Friday, November 7, 2014

The Elegant Universe

Dr. Brian Greene was at Purdue yesterday. He is an unusual lecturer of physics. I understood all of his talk, despite it being mainly about string theory and what came before that. If someone can talk with that ease for an hour, without slides propping him/her up, and sound a bit like Hank from Californication, I'll dedicate a blog post to them. He talked about the fabric of the universe as some great minds understand it. His lecture made me miss my battered high school copy of Resnick and Halliday. And how small! how utterly completely wondrous! is our existence, in the here and now (both of which are concepts that make the mind spin, yet again). Also felt a wee bit of this.


Somewhere in the first quarter of his talk, Dr.Greene explained the mechanism of gravity by asking us to imagine a flat rubber mat. A marble sliding on it would roll smoothly. Now if we were to place a big rock on the mat, the marble would no longer travel in a linear fashion, but would curve around the rock. And now imagine space is that rubber mat. A body like the sun would bend it and the Earth would then be forced to orbit this body that has bent everything around it. He had an animation to go with this. To the plebeian mind, it looked like those Maut ka Kua stunt rides, only on a planetary scale. Ah, cheap melas of Bombay, I miss you and your defiance of physics.


Relationships are also somewhat like that,no? One heavy ball of expectations denting that fabric, so that both of us are forced to orbit endlessly around it. Pulled by the inexorable forces of love, what's next, too many work commitments, disliking each other's TV shows and would it kill to include a fucking smiley, eh? All that gravity, whattodo? How to be less of selfish pig?

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