Talk:Universe/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4


Age of the Universe

In the article we state: "Current interpretations of astronomical observations indicate that the age of the universe is 13.73 (± 0.12) billion years,[1] and that the diameter of the observable Universe is at least 93 billion light years, or 8.80 ×1026 metres."

People are bound to wonder, if nothing can travel faster than the speed of light, how can the Universe expand from a singularity to 93 billion light years across in 15 billion years? Logic would suggest that 30 billion light years should be the maximum width of the Universe. I'm guessing that it has something to do with the creation of fermions from bosons, but it is beyond my current understanding. Anyway, I think this needs clarification in the article.

Also, I found this, and maybe we should include a link to here:

Expansion of Space:

The metric expansion leads naturally to recession speeds which exceed the "speed of light" c and to distances which exceed c times the age of the universe, which is a frequent source of confusion among amateurs and even professional physicists.[1] The speed c has no special significance at cosmological scales.

This is good, but I don't think this explanation is necessarily complete. I don't think bosons have the same speed restrictions as fermions. In the earliest part of the creation of the universe, didn't bosons form earlier than fermions? Wouldn't that account for some of the size/speed difference?

Thanks206.109.195.126 (talk) 01:04, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Massless particles, which include the photon, a boson, travel at the speed of light (but there are massive bosons). Massive particles, which include all the elementary fermions, travel slower than light. So it isn't a boson/fermion distinction. But the critical issue here is that objects (say, galaxies) can be receding from each other faster than light, even though they are locally moving at subluminal velocities, because of the expansion of the universe. See Observable universe, or this paper. I'll check the article and see if it explains this yet. False vacuum (talk) 05:00, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Universe Expansion

I was reading about the multiversess at the bottom of the page. According to the diagram, plus previous knowledge, would it be possible that our universe is expanding and therefore compressing the other ones, especially universe 1? And when our universe starts to contract, does it mean that universe 1 is expanding like ours had? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:47, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

The diagram isn't proven yet. it's just a theory. And i agree that if it were correct, we wold be compressing the other universe. Therefore, what seems more likely is all the universes (no matter how many there are,) are spread out from each other. While it seems to be expand alot from our perspective, it probably is still quite far away from another universe. Permafry42 (talk) 18:49, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

The Universe is made up of of over 100's of Galaxy's as my Science teacher as told me! —Preceding unsigned comment added by NatashaEnglish (talkcontribs) 16:25, 3 December 2009 (UTC)

Animation Functionality

The animation titled, "Animation illustrating the metric expansion of the universe." does not function as expected using Firefox 3.03 on the Macintosh. The browser hangs for a minute or two, then fails to display the animation.

        Well, Firefox  3.03 works fine on Windows.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:44, 11 February 2009 (UTC) (talk) 16:47, 18 October 2008 (UTC)Mark Mason

Is this still the case? It works fine with FF3.0.4 and IE8 on Vista, but it won't work in IEtab in FF3 at all. It kills FF if you use IEtab. Gopher65talk 20:21, 24 November 2008 (UTC)


There are no outside sources independent of the subject matter declaring its relevance. Should it not be deleted, then? Shadowstalker (talk) 12:08, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

Should what be deleted? Gopher65talk 15:06, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
The Universe, of course.
The article about the Universe, was what I was getting at. Seems as if there aren't any non-involved unbiased sources about it to prove it's relevant.Shadowstalker (talk) 17:19, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Arthur Rubin (talk) 16:53, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
I can't decide whether this user needs a welcome template or a trout-slapping. I think I will settle for a citation of WP:IAR. SHEFFIELDSTEELTALK 17:39, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
==Just think how convoluted human reasoning processes can be. We can define the Universe as being a real physical entity that contains "everything that exists" and then subordinate it to a concept that "but it didn't exist in the beginning of time, but had to be created afterwards." We can create a (controversial but necessary) hierarchy of real physical entities from the all inclusive "universe" down to some minimum discrete size particle (graviton?) and then debate endlessly about the actuality of existence of any one them versus certain "energy concentration theories". So now weve got a statement that the Universe is 93 billion light years in diameter but only 13 billion years old and I dont dare dispute that. WFPMWFPM (talk) 16:36, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
== However, above the entity "Universe" it is perfectly logical and therefore permissable to have a set called "other universes" which maybe a zero set or might be a rational for the existence of a larger amount of material than that of "our universe" and might explain original why our universe might start out with original motion properties. But our theories as to the "universality" of physical laws make it unlikely that the fundamental universal processes which we are looking for are the result of such "pertubations". The trouble is, as Newton said, that there are too many variables so let"s continue to improve our computing capability and keep the number of hypothesized variables to a minimum. WFPMWFPM (talk) 19:18, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

SI Unit usage

"SI units should be secondary, and we should use REAL SI units (Xm?)" (editing comment by Arthur Rubin)

Hi there!

I agree that Metres are a better unit than Kilometres.

But I was just wondering why SI units should be secondary? Just about every known person in the universe uses Metres, and pretty much only astronomers use light-years. Astronomers make up a pretty small percentage of people.

Which brings me to a point: The kind of people that use light-years to measure things are the kind of people who probably already have a pretty fair idea of how big the universe is. The remaining people who look at this article are probably the type who view the light-year as some kind of science-fiction unit, or possibly even a unit of time. For the sake of the majority of people (non-astronomers), it would seem reasonable to list SI units first, and then list Light-years next.

You might argue that the light-year is a natural unit for measurement, since many calculations of universal dimensions are based on measurements of the distance light has travelled, but I would counter that the unit is still inherently arbitrary in using the Earth-specific "year" as a point of reference.

What do you think? InternetMeme (talk) 06:32, 17 June 2008 (UTC)

In cosmology, light-years and years seem to be the natural units of space and time (respectively). In any case, they're most commonly used in publications and by experts in the field. "93 billion light-years (880 Ym)" seems better than "880 Ym (93 billion light-years)", especially since we'd need to link Ym somehow. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 07:03, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the speed of light is a natural unit in cosmology (and any other field). But I see no reason whatsoever that the year should be thought of as a natural unit in any field outside of farming. It has no conceivable relevance whatsoever outside our planet as far as I can see. Therefore the light-day, light-month, or light-martian-year might all present themselves as equally suitable candidates. I think the only reason that the light-year could be seen as a natural unit would be due to many years of entrenched and arbitrary habit within the astronomical community. Is there another explanation? And if there isn't another explanation, why should any field outside of cosmology perpetuate the usage of this unit?
My main point, though is one of practicality: What percentage of Wikipedia's readership have an idea of the length of the metre/kilometre? I'd suggest over 75%. What percentage have an idea of the length of a light-year? I'd expect 10% at best. For this reason alone, it makes seven times more sense to present the diameter of the universe in metres/kilometres. Also, although SI prefixes are very useful, I think the usage of a reasonably familiar term such as "trillion" would be more useful than the "atto" prefix. InternetMeme (talk) 14:13, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps we should Wikilink light-years? I think using non-SI terminology for SI units is specifically forbidden strongly discouraged by the MoS. As it stands, because of the short and long scales problem, "billion" and "trillion" are technically ambiguous, and Ym is probably recognized by fewer people than recognize light-year. I certainly think light-year should be primary, but that still leaves us with discussion the proper format of the metric unit.
880 Ym
880 septillion metres (note, spelling out the word and using the unit abbreviation is bad)
880 ×1024 m 8.8 ×1026 m
I think the last is probably most understandable. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:31, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, I didn't even know what a Ym was until I started reading this discussion. If I'm talking about a number that big I use scientific notation, not Yotta. Using a prefix is just silly in this case. I suspect that no normal person knows what a Ym is, and that few abnormal people do. Think about it: when you talk about the distance between galaxies, what units do you use? Ym, or parsecs/light-years? I've *never* used metres or kilometres to talk about inter-galactic distances. I say "Alpha Centauri is the nearest star, and it's 41 trillion km away! That's like, 4 light-years or so. And the nearest major galaxy is two and a half MILLION light-years away!". That's the only way you can give any real sense of scale. Saying that Andromeda is 2.4*10^18 km away is meaningless to almost everyone, as is saying that it is 2.4 exakilometres away. "Say waaaa...?". People don't understand numbers bigger than trillion (shortscale), because they never come across them in their everyday lives.
I would also argue that light-year is a commonly understood term. People know what light is, and that it moves fast. They know what a year is. Putting the two together to get a *relative* measure of distance in their own mind shouldn't be that hard.Gopher65talk 16:58, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, in reply to the second-to-last post; people don't really understand numbers bigger than a billion either. So, rather than trying to relate that kind of distance on ANY scale, why not just write "The universe is big. Really big." And leave it at that? Also, I agree that the yotta prefix isn't very meaningful here. In fact, the entirity of what I'm suggesting here is that we try to convey a sense the size of the universe using only terms that are familiar to the average person. "billions of light-years" and "trillions and trillions of metres" are both difficult quantities to deal with, but at least metres are familiar to most people. Even miles would be more suitable than light-years in that respect.
= Bilions means "times 10E9" and Trillions means "times 10E12". WFPMWFPM (talk) 17:28, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
In reply to the post above, I don't think it's the case that any normal person has any idea of the speed of light. For instance: How long does it take light to get from one end of the room to the other? How long does it take for light to get in to town? What about how long it takes to circle the globe? Now, if you could answer any of those questions without a calculator, then maybe I'm wrong. But I'm betting the average person has no idea of the answers. Therefore, using the speed of light as a reference is basically meaningless to the average person. As an aside, I think it takes light about a seventh of a second to get around the world : ) InternetMeme (talk) 11:59, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
The speed of light is a nanosecond a foot, of course, showing, once again that English units are preferable to metric.
</sarcasm>Arthur Rubin (talk) 14:47, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
== Please! Let's not get feet involved in this discussion. How about the cgs system where the velocity of light is 10E7.5 Cm/sec and a light year is 10E18 cm and a parsec is 10E18.5 cm and a MPC is 10E24.5 cm? That teaches us about the relative size of things> WFPMWFPM (talk) 17:21, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, when asked just how fast light is, I usually say something like "It takes us about 3 days to get to the moon. It takes light about 1.5 seconds. It's fast." (Or is 1.5 seconds for a round trip? I can never remember.) When dealing with an article like this, which is clearly a low-information beginner article, I think what we're going for is a relative distance. I mean, the distances involved are too much for any of us to truly understand. Even thinking about the distance between planets is mind-boggling if you try to hold it all to scale while you think about it. So we aren't trying to convey an absolute sense of distance, but rather a relative sense of distance.
I would use light-years as the primary unit, and metres in scientific notation as the secondary unit. But even if everyone agrees to that, it brings up another problem: a surprising number of people don't understand scientific notation. Of course, they won't understand any prefix bigger than trillion either. (Which is what I meant earlier. People know what trillion (short scale) is, even if they have difficulty conceptualizing it.) So What do we use? They don't know exactly what a light-year is, so it is just a random, relative unit to them. They don't understand big prefixes at all, so we can't say exametre or yottametre. They don't understand scientific notation, so we can't say 2.4*10^18, cause that is just a meaningless string of numbers to them. So since we have no meaningful way of really conveying these big numbers, I say we just use whatever units we are most comfortable with, and anyone who doesn't understand them can click the blue link and read up, just like the rest of us do on subjects that we aren't familiar with.Gopher65talk 15:33, 22 June 2008 (UTC)
That would be like writing an article about horses, and saying "A horse is a four-legged brown animal that stands approximately 16 hands tall". Hands are the customary measurement unit for horses, so it'd be sensible to use those units, right? But of course, it wouldn't—because the only people that understand what that unit means are the kind of people that already know all about horses.
And in the same way—as far as the average person is concerned—Light-Years are sci-fi units used by spaceship-pilots that have no meaning beyond "incomprehensibly far". So listing the size of the universe in light-years is of no use to anyone, other than the people who are familiar with the unit. And the people who are familiar with the unit are the ones who already have an idea of how big the universe is, because they're astronomers.
Wikipedia is aimed at regular people, not just astronomers. Regular people shouldn't have to learn new units to know how big things are. They shouldn't have to learn how big a "hand" is to know the size of a horse, and they shouldn't have to learn how far a "light-year" is to know the size of the universe. InternetMeme (talk) 12:48, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
Anyone who has graduated high school should know or at least have heard about scientific notation. The SI part of this article seems like it's more geared to a third grader than a Normal person, and if it's really THAT much trouble to learn scientific notation, link it in the equation. (talk) 21:26, 14 November 2008 (UTC)

<removing indent> I'd agree, I really would, if you or anyone else could provide a measurement to Andromeda that the average reader will take to mean anything other than "incomprehensibly far". You can't. You know why? Because Andromeda really is incomprehensibly far! It is "far" beyond the human ability to understand. The only way we can attempt to quantify the distance to Andromeda is to use relative, meaningless units. Really, how far is a trillion kilometres? I have no idea. Absolutely none. 2 billion times the distance between Saskatoon and Edmonton? What the heck does that mean? About 6500 times the distance from the earth to the sun? But how far is that? All of these distances are meaningless, because humans can't understand such large values.

Our only option is to use a relative, meaningless unit. Because otherwise we end up writing out 42,000,000,000,000 every time we talk about the distance to the nearest star, because most "normal" people don't understand what scientific notation means. By your reasoning, that means we can't use scientific notation. Since most people don't understand large prefixes, we can't use those either (yottametre? Give me a break). Since most people don't seem to understand that a "million million" means that you multiple 2 "one million"s together, we can't use that either. Personally, I don't want to have to say that Andromeda is 2,365,000,000,000,000,000 kilometres away. Cause to me, that is just as meaningless as saying 2.365*10^19, or 23.65 exametres, or 2.5 million light-years. Are any of those meaningful? No.Gopher65talk 20:22, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

A trillion kilometers is 10E12 kilometers which is 10E15 meters which is 10E17 centimeters (cm), which is 1/10 of a light year, which is pretty close for stellar distances.WFPM (talk) 00:37, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

What you need is a quantitative concept of the size of the universe. Let's say it is 28,000 Megaparsecs in diameter. Well what's a Megaparsec? Well it's 3,260,000 light years, which is 30% greater than the distance between the milky way and andromeda galaxies. So both galaxies could fit into a cubic megaparsec.And the space of the universe can be considered to be, for galaxy purposes, made up of cubic megaparsecs. And 28,000 cubed times 0.5236 gives the spherical volume of the universe as approximately 1.15 times 10E13 cubic megaparsecs, or 11.5 trillion cubic megaparsecs. WFPMWFPM (talk) 04:08, 8 November 2008 (UTC) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

With all due respect to the SI system, if you want to learn to understand astronomical space distances you had better learn about the cgs space measurement system plus the use of exponential notation for both large and/or small distances. For instance the velocity of light is approximately 10E7.5 centimeters/second and since a year is approximately 10E10.5 seconds alight year is thus 10E18 cm. Then a parsec is 3,26 light years or 10E18.5 cm, and a megaparsec is 10E24.5 cm. In small distances, the fermi is 10E-15 meter or 10E-13 cm and the Angstrom is 10E-10 cm or 10E-8 cm. And actually the numerical exponential values are better to remember because they can be worked with mathematically with having to go through translation by us ordinary people. And when you want areas or volumes you merely add exponents. WFPMWFPM (talk) 00:22, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

I see you keep inserting "A billion is 10^9 and a trillion is 10^12" in this discussion. Are you absolutely, positively sure about that ;)? Gopher65talk 04:37, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Universe Exists IN time

Im fairly sure that the universe constitues all matter (space) . Not all time. Since a universe exists in Time, which could be argued to be never ending and always existing, surely the first paragraph of the article should reflect this. I am going to remove the word time from that sentence, if anyone wants to revert, I will understand, but I just feel that a Universe constitutes a snapshot of all that exists, at that moment IN time, a universe is not composed of Time, it merely exists within it. Time could in theory exist without the existance of a universe. Baaleos (talk) 14:35, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

No. Time is just another dimension of space. Length, Width, Time, and Height are the "proven" spacial dimensions. Time is as much a part of the universe as any of the other three. Gopher65talk 19:21, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Taken from the definition of time on Wiki -

Among prominent philosophers, there are two distinct viewpoints on time. One view is that time is part of the fundamental structure of the universe, a dimension in which events occur in sequence. Time travel, in this view, becomes a possibility as other "times" persist like frames of a film strip, spread out across the time line. Sir Isaac Newton subscribed to this realist view, and hence it is sometimes referred to as Newtonian time.[4][5] The opposing view is that time does not refer to any kind of "container" that events and objects "move through", nor to any entity that "flows", but that it is instead part of a fundamental intellectual structure (together with space and number) within which humans sequence and compare events.

I tend to side with the first belief, which states that 'Time is like a container, that events and objects move through.' (Wording taken from the second belief, which is opposed to the first). If the Universe is an object, then it would have moved and progressed through Linear Progression. If it had a birth, there would have been a time before its birth. If the universe did not exist at this point in TIME, and there was no TIME, then the universe would not have Progressed towards a birth. This would suggest that Time can operate independant of a Spacal (Matter) Component. Since we all exist, and the universe did infact come into being, this means that time progressed even without the universe around it existing. Azazeel (talk) 12:46, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

==If you watch a nonmoving cumulous cloud formation in the sky, you note that the clouds dont transition, they just evolve and then diseppear. Of course, we know the chemical/physical, processes going on of cloud and rain occurrence, and know that the molecules of water are accumulating and condensing etc, but we can see that whatever is happening does not involve a directional motion of the system with respect to the system's spacial coordinates. So we know that a physical event can evolve within a fixed frame of reference, and what we need is an incremental dimension/time relationship standard with which to evaluate the relative spacetime value of physical events. And that's what we're trying to do at the cosmology level, with a lot of human disagreement, of course. WFPMWFPM (talk) 22:37, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
I think you need to square the "separateness" of time from space with the connection revealed by general relativity. I've restored the wording in the article for the time [sic] being. Cheers, --PLUMBAGO 13:06, 10 September 2008 (UTC)
Adding to what Plumbago said, pulling up a Newtonian view of reality is meaningless since Newton was, well, wrong. Or at least his viewpoint was so narrow and his work so incomplete that it is useless except in very specific circumstances (circumstances like our everyday lives;)). Along the same vein, what philosophers say about time is irrelevant. Philosophers deal in wishes, fantasy, and imagination, not in what is real, or in what is true. All that matters for an argument like this is the evidence that has been gathered using science, and right now that evidence *all* points toward space and time being part and parcel. Time is just another spacial dimension, not some separate entity. Gopher65talk 23:57, 11 September 2008 (UTC)
Energy is not three-dimensional and when it travels through three dimensions it creates time at a rate of 1 second per 299,792,458 meters. You're welcome. polpointtalk 2:15pm, 10 October 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:16, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
==Asimov in developing a study of large numbers came up with the idea that all events are like "scenes" on a stage involving activity in space during a time period. He then promoted the "chronon" as the time period for light to move the diameter of a nucleon (approx 10E-13cm) and came up with a time period of 10E-23.5 sec as the scene event value. Then he discussed the factorial values of possible occurrences of events among the 10E79 nucleons of the universe (during it's estimated 10E17.5+ sec time period of existence) and understandably came up with a rather large number. WFPMWFPM (talk) 17:48, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Hi, I am no physicist, but here are my 2 cents. Time by definition is just a reference to sequences or cause-effect. E.g. in a statement "something that happened now was caused by something before it" has an implicit mention of time that provides the meaning of before and now and to assert that 'before' can never happen after 'now' and vice-versa. Apart from cause-effect time also refers to any other related or unrelated sequence of events. Time is not a dimension whether spatial or otherwise. Both matter and energy can change spatial location in either direction and independently of rest of the matter (and energy). Whereas time changes for all the matter at the same time and it can only go in forward direction by definition. Even if there are multiverse, time is still the same for all of them. Past can never be in present or future as future was never in past. Time travel is not possible and never would be. Most modern day sci-fi like corollaries of special-relativity are pseudo-science. Though special-relativity is itself unproven or incorrectly proven concept and hence not science... but that's a totally separate discussion out of scope here. By saying that time did not exist in the singularity before the big-bang is as belief-oriented as saying earth is the center of universe or other illogical things taught in various religions. Science does not teach us to guess and believe when we don't know, but to find out and prove. In the absence of knowledge it is better to say that we do not know what was there before big bang, assuming big-bang is the most plausible theory of creation of universe. --Vineet Aggarwal (talk) 19:58, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi, I know science clearly has a big part to play in all of this but I believe that not everything can be solved through science just yet. Time is a creation of man, yes clearly we reference time on visible scales but at the end of the day time is just a reference for ourselves. I believe that the everything within eternity has already happened and that time is one of the things that keeps us bound to the physical plain. Our persuit of knowledge is a just cause but we cannot physically understand eternity completely on the physical plain. To achieve a higher form of existance we must learn to accept the fact that at the moment we cannot understand everything. We must learn to realise this or be bound to "time" for this whole cycle. I know this will cause a bit of anger for those who do not believe in this sort of thing but in a debate all sides must be heard. I respect other people opinions so please hear me out :) (Scorpiomale (talk) 18:59, 31 August 2009 (UTC))


I've made no contributions to this article, so I feel entitled and obliged to comment "Superb work! Well informed, balanced, pedagogical, up to date, more so on all accounts than any other overview on the subject. Bravo!" Kind regards, Ryttaren (talk) 08:56, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

That's very kind, Ryttaren — what a wonderful and encouraging surprise! :) Thank you, Willow (talk) 01:47, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Our universe being pulled towards another universe?

Astronomers have stumbled upon an unexplained two-million-mile-per-hour sideways shift in the universe toward a colossal, unseen, unknown gravity source beyond the horizon of the observable universe. [1] - article suggests it's another universe. Doug Weller (talk) 08:49, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Surely it can't, by definition, be "another" universe: the quote mentions "observable" universe. --Old Moonraker (talk) 09:06, 26 September 2008 (UTC)
Right. This simply means that there is a limit to how far we can see, because of the speed of light (13 billion light years or so). However, they can see Galaxies far away from us being affected by things beyond our light horizon (ie, more than 13 billion light years away). Gopher65talk 06:06, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Size vs. mass chart request

I'd like to suggest adding a plot to this page that shows the (logarithmic) distribution of object dimensions versus mass, somewhat like the following image:

(except with data points rather than pictures). The excluded ranges are also informative, so they would be good to include as well. I've seen this illustrated in a couple of science books and the data is available from certain references, but I haven't seen a GDFL'd version. Is anybody interested in putting a chart like this together? Thank you!—RJH (talk) 16:35, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

There are a lot of problems with that image:
  • The electron has no detectable size. I'm not sure what the best current upper bound on its radius is, but it's enough to put it well inside the region marked "ruled out by quantum uncertainty." The proton has a radius which is determined by the strong force, and it's slightly outside that region, not on the boundary.
  • The mass and radius of the visible universe place it inside the region marked "ruled out by gravity."
  • The chart implies that the density of water is somehow related to the electron mass and the "quantum uncertainty" line. This is not true and it makes no sense—for one thing, the density of water is dominated by the mass of the nuclei, not the electrons. This is a pretty significant numerical error, and it looks like both the electron mass and the water density have been shifted to make them appear to meet up.
Once you remove all the mistakes, I'm not sure there's enough useful information left to make the chart worthwhile. -- BenRG (talk) 23:00, 12 October 2008 (UTC)
== I like it because it promotes the idea of the existence of a hierarchy of things. And I'm sure there is a minimum discrete size for anything that is real. And I'll bet that the electron is as dense as the nucleon because its electromatic force calculations (e/m) imply that. But some pert of it has to interact with light energy (bunches/particles) and maybe it has interacting appendages. WFPMWFPM (talk) 19:41, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Size of the universe

The size just changed from 93 billion light years to 156 billion light years, and the edit summary cited this. According to this discussion with someone who knows more about cosmology (and less about our Original Research policy) than I do, is a better source of information. It says a "Hubble radius" of 4220 Mpc and a "co moving radius of the cosmic microwave background" of 14,000 Mpc which is about 46 billion light years. Art LaPella (talk) 21:33, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

== The referenced article also says that the time clock of the universe's existence is started at the end of the initial inflationary period, contrary to the Universe article. WFPMWFPM (talk) 23:17, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Fixed. See Observable universe#Misconceptions. Other links to that article should be deleted on sight. -- BenRG (talk) 11:15, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

=====Consider ths concept being developed here== At some point in space, 13.7 billion light years from here, a universe originated and inflated and its originally radiated energy started toward us. Then, during the following 13+billion years the universe has continued to inflate at an estimated rate of 3.38c. In the meantime we're restricted in the size of potential location distance from the origin site by the posible distance ot travel of the original light energy radiation. This leads to the following concepts: 1, The diameter of the universe at the present time is approximately 92 billion light years, and 2, We are located on a radius point 13.7 billion light years from the origin site. WFPMWFPM (talk) 01:00, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

The direct relation between our location and the age of Universe is illogical because that would mean that if there is a civilization on a planet at the boundary of the universe, to them the Universe is 92 billion year old and that contradicts our belief that universe is only 13.7 billion year old. In fact the size and age of universe don't match because for universe to expand to 92 billion light year dia in 13.7 billion years matter would need to travel atleast 3.36 times the speed of light! --Vineet Aggarwal (talk) 20:07, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

1) Since there is no "boundary" to the universe, no one would ever be "on the edge". When they look out, they would see much the same things that we see, no matter where in the universe they are. Saying "but what if they are on the edge of the universe?" is like saying "but what if someone were living on the edge of the Earth!". There is no edge upon the surface of a sphere, and there is no edge to the universe. I'm always at the centre of Earth's surface area, no matter where on the surface I stand; conversely, I'm never at the centre point of Earth's surface area, because there is no centre. The universe is much the same way.
2) Matter cannot travel faster than the speed of light, but space itself can move at any speed. The space around a rotating black hole should regularly be accelerated to speeds greater than that of light. The "edge" of the universe, as we preserve it, is the distance at which the combined expansion of all of the space between us and that distant point exceeds the speed of light. Gopher65talk 05:29, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Note: Not strictly true. Matter cannot be accelerated to the speed of light (let alone faster). However the key word is "accelerated". The theory does allow for matter to either be created with a velocity greatre than light or for it to have a speed greater than light so long as it is not accelerated (by means unknown).

1. Right, there is no "boundary" of the universe and neither there is an edge. However, the analogy of earth is not correct, because everyone on the surface is near to earth's boundary (leaving just the atmosphere) and center of the earth is where molten iron core is. That is true for all spherical objects irrespective of the size. Perhaps you were talking about earth surface, but that is again incorrect analogy because I wasn't talking about the surface of the universe.

2. You very neatly mentioned "that distant point" and that is exactly what I meant by 'planet at the boundary' (with respect to universe observed from earth) in my original post. Had you not been so picky about my word selection you could have explained me and the rest of the readers how can 'that distant point' be 92b light years away if both the (matter that made) Earth and the (matter that made) 'that distant point' started from the same point (big bang) only 13b years back. And we are not talking about the space here but matter.

Please note that I am bit cynical here because when scientific community starts talking about make-belief then I see no difference between science and bible. Though the later is obviously fiction but the question is how true is science when no one can really answer my question on established concepts and all it ends up as Einsteinian relativity which then I start seeing as pseudo science with all that space-time curvature, time-dilation, and unbelievable things. I agree that most established facts in science today were unbelievable to some earlier generation, but that's how I feel in the absence of proper consistent explanation of these concepts and because of their fallacies leading to hypothetical dark-matter and dark-energy. Vineet Aggarwal (talk) 02:57, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Time dilation is measurable and proven. Time Dilation. Science advances through theory, prediction, measurement, consideration and refinement. All scientific theories (accepted or otherwise) are just that - theories. Most become superceded over time by better theories as we gain understanding and advance in what we can measure and observe. Relativity allows predictions. These match observations. This is no way pseudo-science just because you don't believe or understand. That doesn't mean to say your question isn't good question. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Amicaveritas (talkcontribs) 18:41, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Can someone explain this sentence: "The universe is very large and possibly infinite in volume;..." I'm no Cosmologist but as far as I know the prevailing view is that the universe is not infinite, it's finite and expanding. Whilst saying it's "possibly" infinite isn't entirely wrong, it doesn't seem probably enough to warrant inclusion. I could state that dark matter is "possibly" made of unseen jelly but that doesn't make it worthy of inclusion. I'm tempted to think this has been put in by someone who prefers a steady state view of the universe, rather than someone writing neutrally. Master z0b (talk) 01:44, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

KAY1985:>>> Im no cosmologist either and far from it but i believe the Universe goes on for infinity and there can not possibly be an end/edge to it. If there is an end to the Universe then what would be beyond that end? it just wouldnt make sense. Therefore I am convinced 100% that there is life out there and definitely believe there are many other planets like our own which support life. I also 100% know that the human race will come to an end before we get anywhere close to finding out the facts of these theories. These are just my beliefs by the way lol<<<KAY1985

Finite or infinite? This is not a simple question to answer, in general it would appear "we don't know". This may help [2] as may this [3]Amicaveritas (talk) 13:10, 15 May 2009 (UTC)


This article is poorly sourced. Profound truths are contained within grammar and etymology. Fundamental flaw: This article should state from the outset the difference between current, historical and developmental understandings and changes through time of the signification of both the Universe and universe and define, relate and contrast them. How disrespectful we are to our Home and our primary school teachers.
B9 hummingbird hovering (talkcontribs) 06:26, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

I concur. There is more than enough evidence that there it at least one more universe in our Multiverse, arguably most likely because this universe moves in conjunction with some other mass as big as our universe (eg. another universe.) Because of this, and more outstanding evidence found by several different scientific organizations, with NASA being at the head of the investigation, I present to the community of Wikipedia that THERE IS another universe in the Multiverse, and that therefore this article should be known as OUR universe instead of the very vague term of "universe". So please may an admin edit this article to show that there is more than one universe in the Multiverse. Permafry42 (talk) 13:47, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

That... is a giant load of garbage. There is no evidence of a Multiverse at this time, and there is no evidence of any universe other than our own, at this time. And there are no practical investigations currently taking place, because we lack the technology to engage in such investigations (unfortunately). In fact, AFAIK, the only mathematical models of the universe that even predict a Multiverse are some of the variants of Superstring Theory, and Superstring "Theory" hasn't even graduated to being science yet; it is still in the realm of philosophy. Gopher65talk 05:19, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

So your saying Steven Hawking, the world's leading physicist, is a load of broken barbie dolls and smashed up trash bags, even though he took a "theory" and made it a universally used fact. Get with the program. Most physicist, (and I'm sure your not one, otherwise, you would value theories,) are leaning towards believing there are other universe. I agree that, at this point, we can't be certain. But as we are slowly getting more hints that the "theory" is true, we must accept it as true until proven otherwise. P.S.: it's supersymmetric string theory (or string theory), not Superstring theory. if you want to discredit something, call it by its full name. Permafry42 (talk) 19:08, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't think Gopher65 even mentioned Steven Hawking nor trashed him as a physicist. And I pretty much agree with Gopher65's opinion on this matter. Sorry I bounce your words back at you, but...Get with the program: Wikipedia is not a forum for novel research; the main idea of Wikipedia is to function as a (more or less) reliable encyclopedia, and thus present the general standpoint of the (in this case) scientific community outside of Wikipedia. Your words Most physicist...[are]...leaning towards believing there are other universe are weasel words, and AFAIK, multiverses are regarded as interesting theories, but they are far from being considered as scientific "truth" in the general scientific community. Until then, let's not pretend theories of multiverses are facts by giving them undue attention in this encyclopedic article.
You said: But as we are slowly getting more hints that the "theory" is true, we must accept it as true until proven otherwise. To me, this sounds somewhat like some kind of religious belief, which sadly reminds me of arguments used by supporters of Intelligent Design. Sorry if I offend you, but that is the feeling I get. If multiverses in the future would be scientifically "proven", I would personally be very excited and thrilled. But, this is not the case today...
In short; AFAIK, multiverses are at the moment far from accepted as scientific "facts" by the external scientific community. Until then, this article should not pretend otherwise. The section Universe#Multiverse can, and IMO should, handle the concept of theoretically multiple universes (along with other sub-articles). That's quite enough. Regards, --Dna-Dennis (talk) 00:38, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Suggested sources for discussion:

Cambridge University Press Theories of Everything Guardian New Scientist Scientific American Science Faith Think Tank Art News

Amicaveritas (talk) 18:22, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

Speed of Light

"special relativity states that matter cannot exceed the speed of light in a localized region of space-time." is factually incorrect. Special relativity actually states that matter cannot be accelerated beyond the speed of light. This is actually an important fact as special relativity in no way precludes objects already travelling faster than light or getting there by (means unknown) another method other than acceleration. I propose amending the wording to accurately reflect this. Any objections or comments? Amicaveritas (talk) 13:01, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

In view of no objections. Edit made Amicaveritas (talk) 18:05, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm not too happy with this. What special relativity "states" in the absence of any specific dynamics is a matter of interpretation. When you say an object can't accelerate past the speed of light, presumably you're thinking of the energy/relativistic mass going to infinity, but that's if the rest mass stays constant, and who says it has to stay constant? The energy of an accelerating rocket ship doesn't increase, it decreases, because it's emitting propellant and not absorbing anything and overall energy has to be conserved. If you draw a straight line in four-momentum space from the rocket's initial four-momentum in the direction of the initial four-force, it will intersect the light cone at a finite energy, so who says the rocket can't get there? In reality it can't happen because, among other things, the rocket is made of particles that are constrained to be on mass shell, but that's quantum field theory, and anyway it directly forbids having spacelike four-momentum, it doesn't say anything about how you get there. Add to that the fact that in quantum field theory (or classical field theory for that matter) even tachyonic fields don't exceed the speed of light, in the sense that localized disturbances stay inside the future light cone. The idea that there's some kind of loophole in the rules of special relativity that permits some kind of non-accelerational way of getting past the light speed "barrier" is fiction.
Anyway, I think we should just state baldly that nothing can exceed the speed of light and forget about attributing it to special relativity or anything else. It isn't the subject of this article, there's no need to go into specifics. -- BenRG (talk) 12:40, 17 May 2009 (UTC)
The underlying article on special relativity state that matter (with rest mass) cannot be accelerated to the speed of light (let alone beyond it). I'm merely aligning the two. To say "nothing can travel faster than light" is not true. There's nothing in theory that specifically prohibits it. What isn't prohibited is possible - if the theory is correct. I'm not currently in a position to refute special relativity. For example there are also quantum tunneling experiments that seem to yield faster than light transportation. I'm not proposing that we add this to the article, but I do believe the word acceleration has to be there - it's fact as we understand the facts today. Amicaveritas (talk) 13:01, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Statement about age or universe can be stronger.

And a bit shorter. The sentence ´Current interpretations of astronomical observations indicate that the age of the universe is 13.73 (± 0.12) billion years,...´ is in my opinion weaker then necessary.

Couldn´t it be ´Current interpretations of astronomical observations state the age of the universe is 13.73 (± 0.12) billion years,...´


´Current astronomical observations indicate that the age of the universe is 13.73 (± 0.12) billion years,...´

Other suggestions welcome.

Pukkie (talk) 07:44, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Definition in lede

Currently, the lede begins:

The Universe comprises everything that physically exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them.

It appears this definition excludes many things, such as numbers, contracts, laws, countries, cities, and thoughts (unless those thoughts also happen to be physical laws) . It also appears self-contradictory about whether Columbus (e.g) is part of the universe --JimWae (talk) 03:03, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

I'm confused about your objection. It seems to me that Columbus, whether capitol of Ohio or explorer, would be part of the entirety of space and time therefore belong in the universe under this definition. If anything, to me, this phrasing seems wordy. Why not "The Universe is everything that exists." Rest of the article can hash out what that might include. --Gimme danger (talk) 07:07, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Columbus (the explorer) does not physically exist any more. The buildings in the city of Columbus physically exist, but the city (with all its boundaries & institutions), especially the capital city, exists (as a city) as a human construct on top of what physically exists. The universe is everything that is "the case" (true). The universe as "everything that physically exists" is woefully inadequate as a definition of the universe.

The universe does include Columbus the explorer -- though he no longer physically exists. Saying The universe includes "the totality of space and time" is partially a step in the right direction, BUT it likely goes too far in suggesting that future babies & presidents are also part of the universe.

The universe does include all that was the case, but saying it includes "all that WILL be the case" is problemmatic--JimWae (talk) 07:53, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Now, if the article were renamed to Universe (astronomy) then we would not need to worry about Columbus. But we would still have a problem with future novas & black holes (that is, if we kept "totality of space and time"). Oh... vacuums. I think we'd want to include them in the universe. And maybe light and sound. --JimWae (talk) 08:15, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

The word Universe automatically includes everything that exists in our reality, past, present, and future. That's just what the word means. *shrugs* So there is no need for any qualifiers or a list of other stuff, since all other stuff is already included in the Universe. Gopher65talk 15:09, 22 September 2009 (UTC)
A vacuum is space, just without matter; it is included in the definition. Light and sound are forms of energy. They are included in the definition. Past, present, and future are included in the definition due to scientific conclusions on the nature of time, which are guided by general relativity and special relativity. Also, the universe is defined by the parts that make it up without taking into account how those parts are arranged. That is just the nature of the word; it speaks of the entirety of existence rather than the state of existence. Having the latter would be to specific to be useful, since the state of the universe is changing all the time. For example, the universe is expanding. If this included the state of the universe, it would mean "everything that exists in its current state is expanding". Well, that would not be true, because as soon as it would change, it would be a different universe. You could define the universe as "everything that exists in the state it is in at any given time", but than you are just making the definition of universe weaker, because the universe can only be defined at one point in time. See the problem with that. Now it may be useful to say "the universe is beautiful" and mean the state of the universe as well, but you could simply say "the universe is beautiful just the way it is" and mean the same thing, so having the universe mean both is not necessary. Unlike people, which have to be defined by certain characteristics (i.e. DNA arrangement), outside of science fiction, the universe does not need to be defined by such.--Jorfer (talk) 18:35, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree that the universe includes everything that is the case, but LOOK at the structure of the existing first sentence, and notice the colon.

The Universe comprises everything that physically exists: the entirety of space and time, all forms of matter, energy and momentum, and the physical laws and constants that govern them.

What follows the colon is meant as some sort of explanation (or extension) of what precedes it - the first part is meant as the intensional definition, the second part (after the colon) as some sort of (apparently) partial extensional definition. If the universe is defined as everything that physically exists, the definition does NOT include any vacuum, nor does it include anything from the past (no less the future). The "extensional" definition does not match the intensional one. The extensional (or whatever what follows the colon is meant to be) includes too much by including (eg) future people and future catastrophes. There is no reference provided that supports the future being part of the universe. Neither part of the definition includes thoughts or numbers or countries or laws. A better definiton would be The universe is all that is the case, and all that has ever been the case. The truth value of that which will be the case is not yet determined. Neither part of the definition withstands examination, nor does either have a reliable source. Further, the two parts are not consistent with each other. --JimWae (talk) 18:30, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

You would make the definition even more POV (see WP:NPOV), because it currently says nothing on the issue of determinism. The definition of a vacuum is "a space entirely devoid of matter". Since space is mentioned after the colon, a vacuum is included, as is any combination. Each part of the list is part of the universe which makes any possible combination of matter and space included: space with matter, matter with space (notice this is equivalent to the previous item), space without matter (a vacuum), or matter without space (if that were possible). There is no inconsistency. Ideas only exist as a combination of matter and energy (i.e. the chemical arrangement of human brains). For a reliable source as to the future being part of the universe, I can refer you to those in spacetime. This is common knowledge in the Physics community and does not need to be sourced. The items listed after the colon include everything.--Jorfer (talk) 18:55, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

If I were advocating we must say the future is NOT part of the universe, your claim of POV might be responsive to what I wrote. I am not advocating that. This article - especially the lede will be read by many people who are not physicists, AND there is nothing in the spacetime aticle that connects usage of the term 'universe' to the future. There is no good reason to say the 100th president of the United States and the tallest woman alive in the year 2200 are part of the universe, and it defies common usage. If you want to rescue the current definition, we will have to start by changing the colon to a comma. There would still be problems after doing that, though. --JimWae (talk) 19:27, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

The spacetime article makes clear that Physicists see space and time as intrinsically linked. Thus all time has to be included if space is included. WP:FRINGE states "We use the term fringe theory in a very broad sense to describe ideas that depart significantly from the prevailing or mainstream view in its particular field of study." The nature of time is considered Physicists area of study, so outside views have to be weighted as fringe theory.
"The truth value of that which will be the case is not yet determined." - This is the comment I was referring to when I said "You would make the definition even more POV (see WP:NPOV), because it currently says nothing on the issue of determinism."

--Jorfer (talk) 19:59, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Definition in lede (a second objection)

I suggest rewording the definition of universe to remove "physical laws and constants". Think carefully, you will see that "physical laws" are constructs and conventions which humans use from time to time to help them understand the universe. In this sense they are like languages or mathematics. Instead, I suggest we say: "including all interactions and phenomena." [we could add: "... which the laws of physics attempt to describe"]. The laws of physics are part of the Universe, yes, but in the same way that say Arabic is part of the universe, and such things as human languages and other constructs are not listed in this intro paragraph (appropriately).

Thanks to all editors here! Great work on an important article!

For the record I do not share the objection posted in the previous section "Definition in lede", and that's why I posted a separate section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:49, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

"Creation myths" clear violation of Wiki's neutrality.

The title, and the following section "Creation myths" is a clear violation of Wiki's neutrality of witch it mocks religious viewpoints as "mythology" (talk) 23:18, 11 April 2009 (UTC) Jade Rat

Check some dictionaries. DVdm (talk) 09:25, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't get it, what's the issue with calling religious beliefs mythology. Is there a better term? How about 'Stories in religious texts' —Preceding unsigned comment added by VinnieCool (talkcontribs) 22:55, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
That's not a bad suggestion. Creation in religious texts might be another one. The word stories and myths lead me to believe one is saying that what is being described is untrue. I understand many would believe this to be the case, but it doesn't seem like a neutral way of discussing something in an article. Overall it's not a huge issue though. Sventington the Second 1:04, 12 May 2009.
Even though the first definition of the term is applicable (supernatural intervention by definition cannot be natural), the usage of the term mythology to include any story based on the supernatural is not the common use of the term so the other possible uses must be the ones considered (especially the third one on, if, for nothing else, precision purposes. Religious views of creation is a perfectly neutral title, so I see no reason why that should not be used instead.--Jorfer (talk) 02:05, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
The thing is, this is what the word "myth" means. Mythic figures. Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. Myth and ritual. It's exactly the right word in this context. A frustrating number of people don't seem to know that, but even so I can't think of a better word. "Stories" and "legends" have the same not-true connotation. "Views" is even worse. You can call someone's actions "legendary" without implying that they didn't happen. There shouldn't be a problem here. -- BenRG (talk) 20:42, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, maybe "religious accounts of creation"? It seems more neutral than "stories" and it's close to the original meaning, unlike "views". On the other hand it's a relatively uncommon word (in this sense). -- BenRG (talk) 22:19, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Let's stick to the terminology used by reliable sources, which is overwhelmingly myth, and by the rest of Wikipedia. Obviously account and myth do not mean the same thing, so let's not throw away useful terminology because someone thinks we're mock[ing] religious viewpoints as "mythology". I mean, we're pandering to someone who thinks religion and mythology are distinct here. *boggle* Ben (talk) 22:32, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. AldaronT/C 22:41, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed Amicaveritas (talk) 18:04, 16 May 2009 (UTC)
This strikes me as a complete non-issue in the context of this article. The main articles to which the section links have "myth" in their titles, so its title should track the titles of those articles and should not be changed unless the titles of those articles are changed (and stay changed) first. AldaronT/C 22:26, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Agreed Amicaveritas (talk) 18:04, 16 May 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the above statement but lets not forget that we do not know everything about the universe so some of what we know to be fact now may in fact turn out to be false later on due to future discoveries? But I do agree, unless there is evidence of any religious based theory then it may as well be called a "Myth" or a "Story" just like anything else in this life, we need to be dealing with facts. (Scorpiomale (talk) 16:35, 8 September 2009 (UTC))

Agreed. Creationism and Intelligent Design are both Wikipedia articles and should be mentioned here- they are viable theories and any attempt to describe them as "myths" is pure bias as there are entire foundations of scientific study into them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:29, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
Check some dictionaries. There is nothing wrong with the neutrality of the word myth. You think the universe was created by the god of your choice? The dictionaries agree. You think the universe was not created by a god? The dictionaries agree. What more do you want? - DVdm (talk) 14:36, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

How about 'believe' or 'assume'?-- (talk) 02:24, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Second "See also"

There is a second "See Also" section at the end of the article with a link to a "Composition (Biology)" template. I'm sure this is not correct, but I don't understand the article's source enough to fix it. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:25, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

The "problem" appears to be in Template:Nature_nav itself, rather than the Universe article. I'm not sure that a template should include a section header like this (but I admit to not being very knowledgeable about these things). Mitch Ames (talk) 12:36, 23 September 2009 (UTC)
Fixed. Mitch Ames (talk) 00:50, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Simplicity apparently coinciding with reality.

It might be helpful to consider Universe from a point of view outside it, i.e. by looking at the complete Universe, either finite or infinite, containing simultaneously both its beginnings and completion, whatever they may be, and all that it contains at all and any points of its completed state. This enables the view that we are merely part of the process of its completion, considered as a minor detail in its linear expansion, with the chemical process of our preception necessarily involving our movement across space, which gives us a blinkered view of Universe.

From this external perspective you may see that Universe has just one ingredient, which is space, rather than the confusing extraneity of 'space-time', and with distorsions or concentrations in space forming the effect of sub-atomic particles, and so on up the scale of material structure. This matter, as observed by animate organisms persisting across space, affords us the illusion of 'time' and of temporal 'activity'.

This external view enables us to appreciate the true essential simplicity of Universe, rather than any complication required by any unreal complex structural contortions necessary to satisfy limited human mathematical inventions. It might also more clearly enable a general appreciation of the reality of Universe, rather than secreting its absolute simplicity behind a web of unnecessary and misleading mathematical concepts. Absolutelyamazin (talk) 07:28, 2 October 2009 (UTC)


This article fails to distinguish between so-called 'universes' where there is a connection between them and those where there is none. "Parallel" implies a connection as does emanating from the same alleged quantum event and having the same history prior to this event. On the other hand there may be universes which truly have no connection with our own and of which we may know nothing.

I found the seven "bubble" universe diagram amusing, especially given the article's equations. Perhaps the article should decide whether it wants to be a graduate level physics article or a popular one. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:06, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

A question metaphysical literacy?

Universe. Fundamental flaw – a question of metaphysical literacy?

The statement: ... all forms of matter and energy ... etc.

I have problems with the “all”. All suggest exactly that, viz. the “all and everything” .

Can there be an entity in which time is an essential factor?

Wilberfalse (talk) 21:17, 17 November 2009 (UTC)

Proposed update to the lead

Currently the lead section of this article does not appear to satisfy WP:LEAD. I put together a rewrite of the lead that cuts the content down to about five paragraphs: still longer than recommended, but much shorter than the present form. It can be reviewed here: Talk:Universe/Temp.

Before making such a wholesale change I wanted to make sure I'm not treading on a sensitive ground here. Does anybody find this rewrite significantly objectionable? If not then I'll go ahead and make the revision. Thanks.—RJH (talk) 22:27, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. I was curious as to what would happen if I took out the stuff in the LEDE which seemed too detailed, and rearranged it a bit. I got 5 paragraphs when done, so you might see if you agree with what I took out. And no, be bold. You can always replace it with your own idea of a 5-para revision, and we can compare. For example, should that history-of-models paragraph go back to the end of the LEDE, where it was before? Also, I think the LEDE should mention puppies. SBHarris 23:38, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

20 Trillion x 9² is the distance of the Universe from end to end.

Allthough that the diameter of the observable universe is at least 93 billion light years, or 8.80 × 1026 metres.

It can be measured by 20 Trillion x 9² miles from end to end. (talk) 11:52, 5 December 2009 (UTC)

What lays beyond the universe?

I mean when you arrive at the boundaries of the universe what will you find? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:20, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

42 --Marc Kupper|talk 06:26, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
I dont think there are any boundaries. It's like sailing round the world in search of the edge of the earth- there are no boundaries as such, I think space is infinite and is expanding into the 4th dimension. Autonova (talk) 16:45, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

Automate archiving?

Does anyone object to me setting up automatic archiving for this page using MiszaBot? Unless otherwise agreed, I would set it to archive threads that have been inactive for 30 days and keep the last ten threads.--Oneiros (talk) 21:36, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

I see no problem with that. --M4gnum0n (talk) 21:36, 10 January 2010 (UTC)
I think it would be good. Cheers, Ben (talk) 09:59, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
Ok with me. DVdm (talk) 12:19, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
 Done The bots should start over the next 24h.--Oneiros (talk) 22:26, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

Static Universe.

Our Universe is a part of a larger reality. That reality extends beyond the three space times accessible to our observation, those of matter, the material Universe and the immaterial space time. The eternal static Nothingness acts as the observer of its own 'self'. This creates an imbalance which organises the medium of Nothingness, starting from itself as the 'beginning' '0',along the unlimited plurality of parts of Nothingness, back to the Nothingness as the 'whole' symbolised by '1'. The organised medium consists of parts 1/2 to the power of 'n' where n=1.2.3... and it extends to the 'end' of the whole of the static Nothingness as '1' without everreaching the 'end'. The medium remains dynamic due to the imperfection. Every part 1/2 to the power of 'n' is of different magnitude but of the same organisation of unlimited plurality of the units of Nothingness. Th lack of balance,manifested as the difference, is motivation for change. Each 1/2 to 'n' remains static during the time of transformation within it, from the 'beginning' '0' to the identity with the static part 1/2 to 'n'. The organisation of the medium is a 'law of nature'. When the internalo transformation reaches identity with the static unit 1/2 to'n' the two identical units unite quantitastively sand become one new, temporarily static unit 1/2 to the power of (n-1) but of double mangitude. One of such units 1/2 to the power of 'n' is our Universe. It is static from 'outside' but dynamic from the 'inside'. KK ( (talk) 17:14, 9 March 2010 (UTC))

Whose conception?

Hand-colored version of the Flammarion woodcut, depicting the Aristotelian conception of the Universe that preceded the models of Copernicus and Thomas Digges.

I am not sure what this image was supposed to show, but the original caption had something about a "medieval" church man coming to the edge of the Flat Earth. This has nothing to do with Aristotle, who like other educated Greeks had adopted the Spherical Earth concept of Parmenides. It has even less to do with Medieval Christianity - see Myth of the Flat Earth. --Uncle Ed (talk) 20:42, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

  • Caption in French: Un missionnaire du moyen age raconte qu'il avait trouvé le point où le ciel et la Terre se touchent.
  • Babelfish translation to English (slightly cleaned up): A missionary of the Middle Ages tells that he has found the point where the sky and the Earth touch

I hate to keep bringing this up, all around the pedia' but it seems to be some sort of meme. --Uncle Ed (talk) 20:46, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't know how or when it got here, but your objection makes sense. Too bad, I find it a really nice image :-) - DVdm (talk) 21:55, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Removed link

I removed a link to — I don't think it is appropriate here. Feel free to discuss. — Knowledge Seeker 03:28, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Maybe it made sense in the context? It sure doesn't seem to fit, so good call. Jminthorne (talk) 05:02, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Removed fact tag from "Size, age, contents, structure, and laws"

The possibility that the universe may be infinite in size is mentioned in the reference at the end of the sentence (Misconceptions about the Big Bang), so I took it out in my last edit. Jminthorne (talk) 05:01, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

What about splitting the entry?

I came to the Universe page searching for scientific theories about its origin, and then I was lost on myths, religion and philosophy. It is not only a summary, it is a true blend - myths, religion, philosophy and science in every section. What about a separated "Universe in science" entry? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:32, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

no mention of dodecahrdron multiverse

i have added a seperate article in the end about a dodecahedron multiverse.plz help in expanding the article and if possible a seperate article here are some links —Preceding unsigned comment added by Manchurian candidate (talkcontribs) 05:06, 6 June 2010 (UTC) manchurian candidate 04:54, 6 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Manchurian candidate (talkcontribs)


I've searched over 40 dictionaries at and only 2 mentioned time in the definition: wiktionary (not a reliable source) and one other that appeared to be a mirror. The idea that future time is included in a definition of the universe projects a deterministic POV that is in no way generally supported in the literature, much less being indisputable.

A good article uses defs from reliable sources, ones that are presented as defs - not as a description of a diagram on p84, volume 742 of some technical work, and not unreliable ones that are telling us how to have better karma. Here's an attempt to express a def that is more generally agreed upon. It does not list all things that are included. It does not say time & space are part of the universe and it does not say they are not. If one does think it means anything to say time & space "exist", then one can consider them to be included by "everything that exists".

The Universe comprises the totality of everything that exists,[1] including all physical matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space.[2][3]

Btw, the previous def had other problems also. The meaning of "universe" clearly includes all things that exist, whether they are perceived or not.--JimWae (talk) 19:25, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

By saying all physical matter is included, instead of:

The universe comprises everything perceived to exist physically...

we do not seem to exclude the "non-physical" world (whereas "comprise" often means a presentation of an exhaustive list of components follows). While this article deals primarily with the cosmos, if "universe" truly includes everything, it also includes non-physical "things" like the number system that living things have devised (though this article does not need to focus on every non-physical "thing" that exists) --JimWae (talk) 19:51, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

There is a little problem. Defining the universe as the "totality of everything that exists" begs the question "... that exist according to whom?" Different observers have a different notion of time, so they have a different notion of existence. Some thing (e.g. a particle) that exists according to you might not exist according to me yet. So your universe differs from mine. That problem is removed by replacing the space notion with the space-time notion, as was done in Basa, page 84. You object that this imposes deterministism POV. I don't agree. Events still to happen (and thus undetermined) according to you, might allready have happened (and thus been determined) according to me. And of course, events not happened (yet) according to anyone, need not happen, so to speak. I think the only way not to run into trouble, would be by defining the universe such that it includes every possible or conceivable event, as was implicitly done in the previous version. As it is stated now, the universe is relative. Any idea how we could fix that? DVdm (talk) 20:15, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

after edit conflict: We do not need to determine who all are Democrats to say what democracy is. We do not need to determine all of what truly exists, for people to agree that, whatever one thinks exists, it is part of what one means by "universe". We may disagree about the contents of the universe without disagreeing on how to use the word. Saying space & time are part of the universe taking a disputed position on what the contents of the universe are - it is not necessary to take a position on this to give a reliable & generally accepted def. There is no reliable source for including space & time (much less FUTURE time) - and even if a few sources were to be found, it is still not generally accepted. An encyclopedia is not supposed to be going out on limbs presenting novel & not-generally accepted formulations of the state of current knowledge--JimWae (talk) 20:26, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree. Including the entire future would go flatly against the many hundreds of publications talking about "The Future of the Universe". Still, for me, the relativity problem remains. But no worries, I will not lose any sleep over it. I guess this is one of those subjects best to be referenced by a few good old dictionaries. The lead is much better now than it was before. DVdm (talk) 20:36, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Misuse of sources

A request for comments has been filed concerning the conduct of Jagged 85 (talk · contribs). Jagged 85 is one of the main contributors to Wikipedia (over 67,000 edits, he's ranked 198 in the number of edits), and practically all of his edits have to do with Islamic science, technology and philosophy. This editor has persistently misused sources here over several years. This editor's contributions are always well provided with citations, but examination of these sources often reveals either a blatant misrepresentation of those sources or a selective interpretation, going beyond any reasonable interpretation of the authors' intent. I searched the page history, and found 15 edits by Jagged 85 in July 2008 and 9 more edits in Mach 2010. Tobby72 (talk) 20:45, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

That's an old and archived RfC. The point is still valid though, and his contribs need to be doublechecked. Tobby72 (talk) 21:03, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Question: why should we do the doublechecking? Why don't we just remove the contribs? If/when someone wants to have something restored, they can provide the proper sourcing. Woulnd't that be the proper way to take care of this? DVdm (talk) 21:02, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Reply is on User talk:Tobby72#Misuse of sources. DVdm (talk) 22:07, 10 June 2010 (UTC)
Question: why take Tobby72's word that there are problems in this article? Most of the edits offered as problematic here appear to have few if any citations in them leaving me with the impression that this is a scatter shot campaign. While that doesn't mean there are other articles where there are problems I do not think it's effective to raise a red flag in every article with significant contributions by Jagged 85. From my perspective Tobby72 is not doing the project any favors with this approach. Jojalozzo 18:53, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Lead sentence

The Encyclopedia of Astronomy defines the Universe as, Everything we can detect, see, feel, know, or that has ever had any effect on our region of space. It encompasses all of SPACETIME, not just out to the visible horizon, and includes all particles, fields and interactions.

The current statement is ok, but it seems to be changing rapidly because, ironically, there is not a universal definition of the Universe. Maybe we could use the ideas from the definition given above to formulate a better lead.

Andrew Colvin | Talk 00:22, 9 June 2010 (UTC)

The concept of "spacetime" is confusing to some individuals such as myself. So why just keep it simple as it is right now? After all many theories and concepts about the Universe are mind bottling most of the time.Matthew Goldsmith 23:32, 18 February 2011 (UTC)
At least it's not suffering from the "Your universe or mine?" problem (see my comment above). - DVdm (talk) 08:24, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
It does suffer from that - far more than what is presently in the lede - by being limited to what "we" (humans, I presume) can detect or observe. The ordinary meaning of "universe" includes even stuff we do not & perhaps never will observe (or know about). It also leaves us hanging about what "our region of space" means. It also might be taking the unusual view that future time is included - I say might because, while overly technical for a general purpose encyclopedia, "It encompasses all of SPACETIME' is also vague --JimWae (talk) 08:34, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
Hm, you stopped reading after the first sentence. The we-phrase is only part of the story. The remainder is covered by the phrase "It encompasses all of SPACETIME, not just...". The first sentence is the John-Doe part, to be completed by the second sentence, which is the technical part. Taken together, it looks perfect for the job. I think that is a viable solution of the problem that I mentioned earlier. DVdm (talk) 09:18, 9 June 2010 (UTC)
So what would be a good proposal for a better lead sentence? I see the point about the "we" part. That could be removed and changed to what we know, including what we do not know. However, is that really the universe? I presume that if we were not here to observe the universe, it would still be here. Help construct a better lead without the sociocentric or worldview of what “we” know. Andrew Colvin • Talk 01:27, 11 June 2010 (UTC)
What is really the universe doesn't really matter (NPI). We just have to decide which source we take and repeat what it says. We can take a dictionary or we can take an encyclopedia, but I would prefer a specialized enc. over a generic dict. We could say that the Encyclopedia of Astronomy defines the Universe as etc... just like the bolded statement. We can keep the we-part, since the non-we part is covered by the spacetime part. If we do that; we should replace "SPACETIME" with spacetime though. DVdm (talk) 10:07, 11 June 2010 (UTC)

There is another definition from the Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics that reads as, “The sum of everything that exists and of which we can be aware; the entirety of space. There is a semantic difficulty in talking about the universe; on the one hand, we define it to be ‘everything’, but it may be (a) that our universe is finite, yet unbounded; (b) that the accessible universe is only a small part of a much larger entity, most of which we cannot observe; or (c) that there exist other universes of which we are not ‘aware’.

I like the previous definition and I agree that the SPACETIME should be lowercased. I think it was caps by paste from the dictionary to tell you to look up Spacetime in the same book. Similar to a link here on Wikipedia. Maybe some of this new definition could be molded with the other one to form a stronger and more explanatory definition. Andrew Colvin • Talk 06:22, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

There's a problem in including "the entirety of space" in the universe. We cannot be sure if the author means "space" to be "3 dimensional space" or "outer space". If 3D space is intended, it makes it seem as if by adding "space" to the "contents" of the universe, we are listing some additional entity that is not already covered. The same problem applies to adding "spacetime". We have over 40 sources that do not include "space" or "time" or "spacetime", and only a very, very few that do. There is no need to include "spacetime" among the contents of the universe. What would be left out by not including it in the list? Perhaps something along the lines of "everything ever located anywhere within space". (The use of "ever" would thereby also include objects from times past.)--JimWae (talk) 06:51, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
This is harder than I thought it would be to define the Universe. Maybe we could take a different route still including much of the first definition I gave with the addition of something along the lines of, “the product of the big bang…”? Adding the big bang into the equation would allow for anything that we do not know of to be included in the universe. I perceive the universe to be just the place that we reside as a result of the big bang. Anything outside of the product of the big bang would have to be considered speculative or as described lower in the article, a multiverse. Thoughts? Andrew Colvin • Talk 21:38, 12 June 2010 (UTC)
I like the second Encyclopedia of Astronomy definition above. Remember that most readers will be nontechnical people who merely want an ordinary definition which they can understand. Rather than coming up with a long, complicated lead sentence that is overly inclusive and confuses people by covering all the esoteric possibilities, it states the most common definition and in the second sentence enumerates the more esoteric types of "universes" that aren't covered by the common definition. The existing lead para also takes this approach and I think is pretty good --ChetvornoTALK 03:07, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
How is this for a definition?
The Universe is the sum of everything that exists and of which is the ample product of the big bang. The Universe comprises the totality of everything that exists visibly, and beyond the visible horizon. It includes all particles, fields, and interactions making up the structures observed today and in the past.
There is a semantic difficulty in defining the Universe. The word Universe is usually characterized as encompassing everything, however it may be (a) that our Universe is finite, yet unbounded; (b) that the accessible Universe is only a small part of a much larger entity, most of which we cannot observe; or (c) that there exist other Universes of which we are not aware.
I am not sure if Universe needs to be capitalized each time and I am not sure if the wording is clear enough. Suggestions and modifications welcome! Additionally, this would replace the first and half of the second paragraph in the lead. Andrew Colvin • Talk 03:31, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
My feeling is that the term "Big Bang" should not be included in the first sentence; the term "universe" was used before the Big Bang theory, and is not dependent on it; in addition nontechnical readers won't know what it is. I'm also kind of bothered by the emphasis on the term "visible" although I understand the importance of including the parts beyond the visible horizon. Just my two cents --ChetvornoTALK 19:08, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Dodecahedron Multiverse

This keeps being added to the article and often removed. Is it worthy to be part? Andrew Colvin • Talk 20:16, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

if you see my links that i have posted it has a lot of evidence that points out that the universe is a dodecahedron.THE WMAP probe sent by nasa was analyzed by a team of french cosmologist-topologist and it was found to be true. here more studies

his book: manchurian candidate 05:57, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

I am, to a certain extent, sure that it is a possibility that the universes topology is dodecahedral and that is well worth mentioning, however that prospect must be taken with skepticism at the present moment. Reason being that just because of Jean-Pierre Luminet’s expertise on the subject does not mean that it is correct. Before assuming that he is correct ask yourself a few questions. Likely, Luminet is a credible author and scientist; however, does he have a consensus? Is the idea of a dodecahedron topology of the universe a widely accepted theory? Are their peer-reviewed papers and scientific journals on the subject?
Please present us with a bit more credible information about the subject and it may become more accepted for its inclusion in the article. I noticed that reading the back cover of the book you provided states, “…where possible topologies of the universe…” This I assume means that the dodecahedron universe is a possibility, not a fact or theory.
In no way is this help in any way hostile, it is just the reason for the removal of the material and the reason for exclusion. Andrew Colvin • Talk 07:23, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

there is again no proof of multiverse so why do we have many world hypothesis.the thoery of evolution is a theory but it widely used as evolution.the theory of a molten earth is a theory but it is widely said as moltern earth. i am not posting the dodecahedron multiverse as my or jean pierre idea.the NASA WMAP mission prooves it.i have given soo many links.if you care to read all the links which has all the raw scientic data which points to a finite dodecahedron universe then it should be mentioned.IF the NASA WMAP mission was never launched this theory would never exist. this topic should have a seperate page imo and in the mean time it should be a sub part of the multiverse.

also plz read this In 2003, lack of structure on the largest scales (above 60 degrees) in the cosmic microwave background as observed for one year by the WMAP spacecraft led to the suggestion, by Jean-Pierre Luminet of the Observatoire de Paris and colleagues, that the shape of the Universe is a Poincaré sphere.[1][2] In 2008, astronomers found the best orientation on the sky for the model and confirmed some of the predictions of the model, using three years of observations by the WMAP spacecraft

the WMAP mission found this and this is proof that atleast we need to have this theory in this topic.

manchurian candidate 13:17, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

The possibility is interesting, but we are not here to publish exciting new results. To get this included at this level in this article, it is important that independent third-party sources take notice of this idea. That has not happened yet. It will now be removed. ScienceApologist (talk) 16:26, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

WHAT there is ample source of independent news sources.national geographic is one bbc

"Astronomers from the US and France suggest that space itself is not big enough to support such waves.

A small, cosmologically speaking, finite Universe, however, made of curved pentagons joined together into a sphere, would fit the observations. "

now are you happy

let me ask you why is there a wiki page of a suns twin star nemesis when there has been not a single shred of evidence? scientists hypothesize that since earth goes through a extinction event every 26 mya so there must be a brown dwarf hidden in the oort clound. this dodecahedron model has been talked after WMAP probe was launched in is via through the WMAP obervatory we known the about this model and and you dont want to add a iota of line?Also i have added the planck obervatory is a improvement of the WMAP and the full structure of the multiverse would by known by its CMB by end of 2012.if you really want to remove it and remove nemseis star crap which has no proof manchurian candidate 16:55, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

I think we have made our points very clear Manchurian… Andrew Colvin • Talk 18:37, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Wikipedia's NPOV states that an article must give "due weight" to "significant viewpoints" from reliable sources. "...articles should not give minority views as much or as detailed a description as more widely held views; generally, the views of tiny minorities should not be included at all" even if they are held by reliable sources. The dodecahedron proposal is one among many papers on the shape of the universe. It doesn't merit its own section. I removed it. --ChetvornoTALK 18:41, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

great censorship at its best.i guess the nemesis article has more scientific proof than the dodecahedron least add some 5-6 lines of this model in the multiverse article.why be so agasint this model?

why cant you have it named as a dodecahedron multiverse.why not reomve stupid article of nemesis.plz tell me why the nemesis articles needs to stay in wiki and not this. also for those who think its only third party.plz read this journal

they have presented all the data in a scientific manner.I am a humanities student so i dont know didly squat.perhaps you can agree with thier inferences.

Perhaps there is some misunderstanding here. I, and probably others, have no objection to including the dodecahedron universe proposal in Wikipedia. It just doesn't belong in this article. Why don't you create a new article for it? Like the Nemesis (star) example you cite. That's where it belongs. It's just that if all of the hundreds of serious universe models that have been proposed were included in this article, it would be too long. --ChetvornoTALK 18:41, 15 June 2010 (UTC)

the thing is that unlike other theories proposed by scientist like bubble multiverse etc this model has some scientific basis aka WMAP probe and the planck probe.we can have a separate page but i cannot do it.I dont know the command tools to create a page link it etc.but i really want this thoery to be mentioned in this 2012 we will know for certain as the full details will be released.the prelim details will be released by dec 2010 and according to the url link i have posted above the scientists say the if the Q=>1.01 then the model would be proved. (talk) 03:58, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

  1. first, I don't see any mention of a 'multiverse' in any of the links you provided. This seems, in fact, to be a model of a single universe with finite volume achieved by closure of opposing facets.
  2. second, at present this is a model with interesting but weak supporting evidence. it does not even seem to be a major accepted theory, though it may be gaining credibility in the discipline. You seem to want to present it as a foregone conclusion, which over-emphasises its place in the scholarly discourse.
However, I think the solution to this problem may be to create a new section in this article called Shape of Universe which lists out the current and historical theories about the shape of the universe - including this one - along with supporting and refuting evidence. It would be a nice addition to the article regardless, and would help balance this addition so that it wasn't over-emphasized. do you think you could do some research and start fleshing out a section like that? --Ludwigs2 05:44, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

MC, I've read the arxiv paper you linked, and you are overlooking several important things:

  • This is an arxiv paper. That means it has not been published in peer-reviewed literature of the type required by the WP:RS policy. This is a preprint - an early draft of a paper that the author hopes will get accepted by a prestigious journal, but has not yet been accepted to any such.
  • The author's assumption that the universe has positive curvature is from the "1.02 +/- 0.02" figure he cites. The "+/- 0.02" figure is for one standard deviation. The expected value of omega is almost exactly 1 (indicating a nearly-flat universe), per the flatness problem. Most cosmologists interpret the WMAP data as confirming that the universe is very nearly flat. To confirm otherwise, you'd need to be several standard deviations away from 1, to have confidence that you aren't just seeing statistical fluctuations. A distance of between 4 and 6 standard deviations is considered "statistically relevant", depending on what you're trying to measure (detecting new particles usually requires being 6 sigma away from your noise).
  • The author computes matchings for dodecahedral, octahedral, and tetrahedral spaces. All of these will produce some statistical matching of facets due to random chance. The author has to demonstrate that the matches are good enough that this is extremely unlikely to happen by chance. He hasn't done this. The range of curvature values his own models predict are 1.009, 1.015, 1.025; these are within one sigma of the WMAP data, but so is the 1.000 assumed by most cosmologists. He claims a Polish team's matching circle analysis gives 1.010 +/1 0.001, but he doesn't show any of his work deriving this number. He certainly didn't find that level of confidence from the WMAP data.

Long story short, the author's "careful analysis of the power spectrum" ends up seeing patterns where there probably aren't any. It's still an interesting idea to study, but so far the most plausible interpretation of the WMAP data is that it confirms flatness. You're going to need a much, much stronger case for non-flatness and for power spectrum oddities before anyone calls it "proof" of any given finite topology for the universe.

What you can say from this and other papers is that cosmologists have studied the idea that the universe has finite size, and have looked for the imprint of this in the microwave background. Nobody's turned up strong evidence for it, though. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 06:14, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

I will try to find out the polish team data on the internet.his articles have his email address.maybe you all can email him and ask him about other socentist confirming this thoery so we can better create the articel. All i know that the poincare dodecahedron is mentioned in the dodecahedron page,the jean pierre luminet page and the comsmology homology page.I have already written in the article that it needs to be verified and planck probe will give us prelim data in dec 2010 so i guess by 2011 we would know more and by dec 2012 all the data would be available.imo this article atleast warrants to have a topic in the main universe article.we can shorten the article but it is imporatant. manchurian candidate 11:34, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

I think this section clearly belongs in Shape of the Universe, not here. By the way, Manchurian candidate, you can sign your posts by typing 4 tildes (~~~~) after them. --ChetvornoTALK 15:54, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, per WP:SUMMARYSTYLE, we can wax lyrical about topology theories in Shape of the Universe, but in this article we need to summarise that article's content, not repeat it all. This is a new and little recognised theory so it does not deserve placement in this main article. Fences&Windows 16:45, 16 June 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I had no idea that we had a separate article on the shape of the universe. there you go. Face-smile.svg
@ Manchurian: please talk a look at wp:cheatsheet which will give you tools you can use for editing articles and talk pages effectively. --Ludwigs2 17:20, 16 June 2010 (UTC)

why did you remove the pic and the word dodecahedron mltiverse.atleast bring those back. (talk) 06:16, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

the shape of the unvirse is a total irony.there is no mention of the dodecahedron model.

i am adding this line and it is getting removed by a ego Hungary person. add tthe data gathered from jean pierre luminet about universe being a finite and shaped like a dodecahedron . manchurian candidate 17:10, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Please do not treat Wikipedia as a game to make a WP:POINT. Try to establish talk page consensus before you add this or similar content to this article. DVdm (talk) 18:03, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
The term "dodecahedron multiverse" does not appear in the paper you cite. Using the word "multiverse" seems to be your own idea. That sort of thing is forbidden by the WP:NOR policy.
The purpose of Wikipedia is to summarize the views of well-established, well-accepted sources of information, not to publish new or cutting-edge information. In the context of science articles, the relevant policies are WP:RS, WP:UNDUE, and WP:FRINGE. The idea that the shape of the universe might be measured is noteworthy and has been widely published -- and is already mentioned in the article. Your favourite authour's idea about what that shape ends up being, on the other hand, has not yet been published in peer-reviewed journals and is not accepted as being any better than the many other proposals in that regard. As such, it doesn't merit a mention in the Universe article, and at best merits a very short mention (along with the other options proposed with similar confidence by their proponents) in the shape of the Universe article, and possibly a paragraph at the page about the paper's authour.
If you continue to re-insert this material against the advice of all of the other editors on this page, after all of the policies have been explained to you, then what you're doing is called "edit warring". Per the WP:EW policy, it'll get you blocked if you continue doing it. You seem to want to contribute constructively, so please restrain yourself to contributing within Wikipedia's rules. There are places where you can push cutting-edge proposals more strongly; Wikipedia isn't one of them. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 19:03, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
The sensible place to discuss details seems to me to be Talk:Shape of the Universe. Whatever consensus lead develops there can be used to update this article. i'll just mention that information that is presently missing is a summary of the recent (3-4 years) peer-reviewed Aurich et al. work favouring the 3-torus model. A few minutes on will get to the open-access versions and peer-reviewed publication details. i'll do it myself if i find a few minutes some time...
There is no "multiverse" concept in the cosmic topology literature - these deal with standard FLRW models. Boud (talk) 22:31, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

latest info about dodecahedron multiverse Concentric circles in WMAP data may provide evidence of violent pre-Big-Bang activity

can you plz add a dodecahedron model and some data— Preceding unsigned comment added by manchurian candidate (talkcontribs)

If it was you who added this content again against consensus and in logged-out mode as (talk · contribs), note that I have removed the section again and left a warning on your talk page. DVdm (talk) 13:34, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Article's first two paragraphs contradict one another

The first paragraph states that the universe is everything that exists.

The second talks about the possibility of other universes.

This is patently a contradiction. I suggest that the original definition should be brought into line with the modern definitions given below, which emphasise that a universe is everything within 'your' spacetime which is in some sense causally bound to everything else in this universe. This allows for a multiverse comprising of individual, 'disconnected' universes, as the second paragraph talks about. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:13, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Your proposed definition wouldn't cover one of the main "multiverse" models, the bubble universe theory, which consists of multiple non-causally connected universes. The existing definition isn't a contradiction. Keep in mind that most readers of this page are nontechnical people merely looking for the most common, understandable definition. Many esoteric universe models have been proposed. Rather than coming up with a long, confusing, overinclusive first sentence that covers all the exotic possibilities, the existing intro gives a definition that covers the most common meanings of the term "universe", and in the second sentence mentions the more exotic models not covered in the first sentence. I think this is a much better approach for a general-use encyclopedia article. --ChetvornoTALK 17:40, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't think it's particularly technical. If somebody is reading this article, they are certainly going to be interested in the idea that there may be other universes, and hence the universe is very far from 'everything that exists'.

At the very least this article shouldn't contradict itself; that will only confuse people who read it.

"The Universe comprises the totality of everything that exists"


"some cosmologists have speculated that the "Universe" we know of is just one of many disconnected "universes""

are patently not compatible statements.

I think I will edit the article very slightly so that it at least points out that these definitions are not compatible with each other, which would be better than the present state in which the contradiction is treated as if it isn't there. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:08, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

  • The commonest present def is that the "universe" is "everything that exists...". Some people have speculated that there might be things that exist that we can never access, nor observe, nor ever know about in any way. Some who engage in such speculation refer to these other speculative "worlds" as other "universes", some call each other word a "multiverse", & some use "multiverse" for the collective "everything". (i.e. Not even every such speculator agrees that the term "universe" could not still be applied to "everything..." in this context.) There will always be speculation that perhaps there is something more that can (or, more weakly, "has") never be/been observed nor known about. The existence of some such other worlds (by definition) will always remain speculation. There may come a time when we observe a "world" so separate from ours that we may wish to give it a separate name. A decision then about how to continue to use the word "universe" might be a real choice that is eventually made. There will still be a sense in which some word (and that word could continue to be "universe") is used to refer to everything that exists. For now, it is quite appropriate to say that in current actual usage, "universe" signifies everything. Those who speculate about other inaccessible "worlds" may sometimes use the word "universe" in a more limited sense to make a point - but not even all of those agree on how to use the word. Some have proposed a more limited meaning for "universe" based on speculation that there are other "worlds" extremely inaccessible from our "world" (i.e. more extremely inaccessible than the presently accepted "edge" of "our" universe). Many words do not have a unique meaning - especially not when language is being stretched to make a point about speculative ideas. --JimWae (talk) 19:14, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
I'll agree that there is a real problem here. It is not so much that the paragraphs contradict each other as they are just not clear and not well supported. My suggestion is to introduce the concept of the "observeable universe" as distinct from the universe as "everything that exists." This way we can introduce theories about what the universe might have looked like prior to the big bang and explain that such states are beyond the "observeable universe" but but may well be part of the broader universe. Let's face it, modern cosmological theory is full of notions of big bangs as commonplace in the "big universe" and that we are simply stuck within a single "observeable universe" beyond which we can only theorize. If these theories are correct these other places are no less real, no less existant, and therefore part of "everything that exists". Thus ideas of multiverse models can be introduced in a clearer way. The "universe" is everything that exists - even that which we cannot observe. The "observeable universe" is everything that we have the potential to observe and that is covered by current theories of big bang, inflation and so on. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:09, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
I think we need to be guided by actual usage of the term. The first sentence adequately covers everyday usage, as "everything that exists". The succeeding sentences need to cover usage in cosmology, where it differs from "everything that exists". Although in cosmology "other universes" always refer to regions unobservable in principle and undetectable from ours, not all unobservable regions are called separate universes. In the Big Bang model, the parts beyond the speed-of-light horizon, outside the observable universe, are still considered as part of our "universe", so this conforms to the everyday usage. However in bubble universe theories, a very active area, the non causally-connected bubbles are usually described as multiple "universes". Another alternate usage is in oscillating universe theories, where the (unobservable) consecutive iterations between successive "crunches" are often described as separate "universes". I think we should avoid generalizations and just describe how the word is used. --ChetvornoTALK 01:24, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Pie Chart

I added up the numbers on the pie chart in the article, and the sum of the numbers was only 99.83%. So what, is the other .17% black holes, the absence of anything at all? Could somebody try to fix this? Pawsrent (talk) 21:44, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

The pie chart (and the NASA version on which it was based) is a combination of several sources of data, with varying amounts of precision in each. Missing or excess percentages probably fall into the error bars in the larger values. A more intuitive description would be to say that the universe is about 5% baryonic (normal) matter, 25% dark matter, and 70% dark energy, with the baryonic matter breakdown being about 80% free hydrogen and helium, 12% stars, 7% neutrinos, and less than 1% heavy elements, but these are rather rough numbers.
To get better numbers, and draw more accurate charts, you'd need to track down relatively recent papers describing the universe's composition. The dark matter article, for instance, cites one that gives 4.6% baryonic matter, 23% dark matter, and the remainder (about 72%) dark energy, but notice that the dark matter figure isn't known as precisely as the baryonic matter figure (so there could be slightly more or less dark matter, with a correspondingly different amount of dark energy).
I hope this answer is useful to you. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 22:23, 30 June 2010 (UTC)

Undue emphasis on Anthropic Principle in introduction?

Almost half of the introduction (the last 2 paragraphs) is taken up by an unsourced description of the Anthropic principle, and a dubious paradox in some bubble universe theories. I believe neither of these topics is within mainstream views of cosmology, and they are off-topic for this article. I certainly don't feel they belong in the introduction, and probably not in the article at all. Comments? --ChetvornoTALK 06:42, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Not only does it dominate the lede, but it appears nowhere in the body of the article. The lede is supposed to be an introduction to the article - not present ideas never revisited. It looks like the entire 2 paragraphs need to find a new home somewhere in the body.--JimWae (talk) 07:05, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
looking again, it seems the anthropic principle is there because of the discussion about whether the constants and laws are uniform throughout the universe. That part is revisited in the body, but is still over-examined in the lede.--JimWae (talk) 07:09, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
The "bubble universe" paragraph refers to the idea of chaotic inflation, which is taken seriously as a hypothesis (though not considered proven by any stretch). The idea is that there's no reason to assume that the inflationary field (which is a mainstream assumption) collapsed at the same time everywhere. If its collapse was instead a stochastic (random) process, you'd a) end up with multiple normal-looking universe regions that weren't in causal contact with each other, and b) always have some part of the universe in which cosmic inflation continued to operate. More speculative versions of the hypothesis use a metastable vacuum state (false vacuum) rather than cosmic inflation, with decay to "normal" vacuum being the process that spawns universe regions like ours. It's quite possible that both hypotheses are correct (if cosmic inflation is the result of a metastable vacuum state). We won't find out for sure for quite a while (the estimated energy scale is at least the GUT scale).
Anon's argument fails because it boils down to "in some places it stops, therefore it's not true", which fundamentally misunderstands the conjecture (all that's needed is for it to _not_ stop _somewhere_, to produce an arbitrarily large number of normal-universe-like spaces). --Christopher Thomas (talk) 08:39, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
I removed the anon's additions to the lead -looked like a POV argument to me, and certainly too detailed and specific for a lead section. I am not convinced that the remaining sentence about the bubble universe theory belongs in the lead either, but it was already there before the anon's addition, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt and left it in. Gandalf61 (talk) 10:35, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
The original purpose of introducing the bubble universe theory in the intro was to give an example of alternate definitions of the term "universe" in which multiple universes were possible. I think that is a necessary part of the intro. That got deleted with the unnecessary, extraneous bubble universe stuff. I'm going to put it back. --ChetvornoTALK 17:28, 2 July 2010 (UTC)

Anthropic principle "untestable"?

Did not Fred Hoyle successfully test AP with his prediction of the unknown energy level of carbon nuclei during stellar synthesis against the odds based on the application of said AP? That's how theories are tested, by using the model/principles to predict how a phenomenon or process behaves, which he did - successfully, so much so it changed his outlook. I bring this up as editor Gandalf61 insists AP is untestable. This just doesn't square with the facts, does it? In addition, John Leslie provides a list of predictions implicit in Carter's SAP; this too is shrugged off as if to dismiss it's validity. It should be noted Leslie's views on AP have been cited by Francis Collins in his book where he strongly argues in favor of AP. I find it convenient to categorize Leslie's views as unimportant (while a top scientist is borrowing his thoughts on the subject) so as to categorize the theory as "untestable." The SETI program is another clear case of testing Carter's WAP, not to mention the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. This observation was likewise slapped down as "nonsense" by the same editor. In any case, it seems Fred Hoyle's successful testing of AP alone should invalidate the "untestable" theory. Thoughts? (talk) 18:58, 3 July 2010 (UTC)

You have been repeatedly adding or changing material against consensus (as demonstated by the fact that many different users have been reverting your changes). You've been warned about doing this with other articles on your talk page. Stop doing it. Instead, after the first reversion of material you want to add, come to the talk page and try to convince other people to add it back. Adding it back yourself is edit warring, which is against wikipedia policy. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 19:18, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Please try to stay on topic. If you wish to speak about this there are more appropriate places to do so. I'm sure there's a wiki policy somewhere against changing/hijacking a subject.
For those interested, did not Fred Hoyle successfully test AP with his prediction of the unknown energy level of carbon nuclei during stellar synthesis against the odds based on the application of said AP? See above. (talk) 19:39, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Your are misunderstanding what the AP is. The AP is a simply logically true statement about observations, namely that any observation has an observation bias due to the fact that the observer has to exist. This not something your can empirically test or not, because it is simply true.
Fred Hoyle was not testing the AP, since his prediction was not dependent on it. His prediction simply followed from the abundance of carbon found in the universe. His surprise however was at how small the parameter space of possible "universes" is in which there is enough carbon to form carbon based life. This obervation is known as "fine-tuning" not as the anthropic principle.TimothyRias (talk) 20:02, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your thought Timothy. Hoyle explicitly applied AP arguments in his prediction, and the literature explicitly states this (fine-tuning is the underlying 'principle' observed in universal constants, yes). The citation from Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Astrophysics, p. 185 says, "A paper of his made an interesting use of the Anthropic Principle" and about his prediction states, "those energy levels, while needed in order to produce carbon in large quantities, were statistically very unlikely." This is in stark contrast to your sense that the prediction "simply followed" etc., etc. It perhaps only looks 'simple' after the fact, which is just an unsourced POV anyways, but mathematically it was "very unlikely." POV doesn't trump "statistics."
While I agree that there are relatively few predictions from what I understand (I'm no expert of course), it still makes predictions (cf. Leslie, Collins), and if those predictions are proven wrong, the theory can be falsified. I believe Stephen Hawking has made use of AP as well for predicting, calling it "essential" in quantum cosmology, see "Quantum Cosmology, M-theory and the Anthropic Principle" (January '99). He mentions that AP is not favored among many physicists for being "messy and vague" and it has "little predictive power" (as opposed to "NO predictive power," note the contrast made here when he says that Cosmology has "NO predictive power" - so AP makes some, maybe not a lot, but it's a start.) and states, "I sympathize with these feelings, but the Anthropic Principle seems essential in quantum cosmology." He then offers a remedy declaring, "One can make the Anthropic Principle precise, by using Bayes statistics." Bayes statistics involves predicting things, and this is how Hawking sees AP being applied in quantum cosmology in his lecture. Again, "statistics" are not overthrown by popular POVs on WP - or are they? (talk) 21:44, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Some forms of the anthropic principle can be reduced to "Our universe must be such that life like our own can exist in it", which is a tautology.
  • Stronger forms of the anthropic principle make the stronger claim "Any universe must be such that life like our own can exist in it". Since we cannot, by definition, observe any other universe apart from our own, this claim is untestable.
  • Leslie's "tests" are odd (why should the anthropic principle predict only carbon-based life ?), vague and not mainstream science.
  • Bayesian inference can't be applied because we have a single observable (our universe) and no way of knowing the marginal probability distribution of the universe's parameters. In other wrods, we cannot know what a "random" universe would look like.
  • If I see a black cow, can I conclude that all cows are black ? If I observe the cow many times from many different view points and note that it always looks black, does this strengthen the case for all cows being black ? The weak forms of the anthropic principle are equivalent to saying "whenever I look at this black cow it will appear to be black". The strong forms of the anthropic principle are equivalent to saying "this cow is black therefore all cows are black". And your "tests" are equivalent to saying "the more times I look at this cow and confirm that is black, the more likely it is that all cows are black". Gandalf61 (talk) 08:51, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Some forms of the anthropic principle can be reduced to "Our universe must be such that life like our own can exist in it"... You can reduce it to that if you want to, but AP goes quite a bit farther than that. We're in a unique position where we are afforded insights into nature like studying the light spectrum of the corona during a total solar eclipse, a remarkable 'coincidence' in itself, leading to deeper inquiries/discoveries in science; this 'coincidence' is also necessary to stabilize ocean tides, protect earth from space debris, providing a fairly stable environment to be able to thrive and make these same unique discoveries. Moreover, this entire area of research is an intellectual domain exclusive to humans, not monkeys or giraffes or swine, microbes etc., they don't make records, invent technology, formulate theories, debate or study the universe like we do, hence "Anthropic" principle. As far as scientists have observed, this knowledge is restricted to Man..carbon-based life, but the intellect and the principles transcend materialism, for it governs the material world. That's why the hard science of math (statistics) are used primarily to validate it, it too is immaterial and transcends the universe (or a multiverse). Hawking was correct to turn to it to test AP, and Hoyle's prediction was remarkable because of the statistics also.
"Stronger forms of the anthropic principle make the stronger claim "Any universe must be such that life like our own can exist in it." Since we cannot, by definition, observe any other universe apart from our own, this claim is untestable." Yes, but that is a strawman argument. You're assuming that is the only way to test the theory, and I've already provided you with others smarter than you or I who have given ways to test (via prediction- Leslie) or do not use a form of SAP where imaginary universes must exist (like Hawking). Carter's SAP is mentioned in the article because he was the first to introduce AP in a fairly comprehensive way, though others before had the same working ideas (like Rev. Bayes himself). In addition, since the principle is based on scientific observations of constants which can be broken down into raw mathematical functions, computer models can test the 'fine-tuning.' This is similar to how the big bang model is investigated.
Leslie's "tests" are odd (why should the anthropic principle predict only carbon-based life ?), vague and not mainstream science. So you want to argue a point based on ignorance and an opinion? I don't think it's odd, and the theory is restricted (in this case) to carbon-based life because that is what man is composed of in the matrix of universal constants governing his biology, chemistry, physics, etc down to the quantum level. Others like Barrow and Tipler have their own tweaked version which is not limited to carbon-life. Oh and it doesn't get anymore "mainstream" than Hawking I'm afraid, and he was using it in a predictive manner that is not "vague" that was the point of his lecture I cited.
Bayesian inference can't be applied because we have a single observable (our universe) and no way of knowing the marginal probability distribution of the universe's parameters. In other wrods, we cannot know what a "random" universe would look like. Well, dudes like Hawking disagree with you vis-a-vis Bayes statistics, perhaps not with the particular model you use, no he opposes a 'multiverse' with the principle of economy, and fortunately we can cite Hawking too in the wiki article, we can't cite you - so who holds more weight? So I must reject the strawman. Further, random universe models can be generated with advanced computer systems plugging in varieties of observable constants that hold our known universe together. This has been going on for quite some time now.
Your other argument is immensely flawed and demonstrates you don't understand the fundamentals of AP. We're talking about a huge list of constants that can be tweaked every which way and work as an incredibly complex elegant symphony - you're talking about "black," whereas AP talks about light waves, speed of light, frequency, wavelength, polarization, electromagnetic radiation, EM spectrum, absence of light, space-time, and so many variables that come together, hence the statistical significance goes up. But hey, you don't need to be right on WP to have your way, all you need is enough people to agree with you. George Soros could fund an army of activists to troll WP and say the Moon is made of cheese, and someone could show good science against it but would lose simply because they're out numbered. That's the dilemma here I think. In fact, I would even say it goes on in academic circles, sadly Hoyle knew all about the political corruption among his peers and likely lost a Noble Prize because of it, but I digress. (talk) 18:52, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
You can weight the cow, measure the length of its tail, calibrate the colour of its eyes, and collect a thousand statistics about it. Isn't it amazing that you have found a cow that has just these exact statistics out of all the many possible combinations that could exist ? That can't be coincidence can it ? Surely all cows must be the same ! No matter how many variables you measure, because you are observing the same cow/universe all the time, you are not gathering any more evidence about cows/universes in general. BTW, nice touch of conspiracy theory at the end of your rant - because everyone disagrees with you, that just shows you must be right, doesn't it ? Gandalf61 (talk) 23:17, 4 July 2010 (UTC)
Your juvenile example has nothing to do with universal constants that cannot be tweaked without severely if not completely demolishing the known universe and destroying the observer (changing the cow's weight, eye color or tail length will not destroy it - did you know that?) nor does it bear on providing the perfect environment to observe the high precision of said constants and highlight the tailored position required to do so. I can't say I'm surprised you don't understand this issue seeing as how you even missed the reason for giving an example illustrating how anyone can stick baloney on WP as long as enough like-minded supporters back it with their unlearned opinions, emotions, or political agenda in the case of Soros, infamous for funding myriad front groups and so makes a convenient example. It isn't a "theory" that numerous groups have been caught doing similar activities right here on WP - is that shocking? As I said, Hoyle came face to face with it in his profession, Einstein talked about it as well but on a more global scale. It helps to be informed on history so you know how the world actually works. Oh and the reason why I'm alone on this is because I'm the only one not just asserting my own opinions/ideas. So? being distinguished is automatically bad? Groupthink and mediocrity is good right? Take a look at my previous responses vs. yours and others.. I'm the one plying you with citations, quotes and facts and in return I get sophomoric cow examples? Crying out loud, the control freaks who paTroll this place never even bothered to include a section for AP to begin with - I wonder why! This place is a joke! I'm done speaking here -- please hold the applause. (talk) 05:26, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
You have an incredibly big mouth for someone who keeps confusing the AP and fine-tuning. The AP does not say that the universe in fine-tuned in any way, it just provides a possible explanation (or rather something to keep in mind) when you do observer fine-tuning in the universe. The AP is simply something you can proof by logic, on the otherhand showing that the universe is fine-tuned does not sat squat about the AP.TimothyRias (talk) 08:17, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

Hey, everybody, WP:CIVIL. My (amateur, uninformed) feeling is that the Anthropic principle is simply not highly enough regarded in mainstream cosmology to merit a place in this article. Can we maybe have a vote on this? --ChetvornoTALK 01:39, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Nah, voting isnt really appropriate. The Anthropic Principle is obviously true: The universe exists in a manner that will allow for us to exist. I believe Stephen Hawking wrote a book, The Grand Design, about this recently, where he explained:
"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
Literally, existance exists for us because the system allows it to be that way. And basically the one thing any of us can ever be sure of is our own consciousness. Since we can be sure of the existence of it, and since we can be pretty sure that physical space exists, its only logical to consider an observable universe working in a way that will make sense to observers.
This can be falsified by looking back in time and finding Magic somewhere outside of the 93 billion lightyear three-dimensional bubble of observable space around us. We have yet to find Magic. Until then, the universe is at is it and allows what it does because thats the only sure model for existance and space. The Default.
In addition, when someone starts making bizarre, ranting, political opinions, anything they ask for that is counter to their professed ideology should be heavily examined for neutrality. The abovemost post was obviously written by someone on the US Religious Right, using sarcasm and distraction and crude snipes. This is even better evidence to question the opinion.
When someone's ideologies means they will always reject and derail..why did he bring up george soros in Talk:Universe. Thats a pretty big jump, linking rightwing political conspiracy theories to the totality of existence, and can serve as a useful guide for how important the ideology thinks it is compared to all else. They should not be allowed onto these discussions by default, as their opinion is unwavering and they already have dedicated sections for their mysticism. We don't need more here too.Chardansearavitriol (talk) 21:47, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
This thread was closed over a year ago, and the straw poll already happened. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 00:06, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Exists -> Existance

I noticed that the Exists link goes to Existential quantification, but I wonder if Existence would be a better link? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) on 21:09, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

Straw poll on anthropic principle and fine-tuning

In the interests of 1) clearly measuring consensus and 2) keeping things civil, I'm taking User:Chetvorno's suggestion and starting a straw poll on how the fine-tuning problem and the anthropic principle should be presented in the article.

Please indicate which of the following options you prefer:

(Delta between TR and IP versions: here.)

Consensus doesn't necessarily reflect truth, but it does reflect a decision on the part of Wikipedia editors, per WP:CONS. A straw poll attempts to measure consensus in an informal way. The formal way to do it is an article RFC, which is a longer but more formally binding process. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 19:21, 5 July 2010 (UTC)


Please indicate which of the options above you endorse ("neither" is a valid option). Comments should be in the next section, not here.


Please place comments here, rather than among the votes.

  • Can you fix the link to the IP's version? Currently it goes to their contributions. Reyk YO! 23:18, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
    Done; Thanks for the heads-up. The diff link was still correct, thankfully. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 00:29, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
  • I lean slightly more toward the version by User:TimothyRias because it is a little more thorough. However, I would strongly prefer to see the remark about Fred Hoyle's atheistic beliefs and the impact therein be removed. It seems too editorial in nature.—RJH (talk) 15:31, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
    If I'm reading the diff correctly, that was in the IP's version, not TR's version? --Christopher Thomas (talk) 19:03, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
    Ah... yes. Sorry. In that case then I think I was leaning a little more toward the IP version because of detail. No offense intended to M. Rias of course.—RJH (talk) 19:33, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
    My version is purposefully very short. It is a summary style paragraph linking to fine-tuned universe where there is room to discuss the various subtleties around the subject. The IPs contribution on the other hand is very much a POV push.TimothyRias (talk) 05:31, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
    Mmm, well a possible issue there is that your version doesn't really appear to be a summary of the Fine-tuned Universe article. It only includes selected parts.—RJH (talk)
    I think it covers all the major points from that article: "observed fine tuning" "dispute about that observation", "explanation through AP and multiverses, probabilistic nature of QM etc." If you feel that any major points from that article are missing please free feel to add them in a succinct way . The only thing I can think off not currently mentioned is the link with ID and creationist viewpoints. If you see possibility to add a good neutral mention of that, that could be an improvement. I'll be the first to admit that my version is not perfect, but I do think that it is a lot more constructive way of moving forward than the POV push of the IP. TimothyRias (talk) 16:26, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
    Okay. Thanks.—RJH (talk) 21:39, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
  • The TR version seems preferable to me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it better describes the situation concerning the fine-tuning and AP to my mind; largely by separating them. Secondly, the IP version seems written from a POV that seems to want to play-up fine-tuning. That might be wrong, but the wording and topics covered do not appear NPOV. Thirdly, the IP version contains too much detail for an overview article on certain points (e.g. Fred Hoyle; and this ties to my point on POV). Cheers, --PLUMBAGO 12:34, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Size and age

The universe age is 14 bln years, and it's size 92 bln (46 bln from the centre each direction) - it means that it had to expand with over 3 times of light speed - not possible acording to Einstein's theory. If the size is 92 bln the age must be more then 46 bln years, and if the age is 14 bln then the size can be no more then 28 bln. (talk) 10:54, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Please sign your talk page messages with four tildes (~~~~)? Thanks.
You have applied a local calculation to a global situation. The theories of the universe are modeled with general relativity in which the speed of light over long distances is "not constant". In the presence of mass that speed only has that property locally, i.e. over short distances, as expressed in special relativity. DVdm (talk) 11:04, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
The speed of light in a vacuum is a limit on the movement of material objects and radiation within space. It is not a limit on the expansion of space itself.
For example, consider an ant walking on a rubber band. Suppose the ant can not walk faster than one centimeter per second. However someone grabs the rubber band and stretches it by a factor of three (so that one centimeter becomes three centimeters) over a period of one second. The ant started at a certain place (the "center" of the universe) and walked one centimeter in the second. However, after the first half second the ant has moved at least half a centimeter, so in the second half second that half centimeter has stretched to at least 3/4 centimeter while the ant has moved at least another half centimeter. Thus the ant has traveled at least 5/4 centimeter. In other words, he has moved faster than his maximum walking speed because the rubber band is carrying him along as well. JRSpriggs (talk) 14:48, 23 August 2010 (UTC)
To quote the relevant paragraph of observable universe:

The age of the Universe is about 13.7 billion years, but due to the expansion of space we are now observing objects that are now considerably farther away than a static 13.7 billion light-years distance. The diameter of the observable universe is estimated to be about 28 billion parsecs (93 billion light-years), putting the edge of the observable universe at about 46-47 billion light-years away.

I've adjusted the "size" section of this article to better express this. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 19:20, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

This is of course nonsense. Faster than light expansion has been introduced along with dark matter and dark energy to prop up a failing theory. The BBT has passed its sell by date. A universe infinite in time and space makes sense and fits the facts without fiddle factors. And have you heard about the inverse square law? Thats why the night sky is dark and the temperature of all those infinte suns shining down on us is exactly the same as the so called echo of the Big Bang! Its a pity the Pope decided to endorse the Big bang Theory, but then Rome has been wrong many times before. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:52, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

How is it 'nonsense'? Does light not radiate out in every direction from a source? Infact, it does. So since this is the maximum speed, we can assume that any one portion of the universe is expanding at the speed of light. So things are moving at the speed of light away from each other in opposite directions, resulting in a total speed faster than light, without ever actually going over the speed.
Imagine standing back to back with another person, and walking 10 feet away from each other. When you reach your destination, there will be 20 feet between you, but you never moved more than 10 feet and neither did they. you moved the same distance, and created double that distance as you moved relative to the other person. Bear in mind this is an extreme oversimplification of the idea, and does not take into account the curvature of space. I merely wish to supply a more understandable mental image of the effect, except that the universe would be doing it in every direction simultaneously (which we have observed, yes) where you would only do it across a single small fragment that does not also get larger and only moves in two dimensions. The idea however remains the same. (talk) 12:40, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Accompanying Image

I think the image attached to this article is useless here. Its attachment to this article, without explanation or title, implies that this image is an image of "the universe." It is of cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, not of the universe (this comment of mine is part of the universe, and is not in that image). It lends no immediate explanatory service to the article and is rather confusing. Would someone like to defend its inclusion, before I remove it? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wdjunkin (talkcontribs) 17:32, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

CMB radiation represents the boundary of the observable universe (or more properly the visible universe, but we don't yet have the technology to map the neutrino background or gravitational waves from before the time the CMB photons were emitted), and is the largest possible distribution of matter/energy we can map at present. Also, fluctuations in density observable in the CMB radiation are thought to be the seed of later large-scale structure formation, and of course the CMB is the closest we can get to an "image" of the Big Bang which is thought to have birthed our universe. So, I think it's as good a picture as any to represent the "universe" (also note that some cosmology texts use it as a cover image--see here for instance). Hypnosifl (talk) 22:46, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Age and Size of the Universe

Size, age, contents, structure, and laws

p. 1 The region visible from Earth (the observable universe) is a sphere with a radius of about 46 billion light years
p.4 The most precise estimate of the universe's age is 13.73±0.12 billion years old,

Given that the speed of light is an absolute, hwo can these two statements be reconciled? Starting form a singularity, how can any particle be more than 2 x the age of the Universe (i.e., the distance if they travel away from each other in a more or less straight line? (talk) 15:01, 17 February 2011 (UTC)Tom Campbell

There is a detailed discussion of this in our observable universe article. Basic explanation is that not only are distant objects receding from us, but the space between us and them is also expanding at the same time. Gandalf61 (talk) 15:19, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
In fact distant objects are (on average) not receding from us at all, and it is only the space expanding between us and them that causes them to appear to be receding.TR 16:50, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I stand corrected. I should have said that the edge of the observable universe is receding, and at the same time the space between us and it has also expanded, and hence it is more than 13.7 billion light years distant. Gandalf61 (talk) 16:58, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

big bang or white hole

think that our universe is like a baloon.DARK energy is like air present in it.It comes between objects and it increases the distance between the objects.In this way our universe expands.The black hole is like a hole in the baloon and gives it out by white hole to a unknown place or to a blank space to make new universe?Is anything wrong in the above? ronitd 05:08, 7 April 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ronitd (talkcontribs)

Postulates in the text.

"An actual infinite can not exist." "An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite." "Therefore An infinite temporal regress of events can not exist." The second argument, the "argument from the impossibility of Completing an actual infinite by successive addition ", states: [44] "An actual infinite can not be completed by successive addition." "The temporal series of past events has Been completed by successive addition." "Therefore The temporal series of past events can not be an actual infinite." These postulates now are in the text.

It think is not necessary to put the postulates in the text of the article, I think it is better to conserve a narrative form. On the same basis we must put the postulates of other authors even importants. Why not the postulates of Euclid ? However the idea of not infinite past, cited here, is common in medieval era because it is linked to God creation. The logic is only used to prove it. But the logic, on different basis, give different results indeed in Epicurus “...nothing originates from nothing...” in letters to Erodotus. In Plato but also in Anaxagoras the “Nous” creates the time but it is beyond the time. The time is a only relative infinite. The becoming (entropy) is apparent.(so also in this case the logic says something else)

PS: .....we would have to say something about non-Euclidean geometry in this article ....

--Andriolo (talk) 13:01, 15 June 2011 (UTC)

Center of the Universe Time

If the big bang happened 13.7 billion years ago, I was wondering if... 1. a] If the center of the universe is moving at all? and b], If not then how fast time is passing at the center of the universe?, [ compared to earth's time.] 2. a] if the center of the universe is moving, then at what speed is it moving?, and how does this effect space-time?

If time is based on space and/or acceleration from the observers point of view It wound seem to me that if the center of the universe is motionless, then time would be passing at the fasted possible rate. but then what would that fastest rate be? would time even exist at the center of the universe? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sekuloff (talkcontribs) 03:13, 21 July 2011 (UTC)

There is no center of the universe. From any given point in it, it appears to be expanding uniformly in all directions. As far as physical laws are concerned, there is also no preferred reference frame, so whether any given observer is moving or not moving depends on how they choose to define coordinates.
That said, the matter in the universe does have an average velocity, which means you can consider anything matching that velocity to be "at rest". This motion can be measured by looking at the cosmic microwave background (the light emitted by the dense matter in the early universe). Nothing special happens when you move with respect to this, however, and it doesn't represent any preferred frame for the universe itself (just the average motion of matter within our part of it).
Further questions should probably go to the Reference Desk. If you feel that there's something that isn't adequately addressed in the article, by all means ask for that section to be improved. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 04:06, 21 July 2011 (UTC)


Why is there nothing about the multiverse in the lead? Pass a Method talk 09:13, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Two reasons. First the less important one: because there is no significant evidence (or rather, no evidence at all that can't be explained by other things) of a multiverse. It is merely a mathematical possibility at the present time. You might just as well ask "why is there no mention of white holes in the lede?" Secondly, if we mentioned every idea that isn't supported by evidence, every crank conjecture, and every low probability possibility, the lede would be ten thousand pages long. The lede is suppose to be a concise overview of the general topic, not a list containing mention of every last detail.
"Lead" = "to lead by example" (etc). "Lede" = "introduction to an article or other work". At least in US English. British English spells them all "lead". Gopher65talk 12:44, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Im from Britain but I prefer the American "lede". its less confusing. Pass a Method talk 13:01, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
But considering the multiverse hypothesis gets more credence amongst prominent physicists and astronomers compared to other hypothesis, it deserves a higher status than other hypothesis. Therefore a sentence about the multiverse in the lede wouldn't lead to a mass list of theories.. Stephen Hawking has said that the multiverse is the most likely scenario and has written a book on it. Pass a Method talk 13:17, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
If you want to show that it has "more credence" with physicists and astronomers than the null hypothesis (that the universe we see is all there is), you're going to have to present evidence for that (not evidence that individuals support the idea, but evidence that most scientists support it).
The various multiverse ideas already have their own section in this article. That's more than enough mention of them at present. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 16:59, 2 August 2011 (UTC)
Yes but the universe hypothesis as described in the lede has not been proven either. The term "Universe" implies that all content, matter and galaxies are contained within a single unit. This lede falsely assumes that the universe is "totality of everything that exists". The lede should be re-written to add somehing about the multiverse. Pass a Method talk 10:36, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I have just added something about the multiverse Pass a Method talk 15:04, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Gopher. It's a mistake to mention multiverses in the lead. The lead is suppose to be a concise overview of the general topic, not a list containing mention of every last detail. There is already a good section on multiverses. SlightSmile 23:09, 10 August 2011 (UTC)
The lede should be able to serve as a stand alone introduction and overview/summary of this article. It should define the topic and indicate why the subject is interesting and notable, including legitimate controversies. As the article devotes a section to multiverse theories and mentions them numerous times throughout, it really should be included. It's in the lede for most of the article's history, (until an anthropic/bubble fuss last year).
IMO, I don't think the humble mention at the end of the current lede is undue. The rest of it needs to be expanded, it has very little content, despite the prolix recital, “space, time, matter, energy, planets, stars, galaxies, intergalactic space”, (in case the reader wonders whether or not they're included in “everything that exists”…) More plausibly, the reader might wonder whether this article has anything to say about a plural “totality of everything that exists”. It has 3 synonyms and, perhaps, a suggestion the cosmological principle is true, (not by name… ?)
There is no shortage of interest in the various multiverse proposals, including the many-worlds interpretation, an important interpretation of quantum mechanics, that until recently, was mis-characterized by winilinks to a many-worlds hypothesis redirect (a peculiarity found only here and on “Everything”). As for the emphatic pronouncement that all multiverse theories are false by definition, unfalsifiable and thus unscientific, and yet, noted among the assorted definitions… I don't believe it was bad faith or anything, it just left something to be desired in terms of NPOV, N.—Machine Elf 1735 08:17, 11 August 2011 (UTC)
Thanks machineElf for backing me up. Pass a Method talk 11:57, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

Definition of universe in the lead

I am uncomfortable that the first line of text has changed from 'exists' to 'has ever existed'. How and why is the current sentence better? Stars and galaxies that have died and faded away are not a part of the Universe as it exists today. Why then this convoluted sentence? I find this a change for the worse. — Siddharth Prabhu (talk) 09:14, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Capitalization of the word "universe"?

Since at a quick glance the article discusses about our universe, shouldn't the word "universe" be capitalized ("Universe")? Possible discussion about other universes could leave the word untouched. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:50, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

It's a particular place, and thus a proper noun, in English. I would think THE Universe would be capitalized like THE Earth, THE Sun, the Moon, and the Solar System. No? Wikitionary says it is a proper noun and capitalizes it: [4]. It has been pointed out that if you talk about many universes then it is no longer a proper but a common noun [5], as in:
  • God vs. gods.
  • Heaven vs. the heavens.
  • The Moon vs. "the moons of Jupiter" ('the Moon' should be capitalized, but rarely is).
  • The President (of the U.S.) vs. many presidents (of companies).
  • The Constitution vs. the many state constitutions.
  • The Pope vs. the many popes through the ages.
  • The King or the Queen vs. many kings or queens.
  • "We're off to see the Wizard." vs. "All those wizards in Harry Potter."

So in summary, the first poster is right. We should have the Universe, but talk about many universes. SBHarris 15:05, 1 August 2011 (UTC)

This came up a few times in the past (in archive 1 linked from the box at the top of this page), and the consensus at the time was to stick with lower-case (as that seems to be the convention in most external literature). The convention seems to be similar to that used when talking about "the world" (it's one specific entity in that context, but it's still not a proper noun).
Either way, I'd set up a straw poll and ping WP:AST for additional opinions before changing it. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 15:34, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
IIRC both "the universe" (our universe) and "the Universe" are correct, depending on which particular style guide you're following. There is no universal (heh) convention that we can adhere to. Also, depending on the style guide used, "the moon" and "the Moon" are both correct as well. It's all a giant crapshoot, unfortunately:(. Gopher65talk 17:19, 1 August 2011 (UTC)
Whatever the current scholar standpoint is on this currently, I think something as breathtaking as the Universe deserves capitalization. :)-- (talk) 20:55, 4 November 2011 (UTC)


Is there a consensus in the scientific community on the shape of the universe? Pass a Method talk 11:31, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

"Really, really close to flat" for the part we can see, where "flat" means "balanced between "open" (expanding forever) and "closed" (eventually halting and recollapsing)". The question of why this was the case was a mystery (called the "flatness problem"), which most (but not all) scientists feel is solved by cosmic inflation (a process which would cause the universe to _become_ "flat", and which also explains several other things).
Quite a lot of proposals have been floated speculating that the entire universe - not just the part we can see - is part of some closed shape that wraps back on itself. This is discussed at shape of the universe. People have looked for evidence of this by looking for artifacts in the cosmic microwave background (which could show resonant vibrations if the universe was finite), but so far none of these has produced persuasive evidence. The default assumption, held by most scientists, is that the universe is infinite in extent (or at least that it's a good enough approximation to use until someone proves otherwise; there isn't actually proof either way, beyond "definitely larger than (some large value derived from CMB measurements)").
Please get consensus on the talk page before adding mention of any specific claim of a closed shape to the article, as people have edit-warred about this in the past. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 19:02, 23 October 2011 (UTC)
In other words, nobody knows. Pass a Method talk 21:07, 27 October 2011 (UTC)
On the contrary - as with a lot of science, there are many things we know it's not. Virtually all publications about this sort of thing are about coming up with tighter constraints on what it could be. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 21:36, 27 October 2011 (UTC)

Size of the observable universe

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the "observable universe" can only be up to 13.75 billion light years because that's the age of the universe. You can't see 15 billion light years away because nothing existed 15 billion light years. Yet on the Universe wiki it says, "and that the diameter of the observable universe is at least 93 billion light years or 8.80×1026 metres."

Should "observable universe" be removed from that sentence? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:07, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

No, you are mistaken. This is a common source of confusion. While special relativity does state that no object in the universe can move faster than the speed of light, there is no such constraint on the expansion of space itself. Thus, two very distant objects can expand away from each other at a speed faster than that of the speed of light. Please read the article on metric expansion of space for a better idea of how this process takes place. Also, do not confuse years and light years. A light year is a unit of distance, not time. Thus, the universe is 13.75 billion years old while the diameter of the observable universe is ~93 billion light years. The sentence in question is accurate and should not be changed. — Siddharth Prabhu (talk) 07:28, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
This relates to Proper Distance, which (roughly!) means, "the distance something we saw emit light 13 billion years ago, would be at right now". This makes the "proper distance" to an object a bit larger the apparent distance for objects that are relatively close to us (receding at the speed of the Hubble flow), and _much_ farther for objects that are right at the edge of the observable universe (because the expansion of space introduces nonlinearities when you go back that far, as you have to use the true metric expansion of space formula instead of a small-changes approximation).
If you can think of a way to more clearly state this in the article, by all means suggest changes here. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 09:32, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Size of entire universe missing

while article "Observable Universe" contains a guess. -- (talk) 17:21, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

The Universe article says "immensely large and possibly infinite". That's pretty much all anyone's been able to say with certainty. There have been many attempts to look for repeating patterns or other artifacts in the cosmic microwave background that would indicate a closed, finite shape, but those studies all generally end up saying "at least size X and possibly larger", which means they did not find the correlations they were looking for. What "size X" ends up being depends on their assumptions about geometry, and the specific statistical threshold (the amount of correlation their analysis assumes might occur by chance), so these values will disagree widely from paper to paper.
The Observable universe does quote one of these studies (which claims a minimum of 78 Gly), but notes that the paper's results are disputed. I'm not sure any specific study should be mentioned at all (just the fact that many such studies have been done, perhaps with a sampling of the most widely-cited studies' results).
Long story short, at present nobody has an answer better than "somewhere between 'what we see' and 'infinite'". --Christopher Thomas (talk) 20:21, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Maybe the topic deserves more than a vague sentence in the Universe article. The more specific Observable_universe has two paragraphs about it at the end of Observable_universe#The_universe_versus_the_observable_universe. I was actually referring to the first paragraph, which says "10^23 times larger". -- (talk) 23:48, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
That first paragraph's conclusion depends on some very flimsy assumptions (the exact nature of cosmic inflation is unknown). Depending on what assumptions you make, you could start with a finite initial volume of some chosen size (Planck length, photon wavelength at the temperature you assume inflation starts (usually below the GUT scale), or something else) and an assumed expansion rate to get a final value (as Guth did), or you could assume that the phase transition happens everywhere at once (giving an answer that depends on how big you assume the pre-inflationary universe was), or you can assume that the phase transition happens unevenly (giving you a chaotic inflation scenario where more space is still being added now). So, once again, I think "anywhere from 'what we see' to 'infinite'" is about as good a summary as can be given at this time. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 02:57, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the detailed answers. Maybe some summary can be put in the article. The question about the size of the universe seems very natural to me, so it should be given more room. -- (talk) 23:13, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree that it's worth considering. To expedite that, I've pinged the Astronomy WikiProject to get a few more people looking at the topic (I'm not in a position to overhaul that section at present). --Christopher Thomas (talk) 23:39, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
If you start your hierarchial listing of "Entities of matter" with just the word Universe you necessarily exclude other conceptual possibilities. If you start it with a listing of "Other Universes?", and then secondly with "Our universe", you leave the conceptual capability of explaining situations where "Our Universe" could have a net possible angular momentum of rotation and other properties.WFPM (talk) 16:31, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Agree this is something should be addressed but making a new thread at Talk:Observable universe which is more focused to this issue. (talk) 03:05, 1 May 2012 (UTC)


If you click on the word "energy" in the opening statement, the linked article defines it as "the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems".

The opening statement of this article defines the universe as "the totality of everything that exists". Then by definition there are no other physical systems for it to do work on, so the universe can not be said to "have energy". Either that or the definition in the "Energy" article is wrong.

Gcsnelgar (talk) 23:47, 22 December 2011 (UTC)

The energy within a closed or isolated system can still be measured/defined. Details are at Energy#Applications of the concept of energy (and elsewhere). Among other things, any given portion of the system can be analyzed with respect to its ability to perform work on the rest of the system, or to perform work if transplanted to some other arbitrary system. Internal energy gives a more rigorous description of this.
There's a reason the lede of Energy says "often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work", rather than "is defined as": that definition only works for certain types of well-behaved system (albeit ones with which most people are familiar).
Within the observable universe, most of its mass/energy is in the form of dark energy (suspected to be vacuum energy, followed by dark matter, followed by the rest mass of the normal baryonic matter within it, followed by radiant energy (photons) and thermal energy (kinetic energy of individual atoms and ions). The mass and/or energy invested in each of these is straightforward to define and measure. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 08:02, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

The weasel word "believe".

Regarding my objection of the term "believe" and its inappropriate use in this article...

In his book, The Big Bang Never Happened: A Startling Refutation of the Dominant Theory of the Origin of the Universe (1992), Eric J. Lerner states (emphasis mine):

From theologians to physicists to novelists, it is widely believed that the Big Bang theory supports Christian concepts of a creator. In February 1989, for example, the front-page article of the New York Times Book Review argued that scientists and novelists were returning to God, in large part through the influence of the Big Bang.

Therefore, the weasel word "believe"/"believed" has become something that is often used by religious fundamentalists and pseudoscience proponents to claim that mainstream science is on no firmer ground than theology – and one only needs to look at various science forums where creationists claim that "the theory of Evilution [sic] is a belief/religion", and also where "Electric Universe" pseudoscientists claim that "the Big Bang theory is a belief/religion". If we use this bastard term "believe" in a modern scientific context, it will easily be seen by such individuals as a code word for a statement of faith, and by doing so we are only supplying them with ammunition to use against mainstream science; it should only be used when referring to ancient science of Aristotle, et al. Modern science requires appropriate qualifications for statements which are made, whether they are proofs, hard evidence, theoretical possibilities, or hypothetical conjectures.

For example, the English language is rich with more appropriate and encyclopedic terms to use in a scientific context instead of "believe": anticipate, assume, assumption, ascertain, conceive, conclude, contemplate, conjecture, consider, deliberate, deduce, deem, discern, estimate, figure, hypothesize, infer, generalize, posit, predicate, predict, postulate, presume, regard, reckon, speculate, suppose, surmise, suggest, think, thought, theorize, or understand.

Furthermore, using the term "it is believed", or similar phrases in a scientific context of an encyclopedia, is lame and it ends up reading like a bloody essay from an 8th grader in high school! – IVAN3MAN (talk) 19:43, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

On the contrary - I am a scientist. We use phrases like "believed to be" and "thought to be" all the time, because they most accurately reflect scientific views. Science isn't about certainty: if you're certain, then you can't be convinced by new evidence. Science is about forming the best hypotheses possible given available, incomplete evidence. These hypotheses can and do change with time. That's why scientists hedge, and use phrases like this (especially for cosmology, where we can't go out and poke the relevant objects with a stick). I object to your changes to the Universe article, and I object to your similar changes to the Dark matter article, on these grounds. --Christopher Thomas (talk) 20:09, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I concur. IVAN3MAN's "believe" edits here and elsewhere should be reverted. AldaronT/C 22:29, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Sorry, IVAN3MAN, I respect your motives, but your changes come off as a silly word game. This is a scientific article, and in scientific writing the word "believe" refers to rational evidence-based scientific judgement, not "...a code word for a statement of faith". Anyway I don't think any creationists will be won over by larding the text with pompous, pretentious, polysyllabic synonyms for "believe". If you are concerned that people will think that some of the statements in this article are based on religious belief, the best way to prevent that is to source each statement with an inline citation to reliable scientific literature, such as a scientific journal. Which is what we should be doing anyway. --ChetvornoTALK 22:47, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
I just want to say that the editors on the other articles have not objected to any of my edits, and also that some have even edited out other weasel words that I've missed.
P.S. Let's leave it at that – we don't want a silly "edit war" now, do we? – IVAN3MAN (talk) 17:59, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
Christopher Thomas's statement above is yet more evidence (if more is needed at this point:P) of just how far removed from the "real world" of social media and viral memes most scientists are. I completely understand why scientists hedge their statements, and I suspect that everyone else here does as well. IVAN3MAN's attempts to remove "believe" and other such words from articles like this aren't based on the thought that scientists are not being definite enough, it's about how the uneducated public perceive words. Phrases like "scientists believe" and "just a theory" have been tarnished by various anti-science religious leaders and their cronies (such as the Discovery Institute - which runs a "scientific" creationist museum meant to brainwash children into believing that the Earth is 6000 years old) and conspiracy theorists like Richard Hoagland.
There are a good many commonly used phrases that scientists in various fields use either internally or in outreach articles that simply put should never be used when talking to the public. "Scientists believe" is one of those phrases. Once phrases like these have been tarnished, and that tarnish has spread through social media, it has proved virtually impossible to reclaim them to their previous meanings. Each time the public hears or reads "scientists believe", they don't hear "a near consensus has been reached on this topic by the vast majority of experts in this field". No, they hear (best case scenario) "scientists don't have a good understanding of this topic".
I'm continually surprised at how many scientists seem to be wholly ignorant of this new(ish) reality. Gopher65talk 04:04, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
The correct word is "believe", whether or not you (or others) have trouble understanding what it means. Wikiepedia contains other excellent articles on epistemology, and the history and process of scientific discovery, which you can link from the word "believe" if you wish, but it is not the policy of this encyclopedia (nor should it be) to explain, within each article, everything everyone might possibly need to know to avoid misunderstandings born of ignorance or miseducation. And in any case substituting a thesaurus of scientific-sounding — and actually less accurate — terms for the correct ones is not going to help your problem.
Concur that believe is the right word to use. Wikipedia is not a soapbox for promoting anything so we should not be trying to bend articles in pursuit of some agenda. It is not a weasel word in this context. Straightforward simple language saying it as it is summarizing the sources is the goal, not trying to convert some fundamentalists. Dmcq (talk) 09:02, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
What you're suggesting is that Wikipedia ignore changes in the meaning of commonly used words. Would you use "aw(e)ful" to describe something wonderful? How often do you see the word "gay" used in Wikipedia to mean "happy"? The meaning of words change over time, and any encyclopedia has to adapt to that change. Regardless of how you choose to use the word "believe", the meaning has changed in common usage. That cannot be ignored. Wikipedia articles are written for the masses, not for experts who understand the precise meaning of such words in a particular scientific context. Gopher65talk 13:15, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I just had a look at some dictionaries on the web and they most certainly do not agree with you. Citation needed that you are right and the dictionaries are wrong. Dmcq (talk) 13:20, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, believe (sense 1. [with clause] [no object]) means "have religious faith"; according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, believe (sense 1.a) means "to have a firm religious faith". I'll also refer you to Wikipedia's Belief article and especially the section on "How beliefs are formed". Furthermore, here's a good example of why we need to differentiate between scientific, logical reasoning and emotionally inspired beliefs: Why People Believe Invisible Agents Control the World. – IVAN3MAN (talk) 17:45, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
You should read that belief article (and the definitions) more carefully. AldaronT/C 18:14, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
And you should read the "How beliefs are formed" section more carefully, dude. – IVAN3MAN (talk) 18:49, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Big dictionaries give all sorts of meanings and we already know that religious people believe stuff. That form of believe though was the fourth example in the Oxford dictionary. It had religion as the first one in Merriam-Webster but it also has 'The scientists believed the reports.' and 'Many people seem to believe that theory, but I find it hard to believe.' as the first and second of the list of examples below and in both cases believe in the religious sense does not appear for uses of the transitive verb, only for the intransitive form as in 'I believe' or 'he believes'. They don't seem to consider 'He believes in God' as a transitive form and in science scientists don't believe in things they just believe things. Some people believe in God. A scientist may believe a report or theory. Dmcq (talk) 19:16, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────My take: "Thought to be" is just as simple and eloquent as "believed to be", and no one will misinterpret it. So why not use "thought to be"? Going through IVAN3MAN's edits: (1) For the last one, where there is no serious doubt, I would prefer to drop the expression altogether: "[Besides gravity,] the other three forces are believed to play a negligible role in determining structures at the level of planets, stars, [and] galaxies". By analogy, no one would ever say "the mass of an electron is believed to be much less than the mass of a proton". (2) For the first one, "The universe is believed to be mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter," --> "The hypothesis is that the universe is composed mostly of dark energy and dark matter". I don't like the change. The new wording is awkward and confusing. I would say "The universe is thought to be". (3) "The Higgs boson (as yet unobserved) is believed to confer mass" --> "The Higgs boson (as yet unobserved) is hypothesized to confer mass". I don't like either of these. The question is whether the Higgs boson exists. If it exists, it certainly confers mass. I would say "The Higgs boson (as yet unobserved) confers mass." The parenthetical gets across the doubt. (4) "Newton believed that an infinite space uniformly filled with matter would cause infinite forces and instabilities..." was changed to "hypothesized", but it seems to me that "Newton realized" is much better than either of those. (5) "The theory of special relativity is believed to hold throughout the universe" was changed to "is generalized to hold", which is an unusual and confusing wording. I would change to "is thought to hold". --Steve (talk) 14:18, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

The point is that (almost) no-one would misinterpret "believed to be" as well.TR 15:40, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
A couple of 'is thought to's where things aren't quite so clear wouldn't harm just to have a bit of variety but I think believe is best for the bigger things where there isn't enough evidence and yet most people believe they are true. Thought to implies a little less belief than believed to me as in I think xyz but I could easily be wrong as opposed to I believe xyz and I'd be rather surprised if I was wrong. Dmcq (talk) 15:58, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Either Steve's or Dmcq's approach will be a considerable improvement, though I'm inclined towards using "believe" unless there is a clear reason not to (e.g. when we can document "assumed" or "accepted" from from the details of the case). The important thing is to undo IVAN3MAN's edits. AldaronT/C 16:33, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I just happened to look through the "Talk" page of the Dark matter article and I came across this section: Dark Matter and Invisible Pink Unicorns.
The disparaging comments by the individual who opened that section clearly illustrates exactly what I meant above and the kind of creationist comedians that we have to deal with; note where he says: "Those who have the religious faith to believe in life existing by random probability are far more religious than I am."
Make of that what you will, dudes. – IVAN3MAN (talk) 17:54, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
I have. It is irrelevant. Have a look at Conservapedia and you'll find people saying special relativity is wrong as it supports moral relativism. You're not going to get them suddenly saying yes we've been wrong all along, Genesis is a moral fairytale, just because of making the wording here strange. Dmcq (talk) 18:03, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The problem is not with the word "believe" (which is perfectly scientific-- I think of Feynman saying "How strong do we believe this?"), but rather because most of the time (except possibly with syllogisms and analytic proposition where knowledge is sure), it goes without saying, and adding it to contingent-fact knowledge (there are no elephants in Earth orbit), doesn't help. All scientific "knowledge" that doesn't involve definition (and even some that does, if the definition isn't 100% accepted) is also belief. Some beliefs have more evidence behind them than others, but all of it has a bit of uncertainty. You can even argue that 100% certain things are also believed, as much as I believe 1 + 1 = 2, which is true by definition, but it still counts as a sort of belief of mine in the definitions.

Because of this, we ordinarily OMIT this word belief as redundant, or else we'd have to stick it in every sentence in this encyclopedia. I believe we'd have to stick it in every sentence in this encyclopedia ;).

Yes, "believe" is still used as a synonym for "theory" or "hypothesis" (especially in places like an encyclopedia) because the latter words are scary and not terribly well-defined, either. If you never like to use the word "belief" in its naked form, fearing that it will be mistaken for a weasel-term, then you can use "present consensus belief" for things where there is still some doubt among some reasonable, but small, fraction of professionals. "The concensus belief is that the Moon was formed by a planet impacting with the early Earth." For things like the electron is believed to be less massive than the proton, there's no point in even doing that. Yes, it's a concensus belief, but not worth using the words. Just state it as fact.

For beliefs in science that there's a lot of argument about, one can avoid the word "belief" entirely and talk of "widely held theories" and leading-theories (it is a concensus belief in medicine that HIV is the cause of the AIDS epidemic), but should probably reserve this language for stuff where even pros disagree (not true of AIDS and HIV). It's consensus-belief that high LDL levels contribute to atherosclerosis. It's a widely-held theory. It is NOT a "widely held theory" that men walked on the moon (rather than it being a hoax). We all believe they did, except a few nuts, but none of that needs be mentioned. It's a fact. End. SBHarris 18:59, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree with most of what you say, though I'd hope that eventually a more compact word would come along than the phrase "consensus belief".
I do have to take issue with your statement that only a "few nuts" don't believe humans walked on Luna. The numbers stated at Moon landing conspiracy theories are lower than what I've read, but lets say they're accurate. About 28% of Russians believe in the moon hoax, and between 6 and 20 percent of Americans believe in it. That adds up to ~45 million people at the low end of the range. And that's just in 2 countries. Unfortunately a great many people are ill-informed. This vast group of people (many of whom aren't dumb, just misinformed) is the reason why I think using words like 'belief' in an un-couched way is a bad idea. Such people are both moderately intelligent and curious enough to want to learn more (and thus might come here), but they're also extremely credulous when it comes to any form of anti-authoritarianism. Since they see all scientists as 1) government funded (and thus linked to corruption: "them's my stolden tax dollors!"), and 2) "experts" talking out of their asses ("them scientists ain't no bedder then me when it comes to thinken!"), that anti-authoritarianism instinct comes into play. It's best not to encourage those tendencies in them by rubbing phrases like "scientists believe in the big bang" in their noses. Especially when they would read that line "Scientists believe in the Big Bang just the way you believe in God". Gopher65talk 03:44, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, that's why I qualified my statement (or meant to) as being "fraction of professionals." It really doesn't matter what the hoi poloi believe about the JFK assassination or the moon landing or collapse of buildings on 9/11 or atherosclerosis or quantum field theory, because they don't know enough about these things without years of study (at least some of it academic, whether they hold a sheepskin or not) to have their opinions count. Hopefully we can also avoid the no true Scotsman fallicy by not DEFINING professionals or academics as whether or not they hold to the mainstream line. One should (for example) be able to tell if somebody is a real climatologist independently of whether or not they believe that anthropogenic global warming is and will be a major problem.

Finally, I certainly agree that we should avoid the "believe in" phraseology as much as we can, since it sounds too much like faith which is not based on demonstrable evidence. I might believe in the fact that Jesus was resurected and personally cares about me, but I don't have the glowing email from him to show you, if you don't believe it. Evidence is lacking. (And in fact, personally, that's WHY I don't-- I figure if Jesus cared about me personally he could send me glowing email that couldn't be erased. Or knock on my door like the JWs or Mormons, you know?). But I can show you all kinds of reason to believe that the Big Bang happened. Explain those H/He ratios, and that CMB from first principles, otherwise! SBHarris 16:02, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

And thats why the phrase "believe in" is not used in this sense.TR 06:40, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Saying they believe that most of the mass of the universe is in the form of dark energy and dark matter though is okay. It definitely is not something we can state as fact. They don't believe 'in' dark matter though, that implies giving up any critical faculties and stopping being a sceptic. The closest you have there is scientists believing in is that a theory should be beautiful rather than a mishmash and believing in the power of mathematics to describe the physical world. Dmcq (talk) 11:42, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes. I agree. But "believe" translates to "believe in" for nearly everyone. From the point of view of our readers, the following two phrases are completely synonymous:
  • "Scientists believe that the Big Bang happened."
  • "Scientists believe in the Big Bang."
Surely you can see how our readers could be confused by those similar sentences, even though you and I understand them to be different? Gopher65talk 14:58, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
That's assuming they have developed their critical facilities enough to appreciate the difference and yet that they haven't got the words or understanding of text to tell the difference in what's written. For people who can't tell the difference would it really matter whether we wrote believe in when we meant believe? Would they know the difference between think that and believe in? A person who believes in God's existence thinks that God exists. Sticking in long convoluted other ways of expressing things does not help in the least. Personally I am very happy if an article on a theme like this which should be very accessible uses 8th grader vocabulary, I see it as a big plus point. Believe in and believe are pretty common as in I believe in my wife compared to I believe my wife so I don't think it is distinction lost on most people. Dmcq (talk) 15:55, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Gopher, I don't think that the majority of the population would think that I am making a religious statement if I say that I believe them. In fact, pretty much everybody would understand that I am saying that I think that they speak the truth. Apparantly, pretty much everybody understands what the transitive verb "believe" means.TR 16:51, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh, you mean like this, Mr. Rias?
P.S. I've fixed the faulty links in my post above. – IVAN3MAN (talk) 23:07, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
That is the intransitive form of believe, just like believe in. Dmcq (talk) 23:31, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, my university professor taught me this. – IVAN3MAN (talk) 23:58, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
This would be far more productive conversation with something more specific in mind. I think we all understand that the word "believe" should be understood differently in different contexts. I don't think anyone here would object to the change "The mass of the proton is believed to be larger than the mass of the electron." Likewise, I seriously doubt that anyone here would have a problem with "Based on detailed analysis of astronomical observations, physicists believe that the universe contains dark matter." So, Dmcq or TimothyRias, can you please help focus the conversation by pointing to a specific real sentence in this or another article where the word "believe" cannot be avoided except by sacrificing clarity or accuracy (at least sacrificing it a little bit). :-) --Steve (talk) 00:54, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
I have no problem with a number of believes being changed to think for instance. The problem was caused by saying all uses of believe had to be removed and sticking in words like hypothesized instead. The language should be straightforward and both believe and think are straightforward and having a bit variety is good for ease of reading. I see the business about religious people thinking it is a religious belief and therefore all uses of belief must be removed as not something to be worried about. If some people think the special theory of relativity promotes moral relativism that's their problem as far as I'm concerned. I'd prefer to just cater to the people who come to an article for a bit of enlightenment rather than write for those who only read things to find snippets they don't like about it. Straightforward simple and easy to read and understand and well written language with no silliness is what I want Dmcq (talk) 01:28, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Specific example: In one of the captions in this article we have:

"The universe is believed to be mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter,..."

Here "believed" is a very good representation of the status of this hypothesis. All empirical evidence points in its direction, so "thought to" is too weak. Yet there is no satisfactory theoretical explanation for nature of the dark energy, so (almost) nobody excludes the possibility that something more unexpected is going on. Consequently, the simple "The universe is mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter,..." inaccurately overstates the status. Of course, you could probably find a more convoluted phrasing that also accurately represents the situation, but it would almost automatically be less clear and concise.TR 08:40, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

While I'd still prefer another word, if we're going with Steve's compromise (which is a decent suggestion), that would be an example of a proper use of "believe". Here's an example of an odd use of the word:
  • "Of the four fundamental interactions, gravitation is dominant at cosmological length scales; that is, the other three forces are believed to play a negligible role in determining structures at the level of planets, stars, galaxies and larger-scale structures."
If you remove believed from that sentence and say, "...the other three forces play a negligible role...", it doesn't change the meaning of the sentence. There are no physicists anywhere who think that the roundish shape of Earth is dominately caused by, say, the strong nuclear force. Not even the crackpots think that. Gopher65talk 14:58, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Agree that the words "are believed to" are completely superfluous. I have tweaked the sentence accordingly. (An additional issue was that the sentence could be interpreted as saying that the structure of planets and stars are only determined by gravity. That, of course, is non-sense since the other forces are relevant as well since they are responsible for preventing that these structures collapse to black holes.)TR 15:16, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
There are only 2 categories (sets) of information that can be communicated, particularly in scientific subject matters. One is relevant facts. And the other is relevant opinions. These are not mutually exclusive sets, in that an information item can be in both categories. However when it comes to the communication of this information, controversies are involved as to the categorization of the information. There are lots of ideas that may be true, that can't be established as factual. So we have the situation that an idea can be reported if it is supported by a considerable number of individuals within the population of those interested in the subject matter.WFPM (talk) 20:14, 23 March 2012 (UTC)