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The Astronomersneutrons
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The Universe is a strange place

About the Lecture Perhaps the universe is not so much strange as brimming with lovely paradox. The search for such beauty seems to lie at the heart of Frank Wilczek’s work. Twentieth century physics, from Einstein through Wilczek’s own Nobel Prize-winning efforts, involves demonstrating the existence of a topsy-turvy reality: for instance, that such sub-atomic particles as quarks and gluons, which have little or no mass, “orchestrate themselves into not just protons and neutrons but you and me,” according to Wilczek. “How is it possible to construct heavy objects out of objects that weigh nothing?,” he asks. Only by “creating mass out of pure energy.” These particles are essentially “excitations in otherwise empty space.” Says Wilczek: “That suggests something …beautiful and poetic: the masses of particles are not like, or similar to or metaphorically suggested by—they are the tones or frequencies of vibration patterns in dynamical voids.” The theory of quarks and gluons and the strong interaction accounts quantitatively for “the mass of protons, neutrons and ultimately you and me and everything around us.” But physics has not yet squared away all aspects of the universe. Wilzcek says that “in cosmology, we meet our match, and don’t know what’s going on.” This is because scientists can’t account for much of the mass in the cosmos. 70% of this mass is in “dark energy,” which is pushing the universe apart. Wilczek hopes that explanations for the dark stuff will emerge through improving equations, unifying theories of different interactions and extending their symmetries. “Beautifying equations leads not to ugly consequences but beautiful surprises,” he concludes.

Channels: Lectures In Astronomy  Cosmology  Major questions in astronomy 

Added: 2680 days ago by deek

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The Discovery of the Atomic Nucleus (3 of 15)

Episode 3 of In Search of Giants: Dr Brian Cox takes us on a journey through the history of particle physics. In this episode we learn how Ernest Rutherford conducted a historical experiment that revealed that most of the mass of an atom is concentrated in a tiny nucleus made of protons and neutrons. This film is part of a series originally broadcast on Teachers' TV ( The series was made with the support of The Science and Technology Facilities Council ( - Official UK LHC website for public and schools. - School resources on the LHC, how science works and particle physics. Films produced and directed by Alom Shaha (

Channels: The Astronomers 

Added: 2784 days ago by deek

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