I made a grievous error when I was in the 11th grade.
I decided not to take physics since it had a reputation as difficult and tedious. Instead I took “general science” which was so vacuous and simple that I spent my class time writing spectacularly clever and humorous notes (or so I thought) to my boyfriend. No person in authority ever questioned my choice since I was a sweet and typical teenage girl who blended into a sea of sweet and typical teenage girls, and such girls had no reason to study physics.
Now, all these years later, I spend much time wondering how things work, and why I don’t know anything at all about the essence of the world. It is as though I am admiring the beauty of an intricately carved and decorated antique clock, but am clueless about the workings behind its face. Well, actually…I am as clueless about the workings of a clock as I am about the workings of the universe. Sigh.
Remember, my blog post, “A Book Worthy of Radical Amazement”? Yes! My New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge which I first saw in the library of a lovely country inn. Of course, I turned to this amazing book to learn all about physics. I was excited! Finally I would correct my 11th grade folly!
I read all the “basic” laws of physics. I read about mass and motion and momentum. I studied the formulas. I paid attention to what Newton and Einstein and Heisenberg and Pauli and Higgs discovered or theorized.
And I don’t understand a word of any of it.
Perhaps I should give up on physics and just write clever and humorous (or so I think) notes to you, my readers.
But perhaps not….I have written about the Higgs Boson in the past, and perhaps I will want to figure out what that one is all about. Sometimes I think about it in the middle of the night. Don’t you? Doesn’t everyone?
©2013 Margery Leveen Sher