Capturing Truth

Inherent Beauty

The world looks so different after learning science.

For example, trees are made of air, primarily. When they are burned, they go back to air, and in the flaming heat is released the flaming heat of the sun which was bound in to convert the air into tree. [A]nd in the ash is the small remnant of the part which did not come from air, that came from the solid earth, instead.

These are beautiful things, and the content of science is wonderfully full of them. They are very inspiring, and they can be used to inspire others.

~ Richard Feynman

It is ironic how every day we use science. Every day we breath it in and expel it with our breath. We walk through it and work in it. Science, this study of the universe and how it works, is prevalent everywhere, because it studies everything. I have friends who say they aren’t remotely scientifically inclined, and yet they utilize applications of scientific theory in their everyday life. The stove that heats our food, the sink that brings us water, the electricity, the cars we drive, the computers we use. All are applications of science.

One interesting facet of humanity is this drive, this need to understand our surroundings and those around us. For some of us, this drive is higher and more pronounced than in others. Where does it lead us? On a journey of discovery and of wonder if not heart-ache at times, for no matter how much we may explore or analyze, we can never truly know everything there is to know about the universe.

For example: There is a physics theory that discusses electrons and their interactions. Here scientists have discovered that we cannot simultaneously know both the position and momentum of an electron. We can measure the position and gather a distribution of values for momentum, but no amount of measuring will pinpoint both aspects of the electron for a simultaneous moment.

Let’s take a look at a moving ball. When we throw it, we can measure the position and momentum of the ball when it leaves our hand, at its highest point in the throw, and when it finally hits the ground. We can be fairly accurate and precise with the measurements of each; however, with an electron, we cannot be as precise. An electron has a spin – sort of like the ball which spins through the air as it moves. We can measure this spin within a two dimensional framework, where we measure the spin’s value in the x-axis (which you can picture as horizontal) and calculate a certain value. Then we can measure its spin in the y-axis (which you can picture as vertical) and calculate a particular value. If we return to measure it with the x-axis spin again, will the value be the same as before? No, it’ll be random. This is at the heart of quantum mechanic’s uncertainty principle, and experiments have shown this to be fairly consistent. For the ball thrown through the air, this isn’t quite true, for we can measure various parts of its trajectory and still get the same values regardless of how the ball spins.

Why is the electron random at the quantum level? Well, this is one of the great mysteries of science, which is still being debated and tested by various scientists all over the world. Will we ever be able to know the exact value of this electron and avoid this randomness? There’s a high probability that we may not. Another reason we may never truly know everything about the universe is that we cannot go back before the time of the Big Bang. We can try to map out what happened with mathematics and theories, but because we cannot go back in time to look for ourselves, we’ll never be completely certain what happened. Science has a lot of sound and well-tested theories to explain the universe, but there is still a lot to discover.

So, in the meantime, physics can certainly explain how this universe works at least to the best of our ability as sentient humans. The more data that is gathered in experiments and observations help scientists learn more about the universe as well as either validating current theories or exposing current theories to be not quite right, which means back to the drawing board. Its not a static science as some might suppose, but a fluid continuum of constant learning.

Everyday we walk through science. We push through air molecules, feel the effects of gravity, use technological devices that utilize scientific theories. Science is all around us and even within the workings of our own bodies. It explains the how of the universe, but it doesn’t explain the why. That is the realm of philosophy and theology. Though learning about science certainly gives us a slightly different perspective about our world, doesn’t it?

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