The Edge Question 2012: WHAT is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?:
Since this question is about explanation, answers may embrace scientific thinking in the broadest sense: as the most reliable way of gaining knowledge about anything, including other fields of inquiry such as philosophy, mathematics, economics, history, political theory, literary theory, or the human spirit. The only requirement is that some simple and non-obvious idea explain some diverse and complicated set of phenomena.
[Thanks to Steven Pinker for suggesting this year’s Edge Question and to Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, and George Dyson for their ongoing advice and support.]
Responses here, including Stanford physics prof Andrei Linde:
Why Is Our World Comprehensible?
[ … ]To summarize, the inflationary multiverse consists of myriads of ‘universes’ with all possible laws of physics and mathematics operating in each of them. We can only live in those universes where the laws of physics allow our existence, which requires making reliable predictions. In other words, mathematicians and physicists can only live in those universes which are comprehensible and where the laws of mathematics are efficient.
One can easily dismiss everything that I just said as a wild speculation. …
Just think, Stanford is a leading research centre.
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