Our Place in the Cosmos

Our Place in the Cosmos

But Who are We?

In the model presented in this class, a connected pathway of events (schematically illustrated above) have lead to the situation where the Universe can ask itself a question.

The fate of question marks on this planet is unclear.

Can we preserve the question mark through the colonization of other worlds? Is this even an appropriate way to do that? (morality vs. economics again).

What about Colonization of Space ?

Why would we colonize other worlds?:

The above reasons would all exist if your species is unable to engage in multi-generational thinking and planning. Colonization requires this.

To move several (hundred) thousand individuals off this planet towards another world is a serious effort and a serious use of planetary resources.

Such large scale colonization requires a 50-200 year planning and implementation effort. Our technological culture has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to do this kind of long range planning.

This might be a form of self-censoring. Non-equilibrium cultures can't colonize because, when they feel the need, it will be too late (resources will be gone).

Why would equilibrium cultures colonize then when they would have no reason to?

Results of the Opinion Pool

Some Representative CDs plus Covers:

Old Farts like the Professor's Selections:

The Cliff Notes Course Summary:

The Connected Pathway and the production of questions in the Universe. Remember, this is just a cosmological model like this one proposed by Douglas Adams

  • Quantum Fluctuations Energy Fluctations:
      The birth of the Universe (the cosmic womb)
  • Mass-energy equivalence
      particle production Quarks
  • Strange physics in early Universe quarks survive over anti-quarks by one part in one billion
  • protons and neutrons can now form
  • formation of helium preserves neutrons
  • galaxies form somehow
      large collections of gas which fragment in to stars
  • fusion in stars builds lots of C,N and O
  • massive stars go supernova homogenize the galaxy
      Cosmic womb formation of the Periodic Table
  • eventually planets form from the debris of supernova
  • comets deliver water to earth which condenses amd removes carbon dioxide
  • simple organic molecules form from atmospheric chemistry
  • high tides due to nearby moon produce large tide pools which help to concentrate monomers
  • a billion years later polymers discover DNA
  • photosynthesis evolves so that bacteria can metabolize water
  • oxygen given off as a waste product combines with ionized iron to make iron oxide
  • eventually oxygen reaches the atmosphere
  • eukarayotic cells form to protect DNA from oxygen
  • ozone layer forms
  • land surface is now safe and species emerge from the sea to the land
  • random catastrophe ensues plate tectonics, ice ages, asteroid impacts
  • intelligence begins to slowly evolve in response to changing environmental conditions
  • the idea of the cosmic womb is born from question and observation
  • aristotle draws the universe on a piece of paper
  • newton, einstein refine the physics
  • microwave background discovered hot big bang model
  • are we done now?
  • is there anybody out there?
  • will we ever find out?
  • can we resolve this?

The End