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.