10 amazing discoveries in physics

To study physics is to study the universe. More precisely, how the universe works. Without a doubt, physics is the most interesting branch of science, since the Universe is much more complicated than it seems, and it contains everything that exists. Sometimes the world behaves very strange, and perhaps you have to be a real enthusiast to share with us the joy of this list. Here are ten of the most amazing discoveries in the latest physics, which have made many, many scientists puzzled over not years - decades.

Time freezes at the speed of light

According to Einstein's special theory of relativity, the speed of light is unchanged - and equal to approximately 300, 000, 000 meters per second, regardless of the observer. This in itself is incredible, given that nothing can travel faster than light, but still purely theoretical. There is an interesting part about special relativity called "time dilation, " which says that the faster you move, the slower time moves for you, as opposed to the environment. Driving for an hour will make you a little less old than if you were just sitting at your computer at home. Additional nanoseconds are unlikely to significantly change your life, but the fact remains.

It turns out that if you move at the speed of light, time will freeze in place? This is true. But before you try to become immortal, keep in mind that moving at the speed of light is impossible if you are unlucky enough to be born with light. Technically speaking, moving at the speed of light would require an infinite amount of energy.

Quantum entanglement

We have just come to the conclusion that nothing can move faster than the speed of light. Well ... yes and no. While this remains technically true, there is a loophole in theory that has been found in the most incredible branch of physics, quantum mechanics.

Quantum mechanics is essentially the study of physics on a microscopic scale, such as the behavior of subatomic particles. These types of particles are incredibly small, but extremely important because they form the building blocks of everything in the universe. You can think of them as tiny spinning electrically charged balls. No unnecessary complications.

So we have two electrons (subatomic particles with a negative charge). Quantum entanglement is a special process that binds these particles in such a way that they become identical (have the same spin and charge). When this happens, from that moment on, the electrons become identical. This means that if you change one of them - say, change the spin - the other will react immediately. No matter where he is. Even if you don't touch it. The impact of this process is amazing - you understand that in theory this information (in this case, the direction of the spin) can be teleported anywhere in the universe.

Gravity affects light

Let's go back to light and talk about general relativity (also by Einstein). This theory includes a concept known as light deflection - the path of light may not always be straight.

As strange as it sounds, it has been proven many times. Although light has no mass, its path depends on things that have mass - like the sun. Therefore, if light from a distant star passes close enough to another star, it will go around it. How does this concern us? It's simple: perhaps the stars that we see are in completely different places. Remember the next time you look at the stars: it could all be just a play of light.

Dark Matter

Thanks to some of the theories we've already discussed, physicists have fairly accurate ways to measure the total mass present in the universe. They also have fairly accurate ways of measuring the total mass that we can observe - but bad luck, these two numbers do not match.

In fact, the volume of the total mass in the universe is significantly greater than the total mass that we can calculate. Physicists had to look for an explanation for this, and the result was a theory that included dark matter - a mysterious substance that does not emit light and takes up about 95% of the mass in the universe. Although the existence of dark matter has not been formally proven (because we cannot observe it), there is a lot of evidence in favor of dark matter, and it must exist in one form or another.

Our universe is expanding rapidly

The concepts get more complicated, and to understand why, we need to go back to the Big Bang theory. Before becoming a popular TV show, the Big Bang theory was an important explanation for the origin of our universe. To put it simply: our universe began with an explosion. Debris (planets, stars, etc.) spread in all directions, driven by the tremendous energy of the explosion. Since the debris is heavy enough, we expected this explosive spread to slow down over time.

But that did not happen. In fact, our universe is expanding faster and faster over time. And this is weird. This means that space is constantly growing. The only possible way to explain this is dark matter, or rather dark energy, which causes this constant acceleration. What is dark energy? You'd better not know.

Any matter is energy

Matter and energy are just two sides of the same coin. In fact, you've always known this if you've ever seen the formula E = mc2. E is energy and m is mass. The amount of energy contained in a given amount of mass is determined by multiplying the mass by the square of the speed of light.

The explanation for this phenomenon is very exciting and is associated with the fact that the mass of an object increases as it approaches the speed of light (even if time slows down). The proof is pretty complicated, so you can just take the word for it. Look at atomic bombs, which convert fairly small amounts of matter into powerful bursts of energy.

Wave-Corpuscle Dualism

Some things are not as straightforward as they seem. At first glance, particles (like an electron) and waves (like light) appear to be completely different. The former are solid lumps of matter, the latter are beams of radiated energy, or something like that. Like apples and oranges. It turns out that things like light and electrons are not limited to just one state - they can be both particles and waves at the same time, depending on who is looking at them.

Seriously. It sounds funny, but there is concrete evidence that light is a wave and light is a particle. Light is both. Simultaneously. Not some kind of intermediary between two states, but both. We are back in the field of quantum mechanics, and in quantum mechanics, the universe loves this way and not otherwise.

All objects fall at the same speed

It may seem to many that heavy objects fall faster than light objects - this sounds healthy. Surely a bowling ball falls faster than a feather. This is true, but not because of gravity - the only reason it happens is because the earth's atmosphere provides resistance. Even 400 years ago, Galileo first realized that gravity works the same on all objects, regardless of their masses. If you repeated the bowling ball and feather experiment on the moon (which has no atmosphere), they would both fall.

Quantum foam

All right. At this point, you can get started with the mind.

You think that space itself is empty. This assumption is quite reasonable - that's why it is space, space. But the Universe does not tolerate emptiness, therefore, particles are constantly being born and destroyed in space, in space, in emptiness. They are called virtual, but in fact they are real, and it has been proven. They exist for a fraction of a second, but that's long enough to break some of the fundamental laws of physics. Scientists call this phenomenon "quantum foam" because it is terribly similar to gas bubbles in a soft drink.

Double slit experiment

We noted above that everything can be both a particle and a wave at the same time. But here's the catch: if an apple is in the hand, we know exactly what shape it is. This is an apple, not some apple wave. What determines the state of a particle? Answer: we.

The double slit experiment is just an incredibly simple and mysterious experiment. This is what it is about. Scientists place a screen with two slits against the wall and shoot a beam of light through the slit so we can see where it will hit the wall. Since light is a wave, it will create a certain diffraction pattern and you will see streaks of light scattered all over the wall. Although there were two slits.

But the particles should react differently - flying through two slits, they should leave two stripes on the wall exactly opposite the slits. And if light is a particle, why doesn't it exhibit this behavior? The answer is that the light will exhibit this behavior - but only if we want to. As a wave, light flies through both slits at the same time, but as a particle, it will only pass through one. All we need to do to turn light into a particle is to measure every particle of light (photon) that passes through the slit. Imagine a camera taking pictures of every photon that passes through the slit. The same photon cannot fly through another slit without being a wave. The interference pattern on the wall will be simple: two streaks of light. We physically change the outcome of an event by simply measuring it, observing it.

This is called the "observer effect". While this is a good way to end this article, it hasn't even scratched the surface of the incredible stuff that physicists find. There are tons of variations on the double slit experiment that are even crazier and more interesting. You can only look for them if you are not afraid that quantum mechanics will suck you in.