Thursday, 9 December 2010

The 'Charge Balance' of grouped particles; the Speed of Light

Two questions remain in my mind: how can we explain the charge level, polarity and spin of already-grouped and/or stable fundamental particles (Hadrons and Leptons)? I'd also like to reconsider the 'speed of light'.

For the first question, there seems to be a constant between the spin of Quarks and Leptons - all forms of both have a 1/2 (positive?) spin. Quarks group in threes, and all forms ('volumes') of quark have either a -1/3 or +2/3 charge. Charged Leptons (namely electrons) have a -1 charge. Why this constant? I wouldn't be surprised if, in the beginnings of the universe, there was a large disparity in the charge level of each particle, and that this constant occurred only after quarks grouped into Hadrons; if Hydrogen was indeed the first atom to form in our universe, two positively-charged 'up' quarks bonded with one negatively-charged ('down') quark; once a Hadron was created (if quarks containing opposing but equal charges didn't annihilate each other first), any energy beyond a combined 'level of stability' would be expelled. Consequentially, once the quark bond was complete, the 'binding force' of the stable Hadron would reject a collision with any gamma or beta particles with a charge below a certain energy level. It would be interesting to calculate the total energy contained in all Quarks and Leptons - would they 'balance out' between the negative and positive? In a stable hydrogen atom, containing two +2/3 charged 'up' quarks, one -1/3 charged 'down' quark and one -1 charged electron, the result is zero. In a Helium atom, whose Hadrons (two Protons, two Neutrons) are composed of six 'up' quarks, six 'down' quarks, and two electrons, the result is... zero. Interesting. Or was the math based on the fact?

As a side note, I'm not so sure that this 'charge constant' is so constant: this could explain why atoms towards the bottom of the periodic table are the least stable: a single slight imbalance in a hydrogen atom may not disturb the solidity of its nucleus, but an accumulation of slight imbalances in an atom with a (much) higher atomic number may push its 'energy envelope' (the energy needed for either nuclear fusion or fission) in one direction or another.

My second question concerns the speed of light. This speed has become a constant that is used in many quantum mechanics calculations, but in trying to avoid sounding pompous about it, I'd like to express some doubt about how this number is often used. I know that it is the 'fastest' known speed in the known universe, but what if, instead of treating the travel rate of gamma particles as a 'speed', we treat it as a behaviour: what if the upper extremity of energy known to us was a barrier, an energy level that, if surpassed, would result in a) the absorption of that energy (by some unknown ('perfect state'?) matter) or b) the creation of a new, mass-and-charge-bearing particle? In short, I think that, by using the speed of light to try to discover the 'base states' of quantum physics, we are limiting ourselves - or in other words, hurdling ourselves against a barrier of our own making.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Positive and Negative charge in Particles

I'm still a bit flummoxed over the concept of positive and negative charges in the elementary particles known to us - they seem to maintain a mass-containing 'state'. It's not the elementary particle's qualities themselves that has me thinking, but rather their reaction to each other.

If one takes one of our most basic elementary particles, the quark, one can see that it never remains in an independent state for any length of time, but rather is absorbed by another element, or combines with other 'free' quarks to create a Hadron (Neutron or Proton).

When one examines the grouping of Hadrons, one can see that they either contain two 'up' quarks (+2/3 charge) and one 'down' quark (-1/3 charge) as a Proton, or the opposite (two 'down' quarks and one 'up' quark) as a Neutron. First off, one notices that the higher the charge, the less the mass - Protons have half the mass of Neutrons. Examined individually, we see that the combined charge of each element 'balances' into two different states (a Proton = (+2/3) + (+2/3) + (-1/3) = or a charge of 1; a Neutron = (+2/3) + (-1/3) + (-1/3) = or a charge of 0). The 'binding force' between oppositely-charged quarks is probably generated by each element's effort to annihilate each other, or 'draw' from its neighbouring quark's opposing charge, but lacking the power to do so (the elements must have the same opposing charge to annihilate each other), they simply bind. If the charges of two elementary particles are not equal, I am persuaded that the 'binding force' is generated by the 'overlap' between the charges - the 'up' quark would 'suck' an excess 1/3 charge beyond the charge of a neighbouring 'down' quark, and the -1/3 'down' quark can only 'suck' 1/3 of the charge of a neighbouring 'up' quark (if the two could annihilate each other, a +1/3 charge quark (inexistent in our universe) and a -1/3 quark ('down' quark) would remain). So two 'similar' quarks are in an eternal inter-annihilation battle, but it takes three to attain the balanced 'states' we know as Neutrons and Protons.

Moving one step further, a positively-charged Proton (+1 charge) attracts a negatively-charged electron (-1 charge), which would result in an atom (hydrogen) that has a 0 charge through the sum of its parts. The most common Helium atom (2 protons, 2 neutrons, 2 electrons) would have a sum charge of 0 also (six 'up' quarks, six 'down' quarks, two electrons). The most stable form of Lithium atom (7L) has 3 protons, 4 neutrons, and 3 electrons resulting in an overall charge of 0... but it is in itself an unstable element (because of the ten 'up' quarks (+6 2/3 charge) fighting 11 'down' quarks (-3 2/3 charge))? It would be interesting to follow this up the periodic table.

Questions remaining: above I have reflected upon the behaviour of the most common quark 'flavours', but there exist quarks with higher mass than 'up' and 'down' quarks: 'charm' and 'top' quarks are identical to 'up' quarks in their charge and spin, but they have much greater mass - could this be a difference in the volume of 'neutral state matter' affected by a charge? Also, what of the 'spin' of elementary particles? All save Bosons (energies - eg. Photons) have spin. Could it be possible that a spin put on 'neutral state matter' is enough to transform it into a different (but 'neutral charge') discernible element (a neutrino) having some mass?

The constant I see through all the above is a 'state of balance' - elementary particles of all sorts seem be trying to attain a 'level of zero' state (with or without charge). Only elements with opposing factors can annihilate each other (the opposing 'spins' of neutrinos/antineutrinos cancel each other, the opposing charge of hydrogen and anti-hydrogen atoms cancel each other (leaving neutrinos, if their spin is in the same direction?)).

Friday, 3 December 2010

Nothing is Something.

Further study into atomic behaviour motivates me to add to my earlier mullings a bit. Yet I am still persuaded that our universe is based on some sort of 'neutral state' material that, thus far, is invisible to us, a matter that may be in itself define 'invisibility'.

What got me thinking the most was my reading on 'antiparticles' - 'stable' particles (any particle in the atomic scale) that operate on a negative charge. In a 'normal' (positively-charged) atom, the positively-charged nucleus (consisting of neutrally-charged neutrons and positively-charged protons) attracts the negatively-charged electron, yet the energy of the electron is not enough to overcome the nucleus' 'binding force' and is repelled by it. The same laws hold true if an atom's nucleus and electron(s) are both negatively-charged. Yet when a particle and its polar-twin antiparticle (say, a hydrogen atom and a 'anti-hydrogen' atom) enter into contact, they annihilate each other, and the same would happen if a positron (positively-charged electron) and electron converge; I am persuaded that whatever is 'left over' from these collisions would be 'neutral state' matter.

Whatever this 'neutral state matter' is, it is capable of accepting a charge, but the conditions in which this could happen would have to be extreme. I imagine an effect almost like water skipping off a duck's back; a ducks's feathers have waterproofing enough to resist absorbing the water propelled on them under 'natural' conditions, but were the water propelled with enough energy (and/or volume), the feathers would be obliged to absorb moisture. This action could explain the behaviour of rays (energy) through a seeming void: if the energy is not travelling with a force/speed enough to affect the 'base state' matter, it will simply skip across it. This may even define the speed of light; any energy above this level is absorbed by the 'base matter', thus becoming invisible to us - or would it create a new perfectly-visible particle?

This model still makes sense when applied to particles as small as quarks. Once a 'base matter' particle becomes charged, it gains mass; it is still 'attracted' back to its 'neutral' state, but is impeded from doing so by its charge. How the newly-formed particle behaves with its neighbouring particles depends on how it is charged: according to today's model, an 'up' quark has a 2/3 charge and a 2.4 MeV mass, and a 'down' quark has a -1/3 charge and twice the mass, and these, once created, would 'clump' into 'stable state' Hadrons (Protons and Neutrons).

I wouldn't be at all surprised if quarks and electrons, if they are not one and the same, are at least in the same family: it would make sense if, at the beginning of the universe, the quark-energy soup combined to form all the Hadrons (Protons and Neutrons) it could, and electrons are simply 'free' negatively-charged quarks 'left over' from this grouping/inter-annihilation: these particles would be attracted to the already-formed Protons by their negative charge, but would lack the energy needed to affect the Proton's already-stable state ('binding energy'), thus gravitate around them.

Atomic construction from then on was consequential, through methods already well-known to us.