William Martin GIbbs' "Research and Report" Physics Course work: "Why is the whole sky not constantly illuminated by intense light?"

From: Hildred Lester
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 30 May 2004


This is a fine piece of writing worthy of attention. The report draws the reader in, though the author realises that it is a question that "might be considered 'not worth asking'". The tone is dry and humourous. The description is clear and clean, making perhaps difficult concepts easy and digestable. Gibbs brings us back to base describing the big bang as "dough rising". We are told to "imagin the earth is a raisin, and all of the stars are pieces of dried orange peel. As the dough rises, the distances between the further orange peel pieces and the raisins will increase by a greater extent than the distances between the raisin and the closer pieces of orange peel". This kind of helpful description takes this reader back to understandable practical illustrations of what is going on. I can revisit ideas of my past, explanation of the doppler effect, redshift and GPE. Perhaps the most pleasing aspect of this writing is the insight in to the mind of a young student this young student, and wize beyond his years I realise as I read the conclusion which Gibbs reaches "with some doubt" because"a paradigm, widely considered to be true by the scientific community for a significant amount of time, can often be refuted with the discovery of one small thing". Personal details add to the density of the report, he writes

"Initially I did not know the name of the Olbers paradox, but remembered having started reading a book about the concept several years ago, and then loosing it."

We are given in sight in to the life of this reacher, who "photocopied most of the articles, and took two books out of the library". Evidence given suggests that the report is realible, sourced from "reputable publishers", and I think writen by a markworthy character.