[Draft] The linear venue Some grocery stores still have spring scales in the fresh produce section. Let’s say, just to get the raw weight, you use the scale to weigh some oranges – 2 lb 6 oz. Then you weigh some apples – 3 lb 5 oz. Putting them together in a plastic bag from… Continue reading What the heck is superposition?
Imagine asking, à la a Jay Leno “Jaywalking” segment, some random people this question: “Why is our Moon round?” Or, “Why are planets always round (including the Earth) – like spheres – and not like a cube or a boulder or potato or other irregular solid?” Science communicator Ethan Siegel answered this question in a… Continue reading Getting and staying round – why are planets and moons spherical?
Any compelling origin story seeks to explain traits of someone or something. How past events shaped what we currently observe or experience. The Big Bang theory for the observable universe is a tall order. (Wiki) The model … offers a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of observed phenomena, including the abundance of light elements,… Continue reading Size of an atom to light-year sphere instantly – cosmic inflation’s burp
[Draft] If space-time is considered as a kind of material, then what properties make sense? Properties that can be observed, measured. In the context of General relativity, (aggregate) properties related to curvature and rippling. Like elasticity, stiffness. In the context of quantum physics, (discrete) properties related to quanta, energy density, charge, spin, entanglement. Like gradients,… Continue reading How stiff is space-time?
[Draft] Why is everyday matter so stable? We take it for granted that the lifetime of (non-radioactive) atoms is billions of years. Same for the protons and neutrons in their nuclei (barring a high-energy interaction). Unlike protons, lifetimes are not the same for bound and unbound “free” neutrons. Beta decay. Sticking around for billions of… Continue reading Particle lifetimes – live forever or die quickly?
[Communicating science] To understand contemporary physics, particularly quantum theory, the Standard Model is essential. This article includes an excellent video overview: • Quanta Magazine > Math Meets QFT > “A Video Tour of the Standard Model” by Kevin Hartnett, Senior Writer/Editor (July 16, 2021) (quote) Physicists would like to move beyond the Standard Model to… Continue reading Reality of fields, language of particles – the Standard Model
[“What’s changed in the last ~50 years” series] Fundamental particles have properties; but not due to any constituents (cf. Feynman’s dilemma for an electron’s charge ). So, mathematical patterns of … localized “knots” (tangles or twists as in Möbius strips) – particular symmetries – of space-time energy? A landscape of colliding (interacting) ripples … How… Continue reading A particle by any other name?
[“What’s changed in the last ~50 years” series] Some of my more interesting work as a systems engineer at Hughes was on projects with satellite hardware engineers. In the days where they still wrote much of their own “software” for operating payloads. Maybe a few thousand lines of code. Often quick-and-dirty. Over the decades, that… Continue reading The physics, the math – evolution of computational physics
Taking all-sky surveys / maps to another 10^n level of visualization … So much of modern cosmology depends on the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation in 1965. Wiki: “Any proposed model of the universe must explain this radiation.” Since then, advances in the tools to measure and analyze that faint, relic radiation… Continue reading Big sim’s – visualizing the universe!
Advances in all-sky surveys permit better visualization of the motions and dynamics inside our galaxy. And provide a better understanding of the evolution of the Milky Way. X-ray all-sky surveys As noted in this Space.com article, while “optical telescopes are much easier to design than X-ray telescopes … some of the most interesting objects in… Continue reading All-sky surveys – visualizing our dynamic galaxy