Sunday, June 21, 2009

Discovery of element 112

More at PeriodicVideos

Element 112, Ununbium, has been discovered just recently!

I think it's a great breakthrough for Chemistry but a great downturn for etymology.

Apparently, they fired atoms of Zinc-30 and Lead-82 at each other in a particle accelerator and they happened to fuse to form an atom with a nucleon number of 112. I think the atom lasted for a fraction of a second and then decayed. Its short life still concludes its existence. I think this is great for chemistry because now one can create an atom, which may be rare, by colliding two other atoms whose nucleon numbers add up to the nucleon number of the rare one.

As much as a breakthrough it is, I do feel the naming system by IUPAC is quite odd. Let me share my thoughts.I always wondered why there were strange names like these in the periodic table, with such periodicity too; there being 5 elements named in this "Unun..." manner. This video explains it. Un refers to 1 and bi refers to 2. So basically Ununbium refers to 1-1-2 or element 112. It is just a number name without historical significance. Not exactly etymological, is it?

I wonder why are they named after their numbers, why not naming it after great scientists who have yet to be honoured?

An amusing thought just came to my mind. Imagine everybody were to be named after our birthday date in the same manner as the new elements! There would probably be a couple of million or more people with the same name. Moreover, imagine how long they'd be! Someone born on the 1st of January, 1993, would be named, Unununnannantrium. Imagine pronouncing that!

Well, I hope the scientists at IUPAC will reconsider their nomenclature.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Something interesting about the lives of stars!

Life of's an interesting process. And to think it happens all around us.

Read the following article.

Take note of how the star's life begins, with a gravitational disturbance from a nearby exploding star called a supernova.

From Craig Freudenrich in HowStarsWork
Life of a Star
As we mentioned before, stars are large balls of gases. New stars form from large, cold (10 degrees Kelvin) clouds of dust and gas (mostly hydrogen) that lie between existing stars in a galaxy.

  1. Usually, some type of gravity disturbance happens to the cloud such as the passage of a nearby star or the shock wave from an exploding supernova.
  2. The disturbance causes clumps to form inside the cloud.
  3. The clumps collapse inward drawing gas inward by gravity.
  4. The collapsing clump compresses and heats up.
  5. ...
  6. ...
  7. ...
  8. ...
  9. When the temperature of the protostar reaches about 7 million degrees Kelvin, hydrogen begins to fuse to make helium and release energy.
  10. ...
  11. ...
  12. ...

Stars More Massive Than the Sun
When the core runs out of hydrogen, these stars fuse helium into carbon just like the Sun. However, after the helium is gone, their mass is enough to fuse carbon into heavier elements such as oxygen, neon, silicon, magnesium, sulfur and iron. Once the core has turned to iron, it can burn no longer. The star collapses by its own gravity and the iron core heats up. The core becomes so tightly packed that protons and electrons merge to form neutrons. In less than a second, the iron core, which is about the size of the Earth, shrinks to a neutron core with a radius of about 6 miles (10 kilometers). The outer layers of the star fall inward on the neutron core, thereby crushing it further. The core heats to billions of degrees and explodes (supernova), thereby releasing large amounts of energy and material into space. The shock wave from the supernova can initiate star formation in other interstellar clouds. The remains of the core can form a neutron star or a black hole depending upon the mass of the original star.

More at

My Interpretation

Take notice of how a star dies. In its final process, it creates a supernova where it explodes and creates a shock wave. This shock wave can and does initiate star formations nearby. I found this very relevant to my own beliefs.

I believe in reincarnation, that nobody ever ultimately dies. They always return to this world to continue living, to serve their karma. This concept of star life and death emphasizes and sort of philosophically proves it. Just imagine a massive star running out of its nuclear hydrogen fuel. Something like a person reaching his last few days of life. The star undergoes many changes and ultimately, or most of the time, explodes. This is signified by the person's death. However, the explosion triggers nearby gas clouds to clump together and form another star. This is signified by the life of another coming to this world, ready to live and thrive. This young one lives and thrives till he reaches his supernova, or death, only to continue the eternal process again.

When i thought of this, it seemed so powerful and profoundly simple. That this eternal law of life even projects itself through the dynamism of the heavens and it is simply continuous; there being no power to stop it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I am and have been very intrigued by the human mind and ways of thinking and also the immense size of space.

Everyday i look at the sky. At night, myself and many others observe the stars and the luna. I never really understood the enormity of the world, or say, the universe.

Well, the reason i did not see the enormity is because there is no relative aspect of the sky. Let me explain my understanding of relativity first.

Say, John goes shopping. He really likes a pair of Nike Shoes. He wants to buy them. However, when he looks at the Adidas shoes next to it, he immediately changes his mind and gets hellbent on buying the Adidas ones. Okay by the way i don't really like or support Adidas.. Its just an example.

So, he wants to buy the Adidas ones. When he looks at the Nike ones at the next instant, he has no intention of buying it anymore, right? We decipher materialistic aspects by comparison, or by relativity. We always judge something as compared to something else.

This is fundamentally relativity.

However, i never used relativity when observing the sky. I observed the sky as an absolute phenomena.

So one night i was walking past my high rise flat building. It was a superbly clear night and i looked vertically upwards, with the building and the stars in my line of sight. I had actually observed the height of the stars and compared it to that of the building. Then relativity did the rest. This was my new relative aspect of the sky. And only after this i realized just how huge this world is, as compared to what i thought. I felt a feeling of nothingness, though, i still felt something!

This sky that i saw was only the atmosphere of the Earth. It's nothing as compared to the size of the solar system, let alone our galaxy.

Some cosmologists even say that if we were to consider our Milky way as a thumb pin, our entire universe would be the size of China. Just imagine that. And furthermore, it is still expanding exponentially. I find this very remarkable.

Try this out and i hope you will be moved the way i was.

Will write more soon, thank you very much for your time if you have read this post.