Tuesday, October 3, 2006

2006 Nobel Prize in Physics

This year's award goes to two Americans, John C. Mather (UC Berkeley) and George F. Smoot (NASA's Goodard Space Flight Centre) for their work on the COBE satellite, which gave further credence to the Big Bang theory of how the universe was created. The satellite is able to measure minute differences in temperature in space ... with some points of the universe just a few points above absolute zero. By doing that, they were able to measure out almost to the very boundaries of the universe itself. (Technical analysis of what was trying to be accomplished is here.)

I'll take that one for what it's worth. Many people remember the 1969 moon walk and, among other things, Buzz Aldrin saying "Magnificent Desolation." What they forget was was Aldrin said on the way back to earth. He quoted Psalms and the line about God creating everything in the universe then saying, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Psalms 8:4 -- emphasis mine). Since my teenage years, I have accepted that evolution and the creation story need not be incompatible; in fact, I can't help but wonder if the writers of the Scriptures were so awe inspired by the depth and space of the universe they felt compelled to reduce it to just six "days."

Pretty sure this one is going to be summarily dismissed by Stockwell Day, now in charge of Canada's national security file. After all, he believes The Flintstones was a documentary.

Or my own father, who thinks we were trespassing on "God's property" when the moon landing happened.

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