Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The 11th thing- Cheer up Anu!

My friend Anuradha hadn't done her exams well due to various (valid) reasons. She enters class one day to find that the CAED marks were being announced. The attender was the centre of attention, with students flocking around him and badgering him and trying to look into the register containing their marks.
Anu chose to walk up to Prajwal, the class nerd and asked him as to how he'd fared.
"9.8 on 10" was the smug answer.
She then joined the slowly dispersing crowd of students and managed to catch the attender's eye and said,"Anuradha R, roll number 5."
The attender looked importantly into the register, frowned and said something that sounded like a six.
Anu was shocked. She hadn't done that well! She was very nearly expecting a zero.
The attender got back to her and said,"No maa.. Point six."
Anu was devastated.
The attender took in her expression and said kindly but seriously,
"Its alright maa.. nothing to worry about. Point six is rounded off to one."

Note- There is no need to feel sorry for Anu. She's a bright kid. More importantly, all of her classmates except for the class nerd and his girlfriend have got marks ranging from 0-2.

The tenth thing- CF

Part 1: Einstein's Big Blunder

100 years ago, Albert Einstein published
three papers that rocked the world. These papers
proved the existence of the atom, introduced the
theory of relativity, and described quantum

Pretty good debut for a 26 year old scientist, huh?

His equations for relativity indicated that the universe
was expanding. This bothered him, because if it was
expanding, it must have had a beginning and a beginner.
Since neither of these appealed to him, Einstein introduced
a 'fudge factor' that ensured a 'steady state' universe,
one that had no beginning or end.

But in 1929, Edwin Hubble showed that the furthest
galaxies were fleeing away from each other, just as the
Big Bang model predicted. So in 1931, Einstein embraced
what would later be known as the Big Bang theory, saying,
"This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation
of creation to which I have ever listened." He referred
to the 'fudge factor' to achieve a steady-state universe
as the biggest blunder of his career.

As I'll explain during the next couple of days,
Einstein's theories have been thoroughly proved and
verified by experiments and measurements. But there's
an even more important implication of Einstein's discovery.
Not only does the universe have a beginning, but time
itself, our own dimension of cause and effect, began
with the Big Bang.

That's right -- time itself does not exist before
then. The very line of time begins with that creation
event. Matter, energy, time and space were created
in an instant by an intelligence outside of space
and time.

About this intelligence, Albert Einstein wrote
in his book "The World As I See It" that the harmony
of natural law "Reveals an intelligence of such
superiority that, compared with it, all the
systematic thinking and acting of human beings is
an utterly insignificant reflection."

He went on to write, "Everyone who is seriously
involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced
that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe--
a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in
the face of which we with our modest powers must feel

Pretty significant statement, wouldn't you say?