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Sep 29, 1994 05:02 PM
by Eldon B. Tucker
This is by Eldon Tucker This continues a posting from yesterday on states of matter. Any scientific corrections and/or enhancements to what I'm writing about would be appreciated. The subject is relatively new to me. It may take several iterations using the key of analogy before I can really tap into the symbolic significance of the subject. ---- States of Matter (Continued) The Bose condensation is considered the lowest possible energy state for matter. For all practical purposes, it could be called absolute zero, since there is no physics beyond it. In the experiments, a hydrogen vapor is being used. Extremely-light atoms like hydrogen are more susceptible to quantum uncertainty, and because of their small mass they can be "spread out" with less prodding, and overlap their neighbors at a higher temperature. At a very low temperature, a particle has a precise velocity (zero), so its position becomes highly uncertain, wavelike, and blurred, and the particle with bump into fellow particles after a while. As they overlap, a change happens. They learn that others are there, and want to come together and act together as one. The properties of matter in this state are unknown, and could spontaneously change from one instance to the next. The temperatures achieved are about 100 microkelvin, as compared to the record of 1 microkelvin. (It's not *the* coldest spot in the universe, as I mentioned yesterday, but one of the coldest.) Atoms, which would move 1000 feet/second at room temperature, now move at 1/2 inch/second. The atoms are herded together by laser beams, much like opposing fire hoses trained on a soccer ball. This is assisted by a magnetic field that gets stronger near the edge of the vapor, pushing stray atoms back to the center. In one to two seconds the vapor is chilled, with the atoms packed tightly enough to reflect laser light. A vague greenish haze appears, and builds into a distinct spherical cloud. The density of the Bose condensate is higher than ordinary vapor with more atoms to scatter light, so when the condensation happens, the scientists expect to see a bright, shiny ball right in the middle of the cloud. We see that matter changes its character as it is heated up, or cooled down. At certain temperatures it undergoes a state change, and acquires certain properties. At extremely high temperatures it may irreversibly break down (like if water is broken down into two gasses there is no guarantee those gasses will come together again to form water when they are cooled down again). At lower, cooler temperatures, matter slows down and becomes more orderly (like when volatile gasses liquefy, becoming wet and sedentary). The cooling causes matter to congeal, condense, settle, and get sedate. Depending upon the type of matter, there is a different sensitivity to temperature. At room temperature, oxygen is a gas, water is liquid, copper is solid. At a higher temperature, water boils and becomes a gas. Still higher, copper melts and becomes a liquid. At a cooler temperature, water freezes, becoming solid. Still cooler, oxygen becomes a liquid. Each type of matter has its own temperature, its own level of heat (energy) that causes it to change states. Speculation: What if there are other kinds of matter, with their own characteristics, including widely-different temperature sensitivities? How would this show up to us? Could such matter only physically appear in the heart of a sun or in the coldest of intergalactic space? There are two types of particles. One is called fermions. This includes protons, electrons, and other ordinary particles. They have a half-integer "spin". A new type of particles, called bosons, have spin in units of whole integers. Fermions stay out of each other's orbits; they stand apart. This property gives atoms their structure. Bosoms are drawn together; they have a social property that allows for clumping together in unlimited numbers. This sociability allows for large numbers of light particles, for instance, to congregate in the same place. Atoms are composed of fermions, and are themselves fermions (individualists) or bosons (collectivists) depending upon the sum of the total spins of their particles. (Having an even number of fermions makes them a fermion; an odd number makes them a boson.) Hydrogen atoms, for instance, are bosons, since they have two fermions, a single-proton nucleus and a single electron, giving a total spin of 1/2 + 1/2 = 1. Speculation: In terms of cycles, when we are 1/2 way through, we are at the most-material point, the point of greatest separateness. At this point, our "cyclic spin" is X + 1/2 Manvantaras. Are we most like fermions at this point? The plasma state has matter in a disordered mixture, electrically charged, and which glows under the right conditions. Question: Do all molecules break apart into their component atoms, when heated, before reaching the plasma state? At the top of the energy scale, protons are split apart into quarks. Then we have quark matter, a sea of disconnected quarks that are so weird that their properties are not known. Early theosophical literature was written at a time when the basic building block of matter was the "atom", which had for ages been considered indivisible. Metaphysical analogies were built up using "atom" as corresponding to the Monad, the basic unit of individual identity. Should we now use "quark" instead of "atom" in our writings? Question: Any ideas on speculation on this point? As solids are further cooled, they reach the next state: superconductivity and superfluity. In this state atomic particles move in step, taking on almost magical properties. Electricity flows without resistance. Liquids flow up and out of bottles, or flow down through the bottom of ceramic containers. There is an unnatural orderliness, as groups of particles move as one. Speculation: As we "cool down" the desires and mind, do we reach an analogous state of clarity, as our thoughts and feelings move in step, taking on almost magical properties?