When I asserted that everything in the universe consisted of seventeen fundamental particles, I wasn’t entirely telling the truth. The Standard Model only tells half the story, because, as I’m sure you’re aware, each particle also has a corresponding… antiparticle.
Last week Yanhao and myself had the honour of being able to visit the CERN facilities in Geneva, Switzerland. It cern-tainly wasn’t just an excuse to go eat lots of fondue. Or make
terrible amazing puns.
In terms of the technical understanding of our local vicinity in the universe, we’ve advanced quite a bit since ye olde times. Through constant theorising, gathering data, and more theorising, we have gradually built a more foundationally solid picture of the universe we live in. However, even now in this period of technological prosperity, there is still so much we are yet to discover and harness, so much that has yet to be explored. Only by harnessing the power of hindsight (oh, what a wonderful thing) do we look back on scientists and astronomers alike, believing that they were complete madmen for thinking the things they thought. But do we really know any better?
Last week I explored the idea of time irreversibility in the universe. Our laws of physics are invariant over a T-transformation; whatever a particle does is not affected by whether it is moving forwards or backwards in time. Yet why do we still see an obvious ‘arrow of time’ in real life?
I remember that time in 2012 when it had gotten into everyone’s minds that somehow the world was going to suddenly come to an end. The Mayan calendar would terminate in December, and it was obviously a clear indication they had predicted that an apocalyptic disaster would befall the planet. Maybe they just ran out of ink… Not to alarm anyone, but this time the world really is coming to an end, and the science’s there to prove it. Please, don’t panic.