Tag Archives: 1999 VERITAS

Scientist of the Millennium

VERITAS has chosen the scientist of the Millennium : Sir Issac Newton

 

 Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in the Night  God said : Let Newton be and all was light .

 

 Newtons was one of History’s Greatest Thinkers. His influence on

 Physics,Mathematics and Astronomy is immeasurable.

 

 Born on 25 Dec 1642 in a farmhouse in Lincolshire Newton was a

 premature and tiny baby . His father had died three months before his

 birth . He was an average student in school . Newton’s mother remmarried

 and Newton started living with his grandmother .

 

 He went to Cambridge for highher studies and was influenced deeply

  by Issac Barrow ( the prof of Mathematics ) . in 1665 when Newton

 was 23 yrs old plague broke out in england and Newton went to his village

 to avoid it . He spend 1.5 yrs of seclusion in a cottage .

 

 These 1.5 yrs were to change the face of Physics and Mathematics .

 These were the most productive year and half of human thought.

 In these 1.5 yrs Newton did this :

 

 Proved Binomial Theorem

 Developed differential and Integral calculus

 developed vector algebra

 stated the laws of motion

 explained gravitation

 began the study of optics( colot theory , nature of light , reflecting

 telescopes )

 

 WOW !! What a super guy .

 

 It is said that Newton developed Calculus only to prove that for

 a uniform spherical body the mass can be supposed to be concentrated

 at the centre .

 

 Newton proposed the particle theory of light .

 in 1669 Newton became the Prof of Mathematics at Cambridge .

 

 AFter that Newton had some disputes with Wren , Hooke . But Newton

 won all of them . Halley using Newton’s theory of Gravity discovered

 the Halley’s comet.

 

 In 1687 Newton published the Princpia Mathematica . The great book

 containing his unified theory of mechanics , gravitation ,

 explanation of Keplers laws , pllanetary motion , tides etc .

 

 in 1690 Newton had a nervous breakdown and never returned to science

 again . But the genius was still alive .

 

 He became the Master of the Mint in 1699 and the Member of Parliament

 in 1689 and 1701 . He was Knighted in 1705 .

 

 Newton was an exceptional person . He never married and had no known

 love affair . He spent most of his time alone . His powers of

 concentrate were great and could think about just one thing for

 days  on an end . He never created for the sake of publishing .

 He loved his work . Curiosity .. that is the word .

 

  Newton crystallized the scientific revolution . Great Scientist .

 

  VERITAS’s scientist of the Millennium

Japanese Temple Geometry

From 1639 to 1854 the Japanese lived in strict , self imposed isolation

   from the west . They thought that western influence may spoil their

   culture . During this period a kind of native Mathematics flourished

   in Japan . It is called Sangaku or Japanese Temple Geometry .

 

   Devotees of Maths , mostly samurai, merchants and farmers would solve

   a wide variety of maths problems and inscribe their effors in

   delicately colored wooden tablets and hang the works under the roofs

   of temples . These were to show other visitors what thay had done

   and to say ” Can u solve this one baby ?? “

 

   Some of these problems are so complicated that they cannot be solved

   without calculus . ANd western researchers are still wondering how the

   Japanese did it ( calculus is a western invention ) .

 

   The greatest Japanese mathematician at that time was Seki ( 1642- 1718)

   He independently inventes theory of determinants , solution of high

   equations, and a kind of calculus .

 

   The Sangaku is very beautiful . Circles and ellipses play a prominent

   role in it . Circles in ellipses , and other combinations .

 

   And the great thisn is that all this Math was done be amateurs. The

   Japenese thought of Maths as an art form , like poetry and painting.

   They combined these and Sangaku arose .

 

   Imagine this : A samurai warrior , after the day is over and he has

   sharpened his sword would retire to his study , light an oil lamp

   and lose the world to an intricate problem solvinng spheres and ellipsoids.

   Perhaps he would spend days meditating on the problem . ANd then when

   satisfied with the result would makke a beutiful picture of  the

   theorem and hang it on the ceiling of the local temple . An offering

   to the gods .

 

   This would be just wonderful . Scientific spirit and love for science

   at its best 🙂 

Sonoluminescence

Lets talk about a very interesting phenomenon the reason for which is still unknown .

Sonoluminescence is the emission of light by bubbles in a liquid when

excited by sound . It was discovered in 1934 .

SImple enough : Make a small bubble in a liquid . throw some sound on it

and it emits light . Wow !

 

It is an unstable phenomeneon and lasts for a very short time .

It is still a mystery in the Physics world because  nobody

understands how a low-energy-density sound wave can concentrate

such a lot of energy in such a small volume to create light .

ANd the emitted light has a very short wavelength ( ultraviolet) .

This means that it has very high energy . The observed spectrum of

light indicated that the bubble is atleast 10,000 degrees Celsius .

 

Physicists think that they can use this huge energy to cause fusion

if the bubble is hot enough and the pressure is high enough then

thermonuclear fusion( a reaction that causes Sun to burn ) may be

a possibility .

 

More interesting facts about Sonoluminescence :

 

1. light flashes from the bubble last for very short times < 12 picoseconds.

 

2. The bubble has to be really small ~ 1 micrometer in diameter .

 

3. Single bubble sonoluminescence tends to be stable .

 

4. Addition of small amounts to nobel gas to the bubble increases the

   intensity of emitted light drastically .