Solving the cosmic mysteries

Solving the cosmic mysteries

stringtheory

“General relativity is the cornerstone of cosmology and astrophysics. It has also provided the conceptual basis for string theory and other attempts to unify all the forces of nature in terms of geometrical structures.”

Paul Davies

Particles are imagined as being point-like but in string theory it is reimagined as being one-dimensional strings. String theory was developed to explain the behaviour of hadrons (Protons, neutrons and all other particles that make up the atomic nucleus). It was abandoned by physicists as it requires extra, unseen dimensions. The strings are called branes and could have anything between 0 to 9 dimensions.

Interactions are based on the strings ability to have its end join and split apart.

Unification

String theory attempts to unite all four fundamental forces of nature (Electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force and gravity). The fundamental forces were believed to be unified during the early stages of the universe.

Dark matter

The gravitational effects observed in our universe doesn’t correlate with the matter seen. The universe contains a form of matter that we can’t directly observe or see. There’s much more dark matter than ordinary matter, ordinary matter only makes up about 4% of our entire universe.

After the big bang , the energy of the event was transferred into matter and antimatter. This would have caused the different forms of matter to annihilate each other. The universe consists of more matter than antimatter which makes up the visible universe.

A theory of everything might explain why matter was favoured.

“Quantum mechanics brought an unexpected fuzziness into physics because of quantum uncertainty, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. String theory does so again because a point particles replaced by a string, which is more spread out.”

Edward Witten


Part 1:

Solving the cosmic mysteries


Black holes:

A briefer history of black holes


The big bang


Particles

The particle zoo


 

The strings of unity

strings

Solving the cosmic mysteries

A theory of everything?

“String theory is an attempt at a deeper description of nature by thinking of an elementary particle not as a little point but as a little loop of vibrating string.”

Edward Witten


The strangeness of quantum mechanics were explored by various physicists whom explained the quantum interactions in terms of exchanging ‘virtual’ particles. More subatomic particles emerged of the collisions of other particles. The standard model of particle physics emerges from the fundamental particles of nature according to their properties.

There is a search for the theory of everything – a theory that would unite all four fundamental forces of nature.

  • A theory of everything is a suggested hypothesis for the unity of the fundamental forces.
  • In the beginning of the universe, it is proposed that all four fundamental forces were united as one super force.
  • The gravitational force was the first to separate.
  • The nuclear force was separated at about 10^27K.
  • At last the electromagnetic force and weak forces were separated.

Deep puzzles remain to be solved and a theory that would unite quantum mechanics with general relativity.

String Theory

An idea of tiny vibrating strings that makes up our entire universe is quite remarkable. Think of the universe as it is made up of tiny strings of energy and not point like figures. Waves of vibrations found within the strings give rise to quantized behaviour that is described as nature.

 

(String theory will be explained in the next entry.)

“If string theory is a mistake, it is not a trivial mistake. It is a deep mistake and therefore kind of worthy.”

Lee Smolin

Solving your problems using art

Solving your problems using art

Art portrays reality and sometimes our fictional reality. It can be expressed visually or auditory, and even a combination of both. Art shaped our minds over the millennia and is a depiction of society of its era.

Most of us have left our artistic selves in early childhood when drawings of yellowed houses with red roofs were common.

Art can be used to improve your quality of life (and state of mind).

Art to help increase self-esteem

Everyone has had body issues at least once in their lives. The media is plagued with images of porcelain models and we are exposed to it’s images of ‘perfection’. In this madness we forget what real bodies look like and we assume that all bodies are to be the same.

Taking life drawing classes helps improve self confidence and exposes us to a range of different body types promoting positive body imaging. This improves the self esteem of individuals.

Dealing with difficult issues

Are you facing a problem and need help to find a solution. Try doodling your current situtation and possible outcomes on a blank sheet of paper. Your creativity may surprise you, even if you can barely draw a stickfigure. You may find yourself to be much more calm and relaxed. Our brains are designed to process images so drawing will be a lot more effective.

If you are too stressed, singing a song or humming may help ease your tensions.

 

Are you overly stressed?

Colouring books used to be considered ‘child’s play’ but this activity has turned into an interesting hobby for adults. It’s a great way to pass time and express yourself. if you hate doodling or can’t seem to draw a stick figure, consider purchasing an adult colouring book.

“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it”

Salvador Dali

 

A journey within

A journey within

 

“Evolution is a tightly coupled dance, with life and the material environment as partners. From the dance emerges the entity Gaia.”

James Lovelock

The living and the not so living

All living things are composed of cells. A cell is the smallest unit of any organism that can survive on its own. Some organisms consists of only one cell (bacteria and protists are single cells).

 

Inheritance

You may have recognised that family members are surprisingly similar. What causes family members to have similar traits? Organisms were thought to have carried some sort of ‘material’ or essence within them that determined their traits.

how your identity is determined

Traits are passed from parents to their offspring. The ‘material’ that determines the traits inherited are located in cells. This ‘material’ or genes are carried on chromosomes and determines the identity of any organism.

Evolution of cells (simplified)

Complex animal cells contain organelles and other material which the much simpler bacteria cells lack.

A division occurs and the organelles duplicates. (The material of the chloroplast and mitochondria are similar to bacteria).

The complex animal cells and ‘bacteria’ form a symbiotic relationship.

“Midi-chlorians are a microscopic life form that reside within all living cells and communicates with the Force.”

Qui-Gon Jinn


Bacteria

“You can find bacteria everywhere. They are invisible to us. I have never seen a bacterium, except under a microscope. They are so small, we do not see them, but they are everywhere.”

Bonnie Bassler

Bacteria are single-celled organisms that occurs in nearly every imaginable place possible. They cause disease, forms symbiotic relationship with our cells or are simply benign.

Bacteria cells lack nuclei that animal and plant cells contain. Bacteria are often confused and though to be viruses (which are not considered alive and can only reproduce inside the cells of living hosts).

“A virus is a form of life with very simple requirements. The basic needs of a virus are a nucleic acid to be transmitted from generation to generation (the genome) and a messenger RNA to direct the synthesis of viral proteins. The critical viral proteins that the messenger RNA must encode are those that coat the genome and those that help replicate the genome. One of the great surprises of modern virology has been the discovery of the variety of genetic systems that viruses have evolved to satisfy their needs. Among the animal viruses, at least 6 totally different solutions to the basic requirements of a virus have been found.”

 


 

Inside the mind (part 2)

rword

“Cogito ergo sum.”

Rene Descartes

The nervous system

The nervous system processes information. It consists of a network of nerves and cells that transfers the information to and from the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) to the outer body. The changes that occurs creates our reality. We respond, think and feel as these changes occurs.

 

tree

 

The nervous system can be depicted as a branching diagram. The nervous system is divided into the central nervous  system and the peripheral nervous system. 

The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is a collection of sensory nerves (Transfers information to the central nervous system)  and motor nerves (Sends information away from central nervous system).

Evolution of the nervous system

The nervous system developed in animals. The central nervous system began to take its current formation when an end enlarged and form a ‘head-like’ shape. This process is known as encephalization. The nervous system became increased its functions and abilities. Additional structures came into being and the primitive brain evolved.

Peripheral nervous system

The peripheral nervous system consists of axons and dendrites groped together to form nerve cells or neurons. The function of these neurons is to transfer information to and from the central nervous system.

The differences between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems

anatomic-differences-in-sympathetic-and-parasympathetic-divisions

“Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into the lazy habit of thinking.”

Albert Einstein

 

 

 

Inside the mind (Part 1)

inside

The brain works quietly most of the time, we do not seem to recognise its existence unless something goes wrong. When its functioning becomes impaired such as the inability to remember basic facts such as your own name. The importance of the brain can not be justified in basic words as it defines us. We owe our entire existence to our brain and it’s functioning, our subjective experience, the gestures that we make and even our memories.

We think and express our emotions using our brain. Our basic pleasures and even love arise from the brain.

The nervous system 

The nervous system is the processing unit of the body as it processes all of the information of the organism. Simply: Information is received from sensory receptors and information is sent out. A specially adapted cell known as a Neuron (nerve cell) is responsible for the communication and information that is received and sent out.

Neurons

The neuron is adapted to transmit signals to other neurons. All neurons share three fundamental parts or characteristics:

  1. The Soma: It contains the nucleus as well as other structures. The genetic material of the neuron is stored inside the nucleus.
  2. Dendrites: It emerges from the soma and branches out in complex ways.
  3. Axon: The axon emerges from the soma but is singular.

 

Peripheral nervous system

It is the area that is outside the midline of the nervous system or the central nervous system. It’s main function is to transmit information to the central nervous system.

The nervous system consists of the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system allows communication between the central nervous system and the external environment of the body.

Human behaviour

Our basic behaviour is determined by the conduction from the neurons. Not all of our behaviour is created in that way. It can be controlled chemically through the secretion of substances. Glands that excrete hormones are known as endocrine or ductless glands. Exocrine excrete hormones via ducts. Each hormone ensures the functioning of a target organ or tissue. The balance of the secretion of hormones and the functioning of the human body is known as homeostasis. The internal environment is at a state of equilibrium.

“Like the Milky Way entering upon some cosmic dance, the brain is an enchanted loom where millions of flashing shuttles weaves a dissolving pattern, always a meaningful patter through never an abiding one, shifting harmony of sub patterns.”

Sir Charles Sherrington

 

 

Out of Africa

Out of Africa

All human beings are very different (or seem very different) from animals. When did our modern humans appear on Earth? We are very different from our ape-like ancestors, and we differ from the fossils that preceded them. Genetic evidence suggest that the first anatomically modern humans migrated and did not evolve from the early Neanderthals.

No one would ever confuse a chimpanzee and a human being. Humans walk upright, have a bigger brain capacity and uses language. The  DNA of the two species is very similar and almost identical.

Mutations

Bacteria mutate when faced with environmental stress which means that the bacteria choose the mutation and it is not based on random alignment. Bacteria seem to posses ‘mutator’ genes that causes the process to happen.

Animal instincts

Do animals help each other?

Why would an animal help another if it would not favour the animal? Nature favours individuals with more offspring than those with few as there would be more individuals of a species that will survive.

Animals do help each other but this only works well for animals with a system of genetic inheritance.

The double helix (DNA)

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the most vital molecule of existence and life. It is the molecule for biological inheritance. The DNA of an organism carries genetic material and is able to replicate itself. It encodes genetic information on its structure. Chromosomes carry genes that pass from the dividing cell to the daughter cell. The bases of DNA are joined by hydrogen bonds and can be broken easily. The bases are then exposed and a template it copied. When the helix is ‘unzipped’, each part becomes a template to build a new partner. It would then leave the cell to become involved in protein production.

“We have discovered the secret of life”

Francis Crick