Thursday, October 16

The universe according to Steven Hawking, Brian Greene, et al.

I've been listening to 'Steven Hawking's Universe' on tape. Interesting stuff. You might want to check out the website for the PBS series. My favorite part is the timeline of the Big Bang. When you get down to the Planck Time (10^-43 seconds), that's pretty cool (figuratively). There's another timeline.

What is Planck length? What is Planck time?

the best time line I've seen so far Aren't logarithmic scales cool? If you've made it this far, make sure to click through to the Early Universe Chronology.

You know there are four fundamental forces right? Gravity, Weak, Electromagnetic, and Strong. There's another cool time line showing when the forces broke apart (assuming they were unified before the Planck Time).

Ooh. PBS has it's Elegant Universe site up already and the program hasn't even aired yet. Did you know that all elementary particles can be classified as bosons (force particles) or fermions (matter particles)? Superstring theory further posits that strings make up bosons and fermions.

They've got another scale-type thingy there, kind of like the old Powers of Ten video, that takes you down to string size.

The interview with Brian Greene contains a query about imagining more than 3 spational dimensions. I always think about it in terms of something like cyberspace. I think about 4 dimensions (including time) as a sequence of snapshots of a limited area, almost like time lapse photographs laid out in sequence. What do you think?

Something that occurred to me when I read 'The Elegant Universe': the speed of light (c) is a constant. It's a limit. It's the law. But doesn't tell us why. Why is the speed of light (c)? What about the nature of the universe sets that speed and imposes that limit? That's what I want to know.

(This had been a Posting-like-John-Hardy-but-without-the-pictures production.)

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