Galaxy Ramen is a new Theo's Feast Immersive Experience concept I'm working on with the goal to launch in the spring of 2024. I will use this space to share my creative journey and thoughts as I flush out this big idea.
The inspiration for this idea comes from a dish I created for a Science-themed Feast I hosted in 2017. I created a dish called Finely Tuned Soup to help dinner guests understand the scientific method, which led to Einsteins' discovery of the theory of relativity. Jason, my publisher and editor with CRU Press liked this idea for the upcoming book. So over the past few months, I have been taking a deep dive into cosmology and Ramen to reimagine the soup.
Here is a sample of one of my first drafts for those interested in exploring the unique connections between the 6 constants of the Fine-Tuning of the Universe and the key components that make up Japanese Ramen.
This is a collaborative effort between Gary Stevenson creative director of Theo's Feast and Jason Reimer, publisher and editor of CRU Press.
Finely Tuned Soup 2.0: Draft, Notes & Ideas...
“Six numbers constitute a 'recipe for a universe.” More. over, the outcome is sensitive to their values: if any one of them were to be 'untuned', there would be no stars and no life. Is this tuning just a brute fact, a coincidence? Or is it the providence of a benign Creator? - Martin Rees, Physicist, - Just Six Numbers
Recent developments in our understanding of the universe shed light on mysteries regarding its history and governing laws. According to Cosmologist Martin Rees, six numbers constitute a 'recipe for a universe," and their precise values are essential, as any deviation from this fine-tuning would result in the absence of stars and life.
Einstein's famous saying that "the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it's comprehensible" highlights the remarkable fact that the laws of physics apply universally, from Earth to the most distant galaxies.
The gravitational force that governs planetary motion also applies to the galaxies, even causing some stars to be drawn into black holes. Atoms in the farthest galaxies are identical to those we study in laboratories, illustrating a shared origin in the universe. This uniformity is crucial for the field of cosmology.
In the culinary world, creating the perfect bowl of ramen is a pursuit that requires the utmost precision and dedication. The process of crafting a bowl of ramen mirrors the delicate balance that underlies the fine-tuning of the universe. Just as the universe's existence depends on Rees’s 6 specific constants, the art of ramen-making relies on a careful interplay of 6 key components.
Let's explore how this analogy unfolds:
In both cases, whether in the cosmos or the kitchen, achieving the perfect balance is an art. A ramen chef, like the creator of the universe itself, must meticulously fine-tune every ingredient and technique. The result is a culinary masterpiece, a bowl of ramen that resonates with the same wonder that we feel when contemplating the finely tuned cosmos. In this sense, the craft of ramen-making serves as a delicious metaphor for the awe-inspiring balance that sustains our universe.
One. N.Gravity & Aroma Oil. The balance between gravity and the strength of the Big Bang’s expansion in the fine-tuning of the universe can be metaphorically compared to the presence of aroma oil in a bowl of ramen. Aroma oil represents a subtle but pervasive influence that clings to everything within the bowl, impacting the flavor of each component. Just as gravity affects every celestial body, aroma oil affects every element in the bowl of ramen.
Two. E. Nuclear Binding Force and a Poached Egg. The yolk inside a perfectly poached egg symbolizes the atomic nuclei, for which an important value is E or 0.007. This is the key factor that determines the power of stars, including our Sun. Just as the atomic nuclei within stars transmute hydrogen into all the elements of the periodic table, the yolk's transformation in the egg is equally essential. When making the perfect poached egg, if the temperature and time were even slightly altered, it would significantly affect the egg's texture and flavor. Similarly, if the constant E deviated from 0.007, the entire stellar power production would change, altering the abundance of elements in the universe and, consequently, the chemical composition necessary for life.
Three and Five. Constant Omega Ω & Q Culinary Harmony. (Or equilibrium / Cosmic Balance): The constant Omega, representing the delicate balance between gravity and expansion energy in the universe, holds a pivotal role in the cosmic fine-tuning necessary for the existence of life. The precise value of Omega is crucial, as even a slight deviation could disrupt this intricate equilibrium. This cosmic balance allows for the formation of structures such as galaxies and stars, illustrating the interconnected dance of forces shaping our universe.
Japanese Kombu and Bonito Dashi. In the realm of culinary artistry, the creation of Japanese kombu and bonito dashi for Ramen mirrors the precision required in Omega's fine-tuning. The process involves a delicate balance, where kombu contributes umami with its glutamic acids, and bonito adds a savory depth. The harmony of these elements is crucial, as chefs strive to avoid bitter or sour notes, achieving a broth that enhances the overall Ramen experience. The interconnectedness of ingredients in dashi reflects the broader concept of achieving balance and harmony in the culinary world, akin to the cosmic dance of forces represented by Omega. Both realms, whether cosmic or culinary, emphasize the beauty of equilibrium and precision in crafting a well-structured and satisfying outcome.
The critical density is the density required for the universe to be precisely balanced between eventual continued expansion and a future collapse. If Ω is equal to 1, the universe is said to be flat, and its expansion rate will gradually approach zero but never result in a collapse. If Ω is less than 1, the universe is open and will continue expanding forever. If Ω is greater than 1, the universe is closed, and it will eventually stop expanding and collapse back on itself.
The fine-tuning aspect comes into play because a small deviation from the critical density (Ω = 1) by even a tiny fraction would have significant consequences for the formation and structure of the universe. If Ω were too high, the universe would collapse rapidly; if too low, it would expand too quickly for structures like galaxies and stars to form.
In the culinary realm, the creation of Japanese kombu and bonito dashi reflects a similar pursuit of balance and precision. Dashi requires a meticulous infusion of kombu and bonito to achieve equilibrium between the two ingredients. The main challenge is that infusing the Umami rich flavor of kombu and the smokey flavor of katsuobushi into a broth can be tricky, as they both can produce bitter flavors when subjected to boiling temperatures, or sour flavors when left in hot broth for too long. Ramen chefs have to apply many very precise cooking methods to limit the production of those off flavors, which require precise temperature control and timing.
Four. Anti-Gravity and Tare: Shoyu-based tare in Ramen and the role of anti-gravity (or dark energy) in the universe share intriguing connections. The ingredients that make up the Shoyu-Based Tare are often a mysterious closely kept secret for most Ramen Chefs. It is often a secret recipe consisting of Soy Sauce, Mirin, Sake, dried mushrooms, and salt.
Anti-Gravity/Dark Energy in the Universe: Dark energy, often associated with anti-gravity effects, plays an essential role in the cosmos. It is a mysterious and invisible substance that exerts a very small gravitational pull, affecting the motions of galaxies and cosmic structures. Unlike ordinary matter (atoms and particles we can see), dark matter does not emit, absorb, or reflect light, making it challenging to detect directly.
The connection between Shoyu-based tare and dark matter lies in their influence on the overall structure and dynamics of their respective systems.
Flavor Enhancement and Complexity: Shoyu-based tare enhances the flavor of Ramen by introducing complexity and depth. Just as tare gives Ramen its unique character, dark matter's gravitational influence affects the structure of galaxies and clusters. Dark matter's presence is inferred by its gravitational effects on visible matter, similar to how tare's contribution is sensed through the taste it imparts to the Ramen.
Balance and Structure: Shoyu-based tare, when properly balanced, creates harmony and depth in Ramen. In the universe, dark matter's gravitational pull provides the necessary balance to prevent galaxies from flying apart due to the visible matter's insufficient gravitational force. This balance enables galaxies and cosmic structures to form and remain intact.
Six. Three-Dimensional Structure and Ramen Noodles. We live in a 3-dimensional universe. These connections illustrate how the three dimensions bring structure to physical matter, just as the ingredients provide the structure for Ramen noodles, enabling them to withstand the heat of the dashi.
Dimensions and Ingredients: Just as the universe is defined by three spatial dimensions, Ramen noodles rely on three essential ingredients for their existence. These dimensions in the cosmos represent the foundational framework upon which the entire universe is structured. In a culinary context, the combination of wheat, kansui powder, and water forms the basis for creating Ramen noodles, giving them substance and structure.
Wheat contributes bulk and texture, kansui powder provides alkalinity and chewiness, and water binds these elements together, forming noodles that can endure the heat of the dashi.
Endurance and adaptability: In the cosmos, the three dimensions allow the universe to endure the immense energy, forces, and transformations that occur over cosmic timescales. This endurance is mirrored in Ramen noodles, which, through the combination of wheat, kansui powder, and water, can withstand the heat and flavors of the dashi and various toppings, adapting to different culinary contexts.
In summary, the connections between Ramen Noodles and the constant D representing the three spatial dimensions underscore the importance of structure and resilience in both the culinary world and the cosmos. Just as the three dimensions provide the structural foundation for the physical universe, the combination of three key ingredients gives Ramen noodles the structural integrity needed to withstand the heat and create a satisfying culinary experience.
The three dimensions of the universe provide the structural resilience necessary for the existence of galaxies, stars, and all physical matter. Similarly, in the realm of Ramen, the three key ingredients play a critical role in imparting structural integrity to the noodles. Wheat contributes bulk and texture, kansui powder provides alkalinity and chewiness, and water binds these elements together, forming noodles that can endure the heat of the dashi.
Man is ... related inextricably to all reality, known and unknowable . .. plankton, a shimmering phosphorescence on the sea and the spinning planets and an expanding universe, all bound together by the elastic string of time.
It is advisable to look from the tide pool to the stars and then back to the tide pool again.
-John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez
“It's as if there are a large number of dials that have to be tuned to within extremely narrow limits for life to be possible in our universe. It is extremely unlikely that this should happen by chance, but much more likely that this should happen if there is such a person as God.”
— Alvin Plantinga, "The Dawkins Confusion: Naturalism ad absurdum
Examples of The Fine-Tuning of the Universe in apologetics:
Dr William Lane Craig has an excellent video that explains the fine-tuning of the universe:
Francis Collins and Richard Dawkins discuss the argument for God from the fine-tuning of the universe's fundamental constants for the development of intelligent life:
A brief history of Ramen from PBS's The Mind of a Chef:
I'm making good progress on my "Glow in the Dark" Galaxy Ramen using all-natural ingredients that glow under UV Light.
My noodles also have a nice glow.
I will post the recipes soon.