Why, Yes, We DID Totally Call That on SG:U
People keep sending me links to it as if I hadn’t heard about it already, so:
Yes, in fact, that theory of Penrose’s has some at least superficial similarities to an ongoing Stargate: Universe subplot involving a heretofore undiscovered possible structure teased out of the background radiation of the universe;
And yes, in fact, as Creative Consultant to SG:U, I had a hand in developing that subplot, although I’ll note that consistent with my role as consultant, I didn’t come up with the initial idea. My role was to make it appear both reasonably plausible and reasonably consistent with what we already know about the universe, once the producers came to me with it.
How do I feel about our little plot element being caught up to by current scientific events? Well, as you can imagine, I think it’s pretty cool. Also, from an entirely ego-centric point of view, it tells me that I’m doing a decent job in my role — and we as a series are doing a decent job at building a plausible universe — if what we concocted for the purposes of our science fiction television series shows a reasonable similarity to something one the planet’s pre-eminent physicists and cosmologists is thinking very hard about. I mean, seriously: Go, us.
Having said that, intellectual honesty requires me to note the following:
1. The similarities to this point are coincidental. I am as well-versed in recent cosmological thinking as any layman, but Sir Roger has not been calling me (or, I am reasonably sure, the SG:U producers or writers) and providing tidbits regarding his latest research. We just happened to play with something for the series that just happened to superficially resemble his actual theorizing.
2. I’ll note also that data for Penrose’s theory are at this point both speculative and incomplete, and that Penrose himself notes that what are needed now are even more detailed data, such as the sort that upcoming instruments might be able to provide us. Since Penrose’s theory would wreck some very well-regarded models of the universe, let’s just say it has a high bar to leap over before we can say anything about it beyond “well, that certainly is an interesting theory, isn’t it.” In other words: Early days yet, folks. There’s still plenty of opportunity for this theory to be disproved.
In short: Let’s keep our pants on, shall we. But no matter what, it’s still kind of cool to have taken a science fictional leap into the dark and discover we may have in fact stuck the dismount. It’s neat when that happens.
Wait ’til you see what we’ve got in store for you for the second half of the season.