Have you ever wondered why we are here? As it turns out, it took some very precise numbers, starting all the way back with the beginning of our universe.
The cosmology that brought about our existence was the topic on Thursday when the College of Sciences presented the first UCF Science Café of the fall semester.
The series of talks, which began last fall, invites anyone, student or not, to come and learn about a variety of different topics from across the field of sciences. Speakers lecture about physics, biology, health sciences, sociology and many more.
“The point is to attract people to science,” said Zahra Hooshmand, physics graduate student.
Thursday’s talk featured Dr. Michael Bass, from the physics and CREOL departments, who talked about cosmology and the magic numbers that allowed life to form in our universe.
He explained the standard model of cosmology, which demands that the 20 numbers that helped make our universe, numbers like the gravitational constant, the charge on the electron and so on, have to be right, or we wouldn’t exist.
The random probability that all of these numbers have these precise values, he said, is one chance in 10234, a number so small it’s comparable to the probability of getting a needle to stand upright on its point.
“The universe is what it is. These numbers are what they are,” Bass said. “There’s no escaping it.”
Before the talk, the lobby outside the lecture hall was filled with people, most of them students, all looking to learn something new.
While physics and math might seem boring to some, these students see a different side to the numbers.
“It’s what dictates what goes on all around us,” said Stephen Trewick, a senior physics major. “A lot of people don’t think math is important, but it’s what helps us advance.”
Sarah Bowen, a junior majoring in medical laboratory science, came to the talk despite admitting that math was not her favorite subject. But, she said she is a voracious consumer of science documentaries, particularly those about the universe.
She said it was the prospect of learning about how math affects the universe, something she doesn’t know much about, that brought her to the talk.
“I like to learn about things I don’t know about,” Bowen said.
And she said she thinks other students should share that sentiment, even those who usually would never attend a science lecture outside the classroom.
“Give it a try. You never know what you’re going to like until you try it,” she said. “It may surprise you.”
The next Science Café will be held on Thursday, Oct. 15. Dr. James Wright from the sociology department will be presenting about the studies of food insecurity in the region, the state and beyond.
Deanna Ferrante is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future.