A human perspective on quantum gravity

March 19, 2014 by Joshua
in Creativity, Education, Nature

You’ve probably heard or read about the experimental discovery of gravity waves, a major and historic discovery in science with widespread implications, in the news lately. Understanding those implications is difficult. So is understanding the experiment.

What’s not hard to understand is the effect of hearing about the experimental results on someone who does understand its meaning and who explored this part of nature for decades. This video shows the unrehearsed reaction of two such people with a friendly surprise breaking of the news.

I notice most their interest in nature—specifically understanding what the experiments observed. I suspect to them, looking at what most people see as impossible-to-decipher equations and graphs, the data is like seeing deeper beauty of nature. I expect they feel like most people do when looking at a beautiful flower or rainbow.

Next is their skepticism. As much as they like seeing the results, they know they could be wrong. There could be an error. Other experiments might find problems or contradictory results.

They did the video with Andrei Linde. I wish they had also done it with Paul Steinhardt, who jointly won an award for their work on inflation, since I took a class with him when we were both at Penn. Maybe they’ll end up with Nobel Prizes.

The New Yorker wrote up the video too, “Andrei Linde and the Beauty of Science“.

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