Galaxy super clusters and strings and things

18 Sep 2010

At www.dailygalaxy.com September 17th ... there is a story on galaxy super clusters that may be related to the distribution of dark matter. Galaxies seem to clump together and are surrounded by empty space. The piece goes on to say the goal is to capture the most ancient light in the universe - the cosmic microwave background.

At the same web site, on September 15th, the universe is said to have hundreds of millions of galaxies that have clumped together forming a series of massive walls of galaxies separated by vast voids of empty space. It quotes the Astronomer Royal and current president of the Royal Society, his nibs, as saying that the brains of humans may never be able to comprehend the cosmos - which includes the Big Bang. Is this science or some inner revelation? Mind you, there might be some truth in what he says - never been able to understand it.

Meanwhile, a new book, String Theory for Dummies, has just been published (see report at www.physorg.com/print2003961728.html ) and clarifies, it is hoped, science thinking on this somewhat complex issue. For some researchers around the world, thousands of them it claims, using strings to explain phenomena is practically a crusade - which is illuminating by itself. Atoms are made of smaller particles such as electrons, protons and neutrons. Protons in turn are made of smaller stuff known as quarks. Beyond this are vibrating strings - according to the zealots. Others are far from kind. Strings are reputed to explain electro-magnetism, gravity, and what holds nuclei together and what tears nuclei apart. In practise, in order to work, string theory at first has to reconcile quantum mechanics and the theory of general relativity which physicists have not been able to achieve. However, string theory is basically a means to do just that - but only on paper and in the head. In other words, string theory is basically a set of equations - which excites some mathematicians but bemuses others. This book is essentially an attempt to explain to other scientists as well as the general public how string theory is thought to work - and the logic behind it.