Today I felt like my son was the smartest kid in the world. He’s been asking a lot of questions about physics. Some of them I know, some of them I can refresh my memory with Wikipedia. Some things I would learn after 15 minutes of reading. Some things I can’t answer without taking an undergrad physics course. Some things I would probably never answer, even after failing a graduate-level course.

Q: Where is the center of the universe?

A: There is no center of the universe.

Q: Why not?

A: I have no idea, but multiple reliable sources have told me that is true. Reading about it hurts my brain.

Anyway, he was asking about the size of photons, why they are tiny particles, but can’t get through the Faraday cage in our microwave. I reminded him of the wave/particle thing, how a photon, as a wave can be several meters as a radio wave or nanometers as visible light. He asked me if the radio waves go up and down or side by side.

What an insightful question! I told him how radio waves for music go up and down to be detected by the vertical antennas on our cars and side to side for TV antennas.

Then he asked if that means the radio photons are polarized.

My child’s a genius! Also he made an awesome Lego one-person shuttle, with a section of the Hubble in it.


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