Friend (and String Theorist) Matt writes:
So, people constantly talk about how tiny we are in the scope of the entire universe, how miniscule, how insignificant we are next to stars and nebula and galaxies, etc. This seems strange. The scale of the known universe is about 10^27. sure, that’s real big. but, the planck scale is 10^(-35). that’s way smaller than the whole universe is big. we’re actually bigger than about 56% of the stuff in the universe. There’s plenty more “below” us than “above” us.
so why are we so quick to marvel at how small we are? is it because the cosmologist and astrophysicists have better PR people?
i’m seriously curious about this – why would we not stop to appreciate how gigantic the “classical” scale is?
It’s always struck me as weird that, as vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big space is (not just “out-of-our-conception” big, but “you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me” big), as Matt says, there’s “more small” beneath us as there is above us. As to why more people don’t realize this, I suspect it has something to do with the fact that we can hold a nigh-infinite number of “smalls” between our pinched fingertips and so they don’t have as much, ahem, weight as the one single “big” we can see just a tiny part of on a dark night.
“When you wish upon a proton” doesn’t have the same ring to it.