Tag Archives: Einstein

Is the Beginning Physics or Religion?

The universe’s first few minutes are well-understood, or so it seems. A wealth of evidence tells physicists that, after one minute (some 13,780,000,000 years ago), it was very hot and rapidly cooling, very dense and rapidly expanding, a condition known as the Big Bang. Yet most physicists are curiously incurious about how it got to […]

When Science Gets It Wrong

“Gravitational waves turn to dust” shouts a headline in The Guardian newspaper. Its news is that last month’s news of a Harvard team’s discovery of gravitational waves from the beginning of time may not reveal such waves at all. That stunning signal could have come from grains of dust in space. It’s no surprise when […]

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 […]

Physics Myths: Like Religion, Physics Rests on Faith

Some see myths as things of the past in our enlightened age. For example, in a recent episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said (speaking of the revolutionary ideas of Thales of Miletus around 600 BCE), “The workings of nature could be explained without recourse to the supernatural.” He got […]

Cold Comfort: Physics Cures the Common Cold

It’s still the sniffle season and there’s still no cure for the common cold. So says the Mayo Clinic; so say many others. They are wrong. Here is the long-sought cure. No kidding. It turns out to be spectacularly unspectacular. It is simple physics. (That’s too bad; if it were complex chemistry it would be […]

Lemaitre, Penrose and the Original Order of the Universe

Life is all about order. Life forms use energy to organize themselves. Their often-exquisite order is created at the expense of disorder which they dump somewhere else. The net effect is always a decrease in total order of the universe. It’s basic physics (the Second Law of Thermodynamics, if you care). The Second Law says […]

Staying Sane

Knowing how the universe began leads inexorably to the question: Why did it begin? So I’m writing Volume two. Would I be sweating this if I had known that it could drive me crazy? First to go there was American critic, poet and author extraordinaire Edgar Allan Poe. Always borderline-unstable, having penned Eureka, a prose […]

String Things

One of the neat things about the way the universe began is that it brings out principles that help to follow physics and philosophy that, without them, appear beyond reason. They simplify what lies behind some deep ideas, such as strings. String theories abound in many versions. They are based on fancy math. Their math […]

Here and Now: New Words

Man in motion (myself, not the Night Ranger album), I could get conflicted (once again): The universe moves on, I see this, yet I know it never moves. It has no way to move. It has no time. At any given now it simply is; so now is all it ever has. It is a […]