Today we shall be both. I am bubbling with rightness and happiness.
Thank you Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, for a discovery that brings such pleasure. And for a tangential Bill Nighy (as Slartibartfast) picture cue.
Savour the words. ‘Ripples in space and time’.
Didn’t you always somehow ‘know’ they must exist? We were right.
So Douglas Adams fans, Einstein experts, coffee lovers and those interested in the growth and development of brilliant people everywhere can warm their hands together around the glow from the latest chapter in the book of Big Bang discoveries. (I am in all of those groups except the Einstein one. I would like to be in that one too, one day)
Firstly, the coffee lovers. The New York Times uses coffee to explain the central finding of cosmic inflation.
Yep. Coffee and Cosmic Inflation. (Try ordering an espresso now with a straight face. With a light sabre on the side perhaps.)
The mystery has been a beautiful one. A universe created in a single exuberance: yet so vast that it appears impossible for matter flung so widely to appear so similar in temperature. How can this be? Exactly as if some cosmic coffee pot had filled cups ludicrously far apart yet ensured none were hotter or colder than others. The ‘Bicep2’ team can now offer an answer: instantaneous expansion – cosmic inflation – that could fling the coffee everywhere instantaneously, in slivers of time immeasurably minuscule, where ‘trillionths of seconds’ would be frankly langorous. The trails of proof are the newly detected ‘primordial gravitational waves’, ripples in space and time. Exactly as Einstein said there would be.
To the growth and development people – the arena in which I operate with ‘Change Chemistry’ – there are so many images to enjoy.
- The metaphor of that cosmic inflation – the feeling of instantaneously taking up more space, of expansion (that happens when an ‘aha’ moment strikes).
- The metaphor of the hidden suddenly becoming accessible, of something apparently being created out of nothing. Yet it is real, there, and useable – as is personal power and potential.
- The idea of imagining and describing an event and its implications well, well in advance of any possibility of verifying it. (Thank you Einstein)
- And of course the idea that all those cups of coffee did indeed come from the same metaphorical coffee pot.
So some thoughts to delight us all:
Say ‘cosmic inflation’ with impunity, and gusto, and as often as possible. It will feel wonderful. If anything goes slightly awry, simply shrug and say knowingly “ Just another little wrinkle in space and time”.
Or come and sit and drink coffee happily in the café at the end of the universe, where in true Adamsian mode I shall be starting to write this long after you’ve read it.