I like to read while I get my cardio on at the gym. I am less bored during my workout and my peddling effort is proportional to how hard my brain is working. This morning I was really struggling to make sense of Stephen Hawking's recent paper discussing event horizon activities around black holes. Obviously, he makes perfect sense, but I realized I was in over my head with quantum gravity math. I needed a reboot, and set about Googling "Quantum Gravity for Dummies". While that search string does in fact return a result, I found something else amazing.
I have always understood concepts more thoroughly if I can play with a physical model. Computer-based models are fantastic and allow data play with a wide variety of variables, but sometimes you just need to get your hands dirty. I especially like physical models when speaking with students, even if they are simplistic in nature. There is quite of bit of research support documenting improved learning with active participation.
Back to black holes and warping space/time: difficult to visualize, yes? Take a peek at this video, and blow your mind. Thanks to Dan Burns at Los Gatos High School in the Bay Area for such a fantastic lesson.
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