Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Big Bang and a Big Blowhard

Tom Jones at writes on new discoveries about the creation of the universe:
Among the many discoveries of NASA’s twenty-year-old Hubble Space Telescope is the true age of the universe: 13.7 billion years. That’s when a titanic, incomprehensibly violent expansion – the Big Bang -- occurred, marking the start of the space, time, and physical laws which govern the cosmos as we see it in today. The Big Bang is the Genesis chapter in our scientific understanding of the physical reality in which we live, observe, and wonder.

Now scientists have come another step closer to understanding the creation conditions associated with the Big Bang. At the Brookhaven National Laboratory on New York’s Long Island, physicists have cranked up the 2.4-mile-diameter Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider to create temperatures of 7.2 trillion degrees, or 250,000 times hotter than our Sun’s interior. They did it by smashing gold atoms head-on at speeds approaching the speed of light, generating sub-atomic bubbles 40 times hotter than a supernova. Such temperatures have not been seen since the first microseconds following the Big Bang..More>>
And, relatedly, get a load of what John Barrow, 2006 winner of the $1.4 million Templeton Prize for Progress toward Research about Spiritual Realities, said to Richard Dawkins when Dawkins challenged him:
When Selfish Gene author Richard Dawkins challenged physicist John Barrow on his formulation of the constants of nature at last summer’s Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship lectures, Barrow laughed and said, “You have a problem with these ideas, Richard, because you’re not really a scientist. You’re a biologist.”

For Barrow, biology is little more than a branch of natural history. “Biologists have a limited, intuitive understanding of complexity. They’re stuck with an inherited conflict from the 19th century, and are only interested in outcomes, in what wins out over others,” he adds. “But outcomes tell you almost nothing about the laws that govern the universe.” For physicists it is the laws of nature themselves that capture and structure the universe—and put brakes on it as well.

The 2006 winner of the $1.4 million Templeton Prize for Progress toward Research about Spiritual Realities, Barrow follows a string of renowned physicist winners—including Charles Townes in 2005, John Polkinghorne in 2002, and Freeman Dyson in 2000..More>>

1 comment:

TH2 said...

Include the great Fr. Stanley L. Jaki (physicist, theologian, historian/philosopher of science, polymath) into that "string of renowned physicist winners" of the Templeton prize. He donated the monetary prize to his homebase monastery in Hungary.