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The ratio of the actual density of mass in the universe to the critical density is known, ominously, by the last letter in the Greek alphabet, Omega, . An Omega of less than 1 leads to an open universe (the big chill), and more than 1 to a closed universe (the big crunch). An Omega of exactly 1 produces a flat universe.... The important thing to remember is that the shape, mass, and fate of the cosmos are inextricably linked; they constitute a single subject, not three. These three aspects come together in, in Omega, the ratio of the actual density to the critical density.

Added). ” For example, cosmologists speak of a number known as the “Omega” value. In Wrinkles of Time, physicists Smoot and Davidson discussed Omega as follows. If the density of the mass in the universe is poised precisely at the boundary between the diverging paths to ultimate collapse and indefinite expansion, then the Hubble expansion may be slowed, perhaps coasting to a halt, but never reversed. This happy state of affairs is termed the critical density. - 59 - The critical density is calculated to be about five millionths of a trillionth of a trillionth (5 x 10-30) of a gram of matter per cubic centimeter of space, or equivalent to about one hydrogen atom in every cubic meter—a few in a typical room.

Weak nuclear force constant: if larger: too much hydrogen would convert to helium in big bang; hence, stars would convert too much matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible; if smaller: too little helium would be produced from the big bang; hence, stars would convert too little matter into heavy elements making life chemistry impossible Gravitational force constant: if larger: stars would be too hot and would burn too rapidly and too unevenly for life chemistry; if smaller: stars would be too cool to ignite nuclear fusion; thus, many of the elements needed for life chemistry would never form Electromagnetic force constant: if greater: chemical bonding would be disrupted; elements more massive than boron would be unstable to fission; if lesser: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry Ratio of electromagnetic force constant to gravitational force constant: if larger: all stars would be at least 40% more massive than the Sun; hence, stellar burning would be too brief and too uneven for life support; if smaller: all stars would be at least 20% less massive than the Sun, thus incapable of producing heavy elements Ratio of electron to proton mass: if larger: chemical bonding would be insufficient for life chemistry; if smaller: same as above ratio of number of protons to number of electrons - 53 - 7.

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