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Thread: The FORT science outreach project

  1. #11
    Hypermediocrity Amanda's Avatar
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    Astrogirl, okay, I'm going to need some time to process all of that. But seriously, thank you so much for all of this. I'm going to have about ten trillion more questions for you. Also, I sent your fungus question on to a plant population geneticist friend of mine, as I'm useless when it comes to anything remotely botanical.

    And Greenie, once my fantasy team starting sucking, I had to find *something* to occupy myself.

    Edit: "Starting sucking"? What am I, new? STARTED sucking. And suck it does. Just like, um, a black hole. Or something.
    Last edited by Amanda; 05-20-2004 at 02:07 PM.

  2. #12
    Staying Afloat speedbump's Avatar
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    Thanks Astro-

    I understood what you meant but I'm still confused. Let me soak all this in while I'm on the golf course and I'll get back to you with more questions.

    ETA: if the BB was exploding energy and there was nothing in 'space' before the BB, then how was there anything to "ignite" the exploding energy?
    Last edited by speedbump; 05-20-2004 at 02:11 PM.
    You got to cry without weeping. Talk without speaking. Scream without raising your voice.- U2

  3. #13
    FORT scientist astrogirl_2100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AmandaG
    Astrogirl, okay, I'm going to need some time to process all of that. But seriously, thank you so much for all of this. I'm going to have about ten trillion more questions for you.
    No problem, you're welcome, keep the questions coming. As I suspected, you are not the only one interessted in these things. Astronomers have it kind of easy that way, people find astronomy and astrophysics fascinating, but if I say I work with physics I get either :rolleyes or or .

    Quote Originally Posted by AmandaG
    Also, I sent your fungus question on to a plant population geneticist friend of mine, as I'm useless when it comes to anything remotely botanical.
    Thanks, I appreciate it. What do you specialize in?

  4. #14
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    My poor little language-and-arts-oriented brain is about to combust from trying to understand this stuff, but I find this thread fascinating. I've always been interested in stuff like this. Great explanations, Astrogirl.
    I just have trouble fathoming how before the big bang there could be nothing, not space, not anything. And what's beyond the edge of the universe now? To use your balloon analogy -- I understand the concept of the pennies not moving and the balloon expanding and stuff, but what's outside the balloon?
    I'm sorry if I'm not wording it well. Like I said, this is really interesting to me, I just am not at ALL science-oriented.
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

  5. #15
    Why Not Us? greenie's Avatar
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    That's how I feel about it too, Lucy. You can't wrap your brain around it though since it's too infinite to understand.
    Who shot who in the what now?

  6. #16
    FORT Fanatic VeeJay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump
    ETA: if the BB was exploding energy and there was nothing in 'space' before the BB, then how was there anything to "ignite" the exploding energy?
    That's what I was just wondering.

    Another thing - it's really hard for me to understand time having a begining. Really, what's the definition of time? How can it not have existed at some point?
    A man can convince anyone he's somebody else, but never himself. - Verbal Kint from the movie The Usual Suspects

  7. #17
    FORT scientist astrogirl_2100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedbump
    ETA: if the BB was exploding energy and there was nothing in 'space' before the BB, then how was there anything to "ignite" the exploding energy?
    Okay, now we are in the realm of quantum physics, in which I am not so well versed. But I can tell you, that it is possible to create something from absolutely nothing. The rules of quatum physics allows particles to be created and destroyed, as long as they exist for a very brief time. The bigger the particle, the shorter time it is allowed to exist.

    The universe, in some theories, could happen in a similar process (this is pure specualtion, since the rules of physics apply only in the universe we exist in and not outside it). Universes could be created out of nothing, and destroyed again. Thus universes are created and destroyed all the time in the quantum foam (that's actually the scientific term). Except our universe blew up and became what it is today. Maybe it is special, maybe something freakish occured and this universe blew up but all the other ones didn't.

  8. #18
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrogirl_2100
    Thus universes are created and destroyed all the time in the quantum foam (that's actually the scientific term). Except our universe blew up and became what it is today. Maybe it is special, maybe something freakish occured and this universe blew up but all the other ones didn't.
    So, are you saying that there is quantam foam *outside* the edges of our universe? Because what I'm picturing is (sorry, literal foam, and I know it's not really that) but this stuff, and little universes being created and destroyed all the time, and ours getting really big but the foam and the other little universes still being there somewhere.
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

  9. #19
    FORT scientist astrogirl_2100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy
    My poor little language-and-arts-oriented brain is about to combust from trying to understand this stuff, but I find this thread fascinating. I've always been interested in stuff like this. Great explanations, Astrogirl.
    I just have trouble fathoming how before the big bang there could be nothing, not space, not anything. And what's beyond the edge of the universe now? To use your balloon analogy -- I understand the concept of the pennies not moving and the balloon expanding and stuff, but what's outside the balloon?
    I'm sorry if I'm not wording it well. Like I said, this is really interesting to me, I just am not at ALL science-oriented.
    This is sort of the same question that speedbump asked. It's okay to not be able to wrap your mind around something, actually one of the hardest things when you work in science (at least my branch of science) is to visualize things. Usually, we look at the equations and solve them, but then we have to interpret the solution and make some sort of analogy to explain it to non-scientists. And that's hard. Not all scientists are very good at it. The skill that make you a good scientist like logic and 3D perception, does not nessecarily make you good at interpreting the results in a simple way (which I think is more of a linguistic skill). My point it, we, as scientists, do not sit around visualzing these things and try to make sense of them. We have the equations, which, believe it or not, actually makes things easier. Math is the language of science, and if you do not speak that language it is hard to understand. So I'm telling you about this is a foreign language which you understand, but not one that is really suited to talk about science. Another analogy is, that I'm painting a picture. But the picture is not reality, it only looks like some part of reality. And painting pictures is not really what I do, so maybe I'm not really good at it, and you look at this picture I made, that makes no sense and try to understand the reality I was trying to describe. It's a hard barrier to overcome.

    The universe has no edge, just as the baloon has no edge. to mr. Flat, the balloon is infinite. He can walk all the way around the balloon and still not find the end. He might get back to where he started, but the universe we live in is not the type where we can do something like that. The balloon universe that mr. Flat lives in is, though.

    The universe doesn't expand into anything. It doesn't expand like a balloon or an explosion or your waistline if you eat too much. It just expands in the sense that it makes things that were once close together fly apart. That's what an expansoin is when you look at it from the inside, and that's what the universe behaves like.

  10. #20
    FORT scientist astrogirl_2100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy
    So, are you saying that there is quantam foam *outside* the edges of our universe? Because what I'm picturing is (sorry, literal foam, and I know it's not really that) but this stuff, and little universes being created and destroyed all the time, and ours getting really big but the foam and the other little universes still being there somewhere.
    Yeah, it would have to exist outside of space and time (a universe is space and time). Hey, I can't picture it either

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