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  • Jennifer Ann Richter

Space-Time

Updated: Jun 4, 2018


I like to crochet while watching the Science Channel. Besides being oddly relaxing, I figure I'm giving both sides of my brain a great workout. Well, I put myself through some major mental gymnastics recently when I picked up my hook and yarn and tuned into a show on space-time. By the end of the hour I had a rather rudimentary understanding of the topic, a carelessly crocheted swatch, and a sense that what we don’t know about time, the universe, etc., would blow our collective minds.

Here’s the gist of what I learned:

1). Space-time can be warped, and it’s somehow connected to gravity. Like when a circus performer falls into a net and the net bends and stretches.

That was easy enough for me to understand. Although I still can’t quite figure out what it is exactly that’s bending, since we can’t see it. But I guess that’s a mystery for everybody else, too.

2). Astronomers have recently observed the effects of space-time being bent. There’s this galaxy that has a ring surrounding it that’s obviously not a part of the galaxy itself (I think the ring is blue and the galaxy is reddish—but don’t quote me on that). It so happens that the ring is actually a peek at the galaxy behind it. The gravity of the closer galaxy was so much that it bent space-time and caused us to be able to see the other one.

3). I unfortunately got distracted when they started talking exclusively about the “time” part of the concept. I don’t recall exactly what happened. I might have even drifted off. But I do remember learning that time speeds up the farther away you are from a gravitational force and slows down the closer you get to it. So if you were somewhere out floating in space and video chatting with someone who was near a black hole (which has an extremely high gravitational force), they would appear to be speaking and moving in slow motion while you would appear to be in fast motion. And technically, if you were to spend your life in the penthouse of a skyscraper, you’d age faster than those living closer to the earth—although the difference would be imperceptible.

Near the end of the show they began theorizing about how the universe began. (Or was that the next program? Sometimes I binge watch). Anyway, they brought up this problem with the big bang. For a long time it was believed that it all started with something called singularity, an infinitely small point, but the math just doesn’t work out. So now some are theorizing that there could be multiple universes and the big bang occurred when one of them collapsed onto itself and then exploded, or something to that effect. So the universe has no real beginning and has existed to infinity.

I have to pause here for a moment. As someone who believes in a Creator (yes, with a big C), it often frustrates me that there’s never a mention of even the possibility of some kind of intelligent being playing a factor in all of this. I know, I know, scientists are all about the observable and things that can be proven, but then they talk about space-time, dark matter, etc., all things that you can’t see but can see the effects thereof. So the effects of a Creator can’t be seen in anything related to the universe?


That said, I do love watching how enthusiastic the scientists are on these shows, and I love seeing the panoply ethnic backgrounds represented. Like I mentioned at the outset, my brain was definitely put through a strenuous workout this time around. In fact, at times it was a little too much and I got the heebie-jeebies thinking about all those mind-blowing concepts. I think next time I’ll look for something more concrete, like the moon.

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