Science Officer Ed Lu is 'blogging' from outer space. [story: harvey, photo: NASA]
An Information Science grad student wrote to ask:
... "Also, is there a
similarity between the distance of the surface of the
earth from the center of the earth, the earth's orbit
from the sun, and the sun from the center of the
galaxy?"My short answer was no. Here are the numbers:
| distance ||miles||ratio|
|earth's radius||4 thousand||1|
|.. to the sun||93 million||2 x 104|
|.. to the galactic center||19 quadrillion||5 x 1012|
|.. to the CMBR||100 sextillion||2 x 1020|
|* Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation - the approximate radius of the big bang's fireball in classical cosmology|
Attempting to derive scientific knowledge by applying artistic sensibilities to observed data is often ridiculed. Science, it is said, describes what is real and observable while art is created by humans in search of ideals,or something like that.
Historically, however, art has provided the means for scientific 'breakthroughs': Kekule dreamed up the structure of benzene, Kepler discovered celestial motion by fitting planetary motions to a harmonic scale and mathematicians from Leonard Euler to Steven Weinberg have sought truth through beauty.
Einstein even wanted to reject an important part of General Relativity, the cosmological constant, because he found it inartistic.