New force…

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Everything in our Universe is held together or pushed apart by four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism, and two nuclear interactions. Physicists now think they’ve spotted the actions of a fifth physical force emerging from a helium atom.

It’s not the first time researchers claim to have caught a glimpse of it, either. A few years ago, they saw it in the decay of an isotope of beryllium. Now the same team has seen a second example of the mysterious force at play – and the particle they think is carrying it, which they’re calling X17.

The team seems to discover a new particle the characteristics of which suggested it had to be a completely new kind of fundamental boson. We currently know of four fundamental forces, and we know that three of them have bosons carrying their messages of attraction and repulsion.

This new boson couldn’t possibly be one of the particles carrying the four known forces, thanks to its distinctive mass of (17 megaelectronvolts, or about 33 times that of an electron), and tiny life span (of about 10 to the minus 14 seconds).

But physics isn’t keen on celebrating prematurely. Finding a new particle is always big news in physics, and warrants a lot of scrutiny. Not to mention repeated experiment. (1)

Humans lost in their quest for more knowledge.

New particles.

New forces.

New… whatever we know already.

Modern physics looks the cosmos through its own lenses. And interprets everything accordingly. When something is not in place, it seeks to fill in the puzzle with a new piece. And it searches for that new piece in – where else? – this things it already knows. So like a stupid uroborus ofis (Gr. Ουροβόρος όφις) it keeps on verifying itself by looking for answers back to… itself.

Don’t you see?

There is nothing which you see that you have not seen already…

And in the beginning you were blind.

It is just that we need a new Einstein to tell us so.

Faster than light. In nothingness…

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It has long been known that charged particles, such as electrons and protons, produce the electromagnetic equivalent of a sonic boom when their speeds exceed that of photons in the surrounding medium. This effect, known as Cherenkov emission, is responsible for the characteristic blue glow from water in a nuclear reactor, and is used to detect particles at the CERN Large Hadron Collider.

According to Einstein, nothing can travel faster than light in vacuum. Because of this, it is usually assumed that the Cherenkov emission cannot occur in vacuum. But according to quantum theory, the vacuum itself is packed full of “virtual particles,” which move momentarily in and out of existence.

These ghostly particles are usually not observable but, in the presence of extremely strong electric and magnetic fields, they can turn the vacuum into an optical medium where the speed of light is slowed down so that high velocity charged particles can emit Cherenkov gamma rays. This is totally unexpected in a vacuum.

A group of Physics researchers at Strathclyde have found that in extreme conditions, such as found at the focus of the world’s most powerful lasers, and the huge magnetic fields around neutron stars, this ‘polarised’ vacuum can slow down gamma rays just enough for Cherenkov emission to occur. (1)

In the cosmos of phenomena, even nothing is not real.

And in the void of existence, something will always be.

In a universe ruled by light, things still travel faster than it.

Defying the rules. For the only rule is that there are no rules.

In a cosmos of being, everything can and will exist.

Only to show that being is defining the definitions.

Watch that particle travel faster than light.

It is not traveling at all, you know.

You are…

Ask it and it will tell you. It is standing still.

Watching you traveling faster than light…

And yet, it makes the same mistake as you did.

It never asked you whether you feel running…

Longevity. Xenon 124. Universe.

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Theory predicts the isotope’s radioactive decay has a half-life that surpasses the age of the universe “by many orders of magnitude,” but no evidence of the process has appeared until now.

An international team of physicists that includes three Rice University researchers – assistant professor Christopher Tunnell, visiting scientist Junji Naganoma and assistant research professor Petr Chaguine – have reported the first direct observation of two-neutrino double electron capture for xenon 124, the physical process by which it decays. Their paper appears this week in the journal Nature.

While most xenon isotopes have half-lives of less than 12 days, a few are thought to be exceptionally long-lived, and essentially stable. Xenon 124 is one of those, though researchers have estimated its half-life at 160 trillion years as it decays into tellurium 124. The universe is presumed to be merely 13 to 14 billion years old.

The new finding puts the half-life of Xenon 124 closer to 18 sextillion years. (For the record, that’s 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.) (1)

We look up to the universe.

We admire the cosmos in awe.

But the cosmos is nothing more than the shell.

What is in it, is important.

Even particles can outlive the universe.

What matters is what cannot.

One day we will discover how huge the cosmos really is.

One day we will know how tiny we actually are.

And only then, will we understand that we were wrong.

About how significant we are.

Especially because we are not…

Proton. Mass. Higgs. Phantoms of science.

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A proton’s mass is more just than the sum of its parts. And now scientists know just what accounts for the subatomic particle’s heft.

Protons are made up of even smaller particles called quarks, so you might expect that simply adding up the quarks’ masses should give you the proton’s mass. However, that sum is much too small to explain the proton’s bulk. And new, detailed calculations show that only 9 percent of the proton’s heft comes from the mass of constituent quarks. The rest of the proton’s mass comes from complicated effects occurring inside the particle, researchers report in the Nov. 23 Physical Review Letters.

Quarks get their masses from a process connected to the Higgs boson, an elementary particle first detected in 2012 (SN: 7/28/12, p. 5). But “the quark masses are tiny,” says study coauthor and theoretical physicist Keh-Fei Liu of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. So, for protons, the Higgs explanation falls short.

Instead, most of the proton’s 938 million electron volts of mass is due to complexities of quantum chromodynamics, or QCD, the theory which accounts for the churning of particles within the proton. (1)

Not the sum of its parts…

Can this be true in any way?

Everything is the sum of its parts. But some of the parts are invisible. And you need to know where to look for them. Why do we not see the QCD as part of the proton? Why don’t we see the soul as part of man? Why don’t we see man as part of the cosmos? Why don’t we see the cosmos as part of God?

Our ability to see the parts of things is intently related to our ability see just parts of those parts. For if we were able to see all the parts we would simply look at the whole…

It may sound weird, but only when we look at no parts at all will we be able to see them all at once…

How can anything be part of something?

To what else can everything be part of?

If not part of nothing?

See the proton.

There is no proton.

Can you see its parts now?

Extra dimensions. Existence. Cosmos.

This could be the way the world ends.

First, a pair of cosmic protons smash together at unimaginable speeds. The tremendous energy of their crash would create a tiny, ephemeral black hole, so small that it would last just a fraction of a second before evaporating.

Where the black hole just was, a bubble of space with entirely different laws of physics than the universe we inhabit would begin to grow, expanding ever-outward at the speed of light. In its wake, atoms would disintegrate, and the universe as we know it would fizzle out of existence.

That horror movie can happen only if the universe has at least one extra dimension, on top of three of space and one of time. But this isn’t the way the world ends.

And this puts strict limits on the size of extra dimensions, if any actually exist, Mack and Robert McNees of Loyola University Chicago claim in a paper posted online at arXiv.org. (1)

We live in a cosmos which exists.

Only because we do as well.

But we are already dead.

In a cosmos full of lifeless matter.

Beings bound in existence.

We should not be afraid of the universe ending.

But of the fact that it once upon a time started to exist.

We have the power to destroy. And destroy it we must.

All we must do is close our eyes.

And see no dimensions.

No suns. No galaxies.

See nothing.

But us.

Alone in the cosmos.

Engulfed by the joyful silence of Being…

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