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Guru
United States - Member - In sight of the Rocky Mountains Popular Science - Cosmology - Let's keep knowledge expanding Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Software Engineering - New Member

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Quantum Mysteries Part 3. Polarization and Nuclear Forces

03/17/2007 11:38 PM

Light waves coming from the sun or a light bulb are oriented in all directions. We can filter out all but one orientation with a polarizing filter. If you shine light onto a vertical filter with a horizontal filter behind it, no light will get through, as you would expect. When you put a third filter in between the two, with the polarization set to 45 degrees, a strange thing happens. Now some light gets through, a quarter as much as with one filter. What happens is half of the light gets through the second filter, but comes out polarized at 45 degrees. Half of that light gets through the third filter, but comes out polarized horizontally. Why?

Besides gravity and the electromagnetic force, there are two other forces which operate at the subatomic level. The weak nuclear force is associated with the behavior of nuclei that results in radioactivity and nuclear decay. The strong nuclear force holds the particles that make up atomic nuclei (protons and neutrons) together. Protons and neutrons are thought to be made up of more fundamental particles called quarks, with the strong nuclear force operating between the quarks. In some experiments with energetic photons interacting with protons it seemed as if the photons were also being influenced by the strong force. This encouraged scientists at Desy Laboratory outside Hamburg to carry out very-high-energy experiments involving photons in the early 1990s. Those experiments showed that photons behave as if they are complex entities made up of quarks, electrons, and other particles. We now have to come to terms with the idea that light can change into matter and back again, down at the level where time is measured in terms of the Plank time, 10-43 of a second.

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Anonymous Poster
#1

Re: Quantum Mysteries Part 3. Polarization and Nuclear Forces

03/19/2007 9:25 AM

I thought the two defining characteristics of photons are: 1.)They have no mass, and 2.)The move at the speed of light.

If they are made of electrons, plus other particles, wouldn't they have mass? Further, if they did have mass, wouldn't it be impossible for them to move at c?

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Guru
United States - Member - In sight of the Rocky Mountains Popular Science - Cosmology - Let's keep knowledge expanding Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Software Engineering - New Member

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: Quantum Mysteries Part 3. Polarization and Nuclear Forces

03/19/2007 9:30 PM

That's what I have been lead to believe. The standard (Copenhagen) interpretation says "Light travels as a wave but departs and arrives as a particle." This is a theory that I don't like, but explains moving at C. On the other hand, the high energy experiments might have changed the photons into something else. All the new particles have been discovered using high energy.

Another thought I have is maybe items with the "minimum quantity" of mass can travel at C. Just a thought.

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2007
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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Quantum Mysteries Part 3. Polarization and Nuclear Forces

03/20/2007 3:49 AM

...discovered using high energy...

Needed to create the collision which led to their dispersed pattern for analysis ?

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Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - Cardio-7

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#2

Re: Quantum Mysteries Part 3. Polarization and Nuclear Forces

03/19/2007 9:35 AM

"Light" (photons) may not be "changing into matter", as we think of matter. Review Einstein's work, for which he received the Nobel Prize, showing that light quanta can behave as either waves or particles. An elementary physics problem is to calculate the "wavelength" of objects such as a baseball. Also, Einstein's statement that a distant star's light would be "bent" if it passed close enough to the sun. Are we talking about the gravity of a massive body distorting the space-time continuum, thru which the light is passing, or gravity attracting "particles" of light? There is a lot of data in text books re refraction of light and also refraction of particle beams. Then we have the elusive neutrino, which doesn't seem to know if it's a particle or a wave. Neutrino beams pass thru solid objects, much like gamma-ray or X-ray beams, except that neutrinos rarely interact with material like tissues of the body. The current theory is that neutrinos can "oscillate" from one type to another, thus indicating some aspect of having minimal mass.

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2007
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#3

Re: Quantum Mysteries Part 3. Polarization and Nuclear Forces

03/19/2007 3:43 PM

...Protons and neutrons...

Now, here's some magic: A proton may turn into a neutron or vice versa, courtesy of the weak force in a process called Beta Plus or Beta Minus Emissions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weak_force

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Guru
United States - Member - In sight of the Rocky Mountains Popular Science - Cosmology - Let's keep knowledge expanding Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Software Engineering - New Member

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: Quantum Mysteries Part 3. Polarization and Nuclear Forces

03/29/2007 12:07 AM

An interesting link. Check out the one I posted in "Quantum Mysteries Part 1". I think you'll be blown away.

S

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Anonymous Poster
#6

Re: Quantum Mysteries Part 3. Polarization and Nuclear Forces

03/20/2007 2:26 PM

Hey Cardio,

A particle/wave is only can interact with other particles/waves that it has resonance with. Just as red light is visiblely passing through our atmosphere at sunset (while blue gets filtered), so x-rays or neutrinos are only going to be affected by fields that they resonate with.

But there is a fundamental difference between photons and electrons. Photons can't have mass. If they came into resonance with something, however, they might release or absorb energy, and that could precipitate out as mass--say as an electron. That would be very different from saying that the photon is an electron, or is made of one.

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Anonymous Poster (2); Cardio07 (1); StandardsGuy (2); Yuval (2)

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