11 thought-provoking scientific terms (pictures added)

Naming is not rocket science… or is it? We were wondering how come some science terms are so interesting or which one is the most fascinating for the fellow engineers! We have some answers!

Victor, a friend of mine, engineer and founder of an awesome makerspace, had plenty of random questions like:

And because he tackled two topics that I really love: science and terms (I’d call this one Naming in Science), I decided to write this story.

Science is beautiful, complex and fun. Why not sharing some compelling scientific terms?

Dyson sphere

Image for post
Image for post
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Mission: Spitzer Space Telescope

A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical astronomical structure surrounding a star to collect its energy. Of course, this can only be done by some really smart and techie alien engineers.

Sinceis the middle name of NASA and I do not know any smart alien working for a Dyson Sphere, I checked their website on this topic! The team behind NASA already wrote a really interesting stellar detective story about Tabby’s Star (officially known as 1,500 light years from Earth, the star captured scientists’ and the public’s imagination in September 2015 with its strangely fluctuating brightness and a lot of theories about a Dyson Sphere were flooding the news.

I could copy-paste or re-write what they said, but I cannot compete with them(doh!), so you should definitely check it out. They have some nice images too!

Hadron Collider

Image for post
Image for post
Caption taken from the virtual tour at CERN

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider, the most complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world.

You can take virtual tour at the LHC, by clicking on this badass CERN link

Pitch-black

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Well, this sounds fancy, but it is something extremely black or dark as pitch. The most accurate pitch-black might be in a galaxy far, far away… but I started with the Milky Way as well. NASA helped me with the photo.

By the way, there is also a movie with this title (no idea if it is good or bad, though).

Singularity

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

The technological singularity (also, simply, the singularity) is the hypothesis that the invention of artificial superintelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization.

Event Horizon

Image for post
Image for post
This image is inspired by Interstellar by BlackRainbow

In general relativity, an event horizon is a boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer. In layman’s terms, it is defined as the shell of “points of no return”, i.e., the points at which the gravitational pull becomes so great as to make escape impossible, even for light.

The belt of Venus / Venus’s Girdle

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Martin Fu on Unsplash

The Belt of Venus, Venus’s Girdle, or antitwilight arch is an atmospheric phenomenon visible shortly before sunrise or after sunset, during civil twilight, when a pinkish glow extending roughly 10–20° abovethe horizon surrounds the observer.

Occam’s razor

Image for post
Image for post
Photographed by Ryan McGuire for gratisography.com and it is free of copyright restrictions.

This fancy scientific principle (and philosphical idea) is about cutting away a set of explanations for an event occurring, until you have the most simple conclusion.

Just like a razor. :)

Of course, it is not about complete or absolute proof, but about the simplest probable answer to a question of why something happened.
This problem-solving principle appearead a few centuries after William of Ockham’s death in 1347, but the origins of this amazing are traceable to the works of some earlier philosophers such as John Duns Scotus (1265–1308), Robert Grosseteste (1175–1253) and even Aristotle (384–322 BC).

Daughters. Radon daughters or Radon Progeny

Image for post
Image for post
photo by Robert Del Tredici from his book entitled At Work In The Fields Of The Bomb (Harper and Row, 1987)

In nuclear physics it is a decay product, the remaining nuclide left over from radioactive decay, to be more precise. In many cases, individual members of the decay chain are as radioactive as the parent, but far smaller in volume/mass.

Damn! What a metaphor!

Note: I could not find any Radon progeny photo, and the one above is the most similar to what we need: The black star shows the tracks made over a 48 hour period by alpha rays emitted from a radioactive particle of plutonium lodged in the lung tissue of an ape (the particle itself is invisible). In living lung tissue, if one of the cells adjacent to the particle is damaged in a certain way, it can become a cancer cell later on, spreading rapidly through the lung, causing almost certain death.

You can learn more about this by reading this, this and/or by checking all these geeksome pics :)

Superposition

Image for post
Image for post
Superposition of almost plane waves (diagonal lines) from a distant source and waves from the wake of the ducks. Linearity holds only approximately in water and only for waves with small amplitudes relative to their wavelengths. // Photo: wikipedia.

In physics and systems theory, the superposition principle, also known as superposition property, states that, for all linear systems, the net response caused by two or more stimuli is the sum of the responses that would have been caused by each stimulus individually. So that if input produces response and input produces response then input ( + ) produces response ( + ).

Boltzmann Brain

Image for post
Image for post
Pinky and the Brain / Giphy

A Boltzmann brain is a hypothesized self-aware entity that arises due to random fluctuations out of a state of thermodynamic equilibrium.

The guys from Nautilus already covered this topic quite nice:

Jerk

Image for post
Image for post
Animation showing a four-position external Geneva drive in operation. Source: Wikipedia/Public Domain

In physics, jerk (aka jolt, surge, or lurch) is the rate of change of acceleration; And, as defined on Kinematics & Calculus, this makes jerk the first derivative of acceleration, the second derivative of velocity, and the third derivative of displacement. The SI unit of jerk is the meter per second cubed. An alternate unit is the g per second.

Image for post
Image for post
Angular Jerk formula in a parallel life

What’s your favourite science naming? Share some!

Working with tech products that always have a cause and solve a problem | Data-Driven Marketer • Strategist • Product & Startup Enthusiast • Occasional Speaker

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store