Before proceeding on the subject let us first study a little about “particle”. The presence of ether in the universe as conceived by earlier scientists was not just an imaginary idea but there was certainly a basis for existence of something. The basis of this idea was similar to the one which the modern generation of scientists says that all the space is occupied by matter and there is no empty space. The Space, which looks to our eyes as empty, is not really empty but is occupied completely with unseen atoms. All the objects observable and all the space in the universe are made up of atoms. The famous physicist, Richard Feynman, said that if you had to reduce the scientific history to one important statement it would be “all things are made up of atoms.”1
The molecule is a Latin word which means little ‘mass’. Molecule is simply two or more atoms working together in a more or less stable arrangement. … One cubic centimeter of air, the size of sugar cube, at sea level with zero degree temperature Celsius contains 45 billion billion molecules. Just imagine how many sugar cube size of molecules could be in the part of space that is observable to us, and how many such sugar cubes should be occupying the whole universe. The atom itself is such a tiny thing that if you add up half a million atoms their volume will be less than the thickness of a human hair.2 The elementary particle is even smaller than an atom. It is the smallest piece of matter in the universe. Every material thing contains huge amount of energy. An average person contains 7x1018 joules (energy units) of potential energy – enough to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs.3 Einstein has proved that matter can be converted into energy and energy can be converted into matter.
Whatever things we observe around these apparently look to our eyes as solids. In the room I find table in front of me as made of solid wood, a piece of paper lying on my table is also solid, there is a glass of water which is solid and the water in it is also ‘solid’. But the reality is quite different. None of these is truly solid. Each and every thing consists of particles. According to Hawking, ‘there are about ten million million million million million million million millon million million million million million million (1 with eighty zeros after it) particles in the region of the universe that we can observe.4 Particle physicists are working day and night examining properties of various kinds of particles that have so far been discovered. Some of them seek a unification theory for particles with the forces of nature.
Scientists have divided particles into two classes: ‘particles of physical matter and particles mediating the interaction. … These two sorts of particles serve completely dissimilar functions’ as according to Igore D. Novikov, the Director of the Theoretical Astrophysics Centre in Copenhagen University. The question arises whether it is feasible in some way to unite the two types of particles which have quite ‘dissimilar functions’? Professor Novikov thinks that if ‘modern physics can unite dissimilar things like time and space, electromagnetism and nuclear forces, the idea of unifying the constituent parts of matter and force carriers does not appear to be too absurd.’ According to him the task of science is now to unify gravitation with all other forces and particles. To him this may possibly be achieved by introducing additional dimensions to space as some of the scientists have suggested. The work so far done in this direction has been proved encouraging. Scientists have suggested theories with 10, 11 and 20 dimensions as against Einstein’s four dimensions of space-time (three dimensions of space and one dimension of time). The favourite theory among the scientists, according to Novikov, ‘is the one with ten dimensions.’5
We shall be lacking if we do not mention the contribution to this field by a great Danish Physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962), a name prominent to the revolutionary scientists of the twentieth century. He used the quantum theory of Max Plank (a German scientist) to put forward the theory of the atom. Bohr’s model of the atom was proposed by him in 1913. According to his theory ‘electrons orbit the nucleus at various distances, much like planets circle the Sun. Unlike the solar system, however, electronic orbits have discrete spacing between6 them, nothing can lie in between’ He is the only Dane to have won the Noble Prize for Physics.
Particle accelerators: To find out the properties and analyze the structure of various type of particles scientists at different locations around the world are working on particle accelerator centers. At the time of writing this treatise there are ten major particle accelerators in the whole world, out of them the one of Europe7 is the biggest particle accelerator of the world. It is situated in Geneva closed to the border of Geneva France. John Boslough, the author of “Masters of Time”, writes a very interesting story of his visit to the site of this giant accelerator. He describes that ‘one of the Geneva’s most useful and least known attraction lies just on the Ruede La Serviette’. A little ahead is the village of Meyrin just past the Cointrin International Airport. If you go there you will find that on your left there is China-link fence and on your right you could see the beautiful green farms and villages. Here beneath your feet is the biggest machine on earth, a particle accelerator operated by CERN. John Boslough writes that “CERN is a French acronym of European Council for Nuclear Research, which has changed its official name to European Organization for Particle Physics in order to avoid the stigma attached to the Nuclear in Europe.” It is named as “Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and was built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over one hundred countries, as well as hundreds of universities and laboratories. It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometers (17 miles) in circumference, as deep as 175 meters (574 ft) beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva, Switzerland. As of 2014, the LHC remains one of the largest and most complex experimental facilities ever built.”8
John Boslough’s experience during his visit to the site of this man-made wonder and his extremely interesting way of mentioning it demands that I should quote the entire story in his own words. But since this is not a scientific treatise therefore, I will mention only a few very important portions of it and that too very briefly. He writes that: “In this particle accelerator energy and matter interchange with such intensity that a nuclear explosion is just the pop of a cap gun by comparison. ……. The CERN machine stretches through miles of subterranean passage, penetrating beneath Jura Mountain and capable of producing a temperature in access of 30,000 trillion degrees Celsius.”9 Usually people are not allowed entry to this particle accelerator being a sensitive area. The machine remains here in operation for weeks together without any pause. The staff and scientists have no time to attend outside visitors. However, John Boslough perhaps due to his great name in the physicists’ community was well known to the scientists working at the CERN machine. He was not only welcome but was thoroughly guided and briefed by a scientist named Haton, who took him around and explained everything that was going on in the tunnel. He was also fortunate enough that the accelerator was shut down for about forty-five minutes during his visit. Haton took John Boslough into an elevator which brought them thirty floors beneath the surface of the earth. They walked ‘into a bright-lined cavern. Here was a gigantic piece of machinery, a particle detector. The accelerator’s beam line stretched away from the detector through a graceful carving tunnel, lovely and functional-looking in Euro-tech kind of sturdiness and simplicity that conjured up a mental image of snake of steel and concrete winding through a hole beneath the surface of another planet.’ John Boslough was overwhelmed by seeing the huge fantastic machine, and all he could muster was: “This reminds me of one of those James Bond’s movies, where some mad scientist is plotting to take over the world.”10
While closing this article unexpectedly I went into the site o the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the heading was “Success for ‘Big Bang’ experiment.” It was a report by the science reporter Paul Rincon who wrote on Wednesday, the 10th. September 2008 at 08:30 GMT that “three days after it was conceived, the world’s most powerful physics experiment has sent the first beam around its 27 km long tunnel. Engineers cheered as the proton particles completed their first circle of the underground ring which houses the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).” But within less than three minutes at 11.23 GMT the website was updated. Now the headline was: “Big Bang Experiment starts well.” The report added, “Scientists have hailed a successful switch-on for an enormous experiment which will create the condition a few minutes after the Big Bang.”
ASH A Short History of Nearly Everything Thing by Bill Bryson, Black Swan edition, published by Transworld Publishers, London WS SSA, in 2004.
MOT Master of Time by John Boslough, published in Great Britain by J.M. Dent in 1992
TGB The Great Beyond by Paul Halpern, published by John Wiley and sons Inc., Hoboken, New Jersy, USA.
TRT The River of Time by Igor D. Novikov, published by the Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, U.K. in 1998 (Reprinted 2004).
A Brief History of Time by Stephen W. Hawking,
published by Transworld Publishers London WS SSA, reprinted in 1992.
The Place of God Man and
Universe (In the philosophical system of Iqbal), by Dr. Jamila Khatoon,
published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan, third edition
1997, p. 121 (This caption has been written by the author expressing the idea from Iqbal’s book Bal-i Jibril
Ibid. p. 121 (Trnslation of
Mathnavi Maulana Rum volume1p.25).