Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why Do I Study Physics?

Hey, do you mind if I tell you a story? One you might not have heard. All the elements in your body were forged many, many millions of years ago, in the heart of a far away star that exploded and died. That explosion scattered those elements across the desolations of deep space. After so, so many millions of years, these elements came together to form new stars and new planets. And on and on it went. The elements came together and burst apart, forming shoes and ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings. Until eventually, they came together to make you. You are unique in the universe. There is only one [you]. And there will never be another. Getting rid of that existence isn't a sacrifice. It is a waste.
- The Doctor

There's so much beauty in the clockwork of the universe, that I wonder why more people don't just stop rushing through their lives and take a look around.  We exist and tick along only because certain constants are fixed at certain values, certain fundamental interactions have certain strengths, and certain events took place at certain points in space-time.  If any of these were even slightly altered, the universe would be very different!  

For instance, if gravity were stronger, stellar interiors would be hotter than they are now.  There's a chance that stars would burn out too soon for life to develop. On the other hand, if gravity were weaker, there would be no clumped matter, and therefore, no us.

The beauty of the complex grid of laws that dictate our universe is precisely why I study physics.  

This video explains it wonderfully:

Why Do I Study Physics? (2013) from Xiangjun Shi on Vimeo.

If you want more proof of how glorious physics is, read physicist Richard Feynman's autobiographical Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! and be inspired!


  1. I have always loved this idea and the 1970s band CSNY worked that into a song

    here are the lyrics themselves from Joni Mitchell

    1. That was lovely! Thanks for sharing, Peter!

  2. No update in blog ? Write something interesting !

  3. Hey, Physicist this may strike your intrest