Relativity Relatively Simple – by Professor R. Cywinski – 27th January 2014.

   Newton’s Laws of Physics – Rubbish!    He hadn’t got out much into the Universe or yet heard of Einstein’s theories of Special and General Relativity, even though Galileo was on the scent before Newton’s time.

Newton’s Laws are applicable relative to Earth but not related to a universe 50 billion years old, and billions of light years across; formed by a vast amount of energy being transposed into a mass of solid matter which at the same time exploded. The bits are still spreading out in space now, and the light they emitted at the edges of the universe billions of light years ago is only reaching us today.

Some Other Facts I latched on to :-

  •  Einstein established that the speed of light (186279 miles /sec.) was the same in any situation.
  • Space is not just an empty vacuum, it has some form of structure which can bend due to the proximity of other masses, and it has photons in it which are massless particles of light.
  • Muons (subatomic particles) travelling in space should die in the upper atmosphere but reach the Earths surface, only because distances and time shorten as the speed of light is approached.
  • Time is the fourth dimension. We can go into the future but we can’t come back.
  • Small particles travelling near the speed of light have great mass, which the Hydron Collider is researching, with a view to harness the energy given off when small particles collide at great speed.
  • Energy and mass are interchangeable which is why 0.6 grams of U235 when bombarded, gave us the first atom bomb in which hydrogen was converted to helium with a lot of energy given off.

All this is a result of work by scientists like Maxwell (who explained Electromagnetism), and Albert Einstein who, in 1905 explained the photoelectric effect which won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1921, proved the existence of atoms by watching camphor on the surface of water, and introduced the Special Theory of Relativity; not to mention his most profound equation, e=mc2.

They and others like them were men of imagination, genius and vision in Theoretical Physics. Today Stephen Hawking continues the work and talks of Black Holes and ……? (I’d lost it at this point.)

It’s mind-boggling. There must be a God. Where did the initial energy and space come from ?

We were all in awe and concentrated hard at this Monday’s talk; brilliantly delivered by Professor Bob Cywinski from Huddersfield University. It was not his first visit to us, having talked us recently about thorium as an alternative fuel source for nuclear reactors.

“Relatively speaking the hour was extremely short!” and  we will certainly invite Bob again.