Barrow, John David

John D. Barrow

DAMTP, Centre for Mathematical Sciences
Cambridge University
Wilberforce RoadCambridge CB3 0WA UK

Articles: Natural Units Before Planck
Books: PI in the Sky: Counting, Thinking, and Being
ArXiv:  Some Generalities About Generality 27 May 2017
Millennium Mathematics Project
YouTube:  Is the world simple or complex? (Nov. 2017); Zero is a hero (Oct. 2017)

First email:  Friday, 4 October 2013 17:48:11


Dear Prof. Dr. John Barrow:

The depth and breadth of your work is simply amazing, truly a gift to this world. However, your Millennium Mathematics Project places your feet firmly on the ground.

I am grateful. So, with your mind in search of meaning throughout the cosmos and your deep understanding of nature of God, I write with great respect.

I have two simple questions:
1. Can we take the Planck Length and multiply it by 2, and then each result by 2, until we are near the edges of the Observable Universe?
2. Does it mean anything? Our students thought it was a very neat and orderly way of looking at the universe.

I do not have answers to these two very naive questions.

After we went through the 202-to-205 notations, I told the kids that I would continue doing research and report in. My first attempt to get some help was to write up a Wiki article, but that was kicked off the site as “original research” which for Wikipedia editors means there were no scholarly, published, first-hand references of any one using base-2 notation from the Planck Length to the Observable Universe.

It all started when our high school geometry teacher asked me, “Uncle Bruce, will you take my five classes and introduce them to the Platonic solids?” I did. We especially looked at nested geometries, when the question was asked, “How far in can we go?” That required
a review of Zeno and Max Planck and the Planck Length.

It wasn’t long before we just went the other direction! We were quite surprised to learn that there were so few base-2 notations from the smallest to largest measurements of a length.

In our little exercise, simple geometries and number were necessarily related. We could see how we could begin tiling the universe with a simple tetrahedral-octahedral chain, increasingly nested from about the tenth to the 202nd notation.

Might it be of some interest to you and the MMP?




PS. We are well aware of Kees Boeke’s work from 1957 and the Powers of Ten with Phyllis and Phil Morrison and the Huang twins’ wonderful scale. Base-10 is not granular enough and has no inherent geometry, albeit we realize that ours is instantiated.

PPS. If you would like to see more, I have been writing it up as we go along so people could follow the path of our thinking:
1. Rough, working draft, possible start of an article
2. The article rejected by Wikipedia


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