The Frontiers Of Subatomic Physics (Synopsis)

“It was quite the most incredible event that has ever happened to me in my life. It was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you.” -Ernest Rutherford

Over 100 years ago, Ernest Rutherford fired a stream of alpha particles at a thin sheet of gold foil, watching in amazement as some of the particles recoiled, backwards, opposite to the original direction they started off in. With one fell swoop, he had discovered the atomic nucleus.

Image credit: Teach Astronomy / Chris Impey, via http://m.teachastronomy.com/astropedia/article/The-Structure-of-the-Atom. Image credit: Teach Astronomy / Chris Impey, via http://m.teachastronomy.com/astropedia/article/The-Structure-of-the-Atom.

At even higher energies, we learn that the atomic nucleus is made of protons and neutrons, which in turn are made of smaller, more fundamental particles. But protons and neutrons are hardly the only possible combinations. In fact, mesons, baryons and anti-baryons aren't the only possible combinations, either, as we're just learning now. And the farther down the rabbit hole we go, the greater the possibilities for new fundamental physics becomes.

Image credit: CERN / LHC / LHCb collaboration, via http://press.web.cern.ch/press-releases/2015/07/cerns-lhcb-experiment-reports-observation-exotic-pentaquark-particles. Image credit: CERN / LHC / LHCb collaboration, via http://press.web.cern.ch/press-releases/2015/07/cerns-lhcb-experiment-r….

Come see what the discovery of the pentaquark means for QCD and new physics moving forward!

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Ethan,

Do you or anyone else have any thoughts on possible uses of the subatomic physics frontier?

Any creative musings on how knowledge of the alleged pentaquark may benefit mankind?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 22 Jul 2015 #permalink

@See Noknowledge #1: I guess if it doesn't show up in your favorite book of fables, it's not very useful, eh?

Why don't you go look up what Faraday said to a similarly ignorant lout about his researches into electricity?

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 22 Jul 2015 #permalink

Not being a physics geek, I'm sorry if my question sounds dumb but: What practical use can we make of it? Knowing something exists is interesting but I don't see the point if we can't make use of it.

I must have missed something, but why is a tetraquark not just two mesons?
And a pentaquark a meson and a barion?
And barionium a barion and an antibarion?

By Frank Jansen (not verified) on 22 Jul 2015 #permalink

Binding is between all quarks in this case five of them. In the case of meson binding to baryon, this isn't the case, the binding is between the two groups as defined groups.

"but I don’t see the point if we can’t make use of it."

What is the point of a sunset?

What is the point of sex after menopause?

Now now, Michael, play nice; ad-homs are beneath you.

In answer to See Noevo @ 1:

Sometimes we don't know how new knowledge will benefit us. Could Rutherford have predicted that his first steps might some day lead to nuclear medicine that diagnoses diseases and eradicates tumors?, and to new methods of examining the materials we use to build jet airliners to ensure they will fly safely and well?

Sometimes new knowledge directly contributes to social progress, for example studies of the human genome that have led to the utter refutation of any basis for racism.

And all the time, new knowledge gives us a better and more clear picture of the physical universe in which we live. That's intrinsically good, in a manner analogous to the intrinsic good of artistic beauty and of unconditional love. Knowledge by itself admittedly does not determine which courses of action are morally right or morally wrong, as working scientists readily agree. But new knowledge can give us a more complete basis for applying our moral values to our actions.

Fundamental physics such as the discovery of the Higgs boson and the pentaquark, is a level further away from direct applications and moral values. If anything, this gives us time to contemplate the possible applications and judge their worthiness: time that may turn out to be proportional to the importance of the issues that are revealed, as was the case with the relationship between Einstein's relativity and nuclear fission.

But there is never a good reason to turn our backs on discovering the nature of things. There is never a good reason to prefer not to know. Willful ignorance is ultimately a form of moral laziness, as it seeks to duck the knowledge that leads to difficult questions that test our values and affirm the values that are timeless.

If, as I think is the case, you believe that the universe arose from the mind of a divine creator, then you should agree that it is a most wondrous quest for the minds of humans to know the mind of the creator through the knowledge of creation. Surely you know the history of this line of thought. That piece of the picture isn't shared by those who perceive no deity in the universe. But all of us together, do perceive the universe itself, and all of us can stand together on that common ground where curiosity and wonder are rewarded with understanding.

"Now now, Michael, play nice; ad-homs are beneath you."

Now now, G, getting the definition of ad hominem wrong is beneath you.

Insults aren't ad hominemns, you nutbar.

Do you know why you're wrong? Because you're a nutbar.

(Now, tell me which of the two statements above is an ad homimen fallacy and which one is an insult)

SN and Galaf (and anyone else of like mind):

You guys do realize that this is a science blog, right? It's right there in the URL in fact. Being a science blog, it stands to reason that new scientific discoveries would be of general interest to the readers of this blog. Whether or not there is practical use for the discovery of pentaquark states, this is certainly a major scientific discovery that anyone with an interest in science would want to read about. If you lack such interest in science, I would question why you would bother to read and comment on this blog in the first place. There are many websites out there. Surely some of them will discuss matters you find more practically useful.

Any creative musings on how knowledge of the alleged pentaquark may benefit mankind?

From the person who brazenly said (on another of Ethan's posts) that nobody should spend money or time studying anything just for the sake of knowing, only when there is an immediate application. Apparently Galaf scientific curiosity is equally stunted.

Even if you don't believe that learning more about the universe is a worthy goal in itself, a little work and reading of history would show that countries that have invested in fundamental research in math and science have found very good returns on those investments. (The problem, of course, as the resident science-haters demonstrate, is that they won't do any work to educate themselves.)

Such a fun conversation! Let me try!

The pentaquark is only a step away from the ultimate goal, the Heptaquark! The HQ (as it's known to its admirers) is reasonably stable, and when formed into a helically polarized beam it can reveal flaws in causation.

We can make a miracle detector!!

Or maybe something else. But that's on the agenda, never fear.

Is there a quick explanation for the rationale behind the name "color charge"?

The answer, dean, is there is no rationale.

Just like the names of the quarks themselves.Just made up to be names to remember.

@dean #12: The rationale was purely by analogy. In the mid-1960's, Gell-Mann, and independently Feynman, developed the simple model of quarks (partons) as constituents of hadrons. In order to resolve the patterns and symmetries in the hadron mass and charge spectra, they determined that quarks needed to be fermions (spin 1/2, like electrons), with fractional electric charges (+2/3 or -1/3). But there were hadrons which "should" consist of three identical quarks (like uuu or ddd), a combination which would be ruled out by the Pauli exclusion principle. In order to resolve this,
they thought to assignquarks a new kind of conserved quantum number, a "charge", which comes in three varieties instead of just one. This is well motivated from group theoretical considerations, and you could think of this new "charge" as an angle, like 0, +120 or -120 degrees.

The rule was that adding three of the charges together (or a charge plus its anticharge), would result in a net neutral object like a baryon or a meson. That "summing of threes" is very similar, by analogy, to how the three primary colors of light (red, blue and green) add up to make colorless white. It was this analogy which led the theorists to refer to "color charge," and to the full field theory of the strong interaction as "quantum chromodynamics" (c.f. quantum electrodynamics for EM).

By Michael Kelsey (not verified) on 23 Jul 2015 #permalink

To G #7, Sean T #9, dean #10:

In responding to my two questions in #1, you could have saved yourselves a lot of words and just said simply “No” and “No”.

P.S.
Any thoughts on Yuri Milner's extravagance? http://www.nature.com/news/search-for-extraterrestrial-intelligence-get…

I think he should be allowed to waste his money just about any way he wants.
But a $100 million sure could help, and help save, a lot of lives here and now.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 23 Jul 2015 #permalink

As Zhou Enlai is reputed to have said about the effects of the French Revolution, it's too soon to tell.

If you had asked a physicist in 1925 "but what's the practical application" of quantum mechanics, I don't know what they would have told you--but it wouldn't have been "transistors." If you'd asked Einstein, the same year, for the practical applications of his theory, he wouldn't have told you about GPS.

"In responding to my two questions in #1,"

We did, see nowt.

With every oz of deserved respect (IOW none).

I note that you've not manged to find us what the purpose behind sunsets are, though.

Nor have you managed to find any purpose to your mythological god.

Sorry you didn't like the responses, but you no more get to demand we reply in a way you like than we get to make you fuck off.

"Any thoughts on Yuri Milner’s extravagance?"

Yes.

Any thoughts on why people should have millions of dollars?

See Noevo @ 15:

Milner himself is skeptical that the round of searching he is funding will turn up a definitive ET signal, but he sees it as the first step toward further research. This is in keeping with consensus scientific method where realism entails expecting negative results first, in order to weed out weak hypotheses. Milner is clearly thinking long-term here.

I'm inclined to believe that advanced ET civilizations are not using radio in any conventional sense, but instead would use more tightly focused and efficient means of communication such as modulated lasers between their inhabited star systems. At interstellar distances, beam spread is such as to encompass most or all of a star system's planetary orbits, so a beam originating from one system could reach all inhabited planets in another. A very efficient method of "trunking" (telephony analogy) for interstellar communication.

We can't rule out "new physics" means of communication, but we can't do anything about them yet either, because we don't know what will become possible under new physics.

Any advanced ET civ that is interested in searching for other civs not their own, probably uses passive means such as space telescope arrays, rather than active means such as broadcasting messages. Broadcasting in any realistic sense is energy-inefficient compared to searching for candidates first.

Interstellar civilization depends on three cultural factors: sustainability, global peace, and freedom of science, over the time span of thousands of years, in order to make the necessary discoveries and build the necessary technology, and spread out to other star systems. A species that achieved those things would likely view present-day Earth civilization as primitive, backward, and overtly dangerous to communicate with. For that reason alone, they would likely be reluctant to signal their presence.

This paragraph is wild speculation outside the range of current science: I keep holding out the (naive layperson) hope that there'll eventually be found a loophole around the no-signaling limit of entanglement. I even have a suspicion as to how it might occur: a massively-parallel system with something on the order of 50 to 100 billion networked transmit/receive elements at each end, that is only capable of producing a result that is above random at the level of p < .01 but not as high as p < .001. If it works, it'll give us the "ansible" of science fiction fame: instant communication at any distance, send a message to your pals across the galaxy and get a reply in moments. And, with larger arrays, the send/receive accuracy and efficiency might be improved, though I have reason to suspect that any such improvement will follow an inverse exponential curve.

Re. your point that I should just have answered "no, no," is there anything I said there that you disagree with? BTW to be very clear about this: I see your postings elsewhere on Scienceblogs about religious perspectives, and I do not believe that science and religion are inherently at odds. Propositions about theology are not testable within the scientific paradigm, therefore as with artistic beauty and moral values, science does not have a basis to intervene in any such debate. You can regard me as an ally at least as far as holding that science should remain agnostic rather than endorse atheism, as the proposition of no-deity is equally untestable.

---

Re. Wow: I'm starting to agree that his IP should be blocked from posting. Little to no actual contributions, plus repeated rudeness to others, and the use of vulgar language that can get this page blocked by school and library systems that scan for such language (there are many). I could care less if he calls me every nasty name in the book, this is not personal. It's about his constant defecation all over a blog whose author has sought and achieved a level of quality of articles that would attract the attention and compliments of Tyson and Sagan. Enough is enough. This place is too valuable to be repeatedly pooped upon.

To Wow #18:

“Any thoughts on why people should have millions of dollars?”

Wow. A socialist as well as an atheist. What a surprise.

By See Noevo (not verified) on 24 Jul 2015 #permalink

Okay, SN, Re your questions, no and no. Happy now. I hope, though, that the posts that have been made regarding this matter show that your original question is not a particularly relevant one.

The point of wows question sn was to illustrate how stupid and relevance free your questions are. You've never asked an intelligent question, or an honest one, on any of the locations where you've posted.
And your comment that the money could be better spent helping others rings hollow since you've said the people who "need help, don't deserve it.

"It's about his constant defecation all over a blog ..."

It's the shoehorning of rubbish that gets me. There have been a few articles where talking of some sort of god would at least not be off topic, but spamming them all over just means object lessons need to be handed out (IMO).

I don't go busting in to local churches and start ranting about the idiocy of their ridiculous mythology or the psychotic nature of the thing they purport (but do not in anything but lipservice) to believe in and follow.

So why the hell come here to do it?

See Bugger All just whines about how it's all pointless because he doesn't want things to be found out, he wants to let religion "answer" the unknown.

He's entirely pointless, hence the very short shrift given him by Michael.

But the drive by godbotherers are a pandemic.

More needs to be done about godbothering rhetoric. I'd not feel it necessary to give the verbal kicking if I knew that the crap would either be shitcanned or the post moved to the dump thread.

"Wow. A socialist as well as an atheist. What a surprise."

Nope, I asked what was thought about people with millions of dollars. I never proposed they were bad people to have done so. That was entirely your construction.

I note that you didn't, either.

And I note that you didn't defend a billionaire spending their money the way they wanted to, so I guess YOU must be a socialist too, hmm?

And I forgot earlier, apologies for that. Thank you for the summary Michael.

To Wow #24:

Let’s review.

Me: “I think [billionaire Yuri Milner] should be allowed to waste his money just about any way he wants. But a $100 million sure could help, and help save, a lot of lives here and now.”

You: “Any thoughts on why people should have millions of dollars?”

Me: “Wow. A socialist as well as an atheist. What a surprise.”

You: “Nope, I asked what was thought about people with millions of dollars. I never proposed they were bad people to have done so. That was entirely your construction.”
……………
Nope.
It was entirely YOUR construction to change the subject from HOW people spend their millions of dollars to WHY they should have millions TO BEGIN WITH.

MY “construction” was that individuals should be free to spend as they wish, even if I think the objects of their expenditures are a waste. [And I was hinting at a position of mine, often resurrected and attacked here by dean, regarding the level of expenditures (really expenditures of MY tax dollars) on goal-less general research which has no foreseeable benefit to mankind.]

YOUR “construction” was questioning the amount of money individuals should be allowed to have.

I think a socialist would ask a question like yours:
“Any thoughts on why people should have millions of dollars?”

P.S.
Who would you like for 2016?
Bernie Sanders, maybe?

By See Noevo (not verified) on 25 Jul 2015 #permalink

Your opinion on research sn is quite clear: if you don't like it then it should not be done. Don't try to defend any of your lack of understanding of modern science, your lack of interest in learning anything about science, or your general tendency to misrepresent science articles you haven't read, by playing your ignorant little word games.

"To Wow #24:

Let’s review."

Yes, lets.

You: What do you think about this waster billionaire!
Me: What do you think about someone with billions!
You: SOCIALIST!!!!

"Your opinion on research sn is quite clear: if you don’t like it then it should not be done."

Hell, if someone else spends money that this godbothering moron doesn't like, he whines about their spending!

Of course, he's not willing to say what some billionaire is allowed to own in their bank balance, but he DOES demand that they only spend it on "useful" things.

"MY “construction” was that individuals should be free to spend as they wish,"

No YOUR construction was to berate someone for spending $100M on a seti.

Oh, by the way you cretinous smear of slime, unless you can show where I said "I'm a socialist" on this thread, it IS your construction to claim I am a socialist.

I never constructed that assertion.

YOU did.

And I was hinting at a position of mine, often resurrected and attacked here by dean, regarding the level of expenditures (really expenditures of MY tax dollars) on goal-less general research which has no foreseeable benefit to mankind

I have no idea whether you really believe the bit about YOUR tax dollars or not - you've said so many things that have been shown false, and contradicted yourself so often, that it would be foolish to believe you now.

But on the off chance that what I just quoted is true - you've never said it before . Your comment was simply that you didn't believe anyone should study anything that (you believe) doesn't have an immediate application, and that no money should be spent doing so. (The notion that you are any judge of what is good research is equally foolish and doesn't need to be discussed.) You didn't qualify what you meant originally, you haven't qualified it in any of your other posts, and it smacks of simple weaseling for you to say "but this is what I meant and you should have known it" now.

Why didn't these penta-quark particles already show up previously in cloud chambers or other previous experiments, just like all the other normal quarks ... or even the basic positron?

It makes me wonder if the LHC isn't operating in an higher energy field for accelerated protons than cosmic rays, also considering that ultra high-energy-cosmic rays are iron nuclei.

By Paul Dekous (not verified) on 25 Jul 2015 #permalink

They require high energies to exist because they will decay into lower energy entities if energetically favourable to do so.

Seriously Ethan, clean this comment section up.

A science blog devoted to the the continuous pursuit of knowledge and fact is no place for religious trolls and quacks that are more suited to one of the many Breitbart-esque websites out there on the web.

Some opinions have no business being expressed hear, and not all opinions deserve to be heard.

To Wow:

I’m all for people fairly making as much money as they can.
But in the interest of clear communication, what did you mean by
“Any thoughts on why people should have millions of dollars?”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 25 Jul 2015 #permalink

Then why your complaint at Yuri Miller's actions? If he's allowed to have as much money as he can get, why whine about what he does with it?

Is it because money can only be spent on what you decide is worthy? In which case you're only OK with money as long as it's yours.

To Wow #37:

Your smokescreen isn’t working, and I’ll get to that momentarily.

But first, to answer YOUR question:
1)I complain about Yuri Miller’s actions because I’m free to do so, as I’m free to complain about many things. (And you’re free to complain about what I say or do if you decide what I say or do is “not worthy”.) I’d also complain about Yuri if he spent $100 million on, say, junk food.

2)BUT I WOULD DEFEND TO THE DEATH HIS RIGHT to spend his $100 million on junk science and junk food.

3) However, I would NOT defend somebody (e.g. the government ) spending MY tax money on junk science and junk food, nor on other things which I feel have no value for, and could be harmful to, the “common good” (Common good as envisioned by the Constitution and similarly by the Church).

4)Finally, I’ll repeat: I’m all for Yuri, or anyone else, fairly making as much money as they can.

Now, let’s clear out your smokescreen:
What did you mean by
“Any thoughts on why people should have millions of dollars?”

By See Noevo (not verified) on 26 Jul 2015 #permalink

"Your smokescreen isn’t working, and I’ll get to that momentarily."

Wrong. Because:

"But first, to answer YOUR question:"

Was the purpose of the question.

"1) I complain about Yuri Miller’s actions because I’m free to do so"

So, you're a socialist. Figures.

Always gotta hate on what the successful guys do.

"2) BUT I WOULD DEFEND TO THE DEATH HIS RIGHT to spend his $100 million on junk science and junk food."

Oh shut up with the histrionics.

a) you never would fight, never mind to the death, to the "inconvenience" is beyond your willingness to engage
b) you never would be asked, hence it's a pointless rhetorical empty claim.

You will fight to COMPLAIN about what he does. Hell, that is what you DID!

That's not in any way shape or form fighting for his right to spend his money the way he wants to.

It is the opposite.

"What did you mean by
“Any thoughts on why people should have millions of dollars?”"

I meant I wondered if you had similar complaints about why people should have millions of dollars. After all, you complained about them SPENDING it, so obviously you want them not to have the money so they can't "waste" it.

"(Common good as envisioned by the Constitution and similarly by the Church)."

Welp, your church is an expense paid by taxpayers that is 100% pointless waste.

And you know that constitution? It says you're a secular country, not a christian one like a WASP version of ISIS's Caliphate.

So what your church "says" on "common good" is antithetical to your constitution.

Which just goes to show how little the constitution means to you.

However, I would NOT defend somebody (e.g. the government ) spending MY tax money on junk science and junk food, nor on other things which I feel have no value for, and could be harmful to, the “common good” (Common good as envisioned by the ConstitutionHowever, I would NOT defend somebody (e.g. the government ) spending MY tax money on junk science and junk food, nor on other things which I feel have no value for, and could be harmful to, the “common good” (Common good as envisioned by the Constitution and the church)

Luckily there is a somewhat more sane approach for deciding how tax money is spent since, as you (and numerous others, this is one of the faults many have) have demonstrated, individuals are incredibly bad at judging what research done in the here and now might lead to in the future.
And, as noted, there should no role for anyone's church in deciding what tax dollars are used for, since
a) there is no realistic basis for the "christian nation" crap folks so often throw around
b) listening to the whims of one church will mean at the least the wishes of the members of another church will be ignored

But there are countries where a church guides everything, and most of the decisions are the kind you support sn. Feel free to move to Saudi Arabia any time you want.

I've found out why See Bugger All is whining about SETI here.

Roger Pielke, Climate Denier Scientist, hence a godlike figure to SN, posted a piece on how it was a bad thing.

And since RP is as unto God to SN's anti-science libertarian whackjob screed, his words have pressed SN into action!

Where he doesn't opine on it, just JAQs off so that everyone else would do the work he's incapable of.

Are there any expected properties of Glueballs or Gluebolas? Dark matter?

By Rafael Bernal (not verified) on 28 Jul 2015 #permalink