Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Unsolvable Mysteries of the Universe Wrapped With Mediterranean Gyros

Our Professor, Albert Einstein!
Today was another rainy day. Luckily, I was prepared and didn't get as wet as I did yesterday. Anyways, today, I learned some crazy physics concepts starting with Einstein's general theory of relativity from Craig. Fun fact, did you know that Craig actually was in a look-alike contest for Robert Downey Jr. in the 1980s and won! He got to meet Robert Downey Jr. and have a photo with him! Going back to the topic, Craig started talking to us about how gravity is not just an interaction with objects, but with the fabric of space-time itself. This allows massless objects like light to be bent by other heavy objects like planets as the light goes through space-time. Then, we started talking about pretty mind boggling stuff like how time slows down in a place with a heavy gravitational field and this led to stuff like time travel, wormholes, black holes, and other science fiction stuff. 

Deriving the Unsolvable Mysteries of Modern Physics
To cap off our morning session, we had a speaker named Bhuvnesh Jain who studied gravitational lensing. He started talking to us about dark matter and dark energy which composed about 95% of the universe. The stuff that we know personally like atoms are only 4% of the universe. Yet we know pretty much almost nothing about dark energy and dark matter except that they're counteracting the effect of gravity and making the universe expand faster and could explain the missing mass that holds our galaxy together. Another possible explanation is that maybe our theories are limited and need to be completely revamped. This was a sobering thought in that all our knowledge about modern physics could be made void by an existence of a concept like anti-mass! It was also sobering that since the universe was expanding so fast, the galaxies would start to go farther apart and Earth would just be a distant, lonely planet out in the vast galaxy! After these mind blasting thoughts, Bhuvnesh derived an equation that showed how we are missing mass in galaxies and proved the existence of dark matter. 

The Reading Terminal Market With its Flashy Neon Lights
Lastly, we went to the Reading Terminal Market today. I didn't think that I would be able to make it to the market, but fortunately I could. It was pretty cool! It wasn't just a normal farmers' market with organic and fresh food. While it did have some of these elements, it was also pretty diverse with things like gyros to African jewelry to lobster. So many cultures and foods were represented there that it was a metropolitan fusion of countries and cultures ranging from Italian to Chinese to Mediterranean restaurants and stores! It reminded me of what college would be like in the future and like it is right now where there is a melting pot of different cultures and ideas all combining in the common factor of wanting to succeed and do well in life. In conclusion, as I felt like I could spend a whole month in the Reading Terminal Market, so I feel that I could spend a whole decade in college experiencing what is new. College life is so far and yet also so close! I wonder what will happen in the next chapters of my life.

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