I thoroughly enjoyed many of my elective classes throughout my undergrad education, but by far my favorite class was modern physics. *Side note, this will be a nerdy post, but well worth the read* You may be asking yourself, what makes modern physics different than regular physics? Great question Susie, modern physics describes things when they are traveling close to the speed of light, and I say close to the speed of light because theoretically reaching the speed of light is impossible (because as an object speeds up it gets heavier, at the speed of light the object would just weigh too much). Modern physics is also all just theory, because these things can’t be tested per say. To attempt to put this into perspective, the speed of light is 3×108 meters per second, yea that does not really help, well it is really dang heckin fast.
The physics you took in high school or college was most likely classical physics and dealt with things on a scale you can grasp and complete experiments on. As you can see there is also physics dealing with really small objects, modern physics falls in the orange/ yellow boxes on the right.
National Geographic just recently started a scripted series featuring Albert Einstein, who discovered some of the key elements of modern physics, specifically time dilation. I am really liking the series for a number of reasons. First, the show depicts Albert as this kooky twenty something, who to my surprise has slept with quite a few women. But not just that, even though he is one of the smartest people of his time, he still struggles so hard with picking up hints from his many girlfriends or wives. I just cannot help but giggle, all boys just cannot help but think with their other brain sometimes ;P. The second reason I really like the show is that it brings up and shows how Albert came up with some of the founding principles of modern physics, and I just get giddy with excitement thinking about them. Below I have linked a video to one of his thought experiments that lead to the theory of time dilation and an experiment that I find fascinating. Okay, maybe not, nat geo’s youtube channel has every other thought experiment from the show, so here is some cheesy video to explain. I will also attach one other thought experiment from the show so you can get a sense of the show.
But that lightning bolt is not even my most favorite fun fact. When I was taking this class afterword’s I would always head to work and I always had some mind-blowing thing to share with everyone that I learned that day. I still remember my, and everyone else’s favorite fun fact.
If someone if running fast enough carrying a 50 foot pole, they can fit it inside a 25 foot barn with both doors shut. Now the caveat, the point of reference.
I’ll leave it with that for now, go watch Genius on Nat Geo (no they aren’t telling me to tell you, I genuinely like the show) and if you want to nerd out with me over this, comment below. 🙂
Until next time,