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Cherenkov Radiation Detected in 2D Regime

Credit: Argonne National Laboratory 

By Amal Pushp, Affiliate Physicist at the Resonance Science Foundation 

What happens when a high-speed jet displays motion that is essentially higher than the velocity of sound? One would hear a cracking sound commonly known as a sonic boom. Analogous to this phenomenon, there might exist something similar in the case of electromagnetic radiation as light and sound have a lot of commonalities considering their physical effects. In fact, there does exist a similar phenomenon in the case of light.  

When a charged particle like an electron travels faster than the phase velocity of light inside a water-bound nuclear reactor, there is an intense emission of blue light. This effect is called the Cherenkov effect named after the Soviet physicist Pavel Cherenkov who observed it for the first time in 1934. In a way, this is an optical analogue of the sonic boom effect that essentially relies upon shock waves. A full mathematical...

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What is the Fine-Structure Constant and How Do Physicists Compute it?

By Amal Pushp, Affiliate Physicist at the Resonance Science Foundation 

The fine structure constant, also called the Sommerfeld constant or electromagnetic coupling constant, is one of the fundamental physical constants that characterizes the strength of the electromagnetic interaction between charged atomic particles. The name of this constant was coined by physicist Arnold Sommerfeld who extended Bohr’s atomic model with the motivation of explaining the fine structure lines observed in the hydrogen spectra, which the previous models had failed to explain satisfactorily.   

Physical constants are generally of two types: one which has a proper unit associated with them and others that are dimensionless. The fine-structure constant is of the latter type, it is dimensionless and is represented by a number. Various probes have determined this number to be close to about 1/137.  

Physicists have estimated that the values of fundamental...

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Scientists Perform a Novel Test of Quantum Electrodynamics with 100 Times Greater Accuracy

Credit: ScienceClic

By Amal Pushp, Affiliate Physicist at the Resonance Science Foundation

Predictions of theoretical physics can’t be proved in a true sense but can only be verified to accurate levels of precision through experimental tests and modelling. There are several theories being proposed by people in the scientific community to explain the features of a particular phenomenon but only a few get lucky and stand the test of time. Quantum electrodynamics (QED) is one of the most precise theories of physics and is also the first theory that has achieved a proper and viable correlation between quantum mechanics and special relativity.

QED explains many features of quantum systems and their interaction. For example, electrons, which are elementary particles characterized by a negative charge and intrinsic spin, communicate with the atomic nucleus of an atom through the exchange of particles of light or photons. This interaction and interrelationship between the electron and...

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