# Anyone want to explain a few things?

by Johnson
Tags: explain, things
 P: 28 Hey everyone, i'm brand new to these forums, and have just started getting into the string theory. I was wondering if anyone knew a good elementary site about the string theory, for someone who is just learning about it. If anyone knows a good site, or has the time to explain the basis of it, I would be much obliged Thank you, Andrew
 PF Patron P: 7,122 What level of physics and math are you currently at?
P: 310

## Anyone want to explain a few things?

Andrew, you may find useful information about string theory at superstringtheory.com. Try google.

I am sure your book has explained that there are two mechanisms of heat transfer. One is conduction, the other is radiation. Mass which is isolated from other matter can lose heat by radiating energy, even into a perfect vacuum, if there were such a thing.

I am glad for you that you are interested in physics, and I hope you will find the answers to the questions you have posed. Meanwhile, perhaps you will take a small advice. Listen to your teachers, who are trying to give you the basis for understanding. There will be time to go beyond them when you have mastered what they do have to offer you.

Good luck to you. I hope you find some humility before it comes looking for you.

Richard

Post Script:

About your last question, having to do with heat and atoms. Atoms are very small, so small that only the very best microscopes, using electrons instead of light, are able to get an image of them. But they are not the smallest thing we know about. Atoms are made of much smaller particles, electrons, neutrons, and protons, mainly. There is rather strong evidence, most or maybe all of it indirect, that the protons and neutrons are also made of still smaller particles, called quarks. Each of these particles has the property we call mass, which will be more familiar to you as weight.

You will remember that Albert Einstein popularized the idea that mass is the same thing as energy. These smaller particles have mass, and so they have energy. We can extract some of the energy by means of nuclear reactions, which take place at far smaller scales than the atomic processes of chemistry, which you usually associate with heat. Heat is in fact a form of energy. So you should be able to see that heat occurs not only on the stove top, where you can see it, but also at the atomic level, which is where elastic collision processes come in.

Probably you have been taught that heat energy, such as we see in chemistry, is a matter of elastic collisions between atoms. Now I hope you also see that there is more. Heat is a form of energy. Mass is a form of energy. Since sub-atomic particles have mass, they also have energy, which can be expressed in terms of heat. In fact, we can and do think about heat where there is no atom, no particle, no mass at all.

Perhaps, since you live in a cold climate, you are familiar with the heat that comes off of hot metallic surfaces, such as hot plates used in cooking, or the iron surface of a wood stove, or perhaps the hot coils of a radiant electric heater. You can feel this heat from some distance. The heat is not carried by particles that collide with your skin, it is carried by electromagnetic radiation, an energy very close in nature to light. This heat does not involve collisions of any kind.

You may have heard of Cosmic Microwave Background radiation. This is a heat that occurs everywhere at a temperature very close to absolute zero. It is made of the same kind of microwaves you find in a microwave oven. Cosmologists, who study the origins of the universe, think that the CMB is evidence of the original process, often called the big bang, that created the stars and planets and all the dust we are made of. Cosmologists believe that this energy comes from a time BEFORE there were atoms.

I hope you see now that heat does not only come from elastic collisions between atoms. In fact, this whole discussion has carried you far away from the point your teacher was trying to give you. Perhaps you have already got it and moved on. The idea you need to carry away from this discussion is that atoms are not hard little balls of something, but are made of something smaller. It took humans thousands of years of hard thinking and experimentation to come to this conclusion, which you are being handed as if it were a nickle.

I recommend that this discussion be moved elsewhere, since it has little to do with the details being considered on this board.

Again, Andrew Johnson, good luck to you.

R.
P: 310
Hi Andrew

I think your situation is not unusual. I don't know your teacher and can't comment on his education. I tried to teach science in a middle school and heard plenty from students who didn't listen to lectures, didn't do the reading assignments, refused to participate in class, didn't do the homework, complained there was too much homework, complained they weren't learning anything, complained to anyone who would listen that I did not know how to teach science, told me they were getting "A" marks in all their other classes, threatened my person, assaulted me verbally and physically, destroyed my property when no one was looking, and gave me every reason to give up the idea of trying to make a living based on my rather expensive education.

Nowadays I eke out a living as an attendant to Downs syndrome children, who behave in a much more reasonable fashion. I have come to entertain the opinion that they are what humans should have become if they had not gone so completely wrong at some genetic turning point sometime in the last million years. But it is only an opinion and I am merely entertaining it for my own amusement, not really holding on to it very tightly.

You may be suprised to hear that my opinion of my teachers was not much different from your own. I was one of the very students who behaved horribly in class, although I never assaulted anyone bodily or did damage to personal property. I continually asked distracting questions and thought I knew better than my teachers how I should be taught. I now know that I should have shut up and listened. So you see that my downfall as a teacher had a certain poetic justice.

I am mostly self-taught about the matters on these boards, although I do owe a huge debt of gratitude to the other posters here who have been patient in leading me to the things I wanted to know, especially selfAdjoint and Marcus, although I don't want to slight any of the others who have provided me with hours of interesting conversation and reason to meditate. Nor do I wish to slight you, although I do think you will find your attitude no more successful than mine has been. However you are already a senior in high school and it is probably too late for you to change.

"I know all about the basis and most the of sub-atomic particles, and know what mass is."

That is incredible.

I myself have been reading and studying for quite a few years now, but I cannot say as much. What is mass? It happens that quite a few serious workers have spent themselves trying to get a grip on that nut, and I doubt you could get them to admit so much confidence. As for the basis, I suppose you might mean the mathematical basis of spacetime geometry, a subject of much review here on these boards. Wow. String theory, loop quantum gravity, causal dynamical triangulations, category theory, and others. The arguments get quite personal at times. I would hesitate to enter a room where three or more of the combatants were in habitation fully armed, even though it would be vastly entertaining to watch.

Anyway, Andrew, as an old hack to a young blade, may I say it would behoove you to take a look around. The sharpness of youth wears out quickly on the world's grindstone. You can't just go chopping at the roots without hitting some stones. You may be quick and sharp, and the rocks may be cold and dull, but they will break you quick as anything.

You do seem to be clever and to have some sense about you. Probably you will survive one way or the other. Even a broken blade can still be of some use. And maybe you do know what mass is and the basis, and maybe you will learn sufficient language to be able to tell the rest of us all about it. Or someone anyway. That would be wonderful.

Be well,

Richard
 P: 66 Second the motion for superstringtheory.com
 P: 310
P: 28
 I think your situation is not unusual. I don't know your teacher and can't comment on his education. I tried to teach science in a middle school and heard plenty from students who didn't listen to lectures, didn't do the reading assignments, refused to participate in class, didn't do the homework, complained there was too much homework, complained they weren't learning anything, complained to anyone who would listen that I did not know how to teach science, told me they were getting "A" marks in all their other classes, threatened my person, assaulted me verbally and physically, destroyed my property when no one was looking, and gave me every reason to give up the idea of trying to make a living based on my rather expensive education.
Well Richard, that is actually quite a good definition of me, give or take a few examples. This is the real me...I don't listen to lectures, rather i sleep during them. I never do reading assignments and rarely hand in Labs. I also never do the homework, but I never complain that there is too much. I never complain I'm not learning anything, nor do I complain about my teacher. At midterm (2 weeks ago) I had an average of 94. Right now im taking Geometry and Advanced Functions, Biology and Physics, my physics mark being a 97, so it's not that i'm blaming my teacher for my bad marks, infact hes a very good teacher, and can teach the course very well, but he doesn't have an understanding outside of what he needs to teach. Hes a great teacher and in no ways is he an idiot.

 ["I know all about the basis and most the of sub-atomic particles, and know what mass is." That is incredible. I myself have been reading and studying for quite a few years now, but I cannot say as much. What is mass? It happens that quite a few serious workers have spent themselves trying to get a grip on that nut, and I doubt you could get them to admit so much confidence. As for the basis, I suppose you might mean the mathematical basis of spacetime geometry, a subject of much review here on these boards. Wow. String theory, loop quantum gravity, causal dynamical triangulations, category theory, and others. The arguments get quite personal at times...
The way I meant this is that I know the basic understanding, the introduction to sub-atomic particles. I never said that I have a deep comprehension about it, I just said i have a basic understanding. For example, go up to a random person on the street (hope he isnt a prof.) and start talking about quarks or neutrinos. Do you think he'll have the slightest idea what your talking about? Most likely, no. Now take me, and start talking to me about quarks or neutrinos, will I have a deep, thorough understanding of it? No, but I will have some background in it, therefore I won't be completely lost when your explaining something to me.

So, without sounding rude or obtuse, let me put this as simple as possible. Lets not have any more low blows at me without you learning a little more about the topic, i.e. me. Basically, get rid of the ignorance. I know you hold yourself to be "wise" and though i fall short of you in years, I'm not a complete moron and hold my own store of wisdom.

Thank you,
Andrew