Holographic Universe paper (2-d at Planck scale), quite a number of years ago. But it's only more recently that theorists have taken the idea of the universe transiting through fractional dimensions (as an allowable physical result) seriously. Observable fractal processes in Particle Physics? Probably not.

All the best, JonathanD (talk) 21:35, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Hello to All,

I am pretty much done here, for now, except for fine adjustments, including adding more links, and so forth. The entry could be expanded, but I'm thinking to invite review, at this point, and submitting this piece for Good Article verification. If anyone knowledgeable cares to comment, please speak up about any details which might raise concern.

JonathanD (talk) 01:19, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

Just a quick comment. I just wanted to express my pleasure at whoever wrote the introduction to this article. It is well written using minor literary devices to capture the infinite nature of fractals. Thanks. FluxFuser (talk) 02:00, 28 July 2008 (UTC)

Multiple Issues[edit]

This article has multiple issues, and I have tagged it appropriately. If you feel you can address these issues, please edit the page to do so, or bring any concerns or ideas here for discussion. Verbal chat 17:07, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

  • Please provide particulars for each of these issues. The article is too large for us to be guessing what they refer to. Colonel Warden (talk) 17:55, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Reference details added[edit]

I have added the details about what journals published cited papers, and when, for the first several missing entries. If what's desired is a demonstrable connection to reliable sources, this can be accomplished. It's simpler to use the arXiv reference, but for the purpose of correctness I'm filling in the details, as most of the papers cited were actually published in peer-reviewed journals.

JonathanD (talk) 21:13, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

Please use only top-ranked Physics and Astronomy journals, please. ScienceApologist (talk) 02:25, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Any sources that are sufficiently notable in the context of the article should be valid. For instance, the short section on fractal cosmology in Benoit Mandelbrot's book would be relevant, where he points out that fractal distributions might be used as an alternative solution to Olbers' paradox. I have a copy somewhere, I'll try to dig it out and add it sometime (unless someone else beats me to it!). Mandelbrot's book also has a few useful references to historical precedents for the idea. It's not a journal piece, but its a very notable book (re fractals) and a very notable author, and the section is on-topic. Anyone researching fractal cosmologies is probably expected to know about it, so it should be listed. ErkDemon (talk) 17:40, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

"The utility of fractals" section[edit]

This section is about the history of fractals, not fractal cosmology. This is dealt with in the appropriate article, and should only have a single sentence with a link here. This section should either therefore be removed and replaced with a sentence and link in the lead, or replaced with a section on the utility of fractals in cosmology, or/and the utility of fractal cosmology. It should also probably be renamed. Verbal chat 11:40, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Page protected[edit]

Page sysop protected due to recent edit warring. Tan | 39 16:24, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

The blanked paragraphs, and especially the blanked "See also" and "External links" sections, should be restored. Some cleanup, re-writing and filtering may be necessary, but wholesale blanking of material (i.e. removing over 10k from this 17k article) is not a sensible way to improve the article. Gandalf61 (talk) 17:37, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Diagree. The external links in particular failed WP:EL. Starting again from a solid stub is indeed the best way to improve this article. Accusing others, as some editors have, of vandalism when their edits are not vandalism is not a way to progress.Verbal chat 17:56, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
The "External links" section included a link to an NRAO page, several links to papers at and a Wikiversity link. Clearly not every link failed WP:EL, so pruning would be more reasonable than wholesale deletion. And you haven't given an explanation for blanking large amounts of content and the "See also" section too. Finally, I don't think I have accused anyone of vandalism. If by "some editors" you mean someone else, then that is hardly a relevant response to my point. Gandalf61 (talk) 18:34, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
It was a comment on the page protection, which is the topic of this section. The arXiv is not a reliable source unless the papers are peer-reviewed and published elsewhere, and then the arXiv is useful for providing a copy anyone can read. Starting from a blank EL section seems like a good idea, where links can be reintroduced with discussion. Why don't you, if you want, start a new section with which links and 'see also's you think should be returned with a short justification. Verbal chat 19:00, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
An excellent plan with just one small flaw - somehow I am not able to edit the article at present. Now I wonder what could be causing that ... Gandalf61 (talk) 19:30, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
You can add to the section below, which is what my suggestion was. No flaw. Verbal chat 19:39, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
So ... you and ScienceApologist remove large amounts material from the article without any discussion (and, in ScienceApologist's case, without even having the courtesy to inform the AfD discussion) - but anyone who wants to reinsert material must get your permission first. I think there is a bit of WP:OWN going on here. And I see below that you have already completely made up your mind on the external links - so it appears to me that you are not open to any rational arguments at the moment. And you still haven't explained why you removed so much content from the article. I see no point discussing anything with you until you demonstrate that you are prepared to work towards a consensus view on this article - which means taking some steps away from your entrenched position. Gandalf61 (talk) 09:21, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
You don't need my permission, this isn't personal, I don't own anything here. Let's develop consensus by discussion on the talk page, RfCs if needed. I'm being constructive in the section below. Feel free to debate my opinions (they are mine only, I know not what SA thinks). Please start new sections discussing what you want replaced in the article and why. The reason it needs discussing first is because the page is locked, and to build consensus. For example, my view of the Nottale link is it would be a confusing external link, but it would perhaps make a good source for the article. Feel free to contribute! I can't stop changes that have consensus being made, and I don't want to. Rather than write about how you can't work with me, why don't you try working with me - or just ignore my reasoning and write what links you think should be included and why. I and others will be sure to comment. Thanks, Verbal chat 11:54, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

What external links should this article have, if any. Please add links with justifications below. Please take WP:EL into account, and the discussion above. Verbal chat 19:37, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

After reviewing the links, most are selfpublished websites that don't make good external links. The Nottale chapter would be a good link (although it is mistitled in the previously existing link), except it never discusses the notion of fractal cosmology. This could perhaps be used as a source in the article for some claims, but fails as an EL. The NRAO page doesn't seem to have anything to do with fractal cosmology, hence shouldn't be an EL. Verbal chat 07:58, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

What's missing and why?[edit]

It is apparent that someone has missed the point, as most of the content containing the point of this article has already been deleted, and what remains seems almost pointless. I think the issue here goes way beyond the question of what constitutes Good Science as separate from Fringe science or Pseudo-scientific notions. It would seem that some users have a narrow view of what constitutes Cosmology, or the way in which Fractals may pertain thereunto, and that they have systematically excluded any content which might conflict with this view, regardless of source. This is not NPOV!!! SA insisted the article should be using only references to top-ranked journals, for example, but then excluded even those, ostensibly for other reasons.

The deletion of the See Also and External Links sections reflects the view that Fractal cosmology lives in a vacuum, if it exists at all. This is vastly different from the manner in which Fractals are organically related to nature, and pertain to many topics rather than being limited to a simple linkage. The fact is that Fractals enjoy a linkage to reality that is richly complex, but they serve to simplify relations which would otherwise be intractably complicated. So a view that the usage of Fractals is limited to a narrow range of applications in cosmology is incorrect. The whole point of having a Fractal cosmology article in WikiPedia is that this view does not reflect the general opinion of the entire scientific community, anymore.

However; there is admittedly a disconfirmation bias against a whole-hearted adoption of Fractal paradigms in Cosmology, owing to the fact that there are Fractal models that have been disproved. And who is to say what's legit? If Andrei Linde later thought better of his decision to go "fractal" with his description of Chaotic Inflation, but Guth wrote in 2007 that it indeed looks like an ultra large scale fractal (beyond the range of observation), who is the expert's expert? Laura Mersini-Houghton has suggested that the void observed near the CMB cold spot could be the edge of the next bubble. That would bring fractality inside our range of observation again.

Oh; but all mention of a void near the CMB cold spot has been deleted already. I guess I was right above, and that someone wants to erase all evidence that the fractal guys might have a point after all. It seems to this user that Verbal and SA would rather that this article not exist, so they have systematically deleted all content that might conflict with their view of the subject. Instead of preserving NPOV, it would appear that they have violated it. I think it might be time to request an arbitration, as there has been ample evidence here that good faith has been set aside, by some users who wish this topic would go away. But it would seem that those who are serious about advancing Science feel otherwise.

So; perhaps my original article was premature, but at least it was informative. What's posted now is not. It is misleading, regarding current usage of the term, or leaves out important info. And all evidence of a history or development of the topic has also been removed. Therefore I feel that some of what's now missing is more important or relevant than what remains, if people are looking to actually understand the topic. Fractal cosmology is not an orphan child of a failed marriage, despite what Verbal and ScienceApologist (who executed most of the abusive edits) apparently believe. It may only be one puzzle piece, but it is essential to completing our picture of how the universe works.


JonathanD (talk) 18:04, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

I have no problem with this article existing if it is well sourced to wikipedia standards. Merge with another article is a possibility. Please justify the removed external links in the section above, start a new section about possible See Also candidates, and add text that you think should be returned to the article, or new text, in new sections so they can be discussed. Do it in small chunks and I'm sure we can hammer out a new article and reach consensus on inclusion and exclusion. Arbitration at this point would be rejected. Let's just work on improving the article, and not peppering each other with personal attacks. Let's assume good faith, and keep the ball rolling (I've already started above). Remember, wikipedia is an encyclopaedia - not a place for cutting edge research. Verbal chat 18:27, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
PS: I like the "cosmology lives in a vacuum" line. Verbal chat 18:29, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

See Also links[edit]

Here are the See Also links that were previously in the article, with annotations:

The ones I've struck through shouldn't be included according to WP:ALSO. The ones I've marked with a plus + could be included, or are better integrated in the article. The others I think currently don't warrant inclusion. These are just my first impressions. Thoughts? Verbal chat 15:42, 18 November 2008 (UTC)


ScienceApologist rolled back the article to the 11:32, November 15 version by Verbal. This version is much too old, and this rollback removes subsequent improvements and copyedits to the article by Verbal, Rich Farmbrough, myself etc. I have restored those improvements while at the same time leaving out the reference to the May 2008 Labini, Pietronero et al paper, which I think is the paper that SA says has not passed peer rieview. If my interpretation of SA's intentions was not correct then perhaps he could take the time to some specific edits to the article, instead of just rolling it back 9 days. Gandalf61 (talk) 09:24, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

A paper by Labini, Pietronero et al has been peer reviewed and published in Europhys.Lett.86:49001, 2009 (see It was in the article until deleted by on the grounds that "Europhys Lett. is not a reliable source per WP:SCIRS)". It is a perfectly adequate source for an article on fractal cosmology, especially as one of the authors is Pietronero who is described in the article as having started fractal cosmology. See talk section below: reverting edits by user Aarghdvaark (talk) 07:17, 15 May 2012 (UTC)


I got here via Verbal's undated call for comments at the Fringe Theories Noticeboard. Verbal, are you and Science Apologist engaging in overkill? First the nomination of the Article for deletion, then the blaring klaxon and police lights at the top (a.k.a. "article issues Template"), and the wholesale deletion of large passages from the article... is this appropriate? Or is it overkill? As an example, the lead in its current state is a sorry remnant of what it once was.
Possibly you believe that fractal cosmology is an example of the dangers of postmodern science that people like John Horgan warned of. If so, you may be right. But I suggest that we won't know for another fifty years. Is this why you removed the references to Guth and Linde?--Goodmorningworld (talk) 17:55, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Guth and Linde managed to get their ideas published by respectable journals. The sole group who advocates fractal cosmology has not (save for one heavily vetted paper that was quite toned down by the reviewers) and there are now more reliable sources which point out that the universe is not a fractal on the largest scales including every single cosmology textbook published in the last ten years. ScienceApologist (talk) 22:22, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

reverting edits by user[edit]

Good call on removing the picture, which was nice but didn't have much to do with the topic.

You delete one para because you claim a journal cited in it isn't up to necessary standards (whatever they are), then you justify the deletion of another para on the basis of hearsay evidence. This is applying double standards. The paragraphs in question are not particularly elegant, but I think they do deserve more justification for deletion. I am not particularly bothered whether these paras stay or go, but evidence should be cited for their deletion. Even better, they should be improved. Aarghdvaark (talk) 06:34, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

WP:SCIRS indicates that low-impact journals and preprint articles should not serve the basis of Wikipedia content. As such, it seems that the removal of the material was justified. (talk) 01:33, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Earliest incorporation of fractals in cosmology[edit]

A much earlier example was Carl Charlier who in 1908 proposed a fractal universe as a solution to Olbers' Paradox. This idea was independently formulated by Benoît Mandelbrot in 1974 (and myself in 1996!). Fuzzypeg 11:42, 20 September 2012 (UTC)

Holographic principle[edit]

Doesn't the Holographic Principle essentially require a fractal or at least hierarchical structure to the universe? If the maximum entropy of a given volume of space is proportional to the area of its boundary, I don't see how space could possibly be homogeneous at large scales, because that would mean that not just mass but entropy would go up with the cube of the diameter of a given region, not the square. Or is this allowed because the universe is of finite size and the homogeneous distribution starts at scales large enough that the total size of the universe is still too low to reach the entropy limit given by the area of its "boundary"? -Sean r lynch (talk) 15:01, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Yes, Holographic Principle does imply fractal[edit]

As the originator of this article; I am glad it persists, and I'll be making some edits, including corrections, and a few additions. The paper Dimensional reduction in the sky by Giovanni Amelino-Camelia, João Magueijo (published in Phys Rev D), and 2 others discusses the connection to material that was or is cited in this article, in some depth. This affirms Sean r lynch's comments above, indicating the connection with the holographic principle, and the relevance to the Fractal cosmology topic. The folks at FQXi gave me a Forum page to discuss that paper, which may be of interest. A more recent paper by the same authors, Rainbow gravity and scale-invariant fluctuations is an extension of this work, largely based on an earlier paper Gravity's Rainbow by Magueijo and Lee Smolin. Since the appearance of the "Dimensional reduction.." paper, I have had the pleasure to interact with one of its authors, Giovanni Amelino-Camelia, and receive additional insights.

I should perhaps mention that the paper by Gerard 't Hooft that first described the Holographic principle was Dimensional Reduction in Quantum Gravity, which has a similar title. The new collaboration paper cited above, connects that work with Causal dynamical triangulation, and Quantum Einstein gravity - which are cited in this article. It also suggests that, while it does not quite fit the mainstream view, this result is helpful for the cosmological theories recently framed by Paul Steinhardt and Roger Penrose. Ergo the relevance of this topic is decidedly increasing, with more and more well-known scientists affirming that this is a realistic possibility. In closing I should mention that I have had the privilege of face to face conversations with professors 't Hooft and Steinhardt, at the conferences FFP10 and FFP11, so while I may not be an expert, I have at least had conversations with experts on subjects relevant to this topic.

JonathanD (talk) 05:22, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Also Sabine Hossenfelder wrote a Blog post about this paper.

JonathanD (talk) 06:10, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Largest scale structure discovered by Clowes, Campusano, et al[edit]

Recent discovery by a team led by professor Roger Clowes was published in the Monthly Notes of the Royal Astronomical Society. A Press release describes the study and the paper A structure in the early Universe at z ∼ 1.3 that exceeds the homogeneity scale of the R-W concordance cosmology. This result shows something that should not be there, if the concordance Cosmology or lambda CDM is correct. I am fully aware that the most recent SDSS results claim claim to verify the homogeneous and isotropic nature predicted by Big Bang theory and the FLRW metric is affirmed, and the authors also claim that their analysis supports Inflation, this does not sit well with one of Inflation's founders Paul Steinhardt, who claims that the recent Planck satellite results disprove Inflation in the paper Inflationary paradigm in trouble after Planck2013 (to be published in Phys Lett B), and to suggest instead his Cyclic model is a better reflection of the Planck evidence in the paper Planck 2013 results support the cyclic universe. So there is some dissension among the experts.

I will note here that I got to hear Professor Steinhardt's excellent lecture "Inflationary Universe on Trial" at FFP11 in Paris, back in 2010, and already the evidence against the Inflationary universe scenario was pretty impressive. This same evidence was featured in his Scientific American article the following year. But the Planck satellite results offer more compelling indications that the mainstream outlook is flawed or erroneous. I note here again that the paper cited above "Dimensional reduction in the sky" presents an alternative formulation which is favorable toward the Ekpyrotic universe proposed by Steinhardt and Neil Turok, and other Cyclic models such as the Conformal cyclic cosmology of Roger Penrose, but is decidedly UNfavorable toward Inflation.

More later,

JonathanD (talk) 06:10, 25 July 2013 (UTC)

Of course;

A structure so big as the Large Quasar Group discovered by Clowes and his team, implies that Pietronero and his group were right all along, to assert that there was no reason to assume that fractality disappears at some arbitrary distance. This in fact shows that things are NOT homogeneous and isotropic beyond 100 MPc as the article currently claims, calls the veracity of the new SDSS result into question, and affirms that Fractal cosmology is more realistic than lambda CDM. As stated above; this is not only my opinion, but the observation of more and more top experts, including some of those who helped craft the mainstream view - like Steinhardt. Rather than failing to give 'appropriate weight' to the mainstream view, perhaps this article does too much to accommodate that view and paints an unrealistic picture that fails to accurately reflect the latest astrophysical evidence which simply put, is more perhaps nearly reflected in Fractal cosmology than in the mainstream cosmology.

That's all for now..

JonathanD (talk) 06:24, 25 July 2013 (UTC)