Foundational questions about the very beginning of our universe…

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Stephon Alexander
John Ralston
Alan Connes
Max Planck
Planck, c. 1899
Roger Penrose
Renate Loll
Johannes Kepler
Kepler, c.1611
Gottfried Leibniz
Leibniz, c. 1716
Leonhard Euler
Euler, c. 1740

We Stand On The Shoulders Of The Many*
by Bruce E. Camber Note: With so many open questions, this article is a working draft.

Questions about the Planck Scale. Max Planck devised his base units in 1899 and 1900. Though mostly ignored for about 100 years, these numbers have stimulated work by many scholars to determine what is fundamental within cosmology, mathematics, and physics. Earlier work by George Stoney (1874) is important to note because key questions have been raised about the derivation of such fundamental numbers (Ralston, 2013).

To find answers that might help our high school students understand the very nature of a foundational question, there are eight questions (survey.below) that are still being asked of those scholars who are associated with all three disciplines.[1]

You can answer these questions, too! I welcome all input. Perhaps your answers will inspire new insights.

With each question in this survey is an area for comments and it is from those comments that direct quotes will be added to this article and future articles. If you have answers, please do not hesitate to participate. We need as many responses as possible. Simply copy and paste just the questions into a text message and send those answers and comments. If you wish, recommend another scholar, too!

Overly-confident yet insecure. We have been dancing with particles and waves for a very long time. Aspects of that dilemma have roots back to 1905 and our friend, Max Planck. We still haven’t broken through the impasse created by Einstein and Max. Our 100+ years without a solution amounts to an anxiety crisis, confident-insecurity. Nobody knows what is fundamental yet every person has their own fundamentals and clings to them. Nobody really knows about Planck scale physics, yet we are all rather quick to judge any new concept about the Planck scale that does not seem to work with our own particular fundamentals.

Our proposal is to start at the bottom with a clean slate or tabula rasa and work up.

Spheres. In my experience, when pressed, scholars tell me that the most simple object is a sphere. It has just two vertices. If we are to start with spheres, we’ll engage the sphere experts. With no expectations and no glaring preconceptions, we’ll need guidance to probe its depths. Of course, pi and other key dimensionless constants will be part of that probe. There are many such constants. The Standard Model of particle physics has no less than nineteen dimensionless constants about which her insiders seem to agree, “These are fundamental.” We will study their logic to see when each of the nineteen could engage a sphere within our 202 base-2 notations, especially between notations 1-to-64. Identifying a path through the earliest notations is key. And, being a bit speculative, we have assumed that every prime number up to the 199th notation opens a different kind of building block.

James Peebles, Nobel Laureate 2019. It’s very unfortunate that one thinks of the beginning… in fact, we have no good theory of such a thing as the beginning.” With this inquiry, we continue our efforts to discern the very nature of a good theory. How does sphere stacking and cubic close packing of equal spheres fit into the equations? Here space-time is magnitudes smaller than particles and waves. So, we start with Kepler, embrace Leibniz over Newton, and wrestle with the nature of numbers, doublings and Euler’s identity.

The Planck base units may well be imperfect calculations. Each uses the Planck constant which we have learned recently is conceptually weak. Yet, as a metaphor, the words, the beginning, ask us to identify the most basic fundamentals. Is it possible to “…start at the very beginning?”[2]

Steven Weinberg began his study at 1/100 of a second to consider just the first three minutes. In June 29, 2020 twenty-seven scholars from around the world released a rather provocative article, “The.First Three Seconds.” They were hamstrung by big bang cosmology but provide an excellent overview and references for this special challenge. The most promising work will come out of work where the big bang and our current concepts of space and time are suspended and raw ideation is allowed to postulate radically new concepts.

People like Penrose, Loll, Alexander, Ralston and Connes are all working on different approaches to the same tangled set of problems.

Max Planck. Given the fact that the Planck’s base units have gained some recognition and acceptance within the scholarly community, we will also need experts like Frank Wilczek and Jürgen Jost to defend that work. A group led by physics professor John Ralston of the University of Kansas, questions the efficacy of the Planck constant and thus Planck’s base units. It begs the questions, “How do we discern units of length and time that are truly fundamental (and can no longer be meaningfully divided)?”

Once we have those units, we should have the starting point that James Peebles seeks and it will be a new beginning.


A few foundational questions

1. Might there be fundamental units of length and time, as well as mass and charge (similar to, but more accurate than the Planck base units), that are among the parameters that define the first moment or instant of the universe?
Answer: Yes | No | Maybe
References from 2021, 2019(a) and 2019(b)

2. Might an infinitesimal sphere be a first manifestation of such base units?
Answer: Yes | No | Maybe
References from  2021(a), 2021(b) and 2019

3. Might sphere stacking and cubic-close-packing of equal spheres be among the.first functional activities to define the universe?
Answer: Yes | No | Maybe
References from 2021(a), 2021(b) and 2019

4. Might the rate by which spheres emerge be determined by a fundamental unit of time which would be one sphere per unit of a fundamental length? For example, we used Planck Time. That computes to 539.116 tredecillion spheres per second given the value of Planck Time is 5.39116(13)×10-44 seconds.
Answer: Yes | No | Maybe
References from 2021, 2019 and 2017

5. Might base-2 notation be applied to create an ordering schema for these spheres? If those fundamental units of time were Planck Time, approximately 436,117,077,000,000,000 seconds have been created to get to the current time. That would be within the.202nd.doubling (base-2).
Answer: Yes | No | Maybe
References from 2021, 2020 and 2018

6. Might there be a range of perfection from the earliest notations and prior to any kind of quantum fluctuation, be it ontological or physical?
Answer: Yes | No | Maybe
References from 2021, 2020 and 2016

7. Might these spheres which are fundamentally defined by pi (π):
___(a) also be defined by continuity-symmetry-harmony (which redefines infinity)?
___Answer: Yes | No | Maybe Comment:
___(b) …become the basis to define the aether?
___Answer: Yes | No | Maybe Comment:
___(c) …be the reason for homogeneity and isotropy?
___Answer: Yes | No | Maybe Comment:
___(d) …and, be the essence of dark matter and dark energy?
___Answer: Yes | No | Maybe Comment:
References A-2020, B-2020, C-2021, and D-2018

8. Might you be open to receive another eight questions about foundational concepts?
The next set would not be sent any sooner than eight months from today.
Answer: Yes | No | Maybe
References from 2021, 2020 and 2012


A Note from Bruce Camber about our first group of questions. To get responses will not be easy. As simple as this survey is, many scholars are quick to judge and quick to be dismissive… “Why waste time with silly concepts? Why waste time with something that’s going nowhere?” So if you have time, please copy the questions into an email and fire them off to me. My first group of scholars, the nine pictured at the top of this page, are the one’s whose work has captured my short-term attention. As this document matures, the nine will be slowly replaced with those recommended by those who have completed the survey and/or recommended other scholar’s work. My original nine will be continue to be highlighted on the bottom of this page.

To copy those questions start with the word, “Comment:” within the eighth question and copy upwards to the first question, “1. Might there be fundamental units…”. I have discovered that bottom-up is easier to control than top down. Thanks. -Bruce


Endnotes & Footnotes (In process)

*The Shoulders of Many. The nine pictured at the top of this page just happen to be part of this month’s research. Eventually there will be nine others pictured and the current nine will be saved at the bottom of this page. My guess is that there are over 100,000 scholars around the world who could readily be pictured here. We have only touched base with a few of them.Bruce

[1] Scholar’s scholars: Of the 100,000 or so scholars who are engaged with the foundations of cosmology, mathematics and physics, my hope is that there are at least 1% who would be open to start with the most fundamental units of space-and-time. Most of these scholars are now familiar with Planck’s base units and his constant. I would guess that most are not familiar with the work of John Ralston to challenge the efficacy of Planck’s calculations. He makes a strong case.

Notwithstanding, a more accurate calculation of of Planck’s constant and then a recalculation of base units would be welcomed. My assumption that it will render numbers that are like those calculated by George Stoney and Max Planck, i.e. numbers for space and time that are many orders of magnitude smaller than the space-and-time approximated for atomic structures, especially the particles-and-waves defined by the Standard Model for particle physics.

[2] Grasping fundamentals. I was happy to discover James Peebles‘ comment where he says, “…we have no good theory of such a thing as the beginning.” Too many of our young scholars seem to think that big bang cosmology is such a construction. Many get quite upset if you suggest it is only a theory. One newly-minted PhD from a most-prestigious school was caustically dismissive when I made such a statement. Many people are.

Grasping fundamentals can be an emotional, even a gut-wrenching endeavor. Quite a bit like those highly-charged debates about the provenance of God, we set aside all comments and analysis of the emotional ones and simply lift up continuity, symmetry, and harmony, three functions within pi and the sphere, and simply ascribe universality and infinity to them and go no further. One’s historic (family) relations determine how such fundamentals are personally interpreted. That one’s personal business, not ours.


References & Resources (in process)

1. An introduction to Fourier Analysis: Fourier Series, Partial Differential Equations, and Fourier Transforms, Professor Arthur L. Schoenstadt, 2005

Augustin Banyaga
Jürgen Jost
Jacob Lurie IAS: See 15 ArXiv articles on combinatorics
Grothendieck, homotopy theory, Lie algebras, sheaves…
Natalie Paquette
Neil Sloane
Karen Uhlenbeck: IAS


Progress report: Wikipedia’s lists of unsolved problems in Astronomy, mathematics, and physics are now being addressed and included in the development of future homepages. Thanks for the recommendations.

Pages for Johannes Kepler and Alain Connes and the other seven images on the top of this page have been addressed. The page, Assumptions & Presuppositions, has been updated. Thanks for the help. -BEC


Communications: Emails about the survey (and more)

Can you answer these eight questions? Start here! Thanks.

April 2: Michael Duff, John Ralston
March 27, 2021: Ari Letho, Martin Rees, Dean Rickles, Steven Strogatz
April 12: Alexander, Connes, Banyaga, Jost
April 14: IAS – Jacob Lurie, Karen Uhlenbeck (IAS), Natalie Paquette
April 16: Loll, Penrose


Communications: Instant Messages (and more)

Neil deGrasse Tyson: @neiltyson Can you believe it? As of today, 2,430 retweets on that cat crunches story. How about on a new model of the universe starting with pi?

Key questions are here: There are 64 notations (of 202 total) heretofore never considered!

Editor’s note to readers: I hear you. Though some of you think he’s a bit of a P.T. Barnum — it’s just his personality; he’s excited about life — and you can be sure, he works very hard and his science is in the pocket of the generally-accepted concepts within the scientific community of our time, April 2021. Our hope is to influence-the-influencers like Tyson to look at the universe from the first moment until this day and apply mathematical formulas like Kees Boeke’s base-10 (1957). We are doing a base-2 chart and believe it teaches us much more than base-10. -BEC


Key Dates for this document, Questions-1

The next homepages currently being worked on are displayed within a listing of all homepages since 2016: The three highlighted in light gray require entering a password which is usually stated at the top of each page.


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