relativity

Category archives for relativity

The Strangest Theory We Know Is True (Synopsis)

When it comes to physics, there sure are some strange theories — and even stranger phenomena — out there. The notion that particles don’t have fixed, intrinsic properties that are simultaneously measurable can only be described as weird, and the fact that you can add as much energy as you want to a particle but…

Einstein’s Greatest Legacy (Synopsis)

When it comes to Einstein, the first thought that comes to people’s mind is usually relativity — either special or general — or perhaps his famous E = mc^2. (Except for Anupam Garg; my old classical mechanics professor used to joke that Einstein’s greatest contribution to physics was his shortened summation notation.) But Einstein’s legacy…

“Oh leave the Wise our measures to collate. One thing at least is certain, light has weight. One thing is certain and the rest debate. Light rays, when near the Sun, do not go straight.” -Arthur Eddington It might seem like General Relativity has been around forever, but it’s been less than a century since…

“These neutrino observations are so exciting and significant that I think we’re about to see the birth of an entirely new branch of astronomy: neutrino astronomy.” -John Bahcall From the Hubble expansion of the Universe to isotropy and homogeneity to the light elements to the leftover radiation glow to the formation of large-scale structure in…

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” -Vincent Van Gogh Ever since the BICEP2 team reported their findings — and evidence for B-mode polarization of the cosmic microwave background indicating gravitational waves from inflation — the physics world has never been the same. Recently,…

“Other than the laws of physics, rules have never really worked out for me.” -Craig Ferguson When you think about the Standard Model of particle physics, you very likely think about all the matter, energy, particles, antiparticles, forces and interactions of the Universe. And you might legitimately worry that this is all there is. Never fear; it can’t…

“The conclusions, the bizarre conclusions, emerge as though with the greatest of ease: the reasoning is unbreakable. It looks as though he had reached the conclusions by pure thought, unaided, without listening to the opinions of others. To a surprisingly large extent, that is precisely what he had done.” -C.P. Snow, on Einstein’s 1905 work…

“All our sweetest hours fly the fastest.” -Virgil The speed of light in a vacuum is the limit for massless particles, but massive ones are limited even further! Have you ever wondered about that? We can get particles in accelerators up to 99.9999999988% the speed of light, and the Universe makes ones that are even faster!…

“If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.” -Les Brown On the one hand, you’ve got gravitation, the most powerful force in the Universe, trying to attract all the matter in it together. If it had its way, not only…

Ask Ethan #24: Cheating Time and Space

“For the wise man looks into space and he knows there is no limited dimensions.” -Lao Tzu You know the deal: it’s the end of the week, so it’s time for another Ask Ethan! You’ve continued to send in your questions-and-suggestions, much to my delight, and I’m pleased to tell you that this week’s question…