Tuesday, May 6

Mind over Mass

When the six billion dollar particle accelerator currently under construction is completed scientists can finally conduct an experiment which will replicate these conditions at the time of the big bang during primordial creation. This experiment which involves collision of sub atomic particles travelling at close to the speed of light hopes to finally answer the question as to how mass was first formed. Mass is such a fundamental aspect to our universe it is hard to imagine one without it. Yet any mass form when you reduce it to its individual smallest component parts at the sub atomic level gives no consistent clues as to how it accumulates in the first place.

The question science is unable answer is what causes the energised particles to accumulate to form a mass as opposed to those that remain separate and are exactly the same. What is the hex factor? Gravity and energy simply warps and shapes these masses into various states of equilibrium and never ending collapses and re births of stars but no theory has satisfactorily explained how mass arises without leaving one with heaps of other unresolved questions.

Should this question remain elusive it confirms reality from a scientific point of view lies outside our understanding. Perhaps in our lifetimes it always will.


susan said...

All answers lead back to the essential mystery. An article I read today in the Independant was about mankind inventing religion because we are the only creatures on earth who can imagine. Well, maybe so and maybe no. We can't really tell. Anyway, the author went on to say that 50k or so years ago people who'd migrated over extensive areas of the planet suddenly all started making sophisticated cutting tools (after 150k years of stagnation) and doing cave art - desert rock art too as I'm sure you've seen examples. His theory is that our family and social organization tendencies led us to develope imagined higher beings. I wonder what started the process and he didn't have any theory regarding that.

An interesting thought experiment I ran across some time back asked you to hold your hand out at arm's length and make a circle of index finger and thumb. Everything inside the circle is what can be measured and proved with scientific skill. Outside the circle is everything we still don't know.

Gary said...

It's still a mystery to me that I breathe in and out and don't have to try. In fact, just try to stop!

Although I'm comfortable with not-knowing and interested to see what we can know. Interesting post Lindsay.

Drop by and see that you won a prize...

Seraphine said...

Mass is random. If you have enough crap about, chance dictates some of it is going to meet and eventually stick. The more crap that sticks, the bigger the mass, the more crap it attracts.
That, sir, is the layman's theory of creation.
First corollary: Where life is possible, life will exist.
Second corollary: Life derives from energy. When we die, we become energy again.

Zee said...

... when we die we loose the body I am so fucking tired off already - Sera. I will not cry.
Energy? Perhaps - mostly spiritual though.
As for the particle accelerator, I do this every other day. Time to spend a few billions on me.
With regards, Zee.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Susan
There may also be massive forms of other particles, (whimps) ~”weakly interacting massive particles” which are so small to be undetectable. What we know fills up a big book, but what we don’t know I think is too big to ever even write all of the headings to the chapters on life,

Gary – The will to live is a powerful force is most of us.

Sera –May the energy force be with you! Here are few other points which may be of interest. – Scientists think immediately after the big bang waves were created which collapsed under gravity to create what is called the dark halo; as compressed gas particles around them created the galaxies inclusive of stars and planets.

About 5 years ago Ray Carlberg and his team of researchers from the Dept of Astronomy and Astoprophysics of the University at Toronto found that once the clusters were established they experienced little, if any change. Hence once the initial burst of star formation is over, galaxies then become essentially peaceful and stable clusters.

"We now know that the clustering of galaxies did not happen at random and changed little over the past five billion years. Cosmologists now need to use new telescopes to go into even earlier times to see the dark halos just as they are collapsing and beginning to draw together the gas that creates a young galaxy."

More recent research indicates the universe comprises massive amounts of halo objects, dim stars, brown dwarfs, dim neutrons and black holes which are all left over from what was formed after the big bang. The really interesting subatomic particles called Neutrinos produced by our sun and other stars and which are also formed in a nuclear reactor are also in such massive proportions that millions pass through our bodies every second. We do not know if in fact they contain any mass or not.

Zee – Maybe we would be better off spending the7 billion on human developments especially as the particle accelerator experiential results are likely to simply beg more questions than provide answers.

Best wishes

Seraphine said...

now if we can get those neutrinos to vibrate a little...

Cart said...

I love quantum physics, I can’t really grasp it, but what I can is always fascinating; all the more when you so easily recognise reaction of the micro in the macro. Take for e.g. the proposition simply observing a sub atomic particle changes its nature. Isn’t that so with out interactions with mega fauna, like people?
I’m wondering if we don’t need a different discipline here, one that recognises the essential sameness of nature and can mathematically extrapolate from easily observed phenomenon. For example, leave the soup kitchen door locked for an extra ten minutes and observe the rapid build up in energy, resulting in a big bang.
Sorry, I do love the quest for knowledge, I just think it is looking in the wrong places at times.

Josie said...

Wow, that's so amazing. It is something that has always fascinated me. It's the area where science meets philosophy, and no one can say for sure which is correct.

As Susan says, it is the essential mystery.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Cart & josie -thanks for your thoughts ~ Anyone who says he understands fully quantum mechanics doesn’t understand quantum mechanics.

gfid said...

i'm feeling really smug now, because, by your definition, i really understand quantum mechanics, because i freely admit i don't understand quantum mechanics. i had no idea i was so brilliant.

it's fascinating stuff, but far too big for my tired, beat up little brain these days. i could maybe have a highly intellectual conversation about tile cutters and baseboards.