Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Big Bang by Simon Singh

Big Bang by Simon Singh **

The first couple of chapters of this book offer an excellent history of science’s progression from Greek inquisitiveness to the incredible mind of Einstein. I highly recommend anyone not familiar with cosmology to read these first few chapters to gain an appreciation of your intelligent ancestors and their legacy.

“Commonsense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age 18.” Albert Einstein P 24

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing… It is enough if one tries to comprehend only a little of this mystery every day.” Albert Einstein p 99

Einstein wondered what would happen if could travel at the speed of light while holding out a mirror in front of him… Light (at the time) was (thought) supposedly carried by ether, so this implied that light traveled at 300,000 km/s relative to the ether. In his experiment his face and his mirror were also traveling through the ether at this same speed. Therefore light would try to leave his face, but it would never actually leave his face let alone reach the mirror because everything is moving at the same constant speed… [This] defied Galileo’s principle that someone traveling at constant velocity should not be able to ascertain whether they are moving… Einstein’s experiment implied that you would know when you are traveling at light speed because your reflection would vanish… According to Einstein, light travels a constant velocity relative to the observer… This seems absurd because it runs counter to our everyday experience… [It] is [absurd because] our familiar notion of time is fundamentally wrong… Time is flexible [not constant relative to observers. Light however is constant relative to observers.]. pp 100-108. Do you get it now? This is Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity in a nutshell.

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