How much do we really know about the universe around us? The numbers most adults remember from school are no longer valid. New research with the latest advanced technology is uncovering a successively more complex universe. How much of the universe is an illusion?
When we look up at the stars at night, we see less than a tenth of what is there. The rest of the universe consists of some kind of unknown matter, called for want of a better description, “dark matter.” What is this dark matter that makes up the rest of the universe? How can we find out when we cannot detect it? These “dark” forms are radically different from the forces and matter we know, the protons, neutrons and electrons. If there is so much unknown matter in the universe, how does that influence our understanding of the fundamental building blocks of our universe?
Particle physicists have shown us that atoms are not the smallest units of matter. Small entities (particles??) called quarks and leptons are accepted at present to be the fundamental units forming matter. There are indications that there may be a new group of particles we have not discovered yet, super-symmetric particles.
We meet the unknown every day; it is not something only particle physicists and astrophysicists deal with. Mass is something science still does not understand. We can measure its effect when we weigh our food or ourselves, but we do not know what it is.
Even a vacuum is not what we think it is, empty space; in fact it is unlikely that empty space exists. The “empty” vacuum of space is seething with activity, as quantum effects constantly produce particles and antiparticles, only to disappear moments later. Scientists still do not fully understand these processes.
Leaving the subatomic world and looking again at stars, our galaxy the Milky Way, is spinning faster than we thought a few years ago and it has 50% more mass than we thought a few years ago. The latest speed check was 600,000 mils pr hour, which is about a million kilometres per hour.
These highly complex studies are about the simplest basic building blocks of matter and energy. When we look at life, the complexity increases about a zillion fold. Whenever I hear someone flippantly speaking about evolution, I never fail to be amazed at how little people think through their beliefs. That anything can exist at all is beyond the realms of fantasy. It is totally impossible according to the basic Laws of Science.
Even though life and existence itself is difficult to understand, there is something even more complex and intriguing. Consciousness. Are there physical laws from which human consciousness emerges? Does the brain have microscopic structures within neurons to create quantum pathways? Or, is consciousness immaterial.
Why is it, if we are only a collection of molecules, that we ponder the meaning of life?
If we consider why we believe what we believe, here is a video to ponder.