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The Physics Nobel Prize–All about Wrinkles in Space

The 2017 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Rainier Weiss, Kip Thorne and  Barry Barish for their work on detecting gravitational waves, “wrinkles in space”.    For a detailed account of the award to these old guys (they, like me, are over 80, but that’s the only similarity) see here.   For a fuller account of LIGO, the super piece of work that detected the gravitational waves, see my post “Peeling Back the Onion Layers:  Gravitational Waves Detected”.    And, finally let me add, it takes a heap of money and talent to do this sort of super-science.   But it’s worth it–I can think of much less desirable stuff to which we should devote our resources.

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Bob Kurland, Ph.D.

Retired, cranky, old physicist. Convert to Catholicism in 1995. Trying to show that there is no contradiction between what science tells us about the world and our Catholic faith. Intermittent blogs and adult education classes to achieve this end (see http://rationalcatholic.blogspot.com/ and http://home.ptd.net/~rkurland). Extraordinary Minister of Communion, volunteer to federal prison and hospital; lector, EOMC.
Sometime player of bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet, bass, tenor bowed psaltery for parish instrumental group and local folk group.

4 Comments

  1. What you wrote in your post “Peeling Back the Onion Layers: Gravitational Waves Detected” is exactly correct:

    “I believe there is an underlying reality revealed partially by science, that as one peals back the layers of the onion, we get closer to the core. I also believe, along with Bernard d’Espagnat, that we will never know altogether what that core is. I believe that we will not know that, because the core is God, the Holy Trinity, and God is only known by what he is not. He cannot be comprehended in His Entirety.”

    Pope St. John Paul II echoes this in both Fides et Ratio and Veritatis Splendor. Truth [at its core] is not a thing, but the Person Christ Jesus.

  2. I have to disagree with the “onion” metaphor, in which the layers sound far too much like the Gnostic idea of “emanations”.
    Nor do I think that science brings us closer to God, or at least more so than other human endeavors. I think Matthias Claudius was closer to the truth in “Abendlied”, part of which can be translated as
    “We proud children of men
    Are just poor sinners,
    And really don’t know much;
    We spin webs of gossamer
    And seek after many skills
    And move farther from the goal.”
    Wissenschaft is one of those viele Künste.

  3. “The LIGO project’s achievement was using a pair of gigantic laser interferometers to measure a change thousands of times smaller than an atomic nucleus, as the gravitational wave passed the Earth.”

    Wow, simply wow! You’d think God’s angels have something to do with gravitational waves. Perhaps they do.

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