Why Study Physics?
It can help make you a whole person,
capable of living with order and novelty.
Xiangjun Shi, otherwise known as Shixie, studied animation at RISD andphysics at Brown. Then, she harnessed her training in both disciplines to create an animation explaining the virtue of studying physics. Pretty quickly, it gets to the crux of the matter: Studying physics will change how you see the world and how you understand your place in it, all while letting you wrap your mind around some pretty electrifying concepts. I think I’m sold!
You can find more videos by Shixie here.
-- from Open Culture (www.openculture.com)
What the Spiral Loves:
Some Crazy Stuff
Physics told me some crazy stuff. Say, I'm not just sitting here doing nothing; I'm actually fighting against Earth's gravity. And I'm not sitting still; I'm spinning at a thousand miles per hour. Or even more than that, sixty seven thousand miles per hour, if you count the rotation of the earth around the sun. And maybe I'm not even here. I'm just a temporary, accidental collision of two energy waves, in one of the many, many universes in that split second.
But physics became a mode of thinking to me. Through its lens, the world seems beautiful. There is an obsession for simplicity in physics, and symmetry became the key. It unites different things together with some kinds of transformation. A diamond is the same as a square. A circular motion is also an oscillation. Mass is energy. Time is space. Almost everything is everything else. Except, there are these concepts that seem to remain unchanged. Like the circle is a circle and still a circle. And not only that, everybody is a circle. If you think about it, at least in a hypothetical, two-dimensional world.
It's the physicists dream to find the circle of our much more complex universe. If it does exist, it would be the fundamental law that describes all physical relationships; the concept that maintains its integrity throughout all transformations; and perhaps you can even say it's the equation God used to design this universe.
But does it really exist. People have been looking for this mysterious circle for centuries. Every time we think we are close, we are only mistaken. Celestial bodies are not perfect spheres. Gravity doesn't fit in with the other fundamental forces. And quantum physics? Famously ambiguous.
It feels like every time I take a step back from physics, in all its particles and equations, I'm just dumbstruck by how nature totally enjoys the imperfect and asymmetrical. Look how she flattens the fish. And makes mostly right-handed shells, right-handed people, right-handed crabs. If there really is one fundamental law in the universe, elegantly mirrored in everything, why is there also this celebration of irregularity and randomness?
This world is a schizophrenic character, wanting to be two opposite things at once. And it's funny, I think, how I can live with that.
-- Xiangjun Shi