Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
Yesterday, Professor Filippenko showed a slide detailing possible splittings-off of…
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
Yesterday, Professor Filippenko showed a slide detailing possible splittings-off of forces (electromagnetic, strong nuclear, weak nuclear, gravity) during the earliest moments of the Big Bang. The complete lack of scale cracked me up. At the top, with one Grand Unified force: t=0. A third of the way down: t=10-35 seconds. Two thirds of the way down: t=10-27 seconds. At the bottom, with four separate forces: TODAY.
One reason this made me laugh is that -- and I had forgotten this until yesterday -- for years a TIME-LIFE poster hung in my bedroom that depicted culture-streams through history growing or dying and affecting each other. At the top, each vertical inch represented a thousand years, but by the bottom, each inch represented about ten years. You and I usually see wild disproportionate scales in that direction, and not with the opposite perspective, as with Filippenko's graph.