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The Story of My Learning Starts Here

November 3, 2018
by yin72257@gapps.uwcsea.edu.sg
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Book – A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

A book I read recently is A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. In the book, Hawking explores scientific theories of gravity from Newton’s laws to Einstein’s relativity to quantum physics. He also wrote about the discovery of black holes and his own research on it. The book had some difficult parts in it but the diagram inside helped. I found it quite interesting how scientific theory involved in explaining the world evolved over the years. Newton’s gravity constant explained almost everything we see about gravity except a small difference in Mercury’s orbit. Einstein then came along to develop a new theory in which Mercury’s orbit was, in fact, calculated correctly. However, his model did not fit gravity among tiny particles on a quantum level. The uncertainty principle states that nothing can be measured 100% accurately, there will always be an uncertainty. This uncertainty affects small particles more than large objects, but does this mean that science cannot progress further? Is it that we can never find out the truth of how the universe works?

This booked answered many of my previous questions I had in my mind when I studied physics involving the speed of light and black holes. A few things that I haven’t considered before that I found interesting:

  • Black holes are completely black, and so is the space behind them. It is incredibly hard to tell that a black hole exist other than from calculations of gravity around them.
  • The book mentioned that neutrons were discovered less than a century ago, yet it is something we learn in primary school now.
  • Physics is changing very fast. In a few decades, what we learn in school might be completely different from what people then learn in school. This questions the durability of knowledge and how relevant they will be in a few decades.

“Ever since the dawn of civilization, people have not been content to see events as unconnected and inexplicable. They have craved an understanding of the underlying order in the world. Today we still yearn to know why we are here and where we came from. Humanity’s deepest desire for knowledge is justification enough for our continuing quest. And our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in.”

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