Strange all this Difference should be ’Twixt Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee! — John Byrom (1692 – 1763) Twist and shout … Come on and work it on out — Phil Medley & Bert Berns (1961) Australian physicist Sundance Bilson-Thompson made a stunning discovery. He starts with a simple entity—a tiny twist. With the quirky humor that […]
Tag Archives: cosmology
Stephen Hawking’s big ambition and the secret sauce that kept it just beyond his reach
Stephen Hawking’s final paper was published this week. Like his last book, The Grand Design, it is about how the universe began. In 1979, he became the seventeenth Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. His modest aim was to understand the universe, the whole thing, from beginning to end. He missed his mark by […]
With a new way to measure space we may learn why it is expanding.
These are exciting times. Every few months astronomy surprises us with insights into ancient secrets. New telescopes are scanning galaxies throughout the visible universe. Most galaxies are mind-bogglingly far away. Exactly how far has long been a fundamental issue. But we just got a whole new way to measure it. Today the universe is much […]
Albert Einstein showed that space has shape. Let’s take a look at this esoteric concept.
We now know that, far from being nothing, space is a something. Indeed space is a much more substantial something than the average density of all the matter that we see in the universe. We also know that space has shape as Albert Einstein showed. But what is the shape of space? How are we […]
The wave that shook the world gets recognition but not the recognition it deserves
In 2015 scientists at LIGO observed a wave of gravitation—a distortion of space itself that came from two black holes colliding more than a billion light years away. LIGO is a gravity telescope of exquisite sensitivity. Its observation shaped up as the top science story of the century. In record time, this week it nailed […]
An amazing birthday present: a universe that allows time travel and helps us understand our existence
In 1949 Austrian-American logician Kurt Gödel gave a friend a strange birthday present: a rotating universe. Gödel is widely regarded as the world’s greatest logician. Albert Einstein, the greatest physicist, was his best friend. For years they walked home from the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study almost every day. The present—for Einstein’s 70th birthday—dealt with […]
The Empire Strikes Back: The battle about how the universe began
More and more physicists are starting to ask: How did the universe begin? Now a battle is breaking out among them. It is about “The Force” that some say flattened out the universe before the Big Bang. This force is called cosmological inflation. The establishment (dare I call it Empire?) claims it is ‘the dominant […]
Genius, Einstein and much ado about nothing: Let’s fix the fallacy of empty space
We think of space as empty. It’s not. Quite aside from stray hydrogen atoms and fleeting quantum particles in the vacuum, space is substantial. It has mass. Indeed Planck-satellite measurements now show space is three times denser than the average of the universe’s matter. Yet like the rest of us most physicists still treat space […]
Physics has long been confused about the concept of ‘now’. New insights show that it is fundamental.
A sense of Now is the universal human experience. Yet modern physics cannot handle the concept of the present moment. Indeed relativity—our great theory of space and time—insisted on embedding it within a time dimension and then crossbreeding this dimension with three space dimensions to make spacetime. This was a blunder. It blocks progress. Physics […]