Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Need a boost?


  1. The speed of light is the mother of all speeds?

    I don't think this will hit the top ten charts :)

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  3. Hi Bee,

    Thanks Bee, yet I do think it should have been more properly called the “Invariance Song” as Galileo was also relative, that is relatively speaking :-)

    There was a young woman named Bright
    Whose speed was much faster than light.
    She set out one day
    In a relative way,
    And returned on the previous night.

    — Geri Taran



  4. Dear Arun,

    No, not exactly chart material. But it's so honestly bad it has a certain consistent style to it.

    Dear Phil,

    There once was a women named Bee
    Whose speed was exactly at c
    She never slowed down
    Did not turn around
    A shift to the red was all you would see.

    ;-) Best,


  5. Could anybody figure out what the snowman is doing there?

  6. Hi Bee,

    No I never could figure out what the snow man was suppose to suggest, unless of course if Frosty was to travel at c that for him time would stand still and therefore he’d have no time in which to melt; that is relative to us:-)

    A fellow named Phil with rulers and clocks
    Saw this Bee at C with others enter a box
    Yet as often and hard as he tried
    He found no variance in their relative stride
    As due to some strange paradox



  7. There once was a snowman called Frosty
    He made it on YouTube but mostly
    He stood without moving
    And gazed, disapproving
    That Frosty in motion would have been too costly.

    The Snowman reminds me of Knick Knack.

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  10. The aforementioned lady named Bee
    Said that if c depends on E
    One event can turn into three.

    Doesn't scan very well, but I hope the physics is accurate.

  11. HI Bee.

    As I wrote this in haste I thought I’d offer correction as Frosty truly deserves better:-)

    Frosty appears not moving spatially
    Yet the reason for this can be explained ratioly
    As with all he observes travelling at C
    His speed relative to them left him destined to be
    As a man of snow proceeding glacially



  12. I hesitated to click on that, because I recall two previous multimedia physics-related posts which I thought were painfully atrocious. One was some horrible Canadian group hijacking physics-related visuals with their bad music. The other was more recent, it was some physics-related cartoon animation's with painfully shrill dubbed voices and music ... which reminded me of fingernails scrapping across a long blackboard.

    I never commented on them at the time.

    And I only mention those now, because, happily, I can say I really like this one. Great animation, good voice, excellent music and fun lyrics. All thumbs up. :)

    Hey, that girl on the guitar looks like you, Bee. ... looks good!

    And is that Lubos on the drums? haha, naw, I doubt it, cuz Lubos probably wouldn't participate unless he could be plucking on some strings ... even though he could make a lot of noise banging on the drums.

    I used to look like the singer, but then entropy changed that. No wonder physicists like the Block Time theory: we can claim that any time in the past has equal existential status to what we perceive to be the present. :)

  13. Arun said... The speed of light is the mother of all

    And here we have "The Mother of all radiation ..."
    in a physics-song. lol

  14. Hi William,

    I can relate. I find these frequency adjusted quotes particularly gruesome. I also don't know why it is that one evidently has to rap about particle physics, as I'm not a big fan of that music style. Just yesterday I came across dat thing. Better don't watch it ;-) Best,


  15. Tsk, tsk to both Phil and to Bee,
    in writing of travelling at c,
    an impossible trick
    to go quite that quick,
    so please add "approximately"


  16. traveling at c,
    an impossible trick

    Oh, realllllly ?

    I'll prove you wrong. Next Halloween I'll dress up as a photon, and will move exactly at the speed of light (what other choice do photons have? ... stupid mindless photons).

    In a vacuum.

    Blink and you'll miss me. :-0

  17. Hi Steve,

    You said ... "I'll dress up as a photon, and will move exactly at the speed of light."

    Haha. For Halloween, I'd go as a radio-wave photon: more imposing size, although, paradoxically, less energy. (I've seen claims that "size" can not apply to photons, but I believe that claim is wrong.)

    Yes, of course, a photon travels at c, by definition.

    The line in my post was referring to where Bee and Phil wrote of Bee and Snowman traveling at the speed of light.

    Ok, I can rewrite it :) ...

    Tsk, tsk to both Phil and to Bee,
    On their claims of travel'n at c,
    you've got too much mass
    to go quite that fast,
    so please add "approximately".


    ps "In a vacuum" ... But a spatial vacuum can't exist, can it? Incessant blips of particle-antiparticle creations and all. So what effect might that have on a photon as it travels through giga-light-years of all that clutter (vacuum fluctuations)?

  18. Of course you're right, virtual particles exist, so nothing actually moves at the speed of light, just as Absolute Zero is but a concept, and nothing actually exists at that temperature thanks to the Third Law of Thermodynamics, but we can get very very close in each case.

    And of course I was just teasing. I won't really dress up as a photon since I have no idea what a photon actually looks like, and neither does anyone else. Is it a wave? Is it a particle? Einstein said both. What's a "particle"? Nobody knows.

    Fizix is phun.

  19. The vacuum fluctuations don't change the speed of the photon for the same reason it doesn't acquire a mass.

  20. Ah, thank you, Bee. I recently read that a photon may in fact have a tiny mass (far more insignificant than the neutrino's) but now realize that this is pure speculation. Well, never knowing when to leave well enough alone I looked up "mass of a photon" on Google and got the following from Wikipedia entry here:

    In relativity, all energy moving along with a body adds up to the total energy, which is exactly proportional to the relativistic mass. Even a single photon, graviton, or neutrino traveling in empty space has a relativistic mass, which is its energy divided by c². But the rest mass of a photon is slightly subtler to define in terms of physical measurements, because a photon is always moving at the speed of light—it is never at rest.

    If you run away from a photon in the direction it travels, having it chase you, when the photon catches up to you the photon will be seen as having less energy. The faster you were traveling when it catches you, the less energy it will have. As you approach the speed of light, the photon looks redder and redder, by Doppler shift (the Doppler shift is the relativistic formula), and the energy of a very long-wavelength photon approaches zero. This is why a photon is massless; this means that the rest mass of a photon is zero.

    By this we conclude that if William goes as a radio wave he will be very tired. That's it, I'm going to be a gamma ray, no question. :-)

  21. Steven: Well, yes, when it comes to experimental bounds, they are always finite. Thus, you can never exclude that the photon mass is actually tiny but nonzero. It's just smaller than something. For what I am concerned, the concept of a "relativistic mass" should go into the trash bin altogether. It just confuses people. Particles have a mass. (That's what is commonly referred to as "restmass.") That mass is an invariant. (It is observer-independent.) Period. The photon mass is to excellent accuracy zero. Best,


  22. Hi Steven,

    To clarify, I'm not going as a radio *wave* ... I'm going as a *photon* from the radio-wave-area of the electro-magnetic spectrum. I think there is unfair discrimination against the concept of big photons - it seems scientists always conceive of photons as these hard little tiny things from the visible area of the spectrum or lower, which are quickly absorbed by matter ... so it's only right to spook them with huge 6 to 10 foot photon *particles* which can go right through them. Haha. I'd be able to get right into their heads.

    I'd also like to see the double slit experiment done with 10 foot sized photon *particles* from the radio-wave area of the e-m spectrum ... using slits the size of barn doors, and having the detector "screen" be a huge array of thousands of rabbit-ear-like antennas mounted on the side of a huge vertical mountain cliff. Now if a hair-sized e-m field detector was placed a little bit inside each of the barn-door-sized slits, are the 6 to 10 foot sized photons going to object to that and refuse to manifest interference? QM says yes, but it would be interesting to see.

  23. I'd also like to see the double slit experiment done with 10 foot sized photon *particles* from the radio-wave area of the e-m spectrum ... using slits the size of barn doors, and having the detector "screen" be a huge array of thousands of rabbit-ear-like antennas mounted on the side of a huge vertical mountain cliff.

    Me too, and surprisingly that was in the NASA budget but Obama cut that item out of the budget, as he has done with so much else.

    Why Republicans hate Science funding: it gets in the way of tax cuts to the rich.

    Why Democrats hate science funding: it gets in the way of free money to the poor so they don't have to work and can stay home and play more video games.

    So, America's time has passed. Go, go Europe! And the rest of the world. The future of Science is in your hands now.

    However on the the good news front, I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to GEICO!

    *P.S. William, I thought you said radio wave from the electro-magnetism era (before Einstein invented light quanta), not area as you said. Sorry about that, and it serves me right for reading too fast.


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