23 Oct Science, for people who can’t be bothered
I have expressed in previous posts my love of learning, and in particular an enjoyment of science, something which was unfortunately completely absent in my school years. As an adult, and an aging one, my desire to know what makes things things, has developed into an obsession. Probably one of my healthier obsessions, so I’m just gonna go with it.
A particular focuse of mine has been how we got here, how the Universe came into being, how we know or at least think we know what makes things go round, up and down, in and out. Every time I learn something, I find that I could learn more, that sure I might know what makes an object fall, but I don’t know what that object is made of. Then once I know what an object is made of, I don’t know what the things which make that object are made of, ad infinitum. There is a quote I once read which explains perfectly the intricacies and incredible depth of everything that is.
“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
— Sir Isaac Newton
This is how the universe feels to me, like everything I learn leads only to a most basic understanding of what is really going on, yet I still believe it to be the most worthwhile pursuit I have ever engaged in. My mind is not made to easily comprehend the things I learn, which only makes it all the sweeter when I finally grasp a bit of knowledge which explains how something works.
I will never forget, after spending months reading everything I could on Einsteins Theory of General Relativity, reading book upon book about quantum physics, having a moment when it just clicked, when suddenly gravity and light made sense, when the bizarre world of physics and its counter-intuitive nature just worked (bear in mind that by “made sense”, I mean had a very basic understanding of what this stuff is all about, to truly grasp one would need a lot more knowledge than I am willing to work for).
The Universe is a remarkable place, the way things actually work as mysterious as magic, and the way we know these things, mans highest achievement. All the pretty toys we have, all the smart phones, TV’s, cars, light bulbs computers, calculators, cameras, handheld fans. Anything that uses electricity, and a lot of things that don’t, is at our disposal because of this most noble pursuit.
The reason for this post, and for many more which are to come, is in part because I have a terrible memory, and more often than not, learning new things means the subtleties of what I learned before are often lost, so I wanted somewhere to put the things I know, knew and want to know, so that I may have a place to go when I want to re-know them.
It is also to share with people, in a simple way which requires no mathematics, no degree, and very little reading in comparison to where one would usually go about looking for this sort of stuff, their knowledge and mine. If you are anything like me, you just want to know some things about the world we live in, without having to get a degree, or spend years studying.
How old is the universe, how do we know its that old? How did it start and how did it get to where it is now? Why don’t I fall through the floor? What is e=mc2 ? Why is the speed of light the speed of light? How big is space? Why do we age? What is an atom?
The list of questions is inexhaustible, and the answers almost always lead to more questions, but for me there has never been a more rewarding pursuit, there has never been a greater feeling of awe, than in the discovery of how things work.
I hope I have piqued your interest, if you have any questions, if you have ever wanted to know why something is the way it is, let me know and I will use my limited knowledge, a library of books, and my old friend Google to answer it. The basics, when explained the right way, are not as hard to grasp as you might think, I mean hell, I figured it out…mostly.
After this introductory post, I will every now and then delve into the Universe, when and how it started, how it evolved, and where it is heading.
How does all this fit into a blog about travel? Well, it’s science, how does it not?!
Artwork by me (view art page) 🙂