Lectures, readings & discussions
Infinity between mathematical everyday life and physical nightmare. An intuitive impression
Friday, 07/07/2023 / Waldhof e.V. - Academy for Continuing Education
That the physical world can be described with the help of abstract mathematics is amazing. The question seriously asked by Albert Einstein - whether the universe is infinitely large? - can be answered with astrophysical data tendentially with "yes". However, it is to be considered that there is a cosmic horizon due to the finite speed of light. What is "behind" it, we cannot know in principle. With the global structure of the universe one must distinguish the terms "boundless" and "infinite". It could be that it is closed and cyclic like a torus (including the "hole"). If one flies always straight ahead, one comes back to its starting point.Doubts about the adequacy of the mathematical conception of the infinite are consequently appropriate. In general, the question arises whether nature allows infinitely small, large, dense or heavy things at all? If infinite values occur in a physical theory (an example is quantum field theory), this is often a sign that something is wrong.The lecture is intended to give them an intuitive impression of "infinity". One enters an alien terrain that is beyond our familiar world. In the end it is about mathematical truths, which are obviously realized in nature - and this has definitely nothing to do with esotericism!
Course leader: Dr. Steinicke, Wolfgang. The course instructor is an astrophysicist, head of the History of Astronomy section of the Association of Friends of the Stars, and book author. More at www.klima-luft.de/steinicke