Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Elementary particles

Carlo Rovelli says that “for now, this is what we know of matter”:

A handful of types of elementary particles, which vibrate and fluctuate constantly between existence and non-existence and swarm in space even when it seems that there is nothing there, combine together to infinity like the letters of a cosmic alphabet to tell the immense history of galaxies, of the innumerable stars, of sunlight, of mountains, woods and fields of grain, of the smiling faces of the young at parties, and of the night sky studded with stars.

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, trans. Simon Carnell and Erica Segre (London: Penguin, 2016).
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics is a wonderful book for elementary particles like me.

comments: 3

Fresca said...

"the letters of a cosmic alphabet"
This is great!

Stefan said...

I like the bit about the "smiling faces of the young at parties," which made me think immediately of Alan Lightman's essay, "Smile." It's a quick and delightful piece, which anyone interested can find here: http://www.physlink.com/Education/essay_lightman.cfm

Michael Leddy said...

It’s terrific writing, though there could sometimes be a bit more explanation. (But not in this passage!)

I was wondering where I might go after this book, and now I think Dance for Two is it. Thanks, Stefan.