Universe may make monkeys of us all
Human beings may be no more capable of truly understanding the universe than monkeys are capable of understanding quantum physics, a world famous astronomer claimed last night.
Prof Martin Rees said mankind had made huge progress in understanding the origins of the universe, but eventually human understanding might “hit the buffers”.
Prof Rees was the speaker at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies statutory lecture in UCD last night, where he addressed the current state of astronomical research in a lecture entitled Cosmic Perspectives: From Planets to the Multiverse.
Prof Rees said our minds have evolved from our remote ancestors on the African savannah and it is “surprising that we’ve got so far in comprehending the counterintuitive microworld of atoms, and the vastness of the universe”.
As a consequence he believed there may be things, including a unified theory of physics or a full understanding of consciousness, “whose elucidation must await some posthuman intellect”.
To make matters even more perplexing, Prof Rees says it is more likely than not that our universe is not unique.
“I would bet that there is a multiverse in the sense that our Big Bang isn’t the only one, but we have to understand the physics of the Big Bang a lot better,” Prof Rees said.