We’ve all seen that vast black hole. Its six billion solar masses are so dense no light can escape. It is so far away light from hot gas falling in takes 55 million years to reach us. Well actually, we’ve seen an image. Now that we’ve seen it, what do we know now we didn’t […]
Tag Archives: physics
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 […]
What are the quanta in quantum gravity? A hundred years ago Einstein said “space”. So where are we now?
Quantum gravity is all the rage in physics these days. There are books about it but none say what quantum gravity is. And none report real progress. We should be upset about this. Really! Quantum gravity tries to reconcile our two immensely successful—but mutually inconsistent—theories about the world: quantum theory and relativity. A quantum theory […]
How does Planck-scale physics work?
Planck-scale physics is more than a hundred years old. Physics is starting to take it seriously. This is great because we can hope for exciting new science and technology to drive a new economy. Planck scale is the incredibly tiny scale at which physics actually happens. It is the scale at which space no longer […]
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 […]
Until recently our cosmic neighborhood was growing faster than the speed of light. Now it’s run into a roadblock.
“From a physical point of view everything that is outside our neighborhood is pure extrapolation.” – Willem de Sitter (1932) Physics is coming up against two fundamental limits: It can never observe the biggest and the smallest things that it needs to study. Some seem satisfied this is the end of our search for ultimate […]
Thinking of moving: Solving this key puzzle of philosophy—and the central problem of physics
We see things move. We tend to take motion for granted. But when we think about it closely, the notion of motion becomes a deep philosophical problem: How can something move? In his seminal 1949 work on the origins of modern science, British historian Herbert Butterfield said, ‘Of all the intellectual problems which the human […]
Understanding time travel . . . and travel time – Part II
Time is just a tale we tell ourselves to help us manage motion. Last week’s post rocketed you at near light speed to swiftly tour the center of our galaxy. The round trip took you about an hour. Arriving back you found the Earth was 50,000 years older. Time travel— predicted by Albert Einstein in […]
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 […]