CERN Large Hadron Collider big bang experiment

Itchy & Scratchy

Time Dilation
Black holes are awesome. When I was learning about them in some undergrad maths courses in general relativity and cosmology I remember being blown away to learn that as you cross the event horizon (the proverbial 'point of no return') the radial space axis and the time axis swap over, so the direction of the singularity becomes the 'future', with a definite end point, but the radial direction extends infinitely, as we usually think of time as doing.
Now if only I had the smarts to do the General Relativity course as one of my options this year, I might be able to understand everything after the word "awesome".
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Now if only I had the smarts to do the General Relativity course as one of my options this year, I might be able to understand everything after the word "awesome".

To be honest, it wasn't the hardest course I took by any means - once you get past the rather forbidding tensor notation, it's actually not too bad. What programme are you, if you don't mind me asking? I'm guessing either maths, physics or astronomy/astrophysics - unless it's one of them weird Cambridge tripos doo-dahs?
 

Slothrop

Tight but Polite
Black holes are awesome. When I was learning about them in some undergrad maths courses in general relativity and cosmology I remember being blown away to learn that as you cross the event horizon (the proverbial 'point of no return') the radial space axis and the time axis swap over, so the direction of the singularity becomes the 'future', with a definite end point, but the radial direction extends infinitely, as we usually think of time as doing.

The night after that lecture, I dreamt about how this would appear to someone falling into a black hole. It was pretty cool.
The thing that really gets me is when people start talking about physics in terms of information. I've never really seen it done from a full on technical standpoint, but I've read stuff (probably David Deutsch) that starts going from quantum information theory as information theory seen from a quantum standpoint (which I have studied, in an introductory sort of way) to quantum information theory as physics seen from an information theoretic standpoint. The concept of information as being a concept on a level with energy or charge or mass seems really quite cool.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
The concept of information as being a concept on a level with energy or charge or mass seems really quite cool.

Or, some would say, more fundamental still...

Yeah, the whole topic is almost excruciatingly fascinating, and I'm sad to say I know almost nothing about it. People like Penrose are doing interesting work now at the interface of quantum mechanics, information theory and GR - quantisation of black hole entropy, that sort of thing - that may have profound implications for cosmology.

A few years ago I picked up a second-hand copy of a book called The Matter Myth that was published back in 1992, and I remember it concluded with a chapter called 'From It to Bit', about how we may come to see matter as the embodiment of fundamental information - rather than information merely as a way of describing matter. I suppose this probably ties in with the zeitgeist of the time, along with selfish genes and 'memes', the burgeoning Internet and 'information economy' and so on.
 

swears

preppy-kei
the currant failure of the super collider is obvoiusley a sign from god to remind those egghead scientists not too medal with nature. only god can destroy the nature, not man.

jeremy twatt, twatsville
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
This all just goes to show that the only thing the LHC is in any danger of destroying is the LHC.
 

Itchy & Scratchy

Time Dilation
To be honest, it wasn't the hardest course I took by any means - once you get past the rather forbidding tensor notation, it's actually not too bad. What programme are you, if you don't mind me asking? I'm guessing either maths, physics or astronomy/astrophysics - unless it's one of them weird Cambridge tripos doo-dahs?
It's a 4 yr MPhys Physics with Astrophysics degree. But in reality it's the same as a normal Physics degree with what's usually Astro related option courses becoming part of your core, diminishing the number of free choices I have later :mad:. The only advantage at the end of the day is being given priority on Astro related experiments (e.g. using the radio telescopes at Jodrell Bank? Fuck yeah!*).

Tensors. It's just that I feel the time I spend getting my head around the notation etc could be better spent on the other courses and projects I'll be doing. Plus I'm sitting at the boundary between a 2:1 and first. So I can kiss any chance of that first goodbye if I do anything really taxing. (And I hate thinking in that sort of way because it goes counter to a principle I had when I joined uni. Namely: If I find it interesting and learn something what does it matter if my exam marks are low in the end?).

So yeah... Any good books you'd recommend on tensors in general? (Probably something akin to "The Idiots guide to..." :p)

*Jus' a side note: I've never done an experiment that's based at Jodrell (yet).
 

don_quixote

Trent End
vector analysis and cartesian tensors

unless you're after other sorts of tensors? not that i know if there are any or not. i'd like to be an authority but after this course i took a hard hard turn down the number theory routes that didn't confuse me nearly as much (but actually did, my whole degree was like one of those teams promoted from the championship into the premiership where they're constantly trying to stay up all season and i only just managed it in the last minute of the last day to come out with something vaguely respectable)
 

vimothy

yurp
It's a 4 yr MPhys Physics with Astrophysics degree. But in reality it's the same as a normal Physics degree with what's usually Astro related option courses becoming part of your core, diminishing the number of free choices I have later :mad:. The only advantage at the end of the day is being given priority on Astro related experiments (e.g. using the radio telescopes at Jodrell Bank? Fuck yeah!*).

At Manchester? My Dad might be teaching on your course!
 

vimothy

yurp
Er, astrophysics. He's really a mathematician and says that he doesn't know anything about physics, because astrophysics is basically chemistry (?), so given that you're doing physics, I dunno if you'll have met him. Probably does more stuff with PhD students than anything else and he spends most of his week at Queen's in Belfast.
 

Itchy & Scratchy

Time Dilation
Er, astrophysics. He's really a mathematician and says that he doesn't know anything about physics, because astrophysics is basically chemistry (?), so given that you're doing physics, I dunno if you'll have met him. Probably does more stuff with PhD students than anything else and he spends most of his week at Queen's in Belfast.
Argh :mad:. He would say that, looks like he does Astrochemistry. Studies the dust, gas and alcohol (no, really!) in the interstellar medium. Though tbh that's one branch of astrophysics where even pretty pictures can't keep my interest.

But yeah, I've never met the guy. He's listed as a visiting professor on the uni website so doesn't have to deal with us undergrads.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
"huh. me and vim have even more things in common... (theoretical physicist dads)"
What else do you have in common? Didn't you liken him to a paedophile before?
 
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