Famed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and theoretical physicist Brian Greene dissect time as we know it. What is the smallest unit of time, and what does it look like? For starters, you should stop looking at the clock, and start looking at the universe.
Tagged with “gravity” (3)
Episode four of A Further Five Numbers, the BBC radio series presented by Simon Singh.
Newton’s equation of gravity included a number G, which indicates the strength of gravitation. It took 100 years before the shy Englishman Henry Cavendish (he left notes for his maids because he was too shy to talk to women) measured G to be 6.67 x 10^-11 Nm²/Kg². It allowed him to weigh the Earth itself. There has been an ever-greater desire to measure this number with accuracy, which even implied an antigravity at times. How did we measure this tiny number and what does it mean for the universe? The Astronomer Royal Martin Rees explains that a large value for G would mean that stars would burn too quickly and a low value would mean that the stars would not form in the first place, so is G perfectly tuned for life? Is God a mathematician?
Recognized for his groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory, Brian Greene is also well- known as the host of the Public Broadcasting Service’s NOVA series based on his book, The Elegant Universe. A professor of mathematics and physics at Columbia University, where he researches string theory and quantum gravity, Greene’s goal is to make complex scientific principles accessible to general audiences. Visually stunning, with full-color images from the Hubble Space Telescope, Icarus at the Edge of Time is a futuristic retelling of the fable of Icarus: instead of the sun, a black hole.