discovery

discovery of the physical universe

what is the terascale? writing in 2006, interactions.org said ‘the Terascale [is] named for the Teravolts of particle accelerator energy that will open it up for scientific discovery. The next generation of particle accelerators [e.g., the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Europe, which is circular–though ‘as a telescope to the beyond, a linear collider could explore energies a trillion times that of the accelerator itself, in the ultrahighenergy realm where physicists believe all of nature’s forces become one’–] are physicists’ tickets to the Terascale and the mysteries that it harbors about the nature of the physical laws that govern the universe.’ (wmap from nasa)

discovery of the sacred universe

but there’s more to the universe than particles. physicist brian swimme echoes historian/theologian thomas berry, with whom he co-wrote the universe story: ‘the reason this destruction is taking place all over the planet is we have forgotten the sacred dimension of nature.’ science sees ‘the universe as a machine and that the stuff of the universe is dead…. it’s easy to forget about the sacred dimension once you conclude that there is no sacred dimension to the universe…. this is not just tragic, but a disaster. if the universe is just stuff, then it’s there for us to manipulate as we wish.’

discovery of the integrated universe

over 500 years ago, in 1543, copernicus centred the universe on the sun, not the earth, beginning the process in modern science of going beyond human reality. last century, before world war 1, einstein published his theory on relativity looking further beyond our reality and bohr his on atomic structure looking within our reality. meanwhile, we used to think of gods and goddesses as living on mountaintops, squabbling like families; since then, our world has gotten larger and our conception of god/dess too, beyond the mountaintop, beyond our reality. but also there’s talk of finding divinity within our reality. in science and in religion, we’re moving towards some understanding that we’re part of some grand design that’s both within us and beyond us, that’s both as big as the known universe or universes and as big as what you worship, and i don’t mean just theistic worship, but atheistic worship too; i mean what you believe, what you live for and what you’ll die for, for we all believe in something. (einstein image from caltech archives)

discovery on  the tube–teevee tuesdays

we watched some re-runs on the rick mercer report and this hour has 22 minutes. on how to grow a planet, the first episode (two weeks ago) was about how photosynthesis converts solar energy to life-supporting terrestrial energy, the second (last week) was how flowers greatly increased the planet’s biodiversity, and tonight’s third and last asks why is grass so important? grasses triumphed over trees, changing land and ocean ecosystems on a planetary scale, forcing some primates to walk, and enabling domestication. on journey to the edge of the world, billy connolly travels to baffin island, where he stands on a melting glacier (which he pronounces ‘glass-year’) and hears running water, hears the sound of global warming–‘but i’m too stupid to be scared’ he says; in a museum in iqaluit he joins an old man who daily watches an old film of the old days with his father and his uncle in it; on a hunting trip, he realizes there are two ways of getting your meat: you can shoot it or you can go to the butcher. (image of grass by jeremy c schultz from wikipedia; image of billy connolly from itv via the guardian)

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