Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

It is Christmas! Time to take a break from the blogosphere. But before you turn off the computer, we have a quiz for you to finish our seasonal program. Here we go:

87-8-2 26-53-68-73-32


The above encodes a German expression, if you type the result into this online dictionary you get the English translation.


As last year, the first correct answer wins a PI mug, see photo. (If you are not willing to provide a mailing address, or aren't interested anyhow, please don't spoil other people's fun and do not post your answer in the comments).

A Merry Christmas and nice holidays to all of you!

30 comments:

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

That would be frohe feiertage meaning Happy Holidays. It was elemental of course:-)

Best,

Phil

Arjen Dijksman said...

Yes, happy holidays Bee! And thanks for the advents questions. I was sending the answer by mail when Phil's message showed up in the comments;-)

Arjen

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Arjen,

As it was in the mail already I would like it to go to you if Bee doesn’t mind, call it a Christmas present if you will.

Best,

Phil


Hi Bee & Stefan,

Thanks for giving with this blog as to improving all the days of my year.


Merry Christmas & Happy Nrw Year,


Phil

Arjen Dijksman said...

Hello Phil,

I would be delighted with a PI mug of course. But never mind, I think you were a bit earlier so you are the winner. Happy Christmas!

Best Christmas greetings,
Arjen

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee & Stefan,

As noticed in my last comment I have made yet another typo. That is certainly something I will have to try to improve on for the up coming year :-)

So let’s try that again.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!,

Phil

Giotis said...

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you too Stefan and Bee and to all the readers.

And as the Americans use to say: Take it Easy.

Bee said...

Hi Phil, Arjen,

Aah, this was FAR too easy. It was probably harder to make the quiz up than to solve it. According to my inbox, Phil's comment was 4 minutes earlier than Arjen's email. But since it's Christmas, we'll just send a mug to both of you. Please send your mailing address to

sabine[at]perimeterinstitute.ca

(I assure you I won't use it for any other purpose.) Best,

B.

Stu said...

This is a nice mug, can we buy one if we pass by PI ? Where ?

Cheers !

stefan said...

Dear all,

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Aeh, Phil, Arjen - can you say how you managed to solve the riddle so fast? Was it really that easy, or do you have some special relation to the elements?

Cheers, Stefan

Bee said...

Hi Stu,

Well, there isn't really a good answer to this question. Visitors and residents can buy the mugs in the visitor's office, but it's not like we have a store or something. But since I'm at it, I think PI should work on his corporate identity and open a giftshop. For one, people would stop asking me where and how they can order pens, mugs or T-shirts. But more importantly, I think we should offer plush toys of all faculty members. One could collect them and put them into a dark drawer or throw them at the wall if necessary ;-p Otoh, I find the mugs are overpriced, even though I know they are sold even below acquisition cost, so the gift shop might not be much of a business. Best,

B.

Sojourner said...

Happy holidays everyone!

minutiae: it ended with Germanium too:)

Neil' said...

Yes, Merry Christmas to all. When I was living in Germany (near Kaiserslautern, military brat) around 1970, New Year's was far cooler a thing to celebrate. They let us teens drink beer under 18 y.o., and my friends and I wandered the streets after midnight making fools of ourselves. There was a special strong beer called Bellheimer that we loved, it is hard to get now that I'm in Virginia

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Stefan,

Actually, I wouldn’t say it was exactly easy, it’s just for me it didn’t seem to follow any obvious pattern. Then in thinking pattern Dmitri Mendeleev came to mind for his discovery of a pattern for the elements based on atomic weights in conjunction with properties like valence and more common physical properties that weren’t obvious before. Mendeleev’s idea of course was so powerful since it formed gaps that predicted new undiscovered elements and gave clues as to what properties they might have. It is true however that many being inspired to read this blog would know of Mendeleev and his important discovery, while many others would not. In my case I solved it by association, so I wouldn’t say it was easy just perhaps more obvious for your demographic :-)

Best,

Phil

P.S. It was nice of Bee to offer two mugs as it will be much appreciated as I’m certain it is for Arjen or would be for any of your readers. My advice for them next year if Bee is again be so generous, is to remind that the early bird get’s the worm or rather mug in this instance.

Arjen Dijksman said...

Hi Stefan,

Well, the thing that made it easy was knowing that it was a German expression and finding the "8-2-blank" characters into it. That immediately associated it with "..ohe ........." as oxygen and helium happen to be so common in our research work. The rest was a matter of table-checking.

Kind regards,
Arjen

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Arjen,

So your solution came from more having greater familiarity with languages, combined with your formal training. I must say I envy a little many here for being so fluent. In Canada if English is your language in school one is taught some French, yet mainly it is the written with little experience given or afforded for the conversational aspect.

One thing I can now boast as somewhat unique is that yesterday I was mugged by a theoretical physicist and yet stranger still I was grateful for the experience:-)

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année,

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I thought you might be interested to learn that during Christmas dinner yesterday I announced to family and friends that I had won a PI mug, with one of my daughters responding “isn’t that usually served on a plate” :-)

Thanks again,

Phil

P.S. I anticipate your response as being to recommend that I don't quit my day job :-)

Plato said...

A "Merry Christmas" to Bee and Stefan and those that visit Backreaction.

While I must admit I came late to the post, not that it would have made any difference, seeing the answer already supplied, I am still amazed it was done so fast.:)

Proceedings of Societies [Report on the Law of Octaves]

Mr. JOHN A. R. NEWLANDS read a paper entitled "The Law of Octaves, and the Causes of Numerical Relations among the Atomic Weights."[41] The author claims the discovery of a law according to which the elements analogous in their properties exhibit peculiar relationships, similar to those subsisting in music between a note and its octave. Starting from the atomic weights on Cannizzarro's [sic] system, the author arranges the known elements in order of succession, beginning with the lowest atomic weight (hydrogen) and ending with thorium (=231.5); placing, however, nickel and cobalt, platinum and iridium, cerium and lanthanum, &c., in positions of absolute equality or in the same line. The fifty-six elements[42] so arranged are said to form the compass of eight octaves, and the author finds that chlorine, bromine, iodine, and fluorine are thus brought into the same line, or occupy corresponding places in his scale. Nitrogen and phosphorus, oxygen and sulphur, &c., are also considered as forming true octaves. The author's supposition will be exemplified in Table II., shown to the meeting, and here subjoined:--

While I too have a great interest in Mendeleev and the table built on the idea of the octaves, I do not see how this insight to solving is revealing in the demographics of this site?

Maybe then from a "scientific basis only" for sure then, not it's historical standpoint maybe?:)Maybe in the New Year Stefan might elaborate on that aspect?

Some might even see "this relation" to Riemann's "prime obsession" too?:)

A Happy New Year to all, as well.

Stephen,

Dr Who said...

Question: what's the best thing about christmas and new year?

Answer: we get a few days off having to read arxiv.

Admit it -- it's true!

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Dr. Who,

"Answer: we get a few days off having to read arxiv."

Which affords you barely enough time for you to think up something that you publish to it :-)

My Question is: What would be the consequences if all scientists where not permitted to publish for the coming year?

Best.

Phil

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Plato,

John Newlands' “Law of Octaves” was a competing proposal put forth a few years before Mendeleev’s “Periodic Table”. The definitive and thereby deciding difference is Newlands’ proposal didn’t reveal the gaps that Mendeleev’s did and as such didn’t have the predictive power that is so important in deciding between the correctness and truth of competing theories. So as usual and as it should be it's nature itself that forms to be the ultimate authority in such matters.

I would agree however that music is based upon a pattern and yet like numbers, number systems music can be formed from different bases, yet in the end prove to be equivalent for the most part. Music has been compared to physics a lot through the years like with Kepler’s “Harmonices Mundi” (The Harmony of the Worlds) where he attempts to tie much if not all of physics to such a notion. Yet in the end what is both revealed and revealing are the patterns and relationships between things, while the music for me represents simply one among many ways we give life to them. So for me it's like to ask, what best defines an apple, it’s shape, colour or sweetness?

Best of the Season,

Phil

Plato said...

Hi Phil,

thereby deciding difference is Newlands’ proposal didn’t reveal the gaps that Mendeleev’s did

I beg to differ on that.

The idea of "such a scale in terms of the octave" is that it can be injected and raised at just the right place.

Of course, this has a philosophical connotations and any of it may not be of interest to the "real hard core scientist," but it is interesting never the less.

Then, that one could apply such thinking of these gaps, to what could be constituted as part of our human evolution, to interpret the the lightest of matters formed to the most gross in weight.

You might find my new post today of interest.

I added Riemann for a reason as well to demonstrate that the Ulam spiral could have been thought relative to the nature of the Fibonacci numbers in this extent.

Best of Season to you too.

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Plato,

“The idea of "such a scale in terms of the octave" is that it can be injected and raised at just the right place.”

Well won’t get into a wrestling match about it, it’s just that neither Newlands or Meyer who also proposed a model predicted any new elements or where in terms of atomic weight they would occur as Mendeleev did with his table. Actually, I’m more fascinated what he did for vodka or for that matter spirits in general, as he’s responsible for why most are 40% alcohol to 60% water, for (resultant of research) he insisted that the perfect balance was one molecule of ethyl alcohol diluted with two molecules of water actually working out closer by weight to be 38% to 62%, which I find interesting as that’s almost exactly Phi or the golden ratio.

I’ve searched for a copy of the work he did for the Russian department of weights and measures with no luck. Also, his original doctorate dissertation paper was entitled "On the Combinations of Water with Alcohol", where he was to first to notice that the final volume of water and alcohol when mixed was less then the sum of the two before being combined, in other words it compressed. Anyway, I was always interested to discover if spirits would be just that much better if they had held to Mendeleev’s recipe more precisely. Perhaps I could then start a whole new brand called PHIcohol :-)

Cheers,

Phil

Plato said...

Hi Phil,

Distillation, by improving the spirits and purification, is okay too:)You have to have "the heart" for it.:) Practise detachment, to get a "clearer taste" for it.


One of the contributors to this blog had written this below(?) and I am having troubling tracking it to the source.

However, don't be fooled! The charm of the golden number tends to attract kooks and the gullible - hence the term "fool's gold". You have to be careful about anything you read about this number. In particular, if you think ancient Greeks ran around in togas philosophizing about the "golden ratio" and calling it "Phi", you're wrong. This number was named Phi after Phidias only in 1914, in a book called _The Curves of Life_ by the artist Theodore Cook. And, it was Cook who first started calling 1.618...the golden ratio. Before him, 0.618... was called the golden ratio! Cook dubbed this number "phi", the lower-case baby brother of Phi.

So PHIcohol may not be a good name for the elixir being sold here. So it's a wild west show I am still looking for the "gold nuggets" so gold panning is not such a bad thing is it?

Best,

stefan said...

Hi Arjen,


thanks for your comment. So you also have to do with the periodic table in your job - I guess that speeds up finding the solution. I myself had been sorting through long lists of section headings involving elements over the last weeks, and it took me a very short time only to "test-solve" the riddle. But I thought this was not typical ;-).


Hi Phil,

it seems then that for you it was a real riddle that took some time to puzzle over - I guess you have enjoyed it ;-).


Hi Phil, Plato -

oh, I wasn't aware of Newlands and the law of octaves - thanks for the hint! Here in Germany, the discovery of the periodic table is often also attributed to Lothar Meyer.

Cheers, Stefan

stefan said...

Hi Neil,

When I was living in Germany (near Kaiserslautern, military brat) around 1970...

what a nice coincidence - at that time, a was a little kid living not that far way from Kaiserslautern!

There was a special strong beer called Bellheimer that we loved, it is hard to get now that I'm in Virginia.

Funny that you mention Bellheimer - I haven't heard about this beer since quite a long time. Actually, it's no wonder that it's difficult to get in Virginia - you will have a hard time already to find it outside the Palatinate region of southwest Germany. Where I've grown up, there have been a few pubs serving Bellheimer, but it was not that common, even though Kaiserslautern isn't that far away.

By the way, where exactly have you been for your service? Baumholder training ground and Ramstein airbase are quite close to the place where I come from.

Cheers, Stefan

Phil Warnell said...

Hi Stefan,

Yes, Meyers did precede Mendeleev with proposing a pattern and yet like Newlands didn’t conceive at first there were missing elements in between and the possibility of more beyond. He did independently after Mendeleev arrive at this conclusion and as the article you pointed to indicates it’s largely due to this confirmation that Mendeleev’s idea was then more widely accepted.

What I also find interesting as being reavealed in this is that often things are just ripe for a solution. So I would say that when often plays a greater role more so then who. Yet also I have often wondered what it was like for Mendeleev, Meyers and Newlands to have such a eureka moment.

Best,

Phil

Plato said...

Hi Phil,

Yet also I have often wondered what it was like for Mendeleev, Meyers and Newlands to have such a eureka moment.

This is more "to the spirit" I am referring, as there is something more to be said about being the receptacle, as well as the crucible.

The elemental table in my mind was a good test bed for further elemental discoveries no doubt, and reference to the "gap" is more the realization that model assumption could help prove that the acceptance of the model, would allow others to work the same process, and get "new" results.

See how these scientists have affected us so?

So there is a much "finer platform" here for consideration, that such elements if defined would within the context of the hard science would have "other evidence" before it?

This "is the place" that such expression should be foretelling of the elements, from those "first microseconds" while distinguished elementary, happened earlier. Have been "objectively identified" in our modern day world.

Thusly, the reference then to "arrow of time" has entered the picture, and such debates are pointed to what tested methods shall deduce our new perceptions about the world in which we live, that they have created the experimental tools to see the universe in new ways. Why shall we not grant this to the new perception that consciousness can hold once it too has been shaped by such experimental procedures that it is to provide the new stepping stone, for seeing the world as we have never see it before?

Where did gravity first start?:)

Best,

Plato said...

It seems it not such "an intelligent question" for us lay people to ponder? Yet seeing this moved back to a beginning...where is that?

I guess, such a question has been assigned only for those that have the qualification? :(

Best,

Arjen Dijksman said...

Hello Bee,

Mug arrived well. Nochmals danke! http://twitpic.com/1ybfj

Greetings,
Arjen

Bee said...

Hi Arjen,

Thanks for the photo! Always nice to see one of our readers :-) Best,

B.