Is physics ending? Serious people say so, not always seriously. Are they right and should we care? In 1996 American science writer John Horgan wrote a book, The End of Science. His thesis was that all the big stuff has been done already, that what he calls ‘the primordial human quest to understand the universe […]
Tag Archives: mathematics
The reason why Earth’s climate creates destruction from a 1°C rise in temperature: It’s a mind-boggling amount of energy.
Since the Industrial Revolution the global average temperature has increased by nearly one degree, mostly in the last forty years. One degree is barely discernible. Yet it is blamed for widespread destruction! How can it be so? One degree adds the energy of maybe a million big hydrogen bombs to the upper ocean. It’s an […]
Einstein’s long-lost message tells a tale of what time really is – and really isn’t!
Did Einstein know he left a key to one of the greatest puzzles inflicting physics today encoded in his equations? It has now come to light thanks to advances in two fields—gravity-wave detection and computing. A recent paper in leading journal Science by German physicist Bernd Brügmann looks technical, but has deep implications so straightforward […]
Finding new physics: How to get a big bang for our bucks
Physics has a big problem: How should it decide what avenues to new fundamental physics to explore? The problem is invisible but affects our lives. We could start to fix it if non-physicists—who pay the bills and stand to reap the benefits—recognize it is our problem and also our opportunity: The fix could be worth […]
Black hole mystery finds an original solution
“BLACK HOLE MYSTERY” says the cover of a recent Scientific American. “The first supermassive black holes formed earlier than seems possible.” The author is Yale astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan. “What are scientists missing?” the cover asks. Maybe the answer is: A grasp of quantum space and the topology of twist. It’s a massive problem in more […]
The Sundance Story: The greatest (also the smallest) discovery of the science era
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 […]
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 […]
Mind over math: We need to change the worldview of physicists.
It all began so easily. Physics uses math so it was natural for physicists to look for math that is convenient. This led physics down a dead-end street. Fixing it could lead to a huge opportunity. The beginning goes back to the 1600s. Having revolutionized what would soon be called physics, Isaac Newton fell into […]
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 […]