SURVEY - Water on Mars can shelter life, planets resembling the Earth, theories explaining the fine tuning of the universe ... Science keeps pushing knowledge to the limits of the ultimate interrogation: all this would be it the work of a great architect?
End of July, the revelation of the existence of a water lake 20 kilometers in diameter under the ice surface of the south pole of Mars has caused immense turmoil in the scientific world. "This type of environment is not the ideal place for a vacation," said Italian planetologist Roberto Orosei, lead author of the discovery, "but this is the place on Mars where we have something that looks the most like to a place where life could exist. "
The extraterrestrials, scientific subject
If scientists are still extremely cautious, this discovery is not insignificant. It is unlikely that you can fish for trout or Marsh carp in the next few years, but the existence of a life form on the red planet is no longer totally absurd. This revelation adds to others. The discovery of exoplanets (planets from other solar systems than ours) is the most notable, shaking the idea that only the Earth would have the right ecosystem to develop an intelligent life.
The probability that we are not alone in the universe has increased significantly with these discoveries ...
Planetologists know today that our galaxy contains nearly 20 billion planets of the Earth type. We are talking about the Milky Way alone when there are billions of billions of galaxies in the universe! Except to be in bad faith, these figures tickle our rationality. The probability that we are not the only ones in the universe has increased significantly with these discoveries ... Incidentally, this calls into question a few centuries of religious beliefs postulating that man is at the center of the universe.
The pax romana established between religion and science, the one dealing with why the Man exists and the other of how the conscious life appeared in the universe, no longer holds. The existence - more likely today than yesterday - of extraterrestrial life is not the only cause. What has changed? "Today's philosophical questions are tomorrow's scientific precision experiments," says particle physicist Daniel Whiteson.
The "magic world" of quantum physics
This is true for many subjects. Physics, with the advent of the quantum world, has forced scientists to take into account the subjectivity of observation. What is it about? To summarize, in the infinitely small, particles behave differently depending on whether they are observed or not. It's a kind of "magic world". Particles can be at two different points in the universe at the same time. The equivalent of a piece of sugar melted in coffee can become an entire sugar in the spoon. Albert Einstein, Louis de BroglieStephen Hawking and other big names in physics and astrophysics have incorporated these quirks of the quantum world to try to explain the origin of the universe (what cosmologists call the theory of the Whole). Despite their IQ above average, we must recognize that we are very far from the goal.
In his Guide to the unknown universe (Flammarion), Daniel Whiteson amused himself by identifying what science does not know how to explain with the laws of contemporary physics. The book is 400 pages, proof that the list is long. One of the major obstacles to achieving a theory of the Whole is the impossible meeting of quantum physics and general relativity theory of which Albert Einstein is the father, explains Daniel Whiteson. It's a bit like trying to assemble a single puzzle with the pieces of two different boxes or to hope to spend a quiet holiday in his country house while inviting Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen at the same time.
Researchers, whether they are atheists or not, no longer dispute the need to come up against the postulate of a great architect of the universe as they flirt with the very essence of our world
Today, nobody can explain the first moments of the big bang convincingly. Nor is the incredible setting of the fundamental constants of the universe where everything seems organized to allow a conscious life to exist. Even less why matter has won against antimatter in the first moments of the world. As for imagining what was before him ...
The theory of the great architect
The British cosmologist Stephen Hawking, disappeared last March, explained that if time is a dimension of our universe, logic would want a "before" does not exist. To ask this question would be as absurd as asking what is the north of the North Pole. He forgot to mention that physics then comes up against a rather dizzying question: how can something come from nothing? Or, more prosaically: who started the clock? A query that has become highly topical in basic research laboratories over the last 20 years, as recalls the philosopher of sciences Jean Staune in his latest book, Explaters of the invisible (Guy Trédaniel).
Researchers, be they atheists or not, no longer dispute the need to come up against the postulate of a great architect of the universe as they flirt with the very essence of our world. But until now they bring only theoretical answers whose foundations are no more demonstrable today than the existence of a creative God. That makes one say to Etienne Klein, physicist and philosopher of sciencesthat, in the absence of acceptable theories, it is rather vain to speculate on the reasons for a transition from nothingness to something.
God as a mathematician
For the Buddhist astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan, on the other hand, it seems undeniable that there is a primary cause that has immediately regulated the laws of physics and the initial conditions of our universe. Albert Einstein shared this idea of a God "the first cause of things". A conception of God who would not be a super-handyman, inventor of the universe, but the synthesis of all the laws that organize it. This elegant vision is practical. But it comes up against the same problem as the other predictions: if there are laws that existed before the universe, which mathematician has enacted the formulas? Serious business that could occupy us the rest of the holidays. Even a few centuries.
FOLLOWING THE DOSSIER
THE FOLLOWING OUR FILE - Jean Staune: "The conscious life is not the result of chance"
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Grand reporter at Figaro Magazine, Editor-in-chief of Figaro Magazine Santé, music journalist at Figaroscope