Monday, March 24, 2008

The Road Less Travelled

Three cheers for mathematician Avraham Trahtman! The 63-year old emigrated from Russia to Israel in 1992, then worked many odd jobs in maintenance and security while seeking work in mathematics. The "Road Colouring Problem" had been first posed in 1970 and has defied decades of mathematicians. It conjectures that there is a "universal map" that allows one to arrive at a destination regardless of origin. Regardless of Trahtman's humble origins, he has arrived. He prefers simple solutions, and his was written in pencil on 8 pages. It is also posted here. We can understand the Universe without fancy machines; all one really needs is a good pencil.

23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"all one really needs is a good pencil"...and a big brain!

-Steve

11:36 AM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Steve, you say the nicest things!

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iz my yob mon...

-Steve

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any thoughts about this, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/29/science/29collider.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp?

6:30 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Just as humans once feared sharks and wolves, there is a lot of fear and prejudice about Black Holes. Even scientists share the same silly misconceptions about being sucked up.

A typical Primordial Black Hole has a mass of about 10^11 kg. Since this is more than the mass of LHC, one theoretically produced there would be even smaller. If you were only one meter away from this PBH, the gravitational tug would be only 2/3 what you feel from Earth.

Suppose you were suicidal, reached out and touched the PBH. The first gram of your fingertip would be turned into about 10^13 joules of radiation, the yield of a small nuclear warhead.

The rest of you would be blown into the next county, easily exceeding the Black Hole's tiny escape velocity. You would not be sucked into the Black Hole even if you wanted to be!

Unless you believe in extra dimensions, LHC is not powerful enough to produce a stable Black Hole. If by chance one were produced, it would evaporate almost immediately. I hope this makes everyone sleep better at night.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LHC, it sounds interesting...in fact I would say it sounds like... sorcery!

(where did I put my pitch fork?)

L. Riofrio, you get the torches lit and I'll call the towns folk

-steve

(seriously, what do you think we will realy learn from the BFC?)

BFC=Big F%^#ing Collider

8:14 AM  
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