Einstein's train. All change, please.

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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uwot
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Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by uwot » Mon May 20, 2019 12:44 pm

Fuck it, given up on that other thread.
Anyway, here's a couple of quotes to remind us what that was supposed to be about:
“I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not only a technician, he is also a child placed before natural phenomenon, which impress him like a fairy tale.”
- Marie Curie
"What we observe as material bodies and forces are nothing but shapes and variations in the structure of space."
- Erwin Schrodinger.
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
- Nikola Tesla
"We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images."
- Niels Bohr
"Most gravity has no known origin. Is it some exotic particle? Nobody knows. Is dark energy responsible for expansion of the universe? Nobody knows."
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
"All this is a dream. Still examine it by a few experiments. Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature; and in such things as these, experiment is the best test of such consistency."
- Michael Faraday
"Age, please leave this thread alone."
-Yours truly

Here's how I have tried to make a coherent model from all that: https://willybouwman.blogspot.com

mickthinks
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by mickthinks » Tue May 21, 2019 11:06 am

Nice work, Willy. Thanks! :-)

Impenitent
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by Impenitent » Tue May 21, 2019 10:25 pm

you'll still have thirsty passengers if you only have one drink container...

relatively of course...

-Imp

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Greta
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by Greta » Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am

Will, as you know, as a Spirograph tragic back in the Paleolithic I'm taken by the diagrams about quarks creating orbitals/shells.

I was always so confused by the idea of orbitals and the impossibility of stuff falling between them. Now I visualise orbitals as irresistible currents and electrons as smeared crazy shells caught in the flow. The hard part is 3-D'ing the situation from the 2D diagrams.

A thought comes to mind. How would hydrogen atoms only end up with one orbital? How would they avoid complexifying? Also, if a hydrogen atom is hit by a photon and there's no other orbitals to push the electron to, what happens to the energy?

You could start an advice show on TV and call it Dr Will :)

uwot
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by uwot » Thu May 23, 2019 9:27 am

mickthinks wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 11:06 am
Nice work, Willy. Thanks! :-)
Cheers Mick!

uwot
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by uwot » Thu May 23, 2019 9:29 am

Impenitent wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 10:25 pm
you'll still have thirsty passengers if you only have one drink container...

relatively of course...

-Imp
Hmm. Not that thirsty apparently.

uwot
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by uwot » Thu May 23, 2019 9:41 am

Greta wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am
Will, as you know, as a Spirograph tragic back in the Paleolithic I'm taken by the diagrams about quarks creating orbitals/shells.

I was always so confused by the idea of orbitals and the impossibility of stuff falling between them. Now I visualise orbitals as irresistible currents and electrons as smeared crazy shells caught in the flow.
Pretty wild, innit?
Greta wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am
The hard part is 3-D'ing the situation from the 2D diagrams.
Ya know those paper Christmas decorations that open up to create, I dunno, a bell or a tree or whatnot? Same thing really, just spin the image through 180 (where's that f@€king key for degrees?)
Greta wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am
A thought comes to mind. How would hydrogen atoms only end up with one orbital? How would they avoid complexifying?
They don't. That's why there are different colours in the spectrum.
Greta wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am
Also, if a hydrogen atom is hit by a photon and there's no other orbitals to push the electron to, what happens to the energy?
Same with any other wave; it just passes straight through.
Greta wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am
You could start an advice show on TV and call it Dr Will :)
Aw, now...

Dubious
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by Dubious » Thu May 23, 2019 10:31 pm

"Most gravity has no known origin. Is it some exotic particle? Nobody knows. Is dark energy responsible for expansion of the universe? Nobody knows."
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
That would imply that those of us who know nothing would know as much as he does. In fact, I'm in a superior position to NdeGT knowing even less than he does!

Btw, what does he mean by "most gravity"?

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Greta
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by Greta » Fri May 24, 2019 2:06 am

uwot wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 9:41 am
Greta wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am
I was always so confused by the idea of orbitals and the impossibility of stuff falling between them. Now I visualise orbitals as irresistible currents and electrons as smeared crazy shells caught in the flow.
Pretty wild, innit?
Very wild - three mad quarks zipping around each other at almost light speed to create fixed spherical channels around itself.

I like the way atoms, cells, solar systems and galaxies all have stuff organised around a controlling central zone. Governments, cities and money markets too. Or brains and bodies.

It's always the same. You have a zone that is relatively homogeneous, not too hot, not too sparse. Still, not all zones are the same. The biggest specks get bigger. These those bigger ones get bigger again. Over time the once evenly spread field breaks into, effectively particles and space. Like deserts growing around cities.
uwot wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 9:41 am
Greta wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am
A thought comes to mind. How would hydrogen atoms only end up with one orbital? How would they avoid complexifying?
They don't. That's why there are different colours in the spectrum.
How do you mean?

uwot
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by uwot » Fri May 24, 2019 8:25 am

Dubious wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 10:31 pm
"Most gravity has no known origin. Is it some exotic particle? Nobody knows. Is dark energy responsible for expansion of the universe? Nobody knows."
- Neil deGrasse Tyson
That would imply that those of us who know nothing would know as much as he does. In fact, I'm in a superior position to NdeGT knowing even less than he does!

Btw, what does he mean by "most gravity"?
Good question. I just plucked that out of Brainyquotes, so I don't know the context, but I guess he's talking about 'dark matter'. Something is holding galaxies together, but calculations suggest it's not visible matter, stars, planets, interstellar dust and whatnot, because there's not enough of it.

uwot
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by uwot » Fri May 24, 2019 8:41 am

Greta wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 2:06 am
uwot wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 9:41 am
Greta wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am
I was always so confused by the idea of orbitals and the impossibility of stuff falling between them. Now I visualise orbitals as irresistible currents and electrons as smeared crazy shells caught in the flow.
Pretty wild, innit?
Very wild - three mad quarks zipping around each other at almost light speed to create fixed spherical channels around itself.

I like the way atoms, cells, solar systems and galaxies all have stuff organised around a controlling central zone. Governments, cities and money markets too. Or brains and bodies.

It's always the same. You have a zone that is relatively homogeneous, not too hot, not too sparse. Still, not all zones are the same. The biggest specks get bigger. These those bigger ones get bigger again. Over time the once evenly spread field breaks into, effectively particles and space. Like deserts growing around cities.
Yeah, I kinda like that.
Greta wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 2:06 am
uwot wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 9:41 am
Greta wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 11:34 am
A thought comes to mind. How would hydrogen atoms only end up with one orbital? How would they avoid complexifying?
They don't. That's why there are different colours in the spectrum.
How do you mean?
I mighta misunderstood what you mean by "orbital", but I took you to mean the relatively desertified areas between 'shells' where electrons hang out. Even the 3 quarks in a proton (that's yer hydrogen nucleus, after all) generate a series of shells, which take a specific amount of energy to jump between. Hence the precise wavelength, and thus colour, of the photons that are involved.

seeds
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by seeds » Fri May 24, 2019 6:35 pm

uwot wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 8:41 am
Greta wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 2:06 am
uwot wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 9:41 am

Pretty wild, innit?
Very wild - three mad quarks zipping around each other at almost light speed to create fixed spherical channels around itself.

I like the way atoms, cells, solar systems and galaxies all have stuff organised around a controlling central zone. Governments, cities and money markets too. Or brains and bodies.

It's always the same. You have a zone that is relatively homogeneous, not too hot, not too sparse. Still, not all zones are the same. The biggest specks get bigger. These those bigger ones get bigger again. Over time the once evenly spread field breaks into, effectively particles and space. Like deserts growing around cities.
Yeah, I kinda like that.
Greta wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 2:06 am
uwot wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 9:41 am
They don't. That's why there are different colours in the spectrum.
How do you mean?
I mighta misunderstood what you mean by "orbital", but I took you to mean the relatively desertified areas between 'shells' where electrons hang out. Even the 3 quarks in a proton (that's yer hydrogen nucleus, after all) generate a series of shells, which take a specific amount of energy to jump between. Hence the precise wavelength, and thus colour, of the photons that are involved.
You guys seem to be demonstrating how hard it is to avoid what Bohr was referring to in the quote offered by uwot in the OP:
Niels Bohr wrote:“We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.”
In other words, it is an exercise in futility to think that the depictions you are working with are truly describing the actual features of the “stuff” from which reality is formed.

Nevertheless, your “poetry slam” is entertaining. :D
_______

Dubious
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by Dubious » Fri May 24, 2019 8:50 pm

seeds wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 6:35 pm
uwot wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 8:41 am
Greta wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 2:06 am

Very wild - three mad quarks zipping around each other at almost light speed to create fixed spherical channels around itself.

I like the way atoms, cells, solar systems and galaxies all have stuff organised around a controlling central zone. Governments, cities and money markets too. Or brains and bodies.

It's always the same. You have a zone that is relatively homogeneous, not too hot, not too sparse. Still, not all zones are the same. The biggest specks get bigger. These those bigger ones get bigger again. Over time the once evenly spread field breaks into, effectively particles and space. Like deserts growing around cities.
Yeah, I kinda like that.
Greta wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 2:06 am
How do you mean?
I mighta misunderstood what you mean by "orbital", but I took you to mean the relatively desertified areas between 'shells' where electrons hang out. Even the 3 quarks in a proton (that's yer hydrogen nucleus, after all) generate a series of shells, which take a specific amount of energy to jump between. Hence the precise wavelength, and thus colour, of the photons that are involved.
You guys seem to be demonstrating how hard it is to avoid what Bohr was referring to in the quote offered by uwot in the OP:
Niels Bohr wrote:“We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.”
In other words, it is an exercise in futility to think that the depictions you are working with are truly describing the actual features of the “stuff” from which reality is formed.

Nevertheless, your “poetry slam” is entertaining. :D
_______
While what you say is true it only proves that there is no way of referring to it in a way that does it justice. What words could we employ which makes specific the true nature of what's going on at that level? But refer to it we must as Bohr understood and use the best possible approximations in the words and terms we apply to abstractions which have no counterpart to the words we use to describe them. An alien civilization would use different metaphors to denote the same reality. Clearly it's possible to play with reality in ways which make it possible to understand it better without approaching it directly which can never be. If that were the case, it wouldn't be inappropriate to think of ourselves as gods.

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Greta
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by Greta » Fri May 24, 2019 11:31 pm

uwot wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 8:41 am
Greta wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 2:06 am
uwot wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 9:41 am
They don't. That's why there are different colours in the spectrum.
How do you mean?
I mighta misunderstood what you mean by "orbital", but I took you to mean the relatively desertified areas between 'shells' where electrons hang out. Even the 3 quarks in a proton (that's yer hydrogen nucleus, after all) generate a series of shells, which take a specific amount of energy to jump between. Hence the precise wavelength, and thus colour, of the photons that are involved.
Ta. I was mixed up between shells and orbitals. I need to return to the material ... alas, when I did so, another question cropped up.

Stepping back to before atoms formed. Some of the "sparks" (as per your analogy) were unorganised. We call the organised ones quarks. What are the messy sparks? Virtual particles - not organised enough to persist?

I have been thinking a lot about the early universe and how different it is to what seems to usually be imagined. In its early years the whole universe would have been basically the same kind of matter as in the centre of black holes, only on large scale. That raises the trippy question - without anything else around to provide context, how big was the universe before it developed internal features to provide context?

Quarks are like small fragments of the early universe, preserved in shells that they construct around themselves.

uwot
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Re: Einstein's train. All change, please.

Post by uwot » Sat May 25, 2019 9:50 am

seeds wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 6:35 pm
You guys seem to be demonstrating how hard it is to avoid what Bohr was referring to in the quote offered by uwot in the OP:
Niels Bohr wrote:“We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.”
In other words, it is an exercise in futility to think that the depictions you are working with are truly describing the actual features of the “stuff” from which reality is formed.

Well, Bohr acutely understood the difference between physics as description and physics as a tool (or instrument, ya know - the scientific type). So what he is talking about here is physics as description - natural philosophy in effect. Long story short: Newton publishes his Principia. The continentals - Cartesians mostly - complain that there is no description of how gravity works. Newton thinks about it for twenty odd years; gives up and in the second edition admits he doesn't know, but points out that his inverse square law tells you nearly everything you need to know. That's yer hypotheses non fingo The continentals stroke their beards for a bit, while Britain gets on with using Newton's instruments becoming the most powerful nation on Earth. Jealous of our success, the French apply the same principles to chemistry, Antoine Lavoisier in particular, which is why we conquered half the planet, you speak English and the French make lovely perfumes. (In case yer thinking I've got it in for the continent, I am Dutch enough to serve in their/our army and to be thrown in prison for not doing so.)
In the 19th century, Germany gets its shit together and decides to become a country, looks around for a model, sees Britain ruling the waves and throws huge resources at developing scientific infrastructure and industry, much as China is doing now. (Germany v Britain didn't turn out too well. China v USA could be an absolute shit-fest.) Anyway, a German kid called Albert Einstein (who was smart enough to give up his citizenship to avoid national service) comes along with an idea that is even better than Newton's, but it happens to be based on a description of 'spacetime' as a sort of spongey substance.
Hmm. Maybe not short enough. Anyway, Einstein was a realist. He believed in the spongey substance and in fairness, it works very well as a model and most physicists did, and do, agree with him - see the Schrodinger quote in the OP. However, Bohr understood that what matters is not the description, but the maths. He is often credited with the phrase 'Shut up and calculate'. Mind you, so is almost every other big name in 20th century physics, the most notable exception being Einstein. The Fifth Solvay conference was a watershed which resulted in victory for Bohr over Einstein. Physics has been strongly instrumental ever since, and the Copenhagen interpretation, which is basically the hypotheses non fingo of quantum mechanics, became dominant. It's still most physicists preferred option, with the 'many worlds' interpretation probably in second place. And that is really, really batshit, but quite possibly true.
Erm, shorter still: having depictions isn't futile, but thinking they "are truly describing the actual features of the “stuff” from which reality is formed" is silly.
seeds wrote:
Fri May 24, 2019 6:35 pm
Nevertheless, your “poetry slam” is entertaining. :D
_______
Happy to entertain you.

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