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Nov 09

How unitary cosmology generalizes thermodynamics and solves the inflationary entropy problem

Max Tegmark (MIT)

We analyze cosmology assuming unitary quantum mechanics, using a tripartite partition into system, observer and environment degrees of freedom. This generalizes the second law of thermodynamics to "The system's entropy can't decrease unless it interacts with the observer, and it can't increase unless it interacts with the environment." We show that because of the long-range entanglement created by cosmological inflation, the cosmic entropy decreases exponentially rather than linearly with the number of bits of information observed, so that a given observer can reduce entropy by much more than the amount of information her brain can store. Indeed, we argue that as long as inflation has occurred in a non-neglible fraction of the volume, almost all sentient observers will find themselves in a post-inflationary low-entropy Hubble volume, and we humans have no reason to be surprised that we do as well, which solves the so-called inflationary entropy problem. An arguably worse problem for unitary cosmology involves gamma-ray-burst constraints on the "Big Snap", a fourth cosmic doomsday scenario alongside the "Big Crunch", "Big Chill" and "Big Rip", where an increasingly granular nature of expanding space modifies our life-supporting laws of physics.

Our tripartite framework also clarifies when it is valid to make the popular quantum gravity approximation that the Einstein tensor equals the quantum expectation value of the stress-energy tensor, and how problems with recent attempts to explain dark energy as gravitational backreaction from super-horizon scale fluctuations can be understood as a failure of this approximation.


Sarfatti Comment: What may be wrong with Max Tegmark's whole theory, also that of t'Hooft and Susskind is the assumption of unitarity on all scales. Unitarity conflicts with P.W. Anderson's "More is different." The retro-causal hologram theory explains why the initial entropy/future horizon area of the universe is relatively low without unitarity.