Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's the matter?

The monitor in front of you gets electric supply that enables it to perform some electro magnetic magic to send a bunch of photons to your eyes. The monitor itself is made of matter and the factory used some combination of some mixing of some of the elements in the Periodic Table. The monitor emits electro magnetic waves that interact with the matter in your eye.

All this matters.

Sometimes your fingers are touching the keypad. Because your fingers are matter and in most cases organic matter. So your finger has mass and it is possible to measure  how many grams your finger weights on Earth. Astronomers say that because of its smaller mass, the force of gravity affecting the matter is lower on Mars: a normal-sized man standing on the Red Planet would weigh about 38 kg.

The weight of your finger would be enough to press and hold the key down. However, that would not produce very interesting poetry but rather something that a monkey or mouse could also write. This is not the case since your thinking brain has the ability to communicate with matter.  Medical scientists have found out something about the process together with other experts and describe how nerves, muscles and whatever are involved voluntarily or otherwise when you push a the key down or when you release it in order to add a sign to write some meaningful sequence symbols that would be recognized by those who know the language you are using (the machine is multilingual and the keyboard language can be changed.)

Your brain matters and is made of matter with the volume of about 1400 cubic cm and an average weight of about 1.4 kilograms. (I do not dare to guess your IQ which is a measurable thing but NOT matter... or is it?) The mass of the brain presents only about two percent of the total weight of human individuals. In this greyish mass of matter there are some extremely complicated networks of neurons and whatever that communicate as a whole using a combination of electronic signals travelling in a very specific mix of tissues and bones and chemicals and whatever. So that you can think and even pray.

Cooperation of matter with energy.

So what's the matter?

Etymology of the word matter
c.1300, "material of thought, speech, or expression," from Anglo-Fr. matere, from Latin materia "substance from which something is made," also "hard inner wood of a tree" (cf. Port. madeira "wood"), perhaps from mater "origin, source, mother."

Or, on another theory, it represents *dmateria, from PIE root *dem-/*dom- (cf. Latin domus "house," English timber). With sense development influenced by Greek hyle, of which it was the equivalent in philosophy.

Meaning "substance of which physical objects are made" is attested from mid-14 century. That of "grounds, reason, or cause for something" also is first recorded mid-14c.

The verb meaning "to be of importance or consequence" is from 1580s.

What is the matter "what concerns (someone)" is attested from mid-15c.
Online Etymology dictionary

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Macrocosm and Microcosm - One

Martin Lass, American Federation of Astrologists 2006

We are supposed to study the immense celestial things involved in Space Theology and now we are dealing with the tiniest things in Nature?


As God said in the beginning, Let there be light.

Light has been and is the key to discovery and studying light itself has truly opened the fundamental physical and chemical structures of the Universe for human scientific research.

Any Unified Field Theory of Physics suggested by Einstein that would explain it all in a single field has not yet been generally accepted.

But the fundamental Oneness of all that the search for such a theory indicates is present in the way Macrocosm and Microcosm are made in the Nature.

Major current international scientific research on the Biggest Questions includes the Smallest Things.

For example, probably the Most Expensive Scientific Instrument built so far by the human race living on planet Earth studies the Tiniest Particles.

So tiny, in fact, that the particles are extremely hard to detect in those super accurate massive hadron colliders.

Indeed, the amazing unity of Macrocosm and Microcosm is a significant fundamental characteristics of the Creation.

For Philosophers it brings to mind already the ancient Greeks, Plato and the analogy.

For many it brings to mind Many and One.

For religious minds it may bring to mind the Jewish confession of faith
" Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One"

Photons - electromagnetic radiation

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is a form of energy emitted and absorbed by charged particles, which exhibits wave-like behavior as it travels through space.

Effect on organisms
The effects of EMR upon biological systems depends both upon the radiation's power and frequency.

For lower frequencies of EMR up to those of visible light (i.e., radio, microwave, infrared), the damage done to cells and also to many ordinary materials under such conditions is determined mainly by heating effects, and thus by the radiation power.

By contrast, for higher frequency radiations at ultraviolet frequencies and above (i.e., X-rays and gamma rays) the damage to chemical materials and living cells by EMR is far larger than that done by simple heating, due to the ability of single photons in such high frequency EMR to damage individual molecules chemically.

Electric and Magnetic

EMR is a particular form of the more general electromagnetic field (EM field) that is defined as the field produced by moving charges.

EMR has both electric and magnetic field components, which stand in a fixed ratio of intensity to each other, and which oscillate in phase perpendicular to each other and perpendicular to the direction of energy and wave propagation.

Energy and Momentum 
EMR carries energy - sometimes called radiant energy - through space continuously away from the source.

EMR also carries both momentum and angular momentum.

It matters!
These properties may all be imparted to matter with which it interacts.

EMR is produced from other types of energy when created, and it is converted to other types of energy when it is destroyed.

The photon is the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction, and is the basic "unit" or constituent of all forms of EMR.

The quantum nature of light becomes more apparent at high frequencies (or high photon energy). Such photons behave more like particles than lower-frequency photons do.

In classical physics, EMR is considered to be produced when charged particles are accelerated by forces acting on them.

Electrons are responsible for emission of most EMR because they have low mass, and therefore are easily accelerated by a variety of mechanisms.

Rapidly-moving electrons are most sharply accelerated when they encounter a region of force, so they are responsible for producing much of the highest frequency electromagnetic radiation observed in nature.

Quantum processes can also produce EMR, such as when atomic nuclei undergo gamma decay, and processes such as neutral pion decay.

(based on wikipedia article on electromagnetic radiation)

Photons - Electromagnetic spectrum

EM Spectrum - visible light

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is a form of energy emitted and absorbed by charged particles, which exhibits wave-like behaviour as it travels through space. (In vacuum, electromagnetic radiation propagates at a characteristic speed, the speed of light.)

EMR is classified according to the frequency of its wave. The electromagnetic spectrum (EMS), in order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength, consists of

  • radio waves 
  • microwaves 
  • infrared radiation 
  • visible light 
  • ultraviolet radiation 
  • X-rays 
  • gamma rays 
EMR covers wavelengths from thousands of kilometres down to a fraction of the size of an atom.

The limit for long wavelength is the size of the universe itself,

The short wavelength limit is in the vicinity of the Planck length, although in principle the spectrum is infinite and continuous.

The electromagnetic spectrum is highly studied for spectroscopic purposes to characterize matter.

The eyes of various organisms sense a small and somewhat variable window of frequencies of EMR called the visible spectrum.

(Based on wikipedia article on EMR)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Achim Weiss - Creation of the light elements

In the Beginning...

Unfortunately, in the business of creation it is not easy to find simple answers to simple questions.

For example, how did silicon come into being?

Silicon is not so simple.

So let us ask about the light elements like hydrogen, helium, lithium. Surely the scientific answer is easier for us non-professionals to understand when we can even count the protons using the fingers of one hand only?

Well, it depends who you ask.

For we are entering the field of Nuclear Astrophysics.

So let us ask the people who surely know, the ones who wrote the spectacular Cosmology - Einstein Online pages.

They have done quite a job there in the Max Plank Institute to help people using the Web to learn more about Cosmology.

Big Bang Nucleosynthesis: Cooking up the first light elements

Doctor Achim Weiss

The writer of the article, Achim Weiss, is a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching near Munich, in Germany. His main area of research is stellar physics. One part of his work concerns the evolution of Lithium-plateau stars, which is important for observational tests of the predictions of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis.

Here is how this article starts - and it is as good guide an intro to the subject as any:

The big bang models - the cosmological models based on general relativity - tell us that the early universe was extremely hot and dense. At the earliest stages that can be modelled using current physical theories, the universe was filled with radiation and elementary particles - a hot plasma in which energy was distributed evenly. During the subsequent expansion, this plasma has progressively cooled down. By examining how the cooling affects the matter content of the universe, one can derive one of the most impressive testable predictions of the big bang models.

And here is how it ends

All in all, this match between theory and observation constitutes one of the big successes of the standard models of cosmology.

Earlier yet

So we learn that the good old standard models about Cosmos are still doing well.

and that there is even an earlier stage of the Universe that cannot be modelled using current physical theories.

As the Beatles were singing in Eleanor Rigby (almost...)

"All those tiny particles
 where do they all come from?"

Evolution of Elements: from Hydrogen to Ununoctium

Periodic Table
Very useful dynamic Periodic table in

Hydrogen with a single proton and single electron is the simplest element with atomic number 1. Ununoctium is the heaviest known element with atomic number 118. It is highly unstable so perhaps the name really means "one night"!

Ununoctium is the temporary IUPAC name for the transactinide element having the atomic number 118 and temporary element symbol Uuo. It is also known as eka-radon or element 118, and on the periodic table of the elements it is a p-block element and the last one of the 7th period. Ununoctium is currently the only synthetic member of Group 18. It has the highest atomic number and highest atomic mass of all the elements discovered so far.

The radioactive ununoctium atom is very unstable, and since 2002, only three atoms (possibly four) of the isotope 294 Uuo have been detected. While this allowed for very little experimental characterization of its properties and possible compounds, theoretical calculations have resulted in many predictions, including some unexpected ones. For example, although ununoctium is a member of Group 18, it may possibly not be a noble gas, unlike all the other Group 18 elements. It was formerly thought to be a gas but is now predicted to be a solid under normal conditions due to relativistic effects

Evolution of Elements

God has apparently made the atom in such a way that it can only hold so many energy levels. This sets the upper limit for the atomic weight of matter as we know it.

Cosmology explains that most of the Universe contains hydrogen atoms and molecules. But for example on Earth natural hydrogen is rare.

According to current theory, the Sun is formed from the collapse of hydrogen molecule gas that ignites at 3 million Kelvin starting fusion in which helium is formed of hydrogen.

Around the rotating core fire ball in the hydrogen gas there is a planetary disk and it seems to me that heavier elements should be created in this disk.

If this is correct, we can then see the Periodic Table - the Grand Order of Matter - also in evolutionary terms: in the beginning of the time scale there is the simplest element hydrogen and at the end of the Evolution of Elements there are also the heaviest atoms.

It is not necessarily so linear as we might also imagine a more random explosion of the fundamental elements of atoms and molecules and wilder combinations taking place at the same time.

So what is going on?

How does Hydrogen grow into Uranium or highly unstable Ununoctium...

Protoplanetary disk

Protoplanetary disk HH-30 in Taurus NASA
Red beam of stellar jet 
450 light years from us

Modern theory suggests that in the beginning we have dark cloud of hydrogen molecules. Gravity causes the hydrogen molecules to approach each other and the process accelerates as the mass of the groups of molecules grows. Or in the much more expert words of an anonymous encyclopaedia writer:

Protostars typically form from molecular clouds consisting primarily of molecular hydrogen.

When a portion of a molecular cloud reaches a critical size, mass, or density, it begins to collapse under its own gravity.

As this collapsing cloud, called a solar nebula, becomes denser, random gas motions originally present in the cloud average out in favor of the direction of the nebula's net angular momentum.

Conservation of angular momentum causes the rotation to increase as the nebula becomes smaller.

This rotation causes the cloud to flatten out—much like forming a flat pizza out of dough—and take the form of a disk.

The initial collapse takes about 100,000 years.

After that time the star reaches a surface temperature similar to that of a main sequence star of the same mass and becomes visible. It is now a T Tauri star.

Accretion of gas onto the star continues for another 10 million years, before the disk disappears, perhaps being blown away by the young star's solar wind, or perhaps simply ceasing to emit radiation after accretion has ended.

The oldest protoplanetary disk ever discovered is 25 million years old.

Formation, evolution and end of the Solar system

Artist's view of a Protoplanetary disk with asteroids, NASA

Wikipedia nicely and expertly summarizes current scientific views in the article on the formation of the Solar system. For your convenience I copy the intro here. The full article gives many details and links to additional resources (emphasis and subtitles in the intro are my additions to the original text.)

"The formation and evolution of the Solar System is estimated to have begun 4.568 billion years ago with the gravitational collapse of a small part of a giant molecular cloud. Most of the collapsing mass collected in the centre, forming the Sun, while the rest flattened into a protoplanetary disk out of which the planets, moons, asteroids, and other small Solar System bodies formed.

This widely accepted model, known as the nebular hypothesis, was first developed in the 18th century by Emanuel Swedenborg, Immanuel Kant, and Pierre-Simon Laplace. Its subsequent development has interwoven a variety of scientific disciplines including astronomy, physics, geology, and planetary science. Since the dawn of the space age in the 1950s and the discovery of extrasolar planets in the 1990s, the model has been both challenged and refined to account for new observations.

The Solar System has evolved considerably since its initial formation. Many moons have formed from circling discs of gas and dust around their parent planets, while other moons are thought to have formed independently and later been captured by their planets. Still others, as the Earth's Moon, may be the result of giant collisions. Collisions between bodies have occurred continually up to the present day and have been central to the evolution of the Solar System. The positions of the planets often shifted, and planets have switched places. This planetary migration now is thought to have been responsible for much of the Solar System's early evolution.

In roughly 5 billion years, the Sun will cool and expand outward to many times its current diameter (becoming a red giant), before casting off its outer layers as a planetary nebula, and leaving behind a stellar remnant known as a white dwarf. In the far distant future, the gravity of passing stars gradually will whittle away at the Sun's retinue of planets. Some planets will be destroyed, others ejected into interstellar space. Ultimately, over the course of trillions of years, it is likely that the Sun will be left with none of the original bodies in orbit around it."

Carl Sagan - High priest of New Atheism

Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996) 

"Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books.

He advocated scientifically skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Sagan is known for his popular science books and for the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. Sagan wrote the novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name."

The official Carl Sagan Portal is here.

Sagan as a blessing to humanity
One of the great blessings Carl Sagan has brought to humanity is related to the research on the destruction of Mesozoic life by the massive impact of a space object hitting Yucattan. According to the current theory the asteroid caused a huge explosion that raised to Earth's atmosphere such a thick clouds of dust and smoke that it the ensuing cold climate caused the extinction of many life forms and brought to the end the majestic world of the dinosaurs.

Could this happen again?

Carl Sagan and his fellow scientists calculated that it indeed could happen again by the Earth being hit by another celestial object, so let us keep an eye on it. And we do! Humanity has taken the idea so seriously that there is an ongoing study of possible candidates for close encounters. The idea has been popularized also by two major Hollywood movies giving us all a feel what such Harmageddon or Deep Impact might be like.

But there is not much we can do about rocks from the space, Kuiper belt or elsewhere. Carl Sagan noticed, however, that also humans can induce such a global catastrophe bringing life on Earth to a sudden and tragic end.

The two chilling words "Nuclear Winter" have penetrated not only to common consciousness of modern men but especially to the cool power hungry minds of modern politicians. China, Soviet Union,  and the United States understood that they had the real capability of causing extinction of life on Earth many times over with the nuclear weapons they possess. And took practical steps to prevent such war of breaking out by accident.

Carl Sagan also wondered during the Gulf War could the burning of oil fields in Kuwait have such a global impact. His question was taken very seriously.

High priest of New Atheism
Carl Sagan aimed his brilliant mind to the deep secrets of the Universe but he was also very comprehensive in his approach to the role of humanity on this planet. Life, extraterrestial life, origins of life, the genious and fragility of human race.

Sagan took a sceptical, doubting, attitude to everything including human religions. His ideas and insight on the nature of religions, their role in human history and the conflicts of knowledge and faith were as important to him as the surface temperature of Venus. Or even more so.

As a great looking, brilliant English speaking scientist, interpretor of humanity and theological thinker Carl Sagan has achieved among modern Western world that status of what I think could well be expressed with the title "High priest of new Atheism"

Also in the realm of Scepticism and Atheism, branches of religious philosophy and anti-Theology, He has many disciples!

The End
After a long and difficult fight with myelodysplasia, which included three bone marrow transplants, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62 at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, on December 20, 1996. He was buried at Lakeview Cemetery in Ithaca, New York.

According to his last wife, Ann Druyan, he was not a believer:
"When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me—it still sometimes happens—and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don't ever expect to be reunited with Carl."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

J.G. Hartnett on Redshift

Professor Hartnett faces some challenges in fitting the 6000 year chronology of the Universe calculated from Biblical genealogies with modern cosmology.

Since the foundations of our understanding of the age and size of the cosmos are based on quasars and redshift, he has a religious and not only scientific interest in the subject.

Here is a bibliography taken from the Western Australian University researcher profile page. The authors and titles give accurate insight into his work in the scientific community. Some of his work in the realm of creationism are published by the Creation Ministries International.

Judging from the wikipedia article, J.G. Hartnett seems to give special value to his cooperation with and the support he has received of professor M,Carmeli. "According to Moshe Carmeli, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Israel, Hartnett in his theory demonstrated that there is no need to reckon with the existence of the dark matter in the universe." (wikipedia)

Hartnett, J.G.  2009,
'Unknown selection effect simulates redshift periodicity in quasar number counts from Sloan Digital Sky Survey', Astrophysics and Space Science, 324, pp. N/A

Hartnett, J.G., Oliveira, F. 2008,
Testing CGR against High Redshift Observations
in Relativity: Modern Large-Scale Spacetime Structure of the Cosmos, World Scientific Publishing Co. PTE LTD , Singapore

Hartnett, J.G.  2008,
'Extending the Redshift-Distance Relation in Cosmological General Relativity to Higher Redshifts',
Foundations of Physics, 1, pp. online - approx 5-20pp

Hartnett, J.G., Hirano, K. 2008,
'Galaxy redshift abundance periodicity from Fourier analysis of number counts N(z) using SDSS and 2dF GRS galaxy surveys', Astrophysics and Space Science, 318, pp. 13-24.

Hartnett, J.G. 2008,
'The redshift-distance relation extended to higher redshifts in Cosmological General Relativity',
Fundamental and Computational Physics 9th International Symposium, New York, USA, 1018, pp. 57-66.

Hartnett, J.G. 2006,
'The Distance Modulus Determined from Carmeli's Cosmology Fits the Accelerating Universe Data of the High-redshift Type Ia Supernovae Without Dark Matter', Foundations of Physics, 36, 6, pp. 839-861

Carmeli, M., Hartnett, J.G., Oliveira, F.J. 2006,
'The Cosmic Time in Terms of the Redshift ', Foundations of Physics Letters, 19, 3, pp. 277-283.

John G. Hartnett and New Cosmology

Research professor John G. Hartnett

In another blog I started a discussion on the work of research professor John G. Hartnett in the University of Western Australia. Hartnett is a recognized researcher and patent holder on Temperature Compensated Oscillator.  He is involved, for example, with an European Space Agency project on atomic clock.

Professor J.G. Hartnett is also a confessing Christian who holds to creationist views including the 6000 years chronology of the Cosmos at the core of Young Earth Geology.

I continue the discussion in this blog dedicated to the theological aspects in space research and cosmology.

Thank you Otto very much for the link you gave to John Hartnett's writing published in Creation Ministries International Web site with the title "A new cosmology: solution to the starlight travel time problem"  This article was originally published in Technical Journal August 2003 Vol. 17:98.102 (The publication is today called Journal of Creation)

We can see in this article that  John G. Harnett accepts the chronology of the world as calculated by archbishop James Ussher and others from biblical genealogies.

This basic fact of creation supposedly revealed to humanity in the Scriptures inspires Hartnett to suggest nothing less than a new cosmology.

New model is needed because of the old cosmology where according to modern cosmology light travellers a bit more than 6k years to reach us. How come, if the entire Universe was created 4004 BC?

(Supposedly - because the Bible does not give date of creation. The date of creation has been calculated from Adam and Eve in Paradise using the genealogies of their descendants.)

As a recognized expert on time J.G. Hartnett is involved in the building of highly accurate space based atomic clocks with European Space Agency ESA. Such project definitely requires deep understanding of time and relativity along the lines that Albert Einstein originally figured out.

Ardent believers in the inerrancy of the Bible face significant difficulty in how much time there is in the cosmos for light to travel.

"As has been often repeated in creationist literature, the starlight-travel-time problem is particularly important to solve. The problem is simply that in the time available since creation (about 6,000 years) there has not been enough time for light to get to Earth from even the nearest neighbour galaxies (1.5 to 3 million years travel time at constant speed of light c) let alone the most distant galaxies (billions of years travel time at constant c). How then do we see them and how did Adam see them?"

Can our expert help them out? Could, for example Theory of Relativity that deals with time and space help believers to hold fast on the Biblical chronology as calculated by James Ussher in early 17th century and still look at the space with peace in heart?


The amount and passage of time in the cosmos is pertinent to the creationist because we need to interpret the evidence within a self-consistent framework of the model we adopt. Therefore in a model of type 1 or type 3, which incorporate astronomical time, explanations of the rotation curves in galaxies, the Tully-Fisher law or the apparent excess of mass inferred from the dynamics of equilibrium clusters of galaxies become an issue to creationist cosmology.

A new model, of a type similar to Humphreys’, has been described that allows billions of years to pass in the cosmos but only 24 hours on Earth during Day 4.

In this model, the laws of physics are suspended while creation is in progress and enormous time dilation occurs between Earth clocks and astronomical clocks.

This solves the light-travel-time problem faced by creationist cosmology and makes all astronomical evidence fit the Genesis account. No non-physical requirements are placed on the model.
J.G. Hartnett

The New Cosmology article by J.G. Hartnett is in some sense a play of ideas, how would this work. I am not competent to evaluate his argumentation and this should be done by his peers. There may be significant scientific debate going on concerning his fitting billions years into Day 4 of creation, but I am not aware of it.

Professor Hartnett has significant knowledge and deep understanding of modern cosmology and is challenging important theories including the theory of Big Bang. He shows, however, very little interest or knowledge of the scientific research of the Bible. The use of the considerable brain power God has given to us humans in the study of the Scriptures is another significant field where creationists are challenging many views and theories.

Here he shows some laxness with the Bible by adding to the story of creation the small detail, that on day 4 God suspended the laws of physics.

The Theory of Relativity is a fundamental key to modern understanding of God's creation and a significant milestone along the path is the discovery of red shift by Edwin Hubble. For this reason, it is very interesting how Hartnett works with these subjects.

I open another post for this.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ignite the Sun!

Butane lighters use friction to get the spark for ignition

Ignite the fire!
 Angi, fire, is a chemical reaction that often involves reaction with oxygen O2. School teachers cleverly show the importance of air by asking students to cover a burning candle with a glass. Before this educational experiment can go ahead the candle must somehow start burning - a matchstick or cigarette lighter will do. (Note the use of the English word "light" as a verb meaning "to bring light" and in this case "to make fire that brings light")

Carburators combine highly flammable gasoline with carefully measured amounts of air so that the engine produces just the right amount of power. An electronically created spark is created to ignite the combination of gas and air into an explosive burst of fire.

Ignite the atom!
Like angi also "nuclear fire" produces electromagnetic energy emitting heat and photons of light.

The fire is different, however, because the substance itself is "burning" without a reaction with another chemical. In fission reactions heavy atoms are splitting releasing enormous amounts of energy of the "weak force" that keeps molecules together. In fusion reaction lighter atoms join together into heavier atoms releasing plenty of energy in the process.

Scientists have shown that the "fire" burning in the main sequence stars is a fusion reaction in which the simplest elements of the Cosmos, hydrogen atoms, join to form the second simplest element, helium.

Ignite the hydrogen cloud!
Where is the spark that ignites one of the most desolate and cold things in the Universe, a dark cloud of hydrogen molecules and dust?

Well. Astrophysicists explain that there probably is no spark that ignites the process like the triggers used on earthly fusion bomb. Under certain conditions the hydrogen ignites itself in a thermonuclear process. To start "burning" into helium hydrogen must be heated to three million Kelvins. That is very hot but obviously this heating happens in the space. Known cosmos contains mostly hydrogen gas, the simplest element of creation with a single proton and electron. Yet, on the night sky we see with our own eyes thousands of these burning fire balls we call stars.

Molecular cloud of hydrogen is very sparse and its atoms have almost no movement as the temperature can be near absolute zero. So how it gets hot when it does so?

The mass of the hydrogen molecules is very small but they still have some mass. The fundamental force of gravity acts on these molecules pulling them together. First slowly but as the mass of the hydrogen lumps gets denser and atoms closer to each other the pull of the gravity gets stronger.

The idea in this theory of how stars are born from sparse clouds of hydrogen through gravity describes self-ignition. No cosmic spark is required, just a cloud of atoms and the force of gravity and some time. The gas collapses into itself forming a protostar which is a denser lump of atoms. The gravity causes the atoms to "fall" with increasing speed creating eventually the enormous heat required for the thermonuclear reaction to start.

It is not difficult to imagine that some heavy object might enter a cloud of hydrogen and begin a snowball effect gathering hydrogen atoms together like a magnet until the ball bursts into nuclear flames.

Stellar nurseries
Stars are born in clouds of hydrogen and dust. These dark birthplaces are lit by the new stars getting into fire inside the clouds themselves and also by reflecting light from neighbouring stars in different colors of the visible spectrum.

Some of the most famous astronomy photos have been taken of such dark nebulae, majestic stellar nurseries, where some of the most powerful processes in nature are taking place. One of the most famous stellar nurseries, Orion Nebula, is visible to unaided eye - the fabulous middle "star" in the dagger of Orion.

NASA Universe 101 teaches more!
There is much more to be learned about the birth of stars, about different kinds of stars out there and about the death of stars. A great source of information is from the leading centre of space exploaration NASA Universe 101

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


There is something ancient about campfire ...

After prehistoric humans had learned to light a fire they got light from it... and heat.

When he wanted to see in the darkness of his cave, burning fire gave him light.

When she wanted to feel warm, burning fire gave her heat.

Fire is one of the great discoveries of human race and no other species on Earth knows how to use it or how to light it.

Prehistoric people did not know all the details about the chemistry or nuclear physics involved with burning fires. First evidence we have of controlled fire associated with humans seems to be some 200.000 years old.

There are possibly some modern people, as well, who use fire for all kinds of purposes, like powering a car by burning gasoline or lighting a cigarette but who do not necessarily know how fire gives also them heat and light.

So let us ask an eminent Hindu teacher Satya Samhita to tell us more about the why and how of fire:

What is Agni?
In most modern Indian languages, the word Agni or its variants mean fire.

What is fire?
What we call fire, is a chemical reaction that involves oxygen.

As an example
1. take a piece of wood that has carbon and hydrogen in it.
2. Add energy to it in the form of heat.
3. At some point the hydrocarbons break up.
3.1. Then oxygen reacts with carbon to form carbon dioxide
3.2. and with hydrogen to form water vapour.

But where does the “fire” – the heat and light come from?
The heated up carbon (and other) atoms rising in the air start throwing off (radiating) electromagnetic energy.

Lower frequencies of EM energy are heat and
higher frequencies EM energy are light.

Niels Bohr said that when electrons in atoms change their energy states, electromagnetic energy is emitted or absorbed.

Satya Samhita

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Photons 
can be used, for example, to burn a DVD

Max Planck said that energy - whatever it is! - is packed in small packages he called quanta. At those times physicists coined words in the real of electromagnetism that have since become everyday vocabulary, photon, electron, proton.

Photon is the elementary particle of light.

The subject is huge even photons are so small. In order to save your click time I copy here the introduction part of the detailed wikipedia article on photons. As a fellow student I give you the quoted text already partly processed by highlighting the contents by adding paragraphs and emphasizing words using italics or bold instead of the usual yellow or pink marker pen. The wikipedia text itself has not been otherwise modified.

In physics, a photon is an elementary particle,
  • the quantum of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation, and 
  • the force carrier for the electromagnetic force. 

The effects of this force are easily observable at both the microscopic and macroscopic level, because the photon has no rest mass; this allows for interactions at long distances.

Like all elementary particles, photons are currently best explained by

  • quantum mechanics and exhibit 
  • wave–particle duality, exhibiting properties of both waves and particles. 

For example, a single photon may be
  • refracted by a lens or exhibit wave interference with itself, but also 
  • act as a particle giving a definite result when its position is measured. 

The modern concept of the photon was developed gradually by Albert Einstein to explain experimental observations that did not fit the classical wave model of light.

In particular, the photon model accounted for
  • the frequency dependence of light's energy, and explained 
  • the ability of matter and radiation to be in thermal equilibrium. 

It also accounted for anomalous observations, including the properties of black body radiation, that other physicists, most notably Max Planck, had sought to explain using semiclassical models, in which light is still described by Maxwell's equations, but the material objects that emit and absorb light are quantized.

Although these semiclassical models contributed to the development of quantum mechanics, further experiments validated Einstein's hypothesis that light itself is quantized; the quanta of light are photons.

In the Standard Model of particle physics, photons are described as a necessary consequence of physical laws having a certain symmetry at every point in spacetime. The intrinsic properties of photons, such as charge, mass and spin, are determined by the properties of this gauge symmetry.

The photon concept has led to momentous advances in experimental and theoretical physics, such as

  • lasers
  • Bose–Einstein condensation
  • quantum field theory, and 
  • the probabilistic interpretation of quantum mechanics

It has been applied to photochemistry, high-resolution microscopy, and measurements of molecular distances. Recently, photons have been studied as elements of quantum computers and for sophisticated applications in optical communication such as quantum cryptography.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Rosette Nebula in Unicorn. APOD 14.2.2012

John L. Heilbron The Sun in the Church

J. L. Heilbron
Harvard University Press (April 2, 2001)

The 2001 book with its 384 information packed pages is a fundamental addition to the library of anyone interested in the vast field of Space Theology.

It defines by its contents and methodology what good Astrotheology should be. It does this by giving a penetrating, scientifically and historically accurate case study that demonstrates the importance of astronomy to the religious man in a concrete real life situation.

Space Theology deals with our evolving world views in the time of space exploration and enormous advances in astronomy and can easily become overly theoretical. As it studies our understanding of life on planet Earth and our attitudes and belief systems in communities of believers or unbelievers, Astrotheology may become rather futile exercise in speculations while expressing our faith or lack of it  in God of Israel, the Creator of the Universe.

By tying mathematical, physical, astronomical data about the Sun with the historical reality of the Church, professor Heilbron avoids such a speculative and at the end rather fruitless line of argumentation and gives useful and significant  facts for understanding ourselves, our belief systems and the Cosmos.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Steven J. Harris, from review in American Scientist
"Displaying an easy familiarity with an astonishing array of primary and secondary sources, Heilbron weaves into the main story line subplots of contending egos and ideas, civic pride, aristocratic patronage and the Catholic Church's endeavors to retain cultural prestige and scientific authority in the wake of the trial of Galileo. His sensitivity to the cultural climate in which cathedral-observatories arose and operated leads him to several conclusions that many readers may find startling."

Ingrid D. Rowland,from review in The New York Review of Books
"Heilbron's study is unabashedly mathematical, filled with diagrams and equations (.....) The innumerate reader will learn much from Heilbron's book, and may come away with a different appreciation of the stars above us." 

Church as a Sun observatory
A Guide to Heilbron's Sun in the Church

Rick Hunter, from review in
"J.L. Heilbron's The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories is a beautifully illustrated, finely written exposition of how the Roman Church used sacred space to perform astronomy.

The most sacred day in the Church calendar is Easter, established as the Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. As it turns out, this was an astoundingly difficult day to calculate, especially years in advance. As a result, in the Middle Ages the celebration of Easter "drifted" from the true date; the Church found itself commemorating Christ's resurrection on the "wrong" Sunday, a matter of grave concern.

To solve this problem, astronomers determined that large buildings - most ideally churches themselves - could be made into solar observatories with a light opening at the apex and a meridian line placed on the floor. By this device, Church-supported scientists could observe the sun's precise position and movement with reference to the meridian line, and thereby make needed Easter (and other) calculations." /div>


Sun spots, Galileo and Church

Humans are by definition both homo habilis - early prehistoric man found in Africa "tool malker" - and homo religiosus who interprets signs also in the realm of the divine.

Our species has survived and taken control of much of the planet by building tools and by having imagination and vision about what could be achieved by using them. Various instruments of observation have given us better knowledge of the physical world in which we live than our unaided senses. They have also been used to prove or disprove theories about reality and possible explanations to natural phenomena that our brilliant minds are able to produce.

The beliefs of homo religiosus
The Sun is such a dominant element in the human reality that it has itself been the object of religious worship from Pharaonic Egypt to Inca and elsewhere.

The Bible strips Sun of all divinity and lists it among the creation of God of Israel. The creation story at the beginning of the Bible is written by people for whom the world was geocentric. Sun, Moon and stars are made on the Fourth Day of Creation after, for example, the green grass and trees that bring fruit each one according to its species.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
Genesis 1:15-19

Theologically it has always been clear that Sun is not a divine being but a created object. However, it gained a very special role in the Christian Church as a major Sign, the most telling Symbol of the invisible God the Father. In the Book of Revelation there is even no need for the Sun:

"And there shall be night no more; and they need no light of lamp, neither light of sun; for the Lord God shall give them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever."  (Rev 22:5)

An observation by homo habilis

Sun spots showing the rotation of the star 

When Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) heard that some smart Dutchmen had aligned various polished pieces of glass on their axis in a tube and gained magnified view of objects he did the same at home and build his first telescope. Looking through this new instrument Galileo was able to notice that Saturn has horns and other things.

Since he was exceptionally smart he did not aim the new instrument directly at the Sun. That would have blinded him permanently by focusing too much daylight into his eye.

Instead, he used a kind of camera obscura, a pinhole allowing sunlight into a wooden box. This projects safely an accurate upside down image of the Sun on the white canvas in the box or into the wall of a darkened room.

The brightness of the Sun hides the black spots on its surface from anyone looking at the star and they had never been reported before. The simple method Galileo used made the spots clearly visible and the Italian genius was able to observe the spots actually moving on the surface of the Sun suggesting rotation.

The solution
How could there be black spots in this perfect symbol of God?

Since the religious man had absolute cultural authority in the Italy of Galileo's time there was a neat solution at hand to the disturbing problem created by his observation.

The religious man did not repeat Galileo's test to see if he was speaking the truth. He was not interested in the reality that can be observed with novel techniques and new instruments that reveal what unaided human eye cannot see.

The religious man had strong unshakable faith, inner truth that was written in authoritative religious documents, and so there can be no blemish in the perfect symbol of God.

Using the police power given to him by the society the religious man silenced the man building tools. As if preventing Galileo from publishing his discoveries man could wipe off the black spots from Sun which is, after all, a symbol and sign of the One God!

Monday, February 13, 2012

John L. Heilbron about Galileo and God

John Lewis Heilbron, born 17 March 1934, is an American historian of science best known for his work in the history of physics and the history of astronomy.

He is Professor of History and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus (Vice-Chancellor 1990-1994) at the University of California, Berkeley, senior research fellow at Worcester College, Oxford, and visiting professor at Yale University and the California Institute of Technology. He edited the academic journal Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences for twenty-five years.

Heilbron attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, California,[citation needed] and was a member of the Lowell Forensic Society. He received his A.B. (1955) and M.A. (1958) degrees in physics and his Ph.D. (1964) in history from the University of California, Berkeley. He was Thomas Kuhn's graduate student in the 1960s when Kuhn was writing The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Heilbron is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

From the context of what he wrote about the religious views of Max Planck it appears to me that professor John L. Heilbron himself has something to say about natural sciences and God.

The subject is apparently very important to him also despite of his dismissive style. For in 2010 Heilbron published a major 528 pages book on the life and work of Galileo (Oxford University Press).

Galileo is one of the most tragic confrontations between scientific observation and religious faith and the persecution of Galileo by the Italian Inquisition in the name of truth a highly educational episode to us all.

"A masterpiece...It far surpasses all previous biographies of Galileo. Impeccable scholarship."--Nick Jardine, Professor of the History and Philosophy of Sciences, Cambridge University

"By far the best general reconstruction of Galileo's private and intellectual llife available in the English language."--Paolo Galluzzi, Professor and Director, Museo Galielo, Florence

John .L. Heilbron about Max Planck and God

Max Planck (1858-1947)

The well-known American historian of physics and astronomy, John.L. Heilbron (1934) wrote about the religious views of Max Planck in The dilemmas of an upright man: Max Planck and the fortunes of German science. (Harvard University Press 1986)

"On the scientist side, Marxist writers have lamented such flagrant bourgeois idealism in a man whom otherwise they admire as a self-taught materialist. On the other side, Church spokesmen could scarcely become enthusiastic about Plankc's deism, which omitted all reference to established religions and had no more doctrinal content than Einstein's Judaism.

It seemed useful therfore to paint the lily, to improve the lesson of Planck's life for the use of proselytizers and to associate the deanthropomorphizer of science with a believ in a traditional Godhead.

Six months before his death from stroke on 4 October 1947, a rumour started that Planck had converted to Catholicism. An engineer applied to him for the reason that had brought him to such a step.

The reply was not useful to missionaries.

He had always been deeply religious, Planck said, but he did not believe "in a personal God, let alone a Christian God. A God without qualities, a religion without trappings, life without compartments, knowledge without divisions - in brief, a worldview without extremes - have little appeal to prophets and promoters."

Max Planck and Photon

Max Planck and Photon - a truly great man and a rather small thing.

The great man
Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (1858 – 1947) was a German physicist who discovered quantum physics, initiating a revolution in natural science and philosophy. He is regarded as the founder of quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.

Max Planck Institute of Natural Sciences and Astrophysics carries his name.

The small thing, 1900
The central assumption behind his new derivation, presented to the DPG on 14 December 1900, was the supposition, now known as the Planck postulate, that electromagnetic energy could be emitted only in quantized form, in other words, the energy could only be a multiple of an elementary unit

E = hν

where h is Planck's constant, also known as Planck's action quantum (introduced already in 1899), and ν (the Greek letter nu, not the Roman letter v) is the frequency of the radiation. Note that the elementary units of energy discussed here are represented by hν and not simply by h.

Physicists now call these quanta photons,

and a photon of frequency ν will have its own specific and unique energy.

The amplitude of energy at that frequency is then a function of the number of photons of that frequency being produced per unit of time.

An even greater man?
At first Planck considered that quantisation was only "a purely formal assumption ... actually I did not think much about it..."; nowadays this assumption, incompatible with classical physics, is regarded as the birth of quantum physics and the greatest intellectual accomplishment of Planck's career (Ludwig Boltzmann had been discussing in a theoretical paper in 1877 the possibility that the energy states of a physical system could be discrete).

Further interpretation of the implications of Planck's work was advanced by Albert Einstein in 1905 in connection with his work on the photoelectric effect—for this reason, the philosopher and historian of science Thomas Kuhn argued that Einstein should be given credit for quantum theory more so than Planck, since Planck did not understand in a deep sense that he was "introducing the quantum" as a real physical entity.

Be that as it may, it was in recognition of Planck's monumental accomplishment that he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.

Theological note
Let us keep in mind that neither Max Planck nor Albert Einstein invented photon.

God of Israel created it.

These two great men figured out what that thing called light is using very effectively the brains that God had given them.

1905 was a good year of brilliant light

God created light.

It is of utmost significance for the entire human race and its study has lead us to deeper understanding of God's creation. Most of the things we know about Cosmos we know through the study of light.

Today we know more about light largely because the great Albert Einstein paid attention to small details. He was not happy with the nasty anomalies that made the existing scientific theories somewhat ugly. He had a beautiful mind.

For our convenience, I quote here key parts of the wikipedia article summarizing his breakthrough theories and their consequences to modern science instead of paraphrasing it in my own words (my emphasis). 

1905 was a good year.

Special theory of relativity
The wave theory was successful in explaining nearly all optical and electromagnetic phenomena, and was a great triumph of nineteenth century physics.

By the late nineteenth century, however, a handful of experimental anomalies remained that could not be explained by or were in direct conflict with the wave theory.

One of these anomalies involved a controversy over the speed of light. The constant speed of light predicted by Maxwell's equations and confirmed by the Michelson-Morley experiment contradicted the mechanical laws of motion that had been unchallenged since the time of Galileo, which stated that all speeds were relative to the speed of the observer.

In 1905, Albert Einstein resolved this paradox by proposing that space and time appeared to be changeable entities, which accounted for the constancy of the speed of light.

Einstein also proposed a previously unknown fundamental equivalence between energy and mass with his famous equation

E = mc^2 \,

where E is energy, m is, depending on the context, the rest mass or the relativistic mass, and c is the speed of light in a vacuum.

Particle theory revisited
Another experimental anomaly was the photoelectric effect, by which light striking a metal surface ejected electrons from the surface, causing an electric current to flow across an applied voltage.

Experimental measurements demonstrated that the energy of individual ejected electrons was proportional to the frequency, rather than the intensity, of the light.

Furthermore, below a certain minimum frequency, which depended on the particular metal, no current would flow regardless of the intensity.

These observations appeared to contradict the wave theory, and for years physicists tried in vain to find an explanation.

In 1905, Einstein solved this puzzle as well, this time by resurrecting the particle theory of light to explain the observed effect. Because of the preponderance of evidence in favor of the wave theory, however, Einstein's ideas were met initially with great skepticism among established physicists. But eventually Einstein's explanation of the photoelectric effect would triumph, and it ultimately formed the basis for wave–particle duality and much of quantum mechanics.

Quantum theory
A third anomaly that arose in the late 19th century involved a contradiction between the wave theory of light and measurements of the electromagnetic spectrum emitted by thermal radiators, or so-called black bodies. Physicists struggled with this problem, which later became known as the ultraviolet catastrophe, unsuccessfully for many years.

In 1900, Max Planck developed a new theory of black-body radiation that explained the observed spectrum. Planck's theory was based on the idea that black bodies emit light (and other electromagnetic radiation) only as discrete bundles or packets of energy. These packets were called quanta, and the particle of light was given the name photon, to correspond with other particles being described around this time, such as the electron and proton.

A photon has an energy, E, proportional to its frequency, f, by where h is Planck's constant, λ is the wavelength and c is the speed of light. Likewise, the momentum p of a photon is also proportional to its frequency and inversely proportional to its wavelength: As it originally stood, this theory did not explain the simultaneous wave- and particle-like natures of light, though Planck would later work on theories that did. In 1918, Planck received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his part in the founding of quantum theory.

Wave–particle duality
The modern theory that explains the nature of light includes the notion of wave–particle duality, described by Albert Einstein in the early 1900s, based on his study of the photoelectric effect and Planck's results.

Einstein asserted that the energy of a photon is proportional to its frequency.

More generally, the theory states that everything has both a particle nature and a wave nature, and various experiments can be done to bring out one or the other.

The particle nature is more easily discerned if an object has a large mass, and it was not until a bold proposition by Louis de Broglie in 1924 that the scientific community realised that electrons also exhibited wave–particle duality. The wave nature of electrons was experimentally demonstrated by Davisson and Germer in 1927.

Einstein received the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his work with the wave–particle duality on photons (especially explaining the photoelectric effect thereby), and de Broglie followed in 1929 for his extension to other particles.

Quantum electrodynamics
The quantum mechanical theory of light and electromagnetic radiation continued to evolve through the 1920s and 1930s, and culminated with the development during the 1940s of the theory of quantum electrodynamics, or QED.

This so-called quantum field theory is among the most comprehensive and experimentally successful theories ever formulated to explain a set of natural phenomena.

QED was developed primarily by physicists Richard Feynman, Freeman Dyson, Julian Schwinger, and Shin-Ichiro Tomonaga. Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga shared the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions.

Let there be light!

The Bible says that the first thing God created in the beginning was light - jehi or!

The amazing fact of human existence is that the study of this first thing, light, has opened to human race the study of the deepest structures of creation. Light is of such fundamental importance that struggling with its secrets has opened up major fields of research in modern science - not least among them nuclear physics. Or to put it in the somewhat less raving style of English wikipedia "the study of light, known as optics, is an important research area in modern physics."

"Light, which is emitted and absorbed in tiny "packets" called photons, exhibits properties of both waves and particles. This property is referred to as the wave–particle duality."

Sir Isaac Newton considered light to be tiny bodily pieces (corpuscles) flying around, reflected by mirrors and caught somehow by the eye. Christiaan Huygens, on the other hand, suggested that light is a series of waves emitted to every direction in some light carrying medium he called luminoferous ether. Maxwell's electromagnetic theory gave the wave theory a significant push as scientists were able to use it in order to explain the behaviour of light.

Almost everything.

Now, many people were quite happy about the state of affairs and considered the wave theory a great triumph of 19th century science. What it was.

Albert was not happy with those small anomalities. We know that he loved beautiful theories - and as long as the explanation was not beautiful to his mind it was not satisfactory.

So he used his significant ability to conceptualize things and figured out something that could explain the properties of light in a beautiful manner.

This changed the course of human history.

Understanding light

Natural reflection of light on water

With the rise of the scientific era humanity finally began to grasp essential information about light but it turned out to be both a very fundamental and a very tough question for the best of modern scientists.

It still is.

Descartes 1637
René Descartes (1596–1650) held that light was a mechanical property of the luminous body, rejecting the "forms" of Ibn al-Haytham and Witelo as well as the "species" of Bacon, Grosseteste, and Kepler.

In 1637 he published a theory of the refraction of light that assumed, incorrectly, that light travelled faster in a denser medium than in a less dense medium. Descartes arrived at this conclusion by analogy with the behaviour of sound waves.

Although Descartes was incorrect about the relative speeds, he was correct in assuming that light behaved like a wave and in concluding that refraction could be explained by the speed of light in different media.

Descartes is not the first to use the mechanical analogies but because he clearly asserts that light is only a mechanical property of the luminous body and the transmitting medium, Descartes' theory of light is regarded as the start of modern physical optics.

Particle theory 1675
Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655), an atomist, proposed a particle theory of light which was published posthumously in the 1660s.

Isaac Newton studied Gassendi's work at an early age, and preferred his view to Descartes' theory of the plenum. He stated in his Hypothesis of Light of 1675 that light was composed of corpuscles (particles of matter) which were emitted in all directions from a source.

One of Newton's arguments against the wave nature of light was that waves were known to bend around obstacles, while light travelled only in straight lines. He did, however, explain the phenomenon of the diffraction of light (which had been observed by Francesco Grimaldi) by allowing that a light particle could create a localised wave in the aether.

Wave theory 1690
In the 1660s, Robert Hooke published a wave theory of light. Christiaan Huygens worked out his own wave theory of light in 1678, and published it in his Treatise on light in 1690. He proposed that light was emitted in all directions as a series of waves in a medium called the Luminiferous ether. As waves are not affected by gravity, it was assumed that they slowed down upon entering a denser medium.

The wave theory predicted that light waves could interfere with each other like sound waves (as noted around 1800 by Thomas Young), and that light could be polarised, if it were a transverse wave. Young showed by means of a diffraction experiment that light behaved as waves. He also proposed that different colours were caused by different wavelengths of light, and explained colour vision in terms of three-coloured receptors in the eye.

In early 19th century emerging scientific era led to significant experimental discoveries that gave more light to the problem of what light really is.

British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) "proposed in 1847 that light was a high-frequency electromagnetic vibration, which could propagate even in the absence of a medium such as the ether." (wikipedi)

This was a major step forward in understanding light and led humanity to the right track on resolving what God of Israel actually created when He said "jehi or!"

James Clerk Maxwell 1862
Faraday's work inspired Scottish physicist and mathematician James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) to study electromagnetic radiation and light.

Maxwell discovered that self-propagating electromagnetic waves would travel through space at a constant speed, which happened to be equal to the previously measured speed of light. From this, Maxwell concluded that light was a form of electromagnetic radiation: he first stated this result in 1862 in On Physical Lines of Force.

In 1873, he published A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, which contained a full mathematical description of the behaviour of electric and magnetic fields, still known as Maxwell's equations.

Soon after, Heinrich Hertz confirmed Maxwell's theory experimentally by generating and detecting radio waves in the laboratory, and demonstrating that these waves behaved exactly like visible light, exhibiting properties such as reflection, refraction, diffraction, and interference.

Maxwell's theory and Hertz's experiments led directly to the development of modern radio, radar, television, electromagnetic imaging, and wireless communications.

Humanity learning about light

יהי אור
The Bible tells that God created light as the first command of creation jehi or! (Genesis 1:3)

His Sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening giving daylight, His Moon delights us at nights or raises awe and even fear, the stars twinkle so brightly in their thousands on the velvet night sky.

Humanity has been able to create light by burning things and by reflecting light from surfaces. Since prehistoric times open fires, torches and later on various kinds of lamps have given light to the darkness. Its properties could be studied and used in optics, its beauty shown in high art and shadows utilized for many different kinds of effects. However, for most of our history we have really had no idea what light actually is.

Classical Greece and Hellenism
In the fifth century BC, Empedocles postulated that everything was composed of four elements; fire, air, earth and water. He believed that Aphrodite made the human eye out of the four elements and that she lit the fire in the eye which shone out from the eye making sight possible. If this were true, then one could see during the night just as well as during the day, so Empedocles postulated an interaction between rays from the eyes and rays from a source such as the sun.

In about 300 BC, Euclid wrote Optica, in which he studied the properties of light. Euclid postulated that light travelled in straight lines and he described the laws of reflection and studied them mathematically. He questioned that sight is the result of a beam from the eye, for he asks how one sees the stars immediately, if one closes one's eyes, then opens them at night. Of course if the beam from the eye travels infinitely fast this is not a problem.

In 55 BC, Lucretius, a Roman who carried on the ideas of earlier Greek atomists, wrote: "The light & heat of the sun; these are composed of minute atoms which, when they are shoved off, lose no time in shooting right across the interspace of air in the direction imparted by the shove." – On the nature of the Universe

Despite being similar to later particle theories, Lucretius's views were not generally accepted. Ptolemy (c. 2nd century) wrote about the refraction of light in his book Optics.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Oh how beautiful!

At the Core of NGC 6752, NASA

See the original published Hubble photo of this marvel of creation at Astronomy picture of the day

Akhenaten IV worshipping Sun

Akhenaten and Nefertiti worshipping Sun God Aten 

    How manifold it is, what thou hast made!
    They are hidden from the face (of man).
    O sole god, like whom there is no other!
    Thou didst create the world according to thy desire,
    Whilst thou wert alone: All men, cattle, and wild beasts,
    Whatever is on earth, going upon (its) feet,
    And what is on high, flying with its wings.

    The countries of Syria and Nubia, the land of Egypt,
    Thou settest every man in his place,
    Thou suppliest their necessities:
    Everyone has his food, and his time of life is reckoned.
    Their tongues are separate in speech,
    And their natures as well;
    Their skins are distinguished,
    As thou distinguishest the foreign peoples.
    Thou makest a Nile in the underworld,
    Thou bringest forth as thou desirest
    To maintain the people (of Egypt)
    According as thou madest them for thyself,
    The lord of all of them, wearying (himself) with them,
    The lord of every land, rising for them,
    The Aton of the day, great of majesty.

Inti, the Inca Sun God

Inti, the Inca Sun God

"Pachacuti was a key influence on the drastic reorganization of the Inca religion. He claimed to be the direct descendant of the Inca Sun God Inti, which brought strict obedience from his people. Their daily work tasks almost became a religious duty as Pachacuti created a cult around himself and the sun-god Inti.

Every day the emperor would wear new clothes and have his old ones from the previous day burned. Meals would only be eaten from his golden plates. He believed himself to be an actual god.
Inca society was a theocratic society, meaning that politics and religion were completely intertwined. The Inca religion combined many features of animism, fetishism, and the worship of nature gods representing forces of nature. Through these rituals, the Incas practiced forms of divination and the sacrifice of humans and animals."


 Sun rays seen as direct lines of light
We humans hide our eyes from the blinding brilliance of sunshine and we feel its warmth on our skins even eyes closed.

How come?

What is sunshine, that excites the pigment on our skins to give us nice brown tan after laying hours on the sunny beaches of California?  

Simple question, eh?


I find it surprising that the first thing God creates is light. (Bible does not specifically mention the creation of land or water.)

It is also surprising that light is created before the Sun, Moon and stars and that the light defines the days and nights of the seven days of creation.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Genesis 1:1-4 KJ21

What is so surprising about that?

Well, for one thing, human race has been trying to figure out what is light and how it is born in the Sun and how it reaches us from far out has led to the study of the very foundations of entire Universe.

Light is in the beginning of God's creation and its importance is reflected in our scientific study of the cosmos.

As far as I know, the Bible is unique in giving light such a role in the beginning and as something separate from the Sun and no other ancient religious book has such a concept. 

Also, no other ancient religious source makes it so clear that light and the Sun are made by Sovereign Creator without even a hint of worshipping the created instead of their Creator.