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- Published On: 2022-03-05 10:54:35
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If Isaac Newton suddenly popped out of a time machine, he’d be delighted to see how far physics had come. Things that were deeply mysterious a few centuries ago are now taught in freshman physics classes (the composition of stars is one good example).
Newton would be stunned to see enormous experiments like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland — and possibly perturbed to learn that his theory of gravity had been superseded by one dreamed up by some fellow named Einstein. Quantum mechanics would probably strike him as bizarre, though today’s scientists feel the same way.
But once he was up to speed, Newton would no doubt applaud what modern physics has achieved — from the discovery of the nature of light in the 19th Century to determining the structure of the atom in the 20th Century to last year’s discovery of gravitational waves. And yet physicists today are the first to admit they don’t have all the answers
1. What is matter made of?
We know matter is made up atoms, and atoms are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons. And we know that protons and neutrons are made up of smaller particles known as quarks. Would probing deeper uncover particles even more fundamental? We don’t know for sure.
We do have something called the Standard Model of particle physics, which is very good at explaining the interactions between subatomic particles. The Standard Model has also been used to predict the existence of previously unknown particles. The last particle to be found this way was the Higgs boson, which LHC researchers discovered in 2012.
2. Why is gravity so weird?
No force is more familiar than gravity — it’s what keeps our feet on the ground, after all. And Einstein’s theory of general relativity gives a mathematical formulation for gravity, describing it as a “warping” of space. But gravity is a trillion trillion trillion times weaker than the other three known forces (electromagnetism and the two kinds of nuclear forces that operate over tiny distances).
One possibility — speculative at this point — is that in addition to the three dimensions of space that we notice every day, there are hidden extra dimensions, perhaps “curled up” in a way that makes them impossible to detect. If these extra dimensions exist — and if gravity is able to “leak” into them — it could explain why gravity seems so weak to us.
3. Why does time seem to flow only in one direction?
Since Einstein, physicists have thought of space and time as forming a four-dimensional structure known as “spacetime.” But space differs from time in some very fundamental ways. In space, we’re free to move about as we wish. When it comes to time, we’re stuck. We grow older, not younger. And we remember the past, but not the future. Time, unlike space, seems to have a preferred direction — physicists call it the “arrow of time.”
Some physicists suspect that the second law of thermodynamics provides a clue. It states that the entropy of a physical system (roughly, the amount of disorder) rises over time, and physicists think this increase is what gives time its direction. (For example, a broken teacup has more entropy than an intact one — and, sure enough, smashed teacups always seem to arise after intact ones, not before.)
4. Where did all the antimatter go?
Antimatter may be more famous in fiction than in real life. On the original Star Trek, antimatter reacts with ordinary matter to power the warp drive that propels the U.S.S. Enterprise at faster-than-light velocities. While warp drive is pure fiction, antimatter is very real. We know that for each particle of ordinary matter, it’s possible to have an identical particle with the opposite electrical charge. An antiproton is just like a proton, for example, but with a negative charge. The antiparticle corresponding to the negatively charged electron, meanwhile, is the positively charged positron.
Physicists have created antimatter in the laboratory. But when they do, they create an equal amount of matter. That suggests that the Big Bang must have created matter and antimatter in equal quantities. Yet almost everything we see around us, from the ground beneath our feet to the most remote galaxies, is made of ordinary matter.
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Physics के 7 ऐसे सवाल जिनको कोई नहीं जाना पाया | biggest unanswered questions of universe
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