Archive for October, 2008

Nobel Prize for Physics 2008

Oct 8th, 2008 Posted in General | Comments Off on Nobel Prize for Physics 2008

Yoichiro Nambu, Makoto Kobayashi and Toshihide Maskawa shared the Nobel Prize for Physics this year for their discoveries related to Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking. Symmetry is a very basic property of nature. We can see it around. Human body itself is symmetric about a vertical axis. Laws of Physics also manifest this symmetry as in the case of conservation of energy.

Earlier scientists were thinking that the nature conserves three symmetries- Charge conjugation, Parity and Time. A symmetry of a physical system is a physical or mathematical feature of the system (observed or intrinsic) that is “preserved” under some change. For example, a sphere will appear the same, even if it’s rotated; thus it can be said to possess spherical symmetry. The CPT theorem holds that the universe (or the physical laws that govern them) will be invariant

  • even if we replace the particles with anti particles (charge symmetry)
  • even if we observe the universe through a three dimensional mirror (parity symmetry)
  • even if the time is reversed- just like a movie played in reverse (time symmetry)

But later experiments proved that these symmetries are violated in certain cases. Now, the accepted idea is that the combined symmetry of CPT is preserved.

We can witness symmetry violations in everyday life. A pencil standing on its point leads a completely symmetrical existence in which all directions are equal. A small perturbation can cause the pencil to topple. It can fall in any direction, without a preferred direction. The symmetry is lost when it falls over.

Violation of symmetries explains how we exist. In the universe, there are particles and anti particles. In the big bang which created our universe, matter and antimatter were there in equal amounts. If a particle and its antiparticle meet together, they just annihilate into a flash of energy. But then, how the universe as we see exist? That’s the result of Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking. By chance, amount of matter exceeded the amount of antimatter. This symmetry breaking resulted in our existence.


Physics Again

Oct 8th, 2008 Posted in General | Comments Off on Physics Again

With the Large Hadron Collider experiments hitting the headlines, Physics is again back to the center stage. The experiment is to throw more light into the fundamental principles of the universe. After a long gap, I have started recollecting my fundamental Physics lessons, and let me try to gather some of my learning here. It may make an interesting reading to people who wish to know what’s happening around.

There are four fundamental forces in this universe (what do you mean by “this universe”? Of course, Physics does not rule out the possiblities of other universes in existence). They are:

  1. Strong force – responsible for holding together the protons and neutrons in a nuclues
  2. Weak force – manifested in radio active decays
  3. Electromagnetic force- familiar to us as light, magnetism
  4. Gravitational force-most familiar one

Scientists are hoping to find a single theory which explains all the four forces together. But till date only the first three are joined together in a theory called Standard Model; gravity is still elusive. Standard Model has been a very successful theory with most of its predictions are verified by experiments. One prediction yet to be verified is the presence of a particle called “Higg’s Boson”. The LHC experiments are expected to discover the presence of Higgs Boson.

I have also prepared a MindMap on particles. See it here

My Songs

Oct 4th, 2008 Posted in General | one comment »

Orthodox Vacation Bible School (OVBS) is an activity of the Indian Orthodox Church. I have written a few christian devotional songs for OVBS in the past. Those days, CDs were not common. So I don’t have an mp3 of them. Just thought of putting the lyrics here. When I get some time to convert those audio cassettes to mp3, I’ll be able to upload them also.

Song 1 (2000) (If you have RealPlayer, you can listen to it online from St Gregorious Orthodox Church of Greater Washington’s site)

സ്നേത്താലെന്നെ നിറക്കേണമേ
സ്നേഹത്തില്‍ തന്നെ നടത്തേണമേ 
ദിവ്യ സ്നേഹത്തിന്‍ വാക്കുകളെന്നും 
സ്നേഹ നാഥാ നീ തന്നീടണേ
മാലാഖമാരുടെ ആനന്ദ ഗീതികള്‍ 
തേനുറ്റ ശബ്ദത്തില്‍് പാടിയാലും 
ഭൂമിയില്‍ നിക്ഷേപം കൂട്ടിയാലും
സ്നേഹമില്ലെങ്കില്‍ ഞാനേതുമില്ല

ദാന ധര്‍മങ്ങള്‍ ഏറെ ചെയ്താലും
ദേഹത്തെ അഗ്നിയില്‍ ചുട്ടെരിചാലും 
ലോകത്തിന്‍ മോഹങ്ങളാകെ ത്യജിച്ചാലും
സ്നേഹമില്ലെങ്കില്‍ ഞാനേതുമില്ല  [2002]

Song 2 (1999)

ഒരു കുഞ്ഞു മെഴുതിരി നാളമായ് ഞാന്‍
എരിയുന്നു ദേവാ നിന്‍ സന്നിധിയില്‍
ഉരുകുമെന്‍ നെഞ്ചിലെ ഈണങ്ങളെല്ലാം
നിന്‍ സ്തുതി പാടുവാന്‍ മാത്രമല്ലോ

ഒരു ദുഃഖ സാഗരം ഉള്ളിലൊതുക്കി
അള്‍ത്താര മുന്നില്‍ ഞാന്‍ നില്‍ക്കുമ്പോഴും
വിടരുമെന്‍ ചുണ്ടിലെ ഗാനങ്ങളെല്ലാം
നിന്‍ ദയ വാഴ്ത്തുവാന്‍ മാത്രമല്ലോ

ഒരു ജന്മം തന്നാലും തീരാത്ത നന്ദി തന്‍
ഭാണ്ഡവും പേറി ഞാന്‍ നീങ്ങുമ്പോഴും
ഇടറുമെന്‍ പാദങ്ങളെപ്പോഴും നാഥാ
ക്രൂശിന്റ്റെ പാതയില്‍ മാത്രമാക്ക