Category Archives: Evolution

Q: If the Sun pulls things directly toward it, then why does everything move in circles around it?

Physicist: Newton’s laws of motion say: Where MP and AP are the mass and acceleration of a planet, MS is the mass of the Sun, R is the distance between them, and G is a universal constant.  What this rather … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Astronomy, Evolution, Physics | 6 Comments

Q: If the number of ancestors you have doubles with each generation going back, you quickly get to a number bigger than the population of Earth. Does that mean we’re all a little inbred?

Physicist: In a word: yes.  But it’s not a problem in large populations. The original questioner pointed out that in the age of Charlemagne (more or less when everybody’s 40-greats grandfolk were living) the world population was between 200 and … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Evolution, Probability | 9 Comments

The nuptial effect

Every day, on average, 2-3 physicists get married.  On Saturday I’ll be attempting to push that average to as high as 3-4. So (for our regular readers), there’ll be a longer gap between posts than usual.  The future Mrs. Physicist … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Combinatorics, Evolution | 22 Comments

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 statements seems to hold true, what with all of the mountains wearing down, machines breaking, and the inevitable, crushing … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Entropy/Information, Evolution | 17 Comments

Q: Is the final step in evolution an ascension into an energy-based lifeform?

Physicist: Awesome question!  The very short answer is: nope. Energy beings are an old staple of sci-fi (a good one), but they’re almost certainly impossible, or at least, it’s almost certainly impossible for life (as we know it) to evolve … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Evolution, Physics | 16 Comments

Q: Does the 2nd law of thermodynamics imply that everything must eventually die, regardless of the ultimate fate of the universe?

Physicist: The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that in any closed system entropy will increase over time. The exact rate at which entropy increases is situation dependent (e.g., being on fire or not). As a quick aside, one of my … Continue reading

Posted in -- By the Physicist, Biology, Entropy/Information, Evolution, Paranoia, Philosophical | 9 Comments