# Physicists: ‘The universe is a holographic dodecahedron’

*By Guest Writer Christian deBlanc
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Since the time of Plato and Euclid, science, mathematics and philosophy have been enamored with the perfect, geometric form of the dodecahedron. Indeed, from the Parthenon of ancient Athens to the ultra-modern, Observatoire de Paris, observing physicists have considered the dodecahedron to be the building block of the universe since Euclidean geometry deduced the five, perfect, Platonic solids. To be sure, during the time of the Platonic philosophy, the Greeks were fairly convinced that the forms of the 4-sided tetrahedron, the 6-sided cube, the 8-sided octahedron, the 12-sided dodecahedron, and the 20-sided icosahedron comprised the forms taken by the 5 elements: tetrahedron (fire), cube (Earth), octahedron (air), icosahedron (water) and dodecahedron (ether).

Furthermore, the Greeks were convinced that all matter was composed of varying combinations of 4 elements; and, ether, as the 5th element, was the universal medium where the chemical and physical reactions took place. It wasn’t until Einstein’s theory of space-time relativity, and its philosophic presupposition that all space-time was curved due to the force of gravity, that the notion of the universal ether found its way to the wastebasket of physics, as the mathematics seemed to neatly tie Einstein to Newton, and thus Occam’s razor cut the ether out of Physics.

However, thanks to the nature of the ongoing debate about the true nature, size, scope and speed of the universe, (or multi-verse), the idea of the dodecahedron being the ultimate container of matter within a finite universe has come back to the observing academies. Indeed, according to physicist Jean-Pierre Luminet of Laboratoire Univers et Theories, “The latest astronomical data suggests that the correct answer could be a compromise between these two ancient viewpoints: the universe is finite and expanding, but it does not have a boundary. In particular, accurate maps of the cosmic microwave background – the radiation left over from the Big Bang – suggests that we live in a finite universe that is shaped like a (soccer) football or dodecahedron.”

Luminet shares both his and his colleagues’ supporting data in a paper titled, “A Cosmic Hall of Mirrors,” which were shared in a 2003 edition of Nature under the more academic title, “Dodecahedral Space Topology as an explanation for weak, wide angle temperature correlations in the cosmic radiation background.”

The scope of the argument is contained in the paper’s introductory proposition, which is that “The current, standard model of cosmology posits an infinite, flat universe expanding under the pressure of dark energy,” but unfortunately, the data does not support that model, Luminet et al assert. “Temperature correlations across microwave sky match expectations on angular scales narrower than 60 degrees, but contrary to predictions, vanish on scales wider than 60 degrees.”

“In an in infinite flat space, waves from the Big Bang would fill the universe on all length scales,” Luminet et al reasoned. Therefore, “The observed lack of temperature correlations on scales beyond 60 degrees means that the broadest waves are missing, perhaps because space itself is not big enough to support them.”

Thus, after identifying the problem with an infinite flat space as the universe, Luminet and his colleagues propose a solution: “Here we present a simple, geometrical, model of a finite space—the Poincare dodecahedral space—which accounts for the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe observations with no fine tuning required.”

To support his team’s contention, Luminet et al make an appeal to both logic and common sense: “A more natural explanation invokes a finite universe, where the size of the space itself imposes a cut-off on the wavelengths. Just as the vibrations of the bell cannot be larger than the bell itself, the density fluctuations in space cannot be larger than space itself.”

To give the readers of this abstract treatise a visual representation, Luminet et al offer this elegant visual metaphor: a cosmic hall of mirrors. “The Poincare dodecahedral space is a dodecahedral block of space with opposite faces abstractly glued together, so objects passing out of the dodecahedron across any face return from the opposite face.”

To be honest, all this talk of halls and faces reminds me of the Alex Grey artwork, but the bottom line is simple to understand: It’s all about symmetry between acoustics and topology, or vibration and form. As Luminet coherently describes in his more comprehensive, “A Cosmic Hall of Mirrors,” “A good way to understand difference the between acoustics and topology is to sprinkle fine sand over a drumhead and make it vibrate. The grains of sand will collect in characteristic spots and patterns that reveal information about the local geometry of the drum and about the elasticity of its membrane.”

Moreover, Luminet states, “The distribution of spots also depends on the global shape — i.e. the topology — of the drum. For example, the waves will be reflected differently according to whether the drumhead is infinite or finite, and whether it is shaped like a circle, an ellipse or some other shape.”

In this case, the shape is the 20-sided, 12-angled, dodecahedron, which pretty much suggests that Euclid and Plato were correct all along about the geometrical form of this finite universe.

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