Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The St. Pauli Girl Exclusion Principle

Some Photons Yesterday

That nice Brian Cox knows how to give the brain a work out. I read the Chapter on why atoms have solidity despite being mostly empty space. I was alright with the energy levels at the beginning but I got lost in the middle with the explanation of fermion spin and why it leads to the Pauli Exclusion principle. I'm quite happy to accept that this means that no two atoms can occupy the same Quantum State which means they give the atom dimension and consequently this results in volume and the fact that no two pieces of matter may occupy the same space. Which is why we don't fall through the floor.

However, I'm not sure whether this is the result of electrical repulsion between electrons and protons or whether it is something that is an inevitable result of pure mathematics. This almost suggests that the entire universe is sneezed into existence just because 1 = 1 and all the subsequent proofs. I am sure that is not correct. But knowing that common sense has to be suspended for a lot of this, maybe it is. I'm afraid we just have to take their word for it - which is a bit like faith really isn't it. Let's not go there.

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