So, on the 10^n scale, today Space.com posed the interesting question “What Is the Biggest Thing in the Universe?” Scientists have created the first map of a colossal supercluster of galaxies known as Laniakea, the home of Earth’s Milky Way galaxy and many other. This computer simulation, a still from a Nature journal video, depicts… Continue reading Biggest thing in the universe?
Wiki’s definition of astrophysics is comprehensive. Contemporary astrophysics often is associated with Big Science programs involving both observational and theoretical work by large, interdisciplinary teams. Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that employs the principles of physics and chemistry “to ascertain the nature of the heavenly bodies, rather than their positions or motions in space.”… Continue reading Astrophysics is what?
I’ve been reading about quantum spin for awhile and taking notes. Hobson’s book1, for example, discusses the foundational experiment which discovered spin. In the mean time, Space.com posted an article today which may serve as a placeholder for the topic while my draft notes on other topics develop. The Space.com article “The Weird Quantum Property… Continue reading Quantum spin — angular what?
I typically add samples of books to my Kindle library when considering purchases. While examining my Kindle library yesterday, I started reading a sample of Art Hobson’s 2017 book Tales of the Quantum: Understanding Physics’ Most Fundamental Theory and then became interested in his background. A Google search found biographical information, references to his books,… Continue reading Point particles RIP
As noted previously, quantum physics has struggled with infinities. A recent Space.com article on black holes reminded me of another part of that saga. Black holes serve as touchstones in several ways. Wiki: … there are some theoretical circumstances where the end result is infinity. One example is the singularity in the description of black… Continue reading Beyond the infinity of black holes
Buzz Lightyear‘s tag line “To infinity … and beyond” reminds me of the mantra in modern physics that the appearance of infinities in equations tells us that we don’t understand something, that our computational model has hit a wall, so to speak. Wiki: Sometimes an infinite result for a physical quantity may mean that the… Continue reading Infinity and beyond … under the rug
A trip down memory lane this week led me to the topic of this post. In exchanging emails with a fellow alumnus, I mentioned the book A Canticle for Leibowitz1 which we read in a freshman English class. He remembered the professor’s name. That led to an exploration of my file cabinets and the class… Continue reading Two cultures redux
Imagine a survey where you ask “How old is the universe?” as a multiple choice question: 1,000’s of years 100,000’s of years Millions of years Billions of years Other _______________ What would you expect as a result? Quite a mix? Well, among scientists this question is essentially settled, as indicated in some Space.com articles. “How… Continue reading Age of universe — implications?
This Space.com article “Solar Eclipse Science Helps Prove Einstein’s Relativity Theory in Nat Geo’s ‘Genius’” published on May 30, 2017, reminded me of the connection between the study of solar eclipses and Einstein’s theory of general relativity. While the U.S. prepares for the Great American Total Solar Eclipse coming on Aug. 21, National Geographic’s “Genius” recounts… Continue reading Solar eclipse and relativity — there is no Vulcan
While studying physics this past year, I noticed tension between theoretical and experimental physicists, especially between younger quantum field theoreticians and veteran particle physicists — regarding deep reality and the various formulations of quantum mechanics (addressed in another post). Revisiting some archived debates, this philosophical question (“Is reality digital or analog?”) was posed in an essay… Continue reading Is reality digital or analog?