The Journey

This journey is a survey of what science knows as of 2014, written for curious non-scientists.
My goal is to be neither boring nor overwhelming, so I may need your help.

I was once at a launch. What an emotional experience.
Watching it go off your screen does not compare with watching it go off the planet .
Nevertheless, go full screen and turn up the sound to LOUD.

Then think about this: The monkeys are building starships.

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STRANGELY, With huge galaxies above us and tiny subatomic particles below us,
billions of years before us and eternity after us,  
the action that generates us, actually lies not in the extremes but in the middle - Here & Now

First we will look at big things above us:
        Time & Space, matter & energy, the sky above and the Earth - our island home.

Then we'll look at small things below us:
         Invisible Machines: particles, atoms, molecules, cells, life and us.

Finally we will talk and think about talking and thinking - what an amazing development

To understand why we are interested in the middle - the Here & Now, first remember ...

GoldilocksLarge

Goldilocks. Remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? The little girl that wanted everything not too hot or too cold, but "Just Right?" "Just Right" applied to porridge, chairs and beds in the story. "Just Right" also applies to many physical properties of our environment and chemical processes that support life, including temperature and materials. 

For example, Because Earth is the just right distance from our Sun, water is mostly liquid here. Our bodies seem to like about 70º F or 20º C. SO … for us, "Just Right" lies in the middle, which is where we start. Also Earth is just big enough to hold on to its atmosphere and water, but not big enough to crush us like our giant neighbors Jupiter and Saturn - gas giants.

HERE - We live in the middle of space or rather the sizes of things in our universe. Above us lie mighty galaxies, even systems of galaxies and below us lie tiny cells that make up our body and even smaller things - molecules, atoms and strange particles, leading to the question: Why here? Why my size? Why in the middle? 

We will find that we may be the minimal size needed for our incredible development - thinking. But that the larger we become, the more complex we become, making it more difficult and unlikely to chain together and maintain all the events and environments which must happen to produce us.

NOW - We also live in the middle of time - the summertime of our universe. Before and after now lie its spring and fall, and later eventually its winter. Like flowers, we, and all life, even all stars, will bloom and then be gone. So our first question is: Why now? Why are complex beings like us being produced now?

We will find that the materials and environments necessary for our existence did not exist at first, but had to be fabricated by violent processes in stars or grown for billions of years in a soup of complex organic molecules to lay the foundations for each successive environment to follow. These processes took not only billions of years, but the right sequence of events.

As we proceed, be alert for two points:
1 - Our universe and even life itself is built on a few simple mechanisms. 
2 - These mechanisms are repeated and elaborated on a vast scale -
         to generate the complexity we see today. 

First we look above and below, before and after - us. 

Don’t forget - we will find that farm wagons are starships too
"I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.” 
  --  Walt Whitman:

hay ride

Next >>>> Time and Space

© Gareth Harris 2016       --------        Contact email: garethharris@mac.com        --------         see also: GarethHarris.com