Re: poly: Open vs closed universe

From: Carl Feynman <>
Date: Sat Feb 28 1998 - 07:59:56 PST

At 03:46 PM 2/26/98 -0800, Hal Finney wrote:
>... the
>possibility that even a negative curvature universe could be topologically

Thanks, neat reference.

>I'm somewhat bemused about the motivation for these studies. Astronomers
>almost seem to have a phobia about the infinite. ...
>Now that observations seem to be clearly showing the universe to be open,
>we have new proposals which would eliminate the threat of an spatially
>infinite universe yet again. There is not a shred of evidence or theory
>to believe that these models will work, but they seem to be attractive
>enough to researchers that people will spend months of work analyzing
>the microwave data, hoping to find the signature of a wrapped universe.
>... I can only assume that the lure of
>making the universe finite again is motivating this work.

What's motivating this work is the desire to investigate something very
unlikely, which if it turned out to be true, would be an amazing surprise.
It's a long shot, but if the universe turned out to be folded into itself,
it would be a major discovery. The chance of making such a discovery is
quite enough to motivate one or two astronomers, out of the 5000 practicing
today, to spend a year or so on this work. It doesn't need a philosophical
prejudice on the part of that astronomer, much less among all astronomers
in general.

I spent a while thinking about this last year-- unaware that anyone was
working on it-- and concluded that you couldn't do the job using galaxy
surveys. And I don't have a desire to find the universe either finite or

Received on Fri Feb 27 16:04:34 1998

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:30 PST