Tag Archives: string theory

Homework Takeaway #4: Uncertainties in Time, Space and Relationships

I’m still chipping away at Elegant Universe, and have just finished watching Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen – the version starring Daniel Craig as Werner Heisenberg and Stephen Rea as Neils Bohr. So now there are a few threads going though my mind. Copenhagen is an illustration of how the uncertainty principle and physics can map themselves onto individual relationships; this is illustrated well in the moment where Frayn writes Bohr and Heisenberg and Bohr’s wife Margrethe, as they race around a room demonstrating the difficulties of observing an racing beam of light.

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Homework Takeaway #3: Calabi-Yau Dimensions: You Are Where You Are Cuz You’re There

I’m entering the second half of Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe, and last night read a beautiful, resonant section about Calabi-Yau dimensions. (That page is in French, though Google translate seems to be handling it OK; the image above is taken from that page’s reproduction of the image in the book.)

“If you sweep your hand in a large arc,” Green writes, “you are moving not only through the three extended dimensions, but also through these curled-up dimensions. Of course, because the curled-up dimensions are so small, as you move your hand you circumnavigate them an enormous number of times, repeatedly returning to your starting point.”

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Homework Takeaway #2: Weak Force Expansion & Limited Elasticity

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.

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Homework Takeaway (#1): Light Ain’t Old

I’m reading Brian Greene’s “The Elegant Universe”. I decided to start organizing some of the thoughts I’m having as I read this book.

The most interesting line I read so far today was about the age of light. Greene is discussing how objects use up their motion either in time or in space, with most objects expending most of their energy via movement through time – that’s why nothing can achieve light speed, except for light.

Therefore, this means that light expends all its motion by moving through space, and the inverse meaning is that light doesn’t age.

As he puts it in his book, “Thus light does not get old; a photon that emerged from the big bang is the same age today as it was then. There is no passage of time at light speed.”

Kind of makes me want to go back and watch the end of SUNSHINE again.