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What's the Universe Made Of? Math, Says Scientist

What's the Universe Made Of? Math, Says Scientist | Consciousness | Scoop.it

Scientists have long used mathematics to describe the physical properties of the universe. But what if the universe itself is math? That's what cosmologist Max Tegmark believes.

In Tegmark's view, everything in the universe — humans included — is part of a mathematical structure. All matter is made up of particles, which have properties such as charge and spin, but these properties are purely mathematical, he says. And space itself has properties such as dimensions, but is still ultimately a mathematical structure.

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"Consciousness is probably the way information feels when it's being processed in certain, very complicated ways," Tegmark said. He pointed out that many great breakthroughs in physics have involved unifying two things once thought to be separate: energy and matter, space and time, electricity and magnetism. He said he suspects the mind, which is the feeling of a conscious self, will ultimately be unified with the body, which is a collection of moving particles.

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These 19th-century diagrams were one man's attempt to illustrate human consciousness

These 19th-century diagrams were one man's attempt to illustrate human consciousness | Consciousness | Scoop.it
Could you represent the stages of human consciousness with a diagram? In the late 19th century, New Zealand psychologist Benjamin Betts tried to apply mathematics to the problem of visualizing human consciousness


What he produced were striking, almost floral designs that he believed represented the shape of our consciousness for a given activity.


Maria Popova of Brain Pickings came across these images in the 1887 book Geometrical psychology, or, The science of representation, an abstract of the theories and diagrams of B. W. Betts, edited by Louisa Cook and available on Open Library. In his metaphysical explorations, Betts attempted to represent the successive stages of the evolution of human consciousness with symbolic mathematical forms; he was quite pleased to find that his mathematical representations frequently resulted in plant-like forms, taking this to mean that he was on the track to some universal representation of consciousness. Incidentally, he also believed that human consciousness was the only thing that we as humans could study directly since everything else must necessarily be perceived through human consciousness.


by Lauren Davis 26 Nov 12

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