Maximus writes:

The Higgs Boson was predicted with the same tool as the planet Neptune and the 
radio wave: with mathematics. Why does our universe seem so mathematical, and 
what does it mean? In my new book, Our Mathematical Universe, which comes out 
today, I argue that it means that our universe isn't just described by math, 
but that it is math in the sense that we're all parts of a giant mathematical 
object, which in turn is part of a multiverse so huge that it makes the other 
multiverses debated in recent years seem puny in comparison.

At first glance, our universe doesn't seem very mathematical at all. The 
groundhog who trims our lawn has properties such as cuteness and fluffiness -- 
not mathematical properties. Yet we know that this groundhog -- and everything 
else in our universe -- is ultimately made of elementary particles such as 
quarks and electrons. And what properties does an electron have? Properties 
like -1, ½ and 1! We physicists call these properties electric charge, spin and 
lepton number, but those are just words that we've made up and the fundamental 
properties that an electron has are just numbers, mathematical properties. All 
elementary particles, the building blocks of everything around, are purely 
mathematical objects in the sense that they don't have any properties except 
for mathematical properties. The same goes for the space that these particles 
are in, which has only mathematical properties -- for example 3, the number of 
dimensions. If space is mathematical and everything in space is also 
mathematical, then the idea that everything is mathematical doesn't sound as 
crazy anymore.

That our universe is approximately described by mathematics means that some but 
not all of its properties are mathematical, and is a venerable idea dating back 
to the ancient Greeks. That it is mathematical means that all of its properties 
are mathematical, i.e., that it has no properties at all except mathematical 
ones. If I'm right and this is true, then it's good news for physics, because 
all properties of our universe can in principle be understood if we're 
intelligent and creative enough. For example, this challenges the common 
assumption that we can never understand consciousness. Instead, it 
optimistically suggests that consciousness can one day be understood as a form 
of matter, forming the most beautifully complex structure in space and time 
that our universe has ever known. Such understanding would enlighten our 
approaches to animals, unresponsive patients and future ultra-intelligent 
machines, with wide-ranging ethical, legal and technological implications.

As I argue in detail in my book, it also implies that our reality is vastly 
larger than we thought, containing a diverse collection of universes obeying 
all mathematically possible laws of physics. An advanced computer program could 
in principle start generating an atlas of all such mathematically possible 
universes. The discovery of other solar systems has taught us that 8, the 
number of planets in ours, doesn't tell us anything fundamental about reality, 
merely something about which particular solar system we inhabit -- the number 8 
is essentially part of our cosmic ZIP code. Similarly, this mathematical atlas 
tells us that if we one day discover the equations of quantum gravity and print 
them on a T-shirt, we should not hübristically view these equations as the 
"Theory of Everything," but as information about our location in the 
mathematical atlas of the ultimate multiverse.

It's easy feel small and powerless when faced with this vast reality. Indeed, 
we humans have had this experience before, over and over again discovering that 
what we thought was everything was merely a small part of a larger structure: 
our planet, our solar system, our galaxy, our universe and perhaps a hierarchy 
of parallel universes, nested like Russian dolls. However, I find this 
empowering as well, because we've repeatedly underestimated not only the size 
of our cosmos, but also the power of our human mind to understand it. Our 
cave-dwelling ancestors had just as big brains as we have, and since they 
didn't spend their evenings watching TV, I'm sure they asked questions like 
"What's all that stuff up there in the sky?" and "Where does it all come 
from?". They'd been told beautiful myths and stories, but little did they 
realize that they had it in them to actually figure out the answers to these 
questions for themselves. And that the secret lay not in learning to fly into 
space to examine the celestial objects, but in letting their human minds fly. 
When our human imagination first got off the ground and started deciphering the 
mysteries of space, it was done with mental power rather than rocket power.

I find this quest for knowledge so inspiring that I decided to join it and 
become a physicist, and I've written this book because I want to share these 
empowering journeys of discovery, especially in this day and age when it's so 
easy to feel powerless. If you decide to read it, then it will be not only the 
quest of me and my fellow physicists, but our quest.


OK - now rip into him! He may well be edging closer and closer to Bruno’s Comp 
but I think he will need a few Salvia trips to get past his clear and evident 

Kim Jones


Kim Jones B.Mus.GDTL

Mobile:   0450 963 719
Landline: 02 9389 4239

"Never let your schooling get in the way of your education" - Mark Twain

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email 
To post to this group, send email to
Visit this group at
For more options, visit

Reply via email to