Quarks, Quotients, Quasars and Quetzals
All Photographs on this page reproduced from Wikipedia unless otherwise credited.
"A 1974 discovery photograph of a possible charmed baryon".
A baryon is a clump of quarks. On setting out to investigate the quantum world, the Quark is where I was given to start. Quarks are the building blocks of matter, with totally amazing properties. They have personalities which scientists call "flavors".
Quarks come in three pairs of 'flavors' - up and down quarks, strange and charmed quarks, and top and bottom quarks. Now, that might sound a wee bit odd, having 'up and down' and 'top and bottom' with a mysterious 'strange and charmed' slipped in the middle. But there is a story here. Once upon a time, when scientists were discovering quarks, they named them in accordance with their behaviours, as best they could, not being very familiar with subatomic particles that could do amazing things.
Up and down quarks were first on the discovery menu. 'Strange and charm', next in line, hinted at something more complicated. The last pair to be found were called Beauty and Truth. But it turned out that the Truth quark didn't live for very long (at least not in this dimension) - it exploded itself into other particles almost as soon as it appeared. Thinking it unseemly to so-name such a short-lived entity, and feeling a bit leery about getting too fluffy-bunny, they abandoned Beauty and Truth and opted for Top and Bottom instead. Strangely, though, and somewhat charmingly, it's not very easy to forget what the original names for the third pair were. Scientists get round this latent attachment by referring to them as 'T'and 'B' quarks for short.
The great-grand-daddy of black holes. Quasars burn bright and distant at the very edge of the known universe, their disks spinning hundreds of thousands of light years across, as vast and unfathomable as the quark is small and unfathomable. Quasars are 40 billion light years away because that's how long the light takes to reach us. But the Universe is only 13.7 billion years old.
www.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/www_astro/agn/agn_quasartour.html goes for in-depth analysis (with pictures) of quasar biology.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6243361.stm is an article on the discovery of a triple quasar, with interesting references to other aspects of this beautiful phenomenon.
Quirks in Fractal Quotients - The Golden Ratio 1.618
A zippy website with loads of fascinating bits is www.goldennumber.net where you can find the Golden Number, Pi, the Fibonacci sequence, and other associated universal quirks hinting at a conscious creative process.
There's an article which begins thus: "A major proof that the Universe is a huge computer program created by an intelligent agent...." and actually goes on to explore some interesting stuff without getting boring. Here it is: www.rae.org/goldennumber.html
The rose (alongside most other flora) subscribes to the Golden Ratio in formation of its growth. The Golden Number occurs throughout nature, on the planet and beyond it, therefore this number is important to the universal intellect and it pays, surely, to know something about its applications. You don't need to be a mathematician. I got 16% in my maths GCE mock exam (that was in the old days of O-levels, I have to stress) and they told me not to bother with the real thing, so I didn't.
And Jonas Quinn........
The link he's forged is a dream come true for me. When the SG1 series was first published in weekly issues, we bought the entire set, and have watched them all through three times so far. One day we will devote our evenings to watching them again. Most cutting-edge quantum principles have appeared somewhere in the scripts. Suspension of disbelief, however, with three major cast members following me on Twitter, will be much more difficult the next time around.
This is a Resplendent Quetzal.
Quetzal is a name derived from the Aztec meaning "beautiful". These birds were sacred to the Mayans, The physical (microscopic) structure required to produce iridescence is based on cone shapes, another correlation to the persistent golden number, 1.618.
Creator of life, guardian of beauty, the god Quetzalcoatl has an interesting biography, and you can catch up with him at lots of sites.
www.azteccalendar.com/god/Quetzalcoatl.html refers to him thus:
"As the Lord of the East he is associated with the morning star".
frontpage2000.nmia.com/~nahualli/Quetzalcoatl/Intro.htm gives a more in-depth history.