Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Quantum’


New School:

Werner Heisenberg 

Heisenberg

Heisenberg

Heisenberg was a German theoretical physicist who made foundational contributions to quantum mechanics.  He is most famous for his uncertainty principle, which in its simplest form states that that certain quantum quantities, like the position and momentum of electrons, cannot both have precise values at the same time.  The more precise one value is, the less precise the other is.   Heisnberg also made important contributions to nuclear physics, quantum field theory, and particle physics.  He also developed matrix formulation of quantum mechanics, for which he won a Nobel Prize.   

Erwin Schrodinger

Schrodinger

Schrodinger

Schrodinger was an Austrian theoretical physicist who achieved fame for his contributions to quantum mechanics.  He is best known for two things: the Schrodinger equation and the cat thought experiment.   The Schrodinger equation is absolutely integral to quantum mechanics, as it allows the observer to calculate the momentum and position of subatomic particles.  He won a Nobel Prize for this work.  The Schrodinger cat thought experiment was coined as follows:

A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer which shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.

So essentially, the cat is both in living and dead states at the same time. 

George Washington Carver

Carver

Carver

Carver was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor whose research turned agriculture on its head.   Since Southern American agriculture was largely a cotton monoculture before and after the war, the soil was greatly depleted of many nutrients.  He was first impressed with the task of finding and promoting crops that would grow well in soil depleted by cotton.  Carver also did much research with peanuts.  He developed food recipes, cosmetics, dyes, paints, fuels, and even nitroglicerine from peanuts.  Carver is also hailed for his accomplishments in mentoring children and improving race relations. 

E.O. Wilson

Wilson

Wilson

Wilson is an American biologist.  He is best known for his research regarding evolution, particularly in insects.  He pioneered the fields of sociobiology and consilience.   Most of his work deals with ants, and was one of the first to realize that ants use different pheromones to direct others.  He also coined the term biophilia, the love and connectedness of  all living things.  He is currently a leader in the environmental movement. 

Old School

Rene Descartes

Descartes

Descartes

Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist.  His work is still applicable and is used extensively to this day.   Most of  Western philosophy is a response to his writings.  His best known philosophic work is his argument of being, “Cognito ergo sum” ( I think, therefore I am).  He also developed the Cartesian coordinate system which allowed geometric shapes to be expressed using algebraic functions.  He was also integral (no pun intended) in developing modern geometry.

Louis Pasteur

Pasteur

Pasteur

Pasteur was a French chemist and microbiologist.  He made great leaps in the field of disease and its prevention.  His experiments essentially proved the germ theory of disease beyond a doubt.  He also created the vaccine for rabies.  He is best known for developing pasteurization, a way to largely prevent milk and wine from carrying harmful diseases.  He is often credited as the father of microbiology.

Marie Curie

Curie

Curie

Curie was a physicist and chemist of Polish birth and, later in life, French citizenship.  She was at the forefront of studying the field of radioactivity.   In fact, she created the theory of radioactivity as well as basic techniques of how to isolate radioactive isotopes for use in the treatment of cancers.  She also discovered two new elements, named polonium and radium.  For her work, she was the first person to ever be graced with two Nobel Prizes. 

Euclid

Euclid

Euclid

Euclid was a Greek mathematician who was one of the founders of Geometry, as he pioneered the field of Euclidean geometry,  where statements are proved using intuitive and deduced facts known as axioms and theorems.  His book entitled Elements is the most published in all of mathematics.  His other works include writings on perspective, conic sections, number theory and spherical geometry.

Read Full Post »


Schrödinger’s cat is a thought experiment, often described as a paradox, devised by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. It illustrates what he saw as the problem of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics being applied to everyday objects.

A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following diabolical device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small that perhaps in the course of one hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer which shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid.  What happens to the cat?

Read Full Post »


Einstein’s theory of relativity, E=mc^2, is probably his most famous scientific work.  The formula, published in 1905, relates energy of a particle to its mass.  Namely, the formula states that a particle’s energy is equal to its mass times the speed of light (3×10^8 m/s) squared.   Thus, energy can be converted into mass and mass into energy. 

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

According to the messed-up world of particle physics, protons and neutrons comprise smaller particles known as quarks, which in turn are bound by gluons.  These are all different subatomic particles.  But something strange came up when scientists were calculating the masses of these particles.  The mass of gluons is zero and the mass of quarks is 171,200 MeV/c2. This is infinitesimally small.  So where is the rest of the mass, as the mass of protons and neutrons is approximately 1 atomic mass unit (amu), or 1.660538782(83)×10−27 kg.  Where is the rest of the mass?

As Einstein predicted, the rest of this missing mass is balanced out by the energy of the movements and interactions between quarks and gluons. 

This formula may be used to produce atomic weapons (releasing large amounts of energy from a small particle), but it has also given us new insights into the world of physics and our very being. 

Tomorrow, I will post about the Clarksville Cave trip.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: