Review Article | Published:

The anthropic principle and the structure of the physical world

Nature volume 278, pages 605612 (12 April 1979) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

The basic features of galaxies, stars, planets and the everyday world are essentially determined by a few microphysical constants and by the effects of gravitation. Many interrelations between different scales that at first sight seem surprising are straightforward consequences of simple physical arguments. But several aspects of our Universe—some of which seem to be prerequisites for the evolution of any form of life—depend rather delicately on apparent ‘coincidences’ among the physical constants.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    Nature 139, 323 (1937); Proc. R. Soc. 165A, 199 (1938).

  2. 2.

    Nature 192, 440 (1961).

  3. 3.

    in Confrontation of Cosmological Theories with Observation (ed. Longair, M. S.) 291 (Reidel, Dordrecht, 1974).

  4. 4.

    Nature 248, 30 (1974).

  5. 5.

    Die Herkunft der Sterne (Stuttgart, 1974).

  6. 6.

    Science 187, 605 (1975).

  7. 7.

    in Aspects of Quantum Theory (eds Salam, A. & Wigner, E. P.) 213 (Cambridge University Press, 1972).

  8. 8.

    Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 95, 207 (1935).

  9. 9.

    preprint (1973).

  10. 10.

    Astrophys. J. 140, 796 (1964).

  11. 11.

    Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 176, 483 (1976).

  12. 12.

    Nature 265, 710 (1977).

  13. 13.

    Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 113, 34 (1953).

  14. 14.

    & Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 179, 541 (1977).

  15. 15.

    Astrophys. J. 211, 638 (1977).

  16. 16.

    & Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 183, 341 (1978).

  17. 17.

    Nature 275, 35 (1978).

  18. 18.

    Mon. Not. R. astr. Soc. 181, 293 (1977).

  19. 19.

    J.E.T.P. Lett. 24, 25 (1977).

  20. 20.

    preprint (1977).

  21. 21.

    Sov. Phys. Uspecki 20, 945 (1978).

  22. 22.

    , & Phys. Rev. D3, 1805 (1971).

  23. 23.

    Phys. Rev. Lett. 13, 114 (1964).

  24. 24.

    Large Numbers in Astrophysics and Cosmology Paper presented at Clifford Centennial Meet., Princeton (1970).

  25. 25.

    Astrophys. J. 115, 326 (1952); Phys. Rev. 107, 516 (1967).

  26. 26.

    Astrophys. J. Suppl. 1, 121 (1954).

  27. 27.

    in Emerging Universe (eds Jacobs, K. C. & Saslaw, W. C.) 71 (Virginia University Press, 1972).

  28. 28.

    Phys. Rev. Lett. 19, 1264 (1967): in Elementary Particle Theory (ed. Svartholm, N.) (Almquist and Wiksell, Stockhohn, 1968).

  29. 29.

    , & Astrophys. J. 213, 213 (1977).

  30. 30.

    Rev. mod. Phys. 29, 454 (1957).

  31. 31.

    in Gravitation Ch. 44 (1971).

  32. 32.

    & in Quantum Gravity (eds Isham, C. J., Penrose, R. & Sciama, D. W.) Ch. 9 (Oxford University Press, 1975).

Download references

Author information

Author notes

    • B. J. Carr

    Present address: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91109.

Affiliations

  1. Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge, UK

    • B. J. Carr
    •  & M. J. Rees

Authors

  1. Search for B. J. Carr in:

  2. Search for M. J. Rees in:

About this article

Publication history

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/278605a0

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.