Skip to comments.Discovering a more precise age of the universe
Posted on 06/13/2009 12:04:51 PM PDT by OldNavyVet
Wendy Freedman, director of the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, and two colleagues were named this month as recipients of the $500,000 Gruber Prize, one of the world's top awards in the field of cosmology.
The Freedman team's work helped scientists to arrive at the currently accepted age of the universe: 13.7 billion years.
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
I wonder what occupied all that space 14 billion years ago.
Can anything really “occupy” space? The Universe is still expanding... what is it expanding into?
Our capability to “see” distant things is a function of mam-made instruments.
There’s probably far more out there than seen so far.
That's the dilemma that both Einstein and Hawking came up against; science has no explanation for the other side of the big bang.
Not only don't we know, we can't know. Some things are unknowable.
People have beliefs about such things, but they don't have knowledge.
This question comes up regularly, but it's based upon a misconception that, unfortunately, physicists do more to perpetuate than to correct. Let me see whether I can set you straight.
The problem is that the expanding universe is typically visualized as something like a stretching rubber sheet, or a raisin-laden plum pudding expanding as it bakes. The problem is that these are physical objects that exist in--and take up--some region of space. Over time, these growing objects take up more space, leaving less space for other objects, and either displacing those objects or reaching the limits of the available space. Once the plum pudding fills the oven, there's a problem.
The expansion of the universe isn't like that. The universe is not an object; it doesn't "take up space". It is space. As it grows, it doesn't mean that there is less space for objects; it means there is more space for objects. Nothing needs to be displaced to admit its expansion.
I can tell by the look on your face--as I imagine it--that you aren't satisfied. So here's another way to think about the problem. Don't say that the universe is expanding. Insist that it remains fixed. Say instead that the things in the universe--galaxies, rulers, paper plates, Brooklyn (sorry, Mrs. Allen), atoms, people, Dukakis/Bentsen campaign buttons--are all shrinking. It's mathematically equivalent, right? But it doesn't require you to postulate that anything is "outside".
So why don't you have the same conceptual problem that you had when you viewed it the other (equivalent) way? Think about it.--Physicist
under this theory - nothing.
This is a great thread with excellent replies. This subject has always fried my mind when I try to think about it.
People don don’t know how big or how old the universe is.
It’s nothing more than speculation.
These people that claim the earth is 13.7 billion years old know about as much about that as those people that believe it is 6000 years old.
It’s more like dividing by zero
What’s it expanding through?
“Not only don’t we know, we can’t know. Some things are unknowable.
People have beliefs about such things, but they don’t have knowledge.”
Why don’t they just ask Helen Thomas?
My dating for the age of the universe (13,700,000,005 billion years and counting) is more accurate so I should get some of the prize money.
“These people that claim the earth is 13.7 billion years old know about as much about ...”
Actually, the Moon rocks collected on Apollo missions provide the best estimate of Earth’s age — 4.7 billion years.
Scientists tell us that the Moon and Earth were once one, and that some gigantic collision separated the original mass into two spheres.
The physical analysis of Moon rocks tell us that the composition of Earth and Moon rocks are similar, and - since little to no erosion happens on the Moon - that Moon rocks provide the best estimate for Earth’s age.
Radioactive dating tells us that rocks from the bottom of the Grand Canyon are not quite 2 bilion years old, and that Moon rocks are 4.7 billion years old.
The Universe is creating the very space that it is expanding into???
I love your question/statement because, in actuality, something can only come from nothing. Or perhaps the big bang was a colossal drop in scale so that the initial ylem as I believe it is called, didn't so much expand as everything(?) else simply dropped in scale relative to the ylem.
Fascinating stuff but sometimes it makes my hair hurt.
>>>Its nothing more than speculation. These people that claim the earth is 13.7 billion years old know about as much about that as those people that believe it is 6000 years old.
You call it guesswork. However scientists make their calculations based upon the tools and techniques ever-developing science and mathematics make available. There is a world of differences between the two concepts. One of which is the calculations can be double-checked and fine tuned by anyone who takes the trouble to learn and examine the math, which is what this story is actually discussing.
In other words, nothing has to be taken on blind faith.
I think she filed a report. “Big bang reported. Millions harmed. U.S. involvement suspected.”
In a sense, yes. Don't worry, it's a very hard concept to grasp, and no one knows for sure how to relate to it (even is you study such stuff most of your life). But according to theory, "space" just didn't exist. The three dimensions of space just "weren't there", so to speak.
“Not only don't we know, we can't know. Some things are unknowable.”
“People have beliefs about such things, but they don't have knowledge.”
Btw, I neglected to mention this in my first posting because I wanted to see if anyone would mention it in their responses; both Einstein and Hawking acknowledge their belief in the existence of god.
“In a sense, yes. Don't worry, it's a very hard concept to grasp, and no one knows for sure how to relate to it (even is you study such stuff most of your life). But according to theory, “space” just didn't exist. The three dimensions of space just “weren't there”, so to speak.”
For those who are interested in this subject; I recommend Stephen Hawking's book “A Briefer History of Time”. Not to worry, it's a small book and a quick read if you don't start thinking too much. Hawking does his best to write so that we lay folks can grasp most, ok some, of his book. Anyway, I found the book very interesting and it's fascinating to have some insight into one of the few minds in the world that can actually comprehend quantum physics.
Nothing is certain.
I know about Radioactive dating, I was a physical science major.
In Science, I witnessed more speculation than anything. All kinds of things claimed that couldn’t be quantified or seen.
Postulating this and postulating that. Postulating on a postulate.
Hypothesis grounded in more Hypothesis. Guesswork built on a foundation of guesswork.
Scientists these days have lost their way, I am afraid. They are driven to prove the agenda of their funding.
It’s actually been this way for awhile.
blah blah blah.
Carbon dating aside,
As a Physical Science major, I witnessed more guessing than anything.
The only thing that Scientists are interested in proving these days is that which is the agenda of their financiers.
Actually, it’s been this way for awhile.
It’s made me question everything.
“Nothing is certain.”
Does two plus two equal four?
If nothing is certain, we can dispense with principles, absolutes, causality, knowledge, etc. ... and anything goes.
Of course I didn’t mean that in an absolutist sense. I meant that in regards to Scientific theory and postulation.
You have obfuscated by constructing a strawman argument.
In regards to agenda driven science, yes they have dispensed with principles, absolutes, casuality, knowledge, etc.
I stand by my original statement. Scientists don’t know how old the universe really is and there is no definitive way of knowing it.
It’s all a bunch of bullshit guesswork as are most theories, postulations and all the non method driven Science that is so common these days.
“I stand by my original statement”
i.e. “Nothing is certain.”
Are you sure you exist?
Thank you ... we needed that
Rene Descartes walks into a bar.
Then a horse walks into the bar.
The bartender says "I thought da' horse came before Descartes?"
Rene Descartes sits down at the bar.
The bartender asks him "Will you be having a drink?"
Rene Descartes says "I think not" ...
You have also taken 2 unrelated phrases of mine and put them together to make some kind of point, it seems.
You need more practice at twisting what people are saying. You are trying, but not succeeding.
It’s intriging to think that although it will be crunched to beyond the subatomic in some future black hole environment, the information contained even in these sentences will never be lost.