Imaginary Space, Imaginary Time?

Physics
[caption id="attachment_5427" align="alignright" width="480"] Square Root of -1[/caption] What do you think? Could there be imaginary space? imaginary time? In the real world, there are many and varied ideas we can comprehend, or at least find conceivable. However, there are concepts beyond our comprehension. This does not automatically make them unreal. One such concept is the imaginary number. Physically, the imaginary number is real. To date, however, no one has satisfactorily explained the phenomenon. Simplest Case The simplest imaginary number is the square root of –1. Does that sound like it should be no problem? Well, the square root of 1 has two values: –1 and 1. That can be proven. 1 x 1 = 1, right? And –1 x –1 = 1, right? Well, what number n is there,…
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Electron Structure in Atoms

Physics
[caption id="attachment_4966" align="alignright" width="440"] 4dxz Orbital[/caption] Chemistry is the study of the interactions of atoms, determined largely by the outermost or surface electrons. Electron structure in atoms obeys the laws of quantum mechanics. They do not move randomly as if in some sort of cloud, but are organized into shells, subshells and orbitals. Electron Structure in Atoms Four quantum numbers are responsible for this structure. They are the principal quantum number, the azimuthal quantum number, the magnetic quantum number and the spin quantum number. Principal Quantum Number - Shells The principal quantum number, “n”, must be a positive integer. That is n = 1, 2, 3… This number dictates an electron’s energy level. Electrons fill the lowest energy level first, then the second energy level, the third and so on.…
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Scale Independent Math Expressions for Physical Processes

Physics
[caption id="attachment_4949" align="alignright" width="440"] Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232 - ESO[/caption] Scientists seek the ability to explain all physical processes by means of single math expressions independent of scale—from the subatomic to the astronomic. Is that possible? There are also physics anomalies. Or, perhaps, they are best described as dichotomies. For example, light is known to act sometimes as a particle, sometimes as a wave. Can these two behaviors be reconciled into one, describable using one mathematical expression? I believe the answer in both instances is, Yes. Perhaps I feel so because historically scientists have believed there should be simplicity in the laws of nature. Disclaimer: The author, though not an unintelligent man, does have moments when his mental prowess can be more closely described as bone-headed. This may be one…
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Three Hydrogen Isotopes: Protium, Deuterium, Tritium

Chemistry, Physics
Elements are the building blocks of a chemist’s world. The first and simplest element is hydrogen, H. It is a gas at room temperature. A molecule of hydrogen gas consists of two joined atoms. However, we will discuss the lone atoms, which exist in three varieties: protium, deuterium, and tritium. All hydrogen atoms have an atomic number of 1. This means the central core or nucleus of any of the three varieties of hydrogen contains just 1 proton. All hydrogen atoms have 1 electron in an orbital outside the nucleus. What makes the three varieties different? The nucleus of hydrogen can include in addition to the proton, zero, one, or two neutrons. Protium Hydrogen without any neutron is protium. Hydrogen with one neutron is deuterium. Hydrogen with two neutrons is…
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Pyrophoricity: How Does It Work?

Chemistry, Physics
[caption id="attachment_3651" align="alignright" width="440"] Pyrophoric ferro-cerium striker[/caption] A substance exhibiting pyrophoricity (including certain metals) reacts quickly with oxygen, producing heat, and bursting into flames. Alkali metals are pyrophoric, but there are other pyrophoric metals as well, given the proper conditions. Otherwise, they are stable and may be put to a number of uses without fear of bursting into flame. The overall principle is a simple one: metals are electropositive. Oxygen is electronegative. Almost all metals will react with oxygen to some extent. As a metal oxidizes, the reaction releases a little heat energy. If the heat cannot dissipate, it builds up. This speeds further oxidation, increasing the heat yet more. The metal may burst into flames. Those “Other” Metals Some alkaline earth metals such as calcium, and a few other…
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Distance, Velocity, and Acceleration

Mathematics, Physics
[caption id="attachment_3512" align="alignright" width="440"] Porsche 911 image - CCA 2 Generic[/caption] Do you know the relationships between distance, velocity, and acceleration? In learning about a matter, the primary obstacle is likely to be understanding the concept of it. For instance, as a young teen, I was introduced to algebra. Algebra is the first form of mathematics that contains not only numbers, but letters as well. Numbers are constant (after all, 3 is three), but letters are used to indicate variance in value, i.e. they are variables. Distance The concept of distance is so very simple, it is taken for granted. But should it be? Some young ones may not fully comprehend the concept of distance. That being said, we will assume here that the reader and his or her pupil…
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Mysterious St. Elmo’s Fire

Physics
[caption id="attachment_3371" align="alignright" width="440"] Coronal discharge in plasma - www.Lucnix.be[/caption] St. Elmo's Fire is far from being a variety of combustion associated with a heaven bound Muppet. Rather, it is an historic phenomenon observed by sailors at sea, and is named after the supposed patron saint of sailors, Erasmus.¹ St. Elmo's Fire has also appeared to pilots in connection with aircraft wings. Rarely, St. Elmo's Fire is seen elsewhere. The single feature each of these occurrences shares in common is sharp or pointed surfaces. The Nature of the Beast Such surfaces do not provide fuel to some conflagration. In fact, they are generally metallic, and are not consumed at all. St. Elmo's Fire is an electrical and atmospheric phenomenon. It comes about because of a coronal discharge of electricity that…
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Why Balloons Blow Up Round

Physics
[caption id="attachment_13619" align="alignright" width="440"] Balloons.[/caption] When you blow up latex balloons and build up some pressure in them, unless they are especially made to become some other shape, they tends toward roundness—they assume a spherical shape. Balloons blow up round! Why does it do that? Let’s look at the simple math and physics of the thing. Stretching Requires Force Take an ordinary piece of burst balloon and pull on it with your fingers. It takes a definite force to accomplish that, doesn’t it? And the task becomes more difficult the more you stretch it. We call the exertion “force.” It takes force to stretch the rubber. Since the required force becomes greater the more you stretch the skin of balloons, it is clear the more air you blow into them,…
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What Really Causes Washboard Road?

Physics
What is a washboard road? And what causes one? No doubt you’ve ridden gravel roads that made feel like you were driving across a washboard. You felt like you were being shaken to pieces. Then you noticed the road's parallel ridges and grooves. Each groove was two or three inches from the next one. You slowed your speed to reduce the vibration and thought, “What causes washboard road surfaces, anyway?” Many previous to you have asked this same question. Washboard roads are miserable to travel. Car control suffers from lack of road contact. Accidents result. One Common Explanation for Washboard Road Some suggest¹ it is a vehicle’s suspension system that causes seeming random forces to change into a harmonic, feedback pattern that results in compactions (or valleys) and upward displacements…
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