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Rage Against the Gizmo

Rage Against the Gizmo 1

I am a big fan of contemporary physics and cosmology. I have read and studied the general public books of authors like Stephen Hawking, Brian Greene, and Lawrence Krauss. I don’t mean that I have skimmed through the books by these learned gentlemen; I have read and reread them, trying to wrap my head around the concepts they introduce. And I’m gaining some headway. I’m beginning to understand the Big Bang, inflation, dark matter, dark energy, string theory, and the importance of finding the Higgs boson.

But no matter how many of these general public books I read, or how many of the wonderful science programs I watch on television, my knowledge of this subject would not cause any working physicist to worry about his or her job security. There is simply so much more to physics than the surface concepts explained in these books. If you doubt this, just open up a physics textbook and see how far you get through it. (The collected Feynman Lectures on Physics are fun, if you’re brave.) I have been exposed to the concepts and ideas of contemporary physics, but in no way does this information diminish my respect and admiration for the people who devote their lives to science. Even a casual reader of these books (or viewer of the television shows) must realize that there is a lot more to physics than is presented in shows or books for the general public.

So what’s the point of this little essay? I’ll get to it in a moment (and I know many of you are way ahead of me), but