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Raskolnikov
02-24-2006, 12:50 PM
So I'm in my last year of "college" as you crazy Americans would say it and for my thesis/endwork I have to do a lot of reading. I was sick of staying in my room for a whole day and to create some sort of going to work/class feeling for the last couple of days I've been going to the local scientific library to study my material. Everything is peaceful and calm over there and though it's a bit hot it's a great environment to study the books. I almost feel like I have my own office.

There I am again at the library this morning. For the first 30 minutes everything is peaceful as usual, I'm working at ease -- a bit of strings here, a bit of Dp-branes there -- but then all of a sudden there's a burst of rumor coming from the entrance hall.

A bunch of rascals just entered my precious library. I can't see them and they can't see me, because the desk which I'm sitting at is hidden between the numerous bookracks standing all over the library. So how, you might wonder, am I so sure they're a group of scoundrels? Why I can hear them talk. They're talking the rascal talk. Well ok, says I to myself, I'll give them 15 minutes. If they're not quiet by then, it's time to react. Or act, you can interpret it both ways.

The rascal noise is coming closer now. And closer. They're now standing one bookrack away from where I'm sitting. They're looking at the physics books. Talking the rascal talk again. "Wow, that one looks very interesting", says one. "And that one too", says another. "But that one's less", says a third. The noise fades and I can hear them take a seat at some desks a bit further. Apparently the rascals have chosen some book or article. But they still won't keep quiet.

15 minutes have gone by. It's time to act now, my man, I tell myself. I take a short breath and am aware of the fact I don't like these kind of situations. But loaded with confidence from my last rascal confrontation I take a final bite from my apple, throw it in the trash can standing next to my desk and leave my seat. To this point the rascals and I still haven't seen one another yet.

That doesn't last for long though. As soon as I pass the first bookrack, we're in each others field of glance. There's about 40 feet distance I have to cover to reach them, so as I walk towards them in Samuel L. Jackson style (well, maybe without the L., but still) I have more than enough time to make some valuable observations about my opponents. There's 3 of 'em. They're sitting in a vertical row as seen from my point of view. The last and the first one are laughing, the middle rascal is staring quiet at his desk.

My hierarchy conclusions are the following. As the first one was telling the story and the last one was confirming and laughing, I take it the first one is the leader and the last one the confirmer. I'm not sure about the quiet guy in the middle. He can be dangerous. Or he's just a quiet guy, nothing more to it, or he's an unpredictable outsider rascal. I'm praying he's not the latter, for that's too much rascal one man can take.

The confirmer notices me first. Through his rascal glasses he gives an eye signal to the leader to make him aware of my presence. The quiet guy just keeps staring at his desk. As the leader turns his head in my direction I can't help noticing his sideburns. True rascal sideburns. I give him my best Baccharat face and

says I: "could you guys be a bit more quiet, please?"

Says the sideburned leader: "Ah, sorry, no problem."

Says I: "Ok. Thanks."

I walk back to my office and after a quiet 30 minutes the rascals leave the library. Just like that.



:confused:

SoupIsGood
02-24-2006, 04:57 PM
Dude! I was expecting an all-out brawl in the library!



;)

Raskolnikov
02-25-2006, 04:14 AM
Dude! I was expecting an all-out brawl in the library!

So was I. Rascals just aren't anymore what they used to be.

Fireball Kid
02-25-2006, 04:45 AM
Thats it?? Thats story sucks. Wheres the part where you save the library when you have a duel with the sideburned leader and you make out with the hot chick at the end?? Wheres all that?!:(

Raskolnikov
02-25-2006, 06:11 AM
Thats it?? Thats story sucks. Wheres the part where you save the library when you have a duel with the sideburned leader and you make out with the hot chick at the end?? Wheres all that?!:(
Yeah, I wish that would've happened.

But this is real life, man. The hard knock library life; it's a true story.

Furthermore, scientific libraries do not contain hot chicks.

On a more serious note: Fireball, you're a Mavs fan, right? Do you have any idea what the plans are with DJ Mbenga? Since he has Belgian nationality, I'm forced to follow him around a bit. This season I have seen nothing but DNP cards for him, except in blowout wins (or losses, but when you're the Mavs, that doesn't happen all that much these days) where he gets to play in garbage time. Avery Johnson actually said it once litterally Mbenga may only play in garbage time. That doesn't seem like he's doing well or like he's gonna get a real chance, or is it all part of some master development plan?

sweabs
02-25-2006, 12:04 PM
I hate it when people are joking around and talking in the library.

There always seems to be some typical freshmen girls all outfitted in their "ugs" and furry jackets making noise while I'm trying to get some work done. Usually, calling them out in front of everyone in the library embarasses them enough to leave and hang their heads in shame.

Rasko - what's your thesis on?

Raskolnikov
02-25-2006, 02:44 PM
I hate it when people are joking around and talking in the library.

There always seems to be some typical freshmen girls all outfitted in their "ugs" and furry jackets making noise while I'm trying to get some work done. Usually, calling them out in front of everyone in the library embarasses them enough to leave and hang their heads in shame.

Rasko - what's your thesis on?
It's about string theory, physics' best candidate to the Grand Unified Theory. I'll try to give a short explanation.

There are two main experimentally verified theories in physics today. The first one is Einstein's general theory of relativity, which describes gravity, the motion of the stars, ... in general everything in the universe that is large. The second one is the Standard Model, based on quantum field theory (QFT), which describes the small, such as electrons circling around the atomic nucleus on account of the electromagnetic force, protons and neutrons being held in that same nucleus on account of the strong force or the decay of nuclei into other, more stable nuclei on account of the weak force.

Something that physicists love to do is to unify theories, that is develop a new theory in such a way that your earlier theories can all be deducted from the new one, i.e. under certain circumstances (in certain limits) a certain earlier theory holds. Examples are the unification of electric and magnetic forces into the electromagnetic theory of Maxwell (1860s) and more recently (1970s) the unification of the weak and electromagnetic into the electroweak force.

What string theory tries to do is to unify (there you have it) the two theories about the large and the small -- Einstein's relativity theory and the Standard Model. This is not a simple thing to do, there have gone decades by till there was finally found a legal candidate to bring these two together. And since that was such a hard thing to do, it was almost not a surprise anymore that a unifying theory of relativity and QFT contains a few very strange, almost uncanny properties.

That candidate, string theory (1980s), states for instance that, as it's name implies, the building blocks of matter are strings, 1-dimensional objects, instead of dimensionless point particles that are used in all preceding theories. The connection with those earlier theories is made by the statement that each string vibrating in some sort of mode represents some point particle and it's properties. Another strange asset of ST is that the building blocks of matter live in a 10-dimensional world (9 space-dimensions & 1 time-dimension), instead of the classical 4-dimensional (3 space-dimension & 1-time dimension). The fact that we don't see those missing 6 space-dimensions is due the compactification of those 6 in space and time.

Until now, there have been no experimental verifications of ST because such tests are, from a technical point of view, very hard to do. ST is a pure "theoretical theory". But the fact that it unifies two very well experimentally verified theories is a good reason why it might make sense after all.

Well, that was not too short actually. Hope you got something out of it.

Of course I'll only be studying the very basis of the theory. Hopefully later I'll get more into it and eventually contributing to it in very very small, small ways, but I'm afraid chances to that are very very small, small as well.

Thanks for asking. :)

You're a history man, right? (Tell me more)

And future Raptors GM? ;)

SoupIsGood
02-25-2006, 02:53 PM
String theory has always been real interesing to me, thanks for that Rasko.

Raskolnikov
02-25-2006, 03:06 PM
String theory has always been real interesing to me, thanks for that Rasko.
You actually know about it?

I'm not :unimpress.

How are your college plans developing?

sweabs
02-25-2006, 04:43 PM
Dang - Rasko, you pretty much summed up the reasons I'm finishing my history degree. Hah!

That's some heavy material right there, but interesting nonetheless. Not your average "bed-time reading" I imagine. Good luck with it. Is this to earn your Ph.D?

Fireball Kid
02-25-2006, 05:14 PM
Yeah, I wish that would've happened.

But this is real life, man. The hard knock library life; it's a true story.

Furthermore, scientific libraries do not contain hot chicks.

On a more serious note: Fireball, you're a Mavs fan, right? Do you have any idea what the plans are with DJ Mbenga? Since he has Belgian nationality, I'm forced to follow him around a bit. This season I have seen nothing but DNP cards for him, except in blowout wins (or losses, but when you're the Mavs, that doesn't happen all that much these days) where he gets to play in garbage time. Avery Johnson actually said it once litterally Mbenga may only play in garbage time. That doesn't seem like he's doing well or like he's gonna get a real chance, or is it all part of some master development plan?

To answer your question we have Diop at center starting and Dampier coming off the bench. Keith Van Horn usually backs up Dirk or Josh, or sometimes Dirk and Keith play at the same time. So theres pretty much no room for DJ to play because were deep.

From the few minutes I see him play, I kinda like his game. He has a nice mid-range shot and can block shots too. I hope Dallas keeps him around.

pollardfreek
02-25-2006, 06:32 PM
Nice post Rasko. Hawking's A Brief History of Time really delves into finding a GUT. He just published a follow up but I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

SoupIsGood
02-25-2006, 08:30 PM
You actually know about it?

I'm not :unimpress.

How are your college plans developing?

It's something that I've heard people talk about at times, something I've always meant to read about sometime. Loved the little synopsis you gave.

Raskolnikov
02-27-2006, 03:01 AM
Dang - Rasko, you pretty much summed up the reasons I'm finishing my history degree. Hah!

That's some heavy material right there, but interesting nonetheless. Not your average "bed-time reading" I imagine. Good luck with it. Is this to earn your Ph.D?
No, no, it's just the piece we have to write as a part of our (regular) last year at university (I'm still only 21). We call that 'thesis'. It is the most important task of this last year though. For instance, I have only 2 classes this semester, the rest of the time can and must be used for my thesis.

Maybe I will try to achieve a doctorate (that's the term which I think we use for PhD) next year(s). I have a chance of getting that, but my grades are just not good enough to be sure.

Thanks for the good luck. I'll need it, man.

A little side note: I may have explained the principles of ST in words, but when you actually work with it (and that is the case for any self-respecting theory in physics), it's all and nothing but mathematics expressing those ideas. That's why (pure) theoretical physics is often named mathematical physics. Just making sure no one would get any wrong impressions. :spy: