Physics Can Be Fatal
S ince the s, dozens of experiments looked for evidence of unified forces and supersymmetric particles, and other particles invented to beautify the Standard Model. These particles are supposed to aid beauty, for example, by increasing the amount of symmetries, by unifying forces, or by explaining why certain numbers are small.
Unfortunately, not a single one of those particles has ever been seen. Measurements have merely confirmed the Standard Model over and over again. And a theory of everything, if it exists, is as elusive today as it was in the s. The Large Hadron Collider is only the most recent in a long series of searches that failed to confirm those beauty-based predictions. These decades of failure show that postulating new laws of nature just because they are beautiful according to human standards is not a good way to put forward scientific hypotheses.
Historical precedents are not difficult to find. All of these theories were once considered beautiful, but are today known to be wrong. Such hindsight is not evidence that arguments from beauty work, but rather that our perception of beauty changes over time. That beauty is subjective is hardly a breakthrough insight, but physicists are slow to learn the lesson—and that has consequences. Experiments that test ill-motivated hypotheses are at high risk to only find null results; i.
This is what has happened in the foundations of physics for 40 years now. And with the new LHC results, it happened once again.
The data analyzed so far shows no evidence for supersymmetric particles, extra dimensions, or any other physics that would not be compatible with the Standard Model. In the past two years, particle physicists were excited about an anomaly in the interaction rates of different leptons. The Standard Model predicts these rates should be identical, but the data demonstrates a slight difference. The data stubbornly repeat: Nothing new to see here. But at this point we already know that all previously made predictions for new physics were wrong, meaning that there is now no reason to expect anything new to appear.
Yes, null results—like the recent LHC measurements—are also results. They rule out some hypotheses.
But null results are not very useful results if you want to develop a new theory. Robbert Dijkgraaf will sometimes let himself drift back to his childhood attic in the Netherlands. It was there that he did some of his first physics experiments, playing with discarded binocular optics that his father kept stacked in boxes. To find the way forward in the foundations of physics, we need results, not null-results.
When testing new hypotheses takes decades of construction time and billions of dollars, we have to be careful what to invest in. Experiments have become too costly to rely on serendipitous discoveries. So, this was at Shimazdu. Before going any further, lets talk about what Polarization really is. Even the colours in a Daft Punk video. So given a direction of propagation of one of these waves, there are two ways in which the wave could orient itself ie 2 modes of polarization; Vertical and Horizontal.
Generally light waves are a combination of Vertical and Horizontal ones sometimes starting from the same point or sometimes differing by few bumps. And depending upon how much they are a mismatch, their combined sum gives. Now, have you ever seen in this game called hole in the wall? So to draw an analogy, in the case of electromagnetic waves, the polarized waves only pass if the substance permits passage in a particular direction. Quite like so,. A last bit of cuteness is the moving cellophane tape covered disc.
This in turn affects the refractive index experienced by light in length vs width direction. Now remember from your high school physics that refractive index basically affects how fast your wave travels in a media. Also remember that this r index of the same material was different for the different colours. Since each colour has different energy thus the resistance it suffers from the same poor material is different. Note this resistance is simply the interaction light has with the material.
The more energy you have, the more you interact. The longer it takes for you to pass through the material. The slower your speed is.
Thus blue light of high energy travels the slowest while the red travels fast. So all in all, you have different resistance experienced by different colours and then further different resistance experienced by different components of the same colour depending upon their direction of polarization. So initially a thin film is attached to the disc which allows a linearly polarized ie addition of two modes of polarization with matching bumps light to meet the cello tape from the back.
Now as this linearly polarized white light enters the scotch tape it firstly breaks into its component colours.
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Secondly each colour further experiences different resistance along its two components; horizontal and vertical. And what this resistance basically does is introduce a mismatch between the bumps now since the wave train stops for no one and keeps moving but the different resistance experienced by different modes now includes a lag in the simultaneous waves. As it happens, as the waves travel through the tape, each colour goes from linearly polarized to elliptical to circle periodically.
This is kinda what happens. The final direction of light coming out of the tape for the colours depends upon the angle, thickness of tape etc. So the zig zag overlapping random way in which the tape is put on the disc adds to the kaleidoscopic beauty. Any whoo, when this light of different polarizations reaches the next and final film the thing you see rotating on the top only polarized light with certain direction goes through the film which shows a particular colour according to the angle between the bottom disk and top one. Something of this sort,. It converts the pressure due to gas according to temperature in to mechanical work.
The air inside is heated by a lamp which inflates the gas and pushes the piston up which rotates the flywheel. This moving wheel then at a certain point as you can see pushes back the piston down which in turn pushes the hot air into a tiny gap between the gas container and the metal plating.
The black metal plating panel in contact with ambient air, cools this air and deflates it. Now due to inertia all this while the wheel was rotating and then at a certain angle it lifts up the shaft of the piston to allow this deflated air to enter the low pressure gas container with the lamp on the inside. Then the heating process due to lamp is repeated and thus the wheel keeps rotating at a slow yet graceful speed! Note that this cute addition adds to the glory of the Kaleidoscope since the rotating disc admits one type of polarization at a time ie admitting a certain set of colours and after a while admitting another set and so on thus adding to the magic.
I humbly accept that I am no super being who can solve everything.
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But the reason I do Physics is because it exposes me to another realm of magic. Many will see these beautiful things, many will even get deeply excited. And a way to uncover it is through Science. So there you have it. You owe it to your inner curious wanderer. Embrace Science.
I think I want to conclude by saying that this trip taught me the beauty of the language called Science. Almost like an emotion. Many would complain that visiting a country like J can be troublesome if you do not know the language. Maybe yes. But I experienced something which cut across all language barriers. All of us, separated by thousands of kilometres, cultures apart, traditions apart and language apart, we agreed on the one truth. We connected and collaborated at a level so pure. Physics is Physics, math is math. And on this, we all agreed and bonded. I thank everyone who showed that Science brings people together; it always has and always will.
When combined together, when seen separately. And the saga of it is even more beautiful. Before Newton, the handsome young physicist came also, not much was known about light. Not even the visible light. Then again, the treasure lies hidden in plain sight. And Newton had the curious and imaginative mind to realise that what makes a rainbow a rainbow is the same thing that makes the feathers of a butterfly blue.
Further, when a white light passes another medium, since the refractive index. Et voila, they break! Split and decompose! And believe it or not this is the phenomena responsible for the colour of rainbows , purplish hue of butterflies and blue colour of eyes! Refraction in some, interference in some, iridescence in some. But is it really yellow? Turns out when I put a diffraction grating in front of my lens, due to differing speeds of propagation the light from the small openings of the lamp breaks up into the colours that make it!
For all you know, love could be hiding in a book, or it may be locked in a bottle of paint, or it maybe in the Nature or it might just be the first thing you see in front of you. Be accepting and find what you seek, not what you expect. And in this mad rush of things, let Physics help you ease your way. A tale of Love, loss and deconfinement. Let the quarks explain the true meaning of love to the one you love. Confessions of a Gaussian. The Gaussian wavepacket will explain just what all you feel when in love.
About years ago Albert Einstein gave us crazy ideas about our reality which changed the way modern physics was practiced. What is proper time for you is just a relative factor for me. Shining on a beam of light, Einstein dreamed of space-time and its elegant geometry.
The Physics of Death - Fatal Force
But these were indirect experimental evidences. These were consequences of what can be called a curvature in the fabric. Usually I talk about the Physics first and then move towards the comical illustrations, but this time I am going to make an exception. What is happening here? Say you ate your beloved siblings favourite chocolate or something. If you have a sibling then you can guess that this leads to an explosive wrestling and exchange of not so appropriate words. That is just what happened at the experiment with LIGO. Hulse and Joseph H. Taylor, 2 black holes actually binary pulsars radiate gravitational waves and decrease their orbital period.
What this means is that as the black holes brothers come closer and closer the intensity of their fight increases imagine how you try to run faster and faster from your elder sibling as the gap between you both decreases. As they run faster and faster obviously their time period time to complete one revolution around each other decreases. So basically all that physicists were doing at LIGO Advanced were listening to 2 balck hole brothers fight. Domestic Shenanigans. The physicists further translated this wave to sound.
Want to hear the real fight? The gravitational waves, ripples in space-time , were created by the merging of such two black holes. One black hole had the mass of 29 suns; the other was the equivalent of 36 suns. Each about 50 kilometers 30 miles in diameter. More than a billion years ago, about 1. Gravitational waves pass through everything, so the result traveled through the universe for all that time before reaching Earth. And humans, it is a beyond 5-sigma discovery.
So yeah, it is for real. But wait, l ost in transfiguration was the mass of 3 suns. It happened so that the black hole merger had a mass of 62 suns. The remaining loss of mass travelled across all of space-time to reach us via ripples in the very fabric of space-time. You see a stretch in spacetime would physically stretch the length of L-shaped tunnels.
At LIGO, the mirrors only showed a change in four one-thousandths of the diameter of a proton. How do you measure this? I will take the liberty of assuming that the readers have some basic idea of interferences and re-combination of waves. Well just about everything! You see, till now everything we knew about the Universe was based on our data coming from our study of the Electromagnetic waves. Light, Radiowave, microwave and when we feel fancy then, Ultraviolet and infrared. He's a help in every way. Above all, he's a good man. I have a happy life with him. He's been very helpful with career stuff.
Supportive and full of goodness. At the end of the interview with Charles for American Film Magazine , he asked you to marry him.
Acceleration That Would Kill a Human
That was your first meeting. Did it shock you? No, not at all. You know what? I was expecting it. I know it sounds weird, but there you go. We were star-crossed. We really hit it off. It was a deep connection. So in a way, it was life imitating art, imitating fiction. What did you say when he proposed? I just said yes. And a year later we were married. It's been fabulous. We've been married for thirty years.
Where to from here? After Death by Hitchcock , I'll keep writing about Edwina and her sleuthing. It gives me great pleasure. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. She wrote six children's books, one being fiction. Physics Can be Fatal is her first adult novel. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
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