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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Steve Dufourny: on 10/11/12 at 15:38pm UTC, wrote I liked this essay in fact Mr Amstrong, you are right in fact, the finite...

Reeve Armstrong: on 10/4/12 at 22:03pm UTC, wrote I'm not overly concerned about the rating. Science isn't done by democracy...

Reeve Armstrong: on 10/4/12 at 22:01pm UTC, wrote Thanks a lot :)

Reeve Armstrong: on 10/4/12 at 22:00pm UTC, wrote Benjamin, Thank you for the response and questions. :) In reply to the...

Sergey Fedosin: on 10/4/12 at 6:50am UTC, wrote If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings...

Sergey Fedosin: on 10/2/12 at 11:40am UTC, wrote After studying about 250 essays in this contest, I realize now, how can I...

Benjamin Dribus: on 9/29/12 at 19:15pm UTC, wrote Dear Reeve, Your essay is very interesting. No doubt these are very...

Peter Jackson: on 9/27/12 at 14:38pm UTC, wrote Reeve Excellent analysis of finite cosmology, though not including the...


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FQXi FORUM
July 18, 2019

CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: An Infinite Universe Is the Only Reasonable Universe - A False Assumption by Reeve Armstrong [refresh]
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Author Reeve Armstrong wrote on Aug. 21, 2012 @ 10:09 GMT
Essay Abstract

The idea, that underlies most modern cosmological models, that the universe must be infinite, is examined and found to be uneeded. Attention is given to finite cosmological models which are found to be preferable since they provide a solution to Loschmidt's paradox.

Author Bio

Reeve Armstrong, born 1994 in Nottingham, England. I am a student of the University of Wolverhampton; to study Biotechnology. While I am not a professional physicist, I am very interested and passionate about the field. I would consider myself an 'amateur' theoretical physicist (although I believe that to be labelled such, is to imply that 'physicist' is a profession; rather it is someone with a rational, scientific mode of thought who is interested in the fundamental, natural world). I'm also a (currently) unpublished writer.

Download Essay PDF File

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nmann wrote on Aug. 21, 2012 @ 16:04 GMT
Dear Reeve Armstrong,

Very nice paper. The origin of the concept of Infinity may have occurred back when there was always more beyond the horizon, not to mention all those stars in the sky, and the realization dawned that once you start counting there's no reason (except for death and the need to invent new number-words) why you should ever have to stop, and language and thought had evolved sufficiently for someone to say "Yeah, well, you claim that's all there is, so then explain how existence can suddenly just end without there being another existence just outside it?"

You don't note the fine old "finite yet unbounded" (Friedmann et alii) model, and I'm guessing that's because way too much empirical evidence has piled up against it since the days when it was mainstream belief. (Which was as recently as the first publication of "A Brief History of Time" in fact.) Do you see it as salvagable? (Personally I really liked it, because it was such a neat package and you could always shrug and say, "Okay, we can't intuitively comprehend a balloon that's all exterior with no interior because like Kant said, the noumenal is beyond our ken.")

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 21:26 GMT
Thank you for the positive feedback, I appreciate it nmann. :)

I would say that the FLRW model(s) are idealisations; an approximation. They can obviously be useful, depending on the context, it just depends on how accurate you need to be.

In those models, apart from the "spherical" universe, the history of the universe is not projected up until the "end." (Probably because the assumption is that it continues forever) However, if my suggestion is right, then the future of the universe would be hard to visualise on such a diagram. (How would it 'look', for example, for the universe to end in a 'Big Rip' where the maximum entropy singularity would result without having space re-collapse? On the other hand, if there is no mass left in the universe at this far future time, how would we show on the diagram that the space is no longer relevant? And this gets us back to the initial singularity?)

I think the best way to visualise it, is to use conformal diagrams where we can see that the far future (at heat death) reconnects to the "beginning" boundary.

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Aug. 21, 2012 @ 22:08 GMT
Hello,

Your conclusion is not rational considering the heat and thermodynamics. The closed evolutive system is essential.You must differenciate the infinite light above our walls and our pure physical sphere in evolution and its boundaries.

If not you cannot understand the present and the past and the future.

Regards

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 23:24 GMT
I am not saying the closed system does not evolve. It just is not time-asymmetrical. The differentiation between present/past/future would therefore be subjective (relative; depending on where you are an what 4D direction you are travelling in).

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Steve Dufourny replied on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 23:58 GMT
hello Mr Amstrong,

I just would to show you that it exists a lot of infnities. But one infinity above our walls ! You know the infinite light above our physicality , is without time, space and mass. The light inside our physicality evolves, but this universal sphere is a finite system. I beleive that it is important to tell it . It permits to evitate the confusions about what is the infinity and the infinities.

Regards

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Aug. 23, 2012 @ 16:32 GMT
Mr Dufourny,

I understand your concerns. As I understand it, time is not separate from space so it seems to me that you must technically refer to events at any time point actually as locations and therefore distances between locations. Therefore, when I say that the universe may or may not be infinite, I am referring to whether or not it is infinite in distance, which is to therefore necessarily imply an infinite number of events. Following this, with regards to light, since photons do not actually "experience" time, I think referring to it as infinite is misleading since that would surely be to suggest that it travels a distance? (Clearly put: Light travels 3 dimensional spatial distance but does not travel temporal distance)

I am arguing that the universe is finite in 4D distance (Spatial and temporal) and that by assuming so one can solve Loschmidt's paradox and conclude a symmetrical evolution for the universe.

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Joe Fisher wrote on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 14:37 GMT
Dear Mr. Armstrong,

I found your well argued, exceptionally well written essay thoroughly interesting and a pure intellectual joy to read. As I have thoughtfully pointed out in my essay Sequence Consequence, human reality only really exists here and now. I do not mean to state this sarcastically, however, obviously, any real here cannot be finite and any real now can only be eternal. Otherwise, one would know where here commenced and how long now had endured. Abstract there can be abstractly infinite and abstract then can be of an abstract duration. Are you a Forrest or a County man?

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 22:16 GMT
Thank you very much for the praise Mr Fisher.

After reading your comment, I read through your Sequence Consequence essay. You have some fascinating; interesting ideas. Two questions came to my mind:

First, according to your ideas, what would reality actually be like without any form of observers (before life evolved, for example)?

Second, how do you interpret Sir Roger Penrose's "Andromeda Paradox?"

My own position on the nature of time and events is that I take a (holistic) view that the worldline(s) are objectively real (in the same way that some quantum physicists understand the wavefunction to be real) and is the true description of reality. Following from this, I would say that humans (and other forms of conscious observers) - which have their own worldlines of course - considered at any discrete point (on their worldline), necessarily have a 1:1 relationship with the same discrete point on the 'surrounding' worldlines.

As an analogy, you could put two rulers, side-by-side, parallel to one another; imagine that one of the measurements on one of the rulers, say 10cm, represents a particular event. This would match up to the 10cm mark on the other ruler. Suppose that one of the rulers represents your worldline and the other ruler represents the worldline of your surrounding environment. So, 'Joe'-at 10cm experiences the event that takes place on the environment-worldline at 10cm.

(The above assumes for simplicity no relative motion; otherwise the rulers would not be parallel - in fact it would probably be better to say they were those "super flexible" rulers you can buy!)

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Aug. 22, 2012 @ 23:20 GMT
I forgot to clarify: I am a County man, Joe. :)

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Joe Fisher replied on Aug. 23, 2012 @ 14:11 GMT
Dear Mr. Armstrong,

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to read my essay and for your positive comment about it. The answer to your first question is that I know what my reality is because it helpingly persists for me here and now. I have no idea what reality could have actually been like before the present state of human evolvement was arrived at. All paradoxes are abstractions and lack substantiation in reality. As there are no real identical states anywhere in the real Universe, it follows that although abstract simultaneous events can figuratively take place as measured in abstract identical states of measured time, each real event is unique as to its locality of a real here and only endures for a real now.

I regret having asked you about Notts County. I feel sure I saw Tommy Lawton play once in a wartime friendly at Maine Road.

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Daniel wrote on Aug. 24, 2012 @ 02:30 GMT
Dear Reeve

Congratulations for your essay. I found it very well written and interesting. You address questions that certainly can be labelled as the deepest ones, and by being so young anyone can conclude that you certainly have a bright future. Keep going in this direction. I wish I could discuss your ideas in more detail, but I´m just not confident enough about my knowledge on general relativity and statistical mechanics for making any relevant points, and I don´t have much time to study it now. But I see that if you can objectively prove that finite cosmological models solve Loschmidt's paradox then this should receive a lot of attention.

My studies in GR have focused more on its origin. GR can be recovered from Machian first principles, and a finite universe is also interesting because these principles on the nature of space and time can be easily implemented (see Julian Barbour´s work).

My essay, Absolute or Relative Motion...Or Something Else? discusses how one can extended machian considerations to search for new physics. You might find it interesting ;)

Best regards, Daniel

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Aug. 24, 2012 @ 18:08 GMT
Daniel,

Thank you for the positive comments. :) I will have a look at your essay.

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John Merryman wrote on Aug. 24, 2012 @ 03:57 GMT
Reeve,

While I haven't finished your essay, I compliment you on having studied the subject so deeply at such a young age.

A few points; The advantage of infinity is that it negates entropy. Entropy only applies to closed sets, so if the universe is open, then energy is just traded around, as what is radiated from one area, is gained by another.

As for Zeno's paradox, it...

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Aug. 24, 2012 @ 18:51 GMT
Mr Merryman,

Thank you for the comments, I will take them into consideration. I will read your essay also.

I assume, since you say:

"This means time is simply an effect of action, rate of change, not some geometric basis for it, which would invalidate the conceptual foundation for an expanding universe in the first place. Leaving redshift as lensing effect, likely because light travels as a wave and is only detected as a quantum."

And suggest that the universe could be an open set; you support a steady-state cosmology for the universe.

If this is so, how do you explain the uniform Cosmic microwave background radiation?

If I may ask another question: Since you do not think that time is not part of spatial geometry, how do you interpret time dilation?

Sincerely,

Reeve

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Aug. 24, 2012 @ 19:43 GMT
Typo in second question!

I meant to ask: "Since you DO think that time is not part of spatial geometry, how do you interpret time dilation?"

Apologies for the mistake,

Reeve

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John Merryman replied on Aug. 25, 2012 @ 03:30 GMT
Reeve,

The background radiation would be the solution to Olber's paradox. Since redshift is proportional to distance, this is light that has been shifted completely off the visible spectrum. That it is so smooth, at 3.7k, suggests some phase transition at that level. Possibly it is only stable to that level and then starts to shift to other forms of energies. I think gravity is not so much...

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Aug. 24, 2012 @ 16:14 GMT
Reeve

Why you do not want to break the space-time into space and time?

See my essay http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1413

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Aug. 24, 2012 @ 18:29 GMT
Loschmidt's paradox: Why is there an inevitable increase in entropy when the laws of physics are invariant under time reversal? The time reversal symmetry of physical laws appears to contradict the second law of thermodynamics.

I think Loschmidt paradox has paradoxlcal solution:

Past is the future.Future is the past.Time is the circle.

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Aug. 24, 2012 @ 19:35 GMT
Yuri,

That solution would only be paradoxical if you think that there should be an arrow of time in the first place. :)

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Aug. 24, 2012 @ 19:45 GMT
Niels Bohr Quotes

We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.

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Steve Dufourny replied on Sep. 15, 2012 @ 22:28 GMT
Mr Danoyan, Jedi Quotes ,

the crazyness is the begining of the wisdom.....

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Avtar Singh wrote on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 20:50 GMT
Hi Reeve:

I thoroughly enjoyed your interesting essay.

Based on arguments and results presented in my paper - -“ From Absurd to Elegant Universe”, it is shown that the current cosmological models are inconsistent and paralyzed by several paradoxes including the two described in your paper due to the missing fundamental physics. The first paradox – “If the universe is finite,...

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Sep. 1, 2012 @ 17:59 GMT
Dear Reeve,

In my essay the Theory of Infinite Hierarchical Nesting of Matter is studied. In this theory your questions are resolved in such way. The problem of 'arrow of time' must be investigated in view of all levels of matter. A reason for the 'arrow of time' is different rate of time at low levels of matter. At the level of atoms time goes much more quickly then at the level of star, so any macro-event first of all take place at the low levels of matter. On one hand the physics equations are symmetrical in time, on the other hand the arrow means different probability for inverse processes. Other reason for the arrow - action of fundamental fields (gravitational and electromagnetic) is such that there is only spherical planets, stars, nucleons and so on are formed. These fields may be explained in the concept of Le Sage as it is applied to all levels of matter. One direction of gravitational field gives one direction for all other events. And at the atomic level of matter there is strong gravitation.

Since particles can formed in Universe in one scenario here no problem with the similarity of properties in different parts of Universe. I invite you to have a look to my essay.

Sergey Fedosin Essay

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wamai wrote on Sep. 3, 2012 @ 08:53 GMT
A highly intellectual approach to a fundamental assumption of physics (that the universe is infinite).It's easy to accept the infinite view,seeing that space extends endlessly in all directions, even a child staring into a night sky wonders where it all ends.As you point out, the laws of thermodynamics,BB and expansion rule out an infinite universe.Inferential measurements also obtain a definite mass for the universe,therefore it is finite.The expanding spherical shell (brane) model is ,in all likelihood,correct.Your solution proposes a heat-death as the maximum entropy of such a model when all its mass will have decayed ,but then you wonder how you'd describe space-structure thereafter.Would that not be the end of it? Consider Steve Dufourny's infinite light eventuality( Aug. 22, 2012 comment) as the singularity you yourself envisage but spoil with the reversed thermodynamics(time reversal cannot happen because of the grandfather's paradox).On the other hand, if you were that heretic out there( doesn't mean you are one) ,unbound by space-time,the universe is not dead as you can still see it evolving from beginning to the end,just like a movie. but then,as you said, one cannot exist that way.Here,QM comes in to describe existence as 'states' of the quantum wave (mind?),possibilities of which are infinite.

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Sergey G Fedosin replied on Sep. 5, 2012 @ 19:05 GMT
Dear Reeve,

Why do think that in the Theory of Infinite Hierarchical Nesting of Matter should be a heat-death as the maximum entropy? It is not so. Firstly, the entropy of stars is negative, and if the radius of star is little the entropy is more negative. Secondly we must take into account entropy of gravitational fields. Gravitons of low levels of matter carry negentropy to the high levels of matter.

Also the Universe is not a closed system so the law of maximum entropy do not work.

Sergey Fedosin Essay

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 11, 2012 @ 09:12 GMT
Symmetry of arrow of time and asymmetry of entropy are major source of tension in cosmological theories. Ring-buoy of emergentism can't help solve this contradiction.

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 21:48 GMT
The computer and the universe

John Archibald Wheeler

Abstract

The reasons are briefly recalled why (1) time cannot be a primordial category in the description of nature, but secondary, approximate and derived, and (2) the laws of physics could not have been engraved for all time upon a tablet of granite, but had to come into being by a higgledy-piggledy mechanism. It is difficult to defend the view that existence is built at bottom upon particles, fields of force or space and time. Attention is called to the “elementary quantum phenomenon” as potential building element for all that is. The task of construction of physics from such elements is compared and contrasted with the problem of constructing a computer out of “yes, no” devices.

Preparation for publication assisted by the University of Texas Center for Theoretical Physics and by National Science Foundation Grant No. PHY78-26592.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/ck753337h051
5573/

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 12:34 GMT
Sounds interesting. I'll see if I can get my hands on that :)

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Member Hector Zenil wrote on Sep. 25, 2012 @ 06:17 GMT
Dear Reeve,

Interesting essay. I think your account of thermodynamic death is quite more complicated than what you suggest. On the other hand, you may not know but there is a book edited by Calude and Paun entitled Finite versus Infinite, I though you would like the reference, it is published by Springer. Good luck.

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Sep. 26, 2012 @ 12:32 GMT
This book?

http://www.amazon.com/Finite-Versus-Infinite-Contributions-M
athematics/dp/1852332514

If I can get my hands on it, I'll take a look :)

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 25, 2012 @ 11:08 GMT
See my discussion with George Ellis

http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/1337#addPost

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Peter Jackson wrote on Sep. 27, 2012 @ 14:38 GMT
Reeve

Excellent analysis of finite cosmology, though not including the odd good early cyclic models (i.e. Dicke/Peebles) it included a few I wasn't aware of. I'm quite convinced a cyclic model is correct, and have evolved another version (in review) based on a scale invariant model of AGN accretion and re-ionization (in astrophysical or 'quasar' jets). This implies a secular galaxy evolution model over a shorter cycle. Watch this space! The patterns of CMBR anisotropy provide consistent evidence for such a pattern, with hellicity on the 'axis of evil' of flow.

Your essay helped me focus better on a few associated issues, though I've never been a fan of the 2nd Law. And think it is quite co-incidental, the effects emerging naturally from the process.

My essay this year is about the fundamental physics from which it arises. The end notes mention it and last years essay (Community 10th) also discussed it. I hope you'll read this years and give me any comments.

Best wishes.

Peter

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Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Sep. 29, 2012 @ 19:15 GMT
Dear Reeve,

Your essay is very interesting. No doubt these are very profound issues, so you’ll forgive me for not yet completely understanding your proposals. I would be grateful if you would answer a few questions.

First, however, in regard to Loschmidt’s paradox, let me remark that one way in which a preferred direction can emerge is through asymmetry of configuration...

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 22:00 GMT
Benjamin,

Thank you for the response and questions. :)

In reply to the first question: What you have to remember is that we're dealing with huge time scales and in terms of phase space, the section representing maximum entropy will be vastly larger than all of the others - it will take up nearly all of the volume, even if that volume is infinite. This means that any slight deviations i.e. fluctuations from the huge volume will be extremely likely to take the point in phase space into regions of extremely lower entropy.

In answer to your time question, not wanting to get too much into the metaphysics of time, I would say that I take the geometrical view of time that Relativity gives us and I think that time is symmetrical.

I shall also have to take a look at Stoica's essay :)

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 2, 2012 @ 11:40 GMT
After studying about 250 essays in this contest, I realize now, how can I assess the level of each submitted work. Accordingly, I rated some essays, including yours.

Cood luck.

Sergey Fedosin

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 22:01 GMT
Thanks a lot :)

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 06:50 GMT
If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings in the contest are calculated in the next way. Suppose your rating is
and
was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have
of points. After it anyone give you
of points so you have
of points and
is the common quantity of the people which gave you ratings. At the same time you will have
of points. From here, if you want to be R2 > R1 there must be:
or
or
In other words if you want to increase rating of anyone you must give him more points
then the participant`s rating
was at the moment you rated him. From here it is seen that in the contest are special rules for ratings. And from here there are misunderstanding of some participants what is happened with their ratings. Moreover since community ratings are hided some participants do not sure how increase ratings of others and gives them maximum 10 points. But in the case the scale from 1 to 10 of points do not work, and some essays are overestimated and some essays are drop down. In my opinion it is a bad problem with this Contest rating process. I hope the FQXI community will change the rating process.

Sergey Fedosin

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Author Reeve Armstrong replied on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 22:03 GMT
I'm not overly concerned about the rating. Science isn't done by democracy after all. :)

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 15:38 GMT
I liked this essay in fact Mr Amstrong, you are right in fact, the finite groups are essential !

Don't stop your passion for physics. Physics are the chief orchestra of our physical laws.They dance our spheres, they rotate, they evolve, they build....

ps an finite evolutive sphere with variables volumes of evolution is an evidence, the finite cosmological spheres and quantum spheres...

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