I consider myself pretty well-read on science topics — I took a couple of quantum mechanics classes in college. But then I come across articles like this which completely humble me, reminding me just how much depth of knowledge there is in our world.
I looked it up after reading that rotating a particle by 360 degrees doesn’t get back to where it started, but instead you need 720 degrees of rotation. Some of the math in this article looks familiar to me but most of it is incomprehensible to me today.
And this is from a free, volunteer-written encyclopedia that I can access from a phone. That by itself is amazing.
I know, it’s depressing and exhilarating at the same time, isn’t it? I try to keep up with a lot of science, math, and programmery stuff (and lots of other stuff too), and there isn’t a single subject I don’t feel like a complete newbie in. There’s so much I know I don’t know that I’m hesitant to call myself an expert in any particular field.
On a related note: this was one of the many things that hurt my head during graduate physics, about symmetry breaking… http://www.askamathematician.com/2012/02/q-if-you-are-talking-to-a-distant-alien-how-would-you-tell-them-which-way-is-left-and-which-way-is-right/
Also, I’m always amazed at being able to search the web with “I want to explain something, but I don’t want to take the time to write it and I’m sure someone has done it better and more clearly”
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