Latest PI Lecture at the Museum reviewed

Science

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We are lucky to live in an age of great discoveries and boundless communication as typified by the Internet.

On Wednesday September 30, 2009, the Bruce County Museum again showed on large screen one of the lectures from the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo.

Today's talk was by Dr. Ben Schumacher of Kenyon College.  You can view his  lecture on the internet by following the Saugeen Times link

 Science/Video The Physics of Impossible Things 

The lecture took place on a number of levels.  Dr. Schumacher is very entertaining and an expert in Information Theory.  According to modern thought everything is information even our bodies.  It's a matter of organization.

Much was made of trying to understand the real world by looking at it's laws and relating what is possible and what is not.

Dr. Schumacher developed a number of ways of looking at relativity and showed that time travel results in paradoxes. 

For example, suppose we go back in time and drive a Ford Model - T that gets in an accident resulting in the demise of our own grandfather before we were born.  This produces obvious contradictions and is rejected.  Many movies have developed some of these time travel paradoxes.

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30/09/2009 11:41 PM


Of course not all seemingly impossible events are rejected as illustrated in Quantum Mechanics.

Dr. Schumacher had a very artful way of depicting time dilation and other special relativity phenomenon via simple diagrams.  The most interesting dealt  with a scissors.

He showed that a mind game could be conjured up that involved a giant scissors that iis closing at high speed.  The point of sheer is moving much, much faster than the handles. Could it be that that sheer point would exceed the speed of light?

You'll have to view the lecture to find out.

Dr. Schumacher was excellent except of for a brief glimpse at Maxwell's equations, which he did not handle well.  Also, he failed to discuss some concepts in which he is a recognized expert.  For example the information concepts in Black Holes.


Abstract: Some things can happen in our Universe, and others cannot. The laws of physics establish the boundary between possibility and impossibility.

Physicists naturally spend most of their time thinking about the possible.

In this lecture, however, we will make a brief reconnaissance across the frontier to study impossible things and discover the surprising connections between them. We will encounter standard science-fiction devices like time machines and faster-than-light spaceships -- as well as other, less-familiar prodigies including quantum cloners and bounded electromagnetic miracles. A safe return to the real world is unconditionally guaranteed.

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