Physics trivia

Four intriguing facts from physics

Physics is a very broad science , since it studies from atomic scale phenomena to the formation of galaxies , so it is full of facts unknown to most people.

Discover some facts about Physics that you never imagined!

1 – All of humanity fits in the space of a sugar cube

If we could remove the space between the atoms that make up all human beings, we would comfortably fit into a space similar to that occupied by a sugar cube. This is because almost all the mass of atoms is concentrated in the atomic nucleus , a region thousands of times smaller than the atom itself.

If that were possible, we would be putting about a trillion kilograms (10 12 kg) into a space of a few cubic centimeters . As a result, we would obtain a mass of matter of a density similar to the density of neutron stars . On average, a single teaspoon filled with the material from these stars weighs over 1 billion tons.

2 – Light is affected by gravity

Light travels in a straight line, right? It depends. To affirm this, first, it is necessary to admit that the geometry of space is flat, which is not an absolute truth, as explained by Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

When light passes through the vicinity of massive stars, such as stars or black holes , its trajectory is altered , since the space itself in these regions is deformed by the great masses of the stars , giving rise to the acceleration of gravity . Thus, when we observe the stars, we are not looking directly at them, but at images of the stars, produced by an effect known as gravitational lensing .

Gravitational lenses are produced by large masses such as black holes, stars and galaxies, their ability to bend the path of light makes them produce images similar to the first “photograph” taken of a real black hole:

Photograph of the black hole M87, about 6.5 billion times more massive than the Sun. [1]

3 – Atoms appeared in the stars

With the exception of hydrogen , all chemical elements arose inside stars . The core of stars has the temperature and pressure necessary for atomic nuclei to fuse in a process known as nuclear fusion .

Current cosmological theories explain that all elements prior to iron were formed under these conditions, atoms heavier than iron, in turn, were possibly produced during the death of supermassive stars, in extremely energetic events, called supernovas.

When a star becomes a supernova, its core is collapsed by an intense gravitational force and the stars’ outer layers are ejected in all directions at speeds close to the speed of light . During these cosmic events, the brightness of stars can become billions of times brighter.


4 – Wave or particle?

In Physics, there is an experiment known as a “double slit experiment” , which consists of a light source, directed at a wall with two small slits. After passing through the slits, the light scatters and projects an interference pattern onto a screen. This pattern is formed by a sequence of light and dark regions. All this follows the pattern of normality, since we have known for a long time that light behaves like an electromagnetic wave .

What intrigues physicists is that if we repeat this experiment with electrons , or even neutrons or protons , it will be possible to observe the same pattern of interference . It’s as if the particles changed direction after crossing the slit, as if they knew where the other particles went.

The strangest part of the experiment is that if we know, for example, which slit the particle passed through (using a detector), the interference pattern will disappear , and the particles will only pass through the slits in a straight line (which is expected for a particle). It was through the double slit experiment that we came to understand the dual behavior of matter.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also
Back to top button