Tag Archives: big bang theory

Homework Takeaway: There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza…

I finished reading The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene, a week or so ago, and meant to post about that with some summary thoughts. Instead, I reached the end the week of the discovery of the Higgs-Boson, and suddenly the last few pages were no longer conjecture, they were likely fact.

It’s amazing how easy it is to take something seriously once it’s been proven.

At the beginning of the year, I joked on Twitter that if The Elegant Universe was my homework, well, I was an Honors Student and I’d be doing some extra credit, as well. So I’ve started reading The Fabric of the Cosmos.

Already, I’m struck by the change in Greene’s tone – or the change in the tone of the tenor of my reading of it, perhaps? The writing has a deep narrative quality. Greene wrote this before the discovery of the Higgs-Boson, so maybe the tone is due to the increasingly advanced matter of its subject? Past a point, science and art follow many of the same intuitions.

I’m glad to have read The Elegant Universe, as frustrating as I found some of its metaphors, because I’m now confident with how Greene may intend to lay out this new story. Having ended The Elegant Universe with discussion of of temperature transference theory at the time of the Big Bang, Greene is now talking about basic physics experiments again.

Issac Newton’s bucket. Concave and convex surfaces.

Which has brought the song behind the lyrics of this post’s title to mind.

There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza; a hole. 

Homework Takeaway #5: We’re Pretty Sure There Was A Big Bang

After several months – was it really back in January that I posted my most recent update in this series? – I picked up “The Elegant Universe” again and kept reading. On page 349 (in my edition), Green talks about how there was a moment where the universe from being opaque to being transparent.

He then goes on to describe the moment of the birth of the universe in terms that make me think about how he talks about black holes in the previous chapter (p 342-344?). I’m not a hundred percent sure why, but this part of the book reminded me a little of those four-axis graphs, with space on one axis and time on the other, and black holes sucking in all information. It brought to mind the image of a God’s Eye, or one of those cool graphic design things everybody used to doodle in high school (the nearest I can find via Google Images is the first graph used on this total stranger’s blog entry, but imagine four quadrants of that facing one another).

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