Wednesday, September 28, 2005

"Space-Time is doomed!"

No, not "domed." Doomed.

Although it does appear to be sort of domed if you bother to look up at the sky next time that you find yourself outside doing the high plains drifter thing. And isn't Eastwood usually a rider of doom?

But none of that matters now because space-time is doomed. I learned this yesterday at the Nobel Laureate lecture given by David Gross, who cited Edward Witten.

T.S. Eliot, however, said it first:

A Lyric

If space and time, as sages say,
Are things which cannot be,
The fly that lives a single day
Has lived as long as we.
But let us live while yet we may,
While love and life are free,
For time is time, and runs away,
Though sages disagree.

The flowers I sent thee when the dew
Was trembling on the vine,
Were withered ere the wild bee flew
To suck the eglantine.
But let us haste to pluck anew
Nor mourn to see them pine,
And though the flowers of love be few
Yet let them be divine.

Although this poem dates to April 1905, the same year as Einstein's famous publications on time, space, and energy, Eliot first published it two years later, in the Harvard Advocate, Volume 83, no. 7, June 3, 1907, thereby missing his chance at a Nobel Prize in physics.

In the lecture, Gross mentioned neither this early scientific work by Eliot nor Eliot's anticipation of String Theory -- though Eliot at least acknowledges unnamed "sages" in his poem.

Anyway, after the fascinating lecture on the upcoming revolutions in physics -- mostly on how string theorists will have to give up space and time since these are "emergent properties" rather than fundamental ones -- everyone was invited to a brief reception starting at precisely 4:00 p.m. in a room situated directly to our right as we emerged from Inchon Memorial Hall's central auditorium.

I wonder . . . if charm and strange are fundamental, then might not irony itself be a fundamental property?


At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you've done it! heavy and lite together.


At 3:36 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Then, the irony must be fundamental.


Post a Comment

<< Home