The Atom’s Atom – Chapter One

This was a term paper that we wrote for GEK1508: Einstein’s Universe & Quantum Weirdness. Thanks Marcus and Gail, my awesome groupmates!

Abstract

She was intent on making this breakthrough, and proceeding with her plans to enter the unknown dimension. Not even her life was important to her anymore. It was simply a matter of entering a wormhole, and hoping that her calculations would bring her to the right place. If it worked, she would bring about a change to the scientific community greater than any of her predecessors. If it failed, she would simply be forgotten, and that did not matter – no one bothered anyway. The beauty of the unknown  drew her, and with similar intensity, she could not wait to leave this world.

Chapter One

As it has been for the past five years of my life, I rouse from slumber at precisely 0530, stumble in a half conscious stupor to the bathroom of my apartment – the “Blue Horizon”. Aptly named – the estate is set nearest to the western coast of Singapore – presumably being as close as possible to the ‘horizon’. Of course, my Doctor of Philosophy in Astronomy, Master of Science and Bachelor of Science magna cum laude diplomas sitting in my study would blatantly protest this absurd name. How can a horizon be blue?

Like clockwork, I freshen up and refuel, proceeding to my morning jog around the estate. With crisp cool air brushing pass my skin, and the lack of any intrusion into my train of thoughts, I feel that this is the best time of the day, a time where I can seek solace within myself, and ponder the workings of the universe. Well, that is before I report to my day job, and where I officially ponder about the workings of the universe, as Associate Professor Horten Arnold, faculty member of the National University of Singapore Physics Department. More importantly, I belong to an esteemed group of researchers heading black hole studies at the Chan Particle Collider. [1]

As I approach the 2 kilometre mark of my route, I am sweating profusely and enjoying the mixed sensation of heat emanating out of my body and sweat cooling it right back down. I reduce my pace to allow my body to focus more of its attention to my cognitive processes, and begin to rehearse my schedule for the day.

Together with my comrade in arms (actually pens in this case), Dr. Roland Thorne, an Assistant Professor in the department, we will be pioneering a new undergraduate module to kindle some interest in astronomy. Students will also be able to observe first hand our breakthroughs in black hole research! Dr. Thorne and I had to climb mountains and cross oceans to push for this astronomy module, as the Physics department found it hard to see the merits of grading undergraduates through the practical use of telescopes. Other issues such as tutorials in the night were highly unusual and logistically challenging, and the department was worried that the module would be undersubscribed. Eventually, they relented, right after Dr. Thorne, in a stroke of brilliance, cleverly showed them a picture of Einstein toying with his telescope in his own backyard. What would I do without this blessed soul!


The Chan Particle Collider was developed in 2116 by renowned Astrophysicist Dr. Phil Chan. It is the most powerful ULHC (Ultra Large Hadron Collider) to date, and is housed in deep space due to its immense size. Its sole purpose is research into alternative energy sources, primarily from the creation of black holes.

Next Chapter

about Engineering Science Programme

Well, I think it’s prime time to write a blog post about the programme that I was engulfed in for the past 4.5 years. But then “mediocre”, a junior of mine wrote a pretty good summary blog post about it. While I’m still pondering about what to say, maybe you all should take a look @ what he’s wrote http://mediocre.wordpress.com/2010/12/25/nus-engineering-science-programme-revisited/

Why does prices increase when Investment increases?

Yup, that was the question that kept bugging me for the whole week. Somehow the way the lecturer explains Economics Principles is through the many many curves in the many many model, which sometimes have hidden assumptions.

Ok, it’s not really hidden but certain symbols like r_F or y* assume that it’s Full Employment or Equilibrium.

Ok, maybe I didn’t pay enough attention during the class, but oh well…

Ok, back to the topic. Due to the fact that we’re studying economic models, stuff like Aggregate Demand & Aggregate Supply (Prices vs Output/Income/GDP), Money Demand & Money Supply curves (Interest rate vs Money) are supposed to self-contain all the “truths” about what’s really happening out there.

Therefore, sometimes an explanation for

“Why does interest rate increases (restores) when the demand of money increases?”

is simply…..

“Oh, don’t you see, it’s clearly indicated on the graph.. see as M^d shifts to the right, the intersection point with M^s caused the interest rate to rise from r_1 back to r_F.”

how interest rate affects investment and ultimately price level
how interest rate affects investment and ultimately price level

Ya ya ya! I see it, thanks for pointing it out, I appreciate that, but wait….

“Why does it increase as in what really happened in the economy?”

all I’ve got is

“Oh, it’s really complicated, that’s why we are studying it in Macroeconomics.

“Ah…. I see.”

Enlightenment, not?

So, when I am stumped by “Why does prices increase when Investment increases?”, I was quite worried. I don’t think I’ll be satisfied if it’s another one of those “it’s too complicated” answer.

Fortunately, there’s a logical explanation as to why prices increases when investment increases. (Some parts of the next section involves minor-rephrasing copying from the Economics Text Book)

First, the hidden information that they assume you know when they point it out that investment has increased is that it has increased from an initial status of investment @ full-employment (potential output). {full employment here doesn’t mean ZERO unemployment, it means ZERO cyclical unemployment, there’s still unemployment in the form of structural [mismatch] and frictional [lag time] unemployment.}

As we’ve been told earlier, when investment increases, GDP increases, as GDP = C + I + G + NX. The “I” here is for investments. So as GDP increases, that means the economy is producing at a level above full employment.

What this means is that firms will find it increasingly difficult to hire and retain workers, and unemployment will be below its natural rate. Workers, on the other hand, will find it easy to get and change jobs.

Therefore, firms will raise their wages to attract workers and prevent them from leaving. As one firm raise its wage, other firms will have to raise their wages even higher to attract the workers that remain.

Wah…. wait wait wait… I asked about prices not wages, why you go and explain to me how wages increase? (but somehow it reminds me of the situation of CCA points in NUS, ok I’ve digressed)

Oh, still have more ar……. ok ok….

It just so happens that wages are the largest cost of production for most firms. Consequently, as their labor costs increase, they have no choice but to increase the prices of their products.

However, as prices rise, workers need higher nominal wages to maintain their real wages. (A good illustration of the real-nominal principle:

“What matters to people is the real value of money or income – its purchasing power – not the face value of money or income.”)

This process by which rising wages cause higher prices and higher prices feed higher wages is known as a wage-price spiral. It occurs when the economy is producing at a level of output that exceeds its potential.

Ohhh….. enlightenment….. ::Wunggggggmmmmmmm::

(ok this part onwards is entirely mine)

The more I delve into Economics, the more I feel like I’m part of a LONG RUN experiment. It’s like the many things that happens around you, happens above you without you knowing that it has happened. I’m sure not many people realize that governments, central banks, economist have been experimenting with different Fiscal Policies, Monetary Policies, sometimes Keynes, sometimes Friedman, balancing between Long Run and Short Run, making sure there’s no inflation but at the same time wants GDP to increase, etc etc etc…. Just so that I can have a bowl of wanton mee at $2 dollars when I’m hungry.

Macroeconomics is like one LARGE SCALE experiment where the subject appears to be the whole human population.

Scary eh?

Is there an option to opt-out?