Physics

Category archives for Physics

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way — things I had no words for.” -Georgia O’Keeffe We thought — back in the time after Maxwell — that if we understood gravitation and electromagnetism, we’d understand all the forces in the Universe. But once we started to dive…

The biggest, most surprising revolution that came along with the development of quantum theory, quantum mechanics and later, quantum field theory, was the overthrowing of the idea of a deterministic Universe, replacing it with a Universe where only a probability distribution of outcomes could be theoretically known, even if you knew all the initial conditions of…

“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” -Terry Pratchett If you want, you can imagine back in the Universe to a time before it looked anything like ours did. Before there…

“There is a voice inside of you That whispers all day long, ‘I feel this is right for me, I know that this is wrong.’” -Shel Silverstein It’s pretty obvious that the Universe exists in such a way that it admits the possibility of intelligent life arising. After all, we’re here, we’re intelligent life, and…

“If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.” -Philip K. Dick When it comes to measuring the expansion history of the Universe, the concept is simple enough: take something you know about an object, like a mass, a size, or a brightness, then measure what the mass, size or brightness appears…

“I don’t like it, and I’m sorry I ever had anything to do with it.” -Schrödinger Ever think that if we just pitted enough intelligence at a particular problem, we’d be bound to solve it? That was certainly the approach that two of the greatest minds in history — Einstein and Schrödinger — took, when…

The LHC made simple (Synopsis)

“Let them see that their words can cut you and you’ll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name, take it, make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.” -George R.R. Martin Well, it’s finally happened! After a two year upgrade, the LHC is back…

“It’s tempting to go to the throat of the volcano to get the data, because if you do you’re a hero … It’s a battle between your mind and your emotions. If your emotions win out, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble.” -Ken Wohletz Back on Monday, I shared with you the incomparable…

“Is no one inspired by our present picture of the Universe? This value of science remains unsung by singers, you are reduced to hearing not a song or poem, but an evening lecture about it. This is not yet a scientific age.” -Richard Feynman There are many scientific facts that are simply remarkable when it comes…

Battle of the Nobel Laureates (Synopsis)

When it comes to the very nature of quantum mechanics — about the inherent uncertainty and indeterminism to reality — it’s one of the most difficult things to accept. Perhaps, you imagine, there’s some underlying cause, some hidden reality beneath what’s visible that actually is deterministic. After all, a cat can’t simultaneously be dead and alive until…