Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July 12, Beginning of the Universe

Sometimes, I like to draw things before I build them.  I don't always do this, but with this cyclotron, it’s quite a complicated apparatus.  A cyclotron is a particle accelerator, used in atomic physics, to accelerate a part of an atom—an electron.  The electron accelerates, faster and faster, almost to the speed of light.  Trouble is, the faster it goes, the more energy it takes, because as it speeds up it picks up mass.  As you approach the speed of light, you can't go any faster, but the more you press down the accelerator, the heavier your car becomes.  I use electro magnets to move that electron along on a collision course with another electron coming round the other way.  It’s like a game of chicken, but they don’t chicken out.  They can’t because the magnetic force won’t allow them to stray.  They collide head on at great speeds and with a mass of great ocean ships compressed down to the subatomic size. An extraordinary train wreck of a collision that breaks those electrons up into sub-particles that never before existed, except at the beginning of the universe.  It’s a little model of what physicists think of what the BIG BANG was like.  It obviously captures the imagination of many physicists, but it has also captured my imagination, so I built my own cyclotron in the studio and I've been experimenting with it.  These are some of the first pictures of what I've gotten.   See what you think of these new drawings and let me know.

No comments:

Post a Comment