December 26th, 2009

The world is a dynamic mess of jiggling things, if you look at it right.

Richard Feynman relishes the secret nature of rubber bands — part of a series of clips on youtube taken from the BBC TV programme ‘Fun to Imagine’ (1983).

In the next video Feynman points out that when we touch a solid object, we are experiencing physical repulsion from the object caused by electrical forces. It’s such a familiar phenomenon — so predictable and consistent — that we take it for granted. If the particles didn’t repel us, we would move straight through them as with low density liquids and gases. Feynman explains it all much more excitingly and inspiringly than I, so check it out!

It certainly is fun to think about these things; to gain a new perspective or understanding of something you thought you knew well — or found uninteresting — is to be reminded of the potential all around us. Good old science!

Update: I’ve watched all the videos now and my favourite revelation comes in the latter half of clip #2 on fire, carbon and trees.


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