This Quanta Magazine article (below) is a helpful visual recap of whether the cosmos is “flat” or not. Does the cosmic landscape of stars and galaxies extend / expand in all directions like an endless piece of paper? Or another “flat” geometry – “by cutting a chunk out of Euclidean space and gluing it together.”… Continue reading Does the universe have a shape?
An article from Quanta Magazine (below) recaps the history of space-time symmetries in physics and how those symmetries have, in a sense, been simplified: Galilean (Newtonian) static, separate space and time. Relativistic “flat” space-time – Minkowski / Poincaré / Einstein. de Sitter spherical space-time: “… in the same way that the finite speed of light… Continue reading Universal symmetries – what really is broken?
This post was inspired by Don Lincoln’s YouTube video “Subatomic Stories: Is the Planck length really the smallest?” In his Q&A (where he responds to questions from prior videos), he notes a caveat about the law of conservation of energy. Energy may not be conserved … because space-time can change. He offers some links for… Continue reading When conservation of energy goes out the window?
Paraphrasing: Just a note before you go,A vision to be learnedTraveling near the speed of lightIt’s easy to get … Imagining how things would look when traveling near the speed of light is an interesting exercise. Using a freeware video game developed by MIT Game Lab (2012), this visualization (below) by The Action Lab is… Continue reading Sightseeing near the speed of light – realistic simulation
[Draft] A recent Nature article (below) was inspiration for this post. I’ve been encountering the use of topology in physics for some time. Typically the mathematics is elusive, but the notions are compelling. Wiki > Topology A continuous deformation (a type of homeomorphism) of a mug into a doughnut (torus) and a cow into a… Continue reading When is a coffee mug like a donut?
[Communicating science series] All hail vector spaces! Imagine walking into an elementary school classroom and finding kids talking about quantum states. Depicting quantum interactions using diagrams and bra-ket manipulatives, for wave functions. Someday, eh. While we may never achieve Ernest Rutherford‘s notion of a quantum theory so simple that we can explain it to an… Continue reading Quantum mechanics math basics – tasting the notation
So, today I’m celebrating the Moon. The ancient mythology and modern physics of its stabilizing influence. Both the Moon’s natural prominence in the earthly sky and its regular cycle of phases as seen from Earth have provided cultural references and influences for human societies and cultures since time immemorial. After enjoying the full moon for… Continue reading Life and the physics of having a moon
Modern physics is full of demonstrations which confound our everyday experience. There are some oldies but goodies, like the feather and the hammer. Remember Apollo 15 (1971)? These demonstrations illustrate the limits of everyday experience and provide interesting historical lessons. • Physics World > “The legend of the leaning tower” by Robert P Crease (04… Continue reading The feather and the hammer
[Big Science, quantum foundations] While already following this Big Science project , with construction underway (for the next 3 years), I felt that a specific post was appropriate. The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) is a massive worldwide collaboration between countries, organizations, and over a 1000 scientists. All hail neutrinos!  I spent some time… Continue reading DUNE – digging for neutrinos, not spice
[“Quantum foundations” series] Force-less physics? No, I do NOT mean that the language of forces (electromagnetism, strong, weak, gravity) does not apply to our everyday experience or to physical descriptions. But only to a point, yes, as maybe counterproductive to deeper understanding. To getting beyond the Standard Model . To understanding how the wave function is… Continue reading A force-less physics?