Friday, May 07, 2010

Wilczek Explains Properties of Space

Hum... really!

This is a news article on a public lecture given by Frank Wilczek at Dartmouth. Presumably, the topic was on the nature of "space".

Now, I certainly didn't expect to learn anything substantial out of a news article. And maybe, it is simply a topic that is too deep and too difficult to report on. But if you were me, i.e. a physicist with a fairly substantial physics background, can you actually understand most of the things that were reported in this news article? For example:

The effervescent grid is made up of spontaneous activity that occurs between magnetic and electrical fields, he said. Quarks cause disturbances in the field that the field resists, compressing the quarks, according to Wilczek.

These fields have a “life of their own,” but because our eyes have not evolved to see the small distances and lengths of time that capture these disturbances in fields, we must use computers to visualize them, Wilczek said.

“This is an actual picture of the activities that take place in what appears to be empty space,” he said, referring to an image of a computer simulation. “It looks like a lava lamp, but what you are actually seeing are the fluctuations in the energy in the gluon fields — a sort of analog of electric and magnetic fields interactions.”

In addition to these fluctuating fields and the disturbances of the fields that we see as particles, there are also more stable materials that occupy space, Wilczek said.

Wilczek said one part of the material grid is the pairs of miniscule particles quarks and antiquarks. When they combine, they produce an exothermic reaction, releasing more energy than is initially put in.

“Space fills up with such things, and the only thing that stops it is that when you have a high density being produced, they repel each other and at some point there is no room for more,” he said. “What we perceive as empty space and take for granted as our surroundings is actually full of quarks and antiquarks formed into pockets, which are little molecules, and they are all around us and they effect the way things move.”

Er... say what?

I suppose one has to be there to listen to the detailed explanation. But still, this report doesn't tell much, much less, try to make any of these comprehensible, especially to the general public.



enderw88 said...

Well, Deepak Chopra understands it, and I am sure we will hear how wonderful this is from him.

ZapperZ said...

That is true. I'm sure he finds all of this to be utterly transparent and trivial.