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If the universe is infinite why can't i see stars everywhere I look?


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He has become something of a hero for me.

I first read about him in a book of essays from the great physicists of the last century regarding their position on String Theory.

After finding more of his writings it soon transpires that he was better known for his anecdotes than his academic work. Although many of his anecdotes were of educational if not scientific value.

He was probably one of the best known of scientists and a bit of a strange individual, but that shouldn't take from his achievements. He was a Noble Prize winner, founder father of quantum electrodynamics and a key contributor to the Shuttle disaster committee. he makes no bones about how he appears to others in his writings. I think that the death of his first wife had a major impact on his psyche, which affected his attitudes for the rest of his life.

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My head hurts trying to follow these intelligent thoughts. Time for a photo......

This minute physics video does a good job of explaining:

One famous quotation goes, 'All biology is chemistry, all chemistry is physics and all physics is mathematics.' Not for a moment do I say that I agree with this but it does merit a moment's thought. 

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He was probably one of the best known of scientists and a bit of a strange individual, but that shouldn't take from his achievements. He was a Noble Prize winner, founder father of quantum electrodynamics and a key contributor to the Shuttle disaster committee. he makes no bones about how he appears to others in his writings. I think that the death of his first wife had a major impact on his psyche, which affected his attitudes for the rest of his life.

Absolutely. And he was a great educator. His academic work was lost on me but I learned a few new ways of thinking about things.

His most famous line: " I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something"

That was from his anecdote about his father telling him the names of birds.

I find that too many people I know just know the name of something.

Edited by Paul M
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Crikey, he had some strange opinions alright :shocked: ... caution should be exercised when judging physicists on their media profile. 

That makes me strange too, because I share most of his opinions! 'Not being afraid of not knowing' informs every aspect of my relationship with life but that's maybe even more important for me since I know so much less than Feynman did...  :grin:

Olly

(Not the hygeine ones though, just to be clear. :eek: )  

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Newton is my hero...

What is rather sad about Newton, though, is that there is so little to like about the man himself. It seems a waste of genius not to become someone morally inspiring. We can feel personally inspired by Faraday, Maxwell, EInstein, Bohr, Feynman and Murray Gell-Mann (even if he didn't distinguisgh between egotism and humour in Feynman, perhaps?  :grin: )

Olly

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When some of you guys say some of these people (scientists) appear to be quite strange, are you saying that because they appear to think in a slightly different way to how you yourselves think ?

If so, then I think that's a real shame, because without that diversity we are surely doomed. We really must not reach a point where we feel we should all think and act all quite similarly, because if we do then our chances of finding new and interesting and amazing discoveries are going to fall quite dramatically I'm sure.

Don't be afraid of difference, embrace it, encourage it even. It's really our only hope.

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I am diffrent everyone is.. I find it unbelivable that I got my intrest in astronomy and other sciences just by watching documentaryes in english when I was 6 and later by reading books.I am happy that I'm diffrent astronomy changed my life and if it didn't I would be still too dense to appreciate science. If i wasn't diffrent my life would be a misery without science my life would be nothing (except for friends,girls etc.)

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Fair enough Cath, but as Gell-Mann says, just because somebody is different doesn't mean they are correct.

It may be somewhat trivial but refusing to wash your teeth is not only weird it's pretty unscientific.

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I'm usually described as eccentric by people who know me. I take it as a complement!

Some people who don't understand me have called me "strange". That, to me, implies a difficulty in engagement. Which is a shame as I'm easy to get on with and would rather get on with people than not.

Eccentric = good

Strange = not so good.

I think.

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Fair enough Cath, but as Gell-Mann says, just because somebody is different doesn't mean they are correct.

It may be somewhat trivial but refusing to wash your teeth is not only weird it's pretty unscientific.

Probably true. It did say that Feynman was repeatedly given scientific papers to read on the subject. But Feynman wasn't just a scientist, he had another life as a performer. Scandalizing people, amusing them, stimulating them, was part of his being. So was being the best teacher of science, quite possibly, in the whole of human history. He's a delight, to me at least. If I could have a night out with anyone from the history of science he'd be my second choice. (Come on, even Feynman couldn't promise a night of revelry to compete with Tycho Brahe.  Heh heh. Hang onto your nose!)

Olly

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Must say this thread has had some interesting twists and turns.

If I think about the question as a astronomer and not as a cosmologist (which is where this thread has gone.) 

This easy answer to why you don't see stars or galaxies all over the sky, is because your eyes are not sensitive enough and you focal length of your eyes is really short.

I.e. if you look at the Hubble deep space exposures, they show that at our native focal length of our eyes, if they had enough aperture and sensitivity.

We would see a sky completely flooded from end to end with galaxies, nebula and stars.  :)

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I have read that the shape of the universe may be curved, so if it is ,you can't see over the horizon.

We'll you can see over the horizon, refraction causes light to curve over the horizon.

Light would follow the curve of the universe as although it generally travels in straight lines it is also contained within the universe and effected by changes in it.

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One famous quotation goes, 'All biology is chemistry, all chemistry is physics and all physics is mathematics.' Not for a moment do I say that I agree with this but it does merit a moment's thought.  :grin:

Though to quote Feynman, 'Physics is to math .......'     (google search required for the uninitiated!). :eek:

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I have read that the shape of the universe may be curved, so if it is ,you can't see over the horizon.

Light simply travels along the shape of space-time, if it is curved then so what, it travels along that curve and impacts your eye.

The earth is not straight/flat and if you fly you do not fly a straight line from London to New York.

Look at a flight path, London is North in Latitude of NY but the flights head North from Heathrow not West.

In actual fact travelling in a curve is "normal".

Consider a car on a road.

Car = photon,

Road = Space-Time.

Road goes up/down and curves left/right.

So does (most) cars. Unfortunately several people manage to not follow the roads around here.

You follow the road, light follows space-time.

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Yes light travels in straight lines if you define straight lines as the geodesics, the shortest distances between a and b. In curved spacetime this is not a straight line in the normal sense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geodesics_in_general_relativity

Olly

The more I think about this, the more it makes sense. If the universe is not only everything but everywhere, you can only look somewhere, and a curved universe is the only somewhere. Although, I do tend to look off into space sometimes, but that's another srory.

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Apparently the universe is not inifinite. If it was then particle mass would be zero, which of cause it's not because here we are alive.

THAT is a video. We can see perfectly well see why the mass channels love having Brian Cox saying, 'That's why I loove physics,' (and I don't doubt that he does, nor do I doubt that he couldn't have participated in a video like this, and his accent is more or less my accent) but a minority video like this, with an incredibly bright and honest guy, IS FIZZING MARVELLOUS!!!!

Here we see the truth. It's difficut. Do we know? Of course we don't know!!! Do we pretend to know? Of course we don't!!!!  Do we like a hard question? No, we love a hard question. (Look at those smiles.)  Can we respond in layman's terms to a difficult technical question? Well hell, we can try - and if we can't it's probably because we don't know what we are talking about!

The feckless ineptitude of the presentation of science by people with arts backgrounds (like mine, let me stress) drives me to distraction. They can be great at beating up conniving politicians, and good luck to them, but when they get onto science they are a dribbling dead loss. 'Well is the universe going to end on Tuesday or isn't it?'  For Gawd's sake, do us a favour.

Cath, you are the queen of the great links. Keep 'em coming.

Olly

Edited by ollypenrice
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I love listening to Feynman it all sounds so simple he has a natural ability to break somethign down into nice and digestable bites size chunks, seems he got that from his dad to from the interviews I have watched, a natural ability to teach and work stuff out.

Not to bad on the bongos too by all acounts !

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