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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » New Game: Name a Sub-Atomic Particle After a Magician (with explanation) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

panlives
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Inner circle
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Ver-non...?
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
Ray Tupper.
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NG16.
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Angel zerbolluck.
What do we want?
A cure for tourettes!
When do we want it?
C*nt!
MobilityBundle
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There's already something called the J/Psi meson. It's a shame Ricky Jay isn't a mentalist. Smile

It's not quite named directly after a magician, but the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudia_Schiffer]Schifferon particle might be used to describe an excitation of the Copper Field. (The joke: in quantum field theory, particles are always "excitations" of fields, with "excitation" just meaning a greater than expected value.)
Jonathan Townsend
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MotilityBundle - do these fields have density/distance type descriptions? I'm puzzled by mixed-model descriptions where waves/particles are measured in free/empty space and then on the other hand there are fields in (which do/don't define) free space. Not even going to ask how tiny strings can vibrate without being held under tension or thought of as elementary in some way.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
MobilityBundle
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Oops, another blown link. Smile

In any case, Jonathan, I think the answer to your question is yes, but I'm not sure. Fields in quantum field theory bear a strong resemblance to classical fields. For example, both classically and quantumly (is that a word?), a field is just a function defined everywhere in space and time. The function can have any kind of value. Scalar fields associate numbers to points in spacetime, vector fields associate vectors, etc.

For example, if you consider an electron hanging out in an otherwise empty universe, both classically and quantumly (it's a word now!), there's an electric field whose strength falls off roughly as 1/r^2, where r is the distance from the electron. If you wiggle the electron, both classically and quantumly, the "wiggle" causes some ripples in the electric field, and those ripples propagate out at the speed of light.

Classically, this looks like a wave. If you only look at differences between the static-electron field and the wiggled-electron field, you'll see it's zero most places. If it took you t seconds to wiggle the electron, then the wavelength of the wave is ct, where c is the speed of light. And its amplitude encodes the specific motion you decided to use to wiggle the electron.

In QFT, it's not too much different. When you wiggle the electron, it spits out photons. (Photons are the "field quanta" of the electromagnetic field). If you wiggle the electron for t seconds, you'll get of photons of length ct, where c is the speed of light. The energy distribution of photons in the jet encodes the specific motion you decided to use to wiggle the electron.

In both cases, fields are defined everywhere in the universe. In both cases, changes in the value of a field at some point propagate out to other points.

Does that help?
Michael Baker
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Penn & Teller - composite particles

Mr. Electric - for obvious reasons
~michael baker
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