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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • Q: What is the difference between plutonium and uranium?

    A: Plutonium has 94 protons in its nucleus, compared to the 92 in uranium, and is typically produced in nuclear reactors as a byproduct. Although both plutonium and uranium are rare, naturally occurring elements, plutonium is no longer found in the earth's crust, but uranium is actively mined. There is enough uranium inside the Earth that its radioactive decay is believed to heat the Earth's core.
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  • Q: What are some interesting facts about James Chadwick?

    A: James Chadwick was born on Oct. 18, 1891 and was an English physicist that received the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the neutron. He was knighted in 1945 for his achievements in physics.
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  • Q: What happens during radioactive decay?

    A: Radioactive decay is the process by which a radioactive atom emits particles and energy to reach a more stable configuration. Atoms may emit alpha or beta particles from the nucleus or may spontaneously split into different isotopes, producing gamma or neutron radiation.
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  • Q: What did Robert Millikan discover?

    A: Robert Millikan made numerous discoveries in the fields of optics, electricity and physics. One of his most important discoveries was the determination of the charge of an electron. His calculations were instrumental in proving that electrons are fundamental, or indivisible, particles.
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  • Q: What is CERN's Large Hadron Collider?

    A: The Large Hadron Collider is the biggest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world. The LHC consists of a ring of superconducting magnets 27 kilometers in length. This ring accelerates beams of protons and ions to velocities approaching the speed of light. These beams are then collided, and the results are studied and recorded.
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  • Q: Does air pressure increase with altitude?

    A: Air pressure decreases with altitude. The combined weight of air molecules at increasing altitude decreases. Air pressure is greatest at the Earth's surface, because the surface air molecules bear the combined weight of all the air molecules above.
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  • Q: What are some nuclear EMP effects on society?

    A: The societal effects of an electromagnetic pulse blast resulting from a nuclear detonation are devastating and can include a complete loss of power over a large range, such as an entire city or more. Almost all unshielded electronic equipment would instantly cease functioning in such an event. Power lines would fry, causing the collapse of the power grid and all utilities associated with it.
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  • Q: What did Niels Bohr discover?

    A: Niels Bohr discovered that the energy levels of electrons distinct and that they revolve in orbits around the nucleus. Additionally, he discovered that the electrons could jump from one orbit to another.
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  • Q: How does temperature affect the rate of diffusion?

    A: The rate of diffusion of all types is increased along with increasing temperature. Diffusion is really the result of random movements, rather than force, since random movements are more likely to move particles to areas of lower concentration from areas of higher concentration. Temperature is a measure of the kinetic energy within particles, and hotter particles move faster, causing diffusion to proceed more quickly.
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