The Godless Particle

Last July I ended a post on the Higgs boson with an admonition: “Just don’t get me started on this ‘God particle’ business.” But did Christie listen? “I’m sharing it with my husband,” she emailed me about the post. “This whole ‘god particle’ thing has been driving him completely crazy.” The term, at least in the […]

No Exceptions! None! Nowhere! Never! (Or not.)

Cassandra, for Richard: How do we know the laws of physics are universal? Why can’t there be a far-off galaxy where our laws of physics don’t apply? (Is that a really stupid question?) Richard, for Cassandra: We don’t. There can. (It’s not.) Such was Cassie’s contribution to LWON’s first anniversary post last May. As part of […]

Bang? Whimper? Whatever.

What is the fate of the universe? Cosmologists are converging on an answer, and it ain’t pretty. Or so I gather from people who, hearing that the latest science favors a universe that goes on forever, growing colder and colder, lonelier and lonelier, ask me, “Don’t you find it depressing?” The short answer is, No. […]

Abstruse Goose: Newton #1

Socrates (according to Plato) is explaining to a follower, Glaucon, an overly-complex but famous metaphor.  Prisoners who have been raised in a cave sit chained facing a wall, which is lit only by the fire behind them.  For the prisoners, says Socrates, reality is “only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another.”   And […]