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The Secrets of the Universe: How Physics and Cosmology Explain Everything

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Introduction

The secrets of the universe are, literally, in plain sight; we just don’t see them because we don’t know what to look for. The way that scientists study the secrets of the universe has changed drastically over time and will continue to change as we gain more knowledge about how the universe operates and what it's made of. To take two very different examples, Aristotle thought that objects fell because of their weight, and Isaac Newton realized that bodies fall at the same rate regardless of their mass because of an invisible force he called gravity.

Dark Matter

Scientists believe that dark matter exists because they can see how galaxies move through space. The force holding them together is too strong to be explained by visible matter alone. To date, scientists haven’t been able to figure out what dark matter is made up of or where it originated from. However, one possible explanation for its creation is through a particle called a WIMP (weakly interacting massive particle). WIMPs are weakly interactive because they rarely interact with ordinary matter. It's theorized that WIMPs have such an enormous mass that their gravity pulls nearby objects towards it—not unlike when one star pulls another star into orbit around it. At any rate, there are many competing theories as to what constitutes dark matter; perhaps we’ll never know!

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Dark Energy

It is theorized that roughly 68% of all matter/energy in our universe exists in a sort of dark form. Scientists are yet to discover what exactly dark energy is, but they do know that it causes distant objects to accelerate away from one another at an ever-increasing rate. Some physicists, including Einstein himself, have gone so far as to label dark energy as the cosmological constant, claiming that it has changed little since its creation. Why does dark energy remain virtually unchanged? What exactly is it? Astronomers are currently working on new experiments to further investigate these questions (and more) about dark energy. With any luck, we may begin to unravel some of the secrets of the universe with them!

Quantum Mechanics

This tiny section of physics is so cool, it should be illegal. Back in 1900, physicists thought they had it all figured out—that classical mechanics explained everything that could be observed at a microscopic level. And then (spoiler alert) they discovered quantum mechanics. This tiny piece of physics is so alien to us humans that even Einstein called it spooky. Yet we've used quantum mechanics to build transistors, lasers, and solar cells; we've even verified some predictions about gravity at close-to-light speed—so you can trust in its value. It turns out that quantum mechanics is what allows particles to exist as waves or particles, depending on how we observe them. In short, if you want to know how electrons are behaving inside an atom or what's going on inside black holes, look no further than quantum mechanics. It's pretty much impossible for anyone but experts to understand most of it, but there are plenty of great books on the subject.

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String Theory

The theory is that each dimension consists of a different vibrating string with a different length. And, each additional vibration from a string creates a new dimension. This leads to 11 dimensions -6 spatial dimensions + 1-time dimension + 5 string dimensions = 11. It also suggests these are extra dimensions beyond our own 3 spatial dimensions and 1-time dimension. Of course, they're impossible to detect because they're microscopic, meaning we can't see them or interact with them. We know they exist because of math, however. For example, when physicists try to calculate what happens at extremely high energies (such as those found in black holes), their equations suggest there must be at least 6 more dimensions than we currently observe. String theory is used by physicists to explain how gravity works and why particles have mass. In addition, it's used by cosmologists as a possible explanation for how everything came into existence in the first place!

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Is Time an Illusion?

According to Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity, time is not a constant. Time exists relative to your frame of reference. For example, when you are standing still on Earth, one minute for you equals about 86,400 seconds for someone on Mars as he or she moves past you at a speed equivalent to about 25,000 miles per hour. Since time is relative and dependent upon velocity, it may be possible that time only exists as we move through space at different speeds--with no objective measure of time itself existing outside of our movements within space. Only when an object is moving slower than light does time take on some sort of objective reality. But even then, how can anyone know what objective means? To say something has objective existence means that its nature can be understood without any influence from human consciousness. But if all things are relative to human consciousness (and they most certainly are), then there can never be anything with absolute or objective existence. Therefore, for us to have such knowledge of anything in our universe (including ourselves), there must always exist an observer who gives it meaning—i.e., consciousness itself! And since everything around us has been given meaning by conscious beings like ourselves, it could very well mean that time doesn't exist objectively either; rather everything just exists about each other—as ideas and thoughts about other ideas and thoughts!

The importance of Physics

For a long time now, people have been wondering about how things around us came to be. Ancient people used their imaginations to explain whatever they could not understand, resulting in mythology that explained everything from why there is water (the world was created by a frog who pissed in it) to how babies are made (by lightning striking sand). More recently, many different explanations were given for all manner of physical phenomena. Explanations tended to fall into two categories: explanations based on religion and those based on science. Science began its systematic development when some curious ancient Greeks decided to apply their reason and logic to understanding nature instead of relying solely on myths. In doing so, they laid down a foundation that humanity still uses today—one that has given us control over almost every aspect of our lives.

Cosmology Book

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Ghulam Nabi Memon

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