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13th Century Multiverse Theory Unearthed 59

ananyo writes: "Robert Grosseteste, an English scholar who lived from about 1175 to 1253, was the first thinker in northern Europe to try to develop unified physical laws to explain the origin and form of the geocentric medieval universe of heavens and Earth. Tom McLeish, professor of physics and pro-vice-chancellor for research at Britain's Durham University, and a multinational team of researchers found that Grosseteste's physical laws were so rigorously defined that they could be re-expressed using modern mathematical and computing techniques — as the medieval scholar might have done if he had been able to use such methods. The thinking went that the translated equations could then be solved and the solutions explored. The 'Ordered Universe Project' started six years ago and has now reported some of its findings. Only a small set of Grosseteste's parameters resulted in the "ordered" medieval universe he sought to explain, the researchers found; most resulted either in no spheres being created or a 'disordered' cosmos of numerous spheres. Grosseteste, then, had created a medieval 'multiverse.' De Luce suggests that the scholar realized his theories could result in universes with all manner of spheres, although he did not appear to realize the significance of this. A century later, philosophers Albert of Saxony and Nicole Oresme both considered the idea of multiple worlds and how they might exist simultaneously or in sequence."
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13th Century Multiverse Theory Unearthed

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  • What this means? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @04:39PM (#46883683) Homepage Journal
    A: A 14th Century Mystico-Philospher and early Natural Scientist was so insightful that he developed models with an uncanny anticipation of modern, post-special relativity Astrophysics.

    B: The limits of modern models and measurements for the physical universe were exhausted - reaching a limit with Einstein and Heisenberg, etc., so that any further extrapolations require fantastical imaginations, worthy of 14th century Alchemysts.

    C: Bad cheese.

    • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

      D: 14th century dude develops a descriptive model that modern researchers converted into equations that have more than one solution.

      Ooooh, profound!

      • Who is this 14th Century guy you're talking about?

        • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

          Ha, just used the same number as the OP. 13th century. There was probably a 14th century one too. And the famous alchemist who "predicted" a multiverse in the seventeenth century, of course. I believe his name was Newton.

    • by flyneye ( 84093 )

      Lost in my consideration of Fromunda cheese,(the baddest cheese) my mind wandered to Mandelbrots functions to find the mathematics representing iterations of is,probably, and possibly; relative to a meta-view of any multiple realities finite thought might presume. There I found the usual assortment of grandfathered theories; existential to their reckoning, alongside those not heard and those to come. Mandelbrots math anticipates further iterations that you could fill in the blank for, with anything, if you

    • by ewieling ( 90662 )
      Not bad cheese, bad (rye) bread.
    • F: A wacko long ago came up with an unprovable theory that something might exist outside our universe, and that other people might have had the same untestable, unprovable idea later.
  • Grosseteste (Score:4, Funny)

    by Megahard ( 1053072 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @04:39PM (#46883687)

    He must have had big balls to propose his theories.

  • Last month called (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    It wants its Slashdot summary [] back.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:09PM (#46884025) Journal

    If you taste enough alchemy experiments, you'll imagine all kinds of whacky stuff.

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:15PM (#46884097)

    Dear ArcadeMan from Universe CK-34B,

    please send 5000 Bitcoins to the following address: 1LHuLKyHDndUdjgKUsmfAG8tDnXZ5fTuUA

  • Here there be dragons. Lots of them.

  • it is a relatively weak news but nonetheless it's sad to see how people cannot accept the fact that a lot if not all the greatest scientists, inventors and innovators had a rather mystical and deeply philosophical side in their lives... that side to side to rigorous mathematical papers there were much more 'unscientific' studies... it's the human attraction for what is hidden and mysterious that always lives in the minds of explorers and scientists are first and foremost explorers.... we are creating a
    • Indeed!

      Carl Sagan once said: "Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

      Newton wrote more about Alchemy then anything else; yet he is given a free pass because, gosh, darn, all his "lesser" works were much more useful. We'll just pretend all his other work didn't exist because "We 'know' better in these 'modern' times".

      The hypocrisy, and arrogance of Scientists is nothing new. Feynman summarized the problem as "Cargo Cult Science". Locked into orthodox per

      • In case you and GP haven't thought it through to conclusion, the fact that Science does not include religious-type beliefs is a good thing. Popular understanding of science is already horrible enough in the US due to politics, we don't need schools refusing to teach algebra just because it was first described by a Muslim. Newton is not "given a free pass." To discredit his work in physics and calculus because of his "work" in alchemy would be logical fallacy (probably the most common one: ad hominem). S

    • it's the human attraction for what is hidden and mysterious that always lives in the minds of explorers and scientists are first and foremost explorers

      The above observation is right, but your implied conclusion is wrong. Science always grows to infringe upon what was previously thought to be the domain of some supernatural entity. Explorers are named such because they don't see the unknown and simply accept that it will remain that way. Scientific progress happens precisely because scientists don't reach a point and say, "well, I can't go any further, because obviously [supernatural entity] did it."

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @09:10PM (#46885869)

    I read about this last week... Yes, if you take any significantly crazy dude from 1000 years ago and examine his theories in a modern light, his theories will likely end up baring an uncanny resemblance to the truth.

    • Does that mean that if you take any significantly crazy dude today and examine their theories in 1000 years time, his theories will likely end up baring an uncanny resemblance to the truth?

      I don't think so.

      • If you get a research grant and put a team of scientists together to pick through any data set, I'm pretty sure they could find data supporting just about any theory past or present. So yes.

  • It is weird the church failed to burn him as heretic. I guess they missed his work?
    • Heretic? When they also want to preach about unprovable and untestable extra dimensions or multiverses? In their dimensions there are winged people and some people are transported there when they die. In a different dimension there is a big fire. More likely they would have burned him for plagiary.
      • Heretic? When they also want to preach about unprovable and untestable extra dimensions or multiverses?

        Well, the church enforced some kind of monopoly on any abstract knowledge at that time. Remember University was only about Theology at that time.

  • Over at 'the other place' the guy who did some of the computer modelling for the project has chipped in with some insights that are a bit more interesting than those (dare I say it) here (there, I did). []
    eg Here's a thread from there:

    T-A 18 hours ago | link

    So the Economist's point is that a "research" project exploring an idea about the universe which has been known to be incorrect for centuries somehow proves the value of the humanities? Really?

    14113 15 hours ago | link

    Yes. I

  • by Rambo Tribble ( 1273454 ) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @10:42AM (#46888881) Homepage
    If Joseph Campbell is to be trusted, the Upanishads describe a multiverse many centuries before this upstart whelp.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.