Posted in created, creator, physics, universe

Mystery radio signals that baffled astronomers for years came from the staff microwave

I saw that headline and I just had to laugh.

I love science and study physics when I have the chance and have a somewhat clear head to tackle the subject. What holds the universe together and what makes it tick is an endless fascination to me. Of course, coming from a Christian perspective, I know that Jesus holds the universe together by His word (Hebrews 1:3) and He sustains it (Colossians 1:17). Anything I might learn about the universe’s workings is going to be based on that fact and through Him.

APOD: May 12, 2015. Left, Marseilles France, Earth.
Right, Elysium Planitia, Mars

So while on the one hand I respect physicists and astronomers highly, on the other hand it seems that ultimately they are like ants chasing a phantom trail, always learning about the universe but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. At least, their truth, whatever man-made theory they adhere to as to the origin of the universe. Their seekings and learnings are all like the elusive dark matter they also speculate exists, the invisible space in between other visible objects that can only be detected by the effects the theorized dark matter has on other things. Seeking to know about how the universe works without knowing Jesus, brings to mind the famous quote attributed to Gertrude Stein regarding Oakland CA: “There’s no there there.” Christians know the there there is Jesus. Not knowing Jesus but seeking to know His mind as Creator (which is what physics is all about) will only bring endless theories, surprising discoveries, and an ant trail of eternally frustrating length.

There was this in 2009. Frustrating to them, amusing to me: The Case of the Mysterious Baguette:

Sometime on Nov. 3, the supercooled magnets in sector 81 of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), outside Geneva, began to dangerously overheat. Scientists rushed to diagnose the problem, since the particle accelerator has to maintain a temperature colder than deep space in order to work. The culprit? “A bit of baguette,” says Mike Lamont of the control center of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, which built and maintains the LHC. Apparently, a passing bird may have dropped the chunk of bread on an electrical substation above the accelerator, causing a power cut. The baguette was removed, power to the cryogenic system was restored and within a few days the magnets returned to their supercool temperatures.

While most scientists would write off the event as a freak accident, two esteemed physicists have formulated a theory that suggests an alternative explanation: perhaps a time-traveling bird was sent from the future to sabotage the experiment. Bech Nielsen of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen and Masao Ninomiya of the Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics in Kyoto, Japan, have published several papers over the past year arguing that the CERN experiment may be the latest in a series of physics research projects whose purposes are so unacceptable to the universe that they are doomed to fail, subverted by the future.

However, that isn’t the whole story. The baguette was not found above ground in the snow damply getting mushy within a few moments of time. The baguette was found inside a cooling building. That was locked. That was surrounded by high-voltage wires. That was guarded. That is why the esteemed Japanese physicists speculated that it was a time traveling baguette. They were confounded as to how the bread got in there. I’ve been laughing about the Baguette Incident since I wrote about it in 2009.

And then there’s something like this from last week.

Mystery radio signals that baffled astronomers for years came from the staff microwave

Beginning in the late ’90s, once or twice a year, astronomers operating the telescope at the Parkes Observatory in New South Wales, Australia would pick up mysterious radio signals. These signals were known as perytons, described in a recent report as “millisecond-duration transients of terrestrial origin.” The researchers believed the perytons were linked to atmospheric activity such as lightning strikes, and they held this belief for around 17 years, until this year, when they installed a new receiver to monitor interference, The Guardian reports. The actual source of the perytons? A microwave.

Peryton? Another proposed, theorized particle to explain another proposed theory of how the universe works? I remember when they discovered strings and thought they’d nailed it. That was back in the early 1980s.

1984-6 – A series of important discoveries in string theory leads to the “first superstring revolution”, and it is first realized that string theory might be capable of describing all elementary particles as well as the interactions between them. (source)

Cut to 35 years later and not so much. Not only haven’t they described all the particles, they keep discovering new ones, much less be able to delineate all their interactions with each other. They are still seeking, learning, attempting to explain the whole, without the There there.

Rabbit trail factoid:

Artist’s rendition of imaginary peryton

Did you know that a peryton was a mythological creature?

The Peryton is a mythological hybrid animal combining the physical features of a stag and a bird. The Peryton was created and described by Jorge Luis Borges in his Book of Imaginary Beings, using a supposedly long-lost medieval manuscript as a source. The Peryton is said to have the head, neck, forelegs and antlers of a stag, combined with the plumage, wings and hindquarters of a large bird, although some interpretations portray the Peryton as a deer in all but coloration and bird’s wings. (source)

Peryton. Beautiful Bird, lovely plumage. Physicists certainly have a vivid imagination. They have to, in attempting to learn about the creation sans a Creator.

When I look to the heavens, I see God in His creation. I worship the Creator, not the created. (Romans 1:25).

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1)

Physicists will continue to study the universe and for that I’m glad. Astonomers will continue to bring us magnificent photos of dep space and explain what we’re seeing, and I’m glad. However, never forget Who created it all, and give Him glory for his incredible Mind, His wonderful handiwork, and His power to speak a word and the existence of the universe and everything in either entered reality or will be snuffed out (Gen 1:1, 2 Peter 3:10).

And chuckle at the childish antics of the men in the Physics Lab break room heating up a Lean Cuisine in the microwave while the others at the telescope believe some breakthrough is happening because the microwave is pulsing out some kind of signal. But it’s just lunch, and their minds will never match the Mind of the One who looks down at his wayward people and laughs, because they saw His majestic work and denied Him.

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. (Psalm 2:4)

Further Reading

Watch earth live from the vantage of the International Space Station

Physics Timeline

Hubble Telescope Site 

NASA’s APOD: Astronomy Picture of the Day

The Hiesenberg Uncertainty Compensator Explained

How William Shatner Changed the World

William Shatner presents a light-hearted look at how the “Star Trek” TV series have influenced and inspired today’s technologies, including: cell phones, medical imaging, computers and software, SETI, MP3 players and iPods, virtual reality, and spaceship propulsion.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.