Martin Rees' book Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the sensitive to just six numbers, constant values that describe and define. Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe. Martin Rees · Edward W. Kolb, Reviewer. University of Chicago. PDF. PDF | On Nov 1, , Volker Müller and others published Book Review: Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the soundofheaven.info Martin Rees. p.
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Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that Shape the Universe Author: Martin Rees. downloads Views 8MB Size Report. DOWNLOAD PDF. MARTIN REES. J U S T S I X N U M B E R S. The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe. A Member of the. Perseus Books Group. Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces that. Shape the Universe by Martin Rees – review. The astronomer royal addresses the cosmic coincidence that six.
Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. What is the evidence for the Big Bang? There is no prospect of any direct measurements in this domain: We see 13 billion years, but from His point of view He is running us over the weekend. He explains how, if this ratio were less, and therefore gravity was relatively stronger, stars would be much smaller and would burn much quicker. There would be no explosions to spray the debris back into space so that new stars could form from it, and no elements would exist that could ever form rocky planets.
View all 4 comments. Mar 14, WarpDrive rated it really liked it Shelves: This four-star rating is actually a compromise between the intrinsic value and merits of this book 5 star and how much I personally enjoyed reading it 3 star. This is a cute, very readable and superbly well written introductory book at beginners level. A fine example of popular science book, encapsulating several interesting concepts in just a little over pages, with little oversimplification.
Had I come across this book 15 years ago, I would have appreciated it immensely more. Reading it This four-star rating is actually a compromise between the intrinsic value and merits of this book 5 star and how much I personally enjoyed reading it 3 star. Reading it now, unfortunately it did not give me much, to be honest - but this is no fault of the book per se. It must also be said that some parts are a little dated unavoidably so, considering the significant progress since the book was published , but it is still a very pleasurable, light read with many interesting insights.
View 1 comment. After we've had a few drinks my fundamentalist friends will often bring the talk round to The Creation just to have some fun at my expense. They laugh at my belief in a "big bang", make ribald jokes about my "sudden, enormous inflation" and tell me I don't have much energy at all these days let alone any "dark energy".
I've only myself to blame for not keeping up with the latest in cosmology. I tend to end up mumbling something about micro-wave background radiation before heading off quickly to t After we've had a few drinks my fundamentalist friends will often bring the talk round to The Creation just to have some fun at my expense.
I tend to end up mumbling something about micro-wave background radiation before heading off quickly to the bar to order the next round. Well, rounds aren't cheap anymore, so I thought I should do something to remedy the situation. This book is a great help to anyone wanting to bring some modern cosmology into the metaphysical discussions that inevitably crop up on pub night and I've written this review to help me crib a few points.
Thanks to the excellent explanation in this book I could get together a summary of key parameters underlying the whole of material existence which I can take a look at in the pub toilets on my iphone next time we're out drinking.
My knowledge of the first few nano-seconds at the birth of the universe should be enough to blow their Ark out of the water. Drinks on the faithful for a change! N - the relative strength of the force of gravity compared to the electrostatic forces of attraction or repulsion , with the force of gravity being about ten to the thirty-sixth power weaker.
If gravity was much stronger galaxies would form more quickly and be more dense resulting in greater difficulty forming stable planetary systems; stellar lifetimes would be shorter, potentially not allowing sufficient time to evolve complex biological molecules.
If e were too low, deuterium - an important intermediate in helium fusion - would not form. If e were too high then protons could join directly without neutrons and in such quantity that little hydrogen would be available to form stars and then through stellar evolution for the formation of other elements required for evolution of biological molecules.
Omega - the ratio of actual matter in the universe to the critical amount of matter to balance expansion of the universe with contraction due to gravity.
If omega is less than one the universe will continue expanding indefinitely and too rapidly to allow galaxy and star formation and hence development of life; more than one and the universe will ultimately begin to contract, again too fast for stellar evolution and hence life to develop.
The rate of expansion suggests strongly that omega was either very close to one at the time of the big bang i. Observable matter in the universe suggests omega is well below one, leading to the search for "dark matter". But what is "dark matter"? Candidate matter includes "brown dwarf" stars, mini-black holes or some type of as yet unknown particle. As an aside anti-matter seems relatively unlikely to be a candidate for dark matter: In fact the ratio of photons to protons observed in the universe is not inconsistent with the magnitude of this asymmetry.
Lambda - Einstein's famous cosmological constant reborn - the constant introduced into Einstein's equations at which "cosmic repulsion" exactly balanced gravity and would reflect the net effect of energy within empty space. There is strong but not overwhelming evidence for lambda being low but non zero. If lambda was too large repulsion would have overwhelmed gravity in early stages of the universe, again preventing galaxy and star evolution and the formation of life.
Q - a measure of how tightly matter is bound in clusters of galaxies rather than being evenly spread, measured as the ratio of the energy required to disperse matter over the rest mass energy of the matter concerned i. Q is low 10e-5 implying a relatively homogeneous universe. However if Q was too low the gravitational force required to form aggregates of stars and galaxies would not be strong enough to overcome repulsive forces of radiation. Conversely if too high then matter would aggregate in forms that would not be able to sustain life - perhaps vast black holes that would emit gamma radiation as they grow larger.
D - the number of dimensions, being four - three spatial dimensions and one time dimension. With three spatial dimensions forces of gravity and electro-magnetic forces will follow an inverse square law - as you double the distance the force will drop by a quarter.
Mathematically speaking planetary orbits are stable under an inverse square law; a slight change in speed will bring about a correspondingly slight change in orbit. However under an inverse cube or higher law orbits would not be stable; if your orbit was slowed down or sped up from an asteroid collision the changes are you would spiral down into the sun or off to outer space.
How fascinating. View 2 comments. Dec 21, Jose Moa rated it really liked it Shelves: A book about cosmology but mainly about anthropic cosmolgical principle,weak and strong,the book develops the importance of fine tuning of six,mainly of cosmic significance ,numbers.
This numbers are: Epsilon the los of mass or energetic efficiency in the nuclear fussion of protons. Omega the mass density of our universe. Q the ripples or a A book about cosmology but mainly about anthropic cosmolgical principle,weak and strong,the book develops the importance of fine tuning of six,mainly of cosmic significance ,numbers. Q the ripples or asimetries imprinted in the Big-Bang.
D the number of spatial dimensions 3 of our universe. The very precise fine tuning of the values of this numbers play a fundamental role in make a universe where complex long lived structures between them the life and inteligent life can exist. In Font of this fact one can take two positions: With regard to all this I Will type two textual paragraphs that I think are important in the philosofy of the book. Nothing seems to pre-ordain the emergence of inteligence;indeed some leading evolutionists believe that,even if simple life were widespread in the cosmos,inteligence could be exceedingly rare.
But physics can never explain what breathes fire into the equations,and actualices them in a real cosmos. The fundamental question of "Why is there something rather tan nothing? And even they may be wiser to respond,with Ludwig Wittgenstein,that"whereof one cannot speak,one must be silent. A recomended book for all that would like to take a clear concise introduction to cosmology and its implications.
Aug 01, Jared rated it it was ok Recommends it for: I don't hold much respect for "fine-tuning" arguments in relation to cosmology, but the book was a gift, so I felt obligated to give it a try.
Also, if one wants to be knowledgeable about this kind of thing, one has to read more than just the stuff that supports one's own ideas. In his attempt to be accessible to the public, the author does what I consider to be a lot of hand-waving and emphatic gestures rather than actually explaining anything.
He also fails at what I think is a basic level of i I don't hold much respect for "fine-tuning" arguments in relation to cosmology, but the book was a gift, so I felt obligated to give it a try.
He also fails at what I think is a basic level of imagination: There is some good basic information about cosmology in here, especially with regard to the fundamental forces, but readers would be better off with one of Stephen Hawking 's books A Brief History of Time or The Universe in a Nutshell if they're looking to actually learn something.
Just six numbers, written and narrated by the author k drive non-fiction science multiple universe theory, super strings fraudio Martin Rees has been Astronomer Royal since You can't get away from the black and white of the situation, manouvered or evolved.
You will find that there is no point in discussing this with anyone. Everyone believes, in the depths of their very being, one way or the other I am the one who crawls out of the Chinese Coal Mine every morning at 5a,m to cook the porridge oats; I get to watch the independent eruptions occuring within the one closed system of the saucepan and so have no problem at all with envisioning the parallel universe scenario - it is nothing but beautiful and natural and right.
No tweaking needed. If one had to summarize, in just one sentence, 'What's been happening since the Big Bang? Jun 25, Jimmy Ele rated it really liked it Shelves: I appreciate it for familiarizing me with these 6 important numbers. However, the reason for the loss of 1. There doesn't seem to be any excitement throughout. Very bland at times for such an interesting topic. Feb 17, Mohamed al-Jamri rated it really liked it Shelves: This book might be short, but it is full of information that are presented in an easy-to-understand style.
Unlike many of popular science books, this one is to the point and there are very few diversions. The main thesis is one of the greatest discoveries in physics that was made in the s and s; it tells us that there are these six numbers, which are extremely fine-tuned and what would happen if any of them is only slightly modified. What makes this book more interesting is the fact that This book might be short, but it is full of information that are presented in an easy-to-understand style.
What makes this book more interesting is the fact that the author is an atheist, yet as a leading astronomer he is telling us about the scientific foundations of the fine-tuning case that is used by theists as evidence for the existence of god.
Fine-tunning is according to prominent atheist and anti-theist Chritopher Hitchens the only serious argument for existence of God and Jerry Coyne called it the new Natural Theology. It should be noted that the author keeps good relations with the religious; he won The Templeton Prize in which is given to those that have "made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension".
Richard Dawkins called him a "compliant quisling" i. The author takes us through inspirational observations of the universe. How did life emerge and develop? Is there life elsewhere? How big can living things grow to? What are the four powers of nature and how are they fine tuned? What is gravity, neutrino stars and black holes? How did elements and galaxies form?
Why are carbon and nitrogen abundant in Earth while gold and uranium rare? What are the nuclear forces and how are they fine tuned? Is the universe expanding? What is the evidence for the Big Bang?
What is Dark Matter, Anti-matter and Neutrinos? What is Dark Energy? What is the story of Einstein's cosmological constant? What is time?
What is the inflation theory and superstring theory? For fine-tunig, the author offers two options, chance or design. But then he adds that there is a third option which is the multiverse, which the author subscribes to despite calling it speculative and "a hunch". The author is optimistic that further advancements in science will strengthen our understanding of the multiverse. A recurring point in many popular science physics book that I'm repeatedly seeing and is included in this book is the fact that since the universe is flat its total energy is zero.
And since gravity is a negative energy, the total cost to create the universe is zero. The book was published in and so some of the information in it is slightly outdated. This shows how science has progressed in the last 17 years. For example he says that the age of the universe is between 12 and 13 billion years and that we don't know the deceleration and acceleration of its expansion since its creation. We now know that the universe is So in overall in an amazing book that is thought provoking about one of the deepest questions.
It might feel a bit dry for those not used to reading science books, but the journey is well worth it. Martin Rees is the Astronomer Royal of Great Britain since and is a skilled writer on matters astronomical for the general public.
In this book he describes six numerical constants that lie at the heart of knowledge about the universe at the turn of the millennium the book was published in His subjects range from fundamental particle forces to the mysterious "dark energy" as represented by lambda, the force believed responsible for the accelerating expansion of the universe.
At on Martin Rees is the Astronomer Royal of Great Britain since and is a skilled writer on matters astronomical for the general public. At only or so pages, this book is necessarily short on detail, but Rees presents a very readable introduction to some fascinating science.
Jan 24, Gendou rated it really liked it Shelves: A terse survey of cosmology. Covers a wide breadth without going into satisfactory depth. For example, the author sometimes mentions only one of several interesting points of view. Still, a fine read, especially valuable to the novice, but not boring to the expert.
Embarrassingly, the author predicts the discovery of dark matter particles by Jan 29, Moataz Harb rated it it was amazing Shelves: I never rate a book before finishing it, but this one is an exception. Six numbers: For example, if gravity wasn't exactly this weak comparing to other forces in the atom, but not weaker, the universe either would have collapsed right after Big Bang, or would have expanded so fast that no stars, galaxies, planetary systems could've formed.
Thus, no potential for life. Writing and readability Rees makes his case of fine tuning with regard to life very convincing. The book i Six numbers: The book is written for the lay reader, and it's decidedly a must-read for anyone interested in cosmology, astronomy, physics.
It's rare that I find books for popularizing science that don't have the faults of being clumsy written or assuming a much higher level of knowledge that they're advertised for. To bring science down to earth is no easy enterprise, and Rees, reputable cosmologist , succeeds amazingly. The book makes many comparisons of the numbers and ratios it speaks of, with every day examples, or it creates elocvently frame by frame images, to convey just how precise small or big the numbers are.
This is done so well that it leaves you feeling you now really - really - know more, understand the universe better, and estimate the extreme unlikeliness of our universe to turn out just right for life.
The writing style does wonders to convey to the reader a powerful case for the fine tuning of each number. Rees compares what would happen if each number varies, assuming everything else is equal. One at a time. And concludes from it, that they're extremely fine-tuned. However, what would happen if you vary two numbers at a time?
How about three? How about varying relations between one of these numbers and the other elements, which Rees combines with it according to laws of physics of our universe to yield his results of dead universes? Varying one at a time is not a throughout investigation. Let us say we have six integer numbers, and their sum is Let us say that a "life-permitting sum" is in the range and If I vary one of the numbers, with 1 plus or minus 1 , I still get about If I vary that number with 2 plus or minus 2 , I no longer get my goal sum.
If I vary it more, the sum will never be in the goal range. I had only two permitted variations. But, if I vary 2 numbers at a time, I can obviously "succeed" with significantly more variations.
If I vary 3 numbers at a time, ever more. If I also accept that the "law" can be changed the function may be a sum, or a product, or an exponential function, etc , I can have way more winning combinations. I may have more failures than successes, true, but I have a bigger pool of wins, meaning the numbers themselves are not "just about right". Rees' fine-tuning thesis assumes varying one number at a time, which is only a slice of the research to get a whole range of potentially life-permitting universes.
After it limits itself this way, it asks for an explanation for such an improbable event of each number being exactly right. I'll say it's not a defensible position, from a logical-philosophical perspective. Rees' possible answers to his question are the multiverse theory and the creationist hypothesis, with a nod in the direction of a possible unified theory that will eventually explain why these numbers had to be as they are.
Since I don't think the question was entirely correct to begin with, I don't feel compelled to jump to his conclusions yet. Critique of the critique When I read the book, I was left with the question: I don't know, I'm no physicist, and while I feel I learned from this book and it's Cosmology ! However, it seems I received my answer, from another direction. This week, in the discussion on Manny's review of The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning, he quotes another cosmologist, Barnes, a supporter of fine-tuning theories.
With this occasion with this occasion I read Rees' book as well , I read more of Barnes' blog and articles, and I came upon this: This gives me my answer, in no uncertain terms: There is an objection to fine-tuning that goes like this: But, if you let more than one variable vary at a time, there turns out to be a range of life-permitting universes.
So the universe is not fine-tuned for life. This is a myth. The claim quoted by our questioner is totally wrong. Also, further down the page, Barnes refers to this book: This myth may have started because, when fine-tuning is presented to lay audiences, it is often illustrated using one-parameter limits.
Rees knows that the limits involve more than one parameter — he derived many of those limits. But equation 1 above would be far too intimidating in a popular level book. Indeed, I got my answer, spot on! The equation noted is above my undergrad and forgotten math level.
However, the question I had while I was reading Rees' book had to do with internal logic of his thesis. The road ahead Which raises another question: According to Barnes, the only constraint in varying parameters to get possible universes, is for these universes to be logically possible.
And I mean bold. I should add though, the claim strikes me as methodologically correct, because what else is there to assume about the possible universes? We can't necessarily assume they obey the physical laws that may have been set from the initial conditions which we vary!
But the magnitude of the task, even if there are mathematical tools to make it more reasonable, leaves me in a combination of awe and disbelief.
Once she chose their universe s to examine, the fine-tuning-interested cosmologist then solves the equations for those possible universes. If the universe is not self-consistent, then it's trashed. Then estimate the probability for the universe under examination actually class of universes to be life-permitting.
The purpose: This is my current understanding of Barnes' paper and blog, and with them, a certain direction on fine-tuning today. I'd have more to say about those logically possible only universes!
Conclusion Rees doesn't claim for his book to have another purpose than it does: He succeeds very well, perhaps too well. Apparently, we, lay readers, might get easily from it a too limited but powerful impression about the sides of the controversy of fine-tuning. Luckily, the same is not the case on physics and cosmology. Controversies aside, I think this in cosmology is one of the best written books popularizing science. Very recommended, and easy to read. View all 8 comments.
Aug 04, Cassandra Kay Silva rated it it was amazing Shelves: I gobbled this one up in a heartbeat. Brilliant, wonderful, insightful. I loved it. I plan on reading it again before taking it back to the library.
Maybe I will get a copy for the house too. I don't have anything to add to what the author said. Bravo and thank you for letting the reader make his own conclusion or choose not to make any at that point. I was worried there for a bit that he was going to pounce an agenda on me. It looks like the author is just genuinely interested in as he ca I gobbled this one up in a heartbeat.
It looks like the author is just genuinely interested in as he calls them the "Deep Forces That Shape the Universe" and dang it I am too. I am very interested and was very pleased with this presentation. This is a book that will be deliciously satisfying but leave you pondering and doing a lot of internal dialogue on the matter.
Its worth having this discussion with yourself and I feel the author has done just that and let you in on his musings. I will absolutely be picking up another one by Rees, I was very pleased. Jun 18, Mohammed Al-Garawi rated it it was amazing Shelves: A very good summary of pretty much everything about what happened after the Big Bang. I recommend reading this along with Neil deGrasse Tyson's Origins. Jan 10, Ana rated it really liked it Shelves: Not much to review here, trying to understand physics is hard enough as it is.
Oct 12, Nikki rated it liked it Shelves: In summary: Rather than the four particles being assembled in one go, a helium nucleus is built up in stages, via deuterium heavy hydrogen , which comprises a proton plus a neutron.
Then the path to helium formation would be closed off. We would have a simple universe composed of hydrogen, whose atom consists of one proton orbited by a single electron, and no chemistry.
Stars could still form in such a universe if everything else were kept unchanged but they would have no nuclear fuel. They would deflate and cool, ending up as dead remnants. There would be no explosions to spray the debris back into space so that new stars could form from it, and no elements would exist that could ever form rocky planets.
If 8 were to have been 0. This would have happened readily in the early universe, so that no hydrogen would remain to provide the fuel in ordinary stars, and water could never have existed. Carbon with six protons and six neutrons in its nucleus is made by combining three helium nuclei. There is negligible chance of all three coming together simultaneously, and so the process happens via an intermediate stage where two helium nuclei combine into beryllium four protons and four neutrons before combining with another helium nucleus to form carbon.
Hoyle confronted the problem that this beryllium nucleus is unstable: So how could carbon ever arise? Hoyle actually predicted that this resonance would exist; he urged his experimental colleagues to measure it, and was vindicated.
Even a shift by four per cent would severely deplete the amount of carbon that could be made. Nature, , have computed just how sensitive the carbon production is to changes in the nuclear physics. A weaker nuclear force would shift the most tightly bound nucleus which is now iron, number 26 lower down the periodic table and reduce below ninety-two the number of stable atoms. This would lead to an impoverished chemistry. There are two reasons for this persistent uncertainty in the age of our universe.
The exact distances to galaxies are unlike their recession speeds still somewhat inexact; also, the estimate depends on how much faster or slower the expansion might have been in the past.
It manifests itself as microwaves, the kind of radiation that generates heat in a microwave oven but very much less intense. Later measurements confirmed that these microwaves have a very distinctive property: Every cubic metre contains million quanta of radiation, or photons: During the expansion of the universe, the density of atoms and of photons both decrease.
But the decrease is the same for both, and so the ratio of photons to atoms stays the same. Cosmologists denote it by the Greek letter a omega.
The fate of the universe depends on whether or not exceeds one. But we should not jump too soon to that conclusion. The way stars and galaxies are moving suggest that something invisible must be exerting a gravitational pull on them. This implies, of course, that a proton or its constituent quarks can sometimes appear or disappear without the same thing happening to an antiproton. There is a contrast here with net electrical charge: But these conditions, though necessary, are not sufficient.
It had to be tuned amazingly close to unity in the early universe. If expansion was too fast, gravity could never pull regions together to make stars or galaxies; if the initial impetus were insufficient, a premature Big Crunch would quench evolution when it had barely begun.
The most common reaction seems, at first sight, perverse. This odd-looking style of reasoning has actually served well in other contexts; for instance, we know that in a hydrogen atom, the positive electric charge on the proton is cancelled by the negative charge on the orbiting electron, to immense precision — better than one part in 10 No measurement can, however, tell us that the net charge on an atom is exactly zero: This universe was finite but unbounded: Astronomers had by then realized that our galaxy was just one of many, and that distant galaxies were receding from us: He could then maybe have predicted the expansion before Edwin Hubble discovered it.
Our present cosmic environment would be very little different if it were even smaller though the long-range forecast, discussed below, would be somewhat altered. What would happen if we came back when the universe was ten times older — a hundred billion rather than ten billion years old?
My favoured guess before there was much relevant evidence used to be that the expansion would by then have halted and been succeeded by recollapse to a Big Crunch in which everything experienced the same fate as an astronaut who falls inside a black hole. Our universe would then have a finite timespan for its continued existence, as well as being bounded in space.
The surface of a hole is made slightly fuzzy by quantum effects, and it consequently radiates. In our present universe, this effect is too slow to be interesting unless mini-holes the size of atoms actually exist.
The timescale is 10 66 years for the total decay of a stellar-mass hole; and a hole weighing as much as a billion suns would erode away in 10 93 years. Eventually, after 10 years have passed, the only surviving vestige of our Local Group of galaxies would be just a swarm of dark matter and a few electrons and positrons. All galaxies beyond our Local Group would undergo the same internal decay, and would move further from us.
They will fade from view even faster because their redshifts increase rather than diminish. Our range of vision will be bounded by a horizon that is rather like an inside-out version of the horizon around a black hole. At late times, we will not see any further than we do now. All galaxies except Andromeda and the other small galaxies gravitationally bound into our own Local Group would be fated to disappear from view.
Their distant future lies beyond our horizon, as inaccessible to us as the events inside a black hole. Extragalactic space will become exponentially emptier as the aeons advance.
This is a pure number — a ratio of two energies — and we call it Q. The simplest guess would be that nothing in the early universe favours one scale rather than another, so that the ripples are the same on every scale.
There must also be enough ordinary atoms, initially in diffuse gas, to form all of the stars in all of the galaxies. Why Q is about 10 -5 is still a mystery. But its value is crucial: Regions far bigger than galaxies would condense early in its history. Any surviving gas would get so hot that it would emit intense X-rays and gamma rays.
Galaxies even if they managed to form would be much more tightly bound than the actual galaxies in our universe. Stars would be packed too close together and buffeted too frequently to retain stable planetary systems.
For similar reasons, solar systems are not able to exist very close to the centre of our own galaxy, where the stars are in a close-packed swarm compared with our less-central locality. A small guarantees that the structures are all small compared with the horizon, and so our field of view is large enough to encompass many independent patches each big enough to be a fair sample. If Q were much bigger, superclusters would themselves be clustered into structures that stretched up to the scale of the horizon rather than, as in our universe, being restricted to about one per cent of that scale.
In these contexts, each factor of ten on the cosmic clock in the age of the universe — each extra zero after the decimal point — is likely to be equally eventful and should count equally. The leap back from 10 seconds to 10 seconds is then bigger in that it spans more factors of ten than the timespan between the three minute threshold when helium was formed about seconds after the Big Bang and the present time 3 x 10 17 seconds, or ten billion years. In this perspective, there is plenty of action at even earlier stages.
Everything, however, would have been hotter than degrees for the first seconds. Perhaps the early universe was the only place where the requisite temperature for unifying the forces could even be reached.