Thursday, May 5, 2011

Daily Plan

Today's agenda will be fusion.  This is a popular topic, and by popular demand, I will write about it.  Now, there's not a lot I can say about it, because I don't much.  What I can write about is what I read about.  And there's plenty out there to read.  I'll put up stuff as I come across it.  Hopefully, it will be interesting.  I'll just keep adding to this post, so keep tuned to this post.  It may look like I'm not doing anything, but I am.  So pay attention.  The time is nearly 7am local time, which is central time US.  I'll check in on the hour.

8:00 Update:
I began with Wikipedia on nuclear fusion. I know this isn't an ultimate authority on anything, but it is handy. While reading, I notice that elements that are heavier than iron can be fused, but they are endothermic, meaning they require energy, as opposed to being exothermic, meaning they release energy. This was new to me and I mentioned that before.

I came across the word nucleon, which I've seen elsewhere. That bugged me a bit, so I wanted to understand more about it. A nucleon is at least 1 proton and 1 neutron together as a unit. Nucleons can interact between each other, as well.  Therefore, in an element such as carbon, which is atomic number 6
could conceivably have more than one nucleon. For that matter, helium could too. Hydrogen can have at most one, since it can have only 1 proton and still remain hydrogen. But, so far, I don't know how these things are put together. It may not work that way.

The discussion gets into quantum physics, which is another area I know little about. But I have come across the terms "bosons" and "fermions". But some other terms came in that I wasn't familiar with. Such as hadron. I've heard of the Large Hadron Collider or some such in Europe. A "hadron" is a particle made of quarks. I have heard of quarks too, but don't know too much else about them. A "baryon" is a particle made of 3 quarks. A proton and a neutron are baryons. The name baryon comes from Greek, meaning heavy.

But what is a quark? Quarks are elementary particles, meaning we don't know of anything smaller than a quark. Quarks are never found in isolation. They combined to form hadrons, defined above. There is plenty more about quarks, but not here.

What is a fermion? I'll rely upon memory. Einstein once postulated that there could be something called a boson condensate, which would mean that bosons can condense like water condenses. Bosons attract, fermions repel. That's my understanding.

Baryons are strongly interacting fermions. Bosons do not obey the Pauli Exclusion Principle but fermions do. The significance of that, well, I'm not sure, but it may be why bosons can form condensates and fermions cannot.

It may be interesting to note that electrons are not baryons.  Neither are neutrinos.  Neutrinos travel near the speed of light and have little or no mass.  Neutrinos are similar to electrons, but have no electrical charge.  There is a corresponding anti particle called an anitneutrino, which are formed when protons turn into neutrons and vice versa.  Now, that's interesting that a proton can turn into a neutron and vice versa.  Anyway, there are three different kinds of neutrino.

Neutrinos can induce fission?  It's theoretical.  If true, it would do what neutrons do in splitting heavy nuclei.

Neutrinos are quite important, evidently.  Lots of study has been done on them and more is being done all the time.

This is getting lengthy.  I will make new posts on this subject, so that means this is the last on this post.  Look for new posts as I continue writing about this.

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