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Archive for December, 2009

He is a ‘star’ in his own rights. Famous I tell ya! 

The ‘star’ is actually a bit literal. He’s into quantum electrodynamics, theoretical physics, and nuclear engineering to name a few. 

What? You thought I saw a Hollywood star? I’m a NERD pig and always has been. I’d be more attracted to people who can tell me about science, the universe, multidimensional worlds, human mind, etc. Even religion. 

Anyhoo, he’s name is Freeman Dyson

I went to a free lecture the University of Oregon Physics department organized, with Dyson talking about IMAGINED WORLDS. 

Thinking, who would come to such lecture? So I took my time and got to the auditorium 5 minutes before the lecture. Panic and regret ensued. As I entered the building, there were people already waiting to get into the auditorium. I knew the guy was BIG in the field of science, but I underestimated how many people really are into quantum theory, mathematics, etc. 

I persevered and went inside anyway. Now, this is where the ‘small’ person comes in handy. I squeezed myself in and got a very good spot; only it’s going to be standing for the whole duration. From where I stood, people were everywhere sitting in the aisle, just so they can hear Freeman Dyson talk. 

On to the lecture itself….Mr. Dyson (or should it be Dr. Dyson?) presented himself well. He was humorous without trying. He was asked about the Orion Project that he, along with S. Ulum (it was his idea) and T. Taylor started; and realized it wasn’t going to go through so he got out of the project. The project itself is ongoing. 

The talk about string theory and heretics stuck out for me. As well as religion, atheists and scientists. His joke on string theory is that it’s a science without equipment ~ rather cheap. And one doesn’t have to be a scientist to understand string theory, which comes to no surprise that there are as many string theorists around than needed. What I like about his stance on heretics. Heretics are needed to get different ideas out, it gets questions sought out and solutions to be found. You can also tell that he’s soft on religion (my opinion, of course). In other words, religion and science go hand in hand. Never isolated from each other. It’s the opposite I’m leaning on. 

When he was asked questions about religion, he (again, my observation) stumbled for words. Or maybe, he was finding words that would not incite negative reaction from the crowd. But then, he is known to NOT be afraid to state his opinion contrary to popular persuasion. 

The intrigue was on the topic of populating comets. He had this concept of planting a bioengineered plant that could grow in bubbles/clusters that would initiate its own greenhouse atmosphere. Comets, as it is, have less gravitational pull than earth or other planets. With less gravity, the plants/trees can grow with no bound. In turn, these comets would sustain human colonies. Comets are quite smaller than planets; can be sustained faster, easier than planets. This is just a concept. He did realize that it would take years for man, in this current state of space conquest technology, to be able to travel millions upon millions of light years to be able to reach these comets. 

He was asked what country in the future would have the stronghold or the power that the U.S. has in this current time. CHINA. He went on to say that Spain, during its drive to conquer the world, took 150 years before it went down, just like Rome. Then it was England. At the current time and most recent, is the U.S.A. So, the United States still has quite a ways to go. After the U.S. global dominance, China would come next; that is, if it doesn’t do itself in first, in blunders. Everyone laughed. 

I know this blog entry seems boring. But as a lay person, with tremendous yearning for physics, quantum theories, etc. I’m now realizing WHAT I want to be when I grow up. Unfortunately, I’m beyond half a century. So now, I can only enjoy these lectures and keep reading about these things and envy those whose minds blow me away. And so, I will try to talk about such subjects. Subjects that give rise to questions, lots of them and in the process the hunger for answers will follow. 

My only disappointment: the men in the audience and in the panel outnumbered women. But glad to see a couple of middle school-aged children who stuck around till the end of the lecture.

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