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?
E = mc² The Holy Grail of modern physics is a so-called theory of everything, a unified field theory, a theory which unifies all known “forces.” That is, unifies all the fundamental interactions of nature. The three “quantum” interactions (electromagnetism, weak, strong) and gravitation. A conventional sequence of theories depicts final unification as occurring at… Continue reading Making matter from light – ultra energies and unification of forces
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
[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
[Communicating science series] Today my post celebrates another science communicator, Fraser Cain, and his YouTube channel by the same name. This week, I noticed his video “Two Supermassive Black Holes Orbiting Each Other. Stephen Hawking Was Right!” (May 11, 2020). Well-done visualization. His channel description says: Space and astronomy news from Fraser Cain, publisher of… Continue reading Black hole systems – communicating the cosmos
While Sean Carroll’s latest chat-from-home presentations on his YouTube channel address the “biggest ideas” in the universe, other theoretical physicists explore whether our mind-boggling big universe has sort of a shelf life. A final reservation date, so to speak, at a fantastically socially-distanced restaurant at the end of the universe. Reference: Forbes > “What Will… Continue reading A shelf life for the universe?
So, regarding interaction of matter, there’s a major inversion of perspective between classical physics and quantum field theory (QFT): hallmarked particles which create fields vs. excitations created (and destroyed) in ubiquitous extant fields. As Ethan Siegel said: … in quantum field theory, quantum fields aren’t generated by matter. Instead, what we interpret as “matter” is… Continue reading Equal footing in quantum physics
[Communicating science series] While we’re all doing stay-at-home, theoretical physicist Sean Carroll created a chat-from-home series on his YouTube channel. Usually each informal talk (so not lecture-like organization) has a followup Q&A video. The Biggest Ideas in the Universe is a series of videos where I talk informally about some of the fundamental concepts that… Continue reading Biggest ideas in the universe – Sean Carroll chats concepts