Monday, September 10, 2012

The Lesser Judgment Day, "The Call Within the Call", The God Particle and The Quantum Theory Cocktail

On this day in 1509, a strong earthquake that would later be known as the "The Lesser Judgment Day" would strike Constantinople - now known as Instanbul, Turkey. Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city of the Byzantine and Middle Ages, but had been vastly depopulated after having been attacked and untimately sacked during the Ottoman era.

The earthquake struck at 10pm, triggering a Tsunami. Over 1,000 homes were destroyed and an estimated 10,000 people lost their lives in the initial quake and the aftershocks which would continue for 45 days. A detailed history of the aftermath is left by the art depicting the destruction.



On this day in 1946, Sister Teresa Bojaxhiu, a 36 year old sister of the Loreto Convent, was riding a train to Darjeeling, West Bengal, India when she heard the call of God directing her "to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them." She would later describe the event on that day as "the call within the call" and the beginning of her life as the Missionary Mother Theresa.


She would continue her work with the poor, the sick and the dying for 45 years. She would receive the Nobel Prize in 1979 and beatification by Pope John Paul II following her death in 1997 giving her the title "Blessed Teresa of Calcutta".


On this day in 2008 The Large Hadron Collider, the largest and highest-energy particle accelerator in the world, is turned on in Geneva, Switzerland.  Truly a world wide effort, the LHC was built in collaboration with hundreds of universities and laboratories and over 10,000 scientists and engineers from 100 countries. 

God Particle Lead

Its purpose simply is to analyize the byproducts of collisions between elementary particles giving scientists evidence of the structure of the subatomic world and the laws of nature governing it.  It is part of the search for the smallest particle, the boson and how these particles interact with each other and also with nothingness (currently now a theory named The Higgs Field) that may explain how the universe works.

A description of what's needed to collide subatomic particles by National Geographic in 2008

"Starting sometime in the coming months, two beams of particles will race in opposite directions around the tunnel, which forms an underground ring 17 miles in circumference. The particles will be guided by more than a thousand cylindrical, supercooled magnets, linked like sausages. At four locations the beams will converge, sending the particles crashing into each other at nearly the speed of light. If all goes right, matter will be transformed by the violent collisions into wads of energy, which will in turn condense back into various intriguing types of particles, some of them never seen before. That’s the essence of experimental particle physics: You smash stuff together and see what other stuff comes out."

The Higgs particle is a boson, a type of particle that allows multiple identical particles to exist in the same place in the same quantum state.  The Higgs Boson particle (sometimes referred to as "The God Particle) is one theories that LHC will try to prove - and if proven - the effect on our understanding of the universe would be monumental.

As an aside:
The Higgs Boson particle got its nickname "The God Particle" from a 1993 book written by 
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon M. Lederman and science writer Dick Teresi titled The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question? 

Lederman said he gave the Higgs boson the nickname "The God Particle" because the particle is "so central to the state of physics today, so crucial to our final understanding of the structure of matter, yet so elusive," but added that a second reason was because "the publisher wouldn't let us call it the Goddamn Particle, though that might be a more appropriate title, given its villainous nature and the expense it is causing."

For more information on The Large Hadron Collider:

A great piece on a man who broke into the LHC claiming to be from the future 
and a great video giving background on particle theory.


The Historical Inebriant: The Quantum Theory Cocktail
(this is a great blog - I wish I payed more attention in Math but a great blog!)

3/4 oz Rum
1/2 oz Strega
1/4 oz Grand Marnier
2 oz Pineapple juice
Sweet & Sour
Pour rum, strega and Grand Marnier into a collins glass. Add pineapple and fill with sweet and sour. Sip until all the day's super-positioned states disappear.

Under the "It's Amazing What You Can Find on the Web" section:

I don't always run a particle accelerator,

but when I do, I usually drink beer.

Sorry this post was so long.  Sometimes it's hard to write this blog, but today it was a pleasure!

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