What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science -Fiction Writers, First Installment

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, First Installment
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016


I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the first installment.

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.

Session I, Professor Steve Rolston, Ph.D.

A. Measuring diameter by diffraction
the smaller the diameter of the hair, the greater the distance from the hair to each point of diffraction, and therefore, light is a wave

B. electrons eject from light and become collectible as charged particles when light bounces off a hard (metallic) surface, becoming photoelectric or photovoltaic

light color shows the frequency, so “yes” = blue”; “no” = red

materials also cause variations in the number of electrons emitted, so light is particles/ photons (corpuscles, in old language)

C. frequency = the inverse of wavelength

Planck’s constant is usually written as “h,” but if the reference/formula already includes h/2π, then the “h” represents that and gets a diagonal bar across its stem, “ħ” and is called “h bar

FORMULA: 6.626 * 10-34 m2 kg/s = h
(VERY SMALL number)

this refers to frequency at varying temperatures

E. a micron = 1 millionth of a meter; a human hair is about 30 – 80 microns in width

F. Lasers are usually emitting a single color of light at 10K watts, brightly focused
an incandescent light bulb is emitting about 100 watts and many colors, so this is called incoherent light

G. photons could be interacting but physicists can’t measure, observe or predict any of their interactions (yet), so physicists say that photons “do not interact”

Session II, Professor Chad Orzel, Ph.D.

A. http://dogphysics.com = his website
he handed out diffraction slides (grading)

B. Energy per photon depends on frequency

FORMULA: E*photon = hv

C. Particles have wave nature (atoms, molecules, photons, electrons, neutrons, positrons)

D. Excited gases are heated or electrified to move more quickly

E. every element emits and absorbs light uniquely, which is one way to identify them, even when they are isotopes (missing one or more electrons, and therefore “charged ions”)

F. there is a simple mathematical pattern to all light on the known spectrum (each color makes discrete “lines”)

G. Rutherford effect: scattering/deflecting pattern, “back-scattering,” occurs when using “alpha” particles, e.g., heavy atomic particles
light atomic particles, e.g., nucleus of Helium, do not have this

H. Use the Planck constant to explain energy differences between frequencies of light

FORMULA: hf = E1 – E2

I. mass (m) * velocity (v) = linear momentum

J. angular momentum = spinning or orbiting

FORMULA: MeVeR = n * h/2π

R = orbit; n = an integer; M = mass

K. electrons emit X-rays

L. wavelength, from de Broglie, λ = an object and this formula shows how to calculate its angular momentum

FORMULA: λ = h/p

M. Electron waves = the way electrons wrap around the atom’s orbital pattern

N. Standing waves = peaks and valleys of or a bit that is repeated and fixed, from start = finish
if number of peaks are high enough, then these can create a pattern

O. stringed instruments’ pitch is created by the frequency of standing waves, and are adjusted by changing the start or finish point (loosening or tightening one end of the string’s attachment pin)

P. electrons as particles behave as waves when there are high enough numbers create a pattern

Q. random numbers can be generated/derived from background radiation, which are the decay patterns of the atomic isotopes

R. molecules behave like waves, as do all other particles, even those without mass
electrons, protons and neutrons have mass
photons have no mass and always move at the speed of light (c)

S. Stanford University has an interferomoter

T. bigger objects have smaller wavelengths (a dog running has wavelengths to its running pattern of about 10-35

U. wavelength graphs become blobs because peaks of waves are touching on the paper/surface we use to show them

V. everything physical vibrates/oscillates

W. even when separated by ½ a meter , very large atoms resume wave behavior when reunited (there is no permanent divorce possible within an atom’s parts)

See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog