Class #20 (Mar. 25) Reading Questions - The Fabric of the Cosmos

 

Chapter 11

 

1. What does Greene mean by the chapter title "Quanta in the Sky with Diamonds"?

 

2. In the inflation model, what is the source of the matter and energy found in the present day universe?

 

3. The "repulsive gravity" present during inflation is thought to have smoothed out space resulting in a nearly uniform distribution of matter and energy, consistent with the required initial low entropy needed to explain the arrow of time.  Does this mean that inflation actually decreased the entropy of the early universe (in violation of the second law of thermodynamics)?

 

 

Chapter 12

 

4.  What is the Casimir effect and what does this effect tell us about "empty space"?

 

5.  Since quantum mechanics studies the very small and general relativity studies the very large, why is it even a problem that these two theories are found to be incompatible?

 

6.  What is the essential feature of string theory that removes the incompatibility between quantum mechanics and general relativity?

 

7. How are particles visualized in string theory and does string theory predict all of the particles of the standard model of particle physics?

 

8. Is it really possible that we could be living in a world of more than three spatial dimensions?

 

 

 

Your Question:  Please give a well formulated question that you have regarding the material covered in this reading assignment.