Orders of magnitude 2019

Oil and Arcylic on canvas, 180x 130cm

The super-massive blackhole at the centre of Messier 87 a supergiant elliptical galaxy in the constellation Virgo, has an event horizon diameter equal to that of our entire solar system. Despite its stupendous size and power, it is is 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun, it is relatively simple, and can be described by just two numbers; how much mass went into it and how fast it is spinning. The discovery of the Higgs Boson at CERN was a momentous breakthrough for physics. Despite its subatomic scale and its fundamental nature, it gives all particles in the universe mass, it can be described by a short set of equations. By contrast the human brain is the most complex thing we know of in the universe. Any living thing much larger than us scaling up by factors of 10 would be subject to breakage via gravity, whilst anything much smaller would not be complex enough to contemplate its origins. In this painting I explore my genuine fascination that life, to quote Sir Martin Rees, "assumes its greatest complexity on this intermediate scale". 

© 2019 by Andrew Gray