Wondering about wild grapes

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wondering about small things.

Back when I was in school we did study science. Science and math were my favorite subjects. Among other things, we were taught about small things that we couldn’t see. I don’t mean the stuff we could see in a microscope, like an ameba and other protozoa for example. I mean we were taught that everything was made up of molecules and molecules were made up of atoms and atoms were made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Shucks, that is enough to know, except what holds them together in big bunches to make up you and me. If that weak force just quit one day we would all float apart in a big cloud of particles.

Speaking of particles, there are a lot of them out there that are much smaller than the components of atoms. And some are anti-matter. Take the positron, which is opposite of the electron, or another way to put it, it is an anti-electron. But what is fascinating is that there are particles much, much smaller than these. Most of these are undetectable, except maybe in the Large Hadron Collider. Hadrons are the types of particles that it was built to study.

Now, the particle that fascinated me is the neutrino. It is called such because it has no charge. They are formed from certain nuclear reactions, like what goes on in our sun, for example. Since neutrinos have no charge, they are very hard to detect and do not react to other particles. In fact, almost all of them pass right through our earth on their journey from our Sun to who knows where. Scientists have studied these for some time. One of the first attempts to detect them was putting a huge vat of dry cleaning fluid way down deep in an old mine. Down there other man made stuff wouldn’t interfere with it and every now and then a neutrino would strike a cleaning fluid particle and leave off a small flash of light. Detectors would then record that flash. OK, you think these things are small, just because they can penetrate thousands and thousands of miles of lead? Well, you better think again. They are discovering much smaller particles and believe even smaller ones exist. Where does it all end? Do things just get smaller and smaller to infinity? Does the universe just get bigger and bigger to infinity? Or, is there a limit somewhere. I don’t know, do you?

OK, I got to get ready to run down to the north side of Houston and see what my new customer wants done for the next step of this project. You all have a great day now, you hear?


  1. I didn't know that. And I still don't. But I'm glad ya told me anyhows. You have a way of telling us that we ain't nuttin but a big bag of wind what gonna float away some day.
    Little things matter.

  2. "Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all Small Stuff" , Richard Carlson Ph.D. :-)

  3. Got lost somewhere back there. Glad somebody keeps up with that kind of thing,,,,
    Now, u give me math or english,,,i'm good to go.

  4. I've been watching "Fabric of the Cosmos" on NOVA, and have a hard time understanding quantum mechanics. But I find it interesting enough to keep on watching.

  5. BB, yep, there is a whole lot of nothing between little bitty particles. And little thing sure do matter.

    Ben, oh so true.

    Trouble, I love math, but English gives me fits. Haven’t you noticed how bad I spell? Thank goodness for spell checkers.

    Gypsy, I have not seen that show. I will look for it, love that sort of thing.