Saturday 21st of May 2022

a complicated game...


We live in a MODERN world where we could not live without "managing" electrons… nor photons. We know electrons well or do we? We know photons or do we? Do we still need to discover what else these little beasts can do and what other particles do?… Or are we just happy with having a smartphone that talks to us via Siri in a whatever soft reassuring female voice that, coming from a little machine, would frighten a man from the middle ages? Should we go back to swinging from tree to tree? This of course isn’t enough for physicists. THEY HAVE TO KNOW the purpose of particles. Who can blame them? But should we stop them, knowing some geezers can make atomic bombs using the knowledge? TOO BLOODY LATE, SIR...


Take the neutrinos for example. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY DO, apart from going through everything… nearly. While we know photons as we can SEE MANY OF THEM with our own eyes (LIGHT) and we know they can be affected by gravity, we have no idea if gravity affects neutrinos or not. Though we could suspect it DOES NOT CHANGE THEIR TRAJECTORY, it could change their “FLAVOUR”… Flavour??? Physicists are jokers... 


We know neutrinos exist. That is through observations in our powerful particle colliders. As well, from time to time a neutrino hits something like a proton and changes the proton into something else, making an atom misbehave. Scientists of huge neutrino detectors are happy to capture one or two in a day, while billions of billions of neutrinos go through the machine… How do we know? Calculation and observations of such are precise enough to tell us (not you and me, but high grade Nobel Prize winner scientists) what’s what. And they discover some weird stuff as well, like the neutrino deficit from the sun (This deficiency took a while to resolve).


While some elementary particles such as Quarks make near eternal conglomerates such as protons, other Quark assemblages do not live beyond a second of time, such as the free neutron. Some elementary particles/energy states are so short lived, we need to invent a new scale of a zillion fraction of a second to measure their existence. AND WE KNOW THE EXIST. Without them, often called “transition phases” the world would not exist. 


The world has to CHANGE in order to exist. That is a given. otherwise it would be a frozen lump of nothing. Thus there are zillion zillion “transitions” at any given timeframe in the universe.


Transition, alteration of a physical system from one state, or condition, to another. In atomic and particle physics, transitions are often described as being allowed or forbidden (see selection rule). Allowed transitions are those that have high probability of occurring, as in the case of short-lived radioactive decay of atomic nuclei. In three-millionths of a second, for instance, half of any sample of unstable polonium-212 becomes stable lead-208 by ejecting alpha particles (helium-4 nuclei) from individual atomic nuclei. Forbidden transitions, on the other hand, are those that have a high probability of not occurring. A strictly forbidden transition is one that cannot occur at all.


A transition may be forbidden by some basic conservation law such as the conservation of angular momentum, which inhibits light and other electromagnetic energy from being emitted in certain transitions within excited atoms and nuclei, or the conservation of electric charge, which strictly forbids electrons from decaying into even more elementary particles.



One of the things we learn from life is that everything has some elasticity. I mean ELASTICITY of time and space (I suppose that’s relativity?). And there is ALWAYS a lag time between cause and effect — as short or as long as time can be. Nothing is immediate. In Gus’s book, nothing is “spontaneous”. In the same regard, there should also be symmetry and various asymmetries due to the elasticity of matter from a relative point of stretch. In the quantum and cosmic world of energy, temperature has a major influence, being like a field that can be a resultant or an excitant. We know with precision that the centre of the sun temperature is nearly 15 million K˚ (Kelvins). We know the surface temperature of the sun at about 5,400 K˚. Don’t touch, don’t look.


Global warming for example is a gross simpletonian process. By this I mean you have to be a simpleton not to understand the basic simple principle. Unfortunately, some clever people are below average dumbness on this subject. Even some scientists grandstand with denialistic crap by inventing interpretations that are scientifically dishonest. More about this another time… I am inviting you here today to discover the more difficult world of quantum mechanics and their bits… without making your head (and mine) explode.


Say, the classification of atomic and subatomic particles is tricky. And the physicists have not helped by using common names to define some uncommon phenomenon. Unlike animals and plants that have an evolutionary origin/relationship in which we know the links between monkeys, apes and humans for example, the particles of the quantum world are mostly unrelated though they react with one another, often with a level of surprising statistical elasticity. 


As we age, we become less elastic in mind and body, until we shrivel and become arthritic. That is one of the laws of evolution. It could be the same with particles changing status (colours and flavours) along the way, becoming old in a fraction of a second, losing their sense of identity and become memory vacant… or becoming something else by losing a bit of themselves — or “die” into pure energy that would transfer as temperature or light. 


“We”, us, also vanish into THE field… 


Many problems (and solutions) in theoretical quantum physics arise from THE field. We know of the field of magnetism and the fields of radiowaves, etc. Of course there are many fields. Telecommunications in 4G or 5G formats amongst many… Microwave ovens use a particular wavelength of the field spectrum to boil water for example. We also know of Cosmic Rays. These rays interfere with atoms and molecules in the atmosphere, and vanish into mostly benign pieces, including Muons… Lucky for us, the Cosmic Rays do not reach much the surface of the earth — otherwise we would be cooking.


So in order to classify the quantum bits, physicist use three main qualities of particles: MASS, SPIN and CHARGE


We should all know what CHARGE is. We charge our phone with energy (electrons?) so we can get some positive energy when “discharging” the battery by using our smartphone or our electric car or whatever… We, plebs, don’t really understand what really happens and only a few scientists/engineers do know. But it works. All this becomes more complicated when we enter the world of semi-conductors. Billions of bits per seconds! On and off switching by the billions chosen by the Memory of the semi-conductor system! How do they do it? It’s amazing, as we type about two characters per second… We’re slow bit people… 


MASS. We know MASS. we know E = MC[2]… M is Mass. We know massive heavy stuff. But mass isn’t “weight”. Weight is mass in relation to gravity at a particular point. Individual characteristics of MASS eluded physicists until the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2013. That is a recent discovery, despite the particular particle (Boson) of mass having been predicted in the 1960s, because discrepancies in the mathematical models of Quantum Mechanics demanded the existence of such a particle to reconcile the equations... Note: I had to place squared and cubed, etc in squared brackets (our program does not recognise small upper figures)


Then there is SPIN. This is a curly characteristic, but we know tops and gyroscopes… They spin and wobble.


Spin is an intrinsic form of angular momentum carried by elementary particles, and thus by composite particles (hadrons) and atomic nuclei.


Spin is one of two types of angular momentum in quantum mechanics, the other being orbital angular momentum. The orbital angular momentum operator is the quantum-mechanical counterpart to the classical angular momentum of orbital revolution and appears when there is periodic structure to its wavefunction as the angle varies. For photons, spin is the quantum-mechanical counterpart of the polarisation of light; for electrons, the spin has no classical counterpart.


Spin is measured in relation to time. One spin function is like a tumble, while the other is a spin on the axis of displacement, but it’s not really. Note again: Particles always move, otherwise the universe would be completely solidified into a non-existent lump — god. Spin is complicated by this duality, but it has been calculated/observed for each known particle. Okay, we’re cooking. 


First a well known elementary particle:


Electron ——— CHARGE = -1 —— SPIN = 1/2 —— MASS = 0.511 MeV/C[2]


Here some of the measurements are of course in relation to other particles in precise mathematical calculations, the starting point of which could appear arbitrary but are defined by previous calculations and other measuring sticks... Repeat Note: I had to place squared and cubed, etc in squared brackets (our program does not recognise small upper figures).


The MASS units are based on the electron volt (eV) which itself comes from the simple insight that a single electron accelerated by a potential difference of 1 volt will have a discreet amount of energy, which is:

1 eV = (1.609 x 10[-19] C)(1 J/C) = 1.609 x 10[-19] J


We can define multiples of 1 eV:

1 keV = 10[3] eV

1 MeV = 10[6] eV

1 GeV = 10[9] eV


1 TeV = 10[12] eV



Now a “composite” particle: THE PROTON


A Proton is made of elementary bits called QUARKS. We have mentioned these particles earlier… Two “up” quarks and one “down” quark… for the proton.


We thus need to study the QUARKS (well we don’t need to, we can leave it to the experts which would be the sensible thing to do, but we’re not sensible, are we?).


The name Quark comes from James Joyce's 'Finnegans Wake'. According to his own account he used names like “squeak” and “squork” for peculiar objects, and “quork” (rhyming with pork) came out at the time. Finnegans Wake' is a work of fiction which combines fables with analysis and deconstruction.  Written in Paris over a period of seventeen years and published in 1939, it is significant for its crazy style mixing many languages and is one of the most difficult works in Western literature, I guess, "until quantum mechanics came along”. Though Finnegans Wake' is fiction, Quantum mechanics are not.


So what about the Quarks? 


The two most important ones are the UP and the DOWN Quark…


UP Quark ——— CHARGE = 2/3 —— SPIN = 1/2 —— MASS ≈ 2.3 MeV/C[2]



DOWN Quark ——— CHARGE = -1/3 —— SPIN = 1/2 —— MASS ≈ 4.8 MeV/C[2]


Note the different charge… 



So the PROTON is made of 2 UP quarks and one DOWN quark… 


So the total charge of a PROTON is +1 or (2/3 + 2/3 -1/3)


The Mass of a proton is 938.27208816(29) MeV/c[2]


Oh, WTF!!!! The masses of the three quarks don't add up to anywhere near the mass of a proton. A proton is almost 100 times heavier than the three quarks together!

According to special relativity, the mass of an object increases when it has more energy (for example, when it's moving faster). When we talk about the mass of quarks and protons, we mean their mass when they aren't moving. This is called the "rest mass."

As you noticed, the rest masses of two up quarks and a down quark don't add up to the rest mass of a proton. They only account for about 1% of the proton's mass. The other 99% comes from the energy that holds the quarks together inside the proton. The quarks are bound together by the "strong nuclear force," a fundamental force (like gravity) that is transmitted by particles called gluons. There are lots of gluons moving around all the time inside the proton, and their energy (plus the energy of the quarks, which are also moving) increases its mass.

Physicists can calculate about how much the energy of the quarks and gluons should increase the mass of the proton, and it's pretty close to what we actually measure... but calculating it exactly is a very difficult problem that scientists are still working on: 938.27208816(29)? The (29) is the calculated and measured "UNCERTAINTY" of the weight of a proton. Physicists want to know the exact number... We could not care less, but this could change the future of the Universe, could it?


Now the proton is deemed to have the longest stable life of any atomic particle at 2.1×10[29] years, which is longer than the existence of the universe so far…





An atom of hydrogen that has lost its electron is an Hydrogen ion…(≈ a proton). Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, by far.



Then things become like a giant unruly football match with three or four teams playing cricket mixed with Chinese chess at the same time. The multi-level grounds (FIELDs) can be damp, slippery, grassed or grassless like a pitch. At various time, the teams switch grounds or levels, and because of timing difference, the sun might be in the eyes of some of the players. At the beginning a side is chosen by the random event of tossing a coin then getting a team captain to make a decision which side/platform he wants his team to start upon. As well as the players being “elastic’, even performing some somersaults when scoring a goal (an alliance), the balls themselves are elastic (nearly every player has one), bouncing off the feet of players or not. At the extreme, should one fires a bullet at the balls, they would explode, deflate of disappear, in pieces that we can follow, depending on the type of impacting missile... (see image at top)


Quantum physics has to deal with unruly teams of tiny tiny TINY players (these subatomic particles) that behave weirdly, and that sometimes betray their team/origin or not, and score own goals, while changing “colour" and "flavour". 


More in the next instalment



Not a physicist...


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you are "what you drink"...

There's something called "cause and effect". My red nose is due to what I drink... We can imagine that Santa has a reserve of Reserve Port in his North Pole abode. We could suspect that Rudolph's red nose is due to his secret raiding of the reserve. But we don't know. One of the favourite phrase of physicists is: "we don't know but we're working at finding out." I can cope with that. Such is the search for the GUT (Grand Unifying Theory) and the TOE (Theory of everything)... Progress is being made.


More to come...

the neutrino deficit...


In the article at top we mention neutrinos.... The little beasts are elusive, yet they are billion billion times more numerous than flees on a dog's butt...


Solar neutrinos are exactly what they sound like: neutrinos from the sun. The sun is the source of most of the neutrinos that are passing through you at any moment. About 100 billion solar neutrinos pass through your thumbnail every second.

Neutrinos are born during the process of nuclear fusion in the sun. In fusion, protons (the nucleus from the simplest element, hydrogen) fuse together to form a heavier element, helium. This releases neutrinos and energy that will eventually reach Earth as light and heat. All of the neutrinos produced in the sun are electron neutrinos.

An interesting thing happened when scientists started looking for those electron neutrinos in the 1960s. Only about one third to one half of the predicted number of neutrinos actually showed up in detectors. This became known as the solar neutrino problem, and it took nearly four decades to solve it.

It started with the Homestake experiment led by Ray Davis Jr. The experiment used 100,000 gallons of dry cleaning fluid (perchloroethylene) to search for neutrinos. It was housed a mile underground in the caverns of the Homestake Gold Mine in South Dakota, which was then an active mine and is now used for science experiments, including further neutrino research in the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. Davis’s scientific partner, John Bahcall, had predicted how many neutrinos should arrive from the sun and transform one of the chlorine atoms in the detector into an argon atom. But only one third of the neutrinos seemed to arrive. Researchers weren’t sure if the problem was in Davis’s experiment, Bahcall’s calculations and the current model of the sun, or their picture of neutrinos. Some scientists, including Bruno Pontecorvo, proposed that the neutrino model was the error, but many were skeptical.

In 1989, the Kamiokande experiment in Japan added to the confusion. The pure water detector found more neutrinos than Davis’s experiment, about half of the predicted number. But there was still the question of all those missing neutrinos. The GALLEX experiment in Italy and SAGE experiment in Russia also found that expected low-energy neutrinos were missing.

As measurements of the sun improved and the solar model was validated, researchers looked more and more to new physics beyond the Standard Model to explain the neutrino deficit. The breakthrough came with data from two newer experiments. Super-Kamiokande, an improved version of the Kamiokande experiment, began observations in 1996, and the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory in Canada joined in 1999. Leaders of these two projects would go on to receive the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics for discovering the solution to the solar neutrino problem: neutrino oscillations. Roughly two-thirds of the electron neutrinos coming from the sun were changing their flavor as they traveled, arriving as muon or tau neutrinos. Evidence that neutrinos changed type also proved that they have mass, a shocking discovery not predicted by the Standard Model.


Solar neutrinos still have much to teach us. For example, scientists can compare how solar neutrinos traveling through the vacuum of space differ from neutrinos traveling through denser areas such as Earth. Such investigations bring information about the neutrino oscillation phenomenon.

Solar neutrinos can also provide direct insight about the core of our sun. Neutrinos produced in the core of the sun do something you might not expect: They arrive at Earth before light from the sun (produced in the same reaction) arrives. This isn’t because neutrinos are traveling faster than light—they can’t. It’s because neutrinos interact so rarely with matter that they are able to escape from the sun’s dense core right away, while photons (the light particles) bounce around before getting free. The Borexino Experiment in Italy took advantage of this property and found that the sun releases the same amount of energy today as it did 100,000 years ago.


Read more: Map. Location in Illinois. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics.







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chaos to the full entropy...

What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge Kindle Edition


by Marcus du Sautoy (Author) 


‘Brilliant and fascinating. No one is better at making the recondite accessible and exciting’ Bill Bryson

Britain’s most famous mathematician takes us to the edge of knowledge to show us what we cannot know.

Is the universe infinite?

Do we know what happened before the Big Bang?

Where is human consciousness located in the brain?

And are there more undiscovered particles out there, beyond the Higgs boson?

In the modern world, science is king: weekly headlines proclaim the latest scientific breakthroughs and numerous mathematical problems, once indecipherable, have now been solved. But are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe?

In this very personal journey to the edges of knowledge, Marcus du Sautoy investigates how leading experts in fields from quantum physics and cosmology, to sensory perception and neuroscience, have articulated the current lie of the land. In doing so, he travels to the very boundaries of understanding, questioning contradictory stories and consulting cutting edge data.

Is it possible that we will one day know everything? Or are there fields of research that will always lie beyond the bounds of human comprehension? And if so, how do we cope with living in a universe where there are things that will forever transcend our understanding?

In What We Cannot Know, Marcus du Sautoy leads us on a thought-provoking expedition to the furthest reaches of modern science. Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out if there’s anything we truly cannot know.


See more:


At this level, one should consider that life flaunts the laws of thermodynamics... And despite the "complexity" of life, there is a relative simple explanation for this (more to come later on, on this subject). Meanwhile, according to Gustaphian dis-logic, a lot of of our inability to predict the future beyond a certain point is due to...  NEUTRINOS. Neutrinos change one or two atoms out of billion billions... This small change creates chaos leading to unpredictability. Life can cope with such changes, with "repair/maintenance workshops" within cells. 


Read from top.


"I suffer from the good luck syndrome. Within workable limits, bad luck turns to my favour nearly 100 per cent of the time"

                              Vladimir Leonisky



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