Thursday, December 06, 2007

From string theory to particle theory

After an hour of playing Marble Blast on the Mac, the boys came out running, and Sean was crying (sigh...as usual). Brian complained that he was merely trying to help Sean but Sean would make a horrible face after being helped.

Sean claimed that his korkor made him lose, but I explained that that wasn't true, and that korkor was helping him. He then volunteered a "Sorry korkor" without being asked, something that rarely happens. The boys hugged and made up.

I kissed Sean's head and said, "Mmmm, Mummy loves your big head. Your head is soooo huge." Btw, he loves it when I say his head is big :) cos I told him it meant he has a big brain (I'm his mother, I'm just exercising my right to tell him nonsense like this).

He looked at me and said, "When I do work my head becomes bigger, and when I watch TV my head becomes smaller."

I turned to him with a delighted face, "Yes....and when you do things for yourself, like brush your teeth, put on your clothes, wear your socks and shoes, your head grows too, cos you need to use your brain to do all these."

Brian jumps in with, "When you whine, it shrinks to negative! Yes, when you whine, it becomes so small, even smaller than a string, until it disappears and becomes negative."

Sean added, "When I cry, my brain becomes so small that it's smaller than a point particle."

Brian goes,"You don't even know what a point particle is!" (Actually, Brian's the one who didn't know.)

Sean said, "A point particle is nothing."

I think he's right. From Wikipedia: A point particle (or point-like, often spelt pointlike) is an idealized object heavily used in physics. Its defining feature is that it lacks spatial extension: being zero-dimensional, it does not take up space. A point particle is an appropriate representation of any object whose size, shape, and structure is irrelevant in a given context. For example, from far away an object of any shape will look and behave as a point-like object.

Don't look at me, I don't understand that either.

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