Friday, November 22, 2013

Science and Reality

Perhaps those of you who are studying Science are all aware of this, but for someone with an arts and humanities background, the new scientific discoveries have been simply fascinating.

I am posting links to a few clips by Brian Greene that are very accessible to non-scientists like me :) and hope you will enjoy them and comment on them.

Thank you,


Here the links:

The Elegant Universe (3 parts):

part 1: Einstein's Dream

part 2: Strings the Thing

part 3: Welcome to the 11th Dimension

The Fabric of the Cosmos:

1. What Is Space?:

2. The Illusion of Time:

3. Quantum Leap:

4. Universe or Multiverse?:

Please also check out Brian Greene's website and read some of the articles etc:

image from:


  1. I watched the "What is Space?" video and found it very interesting. I love learning about new scientific discoveries. I am studying sciences and I find myself constantly searching for new information on topics like this. One thing I really enjoyed about these videos was that the material covered was very interesting and gave an in-depth understanding but there was no necessary knowledge on the topic before hand. I think that makes the videos easy and enjoyable to watch.
    Space has always fascinated me ever since I was a child. The idea of there being an infinite area around us enthralled me. Now, learning about it from a scientific perspective it still interests me. Finding out about what planets and such are composed of and their relationships only makes me want to learn more. Thank you for sharing these videos!

    1. Hi Madelaine,
      I am glad you liked the video and found it interesting! I find it extremely fascinating as well….

  2. I haven't watched any of these videos yet, but I have watched a movie on the Multi-universe. In the movie, having a time machine is not a dream, but nobody can change his/ her past or the history because it will always end up with the same consequence no matter what he/she has done. It is quite fascinating for me to see our universe as one time trend which cannot be change with our minds; however, I guess this theory makes sense. Otherwise, someone in the future would have time travelled back to present and would have told us how to make a right decision.

    1. Hi, Yizhen. I didn’t watch the video either. However, as I saw your comments on the time machine, I just feel that I want to say something as well. I hope the time machine could be invented as well, not only for purpose to travelling back, but it could prove that our technology has stepped much further in the mysterious area. If it turned to me, I probably would not use the time machine. As my opinion, life is life, it is full of different tastes. It could be sweet, and bitter. However, all of those make our life interesting and memorable. If life is always in the same style, then I feel life will be dull. Anyway, I like your opinion on the time machine as well.

  3. I just finished watching "What is Space?" When I was young, I really like space when I was young. However, I don’t know the space that much. The only ones I probably know is Sun, Moon, stars and maybe some planets. That’s how much I understand the space in my world. And when I was young I thought all of those creatures fill in the space only. Although I like the space, but I didn’t go any deeper study for that either. My knowledge for space is still limited. For example, I know there aren’t only those stars are in the space, there must be other phenomenon as well, I just don’t know what they are. This video makes me feel much closer to the space again. It lectures me something I want to know as well, such as black energy. Thanks for the producer of the video, and thanks for Professor Gudrun’s sharing.

  4. Hi Yizhen & Biwen, Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts about time and space! I think both are really fascinating concepts that we all still have trouble understanding…. Nevertheless, science - as well as science fiction - have very fascinating things to tell us about both, I think. And, in a way, we all know how to time-travel: in our imagination (e.g. our memories of the past)….

  5. I watched The Illusion of Time. It is really fascinating movie about time. We are all familiar with the term TIME and we use is very often. We say we are wasting or saving time. Running out of time, time flows are few examples of the word time used in our daily life. But what exactly is time? Do you guys know what it is? I have never thought about the time itself. Past, present and future. What is the past of future? In the beginning of the video it says, there may be to no distinction between past, present and future, and that the time might not always flow in the direction of future. The time might be just an illusion. This video talks about some scientific reasoning of time being an illusion but in very interesting way. It says at the end about a theory; black holes will dominate the cosmo and no events thus there will be no clear notion of passage of time existing. . This video is unlike other typical scientific videos we watch during high school, is really overwhelming, cool,fun and easy to understand! The video is quite long but worth the time.

    1. Hi I watched the video on The Illusion on time and it made me think about the way we always have a need to explain or control the physical world. The clock is an attempt to measure time and describe the feeling we have of time passing. Yet scientists have a difficult time explaining what time actually is. It is interesting that they have come to some of the same conclusions people in the past described in religious or spiritual terms. For example that are connections between all living beings. I think that science can sometimes hinder us from seeing things as they really are. We are often unwilling to accept something until be have the scientific evidence for it. In my opinion we could make much greater advances in explaining the world around us if we were more open minded to new ideas. This however can be very hard since we want to be see how things work.
      Despite our attempts to use machines and technology to change the world around us we can never alter the way certain things function.
      Should we always rely on science to explain how the world works? What do you think?

    2. Hi Michelle and Wiebke,
      Excellent thoughts and observations! The trouble with science is that it can be used for anything. It can often obscure what really matters. However, sometimes it can also confirm what we have always, deep down, known to be true. Some of the contemporary articles on quantum physics and string theory, for example, argue that ultimately, we are all connected and, ultimately, one.

  6. I watched “Welcome to the 11th Dimension”. The video introduces string theory, which states that the universe consists of one-dimensional strings, instead of the particles that we have known. The video explained the concept of string theory in an easy, understandable way by using lots of comparisons. It was interesting to learn about the theory and view our world in a completely different way. According to string theory, our world is a membrane, and there is a possibility of the existence of a parallel world lying inside of another membrane. The idea of a parallel world was bit frightening for me, to believe that we have been living right next to another world without noticing. The video also says that we must have an 11th dimension for the theory to hold, as opposed to the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension of time we know of. I have never heard of such a dimension and do not know how it is possible to have an 11th dimension. It was interesting to see how researchers are building new facilities and colliding particles to see if any graviton disappears into another dimension, a discovery which would prove string theory. Although there is no real evidence for the theory and scientists admit that they may have been wrong, the video made me want to study string theory in more detail when I become smarter in the future. I also hope that there will be evidence for the theory at some time, as this would contribute to quantum mechanics and establishing a theory of everything.

  7. Another Perspective on the Validity of the Scientific Assertions of Quantum Mechanics:
    Many physicist insist that the universe must be “made of” something and we all want to know what — what is it made of? Physicists use intellectual tools and reasoning to depict the universe as a entity composed of “quantized fields” that are exhibited from wave functions. A professor at John Hopkins University counteracts their beliefs with proposing the universe as a “mental universe.” Henry believes that one must learn to accept that nothing exists but their observations are far greater than those who stumbled upon physics hoping to discover “who they are.” What he is trying to say is that we need to throw away all that we know about “waves” and “particles” as the “underlying stuff” of the universe. We have to understand that we know for a fact that the universe is not “made of” anything! All that we believe as the “underlying stuff” of the universe is a matter of an illusion. All the theories and beliefs of the Universe are constructed my people, people’s subjective construction of their observations. Our depiction of reality stems from our mind and our observations; but those observations are not objective entities. Observations are not real either, they and everything else are purely mental. Meaning, our theories of what makes up the Universe is not valid, but completely mental. We must view the world as a quantum mechanical system and discover the mental nature of the Universe. Ironically, we have no idea what the mental nature is. The Universe is not a material entity, it is mental and spiritual. We must accept that we may not ever know but we should simply live and enjoy what we do know.