The Books of Moments in Modern Science and Now of The Bible According to Einstein

Important Twentieth Century Developments in Science

The twelfth and fourteenth books of Chronicles

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The New Testament                                       147

The twelfth book of Chronicles, called

Moments in Modern Science

These are wondrous and marvelous things
beyond all comprehension.

Chapter I: Nuclear Alchemy

Now Nature made the elements in the Big Bang and in the stars. And the expansion of space151 dispersed the light elements of hydrogen and helium and lithium throughout the Universe. And supernova explosions of stars spread the heavier elements throughout the Universe. And so the Universe was filled with diverse elements.
     Now in modern times, man began to play with nuclei. And man, in a small way, began to do what Nature had already done – make elements. Thus man became an alchemist.
     And so in 1940 scientists made two new elements: neptunium, named for the planet Neptune, and plutonium, named for the planet Pluto.152 These two new elements were made by bombarding uranium with neutrons and deuterium.
     Then from 1944 to 1952, scientists made six new elements: americium, curium, berkelium, californium, einsteinium and fermium.153 And in 1955, miniscule amounts of mendelevium were made. Now mendelevium did not last long – it persisted for about an hour before decaying into lighter elements. And in 1958, nobelium was produced. And it lasted just three seconds. And in 1961, lawrencium was manufactured with a lifetime of eight seconds. And for several years, it would be the heaviest of man-made elements. But in the late twentieth century, scientists would create more massive nuclei.154

And in the future, man,
the minor alchemist,
will go on making new and heavy elements,
if he can.

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151 In Einstein’s theory of gravity, space is dynamic, like a cloth that can be stretched, deformed or bent.
152 Later, these two elements would be produced in substantial quantities in nuclear power plants.
153 In 1951, Edwin Mattison McMillan and Glenn Theodore Seaborg received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their discoveries in the chemistry of transuranium elements.
154 The elements in this paragraph are named after the Americas, Pierre and Marie Curie, Berkeley, California, Albert Einstein, Enrico Fermi, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleyev, Alfred Nobel and Ernest Orlando Lawrence. The husband and wife team Pierre and Marie Curie made important discoveries in radioactivity for which they received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1903; she became the first scientist to win two Nobel Prizes; the other prize came in chemistry in 1911. Fermi, the Nobel Prize winning physicist, developed the first theory of the weak interactions and made many contributions in particle physics. Mendeleyev was the Russian chemist who introduced the periodic table. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and bequeathed the money for the Nobel Prize. Lawrence, inventor of the cyclotron, received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1939.

 
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148                        The Bible According to Einstein

Chapter II: The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

And in the year of 1965, two scientists, Arno A. Penzias and Robert W. Wilson, set out to build the modern version of the tower of Babel. But they did not build a tower – they built a "giant ear." Now it was not a normal ear – it was a dish, which could detect both radio waves and microwaves. Now the scientists had built their Babylonian structure not to reach the heavens but to hear the heavens, for this first radio telescope was constructed to listen to the Universe. And when the two scientists listened to the Universe, they heard some noise, wondrous noise. And the wondrous radiation coming from the heavens was provided with a name. And the name was cosmic microwave background radiation – it was the radiation that had been released as visible light during Recombination in the early Universe, some fifteen-billion years ago. Now the expansion of the Universe had red-shifted the recombination-light: With time, the light had stretched into the infrared. With more time, it had further stretched, so that now it was made of microwaves. And the temperature of the Universe was taken by taking the temperature of microwaves. And the temperature was three Kelvins – it was very cold – only three degrees above the coldest possible cold. And scientists counted the number of relic photons in the cosmic background radiation: There were four-hundred per cubic centimeter. Thus man, for the first time, heard the Universe as it was three-hundred-thousand years after the Big Bang, which marked the final moments of the Universe’s first and only day.

Chapter III: Man Ventures to Another Land

And in the year of 1969, a NASA spacecraft left planet Earth and sped through outer space. And the spacecraft approached and orbited Earth’s Moon. And a module left the craft and landed on the Moon. And a hatch opened up, through which a man stepped out. Thus for the first time, man stepped on the Moon. And man looked up at Earth from the surface of the Moon and saw the Earth as never seen before. And Earth was beautiful, a seemingly tranquil sphere, a mix of blue and brown and white. And the colors swirled like in a modern painting – the Earth looked like a work of art. It was.155

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155 Man would go to the Moon five more times. Then in 1972, twentieth-century moon missions would stop.

 
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The New Testament                                       149

Chapter IV: Dark Matter

And in the late twentieth century, it came to pass that astronomers measured the speeds of stars in the Milky Way and other galaxies. And surprisingly, the speeds were faster than expected – apparently, the force pulling on the stars is stronger than the force of gravity generated by the mass of stars and gas. Now this discrepancy can be explained if non-luminous material is present in a galaxy – presumably, dark massive matter has collected in a galaxy. It is as if the galaxies are angels draped in unseen halos. Next, over a period of many years, astronomers observed the motions of the galaxies in clusters. And the motions of such galaxies were not as one expected – apparently, the gravity between the galaxies is greater than the gravity created by the galaxies themselves. And this can also be explained if even more unseen "dark matter" floats in outer space. And although astronomers knew not what it was, dark matter had been sensed – presumably, the Universe is full of some unknown material. Finally astrophysicists weighed the dark material using observation, the laws of physics, and gravity as weighing scales. And behold, it constitutes nine-tenths of cosmic mass – apparently, man is living in a World in which nine-tenths of its contents are not known to him. And this is a mystery – the dark matter mystery.156

Chapter V: Superstring Speculation:
Truth or Superstition?

And in the year of 1984, theorists showed through a "miracle of calculation" that superstrings were consistent mathematically.157 Now superstrings were tiny Planck-sized filaments that had enormous symmetry – they had supersymmetry, which was boson–fermion-type symmetry, GUT-group symmetry and even hidden symmetries. And the theorists showed that the string’s internal motions could potentially produce all the fundamental microscopic particles – the harmonic of a cord was such a particle. And strings produced gauge interactions by splitting, joining and combining. But most miraculous was that superstrings, naturally, among their interactions, yielded gravity158 and that they were well-defined consistent quantum things. Thus one simple structure had the potential to explain all of Nature’s laws. And some theorists were dazzled by the magic, miracles and beauty of the strings.

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156 Like a well-written mystery story, there are many possible suspects: If cosmic relic neutrinos have a small mass, they could be the missing mass. Another possibility is that dark matter is made of black holes. Still another speculation is that dark matter consists of some unknown particle.
    The mystery will not be solved so easily. Scientists shall try by wit and by experiment to uncover the solution of this mystery which Nature has so well disguised. But sometime during the first century of the third millennium, the resolution will be known.
157 Theorists often proceed using issues of consistency, simplicity, conciseness and esthetics, as well as symmetry principles, as guidance in constructing theories, particularly in domains where little experimental data is available. Unexpected results, which seem like magic to those performing the calculations, tend to make theorists believe that they are on a fruitful path.
158 One of the greatest unsolved theoretical problems in physics is the quantization of gravity. Perhaps the biggest motivating factor for string theorists is that strings offer a potential solution to this problem.

 
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150                        The Bible According to Einstein

     And since the superstring could potentially explain all forces and all matter, string theorists nicknamed it "The Theory of Everything" – perhaps it is the Uni-Law.
     But obstacles exist. First, superstring theory predicts that spacetime has ten dimensions instead of four! And, since time is one dimension, space should then have nine dimensions. Now the human world is three dimensions – what happens to the extra six? And theorists used imagination, suggesting, "Perhaps the extra six dimensions curl into a microscopic space, a space so small that it’s invisible." And they argued by analogy: "When a two-dimensional flat piece of paper is rolled into a narrow straw, an ant crawling on it thinks its world is one-dimensional. Its world is like a wire. Perhaps humans, due to their bulky size, cannot sense the other six dimensions, for perhaps this hidden space simply is too small. Perhaps a man is like an ant. Perhaps the Universe is like a straw."

The story of the ant had been discovered.

     But it was extremely difficult for theorists to calculate in the theory of the superstring. And so theorists could neither prove nor disprove that the extra six dimensions did curl up to form a tiny space. Now another obstacle existed: Although the superstring potentially could generate the weak, strong and electromagnetic forces, theorists could not prove that these interactions were the only ones produced. And furthermore, although the superstring’s internal motions yielded particles such as quarks, electrons, photons and neutrinos, theorists could not demonstrate that all these particles were there. Nor could they prove that other particles not seen in Nature but potentially present in the vibrations of the string were not there. And so superstrings became a subject of much speculation.
     And theorists were divided in two groups: One, consisting of believers, claimed the superstring was Uni-Law. "The Theory of Everything" was what they thought to be the string. Now the other group was made of non-believers – they thought that strings were nonsense. For them, the Theory of Everything was a Theory of No Thing. And so there arose diverse opinions of the superstring.

The superstring theory might or might not fail.
Its prophets wander in an unlit labyrinthine cave.
They grope in darkness and know not
whether there be a dead end or the Holy Grail.


 
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The New Testament                                       151

Chapter VI: Supernova 1987A

Thou shall never be a witness of the present,
for the speed of light is finite.
What thy eyes see is in the past.

It was one-hundred-and-sixty-thousand years ago. And it came to pass that a star collapsed in the Large Magellanic Cloud.159 And at the speed of light, neutrinos streamed out of the dying star. An hour later, a shock wave blew apart the star. And electromagnetic radiation flashed outward, also at the speed of light.

.       .       .       .       .       .       .

     It was 7:36 a.m. universal time, February 23, 1987. A neutrino detector in a lead mine in Japan and a neutrino detector in a salt mine near Cleveland, Ohio, simultaneously began to spark – a neutrino burst was passing through the Earth.160 And the blast lasted just a dozen seconds. A few hours later, an amateur astronomer in New Zealand saw a star in the black night sky where no star had been before – it was a supernova, a gift from heaven. And it was named SN1987A, for it was the first supernova to be seen by man that year.
     And it came to pass that, each night, its light grew brighter in the sky, making it the brightest supernova in three-hundred-and-eighty-three years to be seen from Earth. And during the second millennium AD, it would only be the sixth such supernova visible to the unaided human eye.161
     And for astronomers, SN1987A was a godsend – the opportunity of a lifetime. And around the world, astronomers observed in awe the supernova.162
     And astronomers measured the distance to the supernova. And the distance was one-hundred-and-sixty-thousand light years – the object was the star in the Large Magellanic Cloud that had exploded one-hundred-and-sixty-thousand years ago. And it had taken that much time for the light and the neutrinos to travel from the Large Magellanic Cloud to Earth. Thus astronomers were looking that much time into the past.

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159 The Large Magellanic Cloud is an irregularly shaped galaxy near the Milky Way.
160 Neutrinos are particles that are so weakly interacting that almost all of them pass through matter without any deflection.
161 The first of these naked-eye supernovas was in 1006 AD and glowed half as brightly as the moon. In 1054 AD, a supernova left behind a giant cloud of exploding gas. That cloud became the Crab Nebula, and the supernova was thus named the Crab Nebula Supernova. The light from the third supernova arrived at Earth in 1101 AD. The fourth naked eye supernova was observed by Tycho Brahe in 1572, and it was called the Tycho Supernova. The fifth was called the Kepler Supernova after Johannes Kepler, who studied it in 1604.
162 Astronomers aimed Earth-based optical and radio telescopes as well as X-ray, gamma ray, ultraviolet and infrared detectors in satellites at SN1987A. The astronomical observations produced a wealth of scientific information.

 
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152                        The Bible According to Einstein

Chapter VII: Nature’s Ancient Relics

And when they saw this faded light,
which was no longer light but microwaves,
they saw the face of the Universe
as it once was.

And in November 1989, it came to pass that a satellite was launched. And inside the satellite was an instrument called COBE, the COsmic Background Explorer. Now COBE had the ability to sensitively measure microwaves. And during several years, COBE did detect the relic photons of the past.163 And the microwave cosmic background radiation was in glory detail measured – it was like placing a thermometer in the "Universe’s mouth." And when the thermometer was removed and read, it read in Kelvins 2.73 degrees – the Universe was like a frigid "microwave refrigerator." Now the temperature was not the same in all directions: There were tiny variations – like unto light and dark patches of an ancient faded charcoal sketch. And these variations drew a picture of the Universe as it had been three-hundred-thousand years in age. The face of Nature in its youth was seen.
     Now the cosmic microwave background radiation is just one ancient fossil, for the Universe is full of relics of the past. From them, one constructs the story of the past.

The grin of the Cheshire cat.
The shroud of Turin.
The trilobite fossil.
The relic photon.

     Now lithium-seven, much of deuterium, helium-three and helium-four were forged inside the Big Bang oven. And these elements survived fifteen-billion years of time and so remain unto this day – they tell a tale of cosmic times. In modern times, astronomers did measure the light-element abundances. And through them did they gain a picture of the Universe when it was minutes old.
     Now some remnants of the past are very faint and feeble. And for example, the cosmic relic neutrinos, released when the Universe was just a second old, fill the spaces of the wilderness of outer space but interact too weakly to be sensed by modern man. And cosmic relic gravitons, which were produced when the Universe was just a few Planck times old, fill the spaces of the wilderness of outer space but interact too weakly to be felt by modern man. And so several hundred relic neutrinos and a dozen relic gravitons in every cubic centimeter of the Universe do form an unseen gas of particles that permeates all space. Verily, ghosts of the ancient past are they – passing through everything including the Earth, the Sun and Moon. They travel through the bodies of the living, such as man. But neither Earth, Sun, Moon nor man feel their presence, for they touch not. Alas, everywhere they’re there, the invisible non-interacting relics of the past.

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163 These are the same radiations discussed in Chapter II.

 
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The New Testament                                       153

Chapter VIII: The Mystery of Fundamental Mass

Now the Standard Model, which explains all the microscopic forces between particles, consists of several parts. And all the parts have been experimentally tested and confirmed but one. And that part is the Higgs sector, the part which makes all mass. It provides the masses for the W and Z by breaking SU-two-cross-U-one to U-one.164 Thus electroweak breaking is implemented via the Higgs part. And when the symmetry is broken, the quarks and leptons get mass too.
     Now up to the year of 1997, experiments had not revealed this sector, leaving physicists to ponder on it nature: Some theorists thought perhaps it was a particle which created all the mass – if so, this particle was to be called the Higgs. Some surmised that certain interactions were the source of mass. Still others conjectured that the top quark managed to induce mass both for itself and for its brethren quarks. And a few physicists did even think that, perhaps, the mechanism of mass generation was beyond man’s twentieth-century imagination – small can be the mind of man.
     Now the problem of fundamental mass was the last mystery in the Standard Model of particle physics. And curiosity drove theorists to think and to create.
     So man will go to build machines to find the answer. And someday will man know the mechanism that makes all mass. And on that day, man will understand at last.
     

The fourteenth and last book of Chronicles, called

Now

The momentit is here and gone.

This is the book of Now. And Now lasts for a short time. That time is fifteen minutes, the lifetime of a neutron when it’s outside a nucleus. Fifteen minutes of geo-time is like two-thousand years of real time, the time of two millenniums, the time from zero years AD to now.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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164 This symmetry breaking process occurred in the early Universe. See the seventh book of Creation, called Exodus I.

 
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