Lee Smolin: The Man Who Could Change Your Mind About Everything
From Newton to Einstein to quantum physicists today, Smolin writes, "I believe--as strongly as one can believe anything in science--that they're wrong."
Time is for real, argues the theoretical physicist Lee Smolin in his new book Time Reborn. That means we need to revisit the laws that govern gravity, quantum mechanics, even space itself. "Everything we now think is fundamental will also eventually be understood as approximate and emergent," writes Smolin, who argues for a radical new approach to cosmology.
If time is not an illusion, as physicists have long believed, Smolin could change the way we think about everything. From Newton to Einstein to quantum physicists today, Smolin writes, "I believe--as strongly as one can believe anything in science--that they're wrong."
Smolin's ideas are gaining traction. "Time Reborn places reality above theory in stronger and clearer terms than ever before, and the result is a path to better theory and potentially to a better society as well," says the computer scientist Jaron Lanier. That is why the book "will no doubt be remembered as one of the essential books of the 21st century."
Smolin will be appearing in Big Think's studio for an interview. Now is your chance to submit your questions, in the comments below.
Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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