nuclear force

What we don’t know about dark matter:

Dark matter takes up about 84.5% of all mass in the universe, and we practically have no idea what it is. Dark matter doesn’t interact via electromagnetism, meaning that you can’t see it, feel it, or interact with it in almost any way possible. If you held a lump of it in your hand, it would just fall straight through without you ever noticing it was there to start with. So, if it’s almost perfectly invisible, how do we even know it exists at all?

When looking at a galaxy, you can estimate how much matter is in it by what you see through a telescope, and you can use this to predict how fast the galaxy should be spinning. However, there’s a problem. Galaxies always appear to be spinning much faster than they should be. In order to be spinning as fast as they are, galaxies need a lot more mass than what we’re seeing. Even when we account for things that are a lot harder to see, like planets, dust clouds, neutrinos, and black holes, the numbers just don’t add up. So, this leaves us with two options; either Einstein’s theory of gravitation is wrong, or there is a new, invisible type of matter filling up galaxies.

Since Einstein’s theories seem to be extremely robust under any other circumstance, we are left with the possibility of a new type of matter that can only interact through gravity. Although we can figure out how much dark matter is in the universe, and where it is mainly located, we are nearly clueless on the details. After all, you can’t just look at a clump of dark matter through a microscope.

Since it’s possible that dark matter could also interact via the weak nuclear force, there have been several super-sensitive detectors built to look for extremely rare dark matter interactions, but none have been able to find anything significant yet. If dark matter is a new particle, there’s a chance it could be created at the Large Hadron Collider, or we could at least see its effects on other particles, but the LHC hasn’t seen anything out of the ordinary yet either.

So, although we have a good idea of what dark matter is doing to our universe, we have almost no idea about what it actually is. Whenever we do finally figure out the true nature of dark matter, it will surely be the discovery of the century.


Nuclear Physics Might Hold The Key To Cracking Open The Standard Model

“Interestingly, this could also lead to a renewed interest in the search for glueballs, which would be the first ever direct evidence of a bound state of gluons in nature! If the exotic QCD predictions of tetraquarks and pentaquarks are borne out in our Universe, it stands to reason that glueballs should be there as well. Perhaps the existence of these composite particles will be verified at the LHC as well, with incredible implications for how our Universe works either way.”

Nuclear physics has, for decades now, been regarded less as a window into fundamental physics and more of a derived science. As we’ve discovered that nuclei, baryons, and mesons are all composite particles made out of quarks, antiquarks, and gluons, though, we’ve realized that there are other possible combinations that nature allows, that should exist. In recent years, we’ve discovered tetraquark and pentaquark states of quarks and antiquarks, and yet there should be even more. QCD, our theory of the strong interactions, predicts that a set of exotic states of bound gluons – known as a glueball – should exist. Finding them, or proving that they don’t exist, might be a way to crack open the Standard Model in an entirely new way.

Nuclear physics might, after all these years, hold the key to going beyond the current limitations of physics.

Happy Asteroid Day, and happy Meteor Watch Day! Thousands of years ago, the world-famous Willamette meteorite, traveling some 64,000 kilometers per hour, crashed into Earth’s surface.

Billions of years before that, an early planet orbiting the Sun was shattered, perhaps in a collision with another protoplanet. While planets including Earth gradually formed and matured, the fragment orbited the Sun. Eventually, it landed in Oregon just outside of what is today the city of Portland. Over many centuries, rainwater interacting with its iron sulfide deposits produced sulfuric acid, which slowly etched and carved large cavities.

The Willamette is made of iron and weighs 15.5 tons.  It is the largest ever found in the United States and the sixth-largest in the world. Only about 600 of the 25,000 meteorites found on Earth are made of iron. The material was created deep inside stars, which produce energy by fusing lighter elements into heavier ones - for example, hydrogen into helium. The force of nuclear fusion eventually shatters stars much more massive than our Sun, casting fused elements, such as iron, into interstellar space. Over eons, these elements collect inside clouds of gas and dust. 

Within such an iron-rich interstellar cloud, our Sun formed 4.5 billion years ago, giving rise to comets, asteroids, planets and all life on Earth. So when we study the Willamette meteorite, we are also studying the chemical record of our origins and our place in the universe.


The following was shared with me from a friend. Please copy, share, and tag widely! 

“Below is the takeaway regarding the next 48 hours and Gorsuch. Between now and the Cloture vote on Thursday morning the MAIN points are-

  1.  Don’t change the rules, change the nominee.
  2. Gorsuch is not one of the most, perhaps THE most conservative nominees in SCOTUS history. He is NOT mainstream.
  3. McConnell and GOP have a CHOICE to go nuclear. It’s not being forced upon them.
  4. GOP broke 230 years of precedent in obstructing Merrick Garland. They’ll break 230 years of precedent again if they go nuclear.
  5. The main hashtag people are using is #StopGorsuch

Things will really ramp up tomorrow (Wednesday) night prior to the vote. We should be dominating the messaging sphere from then through Thursday morning immediately prior to and during vote. When GOP doesn’t get cloture, McConnell will likely go the nuclear option. At which time we will shift messaging to put a real focus on McConnell putting country before party.

For those of you who would like to push the message that Dems need to block EVERYTHING in Trump’s agenda until there is a proper investigation, that’s fine. The reason the Leadership is making this more about Gorsuch’s extreme conservatism and GOP trashing precedent is to appeal to the widest base possible, including those who are uncomfortable with across-the-board obstructionism.”


If The Universe Is Expanding, Then Why Aren’t We?

“You might then ask, at what distance does the expansion start to take over? That happens when you average over a volume so large that the density of matter inside the volume has a gravitational self-attraction weaker than the expansion’s pull. From atomic nuclei up, the larger the volume you average over, the smaller the average density. But it is only somewhere beyond the scales of galaxy clusters that expansion takes over. On very short distances, when the nuclear and electromagnetic forces aren’t neutralized, these also act against the pull of gravity. This safely prevents atoms and molecules from being torn apart by the universe’s expansion.”

The Universe is expanding. The farther away a galaxy is, the faster it appears to be receding from us. The standard story tells us that space itself is expanding, and that’s the cause, but it’s only natural to wonder if perhaps space is static, and everything else within it isn’t shrinking instead? Many laypersons choose to go this route, and question the entire field of cosmology as a result. But is this fair? Or is this a road to not only ruin, but to physical inconsistencies? Could we flip the story on its head, and do some sort of test to see if atoms, the planet, or some other ‘local’ entity is shrinking, instead? Or, using the principle of relativity, could we declare that all frames are equally valid, and choose a frame where space isn’t expanding, after all?

These are all interesting thoughts, but there’s only one correct, valid, and consistent way to view the Universe. Sabine Hossenfelder has the explanation!


First flying on the 4th of September, 1953, the all black one-off pathfinder Vickers Valiant B.2 was a development of the earlier Valiant B.1 design. As a low-level, high speed penetration target marker, in reality an obsolete role, the aircraft was extraordinarily capable. Contrasting the B.1s sea-level speed limit of 414 mph (666 km/h), the B.2 was cleared to 580 mph (930 km/h), though speeds of up to 640 mph (1030 km/h) were achieved in testing. Ending her days on a firing range in 1958, her destruction proved a tragic mistake as advances in Soviet missiles quickly forced Britain’s V Bombers to low altitude. An environment for which they were not designed.

Boeing B-47B Stratojet Rocket Assisted Take-Off, 15 April 1954 (U.S. Air Force photo) - The B-47 Stratojet was a medium range nuclear bomber and reconnaissance aircraft capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and primarily designed for penetrating the airspace of the Soviet Union. The USAF phased out its last B-47 bombers in 1965, and the USAF retired its last Stratojet, a WB-47E, in 1969.

Human Interference Task Force, or Nuclear Semiotics

I was talking with a friend about nuclear waste, its storage and its safety, and we did a bit of googling. Turns out there’s some interesting (and at times, frankly weird) proposals for this already.

The idea behind nuclear semiotics or the HITF is that, with nuclear waste having a very long period of being dangerous to people, how do we communicate to future generations about the dangers of sealed nuclear waste storage sites across tens of thousands of years? Language changes, after all, and symbols also change shape and meaning over time. Humans as a species have only had written language for some 5000 years, give or take some - how do we tell people 10,000 years from now that “behind this enormous vault is extremely dangerous radioactive substances, sealed away forever, please don’t go in or touch anything”, in a way that anyone understands?

To quote the Wikipedia page on the matter, there’s three parts to the message that needs to be conveyed in the first place:

“Three parts of any communication about nuclear waste must be conveyed to posterity:

  1. that it is a message at all
  2. that dangerous material is stored in a given location
  3. information about the type of dangerous substances”

The ISO warning sign about dangerous radiation zone looks like this:

We understand what this means pretty easily today, but when I was talking to my friend about it, I imagined an alternative interpretation from an archaeologist 4000 years from now:

“The symbol at the top is known in some of our oldest texts as the late 20th century symbol for their Sun God, whose rays brought light to the world. The bottom left sign is associated with a slightly earlier time from the 16th century onwards, as a symbol for pirates. Clearly this is a symbol for a prayer, basically that the Sun God will smite pirates and make them flee. Perhaps this area in particular was in danger of pirate raids in those times, or perhaps there is something inside that the builders did not want pirates to take. We should go and investigate.”

There’s some pretty exotic suggestions from very smart people to this solution, with varying likelihoods of success that I’ll leave to your imagination, such as

  • Forming an Atomic Priesthood to run what amounts to a hierarchical religion with legends and myths about dangerous sites and protection from them
  • Encoding math-based warnings into the DNA of Atomic Plants that only grow near nuclear waste sites, so future generations can decode it from those
  • Breeding Radiation Cats (or Ray Cats) that change color when irradiated, and putting this information into songs, art and cultural consciousness across time
  • Putting up warning signs, and every couple of generations makes new warning signs a bit farther away without removing the old ones so it’s possible to translate through the translations of the translations to get the facts straight
  • Building storage sites in such a way that only highly technical cultures are able to get into the vaults in the first place, and those cultures ought to already know about radiation so they’ll understand what’s up

I suppose we’ll find out in the near future what they’ll actually come up with, because in 2020s a permanent nuclear waste repository named Onkalo will be built in Finland, the first of its kind in the world. There’s actually a documentary about it, and focusing specifically on the communication aspect of the matter, named Into Eternity, directed by Michael Madsen (no, not that Michael Madsen, I mean the Danish one). I hear it might be on Netflix, so possibly worth checking out if the subject is interesting.

Ok Zootopians it’s time to TAKE A STAND!!!

Originally posted by mattnyc816

CALLING ALL ZOOTOPIANS!!! We need your help to stop cyber bullies! I was ok when these jerks were trolling me but now they’re targeting @ziegelzeig Jill Fine and other readers of Take a Stand. They’re using offensive language,homophobic slurs (Which really hurts cos i’m Bi)  belittling people from a non-nuclear family unit and forcing their religious ideals into attacks online. 

The trolls are known as PSYCOX1890 and MAFIAGUY2017 and here’s some examples of their hate spiel…

Disgusting aren’t they? They baiting folks into a fight but I know a way to really counter their hate, THEY MUST BE REMOVED FROM FANFICTION.NET so I need to ask you guys for a small favour I need you to email the website admin on and report this abuse PLEASE GUYS WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!! The Zootopia fandom is a great place and is being sullied by this hate.

@fuzzywuzzylittletail @if-you-wanna-getout-alive @thezootopianadict @zootopianewsnetwork @secretfurry92 @somethingcalledafurry @senny74 @yoshifan30 @nick-and-judy-daily @artf0rlife @trashasaurusrex @helthehatter @reddoshirousagi06 @kulkum @zootopepo @judylavernehopps @cloudyloudy @pyrophoricitee @nekomimiranger @wilde-hopps @blueberrycarrots @bluelightenterprises @master-lux PLEASE REBLOG AND SPREAD THE WORD! TAKE A STAND AGAINST CYBER BULLIES!!!

anonymous asked:

Do you ever feel like there's a conflict with modern science and polytheism? Like that it's impossible to hold a polytheistic belief system in light of our knowledge of the world?

Nah, science and religion are simply two different languages used to explain the same phenomenon. The Ancient Hellenes believed in science themselves, observing and measuring the world around them and attempting to make sense of our place in the universe. This hasn’t changed. Matters of the physical universe and the spiritual universe do not necessarily conflict with one another, unless you let them.

For example, I believe that the gods created the universe, via the Big Bang, that resulted in the formation of every structure, every star, every planet that has ever existed. Our world formed out of a messy cloud of atoms that was pulled together by nuclear forces, electromagnetism, and gravity. Sounds an awful lot like the primordial deity Khaos from which the earth (Gaia) eventually sprang. I see no problem with overlaying the two narratives, especially as a scientist myself.

To quote the netflix show Sense8: “Science does not preclude my faith. For me, science is another language we use to talk about the same miracles faith talks about.”

anonymous asked:

If you were given ultimate power to change one tiny detail of an obscure lesser known law of physics to bring about the end of humanity or the universe in its entirety, what law would you change? *Maniacal laughter in the distance*

Surprisingly, if you changed just about any little part of physics, it would probably yield a universe that couldn’t support life. If you changed the strength of the strong nuclear force by only 2%, it would change the physics of how stars worked, using up all the hydrogen in the universe only a few minutes after the Big Bang. If you changed the cosmological constant to be just a little larger, the universe would inflate so fast that galaxies wouldn’t be able to form. If you changed the strength of gravity slightly, you change the rate of star production, and either make the universe too violent or too quiet. And the list goes on.

This actually brings up a deep philosophical question; why is the universe so fine-tuned for life? It almost seems as if the universe was tailor-made for us. Some people use this as an argument for intelligent design, since it would be so unlikely that this happened by chance. Others use this as evidence for the existence of the multiverse, saying that a livable universe was bound to show up in such a large sea of other, non-livable universes. As for me, I don’t know. Since these theories can’t be tested, I can’t put much confidence in them, but I don’t have any alternatives. The best I can do is to keep following the data, and see where it leads.

Have you ever had so much to say that your mouth closed up tight struggling to harness the nuclear force coalescing within your words? Have you ever had so many thoughts churning inside you that you didn’t dare let them escape in case they blew you wide open? Have you ever been so angry that you couldn’t look in the mirror for fear of finding the face of evil glaring back at you?
—   Ellen Hopkins

Quantum Flavordynamics (Weak Nuclear Force)

  • This is basically the decay of a neutron into a proton by the emission of a W- boson.
  • The up and down part of quarks is known as their flavour, they can effectively change flavours, in this case it is a down quark into an up quark.
  • The W- has to be emitted for the flavour of the quark to change but it does not last long until it decays into an electron (e-) and an anti-electron neutrino (ν
    e ).
  • The W- boson (80GeV) is roughly 80x heavier than the neutron (1GeV) it decayed from meaning that it takes a lot of energy for this to happen so is seen happening inside stars which is basically just a big burning ball of protons.
  • The energy for this change can also be borrowed from the vacuum provided the energy is paid back, to do this we refer to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle:

ΔE x Δt<h

(amount of energy borrowed from vacuum) x (amount of time borrowed for) < Plancks constant 

  • This shows that the energy debt has to be paid back in 1e-25 seconds in which time the W- boson can move the distance of part a proton before it decays.
  • This process is represented by the special unitary matrix two dimensional su(2) in mathematics. It is 2D because it is only changing ups and downs.
What’s It Like To Be A God?

by Samsaran

Okay, so you’re a God, a personal God in the Abrahamic mode. You are all powerful. You know everything. Everything flows from you. You have a physical body or at least you can appear in one if you choose. You have desires. You have an agenda. You have plans and presumably, you will feel satisfied if your plans work out. Wait. You’re God. Your plans have to work out. 

Since you are all powerful, omnipotent, you face no real challenges. You are immortal which means that whatever you are is forever. Infinite time. The universes stretch out through time and space but are mostly space. What isn’t space is mostly gas and dust. There are stars but they are about as complex and interesting as a campfire. The natural processes by which they operate are predictable and mechanical in nature.

Pretty boring actually. 

You are alone. Alone in this sea of time and space. Once you set things in motion there is really no need for you to interfere. It all runs like a mechanical clockwork. I suppose you could entertain yourself by changing the rules of physics just to see how things function differently. 

Maybe cook up a universe where pi equals four or where the Big Bang had been one-part-in-a-million more powerful or less. Maybe tweak the strong nuclear force just to see what happens. No, if you decreased it by as little as 2 percent, atomic nuclei wouldn’t hold together, and plain-vanilla hydrogen would be the only kind of atom in the universe and that’s no fun. 

You have a lot of time on your hands. In fact, you have all time on your hands. So after tinkering, around a bit, you got a good mix and made a planet to support life. You created humankind. We’re not sure why exactly but you do.  Maybe you were just lonely.

Now what?

I guess you watch what the little fellas are doing down on that blue marble. A nice zoo under the glass dome of the atmosphere. You’re like a kid who ordered some “Sea Monkeys” out of the back of a Scrooge McDuck comic book. They are just a little swimming bugs. What a rip off!  

Except instead of Sea Monkeys, you have Hairless Monkeys. After a bit, this gets to be boring too. The hairless monkeys don’t really do much. It’s all just eating, sleeping and mating. Well, this and killing each other and taking each other’s stuff. 

Bad monkeys! 

So, hey. What if we amped up their awareness? Make them fully self-aware like Gods but don’t give them immortality. They’ll know they are going to die but won’t be able to do anything about it. Now they are afraid, afraid all the time. This fear will color everything they do. They are Gods in miniature. Plastic Gods. That should create some drama. Then, slowly something happens. The little hairless monkeys begin to rise above appetite and desire. Consciousness rises. The creatures begin a transformation. They are evolving. Yes, evolving.

But into what?