1. Exquisite Tweets from @AstroKatie, @inklesstales, @WHEbe60165, @AnchantedOne

    snydezCollected by snydez

    Just finished reading through this: arxiv.org/abs/1707.07702 — Stephen Hawking’s last paper, which explores some questions about the beginning of the Universe

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

    Beware of the press coverage, though. Most of the articles I’ve seen claim the paper says things it definitely does not say. (It is, to be fair, extremely technical.)

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

    REALLY short summary of the paper: Hawking & Hertog found, using some VERY preliminary calculations, that the rapid expansion in the early universe (inflation) might not always create a big mess of a multiverse, but might be more likely to make a cosmos like what we see.

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

    If it holds up, it might make it possible to draw a fairly straight line between the beginning of the cosmos and today, rather than trying to explain why we're in a Universe like ours and not one of the countless others that look totally different.

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

    This doesn't (as some coverage has suggested) lead us to ways of testing the multiverse hypothesis, or space probes that can do cool new measurements. It's a preliminary model for now; there may be ways to back it up in the future.

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

    The paper also doesn't mention the Universe ending, though some media reports have claimed it does. There may have been a misunderstanding about a technical term in the paper: an "end-of-world brane," which is... not about the destruction of the world (or Universe).

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

    (An "end-of-the-world brane" is a kind of a boundary of the Universe in a larger kind of space. "Brane" is sort of short for "membrane." Anyway, yeah, jargon.)

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

  2. Is there any reason the media who reported on it DIDN’T consult astrophysicists...

    Like you?

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    inklesstales

    Elizabeth “Resisterhood” M W Bushey 💙

  3. I think there will be some really thorough discussions coming out soon, but the two journalists who contacted me today ended up talking to someone else because I hadn't finished reading the paper yet when they got in touch.

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

  4. Btw: thanks for tweeting this and nipping the panic in the bud.
    :-)

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    inklesstales

    Elizabeth “Resisterhood” M W Bushey 💙

  5. I should add that the calculations in the paper, while, again, very preliminary, connect to some really cool ideas, like ways to bring gravity and quantum mechanics together.

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

    I was *almost* quoted in an article and on the radio talking about this paper, but I didn't finish reading it before the end of the day, so they talked to someone else.

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    AstroKatie

    Katie Mack

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