Dr. Borchardt:

As difficult as it is, I can try to imagine microcosmic infinity by visualizing sub-atomic particles being composed by as yet smaller particles ad infinitum (i.e., the incredible shrinking man would shrink forever).

What I am having difficulty with is the reverse. As objects get larger into the macrocosmic universe, it seems that there is a threshold or limit.

Protons are not the size of planets. And the largest single object appears to be on the order of a red giant.

Why is there no limit to how small objects can be, but seemingly limited to how large objects can be?

Does this have something to do with equilibrium?
It seems beyond coincidence that the threshold of size in our infinite universe makes it conducive for life.

Frederic Frees

Thanks for another great question—I don’t think that the macrocosmic has a threshold or limit anymore than the microcosmic. After all, there are identifiable galactic clusters as well, which one might “define” as yet another “microcosm.” The scale of each type of microcosm has limits. Atoms, like all microcosms, have diameters that vary from one to the other, but they are neither infinitely small or infinitely large. Below is a scanning tunneling microscopy photo of the tip of a tungsten needle that tapers down to the thickness of a single atom (Moh'd, R., Jason, P., and Robert, W., 2006). Note that no two atoms are identical and that some are blurry because they have moved during the 1-sec exposure time. As always, the “limits” akin to each microcosm are determined univironmentally--by the matter in motion within and without. So you are right that each microcosm reaches an “equilibrium” with its macrocosm. A tree, for instance, may reach a height as great as 379.1’, but it will never reach a height of one mile. Each univironmental relationship varies greatly, but does not vary outside the confines of what is physically possible for that particular univironment. Outside those confines, the matter that makes up a particular microcosm may coalesce or subdivide as it is transformed to yet another thing defined, once again, by the univironment in which it exists.

Life, like the tungsten atom, appears to form within a narrowly restricted niche involving an infinite number of parameters, each with enough variation to allow a wide enough range for its transient existence. Indeterminists often consider life to be “highly improbable,” or, if they are religious, a “miracle.” But remember, the infinite universe always has an infinite number of possibilities at the same time that it can have no impossibilities. What we think of as “coincidence” occurs when two or more microcosms come together, which is inevitable in an infinite universe. The infinite universe has no accidents. On the other hand, the infinite universe requires no superior intellect or guiding hand for any of this to happen. An infinite concatenation of cause and effect is all that is necessary.


Moh'd, R., Jason, P., and Robert, W., 2006, Tungsten nanotip fabrication by spatially controlled field-assisted reaction with nitrogen: The Journal of Chemical Physics, v. 124, no. 20, p. 204716.


Andrew said...

Infinity is a process that is not yet finished. There are no infinities in nature. So, the universe must be finite. Explanation by the end of my article http://www.eioba.com/a/34hz/what-is-nothing

The same refers to the micro-world. I dare say that the smallest physical entity is a constituent of magnetic field. More: http://www.eioba.com/a/38yy/what-is-magnetic-field

There is of course, equilibrium. Omnipresent universal magnetic field beyond universal nucleus (materialized part of the universe) counterpoising universal nucleus (all physical entities along with magnetic field within it).

Glenn Borchardt said...


Thanks for the comment. I will have an answer in Wednesday's blog.