The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?  (Read 6996 times)

Offline blue_cristal

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 29
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« on: 16/05/2008 18:11:06 »
Why macrostructures ( trees, humans, rocks or even serial industrialized products ) are never exactly equal in mass and other attributes and yet the zillions of protons ( and other sub-particles ) of the universe are exactly equal in mass and other attributes ?


 

lyner

  • Guest
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #1 on: 16/05/2008 21:17:31 »
The dots from a simple inkjet printer are all identical but you can make a whole range of pictures and stories using one.
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #2 on: 17/05/2008 21:37:22 »
Heh - I think I could just say 'Entropy' for a true but unhelpful answer:)

The properties of the fundamental particles allow them to combine in many ways and for those combinations to be stable long enough that they may in turn combine with other lower-order combinations to make higher-level combinations, which in turn can be stable long enough that they can combine with...

Another way of putting your question might have been "How many possible things is it possible to make using 'Lego' building bricks?
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #3 on: 18/05/2008 10:05:15 »
I'm not sure your Lego analogy is correct. Given an infinite number of bricks, you could make an infinite number of things. But particles don't seem to work like that. There are a finite number of combinations that occur.

Heh - I've just had a silly thought... Anti-Lego!
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #4 on: 18/05/2008 14:14:00 »
Aha, but shouldn't you be comparing an infinite number of bricks with an infinite number of particles, and not the number of possible ways that the particles can be combined?

The finite number of particle combinations should really be compared to the finite number of ways that the bricks can be fitted together i.e. top-to-bottom only, and not top-to-top, bottom-to-bottom or side-to-side (except I think you can get bricks that only have 'male' connectors on all sides, but even those have a limited number of possible ways of fixing to any other type of brick)

Actually, this analogy seems better, the more I think about it - just needs that Anti-Lego to really make it work:)

I can't think of a good 'Lego' specific energy analogy though - the only thing that comes to mind is generating electricity for the motors using Lego-Antilego annihilation.

Hmm... building fusion reactors out of 'Lego'... can't see it happening somehow:)
 

Offline Soul Surfer

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3345
  • keep banging the rocks together
    • View Profile
    • ian kimber's web workspace
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #5 on: 19/05/2008 00:16:54 »
An interesting question blue_cristal.  The simple answer is because they are quantum objects and reperesent specific unique states that can exist in our universe.  Not all of the properties are identical because each of the subatomic particles can have properties like energy/momenum and a direction of movement that makes them different from other particles.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #6 on: 19/05/2008 20:23:36 »
Aha, but shouldn't you be comparing an infinite number of bricks with an infinite number of particles, and not the number of possible ways that the particles can be combined?

The finite number of particle combinations should really be compared to the finite number of ways that the bricks can be fitted together i.e. top-to-bottom only, and not top-to-top, bottom-to-bottom or side-to-side (except I think you can get bricks that only have 'male' connectors on all sides, but even those have a limited number of possible ways of fixing to any other type of brick)


Your logic is based on a specious premise. "...the finite number of ways that the bricks can be fitted together" may be true; but whatever you build, you can always add more bricks. So, it is not the number of ways that bricks can be fitted together, but that you can add bricks ad infinitum. That is not true of particles.

Given an infinite number of particles, there is still a finite limit to the number of combinations. With an infinite number of lego bricks, you could build a house with 1 window, 2 windows, 3 etc,; all the way to an infinite number of windows.

« Last Edit: 19/05/2008 20:26:24 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #7 on: 19/05/2008 20:27:31 »
An interesting question blue_cristal.  The simple answer is because they are quantum objects and reperesent specific unique states that can exist in our universe.  Not all of the properties are identical because each of the subatomic particles can have properties like energy/momenum and a direction of movement that makes them different from other particles.

Oh, he's good!
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #8 on: 19/05/2008 22:50:27 »

Your logic is based on a specious premise. "...the finite number of ways that the bricks can be fitted together" may be true; but whatever you build, you can always add more bricks. So, it is not the number of ways that bricks can be fitted together, but that you can add bricks ad infinitum. That is not true of particles.

Given an infinite number of particles, there is still a finite limit to the number of combinations. With an infinite number of lego bricks, you could build a house with 1 window, 2 windows, 3 etc,; all the way to an infinite number of windows.



Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear:)

I did say it wasn't a perfect analogy, but instead of picking up on what's actually wrong with it I think you've rather let some flaws creep into your own logic to produce an arguement that I think actually works in my favour:)

As well as there being a finite number of ways in which bricks can be fitted together, you can only fit a finite number of bricks to any one brick so although you may have an infinite number of bricks, you cannot fit every brick to every other brick.  Certainly, you can add more bricks to a construction and make that construction larger but that is how the macrostructures referred to by the questioner are made, by combining fundamental particles...

How many particles do you think were required to make er.. Jupiter, for example?  I'd bet that the number of particles that went into the making of Jupiter is far greater than the number of bricks that have ever been made, yet this didn't stop them from being fitted together to make Jupiter:)

I think it's also evident, just from looking at the world and the universe around you, that you can make a much wider range of things out of particles than you can with bricks, which to me implies that particles can be fitted together in many more ways that bricks can.

The bottom line, of course, is that the bricks are made out of particles anyway, so anything you say about bricks is doubled for particles >:P
 

lyner

  • Guest
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #9 on: 19/05/2008 23:45:23 »
It's the number of possible combinations that counts, surely.
With only dots and dashes (two symbols and some spaces) you can write War and Piece by choosing all the required combinations.
Both numbers are finite but the number of combinations is much bigger than the number of fundamental building blocks.
It's all combinations and permutations which involves Factorials (N!) and they get very big very quickly as the numbers  (N) increase slowly.
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #10 on: 20/05/2008 19:23:10 »
LOL - War and Peace in Morse code:))

Heh:) - imagine if audio had never been developed and all radio was still Morse - would soap operas have ever been invented?
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #11 on: 20/05/2008 22:24:03 »

Your logic is based on a specious premise. "...the finite number of ways that the bricks can be fitted together" may be true; but whatever you build, you can always add more bricks. So, it is not the number of ways that bricks can be fitted together, but that you can add bricks ad infinitum. That is not true of particles.

Given an infinite number of particles, there is still a finite limit to the number of combinations. With an infinite number of lego bricks, you could build a house with 1 window, 2 windows, 3 etc,; all the way to an infinite number of windows.



Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear:)

I did say it wasn't a perfect analogy, but instead of picking up on what's actually wrong with it I think you've rather let some flaws creep into your own logic to produce an arguement that I think actually works in my favour:)

As well as there being a finite number of ways in which bricks can be fitted together, you can only fit a finite number of bricks to any one brick so although you may have an infinite number of bricks, you cannot fit every brick to every other brick.  Certainly, you can add more bricks to a construction and make that construction larger but that is how the macrostructures referred to by the questioner are made, by combining fundamental particles...

How many particles do you think were required to make er.. Jupiter, for example?  I'd bet that the number of particles that went into the making of Jupiter is far greater than the number of bricks that have ever been made, yet this didn't stop them from being fitted together to make Jupiter:)

I think it's also evident, just from looking at the world and the universe around you, that you can make a much wider range of things out of particles than you can with bricks, which to me implies that particles can be fitted together in many more ways that bricks can.

The bottom line, of course, is that the bricks are made out of particles anyway, so anything you say about bricks is doubled for particles >:P


Not at all. You could make a Jupiter-sized sphere of Lego if you had enough bricks. Then you could add a Lego Saturn coming out of the side. That could never happen with particles.

Quote
I think it's also evident, just from looking at the world and the universe around you, that you can make a much wider range of things out of particles than you can with bricks, which to me implies that particles can be fitted together in many more ways that bricks can.

There are a finite number of elements (& a farily modest finite number at that) that can be made from particles. It is those elements that make up all the things you see. Lego is far more versatile. I bet I could make 200 different things without breaking sweat.
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #12 on: 22/05/2008 16:06:43 »
Actually, there's no intrinsic reason why it would be impossible to make a Jupiter, with a Saturn sticking out of it's side.  It might be extremely unlikely for it to occur in nature, in the same sense as it's just very unlikely, but not impossible, for all the heat in a cooking pot to flow back into the fire.  Your example is more about the difficulty of making something, not whether it's possibile or not.

In fact, if you compare the relative difficulties of making a Jupiter with a Saturn sticking out of the side of it out of particles and out of Lego, I suspect that in practice, they'd both be about as difficult as each other.

And like I said, the Lego is made out of particles anyway, so if you were to succeed in making your Jupiter-Saturn combo out of Lego, you will have actually made it out of particles, which would have disproved your statement that it could never happen.

The place where the analogy really breaks down is that particles are combined to create new higher order building items e.g. atoms out of sub-atomic particles and compounds out of atoms etc, whereas with bricks you only have a single level of building component - the brick, of which there is a limited variety.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #13 on: 22/05/2008 20:48:25 »
Actually, there's no intrinsic reason why it would be impossible to make a Jupiter, with a Saturn sticking out of it's side.  It might be extremely unlikely for it to occur in nature, in the same sense as it's just very unlikely, but not impossible,

I think Mr Gravity might disagree.
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #14 on: 23/05/2008 17:30:02 »
Because it would be an artificial structure Mr. Gravity would just have to put up with it, as he has to for all the structures we design to stand up against him i.e. buildings, bridges etc.

As a natural construct, it's wildly improbable, but if the particles have enough energy, once again, Mr. G. would just have to lump it, although only for a very short while because such a structure would not be stable.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #15 on: 23/05/2008 18:56:58 »
Because it would be an artificial structure Mr. Gravity would just have to put up with it


Not wise to aggravate him too much  :D


As a natural construct, it's wildly improbable...


I think that's an understatement  ;D

It's also wildly improble - nay, impossible - for there to be enough Lego bricks in existence for such a structure to be built. But were there, it would be stable.
 

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3818
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #16 on: 23/05/2008 19:18:26 »
60 years ago (and possibly still do) radio amateur enthusiasts used to chat to each other via Morse code much like youngsters do today with 'text'.
 

Offline LeeE

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3382
    • View Profile
    • Spatial
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #17 on: 23/05/2008 19:28:48 »
Heh:) I agree about not aggravating him too much - he might be a weakling but he's got a long reach and never seems to take a break:)

Actually, I think that in practice, Mr gravity would pay an awful lot of attention to a Lego brick Jupiter, perhaps even more than he does already to the gas-based real one.

I believe that the average density of Jupiter is somewhat less than water - anyone know the density of plastic bricks?

 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #18 on: 23/05/2008 19:35:41 »
Heh:) I agree about not aggravating him too much - he might be a weakling but he's got a long reach and never seems to take a break:)

Actually, I think that in practice, Mr gravity would pay an awful lot of attention to a Lego brick Jupiter, perhaps even more than he does already to the gas-based real one.

I believe that the average density of Jupiter is somewhat less than water - anyone know the density of plastic bricks?



I think they float. If I can find some I'll try it.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12656
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.
    • View Profile
Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #19 on: 23/05/2008 19:36:44 »
60 years ago (and possibly still do) radio amateur enthusiasts used to chat to each other via Morse code much like youngsters do today with 'text'.

A few years ago I was friends with someone who was a radio ham. To get his licence he had to pass a Morse code test.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Why the sub-particles world is so uniform ?
« Reply #19 on: 23/05/2008 19:36:44 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
 
Login
Login with username, password and session length