Unknown Lamer from the pesky-time-traveling-physicists dept.
KentuckyFC writes "The 13th century thinker Robert Grosseteste is sometimes credited with predicting the Big Bang theory of cosmological expansion some eight centuries ahead of modern cosmologists. His theory, written in about 1225, is that the Universe began with a Big Bang-like explosion in which light expands in all directions giving matter its three-dimensional form. The expansion eventually stops when matter reaches a minimum density and this sets the boundary of the Universe. The boundary itself emits light towards the center of the universe and this interacts with matter, causing other nested spheres to form, corresponding to the fixed stars, the elements of earth, fire, water and so on. Now a team of physicists and experts on medieval philosophy have translated Grosseteste's theory into the modern language of mathematics and simulated it on computer. They say Grosseteste's theory produces universes of remarkable complexity but that only a tiny fraction of the parameter space corresponds to a universe of nested spheres like the one he predicted. What's interesting is that modern cosmologists face exactly the same problem. Their models predict many different kinds of universes and have to be fine-tuned to fit the universe we actually live in. 'The sensitivity to initial conditions resonates with contemporary cosmological discussion and reveals a subtlety of the medieval model which historians of science could never have deduced from the text alone,' conclude the team."
"The algorithm to do that is extremely nasty. You might want to mug
someone with it."
-- M. Devine, Computer Science 340