At the same time, I’ve been watching how physicists are trying to power through their intimidation, because the theory promises a new way of understanding what space and time really are, at a deep level.
The theory was put forward in the late 1980s by Russian physicists Mikhail Vasiliev and the late Efin Fradkin of the Lebedev Institute in Moscow, but is so mathematically complex and conceptually opaque that whenever someone brought it up, most theorists started talking about the weather, soccer, reality TV-anything but that theory.
At first glance, string theory, the leading candidate for a fully unified theory of nature, runs afoul of this principle. In the de Sitter case, the corresponding 3-D boundary is governed by a type of field theory in which time does not operate; it is static. The structure of this theory gives rise to the dimension of time. The theory of gravity, Einstein’s general theory of relativity, says that spacetime is like Silly Putty.
In the primordial universe, where Vasiliev theory reigned, the universe was an amorphous blob.