Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Last Saturday I was part of a panel at Chabot College in Hayward, California. The event, which we called a "literary gathering," was very successful. Ann Parker shared her techniques for researching and writing historical fiction; Margaret Lucke, also a professional editor, told us about her newest paranormal romance; Barbara Bentley described how she turned her true story of marriage to a psychopath into a gripping memoir, "A Dance with the Devil;" Patrick May, an award winning, world-traveling journalist for the San Jose Mercury news, talked about life in the newsroom. We all talked about the pleasures and the business of writing. A nice day, all around.
At the break, one of the participants asked me how I could do two such different things: physics and fiction, since fiction is so CREATIVE.
"It's all fiction," I told her. "And physics is about as creative as you can get."
Too bad it wasn't the right forum for a discussion of what physicists tell us the universe is made of: incredibly small invisible strings vibrating in at least 11 dimensions (see graphic!).
This means that if you look closely (that is, mathematically closely, not optically closely) you, your computer, and your banana are made up of molecules, which are made up of atoms, which are made up of electrons, neutrons, and protons, which are made up of quarks, which are made up of strings.
This latest physics model is called String Theory, and, sometimes, The Theory of Everything. It can be thought of as an upgrade of the Standard Particle Model, which brought us elementary particles such as muons, pions, bosons, leptons, and three flavors of quark.
Now, does that sound UNcreative to you?
[For more on this, you can sign up for my class at Emeritus College in Walnut Creek, California. Thursday, April 2, noon to 3.]