Quantum physics, the nature of space-time, black holes, multiverses, how the Universe began and how it will end… Contemplating the fundamental nature of the Universe can make your head spin.
Apparently, US physicist Richard Feynman used to say that “nobody understands quantum physics”. Phew! There we all were thinking that if we couldn’t get our heads round General Relativity, string theory or multiverses that we were destined to never win another pub quiz again. And Feynman even won a Nobel prize.
But, while hard physics topics like these can bend the mind, in this special issue of BBC Focus, we’ve enlisted the experts to explain in no-nonsense, down-to-earth, jargon-free lingo exactly how the Universe works, from the most minuscule of subatomic particles to the biggest of cosmological concepts. We’re not saying it’s easy to understand. Indeed, Danish physicist Niels Bohr (who won the 1922 Nobel prize in Physics) also reportedly said: “If anybody says he can think about quantum theory without getting giddy, it merely shows that he hasn’t understood the first thing about it!”
Now, you might ask, why bother trying to set your head spinning understanding all this challenging science. Aside from impressing your mates, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are all sorts of gadgets that we use every day that employ the concepts of modern physics. For example, we use torches, X-rays, mobile phones, we heat food in microwaves, we boil eggs on induction hobs... And that’s just in the here and now. Reading this special issue will give you an idea of all the cool stuff that modern physics will someday enable – nanorobots, weird materials, flexi-screens, quantum computers, teleportation…
Enjoy the challenge!
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