Sunday, October 25, 2015


A wonderment of science

I’ve always enjoyed science. I was the only Hayter kid to ever ask Santa for a microscope, telescope and chemistry set. Santa doled ‘em out to me over a period of about eight Christmases.

With the chemistry set, I learned to turn water blue. That’s about it. The telescope had trouble locating the moon. The microscope had three separate lenses. Only the lowest power lens worked. It was great, too. The things I found crawling around on grass and twigs and leaves would scare you to death. No telling how many tiny worms I ingested in my childhood.

Oh yeah, back to bragging --I was also the only Hayter kid to ever make a barometer. I’ll try to work that piece of information into the article’s ending. Barometer. Not sure it’s possible.

Regardless, with my obvious interest in science, one would think I would now be a scientist. Well, life is a rocky road, my friend. Too soon, I discovered that it takes more than an interest in science to pass physics. It wasn’t that I was dumb. I was smart as a nail. Unfortunately, in order to pass chemistry and physics you have to know a lot of math. I’m good at adding and multiplying; stuff like that, but there is some other stuff in math that is really complicated.

At any rate, I never lost interest in science. In fact I recently read an entire article about two guys who won the Nobel Prize in Physics. It was a long article, too. The winners were Takaaki Kajita of Poland and Arthur McDonald from Canada. -- Take that back. Takaaki is from Japan. McDonald is still a Canadian.

The gentlemen managed to prove something of which I knew nothing. So surprising. Instead of just coming out and telling you what they discovered, let me milk this a bit. I don’t know if you’re aware, but every second we are bombarded by trillions of neutrinos. Duck! Here comes another 10 trillion.

When a neutrinos hit you, they don’t stick around to fester. In fact, the things go right through you, and then continue on their way through the earth. They’re able to penetrate stuff, because they’re pretty much nothing. At least that’s what scientists thought before the Canadian and Pole came along. I mean Canadian and Japanese physicists.

McDonald and Kajita got the Nobel Prize in Physics because they discovered that neutrinos are more than nothing. They proved that neutrinos actually have mass... substance. Big whoop. That’s what I said when I read it. “Big whoop!” But, it is big because of what neutrinos are. Hold onto your socks.

Neutrinos are what are leftover when energy is spent. After an atomic bomb explosion, or while electricity is turning your fan blade, or lighting your room. Or the energy expended each time your heart beats, or your car engine is running. The biggest source of neutrinos anywhere around here is – drum roll – THE SUN. The sun burns hydrogen at a massive rate, so it’s sending the earth a manure load of neutrinos every second.
This is a picture of the sun taken through the earth
using "neutrino light" with the cameraq lens opened for about a year and a half.
Now, that's scary!

The thing that makes this such a big whoop, is the fact that we now have proof that energy doesn’t disappear when it’s through energizing. Its power becomes neutralized. It’s still a particle. I just has not power.

That’s where it got its name. Remember Enrico Fermi? Well, some of his grandkids do. He was an Italian physicist who worked on splitting atoms. When he mathematically proved the existence of neutrinos, he named them neutrinos, which is Italian for “Little Neutral Ones.” Isn’t that cute?

And do you know what else the Canadian and Japanese physicists proved? There are three types of neutrinos, and the guys discovered that each type of neutrino can switch back and forth to each of the other types. That means absolutely nothing to me, but I’ll bet there are people in this world who can take that info and do something with it. Like make an invisible man or shape-shifter, or a band aid that will actually stay stuck to your finger.

All of this is going to lead to something. Einstein and a few other smart people theorized, that all of the mass and energy in the universe has not increased or depleted one iota since creation. Mac and Kaj PROVED that energy has substance even after its power is sapped… and according to Einstein, mass can make energy. So, as energy burns up, mass still exists to make more energy. (Wow. For a second I almost understood that.)

Isn’t science a wonderment? I think if I had had just bit more encouragement in school, I could’ve become a scientist. In the fourth grade, we were assigned a science project. While other kids parents were making volcanoes and simulating earthquakes, I made a barometer out of a milk bottle, a balloon and a straw. And, get this, I didn’t even know what a barometer was. Not just anybody can do that. (There for a minute I didn’t think I could stick the barometer back into this thing. What did I tell you? Smart as a nail.)


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