March 2, 2021

Three quarks for a baptism | Science

Three quarks for a baptism | Science

With the novel Finnegans Wake, the Dublin writer James Joyce would end up conjugating the literary reference with a scientific model of matter. In this way, a novel as hermetic as suggestive became an instrument of scientific help. The physicist Murray Gell-Mann will use it to baptize the constituent particles of visible matter under the name of quarks

James Joyce's novel is full of difficulties and its reading becomes uncomfortable, everything has to be said. At Finnegans the themes of redemption and guilt are taken to the limit, reaching the last fires of the literary vanguard. Joyce achieves this by generating a secret language that, as such, has its correspondence in an internal code loaded with symbols, onomatopoeia and old words of new meanings.

With this, Joyce gives us to understand that the elementary meanings of words, in the end, are not as elementary as at first appear, but bring other meanings that had previously remained hidden. With the reading of Finnegans they become visible. Because Joyce's latest novel is the closest thing to showing the reverse of a woven tapestry with suggestive particles; a tapestry not suitable for all eyes.

Some say that the Finnegans It is the continuity of Ulysses but at night. It is possible, then, those of the guild of critics, including Harold Bloom, have agreed that Finnegans Wake start where Ulises just. Everything indicates that Joyce wrote both novels to keep generations of scholars of his work. There is no day when a new meaning is not discovered.

James Joyce
James Joyce

As an example, serve one of the most complete works that takes by title A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake and where the mythographer Joseph Campbell points out that there is a number that is repeated continuously in the novel. It is about 1132. Looking for the meaning of this figure, Campbell remembers that in the Ulysses the law of the fall of the bodies represented in number appears: 32 feet per second, as an obsession of the character Leopold Bloom.

In this way, the numbers lead Campbell to associate "fall" with "sin". Following this thread, Campbell would arrive at chapter 11, verse 32 of the Bible in which God's mercy with the disobedient is discussed. But since coherence is only achieved by dealing with contradictions, let's leave Campbell and the Bible and go back to physics and, in particular, to the neologism for the new scientific model of matter devised by the American physicist Murray Gell-Mann and for which He was recognized with the Nobel in 1969.

What Gell-Mann did was to identify the intimate structure of matter with the underlying structure of language in Joyce's novel, and all this was devised by Gell-Mann from a classification scheme that followed the model used in the periodic table at the time of Classify the chemical elements. To understand us, Murray Gell-Mann recorded the hadrons (subatomic particles) in two groups. But since the elements that formed the hadrons needed a first name to complete, Gell-Mann baptized them with one as sonorous as meaningful and that was found in a meaningless sentence of the Finnegans: "Three quarks for Muster Mark!" (Three quarks for Muster Mark!).

With this phrase, the American physicist not only baptized the three particles that looked for name, but also broke the mold at the time of baptizing scientific discoveries with words lacking Greek roots. In this case, the word quark It has an animal root, a gull, to be exact. It is the onomatopoeia that is identified with the cry of these birds. Quark Quark Something similar clarified Murray Gell-Mann when some people identified the term quark with the German curd.

In short, that the reading of Joyce and the subsequent application to his discovery to name the quarks, not only demonstrates the fondness of the physicist Murray Gell-Mann to literature. It also shows that, in reality, atoms are texts written in a language that only great initiates can read.

The stone ax it's a section where Montero Glez, with a desire for prose, exercises its particular siege on scientific reality to show that science and art are complementary forms of knowledge.


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