Saturday, March 30, 2019

Physics with Björn - Cosmology and expanding horizons

Hello sweet amphibians,

Today it’s time for another topic of physics to inspire you:

Cosmology and the creation of our universe.

Let us pick a few points and see what we know, what we guess and perhaps what a scientific
theory actually means (hint… scientific theory is not guesswork, it is combination of facts).

In 1924 the astronomer Edwin Hubble could show that our home galaxy (the Milky Way)
was just one of many similar collection of stars, and in 1929 he could also prove that the
distance between the galaxies was growing. Hubble never received the Nobel prize in physics
because astronomy discoveries were not awarded until later. His discoveries have since
lead to numerous Nobel awards in Physics.

Image result for edwin hubble
Edwin Hubble

The further away the faster it left us. The only theory that would fit the observations was that
the universe expanded. A theory in science always have to be linked (directly or indirectly)
to some type of observations or predictions that later will be shown.

The consequence of Hubble’s finding was that physicists, and to some extent philosophers
began to ponder the consequences. Any notion that the earth or even our solar system is
the central of our world was shattered even more than when Galileo degraded earth to a
piece of rock circulating the sun.

- Is there any outer border or horizon, and is there any void beyond?
- Since light takes time to travel does the galaxies we see still exist?  
- When the did expansion start, and will it ever stop?

The third question lead to theories where you could find a point in time around 13.8 Billion
years ago when the whole universe was basically aggregated in one single point of origin
from which it then expanded and continue to expand which lead to the big bang theory.

The big bang had actually been proposed already in 1927 by Georges Lemaître, a Belgian
Astronomer and Catholic Priest, and Edwin Hubble’s observations fitted perfectly with a
single moment of creation.

Later on the Big Bang Theory has been both verified with other verifiable facts such as the
observation of the background radiation which was discovered by accident by American
radio astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson and awarded by the Nobel Prize in 1978.

For me this prize and the excitement around cosmology was probably one factor influencing
me to  study physics, and more and more research has since been made giving details to the
standard model of cosmology (without my contributions). The theory and new observation
has lead to new questions being asked and answers given both by  observations in the sky
and by looking into the deep matter of elementary particle physics (which is beyond this
short article).

So today I would like you to ponder the cosmos, the theories of origin and horizon. Sometimes
when I read about the vastness of the universe I sense the utter loneliness on our little blue
planet we will never move beyond  We are trapped for just a short moment in time in this
little moment in time and space trying to understand that for all practical matter the universe
is infinite.

The prompt is wide open when it comes to form and length, just remember to visit and read.

On Monday the April Madness of everyday poetry begins.


Kerry O'Connor said...

I've been waiting for this one all day, Bjorn! I cannot resist Big Bang Theory/ creationism themes. Thank you, and looking forward to the Big April marathon starting on Monday. I hope to see many participants joining in the fun.

Kim M. Russell said...

I so enjoy your Physics with Bjorn prompts! They give me something to think about and push me to try something different. This weekend our clocks go forward, which could be why I'm looking back in my poem. David is out cutting the grass for the first time this year and the garden looks very springlike. I hope the deer don't mind! NaPoWriMo here we come!

brudberg said...

I do enjoy writing from this point of view... and this is one prompt that is something I mull over myself quite a bit. As usual my April will be actually spent writing less poetry than usual so I might be a little bit absent until we come to the end the prompt.

Jim said...

This ought to be h9ood. Bjorn. I've done NaPoWri for three years straight. 30 days each. Before sporadic and this year I'll do maybe once or twice a week on handy day. Plus it is hard to keep returning comments, most didn't.
Before I left NASA Flight Control I was to be a Hubble Telescope and Manipulator Arm Controller. On Skylab I was Electrical Power and/or Environmental Control. Before missions I was a Simulation Controller during and before simulations.


Sherry Blue Sky said...

Ha, the other galaxies are probably moving farther from ours because they heard there is a planet going rogue, too dangerous to stay near. A fascinating topic, Bjorn. I will ponder it overnight and hopefully wake with inspiration.

Anmol (HA) said...

Thanks for an invigorating prompt, Bjorn! I was never good at Physics and therefore, I hope I didn't make some glaring errors in my short verse. Ha!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow, this prompt got some really interesting responses. I loved every one of them! Thanks, Bjorn, and fellow Toads.