Mathematics – “A Discovered Part Of Universe” OR “Human Invention”?

    Scientists have successfully landed a car-sized rover on Mars with the help of science and technology. Science, Technology, and Engineering have transformed the world with mathematics as its language. The physical world is said to have mathematical properties that science has only begun to decode in the past few decades. The stars with their constellation patterns, the symmetrical patterns of human body, the water waves produced when one throws a pebble inside a pond and the sound waves that are produced by a musical instrument, all have some mathematical relation deeply embedded in them. Mathematics is language defined by nature, sound properties, and human discoveries.

   First of all, patterns in nature show the nature of mathematics. Whether they are spirals in cabbage, elliptical orbits of planets or patterns in cones and foliages of many evergreen trees, there is a pattern of mathematics in them. As observations and science have proven, again and again, the existence of Fibonacci sequence as a number pattern in nature. When one starts with one plus one and keeps adding the preceding numbers, they are bound to find what mathematics defines as “Fibonacci sequence” named after a mathematician. Whether its “petal counts” or bottom of a pine cone, they all show mathematical patterns and Fibonacci sequence to some extent. Next, is the theory of “pi” or the numbers 3.14 (decimals) and 22/7 (fraction). This theory is a mathematical relation of patterns also found throughout nature. Whether the “colors of a rainbow” or the musical notes and chords, whether mountain peaks or water waves; the ratio between the circumference of the circular object and its diameter has been observed to be the number “pi” on all occasions. As experiments have shown when one takes a needle and drops it on a piece of paper with lines, “the probability that the needle cuts the line is approximate “2/pi”. The same may be said for a cannonball fired on a pirate ship battle during a Hollywood movie take. The probability that the cannonball might land on a certain part of the ship should be approximate “2/pi”. Then, there are constants in mathematics that constitute to “thirty-two numbers” used in several mathematical equations. To define these constants, one may take a digital photograph and count the number of pixels in that photo. One would clearly observe that there are constants of three colors in this pixelated photo. These color constants are red, green and blue. Furthermore, the elliptical orbits of planets around the sun as well as around themselves show mathematical relations. Interplanetary and Intraplanetary orbits are what makes us predict days in a calendar. If it weren’t for these relations, the accounting cycles, economics, and finance tied to the calendar would be unpredictable year after year. Even the patterns of geometry as showed by Plato’s shapes indicate mathematical relations. Hence, patterns in nature show the nature of mathematics.

  Secondly, the sound and light properties also define mathematical relationships. Whether its scales and chords or frequency chart, Fibonacci sequence or the number pi is observed to be evident in these relations.  The ratio between the chords of a vibrating string in a musical instrument is observed to be the number pi. In fact, these relations exist in probability theories as for the number pi and stocks as the Fibonacci sequence to some extent. The ratio of colors in a rainbow is observed to show the number “Pi”. Different light spectrum may also be observed to have some mathematical relation. Electromagnetic waves that travel at the speed of light also show mathematical relations. Hence, sound and light properties also define mathematical relationships.

   Last but not least, human discoveries and inventions define mathematical relations. The law of falling bodies can be tied to the force of gravity where the speed of acceleration is directly proportional to object mass multiplied by gravity constant. One may say that the weight of an object has no relation to its acceleration due to gravity since air resistance is what makes their speed different. But at the same time, one may also prove that the mass of an object directly affects is acceleration due gravitational pull based on the formula a = mg (where the acceleration due to gravity is directly proportional to object mass times gravity constant). This relation may be further illustrated by calculating the time relation to acceleration in a cannonball moving across a flat and frictionless ramp. It is observed that “distance is directly proportional to the square of time” in this relation. These laws discovered by humans also have their applications in games and computer software. Programs and codes are written for a game and software clearly show mathematical relations. The greater than, equal to, constants all used in visual basic or HTML are all evidence of game programming. Electromagnetic waves that travel at the speed of light also have mathematical relations at an atomic level. The famous Einstein equation e equals mc^2, clearly shows that mathematical relation. The advantages of discovering these mathematical relations are in their applications. Television remote control and garage door openers are all a result of electromagnetic waves discovered by exploring the relation between electricity and magnetism in the form of mathematical relations. “Maxwell equations” that lead to the development of radio waves by “Marconi” ultimately saved many lives on the “Titanic”. These are the same mathematical relations in physics that lead to the discovery of “Higgs particle”. Hence, human discoveries and inventions define mathematical relations.

  In conclusion, mathematics is language defined by nature, sound properties and human discoveries. It is not just humans that understand numbers but some animals and mammals as well. In a research experiment on Lemur’s in a Lemur sanctuary, it was demonstrated that Lemur’s used numbers and solved puzzles based on mathematical relations to get their food. But mathematics also has its limits and boundaries. The unpredictable weather forecasts, stock markets, human psychology, and biology are all subjects that indicate the boundaries of mathematics as a “domain of absolute”. These mathematical boundaries, as well as relations, may be explored through consumer products.

Mariana’s Trench: A Cause of Earthquakes and tsunami?

Finding the deepest point on the planet has been man’s dream ever since prehistoric times. Finding the lowest ground also meant getting closer to the center of the planet. Hence, a British ship “HMS Challenger” went on an expedition in the early 1800’s to map out all the oceans on the planet for their depth. In four years, the ship traveled as much as seventy thousand kilometers, “a quarter of the journey to the moon”. Some area in the western Pacific were recorded to be “4075 fathoms” or about 5 miles deep using an anchored rope for measurement. Some seventy-five years later, sonar technology came into existence to map out submarines. Hence, a research vessel set out on the same journey as Challenger to find the lowest point using sonar. They found a point in the western Pacific some seven miles deep and hence that point came to be known as “Challenger Deep” after the research vessel. This part of the ocean existed as a trench “some thirty times deeper than the empire state building is high”. Hence, it became to be known as “Mariana’s Trench” after the actual journey taken by “Triesk” a research vessel that ventured into the trench in 1953. With the increasing earthquakes and tsunamis in the 1900’s as well as the twenty-first century, the expeditions to the trench raised a “sixty thousand dollar” question. Is Mariana’s Trench a cause of Earthquakes and tsunamis? Science and scientists, geologists and oceanographers; all have tried to put the collected evidence together to come up with a hypothesis!

    The evidence to find the answer to the “sixty thousand dollars” question starts off with the expedition by the “Tries k”. The expedition into the trench pointed out some wrong assumptions about the ocean floor being a lifeless area. The pilot of the “Triesk” pointed out that even with the high pressure in the water above the trench surface some seven miles deep, they found a foot long flat fish. With pressure assumed to be some 16000 psi, the finding of life on the trench’s ocean floor itself raises a question about the environment of the trench and the geological features. Later in time, when all the earth’s ocean were mapped out with sonar data, they found a network of mountain and trenches, the largest geological feature on the planet. It was pointed out that the movements of similar mountain and trenches caused earthquakes in a phenomenon called “Plate Tectonics”. These plates or layers of earth’s crust move and grind as a result of flowing magma underneath causing Earthquakes. Then, the magnetic anomaly detector picked up magnetic rocks parallel to the ridges formed by minerals in the magma. These “Zebra striped” features pointed out in geological maps are thought to be the cause of Earth’s magnetic poles. Poles that reverse every thousand of years as magma is pushed up and old crust away from the surface during plate tectonics. Next, an expedition to find magma underneath the ocean picked up hydrothermal vents that warm up the ocean. This and other observations led to the development of “Subduction theory”. During plate tectonics, heavy plates in the eastern Pacific get pushed beneath the lighter plates and they take with them sediments and mineral formations for thousands of years. The water that the plates take with them underneath the ocean floor reacts with magma to form volcanoes. Hence, the volcanic islands in the process of “Subduction” – a process powerful enough to create the trench. As the plate goes underneath, it “digs into the mantle” where colliding plates form a trench or a “giant crease in the ocean floor” These subduction zones cause violent earthquakes and tsunamis. And though the trench is the “deepest subduction zone”, it is not thought to be responsible for any earthquakes. The answer comes after core sample is collected from the volcanic hills of Mariana’s trench. The rocks happen to be “serpentine” a weak rock compared to volcanic rocks that grind and cause earthquakes. This mud type rocks can “easily be scratched”. Hence, the lack of friction during subduction and no earthquakes. Furthermore, scientists believe that some millions of years ago, the Pacific plate went underneath the “Philippine plate” and continues to move towards Mariana’s trench – “its graveyard”. This trench also called “the world’s largest recycling plant” devours earth’s crusts as confirmed by data from GPS transmitters on western Pacific islands. Hence the full explanation for the existence of “Mariana’s trench”.

    Since the sixty thousand dollar question and the theory behind the “existence of Mariana’s trench” are assumed to be solved through the subduction hypothesis, another question rises to take its place! Will the trench cause earthquakes and tsunamis in the future. Core samples from the trench are hypothesized to be “sixty million years old”.  The rocks are also heavier than any other rocks on the ocean floor since “the crusts formed over magma in the western Pacific eventually cooled and became heavier”. This heavy ocean floor which gets heavier in the years to come could possibly replace the mudrock or serpentine rock in the trench eventually causing friction and earthquakes in the future not mentioned in the documentary below.

    In terms of economics and material applications, Mariana’s trench along with the research technology involved to find the answer to the “sixty thousand dollar question” creates new possibilities for innovation and product development. Transmitters used on western Pacific could also be placed in the trenches and subduction zones to record underwater activities caused by plate tectonics. These transmitters could also include battery powered seismographs anchored to a floating receptor on the ocean’s surface to record earthquake activity. The receptor could transmit a violent shake in subduction zones to the satellites and finally to earthquake and tsunami warning centers. This method could be faster than observing tsunami waves via satellite or recording earthquake activity via seismographs on land rather than underneath water. With the discovery of new materials such as graphene (100 times stronger and lighter than steel), the transmitters or seismographs could be placed in an enclosed case like an airplane’s black box to withstand the extreme underwater pressure (some “9600 psi” on Mariana’s trench Surface). Furthermore, the same material (Graphene) could be used in cargo containers on container ships. Recovery of containers from sunk or damaged cargo ships can only be successful if containers can withstand water pressure. Next, lifeboats on cargo ships and cruise ships could be transformed into a submarine or research like a vessel. Since many lifeboats sink in the crashing waves of the oceans during the storm, a lifeboat that travels underneath the waves rather than over it makes much more sense. Also, underwater cameras and research vessels could be made from graphene making it lighter and stronger to search for lost historic ships and gold worth billions sunk during World Wars. Not to mention, flatfish could be researched and experimented upon to come up with materials for scuba diving suit and swimwear for extreme underwater pressures. After all, it is one of the very few living things that can exist on the ocean floors of “Mariana’s Trench” under extreme pressures equivalent to “9600 psi”.  Moreover, if serpentine rocks or mud volcano is found in abundance in Mariana trench and elsewhere, could it not be used as a lubricant for other subduction zones that actually cause earthquakes? After all, if subduction zones trigger earthquakes and earthquakes trigger volcanoes to erupt both underneath the ocean and on the islands, could the volcanoes not disrupt the magnetic field of the earth which is an assumption to be a result of magnetic rocks on ridges underneath the ocean floor?


Plants Vs Animals

   It has been commonly believed that humans and animals are the only ones that have intelligence. Memories, Perception, Emotions, reaction etc are not commonly linked to plants. Though plants have been in existence longer than humans and most animals, they are ignored as a social being. Recently, these misconceptions about plants have been proven wrong by researchers and scientists. Plants respond to stimulus, have memory and need sleep just like humans and animals

    More recently, Professor Volkman (Germany) has unlocked the secrets of plant intelligence by his experiments on pea plants and bean plants. It has been observed that stimulation with a wooden stick result in tendrils getting stimulated. Pea plants outer surface has sensors that send signals to the inner cells for growth when stimulated. Sensitive plants (Mimosa pudica) on the other hand, have water pressure inside the cell walls as sort of a defense mechanism. Any sudden movements or touch results in pressure drop and sagging of the plant. It is said this defense mechanism could have developed as a result of “frightening insects” that land on it. This is the same sort of defense mechanism that carnivorous plants use to catch their prey. Plants like Drosera and Darlingtonia have similar defense mechanisms. As insects enter Darlingtonia, they get trapped inside the interior belly of the plant in sort of an enclosure. This enclosure creates mimicry of multiple exits that the insects get fooled by and lose all their energy trying to find the real exit. Drosera too has similar defense mechanisms to trap flies, mosquitoes and other insects. Many other plants have defense mechanisms in the form of hair or sensors that trigger plant reaction upon being touched. Some even trigger reactions due to electricity and sound waves. The dancing plant (Desmonium Jarons) for example, reacts to music and sound waves in general. Many music composers even have composed specialized music for these sort of plants to grow and bear fruits. Wouter Van Hoven (Biologist, Southafrica) recently studied the chemicals that plants produce as defense mechanisms and its effects on animals. In response to a sudden decline in Koodoo population (Deer Species), an investigation was carried out to determine the cause of massive Koodoo wipeout. It was determined that the mortalities were population density related. As the feeding Koodoo population density increased, the plant prey released ethylene in high proportions which in turn increased the fermentation rate and production of ten units on. This high ten on level proved toxic to animals as it would be more than they could digest as part of their meal. A defense mechanism that is undetectable unless by autopsy and analysis of deer stomach contents. Thus, plants respond to stimulus not only for growth but also as defense mechanisms.

     Studies have also shown that plants have memories just like humans. In Darwin’s theories, it has been indicated that plants have some sort of root brains. And so the roots would act as a central nervous system. Hence the “Root Brain theory” comes into existence. Recently, scientists have found a small portion of root that supports Darwin’s “Root Brain” theory. According to Dr. Frantisek Baluska (Biologist), plants without root caps do not show “worm-like behavior” in their growth pattern. This root cap is assumed to be the central nervous system and the brains of the “Root Brain theory”. Researchers found cells with molecules like lactin in the “zone of transition”. These are the same molecules found in animal muscle cells. The synapse connections between the cells of the roots with these molecules that show similarity with humans where these synapse connections allow human perception, memory and thought. “Plants know when to go to dormancy or flowering” which proves the analysis of “Root zone theory”. According to scientists, cells in plants may be different than animals but the results are the same.

    Research in Japan on plant sleep is transforming this world views about plants. Research plants included plants similar to the shy plant and the tests included water and other chemicals. It was shown that the shy plants would close up in response to chemicals and would remain open in response to water. This research concluded that though the effects of chemicals on plant sleep are irrefutable, the fact why plants need sleep or the nature of their sleep is still a topic of immense research.

    In conclusion, “Fundamental research in plants can rattle conventional thinking” but it opens our eyes and worldviews about how much science still has to “learn from the natural world”.