Posts Tagged ‘physics’

Higgs Day 2017

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017 | Science

Happy Higgs Day! It is hard to believe that it has been real for five years now. How has your life immeasurably changed by the discovery of the Higgs boson?

Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Friday, June 5th, 2015 | Books

What a novel! Written in 1884, Flatland explores the idea of a 2D and 1D universe and the maths surrounding that, in an engaging and humorous way. It follows the life of the protagonist, a square, as he describes his world and visits others.

How does a 2D world look for example? You can only see in one dimension so how do you tell the difference between different shapes when everything looks like a line? What challenges does that present for society? For building design? For interacting with other people?

The same issues occur when the square visits lineland, a one dimensional universe. As well as the difficulties of trying to explain another dimension to those who live in said worlds. Upwards, not northwards!

Flatland

A Universe From Nothing

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 | Books

Why is there something rather than nothing? Why does the universe exist? That is the question that Lawrence Krauss aims to tackle in his book “A Universe From Nothing”. I first heard him speak at QED and very much enjoyed his book The Physics of Star Trek. This one promised to be almost as good.

I found it sufficiently accessible. Some of it was a bit too clever for me. Sentences such as “when you think about it, x doesn’t make any sense…” I could have thought about some of those problems for a long time and not seen the flaw. However, for the most part it is entirely readable and Krauss is a solid communicator of his ideas.

Given how fast physics is moving, some of the content in this book could soon be out of date. However, for now it is a clear and concise overview of where we are with our understanding of the origin of the universe. There are some fascinating insights. For example, we live at a time when the Big Bang is detectable and we can see we are part of a huge universe. In two trillion years, that will not be the case. All signs of it will have disappeared. Ours is the golden age of cosmology, because the universe is only 13.8 billion years old.

I did not feel it needed some much commentary on religion. There was no religion-bashing, but there was a lot of “which is why the universe must clearly be billions of years old and so scripture must be wrong”. Perhaps this is required this is more relevant for other audiences, but from my perspective it felt like everyone who was going to read the book would know that already.

Overall I found the book accessible and enjoyable, as well as re-igniting that feeling of excitement about physics.

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The Physics of Star Trek

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 | Books

I saw Lawrence Krauss speaking at QED last year and decided he was definitely worth reading. When I looked up his books, I found he has one entitled “The Physics of Star Trek”. Win.

It is pretty much what you expect. He looks at various aspects of the technology featured in Star Trek and talks about how possible they would be in the real world. It turns out that Gene Roddenberry put quite a lot of thought into this, especially as Trekkers kept asking difficult questions.

It was written in 1995 and is now starting to show its age. It was, for example, written well before we successfully build a cloaking device. Krauss writes in an engaging style that is on my wavelength.

Maybe there will one day be a sequel. As the author himself suggests, he could do The Physics of Star Trek 2: Wrath of Krauss.

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Higgs Day 2014

Friday, July 4th, 2014 | Life, Science

Peter-Higgs

Happy Higgs Day!

Is there life out there?

Friday, March 21st, 2014 | Humanism

Dr John Baruch spoke at Leeds Skeptics a few years ago and I found the talk both enjoyable and fascinating. Therefore I asked him to give a similar talk at West Yorkshire Humanists and earlier this month he obliged. The evening saw double the turnout we had in February.

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Making use of uncertainty

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 | Humanism

Dr Jacob Dunningham recently spoke at Atheist Society on the topic of “Making use of uncertainty: how quantum physics is revolutionising our lives”. It was an interesting talk and it was great to see A-Soc doing such good numbers.

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Worfolk Lecture 2011: From Rutherford to the LHC

Friday, October 28th, 2011 | Events, Foundation

Last month, we announced the Worfolk Lecture 2011, as the second annual event since we established an annual public understanding of science lecture last year.

This year’s talk was delivered by Dr David Jenkins and was entitled “From Rutherford to the LHC”, looking at the last one hundred years of atomic research.

Worfolk Lecture 2011 announced

Monday, October 3rd, 2011 | Foundation, News

We’re pleased to announce the 2011 Worfolk Lecture.

Last year we announced the creation of a fund to support an annual public understanding of science lecture. The first of which took place in November with Dr Terrence Kee presenting a talk on “did life on Earth originate on Earth?” If you missed it, you can watch again in high definition on the Worfolk Lectures website.

This year’s talk will be presented by Professor David Jenkins on “From Rutherford to the Large Hadron Collider.” the event takes place on Tuesday 18 October, starting at 7pm. There will be a £2 on the door charge and all revenue will go to the host society – this year’s event will be hosted by Leeds Atheist Society and more information can be found on their website.

You can register online for the event here.