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What's the smallest unit of matter?


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Showing 51-75 of 127 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 4, 2012 5:05:29 PM PST
Frank Paris wrote:
"Also Mohamed is wrong. My sister told me that her church on the corner is the one true religion and unless we attend it every Sunday we're all going to hell. "
===============================
Mohamed does not go to the church where your sister goes.
The only place where I think people must go is the gym.
Get your head straight.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 5, 2012 10:30:04 AM PST
Frank Paris says:
"Mohamed does not go to the church where your sister goes."

Oh, oh. You're hell-bound then. But then, so am I. See you there.

Posted on Mar 7, 2012 11:54:57 AM PST
D. Vicks says:
Can string theory be proved in the labratory?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 7, 2012 2:01:16 PM PST
Doctor Who says:
No theory is proven, however string theory could be falsified. I recommend Google if you want details.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 11:05:26 AM PST
Electrons, neutrinos, and quarks are considered "point-like" particles because they have no known internal structure or spatial extension. These are the "smallest" known bits of matter. Protons and neutrons are composed of 3 quarks, have internal structure and spatial extension. String theory suggests that what we think of as "point-like" particles do in fact have internal structure and spatial extension, being strings and loops, but string theory is currently unproven.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 1:13:59 PM PST
DonJuan says:
"No theory is proven, however string theory could be falsified."

Either you can or you can't.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 2:24:24 PM PST
Doctor Who says:
No theory is ever proven. Period. End of story. You could make measurements that would prove string theory wrong. That is the best you can do.

For example, General Relativity predicted that light should be bent by the light of a massive object. Newtonian gravity does not. When they measured the deflection of starlight during the eclipse of 1919 they found that light does bend, thus falsifying Newtonian gravity and not falsifying GR. We say that it "confirmed GR" but really it just showed that GR was not wrong.

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 2:27:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 7:30:58 PM PST
D. Colasante says:
One is tempted to ask, what exactly is being referred to with the term "point particle"? A point is a location in space (typically associated with a particular time). I gather the most obvious reference is to the center of the particle's rest mass, which would correspond to the center of its gravitational field (and I argue, NOT accidentally, the center of its electric field as well).

From this perspective, it is difficult to maintain that point particle's have no extent. The only thing that appears to make such a particle different than a mere location, is the coincidence of these fields, which have a potentially infinite extent.

I imagine that "point particle" refers to the fact that there is no known surface barrier (nor any discontinuity) all the way in through the field. Discontinuity is however, the rule in quantum theory, and therefore one of the reasons I try to avoid it. The virtual particles to which the fields might be resolved in QM, are themselves point particles, leading to a conceptual recursion!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 2:42:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 2:50:47 PM PST
DonJuan says:
"For example, General Relativity predicted that light should be bent by the light of a massive object. Newtonian gravity does not. When they measured the deflection of starlight during the eclipse of 1919 they found that light does bend, thus falsifying Newtonian gravity and not falsifying GR. We say that it "confirmed GR" but really it just showed that GR was not wrong."

This is something of thought about off and on. For example you can bend light around your thumb while looking at a distant object if your careful. This is called diffraction.

The notion of gravitation lensing comes about because supposedly a gravitational field bends all radiation the same amount. If it was caused by diffraction one would expect to see diffraction patterns.

However, this still doesn't make sense, and I think the size of the star with respect to the wavelength difference between x-rays and microwaves (stars - big, radiation - small) could still account for the absence of diffraction patterns. Think about it you don't really see diffraction patterns with your thumb, so they are sometimes hard to detect. I don't know, though. Maybe some the gravitational field really does bend radiation.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 2:53:07 PM PST
Doctor Who says:
"However, this still doesn't make sense, and I think the size of the star with respect to the wavelength difference between x-rays and microwaves (stars - big, radiation - small) could still account for the absence of diffraction patterns."

No it could not. Diffraction around your thumb is completely different the bending around a star. For one thing diffraction has a property that it separates colors. Bending light around a massive does not do so. Also the size of the object causing the diffraction does not effect the pattern at all.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 3:08:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 3:14:09 PM PST
DonJuan says:
"For one thing diffraction has a property that it separates colors."

Right that's what said. Do you notice the separation of colors with your thumb? I don't. Visible light is like 400-700 nm and the thumb is around 25,400,000 nm. I'd think it be hard to coerce chromatic aberrations out of that optical setup (the distance from your eye to the reference object is within at most 2 orders magnitude of the width of your thumb). Also, this is like a one-sided "slit" experiment and I haven't spent a whole lot of time but this isn't very well documented. If you know of some, feel free to let me know.

"Also the size of the object causing the diffraction does not effect the pattern at all."

The width of the slit is a pretty big deal, or from another perspective the magnification of a microscope.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 3:23:52 PM PST
Doctor Who says:
"The size of the slit is a pretty big deal."
yes but there is no slit (and the size that matters is the width of the slit, not its length). What you are talking about is a type of diffraction caused by passing the sharp edge of an object. Since the light never comes in contact with the sun and the sun is not a sharp object, it cannot produce these effects.

Assuming that the deflection of the light was due to diffraction, then we should observe the star many times dimmer than normal. We should also see it in several places at once growing closer together and dimmer the farther away from its normal position we look. These must also appear to be inside the sun. Since this is not what was observed we can discard the idea that the effect observed in 1919 was due to diffraction.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 3:34:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 3:35:59 PM PST
DonJuan wrote:
"The notion of gravitation lensing comes about because supposedly a gravitational field bends all radiation the same amount. If it was caused by diffraction one would expect to see diffraction patterns. "
===================================================
(1) All Einstein's predictions from relativity relate to remote phenomena that are hard to verify without imposing interpretations:

Mercury advance perihelion
Red shifting of star lights
Gravitational lensing

(2) The diffraction around the stars could not be excluded since stars do not have definitive, abrupt borders, but rather extensive solar flares projecting outside the boundaries of the stars.

(3) Helium concentration around the sun is much greater than far away from the sun. Thus, both refraction and diffraction of light around the stars could do away with gravitational lensing.

Mohamed F. El-Hewie

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 4:17:59 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 4:18:16 PM PST
Rev Otter says:
<<What you are talking about is a type of diffraction caused by passing the sharp edge of an object.>>

he's conflating several types of scattering. not sure why.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scattering_theory

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 4:21:49 PM PST
Doctor Who says:
I think relativity bends his mind. He wants the world to be simple and Newtonian among other things.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 4:24:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 4:27:45 PM PST
DonJuan says:
Real impressive otter. Is this one of your expertises?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 4:36:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 5:02:02 PM PST
DonJuan says:
"I think relativity bends his mind. He wants the world to be simple and Newtonian among other things."

No it just seems a little contrived that the gravitational field as described by Einstein bends all radiation by the same (nonzero) magnitude. I mean, way to go Einstein for going out on a limb, but I don't expect this to hold up much longer.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 4:49:16 PM PST
Rev Otter says:
<<Is this one of your expertises?>>

yes, i'm an expert at pointing out obvious category errors, and then linking to Wikipedia. *rolls eyes*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category_mistake

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 5:57:43 PM PST
No one really knows (nor will they ever know) what the smallest particle is. The book "Universal Cycle Theory" explores the possibility of infinitely divisible matter. Based on this assumption, "Universal Cycle Theory" shows how/why gravitation would result from "pressure differences" from the rotation of matter. In other words, gravitation would be purely mechanical (matter pushing other matter) if matter is infinitely divisible. This also seems to match observations, objects at all scales have greater accretion (gravitation) the faster they rotate. Conversely, non-rotating objects, such as star clusters, are not gravitationally bound. Descartes was partially correct, rotation is linked with gravitation, while Newton discovered the equation that describes the gravitational effect.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 6:09:39 PM PST
Stephen J. Puetz wote (quoting The book "Universal Cycle Theory"):
{
(1) gravitation would result from "pressure differences" from the rotation of matter.
(2) In other words, gravitation would be purely mechanical (matter pushing other matter) if matter is infinitely divisible.
(3) This also seems to match observations, objects at all scales have greater accretion (gravitation) the faster they rotate.
}
=============================
Against the above propositions are the following counter-propositions:

(1) gravitation acts at long distances where there is no matter pressure.

(2) Rotation of matter might me caused by gravitation, not the other way around.

(3) Gravitation is proportional to mass content, not to the amount of rotation.

Mohamed F. El-Hewie

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 6:43:24 PM PST
DonJuan says:
"No theory is ever proven. Period. End of story. You could make measurements that would prove string theory wrong. That is the best you can do."

So backing up a bit, it's odd how I could propose any number of theories just as long as it is not wrong - unfalsifiable, but then we need to introduce a new concept, parsimony, so that the only right one is the simplest one. I mean, all you scientist got to do is help produce something that people want to buy. That's it. You don't need to come up with excuses for why you can't, or why you're both failures but you're less of one. Excuses are not a hot commodity.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 6:57:03 PM PST
Doctor Who says:
"So backing up a bit, it's odd how I could propose any number of theories just as long as it is not wrong - unfalsifiable"

No falsification is critical. To be accepted as a theory, a hypothesis must have tenets which could (at least in principle) be falsified. Further it must be put to the test, at least against existing data. GR agrees with Newtonian gravity at low masses and low velocities so it was accepted as a "theory" even before Newtonian gravity was shown to be incomplete in 1919. Similarly, the way string theory agrees with all known physics at current energies so it is called a "theory". To sum up, a theory must have had opportunities to fail and not done so.

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 9:13:17 PM PST
jpl says:
What's the smallest unit of matter?

jpl: Nobody knows. Anyone who claims to is a fool. No scientist would claim to know.

Theoretical physicists put forth theories, not facts. They are more aware of this than believers, who put forth beliefs as fact.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 9:37:49 PM PST
jpl,

In fact, Physics' Geek offered the following two views on what theories should and should not do:
.....................................................

Physics Geek wrote:
"In fact, very sensitive measurements have been made that confirm special and general relativity in great detail. "
http://www.amazon.com/forum/science/ref=cm_cd_et_md_pl?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxZ58KVEERYS5E&cdMsgNo=84&cdPage=4&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx201KYB1CVLUJR&cdMsgID=Mx1UR4RCXTO85QE#Mx1UR4RCXTO85QE

Physics Geek wrote:
(2) "No theory is proven, however string theory could be falsified. I recommend Google if you want details. "
http://www.amazon.com/forum/science/ref=cm_cd_et_md_pl?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxZ58KVEERYS5E&cdMsgNo=54&cdPage=3&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=TxX7BO5S4YDRDM&cdMsgID=Mx3IAJY5IGZIO3Y#Mx3IAJY5IGZIO3Y

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2012 9:41:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 9, 2012 9:41:35 PM PST
Doctor Who says:
Notice the difference between "confirmed" and "proven". In science we say "confirmed" to mean "could have been falsified but was not". Notice that both the above posts listed are perfectly consistent since proved ≠ confirmed.
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Discussion in:  Science forum
Participants:  31
Total posts:  127
Initial post:  Feb 22, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 15, 2012

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