×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Golden Ratio Discovered In a Quantum World

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the nanites-are-excellent-architects dept.

Science 191

FiReaNGeL writes "Scientists have for the first time observed a nanoscale symmetry hidden in solid state matter. 'In order to study these nanoscale quantum effects, the researchers have focused on the magnetic material cobalt niobate. It consists of linked magnetic atoms, which form chains just like a very thin bar magnet, but only one atom wide.' By artificially introducing more quantum uncertainty, the researchers observed that the chain acts like a nanoscale guitar string. The first two notes show a perfect relationship with each other. Their frequencies (pitch) are in the ratio of 1.618, which is the golden ratio famous from art and architecture. The observed resonant states in cobalt niobate are a dramatic laboratory illustration of the way in which mathematical theories developed for particle physics may find application in nanoscale science and ultimately in future technology."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

191 comments

Oblig. Square One TV's MATHNET reference... (5, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704676)

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, Eureka!

Re:Oblig. Square One TV's MATHNET reference... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30704818)

Announcer: Where's Mathman?
Mr. Glitch: Uh... He's in the mathroom.

Re:Oblig. Nigger JOKE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705100)

What's the difference between nigger pussy and a bowling ball? If you had to, I mean really HAD TO, you could eat the bowling ball.

That crosses the line (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705160)

Do NOT disrespect the pussy. Whatever your race, whatever your class, whatever your religion, if you, Mr. Male Homo Sapiens, were stranded on a desert island with ANY kind of pussy, you would eat it. You would eat it and you would love it and you would beg for more, and if you deny it we ALL know you are a liar. Race does not mean shit when it comes to getting your dick wet and you know it.

Re:Oblig. Square One TV's MATHNET reference... (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705020)

Modded Redundant? Who else posted this? This was First Post!

Re:Oblig. Square One TV's MATHNET reference... (2, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705078)

Although I agree that in this context 'redundant' was a lame mod. However, 'redundant' doesn't mean "already posted in this thread". I know I'm being pedantic, and I apologize for that, but we see so many memes here that I cannot believe anybody would still be confused about what 'redundant' means. A first post in a thread about Nexus One that says "why doesn't Google just make a phone that is just a phone without all the bells and whistles?!?!" is 'redundant'.

Re:Oblig. Square One TV's MATHNET reference... (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705220)

The mod who gave you the Redundant mod ought to be ashamed.

I've skimmed the Golden Ratio [wikipedia.org] article and it's blaringly obvious that the Fibonacci sequence is closely related. (Long sequence of mathematical equations that I really don't understand.)

Summary wrong (5, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704698)

Since we know Google is never wrong [lmgtfy.com], the Golden Ratio is exactly 1.61803399, not 1.618 as stated in the summary.

Re:Summary wrong (3, Informative)

Kira-Baka (463765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704724)

It's an irrational number...

Re:Summary wrong (4, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704738)

I knew that. But that fact interfered with the joke.

Re:Summary wrong (4, Funny)

X-Power (1009277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704746)

One could say the joke became irrational.

Re:Summary wrong (5, Interesting)

Bandman (86149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704766)

You're ALL irrational.

This really is interesting, though. The Fibonacci sequence shows up all the time [world-mysteries.com] in nature, but this is, to my knowledge, the first time in a non-biological function.

Re:Summary wrong (4, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704848)

Sort of. The golden ratio is apparently related to the E8 lie group, which shows up in string theory and supergravity. WIkipedia says the golden ratio also shows up in relation to quasicrystals.

This one is cool though. My first thought was "creepy."

PS: to the mod who gave all discussion of the irrationality of the golden ratio an offtopic mod: get a life.

Re:Summary wrong (-1, Troll)

arminw (717974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705076)

...My first thought was "creepy."...
My first thought was that this could not be an accident of evolution, but evidence of intelligent design.

Re:Summary wrong (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705180)

if you ask me the deity that needs to constantly fiddle with the universe to make things go its way isn't very intelligent after all. a real show of intelligence would be to interact as little as possible and yet have the universe with its simple, derivable nature inexorably lead toward whatever said deity had in mind.

Re:Summary wrong (0, Offtopic)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705302)

How is the parent flamebait? Down mods are not meant to express the moderator's disagreement with the moderatee's opinion!

Re:Summary wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705520)

You're right. Clearly -1 Offtopic was the correct mod.

It is the "most irrational possible" number (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30706104)

The golden ratio phi is "the most irrational number", in some sense. If you try to take better and better rational approximations to phi, obviously you need to go to bigger and bigger denominators in the fraction. In the limit as the error tolerance goes to zero, the necessary size of the denominator grows at a certain asymptotic rate. One can show [ams.org] that for phi this rate is the largest possible, so the golden ratio is the hardest number to rationally approximate.

Re:Summary wrong (0, Flamebait)

djupedal (584558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705308)

> The Fibonacci sequence shows up all the time [world-mysteries.com] in nature, but this is, to my knowledge, the first time in a non-biological function.

Sorry, but I'm prompted to remind that Ma Nature most likely hasn't, doesn't and never will give a west Brooklyn rat's little brown hole how you, me or the Mayor define a 'non-biological function'.

Re:Summary wrong (4, Informative)

anwaya (574190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705876)

The golden ratio turns up in anything that has a pentagon, so dodecahedrons, icosahedrons, and buckyballs all have it. It's not just the limit of the Fibonacci sequence.

I wish there was more geometry in the mathematics syllabus.

Re:Summary wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705128)

Well, maybe it just needs a little therapy.

Re:Summary wrong (1, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705140)

moron moderators don't even know what an irrational number is?

anyway, the real golden ratio is half of one plus the square root of five.

Re:Summary wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705414)

> anyway, the real golden ratio is half of one plus the square root of five.

Wait, do you mean:

(0.5) + (5^0.5)

or 0.5 * (1+5^0.5) ?

Re:Summary wrong (0, Offtopic)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704752)

Uh oh. Clicking on the first hit on that Google search would tell you that the golden ratio is an irrational number, which means the numbers to the right of the decimal place keep going on forever, without repeating.

Re:Summary wrong (3, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704912)

The real question is, can anything in the quantum world really involve a non-rational number (or even a non-terminating decimal)?

Take a simple circle. A mathematical perfect circle is effectively a polygon with an infinite number of sides, and pi is infinite because of this same fact. A 'circular' object in the real universe has faceted sides, each of at least the lengths between adjacent atoms. (It's also 'fuzzy' when measured at that scale, and part of that is also QM). The whole concept of Planck length dictates minimum distances, angles and such, and objects have granularity that means an infinite number of facets or an infinitely dividable curve isn't part of the real universe.

So, isn't what's been discovered here an expression of the golden ratio to only some finite number of decimal places?

 

Re:Summary wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705050)

You've misunderstood that. There is no such granularity known to anyone. Planck units are just a set of units.

Re:Summary wrong (2, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705200)

Incorrect. The plank length is the smallest region in space that can theoretically be measured. A photon with a short enough wavelength to take a measurement of anything shorter than the plank length will collapse upon its self as a newly formed black hole. It is the fundamental limit to known physics and is effectively the granularity of space its self.

Re:Summary wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705454)

just cause' you can't measure it doesn't mean it doesn't exist

Re:Summary wrong (1)

anwaya (574190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705930)

just cause' you can't measure it doesn't mean it doesn't exist

Oh? There's a slight problem with this assertion of yours. Here's a metric for a phenomenon that you claim can't be measured:

0: it doesn't exist.
1: it exists.

Now, give an example of a phenomenon which exists and can't be measured.

Re:Summary wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705478)

Granularity? I thought we had got rid of the billiard ball universe during the last century. Shouldn't that read "Planck length is the fundamental limit to known physics and is the granularity of measurable space itself" ?

Re:Summary wrong (4, Interesting)

da cog (531643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705848)

The fact that something cannot practically be directly measured at a particular precision without creating a black hole does not mean that it does not exist at the desired precision.

Re:Summary wrong (4, Informative)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705130)

That is completely wrong. Where did you get that idea?

Oh there's been some speculation about possible 'deeper' significances of Planck length,
as well as other Planck units. But as far as we KNOW, they have no significance at all.

They're just a set of units, convenient to eliminate a bunch of constants from equations.
(There are other sets as well, e.g. Atomic units, depending on which kind of equation you're working with)

But nowhere anywhere in current quantum theory is there 'no such thing' as a circle, or anything else.
Circles have a diameter of Pi times the radius in QM just as anywhere else.

Re:Summary wrong (1, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705210)

A measurement cannot have such great precision that the inaccuracy in the measurement is shorter than the plank length.

Re:Summary wrong (1)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705620)

A measurement cannot have such great precision that the inaccuracy in the measurement is shorter than the plank length.

That is not known to be the case. Got a reference for that?
It's also something entirely different from suggesting that space is discretized in Planck-length units, which is certainly not the case. In fact, it's a fundamental postulate of QM that the wave function is smooth and continuous (and hence, so is the location-probability distribution). If it wasn't continuous, then you'd end up with undefined momentum.

Re:Summary wrong (3, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705690)

I never said that smaller length scales couldn't exist, just that they could not effectively be distinguished through measurement according to our current knowledge of physics. The restriction may be sidestepped if gravity acts in a different manner at such extremely small length scales than it does it larger scales. A smaller value for G would effectively decrease the size of the plank scale as an example. However, at the current time, physics as we know it does not allow for measurements to be made that are of greater precision.

Re:Summary wrong (4, Informative)

da cog (531643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705748)

You are mistaken. There is no fundamental limit (at least, according to known theory) on the precision of a measurement of the position. The only limit is on how well you can simultaneously measure the position and the momentum. The "plank length" is nothing more than a convenient choice of units.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_length [wikipedia.org]

Re:Summary wrong (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705518)

Circles have a diameter of Pi times the radius in QM just as anywhere else.

O RLY?

I suspect you meant circles have a circumference of Pi times the diameter. Or not. Anything is possible [timecube.com].

Mal-2

Re:Summary wrong (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705242)

The real question is, can anything in the quantum world really involve a non-rational number (or even a non-terminating decimal)?

Take a simple circle. A mathematical perfect circle is effectively a polygon with an infinite number of sides, and pi is infinite because of this same fact. A 'circular' object in the real universe has faceted sides, each of at least the lengths between adjacent atoms. (It's also 'fuzzy' when measured at that scale, and part of that is also QM). The whole concept of Planck length dictates minimum distances, angles and such, and objects have granularity that means an infinite number of facets or an infinitely dividable curve isn't part of the real universe.

So, isn't what's been discovered here an expression of the golden ratio to only some finite number of decimal places?

Reality is not "granular" in the sense of being divided into fixed-size chunks. It is like you said, fuzzy. The Planck length is just the guaranteed minimum amount of fuzz that everything has... at that scale you don't have surfaces at all, just "most of the fuzz is gone by around here"

In this particular case I suspect they're actually talking about the atoms in these string flipping between spin-up and spin-down, rather than anything actually moving through space like an actual guitar string, so what really matters is the structure of time... this should be the same, not discrete/granular, but with a minimum fuzziness that limits the smallest interval you can measure.

Re:Summary wrong (4, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705572)

"The whole concept of Planck length dictates minimum distances, angles and such, and objects have granularity"

You have been misinformed but it's a common misconception. The Plank length is the base unit for a system of units derived from physical constants, geometries smaller than the PL are where GR theory stops working and QM takes over. That the dividing line between our two best models of the universe should be expressable using nothing but physical constants is quite remarkable and it's probably telling us something we don't yet comprehend. Or as Heisenberg is alleged to have put it; "more fascinating than watching a monkey shit a grandfather clock." [cracked.com]

Re:Summary wrong (1)

AYEq (48185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705766)

Do you have any resource that you can point me to that speaks about the relationship of limiting constructions to irrational numbers? (Not being the usual /. snark, an honest question)

I guess that I ask the question because there are perfectly boring shapes that give rise to irrational numbers, like a the hypotenuse of a right triangle with two sides of length one.

There are also a lot of rational limits that converge to rational numbers.

I have just never heard of any explicit connection.

Re:Summary wrong (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30704858)

Summary says: 1.618 = (sqrt(5)+1)/2.
So (1.618 * 2 - 1)^2 = 5.
i.e. 4.999696 = 5.
So 0.000304 = 0.
Multiply both sides by 62500/19:
1 = 0.
Amazing discovery indeed.

Is this one of those... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30704764)

.999... = 1 threads?

What between .999... and 1? .aaa...

What are they going to use this for? (1, Offtopic)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704794)

High-end ben-wah balls that reverberate to the sound of money?

Re:What are they going to use this for? (2, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705352)

the researchers have focused on the magnetic material cobalt niobate. It consists of linked magnetic atoms, which form chains just like a very thin bar magnet, but only one atom wide and are a useful model for describing ferromagnetism on the nanoscale in solid state matter.

Our computer memory technologies are largely based on understanding magnetizable materials at a very short length scale. The next logical step is to understand various phenomena of these materials at the nanoscale which is exactly what they are doing. The research is interesting because it hints at more going on in quantum physics that may at the least be interesting and at most useful in order to advance state of the art technology.

Golden ratio? Just like Dan Brown said? (1, Funny)

magsol (1406749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704810)

More for the spankbanks of all the readers of Dan Brown novels who truly believe Mary Magdalene is buried beneath the Louvre.

Car Analogy (1)

saaaammmmm (1650977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704844)

This article confuses me. Would someone be kind enough to explain it to me with a car analogy?

Re:Car Analogy (5, Interesting)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704906)

Here's my cut at a car analogy. Notice that a naturally recurring form-factor for popular cars involves a height to length ratio of 1:1.618. That ratio shows up again in that "rise to run" ratio of windshield rake. ...and again in overdrive gear ratio... and yet again in...

Re:Car Analogy (2, Interesting)

Max(10) (1716458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705036)

You get a grant to analyze a car in order to find something really special about it. You measure its top speed, acceleration, etc. and spend 3 years analyzing it, but find nothing special about it, it's an average car. At this point you already spent all the money and you need to somehow justify spending all that time and money, so you start comparing all the measurements you took in order to at least find some kind of well known constant and that's when you notice that the diameter of the AC vent is 1.618 of the diameter of the cigarette lighter.

Oh cripes (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704878)

Its got the number of the beast in it [wolframalpha.com]. Quick, ring Robert Heinlein [wikipedia.org].

Re:Oh cripes (1)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704954)

they found an old copy of revelations a while ago that said 616, not 666 is the number of the beast.

Re:Oh cripes (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704960)

Those Omen movies will have to be remade.

Re:Oh cripes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705046)

soooooo much shit has to be remade. in response to your sig, i find it even harder to believe that travel agents still exist

Re:Oh cripes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705726)

Yes, they fixed the bug in V2.0

Re:Oh cripes (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705000)

WA returns a page on a 1990s horror movie when you ask it about "The Number of The Beast", therefore that number must not exist.

Art and Architecture? (5, Informative)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704892)

...the golden ratio famous from art and architecture...

As a (former) mathematician, I would like to point out that the ratio really comes from elementary (pun intended; read on to find out more) geometry. The ancient Greeks played around with it quite a lot and Euclid mentioned it (more or less) in his Elements [clarku.edu]. The Greeks weren't interested in this because of art or how pretty it was, but because they were particularly crazy about geometry (nearly all of their mathematics was derived from it) and some seemed to think that the universe could be understood through geometry alone. Anyway, it is just the fairly simple ratio of lengths of two lines such that the ratio between the larger and the smaller is the same as the ratio of them both added and the larger, or algebraically;

(a + b)/a = a / b = phi

This can then be trivially rearranged into phi^2 - phi - 1 = 0, and then that has the one positive solution; phi = [1 + sqrt(5)]/2 (the negative solution being [1 - sqrt(5)]/2 = - 0.618... but negative lengths and ratios tend to prove problematic). As usual, Wikipedia has more information. [wikipedia.org]

While it is quite interesting to see it appear in a quantum mechanical setting, it isn't particularly shocking (to me). The number is the result of a fairly simple equation (as shown above) which is why it seems to appear so frequently in nature. While I didn't get this far in my studies of quantum theories, it wouldn't surprise me if, once the mathematicians have a chance to look into this, the reason behind this appearance of phi is found to be rather trivial.

However, I am not a physicist, or an expert in this field, so I may be completely wrong.

Re:Art and Architecture? (1, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704918)

As a (former) mathematician

How do you stop being a mathematician? (you don't seem to have stopped).

Re:Art and Architecture? (3, Interesting)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30704972)

How do you stop being a mathematician? (you don't seem to have stopped).

By being forced to graduate from university and getting caught up in politics [pp-international.net] and law [pirateparty.org.uk]. It must be at least 3 months since I did any proper maths (and the stuff above doesn't count - any suitably well-taught 8 year-old should be able to derive the answer; and it is all on Wikipedia anyway). But still, I guess one never quite recovers from spending 5+ years almost entirely devoted to the subject...

Re:Art and Architecture? (1, Interesting)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705052)

How do you stop being a mathematician? (you don't seem to have stopped).

By being forced to graduate from university and getting caught up in politics [pp-international.net] and law [pirateparty.org.uk]. It must be at least 3 months since I did any proper maths (and the stuff above doesn't count - any suitably well-taught 8 year-old should be able to derive the answer; and it is all on Wikipedia anyway). But still, I guess one never quite recovers from spending 5+ years almost entirely devoted to the subject...

Wish people would stop fussing that college actually makes them learn things outside their field of study.
If you get through college and don't understand why they made you take those classes you missed the point of college and need to go back because you still have a LOT more to learn about the world.

Re:Art and Architecture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705872)

Huh? You seem to be the only one fussing.

Re:Art and Architecture? (4, Interesting)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705532)

While it is quite interesting to see it appear in a quantum mechanical setting, it isn't particularly shocking (to me). The number is the result of a fairly simple equation (as shown above) which is why it seems to appear so frequently in nature. While I didn't get this far in my studies of quantum theories, it wouldn't surprise me if, once the mathematicians have a chance to look into this, the reason behind this appearance of phi is found to be rather trivial.

Yes, it's more the other way around really. The fact that the ratio between the first two frequencies measured in the spectrum was the Golden Ratio (within error), was evidence that the state had E8 symmetry, for group-theoretical reasons I can't quite explain. (I'm kind of in the opposite situation; I know QM but Group Theory was never my strongest point)

This is interesting because E8 isn't a symmetry many real physical systems have. But it's of interest for string theorists and other advanced theories, so it's interesting if they can find systems that can act as a model. The 'real' system here doesn't have E8 symmetry either. Rather it's a system of quasiparticles [wikipedia.org] created by the spins of the system which is E8, when exposed to a magnetic field at a certain critical phase-change point.

Which is why the title of the Science article calls it "emergent E8 symmetry".

Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (-1, Troll)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705012)

The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature even to the quantum level. It is also the most pleasing ratio to the human eye.

It would be highly improbable for a random universe to create this sort of symmetry.

To believe in a random universe requires a lot more mental gymnastics to reconcile the observed universe with that world view.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (3, Insightful)

Grumbleduke (789126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705062)

Mod me troll, but this sort of thing really annoys me

The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature even to the quantum level. It is also the most pleasing ratio to the human eye.

It would be highly improbable for a random universe to create this sort of symmetry.

To believe in a random universe requires a lot more mental gymnastics to reconcile the observed universe with that world view.

Or it could just be that the ratio comes from a very simple geometrical idea and a pretty basic equation.

Next you'll be suggesting that the fact that so many things in the universe seem to be approximately spherical is evidence of a divine being.

Oh, and just because something is improbable, doesn't mean that it can't happen. As for it being "most pleasing to the human eye", personally, I prefer the 1:1 ratio; squares have more symmetry than rectangles. Does that make me inhuman? The golden ratio looks quite nice, and is mathematically a bit interesting, but that doesn't make it magical.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (3, Insightful)

frakir (760204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705066)

This is not a 'high form of symmetry' but very basic one; a solution to a very rudimentary quadratic equation. I, for one am surprised we're not seeing such solutions more often around us.
Here's why: every semi-dynamic system tends to find a local energy minimum, which needs to be stable. A quadratic equation has always a stable minimum or it doesn't have a minimum. Well... that's all, nothing more to see here for me.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (5, Insightful)

grimdawg (954902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705074)

If the bodies of most organisms are anything to go by, evolution loves symmetry. The universe isn't random, it obeys rules, and when you combine random effects with structured rules you fairly often get to see patterns. Perhaps a better explanation: "The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature even to the quantum level. It is THEREFORE the most pleasing ratio to the human eye. It would be highly PROBABLE for a random universe, GOVERNED BY PHYSICAL LAWS, to create this sort of symmetry."

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (1)

the biologist (1659443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705678)

eh... symmetry is easier for evolution to work with. I don't know about "loves", but you've got the idea.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (1)

grimdawg (954902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705784)

Perhaps it was foolish to personify evolution in a response to a religious post; I assure you my intent was imagery and not theology ;)

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705084)

The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature even to the quantum level. It is also the most pleasing ratio to the human eye.
It would be highly improbable for a random universe to create this sort of symmetry.

To believe in a random universe requires a lot more mental gymnastics to reconcile the observed universe with that world view.

Which is more likely:
A) The human eye finds the golden ratio pleasing because it is everywhere in nature
B) the golden ratio is everwhere in nature because it is pleasing to the human eye

It's okay to say "I don't know."
You don't have to fill in all the gaps with "God"

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (2, Informative)

Virak (897071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705086)

You might have a point if the golden ratio were an entirely arbitrary number and not one derived from a simple geometric relation [wikimedia.org]. Pointing to the golden ratio as evidence for the existence of god is like pointing to occurrences of pi in nature, or the Fibonacci sequence. It isn't god's fingerprints, it's math's fingerprints.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (2, Informative)

frakir (760204) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705240)

just to nitpick (I like irony): Fibonacci sequence IS a golden ratio in its essence; more specifically Fib(n+1)/Fib(n) -> golden_ratio :)

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705616)

It isn't god's fingerprints, it's math's fingerprints.

What is an abstract concept like mathematics doing getting its grubby fingerprints all over physical reality? Some would say that only God could do that. Or are you trying to assert that the universe is just as abstract and unreal as the number 2, and we're trapped in it [xkcd.com]?

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (2, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705118)

I believe randomness doesn't exist. In its place stands "too complicated to understand".

Take the typical state lotto. If you knew all of the variables in the machine that draws the numbers, you can solve for which numbers will land in the winning numbers area. As a result, the lottery keeps details of the machine secret. Is the ball marked 43 the same ball (with the same weight and other properties) as the 43 in the previous or next drawing? Where is the machine located and what elevation is it at? When exactly does the drawing machine go into motion? If you know the answers to these secrets, you're not allowed to play.

Take any casino card game. Shuffling is a complex possible that's hard to technically observe. Do it right and repeatedly you've got uncertainty as to what card is going to come off the deck.

Take any slot machine. It's got a PRNG but it needs a seed value. It measures the time in between button presses measured to an annoyingly tight accuracy to get the complex number to run through its complex formula to create unpredictability.

Random just doesn't exist if you're going to believe everything moves according to the laws of physics.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (4, Informative)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705236)

You don't understand quantum mechanics. For QM the world is fundamentally stochastic, not just pseudo random. Einstein didn't like this but he was wrong.

Einstein:

"God doesn't play dice"

Stephen Hawking:

"Not only does He play dice, He does it with his hands behind his back"

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (4, Informative)

MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705450)

You don't understand quantum mechanics. For QM the world is fundamentally stochastic, not just pseudo random.

That's actually not quantum mechanics but rather the Copenhagen interpretation of QM.

QM doesn't actually tell us much on whether the universe is deterministic or not, because:
A) The time-evolution of the wave-function itself is deterministic.
and
B) Because it's a philosophical question Science will never be able to answer.
You can always simply deny that it's the ultimate theory of Reality and then add a metaphysical layer explaining why it only 'appears' to be random. Or non-random.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (1)

astar (203020) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705468)

You picked a good authority comparison. Hawking is sort of known as a black hole guy. The same approach that rejects randomness also rejects black holes. I never paid much attention to Hawking but I would expect he was an Aristotle type while Einstein was a Platoist. So this is the real difference. And I think it is pretty easy to make fun of reductionists.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (1)

da cog (531643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705818)

This is a nitpick, but technically the world is not stochastic but rather our perception of it is. When you run an experiment where you can't observe what's going on, it evolves in a perfect deterministic manner. Only the act of forcing an experiment that ends in multiple states to pick one of those states introduces the perceived non-determinism.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (3, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705252)

Take the typical state lotto. If you knew all of the variables in the machine that draws the numbers, you can solve for which numbers will land in the winning numbers area.

Ummmm....yeah...I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there. Most of those machines blow ping-pong balls around with air, which is most likely turbulent, and they are blown up into the slots when the lottery lady pulls the lever for the slot. Since, at a minimum, you can't solve for the state of the lottery lady, you can't "solve for which numbers will land in the winning numbers area."

(Never mind the outrageous accuracy of initial conditions and precision of the calculations you'd need to solve for the movement of ~4 dozen ping-pong balls being blown around by turbulent air.)

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705328)

Yes, but the fact that you can't do this in practice is exactly the parent's point, I think. In THEORY, if you knew absolutely everything variable involved in the airflow, the balls, the thing they were contained in, etc., you could predict which ball would be chosen. It's not random, just complicated. However, it's sufficiently complicated that it may as well be random, from the human point of view. It's a significant distinction when we're talking about the potential randomness of the universe, though.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705426)

Since, at a minimum, you can't solve for the state of the lottery lady

Huh, I rather thought that particular philosophical chestnut is still mostly considered an open question.

Lottery Lady State (3, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705568)

Since, at a minimum, you can't solve for the state of the lottery lady

Easy! The state of the lottery lady is the same as the state of the lottery itself.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705332)

this is a point of view physicists had in the 19 century. we now know that it's incorrect due to the uncertainty introduced by quantum mechanics.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (4, Interesting)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705618)

I believe randomness doesn't exist. In its place stands "too complicated to understand".

David Bohm wrote a lot about that, especially later in life. He essentially believed that what we perceive as randomness is a higher degree of order. An example he liked to use is a drop of ink placed in a cylindrical tank of glycerin, with a smaller central cylinder attached to a crank. If the crank is turned slowly in one direction, the drop of ink smears out and finally becomes invisible, dissolved in the surrounding medium. But if the crank is turned slowly back in the opposite direction, the drop of ink coalesces.

The unturned ink has a low (meaning simple) degree of order, while the spread-out ink has a high (complex) degree of order that is made apparent only when we wind it back to a state we can easily grasp. He also called these states the explicate, or what is readily apparent, and the implicate, or what is waiting to coalesce. The implicate order is why we have the maxim "hindsight is 20/20"--once something has happened, it often becomes easier to see how previous events lead up to this one.

It's interesting stuff, though certainly not orthodox, especially when one starts reading about the holomovement.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (1)

da cog (531643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705808)

You are thinking about quantum mechanics backwards. The true things that exist do so in many “classical” states simultaneously, i.e. the true nature of the “particle” is really a wave. We are the quirks in the system because our wave functions are so highly entangled that we perceive the universe as if it were deterministic. When we “measure” a quantity, what we are doing is forcing something that is in many states to tell us which state it is in. However, this is actually a nonsense question because the true thing is not necessarily in any “classical” state. Thus, something weird has to happen.

According to pure quantum mechanics --- that is, independent of which interpretation you choose --- the dictated evolution is for both observer and observee to become entangled so that the observer/observee system exists simultaneously in multiple states, but in a way such that in each state of the full system the observer sees the observee in a different particular classical state. The only problem with this is that things get even weirder when *you* are the observer; at that point, pick whatever interpretation you wish to explain what happens. The fundamental point, though, is that regardless of which interpretation you pick, the perceived non-determinism is inevitable and arises not from a incomplete understanding of the universe but rather from the fact that we are forcing it to answer a question for which there is truly no meaningful answer.

Re:Looking for god's finger prints? Here it is. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705634)

"To believe in a random universe requires a lot more mental gymnastics to reconcile the observed universe with that world view."

Yes, the universe is far stranger than fiction, it's also more usefull.

Continued Fraction (1)

threaded (89367) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705042)

Maybe what we can see is just the surface of a deeper reality, and below that something deeper again, etc. etc.. So this appearance of a golden ratio is actually an artefact of a continued fraction i.e. 1 + 1/(1+1/(1+1/(1+1/(.....

i just got off the toilet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705278)

i shit out an obama.

plop!

Re:i just got off the toilet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705448)

You must eat a lot of fibre!

Sloppy writing (1)

johanatan (1159309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30705836)

FTFA:

New properties emerge which are the result of an effect known as the Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

I see neither these properties emerging as a result of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle nor the 'effectiveness' of this mere principle.
I rather think that the properties exist independent of any principle and we label our discovery of such as a principle [and both the properties and the principle (albeit an artificial construct) lie outside our observation of such].

mod do3n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30705858)

much as Wind]ows About 4alf of the
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...