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WHAT IS THIS UNIVERSE WE LIVE IN? Dr. Larry Curtis Distinguished University Professor Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Toledo.

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Presentation on theme: "WHAT IS THIS UNIVERSE WE LIVE IN? Dr. Larry Curtis Distinguished University Professor Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Toledo."— Presentation transcript:

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2 WHAT IS THIS UNIVERSE WE LIVE IN? Dr. Larry Curtis Distinguished University Professor Department of Physics and Astronomy University of Toledo

3 THE NATURE OF MATTER _________________________________________________________ All matter consists of little bits of positive and negative electricity: in perpetual motion; attract each other at short distances; repel each other when pressed too close together. ________________________________________________________ The most important discovery ever made. If all other scientific information we know were lost in some cataclysmic event, and only this information survived, all could be rediscovered in a very short time. - Richard P. Feynman

4 Einstein's Explanation of Brownian Motion

5 Iron atoms positioned on a carbon surface

6 700 keV Li + beam (v=4.4 mm/ns) incident on a thin (3  g/cm 2 ) carbon foil. The blue light is H-like 4f-5g in Li 2+ ( 4500Å,  =3 ns,  x=1.3 cm). The green light is He-like 2s 3 S-2p 3 P in Li + ( 5485Å,  =44 ns,  x=19 cm).

7 Successive Doubling: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024 Ten doublings (or halvings) increases (or decreases) the size by a thousand-fold ! 79 halvings of one mole takes you to the last atom! 79 doublings of one meter takes you to the next galaxy!

8 ACTION-AT-A-DISTANCE Exchange of a “gauge boson” Exchanging a particle can produce both attractive and repulsive interactions.

9 Interactions between any two particles involves all the particles in the universe.

10 Matter: microscopic constituency - atoms Atoms near each other attract by mutually induced electric dipoles net attraction (1/r 6 ) Atoms squeezed together repel by Pauli fermion exclusion net repulsion (1/r 12 ) M +  2000 m -

11 Electron-positron pair production

12 PET scan: Ingest sugar with tagged positron-emitting Fluorine-18 (110 min. halflife). Sugar concentrates at high metabolism. On decay, positrons encounter electrons.

13 Ragnar Hellborg Lund University Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

14 Electron-Positron Pair Creation and Annihilation Once created, e + and e - are stable until annihilated

15 Past Future Here-Now Are they all really the same electron? time space Backward, turn backward, O time in your flight. Make me a child again, just for tonight. - Elizabeth Akers Allen

16 The “dressed electron” is like the parable of the blind men and the elephant. It has many seemingly separate aspects, but it is nonetheless a single thing.

17 Laplacian Determinacy – A Certain Mistake Pierre Simon Laplace : “An intelligence that knows all of the relations of the entities of the universe at one instant could state their positions, motions, and general effects any instant in the past of future. Henri Poincare – 1903: “Small differences in the initial conditions can produce very great ones in the final phenomena – prediction Then becomes impossible (1st recognition of chaos). Werner Heisenberg – 1924: There is a fundamental limit on the accuracy to which position and velocity can be determined. Stephen Hawking –1988: In the cosmology of the Big Bang and Black Holes, space and time themselves break down at short distances.

18 Interactive Comet Animation Does watching something change what it does? If the sun were electromagnetically dark, but gravitational massive, would orbits be the same?

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20 Fermat's principle


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