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Capturing Free Parameters

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The Beginning and the End

Part of the book series: The Frontiers Collection ((FRONTCOLL))


We address the free parameters issue in cosmology, namely that there are free parameters in the standard model of particle physics and in cosmological models, which in principle can be filled in with any number. We do not know why they should have the value they do. We analyze the issue within physical, mathematical, computational, and biological frameworks. We review important distinctions such as dimensionless and dimensional physical constants, and the classification of constants proposed by Lévy-Leblond. Then we critically discuss Tegmark’s proposal of the mathematical universe. The idea that our universe might be modeled as a computational entity is analyzed, and we discuss the distinction between physical laws and initial conditions using algorithmic information theory. Finally, we introduce a biological approach to the free parameters issue, which will be later developed in Chap. 8. In general, analogies are useful and fundamental cognitive tools, but they can also be misused or misinterpreted, so this chapter starts with a preliminary study of analogical reasoning in science.

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  1. 1.

    Also known as algorithmic information, program-size complexity, Kolmogorov complexity, descriptive complexity, stochastic complexity, or algorithmic entropy.

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Correspondence to Clément Vidal .

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© 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

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Vidal, C. (2014). Capturing Free Parameters . In: The Beginning and the End. The Frontiers Collection. Springer, Cham.

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