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Monday, December 17, 2012

Dear Readers,
My friends and I are starting a student-run school newspaper for our school, MCCPS. I'm going to be writing the science column of the paper and I will mostly write articles about our favorite subject, quantum mechanics. I am going to publish them to my blog as a bonus to my regular blog entries. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Mitchell's CliffNotes of CMR

     What is gravity, really?  Okay, it made the apple fall off the tree and bonk Sir Isaac Newton’s head. It makes everything fall back to Earth. There have been a lot of theories for gravity, but the most plausible is relativity. Relativity incorporates many concepts, and conveniently, one of them is gravity. Albert Einstein, the creator of General and Special Relativity, made one of the two variations of relativity, STR (Space-Time Relativity). In STR, space and time are one; a fourth dimension, if you will. In this theory, an invisible “blanket”, called the space-time continuum, is the medium in which relativity works. The more massive an object is, the more it causes a depression in the “blanket”. If a watermelon is the sun and a blanket is the space-time continuum, then if you put the watermelon on the blanket it causes a depression proportional to its mass. Furthermore, an object with mass less than or equal to another object’s mass will be gravitationally attracted toward that object if it’s close enough. If I were to put an orange on the blanket, it would cause a depression proportional to its mass, and if close enough would roll towards the watermelon. An apple is less massive than our planet, and it is definitely close enough to have a gravitational attraction to Earth. If it’s attracted it will move towards the Earth’s center, so when the tree’s branches become too weak, gravity takes over.
     Should we believe in this theory? After all, it is very plausible. I loved it until Black Friday came along. I went to Brookline to visit my grandfather, Grandpa Charles, and his wife, Martha. I also met a guy whose parents were told by his grade school teacher he was “feeble-minded” (He ended up graduating at Harvard University and becoming a professor there.). I thought STR was the only theory of relativity until Grandpa Charles told me otherwise at Panera. In 2008, a man named Edward Apgar created a new theory of relativity explaining gravity called CMR (Charge-Mass Relativity). I thought STR was the only theory of relativity there was, so I didn’t bother calling it STR. I just called it relativity. But apparently a new theory of relativity was created four years ago. I couldn’t believe I had first learned about the old relativity rather than the one. After all, CMR was out by the time I started learning about quantum mechanics (I did not start learning about physics when I was six!). Well, here is the story of CMR in “English”.
      An atom has a center ball of particles called a nucleus. The particles in the nucleus are the neutrally charged neutrons and the positively charged protons, which have a charge of about 1/2 (never mind the unit of measurement). Circling the nucleus are the negatively charged electrons, which have a charge opposite of the protons, equal to about -1/2. There are an equal amount of protons as there are electrons in an atom, so they should balance each other out giving the atom a neutral charge. Just like the same sides of a magnet repel each other, an electron-electron combo repel each other and a proton-proton pair repel each other. Also just like opposite sides of two magnets attract, an electron-proton pair or a proton-electron pair attract each other. In fact, magnets make use of protons and electrons. If two hydrogen atoms are near each other, each with one proton and one electron, they should not exert any attractions except gravitational attractions. The reason the atoms don’t repel because of the proton in atom 1 and the proton in atom 2 or the two electrons is because of the electric attractions. What about the proton in atom 1 combined with the electron in atom 2 or vice versa? These forces balance each other out. Done! Who needs CMR! Who even cares! Wait a second. Since when can we just assume that the attractive and repulsion forces are equal?! “Duhhhhh”, one might say. Duh what? That’s a nice assumption but physics isn’t perfect like that. Mr. Apgar found that the attractive forces between those atoms is slightly greater than the repulsion forces. This is an attraction, and gravity is an attraction. Essentially what my grandfather was saying was that gravity is not a force on its own, but rather a side effect of electric forces between atoms. And to finish it off, he whipped out a photocopy of the very CMR paper itself. This proves he isn’t just some guy making up some lunatic theory. He’s even met Mr. Apgar himself and PAM Dirac, one of the greatest physicists of all time. And by the way, my lack of updating has been inexcusable, even with my business. My next entry will be much sooner. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Quantum Mechanics Presentation to My School

For anyone who has read my posts here, or might be interested, here is a presentation I gave to my school last week about quantum mechanics. The first video is the presentation itself, and the second is the question-and-answer portion. (Also, I have another new entry below this one.)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Special #2: Time Paradoxes and Tachyons

First of all, I’m so sorry I haven’t updated my blog since YIKES!!! A MONTH AGO!!! I’ve been really busy with activities and I haven’t gotten the chance to update my blog for 33 days! But if we want to cut to the chase here, then we should get focused. There is a theoretical particle that just may exist, and, if it did, it could make time travel possible. This particle is called the tachyon. It is superluminal, which means it’s faster then light. Because it’s faster than light, we can’t see it, because by the time light waves reflect off a tachyon and make contact with our retinas, it will be LONG gone. The tachyon gets faster as it loses energy. Consequently, as the tachyon gains energy it slows down. The tachyon could make time travel possible because light is directly connected with time, and tachyons are way faster than light. If we could somehow harness these possibly real particles than we could travel anywhere in the future. If we could find out about the anti-particle of the tachyon then we could go back in time. I realized this because as Richard Feynman said that the anti-particle (meaning a mirror image of the particle; the only difference is the charge of the particle; an evil twin if you wish) of a proton traveling forwards is like a regular proton traveling backward in time. A proton and a positron (the proton’s anti-particle) have all the exact same properties except one has a positive charge and the other has a negative. Time can be a very tricky thing that, if you do the wrong thing when you’re a time traveler, you could destroy time itself. These incidents are called paradoxes. Scientists can’t figure out what would happen in a paradox because paradoxes are really confusing. For instance, the Granny Paradox says that if you went back in time and killed your own grandmother before your mother or father were born then you’d never be born so you couldn’t kill your grandma which means you were born so you can kill your own grandma. In a Captain Underpants book that’s at my house there’s a paradox mentioned called the Banana Cream Pie Paradox. Here’s how it goes:
A scientist from the future makes a banana cream pie with bananas harvested from his own tree and goes back in time with his pie. Then the scientist accidentally trips and smushes his pie into the face of an innocent lady. The lady gets mad, so she scrapes off some goo off her face and lobs it at the scientist...who ducks. The gooey projectile then beans the face of gentleman. Next, a waitress laughs at the gentleman, who smushes the goo into her face. The waitress then tells the man she feels really insulted when another man laughs at the her, who gets pushed by a third man telling him to mind his own business. The man who got pushed trips over the banana sapling that would grow up to be the very banana tree the time traveler had made his pie out of, breaking the sapling in half. If the sapling broke before it became a tree, then it could never have produced bananas that made the pie that caused the whole incident. So, does the pie exist or not exist? Frankly, I don’t think it’s worth traveling through time just so you can literally kill time and destroy the universe.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Theory #7: New Ideas to the Many Worlds Interpretation

 This entry isn't much of a theory; it's more of an idea leading to a grander theory. Let's get started then. The many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics is one of the three main ways to view quantum mechanics. It says that there are all sorts of possible combinations of events that could happen, like whether a particle will go this way or that way or the other way. After all, quantum mechanics wasn't made to be able to predict the future: it only predicts the probabilities of events happening. The many worlds interpretation not only says that many different things could happen, but all of the different outcomes possible are combined into ONE state! This means that if an electron can go up or down, it's going up and down both at the same time! This sounds ridiculous, but it is true. Once the electron is observed going up, the electron's probability of going down is decreased to zero percent, and the probability of the electron going up increases to one hundred percent. For instance, there is a famous thought experiment called Schrodinger's cat, conceived of by Erwin Schrodinger, a famous physicist who also came up with Schrodinger's wave equation, possibly the most important single equation in the history of science. In the experiment, a cat is put in a box with a canister of cyanide. In 20 minutes, there's a 50-50 chance the canister will burst, killing the cat. In 20 minutes, the cat is both dead and alive at the same time! Once we look in the box to see if the cat is dead or alive, one of probabilities drops to 0% and the other goes up to 100% because we know which state the cat is in (dead or alive, let's make it alive so that we're happy. I'm an avid cat lover so I couldn't stand it if it died. Good thing they don't do this experiment in real life, or Erwin Schrodinger and crew would get charged for animal cruelty.) . Now, the principle of wave-particle duality (also a part of the  many worlds interpretation) says that depending on the experiment, light can behave either as a particle or a wave. Experiments like the photoelectric effect lead to particle-like results, whereas Young's two-slit experiment creates wave-like results. Well I thought that if light can be either a wave or a particle, couldn't light be both a wave and a particle at the same time like the cat is both dead and alive? If light doesn't "know" the experiment it is about to participate in, then there's a 50-50 chance that light will be either a wave or a particle. But once the light finds out what experiment it's partaking in, the probability of one possible chance (wave or particle-like behavior) drops to 0% and the other goes up to 100%. This would combine two revolutionary ideas in the many worlds interpretation into one. This might just be my favorite entry yet. Now I will share with you some facts about the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Facts About the Many Worlds Interpretation:

  • This interpretation of quantum mechanics disobeys the law of conservation of energy, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed.
  • The many worlds interpretation is hailed by most physicists today.
  • This interpretation says that there are all sorts of possible combinations of things that could happen, but the hands of probability roll the dice of the universe. Probability governs everything. If you want to got to college and take a course in quantum mechanics, don't go skipping your way to class thinking you can predict anything in the universe. You can't. Probability is pretty much everything.
How I Thought of this Theory:
I was talking with my uncle and we started talking about the major and minor interpretations of quantum mechanics (including the Copenhagen interpretation, which I despise). He mentioned a very interesting view I hadn't heard of called the instrumentalist view, which as he described it is the "shut up and calculate view". I then went home thinking about different properties of different interpretations, which led me to combine two different properties of one interpretation, the many worlds interpretation. And about my last entry, people were questioning me about whether the Higgs boson was found. Yes, it has been found, but not definitely confirmed. The reason I haven't updated my blog in so long is because I've been busy lately and I just started school last Monday. See you later!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Theory #6: Quantum Phenomena Magnification

I think that in some universes quantum phenomena is magnified (or made smaller). Quantum particles behave by being one place at one moment and being somewhere different the next. An example of quantum phenomena being magnified would be if a whole group of electrons instead of one electron moved to the same place at the same time at the same velocity (velocity is essentially a fancy physics term for speed [although it is a little different] ). For instance, earlier this week I was doing my weekly golf lesson with my  brother and my golf teacher, John Saraceno, who is a GREAT golf teacher. We were practicing putting and he said "You can't get a hole in 0, because you have to hit the ball at least once to get it in the hole, so the lowest and best score you can get is one.". But then I say "What if the golf ball behaves like a quantum particle, where you put it on the tee, and it spontaneously appears in the hole?". John laughs. My point is that in some universes quantum effects are magnified, where instead of one quantum particle moving a whole HUMUNGOUS bunch moves at the same time, place and velocity. Then the golf ball thing could happen. And others might even move whole houses or cities! I have included some facts about the behavior of quantum particles:
Facts About the Behavior of Quantum Particles:
  • Quantum particles can be either waves behave as either waves or particles (so I guess I shouldn't refer to quantum particles as particles. This is called wave-particle duality.
  • You can never know the momentum AND the position of a particle at the same moment in time. This is is called the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.
  • The behavior of quantum particles is almost completely random.
How I Thought of this Theory:
I thought of this theory after my golf lesson with John and started contemplating what I could make of my golf ball remark. And by the way, I'm still anxious for the Higgs boson to be found soon!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Special #1: Why the Terminator Couldn't Happen

Movies like The Terminator saga could never happen. The reason is because time is like an infinitely big sheet of paper, where the events in the past, present and future are like marks from a pen. These events cannot be erased because they are in pen, not pencil. Although there could be other quantum realities of the same universe, one reality stays the same because it is one reality and its quantum states are seperate. In the Terminator, on August 29, 2029, the war of the machines starts. The  war is between the machines and the Resistance, an army of survivors from Judgement Day, when a nuclear explosion occurs, leaving almost none of the population alive. Skynet, the computer system that leads the machines, calculates the fate of the humans in fractions of a second: They must be terminated. Thus the war of the machines starts. In T2, a good terminator, a Cyberdyne Systems Series 800 Model 101 Version 2.4, protecting 10-year-old John Connor (the future leader in the war of the machines), with his mother Sarah Connor, in 1984, go and try to destroy Cyberdyne Systems (where Skynet is created), Picking up Miles Dyson (the future creator of Skynet) along the way. In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,  after the destruction of Cyberdyne Systems, the US Air Force takes over the Skynet project. Whoa,  let’s rewind for a moment. If events in time are like pen marks, how could you stop an event like the creation of Skynet at Cyberdyne Systems when you know for a fact it happens  in the future? Change the course of time, obviously. But because these events are “in-erasable” the fact that Skynet even gets changed to an Air Force project is impossible. In an alternate universe sure, but not in the same reality. If the creation of Skynet at Cyberdyne Systems represents a squiggle mark on the paper and the creation of Skynet at the Us Air force a dot mark, then on the piece of paper there’s a squiggle, it means that it won’t be erased. You can have the biggest, fattest, and best eraser in the world and it wouldn’t erase a pen mark, so therefore you can’t change the squiggle into a dot (And no, there is no physical representation for Wite-Out correction fluid. Ha ha. Really, can you not think of ways to wipe away the pen mark so you can get the point of this lecture?). If all the different quantum realities of a universe (I discuss quantum states of a universe in  Theory #1: Neutrino Universes) represent a stack of paper with it having an infinite amount of sheets, then another sheet could have a dot in the same exact spot that another sheet has a squiggle, but the dot and squiggle can’t coexist on one sheet of paper. That is why movies  like this could never happen.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Theory #5: Oscillating Particles

Quantum particles called oscillators vibrate and make little waves at such high frequencies that nothing could detect it or hear it. These waves would compose everything from the smallest charm quark climbing upward: quarks, bosons, atoms, molecules, complex molecular chain structures, etc. The frequency would probably be around 10 to the power of negative 1 septillion Hertz, or (10*-10)* 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 waves up and down per second. Not even particle detection technology as sophisticated as the LHC’s (large hadron collider) could detect them, which explains why there has been no evidence of these “oscillators”. I hope evidence will in fact be found in the future for this theory because this is one of my particular favorites. A black hole would stop these oscillators by keeping them from oscillating, which would stop making all these jiggering waves, so in turn stopping any matter from being there at all. Quantum particles can be in more than one place at the same time, so that means that the waves could be hopping around all over the place, thus creating alternate universes. Scientists have found so many types of waves, so why not one more? Now I will share with you some little tidbits facts about waves.
Facts About Waves and their Properties:
  • Albert Einstein theorized that light in fact might not be a wave and maybe a particle. This theory opposed years upon centuries of work. (Yeah, he’s like that. You know the I’m-smart-so-I’m-making-a-theory-that’s-the-complete-opposite-of-what-people-think type. Same thing with his theory of relativity, which is probably my most favorite theory and most famous theory.)
  • Particles of light are called photons.
  • James Clerk Maxwell did my favorite experiment, which proves light can be in two places at once.
  • Electric and magnetic waves are both one unified force, called electromagnetism.
How I Thought of this Theory:
I was in Hawaii for 10 long days, so I was kinda in relaxation mode (OMG! I never say kinda unless I’m super relaxed and lazy! What a surprise!). Then it hit me. We were on the plane back to Massachusetts. It was like somebody had just wacked me in the face with a poker straight from the fireplace. I hadn’t read anything science related the whole trip, so my thinking brain needed a couple screws tightened. Once I read a couple of my science magazines, I got right back up to doing my blog (I mean really, in reality, not many people update their blog on a vacation unless you're my mom with a laptop updating your travel blog.). Then I read a bit in a book about a physicist named Max Planck who I didn’t know much about. It talked about his theory of balck body radiation, which discusses packets of energy, or quanta. This gave me even more motivation for an entry in my blog. And my favorite Hawaiian animal is the state fish: humuhumunukunukuapua’a. I really have memorized it and can say it too.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Theory #4: Black Holes and Higgs Bosons

The Higgs boson, or the ‘god particle’ was “discovered” yesterday. Scientists are 99% sure of their confirmation, yet we physicists still need to be 100% sure for a theory to be valid. I promised myself a little over a year ago that I would do a couple laps around my kitchen. The Higgs boson is the heaviest particle and supposedly is what makes everything have mass. It happens when a Higgs boson passes through a particle and an electrostatic reaction occurs making the particle have mass. But I also think this particle is what makes black holes. Black holes can’t be seen, but they cause warps in space-time. When they have their “meal” of whatever is around (black holes are not picky) they utterly absorb it. Nothing can escape, not even photons (particles of light.) I think black holes were made before the Big Bang and still exist. What I think is that when there was pure nothingness is that there were a bunch of Higgs floating around. Because there was nothing to give mass to through an electrostatic reaction, they just accumulated in a bunch of clusters creating black holes. Once the Big Bang occured, and actual matter started to appear, these black holes interacted with particles to give them mass while absorbing them. Maybe when these particles pass through the black holes, they take a shortcut through space and time. This type of black hole, the type that contains shortcuts through the space-time, is called a wormhole. Maybe when the particles pass through the wormhole and get spit out the other end, it creates a “big bang”, spawning a whole new universe with more black holes. And then, of course, more black holes get formed in universe due to supernovas (the explosion that occurs when a star destroys itself, in a nutshell.) Now I will share with you some properties of a black hole.
Properties of a Black Hole:
  • Black holes do indeed have mass.
  • Black holes do not have any electric charge.
  • Thet do not have angular momentum either.
  • Because black holes don’t have an electric charge or angular momentum, black holes’ gravitational fields cannot be distinguished from any other spherical object in the cosmos with the same mass.
How I Thought of this Theory:
I was paralyzed with excitement this morning when my mom told me she had heard that scientists had practically found the Higgs boson, although I didn’t do any laps because it hasn’t been COMPLETELY confirmed. I was thinking about it and thought ‘I have to be able to come up with a theory when such a big milestone has pretty much happened.’ So henceforth I thought of this theory after an extra long thinking session. And by the way, happy scientific celebration!*
*And happy Fourth of July! Even scientists never forget about that!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Theory #3: Symmetry Bubble

The universe is symmetrical infinitely. What I mean by this is that electrons orbit the nucleus of an atom as the planets orbit our Sun. There are galaxies in the universe as (theoretically) there are universes in the multiverse. What if there was a HUGE multiverse encasing multiverses that hold smaller multiverses that encase universes that hold galaxies encasing molecules that hold atoms that hold bosons and fermions that hold quarks? Then what if they go on infinitely in both directions (bigger and smaller) ? This is my idea of “symmetry.” There are many ways our universe/multiverse (if there is one)/ “mega-multiverse (s) are the same as the smallest elementary particles.  That is why I think the universe could be “symmetrical.” I also think this is also one of my favorite theories, although my “ghost universes” theory, in my opinion, is the best. Now I will share with you some similarities of anywhere from the “mega-multiverse” to the smallest muon neutrino.
Similarities of Different Scales in the Universe:
  • Planets orbit suns as electrons orbit the nucleus of an atom
  • Tons of plasma burn in stars as protons and neutrons make the nucleus
  • Galaxies form in chains as atoms chain into molecules
  • Stars explode into supernovas as particles decay and cause nuclear fission
  • The universe encases galaxies as molecules form structures
How I Thought of this Theory:
I was with my brother and our two friends and when my mom brought out this tank with bubbles and a “bubble wand”. No one ended up really using it but I tried it once and a weird pair of bubbles that looked like one was encased in the other. Then I thought that universes and multiverses could encase each other. That is my theory of symmetry.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Theory #2: "The Big Bounce"

The universe could be one big wave. If the multiverse (all the universes in a collective bundle) could emit waves, then maybe it’s “waves” are all these universes. If collision happened between two universes in the multiverse, then it would make a universe with characteristics based on how the two “parent” universes collided and the properties of the two parent universes. It would be like a chemical reaction: “Mix this with this and you get this”. For instance, our universe is rich with iron and oxygen, so a dark, solid universe filled with iron along with a buoyant, gaseous universe filled with oxygen could have bumped against each other, spawning the creation of our universe. If something like this did indeed happen, that would explain why our world has the perfect conditions for life to thrive, because it is also the perfect distance from the sun. Then we could call this theory “The Big Bounce”. Now I will share with you some of the chemical properties of our world, Earth so you can see why our planet is fine-tuned for life.
Chemical Composition of Earth:
  • iron (32.1%) 
  • oxygen (30.1%)
  • silicon (15.1%)
  • magnesium (13.9%)
  • sulfur (2.9%)
  • nickel (1.8%)
  • calcium (1.5%)
  • aluminum (1.4%)
The rest of the 1.2% is made from other chemicals like silica, alumina, and lime, to name a couple.
How I Thought of this Theory:
I was thinking about what to post when my nail accidentally scratched against the mousepad. I then thought “how could I make a theory about the universe being made that has to do with scratching?...”. Then I realized it. The mousepad and my nail were like two seperate universes, bonding together to make a universe that is a bit of fabric with a piece of nail embedded in it. Don’t worry, it didn’t hurt at all when I scratched my nail. And by the way, Through the Wormhole (again, a very awesome show) is narrated by Morgan Freeman.

Theory #1: Neutrino Universes

Every single particle in the universe has an infinite number of quantum states made from neutrinos ( will be explained later). The universal superorganism, which is where all the planets, stars, and other cosmic objects act as one huge organism plays a key part in this theory. It’s quantum computer, or “brain” calculates which state is made of matter and not neutrinos. For example, while I am sitting cross-legged typing away at this computer, some quantum states of me (made of neutrinos) could be me standing here, me typing with my legs un-crossed, or me sitting on the couch next to the computer petting my cat. This is totally possible considering that the universe’s “quantum computer” can calculate 10 to the power of 106 calculations every second, or 10 times itself 106 times. These “ghost states”, as I call them are like a giant pad of paper. You take our universe, erase what you want and then draw something new. The only catch is, you can only draw with neutrinos. Neutrinos could also be what dark matter is made of, but we’re not sure yet. Now I will tell you some properties neutrinos so you can see why I think these ghost states are made from them.
Properties of Neutrinos:
  • The only force of the Four Fundamental Forces they are bound to is the weak force (the force that binds small particles together).
  • They are the only known particle that can escape the collapse phase of a supernova (the time when a star blows up).
  • Supernovas disperse 99% of their energy in a single short 10-second burst of neutrinos.
  • It is the fermion ( a particle with a half-integral spin) with the lowest mass, weighing almost nothing at all.
  • It travels at nearly the speed of light
How I Thought of this Theory:
It was 10:30 the night before last; I was wide awake as usual. I had watched Through the Wormhole (it is an amazing show for you physics lovers out there) which inspired me with new ideas. I was thinking about how my younger brother uses delay tactics before bed (“I have to go pee” or “I didn’t get to say good night to Daddy”) when I realized all his excuses could be like an infinite number of “ghost universes” (after all, he has an infinite number of excuses).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Hi. I'm Mitch. I am 10 years old. I will introduce you to my theories of quantum gravity. The theory of quantum gravity itself would unite the two rival theories of the twentieth century: Einstein relativity and quantum mechanics. Normally these two theories wouldn't work together, but scientists are hypothesizing how they could unite them. It is important to stick to quantum gravity, because if we don't, we would have to abandon the Standard Model, which is the model of particles in the world of physics. Whether you are bona-fide particle physicist or an amateur snooping around, the only requirement is a curiosity about the world around you. Enjoy!