Monthly Archives: March 2013

Q: Why doesn’t life and evolution violate the second law of thermodynamics? Don’t living things reverse entropy?

Physicist: In very short: nope. The second law of thermodynamics is sometimes (too succinctly) stated as “disorder increases over time”.  That statement seems to hold true, what with mountains wearing down, machines breaking, and the inevitable, crushing march of time.  … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Entropy/Information, Evolution | 73 Comments

Q: Does quantum mechanics really say that there’s some probability that objects will suddenly start moving or that things can suddenly “shift” to the other side of the universe?

Physicist: In a word; nope. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is a statement about how “certain” some combinations of quantities can be.  The most commonly referenced is the “position and velocity” version of the Uncertainty Principle, that says that the more … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics, Quantum Theory, Relativity | 28 Comments

Q: Using modern technology, are we any closer to turning lead into gold than alchemists were hundreds of years ago?

The original question was: With the current technology, it is possible now to transmute lead into gold, or whatever element into another? What transmutations should have tried the ancient Alchemist instead of the famous lead-gold one, in order to find … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Particle Physics, Physics | 21 Comments

Q: How do you turn/change directions in space?

Physicist: There’s more to this than you might think.  If you’ve seen a movie involving spaceships of any kind, then you’ve probably seen the wrong answer.  We’re used to thinking about airplanes (flying through the air) and walking (on the … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Physics | 17 Comments