The Cosmological “Not So Constant”

I’ve also just posted a link to a story I heard on NPR’s "All Things Considered" yesterday afternoon which describes an astronomer’s discovery that Einstein’s "Cosmological Constant" (aka ‘quantum vacuum energy’) may not be so constant after all.  This discovery is — for reasons the story does not make altogether clear — giving rise to more discussion about the Universe being comprised of "hidden dimensions."  I’m not sure why yet, but somehow I’m pretty sure this story touches on something that was going on in Dr. Brown’s life, so you might want to give the story a listen.  I’m mentioning this story here so that if you’ve got any comments or observations to share, you can use the "Comments" section that follows this post.  I’d love to hear what anybody’s got to say about this one. 

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4 Responses to The Cosmological “Not So Constant”

  1. Mark Culpepper says:

    Paul … am I wrong? … looking at this and practically seeing nothing but the word PUSH .. over and over? Isn’t that what you wrote Townsend Brown was quoted as saying back in 1924? GRAVITY IS A PUSH, NOT A PULL?
    In almost everything that has been written about Townsend Brown the phrase “ahead of his time” comes up and I think that this may prove out to be just another example.
    Mark

  2. Excellent observation Mark, thanks for pointing that out. Posting this article was one of those “I’m not sure what this has to do with anything, but I think it’s important” kind-of-things, so I appreciate your making the obvious connection. Just below the link to this article there is a link to an essay by Charles Brush, which according to another correspondent, is where the idea of “gravity as push-not-pull” actually originated. Read that, and let me know what else might come to mind. Thanks, –PS

  3. Mark Culpepper says:

    Paul, Since we all seem to agree that Townsend Brown was ahead of his time .. do you think that he had an idea of these “extra dimensions”? And I also had the question … did he ever express any predictions on where this technology would go in the future? You seem pretty well informed with alot of accurate insider information and I wondered if that subject was ever broached. He must have known that the technology he was developing could change the world. How did he view that?
    Mark

  4. Well Mark, I can’t be really specific, but the basic answer to your question is “yes,” Townsend Brown was attuned to the “hidden dimensions” school of scientific theories. And yes, I think he knew that he was surfing on the leading edge of technology that would, as you say, “change the world,” but I also think he doubted that mankind was ready for those changes, and so sorta “sandbagged” the development of some of his ideas.
    We’ve often used the analogy of “they keys to the car.” What Townsend Brown was exploring was an incredibly powerful vehicle, and there was just some doubt about whether or not us adolsescent humans could be trusted with the keys to that kind of car.
    Sorry if that answer is sort’ve vague and allegorical, but that’s the best I can do at the moment. It’s a good question, really, even if I can’t produce a good, authoritative answer.
    Thanks, –PS

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