Science

The First Law of Thermodynamics and The Conservation of Energy

The First Law of Thermodynamics and The Conservation of Energy

The title sounds familiar?

I have no doubt that you all must have learned this topic while you were too young. But how many of you can exactly explain if you were asked it now? Here I’m making an attempt to polish your knowledge along with teaching many who don’t understand the basics.

To begin with, I would like to quote that familiar law,The law of conservation of Energy-

Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed; rather it can only be transformed from one form to another.

It is as simple as it sounds.We cannot create energy, but all that we can do is, we can transfer the form of energy from one to another.Many beginners may naturally question this as for them it may seem conflicting with what they are seeing in the real world.One can argue with me with the backing of many examples. Let me explain the simple example of producing electricity from hydropower plants.
What happens here is, the hydropower plant captures the energy of falling water to generate electricity.

Let’s consider a system of confined water like this

Picture Source-Pixabay

This is confined, the water cannot move to anywhere.The quantity of water is very huge! It has unimaginable potential energy that we cannot see unless we provide it with a way to flow freely.We can calculate the PE(Potential Energy) it holds by simply applying values in this formula.

PE=mgh

Where,

m=mass in Kg,g=acceleration due to gravity(9.80665 m/s2) & h=height of the water from the bottom level

You can see The interesting maths related to this here

Now the water flows out of this dam like this

Image Source – Pixabay

Now what happens is that the Potential energy the water had when it was in the confined state gets converted into Kinetic Energy.As the name suggests it is the form of energy that is resultant of the motion of water.We have the formula to find the kinetic energy.

image

Image Source

The turbine in the power plant starts rotating due to this water flow

image

Source – Pixabay

The Kinetic Energy of water gets converted into Mechanical Energy by means of the rotation of this turbine.The turbines are connected with generators where the mechanical energy get converted into electric energy.

I think you have recalled what you have studied a long ago by now.Let me summarise the convertions

Potential Energy—->Kinetic Energy—->Mechanical Energy—–>Electrical Energy

You can see, only forms are changed but the energy remains constant.It is said that the total Energy of this entire universe is a big ZERO!!
Let me now come to the topic that I wish to focus on- First Law of Thermodynamics

To understand the laws of thermodynamics, first, you need to know the meaning of ‘System’ and ‘Surroundings’

A thermodynamic system is a quantity of matter of fixed identity, around which we can draw a boundary. The boundaries may be fixed or moveable. Work or heat can be transferred across the system boundary. Everything outside the boundary is the surroundings.

Source

So a thermodynamic system can be anything that we pick to observe.It can be the glass containing water, A flask of warm water, The earth, The universe…etc anything. Everything lies outside this system is referred to as surrounding.Now, It is also necessary to know the definition of the Thermodynamics.

Thermodynamics is the branch of physical science that deals with the relation between heat and other forms of energy (Such as Mechanical, Electrical or Chemical Energy) and, by extension, of the relationships between all forms of energy.

FIRST LAW OF THERMODYNAMICS

The first law of thermodynamics is an application of ‘law of conservation of energy’ that we have discussed before.Here is it’s definition-

The First Law says that the internal energy of a system has to be equal to the work that is being done on the system, plus or minus the heat that flows in or out of the system and any other work that is done on the system

image

This diagram was drawn by me. The circle in it represents a ‘system’ and everything out of it’s drawn boundary is ‘surroundings’. We are talking here only about Closed System wherein matter cannot jump out of it.Only energy transfer takes place.

Internal energy denotes all forms energy available in a system.ie, It is the summation of possible energies that can co-exist in a system like Potential&Kinetic energies, Heat energy, Mechanical energy..etc..Certain forms of energies are absent as we consider the pure closed system.

The work done on the system has a key role to play here as it’s application increases the total internal energy.As the thermodynamics deals with the heat transfer, the heat escaped from the system has a detrimental effect on the same.

All that I can summerize is again this ‘*Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed.“‘

But a few factors seem to be contradicting this belief.for example, we can convert matter into energy provided enough antimatter is available.Fission,Fusion..etc being some examples.Let us talk about them later.

Note: Images that I have used here are mainly from pixabay and I have properly cited the sources too.References are quoted at the places itself.

 

Posted by Sathya Sankar in Blog, English, Science, 0 comments
Is it safe to use mobile phones during Lightning?

Is it safe to use mobile phones during Lightning?

Almost 12 years ago, in 2006, The British Medical Journal had highlighted a case of a 15-year-old girl who left with severe injuries after being struck by lightning while talking on her phone. The journal recommended not to use the mobile phones during lightning. In addition, they quoted Australian Lightning Protection Standard to back their claim. The last part of the journal read like this –

This rare phenomenon is a public health issue, and education is necessary to highlight the risk of using mobile phones outdoors during stormy weather to prevent future fatal consequences from lightning strike injuries related to mobile phones.

The Australian Lightning Protection Standard recommends that metallic objects, including cordless or mobile phones, should not be used (or carried) outdoors during a thunderstorm.5 We could not find any advice from British telecommunication companies.

Source – British Medical Journal

The most reputed News Broadcaster BBC had reported this event on their Website then . This news was vehemently doing the rounds on internet all over the world. Later, The Australian Mobile Telecommunication Association (AMTA) turned down the claim of British Medical Journal saying The claim that mobile phones are a risk when used in a storm is misleading. They came up with a detailed description about this on their Official Website .

The conflict between these two giants distorted the truth when it reached the layman. They leaned towards the former’s claim. Is it safe to use mobile phone during lightning? – Contrary to the widespread urban myth,The answer to this question is It is completely safe. I am going to make an attempt to describe what exactly the lighting is and how comes it is safe to use the mobile phones during lightning.

Earlier Beliefs


Early Greeks believed that lightning was a weapon of Zeus. Thunderbolts were invented by Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Since lightning was a manifestation of the gods, any spot struck by lightning was regarded as sacred. Greek and Roman temples often were erected at these sites, where the gods were worshipped in an attempt to appease them. the same way every culture attributed lightning to their own Gods and superstitions.

Image Source – Pixabay

In Russia, As lately as 1800, when rain was wanted, three men climbed a tree. One would knock two firebrands together; the sparks imitating lightning. Another one would pour water over twigs, imitating rain. A third would bang on a kettle to attract the thunder. And throughout early Europe, church bell ringers would make as much noise as possible, hoping to scare away the storms from these holy dwellings which were struck frequently by lightning. ( Source )

According to the great Greek philosopher Aristotle, thunder was considered to be caused by the collission of clouds and most of the world believed it to be true.Interestingly, This belief continues to be in force to date. Still in many schools this concept is being taught!

What Exactly the Lightning Is?


Lightning is a flash of light created by electro static discharge between the charged regions of the clouds or between the earth and electrically charged regions of the clouds.

It works in the same way the comb that you rubbed with your hand attracts the paper pieces scattered on the table. The lightning is usually produced by Cumulonimbus Clouds.These clouds are heavily densed and contains a large quantity of Ice and water in it. The movement of Ice and water causes collision in between them and This turbulence in turns leads to the creation of electric charges within the cloud. Eventually, negative charges accumulate in the bottom and the positive charges accumulate in the upper side of the cloud.

Image Source – NOAA Public Domain

The cause of charge separation is well explained in This Paper.

Updrafts in the thunder cloud transport small droplets of water upwards. As the droplets rise they cool down but cannot freeze yet. They become supercooled. Meanwhile, big “ice particle”, i.e. hail, forms in the cold upper regions of the cloud and falls downwards due to gravity.

When the falling hail collides with the supercooled droplets, the latter freeze instantly, releasing their latent heat to the hail. Thus, the descending hail is always a bit warmer than its environment pushing it towards melting. The hail becomes also supercooled / “soft” and is then referred to as graupel.

Source

Simply saying,the gravity pulls the heavier ice particles downward and the evaporation causes lighter particles to move upward; These particles have negative and positive charges respectively. That means, the cloud is negatively charged in the bottom and positively charged in the top.

These accumulated charges will have the tendency of neutralising each other to acquire a state of stability. In search of opposite charges they form a channel of Ionized air which causes the spark that we see as lightning

Types of Lightnings


Lightnings can be mainly categorised into two types.

1. Intra Cloud and Inter Cloud Lightnings


These are the most common Lightnings.About three quarters of all lightnings never leave the clouds.They don’t directly cause any damage to the things on the surface of the earth. Thousands of such storms can be spotted in every single day.

Image Source – Pexels

Electric discharge occuring within the cloud or in between the clouds is the fundamental cause of this type of lightning. A charged particle easily discovers the oppositely charged particle and forms a channel by ionizing the air between the source of charges which results in what we see as lightning.

2. Cloud to Ground Lightning


A brief explanation is needed here as this variety of lightning is the real Villain. As the name suggests this type is caused by the interaction happening between the charged clouds and the ground. This is dangerous as this type of lightning has claimed thousands of lives until now.

Source – Pixabay

The negative charges accumulated in the bottom part of the clouds tend to discharge to achieve a stable state. For that, they need the help of positive charges. Here, the ground beneath it acts as the positively charged front. the ground can be any territorial part like mountain,tree,Building or a living being. the negative charges start its journey from the cloud in the form of discrete stepped leader.

Image Source – NOAA Public Domain

The flow of negative charges happen with a speed of 200,000 KM/hr. It would be higher if it travels without any intermediary pause. This charges again ramify into so many branches on their way to the destination. The medium they travel is the Air which is a poor conductor. But at the time of thunderstorm it turns into an electric conductor due to Dielectric Breakdown.the air between the cloud and the ground now acts like a capacitor. When the electric field is high enough, the air partially ionizes, at which point there are free electrons to carry current and the air becomes, essentially, conductive.

It is very interesting to note that during Ionization the temperature of Air rises to as high as 20,000 degree Celsius,Which is almost 5 times the surface temperature of the sun!but in no time it cools down,which is one of the causes for thunder!

As the negatively charged stepped leader approaches the ground, it acts as a magnet that attracts positive charges. Initiation of a stepped leader is blind and it ramifies at every 50 metres. The tip of the stepped leader keeps on looking for an easy and closest way to reach the positively charged ground.

The Tallest objects here becomes easiest paths for the negative charge flow to attain the nullification by colliding with positively charged Earth. If a tree is the tallest object,The lightning will strike it.If it is the mountain that is taller in the place where the lightning is about to strike,everything other than the mountain would be safe. As soon as the stepped leader about to touch the ground, a return stroke gets initiated. Which we call as Streamer whose initiation starts from the ground. This is the most brightest part in lightning.

Image Source

The part I have described upto now is about Negative Cloud to Ground lightning Where the negatively charged stepped leader emerges from the clouds and moves towards the earth to meet the positive charges.This is the very common type of Cloud to Ground lightning. One more type is there which is very rare and most dangerous that the name ‘silent killer’ would be suitable for it. I’m talking about the Positive Cloud to Ground Lightning in which the positive charges initiate their journey from the clouds and turns the earth into negatively charged Streamer. The ramifications are unlikely to see here as the lightning chooses a straight path. This type of lightning is super dangerous as it can sneak on the observer without even showing a distant sign!

The Thunder


As I nudged earlier,Thunder is mainly caused by the Ionization of the Air. In no time the air is heated up to 20,000 degree Celsius and immediately cools down. This change in temperature causes the air to suddenly expand and then contract.Vibration is formed along the path of lightning and it gets transmitted through the air.It reverberates enough to cause The rumbling. The vigour of thunder differs according to its distance. The near it is to the observer,the louder it gets. As the sound travels in a lower velocity compared to that of light, Thunder arrives much later The arrival of lightning effect. Maybe after one’s death!

How Comes using mobile phones is safe during lightning?


As we have discussed, the lightning strikes on someone not because of the person uses mobile phone or he/she wears ornaments made up of conductors. Simply, Such a belief is an urban myth. Rather , It chooses the easiest and closest path to reach the ground. It doesn’t at all look for the specific medium as the amount of energy it handles has no time to do so! Moreover, Mobile phones are low power devices using radio waves for its communication.

The radio waves don’t need a medium to propagate.That’s the reason why it travels even through the vacuum space. The claim that these waves attract lightning to your phone is false. Believe me, It won’t attract the lightning or anything like that to your mobile phone!

Source – Pixabay

But, land phones are at high risk as it they are connected by the conducting wires for KiloMetres. Chances of being strucken is very high if you use land phone during lightning!

Conclusion


Using Mobile phone during lightning doesn’t attracts the danger. It is completely safe to use. But make sure that you are not standing in a place where your body stands taller than all other objects present there. In such a place, no matter whether you possess a mobile phone with you or not, you will be struck by the lightning. Always seek asylum in a place which is covered and proper earthing is done.

Contrary to the belief that mobile phones attract lightning, Not having one with you may cause danger if you happened to witness or be in such a situation as you will not be able to communicate the danger with others!

Image Sources : Images used here are ‘Free to use for Public’ and mainly from Pixabay and Wiki

References

Posted by Sathya Sankar in Blog, English, Science, 0 comments
What will happen if the current level of atmospheric oxygen heavily Increases/Decreases?

What will happen if the current level of atmospheric oxygen heavily Increases/Decreases?

Can you Imagine the Earth having no presence of oxygen in it? What will happen if such an imagination becomes a palpable reality? Or,what would be the consequences if the current oxygen level in atmosphere takes up the decision of going up in its percentage? Well, it would be weird, isn’t it?..Let me try to demistify your curiosity.

About 3.45 billion years ago, earth was anoxic(ie there was no oxygen). Back then, the living beings on this planet were all some bacterias which didn’t need the oxygen to survive. It took another 1 billion years for the very first autotrophic bacteria to appear. They are kind of today’s cyanobacteria and began to part on photosynthesis and then released the very first free oxygen. In the initial centuries, the free oxygen released from the ocean by these bacterias couldn’t sustain in atmosphere because they immediately reacted with the dissolved iron and the organic matter to become other compunds. This immediate self-destruction is a unique chemical characteristic of Oxygen as its electronegativity is the second most only next to flouine.

The current percentage of Oxygen in atmosphere is 20.94% that remains balanced for almost many decades. Although deforestation keep on surging in an unimaginable level, Its implications on reducing the Oxygen level from the atmosphere is nearly zero. The reason being, it is not the fauna in the land that produce the large quantity of Oxygen, but it is the phytoplankton in the ocean that does this rite for millions of years. It is estimated that these tiny ocean plants contribute almost 70% of Oxygen to the earth’s atmosphere

Image of phytoplankton from Pixabay

Oxygen owes its existence to the life on earth in the same way the life on earth owes its existence to the oxygen

The mutual cooperation nurtures the existence of both the participants. To sabotage this equilibrium the current atmospheric oxygen level has to drastically go down or vigorously go up!

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE ATMOSPHERIC OXYGEN LEVEL GOES UP?


In fact, our earth had gone through every situations that we could only imagine now. Appearance of Oxygen wasn’t that good for living organisms at first. Oxygen caused mass extinction once by being responsible for Ice ages that lasted for millions of years. The newly appeared free oxygen set out to react with metane to reduce its quantity which in turn resulted in a frozen planet.

Image is drawn by me

In Carboniferous era, that began 359 million years ago and lasted till 299 million years ago [source], the percentage of Oxygen in atmosphere was too high; It was well above 35% as opposed to the current level of near 21% !
This higher percentage nurtured the lives of insects as their breathing style is not based on lungs. Also this period saw the growth of large sized animals in abundance due to the adequate oxygen supply available to the farther body parts . Not just amphibians and reptiles but also the size of insects was very high. The insects of that period measured more than 3 feets in length and height!

Image source- Pixabay

If the atmospheric oxygen level raises now,

  • Wildfires may spread faster,fuel efficiency would be higher in our gas vehicles and everything related to fire would get an enhancement as the Oxygen exquisitely helps the firing
  • Scaling Everest would no longer be as difficult as it used to be as the adequate availability of Oxygen makes it easier!
  • Giant insects will be back again.
  • We will die younger because Free radicals (i.e. O2-) are thought to exacerbate the aging process through Oxidative stress which interferes in numerous cellular processes: protein production, DNA replication, intercellular communication, and are also thought to contribute to MS, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and a host of other ailments. This Quora Answer dealt with this interestingly.

The list will get larger if I list out everything!

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE ATMOSPHERIC OXYGEN LEVEL GOES DOWN?


La Rinconada located in Peru is the highest permanent human settlement. It is situated at a height of 5100 metres from the sea level! It is not a unique scenario, as per estimations obtained from various statistics, at least 140 million people in the world live permanently above 2,400 metres! These cities can be found primarily in three mountainous regions: the Himalayas in Asia, the Andes in South America and the Ethiopian Highlands of Africa. It is quite interesting to read Their way of life here. I’m mentioning about these cities here because, it is in high altitude regions that the quantity of Oxygen is too low. The Higher the altitude the lower is the air pressure; which means that the oxygen level would be much less than the world average of 21%.

To survive, our lungs must work more than what they do now to gather adequate oxygen in these places which in turn causes fatal illnesses in the long run. Thats why the moniker Death Region well suits to the altitude above 8000 metres.

La Rinconada,Peru-Wiki creative commons , Uploader-Hildegard Willer

As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, earth’s atmosphere had been oxygen free and continued to be like it for almost 1.25 billion years since its beginning 4.5 billion years ago. In fact, the oxygen had nothing to do with the initiation of life on earth but it played major role in the formation of multicellular complex organisms. Nitrogen molecules were in act when the first ever single cell organism was formed instead.

The main reason behind why we are able to walk freely and safely on this planet is the Ozone layer which protects every living organisms from hazardous UV rays emerging out of the Sun!

If we suppose the atmospheric Oxygen disappears at this very moment-

  • UV rays will attack each and every living organism and will cause damage in the fundamental building blocks of life, the DNA and Destroy the life from the earth!.
  • By chance, even if some organism manages to survive UV radiation, it can’t live without metabolism which needs oxygen to happen.Here, every organism except few bacterias and viruses would die!
  • Every chemical reaction taking place on the earth will have profound change in it which would make earth a planet completely different from what it is now.

WHAT MAINTAINS THE PERCENTAGE OF OXYGEN IN ATMOSPHERE UNCHANGED AND WHY SHOULD IT BE LIKE THAT?


Infact, the atmospheric oxygen level has never been the same as may appear it to be. It is slightly changing over time. Look at these measurements-

  • 28% -130m years ago
  • 29% -115m y.a.
  • 35% -95m y.a.
  • 33% -88m y.a.
  • 35% -75m y.a.
  • 29% -65m y.a.
  • 21% – now

The consistent change in its percentage can be attributed to so many factors, But when we analyse the contribution of human beings towards this declination, burning fossil fuels win the first place. A slight decrement of 0.035% in oxygen level has been taken place in last 30 years due to the increase in the production of Carbon-dioxide during this period. But it can in no way make a significant difference in global average of 21% even after 100 or 200 years. The reason being continual Photosynthesis! As I mentioned earlier it is the phytoplanktons that produce about more than 70% of total atmospheric oxygen. Along with this contributing to the global share is Amazon Rainforest with its 20% divident.

A balanced level of Oxygen in atmosphere is very much needed in order to life on earth to continue as it is now. The very existence of Oxygen depends on living beings in the same way the very existence of living organisms depend on oxygen!

REFERENCES

Posted by Sathya Sankar in Blog, English, Science, 2 comments
Formation of the Diamond

Formation of the Diamond

What possible ways are there to describe your physical self?

You are masculine, feminine, strong, weak, You are a tank of water, you are made up of soil, you are the precious diamond. Did I say Diamond? that too about you? yes, you read it right- You are a Diamond! But How?

18.5% of your total body mass is made up of Carbon (C) and the Diamond is nothing more than the pure Carbon! You should realize that it is not impossible to convert your ashes after cremation into diamonds. A number of firms are already working their butts off on this endeavour. If you are the kind of person who value money more than anything, simply go burn yourself and seek the help of these companies to become the precious ornament!
Today, I’m going to discuss about the formation of diamonds.

Image Source- Pixabay

DIAMOND


Diamond is an allotrope of carbon, ie it is just another physical form of raw carbon. It is the hardest known substance we humans have ever found. We use it as gem and also abrasives in manufacturing industries. Diamond has top ranks in the lists of refraction index, Mohr’s value, Thermal conductivity, Dispersion etc.. The list infact is much lengthier than this! Poets all over the world use the words like scintillating, delectable, ravishing,verdant etc to properly pen down this precious substance. if you are a lover you can eulogize your partner by comparing him/her to the Diamond. Buy him/her one if you are rich enough!

As diamonds are made up of pure carbon, people obviously believed that it was the coal buried beneath the earth’s surface that had become diamond after undergoing certain changes over the years. But later, this argument proved to be fallible as the scientific evidences estimated that the age of Diamonds is some Billions of years; much older than the very first single cell organism that sprouted out its life!

The planet earth is 4.5 billion years old. I do agree, for many of us it might appear to be a much small number as even the viewers count for the song Despacito on YouTube has gone past 5 billion. Diamonds are as old as the earth. They age between the very starting moment of the earth to some 1.5 billion years ago. Being so along with other factors, it is extremely hard to find natural diamonds on earth. This scarcity makes their value surge steadily.

HOW DO THEY FORM?


Image source-Pixabay
 

It all starts with five nearby Carbon atoms coming together to form tight covalent bond between them. High pressure and high temperature are the conditions required for this act to be hassle free. This new dense carbon complex continues to be in such an extreme physical state for millions, if not billions of years. This phenomena results in the formation of the precious substance that we see now in the form of sacrosanct Diamond.

The previously most percieved theory of Formation of diamond from the coal was turned down as the coal is nothing more than the debris of flora and fauna existed here millions of years ago. We can say it undoubtedly that coal didn’t contribute to the development of diamonds as the extreme conditions required couldn’t be found at the sites of coal mining. And as we have seen earlier, the age factor doesn’t sync at all.

Scientists and traders set out to find the ways through which natural diamonds could have been formed. Four ways of natual diamond formation have been found by them. Out of four, only one method is responsible for almost cent percentage of commercial diamonds that are in use; Diamond formation in earth’s mantlle . Let me describe this along with all other methods briefly.

Diamond formation in earth’s mantle


Earth’s mantle is boiling with unimaginable temperature and pressure. High pressure and temperature is the typical requirements to form diamond. This criteria is highly satisfied there at some limited zones. in about 150 kilometres deep in the mantle, temperature is atleast 1050 degree celsius and the pressure is too high( It ebarrasses to learn that pressure gradually increases and reaches 1.3 million times the atmospheric pressure in the core!). This critical temperature-pressure environment for diamond formation and stability is not present globally. Instead it is thought to be present primarily in the mantle beneath the stable interiors of continental plates. This zone we refer to as ‘Diamond stability zone’

Source – Wikicommons-uploaded by Kelvinsong, Licence : CC BY-SA 3.0
 

As your commensense might have made you imagine by now, a volcanic eruption is much needed to bring out these diamonds from earth’s mantle to surface. Again, not all volcanic eruptions can carry with them these precious substances. A deep source volcanic eruption is the need of the hour. It is from the sites of deep eruptions that the rocks named Kimberlites are found. In these places a vertical hole named lamproite pipes that stretches downward to few hundred kilometres can also be seen. If you could locate such a place, you are lucky and likely enough to find a Diamond!

Diamond formation in subduction zones


This happens due to plate tectonics processes. When continental plate collides with oceanic plate, rocks and minerals containing abundance of carbon in it get subducted deep down to the mantle. But the depth won’t be great enough. In subducted plates, diamond formation might occur as little as 80 kilometres from the surface and at temperature as low as 200 degree celsius.

Image Source – Wikicommons-uploaded by KDS4444, License – CC BY-SA 4.0
 

Diamonds from Brazil consisted tiny mineral inclusion in consistent with mineralogy of oceanic crust. This supports the claim of this type of formation. Here too, the subducted rocks and minerals have to come outside of the earth inorder to make diamonds visible.

Diamond Formation in impact sites


Earth had been hit by asteroids several times throughout its entire history. When a heavy astroid having high velocity strikes the earth, its impact will produce high energy that would be equal to millions of nuclear bombs that US once tried on Japan. The pressure and temperature would be extremely high and will have every aspects needed to form diamonds. Carbon atoms present in the very place of asteroid attack will gain the new physical form to become Diamonds.

Image Source- Pixabay
 

We were able to locate many such diamonds in asteroid strucken areas. Tiny, sub-millimeter diamonds have been found at Meteor Crater in Arizona. Polycrystalline industrial diamonds up to 13 millimeters in size have been mined at the Popigai Crater in northern Siberia, Russia. Click here to read more!

Diamond formation in space


So far, we have been able to locate diamonds having a size of billionth of a metre in diameter in space. Especially these diamonds are present in meteors. It is believed that almost 3% of carbon in meteors exists in the form of nano diamonds. We can’t use them for making gems or industrial abrasives. But still it is an inevitable source.

The formation of diamond here is exactly similar to how the diamonds formed in impact sites on earth. Critical temperature and pressure backs the formation of diamonds out there in space too!

SYNTHETIC DIAMOND


As I have mentioned in the beginning of this article, it is not impossible to turn the carbon present in your body into fine Diamond. When we hear the word artificial, we are dubious about its quality. But the fact is that, factory produced diamonds are in no way inferior to their natural counterparts. Making of diamonds in factory takes upto 8 months.

If you want to convert the some other form of carbon atoms that you have with you into Diamond, you should subject it into the critical conditions. High pressure and temperature in a steady manner for some weeks. This business can go up in profit to some unimaginable levels if the cost concern associated with it gets alleviated. I wish you can be a Diamond after the Death!

REFERENCES

Posted by Sathya Sankar in Blog, English, Science, 0 comments
Oxytocin- The hormone that showers love everywhere

Oxytocin- The hormone that showers love everywhere

The world celebrated mother’s day on 13th of this month. I should have posted this article on that day to gain some more attention. But again I ask myself, what is the need of remembering our mothers only on a particular day? Is that to take selfies with them to show the world as if we are the best Son(or)Daughter/Mother pair that exist on the entire planet and broadcast them on social media? Hey.. That doesn’t makes sense dude!

Today I’m going to write about something that is closely associated with the term Motherhood– The hormone oxytocin!

Motherhood


Image Source – Pixabay

To put it simply, motherhood is defined in English dictionaries as The state of being a mother. But when we try to decipher this state of being, we can find that motherhood is not just about simply being a mother, It is actually more than that!

Two weeks back our goat gave birth to a little baby goat and I had posted about it on here. I could spot a dramatic change happened to the fundamental behaviour of this new mother. While she had been pregnant, She used to be very rude and would attack me whenever I touch her! Myself and all other famiy members in my home would always keep a safe distance from her out of fear of having to face an attack at anytime. Not that we couldn’t control her, but it was her instinctive behaviour that scared us to a little extent. I was damn sure about this lady goat eventually attacking her own child and showing no sign of motherhood. But my anticipation failed miserably. Infact, she is continuously showering love towards her baby boy by means of licking and nursing!

The goat licking its offspring. A picture taken by me.

This sudden change in her behaviour indeed amazed me a lot and I desperately wanted to know what made her to recognise her own child and shower abundance of love on him! In that search I got to know about this hormone called Oxytocin. If you google it now, you will end up getting a lot of in-depth details about this hormone. But, wait a moment… I am here for that!

While surfing on the internet, few Mother-Child bonds I came cross really fascinated me to the core. Let me share with you some of those facts here.


Some beautiful Mother-Child Relationships


The Elephant


Image Source-Pixabay

Elephants have the longest known gestation period of about 18-22 months. When a calf is born, it suddenly becomes the centre of attention of the entire herd it belongs to. The onus of taking care of the newborn becomes that of everyone present in that group. Moreover, the relationship between the mother and the child remains unbroken for about 12 to 14 years and it is lifelong in the case of the calf is a female. The extraordinary love this mother shows to her child is something very interesting to notice. She will always be indulgent and fuss over her calf. The love hormone plays a vital role in this bonding. Being social in nature, the amount of togetherness the elephants show is none other than epic!


Orangutan


Image Source- Pixabay

That’s the picture of a baby Orangutan enjoying it’s leisure time with its Mother. They are intelligent than many other specieses. The mother& child relationship of orangutans is peculiar. In any circumstances, It is impossible to seperate mother and child for first few months. They sleep, travel and eat together in this period. And baby orangutans are completely dependent on their mothers for first two years. Generally mothers nurse their children for upto 3-4 years but in some cases it is found that the process continues upto 7 years.


Birds feeding their offsprings


Image Source- Pixabay

What a wonderful show of love! Isn’t it? Birds travel miles to collect food. Their offsprings wait in their nests for their mother to come and feed them. Mother bird never forgets to take food to home. It comes back and feeds its gaping offsprings. What makes them to remain so attached? Indeed a variant hormone of oxytocin named mesotocin.


I have used these pictures just for the purpose of representation. Infact, where there is a love there is the presence of the hormone oxytocin. The affection felt during having sex, the love and care that can be spotted between mother and child, friendship, social interactions etc in all these places the intensity of bondage is determined by the amount of oxytocin produced.

Oxytocin


Chemical structure of Oxytocin.
Image Source- Wkicommons, Uploaded by- Calvero, License- Public Domain
 

In a given moment, Oxytocin acts both as a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It is produced in the Hypothalamus and distributed into blood stream through pituitary gland. Oxytocin is produced mainly during the the time of childbirth, breastfeeding, sexual intercourse and while socialising with others. I’m not going to dig deeply into its various aspects since the main focus of this article is to find out the reason why the mothers show so much of love to their kids.

Is there any experiment conducted?


Many experiments were conducted towards obtaining a comprehensive result about the action of Oxytocin. Lion’s share of them surrounded its psychological impact. A recent conclusion made by a scientist named Antony Lane from Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, whose works were based on Oxytocin, has quoted ,

oxytocin does not deserve to be known as a miracle anymore.

Source.

contrary to this conclusion, many experiments have shown that Oxytocin has a positive effect on people and animals when it comes to social bonding and trusting strangers. Such an experiment conducted was explored in a review of research published in 2015. Let me explain the so called Trust game conducted as part of this experiment.

This game constitutes two players. Player 1 will be given with some money and player 2 is at recieving end. Player 1 should give as much money as he is willing to player 2. Then this money is multiplied by 3 and given to the player 2. It is upto player 2 to decide how he would split that money among two. Let me be a bit clear on it with an example. If player 1 has $10 with him, he can decide what percentage of that money he would give to the player 2. If he is willing to give the entire $10 to the 2nd player, it will be multiplied by 3 and $30 will be given to the player 2. Now this person,ie player 2, can decide in what proportion this money can be splitted up. He can make it 50:50 or 100:0 or whatever proportion he may like. To get a maximum gain, the player 1 should trust in the player 2 and give the entire $10 to that person. But he can’t expect the fair share always. That’s where the hormone Oxytocin comes into play.

This trust game is actually an idea of Behavioural Economics. When the person playing player 1 inhaled oxytocin, he tended to spend more money. This didn’t happen in the normal circumstances. Although many contradictory results emerged in repetition of this experiment, one thing for sure is that Oxytocin has a say in the show of trust.


Motherhood and oxytocin


In many animals including human beings, the main function of Oxytocin is associated with their female parts. It helps in the contraction of womb during childbirth and also it is the major player in the process of Lactation.

A white cat nursing four kittens
Image Source-Wikimedia, Author- Rune X2, Licence- CC BY-SA 3.0
 

Oxytocin stimulates the uterine muscles to contract and also increases the production of Prostaglandins, which stimulates the contraction further. In some cases, natural contraction of uterine muscles won’t occur which make the childbirth very difficult. Here, medical practitioners inject artificial oxytocin to make the process hassle free.

As I notified in the beginning, the perpetual love between mother and child happens while they are related to each other for a long period because of the nursing. During Breastfeeding, the contact with the offspring’s mouth stimulates the nipple of the mother which triggers the production of Oxytocin in hypothalamus. Oxytocin helps the mammary gland in the release of enough milk. A peculiar thing about the Production of Oxytocin is that it is controlled by the Positive feedback mechanism. In this mechanism, the release of the hormone causes an action which stimulates more of its own production. So the longivity of love is sustained!

Conclusion


Although many scientific experiments do not support its psychological impact, the hormone oxytocin plays a big role in the behavioral patterns of animals during their motherhood. Many specifications and impacts of oxytocin are still unknown. I hope all who read this have an optimum level of Oxytocin enough to upvote this post!


References

I mainly referred internet for the making of this article. Following are the links to the websites that I referred from. Visit them for further reading.


Posted by Sathya Sankar in Blog, English, Science, 0 comments
One man’s Justice is another’s injustice- Are we really rational Beings?

One man’s Justice is another’s injustice- Are we really rational Beings?

This post is going to be somewhat philosophical as the title nudges! Indeed the title is the part of a quote that I happened to come across this morning while I was in the newspaper.

One man’s justice is another’s injustice;
One man’s beauty another’s ugliness;
One man’s wisdom another’s folly.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m notorious among my friends for the arguments often I get into whenever I see the topics of discussion to be irrational. In fact, the suspicious mindset I possess that made me deviate from the belief I had towards the concept of God. I never tend to accept anything in the first sight despite its hiked glorification. Rather I would delve deeply and study thoroughly before making any decisions.

 

Image Source-Pixabay

Rationality


Rationality has been defined in the Wikipedia like this-

Rationality is the quality or state of being rational – that is, being based on or agreeable to reason. Rationality implies the conformity of one’s beliefs with one’s reasons to believe, and of one’s actions with one’s reasons for action.

The level of rationality is too high in human beings. We search for reasons behind everything and keep on searching for the reasons behind the reason, which makes our rationality entirely different from that of other living beings. The dog never thinks about the origin of life, The cat never cares about the existence of the God and The donkey doesn’t seem to understand the importance of Paris climate agreement. And there exist you and me who scratch over our heads over the issues that are not going to affect us anyway, at least in our lifetime!

At times rationality turns into stupidity but the stupidity factor solely lies in the eyes of the beholder. That’s what makes the rationality of you and me entirely different from each other. What I perceive when I see a new thing need not necessarily to be as similar as that you do, Reason being we got two entirely different brains. Rationality is the only reason why the concept of science does even exist. In lines of science, rationality also evolves with time. A lot of things that our ancestors had practised and attributed to pure rationality now appears to bullshit!

Draconian Laws and the rationality


7th century BC was the time when the lawgiver Draco believed to have lived. He wrote down certain laws toward maintaining peace and justice in the ancient city of Athens located in the Greece. Those laws were brutal and said to have written by using blood in the wooden tablets. most of the offenses committed by the citizens were rewarded with death penalty. For example, if you have stolen an apple from your neighbor, this crime was enough to be awarded a death sentence! A lot of rationality prevailed then were revolving around the consciousness and the fear in God. Borrowing money as debt was a big crime enough to push you into slavery! Social and economical restrictions imposed upon people according to their class division as per this law were beyond our Imagination.

When asked what made him to suggest death sentence to almost all crimes, Darco’s response said to have this one-

small ones deserve that, and I have no higher for the greater crimes

source-Ancient origins

This one simple sentence says that all..!

Advent of Draconian laws was historically a great milestone considering its written nature. With the arrival of such a harsh system, the rationality hitherto prevailed had completely got changed. People were collectively forced to accept the rationality behind these brutal laws even though it was sure that they never liked them.

Purgatory Oath


Source-Jesus by Andreas Wahra, wikimedia commons, Licence- CC-BY-SA-3.0

Purgatory oath is nothing but simply rejecting the accusations made and self proclaiming oneself to be veracious. This system prevailed in the archaic Greece as part of the draconian laws. If someone has been accused of committing a crime and submitted in the court it never meant that he is going to be awarded with death sentence. In fact, the final verdict was not in the hands of the judge but it was with the defendant itself! For instance, If you have stolen an Apple and have been presented in the court, you could have saved yourself from the punishment simply by hiding the truth!

Ironically, most of those who had been accused seemed to have valued the presence of an Imaginary God more than anything, even their lives! It cost their lives in all cases unfortunately!

Sounds Irrational?

But it was the custom to do so in those days. If someone tells a lie in the court of law, they believed it would anguish the God who lives among them. It seemed better to them to Die rather than Lie.

God and Rationality


God have always been a controversial topic. This is the rationale behind me setting a diplomatic heading for this article. You can differ with me since it is your right to find rationality in anything that you do believe in. To put it simply, I don’t believe in the so called concept of God. It seems to be irrational from my point of view. In fact, the biggest lie the world has ever produced is The God. People have faith in their own gods and every single god opposes all other Gods. I wonder what is the necessity of believing in the existence of God even in this era of technological developments! If you have the answer please let me know.

Without rationality and progressive thinking there wouldn’t have been a concept of science even existed. But we can still see many scientists and people working hard for NASA believing in something which they are sure about does not exist. That points out that billions around the world live in the fear. An unnecessary fear which prevents them from act consciously! So the question is..

ARE WE REALLY RATIONAL BEINGS?
contents are originally written by me,

@sathyasankar

Posted by Sathya Sankar in Blog, English, Science, 0 comments