Friday, April 23, 2010

Carina Nebula! Hubble Hits a Home Run - Happy 20th Hubble !

This is simply the best image Hubble has ever taken IMO, which is impressive given the competition. My favorite before this was one of the first, a close-up of The Eagle Nebula, a one light year tall region of star-forming, seen face on. That was amazing because for the first time we saw the three-dimensionality of these clouds. Very Inspiring.

The Carina Nebula, below, seems similar, but in this case it's from the perspective of being near the bottom of the cloud, looking up. Even more dimensionality! The Carina Nebula is 7500 light years away, and that cloud is 3 light years tall.

Well done, Hubble Scientists! Happy 20th.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cosmological Revolution

The Revolution for the Rest of Us

Opening Remarks in a Talk Presented by George Musser at MENSA:

In the time-honored tradition of essayists and papergivers
everywhere, I’d like to question the premise of
my own title. Is the revolution in cosmology really a
revolution? There are good reasons for thinking it isn’t.
By “revolution,” people generally refer to two broad
developments since the late 1990s: (1) a new level of
precision in measurements of cosmic expansion, the
cosmic microwave background radiation, and largescale
structures, and (2) a “concordance” model that
accounts for all these observations. It is a strange
revolution that endorses the status quo, but this one
did: the model was already cosmologists’ favorite, and
even its strangest aspect, dark energy, had been
mulled for decades. So it isn’t a paradigm shift like the
discovery of the expanding universe in the 1920s.
Moreover, the supposed revolution hasn’t had the
broad cultural ramifications of, say, the Copernican
revolution. Cosmology these days is likelier to be
ignored than put on trial.

I think these developments have the potential to be
revolutionary in scientific and cultural senses.
Cosmology has become part and parcel of efforts by
fundamental physicists to unify quantum mechanics
and Einstein’s general theory of relativity into a single
theory. The universe is both a testing ground for
theoretical ideas & a source of new research questions.
The unified theory, in turn, could reveal whole new
principles on which the natural world is based. We
might glean some hints of these principles from the
remarkable properties of the universe revealed by
modern cosmology: the way order has emerged from
randomness, the hierarchy of scales, the possibility of
multiple universes, the special role played by
information. In short, the revolution in cosmology may
not strictly be one, but could herald the start of one.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is IC 352 A Better Galaxy than M51 ?

This galaxy, IC 352, presented to us by the WISE observatory, has been hidden (in detail) until now by our own Milky Way galaxy. It's about 6.6-11 million light years away. You can read more about it here.

How great is that? It's stunning, but I must ask the question, do you like it more than M51, the Whirlpool? Or the Sombrero galaxy? Well, looks and beauty are subjective, and I must admit I like this new image very much, but M51 will always be first in my heart.

The Once and Future (maybe) King:

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Possible Physical Interpretation of How A Universe Can Exist Within a Black Hole Using Holographic Conjecture and Four Radii

UPDATE (April 29, 2010): Sean Carroll weighs in on this subject: here
Lubos Motl's response to Sean, here.

Recent papers by Paul Frampton and Erik Verlinde which can be traced back to Ted Jacobsen and many others including Gerardus 't Hooft and Leonard Susskind regarding the Holographic Conjecture, Stephen Hawking and Jacob Bekenstein regarding Black Hole Thermodynamics, Juan Martin Maldacena and colleagues and their work in AdS/CFT, Alan Guth and Cosmological Inflation Theory, and Lee Smolin with his Fecund Universes "Cosmological Natural Selection" Theory, have led me to the following thoughts.

Is it at all possible that there is a physical interpretation to the Holographic conjecture (as Sir Roger Penrose calls it) enough to promote it to a "principle"? That is to say, can our Universe actually reside (as Frampton et. al. maintain) inside of a Black Hole? Possibly. Here is my idea:

First, for qualitative and future mathematical quantitative purposes, let's define four radii from the center of a Black Hole, thus:

Concerning the Four Radii, we then define their relationship in a Black Hole of a certain size to be:

R1>R2>R3>R4 (1.1)

R1 = The Schwarzschild Radius (for a stationary Black Hole), aka the Event Horizon, and the only part of the Black Hole visible to outside observers.

R2 = The outer surface of a Black Hole.

R3 = The average mass radius of the Black Hole. The mass between R2 and R3 = the mass between R3 and R4, so it is not at the midpoint between them because of geometry.

R4 = The Interior Surface of the Black Hole. A Universe is postulated to exist between R4 and the center of the hole. We therefore consider the sphere defined by R4 to be the 2D Holographic boundary that defines the 3D (with gravity) Universe within.

For small Black holes, let us assume

R4 = 0 (1.2)

That is to say, R4 is the center of the hole, and so no Universe resides therein. Frampton estimates the Black Hole in which we reside to be on the order of R1 = 30 Billion light years across.

If so, there must be a time t > t naught (the time of the formation of the Black hole via Supernova collapse) when a Black hole with m = or greater than a certain critical mass m sub-c (for critical and very large mass) required to create a Universe therein is achieved, thus changing (Calculus, anyone?) R4 = 0 to R4 >0, and the universe begins, via a "Big Bang."

What could possibly possess a Black Hole to do so without "divine intervention", that is to say: naturally?

My contention is that for this to be possible, that no matter can compress itself smaller than quark-gluon plasma (see Brookhaven and their wonderful current results for reference), and therefore something has to give.

What I believe gives is radius R3. It expands because it has no other choice, being the mass equilibrium point (sort of a spherical center-of-mass of the hole), and as it expands, it draws R4 away from the center of the Black Hole.

We must then ask ourselves: what "fills" the "vacuum" in the region, the "region" being the volume between R=0 and our new (and expanding) R4?

Well, that most basic of Sciences that is Physics has already provided the answer, hasn't it? Virtual particles (in the form of quarks/anti-quarks and gluons), stimulated by the quantum fluctuations of the nearly perfect but not quite perfect surface that is the expanding sphere defined by R4.

Thinking further: the black hole in which we reside will eventually evaporate, when the four radii become one, when:

R1=R2=R3=R4 (1.3)

This is when I posit (speculate) that "The Big Rip" demise of our Universe will occur. Fortunately for us, the larger the hole, the longer the evaporation, so if someone would care to check my numbers, I feel we are hundreds of trillions of years away from that event. Phew.

I eagerly await comments, both pro and con. I would much prefer to be right than wrong, but if I'm wrong then Pfft!, so be it. There are so many wonderful Unknowns in our Universe to explore and our time is finite and limited; I see no purpose in pursing dead ends, other than to learn they lead nowhere in order to back up and pursue greater knowledge.


Steven A. Colyer
Cosmological Thermodynamicist, apparently

April 18-19, 2010

P.S. Thanks to:
- Tomasso Dorigo and Johannes Koelman at their wonderful blogs for making me aware of the current situation, and their post repliers as well.
- Sabine Hossenfelder and Stefan Scherer and their wonderful blog BackReAction for keeping us up to date on Quantum Gravity issues.
- Peter Woit/Columbia Math Dept. and Lubos Motl/Umbrella Corporation for their blogs, in spite of their way too-heavy moderation, for keeping the discussion going. Not all blogs are Democratic, but fine, nor are all Nations. Yet.
And saving the very best for last:
- Phil Warnell who gave me comfort that in the end, the Logic of Aristotle is most supreme, and that I was not the only person to think so.

A merger of 2 black holes. May this never happen to us.

Mass and the Constants: Relationships

The relation between properties of mass and their associated physical constants. Every massive object is believed to exhibit all five properties, however, due to extremely large or extremely small constants, it is generally impossible to verify more than two or three properties for any object.
  • The Schwarzschild radius (rs) represents the ability of mass to cause curvature in space and time.
  • The standard gravitational parameter (μ) represents the ability of a massive body to exert Newtonian gravitational forces on other bodies.
  • Inertial mass (m) represents the Newtonian response of mass to forces.
  • Rest energy (E0) represents the ability of mass to be converted into other forms of energy.
  • The Compton wavelength (λ) represents the quantum response of mass to local geometry.
Diagram and text above is from the Wikipedia  page on  Schwarzschild Radius.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The GRAVITON : Does it Exist?

Can we have a field without a particle? For example, a gravitational field without a graviton? What about a Higgs field without a Higgs Boson? What would happen to Superstrings theory if so? Can Lee Smolin's Fecund universes theory be correct, in which each black hole houses a universe in its interior, each of which contains other black holes, each of which contains other universes, with those universes with the most black holes being most likely to survive thus giving us a form of Cosmic Evolution via Cosmic Natural Selection?

Could this then mean there was no Big Bang?

Theoretical Physicist Paul Frampton seems to think so. Well, except for the Higgs thing, that's my two cents, which seems a natural thing to consider if the graviton-less gravitational field thing is true.

Read on!

As I write in the replies at Sabine "Bee" Hossenfelder's "What I Am Is What I Am" blog article at her blog, "BackReAction" :

Hi Bee,

Paul Frampton has a guest blog article at Lubos Motl's The Reference Frame up today, here.

Frampton has a copyright 2010 book to sell, btw, a link to which is included in his very short essay.

Well, who doesn't have a book to sell these days?

In any event Bee, your comments would be most welcome, as you're one of the "Pros from Dover" on things quantum gravity. As a former Thermodynamicist I'm all over Entropy (our baby) and am reviewing the theory (trawling out learned but "forgotten" facts from old neurons) re same and hope to add to the discussion within a week.

At issue is the elusive "graviton." Frampton states that one can have a gravitational field without a gravitational particle. Lubos takes issue of course in the replies section. Great irony and understandable, as the primary reason given by Ed Witten for leaving the world of Science (Physics) for Language (Mathematics - Superstrings division) in 1983 is because a spin-2 massless particle "fell out" of the new equations, that Susskind et. al. instantly dubbed "the graviton."

Stay tuned ..... UPDATES to follow ....

UPDATE Number One (that didn't take long): Smarter than Newton and Einstein?

Mitchell Porter in Lubos' reply section claims Paul Frampton is furiously editing his own Wikipedia entry. Is he? For the record, here is his current entry as of this moment, let's watch in time how it changes:

Paul Howard Frampton (born October 31, 1943, in England) is a particle phenomenologist. Since 1996, he is the Louis D. Rubin, Jr. Distinguished Professor of physics and astronomy, at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Born in Kidderminster, he attended King Charles I School, 1954-62, then Oxford University 1962-68. He received BA (Double First) in 1965, MA, DPhil in 1968, and DSc in 1984, degrees all from Oxford. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1990), the American Physical Society (1981) and the Institute of Physics (1986).



Frampton's Oxford thesis analyzed the relationship between current algebra and superconvergence sum rules, and contained a 1967 sum rule[1], derived with Taylor. Two examples of extensions of the standard model are the chiral color model, in 1987, which predicts[2] axigluons and the 331 model[3], in 1992, which can explain the number of quark-lepton generations, and predicts bileptons. Bileptons and axigluons serve as targets of opportunity for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). In 2002, with Glashow and Yanagida, he built a model relating matter-antimatter asymmetry in the early universe to measurements possible on Earth[4]. In slightly more formal directions, three examples are that he calculated, in 1976, the rate of vacuum decay in quantum field theory [5]; in 1982, he analyzed, with Kephart, ten-dimensional gauge field theory, and its hexagon anomaly, before the first superstring revolution[6]; in 1988, with Okada, he constructed [7] the lagrangian which describes the dynamics of the p-Adic string.
In 2007, with Baum, he built, for cosmology, a cyclic model [8] which solved a 75-year-old entropy problem discussed by Tolman. In 2010, he proposed that [9]dark energy can be understood, by approximating the visible universe as a black hole.

Other activities

A Festschrift [10] for his 60th birthday, in 2003, included contributions by Glashow, 't Hooft, Veltman, and several other similarly-known physicists. A 2005 issue of International Journal of Modern Physics is dedicated to him.


Frampton's first publication was Chirality Commutator and Vector Mesons, in 1967. He has published numerous articles in journals and conference proceedings. He was the author of a book[11] on string theory, in 1974 (2nd edition1986), when it was still named the dual resonance model. In 1986, he published a book[12] on quantum field theory (2nd edition 2000, 3rd edition 2008). A book[13] on cyclic cosmology, for the general public, was published in 2009.

  • P.H. Frampton and J.C. Taylor, Superconvergence Sum Rules in Pi-Rho Scattering, Nuov. Cim. 49A, 152 (1967).
  • P.H. Frampton and Yoichiro Nambu, Asymptotic Behavior of Partial Widths , published in Wentzel's festschrift (1970).
  • P.H. Frampton and T.W. Kephart, Anomalies in Higher Dimensions, Phys. Rev. Lett. 50, 1343, 1347 (1983); Phys. Rev. D28, 1010 (1983).
  • P.H. Frampton and Sheldon L. Glashow, Chiral Color: Alternative to the Standard Model, Phys. Lett. 190B, 157 (1987); Phys. Rev. Lett. 58, 2168 (1987).
  • P.H. Frampton and Y. Okada, Effective Scalar Field Theory of the p-Adic String, Phys. Rev. D37, 3077 (1988).
  • P.H. Frampton, Chiral Dilepton Model and the Flavor Question, Phys. Rev. Lett. 69, 2889 (1992).
  • P.H. Frampton, Sheldon L. Glashow and T. Yanagida, Cosmological Sign of Neutrino CP Violation, Phys. Lett. B548 119 (2002).
  • La Belle Epoque of High Energy Physics and Cosmology, Editors: T. Curtright, S. Mintz and A. Perlmutter, World Scientific Publishing Company (2004).
  • International Journal of Modern Physics Volume A20 No 6 March 10 2005 dedicated to Paul Frampton.
  • L. Baum and P.H. Frampton, Turnaround in Cyclic Cosmology, Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 071301 (2007).
  • Paul Howard Frampton, Solution to the Dark Energy Problem. arXiv: 1004.1285 [astro-ph.CO] (2010).

Other publications

  • First Workshop on Grand Unification, Editors: P.H. Frampton, S.L. Glashow and A. Yildiz. Math Sci Press, Brookline (1980).
  • Third Workshop on Grand Unification, Editors: P.H. Frampton, S.L. Glashow and H. Van Dam. Birkhauser (1982).
  • North Carolina site proposal for superconducting super collider: Volumes 1. Executive summary, 2. Offer, financial and other incentives, 3. Geology and tunneling, 4. Regional resources, 5. Environment, 6. Setting, 7. Regional conditions, 8. Utilities, 9. Map supplement. Project Director: P.H. Frampton. Project Manager: W. Dunn. Governor's Science Adviser: E. MacCormac. Advised by employees of the North Carolina State Government and others. Submitted by the office of the Governor to the U.S. Department of Energy (1987).
  • Last Workshop on Grand Unification, Editor: P.H. Frampton. World Scientific Publishing Company (1989).
  • Eighth International Symposium on Particles, Strings and Cosmology (PASCOS), Editors: P.H. Frampton and Y.J. Ng. Rinton Press (2001).


  1. ^ Frampton, P. H.; J. C. Taylor (1967). "Superconvergence sum rules in pi-rho scattering". Nuovo Cimento 49A: 152–156. 
  2. ^ Frampton, Paul H.; Sheldon L. Glashow (1987). "Chiral color: An alternative to the standard model". Physics Letters B (Elsevier) 190 (1-2): 157–161. doi:10.1016/0370-2693(87)90859-8. 
  3. ^ Frampton, Paul H. (1992). "Chiral dilepton model and the flavor question" (subscription required). Physical Review Letters (The American Physical Society) 69 (20): p2889–p2891. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.69.2889. 
  4. ^ Frampton, Paul H; Sheldon L Glashow and Tsutomo Yanagida (2002). "Cosmological Sign of Neutrino CP Violation". Physics Letters (Elsevier) B548: 119–121. 
  5. ^ Frampton, Paul H. (1976). "Vacuum Instability and Higgs Scalar Mass" (subscription required). Physical Review Letters (The American Physical Society) 37 (21): 1378–1380. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.37.1378. 
  6. ^ Frampton, Paul H.; Thomas W. Kephart (1983). "Explicit Evaluation of Anomalies in Higher Dimensions" (subscription required). Physical Review Letters (The American Physical Society) 50 (18): 1343–1346. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.50.1343. 
  7. ^ Frampton, Paul H; Yasuhiro Okada (1988). "Effective Scalar Field Theory of the p-Adic String". Physical Review D37: 3077–3079. 
  8. ^ Baum, Lauris; Frampton Paul H. (2007). "Turnaround in cyclic cosmology". Physical Review Letters (The American Physical Society) 98 (7): 071301. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.98.071301. 
  9. ^ P.H. Frampton (2010). [http// "Solution to the Dark Energy problem"]. http// 
  10. ^ Curtright, Thomas; Mintz, Stephan; Perlmutter, Arnold (2004). "La Belle Epoche of High Energy Physics and Cosmology". World Scientific Publishing Company.. 
  11. ^ Frampton, Paul H. (1974). Dual resonance models. Frontiers in Physics, W. A. Benjamin. ISBN 978-0805325812. 
  12. ^ Frampton, Paul H. (1986). Gauge field theories. Frontiers in Physics, Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0471347835. 
  13. ^ Frampton, Paul Howard (2009). Did Time Begin? Will Time End?. World Scientific Publishing Company. ISBN 978-981-4280-58-7. 

External links

Saturday, April 17, 2010

JOHN YOUNG, Super Astronaut

You know, sooner or later, the Chinese and the Indians are going to want two cars in every garage, just the way we do. If they put fossil fuel cars in every garage, there isn't enough oil on the planet to do that.

I think going to alternative sources of energy is the key to the future of civilization on this planet, because we're gonna run out. ... Nobody's worried about that, but we should be very worried about that.

I think it's really important to get folks educated about these problems ... Earth's geologic history is pretty clear: It says, quite frankly, that single-planet species don't last. Right now we're a single-planet species. We need to fix that.
... John Young

John Watts Young (born September 24, 1930) is a former NASA astronaut and engineer who walked on the Moon on April 21, 22 and 23 1972 during the Apollo 16 mission.
Young enjoyed one of the longest and busiest careers of any astronaut in the American space program. He is one of only three people who have twice journeyed to the Moon, was the first person to fly into space six times (seven if the flight from the Moon on the Apollo 16 mission is counted), and is the only person to have piloted in space four different classes of spacecraft: Gemini spacecraft, Apollo Command/Service Module, Apollo Lunar Module, and Space Shuttle. Young was the second of only three people who have driven the Lunar Roving Vehicle on the moon's surface. He was the first person to orbit the moon alone (during the Apollo 10 mission), and commanded the first Space Shuttle mission in April 1981.




Early life and Navy career

Born in San Francisco, California and raised in the College Park neighborhood of Orlando, Florida, Young became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and earned a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical engineering with highest honors from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1952.[1]
After graduation Young entered the United States Navy. He served as Fire Control Officer on the destroyer, USS Laws (DD-558) until June 1953 and completed a tour in the Korean Seas. He then became a fighter pilot, and in 1959, a test pilot.


NASA career


Project Gemini

Joining NASA in 1962, Young was the first of Astronaut Group 2 to fly in space. (He replaced Thomas Stafford as pilot of Gemini 3 when Alan Shepard, the original commander, was grounded.) Making the first manned flight of the Gemini spacecraft with Virgil Grissom, Young scored another space "first" by smuggling a corned beef sandwich onto the spacecraft - a feat for which he was reprimanded.[2]
Young then trained as backup pilot for Gemini 6, but after the sandwich episode, for a time it seemed that NASA did not know what to do with Young. Other Group 2 astronauts with flight experience were quickly moved to Apollo, while other astronauts such as Scott Carpenter and Gordon Cooper had been sidelined for lesser infractions. The assignment of Ed White, the Gemini 7 backup commander to Apollo created an opening for Young as Commander of Gemini 10. The mission performed the first dual rendezvous with two Agena Target Vehicles, and his pilot, Michael Collins, performed two spacewalks.


Project Apollo

John Young jumps while saluting the American flag. (NASA)
Young was assigned to the backup crew on Apollo 7 and later made the second manned flight to the Moon on Apollo 10 with Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan. While Stafford and Cernan flew the lunar module in lunar orbit for the first time, Young flew the command module solo - the first person to do so in lunar orbit. Young was backup commander of Apollo 13, the troubled mission in which the moon landing was aborted because of an explosion on the service module. Young had a central role in rescuing the Apollo 13 crew by participating in the team that developed procedures to stretch the LM consumables and reactivate the command module systems prior to re-entry.
By rotation, Young became commander of Apollo 16. Young became an enthusiastic student of geology while preparing for the moon mission. Apollo 16's lunar landing was almost aborted at the last moment when a malfunction was detected in the SPS engine control system in the service module. On the surface, Young trod the Descartes Highlands with Charles Duke (making Young the ninth person to walk upon the surface of the moon), while Ken Mattingly flew the command module in lunar orbit. Young set a speed record with the lunar rover but was troubled by the effects of potassium in the orange juice they drank during the moonwalks. He carried with him the badge and flag of the Sigma Chi Fraternity; these are on display at Sigma Chi's headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.
His final assignment in Apollo was as the backup commander on Apollo 17. This almost resulted in his second moon landing when Gene Cernan injured his knee playing softball a few months before the flight. The injury, had it been any more severe, would have resulted in Cernan being medically dropped from the flight and John Young commanding the last two moon landings of Apollo. In 1972, Young became head of the Astronaut Office after the return of Deke Slayton to flight status.


Space Shuttle

After the Apollo program ended, Young stayed on as an astronaut and flew two missions of the Space Shuttle, including commanding the Shuttle's maiden flight, STS-1, and the flight STS-9 which used Spacelab for the first time. Young had been in line to make a record seventh flight to deploy the Hubble Space Telescope, but the Challenger Disaster thwarted NASA's schedule.
Young was openly critical of the administration following the disaster, and in April 1987 was taken out of the Astronaut Office and made special assistant of engineering, operations and safety to the center director Aaron Cohen. It was denied that his criticism of NASA triggered the move.


Retirement from NASA

Young worked for NASA for 42 years and announced his retirement on December 7, 2004. He retired on December 31, 2004 at the age of 74.
Young still attends the Monday Morning Meeting in the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center.[3]


Media portrayals and description

In the 1995 film Apollo 13 Young was played by Ben Marley. In the 1998 TV miniseries From the Earth to the Moon he was played by John Posey.
Young is one of the astronauts featured in the documentary and book In the Shadow of the Moon, the Discovery series When We Left Earth and the documentary film The Wonder of It All.
James A. Michener, author of the 1982 novel Space, has said that Young was "an inspiration".[citation needed]


Awards and honors

He was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1981.
He was awarded the National Space Trophy in 2000.
John Young Parkway, a major highway in Central Florida, was named for him.
He is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, and the Sigma Gamma Tau Aerospace Engineering Honor Society. He is also a member of the Georgia Tech ANAK society (considered the highest distinction a student can receive).



  1. ^ Wasik, John W. (April 4, 1965). "Virgil Grissom and John Young: Our Trail-Blazing "Twin" Astronauts". Family Weekly (Sarasota Herald-Tribune): p. 4.,1212947. Retrieved January 28, 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Fuglesang, Christer, Tretton dygn i rymden efter fjorton år på jorden", Albert Bonniers Förlag, Sverige, 200710 (9789185555154).


External links

Friday, April 16, 2010

Has the Dark Energy Problem been Solved by P. Frampton Using Entropy, Holographic, and General Relativity ?

Holy Verlinde, what's going on here? Has P. Frampton "Shown us the way?"

No, not THAT P. Frampton. That's a pic of Peter Frampton, noted 60's/70's Rock God of  the band Humble Pie and an even more successful solo career.

I am speaking of Paul Frampton, Theoretical Physicist. Nobel Prize-winning Physicist George Smoot seems to like him.

As I write at Bee's thread, here:

Tommaso Dorigo cites a recent arXiv paper by Paul Howard Frampton at his website: here, titled "Solution to the Dark Energy Problem."

I am not qualified to comment, but you are Bee, as Arun Gupta points out in the replies. What say ye, Bee? Here from the very short pre-print is Dr. Frampton's relevant conclusion, as Dr. Dorigo points out:

My result calls into question almost all of the work done on quantum gravity, since the discovery of quantum mechanics. For gravity, there is no longer necessity for a graviton.
In the case of string theory, the principal motivation for the profound and historical suggestion by Scherk and Schwarz that string theory be reinterpreted, not as a theory of the strong interaction, but instead as a theory of the gravitational interaction, came from the natural appearance of a massless graviton in the closed string sector.

I am not saying that string theory is dead. What I am saying is, that string theory cannot be a theory of the fundamental gravitational interaction, since there is no fundamental gravitational interaction.

... Paul Howard Frampton

As said, it makes me scratch my head. I must say I was never happy with the "graviton" as a "particle." As a "phonon", which Erik Verlinde implies? Yes, that would make more sense. And if the "graviton" is a phonon, why not all the other fundies (fundamental particles)?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sadi Carnot

There were three Fathers of Thermodynamics, the last two of which, Rudolph Clausius and Ludwig Boltzman, get the most press thanks to a book by Sean Carroll and a paper by Erik Verlinde, and the whole career of Seth Lloyd of Quantum Computing fame.

But this guy was First:

Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sadi Carnot

Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot (1796-1832) in the dress uniform of a student of the École Polytechnique.
Born 1 June 1796(1796-06-01)
Palais du Petit-Luxembourg, Paris, France
Died 24 August 1832 (aged 36)
Paris, France
Residence  France
Nationality  French
Fields Physicist and engineer
Institutions French army
Alma mater École Polytechnique
École Royale du Génie
Collège de France
Academic advisors Siméon Denis Poisson
André Marie Ampère
Dominique François Jean Arago
Known for Carnot cycle
Carnot efficiency
Carnot theorem
Carnot heat engine
Influenced Benoît Paul Émile Clapeyron
Rudolf Julius Emmanuel Clausius
He was the brother of Hippolyte Carnot, his father was the mathematician Lazare Carnot, and his nephews were Marie François Sadi Carnot and Marie Adolphe Carnot.
Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot (1 June 1796 – 24 August 1832) was a French physicist and military engineer who, in his 1824 Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, gave the first successful theoretical account of heat engines, now known as the Carnot cycle, thereby laying the foundations of the second law of thermodynamics. He is often described as the "Father of thermodynamics", being responsible for such concepts as Carnot efficiency, Carnot theorem, Carnot heat engine, and others.



Born in Paris, Sadi Carnot was the first son of the eminent military leader and geometer, Lazare Nicholas Marguerite Carnot, elder brother of Hippolyte Carnot, and uncle of Marie François Sadi Carnot (President of the French Republic (1887-1894), son of Hippolyte Carnot). His father named him for the Persian poet Sadi of Shiraz (Carnot 1960, p. xi), and he was always known by this third given name.
From age 16 (1812), he lived in Paris and attended the École polytechnique where he and his contemporaries, Claude-Louis Navier and Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis, were taught by professors such as Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, Siméon Denis Poisson and André-Marie Ampère. After graduation, he became an officer in the French army before committing himself to scientific research, becoming the most celebrated of Fourier's contemporaries who were interested in the theory of heat. Since 1814, he served in the military. Following the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815, his father went into exile. He later obtained permanent leave of absence from the French army. Subsequently, he spent time to write his book.

Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire


Boltzmann's-equation.jpg To help understand the significance of Carnot's work in the context of the development of thermodynamics, see timeline Edit
The historical context in which Carnot worked was that there had been almost no scientific study of the steam engine, and yet the engine was actually pretty far along in its development. It had risen to a widely recognized economic and industrial importance. Newcomen had invented the first piston-operated steam engine over a century before, in 1712. Some 50 years after that, Watt made his celebrated improvements which greatly increased the efficiency and practicality of the engine. Compound engines (engines with more than one stage of expansion) had already been invented. There was even a crude form of internal-combustion engine, with which Carnot was familiar and which he described in some detail in his book. (Carnot 1960, p. 56) Amazing progress on the practical side had been made, so at least some intuitive understanding of the engine's workings existed. The scientific basis of its operation, however, was almost nonexistent even after all this time. In 1824 the principle of conservation of energy was still immature and controversial, and an exact formulation of the first law of thermodynamics was still more than a decade away. The mechanical equivalent of heat was not identified for another two decades. The prevalent theory of heat was the caloric theory, which regarded heat as a sort of weightless, invisible fluid that flowed when out of equilibrium.
Engineers in Carnot's time had tried various mechanical means, such as high pressure steam, or the use of some fluid other than steam, to improve the efficiency of their engines. In these early stages of engine development, the efficiency of a typical engine -- the useful work it was able to perform when a given quantity of fuel such as a lump of coal was burnt -- was a mere 3%.

The Carnot cycle

Carnot sought to answer two questions about the operation of heat engines: "Is the work available from a heat source potentially unbounded?" and "Can heat engines in principle be improved by replacing the steam with some other working fluid or gas?" He attempted to answer these in a memoir, published as a popular work in 1824 when he was only 28 years old. It was entitled Réflexions sur la puissance motrice du feu ("Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire"). The book was plainly intended to cover a rather wide range of topics about heat engines in a rather popular fashion. Equations were kept to a minimum and called for little more than simple algebra and arithmetic, except occasionally in the footnotes, where he indulged in a few arguments involving a little calculus. He discussed the relative merits of air and steam as working fluids, the merits of various aspects of steam engine design, and even threw in some ideas of his own on possible practical improvements. But the most important part of the book was devoted to a quite abstract presentation of an idealized engine that could be used to understand and clarify the fundamental principles that are of general applicability to all heat engines, independent of the particular design choices that might be made.
Perhaps the most important contribution Carnot made to thermodynamics was his abstraction of the essential features of the steam engine as it was known in his day into a more general, idealized heat engine. This resulted in a model thermodynamic system upon which exact calculations could be made, and avoided the complications introduced by many of the crude features of the contemporary steam engine. By idealizing the engine, he could arrive at clear, indisputable answers to his original two questions.
He showed that the efficiency of this idealized engine is a function only of the two temperatures of the reservoirs between which it operates. He did not, however, give the exact form of the function, which was later shown to be (T1T2)T1, where T1 is the absolute temperature of the hotter reservoir. (Note: This equation probably came from Kelvin.) No thermal engine operating any other cycle can be more efficient, given the same operating temperatures.
He saw very clearly, intuitively, that he could give very definite answers to the two questions set before the reader. The Carnot cycle is the most efficient possible engine, not only because of the (trivial) absence of friction and other incidental wasteful processes; the main reason is that it assumes no conduction of heat between parts of the engine at different temperatures. He knew that conduction of heat between bodies at different temperatures is a wasteful, irreversible process and must be eliminated if the heat engine is to have the maximum efficiency.
Regarding the second point, he also was quite certain that the maximum efficiency attainable did not depend upon the exact nature of the working fluid. He stated this for emphasis as a general proposition: "The motive power of heat is independent of the agents employed to realize it; its quantity is fixed solely by the temperatures of the bodies between which is the transfer of caloric takes place." For his "motive power of heat", we would today say "the efficiency of a reversible heat engine," and rather than "transfer of caloric" we would say "the reversible transfer of heat." He knew intuitively that his engine would have the maximum efficiency, but was unable to state what that efficiency would be.

Lazare Carnot, his father
He concluded:
The production of motive power is therefore due in steam engines not to actual consumption of caloric but to its transportation from a warm body to a cold body.
Carnot 1960, p. 7
In the fall of caloric, motive power evidently increases with the difference of temperature between the warm and cold bodies, but we do not know whether it is proportional to this difference.
Carnot 1960, p. 15

Towards the second law

In his ideal model, the heat of caloric converted into work could be reinstated by reversing the motion of the cycle, a concept subsequently known as thermodynamic reversibility. Carnot however further postulated that some caloric is lost, not being converted to mechanical work. Hence no real heat engine could realise the Carnot cycle's reversibility and was condemned to be less efficient.
Though formulated in terms of caloric, rather than entropy, this was an early insight into the second law of thermodynamics.

Reception and later life

Carnot’s book apparently received very little attention from his contemporaries at first. The only citation within a few years after his publication was a review of it in a periodical “Revue Encyclopédique,“ which was a journal that covered a wide range of topics in literature. The work only began to have a real impact when modernised by Émile Clapeyron, in 1834 and then further elaborated upon by Clausius and Kelvin, who together derived from it the notion of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics.


Carnot died in a cholera epidemic when he was only 36 in 1832. (Asimov 1982, p. 332) Because of the concern of cholera, many of his belongings and writings were buried together with him after his death. Thus only a handful of his scientific writings survived besides his book.
After the publication of his book in 1824, it quickly went out of print and for some time was very difficult to obtain. For example, Kelvin had great difficulty in getting a copy of Carnot's book. Nowadays, his book in French or English can be downloaded electronically. An English translation of it by R. H. Thurston in 1890 has been reprinted in recent decades by Dover and by Peter Smith, most recently by Dover in 2005. Some of his posthumous manuscripts have also been translated into English. (Please see Reference.)
Carnot published his book in the days of steam engines. His theory explained why steam engines using superheated steam were better because of the higher temperature of the hot reservoir involved. Carnot's theory did not help to improve the efficiency of steam engines in the beginning; his theory only helped to explain why one existing practice was better. It was only towards the end of the nineteenth century that Carnot's idea -- that a heat engine can be made more efficient if the temperature of its hot reservoir is increased -- was put into practice by, for example, Rudolf Diesel (1858-1913), who was fascinated by Carnot's theory and designed an engine (diesel engine) in which the temperature of the hot reservoir is much higher than that of a steam engine, resulting in an engine which is more efficient than a steam engine. (Reference: "The Diesel motor", Journal of the Franklin Institute, November 1901.) Thus, though it took time, Carnot's book eventually had a real impact on the design of practical engines.

See also


The text of part of an earlier version of this article was taken from the public domain resource A Short Account of the History of Mathematics by W. W. Rouse Ball (4th Edition, 1908)
  • Asimov, Isaac (1982), Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (2nd rev. ed.), Doubleday 
  • Carnot, Sadi (1960), Reflection on the Motive Power of Fire, Dover 
  • Carnot, Sadi (1977), Mendoza, E., ed., Reflection on the Motive Power of Fire and other papers translated into English, Gloucester, Massachusetts: Peter Smith 
  • Wilson, S. S. (August 1981), "Sadi Carnot", Scientific American 245 (2): 102–114 
  • John Birkinbine and W.M. Wahl, "The Diesel motor", Journal of the Franklin Institute, vol. 152, no. 5 (November 1901), pp. 371-382.

External links