Why physics? Why math? Why astronomy? Why earth science?
wish for fun??? It doesn't
get much better than this! I think science
math are the coolest things ever... and as a good novel is an
instance of language, astronomy and geoscience are instances of physics
mathematics. In fact really
good novels shape and affect language and here the simile holds as
well; we can't discuss starlight in any depth without nuclear physics
and the temperature of a glacier isn't just 'cold', it's an idea
defined using the mathematics of probability.
Science as a system of thinking is quite successful. It opens an
endless landscape of connected results and ideas to explore.
Of course 'fun exploration' can require some effort but this
is a price to pay I can live with.
Who is this web site built for?
First answer: Curious persons who agree that science and math do not
have to be taken on
in Verba"... don't take anybody's word for it, that's the
motto adopted by a famous science club back when all this began in
around 1660. New ideas should be backed by
evidence and context whenever possible so Nullius in Verba is the operative
motto here too. And I confess I have a lot of questions to ask. How do
know the earth goes about the sun and not vice versa? Why should we
accept atoms as real? Electrons exist you say? And they all have
precisely the same charge? And an intrinsic magnetic moment? And these
electrons can be knocked loose from a piece
of zinc by a particle of blue light? But green light doesn't work? And
this blue light
laws of probability, electricity, magnetism, special relativity,
statistical physics and gravity? This sounds like a tangled mess.
These pages are written for persons
looking for amazing and beautiful things
hidden inside the tangled mess.
How is this web site organized?
The 'main sequence' is a follow-my-nose sequential
pathway of web pages, each concerning an experiment or set of ideas.
Each page leads to the next according to some combination of haphazard
logic and arbitrary whim. There are also developing side-branches
and digressions off the main sequence of pages.
In my view the most important things built into these
pages are book titles, as there is no substitute for books and
for direct conversation with other people. Web resouces such as
this one or
are intrinsically shallow; they can provide some scaffolding and
entertainment but no substitute for the depth of comprehension to
be found in books. The aim here is to start from such scaffolding
and try to produce a coherent narrative. The other aim is to give
myself the freedom to say, as much as possible, "I don't believe
X until I see it for myself."
Where to begin?
Oh let's just pick an outrageous claim from
physics and dive in. How about this one: "Many small--in
fact invisible--objects called subatomic particles (or perhaps 'cosmic
rays') are soaring about the universe, so numerous that
of them shoot right through us every second."
The author can be contacted: rob at robfatland dot net.