My decision to start writing about cutting-edge Physics research, bringing it to as wide an audience as possible, is based on the assumption that people would be interested in reading about it.
Why is this assumption valid? Why would a reader be interested in learning about a subject that is often perceived as dry, too difficult and out-of-touch with the world?
Physics – like all Science with a capital S – is a testament to human curiosity and dedication. It is very much different from technology. A dispassionate reader may argue that reading on the newest advancements in computer-hardware development is more worthwhile than reading about particle physics. Surely reading about space-travel is more useful than reading about faraway galaxies which you and I (and possibly no human) will ever set foot on.
I think that in the unattainability of some situations (such as visiting other galaxies), lies the true wonder of physics. We will never visit these places, we will never witness the Big Bang, we will never truly “feel” a neutrino from outer space passing through our bodies… But we are able to understand each one of these phenomena. As of 2014, humankind has set foot only on one celestial body other than our home planet. Voyager 1 is currently the only man-made object to have left the solar system. These extraordinary feats resonate powerfully amongst the public due to their ease of visualization, yet science has been able to reach farther: only a few weeks ago, experimental physicists from the BICEP2 telescope (at the South Pole) have managed to find evidence of inflation, a process thought to have occurred shortly after the Big Bang, exponentially accelerating the expansion of the Universe and ultimately explaining the origin of galaxies.
Our entire civilization is based on a planet which, compared to the size of the Universe is incredibly less relevant than a grain of sand on a beach. Yet we have been able to probe galaxies billions of light-years from us.
Our brains are built to perceive a very small range of physical effects. Yet, although unintuitive to our minds, we have probed the exotic effects of the very small, the very fast and the very massive.
The fact that we can understand all this makes us special, and every person should have the ability to read and learn what great things human curiosity, passion and dedication can achieve.
I hope that all of you will find the blog clear and understandable. Paraphrasing Richard Feynman, it’s all about clarity, not necessarily precision. My goal is to write about the wonderful things that go on behind the doors of the Cavendish Laboratory and other physics departments. I will do so partly by writing about discoveries and current research, and partly by interviewing academics working at the frontiers of current knowledge.
Keep following, there’s a whole Universe to read about!