General · Language · Problem

Getting and staying round – why are planets and moons spherical?

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?

General · Language · Problem

Size of an atom to light-year sphere instantly – cosmic inflation’s burp

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.[1] (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

Book · General · Language · Problem

How stiff is space-time?

[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?

General · Language · Problem

Particle lifetimes – live forever or die quickly?

[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?

General · Language · Media · Problem

Reality of fields, language of particles – the Standard Model

[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

Diagram · General · Language · Problem

A particle by any other name?

[“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 [1]). 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?

General · Language · Problem

Stellar alchemy – more than one way to get heavy?

[“What’s changed in the last 50 years” series] The lightness of our being actually depends on heaviness. That is, the physics of heavier elements. Our biology, life itself. So, looking back decades to high school (or even college) chemistry class … The Periodic Table is so much more interesting now. A deeper understanding via quantum… Continue reading Stellar alchemy – more than one way to get heavy?

General · Language · Problem

FRBs – whence galactic epic flashes of energy?

Epic events catch our attention. Spectacular stellar events have attracted attention since ancient times. Some events, however, cannot be observed with our eyes (visible light). Radio sources. And massive spikes in radio energy are telling astronomers something interesting. • NASA > “Hubble Tracks Down Fast Radio Bursts to Galaxies’ Spiral Arms” (May 20,2021) [Includes YouTube… Continue reading FRBs – whence galactic epic flashes of energy?

General · Language · Problem

The cosmos is like a fluid?

So, the short answer is yes. A useful model, at a certain scale. How can that be? The cosmos is full of stuff. Vast collections of stars, planets, rocks, dust, gas. Chunked over vast distances. Not what our everyday experience considers fluid stuff. Well, in physics and engineering, fluid dynamics embraces what typically are referred… Continue reading The cosmos is like a fluid?

General · Language · Problem

What are axions – real or not?

So, what are axions? I’ve noticed more articles lately about axions. Why all the fuss, eh? • Wiki The axion is a hypothetical elementary particle postulated by the Peccei–Quinn theory in 1977 to resolve the strong CP problem [violation of the combined symmetries of charge conjugation and parity] in quantum chromodynamics (QCD). If axions exist… Continue reading What are axions – real or not?