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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Universe as a Whole

I've been waking up earlier than my alarm lately, and of course, it's not a bad thing, but I just want to be able to wake up exactly when my alarm is about to go off. Anyways, I went to breakfast at the Commons as usual, and it was rather crowded today. For some reason, there was actually a line outside of the buildings, so there were barely any seats left, so Jun and I just sat at a separate table. After breakfast, Rudy and I then went to class.

We made it a little bit earlier than usual, but I saw that most of the people were already inside. One of the professors started off the lecture with the definition of a line, a triangle, and a rectangle. I found this rather weird because they've been talking about such complicated things lately, and this was basic mathematical definitions. Little did I know, he was leading into a new theory that I had never learned about.

He discussed about Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Since the last theory that we had discussed became so confusing and complicated, I thought that this lecture would be the same. Thankfully, I was proven wrong. What this theory basically discussed was about how objects in space can bend the area around it. Matter tells space how to bend, and space tells matter how to move. This idea was very abstract at first, but our professor had demonstrated it in a way that made sense. He put out this sort of table with a sheet with a grid on it on top of it. Then, he placed a metal ball in the middle, which warped how the sheet looked because it now had a dip. With the grid on it, you could see how matter warped the space around it because you could see the lines were actually bent. Afterwards, he also rolled a lighter ball straight, but it ended up following the path of an ellipse. 

My professor's lecture made sense to me, although there were some details that I couldn't grasp, but I got the general idea. My classmates, however, wanted more than the general idea. They ended up asking the professors these complex questions which lasted for more than 15 minutes and it became really heated. It was interesting to hear about all of these different ideas, and they actually helped me understand this topic even more.

Afterwards, Bhuvnesh Jain, a professor at Penn, gave us a discussion about the new discoveries in the galaxy. He started off with the introduction of dark energy, dark matter, and atoms, but then he went on with showing us equations regarding these discoveries. He even showed us how he derived these equations, which ended up becoming really complex, even though he said it was only Calculus. I've taken Calculus 2, but I could definitely not understand it at all. It just fascinates me how someone can start off with a simple equation, and essentially turn it into an equation for the universe.

The equation for the universe
We didn't have a morning lab today, but we still had an afternoon one. Before we began, however, Bill gave us a demonstration for what we were going to do for lab. He used this device that was able to look at the the flow of electrons in a closed space. It was actually a really interesting lab because the electrons made a blue ring inside of this sphere when we put current through it. We definitely made it past the basic high school level physics, but that's what makes this class interesting.

Interesting devices used for lab
Once class was over, I just walked back with Sema and Leesa to the Quad, and I actually had around an hour of free time today. At around 6 PM, Joanne, Chiamaka, Elexis, Jun, and I decided to go to the gym and exercise for a while. Afterwards, we took a shower and we were in search for a place to eat dinner. It was around 9 PM, so most of the restaurants were closed, but eventually we made it to the Cosi restaurant. We then headed back to the dorms at around 10:30 PM, and I just ended the night with some music and chatter with my floor mates. 

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