# Tag Archives: physics

## Cherenkov Radiation (or the Photonic Boom)

I’m assuming many of you will know what a sonic boom is, if you travel fast enough through a medium sound waves will compress in front of you and produce a sonic boom. Of course, this only happens if you are traveling at greater than the speed of sound in a given medium. Cherenkov Radiation can be described as the light equivalent of the sonic boom. So here’s (a simplified version of) what happens. Nothing can travel at speeds greater than c, the speed of light in a vacuum, but light in a medium will travel slower than c and in that sense a particle could travel faster than light through that medium, and when a charged particle travels through a medium at a speed greater than light travels through that medium it excites nearby molecules, which in turn emit light. Doing this requires lots of energy, which is why it’s commonly seen in the cooling tanks of nuclear reactors.

Filed under Physics, Science

## Double Post: Exponential growth and “free energy”

Okay, since I missed yesterday, here’s two fun facts. Exponential growth and “free energy”

First, exponential growth. Say you have a piece of paper a millimeter thick (yes, I realize paper isn’t normally that thick, but the point is the same). If you fold the paper in half (assuming there’s no air in the fold) you will have a piece of paper two millimeters thick. Folding the paper again will give 4 millimeters, then 8, then 16, and so on. This process, the increase by a certain ratio over each fixed period of time, is exponential growth, but only if the ratio is greater than 1 (in this case, the ratio is 2). Now let’s take the area of the same paper starting with, say, 10 square centimeters. After one fold the area of the paper is now 5 square centimeters, after another it’s 2.5, then 1.25, and so on again. This process, which is the same as with thickness, but with a ratio between 0 and 1 (in this case 1/2) is exponential decay.

Finally, free energy. That’s be great right? But that’s where we get to free energy suppression. The governments, oil and gas companies, and scientific communities of the world don’t want you to know that there are machines that can harvest energy from perpetual motion and zero-point energy. But those of you versed in physics will know that there is no such thing as a “perpetual motion machine” and that zero-point energy cannot be “harvested”. But that’s where suppression comes in. If you say those things then either you have been manipulated by the scientific establishment into believing them, or you are actively participating in the cover-up. One popular free energy concept is the “motionless electromagnetic generator” which harnesses vacuum energy to provide power without any input into the generator itself. Its inventor, Dr. Thomas E. Bearden, stated in 2001 that it would be in production in a year. I haven’t seen any motionless electromagnetic generator, likely because, even in 2012, ten years behind schedule, no working MEG has been built. It also doesn’t help that “Dr.” Bearden holds a Ph.D., which he bought, from one Trinity College and University, which has “no building, campus, faculty, or president, and run from a post office box in Sioux Falls, South Dakota”
PS: I’d like to note, although it may be obvious, that I in no way endorse the “free energy suppression” conspiracy theory because that’s exactly what it is, a pseudo-scientific conspiracy theory.

## Antimatter

Antimatter is basically matter’s evil twin. Most of the stuff in the universe (as far as we can tell) is matter, namely electrons, up quarks and down quarks. Antimatter is very much like matter, except for a few key differences which I’ll get back to. Antimatter particles like antielectrons and antiprotons  interact with each other in the same way normal matter interacts with other normal matter. Antiparticles have the same mass as their corresponding particle, and thus respond to gravity in the same way. The differences begin with quantum spin, angular momentum contained by fundamental particles. Antiparticles have a quantum spin equal to the opposite of the spin of their corresponding particle. Antiparticles also have the opposite electric charge of their corresponding particle, which means an antielectron has a positive charge and an antiproton has a negative charge. So what happens when matter and antimatter interact? Not much, but since they oppose each other in charge and are subject to gravity they will likely collide, and when matter and antimatter collide they annihilate each other. The total mass of both the particle and antiparticle is converted directly into energy in the form of gamma radiation, and if you could get a kilogram of matter and a kilogram of antimatter to annihilate each other the energy released would be equal to the amount of solar energy that reaches the Earth in one second.