Particle physics in technology

Weekender
TECHNOLOGY

By MICHAEL JOHN UGLO
TODAY’S topic in its entirety is complex to a non-scientist. Notwithstanding, when we go through you will understand how easy it is if you had only fine-tuned your approach and mindset to understand it. This is an impetus for someone who wants to be a scientist and work in the field of technology where the economy, decision making and entire politics of any country depend on.
Let me commence with this note. When I wrote the first locally produced science textbook in Papua New Guinea, it was an unwitting endeavour. I was interviewed on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Pacific Beat programme and heard by listeners around the Pacific, possibly the world.
I was asked by the interviewer why I gave the title of the science textbook “Science in PNG, Pacific, Asia and Caribbean”, and was surprised indeed. Anyhow, my answer was simple: “The totality of the flora, fauna, edaphic factors, temperature, pH, salinity, wind systems, weather, climate, and generally geographical terrain and morphology, cloud physics and atmospheric physics across these regions are similar in a tropical region. That could explain the reason of the title of the textbook that sciences to be seen and studied thereof will encompass that similarity.”
That probably sufficed as an answer for the interviewer from the Pacific Beat ABC programme. I was applauded and the announcer also asked me if I wanted to say anything to the listeners. I went on to recommend this textbook to any politician and anyone in any position of authority to purchase this latest updated science textbook to the schools under their care.
The textbook was featured in the Post Courier when the ABC noticed it they approached me for the interview in that same year (2008).
Now, similarly, the unnoticed particles of physics in the universe contribute to the goodness of lives specifically on planet earth. Particles as we know are tiny bits and pieces of a big substance.
The particles we are familiar with are protons, electrons, neutrons, leptons, Higgs, bosons, quarks, photons and gluons. The presence of such particles as neutrinos sparked the interest for further quest into their origin and their existence.
Our understanding in the field of particle physics results from the fact that we have modelled the particles to standardise their properties in terms of their interactions with each other and their immediate surroundings and the larger world in relativity. This standardisation is known as the standard model. The standard model basically emphasises and brings to light the tendencies and actions at the elementary levels.
It encompasses their quantum fields governed by the quantum mechanics at the most basic indivisible particle and or sub-particle level. An investigation into this has revealed to approximately definite precisions of their interactions and the results that they yield to accord merit and status to work related to particles and the area of quantum field effects including their chemistry as applied in quantum physics.
It has to be understood with the constructions of particle colliders and accelerators built and studied around the world. The articles in hiding are those from the origin of the black hole that the theory of the big bang and the formation of the galactic and celestial bodies that came into their formations and beings as there are today.
A lot more building block particles are yet to be identified because advanced observatories and laboratories around the world are establishing structures to do just that and synchronously to determine the content of the black hole as we live to infinity.
Particles derive in antimatter as antiparticles. They carry the same mass but possess different charges. This is the notion that physicists around the world note to work with in the field of particle physics. The idea stems from the fact that every particle emits, absorbs and carries a charge of negativity balanced with a positive charge. The use of these charges has given rise to the composition of all things seen on planet earth as a tiny body compared to the vast galactic bodies in the universe.

The strongest force in the universe. -Picture from livescience.com

Particle physics to define the universe
According to the World Encyclopedia, “Particle physicists and astrophysicists both think about dark matter and dark energy. … These observations indicate that the universe is made up of roughly 5 per cent normal matter, 25 per cent dark matter and 70 per cent dark energy. But to date, scientists have not directly observed dark energy or dark matter”
Thus, it can be seen that what we know to exist in nature or in the universe on a large scale is a tiny fraction of what we do not know.
The fact of the matter is that we are not sure of the content of the dark energy which constitutes much of the particles of energy in the universe.
Further to that we are also not sure of the content of the dark matter which also contains the next highest amounts of particles.
The high energy neutrinos particles with almost negligent weight were detected while in space and prior to it being terrestrially found. The existence of photons to behave as waves in one medium and as particles in other circumstances are a sure enough proof of the existence of so much unknown particles out there already in the unknown realms of the dark matter and dark energy.

Electronics projects. -Picture from pinterest.com

Applications of particle physics
So much has been derived as a result of venturing into the study of particle physics. Such innovations include the presence of isotopes with the medical use of particle accelerators for the tracing of elements and their effects in their chemical reactions and formations of compounds in test subjects. Isotopes are elements of one kind having different mass numbers.
Other uses are found in the touch screen technology in the wide world web. Also uses are found in the electronics industry, medical as well as the computer industry such as the solid-state circuits and drives. Here, electrons and holes carrying opposite and polarised charges to flow in different directions to transmit and receive messages in both directions. Such devices are known as the bipolar transistors which play a major role in allowing both positive and negative currents for electronic message manipulations.
Further to this, there is the idea of superconductivity at cryogenic temperatures which can allow flow of charged particles to relay information at the lowest nano levels. Such electronic junctions as the Josephson’s whereby there is a superconductivity from a voltage-current linkage as a quantum effect at a macro level. This is just like the mercury vapour lamp we already covered in Astrophysics which illuminates at an astronomical 50,000 Kelvin while the rest of the particles are at normal atmospheric room temperature.
There are particle beams in radiotherapy which will continue to disarm cancerous cells of organs as well as eradicate tumours.
The manufacturing of computer chips in memories as well as processors, storages and computer drives are also very significant in the world of technology.
The manufacture of integrated circuits is a major development frontier as well that gives technology the working tool to manufacture and create structures as systems and circuits that can function to solve a particular problem in isolation or in combination as integrated circuits.

Arriving technologies in particle physics
In this particular area there is a huge interest coming out from it. Specifically speaking, one would have heard of the High Energy Physics (HEP).
This is basically the fact that the involvement of particles to effect the formation of the universe is the new frontier of energy demarcation that holds the universe to account.
This is a huge jubilant area of research that attracts very smart people to work at that field to come up with innovations to do with a nation’s security, economy and its health. Having to determine the nature of the particles of the universe will solve problems to the very highest and extreme extents that were previously thought impossible.
A demonstration is a mobile phone in your hand right now which was never available in the 198Os in PNG.

Next week: Magnetohydrodynamics in technology

  • Michael Uglo is the author of Science in PNG, Pacific, Asia & Caribbean and a lecturer in Avionics, Auto- Piloting and Aircraft Engineering.
    Please send comments to michaeluglo4@gmail.com

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