Summary of the Universe in a Nutshell

Topics: General relativity, Time, Universe Pages: 6 (1826 words) Published: October 20, 2008
Chapter 1:

Brief Description: This chapter chronicles the works of Albert Einstein, predominantly his dual theories of Special Relativity and General Relativity. Special Relativity involves time, which was established as subjective and relative to the object in question. He also worked to establish the consistency of the speed of light as a daunting measure which cannot be surpassed (E=MC2). His General Theory of Relativity pushed forth the idea that space and time were not independent, but rather connected in some fabric which is curved

Link to the Course: The equation E=MC2 is looked at within the final unit of study for our physics course. In addition, this chapter looks heavily at the contradiction between the works of Einstein and Newton. Newton, and the laws which he advocated, are virtually the main fixture of our course. His perspective of a flat universe with a timeline that spanned infinitely forward and backward had become outdated.

Questions and Concerns: I had trouble getting over the seemingly hard headedness of Einstein in the matter of Quantum Theory (unpredictability) and an expanding universe.

Red Dwarf Link: In episode 102: Future Echoes the crew see images of the near and distant future as the ship accelerates past the speed of light.

Chapter 2:

Brief Description: This chapter introduces us to the bulk of ideas which will be discussed with more depth throughout the rest of the novel. Amongst them are supersymmetry, Quantum Theory, Superstrings, P-Branes and the fate of the universe. These are all quintessential in explaining the elusive nature of time, which seemingly has both direction and shape. M-Theory (a united theory splicing many contemporary explanations together) is introduced. The singularity is the primary focus which calls upon all these ideals.

Link to the Course: Black holes are discussed briefly in this chapter by a nice equation is given which includes Planck’s Constant. It can be used to calculate the entropy within a black hole. S=Akc³/4hG (S is Entropy, A is area of the event horizon of the black hole, h is Planck’s constant, G is Newton’s gravitational constant, c is the speed of light, k is Boltzmann’s constant). Time is a variable which is used in many equations in our course (mainly Kinematics). Einstein’s solution involving the photoelectric effect was also discussed.

Questions and Concerns: Feynman’s principle of multiple histories was difficult to fathom. In addition it was hard dealing with jumps from superstring to supersymetry in an attempt to explain many of the same scenarios. This was by far the most difficult chapter to comprehend. I will most likely attempt to read it and absorb more once again in the future.

Red Dwarf Link: Holography is discussed toward the end of the chapter. One of the main characters within Red Dwarf is Arnold Judas Rimmer, a hologromatic representation of a shipmate who once lived and worked within Red Dwarf.

Chapter 3:

Brief Summary: This chapter lives up to its title. It examines virtually the entire history of the universe, from singularity to possibilities for several endings. The Anthropic Principal is a main focus of the chapter and explains why we perceive the universe the way we do. Every significant variable has been accounted for as we begin to perceive why life emerged in this specific history and why it cannot in many others.

Link to the Course: Another equation was produced in this chapter, this time by Edwin Hubble. Hubble’s law discusses the connection between an entities distance from earth and the rate at which it is expanding away from us. V=HR (V is velocity, H is Hubble’s constant for the rate of expansion in the universe and R is distance from earth). The two variables of radius and velocity were worked around heavily in Kinematics.

Questions and Concerns: This chapter was actually quite a bit of fun to read about. The Anthropic Principal was probably my favourite idea presented within...

Links: to the course: Planck’s length was a heavy topic within the chapter. Planck…sounds familiar. Although we did not investigate these specific ideas, his other works were highlighted within the final unit of the course.
Questions and Concerns: There is only one I virtually have about this unit. What are the thoughts on branes and their potential in explaining phenomena in contemporary physics?
Red Dwarf Link: The idea that our universe is one of many in a multiverse is investigated in episode 206: Parallel Universe. Rest assured, the resultant plot was quite hilarious
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