Views of the Universe

One of the first things I did in the House Gallery was make a layered set of illustrations of views of the universe. The ancient Greek mathematician Ptolemy realised the Earth was a sphere but thought it was at the centre of the universe and that all of the planets orbited around it. He said the Sun was where the Earth is. He couldn’t see clearly beyond Saturn. 1500 odd years later, Copernicus figured out, (with flat earth carried by turtle theories in between) that the Earth wasn’t at the centre of the universe, or even the solar system. Nowadays we realise everything’s much more complicated than we might have thought. This is shown with a diagram of the timeline of the universe after the big bang showing how everything that exists is set in the context of space time. I used different coloured chalk to illustrate these different views of the universe and show how they have changed with time.

diagrams of the universe

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Scientific Illustrations

My friend Dave sent me a few links in response to my plea for diagrams of the universe as understood by physicists.

The expansion of the universe after the big bang.

Here’s a link to a massive diagrammatic map of the known universe. Good for wrapping sandwiches when printed, bad for getting precise directions to Proxima Centauri. Weirdly beautiful, though.

The Universe Adventure. I haven’t had chance to read this yet so shan’t say anything about it. Has some very useful looking illustrations of Ptolemy and Copernicus’ understanding(s) of the Solar System.

The fate and history of the universe. Big words.

He also directed me to the old Royal Society lectures from 1993, by Frank Close. That’s how I’d heard of him for yesterday’s post. Here’s the link for the first of the lectures on You Tube.

I found this site called The geometry of the universe. It details key theories about the universe’s curvature.

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Nuclear Physicist Frank Close talking about nothing as a concept.


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Flash experiments

I’ve just spent a happy hour or three watching the tennis and knocking these new experiments together.
The squares are a continuation of the experiments with the butter and the ice. I’m thinking about units, boundaries and that kind of thing. I think I need to write quite a long post explaining what I mean in some depth if I’m going to start using words.

This one’s also very much in progress. I’m thinking a much more developed version of it could work as some kind of punctuation in my final piece. One thing I’m curious about with it is the fact that at the very start you have all of the alphabet layered on top of itself forming this very dense block. It reminds me of my old chum Derrida and his thoughts about the trace. That’s what English looks like when it’s all stacked up. It makes no sense. But that’s what we have to choose from. It’s almost like Michelangelo’s block of marble before he sculpted David. It makes no sense before someone picks bits out and forms them into words, but the potential of it is always infinite. Bit like the Big Bang, in a deeply non-scientific analogy kind of way. And now we have a situation where the language is still expanding and bits of it are changing and getting re-purposed, much like the wider universe. Anyway, ’tis late, fair reader, I must go to bed before I slip in to another rant.

PS – Sorry I just realised these two shouldn’t really be on the screen together at the same time as they’re a bit much to take in at once. If you can see them both, make your browser window smaller.

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