Stephen Hawking says there’s no theory of everything

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Craig Callender, contributor

Three decades ago, Stephen Hawking famously declared that a “theory of everything” was on the horizon, with a 50 per cent chance of its completion by 2000. Now it is 2010, and Hawking has given up. But it is not his fault, he says: there may not be a final theory to discover after all. No matter; he can explain the riddles of existence without it.

The Grand Design, written with Leonard Mlodinow, is Hawking’s first popular science book for adults in almost a decade. It duly covers the growth of modern physics (quantum mechanics, general relativity, modern cosmology) sprinkled with the wild speculation about multiple universes that seems mandatory in popular works these days. Short but engaging and packed with colourful illustrations, the book is a natural choice for someone wanting a quick introduction to mind-bending theoretical physics.

Early on, the authors claim that they will be answering the ultimate riddles of existence – and that their answer won’t be “42”. Their starting point for this bold claim is superstring theory.

In the early 1990s, string theory was struggling with a multiplicity of distinct theories. Instead of a single theory of everything, there seemed to be five. Beginning in 1994, though, physicists noticed that, at low energies, some of these theories were “dual” to others – that is, a mathematical transformation makes one theory look like another, suggesting that they may just be two descriptions of the same thing. Then a bigger surprise came: one string theory was shown to be dual to 11-dimensional supergravity, a theory describing not only strings but membranes, too. Many physicists believe that this supergravity theory is one piece of a hypothetical ultimate theory, dubbed M-theory, of which all the different string theories offer us mere glimpses.

This multiplicity of distinct theories prompts the authors to declare that the only way to understand reality is to employ a philosophy called “model-dependent realism”. Having declared that “philosophy is dead”, the authors unwittingly develop a theory familiar to philosophers since the 1980s, namely “perspectivalism”. This radical theory holds that there doesn’t exist, even in principle, a single comprehensive theory of the universe. Instead, science offers many incomplete windows onto a common reality, one no more “true” than another. In the authors’ hands this position bleeds into an alarming anti-realism: not only does science fail to provide a single description of reality, they say, there is no theory-independent reality at all. If either stance is correct, one shouldn’t expect to find a final unifying theory like M-theory – only a bunch of separate and sometimes overlapping windows.

So I was surprised when the authors began to advocate M-theory. But it turns out they were unconventionally referring to the patchwork of string theories as “M-theory” too, in addition to the hypothetical ultimate theory about which they remain agnostic.

M-theory in either sense is far from complete. But that doesn’t stop the authors from asserting that it explains the mysteries of existence: why there is something rather than nothing, why this set of laws and not another, and why we exist at all. According to Hawking, enough is known about M-theory to see that God is not needed to answer these questions. Instead, string theory points to the existence of a multiverse, and this multiverse coupled with anthropic reasoning will suffice. Personally, I am doubtful.

Take life. We are lucky to be alive. Imagine all the ways physics might have precluded life: gravity could have been stronger, electrons could have been as big as basketballs and so on. Does this intuitive “luck” warrant the postulation of God? No. Does it warrant the postulation of an infinity of universes? The authors and many others think so. In the absence of theory, though, this is nothing more than a hunch doomed – until we start watching universes come into being – to remain untested. The lesson isn’t that we face a dilemma between God and the multiverse, but that we shouldn’t go off the rails at the first sign of coincidences.

Craig Callender is a philosopher of physics at the University of California, San Diego

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An Inspirational Story

An inspirational real life incident that teaches how a boss (manager) can inspire and gain trust of his employees (co-worker) and result to an successful project that world looks on to. That’s Dr A P J Abdul Kalam (ex. President of India and a father of Rocket Science in India)

Here’s the story:
Scientists at the Rocket launching station in Thumba, were in the habit of working for nearly 12 to 18 hours a day. There were about Seventy such scientists working on a project. All the scientists were really frustrated due to the pressure of work and the demands of their boss but everyone was loyal to him and did not think of quitting the job.

One day, one scientist came to his boss and told him – Sir, I have promised to my children that I will take them to the exhibition going on in our township. So I want to leave the office at 5 30 pm. His boss replied – O K, , You are permitted to leave the office early today.

The Scientist started working. He continued his work after lunch. As usual he got involved to such an extent that he looked at his watch when he felt he was close to completion. The time was 8.30 p.m Suddenly he remembered of the promise he had given to his children. He looked for his boss,, He was not there. Having told him in the morning itself, he closed everything and left for home. Deep within himself, he was feeling guilty for having disappointed his children.

He reached home. Children were not there. His wife alone was sitting in the hall and reading magazines. The situation was explosive, any talk would boomerang on him.

His wife asked him – Would you like to have coffee or shall I straight away serve dinner if you are hungry. The man replied – If you would like to have coffee, I too will have but what about Children??? Wife replied- You don’t know – Your manager came at 5 15 p.m and has taken the children to the exhibition.

What had really happened was the boss who granted him permission was observing him working seriously at 5.00 p.m. He thought to himself, this person will not leave the work, but if he has promised his children they should enjoy the visit to exhibition. So he took the lead in taking them to exhibition.

The boss does not have to do it every time. But once it is done, loyalty
is established.

That is why all the scientists at Thumba continued to work under their boss even though the stress was tremendous.

By the way, can you hazard a guess as to who the boss was????????
. .

He was DR. A P J Abdul Kalam
ex. President of India and a father of Rocket Science in India

Brighton Trip

Today I went to brighton with a few friends, it is an amazing place , breezy and the beach is a nice place to relax and be with friends or family, brighton is a stony beach, so you cannot play most of the normal sand games which usually people do. I do not understand the reason why it has got an award for?

But overall it is a nice place for a weekend as there are a lot of sea surfing activities to do , if love doing it and also a few attraction around brighton which may interest you.

We all had a great time there and I hope to see brighton once again.

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach

4 months 3 weeks and 2 days

The film follows the story of Otilia Mihartescu (Anamaria Marinca) and Gabriela ‘Găbiţa’ Dragut (Laura Vasiliu), two university friends in an unnamed Romanian town. The film is set in 1987,[3] one of the last years of the Ceauşescu regime. When Găbiţa becomes pregnant, the two girls arrange a meeting with Mr. Bebe (Vlad Ivanov) in a hotel, where he is to perform an illegal abortion (Communist Romania had a natalist policy against abortion).

At a college dorm Gabriela and Otilia go over the items they need for the following day, and as Gabriela nervously sits and waits in the room, Otilia barters and buys soap, cigarettes, etc. from school friends. Afterwards, Otilia takes a bus to visit her boyfriend Adi, from whom she borrows money. Adi asks Otilia to visit his family that night, as it is his mother’s birthday, and to buy flowers on the way, to which Otilia initially declines, but she relents after Adi becomes visibly upset.

Otilia heads to a hotel where Gabriela has booked a room, only to be informed by an unfriendly receptionist that there is no reservation under Gabriela’s last name. Otilia goes to another hotel, and after much begging and haggling is able to book a room at an expensive rate. Afterwards Otilia goes to a rendezvous point to meet with Mr. Bebe, although he had been told by Gabriela that Otilia was her sister, and Mr. Bebe grows angry upon hearing that Gabriela is not at the planned hotel, and that he has to leave his ID at the front desk, fearing that the arrangement might be a police trap.

Mr. Bebe discovers that Gabriela’s claim that her pregnancy was in its third month is a lie; in fact, it has been at least four months. Mr. Bebe ask for more money since a late term abortion is a much greater offense punishable with 10 years in jail. In order to help her friend, Otilia reluctantly has sex (and eventually Gabriela does as well) with Mr. Bebe so that he will not walk out on them. Mr. Bebe then performs the abortion by injecting a probe and some fluids into Gabriela, and leaves Otilia instructions on how to dispose of the fetus when it comes out. Otilia is visibly exasperated by Gabriela’s lies, yet continues to help her and care for her.

Otilia leaves Gabriela at the hotel to go to Adi’s mother’s birthday. She’s still visibly disturbed but stays and has dinner with Adi’s mother’s friends, who are mostly doctors. They all talk about trivial things while Otilia and Adi remain silent. The phone rings in the background, but no one answers it. One of the guests then starts talking about lost values and respect to elders when Otilia accepts a cigarette offered to her in front of Adi’s parents, which prompts Adi to bring the champagne in order to get the party over with. Adi and Otilia then go to his room where Otilia tells him about Gabriela’s abortion, and they start talking about what would happen if it was Otilia that was pregnant since Adi seems to be against abortions. After fighting with Adi, Otilia calls Gabriela from Adi’s house. Gabriela does not answer, so Otilia decides to go back to the hotel.

When Otilia enters the room Gabriela is lying on the bed, and she tells Otilia that the fetus has come out and is in the bathroom. Otilia then wraps the fetus with some towels and puts everything in a bag, while Gabriela asks her to bury the fetus. Otilia then goes outside and walks around for a while, finally climbing to the top of a random building, as Mr. Bebe had suggested, and dropping the bag in a trash chute.

Otilia then goes back to the hotel and finds Gabriela eating at the restaurant. She sits and tells Gabriela that they are never going to talk about the whole thing ever again.

Primrose Hill & Bricklane

Well like any other day after class of LSE summer school, it was an adventure again, we met at Primrose today , its an awsomme place. You can view a pic below..

primrose hill

primrose hill

This place was ideal for having a nice time with firends sharing jokes and just chillling around, most of us knew that we won’t be seeing each other for a long long time, after today. Fernando will leave tomorrow for Guatamela and so will Gizem for Turkey,& Manuel (a.k.a- manly/MAN-LEE) for Philippines,  the rest will leave in a few days time to their home countries.

Brick Lane was soon followed after Camden Town, while we shared  a nice time with bijan at some random pub and then hopping over to Brick Lane in a bus, well it was quite a long way all the way to Liverpool street from Camden Town yet it was fun. the best part was ,me getting angry at the promoter who wanted to prove that , the particular indian restraunt was the best but infact it wasn’t as when I went in to check , the food was rubbbish and not upto the standards of a proper indian cuisine. We then went to chillies which was after a few restraunts but was an amazing place , mirza and the rest enjoyed the food, but myself and oktay did not eat anything as we both had a snack earlier and were quite full.

After which we then walked into some random unknown club in a random street in Brick Lane which played some really wierd Lounge Electronic Music the same beat over and over again for the  past 2 hours and then I just walked out as we couldn’t breathe in, yeah the entry was for free though 😉

I just reached home now and look back at the start of my day with me being late to exam by a few minutes but successfully completed my paper.I feel that every day is special in its own way, its just how you go with the flow and how one percieves it to be.

Have a Great Day 😀