Abstract:
This is the first part of a survey whose ultimate purpose is to clarify the significance of the famous coincidence between the Hubble age of the universe and a certain combination of microphysical parameters. In this part the way is prepared by a discussion of the manner in which familiar local phenomena depend qualitatively, and in order of magnitude, quantitatively on the fundamental parameters of microphysics. In order to keep the account concise while remaining self contained, only the barest essentials of the standard nuclear physical and astrophysical calculations involved are given. Only six of the fundamental parameters play a dominant part, namely the coupling constants of the strong, electromagnetic, and gravitational forces, and the mass ratios of the proton, neutron, electron and pi-meson. Attention is drawn to the important consequences of three coincidental relationships between these parameters. It is shown that most of the principle limiting masses of astrophysics arise (in fundamental units) simply as the reciprocal of the gravitational fine structure constant, with relatively small adjustment factors. The dividing point between red dwarf and blue giant stars turns out to be an exception: this division occurs within the range of the main sequence stars only as a consequence of the rather exotic coincidence that the ninth power of the electromagnetic fine structure constant is roughly equal to the square root of the gravitational fine structure constant.

Abstract:
This is the first part of a survey whose ultimate purpose is to clarify the significance of the famous coincidence between the Hubble age of the universe and a certain combination of microphysical parameters. In this part the way is prepared by a discussion of the manner in which familiar local phenomena depend qualitatively, and in order of magnitude, quantitatively on the fundamental parameters of microphysics. In order to keep the account concise while remaining self contained, only the barest essentials of the standard nuclear physical and astrophysical calculations involved are given. Only six of the fundamental parameters play a dominant part, namely the coupling constants of the strong, electromagnetic, and gravitational forces, and the mass ratios of the proton, neutron, electron and pi-meson. Attention is drawn to the important consequences of three coincidental relationships between these parameters. It is shown that most of the principle limiting masses of astrophysics arise (in fundamental units) simply as the reciprocal of the gravitational fine structure constant, with relatively small adjustment factors. The dividing point between red dwarf and blue giant stars turns out to be an exception: this division occurs within the range of the main sequence stars only as a consequence of the rather exotic coincidence that the ninth power of the electromagnetic fine structure constant is roughly equal to the square root of the gravitational fine structure constant.

Abstract:
The hitherto controversial proposition that a ``wiggly" Goto-Nambu cosmic string can be effectively represented by an elastic string model of exactly transonic type (with energy density $U$ inversely proportional to its tension $T$) is shown to have a firm mathematical basis.

Abstract:
The supporting worldsheet of a string, membrane, or other higher dimensional brane, is analysed in terms of its first, second, and third fundamental tensors, and its inner and outer curvature tensors. The dynamical equations governing the models appropriate for phenomena such as (superconducting) cosmic strings and cosmic domain walls are developed in a general framework (allowing for both electromagnetic and Kalb Ramond background coupling). It is shown how the surface stress momentum energy density tensor determines the propagation characteristics of small ``wiggle" perturbations of the worldsheet. Attention is then focussed on special features of strings (using the transonic model with tension T inversely proportional to the energy density U as a particularly important example). A quadratic Hamilton-Jacobi formulation is shown to govern equilibium states and other conservative string configurations sharing a symmetry of the (gravitational, electromagnetic, and Kalb-Ramond) background, including stable ring states that may be cosmologically important.

Abstract:
It has recently been shown how the effect of the divergent part of the gravitational self interaction for a classical string model in 4 dimensions can be allowed for by a renormalisation of its stress energy tensor and in the elastic case a corresponding renormalisation of the off shell action. It is shown here that that it is possible to construct a new category of elastic string models for which this effect is describable as a renormalisation in the stricter ``formal'' sense, meaning that it only requires a rescaling of one of the fixed parameters characterising the model.

Abstract:
This article treats the generalisation to brane dynamics of the covariant canonical variational procedure leading to the construction of a conserved bilinear symplectic current in the manner originally developped by Witten, Zuckerman and others in the context of field theory. After a general presentation, including a review of the relationships between the various (Lagrangian, Eulerian and other) relevant kinds of variation, the procedure is illustrated by application to the particularly simple case of branes of the Dirac-Goto-Nambu type, in which internal fields are absent.

Abstract:
A brief explanation of the meaning of the anthropic principle - as a prescription for the attribution of a priori probability weighting - is illustrated by various cosmological and local applications, in which the relevant conclusions are contrasted with those that could be obtained from (less plausible) alternative prescriptions such as the vaguer and less restrictive ubiquity principle, or the more sterile and restrictive autocentric principle.

Abstract:
The general relativistic mass-energy variation formula for axisymmetric equilibrium states of a selfgravitating system is developed in the particular case for which the relevant matter consists of a perfectly conducting multiconstituent fluid (or superfluid) with stationary circular or convective motion.

Abstract:
Although ultimately motivated by quantum theoretical considerations, Everett's many-world idea remains valid, as an approximation, in the classical limit. However to be applicable it must in any case be applied in conjunction with an appropriate anthropic principle, whose precise formulation involves an anthropic quotient that can be normalised to unity for adult humans but that would be lower for infants and other animals. The outcome is a deterministic multiverse in which the only function of chance is the specification of one's particular identity.

Abstract:
After a brief explanation of the concept of a vorton, quantitative estimates of the vorton population that would be produced in various cosmic string scenarios are reviewed. Attention is drawn to previously unconsidered mechanisms that might give rise to much more prolific vorton formation that has been envisaged hitherto.