Carlo Rovelli’s Seven Brief Lessons on Physics was released in the UK last week, having become a bestseller over in the author’s native Italy. In a gloriously concise 78 pages he takes us through physics in the 20th century, and a bit further, so dimwits such as Professional Moron can get a fundamental grasp on stuff like the General’s Theory of Relatively (we’re guessing Albert Einstein was a war general).
Albert Einstein. Relativity. Space. You’ll have heard these phrases bandied about the place with wild abandon over the years. You’ll no doubt have no idea what they mean or truly are. Luckily, Rovelli’s little book introduces the reader to key areas in how the world works, such as why stuff goes from hot to cold (because it does, okay?), and what on Earth black holes are. It’s a fantastical trip into the world of reality, and all you have to do is buy the book.
Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
In chapter one, The Most Beautiful of Theories, Rovelli explains (for us simpletons) Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Einstein was renowned for his reasonable academic intelligence, which allowed him to do stuff like algebra without going, “Oh, Christ, not bloody algebra!” Indeed, Einstein could do a bit more than basic adding of things like 10+12. He figured out the universe is bendy, like a bit of floppy bread.
Of course Rovelli elucidates the matter a bit more clearly than this. He states:
“The gravitational field is not diffused through space; the gravitational field is that space itself. An entity that undulates, flexes, curves, twists. We are immersed in a gigantic flexible snail-shell. A colourful and amazing world where the unbounded extensions of interstellar space ripple and sway like the surface of the sea.”
If this wasn’t crazed enough, Rovelli goes on to state (in the following six chapters) black holes are hot, if you’re high up time is different than if you’re low down, the past may not be inaccessible, and all sorts of other stuff we’re not even going to pretend we understand. Math ain’t are forte; that’s English – wheel has you now.
He ends on a note many on this planet will find tough to conceptualise – humanity is doomed. His reasoning is sound and, not wishing to sound too pessimistic and nihilistic, but we do have to agree with him. Not that this awesome little book is a depressing read, merely an enlightening overview of humanity on its present path.
We can change the future, of course, but only if we humans can bloody agree on things for a change. Do you think this is possible? Well, contemplate how this sentence makes you feel: You, yes, YOU, stink! So there.