My academic career, well, how can I best word this?
I mean GONZO, complete and total.
It started bad and just got badder. At one point in Highschool I got all F’s.
All of them.
I got an F in drama. DRAMA FOR GODS SAKE!
And that wasnt even the time I failed Algebra because I was incarcerated.
I just was never much into the book learnin…..psh, don’t need me no edumacashions.
So, it always boggles my mind that now, years later, I really enjoy reading books about mathematical theory amongst other less ridiculous topics.
I picked up Three Roads to Quantum Gravity a Year or so ago and have read it 3 or 4 times.
Each time I read it, I “get it” a little bit more untill I ultimately realize that I don’t get it at all.
I think that might be the essence of Quantum theory: “If you are actually open-minded and smart enough to catch on and understand than shortly there after you will catch on to the fact that you understand about jack squat.”
Divide an inch in two. Now divide each half again, and then repeat the division, over and over. Can you go on for ever, or do the laws of physics eventually get in the way? Is the fabric of space infinitely divisible, or is it ultimately made up of “atoms” – tiny chunks of space that can never be split?
Smolin has been one of the leading figures in recent efforts to bring together two of the most far-reaching scientific theories of our age. Albert Einstein’s crowning achievement was his general theory of relativity. This teaches that gravity is no mere force but reflects, in a deeper sense, the very geometry of space. It is, in fact, more a theory of geometry than of gravity, as well as being in all respects truly fundamental.
But physicists have another fundamental theory, too – quantum theory, which captures the laws of the microscopic world of atoms and electrons. This theory insists that energy always moves around in tiny packages, no matter what its form. In the case of light, the packages are particles called photons. Quantum theory says that something similar should also be true of gravity: just as there is a quantum theory of light, so there should be a quantum theory of gravity.
As he sees it, there are three principal strands of thinking on the problem – his “three roads”. One issues from a branch of physics known as string theory, which views all particles as tiny vibrating strings and which has been in the news for more than a decade as a potential “theory of everything”. Another is so-called “loop quantum gravity”, a theory that tries to build up the fabric of space out of tiny geometrical loops. Smolin has himself made many significant contributions in this field. Finally, the third road originates, oddly enough, in the study of black holes.
Thats right folks black holes.
It is mind-boggling shit and Lee Smolin does a pretty good job of holding your hand and walking you into a world that has actually caused very intelligent people to go insane.
Despite all the theories “of everything” and the concepts and the insight….the one quote from the book for me that resonates beyond all else has little to do with the fabric of time and space but more to do with life and making it happen:
It is possible to make headway on a seemingly impossible problem if one simply ignores the sceptics and gets on with it.
Einstein himself could not have said it better.