Mankind ‘shortening the universe’s life’ – Telegraph

According to a new paper, the action of humans observing the Universe in which we live has the effect of changing the fundamental properties of the Universe.

The Telegraph has the popular version of the news:

“The startling claim is made by a pair of American cosmologists investigating the consequences for the cosmos of quantum theory, the most successful theory we have. Over the past few years, cosmologists have taken this powerful theory of what happens at the level of subatomic particles and tried to extend it to understand the universe, since it began in the subatomic realm during the Big Bang.

…”The intriguing question is this,” Prof Krauss told the Telegraph. “If we attempt to apply quantum mechanics to the universe as a whole, and if our present state is unstable, then what sets the clock that governs decay? Once we determine our current state by observations, have we reset the clock? If so, as incredible as it may seem, our detection of dark energy may have reduced the life expectancy of our universe.”

Prof Krauss says that the measurement of the light from supernovae in 1998, which provided evidence of dark energy, may have reset the decay of the void to zero – back to a point when the likelihood of its surviving was falling rapidly. “In short, we may have snatched away the possibility of long-term survival for our universe and made it more likely it will decay,” says Prof Krauss. Not all agree, since his interpretation hinges on one of the issues at the heart of quantum theory – do you need people to do the observing?

This is not the only damage to the heavens that astronomers may have caused. Our cosmos is now significantly lighter than scientists had thought after an analysis of the amount of light given out by galaxies concluded that some shone from lightweight electrons, not heavyweight atoms. In all, the new analysis suggests that the universe has lost about one fifth of its overall mass.”

“What is Man that thou are mindful of him…”

Read the rest here.

Author: Nicholas Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...