Koos Kombuis
Koos Kombuis

How I discovered the grand unifying theory

It was quite simple, really. I discovered the grand unifying theory of the universe just now, during teatime. And I wasn’t even drinking tea. I was drinking coffee. Cappuccino, to be exact.

I have always wanted to discover something big, such as the grand unifying theory of the universe, but I did not expect it to happen in broad daylight during teatime while drinking cappuccino. Then again, other great philosophers have made equally great discoveries while busy with the most absurdly mundane activities. One guy, I can’t remember who it was, made a major discovery while sitting in the bath (which was rather unfortunate for him, and quite embarrassing for his wife, for next thing everyone knew he was running down the street naked and shouting “Eureka”!). Another guy – I think it was Newton – made a major discovery by just watching an apple fall from a tree.

My great discovery happened like this. As I was drinking my cappuccino, I happened to stir the foam with my teaspoon, and I noticed a very familiar shape forming on the surface. It looked a bit like this:


Of course, this picture isn’t a picture of the foam on top of my cappuccino, it’s a picture of the Milky Way. The Milky Way is our local galaxy. It is our cosmic neighbourhood. Though it seems like a pretty big place to us, in comparison to the rest of the universe it is pretty insignificant. As insignificant that, compared to the rest of the universe, it is even less significant than the foam on top of my cappuccino.

That set me thinking. According to Einstein, time is relative. So is space. In fact, time and space is the same thing. So, if time is relative, and if regular objects really shrink when they approach the speed of light, it must follow that size, too, is relative.

How big is our galaxy? Well, compared to other galaxies, it is a pretty ordinary run-of-the-mill galaxy. Some are a bit bigger, some are a bit smaller. It’s like comparing New York to Brakpan. Galaxies come in many shapes and sizes, but they are all comparable to one another.

But what about the size of the entire universe? How can you measure the actual size of the universe if there are no other universes to compare it to?

For all we know, in terms of everything that exists, our universe may be very tiny. In fact, as recently explained by Jim Al-Khalili in a paperback called Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics, which I had bought at an airport, from the point of view of a light wave or a light particle, it is even tinier than Brakpan. For, since (a) light moves at the speed of light, and (b) since time slows down to a virtual crawl when one approaches the speed of light, a wave of a particle of light would experience the universe as having just about no size at all. From the point of view of a wave or a particle of light, our entire universe, in fact the whole of existence and everything in it, even all the other universes (if any), would be a mere pinprick, a point. It would be smaller than an atom. It would be what cosmologists call a “singularity”.

Looking at space from the perspective of a wave or a particle of light, we are back right at the beginning of time, in that split second of hectic and expectant nothingness just before the Big Bang.

It’s all a matter of perspective. From our point of view, our universe is thirteen billion years old. Look at everything from another point of view (no pun intended), and the universe is being born right now. Under our noses. And no-one has even noticed anything. Not even the Guptas.

Perhaps that is why the universe is expanding faster and faster. It really is exploding.

It is exploding right now. We are right in the middle of the Big Bang right now.

This is my Grand Unifying Theory. It is quite simple, really. I’m not very good at mathematics, but I have managed to write it into an algebraic formula.

My formula looks like this:

0 = ∞

Now, that makes Einstein’s formula look rather complicated, does it? Don’t you just love the symmetry of it?

What my very elegant, very simple formula means, is simply this: nothing is everything.

What it implies, is this: the entire universe is probably a minute quantum fluctuation, taking part in a split nano-second. It only appears to take that long because we are so damn slow on the uptake.

Gödel was right. Time does not exist. Metallica was right, too, when they sang “nothing really matters”. Matter does not exist either. Not as such. The only thing that exists is this free lunch called life. Well, it appears to be free, only because we haven’t received the bill yet.

There you have it. Now all you clever scientists can work out the clever details and the practical applications of this major discovery while I finish my cappuccino before it gets cold. Cheers.

Koos Kombuis has recently published the first Afrikaans translation of the I Ching (entitled i-Tjieng – ‘n GPS vir Verdwaalde Siele) with Penguin SA.

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    • http://www.rubixile.com Jean-Pierre

      Baie dankie. Dit maak my lag en my dag!

    • Comrade Koos

      Quantum Mechanics and Unified Field Theory are fascinating.

      For anyone interested, particle physicist John Hagelin discusses the Unified Field in a series of five videos for the layperson here:

      PS. @ Koos Kombuis, don’t worry, you are the center of the universe, as it stretches infinitely in every direction away you. :-)

    • Policat

      A friend of mine once said that maybe the universe as we observe it is just a drop of water falling from some cosmic tap so we mustn’t worry about its origins or its future. It’s going to hit the ground sometime.

    • http://paulwhelanwriting.blogspot.com Paul Whelan

      Well, not a bad theory at all. Um .. was that a large cappuccino or a very, very, very, very, very, very small one?

    • http://paulwhelanwriting.blogspot.com Paul Whelan

      @Comrade Koos – As you know, we are not the centre of the universe, which cannot be said to have a centre at all, not to mention any N,S,E or West, and you must not be naughty and suggest to the other Koos and other people, even in a joke, that they are such things – Copernicus cleared all that up centuries back (and I’ve no doubt lots of blokes knew it centuries before him but didn’t publish).

      But with all the mysteries of quarks and superstrings nowadays, you can see why the medieval church assured everyone that we were the hub of creation; not to worry, God had made everything; that humans rich or poor were special; and that if you were good, you’d be alright forever.

      It made life so simple.

    • Nqina Dlamini

      Love your work.

    • Charlie

      Good read, brought a smile.

      I have tried to resist but I just can’t help myself.

      Archimedes (give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth) had the eureka moment. The moment did not have to do with leverage or pumping water but with the displacement of water.

      There are errors but I’ll resist pointing those out.

    • Zeph

      In the cosmic sense: who gives a damn?
      The tiniest particle would weight the same as the entire universe as it approaches the speed of light.
      Putting your point and this one together (although they might be the same point ultimately) it would seem the poor particle is the universe and the universe is the particle. It seems the hippies were on to something; that everything is interconnected and we are all one.

    • Comrade Koos

      @Paul Whelan

      Think about it. Every-point in the expanding universe is the center of the universe, because the universe spreads infinitely in all directions from every single point in it. A dog in China is as much the center of the universe as than man on the moon that smiles at you.

      Maybe you should indulge in some quantum mechanics. I know conservative mechanical scientists cannot get their heads around quantum mechanics but its worth a try.

    • Alex

      Koos. Ek sit sommer nou een van jou cd’s op !

    • RobinB

      While you may well have said this with your tongue firmly in your cheek, the more I find out about quantum theory, you may also just be very close to the truth of things. Add to this the fact that time, as we know it, is a completely earth-bound construct to help us cope with our reality, and is therefore in fact, non-existent elsewhere, and things begin to get really interesting.

    • TheParadox

      Nice read. It seems like the whole thing is a hoax, life and death a big hoax, so is science. We are infinitely wrapped into this universe because of the asymptotic nature of the speed of light while the edges of the universe expands at a rate faster than the speed of light (and what is that speed because ‘out’ there there is no extra space to expand into, only after expanding does that space begin to exist). Thus the future is infinitely being created at the edge of the universe. And by the quantum paradox, we may be existing in several states (not the US) as a universe until ‘someone’ observes us and just before that we chose to be part of the big small bang. Nothing exists!! We dont!

    • skerminkel

      OK, out with Koos. Did you just finish Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?

    • http://paulwhelanwriting.blogspot.com Paul Whelan

      @Comrade Koos – Quantum mechanics? Worth a try? I think I’ll leave that to clever people like you. I have enough trouble figuring out what makes the fridge work.

    • Paul Bluewater

      Bad new Koos,

      At about the time the Vikings were invading and enslaving England, the Hindus over in India invented the number Zero (and algebra).
      also, in their spiritual philosophy, Zero is strongly equated with infinity, the circle of the zero being symbolic of infinity…..

      So they got there before you, without any artificial methods like “cappuccino” !

      Nice try though….

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    • Mark Stemmet

      This in line with the biblical view.

    • Luigi Gabooch

      Hey Koos , that ain’t a picture of the Milky way , we’re in it .But I like your Theory and conclusion .
      It is PROFOUND !
      And in all truth , your theory is no less meaningful than that of Bohrs , Planck, Fermi , Einstein , Gamow, or Plato . No less meaningful than the Higgs Boson , String Theory , 11 Dimensions , closed or open Universe ,Gravitational Waves , or Dark Matter .

      For truly at the end of the day , we [and all the Scientists , Astronomers ,Cosmologists, and Theoretical Physicists ] are all in the dark as to Why the Universe is here , What the Universe is , Where it is going , or Where it came from .

      0 = Oo !!! Bravo ! Bravissimo !!!