Bismillah. More from Sabbir Rahman below.
Last Thurs (1st Ramadan), BBC R4’s Beyond Belief recorded a discussion on “The Origins of the Universe,” about the Big Bang theory & questions about God, etc. especially in relation to the latest LHC experiments at CERN and the search for the Higgs boson (the so-called “God particle”).
Ernie Rae chaired as usual, and I was one of the three panellists. The others were an agnostic 42-year-old physics professor at Manchester (Jeff something), and David Wilkinson, a physicist and Christian theologian at Durham. It was David who had first introduced me to the name of Polkinghorne, 21 years ago at Cambridge. Our paths hadn’t crossed since then, but we eventually remembered each other.
For the radio show, we discussed cosmology, God etc. The final question was: “What do we hope or expect to learn from the new high-energy LHC experiments?” My answer was largely something I’d learnt from Sabbir. 🙂
The show will be broadcast on Mon 23 Aug 2010 God-willing, although the date may change.
It has been just over five years now since I posted the proposal below that our universe was perhaps just one black hole in a hierarchy of black holes.
As you can perhaps imagine, I was a little surprised then to discover just yesterday that a certain Dr Nikodem Paplowski, a physicist at the University of Indiana whose papers I came across while researching into Einstein-Cartan theory and general relativistic torsion, has quite recently (i.e. since April 2010) achieved fairly widespread recognition for making almost precisely the same proposal!
Articles about his proposal appeared in the last couple of months in USA Today, New Scientist, the Daily Telegraph, the National Post and even the MIT Technology Review blog. The university of Indiana appears to have been quite active in promoting their young star through press releases to the media.
I have written to Dr Pawlowski to explain that his ideas are not actually new (in fact, a lot of work on the interpretation of the maximal extension of the Schwarzschild solution has been done by others in the past well before myself), and have asked that he acknowledge this in future.
I have also written the following to the newspapers and magazines above:
“The proposal that the universe may be located in the wormhole of a black hole in an even larger universe is not new. I proposed exactly the same thing five years ago, both on the UK_Islamic_Astronomy Yahoo! group (of which I am a moderator) and also in a technical paper submitted to the electronic archives:
http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0607102v1(See particularly sections 4.1 and 5.5 of the paper).
Whether Dr Poplawski’s proposal is correct or not, it is NOT original.”
In addition to the above, I have spent much time discussing (and arguing about!) the interpretation of the Schwarzschild solution with other physicists on the sci.physics.research and sci.physics.relativity newsgroups, for example in the following two threads from 2007:
The latter thread makes specific reference to the interior of the black hole being stable and physically separated from the exterior.
This is not to say that I am not very impressed by Dr Poplawski’s recent work, which shows considerable promise, but credit should go where credit is due! I have also made reference to my prior work on his Wikipedia entry to try to set matters straight:
Anyway, enough of this wingeing and whining about who said what first!
One good thing that has arisen from thinking about this again is that when I first made the proposal all those years ago, I had only considered the possibility of a spherically symmetric black hole universe. But of course, if it is indeed the case that our observable universe emerged from the gravitational collapse of matter from an even larger universe, then the matter would of course have been rotating as it collapsed, so that our universe is not in the interior of a Schwarzschild black hole, but in the interior of a (rotating) Kerr black hole. But the ring singularity of the Kerr black hole is that of a Klein bottle-like double torus – and if this hypothesis is correct, then our universe is actually toroidal in shape! This links in quite nicely with speculations I have previously posted about by Dr Vladimir Yershov at UCL regarding how the Klein bottle shape of the universe might determine elementary particle masses. Note that Hoyle-Narlikar electrodynamics also makes similar assertions, so these speculations may be worth revisiting now that we have a more concrete proposal.
Note that although no-one yet actually knows the shape of the universe, there is a very nice book called “The Shape of Space” authored by Jeffrey Weeks which discusses various possibilities. I have only read the 1985 first edition but apparently there is now a second edition out:
It is a fascinating read and not too tough for a layperson to follow.
Anyway, I hope you are all enjoying a blessed Ramadan insha’Allah!