Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Physics....Yeah, Physics

A week or two ago, I listened to a radio program that featured a physicist who discussed a theory of physics that explained the possibility of time travel.

She was not a strange nut-job bent on wowing the listener. She was simply a physicist who could wrap her head around concepts that seem, to me, to be impossible. Her conversation was simple and dry; nothing jolting about it.

It was interesting to me how she described space as a dimension in which we could freely move and then slipped in the concept that time, too, was simply another dimension. The argument, she said, was that there is no fundamental physical reason that one cannot move around as freely in the dimension of time as one can in the dimension of space. She then went on to describe arguments that suggest there may be many more "dimensions" than those of which we are aware.

After hearing the physicist's comments (I wish I could remember her name; she was fascinating), a comedian spoke about his appreciation of physics and, more importantly, physicists. He described them in a way I found funny, but enlightening, saying something like this:

"I like the way these guys think. You know, they base their entire lives on some theory that covers everything...EVERYTHING...and their life's work is all wrapped up in it. And then someone comes along and discovers that the theory is wrong. So everyone in physics just changes their mind. It's like 'oh, my life's work was based on a mistake, that's OK, I'll just change my mind and base the rest of it on this new information.' The rest of us would run screaming from the room, saying 'my life is ruined!' But these guys just say, "oh, OK, I'll just accept it and move on.' I love it."

I cannot imagine the masses accepting new information so quickly and so easily. Just imagine that all the world's religious leaders met inn conference and were confronted with irrefutable evidence that their religions were based on explainable misconceptions. Instead of simply accepting the fact and moving on with a new mindset, I suspect they would hold on to their beliefs regardless of what facts suggest. But physics isn't invested emotionally in beliefs; it's invested intellectually in demonstrable physical laws.

This morning, because I had nothing more important to do between 5:00 am and 5:15 am, I did a little research on how many dimensions there are, or might be. Here's a link to one of the more intriguing bits of information I found.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

The rest of us would run screaming from the room, saying 'my life is ruined!' But these guys just say, "oh, OK, I'll just accept it and move on.'

I need to meet a physicist or two; they sound so sensible.

Interesting stuff, yo.

YourFireAnt said...

Of course, not all physicists are this flexible, you realize. Of course you do.

Springer Kneeblood said...

YFA...no, I assume all physicists are purely rational and utterly flexible, just as all theologians are utterly irrational and rigidly incapable of succumbing to logic. Of course I do. 8=)