One of the most puzzling questions in modern cosmology is why the density of matter and energy appears to be find tuned to the value that allowed life to evolve.
For example the density of mass to energy in the early universe must have been very close to a specific value to explain how stars could have evolved because if their concentrations were not it would depart rapidly from the one that would allow them to form over cosmic time. Calculations suggest that it could not have departed more than one part in 1062 from that value. This leads cosmologists to question how the initial density came to be so closely fine-tuned to this ‘special’ value that would have allowed stars and therefore life to evolve.
This has come to be called the flatness problem because the density of matter and energy which affects the curvature of space-time must have very specific value to give it the flat geometry required for stars to form and life to evolve. In other words if the energy of the universe expansion was much larger it would have overpowered gravity preventing the formation of stars while if gravity was to strong they would have formed to quickly thereby not give life as we know it time to evolve. `
The problem was first mentioned by Robert Dicke in 1969.
The most commonly accepted solution among cosmologists is cosmic inflation or the idea that the early universe underwent an extremely rapid exponential expansion by a factor of at least 1078 in volume, driven by a negative-pressure vacuum energy density.
This solves the flatness problem because the act of inflation actually flattens the universe. Picture a uninflated balloon, which can have all kinds of wrinkles and other abnormalities, however as the balloon expands the surface smoothes out. According to inflation theory, this happens to the fabric of the universe as well.
However, many view the inflationary theory as a contrived or “adhoc” solution because the exact mechanism that would cause it to turn on and then off is not known.
Yet, if one defines energy/mass density of our universe in terms of its spatial properties instead of the temporal ones of four dimensional space-time one can explain and predict why it has the correct proportions to cause its geometry to be hospitable to life as we know it by extrapolating the laws of classical physics in a three-dimensional environment to one of four *spatial* dimensions.
Einstein gave us the ability to do this when he defined its geometry in terms of a dynamic balance between mass and energy defined by the equation E=mc^2 because when he used the constant velocity of light in that equation he provided a method of converting a unit of space-time he associated with energy to a unit of space he associated with mass. Additionally because the velocity of light is constant he also defined a one to one quantitative correspondence between his space-time universe and one made up of four *spatial* dimensions.
In other words by defining the geometric properties of a space-time universe in terms of mass/energy and the constant velocity of light he provided a quantitative and qualitative means of redefining his temporal properties of a space-time universe in terms of the spatial ones of four *spatial* dimensions.
However, doing so makes easier to understand the mechanisms responsible for creating a flat universe that would enable life to evolve because flatness is associated more with the properties of spatial environment than those of a temporal one.
For example it would allow one to derive the momentum and the gravitational potential of the universe mass components as was done in the in the article â€œDefining potential and kinetic energy?â€ Nov. 26, 2007 in terms of, oppositely directed curvatures in â€œsurfaceâ€ of a three-dimensional space manifold with respect to a fourth *spatial* dimension. In other words if one can define the gravitational potential of mass in terms of a depression in its â€œsurfaceâ€ one could derive momentum of its expansion in terms of elevation in it.
This differs from Einsteinâ€™s theoretical definition of energy in that he only defines mass or its gravitational potential in terms of a temporal displacement in a four dimensional space-time manifold.
This difference is significant to our understanding of the shape or flatness of our universe because it allows one to define the geometry of its mass component in terms the spatial properties of a “downward” directed curvature in a “surface” of a three-dimensional space manifold with respect to a four *spatial* dimensions while defining its energy component in term an upwardly directed one.
Additionally Einstein’s equation E=mc^2 and Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us there would be a dynamic relationship between the curvature created by the gravitational potential of the universeâ€™s mass and the oppositely directed momentum of its expansion. In other words because that law tell us that energy flows from area of high density to low; if the energy density was too high in the early universe it would have been channeled into creating more matter while if the matter component was excessive it would have been converted to energy.
Granted it also tells us the curvature caused by its energy component is c^2 greater than that caused by mass but it also tells the one caused by mass would be more concentrated and therefore deeper than the one caused by energy. However the deeper curvature associated with mass would be offset by the shallower and more draw out curvature associated with energy thereby make the universe flat and therefore hospitable to life as we know it.
This process would be similar to what happens to interstellar gas as it collapses to form a star. The gas heats due to its contraction which causes energy to be created by nuclear reactions in its core converting mass to energy which opposes further gravitational collapses. If too much energy is created it will escape from the star allowing gravity to take over again.
After a given about of time the creation of energy is exactly offsets gravity and the star enters a period where the curvature in space associated with its energy exactly matches the oppositely directed curvature associated with its gravity and no further change takes place making its spatial geometry be flat because the curvatures counteract each other. Additional this geometry would be frozen in time until the star evolved to new stage in its life.
Similarly the equation E=mc^2 tells us in the early universe there was an interchange between energy and the creation of mass in the form of baryons and the components of dark matter. Additional as was the case in the formation of a star the second law of thermodynamic tells us that energy flows from areas higher density to lower ones while E=mc^2 tells us if the energy density was too high in the early universe it would have been channeled into creating baryons and dark matter while if they were too abundant they would have been converted to energy.
In other words second law of thermodynamic and E=mc^2 tells us as the universe evolves it would move towards a flat geometry because as was just mentioned if its energy density was too high it would have been channeled into creating mass while if its mass were to abundant it would have been converted to energy. This geometry would become frozen in time when the universe cooled enough for its mass and energy components to become stable.
This shows why one does not have to assume that a complicated change of events must have occurred such as inflation to give our universe the geometry needed to support beginnings of life because as was shown above that story is told by the Second Law of Thermodynamics and Einstein’s equation E=mc^2.
Copyright Jeffrey O’Callaghan 2016