Another good point brought up in Brian Greene’s “The Elegant Universe.” After overturning Newtonian physics, Einstein ran into a situation that suggested the universe might be expanding. This was, according to Greene, too much for the genius to handle; he came up with some kind of way of negating the reality as he knew it.
Some years later, Edward Hubble was able to demonstrate that the universe was indeed expanding.
Great lesson in the limited elasticity of the human mind. Einstein had just turned things on their head and now he was unable to conceive of a universe that wasn’t constant and unchanging. I sympathize; the only way I’ve ever been able to picture an expanding universe was through the “raisin bread analogy” my high school physics teacher gave us:
Imagine that the universe is a loaf of raisin bread. You have the dough, and you have the raisins. As the bread rises (expands) the raisins move farther away from one another. That’s what’s happening in the universe.
Taking this a step further, I’ve been thinking about the weak force, which Greene says is produced by radioactive decay (I’m not getting this 100% correct; please feel free to point me at additional reading or refine what I’m saying here. Thinking aloud, for the most part). If the universe is expanding, then it might make sense to think that the individual particles that make up the universe are also expanding, and perhaps another way of thinking of this is to say that the weak force (the force that makes things less likely to stick together) is also increasing.
The gears are grinding away in my head. I’m so glad my co-writer insisted we do some science homework for this project.
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