Sunday, March 16, 2008

The End of Cosmology

A 100 trillion years from now the last stars will fade out and the only lights will be a few dim black holes and the artificial lights of civilization, at least according to the latest issue of scientific american.

There are 400 billion galaxies in our universe. And one decade ago cosmologists made the discovery that the universe's expansion is accelerating. One day the skies will be empty (if earth gets through the next 100 trillion years..). In the future the universe will look like a puddle of stars and then drop completely out of view. The article also brings up the issue of what evidence from the past we could have already lost.

This obviously relates to physics because of things that we study like light and optics. Light is fast (ha) but the distances in the universe are unimaginably immense. In addition one must wonder how to deal with a vast universe in terms of Newton's theory of universal gravitation because theres just so much matter.

But in relevance to human society it still has implications. No human will be around 100 trillion realistically speaking. But like Copernicus 500 years ago, these discovery change our attitude towards the earth and the universe. We are incredibly small to put it bluntly. And the universe itself is neither constant nor eternal.

Grand implications indeed to think about. Have a nice weekend everyone.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Opti-Gone Mirage

What a fantastic trademarked name.. ha. and what an awesome photo!..

thank goodness we had a day to think about this. But i think i now have the general idea. The insides of the mirage generator is lined with a reflective surface. The top and bottom act as two concave mirrors. Thus, the object at the bottom is at the focus point of the top mirror. Light rays go through the top mirror focus from the object, and reflect parallel down to the bottom mirror. These light rays reflect towards the focus of the bottom mirror, which is opposite the one at the bottom, therefore producing the illusion that there is an object where it is not.

have a nice rest of the weekend everyone!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Galerie des Glaces

The hall of mirrors is immediately what came to mind. It is a hallway full of mirrors in the Palace of Versailles just outside of Paris. Sadly when i was there it was being partially renovated. But at least i got to see some of it!
When two mirrors are placed parallel to each other the images made by each mirrors gets seen by the parallel and so on. This means an infinite number of images in the mirrors.
One can almost imagine Wilhelm I being proclaimed Kaiser..
The hall is quite elegant and so many mirrors increases the ambient light as well.
Anyways, can't write much more, have a nice remaining weekend everyone! Something like an hour and half of it.