Monday, August 2, 2010

634)The Incredible Shrinking Proton: Subatomic Particle May Be Smaller Than Theory Dictates; Quotes From Blogpost Four Hundred.

"In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God"(Aga Khan IV, July 23rd 2008, Lisbon, Portugal)

" Islam, but particularly Shia Islam, the role of the intellect is part of faith. That intellect is what seperates man from the rest of the physical world in which he lives.....This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives. Of that I am certain"(Aga Khan IV, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, August 17th 2007)

"Education has been important to my family for a long time. My forefathers founded al-Azhar University in Cairo some 1000 years ago, at the time of the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt. Discovery of knowledge was seen by those founders as an embodiment of religious faith, and faith as reinforced by knowledge of workings of the Creator's physical world. The form of universities has changed over those 1000 years, but that reciprocity between faith and knowledge remains a source of strength"(Aga Khan IV, 27th May1994, Cambridge, Massachusets, U.S.A.)

"An institution dedicated to proceeding beyond known limits must be committed to independent thinking. In a university scholars engage both orthodox and unorthodox ideas, seeking truth and understanding wherever they may be found. That process is often facilitated by an independent governance structure, which serves to ensure that the university adheres to its fundamental mission and is not pressured to compromise its work for short-term advantage. For a Muslim university it is appropriate to see learning and knowledge as a continuing acknowledgement of Allah's magnificence"(Aga Khan IV, Speech, 1993, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan)

"The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims"(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University Inauguration Speech, Karachi, Pakistan, November 11th 1985)

"God has given us the miracle of life with all its attributes: the extraordinary manifestations of sunrise and sunset, of sickness and recovery, of birth and death, but surely if He has given us the means with which to remove ourselves from this world so as to go to other parts of the Universe, we can but accept as further manifestations the creation and destructions of stars, the birth and death of atomic particles, the flighting new sound and light waves. I am afraid that the torch of intellectual discovery, the attraction of the unknown, the desire for intellectual self-perfection have left us"(Aga Khan IV,Speech, 1963, Mindanao, Phillipines)

"Islamic doctrine goes further than the other great religions, for it proclaims the presence of the soul, perhaps minute but nevertheless existing in an embryonic state, in all existence in matter, in animals, trees, and space itself. Every individual, every molecule, every atom has its own spiritual relationship with the All-Powerful Soul of God"(Memoirs of Aga Khan III, 1954)

"Every particle of the Creation has a share of the Command of God, because every creature shares a part of the Command of God through which it has come to be there and by virtue of which it remains in being and the light of the Command of God shines in it. Understand this!"(Abu Yakub Al Sijistani, 10th century Fatimid Ismaili cosmologist, d971, Kashf al-Mahjub("Unveiling of the Hidden"))

The incredible shrinking proton

Subatomic particle may be smaller than theory dictates

By Rachel Ehrenberg
July 31st, 2010; Vol.178 #3 (p. 7)

Measurements made with lasers suggest the proton is smaller than previously thought. Nothing is immune to downsizing in these tough economic times — not even subatomic particles. New measurements published in the July 8 Nature suggest that the proton has a radius about 4 percent smaller than previously thought.

The result could just be a mistake. But if confirmed, a smaller proton could have enormous implications, scientists say.

“If this result holds up there’s something drastically wrong,” says Jeff Flowers of the National Physical Laboratory in England.

It could be that there’s a problem with quantum electrodynamics, a major unifying theory that’s been called the jewel of physics. QED basically describes how light and matter interact by incorporating Einstein’s special relativity into the realm of quantum mechanics.

“That opens the door for a major advancement in theory,” Flowers says.

To get the new measurements, a team led by Randolf Pohl of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, created an exotic form of hydrogen in which the atom’s lone electron is replaced by a particle known as a muon. Muons have the same charge as electrons but are about 200 times heavier, so they orbit much closer to the hydrogen atom’s nucleus. This coziness enhances the muon’s interaction with the proton at the atom’s center, allowing researchers to probe the proton in greater detail than they could with ordinary hydrogen.

In their experiments, the scientists aimed a beam of muons at hydrogen gas, creating muonic hydrogen. Whenever a muon was detected in the gas, the team fired a laser at the muon, hoping to bump it up to a higher energy level. Measuring the gap between the muon’s first and second energy levels — known as the Lamb shift — would allow the team to calculate the size of the proton’s radius.

Yet after years of fiddling with the muon beam and laser arrangements, the team still wasn’t having any luck. The laser had been tuned so that it could measure the proton’s radius if the value fell within the range of 0.87 to 0.91 femtometers, in line with QED. But by tuning the laser to work with a smaller proton, the team finally started seeing results. Their estimate of the proton’s radius: just over 0.84184 femtometers.

“There was no signal till the last three weeks before the experiment would have been stopped,” says study coauthor Aldo Antognini of the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland. “It was like in a Hollywood movie where everything goes bad till five minutes before the end.”

The new proton radius is 10 times more precise than previous estimates but well outside their range, which puzzles physicists.

“Presumably somebody made a mistake,” says Pohl. “But everybody’s convinced that nobody made a mistake, so it’s really intriguing. The measurements conflict with each other, but the question is now, how do you solve this problem?”

Physicists are already doing experiments with the hope of resolving the discrepancy, and theorists may have to revisit their numbers.

“Either one of the experiments is wrong, or the calculations are wrong,” says Pohl. “If it turns out that none of these is wrong, then one has to, maybe at some point in the far future, declare that QED is wrong, which would be really interesting. But we are not that far yet.”

Easy Nash

In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God: Aga Khan IV(2008)
The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims: Aga Khan IV(1985)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)