Tag Archives: Carlo Rovelli

A mysterious new shape seems to say something fundamental about the nature of the universe. Can we understand its message?

Plato set out to explain everything with five perfect shapes. His theory died centuries ago. But in 2013 a shape called the amplituhedron burst upon the science scene. Physicists find it performs a miracle. But they don’t know how. The answer may hold a deep truth physics can sense but can’t quite find. Understanding the […]

A Foundation for Building Real Physics (At Last)

Physics has two great theories, general relativity and quantum mechanics. Each does very well in its domain. That is nice but plainly isn’t real. Each is fundamentally at odds with the other. And neither of them works at all with the conditions that existed when the universe began. How can we find a single theory […]

Fields of Dreams

Here is a mystery that needs help from armchair philosophers. Nowadays physics describes the world in terms of “fields”. What, then, is a field? It is weasel math that physicists invented to allow them to ignore the paradox of action at a distance. In the annals of thought the concept of action at a distance […]

The Problem of Time

What is time? This is the central mystery of physics. One might think that physics would give a clear answer. Not so. Although most physics is about change, it has lost touch with time. Indeed physics now cloaks time in myths. Let’s see what we can find behind them. British physicist Edward Anderson says: ‘The […]

Expanding Space, Expanding Minds

Understanding physics can be satisfying. Understanding physics some physicists don’t understand brings super-satisfaction. Many think they can’t understand physics. Seems to me that often it is physicists they can’t understand. I think anybody who can figure how to travel to another country can, with no more effort, understand a lot of physics. With two provisos: […]

Multiverses versus Universe

In the physics stratosphere a great debate is going on. Physicists say it is about the future of physics and the nature of everything.This may be true, but the issues are also personal. The story starts (or so it seems) with multiverses. Not long poems (though those still get more Google hits), I mean multiple-universe […]

ULAS J1120+0641 : Voice from the Deep

  For most people, what they hear or see speaks to the here and now. But for astronomers, a telescope looking at deep space captures a message from the past because it shows a picture that took time to travel at the speed of light. Thus they measure distances in light years – in other […]

Einstein and the Death of Physics

  Motion is smooth, as any eye can see. In 1738, Scottish philosopher David Hume could―with little chance of challenge―say: ‘The infinite divisibility of space implies that of time, as is evident from the nature of motion.’ But physics now knows that, at scales far smaller than an atom, space isn’t smooth and motion must […]