Friday, September 12, 2008

I'm a gheek

Like really geeky, I know the absolute speed of light by heart and wore a t-shirt to the intervarsity ski championships which read: "eat my redshift". I have my own telescope.

So, credentials have been assured.

I was going to do a diatribe on the LHC but you can read about it everywhere. So rather then rehash I'd thought I'd open it to you, dear reader, to put to me questions you have about the experiment - why is it round?, why won't it kill us all? - whatever. I'm not omnipotent and with the power of the internet at hand I have no doubt that you smartarses can dig out some contentious unanswerable but I'll give it my best shot.

30 comments:

unique_stephen said...

PS. I should bar Fingers from asking but I'm keen to see how stoopid he can make me look.

Fusion said...

Well we're all still here, that's something! I get nervous when scientists tell us it's perfectly safe. Probably from watching to many movies. I suppose if they're wrong and create a black hole, it will all be over in a nano second...

Fusion said...

And out in space the alien Zat will hold his appendage out to his copilot Zot, and say I told you so, now pay up.

unique_stephen said...

It woudld take longer than a nano second.

Thou shalt not travel at or beyond the speed of light. Light travels at about a foot per nanosecond. Lets say a massive explosion occurred, it would, even at the speed of light still take a substantial number of nano seconds to irradiate the whole earth. But the speed of light is slower in stuff than it is in vacuum so it would stake even more nano seconds to get to us.
If a black hole was created it would immediately evaporate Any black hole that might be formed in a LHC single collision will be tiny. Since the total energy of the two beams is E = 14 trillion electron-volts, using m = E/c2 we calculate the mass of the black hole to be 2.4x10—23 kilograms, equivalent to the mass of about 15,000 hydrogen atoms. This is far
less than the theoretical minimum mass of a black hole, the Planck mass, which is 2.2x10—8 kilograms.

Nevertheless, suppose such a black hole is possible. Stephen Hawking has proved that a black hole is unstable with a mean lifetime that depends on the cube of is mass.
While the mean lifetime of astronomical black holes is many times the age of the universe, the LHC black hole would survive only 2x10-84 seconds before disintegrating into Hawking radiation. Needless to say this is hardly enough time to swallow up Earth.
It could only eat things that were attracted to it by gravity - which for a tiny hole which as such a small pull on the stuff around it would take an enormously long time to consume even the first few particles.
A nanosecond: 0.000 000 001 seconds is longer than the lifetime of any black hole that would be produced by a factor of 5x10^74. So - no, not in a nano second.

De Campo BC said...

49 20 68 61 76 65 20 61 6c 77 61 79 73 20 77 6f 6e 64 65 72 65 64 20 61 62 6f 75 74 20 74 68 65 20 72 65 6c 61 74 69 6f 6e 73 68 69 70 20 62 65 74 77 65 65 6e 20 51 75 61 72 6b 2d 67 6c 75 6f 6e 20 70 6c 61 73 6d 61 20 61 6e 64 20 64 61 72 6b 20 6d 61 74 74 65 72 2e 20 20 43 61 6e 20 79 6f 75 20 68 65 6c 70 20 65 78 70 6c 61 69 6e 20 74 68 69 73 20 6c 69 6e 6b 20 28 69 66 20 61 6e 79 29 3f 20

Eostre said...

Talk of super-colliders makes me flash back to my first Dan Brown novel, which was just... no. In my defense I was still in high school and subject to peer pressure. That I subjected myself to his 'writing' twice more I blame my masochism.

I put my trust in Rodney McKay. He may have blown up a solar system, but he's saved the galaxy, both of them.

So you're saying they're not creating dark matter?

I put the fiction in science fiction. *grins*

Jen said...

Fuck you get me hot when you talk like that Stephen......

xl said...

Slightly off-topic, but involving fancy math. What are the winning Texas lotto numbers tomorrow?

This is important to me as the prize is US$5.1m. Then I could afford an Oz resident visa (A$750,000).

Em said...

I have no idea what you're talking about... particularly what "eat my redshift" means...

LauraDanielleDotN said...

What if our universe is actually just an atom in another universe? What if???

See this article and laugh along with me: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29433

Inchy said...

Stephen - If the existance of the Higgs boson is confirmed, will Peter Higgs walk around shouting "TOLD YOU SO!!"

I feel that this is one of the important questions that the public want answered.

Silver said...

If you're traveling at the speed of light backwards while this "black hole" was going on, would you miss it?

Molly said...

Can I ask you a dirty question like you asked me, Mr. Dirty Dirty Dirty Boy!

By the way, whether you brush your teeth or not, it still tastes disgusting and I believe that you should research this further and taste your own so that you know, exactly what we have to deal with and that we don't really care whether our teeth are clean or not!

sparsely kate said...

I'd rather just watch series of Lost for all my answers on alternate realities and funny buttons and men in science suits.

Kitty said...

here's a question that will take the paint off the walls. assume i was there, nekkids and panting for it. if we were going to smash atoms together - how long would i take you to-

oops!!!

i forgotted that your mum reads this! sorry for nearly being putrid near your mum!!!

*waves at steve's mum sweetly and slinks back into the long grasses*

Inchy said...

Apparently the complete destruction of the planet will take between four and a half and seven minutes. That's enough time to do it AND have a restraining order taken out against me.

fingers said...

I have really gone off Einstein in recent times. I think he's wrong about the speed of light being a physical limitation. It makes no sense that the universe would construct itself then make travelling to all points within it virtually impossible. It's too wasteful a prospect for my taste in physics.
How do you like them apples, Newton...

unique_stephen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
unique_stephen said...

Wow - so much interest in the gheek.

Right then, down too it.

Assumed knowledge: Atoms are made from a nucleus of protons and neutrons surrounded by electrons.
Anything made from quarks is termed a hadron (e.g. Protons Neutrons and their antiparticles)
The universe began as an infinitesimally small and rather hot point and has expanded since then. It did not expand into anything, the space itself that it would have expanded into was created along with everything else in the rather large pop, also know as the big bang. There is not 'outside'


De Campo > Great Question. Related is the short answer. Cooled droplets of Strongly interacting-Quark-Gluon-Plasma (sQGP) are candidates for dark matter. sQGP is a baryonic "strongly interacting" state of matter. Dark Matter is (probably) non baryonic. sQGP is just a state of matter. We are all used to the Solid-liquid-gas troika from high school. At higher/lower energies and pressures we see other behaviors where quantum effects between protons, neutrons and their constituent quarks dominate rather than whole atoms and their electron cloud at room temperature and pressure. Superfluids and Bose–Einstein condensates are other examples of these unusual states of matter.
Assuming inflation
As the universe cooled through the various phase transitions and 'droplets' of sQGP froze into hadrons there was a degree of inhomogeneity. As the universe expanded this inhomogeneity was amplified by gravity and the expanding universe and eventually gave rise to the clumpy stars and galaxies we see today. I.e.- you me and everything you see is the result of amplified quantum noise.
But was something else going on? Could their be droplets or nuggets of strange quark material that did not freeze into hadrons, but still float free? How big would they be? what is their mean separation? Was their inhomogeneous distribution more or less the same as baryonic matter?
Clumps of sQGP are one candidate from dark matter, others include super (a)symmetry particles, WIMPs such as the proposed neutralinos and black holes. Previous experiments such as the RHIC have put probed the nature of sQGP and we can put some constraints on the nature of clumps of quark matter but we still need lots more data.


Eostre > truth is way stranger than fiction. But I do long for FTL travel. That would be cool.

Jen > Things tend to heat up when I talk about an experiment that takes is back to the temperatures of the early universe.

XL > You should be thankful and celebrate as in a parallel universe you have won.

Em > As you are a redneck I'll use nascar as an example. Think back to the last time you were in your short skirt in the pits and the cars went shooting past, the engines roaring: "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeowwwwwwwwwwww". That change in pitch is the Doppler effect. As the car is coming towards you it is catching up with the sound its engine is creating, shortening the wavelength in front but it is getting away from the sound it just created so the sound-waves are stretched out a little. The same thing happens with light. A star traveling towards you looks slightly bluer. A star traveling way looks slightly reader. The amount that light is stretched is called its redshift. Thus as I hurtled down the mountain at close to the speed of light I would look red to my trailing competitors - eat my redshift.

Laura > makes my brane hurt

Inchy > as a gheek - I also play DnD but no one in my party has access to a raise dead spell to ask him so you and I will have to wait to visit the dead physicists bar in the afterlife to answer that one.

Silver > you missed one of the road-rules of the universe, it's in the fine print on the bottom of the first page (right below the thermodynamics stuff) -> as you have mass "Thou shalt not travel at or beyond the speed of light". So your question is invalid. But there is a paradox that needs investigating. Do you have a twin?

Molly - That's me. All nice and clean on this blog and dirty on everyone else's. My advise is to take it deeper so that it never goes anywhere near your taste buds - let me know how you go with that.

Sparsely Kate said > Lost me on that one, I don't watch TV (except for Top Gear)

Kitty > I think my temperature is rising to the point we could create a sQGP. Would have to be a three way tho'

Inchy > I'm waiting with my board to surf the massive waves as we approach the black holes Roche limit. I'm about to start talking all Patrick Swayze which is probably grounds for an AVO against me too.

Fingers > I like the definition of a Physicist being someone who examines the limitations of the universe then finds a way around them. I yearn for the days of the old sailing ships discovering the world, peopled with strange creatures and people. It would be awesome to go there.

fingers said...

Precisely my point.
It would be like having The Earth, then saying there was no way of crossing the oceans to fully explore it, due to their vastness and the difficulty in solving the bouyancy issue...

Molly said...

Obviously you know little about me because if I got the chance for some "deepness" I would experiment just for research purposes of course, however, 3 years is a very long time!

unique_stephen said...

I know, I've only just started reading you but considering the line of work you were proposing.....

Surly you can find a willing supplicant?? I can't imagine it is all that hard to find a willing assistant in your education - an add on crag's list for example? - It would make good blog fodder.

unique_stephen said...

P.S. Molly > your vid was hilarious. You have made me blush which is a vary vary rare thing for this dirty minded brat

Inchy said...

Sorry Stephen, but the legend that is Peter Higgs is very much alive and well and lives about 20 minutes away from me.

unique_stephen said...

Clearly but I have a bet with a collogue that we won't find it before he passes. Which is macabre, but I have to back myself. I also have a bet that we won't split the quark.

Molly said...

I feel complete knowing I have made you blush! And the line of work I am suggesting is not out of pleasure, but because I am in dire need of cash! I have to be careful with Craigslist and advertising, I have a high profile job (during the day!) so need to be discreet!

Em said...

I am not a redneck. I don't like Nascar. That's just a tiny bit offensive. And to think, I was just starting to like you again.

Gledwood said...

Why do you keep calling yourself a geek? You're doing what as you please with your life, earning a living and presumably doing no great damage to others so what's wrong with that? I mean, look at my life if you would like some point of comparison...

unique_stephen said...

Molly > my reply is at your place.

Em > What I'm worried about is that your only a _tiny_ bit offended. So, let me try again... at the Indy racing...

Gledwood > spade a spade and all that. I wear the term with pride. And yes I've looked at your blog: William S. Burroughs much.

B said...

I'm just going to join Jen and say 'fuck, you make me hot when you talk like that' :)