Our Writers' Gallery features short pieces about physics by authors who are both renowned physicists and prize-winning writers. Some of these are original contributions and others are excerpts from longer works. Many are linked to more information about the authors and their work.
This story is about the universe, and unfortunately there are no data for the Very Beginning. None, zero.
If we are fortunate and wise enough to go on as a species for many millennia, I am tempted to think the twentieth century will be remembered as something special in science, the century in which many of the mysteries of Earth, life, and the cosmos were understood for the first time.
What good is fundamental physics to the person on the street? This is the perennial question posed to physicists by their non-science friends, by students in the humanities and social sciences, and by politicians looking to justify spending tax dollars on basic science.
Discovering the laws of physics is like trying to learn the laws of chess merely by observing chess games.
"Ignoring air resistance, cannon balls move along parabolas," we learn in school, but the truth is more intriguing.
String theory’s view of the fundamental nature of matter differs significantly from that of traditional particle physics.