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I look at life with detachment and distance, like a window shopper. Not only I study the window but also my own reflections in it.

LHC Experiments: LHC Beauty

Sunday, October 12, 2008 2 comments

The Experiments Dedicated to Quark Gluon's

Most focused and elegant of all the six experiments at the LHC is the LHC beauty or LHCb. It will try to find asymmetries in the behaviour of B-Quark and anti-B-quark particles.
Oh then what is quark, B-Quark and the lack of symmetry. What will they signify.
The present model of particle physics, Standard Model, envisages that Proton and Neutrons are made-up of fundamental particles called Quarks. Each ordinary run-of-the-mill proton or neutron is made of two types (Pair) of Quark - UP Quark and Down Quark. Three quarks (two of one type and one of another) make a Proton or Neutron.
Quarks inside the Proton/Neutron are held together by force particles called Gluon's.
Surprisingly there are Two other family of pair of Quarks. These are named exotically as seen in graphic above. Surprising part is that all the matter that we see in the world is made of Up/Down family of Quarks. Quarks of other two families are very short lived. Where has the matter made of other two Quark families disappeared. The Top & Bottom Quarks were at one time also called Truth and Beauty. Together this family is called B-Quark Family.
Quarks have a property that they cannot be seen by themselves - but only as a Quark-Gluon Plasma. Its this Plasma -specially B-Quark family - that will be targeted at the LHCb.
But what will it signify. And what about the Symmetry?
That will be the next post.

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The Animation Of Proton Movement in LHC

Thursday, October 09, 2008 2 comments

Zipping The Beam
Please see my post on how two counter rotating beams of proton are accelerated in stages and then collided. Remember the rings smallest to largest are:
1.Booster Ring on Surface
2.Proton Synchrotron on Surface
3.Super Proton Synchrotron at 40M below level
4.LHC with ATLAS at 100M below.
Click this link for video.

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Likely Progression of LHC Experiments Over Next Two Decades


As The Years Go By LHC Will Become Wiser

ALICE Expriment
As Mentioned earlier, there are four sets of Detectors on the LHC Ring Tunnel - ALICE, ATLAS, CMS & LHCb. Since ATLAS & CMS only crosscheck each other, there will be only three sets of results. How will the results of these experiments improve with time?
The results from particle collisions, like any other quantum affected processes, are based on probabilities. Therefore confirmations of results will have to wait for accumulation of enough numbers of collisions.
As with passage of time, the teething trouble will be overcome and the learning curve in running the LHC will be crossed, the number of possible collisions per year will grow from 6X1013 in 2009 to 6X1015
in 5 to 6 years time (2014)- a 100 time increase . The more energy you have in LHC the more heavier particle it can detect. Depending on the promise that LHC unfolds, it may then be shutdown for an upgrade to increase its power from 14TeV to 40TeV and also to larger number of collisions per year to 6X1016 a further 1000 times increase.
So up to 2014 before the upgrade we will be discovering only lighter particles but more and more particles are likely be confirmed as the year go by till then.
After upgrade the higher particles are likely to be confirmed in 4 to 5 years thereafter (2018-2019).
Hmmmm!! But what will these particles that we expect to look for - That will be next post Sir!

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Engineering Challenges In Construction of LHC

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 1 comments

What will Future Archaeologist Make of This Megalomania

>>The Circular Underground Tunnel of LHC was not built now, it was a pre-existing one housing an earlier Large Electron Positron Collider (LEP) built in 1980 for peak energy levels of 209 gigaelectronvolts (GeV).
>>Since the energy of LHC was upto 14 (Teraelectronvolt) Tev, for using the same low energy experiment tunnel, much stronger Magnetic Field was needed to move much higher energy particle on the same tracks. But at the same time all the magnets and other equipment had to fit into the existing small bore-tunnel. Thus the coils of the magnet had to be cooled to much lower temperature (1.9K or -217.1C) so that more currents could be carried.
>>Alas at these temperature, the liquid Helium used for cooling is superfluid with nil viscosity (i.e. the liquid can climb up a wall). Therefore all welds and joints had to be of same standard as in a Nuclear Power Reactor.
>>The Detectors for the experiments - ALICE. ATLAS, CMS and LHCb were construted anew.
>>The magnets used for ATLAS are world's largest Supeconducting Magnets. The cavern needed for these is so large(35 M high)at 100M below earth - that due to Archimedes Principle it tries to rise towards surface of earth like a bubble at the bottom of lake - though only 0.2 millimetres per year. So the floor of the Cavern is 5 M thick concrete to avoid distortions during upward movement.
>>CMS actually rechecks the results of ATLAS by another technology. It has to be diametrically opposite to ATLAS. But at that point there were very fast moving underground acquifiers. To build cavern there, brine (salt saturated water) at -5C had to be pumped there for 6 months and then liquid nitrogen at -196C for one month to freeze water into a 3 metre thick ice-wall - which held back the water of the acquifier. Then only digging and construction could be done.
>>CMS magnetic field had to be stronger than even ATLAS. The magnet weighed 10,000 tonne. The coils therefore had to withstand the magnetic forces (=60 atmospheres)on each other.
>>To carryout any repair, 40,000 tonnes of equipment has to be allowed to heat back unaided to normal temperatures - that takes 5 weeks. Then after repairs 10,000 tonnes of liquid nitrogen and 130 tonnes of liquid Helium are needed to cool it back in another 5 weeks.
What will the future archaeologist make of this megalomania!!

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More About Large Hadron Collider

Monday, October 06, 2008 0 comments

How To Make a Proton Dizzy

(Some errors in sketch, I will correct it soon)
The first step in the smashing of two counter-rotating beams of proton is:
On the Ground Level:
1. Strip electrons from hydrogen atoms to make protons and accelerate these in a linear accelerator (see LA & BR in sketch) to 31.4% of Speed of Light (C).
2. Then booster ring (see LA & BR in sketch) accelerates these protons to 91.6% OF C and feeds these into proton synchrotron machine(see PS in sketch) .
3. This almost half a century old machine finally accelerates proton to 99.93% of C (25 Gigaelectronvolt (GeV). This machine will also be used for accelerating Lead ions for ALICE experiments.
Now 40 metres below earth
4. The super proton synchrotron (see SPS in sketch) will step up the speed of protons to 99.9998% of C (450 GeV).
And Finally 100 M below surface
The Large Hadron Collider (see LHC in sketch) will tweak the protons to 99.9999991% (7TeV). Then it will collide two such counter rotating beams of protons at four experimental areas on its periphery: ALICE, ATLAS, Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and LHC beauty (see LHCb in sketch) .

What are these experiments is NEXT POST!

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Why It Takes So Long To Repair LHC

Thursday, September 25, 2008 0 comments

LHC goes Kaput till 2009

Due to leak in Halogen in one of the super magnets, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider)was being shut down initially for two months. But now it appears to be a generic problem with the magnets and the shut down will be till spring of 2009. Why it needs such a shutdown? Remember the LHC tunnel and the magnets operate at near absolute Zero temperature i.e. -272oC.
It takes two weeks for the whole apparatus to be regain heat to normal temperatures for the machine to be touched at all. Then after rectification of magnets, it will need two more weeks to cool the apparatus to near absolute Zero.

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Vacuum States Of Space in String Theory & Standard Model

Saturday, August 23, 2008 2 comments

Round 6: Nothing About Vacuum

While the Standard Model goes overboard with quantum effects that prevail at less than Planck's length (10-33 CM). Its almost a boiling cauldron with virtual particle and breaking of various conservations/symmetries. The String theory is rather mum about what is there besides strings at such scale of universe. How does it make or break the theories?

While its not so devastating for String Theory, since Strings are Planck-length sized and hence even if you do not look below that length, your theory works at Planck length - where the boiling cauldron effect of smaller lengths is not there.
But Standard Model - Hmm.... As German would have said "Ganz Schlim". Very Bad. The particle like neutrino, quarks and electrons as per this theory are point sized. That is they are singularity with no size at all. So you have to drill down to zero length to work the theory. It gets into problems. Its only by sleight of Renormalization that anomalies and infinities are kept away. Read my earlier post on Renormalizarion.
String or Standard, no theory can expect to be complete unless it can explain what is beyond their particles in the Vacuum. You cannot do just "Nothing" about "nothing". Nothing cannot be left alone.
Even String theory has to come about the vacuum states of universe.
In that sense both theories are inadequate. Standard Model by not being able to handle vacuum states till the point sized particles and String Theory by trying to avoid dealing with vacuum states at all.
This round goes Zero-Zero to Both. With score remaining 3-1/6 in favour of String Theory.

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How String Theory & Standard Model Treat Time & Its Direction

Monday, August 18, 2008 0 comments

Round 5: Neglect of Time

Both String Theory and the Quantum Field Theories treat Time in a cavalier manner. It is taken as a given, evenly, continuosly flowing irreversibly.
Both do not explain the arrow of time. In fact the whole of Physics, except for perhaps indirectly Thermodynamic (2nd law: Entropy) can account for this arrow. String Theory does now talk of time being grainy.
But the treatment of time is inadequate in both the theories. An ideal theory should show that the theory is consistent only for forward moving time. It should show by its equations - whether time is continuous or grainy, not simply as an assumption.
Hence both theories score ZERO in this round. The score now is still (3-1)/5 in favour of String Theory.

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Lack of Patity in Treatment of Time and Other Three Dimensions

Monday, August 11, 2008 0 comments

Its wrong to equate 3 dimensions of space with time and other dimensions
When in Euclidean Geometry we work with space we talk of three co-ordinates: x, y and z. Geometry is all built up from definition of a point, then leading to a straight line and then to an area and then to a volume. Thus whatever flavour of geometry (polar co-ordinates or Euclidean) is used, we have to use three numbers to define a position in space - and three co-ordinates. Since this very geometry is also used in Models of Space-Time in physics, we call space 3 dimensional. But does each co-ordinate of geometrical space qualifies as "DIMENSION" in the sense of String Theory. Do semantically and conceptually 3 dimensions of space stand on the same footing as other dimensional entities like 'Time' or other curled-up dimensions of String Theory? No! No! definitely NOT!!
The 3 dimensions used to describe space are an inadequacy of our mathematics. In vector representation of space there is no need for three dimensions. The three co-ordinates are isotropic, not a dimension in its own right.
Space should be seen as a single String Theory Dimension, just like Time or any other dimension.
So we should not talk of 10 dimensional String Models but only 8 dimensional ones!!!

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Number of Dimensions arise Naturally in String Theory, but not so in Standard Model

Friday, August 08, 2008 1 comments

Round 4: Dimensions Galore

Quantum Field Theories (as epitomised by Standard Model), use 4-dimensional space-time, rather 3-D space and unidirectional Time. Number of dimensions in this theory are actually 'filled-in by pen' as the initial fact of universe. Ironically the 4-D space-time is an a-priory borrowed by Standard Model from Einstein's General Theory Of Gravity - a theory which Standard Model fails to encompass within its structure of other three Forces. Therefore space-time and its dimensions are external factors for such theories.

On the other hand the number of dimensions in string theory arise out of the formulation of string-theory itself. The 10 dimensions arise out of the fact that string theory mathematics show that its only with these many dimensions the theory would work. This is a more satisfying and complete situations as compared to assuming the dimensions a-priory as in Standard Model.
This round also therefore goes to String theory. The score-card thus far is 3-1 in favour of String Theory.
But I have a fundamental objection to space hogging 3 dimensions. I would therefore break from this String Theory vs Standard Model slug-fest and revert to this aspect in next post, with your indulgence please!!

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Standard Model Arises from Facts, String Theory is a Theory in Search Of Facts

Saturday, August 02, 2008 0 comments

Round 3: Peeking At The Answers
In many quizzes in the newspaper or the web, the answer is given somewhere partially hidden. You are not supposed to cheat and look at the answer before attempting the quiz. String Theory has done something like that. It started with the answer! Quantum Field Theories moved from known to unknown. The approach evolved like peeling the onion skin by skin. It started from electrons to protons, Neutrons and further down to Quark. On the way it took into its unifying fold the three fundamental forces - Electro-magnetism, Weak Force and Strong Force - failing only to grapple with gravity. It was an organic, natural step-by-step evolution. Finally it had still to peel the layer of skin that could explain what the quark is in-turn made of? And the skin to take gravity into its fold?
The string theory started off by first saying what the elementary constituent of all particles and Forces that we know? Simply because its a good mathematical framework and answers many questions - some which quantum Field theories cannot answer.
So this round 3 about starting from an uncertain fundamentals to build super-castles is against String theory. This round goes to Quantum Field Theory. The score so far is 2:1 in favour of string Theory.

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String Theory Is More Logical To Explain Particle Transformations than Standard Model

Sunday, July 27, 2008 0 comments

Round 2: Elephant=Monkey X Chimpanzee2

This is round 2 of our discussions about the differences and similarities between the String Theory and the Quantum Field Theories(as epitomised by Standard Model. Click Here For Round1
Elementary Particles emit or absorb other particles(e.g. Force Particles like Bosons) without themselves loosing identity. These may also split up into two or three different particles. In Quantum Field Theories (epitomised by Standard Model) this is intuitively difficult to understand within the scope of this theory. I had earlier pointed it out:-
There must be some type of "Conservation" for a process to be called a change/transmutation.
In fact science is about only those changes where conservation is observed - rest isn't science.
In disappearance of a neutron and in its place appearance of a proton + an electron and an anti-neutrino - the quarks(that make-up both neutron and proton) and leptons(electron and neutrino) are conserved, so is mass/energy. Scientist use a more rigorous approach to call it conservation of quantum numbers that they assign to properties of these fundamental particles.
But in appearance of neutrino just out of "nothing"(Space) there appears to be no conservation here. Perhaps our knowledge of that level of particle structure is incomplete. May be the sub-space entities out of which space is structured (as I propose in this blog), are conserved, in transmutation of space into a neutrino.

For details See my post The More It Changes The More It Stays The Same.
I had also argued on similar lines about a Muon (a fundamental lepton) decaying into a mu-neutrino + an electron and a positron - all three fundamental leptons of different families. Please see my post - Being Fundamental is No Fun' and also on more fundamental issues in my post - 'Elephant = Monkey X Chimpanzee Squared'. But String Theory Beautifully tackles these since it says that particles that we see are only different modes of vibration of strings. Thus a string can change the mode of vibration or split into two strings with different vibrations or else two strings may combine. Neat! I have no issues with it. In fact this is what I have all along been saying in my hypothesis.
This round again goes to String Theory!!! Its ahead of Standard Model by 2-0.

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Standard Model makes sense only after Renormalization

Thursday, July 24, 2008 0 comments

Round 1: Renormalization

What are the similarities and differences between String Theories and The Quantum Field Theories(epitomised by Standard Model) of the Particle Physics?. Which one is better in different aspects? Brace for a series of posts on this! Lets look at the procedure of Renormalization.

In Quantum Field Theories of which Standard Model is the epitome, behaviour of particles at very small distances of the order of particles it self - is not known. As I wrote earlier:-
"The equations Scientists write to describe the sub-atomic particles is in too dense a mathematics, even beyond a BS majoring in Mathematics. These equations in raw, strictly theoretical form, give infinite or nonsensical results or are unsolvable - capable of no result. Like too smart an Accountant fudging his books till clean looking figures are achieved, Scientists coax an answer out of these equations through largely empirical mathematical operations called renormalization.
For example the first theory that started the chain of Particle Physics, was Electro-Dynamics propounded by Dirac. While the equation was supposed to describe mechanics of electrons, one of the results showed the world to be filled with negative energy positrons.
This is obviously not the thing we observe in reality.
One of the justification for re-normalization is that the measured parameters of sub-atomic particles are the net observable values and intrinsic values are much different.
For detailed justification, please see my earlier post on this - 'A Tycoon Surrounded By A Bevy OF Expensive Bunnies'.
This is highly unsatisfactory way. But the Standard Model did give verifiable answers. The fact remains that this model cannot deal with phenomenon at small distances of space-time.
String Theory is a theory of phenomena at sub-particle distances. Such Renormalization is therefore not needed. Thus the String Theory wins over the Standard Model in explaining phenomena at such distances!!
And The First Round Goes To STRING THEORY!!!

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Stringy Flavours in The Ice-Cream Parlour

Saturday, July 19, 2008 1 comments

How many dimensions of space-time a string theory predicts varies in different flavours of the theory. It started with a "Bosonic" model which explained only Boson Particles (Particles that explain the behaviour of Forces), no Fermions (Other particles that explain the material world). This theory was consistent only in 26 dimensions. (How cool!! These can be labelled from A to Z. Most scientist make their best contribution around this age. Einstein published his paper on General relativity at this age. My son was also born when I was 26 year old ;-)
Bosonic String Theory had some unacceptable predictions. Other theories followed to improve upon this, add Fermions and remove other inconsistencies. These are called by unimaginative names (quite rare in Physics) like I; IIA; IIB; HO & HE. These flavours agree on the number of dimensions - a perfect 10. (People of my age would recall Bo Derek!)
Efforts are on to integrate these flavours into a theory called M-Theory (Mother Of all Theories). Which requires an 11 Dimensional Space-Time. But to retain the advantages of earlier flavours, one of the dimension is assumed to be compacted (curled-up) into a small circle leaving only 10 significant dimensions.(Must have been invented by a Cricket-playing scientist : - where a team is complete if there are 11 players, but after 10 players are out, the 11th does not get to play.)
So how do we encounter only 4 dimensions, when the theory needs 10. The other 6 are compacted into a ball. Each point on our 4-dimensional space has a finite but minuscule 6 dimensional curled-up ball. These curled up dimensions would need very high energies (of the order available at the time of Big-Bang) to open-up, hence are beyond our perception.
What are differences and similarities between String Theory and Standard Model.
About that in subsequent posts.
Till Then. Enjoy the Ice-Cream!!

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Threading Through String Theory

Thursday, July 17, 2008 0 comments

So what are the strings attached to String Theory:

  • Instead of building blocks of atomic and sub-atomic particles as per Standard Model, string theory says that these particles are only manifestations of string-like entities vibrating in different modes and different dimensions of space.

  • The strings is only a conceptual crutch - these are not material. Strings do not have a structure of their own. Strings are one-dimensional instead of particles which are point entities. Length of string is of the order of Planck-length (10-32Cm.). But longer strings are postulated when weak-interactions are dealt with.

  • Some particles are manifestation of strings in loops, some of open-ended strings. Particle interactions are explained by cutting/combining and change in vibration modes of the strings.

  • There are four forces of nature (Strong Force, Weak Force, Electro-magnetism and Gravity) which are mediated by Boson-particles as per Standard-Model. String Theory says even these Bosons are a manifestation of string vibrations in various dimensions. Hence even Forces are explained by Strings, Vibrations and Dimensions.

  • The Time-space which is only 4 dimensional as per Relativity, but has many more dimensions in String Theory. These dimensions are dictated by the mathematics of the String Model to explain the behaviour of four forces etc. Number of dimensions are different in different flavours of String-Theories. Dimensions other than four seen by us are curled up into miniscule length. I would discuss this in next post.

C U Soon!!

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String Theory in More Than 2 Mins

Sunday, July 13, 2008 0 comments

Now that I have started giving you videos, please checkout on this site full of videos on similar subjects: Videos on String Theory in more than 2 minutes

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String Theory in less than 2 mins


There was a contest on youtube to explain string theory in 2 minutes. The duckie video is the best and simple. The pronunciation is a bit foreign:

Its really good - I also learnt a lot in two minutes. CU Soon!!

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