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: string theory
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 […]
Plain talk about quantum theory: It has no place for space and that’s a problem.
Quantum physics is in trouble. It needs a new strategy. Physics is mostly based around quantum theory. When physics gets in trouble it affects everyone. Physics is the fountain from which our economy springs. Quantum theory seems so esoteric many think they cannot go there. Yet at heart the problem and the opportunity to fix […]
At last an answer: What happened at the Big Bang
What exactly happened when the universe was born? What happened at the Big Bang? is the title of last summer’s popular science exhibition sponsored by six leading British universities and the Royal Society in London. Amid much fascinating information, the exhibition’s answer was: We don’t know. Yet, as Science Seen’s readers will recall, that answer […]
The universe has an arithmetic of its own that answers a deep question about the nature of math.
Here’s a burning question behind the facade of math: Is math a property of the universe that we discover (a view philosophy calls realism); or is math an invention of our minds (fictionalism)? If “our” math is a property of the universe then we may get it right or wrong but we can’t change it; […]
Stephen Hawking’s recipe for the universe may be good religion but it’s bad physics
Stephen Hawking says he has a deep belief. He calls it nothing. He says this is good physics. I say it it is not. He says it is real. I say it is only an idea. Explaining his own curiosity he says, ‘I wanted to understand how the universe began.’ Many physicists see this as […]
What is Planck-scale physics and why does it matter?
The Planck-scale physics story begins long ago. In 1901 German physicist Max Planck publishes an explanation for strange properties of radiant heat. He says its energy is quantized. In other words, it radiates in distinct little bits. He sees this as a mathematical convenience and doesn’t really believe it. His math requires a constant he […]