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IM Egdall

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About IM Egdall

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  • Location
    Hollywood, FL
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  • Favorite Area of Science
    modern physics
  • Biography
    Author of Einstein Relatively Simple: Our Universe Explained in Everyday Language.
  • Occupation
    I teach modern physics courses for the non-expert at several lifelong learning institutes in South Florida.

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  1. More data at CERN seems to hint at a new, very heavy fundamental particle beyond the standard model of quantum mechanics. Its mass is 750 GeV/c^2. For comparison, the top quark -- the most massive fundamental particle in the standard model -- has a mass of 173 GeV/c^2. See link: http://blog.physicsworld.com/2016/03/18/new-boson-buzz-intensifies-at-cern-fire-prevention-in-space-and-neil-turok-on-a-bright-future-for-physics/ I read somewhere that some physicists are proposing that dark matter is made of not yet detected heavy neutrinos. Could this be it? (I didn't see any electric
  2. Article suggests the LIGO black hole pair may have been produced by a single collapsing star. It says "if the star were spinning very rapidly, its core might stretch into a dumbbell shape and fragment into two clumps, each forming its own black hole." So cool! Link: http://phys.org/news/2016-02-ligo-twin-black-holes-born.html
  3. "Space is different for different observers. Time is different for different observers. Spacetime is the same for everyone." - E. F. Taylor and J. A. Wheeler To answer SimplyCurious, I also wondered what connects time and space into spacetime. Then I learned about the "spacetime interval." Its a little involved, but I know of no better way to understand the connection. 1) Imagine you are seated in a classroom with other students. One stude
  4. As a start, you could try my book, Einstein Relatively Simple. It presents a concept-based explanation of special and general relativity for the non-expert.
  5. Scientific American blog says Earth is still getting hotter but not at the same rate. Per the article, the slowdown is caused by "the timing of two large ocean cycles, known as the Pacific multidecadal oscillation and the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation." This slowdown is predicted to end in the next few decades. If true, this is good and bad news. Good news because it gives us more time to put carbon-free energy sources in place before the worst of global warming hits us. Bad news because it could be an excuse to slow carbon reduction actions and give deniers more fuel (no pun intended
  6. Kelnad - Link to a nice animated explanation for black holes from NASA (also has virtual trip to black hole): http://hubblesite.org/explore_astronomy/black_holes/
  7. I agree -- the "other universe" idea is speculation, no matter which idea you are talking about. But I don't agree that it is of no importance. For one thing, maybe in the future a scientist will detect evidence for another universe. And the idea of many universes may have profound implications on the origin of our universe and why our universe is so remarkably fine-tuned for life as we know it. Its pure speculation at this point, but fun to think about. And a number of physicists are working hard to develop theories and possible tests for the idea of multiple universes.
  8. According to astrology, I'm supposed to be a Gemini because of when I was born. This is supposed to mean that the Sun was in Gemini on my birth date. I guess this means that the constellation Gemini was behind the Sun on that date (at noon?). Anyway, this is wrong. Astrology charts are based on how the heavens were some 2000 years ago. Positions of stars and constellations have moved relative to Earth since the charts were generated. We are now in the Age of Aquarius. I would have been a Gemini had I been born 2000 years ago, but I'm not a Gemini now. Similarly, your so-called birth sign
  9. It's been suggested that the laws of physics emerged as our universe cooled from the big bang. John Archibald Wheeler wrote: "The laws of physics did not exist a priori, but merged from the chaos of the quantum big bang.'" I read that string theory has some 10^500 solutions, each giving rise to different physical features. Some physicists suggest each string theory solution represents a different universe in a multiverse of universes. So there would be all these universes; each with different laws of physics. And ours just happens to have the physical features which allow stars, galaxi
  10. The BICEP2/Planck joint analysis is out. Evidence for "B-mode" polarized light in the Cosmic Microwave Background NOT confirmed. Too much interstellar dust in our galaxy - which can produce the same effect. Too bad. I don't know if there is a way around this dust problem with future instruments. (As I understand it, inflation -- the extreme expansion of the very early universe -- is theorized to produced gravitational waves. These in turn would produce a swirling B-mode polarization in the Cosmic Microwave Background. This is what the BICEP2 telescope in the South Pole was looking for.)
  11. As of today, there is no compelling evidence for string theory (or M theory) or any quantum gravity theory. They are all speculation.
  12. Came across an article on yet another interpretation of quantum mechanics. It proposes that our universe is "Newtonian" but interactions with other universes causes the quantum effects we observe. I don't think this theory gives any new predictions that can be tested. Link: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/parallel-universes-colliding-could-explain-quantum-weirdness?utm_source=mbfb
  13. Thanks, Nicholas, for getting my book, Einstein Relatively Simple . I'm glad you found it understandable. As to Hawking's perspective, I advise caution. It is based on string theory which is speculation at this point. It has no compelling evidence to support it and is notoriously difficult to test. It may or may not have anything to do with reality.
  14. In a recent blog (Here's that cat again), Swansont gave a link to a visualization of the double slit experiment. He pointed out that "the depiction of electrons in classical trajectories detracts from" the depiction. I agree. The best depiction I have seen is in the link below (Quantum Wave Interference): http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/quantum-wave-interference It shows the electron (or photon or atom, etc.) as a wave (wave function) passing through both slits, producing two waves which interfere with each other, and then the detection of a single particle on the detector s
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