Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Son The Scientist

An essay for science class by Alexander (he's age 10 but turning 11 next week): 

My scientist is a theoretical physicist named Allan Adams. He studies String Theory, the cross between particle physics and gravity. According to String Theory, instead of particles being 0 dimensional, they are 2 dimensional  "strings". These strings can be "open", with the ends sticking out, or "closed" with the ends put together in a loop. Both strings can oscillate, like a guitar string. These oscillations create physical properties such as mass or spin. For example; Einstein said that the energy of a photon, a particle of light, is related to it's color or frequency of oscillation. The more it oscillates, the higher the energy. This is similar to Einstein's theory, E=MC2. Combine the two, and you you get the real world, a place where there is a similarity between frequency of oscillating "strings" and properties of mass, where quantum and relativity theory are all the same thing. And that's just the basic picture!

As a theoretical physicist, your intellectual traits have to be infinite, eternal, forever, but at the same time inflating. You always have to be able to learn from your mistakes, and be prepared to make them. You have to be open to new ideas, old theories crossed out, new entirely different ones created. New questions arise, as old answers are proven incorrect. Long lasting questions still hang in the air, with a million answers waiting to be found. That's what being a theoretical physicist is all about, not finding the one big answer to everything, but the trillions of small ones, that have enough answers to fill the universe.

Something interesting about Allan Adams is his preference for black boards to white boards. His reason? Millions of beings, tiny bacteria called coccolithophores on the surface of the ocean died, and sunk to the bottom. More and more died, and their calcium carbonate-filled skeletons piled up on each other forming a limestone mud. As they got exposed to more heat and pressure, they hardened into what we now know is chalk. then other rock gets metamorphosed and we stick it on the wall. Then we rub the other bit of rock against it, and "we're doing theoretical physics! How cool is that?"-Allan Adams


  1. Looks like physics skipped a generation. I like this a lot. Please tall Alexander.

  2. Hey thanks David, I will pass it along to Alexander that you dug his writing...

  3. Yes, very good! Kudos Alexander! I prefer blackboards too. Hey, what about your essay on women that you mentioned in another post? I'd like to see that.

  4. Hi! I saw that the Rss of this domain is working correctly, did you somehow complete all the settings by yourself or you just turned to the default settings of this widget?