Monthly Archives: June 2012

Q: Do colors exist?

Physicist: Colors exist in very much the same way that art and love exist.  They can be perceived, and other people will generally understand you if you talk about them, but they don’t really exist in an “out in the … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Philosophical | 48 Comments

Q: How can we see the early universe and the Big Bang? Shouldn’t the light have already passed us?

Physicist: This is a very common question that’s generated (as best I can tell) by a misrepresentation of the Big Bang that you’ll often see repeated in popular media.  In the same documentary you may hear statements along the lines … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Physics | 45 Comments

Q: Are beautiful, elegant or simple equations more likely to be true?

Mathematician: It is not uncommon to hear physicists or mathematicians talk about the beauty, simplicity or elegance of equations or theorems, and even claim that they are sometimes led to a correct formula (or away from an incorrect one) by … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Mathematician, Equations, Math, Philosophical, Physics | 13 Comments

Q: If quantum mechanics says everything is random, then how can it also be the most accurate theory ever?

The original questions were: How can quantum computers actually be more useful if we cannot observe superposition, since trying to harness two states at once would just produce one state? Quantum Physics … is so full of uncertainty and Einstein … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics, Quantum Theory | 13 Comments

Q: Why do wet stones look darker, more colorful, and polished?

Physicist: This is surprisingly subtle! There are two effects that come into play: the way light reflects off of the surface (surface reflection) and the way light bounces into and then out of the surface (subsurface reflection). Surface reflection is … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics | 7 Comments

Q: What would the universe be like with additional temporal dimensions?

Physicist: This is a really nasty, complicated question.  It’s isn’t remotely straight-forward in the way that adding spacial dimensions is.  The universe we live in is “3+1 dimensional”, meaning 3 spacial dimensions and one temporal dimension.  While time and space … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Philosophical, Physics | 31 Comments