I was most fascinated by his overview of the universes most probable start point, which appears to be the big bang. I have always been an advocate of the big bang and support it as the most credible theory at this point in time. He also confirmed my current belief that the universe is most probable not the first and will most probably not be the last in existence. Instead, scientists are viewing the universe as one of many, in an oscillating repetition of fiery creations and catastrophic ends. We now live in an age where the most probable creation theory is . . . there was never a beginning. And there most probably will never be an end.
This gives scope to a whole new view of time. Time as we know it has always had a start and an end. A simple race, for example, starts when we hear the starting gun and ends when the last person reaches the finish line. Work start, most generally, at nine o’clock and finishes at five o’clock. Everything we know has a start point and an end point on the axis of time. Now, however, time is more likely to be infinite: Stretching in either direction an undefinable and unmeasurable distance.
As for Brian Greene’s insights into string theory; who knows if these are right or wrong. String theory definitely provides us with answers to some of the most profound questions and a mathematical description of almost everything but it has not, most crucially, provided us any evidence. Yes, we can presume that there are tiny string that vibrate and create the illusion of particles but we could equally presume that something else, such as a tiny graviton-pixie creates such an illusion. Of course, this is a case of reductio ad absurdum but I feel that it displays the need for evidence of such a claim. I would say that string theory is highly merited and definitely shouldn’t be dismissed but it is most definitely the only considerable theory.
Higher dimensions, branes and universal flux have a long way to go before they are proven also. The thought of our universe having imperceivable and possible non-existent boundaries from within and yet a clearly visible and absolute boundary from out with the universe is almost unimaginable and yet, it is almost undeniably possible (from a theoretical stand-point, that is). The Hidden Reality pg 68-71. The idea of branes is most naturally thought of in a two-dimensional form as a fourth dimension for three-dimensional branes to exist in is practically inconceivable. However, a two-dimensional existence reveals the essence of branes clearly enough for understanding to grasp. All of these theories are, of course, possible and highly probable but science must be careful in its attempts to prove such theories.
Science must be careful that experimental results that support one theory may also support another and that we should never usher in one candidate without examining the others. We also must be careful that experimental results are not misconstrued and are examined very carefully, as with the controversy over neutrinos in CERN.
Physicists will never answer everything but they are coming very close to answering some things that could reshape our way of thinking. However long and twisted the path ahead of us becomes, physics will get there eventually.