Eye Of The Beholder

Standard Model Quark Chart

Behold, the Standard Model, it ain’t beautiful, but it works!

The Standard ModelBeauty is quite often in the eye of the beholder.  It may not be as beautiful of a theory as we think it is, but everything we have in our modern world works because of it and several other provable theoretical constructs.

All of the technology we have built comes from these combined sets of theories AND they each work “Every Single Time” when they are tested and applied which are requirements number 1, 2 & 3 of real science and the technology that arises from it’s application.

Our entire industrialized civilization is built on our supposedly complete understandings of Thermodynamics, The Four Fundamental Forces & The Standard Model Of Particle Physics with Quantum Mechanics along for the ride because you cannot prove it is wrong. Everything tested 6 ways from Sunday to be absolutely mathematically correct to the smallest decimal point and infallible in practical use.

Then things start to get murky with developments concerning Dark Matter and Dark Energy in the last few years. Our current best direction of thinking about how it all really works is String Theory and following it would seem to suggest that what we currently think we know about how it all works is wrong, yet it still works.

So the question we now have to ask is, where did we go wrong? Or possibly more useful to ask is where do we start to go right again?

To quote something I read many years ago and have remembered to this day.

“We have not succeeded in answering all of your questions. The questions we have answered have only served to raise a new level of questions. We believe we are as confused as ever, but on a higher level, and about more important things”

Final thought regarding the Standard Model is a question that I have to ask myself whenever I think of the Particle Zoo “is any particle we can find actually real?”

CERN: The Standard Model Of Particle Physics:


Simplicity To Complexity

A Mathematical Explanation For Morphogenesis


BY A. M. TURING, F.R.S. University qf Manchester

(Received 9 November 195 1 – Revised 15 March 1952)

It is suggested that a system of chemical substances, called morphogens, reacting together and diffusing through a tissue, is adequate to account for the main phenomena of morphogenesis. Such a system, although it may originally be quite homogeneous, may later develop a pattern or structure due to an instability of the homogeneous equilibrium, which is triggered off by random disturbances. Such reaction-diffusion systems are considered in some detail in the case of an isolated ring of cells, a mathematically convenient, though biolo:~irall, unusual system. The investigation is chiefly concerned with the onset of instability. It is faund that there are six essentially different forms which this may take. In the most interesting form stationary waves appear on the ring. It is suggested that this might account, for instance, for the tentacle patterns on Hydra and for whorled leaves. A system of reactions and diffusion on a sphere is also considered. Such a system appears to account for gastrulation. Another reaction system in two dimensions gives rise to patterns reminiscent of dappling. It is also suggested that stationary waves in two dimensions could account for the phenomena of phyllotaxis.

Alan Turing’s accomplishments in computer science are well known, but lesser known is his impact on biology and chemistry. In his only published paper on biology, Turing proposed a theory of morphogenesis, the process by which identical cells differentiate, for example, into an organism with arms and legs, a head and tail.

Now, 60 years after Turing’s death, researchers from Brandeis University and the University of Pittsburgh have provided the first experimental evidence that validates Turing’s theory in cell-like structures.

The team published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on March 10.

Turing was the first to offer an explanation of morphogenesis through chemistry.  He theorized that identical biological cells differentiate and change shape through a process called intercellular reaction-diffusion. In this model, a Alan Turing system of chemicals react with each other and diffuse across a space — say between cells in an embryo. These chemical reactions need an inhibitory agent, to suppress the reaction, and an excitatory agent, to activate the reaction. This chemical reaction, diffused across an embryo, will create patterns of chemically different cells.

Imagine a field, with grass as dry as bone, teeming with grasshoppers. A small fire starts in one patch of the field and the grasshoppers hop away to avoid it. As the bugs hop, they perspire, wetting the grass along the way. The fire jumps to another part of the field, the grasshoppers hop away, creating another island of wet grass.

Now, picture an aerial view of this field — what was once a uniform plain is now spotted with patterns of burnt and unburned grass. This is Turing’s model of reaction-diffusion. The fire is the activator and the grasshoppers are the inhibitor. The reaction diffuses across a series of cells, activating some, inhibiting others and what was once identical is now different.

Turing predicted six different patterns could arise from this model.

Seth Fraden, professor of physics, and Irv Epstein, the Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry, created rings of synthetic, cell-like structures with activating and inhibiting chemical reactions to test Turing’s model. They observed all six patterns plus a seventh unpredicted by Turing.

Just as Turing theorized, the once identical structures — now chemically different — also began to change in size due to osmosis.

This research could impact not only the study of biological development, and how similar patterns emerge in nature, but materials science as well. Turing’s model could help grow soft robots with certain patterns and shapes.

More than anything, this research further validates Turing as a pioneer across many different fields, Fraden says. After cracking the German Enigma code, expediting the Allies’ victory in World War II, Turing was shamed and ostracized by the British government. He was convicted of homosexuality — a crime in 1950s England — and sentenced to chemical castration. He published “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis” shortly after his trial and killed himself less than two years later, in June 1954. He was just 41 years old.

Nathan Tompkins, Ning Li, Camille Girabawe from Brandeis University also contributed to this paper, along with G. Bard Ermentrout from the University of Pittsburgh.

The research was funded in part by from the National Science Foundation Material Research Science and Engineering Center grant DMR-0820492 and grant CHE-1012428.

The Belousov–Zhabotinsky Reaction is a perfect example of simple chemistry exhibiting self-organizational characteristics. Alan Turing’s “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis” describes how, in circular arrays of identical biological cells, diffusion can interact with chemical reactions to generate up to six periodic spatiotemporal chemical structures. Turing proposed that one of these structures, a stationary pattern with a chemically determined wavelength, is responsible for differentiation. Quantitative testing of Turing’s ideas in a cellular chemical system consisting of an emulsion of aqueous droplets containing the Belousov–Zhabotinsky oscillatory chemical reactants, dispersed in oil demonstrates that reaction-diffusion processes lead to chemical differentiation, which drives physical morphogenesis in chemical cells.

Belousov–Zhabotinsky Reaction

Computer simulation of the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction occurring in a Petri dish

Something From Nothing

or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Foam

Based on the uncertainty principles of quantum mechanics and the general theory of relativity, there is no reason that spacetime needs to be fundamentally smooth. Instead, in a quantum theory of gravity, spacetime would consist of many small, ever-changing regions in which space and time are not definite, but fluctuate in a foam-like manner.

In quantum mechanics, and in particular in quantum field theory, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle allows energy to briefly decay into particles and antiparticles which then annihilate back to energy without violating physical conservation laws. As time and space are being probed at smaller scales, the energy of such particles, called virtual particles, increases. Combining this observation with the fact that in Einstein’s theory of general relativity energy curves spacetime, one can imagine that at sufficiently small scales the energy of these fluctuations would be large enough to cause significant departures from the smooth spacetime seen at macroscopic scales, giving spacetime a “foamy” character.


Quantum Electrodynamics

Quantum electrodynamics, commonly referred to as QED, is a quantum field theory of the electromagnetic force. Taking the example of the force between two electrons, the classical theory of electromagnetism would describe it as arising from the electric field produced by each electron at the position of the other. The force can be calculated from Coulomb’s law.

The quantum field theory approach visualizes the force between the electrons as an exchange force arising from the exchange of virtual photons. It is represented by a series of Feynman diagrams, the most basic of which is

With time proceeding upward in the diagram, this diagram describes the electron interaction in which two electrons enter, exchange a photon, and then emerge. Using a mathematical approach known as the Feynman calculus, the strength of the force can be calculated in a series of steps which assign contributions to each of the types of Feynman diagrams associated with the force.

QED applies to all electromagnetic phenomena associated with charged fundamental particles such as electrons and positrons, and the associated phenomena such as pair production, electron-positron annihilation, Compton scattering, etc. It was used to precisely model some quantum phenomena which had no classical analogs, such as the Lamb shift and the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron. QED was the first successful quantum field theory, incorporating such ideas as particle creation and annihilation into a self-consistent framework. The development of the theory was the basis of the 1965 Nobel Prize in physics, awarded to Richard Feynman, Julian Schwinger and Sin-itero Tomonaga.




electron positron annihilation

Today’s Tom Sawyer

My mind is not for rent
To any God or government

A modern day warrior
Mean, mean stride
Today’s Tom Sawyer
Mean, mean pride

Though his mind is not for rent
Don’t put him down as arrogant
He reserves the quiet defense
Riding out the day’s events
The river

What you say about his company
Is what you say about society
Catch the mist, catch the myth
Catch the mystery, catch the drift

The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his skies are wide

Today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets by on you
And the space he invades
He gets by on you

No, his mind is not for rent
To any God or government
Always hopeful yet discontent
He knows changes aren’t permanent
But change is

What you say about his company
Is what you say about society
Catch the witness, catch the wit
Catch the spirit, catch the spit

The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his eyes are wide

Exit the warrior
Today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets by on you
And the energy you trade
He gets right on to the friction of the day

A Humble Beginning

At the age of five I was given my first toolkit which had a small pair of wire clippers. I clipped every wire in the house one morning, telephone, power cords (thankfully the clippers had insulated handles LOL), doorbell cable, every cable I could find.

My dad instead of being angry asked his friend who ran the neighborhood TV repair shop to stop by and fix things. My dad told me to help and in the process I developed an affinity for things like this and the next thing you knew I was hanging out at the TV shop and helping repair things.

I started taking old TV and radio chassis home to scavenge parts for building my own electronic devices. I had a Novice Ham Radio license by the age of 10 (WN6FNC) and was winning Science Fairs with my home built gear all through school.

This is my story and that’s why I am here!