"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "


Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009


""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."


Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Neutrons, electrons, quarks, muons, and Higg's Bosons and a big black hole that sucks money


There is a Black Hole in Newcastle which swallows Government money, there is another on the Swiss/ French border. With luck and near zero temperatures the latter might produce a result tomorrow.

There is a theoretical framework of matter which we now call the Standard Model (regardless that it fails to explain the effects of gravity) - it's origins lie in the work of Rutherford when he "split" the atom in Manchester (and we now discover left irradiated laboratories which may have helped kill subsequent academic staff who used the rooms) and he described a heavy nucleus or core surrounded by a cloud of much lighter atoms electrons.

H J G Mosley at about the same time determined that the number of protons in the nucleus was the atomic number. The more protons, the denser and heavier the atom.

By examining emitted light when a gas is excited by an electric discharge (as in say a neon light tube) Niels Bohr was able to determine energy levels emitted . He sketched out what we now now see is a primitive atomic model. Not based on direct observation but derived from measuring electromagnetic radiation - a model, expressed for the first time as a mathematcal formula which proved to be useful (and accurate in many cases) in predicting how atoms would behave.

Bohr decided that
1) Atoms have well-defined electron orbits.
2) Atoms do not radiate energy
3) Electrons travel in circular orbits with specific angular momenta, and only certain values are possible (angular momentum is quantized).
4) As electrons travel (or transit) fom one orbit to the next, energy is either absorbed or released by the atom.

This explanation provided an understanding of the periodicity of the table of elements.

In 1930 1930 Schrodinger concluded that electrons operated as continuous clouds , not discrete particles and developed wave mechanics to develop a mathematical model of the atom. At the same time Paul Dirac proposed anti-particles to explain some of the observed activities of atoms and Anderson discovered the anti-electron (positron) in 1932 - it took another 30 odd years before another anti particle the anti-proton was detected by Segre and Chamberlain.

Paul Dirac shared the Nobel Prize in physics for 1933 with Erwin Schrödinger, "for the discovery of new productive forms of atomic theory." Dirac was also an alumnus of Coatham Grammar School in Bath where a bright schoolboy called Peter Higgs was a student.

In 1930 Dirac's published "Principles of Quantum Mechanics", which is a landmark volume in the history of science and was/is a standard text still used today by bright students. Dirac incorporated the previous work of Werner Heisenberg on matrix mechanics and of Erwin Schrödinger on wave mechanics into a single mathematical formalism that could explain the (then )known properties of atoms.

Jumping forward Peter Higgs who had been attempting to unravel the events of the supposed primal "Big Bang" (along with others unknown but on the same mental tram lines) proposed what has become to be known as the Higgs mechanism which predicted massless particles.

Popularly known as "Gods particle" ( an apparent bowdlerisation of a journal editor when someone called it that Goddamed particle because no one could find it) or the Higgs boson. 40 odd years and billions have been spent looking for the goddam thing.

There have been many false dawns in the search for this eleusive beats, not the least when the respected New Scientist produced a news story on 2nd March last year (2007) "Higgs boson : Glimpses of the God particle" . Scientists working on the 6.3 Km long Tevatron accelerator at Fermilab , at Batavia near Chicago, had been colliding protons and antiprotons and looking for the tell tale signs of the decay of one of five "supersymmetric" Higgs bosons into two tau leptons, which are very heavy cousins of the electron.

These are found by looking at "bumps" in data .. they found bumps, but New Scientist had been fed a bum steer because Z bosons , discovered at CERN in the 1980's also produced 2 Tau leptons ...

Anyway tomorrow they switch on the CERN hadron collider which will smash neutrons at speeds and desnities never previously acheived and detect the elctromagnetic consequences with detectors of remarkable sensitivity.

If they are lucky and they do, they say Peter Higgs will receive Nobel prize.

What is certain that they will want even more money for even more powerful, more sensitive, larger, faster, deeper, wider, higher, colder smashing machines, computers , scintillators ......

..and perhaps a very, very, few people will really, really understand what happened in that billionth of a second at the birth of the universe.

We really, really ought to try and understand what these guys do, the last time they were left to find a use for all this stuff they invented the atom bomb.


Shouldn't miss BBC 4 have a Big Bang day all day with (so far) excellent programmes. Adam Hart-Davis on Engineering Solutions was full of breathy excitement but effectively translated the scale of engineering achievement at getting the thing built.

8 comments:

uncertainly heisenberg said...

"..heavy nucleus or core surrounded by a cloud of much lighter atoms."


I trust it's the Postman's clumsy typing but it would be better to describe Rutherford's model as a nucleus surrounded by a cloud of electrons.


Similarly "Neils Bohr" should be Niels Bohr and homage paid where it is due.


As for "...a bright schoolboy called Peter Biggs" ????


The story of science at the turn and early years of the 20th Century is an exciting and revelatory one to those of a certain disposition.

ziz said...

It may seem unlikely but this blog acts as a cosmis ray detector and each typo relects a cosmis ray event.

Sometimes they come in fleets.

Anonymous said...

I think it should be called the big HardOn erector.
The chances of finding the answer to and the origins and of the universe are zero.
Dark Matter is a load of bollocks,,,a scientist(fundraising) fairytale to compensate for their lack of understanding.(more money please still aint found the dark matter)
However having said that DARPA and various other Military spooks and evil cads will be keeping a close eye on the results and using the data accumulated from the big HardOn to further develop other dastardly weaponry and chicanery!

yes those tiny smashed to fuckin smithereens particles will reveal secrets that can be used for more earthly purposes as those tiny horny rap dancing PHd students dance merrily round the 27km hardon the intelligence agencies will be keeping a close eye.

Anonymous said...

one of my favourite Big Bang debunkers is Halton Arp.


Short biography for Halton C. Arp

Halton C. Arp received his Bachelors degree from Harvard College in 1949 and his Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 1953, both cum laude. He is a professional astronomer who, earlier in his career, conducted Edwin Hubble's nova search in M31. He has earned the Helen B.Warner prize, the Newcomb Cleveland award and the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award. For 28 years he was staff astronomer at the Mt. Palomar and Mt. Wilson observatories. While there, he produced his well known catalog of "Peculiar Galaxies" that are disturbed or irregular in appearance.

Arp discovered, from photographs and spectra with the big telescopes, that many pairs of quasars (quasi-stellar objects) which have extremely high redshift z values (and are therefore thought to be receding from us very rapidly - and thus must be located at a great distance from us) are physically connected to galaxies that have low redshift and are known to be relatively close by. Because of Arp's observations, the assumption that high red shift objects have to be very far away - on which the Big Bang theory and all of "accepted cosmology" is based - has to be fundamentally reexamined.!

Anonymous said...

"We really, really ought to try and understand what these guys do, the last time they were left to find a use for all this stuff they invented the atom bomb."

They've since moved on. The new big thing is anti-matter. There's a relatively small group of physicists at CERN's LHC devoted solely to the study of theories of how best capture and store anti-matter in the long term. That would be OK except that the USAF or somesuch (Google US Air Force antimatter - and wiki's antimatter entry subsection 5.2 Fiction - Military) has speculated on the potential for unprecedented mass destruction which a-m promises to yield with a few very big ifs, fortunately, for the time being.

If one decided to cultivate an interest in photons one would find them infinitely more fascinating (and confounding) than any of the entities the LHD hopes to stumble upon/collide with. Imo if they still haven't figured out photons they probably don't know enough to hypothesise rationally about 'new' particles.
Can't argue with the concept of the LHD as a black hole for money.

Anonymous said...

nothing exists.Its´all an illusion.

from Mark Twain shortly before he died.The Mysterious Stranger.
For as much as a year Satan continued these visits, but at last he came less often, and then for a long time he did not come at all. This always made me lonely and melancholy. I felt that he was losing interest in our tiny world and might at any time abandon his visits entirely. When one day he finally came to me I was overjoyed, but only for a little while. He had come to say good-by, he told me, and for the last time. He had investigations and undertakings in other corners of the universe, he said, that would keep him busy for a longer period than I could wait for his return.

"And you are going away, and will not come back any more?"

"Yes," he said. "We have comraded long together, and it has been pleasant - pleasant for both; but I must go now, and we shall not see each other any more."

"In this life, Satan, but in another? We shall meet in another, surely?"

Then, all tranquilly and soberly, he made the strange answer, "There is no other."

A subtle influence blew upon my spirit from his, bringing with it a vague, dim, but blessed and hopeful feeling that the incredible words might be true - even must be true.

"Have you never suspected this, Theodor?"

"No. How could I? But if it can only be true -"

"It is true."

A gust of thankfulness rose in my breast, but a doubt checked it before it could issue in words, and I said, "But - but - we have seen that future life - seen it in its actuality, and so -"

"It was a vision - it had no existence."

I could hardly breathe for the great hope that was struggling in me. "A vision? - a vi -"

"Life itself is only a vision, a dream."

It was electrical. By God! I had had that very thought a thousand times in my musings!

"Nothing exists; all is a dream. God - man - the world - the sun, the moon, the wilderness of stars - a dream, all a dream; they have no existence. Nothing exists save empty space - and you!"

"I!"

"And you are not you - you have no body, no blood, no bones, you are but a thought. I myself have no existence; I am but a dream - your dream, creature of your imagination. In a moment you will have realized this, then you will banish me from your visions and I shall dissolve into the nothingness out of which you made me . . .

"I am perishing already - I am failing - I am passing away. In a little while you will be alone in shoreless space, to wander its limitless solitudes without friend or comrade forever - for you will remain a thought, the only existent thought, and by your nature inextinguishable, indestructible. But I, your poor servant, have revealed you to yourself and set you free. Dream other dreams, and better!

"Strange! that you should not have suspected years ago - centuries, ages, eons, ago! - for you have existed, companionless, through all the eternities.

Strange, indeed, that you should not have suspected that your universe and its contents were only dreams, visions, fiction! Strange, because they are so frankly and hysterically insane - like all dreams: a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice and invented hell - mouths mercy and invented hell - mouths Golden Rules, and forgiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him! . . .

"You perceive, now, that these things are all impossible except in a dream. You perceive that they are pure and puerile insanities, the silly creations of an imagination that is not conscious of its freaks - in a word, that they are a dream, and you the maker of it. The dream-marks are all present; you should have recognized them earlier.

"It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream - a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought - a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities!"

He vanished, and left me appalled; for I knew, and realized, that all he had said was true.

Anonymous said...

Look, this stuff's easy. The answer is 42, as any damn fool knows.

I'm more interested in how two provincial doctors from Rothley have managed to avoid the criminal justice system.

What's that all about?

Anonymous said...

criminal justice system.

that´s one of the most obvious fuckin illusion of em all guv,,

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish