15 February 2015

Of the Beginning...

Well, this is surprising: Mes. Ahmed Farag Ali and Saury Das have mathematically done away with the necessity for the Big Bang
Source: www.fromquarktoquasars.com

My understanding is, of course, inexpert, but wildly interested.  (I do have my own working theory of the universe that I formulated in the Fall of 1999, as I was taking my Intro to Astronomy class at Luther College.  That theory remains as yet, un-disproven!).

The essential problem of modern physics has been that we had a theory called gravity (just wait until Creationists and Climate Change Deniers learn that gravity is a theory!), which works fairly well in most day-to-day situations. 

As we start to think about big things (galaxies and stars in various points in their life cycles and stuff like that), gravity stops being true a lot of the time (one example of this is explained by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity).  Also, when you start to look at very small things (sub-atomic particles like quarks, Higgs-Boson particles, protons, etc.) gravity also stops being true (which we call Quantum Mechanics).  The problem we run into is that gravity turns out to be false in very different ways with regard to the big and small stuff.

One way that we accounted for these big/little discrepancies was to theorize a singularity at the beginning of time - the Big Bang (not to be confuse with the Bing Bag, a magical vessel that emits anything from crooning melodies to doddering background vocals in a David Bowie Christmas carol when you reach into it).  I'm not quite sure as to why we thought the Big Bang was mathematically necessary (would appreciate some guidance in this area, and am trying to read up on it to better understand).

But now, we have a mathematically plausible universe that doesn't start in some spectacular explosion, before which we could have no understanding or make any predictions.  Instead, it may now be the case that the universe has simply always been. 

I'm not entirely sure yet how this new revelation, if in fact true, changes my sense of the everything.  At the very least, it would expand on the fictional Mark Twain's sentiment from the ST:TNG speech, where he bemoans a universe with only human existence on earth, a "waste of space" - if this finding holds true (at least for the time being), it seems our unique human existence would also now be a waste of time as well.

07 February 2015

Double Feature Challenge!

I'd like to issue the first ever Roman Numeral J Double Feature Challenge. 

The concept occurred to me yesterday evening as I was waiting for the bus, checking my long-lost Facebook news feed.  Jeff had posted a link to a movie imagining of moving through our solar system at light speed called "Riding Light" (by way of Huff Po).

I watched the first 10 minutes or so, loving it (though perhaps not the soundtrack), but it reminded me of something. 

Of course (once you've watched a bit of "Riding Light"), I was thinking of Michael Snow's 1967 Wavelength, which would make an excellent companion piece.  I'm not sure of the preferred order, and would accept suggestions and also highly recommend trying a side-by-side comparison.