Hidden within Maxwell’s equations is the speed of light …

A reader writes, re the seven equations that rule our world …

My favorite are Maxwell’s equations with the wave equation and how all of them together explain light. Even hidden within them is the speed of light, as if the speed is an integral part of it’s being! Why is it that specific number? My last two semesters were on those equations and they still blow me away and show how ordered the universe is, even down to light. And the fact that God has allowed us minds to comprehend it is even more amazing.

Reminds some of us of our old high school science teacher, who liked to wear a tee shirt to teacher conferences* on which a Maxwell’s equation was written, ending “Let there be light!”

* He wore, as was expected in those days, a suit to school, under his lab coat. And no one dared tell him he couldn’t wear the tee shirt, in settings where business dress was not required.

2 Replies to “Hidden within Maxwell’s equations is the speed of light …”

1. 1
bornagain77 says:

General Relativity too!

Maxwell’s equations
Excerpt: Einstein dismissed the aether as unnecessary and concluded that Maxwell’s equations predict the existence of a fixed speed of light, independent of the speed of the observer, and as such he used Maxwell’s equations as the starting point for his special theory of relativity (e=mc^2). In doing so, he established the Lorentz transformation as being valid for all matter and not just Maxwell’s equations. Maxwell’s equations played a key role in Einstein’s famous paper on special relativity; for example, in the opening paragraph of the paper, he motivated his theory by noting that a description of a conductor moving with respect to a magnet must generate a consistent set of fields irrespective of whether the force is calculated in the rest frame of the magnet or that of the conductor.[31] General relativity has also had a close relationship with Maxwell’s equations. For example, Theodor Kaluza and Oskar Klein showed in the 1920s that Maxwell’s equations can be derived by extending general relativity into five dimensions. This strategy of using higher dimensions to unify different forces remains an active area of research in particle physics.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell%27s_equations

James Clerk Maxwell and the Christian Proposition
Excerpt: The minister who regularly visited him in his last weeks was astonished at his lucidity and the immense power and scope of his memory, but comments more particularly,[20] … his illness drew out the whole heart and soul and spirit of the man: his firm and undoubting faith in the Incarnation and all its results; in the full sufficiency of the Atonement; in the work of the Holy Spirit. He had gauged and fathomed all the schemes and systems of philosophy, and had found them utterly empty and unsatisfying – “unworkable” was his own word about them – and he turned with simple faith to the Gospel of the Saviour.
http://silas.psfc.mit.edu/Maxwell/maxwell.html

2. 2
bornagain77 says:

I like this quote from the ‘7 Equations that rule our world’ article:

There is (or may be) one equation, above all, that physicists and cosmologists would dearly love to lay their hands on: a theory of everything that unifies quantum mechanics and relativity. The best known of the many candidates is the theory of superstrings. But for all we know, our equations for the physical world may just be oversimplified models that fail to capture the deep structure of reality. Even if nature obeys universal laws, they might not be expressible as equations.
http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....?full=true

Well to throw a somewhat of a damper on the enthusiasm for finding a mathematical equation that is a ‘theory of everything’. First, String Theory, and M-theory, are both infamous for their lack to be established by empirical confirmation;

‘What is referred to as M-theory isn’t even a theory. It’s a collection of ideas, hopes, aspirations. It’s not even a theory and I think the book is a bit misleading in that respect. It gives you the impression that here is this new theory which is going to explain everything. It is nothing of the sort. It is not even a theory and certainly has no observational (evidence),,, I think the book suffers rather more strongly than many (other books). It’s not a uncommon thing in popular descriptions of science to latch onto some idea, particularly things to do with string theory, which have absolutely no support from observations.,,, They are very far from any kind of observational (testability). Yes, they (the ideas of M-theory) are hardly science.” –
Roger Penrose – former close colleague of Stephen Hawking – in critique of Hawking’s new book ‘The Grand Design’; The exact quote is in this following video clip:

Roger Penrose Debunks Stephen Hawking’s New Book ‘The Grand Design’ – video
http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5278793/

String Theory Fails Another Test, the “Supertest” – December 2010
Excerpt: It looks like string theory has failed the “supertest”. If you believe that string theory “predicts” low-energy supersymmetry, this is a serious failure.
http://www.math.columbia.edu/~.....ss/?p=3338

Second, Godel, who is considered by many to be the preeminent mathematician of the 20th century, showed that one cannot develop a ‘complete’ mathematical theory of everything without including God as the basis of that mathematical ‘theory of everything’;

THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

Godel also had this to say:

The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.” – Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered by many to be the greatest mathematician of the 20th century)
http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

And when we realize that God is required to bring ‘completeness’ to mathematics, and if we allow the possibility that God might have actually become incarnate in Christ, just as is resolutely claimed in Christianity, then we find that a very credible, empirically backed, reconciliation between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics ‘naturally’ jumps out at us:

General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy, and The Shroud Of Turin – updated video
http://vimeo.com/34084462

Centrality of Each Observer In The Universe and Christ’s Very Credible Reconciliation Of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics