LHC


A place for the discussion of all things not closely related to the sport and its competitive side. (as always, locked for the duration of major international championship)

Re: LHC

Postby lonewolf » Fri Sep 28, 2012 10:47 am

This is all waaaaayyy over my head. Contemplating the dimensions of space and the smallest particles gives me a sort of heeby-jeebys but let me muster my composure and ask a couple of serious (to me) questions.

Looking way back in the thread, how can something like the universe be "2 dimensional"?

If the universe consists of gazillions of three dimensional objects scattered zillions of miles/light years apart to, so far, infinity, how can it be said to have any "dimension"?

If the Higgs-boson thing has never been identified/discovered, how can something be Higgs-like if you do not have the real thing to compare it to?

I am not trolling or mocking. These are just nagging questions that popped into my head.
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Re: LHC

Postby JRM » Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:10 pm

lonewolf wrote:Looking way back in the thread, how can something like the universe be "2 dimensional"?


On large distance scales (large with respect to an atom, say), the universe is 3D -- out to the farthest our telescopes can see. But you go to scales smaller than an atom, smaller than an electron, or smaller than the smallest particle we know of, it might not be 3D.

Imagine space as a kind of "scaffolding". A good analogy would be wool. To us, wool is 3D: it's fluffy and obviously has length, height, and depth. But in reality, it's made up of woven "sheets" of fabric. To small bugs that walk on those sheets, wool seems to be "2D". And moreover, those woven sheets are made up of tiny strands of wool. Tiny mites that walk on the strands see wool as a 1D string.

If the universe consists of gazillions of three dimensional objects scattered zillions of miles/light years apart to, so far, infinity, how can it be said to have any "dimension"?


'Dimension' refers to directions that are perpendicular to each other (x, y, and z). Since the universe obviously has a volume, it must be 3D.

One of the quirkiest ideas is that, at the scale size of the universe itself (called the Hubble length), there are theories that suggest a *new* spatial dimension could be appearing. Hence, the universe is actually 4D at the biggest scales!

If the Higgs-boson thing has never been identified/discovered, how can something be Higgs-like if you do not have the real thing to compare it to?


The Higgs has been theorized to exist for almost 50 years now, so we have detailed descriptions of the Higgs would look like if it was discovered. The problem is that we have TOO MANY Higgs bosons to pick from. Depending on the input parameters to the model, the particle will behave differently and have slightly different characteristics. The task now is to figure out exactly which Higgs was discovered.
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Re: LHC

Postby Daisy » Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:20 pm

Genetics seems so simple in comparison to that. :shock:
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Re: LHC

Postby lonewolf » Fri Sep 28, 2012 8:24 pm

Thank you, JRM, good try.

I visualize dimensions, as you say, in as set of perpendicular distances of x, y and z. I can see that a surface is two dimensional in that it has only breadth and length.

On reflection, it would seem that this xyz definition would only apply to a cube, or a rectangular structure or pyramid with uniform opposing sides, whereas a sphere would only have one dimension (the diameter) and a dodecahedron would have twelve (?) dimensions.
Or, would it be 12 x 12= 144 dimensions?

On the scale of the universe scaffold, where I don't think there are neatly arranged perpendicular distances, it would seem there are not four but an infinite number of dimensions. Or, if the limits of the universe deliniate a sphere, only one dimension. Or, if the universe is an oblate collection of whirling stuff, two dimensions.

I will now go and cogitate your answers for another 80 years. :?

I hope it doesn't intrude on my thoughts when I am sitting at the take off board. :)
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Re: LHC

Postby JRM » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:15 pm

lonewolf wrote:On reflection, it would seem that this xyz definition would only apply to a cube, or a rectangular structure or pyramid with uniform opposing sides, whereas a sphere would only have one dimension (the diameter) and a dodecahedron would have twelve (?) dimensions.
Or, would it be 12 x 12= 144 dimensions?


These are all still 3-D objects, in the sense that they exist in a 3D world. You're confusing 'dimension' with 'parameter'. Yes, a sphere is *defined* by only one number, namely its diameter. But this doesn't mean it exists in only one dimension. In fact, using the 'perpendicular direction' definition, a sphere meets the criteria. The Earth is a good example. It has three distinct directions: East/West, North/South, and Up/Down (into/out of the ground). A basic line, on the other hand, *is* one dimensional, because it only has length (and nothing else).

I hope you're not too distracted at the long jump pit -- which, by the way, is a two-dimensional event (height and length!). ;-)
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Re: LHC

Postby tandfman » Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:39 am

JRM wrote:I hope you're not too distracted at the long jump pit -- which, by the way, is a two-dimensional event (height and length!). ;-)

The pit is two-dimensional, but the judge at the landing area must ascertain where the jumper has broken into the third dimension--the depth. :D
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Re: LHC

Postby lonewolf » Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:49 pm

I think I will go back to pondering something simple..like the Mars photos. :)
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Re: LHC

Postby dukehjsteve » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:01 am

3 "big picture ??'s from me:

1. We say the universe began with a "big bang". How do we know there have not been an infinite # of big bangs previously, with another infinity of them to come in the future, before and after the birth and demise of our current deal ?

2. What is currently the farthest object ( star/galaxy ) that we have seen telescopically ?

3. We speak of the "expanding" universe." If this is so, and the other sides, how do we know there are not an infinite # of additional universes ?

My head is spinning now, I'll stop.
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Re: LHC

Postby lonewolf » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:40 am

dukehjsteve, that is exactly the sort of calvacade of "what ifs" that roil my brain when I get to thinking about this universe stuff..

Going small, I similarly do not understand the objective of smashing atoms or molecules into smaller pieces but obviously there are those who do and I say, "power to 'em."
Let me know what you find out :)

I am content to know we do not know the answers, will never know the answers, it would not change the course of eternal events if we did and there is nothing we can do about it anyway.
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:16 am

dukehjsteve wrote:1. We say the universe began with a "big bang". How do we know there have not been an infinite # of big bangs previously, with another infinity of them to come in the future, before and after the birth and demise of our current deal ?

Coincidently, I just gave my classes my "Annual Multiverse Lecture". to wit:

There are am infinity of universes in the multiverse, and they are all in some stage of their infinitely repeating expansion or contraction. Each time they blink out of existence, they take their space-time with them, so nothing remains, not even space or time. That's why there can be no 'travel' between universes, there is no time or space 'between' them. These cycles also therefore don't even occur in time or space, since that's a construct of each individual universe. The origin of each big bang is a flaw in the nothingness, because, after all, nothing (as opposed to Nothing) is perfect. The flaw is the singularity that holds all matter, time and space of the nascent universe. The singularity is, of course, unstable, because it's an imperfection in the nothingness, so it must explode, creating that universe. Eventually, all energy of the explosion dissipates and it implodes back into itself, taking its time and space and matter with it. Being timeless and infinite in its 'structure', the multiverse is beyond all science and reason, which is why it hurts our brains to try and think about it. We can't - any more than an amoeba can 'think' about us or its own existence.

The purpose of the lecture (which I give with a deadpan expression of 'fact', as if I were explaining a grammar rule) is, of course, to blow their minds and any preconceived notions that they might have had about 'understanding' anything at all. :wink:
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Re: LHC

Postby lonewolf » Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:46 pm

And you get away with that?? :)
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Re: LHC

Postby Daisy » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:25 pm

lonewolf wrote:And you get away with that?? :)

Wouldn't you like to hear the kids in the halls after his class? :)
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:46 pm

Daisy wrote:
lonewolf wrote:And you get away with that?? :)

Wouldn't you like to hear the kids in the halls after his class? :)

a. is it not intuitively obvious that I can't possibly KNOW any of that?
b. when I see their parents after that, they inevitably say it was the dinner conversation for several days and they (the parents) think it's wonderful that someone is finally challenging them in that sort of way.
c. no student ends up believing me, lock-stock-and-barrel, but the inevitable outcome is that that start thinking about these sorts of things, instead of just locksteppingly accepting everything they had been taught heretofore.
d. we finally come to the conclusion that my story is as feasible as any other. :D
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Re: LHC

Postby JRM » Sun Sep 30, 2012 6:13 pm

Marlow wrote:d. we finally come to the conclusion that my story is as feasible as any other. :D


Well, some may believe that... ;)
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Re: LHC

Postby lonewolf » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:47 pm

I suppose anything someone doesn't understand is feasible. :)
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:49 am

lonewolf wrote:I suppose anything someone doesn't understand is feasible. :)

And since no one can prove my story wrong, I'm good to go!
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Re: LHC

Postby Pego » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:58 am

Marlow wrote:
lonewolf wrote:I suppose anything someone doesn't understand is feasible. :)

And since no one can prove my story wrong, I'm good to go!


Ain't the metaphysics grand? Anything goes :wink: .
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:05 am

Pego wrote:Ain't the metaphysics grand? Anything goes :wink: .

Yes, and my story is literally based on META-physics: how the (changes in) physics of the multiverse works!
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Re: LHC

Postby JRM » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:20 am

Marlow wrote:
lonewolf wrote:I suppose anything someone doesn't understand is feasible. :)

And since no one can prove my story wrong, I'm good to go!


No one, huh? Hmm..
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:39 am

JRM wrote:No one, huh? Hmm..

Anyone can come up with a similarly constructed 'story', but no, no one can PROVE or DISPROVE the story unless there are impossibilities (as we currently define the physics of OUR universe) that render the story untenable.

I would LOVE to hear your version of the story!! (seriously). What I don't like are students who just give up and say, 'I have no idea'. Where's the adventure in that?!
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Re: LHC

Postby 26mi235 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:53 pm

dukehjsteve wrote:3 "big picture ??'s from me:

1. We say the universe began with a "big bang". How do we know there have not been an infinite # of big bangs previously, with another infinity of them to come in the future, before and after the birth and demise of our current deal ?

2. What is currently the farthest object ( star/galaxy ) that we have seen telescopically ?

3. We speak of the "expanding" universe." If this is so, and the other sides, how do we know there are not an infinite # of additional universes ?

My head is spinning now, I'll stop.


This is JRM territory, I am an amateur and working without notes (and no looking at Wiki...) Generally, they call it space-time for a reason: the two are completely intertwined. 'Before' the Big Bang there was no time and no space. A corollary is that time will end if the universe collapses back to a point. However, everything at this point indicates that we ain't ever going back. Rather, the expansion is speeding up as Dark Energy is over-coming the retarding effects of gravity. There are alternative theories that have little bit extra that changes such things but are not views that are widely held, I think. JRM has interactions with some of these guys.

I must go now, will add more later if JRM has not covered the territory.
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Re: LHC

Postby Pego » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:15 am

Marlow wrote:What I don't like are students who just give up and say, 'I have no idea'. Where's the adventure in that?!


Do you really prefer speculation unsupported by evidence to admission of ignorance of the subject matter? A flight of fancy over facts?
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:49 am

Pego wrote:Do you really prefer speculation unsupported by evidence to admission of ignorance of the subject matter? A flight of fancy over facts?

One of the explicit goals of my class IS to speculate, especially where the facts are insufficient to 'know'. When they speculate (or I do, which is often), we find ways to support or refute the supposition. They will be presented with MANY unsubstantiated ideas throughout their lives and it's my job to prepare them for that - to question everything. Speculation is the human way of "making meaning" out of the randomness of our existence. Existential exercises such as this are paramount in their 'college-prep' experience, college being where 'speculation' is the coin of the realm, at least in the humanities.
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Re: LHC

Postby Daisy » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:01 am

Marlow wrote:Existential exercises such as this are paramount in their 'college-prep' experience, college being where 'speculation' is the coin of the realm, at least in the humanities.

But this is science, not humanities. The norm in science is to gather information so the first 'speculation' can be informed rather than a guess.
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Wed Oct 03, 2012 7:43 am

Daisy wrote:But this is science, not humanities.

Not really. As Pego points out, it's metaphysics. Nothing I posit goes AGAINST science as we understand it (not that it's remotely 'true' in any real sense).
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Re: LHC

Postby Pego » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:52 am

Marlow wrote:
Daisy wrote:But this is science, not humanities.

Not really. As Pego points out, it's metaphysics. Nothing I posit goes AGAINST science as we understand it (not that it's remotely 'true' in any real sense).


Hey, let's not misquote Pego. I referred to your monologue on universe as metaphysics. A subject matter in question was universe, i.e. science. Your exercises in mental gymnastics with your students are fine as long as it remains just that, mental exercises, not mistaking fantasy for reality.
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:42 am

Pego wrote:Your exercises in mental gymnastics with your students are fine as long as it remains just that, mental exercises, not mistaking fantasy for reality.

As I said before, this is an ENGLISH class, not an astrophysics seminar.
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Re: LHC

Postby tandfman » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:05 pm

It's hard for me to see what that has to do with the study of the English language or its literature.
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Re: LHC

Postby Daisy » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:09 pm

Fantasy, Fiction and Sci-Fi are terms that spring to mind ;)
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Re: LHC

Postby tandfman » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:20 pm

Well yes, but the paragraph that Marlow reads to them doesn't seem to fit any of those categories.
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:40 pm

tandfman wrote:Well yes, but the paragraph that Marlow reads to them doesn't seem to fit any of those categories.

It has little (if nothing) to do with the subject matter. Did you read my explanation above? (not that ya hafta!)
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Re: LHC

Postby tandfman » Wed Oct 03, 2012 4:48 pm

Yes, but you're the one who stressed that this was an ENGLISH class.
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:02 pm

tandfman wrote:Yes, but you're the one who stressed that this was an ENGLISH class.

It is. I was demonstrating an important facet of rhetoric (of which speculation often plays an important part). The AP English Language course is primarily one of rhetorical analysis. The discussion that my 'lecture' engenders gives valuable insight into how one should handle the vagaries of the information that are thrown at us on a daily basis.
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Re: LHC

Postby JRM » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:06 pm

Here's a link to the journal issue (Physics Letters B) in which the official discovery announcement papers from the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations are published (p 1-29 for ATLAS, and p 30-61 for CMS). Also, scroll down and check out paper #11 in the issue's Astrophysics and Cosmology section (p 171-176)!

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/jo ... 2693/716/1
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Re: LHC

Postby Pego » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:55 pm

JRM wrote:Here's a link to the journal issue (Physics Letters B) in which the official discovery announcement papers from the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations are published (p 1-29 for ATLAS, and p 30-61 for CMS). Also, scroll down and check out paper #11 in the issue's Astrophysics and Cosmology section (p 171-176)!

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/jo ... 2693/716/1


It would be even better if I understood it :) .
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Re: LHC

Postby bambam » Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:18 am

I think JRM is referring to #11 as his own paper - author is JR Mureika.
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Re: LHC

Postby Pego » Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:40 am

bambam wrote:I think JRM is referring to #11 as his own paper - author is JR Mureika.


Yes.
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Re: LHC

Postby 26mi235 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:27 pm

JRM wrote:Here's a link to the journal issue (Physics Letters B) in which the official discovery announcement papers from the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations are published (p 1-29 for ATLAS, and p 30-61 for CMS). Also, scroll down and check out paper #11 in the issue's Astrophysics and Cosmology section (p 171-176)!

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/jo ... 2693/716/1


By the way. look at the length of the authors list; the 19th author has a name starting with Ad and they are all alphabetical.
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Re: LHC

Postby JRM » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:39 pm

26mi235 wrote:
JRM wrote:Here's a link to the journal issue (Physics Letters B) in which the official discovery announcement papers from the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations are published (p 1-29 for ATLAS, and p 30-61 for CMS). Also, scroll down and check out paper #11 in the issue's Astrophysics and Cosmology section (p 171-176)!

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/jo ... 2693/716/1


By the way. look at the length of the authors list; the 19th author has a name starting with Ad and they are all alphabetical.



It's also not uncommon for those international collaborations to have authors who are posthumously listed (and I believe there are several in that list). In fact, the entire author listing goes on for at least 10 pages.
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Re: LHC

Postby Marlow » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:46 am

JRM wrote:In fact, the entire author listing goes on for at least 10 pages.

Publish or perish!
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