Monday, November 20, 2017

The History Of Physics

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The Story of physics is, for the most part, a tale of ever-increasing confidence. For three hundred years physics was all about observing and measuring finding out how stuff works. In the early sixteen hundreds, an Italian got the ball rolling by measuring and observing balls rolling. Galileo later dropped different size objects of the leaning tower Pisa to see what would happen. Despite upsetting many individuals during this time with his ideas. Galileo's work became the rock on which modern physics is founded. Later in a time free from angry individuals trying to stop his ides Issac Newton moves things on by abandoning balls and embracing apples. Why he wondered did they always fall downwards not sideways or up.

By 1687 he had an answer. It was a force called gravity. Which worked on balls and apples. And planets holding them in nice predictable orbits around the sun.  In the eighteen hundreds, James Clerk Maxwell cast his eye over more mystery. He showed electricity and magnetism are related and can be combined as one force called electromagnetism. And that light has both electric and magnetic parts that travel in waves like water. Physics was now on the roll with new discoveries built on earlier ones and some even had practical uses. Newton's laws predicted the existence of Neptune. Maxwell's work gives us a radio and TV and there's nothing much more useful than that. Physicist seems had mastered the universe. All that was left was to plug a few remaining holes.

Albert Einstein

But by nineteen hundred the holes were getting bigger.The latest discoveries didn't to build on the old ones.Things like x-rays and radioactivity were just plain weird and in a bad way. All was not well in the world of physics.  Top scientists lord Calvin saw dark clouds hanging over the subject. Then in 1905, a Swiss patent clerk started a full on storm. 26-year-old Albert Einstein tore up the script. First, he claimed that light is a  kind of wave that also comes in packets or particles. In the same year, he published his famous equation E=MC Squared. It says that mass and energy are equivalent.
And if that wasn't shocking enough. He released the mind-blowing results of a thought experiment. So hold on to your heads. It starts with the assumption that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant. Now imagine if someone watches a spaceship flying very fast. What they would see is a ships clocks running slower than their own watch. And the ship was actually shrinking in size. But for the astronauts inside all would be normal. Einstein said that time and space can change. They are relative depending on who's observing them. This is special relativity. Special it might have been But it wasn't enough. Albert had only just started.

Next, he showed how bowls and apples were not the only things subject to gravity. Light, time and
space was also affected. Gravity slows down time. And it warps space. The stronger it is the more spaces warped. And the more light is bent.  Einstein's called this general relativity. His ideas shattered traditional physics. He opened the door to the weird world of the quantum physics. Where cats can be alive and dead. Where everything is uncertain. His famous equation leads to nuclear energy. Without special relativity, the large Hayden collider would be pointless. General relativity predicted those black holes and the big bang.

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