Gravity is not a force; it is a distortion of space-time. The problem was that, in order to build a theory on this insight, Einstein needed to be able to create those descriptions in warped four-dimensional space-time. The Euclidean geometry used by Newton and everyone else was not up to this job; fundamentally different and much more challenging mathematics were required. Max Planck, the physicist who set off the revolution in quantum mechanics, thought this presented Einstein with an insurmountable problem. Handily for Einstein, though, an old university chum, Marcel Grossmann, was an expert in Riemannian geometry, a piece of previously pure mathematics created to describe curved multi-dimensional surfaces.
By the time of his lectures in Einstein had, by making use of this unorthodox geometry, boiled his grand idea down to the elegant but taxing equations through which it would become known. Just before the fourth lecture was to be delivered on November 25th, he realised he might have a bit more to offer than thought experiments and equations. At the time of the lectures it was the only thing he could point to that general relativity explained and previous science did not. After the theory was published, Einstein started to look for ways to test it through observation. One of them was to compare the apparent positions of stars that were in the same part of the sky as the sun during a solar eclipse with their apparent positions at other times.
Rays of light, like free-falling objects, trace straight lines in space-time. In Arthur Eddington, a famed British astronomer, announced that observations of an eclipse made on the Atlantic island of Principe showed just the distortion Einstein had predicted one of his images is pictured. Einstein, while pleased, had faith enough in his idea not to have been on tenterhooks. The theory is correct. But that did not make it mainstream.
Question everything: Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity
For one thing it was hard to grasp. General relativity also seemed somewhat beside the point. The quantum revolution that Planck had begun, and that Einstein had contributed to in one of his other great papers of , was bearing fascinating fruit. General relativity had none. What it offered instead was a way to ask questions not about what was in the universe, but about the structure of the universe as a whole. There were solutions to the equations in which the universe was expanding; there were others in which it was contracting.
This became a topic of impassioned debate between Einstein and Willem de Sitter, a Dutch physicist who had found one of the expanding-universe solutions.
Einstein wanted a static universe. That became an embarrassment when, in , an American astronomer put forward strong evidence that the universe was, indeed, getting bigger. Edwin Hubble had measured the colour of the light from distant galaxies as a way of studying their motion; light from objects approaching the Earth looks bluer than it would otherwise, light from objects receding looks redder.
Hubble found that, on average, the more distant the galaxy, the more its light was shifted towards the red; things receded faster the farther away they were. The theory had other implications at which its architect initially balked. In the s nuclear physicists worked out that stars were powered by nuclear reactions, and that when those reactions ran out of fuel the stars would collapse. And the biggest stars would collapse into something with no length, breadth or depth but infinite density: a singularity.
Finding singularities in a theory is highly distasteful to the mathematically minded; they are normally signs of a mistake. Einstein did not want any of them in his universe, and in he published a paper attempting to show that the collapse of giant stars would be halted before a singularity could be formed. Robert Oppenheimer, a brilliant young physicist at Berkeley, used the same relativistic physics to contradict the great man and suggest that such extreme collapses were possible, warping space-time so much that they would create regions from which neither light nor anything else could ever escape: black holes.
One such field, radio astronomy, revealed cosmic dramas that observations using light had never hinted at. Among its discoveries were sources of radio waves that seemed at the same time small, spectacularly powerful and, judging by their red-shifts, phenomenally distant.
How a Feynman experiment may lead to Theory of Everything - Big Think
The astronomers dubbed them quasars, and wondered what could possibly produce radio signals with the power of hundreds of billions of stars from a volume little bigger than a solar system. Some of that matter would be squirted out along the axis of rotation, forming the jets seen in radio observations of quasars. For the first time, general relativity was explaining new phenomena in the world. Bright young minds rushed into the field; wild ideas that had been speculated on in the fallow decades were buffed up and taken further. Less speculatively, but with more profound impact, Stephen Hawking, a physicist pictured, with a quasar , and Roger Penrose, a mathematician, showed that relativistic descriptions of the singularities in black holes could be used to describe the Big Bang in which the expansion of the universe began—that they were, in fact, the only way to make sense of it.
General relativity gave humans their first physical account of the creation. Quantum mechanics says that if you look at space on the tiniest of scales you will see a constant ferment in which pairs of particles pop into existence and then recombine into nothingness. Dr Hawking argued that when this happens at the event horizon of a black hole, some of the particles will be swallowed up, while some will escape.
The energy lost this way comes ultimately from the black hole itself, which gives up mass in the process. Thus, it seems, a black hole must eventually evaporate away to nothingness. Adding quantum mechanics to the description of black holes was a step towards what has become perhaps the greatest challenge in theoretical physics: reconciling the theory used to describe all the fields and particles within the universe with the one that explains its overall shape.
Contorting his body and learning the physical tics that Stephen Hawking has displayed in real life all ring true. Since his breakout work in Les Miserables, a role that should have landed him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, I was wary to believe I'd revisit a praising session with the young actor so soon. It's one of the best things offered this year. When it comes to Felicity Jones, the emotional backbone of the entire process has to be awarded to her. With stunning works in Like Crazy under her belt, Jones takes upon a daunting and heavily emotional character, never afraid to have the audience dislike or be disappointed in what she's doing.
Marsh directs her to astonishing resolve. As a leading lady, Jones ignites such fiery and compelling questions not necessarily asked before in a biopic such as this. Complex and staggering in the way she decides to portray the brave Jane, Jones allows her character to grow, and both live and learn inside of her.
What's most remarkable about Jones is she makes everything seem so effortless. She's not faking anything, she's really feeling and becoming Jane.
She locates all the emotions required of her to execute successfully. The supporting players are no shortage of talent, though secondary to this type of story. Charlie Cox was just as good in his screen time. As Jonathan, Cox lays it all out on the table, heart on sleeve, and soul bared for all of us to see. Production Designer John Paul Kelly and Costume Designer Steven Noble should be commended for their meticulous craft in bringing the time period to the screen.
An Oxford University dormitory along with a dozen outfits worn by all the characters can easily be taken for granted in a film like this. Audiences like their fair share of love stories, but some of them, rather most of them, don't like the ugly that goes with it. In real life, people make mistakes, and do things that can make some cringe.
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I believe some of the more questionable and controversial things during the Hawkings marriage was merely glossed over to not paint them negatively, even though the world is well aware of what went on. I'll be honest, I knew next to nothing about Stephen Hawking and his work prior to sitting for the movie. I knew the robot voice and that's where it about ended.
If anything, the film inspires me to learn more about Stephen's work and theories presented. All of those things are definitely given a back seat to a film that doesn't really require them. The Theory of Everything is not about the equations or the mathematics. It's essentially about us. It's about love, and not just in the form of marriage.
WATCH: A Sh*Tty Explanation of The Theory of Everything
We as humans learn to love ourselves, our families, and our children. They are placed in our lives but I'm not sure how much we realize what goes into maintaining those relationships. The movie makes you think of those things. Start your free trial. Sign In. Keep track of everything you watch; tell your friends.
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