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Justin Gallagher

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About Justin Gallagher

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  1. When I first saw this movie, there was one big question I had. Why is the planet Miller not pulled into the Black Hole Gargantua by the gravitational force, and so I did some research and found out some cool stuff. One of the main reasons Planet Miller isn't pulled into the black hole in spite of its proximity is that the adviser, Kip Thorne made sure that Gargantua was a rapidly spinning black hole—and it turns out that the physics of rotating black holes differ from non-rotating ones. The sheer speed of Gargantua's rotation means there is a single stable orbit just outside of Gargantua's
  2. Building a potato (or lemon or apple) battery reveals a bit about the inner workings of electrical circuits. To do this simple science experiment, you insert two different metallic objects often a galvanized (zinc-coated) nail and a copper penny into the potato, and connect wires to each object with alligator clips. These wires can be attached either to the two terminals of a multimeter (which measures a circuit's voltage) or to something like a digital clock or lightbulb. (It may take two or three potatoes wired in series to generate enough voltage to power those devices.) The potato acts
  3. The spinning top, a toy found across many of the world's cultures and even among ancient archaeological ruins, lays bare some profound physical principles. The first is the conservation of angular momentum, the law that dictates that, in the absence of external influences, something spinning must keep spinning. Because a top balances upon a tiny point, it experiences a minimal amount of friction with the surface below it, and thus continues spinning for a delightfully long time, demonstrating the law. But as friction eventually slows the top, it becomes unstable and starts to wobble, leadin
  4. If you run really fast, you gain weight. Not permanently, or it would make a mockery of diet and exercise plans, but momentarily, and only a tiny amount. Light speed is the speed limit of the universe. So if something is travelling close to the speed of light, and you give it a push, it can’t go very much faster. But you've given it extra energy, and that energy has to go somewhere. Where it goes is mass. According to relativity, mass and energy are equivalent. So the more energy you put in, the greater the mass becomes. This is negligible at human speeds – Usain Bolt is not noticeab
  5. The speed of light in a vacuum is a constant: 300,000km a second. However, light does not always travel through a vacuum. In water, for example, photons travel at around three-quarters that speed. In nuclear reactors, some particles are forced up to very high speeds, often within a fraction of the speed of light. If they are passing through an insulating medium that slows light down, they can actually travel faster than the light around them. When this happens, they cause a blue glow, known as Cherenkov Radiation, which is comparable to a sonic boom but with light. Incidentally, the sl
  6. Inflation has become a cosmological buzzword in the 1990s. No self-respecting theory of the Universe is complete without a reference to inflation -- and at the same time there is now a bewildering variety of different versions of inflation to choose from. Clearly, what's needed is a beginner's guide to inflation, where newcomers to cosmology can find out just what this exciting development is all about. The reason why something like inflation was needed in cosmology was highlighted by discussions of two key problems in the 1970s. The first of these is the horizon problem -- the puzzle that
  7. For many years, we believed that the Earth was flat and that one could eventually fall off of the globe. We also believed that the Earth was the center of the universe (some people still do). And several ancient civilizations even used to use mercury as a medicine. Fortunately, we tested these ideas and came up with better ones. Since Sir Isaac Newton described gravity in his publication, "Principia." in 1687, to John Michell conjectured that there might be an object massive enough to have an escape velocity greater than the speed of light, to 1970 when Stephen Hawking defined modern theor
  8. The Grand Unified Theory is a vision of a physics theory that can combine three of the four fundamental forces into one single equation. The four forces are the Strong Nuclear Force, the Weak Nuclear Force, the Electro-Magnetic Force, and the Gravitational Force. The EM and Weak forces were initially thought to be two separate forces until scientists discovered one theory (the Electro Weak theory) to explain both of them and then went on to observe this unified force in action (much like Maxwell unified the electric and magnetic forces into the Electro-Magnetic Force). If a Grand Unific
  9. Experiment after experiment has tried to find flaws in the Standard Model's predictions, but so far all the experimental evidence supports it. Nevertheless, scientists do not believe that the Standard Model provides complete answers to all our questions about matter. It describes everything we see in the laboratory. Aside from leaving gravity out, it's a complete theory of what we see in nature. But it's not an entirely satisfactory theory, because it has a number of arbitrary elements. For example, there are a lot of numbers in this standard model that appear in the equations, and they
  10. The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is an elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics. Its main relevance is that it allows scientists to explore the Higgs field – a fundamental field first suspected to exist in the 1960s that unlike the more familiar electromagnetic field cannot be "turned off", but instead takes a non-zero constant value almost everywhere. For a subatomic particle that remained hidden for nearly 50 years, the Higgs boson is turning out to be remarkably well behaved. Yet more evidence from the world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron C
  11. While I visited the Rochester Institute of technology over the break, I talked to a Junior who was majoring in Physics. He was explaining to me what he was working on and theorized. He was currently working on the Grand Unified Theory. This interested me quite a bit so I did some research into this subject. It all starts with the Fundamental forces and their Interactions. There are 4 fundamental forces that have been identified. In our present Universe they have rather different properties. Properties of the Fundamental Forces: The Strong Nuclear Force is very strong, but very s
  12. In 1889, inspired by a famous astronomical drawing that had been circulating in Europe for four decades, Vincent van Gogh painted his iconic masterpiece “The Starry Night,†one of the most recognized and reproduced images in the history of art. At the peak of his lifelong struggle with mental illness, he created the legendary painting while staying at the mental asylum into which he had voluntarily checked himself after mutilating his own ear. But more than a masterwork of art, Van Gogh’s painting turns out to hold astounding clues to understanding some of the most mysterious worki
  13. Hopefully you have read the Quantum Foam, blog, if not, that is fine. Commence the melting of your brains. Are ya ready? In physics, a spinfoam or spin foam is a topological structure made out of two-dimensional faces that represents one of the configurations that must be summed to obtain a Feynman's path integral (functional integration) description of quantum gravity. It is closely related to loop quantum gravity. Loop Quantum Gravity has a covariant formulation that, at present, provides the best formulation of the dynamics of the theory of Quantum Gravity. This is a Quantum Field
  14. Yeah you heard that right. I just said Quantum Foam. And the best part, it is an actual science term. It's time to blow up some minds. Like I said In my "The imposible Conundrum" blogs, how things can be created from nothing, this is what happens down at the quantum level of this idea. Quantum foam (also referred to as space-time foam) is a concept in quantum mechanics devised by John Wheeler in 1955. The foam is supposed to be conceptualized as the foundation of the fabric of the universe. Additionally, quantum foam can be used as a qualitative description of subatomic sp
  15. To really sum everything up is quite simple. According to the strong anthropic principle, there are either many different universes or many different regions of a single universe, each with its own initial configuration and, perhaps, with its own set of laws of science. In most of these universes the conditions would not be right for the development of complicated organisms; only in the few universes that are like ours would intelligent beings develop and ask the question: "Why is the universe the way we see it?" The answer is then simple: If it had been different, we would not be here!
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