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Now I want to welcome everybody. Joel and I have sat on that side, I don't know how many book signings and its just really a thrill to be on this side for our first book, at least our first book together, Joel wrote one many years ago. So you may be, you may be wondering somewhat skeptically about the title of our book, The View from the Center of the Universe. Didn't Galileo tell us that the Earth is not the center of the universe? Yes, he did, he did and he was absolutely right, Earth is not the center of the universe, there is no center to the expanding universe geographically, but our book is using the word center in much more interesting ways, ways Galileo never could have anticipated. What we mean by center is that we are central to the principles underlying the new universe. This is the golden age of cosmology. Cosmology today means the scientific study of the entire universe, its origin, evolution, structure, and composition. In our new cosmology as Nancy said, it turns out that we're special or central in many different ways and we'll tell you about a few of them. what we are gonna do tonight is mostly tell you about this new picture of the universe but also give you at least a few ways of looking at it that I think might be interesting. So cosmology is a course of science and Joel is one of the world's leading cosmologists but cosmology has a completely different meaning for anthropologists. For anthropologists what it means is the picture of reality of a tribe or a society, the complete picture of reality, how the universe works, what their role is in it, what to expect of the gods, what the gods expect of them. So the question for us then becomes what is our cosmology in the anthropologist sense? What is our culture's shared picture of the universe? If you close you eyes right now and visualize the universe as a whole what do you see? I'd like you to just try that for a moment and then just call out briefly, what do you see, what does the universe as a whole look like to you? Very interesting, no one sees the same thing. And its inevitable because our culture has simply given us no imagery to think about the universe. For thousands of years, really until the time of Galileo, people wanted to know what surrounded themselves, but since Galileo we have had scientific standards and there was no way to meet these standards, but now, scientists have discovered the very first verifiably theory of the origin and evolution of the universe. Joel's one of the creators of that theory, as I said he's one of the world's leading cosmologists and I'm gonna tell you a little bit about him and then he's gonna tell you a little bit about me. So Joel and I are married, we met in Washington in the '70's. He used to be a particle physicist and then he found out that a hypothetical particle that he was a big expert in, but of course may or may not exist, that particle, that's how it is in the particle physics biz that particle might be the solution to a long standing astronomy mystery so when he found out that connection, he decided he needed to learn astronomy. So he taught himself the entire field of astronomy. Within four years, he was one of the leaders and he and his colleagues came up with the theory of cold dark matter, which has, in one of its versions, become standard theory of structure formation in the universe. Joel is actually rare even among cosmologist, he's the one they invite when they want to have a talk on the state of the universe, they call Joel. So, I am not a scientist. I am an artist, I'm a musician, I'm a lawyer, I'm various other things, but I am not a scientist and it has been just an incredible experience for me to watch Joel think, its just something that you have to experience to believe. So I've gone to dozens of astrophysics conferences with him and its really expanded my universe in every sense of the phrase. I. As a writer, feel very, very privileged right now to be present at an extremely historic moment. You're all present at it, you may just not have been aware of it. The advent of a new cosmology is an extremely rare event. Its only happened twice since biblical times. At the time of the Bible, people believed that the world was flat. They thought, this was their picture of the universe, there was a flat earth, like a pancake, on top of that was a bubble of air, above that was a hard thing shaped like that. Literally the word in the bible is ______, hard thing, which was translated in the King James Version as firmament. You may have wondered where the word firmament came from well that's it. And then outside the firmament and below the flat earth was water, water, water, water forever, the primeval water. And that was the picture that had been, the picture in the Middle East for thousands of years before the Bible. The flat earth became the round earth. The ancient Greek picture of a round earth, where everything went around the earth, all the planets and so forth revolved around the earth. That picture became accepted, by the Middle Ages that is the picture that all educated people had. So there was this change from a picture of a flat earth to a round earth and then in the Copernican revolution, the round earth is the center of the universe, became earth as just a planet traveling around a star, no special place. So those two major transitions were the only ones before today in western culture, in the history of western culture. Nancy is a wonderfully talented writer and thinker with an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in the history and philosophy of science and a law degree from University of Michigan. But in between those two degrees, for over a year, she sang with an Italian Cabaret troop all over Italy, in Italian and two other languages. Nancy mentioned that she's often come with me to scientific conferences; she didn't mention that she's often been the entertainment at these scientific conferences. She often gives concerts of her original songs and often writes a new song for each conference. In fact, in the book Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos, by Dennis Overbye, the book ends by quoting all the lyrics from a song that Nancy wrote, which kind of summarized the conference that Dennis sort of ended the book with. We met when we were both attending a meeting of, a subcommittee of Gerald Ford's science advisory committee. Nancy was invited because at that time she was working for the Ford Foundation and they hoped that she would fund it and I was invited to critique it. What we both agreed on was that it was a terrible idea that they were pushing. Much of the thinking and all of the best writing in our book is due to Nancy. And it think its really a tribute to Nancy that the forthcoming issue of one of the leading literary journals, the Missouri Review, is going to be publishing a chapter, one of the science chapters from our book, as an example of what they call creative non-fiction. We looked down stairs just before coming up here at they have the Winter issue of the Missouri Review, any day now the spring issue will come out, but you don't have to wait, its chapter six of our book. And that's the first one we're gonna talk about. That's the one that this is about. So how many people here could confidently say what is the universe? Well how do we humans fit into the universe? Are we insignificant? Are we alone? These have seemed to be permanent perennial philosophical questions. But powerful telescopes and other instruments from our producing a deluge of convincing data from the distant never before seen parts of the universe and its now possible to answer these questions scientifically. The question for us, at least for me the question was, well how do we get these answers across? They're very counterintuitive, they're expressed mathematically, how to get these ideas across visually is the core of our book. What we try to give you is a visual picture of this very strange but real universe that we live in. we're gonna show you two ways of looking at the universe tonight. And our book has seven, at least. So this is the first one. Can everybody see this picture? OK, this is what we call the cosmic oroborus, it's a serpent swallowing its tale. Now the word "oroborus" is Greek and, because, it's the word everyone uses the symbol itself, was used by many people both before and after the ancient Greeks by countless cultures for thousands of years. And they used it to represent various different cosmic pictures, horizon of the world, endless cycles of time, it was always used for a cosmic idea and we are going to do the same thing. We are going to use the serpent swallowing its tale to represent all of the different sizes that are possible in the universe. The very smallest size is here at the tip of the tale. And then the sizes get larger and larger until we come around to the head. The tale represents a size that is dictated by the interaction of quanta mechanics and relativity. Physics simply doesn't have to think about any smaller sizes. The head represents the size of the physical universe. The swallowing the tale, which is literally what oroborus means, is actually an idea due to Sheldon Glashow, the Nobel Prize winning physicist from Harvard, he was the one who suggested the symbol for that. And what the tale swallowing represents is Sheldon's hope, shared by many of us physicists, that some day we'll actually have a unified picture of the whole universe that will connect all the different sized scales together, in particular, the smallest and the largest. We're not there yet, the best hope of such a theory of everything is "superstring" theory. In "superstring" theory, its absolutely correct that if you try to go smaller than this size, ten to the minus thirty three centimeters, something funny happens and you start getting big again. So there really is a connection between the smallest and the largest. The trouble is that "superstring" theory is a theory about eleven dimensions, one dimension of time, ten dimensions of space, but it doesn't make any predictions that we know how to take out of the theory about the real world that we live in of three dimensions of space. So we don't know how to test that theory. But in the universe as we understand it, there's the smallest size, because of the interplay between relativity and quanta mechanics, that's the (unidentified) size, tip of the tale, ten to the minus thirty three centimeters. The largest size that we can actually know anything about is the entire visible universe, which is ten to the, go all the way around, each tape mark is a power ten to the fifth a hundred thousand. So you go all the way around and ten to the twenty-eight centimeters is all the way up here and that's the cosmic horizon. This is a galaxy, the distance to the stars that make up the Orion constellation, the distance across our solar systems, the sun, the earth, a mountain, us, an ant, a single cell, creature, this happens to be E. coli, a big molecule, DNA, a single atom, the nucleus of an atom, various mysterious stuff on smaller scales, now the laws of physics are the same on all scales, but the laws that are important are different on different scales. You can't just scale things up. And expect them to behave the same way, that's not how physics works. Hollywood either hasn't appreciated that or they ignore it on purpose. If King Kong were actually a living creature, as big as the one in the movie, it would crush itself immediately. The reason is that the thickness of the bones is what's important for the strength of bones and the weight goes as the cue of the length, but the thickness of the bones only as square, so King Kong is five times as high as a lowland gorilla, the bones are five times five, twenty-five times as strong as if they're scaled up, but the weight is five times five times five, a hundred twenty-five times as great and it would crush itself immediately. An elephant can't look like a large deer. A creature like King Kong would have to have legs thicker than those of an elephant to support its immense weight. Big creatures fall much harder than small creatures. A mouse or any smaller creature could be dropped down a thousand yard mineshaft and on reaching the bottom it'd just walk away. "A rat is killed, a man breaks a horse splashes" that's a quote from J.B.S. Holding, the British biologist. If King Kong had really fallen off the top of the Empire State building pink mush would have covered the streets of Manhattan. Size matters and its interesting that the human size scale is right in the middle of all possible size scales. That's not an accident. Humans have to be about as big as we are in order to be as complex as we are. All atoms are about the same size. And to have enough atoms to have the complexity represented by us you have to be about as big as we are. Intelligence couldn't be any larger than we are because if it were the speed of communication would be a fundamental limitation. Ultimately the speed of light is the fundamental limitation and we build super computers by hooking together lots of small processors with all the hard calculations being done on very small scales so a large creature that is intelligent would actually be a community, the actual thinking would be done on much smaller scales. Well, a model car, as you all know, does not run on a combustion engine, and that is another example of how when things change in scale, they change in the way that they work and that is only a difference, say the length of a model car and the length of a real car, would only be a factor of ten, imagine how different it would be if you were thinking of something ten to the thirty, ten to the the forty times different, now this is one of the reasons why intuitive explanations about the origins of the universe have always been wrong, always. What we show here is this part of the oroborus in daylight, that's what the blue is supposed to represent, and why is this part different, because this is the part of the universe for which we humans have intuition. We understand how things work from the size of little creatures, maybe little smaller than ants, up to the sun, but we don't understand intuitively how things on these tiny scales work, or on the large scales. In fact, most people are not even aware that those things exist and this is what is the meaning of reality to most people. Now we've named that part of the oroborus in our book. We decided to give it a name because its so special. We call it "midgard". And "midgard" is a name taken from the Norse mythology of the Eddas and in that theology, "midgard" was the land of human life of civilization and stability in the middle of what they considered to be the world ocean or the world sea. And this island of human civilization was not the only thing in the world sea. In this direction was the land of the gods, and in this direction was the land of the giants. And we'd chosen "midgard" because that is exactly how the world works. In this direction are the giant things hat one can barely even imagine, black holes billions of times the size of the sun, galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars, super clusters of galaxies, these things are gigantic beyond imagination. In this direction, are not gods, but the micro lands of the living worlds of cells and the quantum realm. Now, although these may not be gods, they're the source of all that we are, they're more ancient, they're universal. So inside "midgard" we humans have intuition, even on a planet in a distant galaxy a million light years away, our "midgard" intuition would be useful, though fallible. But out here our intuition is completely worthless. We need science. Now this is a completely different way of visualizing the universe. You will catch on very soon, there is no one-way of visualizing the universe. But we have many different images that we give you in the book to visualize each of the fundamental ideas underlying the universe and when you put them altogether you start getting the idea. So this is what we call the pyramid of all visible matter, ou of course all in your pocketbooks or wallets have examples of this, is taken from the back of the dollar bill or the back of the great seal of the United States, but we're using it a little bit differently. The bottom part of the pyramid represents, as far as its volume is concerned, the amount of stuff in the universe that's just made of the two lightest elements, hydrogen and helium. The amount of stuff in the visible universe which basically means stars and big planets like Jupiter. The little floating capstone represents, in its volume, the tiny amount of material, a percent or so, that's made of everything else, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, iron, all those key things that we are made of and the earth and the inner rocky planets. The eye on the upper part is the only part that is not drawn to scale. That represents intelligence, us and any other intelligent life in the universe. If it were drawn to scale, the tiny amount of material that we represent would be an invisible point on the top of the pyramid. We're made of the rarest stuff on this scale, but everything that we can see, all of the stuff that we can see is actually very rare. It represents less than half of % of everything that's out there. Turns out we can measure these things many different ways and every different way is now giving us exactly the same answer. So what does the rest look like? Well there you see the pyramid of all visible matter p at the top in color and what you realize is that that's just the visible tip of a huge invisible pyramid, sort of like the tip of the iceberg. The other 99.5% is dark, as astronomers call it, or invisible. Dark actually means invisible, it means not shining or lit up in any way. The top four percent is also made of atoms. Mostly hydrogen and helium, almost all hydrogen and helium, and that is out in between the galaxies. At an earlier stage of the universe we could detect it, but we can't now, its not lit up. 25%, the vast amount of the matter in the universe, is cold dark matter, that's a terminology that I introduced back in 1983 and it caught on. We called various other hypothetical possibilities, hot dark matter and warm dark matter and they've turned out not to be what the universe is mostly made of, its mostly made of cold dark matter. And what the cold means is simply that it wasn't moving rapidly in the early universe. The code word that I use is those days is that it was moving sluggishly. And my colleagues at the University California Santa Cruz always smiled because they know that's a reference to our mascot, the banana slug. Now the vast majority of the stuff in the universe is dark energy. Many people think that the cold dark matter is a kind of particle that, as Nancy mentioned, I wrote some papers on years ago, in particular a paper on Heinz Pagels, a phys rev. letter in 1982, that suggested that the dark matter is the lightest supers metric partner particle, some clever person after named it a W.I.M.P., a weakly interacting massive particle. These particles, if they are what the dark matter is made of are going through us all the time and they're very massive, they're massive as uranium perhaps. But they hardly interact with anyone they just go right through you, they're sort of wimpy. There are many very elaborate experiments going on around the world trying to detect these particles and probably the leader in all the experiments that are going on right now, is one that is being headquartered in U.C. Berkeley led by Bernard Sadalay who lives a few blocks from here, they're operating in a deep mine in northern Minnesota, they always do these things very deep underground for shielding from cosmic graves because they're incredibly sensitive experiments, but they haven't seen a thing yet. They're making the experiments more sensitive and in the next few years they're hoping to see the particle, or at least rule out our theory and also there is an accelerator which is going to turn on next year in Geneva called the (unidentified) collider", much more powerful than anyone that we ever had before. And in most versions of the theory, those particles are going to start appearing. They're not gonna appear, they're invisible, what's gonna happen is that huge amounts of energy are gonna suddenly disappear and we'll determine that these particles must have been created because off this absence of energy and various other things will happen that if this theory is right it will be visible and it won't be these particles, it will be other particles that have electric charge. Anyway, this is this curious picture that we've now come to in the modern universe, but where do we humans fit in this picture? We're the rarest stuff in the universe. Even neutrinos, particles that we know all about, but which are very light, contribute much more in the way of energy and mass of the universe than we do, than the kind of stuff we're made of, the stardust, the stuff that deep in stars that we're made out of. The time in which we're living is also very special in many different ways. Let me just tell you four different ways briefly how our time that we're living in today is special. For one thing, we astronomers like to joke that this is the peak moment in the history of the universe for astronomical observation. It took billions of years to produce enough of this stardust to make rocky planets like earth, and then billions more years of biological evolution on earth to make us. The first creatures that we know of that have been able to see into distant galaxies and figure out what they are. But, meanwhile, the universe has started expanding faster and faster due to the dark energy and the result is that the galaxies are now, the distant galaxies are starting to disappear over the cosmic horizon. Never again will we be able to see as many galaxies as we can see right now. So the government better get busy and fund us quick. Second, we're living close to the midpoint of the age of the earth and the sun. The earth and sun came into existence about four and a half billion years ago and the sun will stop being a normal star and turn into a red giant, swell up and swallow the inner planets and possibly burn earth to a crisp in about six billion years. Now don't worry, its not gonna happen anytime soon, we still have many, at least hundreds of millions of years of perfectly livable amounts of heat and light from the sun. Our descendants will have time to live a very comfortable life and as the sun starts to heat up in many of millions of years, it might possibly move the earth farther away form the sun which could be done by the use of some large comets. You can ask me about that and I'll explain. Third, we live near the midpoint of the earth's most fertile period when it has an oxygen rich atmosphere. The atmosphere became oxygenated about half a billion years ago when large creatures started to evolve on earth, nd unless the earth is moved farther from the sun, the oceans will all be evaporated by the sun's getting hotter in about a half a billion more years. The oxygen and hydrogen will be dissociated in the top