Monday, April 26, 2010

King David, Vermont, and a Duck that Goes "Quark, Quark"

Title of the attached painting is "Thirteen Galaxies." I was watching a Discovery Network show about how the Universe was created during and shortly after the Big Bang, and I mean shortly. Real shortly. There is a unit of time called Planck Time and is the length of time that it takes light to travel 1.616-something meters, about 5 feet. It's a pretty short interval of time - about a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second. So, pretty short. But given that the earth's orbital speed around the sun is gradually slowing down, it won't be that short for long. And then Ben Franklin thought up Daylight Savings Time.......but that's another story.

One of the fascinating aspects of the Big Bang is how energy/mass/time are all created in that one instant 13.73 billion years ago when everything goes KERFLOOEY and expanded and created everything in that nanonanonanonanonanonano second. Sir Edwin Hubble, who we sent up in orbit to watch stars, noticed that the galaxies were speeding away from each other, and concluded that, "Wow, the galaxies are speeding away from each other." By plotting their speeds and directions, Hubble was able to imagine the galaxies reversing their courses and ending up at the same space/time point. Scientists now can even back track from the present Universe and shrink the Universe mathematically using giant superconducting colliders and crashing elementary particles into each other and taking really cool photos with really cool digital cameras way back down now to about the first trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. They have found all kinds of cool stuff: quarks, and gluon plasma, leptons, baryons, and antiquarks and antibaryons...... And I don't have a hard time with any of that. "God" explains all the stuff we can't otherwise explain in most scientists' minds. As long as they don't create the black hole which sucks the Earth into oblivion on some nice Friday afternoon while I'm out golfing and enjoying time with my friends or out on a date with my sweetheart, I'm okay with all their crazy experiments. Dr. Emilio Lizardo in "Buckaroo Banzai - Electroids Across the Eighth Dimension" comes to mind.

Then there's the Big Fight between Matter and Anti-Matter. The two forces were quite busy annihilating each other willy-nilly in those first few nano-seconds, and Matter won, but just barely. Just a bit more Anti-Matter and we wouldn't be here. I think that's why we have the Matterhorn. And that's why things matter. Just remember, though, never have pasta and antipasti on the same plate; the results could be quite messy.

I can mentally and conceptually shrink the Universe to the size of our solar system given that atoms are mostly empty space and molecules are mostly empty space and matter is mostly empty space, as is the ice cream bar I had last night and the cheeseburger I ate yesterday. In fact, space is mostly, well, space. And I can mentally shrink the Universe down to the size of our Sun or even Jupiter, or Earth, or Mercury. I can mentally shrink the Universe to the size of Nebraska or even Vermont.

I am reminded of a passage in Joseph Heller's "God Knows," a fictional autobiography of King David, where King David is full of braggadocio about his many victories in battles and conquests of tribes and foreign lands and is quite proud of himself that he took a kingdom the size of Rhode Island and turned into a kingdom the size of Vermont. Puts it all into perspective, doesn't it?

So back to the shrinking Universe. I can mentally shrink the Universe to the size of Mount Rushmore, or even a refrigerator, or maybe a case of Budweiser, maybe a basketball, and a softball, or a tennis ball, or a golf ball, or a large marble and even a little cat's eye marble, or a pea, or even a BB. But any smaller than that defies all rational logic and systematic thought and is just plain ridiculous.

So I'm left contemplating the Universe compressed and shrunk to the size of a BB and wondering how God did it anyway........ Did you hear about the first duck created in the Universe? It said, "Quark, Quark."


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