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ETpro's avatar

What's your Strange Universe example to illustrate Sir Arthur Eddington's quote?

Asked by ETpro (34208 points ) January 3rd, 2010

British astrophysicist, Sir Arthur Eddington wrote, “Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.” From Black Holes to Quasars, Supernovas, Gamma Ray Bursts, etc. See some of the spectacular photos in the link below to spur your thoughts.

http://www.environmentalgraffiti.com/sciencetech/massive-explosion-in-the-far-away-universe/8485

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32 Answers

Harp's avatar

Two that come to mind are:

A) Versions of the double-slit experiment which appear to show that subatomic particles can affect past events, which challenges our understanding of the “arrow of time”, and

B) Quantum entanglement, which appears to show that information can be conveyed instantaneously over great distances (contrary to the theoretical “speed limit” of the universe), which challenges our understanding of the nature of space.

oh, and C) Lady Gaga

CMaz's avatar

Flushing the toilet.

ETpro's avatar

@Harp Somebody has got to do something about these speed demons. Where is a COP (Causal Ordering Postulate) when you need one?

Harp's avatar

I think the Lady Gaga issue needs to be addressed first, for the children’s sake

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

That Einstein’s hoped for TOE (Theory of Everything) or Unified Field Theory is much further away than he supposed.

daemonelson's avatar

@Harp You are my favourite person for the day.

Harp's avatar

@daemonelson My highest ambition realized!

dpworkin's avatar

@Harp as I understand it there is no information exchange in quantum entanglement. Would you be willing to take the time to correct me if I am in error?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

The link quotes that the explosion took place “12.2 billion light years distant, sometime after September 15, 2008.” Assuming the information, carried by light, took 12.2 billion years to reach us, would it not be more accurate to say “some 12,200,000,000 years ago?”

ETpro's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Yes, it certainly would. Stating the time of our observation of the event is an abstraction used to give the reporting more immediacy to us.

HungryGuy's avatar

According to Electric Spacecraft Journal, recent simulations prove that gravity must be instantaneous. If gravity traveled at the speed of light, the c/g of the sun and the earth would be several arc second off relative to each other (i.e. the earth would “feel” the sun’s position where it was 8 minutes ago rather than where it currently is), and the whole solar system would be unstable and collapse.,

bea2345's avatar

Something as basic as the internal combustion engine fills me with wonder. Not that it is a man made construct, but because it is a practical application of observed phenomena that are even now not fully understood.

Harp's avatar

@pdworkin You’re right that information in a practical sense isn’t conveyed by the entangled particles. Unless coupled with a conventional, sub-light-speed communication system, entanglement has no practical way of transmitting interpretable information to an observer at the “receiving end” because the behavior of the “sending” particle is always random. Still there is, as far as we can tell, simultaneous action at distance—even great distance—between the entangled particles, whether or not that can actually be used as information. Either something is spanning this great distance in essentially no time, or the separation that we assume is there because of our conventional notion of space is not as it appears to be. Either postulate is exceedingly strange.

ETpro's avatar

@Harp Now THAT point qualifies as a true answer to the question!

daemonelson's avatar

@Harp I would hope so : )

mattbrowne's avatar

One of my favorites: leftover matter after matter-antimatter annihilation. Very strange to say the least.

Physicists have not been able to identify the exact mechanism that would produce this apparent asymmetry between matter and antimatter to explain why all the matter wasn’t destroyed.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

What could be stranger than a universe that could would evolve matter where there was none, complex organic compounds out of simpler compounds, self replication, “life”, awareness, self-awareness, consciousness, imagination…

ETpro's avatar

@Yetanotheruser Amen to that! Thanks.

flutherother's avatar

Just the simple fact that ‘something’ exists, whatever it may be, rather than nothing. That of itself is wonderfully strange.

ETpro's avatar

@flutherother Nothing is totally weird. I can’t conceive of itexisting unless something exists to contrast it to. And then, as soon as something exists, nothing is destroyed by it. Let’s all send up a p[rayer for poor nothing. What a lousy non-existence it gets/got/has gotten/will have gotten and so forth.

flutherother's avatar

There can be no thoughts about nothing as there would be nothing to do the thinking. We think of nothingness from the standpoint of something and as an absence of something. All we know for certain is that there is something rather than nothing. But why should this be? This is the simplest question and one that we will never answer.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

“Nothing” and “nothingness” exist as concepts. There can certainly be thoughts about the concept of nothing.

ETpro's avatar

@flutherother I would not bet it will remain unanswered.

@Yetanotheruser Absolutely. In fact, there’s nothing to it.

kess's avatar

The universe is perfectly understandable to those who knows Truth

ETpro's avatar

How many people do you know who go around claiming they do not know truth, @kess? While many hold opposing views, they are rare that don’t claim to be the sole possessors of truth, and that all who fail to see the perfection of their truth are obviusly biased or blind.

HungryGuy's avatar

One person’s truth is another person’s delusion.

ETpro's avatar

@HungryGuy Hear, hear!

ETpro's avatar

Bump. In searching for the quote, I learned today that this has been wrongly attributed to Eddington. It was actually in a 1927 publication from J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds and Other Papers in which he wrote; “I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.”

basstrom188's avatar

We know the answer to everything is 42

ETpro's avatar

@basstrom188 Which happens to be the death toll of Hurricane Irene. What does that mean for 2012? By the way, 2012: 2 + 2 = 4. 1×2 = 2. Put them together and you have 42. <fade to Twilight Zone theme>.

basstrom188's avatar

Creepy! Does David Icke know about this?

NanoNano's avatar

I don’t know about strange, but I have a poster of this region up on my wall and would like to go there some day, (Located about 200,000 light years from Earth in the Lesser Maggellanic Cloud – a small satellite galaxy to the Milky Way).

http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/17/image/a/format/xlarge_web/

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