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Welcome to our blog

Submitted by Michael Townsen... on Tue, 03/15/2016 - 17:44

Welcome to our blog. Here, we will discuss places in the sciences where considerations of fine-tuning arise and explore reactions to them.

Examples of apparent fine-tunings in physics abound. One classic example: Fred Hoyle famously calculated that the combined energy level of Beryllium and a Helium nucleus needed to form Carbon 12 via the triple alpha process had to be in extremely close correspondence with an excited state of Carbon 12. This has subsequently been often cited as evidence of extreme fine-tuning in astrophysics. However, this has been disputed in recent work, as apparent coincidences may be causally linked.

Another classic example is due to Robert Dicke, who noted that the observed universe must be sufficiently old to allow the production of heavy elements through nucleosynthesis, independently of measurements of the Hubble expansion. This is commonly cited as a further example of fine-tuning, and some multiverse interpretations have been motivated to account for this.

Fine-tuning is an interdisciplinary issue, with applications ranging from biology to philosophy, covering mathematics, physics, astronomy and others in between. This issue is often addressed without a detailed understanding of the systems in question, which leads to confused and ill-informed arguments which cannot be resolved without closer examination of the underlying problem. Our goal is to present a comprehensive review of the physics in which fine-tuning arguments are employed, and provide the correct arena for examining its nature.

Our activities will include:

  • The production of a field-manual on fine-tuning written by experts in the substantive areas of interest in conjunction with the project personnel.

  • The creation of an interactive website through which issues of fine-tuning can be explored by a broad audience.

  • A series of 4 seminars/year  throughout the project with the field area experts to hold master classes with interested researchers, instilling collaborative efforts and producing a set of filmed interviews for distribution online.

  • A project final conference which will bring together contributors and experts across fields to disseminate findings and the current status of fine-tuning within physics.