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View Diary: Stellar Evolution Measured on Earth: Clues from Ti-44 "Nuclear Fossils" (53 comments)

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  •  You say: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, HamdenRice
    There are four processes that account for the elements, one being the "Big Bang" - the name "Big Bang" was viewed by the person who coined it, in a fashion similar to how the art movement called "Impressionism" was originally a derisive name that stuck.   "The Big Bang" accounts for the existance of hydrogen with impurities of helium and lithium.   None of these elements are actually stable, although two of them represent the bulk of the matter in the universe.  

    The only truly stable element is iron, since its binding energy is such that lighter elements that fuse into it (or lower elements) will release energy, and heavier elements splitting to form it will absorb energy.

    That's where I stopped reading, although this is a very interesting topic for me.

    This is beyond incoherent. You need to learn to write precisely. Hydrogen and Helium are obviously not unstable. And the rest of that is just plain crap.

    It is a calling...to do things about injustice.... It helps to have a goal. I've always tried to have one.--Ted Kennedy, True Compass

    by Timaeus on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 09:34:12 PM PDT

    •  Really? You're, um, "interested" in this topic? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      el cid, Trotskyrepublican, gzodik

      I threw this diary out after attending a plenary session lecture in a huge hall with about 2 or 3 thousand scientists in it.

      I don't think there were 3 of them in the entire audience who couldn't understand that for the entire history of the universe, the sum of hydrogen and helium atoms in it has been rapidly decreasing.

      I don't think there were five of them who didn't understand in context that helium and hydrogen are unstable, and if they were stable that there would be no such thing as a visible universe.

      In fact, my youngest son is just finishing sixth grade, and I'm very sure that he would understand my remarks perfectly.

      The value of literature depends not only on the level not only of the level of the writer but also on the level of the reader.   This readily apparent fact is often overlooked in our times of extreme intellectual laziness.  

      You might well consider where the onus for the apparent "incomprehensibility" lies.

      If it's over your head, that's not my problem.

      To be frank, I consider this diary to be at a very low level compared to the lecture to which it refers, and, um, clearly you missed the point.

      If you think that I owe you something - that I "need" to change my writing style for your benefit, let me explain something to you as succinctly as possible:  I couldn't care less what you think about my writing.

      Got it?

      No?

      I couldn't care less.

      Right now I'm going through a period where I am increasingly appalled by the general level of scientific literacy in this country.   I am very afraid for my country.  I've discussed this with lots of the scientists I've met this weekend, and almost none of them think my concern unfounded.

      Um, you're remarks do nothing to dispell my concern; if anything they confirm my fears.   Frankly when people say stuff like what you said, it scares the hell out of me because you hear these kinds of things all the time.

      I really don't think you're interested in this topic at all because if you were, you would know enough to comment intelligently on it rather than simply whining.

      Have a nice day tomorrow though.

      •  Haldane was right . . . (0+ / 0-)

        it's beyond all of us (but some more than others).

        For all we know the whole shebang is just a high school science experiment in some grander universe . . . and we don't even know if it's a biology class and we're the experiment, or a physics class and it's all for the pyrotechnics (with us being just an unnoticed strangeness below the level of detectability).

        We want to believe that there's some reason (and some order) to it all . . . but there's no reason for that want, or that belief.  It's all too weird . . . even without the quantum effects . . .

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 11:09:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Most of us somewhat-scientific types (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HamdenRice, ebohlman

        would read "unstable" to mean "prone to breaking apart," which would strike me as strange for those two species in particular (unless someone's confirmed spontaneous decay of the proton, in which case we're all screwed at some point in the next brazillion years). If on the other hand you mean "changing their relative abundances in the cosmos because they're getting sucked into fusion processes & burned," then that makes sense. But it does seem like something of an unusual way to define (in)stability. JMO.

        snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

        by Uncle Cosmo on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 11:32:44 PM PDT

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        •  I tend to see everything in thermodynamic terms. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          northstarbarn

          In thermodynamics, a process may take place and may even be reversible, but generally, one direction will be preferred.    It does not necessary involve breaking apart, by the way, although breaking apart always increases entropy and thus is slightly favored in entropy terms.

          Now, if I have a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide one outcome is to (in the presence of the right kind of catalyst) for it to all assemble into dimethyl ether.   This process is favored even though the entropy decreases, because it releases energy, generally as heat.

          Arguably a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen is unstable even though, you could in theory mix them and see nothing happen throughout your entire adult life.   They are thus metastable, much like, say, wood.  

          I was referring to hydrogen in the universe.   If it were stable, it would not be spontaneously changing into helium and that into carbon.    Every carbon atom that there is represents 12 or 13 (and sometimes) 14 protons that have spontaneously (more or less) ceased to exist.

          •  IOW it's the abundances that are unstable (0+ / 0-)

            rather than the individual particles themselves. I would read "instability" in a nuclear-physics sese to mean prone to destruction in the absence of any other atom or nucleus. Hydrogen and helium aren't unstable unless you introduce another atom or nucleus; then they're prone to transmutation by fusion (once you get the protons through the Coulomb barrier--good luck with that in any reasonable time outside the center of a star).

            snarcolepsy, n: a condition in which the sufferer responds to any comment with a smartass comeback.

            by Uncle Cosmo on Tue Jun 07, 2011 at 11:57:17 PM PDT

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