My husband, Matt, he has this genius (similar to a genie), that he consults from time to time to perform his Magic Matt duties (from beautifully remodeled cabinet work to romantic piano improvisations and totally tasty vegetables from the garden).
The genius ranges far and wide in terms of subject matter, and this morning’s topic turned out to be the magic of math as the underlying structure of the universe, which led to a short expound-ment on the glories of pi (you know, the unending number that defines circles, at least as far as we can define that cosmic curve), the ubiquity of the curve in the structure of everything, and the infinitude of smallness in subatomic particles.
And of course, with my interest in astrophysics in general and cosmology (about the structure of the very large) in particular, a mirror appeared in my head, showing the parallel shapes (spheres! circles! ellipses! curves!) out among the stars.
Mini-galaxies (atomic structures) and maxi-galaxies (star groupings). Hmmm. We are not just star stuff, we are star structure, star curves, from our tiniest atoms and subatomic particles in our bodies.
Even matter’s counterpart, energy, moves in curves because space itself is curved. So-called “straight lines” are just really long curves that we can only see a segment of.
The universe is curves, circles, ellipses, and spheres. From the very small to the very large. And the math that measures these curves includes a number that can never be expressed exactly, pi, with its infinitely non-repeating post-decimal-point sequence. So, the universe is not something we can measure exactly.
Wonder what would happen if we did get to that level of accuracy in measuring the curves in the universe. I wonder if there’s something magical in the space that we haven’t measured yet, something amazing.
This universe: perfect, yet imperfect, just like us.
For more on the “magic” of PI and speculations thereon in story form, try watching or reading Contact by Carl Sagan. I put a link in to the DVD at Amazon, but if you have a movie service that has Contact, you can watch it there, also (Netflix–not streaming, though, looks like; iTunes, etc.).