Daily Archives: September 7th, 2007

Nascent Universe

Cross post from Quasar9:

Ultra Deep Space

The Cosmic Bacground Radiation CMB was first discovered in the mid-1960s by the Bell Labs researchers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. While completing a radio wave survey, their horn shaped antenna picked up a strange hiss. After they reported the result to the physicist Robert Dicke of Princeton, he calculated its temperature and found that it matched the predictions of the Big Bang theory.

This discovery confirmed the existence of an ultra-hot beginning to the universe. It was not precise enough, however, to reveal the fine details of the primordial distribution of matter and energy.

In the early 1990s, thanks to the Nobel prize–winning work of John Mather and George Smoot, using NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite, the precise frequency distribution of the microwave background radiation was mapped and established, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it matched precisely what would be expected for a once-fiery universe cooled down over billions of years.

Smoot and his group discovered a mosaic of minute temperature fluctuations (called anisotropies) throughout the sky, pointing to subtle early differences in the densities of various regions of the cosmos. These fluctuations showed how in the nascent universe slightly denser “seeds” existed that would attract more and more mass and eventually grow into the hierarchical structures (stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and so forth), that we observe today.

The quest to map out the ripples in the CMB with greater and greater precision has continued throughout the past two decades. Uniquely, these provide a wealth of accessible information about the state of the cosmos many billions of years ago. It’s like a rare cuneiform tablet that, with improving translations, provides richer and richer insights into ancient history each time it’s read.
Galaxy Building Blocks in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Hubblesite
Hubble & Spitzer find building-block galaxies in early Universe from ESA
So what is the Topology and shape of the Universe – from Cosmos Magazine

Singularity Symposium 2007

The Singularity if it ever happens, has been likened to the Christian Rapture, only for techno-geeks. I am well read on the issue and there’s a whole lot of people involved smarter than I am working to bring this about. Below is a video of Ray Kurzweil from last year’s symposium at Stanford. You’ve read some items I’ve written about Ray before and he’s a known Singularitarian. Whether you believe a technological Singularity is going to happen or not, it is an issue worth paying attention to. It could mean you, and your family’s lives might depend on the information.