November 21, 2008 question

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 100 years since Einstein proposed his theory of relativity, the equation everybody knows and no one understands . . . until now. A team of scientists professes to have proven the groundbreaking theorem using a massive block of supercomputers and a fun little game they call chromodynamics. I don’t pretend to understand it any more than I understand the economy, but as the Internets have explained it to me, only 5% of the mass of an atom comes from the actual particles that comprise its structure. The other 95% of the perceived mass comes from the energy that binds the subatomic particles together. Einstein’s theory proposed that energy and mass were equivalent and somehow interchangeable (correct me if I’m wrong, please). People have bought the idea for a long time, but now it’s undisputed, signed, sealed, delivered . . . it’s yours.

I always wondered about this. I was taught that if an atom was enlarged to the size of a football field, the nucleus would be the size of a flea resting at the 50-yard line. I never understood how there could be that much empty space between the center of an atom and the electrons circling it. By that rationale, most of what we call solid matter would, in fact, be . . . nothing. But according to Einstein’s theory and the ramifications of what I’m reading, as pathetically as I understand it, we are more energy than matter . . . more soul than substance, if you will. If the metaphysical implications don’t get your brain working and wondering about the nature of our existence and the faultiness of humanistic and naturalistic thought, then I don’t know what will. And doesn’t the nerd in you wonder how long it can be, now that Einstein has been proved right, before George Lucas’s theory of midichloreans is proved right as well?

FOR THOSE OF YOU SCROLLING DOWN PAST THE NONSENSE, STOP HERE. 🙂

Here’s today’s question:

What two countries are connected by the Simplon Tunnel that runs through the Alps?

And here’s who knew that a barrel of oil is 42 gallons:

Karen M (the M stands for Me And Only Me)

Congrats!!

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