Tuesday, September 6, 2016

astro picture for the day

Image Credit: ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope

- There's ideas that are about defining things clearly and openly - like mathematics.  Then, there's ideas that try to evade thinking. If you confront someone about something, if you try to show logic and facts that reveal things, most people(in my experience) use all kinds of evasive language. I've posted before about a remarkable historical piece of evidence for this in Bishop of Constantinople Gregorius of Nyssa noticed this type of thinking and complained,

"People swarm everywhere, talking of incomprehensible matters, in hovels, streets and square, marketplaces, and crossroads. When I ask how many oboloi I have to pay, they answer with hairsplitting arguments about the born and the unborn. If I inquire the price of bread, I am told that the father is greater than the son. I call a servant to tell me whether my bath is ready; he rejoins that the son was created out of nothing."

And I've pointed out some evidences using the movie "The Da Vinci Code."  I could point out some personal examples(from my family), but I've recently found some more interesting historical evidences for this . . .

- One is in Copernicus's "On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres" book.  It's noted many times that a person, not so close to Copernicus, put in a preface to his work(Copernicus saw his book on his deathbed) that the ideas of the sun centered solar system(they thought it was the universe at the time) is "just" a mathematical fiction.

People who play these 'acting up' games often use this dismissive "just" language.  Oh, it's just this or that; don't mind it.

- More historical evidences - John Milton in his "Paradise Lost", book VIII,

"Sollicit not thy thoughts with matters hid,
Leave them to God above, him serve and feare;
Of other creatures, as him pleases best,
Whatever plac't, let him dispose: joy thou
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
And thy fair Eve: Heav'n is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowlie wise:
Think onely what concernes thee and they being;
Dream not of other Worlds."

I put the last statement in bold.  Not that there's plenty of Nazi "only think what I tell you to think" before that last statement; but, it is the most clear statement

Milton visited Galileo, when under house arrest - to experience, to see, and to gloat over him.

- As stated, I've posted about this before in my "Sophie and Silas" and later the "Agnostic and Irreligious" post.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

astro picture for the day/ Carl Sagan's first documentary? - The Violent Universe

This is the best science documentary finding since the "Physics and Reality" documentary I posted maybe a year ago or so.  This one goes back to 1969.  It may be Carl Sagan's first appearance in television documentaries as well. I'd say it's his best!

This video documentary captures the realization that the predictions of Einstein's General Relativity - Black holes and the Big Bang cosmology - are real.

Major developments after this video were the x-ray telescopes finding Cygnus X-1 in the 1970s - a black hole in orbit around a star . . . 1983's experimental confirmation of electro-weak unification.  It wasn't till the recent Higgs confirmation and then the detection of gravitational waves that something comparatively big to the Wilson/Penzias experimental discovery/confirmation of the cosmic background radiation.  What could be exciting in the near future?  How about the unification of Quantum Mechanics with General Relativity?

Black holes and the Big Bang cosmology confirm Einstein's General Relativity; they also strongly suggest that quantum mechanics and General Relativity must be combined.  Physicists have recently gotten excited about the the quantum entanglement description of spacetime.  Since, as stated, quantum mechanics and General Relativty must be combined, and quantum entanglement has been confirmed(by Alain Aspects 1980s experiement) and is part of quantum mechanics, then seeing how quantum entanglement relates to General Relativity must bare fruit.

Friday, September 2, 2016

astro picture for the day / quote for the day

Image Credit & Copyright: ESA/Herschel/PACS, SPIRE/Hi-GAL Project
Acknowledgment: G. Li Causi, IAPS/INAF

"Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality." - Hermann Minkowski

Albert Einstein at first said, replying to the quote above, actually, "I can't recognize my own theory, after the mathematicians got their hands on it."  And so the legend that Albert Einstein was no mathematician grew.

Was he strictly a mathematician? No, he wasn't; he mostly just used mathematics already created to get his physics created.  It's known that David Hilbert helped him out on his General Relativity.  How much is unknown, as David Hilbert just gave all credit to Albert.  Fact is though, the mathematics and mathematicians had been leading towards Relativty theory for a long time. Bernard Riemann's work on "Riemann surfaces."  These can be thought of at a certain level as splitting a sphere into two sheets based on the positive/negative roots of a square root.  Then, there was Lorentze's and Poincare's work. Their work was in response to the Micheleson-Morley experiment disproving the existence of the Aether.  A substance that was suppose to carry the light waves through the cosmos.

- Some more mathematics, in relation to Jacob Bronowski's ideas. Jacob Bronowski points out that vague concepts are defined and expanded/generalized by creative analogy. In Einstein's General Relativity, Galileo's and Newton's for that matter, notion of inertia is generalized. Galileo's famous observation that different mass bodies fall at the same rate is explained by General Relativity. The inertial mass is equivalent to the gravitational mass.  Well, they weigh each other out. This is actually kind of analogous to Galileo's contraditons/thought experiment . . . that if you attach two bodies together, the logic says on the one hand, that the two bodies will accelerate faster because you have more mass.  On the other hand, the lighter mass will pull back on the heavier mass. Well, Einsten's equivalence shows that while the cannonball has more gravitational mass, it also has more inertia; so, they cancel out in a vacuum.  In a vacuum, the cannonball and the feather fall at the same rate.