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Cosmology – The Origin and Evolution of the Universe. Expanding Universe – consistent w/ a Big Bang? Olber’s Paradox Large Scale Structure and relation to Dark Matter Evidence for the Big Bang The Cosmic Microwave Background The abundances of the elements

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Cosmology the origin and evolution of the universe l.jpg

Cosmology – The Origin and Evolution of the Universe

Expanding Universe – consistent w/ a Big Bang?

Olber’s Paradox

Large Scale Structure and relation to Dark Matter

Evidence for the Big Bang

The Cosmic Microwave Background

The abundances of the elements

Problems with the old Standard Big Bang – Symmetry breaking and Inflation

Matter/Energy Density and the future of the Universe

Life and Parallel Universes

ET Phone Home!


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Olber’s Paradox

  • Imagine the simplest possible universe in Newton’s time…no boundaries in space or time

  • Infinite in space and infinitely old

  • But, this means that every line of sight will eventually run into a star, and thus the entire sky should be completely overlapped with stars, and be…

  • …as bright as the suface of the sun (a typical star!)

  • Obviously, the sky’s not this bright. And so we’ve just done a “proof by contradiction” – and shown therefore, the universe is either (1) not infinitely big, or (2) had a beginning …or both.


Evidence that the universe had a beginning l.jpg
Evidence that the Universe had a Beginning

Notice - Looking out in space is looking back in time (because of the finite speed of light)

  • So, Big Telescopes = Big Time Machines!

  • We can SEE what the younger Universe looked like, by just looking far out into space with big telescopes!

  • How to look far out in space? Look at a galaxy, meausure its spectrum lines and therefore redshift to get how fast it’s moving away from us V, then…

  • Hubble Law: V=HD. Large redshift = large distance = large look-back time

  • So, What do distant galaxies look like…?



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Distant Galaxies DO Look Different!

  • Active galaxies are more common far away and so in the distant past

  • Quasars especially are all very distant. None in the local universe…i.e. none in Today’s universe.

  • Irregular Galaxies are more common far away, distant past.

  • Therefore, the universe IS evolving! We do not live in a static, “Steady State” universe


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The Expanding Universe: Hubble’s Law

  • V=HD “Raisin cake” expansion; velocity of a galaxy away from us is proportional to its distance.

  • This kind of expansion is consistent with a Big Bang origin, which is a necessary first step.

  • Does it prove there was a Big Bang? No…

  • Can we find stronger evidence? Let’s use a little logic as we go backwards in time…


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Going Back in Time…

  • Density goes up and up

  • Far enough back, it’s all raw material: gas

  • Go back far enough, T=3,000K = ionization temperature for hydrogen. This is only a 300,000 years after the supposed Big Bang

  • But ionized gas is opaque: So, we should see through cool transparent gas until our line-of-sight hits gas so young and so hot that it’s ionized and opaque.

  • When the Universe cooled to 3,000 degrees – protons and electrons combined and light was finally able to travel freely forever after

  • Thus: Prediction - We should see 3,000 K gas in all directions = The Cosmic Background Radiation

  • Universe was hot & opaque until ~300,000 years after Big Bang, then protons and electrons combined to form hydrogen and this neutral gas was transparent. It’s been transparent ever since.



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What should this Opaque surface look like?

  • Note that since it’s coming from material vastly far away, the Hubble Law says it’s moving away from us almost at the speed of light. Working out the numbers – 99.9% of the speed of light!

  • So, it’ll be Doppler-shifted by a factor of ~1000, so it will not look like 3,000K thermal light, it will look like 3K thermal light

  • This is not visible light, nor even infrared light, but microwave radiation

  • Princeton physicists realized this in the late ‘40’s and searched for it with new technology in the ’60’s


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The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

  • But they were scooped by a couple of Bell Labs engineers calibrating a big microwave antenna for the first intercontinental satellite telephone service

  • Discovered in 1965, we’re being bathed by thermal microwaves from every direction

  • Here’s the first map of this radiation, constructed from data from the COBE mission…



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That Pattern Has Simple Meaning:

  • Redshift on one side and blueshift on the other (relative to the overall redshift of a factor of ~1000), means we’re being pulled in one direction, and have acquired 660 km/sec of velocity since the Big Bang.

  • Why? Easy! We happen to live on the outskirts of the Virgo Supercluster, and the Coma Supercluster and Shapley Concentration are also big excess mass areas in the same direction.

  • Gravity!

  • But it’s a lot, and calculations show it agrees very well with the amount of Dark Matter those clusters should contain. So this is – Additional Independent Evidence for Dark Matter



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Let’s Pause Here and Digest…

  • Every place in the universe, including us, has surrounding itself an imaginary sphere called its “observable universe”: that sphere includes all places from which light has had a chance to get to us, since the Big Bang.

  • If the Universe is 13.7 Billion years old, then our Observable Universe is 13.7 billion light years in radius. That “edge” is called the “horizon”.

  • It’s an edge in TIME, not an edge in SPACE!

  • It is NOT the ENTIRE Universe. The ENTIRE Universe is almost certainly VASTLY larger, or even infinite in size.


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Here’s a Little “Thought Experiment”

  • Imagine the entire universe were filled with firecrackers. And at a single moment in cosmic time, every firecracker went off.

  • What would you hear?

  • --- one GiNormous ear-splitting “BANG”?

  • --- or, a continous ROAR that would never end?


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But Wait! (you say…)

  • That means that the stuff out beyond the horizon must be moving away from us FASTER than the speed of light!

  • In a way – yes. But space itself does not have such speed limits. Only matter within space. Space is expanding, carrying the galaxies with it. These galaxies beyond the horizon are unobservable, even in principle, so it’s not meaningful to talk about their “velocity relative to us”.

  • If you delve into it, you’ll be impressed with how deeply Relativity shows how important the observer is!


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The Discovery of the CMB Showed…

  • The Big Bang origin and evolution of the universe can be traced back 99.9% of way to that first moment, with strong observational evidence.

  • Can we find evidence going back even closer to the Big Bang itself? Since the universe is opaque, we can’t directly see past the CMB. But everything around us was part of the Big Bang, and it all carries clues…


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1~3 minutes after Big Bang…

  • Temperature is ~few million degrees K

  • Hot enough for nuclear fusion

  • Some of H cooked into Helium but…

  • Important: By the time there was enough helium around, the density was already too low for fusion to make carbon and heavier elements

  • So – prediction: pure hydrogen and helium in earliest stars.

  • Test: Abundances of the elements from the oldest stars


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The Oldest stars we can find and Study…

  • Are in the globular star clusters of our own Galaxy

  • 12-13 Billion years old, measured by main sequence turnoff point

  • These are made up of pop II stars – almost pure hydrogen and helium, in exactly the proportions predicted – Test successful!

  • But wait! We can say more… the amount of “heavy hydrogen” (deuterium) is very sensitive to the amount of ordinary matter…



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This shows that only 4% of the Matter and Energy of the Universe is made of Ordinary Matter

  • This is yet one more piece of evidence showing the existence of Dark Matter.


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How Did Structure Emerge from this Uniform “Primordial Soup”?

  • Current universe is lumpy. Very lumpy!

  • Gravity appears to be why

  • Overdense regions will get more overdense with time, as material falls into the initial density fluctuations.

  • Need some kind of initial density fluctuations in order for gravity to do the rest…

  • Where did the initial density fluctuations come from? Ah! Let’s save that for later…

  • There are more clues buried in…


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Soup”?The Shape of the Universe’s Large Scale Structure

  • Topology = the geometric form of the matter concentrations

  • Lots of possibilities it could’ve been… “meat ball”, “Swiss Cheese”, “filamentary”, …

  • Let’s take a look…


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CfA2 Soup”?




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2MASS nearIR Soup”?



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Conclusion – Topology of the Universe is Filamentary Soup”?

  • We live in a universe where Large Scale Structure is filamentary, where sheets of (mostly dark) matter have already collapsed along one direction to become filaments, and those filaments are already draining into areas of intersection which we identify with ordinary matter concentrations – Galaxy Clusters.


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Numerical Simulations of the Evolution of the Universe Soup”?

  • Cram a cosmological model, its initial conditions, a bunch of physics… all into a computer, and evolve the universe forward to the present day and see if it looks like the real thing…

  • Volker Springel’s got the best code in the business.



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BryanCHDMbox Soup”?




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So - Gravity Made Large Scale Structure Soup”?

  • The large scale structure is filmentary!

  • All of this confirms – gravity was the prime mover.

  • Overdensities collapsed under gravity; first along one direction (making sheets), then along another (making filaments), and eventually everything drains into clumps (galaxy clusters), but the universe isn’t old enough for this process to be very far along yet.

  • Or rather, this process proceeds at different rates depending on how overdense the area is, so we expect to see a mixture of filaments, sheets, and clusters in the real universe – exactly what we do, in fact, see!


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Next Question – How Old is the Universe? Soup”?

  • By measuring the expansion rate of today, we can ‘run the movie backward’ and see when everything was in one place…

  • The expansion rate is measured by the Hubble parameter – H. It’s now measured accurately to be 70 km/sec of additional recession velocity for every megaparsec of additional distance.



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So, Now we’re up to the early1990’s and the “Standard Big Bang Model” has emerged

  • A universe at “critical density”, with 95% in the form of Dark Matter and 5% in ordinary matter.

  • But…


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Problems with the “Standard Big Bang” Model… Big Bang Model” has emerged

  • Problem #1 - Age of the universe as measured by Hubble Law disagrees with the age of oldest globular clusters. If H=70 km/sec/Mpc in a critical density universe, implies the universe is only 9.3 Billion years old. But stellar structure astronomers calculate that globular clusters are older; some up to 13 billion years old. Obviously a discrepancy!

  • So, measure Hubble Parameter H not just locally but over most of the observable universe and maybe that’ll clarify things.

  • Best distance indicator is SN Ia’s ; distance accuracy as good as 5% if done carefully


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Hi Z SN gallery Big Bang Model” has emerged


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SNIa abs Mag vs z Big Bang Model” has emerged


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New Generation of BIG Telescopes were completed in the ’90’s, showed by 1998…

  • Lots of these type I supernovae, all the way out most of the way to the edge of the observable universe.

  • Comparing their distance and their velocity away from us, we saw – amazingly enough – that the universe is actually NOT slowing its expansion. Instead, it is ACCELERATING!


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Acceleration requires some kind of Energy Density (that’s the simplest explanation anyway).

  • The story of the Einstein and his Cosmological Constant… He inserted a constant term into his differential equations of general relativity, to make the universe stand still (this was before Hubble discovered the expansion).

  • The physical interpretation of this “cosmological constant” is an inherent property of space to expand, such that if you double the space, you double also the “expansion-ness”; i.e. it does not dilute away as does matter within space does.

  • So, as the universe expands and gravity’s grip weakens with increasing distances, it comes more and more to be dominated by the unchanging expansion force of space itself.

  • Is this the way of it, in the real world? Maybe! Data so far show that H varies with distance in a way which is consistent with a Cosmological Constant.


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To Say It Another Way… the simplest explanation anyway).

  • If you’ve got a pound of stuff in a shopping bag, you’ve got a certain mass density within the bag. 1 lb/cubic foot

  • If you double the size of the shopping bag, now you’ve got only ½ lb/cubic foot – it’s self gravity would be less

  • But if Dark Energy is a property of space itself, then inside the now larger shopping bag there is twice as much Dark Energy as there was before!

  • So as the universe expands, Dark Energy more and more comes to dominate, and gravity loses it’s grip.

  • This is ONLY true in places where space is still expanding. Our planet, our solar system, our Milky Way Galaxy are NOT expanding – they’re gravitationally bound. Even our “Local Group” of galaxies is bound and not expanding.

  • At least, the simplest form of Dark Energy would be like this, and agrees with the data so far. So the “Big Rip” dire future does not at the moment look like the most favored by the data.


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So, not only is there Dark Matter, now there’s “Dark Energy” too!

  • A complication, you’re no doubt saying. But let’s look on the bright side…



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Dark Energy Resolves the Age Discrepancy! Energy” too!

  • Using the measured acceleration and assuming the simplest form - a “cosmological constant” - you get an age of the universe of 13.7 Billion Years

  • Perfect agreement with Globular Cluster ages . Now everyone - particle physicists, cosmologists, stellar structures types… -

  • is happy!


Dark energy it is your destiny luke starwars episode 4 l.jpg
Dark Energy – “It is your Destiny, Luke!” ( Energy” too!StarWars Episode 4)

  • Note that the “Cosmological Constant” has a bizarre property – it doesn’t “thin out” as space expands. It stays at the same density.

  • But matter IS thinning out, and this is why Dark Energy comes more and more to dominate the universe as time passes. Hence - acceleration


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DE pie chart 1 Energy” too!


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DE pie chart 2 Energy” too!


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DE w=-1 data envelopes Energy” too!


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Casimir effect -> DE Energy” too!


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Standard Big Bang Problem #2 Energy” too!

  • Horizon Problem…

  • Opposite sides of the sky are out of causal contact, have ALWAYS been out of causal contact – yet they are essentially identical (temperature, structure…)

  • They MUST have once been in causal contact!

  • Solution to problems?...


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The Inflation Paradigm! Energy” too!

  • Symmetry and symmetry breaking

  • Water analogy

  • Energy of the vacuum

  • Inflationary epoch: first ~10-30 second

  • Symmetry breaking went into expansion of scale of universe, by ~1060

  • Sounds VERY bizarre and unbelievable but…


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if Inflation Really Happened… Energy” too!

  • Predicts the density of the Universe = the critical density, and total energy = 0 (remember, gravitational potential energy gets counted with a negative sign so zero total energy isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds)

  • Density fluctuations due to the quantum uncertainty principle get blown up to galaxy-sized fluctuations by Inflation and this.

  • Small temperature fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background are due to small density fluctuations in the ordinary matter and in the underlying dark matter

  • Inflation makes a specific prediction for the spectrum of the temperature fluctuations we should see in the Cosmic Microwave Background

  • And what do we see?… First, lets look at a measurement of the total matter+energy density:


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Size vs. Z shows Omega=1 Energy” too!


So it looks like the universe is at critical density now what about those temperature fluctuations l.jpg
So it looks like the Universe is at Critical Density. Now, what about those Temperature Fluctuations?

  • Here are all-sky maps of the Cosmic Background Radiation. Note the many small, medium, and large sized regions of (very slightly!) varying temperature

  • These data are from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite mission, recently completed.


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WMAP raw what about those Temperature Fluctuations?


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WMAP what about those Temperature Fluctuations?



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WMAP sphere let’s see it front and back…


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WMAP power spectrum let’s see it front and back…


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flucSpectrum let’s see it front and back…


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Conclusion let’s see it front and back…

  • Density of the universe is 1.0, as predicted by Inflation…

  • Spectrum of fluctuations is a power law with a slope of –1.0, as predicted by Inflation…

  • The acoustic peaks in the WMAP power spectrum agree precisely with Inflation

  • …It’s looking like Inflation may have really happened!

  • So, what could have caused Inflation?


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A Leading Contender is the Idea of Symmetry breaking let’s see it front and back…

  • The 4 forces of nature… why 4? Seems like a pointless number. Why not 1? Could the forces of nature really be unified if we just look carefully enough?

  • Progress! The weak force and electromagnetism are discovered to be two aspects of a single unified “electroweak” force, in mid ’80s. But only at temperatures of trillions of degrees – such have existed only in the earliest moment of the Big Bang itself.

  • Can we unify the rest? That’s been tougher…


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4forces-to-TOE let’s see it front and back…


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TOE to 4 forces let’s see it front and back…


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  • Gravity would ‘freeze out’ first. But it’s the weakest force and would not be a big deal

  • Then the strong force would freeze out of the Grand Unified Force. This separates the Strong and Electromagnetic forces – the two big forces in nature. The energy liberated by this could have powered the Inflationary Epoch.

  • There’s other ideas… even wilder and more speculative so far. Inflation is a bizarre but totally logical outcome of well-tested quantum physics, and it’s passed it’s first tests.


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Brookhaven ring force and would not be a big deal


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fireworks force and would not be a big deal


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Cosmic Eras 1 force and would not be a big deal


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Cosmic Eras 2 force and would not be a big deal


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Short history of universe force and would not be a big deal


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History w/ temperature force and would not be a big deal


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Life, the Anthropic Principle, and the Nature of the Universe

  • What is life anyway?

  • Let’s list some characteristics something should have if we’re going to call it “alive”…


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Life: must reproduce, compete for a niche, take in and process matter/energy for its own use, and must evolve to fit its environment

  • To do all this, things called “alive” must have a large number of degrees of freedom. Must require large numbers of “information bits” to fully describe

  • In other words - Living organisms are complex!

  • Only one atom is capable of building complex molecules – carbon

  • But that’s just from the laws of physics we see around us. Do these laws apply everywhere?


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  • All life in our universe is almost certainly carbon-based – Carbon is the only atom capable of building complex molecules.

  • Life processes are mediated by proteins in all known living organisms. And, proteins are built out of amino acids.

  • Miller-Urey experiment shows amino acids are created naturally in the conditions of the young Earth.

  • Amino acids later were discovered in comets, meteorites, and now seen in interstellar clouds by spectroscopy

  • Still, it’s a Big step from amino’s to proteins, and then to living organisms


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Since life is complex, it requires a special environment – Carbon is the

  • Either we were incredibly lucky that the one and only Universe happened to have the right laws of physics to allow life, or…

  • Maybe there’s a God - but then, where did HE/SHE/IT come from? Circular reasoning and doesn’t take us closer to a solution. And the notion of the western religion God has other flaws too numerous to go into here anyway. Other solution is…


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A Multitude of Universes! – – Carbon is the The MultiVerse

  • In fact, it’s pretty hard to find an Inflation scenario which does NOT include creation events happening “all the time”!

  • “Universe” now means a particular instance in this “multi-verse” with it’s own framework. Space, time, dimensions, and force laws, which tumble out of symmetry-breaking in a random way subject only to the uncertainty principle and laws of Quantum Mechanics, which we believe is more deeply fundamental to ALL universes)

  • Inflation describes how E=0 Universes could be created out of the the Vacuum. “Eternal inflation” “Chaotic inflation”.

  • Testing these ideas against reality…not so easy! But…


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But if true, the Multiverse (or “landscape” its version in String Theory), is a natural solution to the puzzle of our Living Universe

  • No need to wonder why we’re in such a wonderfully inhabitable universe. We’re “self selected” to be in just such a universe.

  • Most universes would likely come out of the Oven botched – laws of physics freeze out differently and most are incompatible with the formation of stable environments suitable for the evolution of complex beings So, there’s no living thing in those universes to complain about it!


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ET Phone Home… ET Phone Home – Life Elsewhere in Our Universe

  • How many civilizations are in the Galaxy which are able and willing to communicate with us?

  • The Drake Equation…


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N=R Universe* fp n fL fI fc L

  • R* = rate of formation of suitable stars

  • fp = fraction of these with solar systems

  • n = number of life-suitable planets per solar system

  • fL = fraction of these planets with life

  • fI = fraction of living planets with intelligent life

  • fc = fraction of intelligent living planets which choose to communicate across the stars

  • L = average lifetime of a communicating civilization


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  • R* is easy. G and K main sequence stars form at a rate of 1 star per year in our Galaxy

  • fp is now estimated to be 0.1. 10% of stars have solar systems

  • N is poorly known. But in our solar system it’s about 1

  • Basic ingredients easy, and life is pretty tenacious and aggessive in colonizing environments. So let’s assume fL = 1

  • Intelligence has (so far!) been a pretty successful experiment by Mother Nature here, in winning a prominent place in the general ecology. Let’s assume sooner or later it’ll arise; fI = 1

  • Hard to imagine intelligence without also the motivation and will to use it – curiosity – by at least some individuals. Seems likely that no matter how pathetic you may think we are, we’re rare enough to be a treasured subject of conversation by other civilizations. So, assume fc =1.


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Biggest Unknown - L star per year in our Galaxy

  • How long does an interstellar communicating civilization last? We have NO data on this

  • After a bumpy adolescence, I think we’ll muddle through and settle into long term stay. Bungling our way to killing EVERYONE seems unlikely to me.

  • Asteroid impacts; we’ll solve that pretty soon.

  • So assume optimistically that the typical time scale for a species to have its heyday is about 10 million years.

  • Multiply it all together and you get…. 1 million civilizations!


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So How Far away is the Nearest Civilization? star per year in our Galaxy

  • I sat down one night and worked it out. Use stellar density distribution of pop I stars in our galaxy and our location, throw some calculus at it.. And out comes:

  • D = 77,000 /sqrt(N) in light years

  • Plug in our N, and get 77 light years. Close!

  • 77 years is how long we’ve been broadcasting radio and TV. If they’re there, they know about us by now.


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Fermi’s Paradox: Where are They?? star per year in our Galaxy

  • Technology progresses so incredibly rapidly that in a time scale vastly shorter than our assumed 10 million year lifetime, we can colonize the entire galaxy.

  • Juicy planets like ours surely could not be overlooked by another civilization exploring the Galaxy.

  • This argues that our Drake equation numbers are optimistic, and we may in fact be alone in the Galaxy. Only more research will tell…


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  • Earth is in crisis. Now. Today’s population is 7 billion. Read this…

  • “…To put this in context, you must remember that estimates of the long-term carrying capacity of Earth with relatively optimistic assumptions about consumption, technologies, and equity, are in the vicinity of two billion people. Today's population cannot be sustained on the 'interest' generated by natural ecosystems, but is consuming its vast supply of natural capital -- especially deep, rich agricultural soils, 'fossil' groundwater, and biodiversity -- accumulated over centuries to eons. In some places soils, which are generated on a time scale of centimeters per century are disappearing at rates of centimeters per year. Some aquifers are being depleted at dozens of times their recharge rates, and we have embarked on the greatest extinction episode in 65 million years.” -- Paul Ehrlich (Sept. 25, 1998)

  • The population of the earth WILL decline to ~2 billion, or less. It’s far more likely, in my opinion, that this will happen the hard way. Sooner rather than later. Nolthenius’ First Law “People Learn the Hard Way”.

  • Birth rates among native born North Americans is a bit below replacement rates, and this is more true in Europe (more expensive there), and especially true in Japan (very expensive there), and in China (by law), but in Central and South America, India and the Arab countries, and the rest of Asia, and Africa (despite HIV), population is out of control. In Central and South America, the strongly Catholic influence isn’t helping.


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Many Reasons Civilizations May be MUCH Rarer Than Our Optimistic Figures…

  • New solar systems show:

  • Elliptical orbits much more common than we thought

  • Sun is unusually stable in its luminosity over short time scales

  • Sun has smaller sunspots, flares, solar activity than typical G2 main sequence stars

  • ALL stars’ luminosities go up even during Main Sequence phase – planet must somehow allow more cooling to compensate if you want stable climate

  • Planetary migrations are the rule, our SS is the exception

  • Jupiter-like planet ~5AU away necessary to guard the inner SS from dangerous comet impacts and asteroid impacts while life evolves. Rare?


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Special Rel and space travel Optimistic Figures…


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That’s All, Folks! Optimistic Figures…

  • Summary

  • Big Bang origin to our universe is demonstrated by Microwave Background Radiation and abundances of the elements.

  • Large scale structure is filamentary, caused by gravity, seeded by density fluctuations in the Dark Matter created by quantum density fluctuations and raised to galaxy scales by the Inflation era.

  • Universe is expanding and accelerating. Extrapolating to the future – stars eventually die, we die, and an huge, almost empty universe in the distant future. Bummer! But, there’s hope…

  • Inflation may create near-infinite universes, continuously, each with their own laws of physics, space, time… and life is present only in a tiny minority of these universes

  • Drake equation gives number of civilizations in the Milky Way Galaxy, but big uncertainties. Nearest may be ~77 light years away. BUT… then why haven’t they contacted us? Why no credible evidence of alien life at all? Are we alone in the Galaxy?


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