The Spiritual Physicist

I never use the word 'spiritual' ... but I just listened to something I really liked, and I think it sums up why learning about the universe - from the largest to the smallest things, can be so wonderful and make us feel fulfilled in every sense.

I love to walk down a street, and imagine that because I'm walking I'm kind of shattering  the time around me. I'm causing time to elapse at a different rate than it would if I were standing still. I love that idea. ....  When I look at the table top I delight in the fact that I can, in my mind, picture the atoms and molecules, and the interactions between them and the mostly empty space that's in there, and that when my hand touches the table top I see the electrons in the outer surface of my hand pushing against the electrons in the outer surface of the table. I'm not really touching the table. My hand never comes into contact with the table. What's happening is the electrons are getting really close together and they're repelling each other. And I love the fact that I'm in essence deforming the surface of the table by making my electrons come really close to it. That enriches my experience. 

Brian Greene, a physicist from Columbia University was talking about time in respect to the theory of relativity, and how the speed of time depends on our position and how fast we are going.  The thing is, he just gets really excited... like a kid... his voice gets faster and faster, and his cheeks get full of spit, like he can't get the words out fast enough. It's really delightful and passionate and full of a sense of wonder that you kinda hope every scientist still has.  If you can feel things like this just by walking around and touching inanimate objects, who needs invisible magic men in the sky!

Note:  To hear him, you need to go about 25 minutes or so into this show, but the whole programme is *definitely* worth a listen.



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