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    A Where are the Higgs particles?

    I've been reading Jim Baggott's book "Higgs -- The Invention and Discovery of the 'God Particle' "and have a rather elementary question, easily answered, I'm sure, by folk that contribute to this forum: is the Higgs only associated with the inner machinations of other 'elementary' particles, or...
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    Hype about gravitational waves

    There seems to be considerable interest in the recent detection of gravitational waves. For the physics community this interest is fully justified. But in the popular press it seems to me to be reaching unjustified and perhaps harmful levels. When one reads overblown hype like: " A giant...
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    Equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass

    Is there any credible hard evidence that this equivalence extends to all moving bodies? We accept on good grounds that the apparent mass of moving objects is enhanced by motion, to a measurable degree that increases indefinitely as observed speeds of relative motion approach c. Likewise...
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    A festive analogy for interpreting quantum mechanics

    While browsing this festive morning I came across Peter Woit's "(his Oct. 3rd 2011 'Not Even Wrong') statements that: "the fundamental problem of the interpretation of quantum mechanics (is): why don't we see superpositions " and that: "the confusing question is ....how classical behaviour...
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    Where have all the neutrinos gone?

    Where have all the neutrinos gone? I’m no cosmologist, and my understanding of nuclear physics is pretty primitive. I haven’t yet found answers to some simple questions: Where have all the neutrinos created so prolifically by stars over the last 13,8 billion years gone? Are they still...
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    What inspired mathematicians invent imaginary numbers?

    Let me start by writing about the natural or counting numbers. The story of how, where and when we invented them is lost in the misty dawn of history. But perhaps our African ancestors, like our living simian cousins (and some other animals) evolved the ability to distinguish between few and...
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    Higgs - interactions and forces; distinction between these?

    Higgs --- interactions and forces; distinction between these? At the moment I'm reading Lisa Randall's Knocking at Heavens Door, and I have a quick question that can no doubt be easily answered. I've often read and accept that there are four forces of Nature: Strong, Electromagnetic (EM)...
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    Estimates of galaxy numbers - re Herschel resuts

    In the January 2013 issue of Physics World there is an article by Steve Eales, illustrated with some remarkable images of galaxies obtained with the Herschel observatory. One, on page 31, is very appropriately captioned "Not stars; galaxies", because it looks very like star clouds, say in...
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    Is the mass conferred by Higgs an 'effective' mass?

    I’m struggling to put the Higgs mechanism into the context of established physics. It seems to me that the concept of ‘mass’ is far from immutable. Physicists often qualify mass as ‘effective’. An example is electron mass in a semiconductor, where effective mass may be positive, zero or...
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    How did gravity build astronomical objects that rotate?

    How did gravity build astronomical objects that rotate? It seems to me a safe bet, supported in part by observation, that the heterogeneous assembly of known astronomical objects comprising the observed universe, whose contents range from minor planets (one named for my mother) to the recently...
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    Is any relation between curl and uniform shear available?

    The relation between the vector operator curl and rotation in fluids and vector fields is treated thoroughly in many texts. And the uniform (pure or simple) shear of a solid is adequately described by the strain tensor. I'd like to put the two together. My guess is that an alternative...
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    Planck's constant as a measure of significance

    The basic concepts used in physics are mostly derived from everyday human experience. Hardly surprising for a subject which usefully describes our contingent physical circumstances. For example dynamics involves ordinary and familiar concepts like mass, and changing distance is described as...
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    The Higgs mechanism and the Beginning of the Universe

    The Higgs mechanism and the Beginning of the Universe Now that the excitement about the discovery of the Higgs particle has made the Higgs mechanism justly famous, could someone please clarify for me the implications of incorporating this component of the Standard Model of Particle Physics...
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    Higgs particle question anticipating July 4 Cern announcement

    Soon, I believe on 4 July 2012, CERN is due to make an important announcement regarding the discovery (or not) of the Higgs particle at the LHC. This announcement is likely to be an important milestone in physics. It comes after a long drought of significant fundamental physics discoveries...
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    Why is there day and night?

    I'm hoping that some kind astronomer or astrophysicist here can tell me which physics law, or laws, (if any) mandate that many astronomical structures revolve or rotate, from asteroids though planets, pulsars, stars to galaxies. I guess they all develop with conserved angular momentum to a...
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    Can there be more than one definition of a GROUP?

    I'm reading a book about Group Theory (by Mario Livio: The Equation that Couldn't be Solved ). On page 46 he explains that four rules and one operation define a group: The rules are Closure, Associativity, the existence of an Identity Element and finally the existence of an Inverse. He cites...
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    Line defects and String Theory

    The appearance here of threads such as Causes of loss of interest in the String program and Is string theory really science? are for me a symptom of the frustration of modern physicists struggling to formulate in a predictive way the concept of elementary objects that are geometrically linear...
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    Might NGC 1073 have a non-coplanar bar and spiral arms?

    Spiral galaxies are usually taken to be structured lenticular objects with spiral arms depending from a bulging star-dense central hub. The whole arrangement is essentially planar. Since our view of these objects is projected upon our fixed celestial sphere, their shape has to be inferred from...
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    Symmetry and Causality: are the two connected?

    I've been reading an <URL=http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2011/oct/27/symmetry-key-natures-secrets/> article </URL> by Steven Weinberg on symmetry, written for laymen, in the New York Review of Books. Weinberg describes as simply as he can how symmetry lies at the heart of the Standard...
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    Elementary questions about connections.

    Elementary questions about connections. I’ve been looking at the Wikipedia article on affine connections with a view to better understanding the choice of Riemannian geometry for our best theory of gravity — a founding choice made by Einstein nearly a century ago. Sadly for me the...
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    Into what shape does an orbiting sphere get distorted by tidal forces?

    I'm having trouble imagining how an orbiting object would get distorted by tides --- in the first instance, say, the distortion of an initial uniform dense ball of coffee grounds (of the sort John Baez likes to imagine in his web pages). I know and understand why, if it were infalling radially...
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