“Seeking the Graviton”
Upper Left: Representation of the particle tracks produced by the first electron-positron collision (1991). The brass wires represent the tracks and the squares around the disc indicate the intensity of the energy associated with the charged and neutral particles.
Upper Center: The green, blue and red balls represent 3 quarks. The color represents a “color charge” associated with each quark. The small lines indicate 2 “up” quarks and 1 “down” quark. The 3 quarks combine to form a proton, indicated by the silver ball.
Upper Right: Representation of the table of known subatomic particles. The top 2 rows represent the Quarks. The bottom 2 rows represent the Leptons. All stable matter in the universe is made of elements of the first column: The Up Quark, Down Quark, the e-neutrino and the electron. All the elements on this table have corresponding “Anti-“ elements (not indicated on the piece). The squares above each of the three columns indicate the generations of matter, i.e., I, II, and III.
Lower Center: The 4 bars represent the 4 “forces” of nature: From top to bottom – The Strong Force, the Weak Force, the Electromagnetic Force and the Gravity “force” (gravity is not a true force, but a curvature of space/time). The top 3 bars are black because they are can be described mathematically through the Standard Model of particle physics. The Gravity bar is silver because it has not been described mathematically by the Standard Model. The Weak Force and Electromagnetic Force are both wrapped with red wire to indicate that it has been shown that these two forces are really aspects of the same “Electroweak” force. The gold paper is decorative. The widths and lengths of the bars indicate the strength of the forces and the distance over which they interact. The Strong Force is very strong but is limited to the interaction of quarks at the subatomic level. The Weak Force (which describes subatomic particle decay) is also confined to the atomic scale but is weaker. The electromagnetic force is very strong and interacts at the scale of the universe. Gravity is very weak but also interacts at the scale of the universe. The black dots to the right of each of the force bars represent carrier particles – Gluons, W and Z particles and Photons (the carriers of the forces). These particles allow three of the forces to be described by the Standard Model. To date, the theoretical carrier particle for gravity, the Graviton, has not been identified - represented as the gold disc with squiggle to the left of the Gravity bar. In order for Gravity to be described by the Standard Model along with the other three forces, the Graviton must be found – thus the name of the piece. It should be noted that some theories stipulate that the Graviton does not exist and that Gravity cannot be described along with the other forces using the Standard Model.
Unification of the Strong, Weak and Electromagnetic forces is called the Grand Unified Theory. Unification of all four forces is called the Theory of Everything. To date, these theories have not been realized.
The lines and other elements on the piece are decorative and convey a feeling of ‘connectedness’.
WN Bennett 2009
This Piece represents the merger of two black holes that occurred 1 billion light years away. The merger produced Gravity Waves (GW) that were measured (confirmed) for the first time on September 14, 2015 with a signal measuring about 1/1000th the width of a proton. At the moment of merger, more power was radiated as Gravity Waves then all the light from all the stars in the known universe.
The large ball bearings and discs represent the black holes and their associated event horizons. The wire arcs are the Gravity Waves emanating from the merger. The arrays of smaller bearings represent the continuum of Space-Time - through which the waves propagate. Other binary systems are also depicted on the piece. The red and blue highlights signify the importance of red- and blue-shifted wavelengths in astronomy.
In the upper corner is the Graviton, the theoretical carrier particle of gravity. Its existence is inferred through the discovery of Gravity Waves, but it has not yet been confirmed.
“Magnetar SGR 1806-20”
SGR 1806-20 is the astronomical name of a magnetar 50,000 light years away on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy (SGR stands for Soft Gamma Repeater and 18h 06m and –20 deg are its position in the sky). A magnetar is a special kind of neutron star with a very, very strong magnetic field. These magnetic field lines are represented in the piece with curved pieces of glass capillary column. The magnetar is the brass bearing at the center. The diagonal axes represent the jets of gamma and x-rays released from the poles of the magnetar. The series of small red bearings in the lower left is the binary representation of the ASCII decimal value of the Greek letter gamma (226). The binary notation in the upper left and lower right represents the decimal values of the letters in the title of the piece “S”, “G”, “R” and “-“. The numbers 1806 and 20 are represented as their binary equivalents. The arrows indicate the low bit to high bit direction. Other elements on the piece are decorative and enlist a sense of energy flow.
Description # 4:
“The Singularity of 'Now'”
To the left, the Past, defined and diverse. To the right, the Future, yet to be discovered - only nondescript inevitabilities, with a hint of déjà vu (red). The center is “Now”. Not even as brief as a moment, but a true Singularity between Past and Future – a nonexistent element of time, yet we perceive its continuum as our life’s timeline.
“11th Dimension + 90°”
“11th Dimension + 90°” is an abstract representation of the theories which describe the origin of the Big Bang. Most simply put, ‘M’ theory attempts to explain how the Big Bang originated from the contact of membranes in the 11th dimension.
Overview of the relationship of the theories involved: String Theory plus Supersymmetry (a complex of 8 theories) results in Superstring Theory (10 dimensions); Gravity Theory plus Supersymmetry results in Supergravity Theory (11 dimensions); Superstring Theory plus Supergravity Theory results in ‘M’ Theory. These various theories are related to one another via Dualities, represented in the piece by the parallel red and silver tubes. The piece has two symmetrical halves representing two parallel universes.
Superstring Theory is defined by 5 strings (a string is a one-dimensional spatial object) – three of which are associated with membranes. These strings are represented by the 5 black wires (one side of the symmetry).
Superstring Theory suggests our universe is a 3-membrane surface, represented by the 3 rhomboid aluminum and brass elements (one side of the symmetry) in the center of the piece.
String Theory works in 10 dimensions, six of which are wrapped-up mathematically on circles, which are represented on the piece.
‘M’ Theory results from the combination of the five String Theories with 11-dimentional Supergravity Theory. The 11th dimension is infinitely long and only one trillionth of a millimeter wide. This is represented by the thin black line passing through the piece and out of frame. The number 11 is represented in binary with the large onyx half- spheres. ‘M’ (decimal 77) is also represented in binary form with the small black spheres.
The ribbon represents a non-uniform collision of membranes, which gives the universe its ‘texture’.
At the center of the piece, the membranes of two parallel universes are just beginning to touch resulting in a Big Bang. The Bang is represented by the large chrome bearing, color elements, and reaction plane (red tube wrapped in black). The matrices of small chrome bearings represent other Big Bangs occurring elsewhere in the 11th dimension.
To date, ‘M’ Theory has no empirical evidence to support it; but measurement of gravity waves, a key element, have recently been observed through mergers of Black Holes and mergers of Neutron Stars.
WN Bennett 2018