Particle Physics

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Robert d'Escourt Atkinson and Friedrich George "Fritz" Houtermans first discovered the origins of nuclear fusion in 1929. They are credited with discovering that the fusing of nuclei creates energy by following Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

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  • What are the building blocks of matter?

    Q: What are the building blocks of matter?

    A: The fundamental building blocks of matter are particles called quarks and leptons. There are six different types of quarks and six different types of leptons. Scientists classify the various types of quarks and leptons into different generations. Each generation contains two quarks and two leptons. The lightest and most stable particles form the first generation, and each subsequent generation contains heavier and less stable particles.
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  • What is an atom smasher?

    Q: What is an atom smasher?

    A: An atom smasher is a large installation commonly referred to as a particle accelerator. It works by accelerating electrons to a significant fraction of the speed of light and then crashing them into the nuclei of atoms. The resulting debris can then be searched for otherwise elusive particles that can shed light on theories of physics.
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  • Where can nuclear energy be found?

    Q: Where can nuclear energy be found?

    A: According to the World Nuclear Association, as of April 2014, 31 countries derive some of their electrical power from nuclear energy. Furthermore, 56 countries have nuclear reactors dedicated to scientific research. All total there are 430 commercial power-generating nuclear plants, 240 research reactors and 180 nuclear power plants providing electricity for ships at sea.
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  • What is the space-time continuum?

    Q: What is the space-time continuum?

    A: In physics and mathematics, the space-time continuum is a model of understanding space and time in a way that emphasizes their geometric qualities and views them as parts of a single concept that spans multiple dimensions, including time. This concept was developed as a means of describing space and time as physical constructs that are closely related to each other. Albert Einstein and other scientists following him developed this concept.
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  • Who discovered nuclear fusion?

    Q: Who discovered nuclear fusion?

    A: Robert d'Escourt Atkinson and Friedrich George "Fritz" Houtermans first discovered the origins of nuclear fusion in 1929. They are credited with discovering that the fusing of nuclei creates energy by following Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity.
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  • What is the God particle?

    Q: What is the God particle?

    A: The so-called "God particle" is more properly known as the Higgs boson. This particle was isolated for the first time at the Large Hadron Collider in a discovery announced on July 4, 2012. According to HowStuffWorks, this particle is fundamentally responsible for giving other particles their mass and might be responsible for the effects of gravity.
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  • What is nuclear force?

    Q: What is nuclear force?

    A: Nuclear force is the force that holds the particles of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons, together. It is a fundamental force able to overcome the electric force that would otherwise force the nucleus apart within extremely small distances. Unlike the electrical force, the nuclear force reduces extremely quickly with distance, dropping to zero before it interacts with the atom's own electrons.
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  • What is the particle theory of matter?

    Q: What is the particle theory of matter?

    A: The particle theory of matter states that all matter is made up of tiny particles, specifically atoms and molecules, and that these particles have inherent characteristics. A major part of the theory is the belief that all particles in a single pure substance are the same and are different from particles of other substances.
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  • What is the force of gravity on Mercury?

    Q: What is the force of gravity on Mercury?

    A: According to NASA, the surface gravity of Mercury is 12.1 feet per second squared. In comparison with Earth, this means that a person weighing 100 pounds on Earth would only weigh 38 pounds on Mercury.
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  • What percentage of his brain did Einstein use?

    Q: What percentage of his brain did Einstein use?

    A: Einstein used 100 percent of his brain just as all people do. The contention that humans use only about 10 percent of their total brain capacity is a myth that is sometimes attributed to Einstein.
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  • What does "E=mc²" mean?

    Q: What does "E=mc²" mean?

    A: In the equation E=mc², e stands for energy, m stands for mass and c² stands for the speed of light squared. First proposed by Albert Einstein, this equation demonstrates that energy and matter are interchangeable.
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  • What is gene cloning?

    Q: What is gene cloning?

    A: Gene cloning occurs when a specific gene from a strand of DNA has been extracted and copied from an organism. Nearly any tissue source can be used for cloning, as long as there is not widespread degradation. DNA can also be extracted from RNA using a process called reverse transcription.
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  • Q: How is nuclear energy obtained?

    A: Nuclear energy forms when atoms of uranium are split in a nuclear reactor through a process called fission. Small, hard ceramic particles containing uranium fuel are inserted into the reactor to produce steam, which turns the turbines in the reactor to produce electricity.
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  • Q: Where did Albert Einstein go to school?

    A: Albert Einstein attended the Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich, Switzerland. He enrolled in 1896 at the age of 17 and graduated in 1901. He received a mathematics and physics teaching diploma.
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  • Q: What is the smallest unit of matter?

    A: The smallest unit of matter is the atom. In the fifth century B.C., Democritus proposed that matter can only be cut up to a certain point. At that point, that smallest particle still retains the properties of that substance.
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  • Q: What are examples of radiant energy?

    A: Radiant energy, the energy carried by electromagnetic waves, can be transmitted through any number of media, including visible light, gamma rays, radio waves, x-rays, infrared waves and ultraviolet waves. The energy emitted from the sun is an example of thermal radiation, which is also a type of radiant energy.
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  • Q: What is the difference between a sensor and a transducer?

    A: A sensor is a device that can read and measure input, such as heat, motion, pressure and moisture, from its physical environment and output the results as readable data. Transducers, such as antennas, stereo speakers and thermostats, convert one kind of energy to another. Some devices have both sensors and transducers.
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  • Q: What is the relative mass of an electron?

    A: Electrons have a relative mass of 9.1 x 10^-31 kilograms, or 0.51 megaelectron volts. They are a lot smaller than protons and neutrons; and, an electron is roughly 0.054 percent of the mass of one neutron.
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  • Q: What did Ernest Rutherford discover?

    A: Ernest Rutherford made several discoveries, the most notable ones were the discovery of the nucleus in atoms, radiation half-life and the differentiation between alpha and beta radiation. Out of all of his discoveries, the discovery of the nucleus is possible his most well known one. The majority of Rutherford's work was accomplished after he was already a Nobel Prize laureate.
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  • Q: What is "E=mc2"?

    A: "E=mc2" is one of Albert Einstein's most famous equations, which relates the energy and mass of an object. An important thing to note is that since mass is multiplied by the speed of light squared, even small amounts of mass can create large amounts of energy.
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  • Q: What is wave energy?

    A: According to Pelamis Wave Power, wave energy is energy transferred from wind forces to the waves of a body of water, such as the ocean. Wave energy should not be confused with tidal energy.
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