Date: Wed Mar 11 13:04:07 2009 Back to Contents ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Author: Matt Lowry

Subject: Re: Big Bang density

Post:

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Two things...
=20
First, concerning the demo at http://www.wesleyan.edu/physics/demos/pirabib=
/8astro/8C10.html that Paul referenced, specifically the balloon demo, one =
needs to be really careful about presenting it. Many times after I show =
the demo with the expanding balloon, some students will wonder
=20
1) what is the universe expanding into, since the balloon is obviously =
expanding into something, and
2) what is inside of the universe, since the balloon has an internal =
space?
=20
These questions both relate to the same misconception which is commonly =
unaddressed by people doing the demo - the universe, in this model, is the =
surface of the balloon. The universe, as we know it, is not the inside or =
outside of the balloon. If you want to get into questions of the "inside" =
and "outside" of the universe, I think you need to get into a discussion =
of higher-dimensional math and start consulting the theoreticians.
=20
I know this second thing might be OT, so just delete now if you're not =
interested. Paul brings up a good point about treading carefully on =
issues of faith, religion, etc. Allow me to share, briefly, how I address =
the topic when I teach my students about the big bang & cosmic evolution...=

=20
I tell my students that I'm teaching them science, not philosophy, =
religion, or theology. As such, I am teaching them the best scientific =
consensus on the subject, and that consensus is the big bang cosmology =
(BBC) - for good reason which is outlined in the lectures. Of course, =
like all science, the BBC is open to question and may be revised and/or =
overturned by conflicting evidence or a better theory, but for now it is =
the best we have, which is why I'm teaching it. I also acknowledge that =
some people have a conflict between this science and their religious =
beliefs, but I don't go there. I assume the students are mature enough =
that if such a conflict exists for them, they will work it out on their =
own. Now, let's get to the science...
=20
That's how I handle it, and it's never really been a problem for me. I've =
had many students - both religious and non-religious - thank me for this =
approach. For what it's worth.
Cheers,
=20
Matt Lowry
Lake Forest HS
College of Lake County
Illinois

>>> Paul Nord 3/11/2009 9:53 AM >>>
Anthony,

Actually, it's 8C10.00 Models of the Universe.
http://www.wesleyan.edu/physics/demos/pirabib/8astro/8C10.html=20

If we're going to debate creation or the plausibility of features of =20
the Big Bang Theory, then no this is not really a subject for PIRA.

But there were some other things implicit in your question that are =20
appropriate here. Namely: How does one explain the theory to =20
students? What are their problems with understanding the concept? =20
What data do we have that make this model of the universe so =20
compelling? How can this be illustrated in terms of ordinary objects =20
around us?

Our job is to explain science to our students and to the general =20
public. Let's tread carefully where this does touch on questions of =20
religion, faith, and politics. But we don't live in a universe devoid =20
of these things. We need to explain science as well as we can. To do =20
that, we're going to have to respond graciously to some difficult and =20
complicated questions.

Paul


On Mar 11, 2009, at 9:12 AM, Anthony Lapinski wrote:

> I agree. I often cross post to both tap-l and phys-l.
>
> You can't really do demos for this.
>
> tap-l@lists.ncsu.edu writes:
>> Forgive me, but I think this thread is not directly applicable to =20
>> either
>> doing Demos or doing Labs.
>>
>> I think this thread is another candidate for PIRA Chat
>>
>> http://groups.google.com/group/pira-chat=20
>>
>>
>> Just my opinion,
>> - J
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: tap-l-owner@lists.ncsu.edu [mailto:tap-l-=20
>> owner@lists.ncsu.edu] On
>> Behalf Of Machele Kindle
>> Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 9:09 AM
>> To: tap-l@lists.ncsu.edu=20
>> Subject: Re: [tap-l] Big Bang density
>>
>> The "stuff" in the Big Bang wasn't the particles that we deal with. =20
>> It
>> wasn't even quarks, much less electrons and such.
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_timeline_of_the_Big_Bang=20
>>
>> Chele
>>
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> For in the end, we will conserve only what we love.
>> We will love only what we understand.
>> We will understand only what we are taught. - Baba Dioum
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>
>>
>>
>> Anthony Lapinski wrote:
>>> The cover story on the current (April, 2009) issue of Astronomy is,
>> Why
>>> The Universe Had No Beginning. Astronomers claim that at this time,
>> the
>>> universe had infinite density (zero volume). This has puzzled me for
>> some
>>> time. Isn't there a "maximum" density for matter? I mean, stuff is
>>> composed of fundamental particles which supposedly have mass and =20
>>> take
>> up
>>> space. Or maybe their wave-like properties change this? Maybe the
>> physical
>>> laws as we know them today were somehow much different during this
>> time?
>>> Still, I find it difficult (mind boggling!) to understand that all =20
>>> the
>>> matter in the entire universe was compressed into a single point.
>>>
>>> Does anyone know how this infinite density idea can be explained? Is
>> it
>>> being challenged by anyone in the scientific community? Or is this
>>> something we all have to accept?
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>
>


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Two things...



First, concerning the demo at http://www.wesleyan.edu/physics/demos/pi=
rabib/8astro/8C10.html <3D"http://www.wesleyan.edu/physi=> that Paul
referenced, specifically the = balloon demo, one needs to be really
careful about presenting it. = Many times after I show the demo with
the expanding balloon, some students = will wonder



1) what is the universe expanding into, since the balloon is = obviously
expanding into something, and

2) what is inside of the universe, since the balloon has an internal =
space?



These questions both relate to the same misconception which is =
commonly unaddressed by people doing the demo - the universe, in this =
model, is the /surface/ of the balloon. The universe, as we = know it,
is not the inside or outside of the balloon. If you want to = get into
questions of the "inside" and "outside" of the universe, I think = you
need to get into a discussion of higher-dimensional math and start =
consulting the theoreticians.



I know this second thing might be OT, so just delete now if you're = not
interested. Paul brings up a good point about treading carefully = on
issues of faith, religion, etc. Allow me to share, briefly, how I =
address the topic when I teach my students about the big bang & cosmic =
evolution...



I tell my students that I'm teaching them science, not philosophy, =
religion, or theology. As such, I am teaching them the best =
scientific consensus on the subject, and that consensus is the big bang
= cosmology (BBC) - for good reason which is outlined in the lectures.
= Of course, like all science, the BBC is open to question and may be =
revised and/or overturned by conflicting evidence or a better theory,
but = for now it is the best we have, which is why I'm teaching it. I
also = acknowledge that some people have a conflict between this science
and = their religious beliefs, but I don't go there. I assume the
students = are mature enough that if such a conflict exists for them,
they will work = it out on their own. Now, let's get to the science...



That's how I handle it, and it's never really been a problem for = me.
I've had many students - both religious and non-religious - = thank me
for this approach. For what it's worth.

Cheers,



Matt Lowry

Lake Forest HS

College of Lake County

Illinois


>>> Paul Nord 3/11/2009 9:53 = AM >>>
Anthony,

Actually, it's 8C10.00 Models of the = Universe.
http://www.wesleyan.edu/physics/demos/pirabib/8astro/8C10.html=
<3D"http://www.wesleyan.edu/physics/demos/pirabib/8astr=>

If we're going to debate creation or the plausibility of = features of
the Big Bang Theory, then no this is not really a = subject for PIRA.

But there were some other things implicit in your = question that are
appropriate here. Namely: How does one = explain the theory to
students? What are their problems = with understanding the concept?
What data do we have that = make this model of the universe so
compelling? How can = this be illustrated in terms of ordinary objects
around = us?

Our job is to explain science to our students and to the = general
public. Let's tread carefully where this does = touch on questions of
religion, faith, and politics. But = we don't live in a universe devoid
of these things. We = need to explain science as well as we can. To do
that, = we're going to have to respond graciously to some difficult and =
complicated questions.

Paul


On Mar 11, 2009, at 9:12 = AM, Anthony Lapinski wrote:

> I agree. I often cross post to = both tap-l and phys-l.
>
> You can't really do demos for = this.
>
> tap-l@lists.ncsu.edu writes:
>> Forgive me, = but I think this thread is not directly applicable to
>> = either
>> doing Demos or doing Labs.
>>
>> I = think this thread is another candidate for PIRA Chat
>>
>>= ; http://groups.google.com/= group/pira
<3D"http://groups.google.com/group/pira">-chat
>>
>>
>> Just my opinion,>> - J
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>>= ; From: tap-l-owner@lists.ncsu.edu [mailto:tap-l-
>> owner@lists.= ncsu.edu] On
>> Behalf Of Machele Kindle
>> Sent: = Wednesday, March 11, 2009 9:09 AM
>> To: tap-l@lists.ncsu.edu
&= gt;> Subject: Re: [tap-l] Big Bang density
>>
>> The = "stuff" in the Big Bang wasn't the particles that we deal with. =
>> It
>> wasn't even quarks, much less electrons and = such.
>>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_timel= ine_of_the_Big_Bang
<3D"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graph=>
>>
>> Chele
>>
>&g= t; ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> = For in the end, we will conserve only what we love.
>> We will = love only what we understand.
>> We will understand only what we = are taught. - Baba Dioum
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~= ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>
>>
>>
>> Anthony = Lapinski wrote:
>>> The cover story on the current (April, = 2009) issue of Astronomy is,
>> Why
>>> The Universe = Had No Beginning. Astronomers claim that at this time,
>> = the
>>> universe had infinite density (zero volume). This has = puzzled me for
>> some
>>> time. Isn't there a = "maximum" density for matter? I mean, stuff is
>>> composed of = fundamental particles which supposedly have mass and
>>>= take
>> up
>>> space. Or maybe their wave-like = properties change this? Maybe the
>> physical
>>> = laws as we know them today were somehow much different during this
>&= gt; time?
>>> Still, I find it difficult (mind boggling!) to = understand that all
>>> the
>>> matter in = the entire universe was compressed into a single point.
>>>
= >>> Does anyone know how this infinite density idea can be = explained? Is
>> it
>>> being challenged by anyone in = the scientific community? Or is this
>>> something we all have = to accept?
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
&= gt;
>

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From tap-l-owner@lists.ncsu.edu Wed Mar 11 13:04:07 2009

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