Monday, October 22, 2007

The Unseen & The Unknown

The enigmatic neutrinos are among the most abundant of the tiny particles that make up our universe. They are a billion times more abundant than the particles of which the earth and we humans are made.

Thus, to understand the universe, we must understand the neutrinos. Moving ghostlike, almost invisibly, through matter, these particles are very hard to pin down and study. However, dramatic progress has recently been made. Fermilab's Boris Kayser SLAC 2005 lecture.

Neutrinos are elementary particles that travel close to the speed of light, lack an electric charge, are able to pass through ordinary matter almost undisturbed, and are thus extremely difficult to detect. Neutrinos have a minuscule, but non-zero, mass too small to be measured as of 2007. Usually denoted by the Greek letter ν (nu).

Neutrinos are created as a result of certain types of radioactive decay or nuclear reactions such as those in the sun, in nuclear reactors, or when cosmic rays hit atoms. There are three types, or “flavours”, of neutrinos: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos; each type also has an antimatter partner, called an antineutrino. Electron neutrinos are generated whenever protons change into neutrons, while electron antineutrinos are generated whenever neutrons change into protons. These are the two forms of beta decay. Interactions involving neutrinos are generally mediated by the weak nuclear force.

Most neutrinos passing through the Earth emanate from the sun, and more than 50 trillion solar electron neutrinos pass through the human body every second.

But even if and when we can detect every elementary particle, component or 'strings' in the universe, will we be able to categorically state that nothing survives death, or that heaven is not sitting safely cocooned on some far off distant galaxy of the observable universe.

Perhaps this universe is not the best of all possible universes, but simply the universe we ‘observe’ while we are in it - and there are other universes, in One of which, neither time ageing or decay exist or are of any consequence.

After all, have we given a name to that which is beyond the cosmic event horizon or beyond the ‘observable’ universe, and what proof do we have that what is beyond is an empty ‘nothingness’ or vacuum. Even a Torus is surrounded by ’something’ on all sides.

Since with current technology, science & knowledge we are unable to travel the length of our solar system in a lifetime, should we therefore conclude that interstellar & intergalactic travel is ‘beyond’ the human race’s capability. Or should we be prepared to admit that there is much we do not know, and there are advances we hope to make. But even when we think we know everything, or at least everything about the observable universe (including visible matter and dark matter) will we ever be any closer to the great Unknown.
Magnetic Cocoons power energetic Cosmic Rays @ NewScientistSpace
Genesis - Clues to the Origins of the Solar System @ The Daily Galaxy
Enormous Bubbles of Plasma - trapped - within Earth's Magnetic Field

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