Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Channeling Theseus

Yours truly is a nut job about physics. Mathematically challenged to the max, I do have the ability to visualize so, in an indirect way, physics makes sense if one is willing to learn the arcane vocabulary said discipline requires in order to learn aspects about a reality we will never fully understand. In this case, the weak force becomes interesting as without it, life, as we know it, could not exist as it's all about radioactivity and how it gives rise for the creation of the heavier elements . The video above delves into the electroweak force in a way a layperson such as myself can understand but just barely.  :) Watch the clip in its entirety as one finds researchers to be like Sherlock Holmes, or better yet, Theseus, forever using the string as a guide to discover yet another hidden truth about existence if one has the persistence and intellect to make it so.

The radioactive beta decay is due to the weak interaction, which transforms a neutron into a proton, an electron, and an electron antineutrino.

The weak force is one of the four fundamental forces that govern all matter in the universe (the other three are gravity, electromagnetism and the strong force). While the other forces hold things together, the weak force plays a greater role in things falling apart, or decaying. 

The weak force, or weak interaction, is stronger than gravity, but it is only effective at very short distances. It acts on the subatomic level and plays a crucial role in powering stars and creating elements. It is also responsible for much of the natural radiation present in the universe, according to the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab). 

Why unification is such a big deal.

A fundamental force representing unification of the electromagnetic and weak nuclear interactions. Until the early 1970s, the four fundamental forces — strong nuclear, electromagnetic, weak nuclear, and gravity — could only be described as distinct entities. The work of U.S. particle physicist Sheldon Lee Glashow, U.S. theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg, and Pakistani theoretical physicist Abdus Salam showed that the electromagnetic and the weak nuclear forces can be unified and understood as a single interaction, called the electroweak interaction. This unification was a major step in understanding nature, similar to the achievement of Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell and others a century earlier in unifying the electric forces and magnetic forces into the electromagnetic interactions. A goal of theoretical physics is to achieve a further simplification in understanding nature by describing the presently known basic interactions in a unified way. Attempts to unify the strong force with the electroweak interaction are usually referred to as grand unified theories (GUTs). Various frameworks that seek to further unify with the fourth fundamental interaction, gravity, are known as M-theory, superstring theory, or a "theory of everything." Physicists broadly theorize that initially, all forces were united in the extreme energy and temperature at the beginning of the universe in the big bang. 

Channeling Theseus indeed.

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