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Unification and universality of natural phenomena in memory of Abdu-Salam

Unification and universality of natural phenomena in memory of Abdu-Salam

Abdu-Salam; Nobel prize in physics on 1979

Ahmed Abdu-Salam, Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979 passed away 25 years ago, on November 21, 1996 in London. After having contributed to the progress of world research in the field of physics, in particular through his large physics research center which he had founded in Trieste, Italy in 1964. Abdu Salam, who received several prizes and several distinctions, was best known for his work on the electroweak interaction, which constitutes a unification between electromagnetism and weak nuclear interaction. The weak force is responsible, among other things, for the decay of the neutron.

 This unification constitutes one of the great scientific revolutions of the 20th century, alongside the discovery of the Bigbang, the expansion of the universe and of DNA. Nothing seems to bring these two forces together in appearance: the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force. The former exerts its influence over great distances while the weak force acts at the level of the atomic nucleus.This theory, developed in the 1970s, was only checked in 1983 by the two physicists Rubia and Simon Van at the European nuclear research laboratory in Switzerland. Thanks to this verification, they earned a physical Nobel Prize each. The path of unification continues, with a view to integrating the strong nuclear force with other forces already united. This last force allows the protons of the nucleus (of the same charge!) To remain “attached” together.

 Beautiful theories are designed and large accelerators operating at high energy are built or planned to move forward on the path of unification.

  From Al Bairuni to Abdu-Salam via Mendeleïev     

    In the field of physics, Abu Rayhan AI Bairuni who lived in the 10th century, at a time when science and faith were unified, hypothesized that physical phenomena obey the same laws on earth and in the universe. This fundamental affirmation is the basis of the unification of all contemporary physics.

Galileo in the 17th century, six centuries after AI Bairuni, demonstrated that the laws of shadow formation were the same on Earth and on the Moon. This observation allowed physicists to develop the fundamental principle now called “Galileo symmetry”, this principle specifies the universality of the laws of physics. Galileo had based his work on the ideas of Copernicus.

Mendeleev’s Table

 

In 1680, Isaac Newton asserted that the force which made the apple fall, that is to say the one which holds objects such as humans on earth and that responsible for the movements of the planets around the sun was a universal force called ” gravitational attraction”. In the field of chemistry, the Russian chemist Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev, through the periodic table of the elements that he developed in 1869, showed that the fundamental difference that exists between the basic chemical elements found in the universe comes only from the number of electrons that gravitate around the nucleus and the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus. Even before the advent of particle physics, Mendeleev managed to unify all basic mineral elements with his method of classification. This allowed chemists to lay the foundations of the chemistry we know today and to manufacture other elements artificially completing this table. Mendeleev’s chemistry thus contributed to the realization of the project of the alchemists of the Middle Ages, who also aimed at unification as part of their unification project which consisted in making rare elements, such as gold, from ‘abundant elements on earth; but due to lack of sufficient energy for transmutation, the alchemists did not achieve their objective. This unification of materials becomes even more concrete with the progress made in particle physics. In 1980 at the Berkeley Laboratory in California, a small amount of gold was made from bismuth.In the same spirit of unification, the two physicists Michael Faraday and André Ampère demonstrated in the 19th century that the electric force and the magnetic force are only two aspects of the same force. James Clerk Maxwell, one of mankind’s greatest physicists, unifier of optics and electromagnetism, showed that when an electric charge is accelerated, it transmits energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation. This unification was first proposed by James Clerk Maxwell in 1865 through a real theory on the propagation of light. The unification of Maxwell is behind all telecommunications technology, as developed by Mankind during the twentieth century.

In the field of astrophysics, enormous progress has also been made with the deployment of radio telescopes exploring regions of the invisible electromagnetic spectrum. Maxwell’s equations thus help man to acquire new knowledge about the Universe and about the particles constituting the nucleus and from there they help to bring together the infinitely large and the infinitely small. Abdu-Salam’s theory is part of this reconciliation.

Finally, we hope one day these unifying theories will help unite humans in a real global village, within the framework of their rich diversity. Because science has discovered in the universe forces capable of annihilating us. These same forces can be the basis of a more satisfying human existence. If the earthlings live badly today and are confronted with multiple crises, it is because they ignore what really unites them within the framework of their rich diversity. A diversity which only constitutes patterns of a single, non-apparent support.

Thus, as Alembert said, “the whole of creation would appear to those who know how to apprehend the universe from a unified point of view, as a unique and necessary truth”.

By Ahmed Khaouja

 (*) Abdu Salam: Born in 1926 in Pakistan in a village with no electricity. He is the founder of the great physics research center in Trieste, Italy in 1964. Abdu Salam loved Morocco. Already a Nobel Prize winner, he was staying in Témara, the Andalusian district, with one of his friends, where he worked every day from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. over Pakistani tea.Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, French Nobel Prize holder in Physics, declared the following during a conference which was organized in Rabat in March 1997 in memory of Abdu Salam and in which I participated: “Abdu Salam is a real miracle in physics. He was born in a village with no electricity while he helped advance physics globally and most importantly he contributed greatly to unify the electromagnetic force with the weak nuclear force. “

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