I’ve been trying to read Brian Greene’s The Fabric of the Cosmos for a couple years now.
I was excited to read – and finished – Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time AND The Universe in a Nutshell.
I like this stuff. Learning how the universe works is important. It’s interesting. These books are a window in that ivory tower where academics live, only venturing out to deliver pronouncements about the latest “guns v. butter” graph showing the economy is tanking or a new study about the correlation between penis size and the melting polar ice caps.
Thing is, after reading these things cover to cover – well, except The Fabric of the Cosmos. Sorry, Dr. Greene – I’m not sure I could explain a single damn thing in the books.
As I read them, I nod along. “Yes,” I think, “this makes sense.” Then, I close the cover, finish my sandwich (I have a job and young kids, so most of my pleasure reading is wedged between ordering lunch and consuming it) and think about what I just read.
I can almost see – hell, I actually can see – the words drifting from my brain, draining the concepts along with them kicking and screaming. I get it while I read it, but it’s gone once I’m done reading.
But I keep trying.
The Blue Box White Paper is a paper by Dr. Ben Tippett and Dr. David Tsang, two physicists and Doctor Who fans. The paper attempts to explain, using characters from the show Doctor Who, the theoretical concepts that explain how time travel could or could not be possible. *SPOILERS* the answer is that, it is theoretically possible, but it would require interaction between a hell of a lot of energy and a specialized type of matter that might be out there somewhere, but we haven’t discovered yet.
I loved reading this thing. I nodded along, totally on-board with everything. But…to write the paragraph right about this one, short as it is, I totally had to pull the paper up in my browser to remind myself exactly what I read…yesterday.
I’m gonna go ahead and blame the educational system rather than my poor attention span or lack of expertise in this area. Everyone else does.
Go read that paper, though. It’s good. Then come back here and tell me exactly what it said.