Category Archives: Physics

The Nature of Nature’s Study

What really is ‘science’? What is its nature? Why does it work? Why is it useful? What is the nature of ‘reality’? Does science offer the absolute version of reality? In this article, I offer my views/insights and generally accepted explanations to these questions. Note that I use the word ‘explanations’ not ‘answers’, because nobody who has ever lived or who is currently alive knows the true nature of reality, but all the accumulated pool of human knowledge, at the least, allows us to make certain comments about these questions.  It is good to reflect and gain insight into what we do know and what we don’t know; what is, and what isn’t; what can be and what simply cannot be. If you are confused by my seemingly arbitrary banter, generated more through an intuitive analysis of the summary of this article rather than logical reasoning, please read on and let us formulate a fresh, clear chain of reasoning from the very beginning:

 

Human beings have the ability of ‘cognition’, which means that we can observe events occurring in the world around us, and discern patterns in those events. Over the course of human history, we have been observing events around us, studying nature, and noting down the patterns which we observe in those events. What separates us humans from other living beings are our superior brains, which have given us the ability to store information extra-somatically (i.e. outside our genes and bodies); to transfer information to other humans; and to learn information from other humans (via communication). Hence, in this sense, human knowledge can be thought of as an independent ‘entity’, ever-growing through the efforts of all humans who exist, cognize, learn, store and transfer information. Although a single human may perish, but the ‘entity’ of human knowledge survives and evolves as long as other humans exist. Thus, this entity of human knowledge has managed to evolve exponentially over the past centuries. The experience/knowledge gained by other living creatures, meanwhile, gets wiped out continuously with the death of the creature, not having been transferred or stored anywhere, and the process starts all over again with each new progeny. Moreover, other creatures do not have the ability to comprehend and analyse knowledge as we humans do. This is because other living beings lack precisely the mental prowess which derives from the superior brains that humans possess. This gargantuan accumulation of human knowledge or “data” of natural events, is the first step towards science as we know it.

Furthermore, the superior brains of humans have the ability to “reason”. This means that we are exceptionally good at analyzing and finding patterns in observed data via logical reasoning. Also, the more data you are given, the more you can generalize those patterns, meaning that merely a few general patterns can then be used to explain a large number of phenomena in nature. Even if two phenomena initially appear to be entirely separate, unrelated events, there may exist a single underlying pattern that can explain both, simultaneously. A prime example of this would be the following two observations: “things fall to the ground when dropped from a height” and “the Moon goes around the Earth”. To a person without knowledge (like all the humans of the past), the two events would appear to be quite unrelated. But now, it is common knowledge that they can both, in fact, be explained by the same general and universal phenomenon of gravity.

Here begins “science” as we know it: Humans, tapping into the ever-present, ever-growing pool of “data”, have come to realize that the patterns observed in nature can be generalized into merely a handful of “Laws of Nature” better known in the modern scientific tongue as “The Laws of Physics” that have the potential to explain literally “everything” (indeed, today it is possible to explain *almost* all of the *currently known* natural phenomena through merely four fundamental forces of nature – Gravity, Electromagnetism, the Strong Nuclear Force, and the Weak Nuclear Force).

We can digress here for a moment and observe how intricately and infinitely intertwined the nature of science and reality is with the nature of human consciousness and human evolution. Evolution preferred to give humans big brains, precisely because that allowed us to deduce the laws of nature, and utilize those laws to enslave nature for serving our needs and desires, ensuring our survival. Dear reader, I urge you to take a moment and ponder all the objects in your immediate vicinity. Chances are that most of them have been designed by humans, using the knowledge and the laws of nature accumulated over time, to make nature serve your needs, making your life a jolly jaunt and a piece of cake compared to the difficult life that, say, a deer (a comparatively ignorant creature, unable to deduce or use the laws of nature to benefit itself) must lead in the wild. But I digress too much – we shall pick up where we left off.

Over time, humans have also realized one more thing (heads up because it gets quite self-referential by this time, the complexity being a marker of the evolution of human knowledge): By the process of observation, analysis and learning, we have been able to figure out and perfect the most efficient and “proper” way of observation, analysis and learning. It is known as “The Scientific Method”

 

The Scientific Method

What is the most effective or “proper” way of doing science? Let us go step by step:

First, you need to make some observations of nature, and gather some initial data (hey, you need to start somewhere …)

Next, you must use your cranial skills to find a pattern in the data (something you’re naturally good at, in fact, as a human being). Hence, you must make a hypothesis to explain the observed data; a possible “law” that governs the pattern observed in the data. But this is not the end – your hypothesis will be subject to continuous scrutiny by more data (or by other hypotheses that are able to deduce and generalize more patterns and explain the observed data better; but let’s keep it simple for now).

You must now use your hypothesis to make predictions i.e. “extrapolate” your data (not literally mathematically, or maybe even so) according to the “law” that you have deduced, and then go back outside into the field of nature to check if your predictions agree with observations and experiments.

If they do, then well done! You now have a “theory” or “model” of reality which you can use to explain the “law” or “pattern” which you observed in the data. If, however, experiments don’t agree with your model, you’re undeniably wrong and you must correct/modify your model, or simply come up with a new one.

Note that when I use words like “data”, “patterns”, “law”, “theory”, “model”, “experiments”, “observations” etc., I am not invoking merely abstract or qualitative concepts. In order to do proper science, these have to be well defined ‘quantitative’ concepts which are written, analysed, and communicated in the language of science, which is the language of any logical reasoning viz. “Mathematics“. Don’t worry, though: for the purpose of this review, the English language will suffice …

But is this the end of the Scientific Method algorithm? Never. This rather tedious process must be repeated over and over again, presumably forever. Science, thus, is a continuous process …. Why? Because we do not yet know reality in its entirety and we have no way of knowing if, at any given time, we have enough data to encompass the entire reality.

It is like exploring a vast ocean in a small boat. You do not know exactly how vast the ocean is, but only that it is indeed quite vast, presumably much like the nature of our world’s reality. To find out how vast it is, you must keep rowing till you’ve explored exactly all of it. The only catch is that you’ll never know whether you’ve explored all of it until you actually do. Hence, in science, we need to continuously explore and observe nature more and more, to get more and more data, all the time continuously testing our theories, repeating the steps of The Scientific Method, and improving our version of reality, in the hope that when (or if?) one day we reach the end of the ocean, we’ll know that we have finally covered it all. There may not even be an end to the ocean’s vastness, in which case we would have to row forever. But as the hopefully curious creatures that we are, in the meanwhile, we must keep rowing.

If a model/theory agrees with experiments/observations for a long time, then it is deemed as a “good” or “reliable” theory/model of nature (although that doesn’t mean that we should stop doubting if it’ll ever fail one day and will have to be modified or scrapped entirely in the wake of new, conflicting observations). An excellent example of this, once again, happens to be gravity. Newton’s Theory of Gravity was considered a “good” and “reliable” theory of nature (as per everything that I have mentioned in the previous lines) until the advent of new technology and better observational capabilities allowed us to acquire new data (like the precession of planet Mercury’s orbit, for instance) which could not be explained by Newton’s theory. This meant that Newton’s theory was not an entirely correct version of the reality of how gravity works (although it is a good approximation, and works well for many scenarios). This theory was later replaced by Albert Einstein’s masterpiece: The General Theory of Relativity (GTR, for short). And for the past 100 years, it has emerged flawlessly victorious over every piece of observational data and experiment that has been thrown at it. Thus, GTR is the currently accepted “good” and “reliable” theory of gravity. As always, you can never stop doubting whether new evidence might come up, leading to the requirement of a better theory of gravity.

Science is therefore, “a self-correcting, self-improving method of investigation”.

This summarizes the work of a scientist and why science is useful – BUT, there is a subtle point that must be considered … It is the devil that hides in the details:

 

The Nature of Reality

Since I have brought it up previously, l shall once again use Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity (GTR) to illustrate this extremely nasty and oblivious topic.  GTR is a model which describes how gravity works. In a scandalously short review, you can say that GTR declares the three dimensions of space and one dimension of time to exist as a single, four-dimensional “fabric” spanning the entire universe called ‘spacetime’. Any object with ‘mass’ distorts this “fabric” of spacetime, much like how a ball placed on a stretched rubber sheet curves or distorts it. And in Einstein’s own words “Mass tells spacetime how to curve, and spacetime tells the mass how to move”. In conclusion, this ‘curving’ of spacetime is experienced as gravity.

But I ask you to wonder – although this model perfectly agrees with all observational data, does it actually present the true mechanism of gravity? A famous analogy of the nature of reality goes as follows:

To us, reality is like a clock. You’re allowed to observe the ticking of its hands as much as you like, and come up with a theory of how its internal mechanism might be, which enables it to tick the way that it does …. But, you’re not allowed to open the clock, to gaze inside and to check if your model’s version of reality was indeed the version of the true reality. For all you know, both your version of reality and the true version of reality may be capable of producing the same results that you have observed. Indeed, this means that one’s version or “model” of reality is relative, and it is merely a tool that allows you to explain the events around you, and there’s always the chance that a “higher” version of reality exists, of which your version is merely a subset. And you may never know if you have indeed reached the “highest” version of reality, or if there even is a “highest level”. There might even be an infinite number or “higher levels” of reality. But in order to maintain good mental health, we assume that there is indeed an end which culminates in an “ultimate reality” and that we’re getting there, slowly but surely … And when we do reach it, we will know that it is the final truth.

This discussion doesn’t leave us with any useful information about the true nature of reality, but hey, at least, we have some constraints deduced from logical reasoning (yeah science!).

In conclusion, science doesn’t merely run on logic and clockwork, but is also permeated by the human emotions of imagination, curiosity, hope and determination. Science isn’t simply a subject of profession (as opposed to ‘commerce’ or ‘arts’), which absent minded people with high intellect and no social life tend to pursue. The nature of science is the nature of nature’s study, it is the search for the ultimate reality and it is also the nature of the human condition.

Suvrat Rao

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Winter Project

I did a winter internship in the December of 2016 at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore under Prof. Dipankar Banerjee, who specializes in Solar Physics. The topic I worked on was most interesting  — “Estimating the arrival times of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) using a Drag-Based Model (DBM)”.  This was indeed an awesome experience for me and I gained a lot of knowledge and experience, not limited to just Solar Physics.

A Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), is a large eruption of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun. It can contain a mass larger than 1013 kg, achieve a speed of several thousand kilometers per second and may span several tens of degrees of heliographic latitude and/or longitude. CMEs often (but not always) accompany Solar Flares, which are high-energy, broad-spectrum bursts of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun.  The frequency of CMEs depends on the Solar Cycle, with occurrences of a couple per day during the solar maxima, and only one per couple of days during the solar minima. CMEs may erupt from any region of the corona but are more often associated with lower latitude regions, particularly near solar minimum. Only a small percentage of CMEs are directed toward the Earth, and are called Halo-CMEs or Partial Halo-CMEs, due to their halo-like appearance around the Sun as seen from instruments on Earth. CMEs can travel large distances (covering the entire Heliospheric region). Far away from the Sun, CMEs are conventionally called ICMEs (Inter-planetary CMEs).

The estimation of the arrival times of CMEs is an important issue as Earth-bound CMEs i.e. Halo-CMEs have a direct, measurable impact on human activities.  Since CMEs are composed of plasma (high energy charged particles and magnetic fields), when they reach the Earth, CMEs can cause geomagnetic storms in the Earth’s magnetosphere, and the injection and interaction of charged particles with the Earth’s atmosphere. Also, associated with CMEs are Solar Flares, which are comprised of high energy radiation (X-Rays etc.). Hence, apart from producing beautiful Aurorae near the poles, Halo-CMEs can also have a lot of negative impacts on human activities, such as:

  1. Interference of telecommunication through phone lines and satellites.
    2. Increase in radiation exposure to high-altitude and/or high-latitude aircraft fliers and astronauts.
    3. Increase in atmospheric drag on orbiting spacecraft, thereby reducing orbit speed (potential crash landing).
    4. Interference in spacecraft circuitry.
    5. Damage to spacecraft hardware (e.g. solar cells).
    6. Interference/damage to ground-based micro – and nano-circuitry.
    7. Unexpected current generation in power-lines, resulting in power station damage.

It is therefore essential to be able to predict the arrival of Halo-CMEs so that accurate measures can be taken to deal with the above possibilities.

The details of my work can be found in this draft report which I am attaching here:

IIAP Winter Project Report

 

My Second Summer Project

With the end of my second-year at college, I spent the summer attending a  camp on Radio Astronomy, called CHERA 2016 (Camp for Hands-on Experience in Radio Astronomy). This has been one of the best experiences of my life, and I feel really grateful to have been a part of it.

CHERA 2016 was organized by a collaboration between the faculty of NCRA Pune and RRI
Bangalore, headed by Prof. Desh (Avinash Deshpande), which took place at RAC  (Radio Astronomy Center), Ooty, India. Participants were taught topics from a range of fields including  (radio) astronomy, cosmology, statistics, programming (with Python/Anaconda), instrumentation, signal processing etc. relevant/required for collecting and analyzing real astronomical data using the Ooty Radio Telescope (ORT), in numerous experiments and demonstrations which are listed below:

1) Slewing across the radio point-source ‘Virgo-A’ to estimate the beam width of ORT;
2) Using known astronomical calibrators to calibrate ORT and to estimate its G/T-Sys value and sensitivity;
3) Learning to operate the ORT and using it to track and gather data from the pulsar B1642-03 ;
4) Estimating the radiation pattern of a half-wave dipole antenna by changing the angle between the transmitter and receiver;
5) Generating a one-dimensional radio profile of the Sun using aperture synthesis;
6) Tracking the Vela pulsar and analyzing the data obtained to find its dynamic
spectrum, dispersion measure, dispersion delay, time period and distance from Earth;
7) Estimating the length of a co-axial cable using a signal generator, oscilloscope and a T-junction, in an open-circuit condition;
8) Observing the Lunar Occultation of a radio source by the moon;
9) Observing Inter Planetary Scintillations;
10) Measuring the correlation of two partially correlated signals.

With this, I will be ready to tackle project SWAN, an idea headed by Prof. Desh, wherein an array network of radio antenna tiles would be distributed to various institutes across India, to perform radio interferometry on a massive scale (in layman terms, that is the equivalent of having an India-sized radio telescope when it comes to resolving power.)

A draft report of the work I did at CHERA 2016 can be found here:

CHERA 2016 Draft Report

 

-S.R.R

BATMAN vs. WOLVERINE – A Battle Between Brains And Brawn, Man and Mutant

 Writer’s Note: All superhero abilities, technology and other superhero paraphernalia mentioned in this story have been taken from relevant sources like the respective superhero’s comics, movies and video games (viz. Batman Arkham series and X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Some elements have been ‘made up’ (but righteously so, and with some careful thought and reasoning) only to fit data which exists, but for which no explanations could be found in the aforementioned sources (like explanations as to how some of the superhero gadgets work)

Given the superhuman genius of Bruce Wayne, if both Wolverine and Batman were given time to prepare for an upcoming death-match, Batman would win hands down. Batman’s genius + money + resources + information gathering skills would mean that he would find out everything there is to know about Wolverine and then come up with the perfect plan to take him down, no matter what Wolverine himself would have planned for Batman. Batman’s superior intellect means that his plans would always be several steps ahead of Wolverine’s. (Of course, we assume that the two combatants do not get assistance from their comrades for preparation or during the fight itself. That would be very unfair because Batman’s friends happen to be the Justice League, which includes Superman and ….. duh, he’s a GOD — end of story…

Hence, let us consider a fair and unbiased scenario. For instance, how about a random encounter, where Batman and Wolverine come face to face for the first time, each having no knowledge about the other … an encounter which leads to a battle between these two fan-favourite superheroes from two different comic universes. That would indeed be an exciting battle to witness ( lol, I’m talking as if these guys actually exist 😛 )

Let us then perform, the comic book analog of a ‘gedankenexperiment’, or a thought-experiment, where we shall pit these two superheroes against each other. The following narrative is my version of what would transpire in this scenario. Although I’m a die-hard Batman fan, I also like Wolverine. So, for the sake of the ‘gedankenexperiment’, I have tried to write a fairly unbiased narrative. If you judge the story critically, then you’re sure to find as many flaws as critics found in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But, for me, the end result is that this is my brainchild, and I had a lot of fun coming up with the story and thinking about the superheroes’ abilities, gadgets etc. and if it were possible to provide explanations for them using real-life science…..

Anyway, here we go:-

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Scenario: A small, deserted city street, midnight (because, obviously, the Dark Knight operates at night)

As a result of some unknown, previously transpired events, it so happens (conveniently 😛 ), that Wolverine is walking down one end of a small city street, at night. It seems quite deserted … there appears to be no one around. But Wolverine’s feral sense of smell tells him otherwise (*sniff, sniff*). There’s something lurking in the darkness, above him. Wolverine snarls and slowly unsheathes his adamantium claws. (“Show yourself, bub! I know you’re there – it’s no use hiding!”) Seeing this, Batman immediately uses the X-ray device in the Detective Mode module of his cowl to scan Wolverine inside out, and learns about his claws and adamantium skeleton through the Batcomputer (which is linked wirelessly to his cowl via an antenna inside one of its protruding bat-‘ears’). Detecting micro-droplets of blood on his claws, Batman deduces that Wolverine doesn’t have any slits in his knuckle-pits for the claws to come out through, so they must have to tear through his flesh every time they are drawn out — hence, he must have some kind of accelerated healing factor that rapidly regenerates his flesh after he retracts his claws back in. He scans the region around the base of Wolverine’s claws — his hypothesis is confirmed when he observes it visibly healing. All this takes less than a minute, owing to the genius deductive skills of the World’s Greatest Detective, and to the vast computing power of his Batcomputer,  with the myriad amount of data accumulated over the years in its database. Wolverine, in the meantime, using his keen sense of smell, has managed to pinpoint Batman’s exact location. He is about to leap up to where Batman is hiding.

Batman, seeing that Wolverine has spotted him, decides that it is of no use hiding anymore. He leaps from his vantage point, (from where he had been watching Wolverine) and glides down to the other end of the street. Batman and Wolverine now face each other, standing at opposite ends of the small, empty street. They both look awesome and terrifying in the moonlit night. Logan, the ferocious, muscular mutant, the Wolverine … and Batman, the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight.

They identify each other as foe.

From what he has deduced, Batman concludes that it would be disadvantageous to engage in close combat with Wolverine. He decides to keep his distance. His modus operandi would usually have him distract his opponent and then use his ally, the darkness of the night, to sneak up and strike from the enemy’s blind-spot. But earlier, his foe was able to sense him in the dark, which means that Wolverine must have some ability that allows him to do so. Batman decides to scrap the sneak-tactics, and instead prepares for long range offense.

Wolverine’s animal instincts urge him to lunge at his foe, but his centuries worth of battle experience tell him otherwise. It is always wise to let your opponent make the first move and reveal their abilities ….

Batman is privy to this as well, but he makes the first move, because he has a plan. Given no other information, he tries to make a guess as to the particular ability that allowed Wolverine to sense him in the dark. Could it be telepathy? Thermal vision? Sound? Echolocation? Smell? Pheromones? Electroreception? There are so many ways in which an organism can sense the world around it …. Some of the possibilities seem like a long shot … He overlooks super-hearing because he hadn’t been moving or making any noise when he was spotted.  When you can’t exactly figure out the right answer, your best guess is to start with that possibility which is most probable to be true. A good guess then, is some sort of superhuman sense of vision. To test his hypothesis, Batman deploys a flash bang from his utility belt and throws it at Wolverine. If he has guessed correctly, then the heat and light emitted by the flashbang should acutely affect his foe’s visual prowess and severely disorient him. Special light filters snap up, covering the eye-holes of Batman’s cowl, preventing the intense flash of light from blinding him while he continues to observe his foe. But he has misjudged Wolverine, whose superhuman reflexes instantly attenuate his eyes to the dark after the flash is over, so he needs no time to recover.

With his animal attributes, Wolverine pounces and reaches Batman in one leap. Batman barely manages to dodge. Wolverine grabs Batman’s long cape and tugs at him, so that can gut Batman with his claws. Before this can happen, Batman immediately activates his Batsuit’s emergency shocking mechanism (A taser system sewn into the outer layer of the Batsuit atop an insulated internal lining. The shock is delivered over the entirety of Batman’s costume through a micro-thin electrode network dispersal. The mechanism is armed and fired via circuit-wafer controls in his gloves) which gives Wolverine an excellent 200,000 volt shock, made even more effective by Wolverine’s conductive metal skeleton. He then sets himself free from Wolverine’s grip by flinging his lead-weighted, scalloped cape into Wolverine’s face, which stuns him. Batman follows with a perfectly executed Taekwondo spinning hook kick, seamlessly blending the move with the turning motion of the cape-stun, knocking Wolverine back. The tables have turned now, and Batman has the upper hand. Black cape flowing, he springs towards his dazed aggressor. A master of 127 styles of martial arts, Batman knows that a continued barrage of brute-force attacks on the adamantine Wolverine would only result in his own bones being broken. Instead, he performs a shock-wave knockout move (which works by jolting the brain off the inside of the skull, dealing a massive concussion and resulting in instant unconsciousness), especially knowing that it would be twice as effective than usual on Wolverine, given that his skull is made of solid metal. Wolverine drops to the ground, seemingly unconscious….

Batman, having hypothesized about Wolverine’s healing power earlier, realizes that he may eventually heal, so he throws a cryo-pellet (technology taken from Mr. Freeze, which works by releasing upon impact, a super-volatile fluid that covers the subject and evaporates instantly and vigorously, so that the outer layers of the subject’s skin become frostbitten and harden, temporarily turning him/her into a ‘human icicle’) to further incapacitate him, and uses this time to analyse his surroundings, all the while being wary of his foe… Batman knows that if his enemy can heal, then no gadget he has would be strong enough to incapacitate Wolverine for good. He must use his surroundings to defeat his opponent…  Just a little while later, the *crunch* of cracking, frostbitten skin betrays a revived  Wolverine’s attempt to silently attack Batman from behind while was scanning the environment. Recovering much faster than Batman had expected, Wolverine takes him by surprise. He swings his razor metal claws at Batman (“AAAARGH!”)

Having trained himself to reach the peak of human potential, Batman has super-reflexes as well, and manages to dodge the claws. He quickly drops a smoke pellet, switches on detective mode (to see through the smoke) and circles around Wolverine, whilst throwing batarangs at him. Even though he can’t see, Wolverine uses his feral senses of hearing to locate the incoming batarangs, their trajectory, and their source. He easily deflects them with his claws and pinpoints Batman as he is moving through the smoke, without even having to turn his head. His intuitive animal senses allow him to figure out exactly where Batman will be in the next few moments and he lunges in that direction (LIGHTS OUT, BUB!). Caught by surprise, Batman has no time to dodge. Wolverine digs his deadly claws into Batman, and prepares to deliver the deathblow, when he hears the distinctive, rising, high pitched sound of the capacitors in the Batsuit charging up, ready to electrify the suit again. Superhuman reflexes acting, Wolverine packs centuries of battle experience, a mastery over martial arts akin to Batman’s, and his superhuman mutant strength into a powerful front-kick delivered square in Batman’s chest (KA-POW!); and quickly retreats, lest he be electrocuted again. Batman is sent flying through the air, and hits the hard pavement with a thud, skidding several feet before coming to a halt. Wolverine’s kick would’ve killed an average person right away by causing massive internal injuries. The only reason Batman is still alive is because of his Kevlar-thread and carbon-nanotube-fibre reinforced, bulletproof Batsuit. Batman thanks the decision he made (after recovering from his spinal cord injury long ago) to further reinforce his Batsuit with a material to dampen shocks and impact, along with a spinal brace, to protect himself from the kind of abuse dealt to him by the only person to have ever broken him — Bane ….
Also, the motive of his suit’s eye-catching chest symbol seems to have worked well… it lured his enemy into attacking his armour’s strongest point …. And yet, he groans in pain — for the claws have dug deep, and he is bleeding …. Wolverine circles around slowly, looking to strike Batman when he has no chance of electrifying his suit.

But by observing Wolverine’s actions, Batman has managed to deduce his feral senses and superhuman reflexes. Wolverine’s enhanced reflexes were apparent in all his movements thus far, starting with the instant recovery from the flashbang, and in the smoke, when he figured out exactly where Batman would be, before lunging at him. Batman had considered telepathic powers as a possible explanation to Wolverine’s feral senses, but quickly discarded the idea because Wolverine hadn’t used them (if he had them) to ‘attack’ Batman from a distance, even when he had several chances. He had instead chosen to pounce at Batman and attack him from close range. Thermal vision could be ruled out as well, because Wolverine was able to deflect batarangs which were at the same temperature as his surroundings. By the same argument, any other visual prowess could also be neglected because Wolverine had deflected the batarangs in the smoke without even turning to look where they were coming from. He did not have to ‘look’, ergo, he wasn’t using any visual abilities. Electroreception (the ability to sense living organisms via the electric fields of the bio-electric signals in their bodies) was an impossibility because otherwise, Wolverine would have been able to sense the Batsuit’s shocking mechanism being activated, and could have avoided being electrocuted — but that did not happen. Through similar lines of genius deductive reasoning, Batman’s lightning fast chain of thought could eliminate all other improbable possibilities. The list had boiled down to two options — superhuman senses of hearing and smell. It was easy to conclude that Wolverine must possess both. How else could he have sensed Batman’s presence in the dark, when he was perched motionless on his vantage point, in absolute silence; and later, could also sense the incoming batarangs which have no smell?

While Wolverine circles Batman and gets ready to strike again, Batman re-calibrates his Batcall device to emit very powerful ultrasonic sound waves which disorient Wolverine and leave him in a world of unbearable, brain-numbing pain . Batman even tosses in another cryo-pellet to gain time. While Wolverine is disoriented, Batman makes his move. Through the sheer power of his iron will, he endures the pain of his wounds and stands up, as he has done countless times before.

Wolverine takes a while to fight the freeze and the noise. He overcomes the pain with his feral rage, regenerates his frozen skin, and back-traces the sound to its source — Batman. Extremely furious, he pounces towards Batman and slashes and gashes and cuts and slices and stabs and jabs and destroys Batman with a maniacally ferocious paroxysm of tremendous rage and raw power, till the noise stops. Breathing heavily and feeling dazed, he slowly rises and looks down at the pile of mutilated matter that was his enemy.

But something seems to be wrong….

Blinded by the raging sonic pain,  Wolverine failed to notice ……

The Batsuit ….. it’s empty!

The person inside is gone!

He then observes that the suit is covered in a kind of weird, blue gel that seems to be hissing and foaming and growing in size …… Wolverine’s heightened reflexes allow him to react before Batman’s signature explosive gel detonates. With lightning fast agility, he tosses the suit away before it explodes. Unfortunately for him, some of the gel had gotten adhered to his body when he was busy mauling the suit. The blast stuns him and throws him back. (KA-BLAM!). He growls and slowly gets back up to his feet, flesh regenerating rapidly, blood boiling with feral rage. For all of Batman’s legendary awesomeness, his gadgets seem like petty playthings against the indestructible Wolverine…..

He sniffs Batman’s blood on the ground and follows the trail to his new location. He is hiding behind an outdoor distribution-transformer unit. Wolverine silently circles around and gets behind him, unnoticed. Bruce Wayne is treating his wounds using the med-kit in the utility belt he took from the Batsuit. Wolverine grins (“It’s over, bub”) — He lunges forward and is about to strike a bleeding Bruce Wayne from behind when he feels a violent tug and is attracted to the nearby transformer unit. While Wolverine was battling an empty Batsuit, Bruce Wayne had used the acetylene torch from his utility belt to cut open the transformer’s panels, exposing the coiled wire inside, and had, with much ease, converted it into an extremely powerful electromagnet which drew power straight from the main lines. Wolverine gets stuck to the electromagnet (because he has a metal skeleton!) and isn’t able to move a single muscle. (“Alfred, contact the Justice League, and send the Batwing to pick me up … I need you to stitch some nasty gashes I got from a Wolverine …”)

Batman’s brains have overcome Wolverine’s brawn. Wolverine is incapacitated till the next power outage. Bruce Wayne wins — case closed.

— S.R.R

My First Summer Project

I completed my first ever official summer project in the field of Quantum Mechanics under a mentor from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. Although being a reading project, it was still great fun to delve deep into the mysteries of Quantum Physics and be awe-struck by the realization of how bizarrely nature actually functions. For my project, I referred to “Introduction To Quantum Mechanics by David J. Griffiths”, which I found absolutely outstanding. Remembering R.W. Sockman’s famous quote, I agree that the larger my island of knowledge grew, the longer did become its shoreline of wonder…

Click on the link to download and review the project report:

Application of Variational Principle In Quantum Mechanics

P.S: Warning — Those allergic to complicated mathematical equations beware! This report contains hundreds of those deadly things!

-S.R.R

GREETINGS, WORLD !!!

                                      Newton Welcomes You

Hello and welcome to my blog !!!

I am an ardent student of Physics and this blog is my web journal. I created it to store and share all my idiosyncratic ideas, preposterous propositions, thoughtful theories, hybrid hypotheses, exhausting explanations, exhilarating experiments, punctilious proofs, critical conclusions, impactful implications and several other such similarly stimulating scientific stuff !!!

I also created this in the hopes that a web log of my scientific doodles may benefit me (or anybody who’s interested to take a look) in my scientific pursuits (or theirs), in the future. This blog is also for the casual reader, since scientific articles oft make an interesting and stimulating read. Moreover, one gets to learn something new, and every iota of knowledge acquired takes us a small step closer to understanding how the perplexing reality, which we call our universe, works.  That’s a nice perspective, isn’t it? And maybe, somewhere among the bubbling bundle of thoughts which emerge from the mind every moment, lies an idea that has the potential to change the world ?! You never know……

I conclude with a simple, yet enlightening quote by Sir Issac Newton:

“If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.”

If you like a post, let me know by hitting the ‘like’ button below the post. If you want to follow my blog and get notifications about new posts, hit the ‘follow’ button on the left sidebar. No guarantees regarding regular updates ( ‘follow’ at your own risk! ). See you soon(?)! 😉

-S.R.R