Monday, 21 December 2009

Bored of Bohr?

Hey Reader,
What is that weird word ion the title: Bohr? Well, here we are talking about the physicist, Neils Bohr, the man responsible for the High School model of the atom! You know, that model that mimics the solar system. How did it come about? Why is it useful? Why is it used?

To start, lets see the history of the atom and the models. It started with Dalton, when he stated that the atom is the smallest unit of matter. He also stated that the atom is just a solid ball (such as a billiard ball). This formed the first theory of the atom

Then came J.J. Thompson, who realized that a charge can be induced onto the atom. Negative or positive, there has to be a way to charge an atom. He devised a model (sometimes called the plum-pudding model) in which allows the charges of the atom to be spread-out in a "solid" atom.

50 years later, a famous experiment, called the Gold Foil experiment was performed by Ernest Rutherford. His discover shocked the world of science. He shot positive particles (alpha particles) through a thin gold foil and placed detectors at different angles. He observed that many alpha particles was deflected at very small angles. they almost
passed right through!. How could this be unless there was a central nucleus with a positive charge. Thus, we learned that there was a central positive nucleus.

Borh showed that electrons are in orbits. Shown above, electrons circle the nucleus like planets around the sun. The first orbit holds 2 electrons, the 2nd and 3rd each have 8. This is NOT what the current model represents, but this is widely used in many people's education.

This model is useful because it explains a weird phenomenon
. Certain elements emit a certain spectra of light. To the right is a small spectrum (known as the Balmer) that is emitted from Hydrogen. Hydrogen emit other visible lights as well. How can this be explained unless electrons can get excited to different orbitals and de-excited states to lower orbitals. To produce light, with this model, an electron must go from a higher orbital to a lower orbital (Blamer series goes from any higher orbital to the 2nd orbital). This can be mathematically explained using the Rydberg-Balmer equation. The wavelength is correlated to the difference of squared orbitals.

Even though a more accurate model has been discovered, called Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory, Borh's model is a very basic model that works well with the spectral phenomenon. We use it so we can better understand the light.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Momenergy != Mom Energy

Hello Reader,

I know, it's been too long since an actual update to this blog, which is bad on my part As a New Years promise to myself (I make promises and not resolution for the simple fact that I don't have much of a problem needing to be resolved), I will try my hardest to have 2 updates/postings a month. Now this may get extremely difficult, considering my course load is quite heavy. But I am going to try to do it anyways.

Now, you probably read the title and wondered if the one word up there is actually a word. No I did not mean "Mom Energy", this is a scientific word. What I mean is it's a word that was created from scientist to use instead of using "Momentum-Energy" because saying that 10 times fast would be just too darn difficult.

What is Momenergy? Well, it's just that, Momentum AND Energy in the same 4-D vector. Like Space-time's 4-D vector ( [t,x,y,z] , where time is scalar value by itself), Energy and momentum make up a 4 dimensional vector [E, p_x, p_y, p_z]. It is a branch off of Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity. But unlike Spacetime, where you can have 2 different units (light seconds for space or seconds for time), there is only 1 designated unit for momenergy, and that is kilograms! Let's dissect this a bit:

Let's start with Energy. Most people measure it in Calories because that's what's on the food packages. But the standard units of energy are Joules. 1 Joule is 1Kg x 1m/s/s (unit of acceleration) x 1 meter or 1 Kg x 1 m^2/s^2. Now, recall that c (the constant, the speed of light) is pretty much the basis of Einstein's Theory, nothing can go fast than it (with 1 exception that I know of). So it would seem appropriate to use this in the calculation to figure out relativistic energy. Remember that c is a speed so the units are m/s so if we square it, we get m^2/s^2 and if we multiply by mass, we get mc^2, the world famous physics equation. But for relativistic purposes, we are going to have gamma (stretch factor) multiplied by mass. The stretch factor is in units of c. So that everything cancels nicely and we get only the units of mass left.
1/c * c * kg = kg

The same can be done for momentum because it's classical units are kg * m/v. But, here you will multiply together, the stretch factor, the mass and the relativistic speed. Everything still cancels out to kg!

These values when you use Lorentz geometry, will give you the rest mass of an object. These also play a role in the Uncertainty Principle. There are 2 forms to this principle, the momentum-space and the Energy-Time. It states that you cannot know both of these values simultaneously with extreme accuracy. So you either know Energy really well but not the time or you know Time with great accuracy and not the energy (this is on the atomic level).

Stay tuned for more stuff in the near future!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Spacetime is Kinky

*tiny post*
That's right, I said it. Dear Reader, Spacetime is Kinky. What I mean is the more kinks in your path, the less time it takes for you to reach your destination.

The reason for this is because we get out of Euclidean Geometry (what we are used to seeing) and go into Minowski Geometry. This is where we subtract values instead of adding. This only occurs with speeds comparable to light.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

They Are Both Right?

Hello Reader,

So to continue with Einstein and his theory of Special Relativity, there are problem with classical physics that seem to be problematic. As we said last time, light is a constant. It onlychanges when it passes through different mediums. Keep this in mind.

Now picture a moving walkway. The wide, flat ecalator that moves in one direction (can be seen in airports). If you step on it and stand still while it moves, you are moving at the same speed as it is. but if you decide that you want to go faster, you walk, and the 2 speeds are added to give your new speed.

Classical Physics Failure #1

This is not true when you decide to shine a light while you are moving. When you shine a light while in a rocket moving at the speed of light (only hypothetical right now), then the light does not shoot ahead of you, but is matching your speed. You don't get to see any light.

Train Paradox

In this paradox we will show how 2 referance frames mystically can be right even though the conculsions are different.

Imagine a train with a passenger in the middle is moving at a constant velocity. There is another observer in the middle of a platform. As the train passes, lightening strikes both the front and tail of the train simultaneously. This occurs when the passenger and the platform observer (Joe for short) are lined up. They are both in the middle of the train.

The light reaches Joe at the same time, because he knew they were equal distances apart, he concludes that they happened at the same time.

Classical Physics Failure #2

Joe thinks that the train observer, Jane, will see the front flash first because of the speed of the train. And she does. But she has a totally different conclusion, the flash in the front occured first. If she sees it first, the event happened first.

Who is right?

Einstien said that if there are different frame of referances (perspectives) than there will never be agreement about simultaneousness of events. Therefore, both Jane and Joe are correct, in their own prospective.

This property is also involved with Length Contraction. This is the property where 2 measurments can be accurate because of the frame of referance. When I say measurements, I mean measuring anything in 1D, 2D or 3D space. NOT SPACETIME.

If you measure a desk, and you are at rest, you get an accurate measurement of the desk. Because both you and the desk are at rest. Now think of a small rocket that is able to take measurements. If it flew by with a high speed, would it get an accurate measurement? No! How could it? It can't just whip out a meter stick and measure.

Ahh.. But Time can measure distances, so is this accurate? Nope! The rocket actually is going to pass it faster than it can get an accurate measurement. The rocket will not get a proper length even though it will get a proper time for 2 event to occur.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Time by Distance

Hello Reader,
So this week, so far, I've learned that I can measure time by distance and visa versa. Einstein's theory of Relativity is quite interesting.

Here is "practical" example I am going to use to explain what is actually going on. You are sitting in the back seat of a movie, there are 3 other people. 1 is enjoying the movie front row and center. and there is a couple off center but in the middle row. We all know that the dude in the front row will see the images first and you last.

We can figure out that you are 'x' meters away from the screen, but how many seconds away from the screen are you? How long does it take for the image propogate in your mind?

Another common example I can use is when someone asks you how far something is to travel, you usually give a time ex. "How far is the airport from here?" "It's about 45 minutes or so."

Well we all know that light is the fastest thing that travels. It's speed is 300,000,000 m/s in a vacuum (really close to air, we use the same value)! See the units? Meters per second. So to measure anything in a specific unit, all you have to do is cancel the other unit using c (the symbol for the speed of light). Either you multiply time by c or you divide meters.

So if you were 5 meters away from the screen, you are actually 16.6 nanoseconds away.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Pitch Sickness

Hello Reader,
It has been awhile, but I have a post and that's what counts. Any guesses as to the topic? No takers? Well it's about a phenomenon that takes place in your brain (maybe). And it give us knowledge why we can't do what some celebrities can do. Guesses now?

Tone-deafness is quite troubling if you have a friend (such as myself) who likes to sing (even in public) and s/he doesn't know that they suck very badly at doing said task. Well a medical student at Harvard Medical School was studying music and the brain and realized that the brain of people who ARE tone-deaf have fewer fibres that go between the Temporal and Frontal Region.

One of the function of the Frontal Lobe is the ability to distiguish similarities and differences. In relation to the topic, the determination of the pitch of the actual song and the pitch your vocal cords produce. The Temporal Lobe is where the auditory systems get figured out. It's where we process what we hear.

So if we (yes, we... me included) have limited connections from these two brain regions, than we have issues determining the right pitch to... sing at.

*Post Blog*
So Reader, I will be travelling back to Toronto for Year Two of Medical Physics. I think my posts will be geared towards what I have learned, because one of my favorite Professors, Dr. Panar, taught me that to make sure you understand a concept, teach it. If you can teach it and it's understood, than you know what you are talking about. this will be a form of studying. so we shall see how it turns out.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

See and Be Seen

Hello Reader,

As a society that really wants to be seen, make a scene and individuals wanting to be noticed for something, we seem to be putting a bit of effort for the opposite! Ever wonder if not being seen is possible? Reader, I'm talking about invisibility. Using a device to hide oneself from other people's vision. Kind of like the Invisibility Cloak from Harry Potter.
*key idea: you need 2 main things for vision to occur. Object to be seen and an observer. Without either one, nothing can be seen*

For invisibility to work, the material being used must not be seen by the observer. As shown in the picture to the right, the material has to be able to reflect of the material, hit another above the object and bounce off the back. Unfortunately, this is very hard and maybe even impossible to do (have something follow you from above).

Let's take a step back for a second though. Light is an electromagnetic wave (we also know now, that it is a particle). That is, it changes from an electric field to a magnetic field very quickly. We know this thanks to James Maxwell. He also had thoughts about invisibility.

We know that most liquids and gases are "invisible" (transparent), but why is that? Atoms in higher excited states (due to heat, pressure or a bigger volume) have more spaces between them. This is a key role for such visibility problems. If the spaces between the atoms are greater than the wavelength of the light, then light is not given off. What about diamonds? Why can I see right through them? Some solids have special properties.they are called Lattices'. The atoms are arranged so that there are equal spaces between each other and is organised!

So how do we use such properties to become unseen? New materials are being worked on in laboratories called Metamaterial. These are materials that can bend light waves. So far, we are able to bend microwaves (smaller than infrared).

Light have a property called the index of refraction. If you have ever gone fishing and saw a fish in the water and decided to put a net over the fish, you know that you didn't catch it. this is because the index of refraction is responsible for the bending of light. This concept needs to be applied to an invisibility device. Metamaterial is special, in which it actually has a negative value for the index of refraction (everything you can see will always have a positive value).

This is quite close to the concept of Fibre Optics. In a fibre optic tube, light is bent at a 90 degree angle so nothing passes through it but stays contained in the tube. The US military has a device that uses fibre optics for an "invisible" cloaking device. this is the closest we are to such a cloaking device.

In Michio Kaku's book, Physics of the Impossible, he rates invisibility a class 1 impossibility. This means that it is not possible now, but will be in a matter of a decade.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

The Most Precious

I know this sounds pretty bland, but this topic, dear Reader, is about time. Think about it for a moment, really think about it. As your reading this, subconsciously, you're either hoping this doesn't take long or this takes as long as you can imagine. Today's post will explaining how we have depended on time, how it's viewed in science and different views on time.

Time seems to be everything. We get paid per time, our life relies on every minute, every hour and even years. We celebrate an annual event that occurs when we are either conceived or born. For those married, you have an anniversary - returning every year - a yearly celebration of your marriage. But it seems much more important than this.

As Our Lady Peace said in R.K. On Death, "[Death] gives importance and value to time.
Time would become meaningless if there were too much of it." I find this to be absolutely true. If we never concieved an idea to measure amounts of different periods, we would never care about what we do as humans.

I'm sure you have heard of this: Space-time. Do you really understand it's meaning? Well, space-time is what are known as dimentions. You see in 3-D, three dimensions. You can see up and down, left and right, and because you have 2 eyes that are far enough apart, you can see depths. Well, time has been added to the well known dimensions, for scientific pruposes to understand things at the quantum level and on a grander scale alike. Einstien used it for his Theory of Reltivity. Using a 4th dimension helps to illustrate what would happen to us if the sun just vanished out of thin air (we would still move around the Sun's orbit until we about 8 minutes [speed of light from Earth to the Sun]. Then we would float away).

The reason why I have posted this topic is because a pseudo-suggeustion from a friend made me curious about a website, timecube, which should be bashed, in my opinion. But main concept is a bit weird, he claims we live on a 4 cornered planet in which we experince 4 days instead of 1. this is interesting because we have thought for the longest time, until explorers from Asia and Europe travelled to the Americas. We even have travelled to space and have taken many images of our own planet. The result: We are still spherical. He bashes the education system, because it teaches the 24-hour system. Needless to say, Time Cube is not a likely thing to be taught in any school in the near future. We have made a system that works out mathematically and seems suffcient enough.

I also recently completed a book by Canadian author, Robert J. Sawyer. The main plot revolves around a neanderthal being quantumly transported to our part of the multiverse universe. They have a metric time system. That is to say, a day is 10 hours long. Metric time probably could work, if we thought it out properly, but very unlikely to work. We already use the metric system for time, before a full second aka milliseconds and after a full year aka decade, century, millenium ect.

How could metric time work? Well, let's do a few calculations:
We have 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 365.25 days in a year (every 4 years is a leap year). So we will multiply each value.
60 * 60 * 24 * 365.25 = 31557600
Because we don't have that many zeros ending this number, this is difficult to do. We just would have the same amount of daylight in a day as we do now.

Hope you enjoyed, and wasn't a waste of time. Sugguestions for new topics and comments are always welcome.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Life Away From Earth??

Hello Reader,

do you think there really is life out there? Did Roswell actually happen? Or are you on the other end of the spectrum, no life other than terrestrial being? Well today we will explore the mathematics of extra-terrestrials!

That’s right, math that predicts the probability of other aliens.

The equation is called the Drake Equation. This equation was brought about by Dr. Frank Drake of University of California who is a scientist in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Not only does the equation predict how many civilizations are out there, it also predicts advanced civilizations! How many are at our level of intelligence and beyond. Without further ado, here is the ever so famous equation:

N = R x P x Ne x L x I x FC x LT

What do all these wonderful letters mean?

  • N is the number of aliens that possible could contact us or visa versa.
  • R is the average star formation
  • P is the fraction of stars that have planets surrounding it
  • Ne is the number of planets that could support life for every star that has a planet
  • L is the fraction of planets that WILL have life on it... at one point. Because everything started off as a single celled organism, this is going to be higher than N
  • I is the fraction of l that will become intelligent life. This could be an animal (anything that has a structure like our neural system).
  • FC is the fraction of intelligent life that can and will build a detection device for communication purposes.
  • LT is the time length in which a signal will be sent.

Here are values that have been used with this equation (taken from Wikipedia):

  • R = 10/year the Milky Way averages 10 stars per years.
  • P = 0.5 about half these stars will develop/pull planets into its orbit.
  • NE = 2 scientists believe that 2 of these planets will be able to support life.
  • Recap so far: 10 stars, 5 stars with planets 2 of these will have planets that support life.
  • L = 1 (100% of these planets will develop life of any kind. Such as microbes or amoebas.) (I would think only 50% at most but let’s go with this)
  • I = 0.01 (1% that could be intelligent)
  • FC = 0.01 (1% that could communicate with us.)
  • LT = 10,000 years (how long the civilization will last 10,000 years)

If we multiply each of these numbers together, we get N = 10 alien beings that we COULD encounter. This is only theoretical and we still have yet to encounter any (except possibly at Roswell).

If we use my 50% instead of the 100% for the ‘L’ value we come up with 5. This seems more reasonable. Makes sense why we have yet to encounter anything in this vast galaxy.

That concludes Drake’s equation. As always, comments are always excepted and topic suggestions are welcome as well.

Thanks for reading Keith’s Mind.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Spukhafte Fernwirkung

Hello Readers,

If you tried reading those words and succeeded, you can speak German pretty well. These words were spoken by a very famous person, about the topic I am about to deliver!

Einstein thought entanglement was a "spooky action from a distance". This is also the idea that he played with until his passing. He thought it was so impossible that if he didn't find the truth of the matter, he would change professions.

At the basics, entanglement is very simple. 2 subatomic particles can "share information". Here's where Einstein got angry. The mathematics show that at any distance, the "information" is sent instantaneously. That is, faster than the speed of light (that was precisely when Einstein stopped making hair appointments).

Remember that I said "electrons are weird little buggers"? Well, there are smaller subatomic particles. Let's say, sub-subatomic particles. These wee things that make up the other wee things (smaller building blocks for the neutrons, protons and electrons). These are leptons, quarks and bosons. Bosons are the force particles aka the particles that help hold atoms together. Quarks are the fundamental masses of the subatomic particle. Leptons are what gives a subatomic particle its spin.

It's weird to think about but all subatomic particles have a spin to it. Scientists have actually given it a numerical value of 1/2 or -1/2 (up or down). The spin of the particle is what information is sent. (A bit of romance ahead) Each subatomic particle has a counter part somewhere in the universe. They are "related" to each other. If an electron has spin up, then its counterpart has a spin down value to it.

That doesn't sound to weird, so why did Einstein freak out? Say these particles were separated to either side of the universe, what do we have? We have one spin up lepton on the far left (for visual purposes) and one spin down to the far right. If the spin changes (which it can) than the other changes to oppose it, instantly.

This concept has helped the idea of quantum teleportation. Scary to think that we could travel faster than the speed of light. But in order for us to travel quickly, we need to build a "holding" bin to put the opposite spinned subatomic particles in.

I hope you have enjoyed my 3 part series on Quantum Mechanics. Any and all comments and questions are welcome. As always if you have an idea for this blog, don't be afraid to tell me, via comments as well.

Happy reading!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Computers with power of Quantum!

*Aside: I am sorry, Reader, for my tartiness, yet again. All I can say is sorry. I will not make any excuses (Flying to a new Province, Working LONG shifts and trying to make best of being to my "lonesome"). Without further delay...*

Hello Readers, last time we were together I said that electrons are nasty bugger because they do weird stuff that is out of the norm compared to our perception of thing in the world we see with our naked eye. Well here I will discuss a practical use of such phenomenon.

Now, when "Computer" is mentioned, you probably think about the PC (Personal Computer... Mac or Windows). It's kinda hard not to... it's right in front of you. I will define a computer as a machine that can do work. I consider a robot a computer, it seems fitting.

As eveyone is well aware, computers have been getting extremely faster in the last decade or so. And we also all know that devices that control the "thinking" of the computer have gotten smaller. This is in accordance to Moore's Law. The law pretty much states, the number of transisters on a microprocessor (which is inside the key ingredient to what you are seeing) doubles after 18 months. This will keep going until atleast 2020 but up to 2030! I'm telling you now, the microprocessors are pretty small now compared to the processor in the Commador 64.

So if a processor is supposed to get smaller after 18 months, how will it get done?

That's when we Quantify the processor. What I mean is, we need to harness the power of an atom! If we can use the energy generated from an excited electon, or even fission reaction (without giving us cancer in the process), the we would be able to run a computer faster, stronger and more stable (unless you have Windows, then your just SOL! Sorry, I use Windows so I am only attacking myself).

Other than a smaller processor is there really an advantage? Sure there is! In order for you to understand, let go back to last post. I said that small object (atoms, electron ect.) act like a wave... and can interfere. The diagram showed a Double Slit experiment. Well, there are 2 types of interferance. Imagine 2 sinosoidal waves coming at each other.
  1. If the the waves are in phase, when a crest meets a crest or trough meets the other trough (or 2 of the same points meet) you have Constructive interferance. The 2 waves make a "super wave" and the waves add onto each other.
  2. If the wave is out of phase (all the other times ie. crest meets trough) we have Destructive interferance. the waves cancel each other out.
This is the Law of Superposition. When 2 wave fronts meet, the waves are "additive". They will add on to each other.

This relates to the Quantum Computer because of our own basic unit of data... BITS. Your computer's memory works using a binary system, a series of 1's and 0's. But with a quantum comupter this will change. Think as if a bit was a wave now. When it interacts with another bit (4 bits to a byte, so constant interaction) we will have interferance. Thus, we will have a superposition of a bit. The bit will be call a Quabit (or Qubits)!

This makes for a more efficient machine. It's able to to store more memory (kinda like our brain except not). It will also promote laziness (don't all PC's do that?). Instead of calculating huge factored numbers and what not in our head (pencil and paper), it will be able to process the numbers.

That's pretty much it. Like always, please leave a comment so I know you are still living and also interest. Also, I take topic suggeustion. After the next post on Entanglement, I will something to pop in my head (my mind WILL comeup with something weird) or I'll use your suggeustion. Up to you.

Have a good week!

Thursday, 30 April 2009

The Leap to a Quantum State

Hello Reader and welcome to the first segment of 3 all about Quantum Mechanics. Due to the science being so strange, I will cover as much as possible and to make sure you can grasp at least a little of what’s going on.

I will start off with this: We all have heard of Sir Isaac Newton and his Laws of Motion. You may not know the laws but you have heard his name associated with such phrases, I am sure. Newton was the one who came up with the concept of Gravity. And the ever so famous Action, reaction phrase... that was Newton’s Third Law!

Well it turns out; this is fine and dandy for macro scale. Objects that can be seen with the human eye, you, me, space shuttles, cannons, etcetera. But when we get to the micro scale, atoms, this is not right at all. Sub atomic particles move differently. This is where quantum mechanics starts playing a role in science.

In order to understand the next part, you must imagine what a wave looks like. That’s right, go back to High School Trigonometry and try to remember what a sine wave looks like. This is how light travels... in wave form.

Through experiments, it was determined that electrons when separate from the atom, also travelled in a wave. Now isn’t that strange? On a large scale, a bunch of atoms move using Newtonian Mechanics, but if you look at individual particles and sub-atomic particles, they act as waves. They even interfere like waves!

This is known as the particle wave duality. So one question that is out there is can light act like matter? We have not seen light (photon) act like a real particle with mass, but we have seen interactions between sub-atomic particles and a photon. This is what happens when humans perceive light and colour. A certain wavelength of an object is not absorbed and released. This wavelength is what we see. This is due to electrons gaining energy from a photon and then releasing it.

Electrons are weird little buggers. In an atom, the concept taught in High School is that they travel in circles around an atom. This is quite untrue. Instead, their positions are quite unclear. What is known, due to Schrödinger’s wave equations, is that there are probability “clouds” in which an electron could occupy in space and time. They do not stay in one place but “teleport” to another space in the probability cloud. This uncertainty gave rise to Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty. He states that the position multiplied by the momentum of the object has to be larger than a constant. Thus, if one is item is very well know (say the momentum, which is mass x velocity), then the position of the electron cannot be well known.
A reason we cannot detect this is because the sophistication of our technology. A lot of out optical devises uses either photons or electrons to detect object positions. If a photon is what makes an electron excited and do not know the initial characteristics (velocity and position), the conditions cannot be deduced. Hitting an electron with an electron is also quite hard. But doing this does not help, seeming the wave feature of the electron allows it to be random in itself.

That is it for the basics of Quantum Mechanics. As always comments are encouraged.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Coming Soon

Hello Reader,

I am excited for my next post(s). I have planned the next three around different aspects of Quantum Mechanics. I will be talking about Quantum Mechanics in general, then moving on to Quantum Computers and then finishing off wih Entanglement. I am currently doing the research for you because I don't know everything in this field. To be warned, Quantum Mechanics is very confusing and will be trying to simplify it for you, the Reader. As well, not everything is know about this subject matter, knowledge is very limited in the field so I am going to try to do this as thorough as possible.

The post won't be next week (probably) due to exam time. I will try to post the first one up before my flight to Fort MacMurray.

Good Day/Evening/Night to you.

As a side: Please comment on posts. I really want to know if there are readers out there. If no one posts comments, I may stop indefinatley. As always, suggeustions are welcome as well. I will cover many areas. I know recently I have done/will be doing physics, but I am will to do other topics as well.

Thank You Reader,

Thursday, 16 April 2009

A flair for Flares

This post is going to take you, Reader, to an interesting side of physics! Astrophysics is quite a fun thing to think about, if you aren’t a rocket scientist. And to be clear, my specialty is NOT Astrophysics. I am going to discuss Solar Flares. Below is an image of the magnetic fields of both the Sun and the Earth.

In order to understand solar flares though, I will go over some things to make things a bit clearer.

The first thing to know about the Sun is that it is made up of Hydrogen atoms that fuse to make Helium atoms. This creates the heat that we feel on those warm sunny days (yes, summer is right around the corner, as they say). The energy of the hydrogen molecules are so significant that the 1 proton and electron from each atom will form into a new atom. This energy is called the Heat of Fusion. The temperature of the surface of the Sun is about 5725 C.

Our Sun has 3 layers to it, the core, the surface and the radiation zone. The radiation zone is very dense. Here the electromagnetic waves are produced and the radiation can stay in this zone for millions of years. Simply put, the energy can be in a wide range of wavelengths, from x-rays (large) or Gamma Rays (small).

So what is a solar flare? It’s an extra burst of energy that gets emitted from the Sun. This sends a “wave” of radiation (UV, x-ray and Gamma) outward. These are pretty dangerous wavelengths.

So why don’t we feel it? Actually, we kind of do. Cancer is a mutation in cells genetics. This can be due to many different agents. The most prominent reagent for skin cancer is UV radiation... from the Sun. The UV index actual flexuate, due to these solar flares and you get the advisory to put on sun screen.

Another aspect that is in movies including in the new cinematic entertainment, Knowing, is wireless interference. In movies, when a solar flare occurs, it creates interference waves for all technology that uses radio waves (electromagnetic waves). As established above, Radio waves ARE emitted from the Sun. It usually affects what is known as long range radio waves. These are the x-rays, and waves that have wavelengths in decimetres. We can thank the Ionosphere for this; it cuts “blocks” the larger wavelengths from getting through. Our cell phones have an average wavelength of approximately 26 centimetres or 2.6 decimetres. Thus, a solar flare is ABLE to interfere with our cell phone signal.

But these flares occur very often. During an “active” Sun phase, the Sun could produce a solar flare every few hours. When the Sun is inactive, solar flares can be produced once a week.

Flares occur when the outer “atmosphere” of the Sun has a burst of stored magnetic energy. It’s like a water balloon; the magnetic energy fills up in a concentrated area and then bursts releasing electromagnetic waves and lot of heat.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Thanks for the Influence

Hello Reader,

This issue is about Music. But not just music, but how music influences us on a day to day basis. It happens. Everything "pop culture" influences us, so plug in your headphones and read this issue!

For those who don't know me, I am a huge music fanatic. Well actually,  I consider myself to like a certain genre, like most of us do.  EVERYONE is different. I mean you may have a few bands that you like in common with a friend, but not every single band that you like, (s)he will like too. 

So how does that last line pertain to our influences? For one, you may consider to restrict your conversations with this person depending on the feelings they have towards the opposing band. Music is often conversed between friends so this seem understandable.

I am guilty of this, some of you may be too. I listen to music while studying. I find that it helps lighten the atmosphere of the work area. Say for example that you need to study an exam/midterm/test. You are feeling stressed. Music can help destress you, if it is the right kind of music for you. By this I mean Classic music is not for everyone, and doesn't help everyone. If you know the genre that you prefer, then this is idealistic for you for studying. In Psychology, I learned that associating what is new with previous knowlegde helps with memory. So, if you get a song, that you played while studying, stuck in your head, you may associate the new knowledge with the song.

What about sports? Well, it seems that sports has made this a top priority... that is to play music. But this music usually has a faster beat to "pump" players up for the game. 

As I am writing this post I am enjoying the tunes of a newly purchased CD by New Found Glory.

Below is a link of my Psychology Professor who was featured on Discovery Channel's Daily Planet for his "Emoti-chair" which will allow deaf people to experience music.

Music has evolved throught the last century... let's hope it keeps it up.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Great New Heights

Hello Reader,
As promised, this post will be about the controversial experiment that will be performed this summer by CERN. It has been delayed due to maitenance. It was originally supposed to occur in October 2008.

CERN (which is European Organization of Nuclear Research) is undertaking the project that will not only blow away the scientific community but may also suck us all... into a dark abyss. The have built the worlds largest particle accelerator called the Large Hadron Collider.

Your probably thinking "So what? A particle accelerator can't do much. I mean, it's in the name. It accelerates particles."

Yes it does accelerate particles, but think about this, How fast are these particles actually going?

The answer is not 100% known, but the ball park rang is from 90% -98% of the speed of light. The particles (proton and lead ion) will travel the 27 km ring gaining speed, doing laps (bet you couldn't do that) and gaining speed. When they have reached this maximum speed, the physicists will send these beams of particle into each other. These will recreate the conditions of the Big Bang.

Now here is the contriversial part of this experiment. There are 2 reasons for this experiment. One as mentioned earlier, is to recreate the Big Bang, the other is to find a sub atomic particle (for those who only know the basics of an atom, its like an electron) called the Higgs-boson which physicists believe gives an atom it's mass.

Many are awaiting this day in fear because of the overly public warnings of SOME scientists who have done theorietical mathematics. They claim that there will be micro blackholes produced upon collision.

Now reader, don't fear too much. This is kind of a WHAT IF game now. If this experiment produces a/some micro blackhole(s), they shouldn't affect us or the planet. The math that has been done in regards to blackhole(s) show that they will be too tiny to suck us into it's gravitational feilds. Another "what if" that come to the conclusion of our destruction via blackhole(s) is elapsed time. If the blackhole stablises in 1 second (it may seem like a little time, but in particle physics, it's a longer than you think) then we will be sucked into the forever black abyss.

Extrapolating the consequences of this experiment, the religious community obviously dissapproves. The recreation of the Big Bang will disprove God's existance once and for all because the ideal "God made everything" testimonial would be proven wrong.

How do i feel about all this? a few idea's come to mind. I am excited, finding the Higgs-boson would be a great discovery giving rise to the Nobel Prize to CERN and it's team of researchers. I feel indifferent if I die from this experiment.

*Warning Paranormal thought: If you do not believe in extraterrestrial beings disregard the next paragraph*

If other civilizations have done this experiment, it may give light to why we have not been "contacted". Any advanced lifeforms would have probably done this experiment or a similar one in which a blackhole has engulfed us.

And I would not feel any different about death because it is out of my hands. I couldn't prevent it, so I am not worried.

Readers, please comment on this topic if you wish. All feed back would be great. I want to know how you feel about this topic. Also, I would like to know if I should do special topics once in a while. Have a good Day :D