First Week of October: Sorting Through Ideas of Infinity


When was the last time that you closed down your garage sale at the end of an afternoon then went inside and sorted through your ideas of infinity?

Imagine having so many ideas about infinity that you actually have to sort them! Dollars to donuts, I’ll bet you never once thought: “gee, infinity might be finite instead of infinte.”

Janna Levin actually does sort through her ideas of infinity, furthermore she doubts the infinite quality of infinity. For the gods sakes her job title is theoretical cosmologist. Now there’s a career option that my high school guidance counselor never mentioned -ever!

Janna is also a writer; a science writer. One of those folks who writes about science stuff in ways that people like me can understand. The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2016 has been awarded to three physicists who proved that gravity is a wave. Apparently Einstein vacillated about this.  Some days he thought gravity was a wave, some days he didn’t.

Fortunately, Janna Levin has written Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space to explain this business of proving gravity as wave.  I started reading it this morning. I am only halfway through chapter one and I am gob smacked.  Right this minute  two black holes verge on collision. Inconceivable amounts of energy will be released; the universe will shake. But there will be no BANG. The sound will be nothing more than the faintest of mere whispers.  All that has something to do with proving the existent of gravity waves.

I am amazed and I don’t understand and I can’t get my mind around it, but by golly it makes a nice change from thinking about the bills, the laundry and what I’m going to make for dinner.

Advertisements