that which unites us all

A few months ago I finally got around to reading Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. But lest you think I would blog without mentioning the baby, here’s some backstory:  Parenthood in general (and Leif’s delightfullness, specifically) had thrown me into daily spells of contemplation about life and matter and the nature of things, and sometimes these reveries got cosmic.  This inspired me to read the book over the course of many naptimes, and when I finished I was disappointed that it was, alas, too brief.  It was also somewhat weirdly-written and only left me wanting to know more.  The internet advised me to check out The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene, and oh, what a fun book this is.  Greene is a lovely writer and does a noble job of making unfathomable content accessible to the layperson, but he also totally good-glavins out at times.

For instance.  Last night I was reading about the possibility of extra, hidden dimensions, and to illustrate the point, he first described a universe with only one dimension, i.e. a long line-shaped universe called Lineland inhabited by depthless, heightless worms.  He then introduced two great thinkers in Lineland, one named Kaluza K. Line (after the mathematicians Kaluza and Klein) and one named Linestein.  Forehead-slappingly stupid puns are pretty much what get me through the day (see: roughly half the entries written here), so to see them made by someone who’s so diesel that his job is to try to solve the mysteries of space and time, well, that just fills me with a warm joy.

7 thoughts on “that which unites us all

  1. Now I’m keen to try out An Elegant Universe, thanks for the recommendation! Along the same lines [har har har] you might try Edwin Abbot’s Flatlanders: A Romance of Many Dimensions. It was published in the 1920’s and is a good naptime-ish read.

  2. ooh. Elegant Universe sounds fantastic! And i have to second Annie’s suggestion of Flatlanders. Though as a disclaimer, the names aren’t as punny.

  3. It’s unfortunate you don’t have an acquantaince who majored in astrophysics to bounces questions and ideas off, who has also read both of the aforementioned books.

  4. I actually did think of you while I was reading A Brief History. Thought of you, and then went to change a diaper. (Leif was 2-ish months old at that point…life was a bit of a blur. You know how it is.)

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