Mathematics is the language God used to write the universe
■ You can understand the key points of this article in 3 lines.
- Max Tegmark proposed the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH). He says our universe is described by math and is inherently mathematical. Everything in this universe, including consciousness, is part of a mathematical structure.
- The idea has problems and doubts. People like Kurt Gödel and Freeman Dyson don’t agree. They say math may not work in real life.
- Tegmark’s idea is called MUH. Many people argue about it. If the universe is mathematical, we can learn about the multiverse, according to MUH.
About 3,000 years ago, the Babylonians used maths to understand eclipses. They were among the first people to apply maths to science. It took 2,500 more years for calculus and physics to fully explain eclipses.
The universe is mathematical. Scientists predicted black holes, the Higgs boson and gravitational waves using math. Galileo Galilei called the universe a “magnificent book” written in math. This means our universe is not just described by math but is inherently mathematical. We are part of this vast entity based on math. It’s part of a multiverse much larger than what people have been discussing lately.
Mathematics and arithmetic are not the same. Mathematicians study more than just numbers – they study shapes too. These shapes can be found everywhere, not just in things people make like books.
Nature has patterns like the Fibonacci sequence. It’s a series of numbers starting with 0,1, and each number is the sum of the previous two. For example, 0+1=1; 1+1=2; 1+2=3, and so on. This pattern continues as 5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144.
We see the same pattern in nature. A sunflower’s seeds are arranged in a spiral. The number of seeds follows Fibonacci’s order.
You can find shapes in nature by observing them closely. When you throw a stone, it creates an arc called an inverted parabola that repeats itself. Celestial bodies orbit in an elongated ellipse shape, similar to a parabola’s tip. This means that all these shapes are essentially parts of an ellipse.
As we look at the world, we see patterns in motion, gravity, and electricity. We call these patterns the laws of physics. To explain these laws, we use math, just like we use math to describe the shape of an ellipse.
In a recent statement, Tegmark expressed his admiration for mathematics. He believes that the shapes and patterns in math demonstrate the simple beauty of nature. Tegmark loves math so much that he puts equations and pictures of them on his bedroom walls.
Scientists have used math to explain the universe. But what if math is the universe? Max Tegmark wondered.
On January 15, Tegmark gave a talk at Beiber Lodge. He talked about the idea that space and matter only have mathematical properties. He said that saying “everything is mathematical” seems ridiculous. Tegmark talked about his book, Our Mathematical Universe. In the book, he explores reality.
In physics and cosmology, there is a theoretical idea known as the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH). It is also referred to as the ultimate unified theory. It is also known as the “theory of everything” (TOE). It was suggested by Max Tegmark, a cosmologist.
“You can’t do anything without math. Everything around you is math, it’s numbers.”
Tegmark’s idea is called the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH). It says our world is made of math. So, it isn’t only explained by math, but it is actually math – a unique kind of math structure. Therefore, if something exists in math, it also exists physically. Humans and other beings who observe are seen as self-aware parts of this math structure. In any device where there are such observers, they feel like they exist in the real physical world.
The human brain is complex, and our thinking helps us understand the world. Scientists may use math to explain consciousness someday.
“The brain contains infinity in limited space”
Tegmark says combining separate things leads to breakthroughs in physics. This includes energy, matter, space, time, electricity, and magnetism. He thinks that eventually consciousness (self-awareness) will unite with the body (moving particles).
Max Tegmark’s theory needs no further information and is yet to be proven wrong. He thinks that his idea is better than others based on Occam’s razor. Tegmark also thinks about the Computable Universe Hypothesis (CUH). It says math defines reality.
Max Tegmark’s Four Levels of the Multiverse
Tegmark believes in the idea of the Computational Universe Hypothesis (MUH). He also thinks there are four levels in the multiverse. These four levels are ordered by complexity: Level 1 is a world with different starting points. Level 2 is a world with different physical constants. Level 3 is a world with different quantum results. Finally, Level 4 is a world of equations or mathematical structures.
Jürgen Schmidhuber is a German scientist who works with computers. He is famous for his work in the field of artificial intelligence.
Jürgen Schmidhuber disagreed with Tegmark. He found Tegmark’s view impractical. He suggested a more practical approach. Schmidhuber studies how the universe is described using constructive mathematics. Like digital libraries, computational programs provide the basis for more mathematical discoveries.
Tegmark said that even in string theory, no way exists to measure all things in the universe. So, this limitation isn’t a big problem.
More than 60 years ago, Kurt Gödel had a theory that disagreed with Tegmark’s idea. His first incompleteness theorem addressed mathematical axioms. This theorem said that math cannot prove what we accept as true in math.
Consider the identity axiom (X=X) as an example. We think it’s true, but can’t prove it mathematically. Gödel’s theorem says that axioms-based theories are either incomplete or self-contradictory.
Theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson said math is endless. We found solutions but more problems exist. This differs from the “theory of everything.” Numbers aren’t solely human-made nor just waiting for us to discover them.
Some people think the MUH contradicts Gödel’s theorem. During their chat, Alford stated that formalists are unable to prove all theorems as true. He thinks math exists separately from formal systems.
Tegmark had a new idea. He said only math structures that can be fully solved are real in our world. This narrows down the multiverse and explains why our universe seems simple. Even if physical theories are not fully solvable, the math that describes our world still is.
In response, Tegmark suggested a different view called the Computational Universe Hypothesis (CUH). The idea uses only basic math structures and avoids unsolvable theorems, such as Gödel’s. However, there are challenges to this idea. It may exclude certain math scenarios and unsolvable problems. Also, CUH does not align with the most successful physical theory in history.
Stoeger, Ellis, and Kircher think that different universes in a multiverse are entirely separate. Each universe doesn’t affect another universe at all. According to them, science does not support the multiverse theory due to this lack of connection. Ellis criticized the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH) in particular. He argued it was almost impossible to prove except with some optimistic views.
Tegmark thinks MUH can be proven. He thinks this hypothesis predicts math patterns in nature. To determine the uniqueness of our universe, we can assume we are in a specific universe among many.
The idea behind the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (MUH) is that math is real. Jannes disagrees and thinks it’s somewhat made up by humans. He believes that if math is objective, aliens or computers should understand it too. Brian Greene agrees with this idea too. He thinks understanding the universe shouldn’t only rely on human ideas.
A lot of non-human things, even smart creatures, can use math. Animals like gorillas can add simple numbers. This makes us wonder if there’s intelligence beyond humans. But we don’t know if they can do complex math yet. Some people think math is always changing and doesn’t have a set way.
Various entities understand basic mathematical concepts
In response, Tegmark explained that math rules are precise. Math may look different for non-humans but we are finding one dependable math theory. In his 2014 book on MUH, he said math language existed before us, and we found its design.
Don Nelson Page, Canadian theoretical physicist
Don Page thinks that there can only be one basic world. Math can describe all possible worlds. Therefore, there must be a unique math structure that defines “Reality.” According to him, level 4 is illogical because it has all math structures coexisting.
In response to Page, Tegmark said his views were partly in line with Level 4. He added that many math groups can be separated into parts, which can then be linked together. Even in math, some parts seem separate but are actually connected within a structure.
“Mathematics is the language of the universe. So the more formulas you know, the more you can communicate with the universe.”
——Nyle deGrasse Tyson