The more we learn... (10 Sep, 2021)

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The more we learn... (10 Sep, 2021)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:04 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2021/0910.shtml

It is clear that despite what we have learned, we still know very little about many of the very basic forces that shape the universe.

Magnetism is fun... but I want my monopole!

Gravity is the law but how does it work?

And why is the quantum world still so weird and hard to explain?

Just how far away is "anti-gravity", faster-than-light travel, time travel or any of the other sci-fi magic we read about in fiction? Are any of these things possible?

Will we, as a species, survive long enough to unravel all the mysteries of the universe's most basic forces?

Is perhaps the only thing we can be sure of the fact that the more we learn, the more we realise just how little we know?
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Re: The more we learn... (10 Sep, 2021)

Postby Perry » Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:40 am

Not over-looking that some materials are not magnetic.
All very strange.

A philosopher sparky friend of mine once said to me:
we now think we know everything about how electricity works;
but the one thing we don't know is why is works.

Maybe magnetism will be the same?
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Re: The more we learn... (10 Sep, 2021)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:55 am

Yes, how crazy is it that you can take a piece of non-magnetic 300 series stainless steel and make it magnetic simply by bending it back and forth a few times. Or you can take a piece of iron, which is strongly attracted to a magnet and heat it to the curie point (about 570 deg C) -- when it will suddenly become non-magnetic.

Then there's oxygen... completely unaffected by magnetic fields when a gas but strongly affected when it's a liquid.

Fascinating stuff.
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Re: The more we learn... (10 Sep, 2021)

Postby phord » Fri Sep 10, 2021 9:19 am

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Re: The more we learn... (10 Sep, 2021)

Postby GSVNoFixedAbode » Fri Sep 10, 2021 9:40 am

I came across the idea of Magnetic Monopoles as a kid (early 70s) in Larry Niven's Known Space series of SF books. The idea mostly flew over my young head at the stratospheric level, but fascinating none the less.
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Re: The more we learn... (10 Sep, 2021)

Postby Hiro Protagonist » Fri Sep 10, 2021 9:44 am

aardvark_admin wrote:Gravity is the law but how does it work?

Thought you'd never ask.

Gravity is a property of everything with mass. We all know what mass is right? Right?

What is the property of matter that we perceive as 'mass'? Well it seems that the one thing that objects with mass can do that other things don't is to slow time. Or more precisely, exert a temporal gradient, so that time is slowed more the closer you get to the object.

When two temporal gradients interact, they move towards the lowest energy state, which is closer together. We experience this as a force which we call gravity.

When an object with mass is accelerated, the temporal gradient is increased by an infinitesimal amount, thus increasing the effective mass of the object. As we know from e=mc^2, a tiny bit of mass equals a large amount of energy. The energy we put into changing that temporal gradient is the property of mass we call inertia.

This is why inertial mass = gravitational mass - they're different aspects of the same thing.
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