The Milky Way, seen from the Ural rock formation called Manpupunior or Seven Strong Men. Sergei Makurin (NASA)
How did you come to read this article? How did we get to write it? Can a butterfly flap in Australia and cause a hurricane in the Atlantic? If what is known as the butterfly effect seems incredible or fascinates you, how should we react to what is known as the Anthropic Principle?
The cause and origin of everything (when we say everything we mean everything you know, everything that see, even everything that happens to him and feels, added to everything that escapes him or nobody knows) can be found in what happened a long, long time ago, not in a very distant galaxy (because they did not exist) but "here "Itself, because nothing" far "existed. Let's do some history. We go back to the year 13813 million before our era (according to the calculations of the "historian" Planck Space Observatory) . Everything, but what is said all, is in a tense calm. The atmosphere is very very hot, around 1,000 quadrillion degrees, maybe 100 times more, maybe 100 times less, we are not going to get fussy either. At least in a "small area" of the universe, perhaps in the entire cosmos, or so those of us who follow, although we do not fully believe, the Cosmological Principle want to believe, something is about to happen. It was only a moment, but a wonderful and perfect moment. At least it is perfect for us, because without that little event neither you nor we would exist, we would not be writing this, you would not be reading it. Perhaps there would be other beings asking themselves the same questions, perhaps there would be nothing alive, perhaps everything would have remained just as warm and small if “that” had not happened to us. It was a spark between you and us, between Madrid and Barcelona, between Israelis and Palestinians, between, in reality, everything that we know exists and in the midst of what exists and we don't know
It was faster than the blink of an eye. eyes, which lasts a few tenths of a second. It lasted less than the billionths of a second that we can measure today with atomic clocks . It happened faster than the fastest we have managed to measure today, the time it takes for a photon to pass the length of (or through) a single hydrogen molecule, 247 zeptoseconds (name created in 1991, science creates language too!) , zero point, eighteen zeros followed by 247, in seconds. It was actually 100 trillion times faster than that, on the order of one zero, thirty-one zeros, and one one, measured in seconds (0.00000000000000000000000000000001 s). Well maybe it was 10 times shorter, we don't have any reliable data to prove it yet. Still it was an eternity, 10,000 times longer than anything that had happened before when perhaps no particles existed.
There was everything: the energy necessary for our atoms to begin to exist, dark matter, dark energy, what we know and do not know about the observable universe, and perhaps more than that.
It was short, yes, but it affected so many things! Okay, only everything that was in a space about a trillion times smaller than the size of a proton must have lived through it . But there it was all: the energy necessary for our atoms to begin to exist, dark matter, dark energy, what we know and do not know about the observable universe, and perhaps more than that. And in just that instant, something clicked (metaphorically) and everything, everything, grew about a quadrillion times and the seed was planted for things to be as they are.
The duration of that instant, and when and where it happened that point of no return of our existence is not trivial. If it had been longer, the expansion of the Universe could have been faster, directly affecting the ability for matter to attract and form galaxies, stars and planets. A catastrophic event for us. If the duration had been shorter, perhaps the force that binds the quarks together would have turned out to be somewhat less intense; It would only have been necessary to "fall short" by 5% so that the protons and neutrons do not tend to come together to form atoms like those of oxygen, carbon or phosphorus from which we are formed. That instant perhaps also determined how gravity behaves. If it were more intense, if the universal gravitation constant were 100 times greater, the Universe would never have expanded so much and for so long that a star like the Sun would have emerged, a planet like Earth, the appearance of RNA , DNA, life, mammals and humanity.
Something could have happened a long, long time ago, when time as we know it today did not even exist, which has eventually given rise to everything we see and do not see.
Something could have happened a long, long time ago, when time as we know it did not even exist today, which has eventually given rise to everything we see and do not see, to galaxies, stars and planets, to plants and animals, to the butterfly. and its effect, to the one who writes this article and to the one who reads it, to the entire human race. That something is just a theory, called inflation , something that is not yet proven. Could it have happened otherwise? It could, but in the end a great cosmic coincidence in which we live materialized (pun intended), which does not mean that other places in the universe (or a part of the universe that we cannot know) have not been "so lucky" or have had it "better". Neither is it easy to prove neither inflation nor its influence on our existence. Regarding the latter, for now we can believe it, knowing that it may be a lie, consider it an axiom or principle, call it anthropic because it would explain our existence, or philosophical because it would explain the existence of what we can know to exist, and analyze its consequences and implications. The universe or our universe, and there may be others, is only as it is because if it were otherwise we would not exist in the way that we exist.
Pablo G. Pérez González is a researcher at the Astrobiology Center, dependent on the Higher Council for Scientific Research and the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (CAB / CSIC-INTA)
Vacío Cosmico is a section in which our knowledge about the universe is presented in a qualitative and quantitative way. It is intended to explain the importance of understanding the cosmos not only from a scientific point of view but also from a philosophical, social and economic point of view. The name “cosmic vacuum” refers to the fact that the universe is and is, for the most part, empty, with less than 1 atom per cubic meter, despite the fact that in our environment, paradoxically, there are quintillion atoms per meter cubic, which invites us to reflect on our existence and the presence of life in the universe. The section is made up of Pablo G. Pérez González , researcher at the Center for Astrobiology; Patricia Sánchez Blázquez , tenured professor at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM); and Eva Villaver , professor at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM).
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