The prevailing view in physics today is that the dimensionality of spacetime, the qualities of elementary particles and many of the so-called physical constants are not built into physical laws but are the outcome of processes known as symmetry breaking.Statements like this are like p0rn to a theoretical physicist.
Richard The Third fell on his knee
But found a solution he could not see.
Though declared insane,
He slipped his brane,
And became Richard the 10^(10^123)
Robert, I think that the level 1 concept was saying that The Universe is infinite, but space (meaning the part of the universe with matter in it) has finite limits based on how far it has expanded?But I thought that the Universe came from the Big Bang, and that the Universe (including all space-time) is defined by what came after the Big Bang. Otherwise, you'd be saying that the Big Bang happened in an already-existing Universe, in which case the BB wasn't really the beginning of the Universe!
Also, I thought somewhere in that huge article they mentioned that space was flat? How can that be when they've modeled the known "viewable" universe as a sphere?Flatness applies to any dimension. In the first dimension, a straight line is said to be flatter than a crooked line. (Think of a flat or mountainous horizon in a child's drawing.) In the second dimension, a table's surface is more flat than the surface of a bowling ball. And in the third dimension - well, it's hard to visualize.
But this can help: If you were to cut out identical flat squares from a piece of paper, you could use them to completely cover the table top without any gaps or overlap in the paper. Try to cover the bowling ball in the same way, and you'll soon discover that its curved surface will not be covered without some gaps and overlaps in the square pieces of paper.
Well, it's the same if you add a dimension. Try to fill our Universe with a bunch of uniformly-shaped cubes, and you'll find that it's very easy to do across vast distances, which is an indication of its flatness. If our Universe were curved in some fashion, then you'd be unable to fill it with uniformly-shaped cubes without gaps and overlaps eventually appearing somewhere down the road.
What I don't understand is, if the universe came from the Big Bang, and the subsequent expansion occured at a finite rate, how did space become infinite?Robert, that’s a good question. I haven’t read many articles seriously presuming that our Universe is infinite. Even with hyper-inflation theory making our Universe mind-bogglingly, incomprehensibly, gobsmackedupsidetheheadedly more huge than what we will ever be able to observe, the Universe, I have always believed, cannot be infinite. Even with Chaotic Eternal Inflation Theory proposing that at the unreachable edges of the unknowable Universe, unfreakably countless microscopic pockets of spacetime are undergoing spontaneous hyper inflation, billions of time each second, each billionth of a second for each microscopic pocket adding to our Universe enough space, matter, and energy to fill any respectably, unfathomably large universe, and with its hyper-expanded edges undergoing subsequent, but similar, hyper inflation, and so on, at a gut-roasting exponential rate…
Well, it’s big, I’ll grant you that. It may even be large enough to handle the god-only-knows-how-large numbers the author used in the article. (10^(10^118)? Jeepers! How can… I mean… JEEPERS!!!) But since it’s been going on for only a finite amount of time, my belief is that it can’t truly be infinite.
But it could well be that, by now, it may as well be infinite.
And that’s just Level I.