Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Gedanken, Oscars, Science and Business Success.

The power of "what if"...

This is what I found that all of the above have in common.

It is the well known Einstein's Gedanken that shed a light in the darkness of our understanding of the Universe through the unification of space and time in Special Relativity theory.

In the chicken and egg dilemma between the theoretical and experimental approach in scientific research, Einstein has a strong argument toward the former one.

Since tonight is the Oscars night I was thinking that movies are actually artistic expressions of "what if" worlds.

Then, besides Einstein's Gedanken, any scientific endeavor is a "what if" journey as shown on this page.

Last but not the least the success of any business depends on the "what if" homework as exemplified by the Think Different slogan.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


It was a WOW!...the last evening Weather Beaten, Pushing the Perimeter, Event Horizons, event at PI. I saw it as a musical representation of physics strings evolution before a POW.

The main piece Weather Part I by Michael Gordon performed as a background for a locally inspired video (by Stefan Rose) created the mental image of vibrating strings struggle to reach, somewhere higher, a peaceful place when they don't vibrate anymore and time kind of stands still.

The evening started with Omar Daniel's Annunciation, performed by Penderecki String Quartet. The six parts of the piece: Raffaello, da Vinci, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, Caravaggio and Fra Lippi represented musically Omar's interpretation of different Renaissance paintings having the same subject: Mary is announced by Angel Gabriel that she is to bear Jesus. This performance reminded me of cyclical popping in and out of existence of elementary particles.

The next piece, the 2007 World Premiere, Weather by Jascha Narveson was an original combination of intricate dialogs between strings, accordion and harp.

A Tango kind of dialog was represented in the next performance of Oswaldo Golijov's Last Round. It prepared us for the main piece of the evening that with its dissonant music represented perfectly the struggle of strings vibrations.

The music was harmonious with Stefan Rose's video that continuously slided back and forth between fuzzy weather patterns (dark real or paper made clouds, winter roads, semi-frozen shores, etc.) and children's play with a paper game that represents some old buildings facades having on the background a representative Kitchener modern building and the CN-Tower. The video ends up in the tranquility of a luminous cloud.

Stefan Rose info
Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony

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Saturday, February 17, 2007


Nima Arkani-Hamed started his presentation with a quick review of what will happen when LHC will be turned on.

Two protons will be smashed (POW) into each other after being accelerated close to the speed of light (.999c).

Since nature is not generous in revealing its secrets you need higher energies in order to go deeper in its understanding. Before collision the 2 protons will reach 7 TeV i.e. 7000 giga electron volts (eV). This is the scale of energy needed to see what happens at such small distances as 10-17. Right before the POW it could be noticed as the time is slowing down (dilate) as predicted by Einstein's Special Relativity theory.

After the POW the nature reveals its wonders with a WOW. The 2 protons will give birth to new elementary particles that will be captured by LHC's observation equipment. That is the moment when we go deeper in understanding what nature is made of as theories are confirmed; and who knows... maybe the nature will reveal new secrets.

The next part of Nima's presentation was characterised by the UNIFICATION theme, that will make the subject of a future post.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

It is all about 10-17cm.

10-17cm is the introspection scale LHC will use to go where nobody have gone before to tell us how nature's fundamentals behave.

Why 10-17cm is important? Since this is one of the nature's fundamental scale (called also the "weak length") where nature laws are clearly revealed. It is the intermediate fundamental length between the "ultimate small" (the Plank length of 10-33cm) and "ultimate big" (the Universe's size).

It is where mass is predicted to be born,where Quantum Gravity could be probed, where the beginning of unification theory could start, where the first man-made black hole could be created, where we could realize that there is nowhere vacuum since there is always something, where space and time could be proven as not being fundamental ideas, where our parallel Universe of symmetric particles could be seen, where we could start to understand that our Universe is actually a small player in a huge cluster of totally different universes built on the same fundamental laws that LHC will reveal.

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A Toronto star in Waterloo.

Nima Arkani-Hamed burst like a star on Friday with an enthusiastic cavalcade of ideas and slides that pointed out on one side the theoretical physics current struggles (characterized by crisis, paradoxes and controversies) and on the another side how LHC could provide by the year 2010, confirmations and open new research venues to revolutionary solutions in nature understanding.

He compared the current status of today's theoretical physics with that at the beginning of last century and postulated that the scale of physics revolutions to come is comparable with Einstein's Relativity theories and Quantum Mechanics.

One of these postulated revolutions could be the biggest discovery of our time, the Modern Copernicus Revolution that will tell us what our Universe really is and where it fits in nature's bigger picture.

It was a fascinating presentation on a fascinating subject. What a nice reward for his Grade 8 Toronto school mathematics teacher that was in the audience.

One thing I learned about the importance of LHS in theoretical physics is that it is all about 10-17cm, which will be the subject of my next post.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Beyond the tip of the iceberg.

The power of the experiment...

Theories are nice and beautiful, sometimes contradicting each others. It is the experiment though that raises them to glory or rejects them.

Sometimes the experiments are simple but when it comes to reveal the nature's deepest secrets beyond the tip of the iceberg, expensive tools are needed. One of these tools (if not the most expensive built by the human kind) is the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) that will be ready this year. It is fascinating to think about what secrets LHC will reveal. And we should not forget that the tools are those that start new technological revolutions by challenging the limits of the current technologies, as Mike Lazaridis pointed out in a PI Einsteinfest lecture. Are we on the verge of new theoretical and technological breakthroughs?

It will be interesting to find answers to some of these intriguing questions during
Nima Arkani-Hamed's today PI public lecture "Fundamental Physics in 2010".