On Gravity and Levity
Welcome to Gravity and Levity, a blog devoted (mostly) to a conceptual discussion of the big ideas in physics.
Gravity and Levity is not intended to be a resource for the questions “What is the solution to/equation for ____ ?” or “How do you solve _____ ?”. These sorts of questions are, for the most part, easily answered using Wikipedia or the various physics forums. Rather, the purpose of this blog is to tackle the much more nebulous and difficult “How do you think about ____?”. I firmly believe that behind every equation in physics is a conceptual and often crazy idea. I created this blog to explain what little I know about these big ideas and to get others to discuss them.
So here’s what you can expect to find on Gravity and Levity:
- My attempt to describe the “picture” behind some of the more confusing ideas in upper level physics: the principle of least action, quantum bound states, entropy and free energy, functional integration, universality of the speed of light, Friedel oscillations, quantum fields, etc.
- Lots of cheap, pencil-and-paper (or PowerPoint) drawings.
- Random “fun” posts, wherein I discuss interesting or amusing non-physics ideas that have been on my mind. Topics may range from crazy facts about wildlife to professional basketball to my own thoughts about how we perceive time as we age. Be warned.
- Weekly updates. [Update: Okay, so this prediction turned out to be a little too optimistic.]
Here’s what you should not expect to find:
- Exact solutions. This is a forum for discussing ideas, not a resource for homework help.
- Equations. Some mathematics is unavoidable, but I almost always prefer a good picture to an equation.
- Current events and personalities in science. I’m not going to spend much time talking about famous scientists or the status of big experiments. The politics/news/gossip of physics is extremely uninteresting to me.
- “Science vs. Religion” rants. All of the popular science forums are dominated by this kind of babble, and it gets tiring really quickly. Besides, the Wikipedia article does a surprisingly good job with it.
Comments and suggestions for future posts are always welcome.
The author of this blog, Brian Skinner (website, Twitter), is a postdoc in theoretical condensed matter physics who hopes to make a career in physics teaching and research. The story/rationale behind this blog’s creation is explained in the blog’s first post, and a short introduction to the author is given here.
The banner image is taken from wikimedia commons.