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Space, Time, and Stuff: conceptual modern physics

Nothing can travel faster than light. Matter is made of waves, and light sometimes acts like particles. Time slows down the faster you move. E = mc2. Antimatter might be matter moving backward in time. We don’t know what most of the universe is made of.

What is the origin of such outlandish statements, and what do they really mean? We’ll explore three ways that physics was remade in the past century: special relativity, quantum mechanics, and the standard model of particles and forces. We’ll see how these not-so-crazy ideas came about, and why we think they’re accurate. We’ll look at some resulting philosophical paradoxes, and their possible resolutions.

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