COSMOLOGY

Ptolemy thought that the stars were mounted on glass spheres that rotated around the Earth, assumed to be the center of our Universe. Here’s a medieval artist’s rendering of that cosmology. He didn’t have the Hubble telescope.

Ptolemy thought that the stars were mounted on glass spheres that rotated around the Earth, assumed to be the center of our Universe. Here’s a medieval artist’s rendering of that cosmology. He didn’t have the Hubble telescope.

It is not a myth that Newton thought of his Universal Law of Gravitation while relaxing under a tree, daydreaming…  as in this image of him. Recent research that looks inside your brain shows that this state of mind often produces creative results by allowing random connections between seemingly unconnected ideas. Coincidentally, Einstein may have thought of equivalence between acceleration and gravity when he saw a man fall off the roof of a building while Einstein was daydreaming! Daydreaming may be a form of a kind of “dark energy in the brain”.

Why is the night sky not bright? In the 18th century, Heinrich Olbers, an 18th century astronomer and physician, thought that in an infinite Universe containing an infinite number of stars, every sightline from your eye should end on a star.  That would mean the night sky should be bright! (Imagine being in a dense forest, where in every direction yoou’d see only trees.) What’s wrong with this cosmological theory?  The answer: The Universe is not infinite, and has only a hundred billion galaxies, each with about a hundred billon stars. (Someone said that the sky was made dark so we could see the stars!)

This nearby illustration is an artist’s conception of our current cosmology, incorporating Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence, and matter being created by the energy that stretches empty space. Hawking said that asking what happened before the Big Bang is like asking “What is South of the South Pole.

Stars evolve in the Big Bang Universe into neutron stars, black holes, and supernovae—cataclysmic explosions that eject highly energetic nuclear particle and elements that permeate the Universe, called Cosmic Rays, my specialty. Some find their way to Earth, creating cosmic ray showers in our atmosphere that spread out over miles by the time they strike your body. *Check out my cosmic-ray research on anti-protons. 

COSMOLOGY

Ptolemy thought that the stars were mounted on glass spheres that rotated around the Earth, assumed to be the center of our Universe. Here’s a medieval artist’s rendering of that cosmology. He didn’t have the Hubble telescope.

It is not a myth that Newton thought of his Universal Law of Gravitation while relaxing under a tree, daydreaming…  as in this image of him. Recent research that looks inside your brain shows that this state of mind often produces creative results by allowing random connections between seemingly unconnected ideas. Coincidentally, Einstein may have thought of equivalence between acceleration and gravity when he saw a man fall off the roof of a building while Einstein was daydreaming! Daydreaming may be a form of a kind of “dark energy in the brain”.

Why is the night sky not bright? In the 18th century, Heinrich Olbers, an 18th century astronomer and physician, thought that in an infinite Universe containing an infinite number of stars, every sightline from your eye should end on a star.  That would mean the night sky should be bright! (Imagine being in a dense forest, where in every direction yoou’d see only trees.) What’s wrong with this cosmological theory?  The answer: The Universe is not infinite, and has only a hundred billion galaxies, each with about a hundred billon stars. (Someone said that the sky was made dark so we could see the stars!)

This nearby illustration is an artist’s conception of our current cosmology, incorporating Einstein’s mass-energy equivalence, and matter being created by the energy that stretches empty space. Hawking said that asking what happened before the Big Bang is like asking “What is South of the South Pole.

Stars evolve in the Big Bang Universe into neutron stars, black holes, and supernovae—cataclysmic explosions that eject highly energetic nuclear particle and elements that permeate the Universe, called Cosmic Rays, my specialty. Some find their way to Earth, creating cosmic ray showers in our atmosphere that spread out over miles by the time they strike your body. *Check out my cosmic-ray research on anti-protons.