Craig Isom: On The Shoulders of a Giant

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Recent images from the Event Horizon Telescope are awesome and inspiring, but Craig Isom says they are evidence of the profound genius of a single human mind.

You probably have seen by now the exciting images just released of a supermassive black hole at the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy. One thing really strikes me about this latest scientific advance. It is yet another discovery further confirming the accuracy of Albert Einstein’s breakthrough theories of relativity, conceived over 100 years ago. His revolutionary theories from 1915 are considered by scientists to be one of the greatest-ever achievements of the human mind, fine-tuning the gravitational theories of another giant, Isaac Newton, two centuries earlier.

If you listened to the scientific team announcing this latest black hole image, you’ll hear them exclaim with awe that the size of this black hole ring they imaged was exactly the size predicted by Einstein. It was, again, more evidence that Einstein’s transcendent vision of a bizarre world of warped space time was, in fact, reality.

His genius is even more remarkable considering it has taken the rest of mankind over a century of progress to create instruments so sensitive that we can actually test his theories. This is no knock on so many other scientists the world over who have been designing and constructing the marvelous instruments used to test his predictions. It’s just that evidence of Einstein’s predictions for nature occur at extreme conditions (near the speed of light, for example) and result in very subtle outcomes that are so hard to detect.

But these subtle predictions are far from arcane and have had an enormous impact on our modern society. The pinpoint accuracy of your smart phone when directing you to a new restaurant is completely dependent on tiny adjustments to the clocks our positioning satellites use in order to offset dilations in time from high gravity and speed - again, as predicted by Einstein over 100 years ago.

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Yes, this black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy is an absolute wonder to behold. But I am equally awed by the predictive power of Einstein’s scientific breakthroughs, and the seemingly endless capacity of the human mind to comprehend this magical world we live in.

With a Perspective, this is Craig Isom.

Craig Isom is a retiree in the East Bay with a profound interest in the ongoing advancements of science and the marvel of the minds that drive them.