so what exactly is big or small? those words are all relative to us, or relative to our knowledge. i was reading up on the big bang thread... and came to the conclusion that the universe was created due to an unimaginably huge force, which created matter,energy and space as we know of it. but was that force really that huge? of course its everything to us, but whats beyond our universe? what if the existence of our entire universe was just a small spark and a brief period of time made in a whole different world? a world so big that the existence our of universe is undetectable. likewise, smaller worlds relative to us may exist that we may never get to detect. hell, different laws of physics and time may apply to different worlds... and we would never know. fact is, once we remove ourselves from the center of everything(size, location, time), where do we stand in the grand spectrum of things? we REALLY dont know. just a thought... any opinions?

This is what I've been TRYING to explain in all the science posts I've been in. The universe is HUGE...both WAY smaller than "us" and WAY bigger. The best way of explaining it, would be to take the entire electromagnetic spectrum and then compare it relatively to the universe. The "scale" we live in, is comparable to the visible light portion on the electromagnetic spectrum. EVERYTHING we can "see" falls withing a small...VERY SMALL portion of the entire scale. We can see from red to violet, one millionth, one billionth, of the entire range from very low frequency radio waves measured in mile long wavelengths to the gamma rays measured in billionths of a millimeter. Our "visible universe" is the same...we're only "seeing" one billionth of the entire scale of the universe. It gets really small...maybe quarks are made of even smaller things and they made of even smaller. To a possible "structure" larger than the visible universe. Maybe galaxies are some form of dust particle to something even bigger. I really believe in this. That's why science always has to "fudge" when dealing with the very small and very large. Because unseen things are having an effect, a measurable effect...but the thing doing the effecting can't be measured...or detected...yet...and may never be, since light seems to be the smallest thing we've got to "see" with. Light is too big... It's like sending in an elephant to explore an ant hole. The elephant (light) is the smallest thing we've got...and it ain't gonna cut it!

You nailed it! That's exactly what it is. You can keep zooming in and out "forever"? Many people aren't familiar enough with fractals for me to use that analogy.

I think you'll find most here understand the term. It's actually quite an interesting subject that science has explored for some years: "...In physical cosmology, fractal cosmology is a set of minority cosmological theories which states that the distribution of matter in the Universe, or the structure of universe itself, is fractal. More generally, it relates to the usage or appearance of fractals in the study of the universe and matter. A central issue in this field is the fractal dimension of the Universe or of matter distribution within it, when measured at very large or very small scales.Fractals are encountered in both observational and theoretical cosmology, make an appearance at both extremes of the range of scale, and have been observed at various ranges in the middle[citation needed]. Similarly; the use of fractals to answer questions in cosmology has been employed by a growing number of serious scholars close to the mainstream[citation needed], but the metaphor has also been adopted by others outside the mainstream of science, so some varieties of fractal cosmology are solidly in the realm of scientific theories and observations, and others are considered Fringe science, or perhaps metaphysical cosmology. Thus, these various formulations enjoy a range of acceptance and/or perceived legitimacy that includes both extremes as well as the middle. Fractals in observational cosmology In the observational realm, the fractal distribution of galaxies was first shown to fit the astronomical data accurately by Luciano Pietronero and his team in 1987[1], and a more detailed view of fractality in the universe’s large-scale structure emerged over the following decade, as the number of cataloged galaxies grew larger. The universe shows a definite fractal aspect (according to Pietronero and his colleagues), over a fairly wide range of scale, with a fractal dimension of about 2[2]. The ultimate significance of this result is not immediately apparent, but it seems to indicate that both randomness and hierarchal structuring are at work, on the scale of galaxy clusters and larger. A debate still ensues, over whether the universe will become homogeneous and isotropic (or is smoothly distributed) at a large enough scale, as would be expected in a standard Big Bang or FLRW cosmology, and in most interpretations of the Lambda-CDM (expanding Cold Dark Matter) model. Scientific consensus interpretation is that the Sloan Digital Sky Survey suggests that things do indeed seem to smooth out above 100 Megaparsecs. Recent analysis of WMAP, SDSS, and NVSS data by a team from the University of Minnesota[3] shows evidence of a void around 140 Megaparsecs across, however, coinciding with the CMB cold spot, which, if confirmed, calls the assumption of a smooth universe into question. However there are serious hints that the apparent cold spot is a statistical artifact. In May 2008, another paper[4] was published by a team including Pietronero, that concludes the large scale structure in the universe is fractal out to at least 100 Mpc/h. The paper asserts that the team has demonstrated that the most recent SDSS data shows "large amplitude density fluctuations at all scales" within that range, and that the data is consistent with fractality beyond this point, but inconsistent with a lower scale of homogeneity, or with predictions of large scale structure based solely on gravity. Their analysis shows the fractal dimension of the arrangement of galaxies in the universe (up to the range of 30 Mpc/h) to be about 2.1 (plus or minus 0.1). Fractals in theoretical cosmology In the realm of theory (apart from Mandelbrot’s ideas), the first appearance of fractals in cosmology was likely with Andrei Linde’s "Eternally Existing Self-Reproducing Chaotic Inflationary Universe"[5] theory (see Chaotic inflation theory), in 1986. In this theory, the evolution of a scalar field creates peaks that become nucleation points which cause inflating patches of space to develop into "bubble universes," making the universe fractal on the very largest scales. Alan Guth's 2007 paper on "Eternal Inflation and its implications"[6] shows that this variety of Inflationary universe theory is still being seriously considered today. And inflation, in some form or other, is widely considered to be our best available cosmological model. Since 1986, however, quite a large number of different cosmological theories exhibiting fractal properties have been proposed. And while Linde’s theory shows fractality at scales likely larger than the observable universe, theories like Causal dynamical triangulation[7] and Quantum Einstein gravity[8] are fractal at the opposite extreme, in the realm of the ultra-small near the Planck scale. These recent theories of quantum gravity describe a fractal structure for spacetime itself, and suggest that the dimensionality of space evolves with time. Specifically; they suggest that reality is 2-d at the Planck scale, and that spacetime gradually becomes 4-d at larger scales. French astronomer Laurent Nottale first suggested the fractal nature of spacetime in a paper on Scale Relativity published in 1992[9], and published a book on the subject of Fractal Space-Time in 1993[10]. French mathematician Alain Connes has been working for a number of years to reconcile Relativity with Quantum Mechanics, and thereby to unify the laws of Physics, using Noncommutative geometry. Fractality also arises in this approach to Quantum Gravity. An article by Alexander Hellemans in the August 2006 issue of Scientific American[11] quotes Connes as saying that the next important step toward this goal is to "try to understand how space with fractional dimensions couples with gravitation." The work of Connes with physicist Carlo Rovelli[12] suggests that time is an emergent property or arises naturally, in this formulation, whereas in Causal dynamical triangulation, choosing those configurations where adjacent building blocks share the same direction in time is an essential part of the 'recipe.' Both approaches suggest that the fabric of space itself is fractal, however. Publications The book Discovery of Cosmic Fractals[13] by Yurij Baryshev and Pekka Teerikorpi gives an overiew of fractal cosmology, and recounts other milestones in the development of this subject. It recapitulates the history of cosmology, reviewing the core concepts of ancient, historical, and modern astrophysical cosmology. The book also documents the appearance of fractal-like and hierarchal views of the universe from ancient times to the present. The authors make it apparent that some of the pertinent ideas of these two streams of thought developed together. They show that the view of the universe as a fractal has a long and varied history, though people haven’t always had the vocabulary necessary to express things in precisely that way. Beginning with the Sumerian and Babylonian mythologies, they trace the evolution of Cosmology through the ideas of Ancient Greeks like Aristotle, Anaximander, and Anaxagoras, and forward through the Scientific Revolution and beyond. They acknowledge the contributions of people like Emanuel Swedenborg, Edmund Fournier D'Albe, Carl Charlier, and Knut Lundmark to the subject of cosmology and a fractal-like interpretation, or explanation thereof. In addition, they document the work of de Vaucoleurs, Mandelbrot, Pietronero, Nottale and others in modern times, who have theorized, discovered, or demonstrated that the universe has an observable fractal aspect. On the 10th of March, 2007, the weekly science magazine New Scientist featured an article entitled "Is the Universe a Fractal?"[14] on its cover. The article by Amanda Gefter focused on the contrasting views of Pietronero and his colleagues, who think that the universe appears to be fractal (rough and lumpy) with those of David Hogg of NYU and others who think that the universe will prove to be relatively homogeneous and isotropic (smooth) at a still larger scale, or once we have a large and inclusive enough sample (as is predicted by Lambda-CDM). Gefter gave experts in both camps an opportunity to explain their work and their views on the subject, for her readers..." Science did all the above, and may be proving your/its fractal universe at this very second. MelT

Thank you Melt...I know we disagree a lot... I first thought this in 1980 after seeing a book called "The Fractal Geometry of Nature". It talked about measuring coastlines. Depending on the measuring scale you used, you could make a coastline double each time you decreased the measurement size. It's like the old get halfway closer each step you take...you'll NEVER arrive. A coastline is infinate depending on how small a measurement you can make. That's when I realized that there IS a limit to how small we can measure. And EVERYTHING depends on how accurately you can "measure" something. Like I've said before...we're "close enough" for what we need.

Goddamned you Melt, you make me look like an amatour the way you post and link and put tons of effort into it. You're stealing my very private spotlight (For those without a sense of humour, and I know you are lurking, that was a compliment) I've used the analogy that life, indeed the universe, is a fractal for a long time. It is what makes sense. Simple rules giving very complex results by means of iteration. It explains so much, and is even rather apparant with regards to evolution, life the universe and everything. Nature, as I see it, is a set of simple rules that likes to repeat itself, even into areas that we do not see much use in, as per super-symmetry in our particle physics. We don't need those extra particles in our models, did not expect them even, but they are there and not to be ignored. And in that is a clue, we just need to figure out what the riddle is...

Strangely, I think we actually agree on a lot of things, it's just that here I tend to push the science side of my beliefs I remember the book you're talking about I think, I seem to remember it had about 6 good colour plates with things like a pic of the Mandlebrot set and the cali coast in the middle of it? Who knows what we may discover next! MelT