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  1. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #11

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    Nevertheless, neutrons don't turn into hydrogen when they're inside of an atom.

    I think that's okay, but I also think you don't need "of" there.

    Same paragraph. Say:

    Einstein's famous equation

    Or:

    The famous Einstein equation
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  2. probus's Avatar
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    #12

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    With the combined mass of them both, not the both.

    In the discussion of isotopes it's worth making the distinction between chemistry and physics. Different isotopes are identical in their chemical properties but not in their physical properties. Otherwise it would not be possible to separate the fissionable U235 from the other isotopes of uranium.

    You've mentioned the strong nuclear force. You really shouldn't do that without at least introducing the strong and weak nuclear forces. I assume you will do so elsewhere (but not too far from this article.)
    Last edited by probus; 15-Jun-2019 at 13:11. Reason: Expand

  3. Senior Member
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    #13

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    I tried to achieve the perfect ballance between 'not too long' and 'informative enough'. That's why I chose to skip a few pieces of information here and there. I am aware that I only scratched the surface of the fascinating scientific discipline that is nuclear physics. Also, my English isn't good enough to explain the actual differences between isotopes, as it has been painfully proven in this post.

    The purpose of writing about physics is that it is supposed to teach me how to teach. My writing needs to be easy to understand and follow. Physics is complicated enough for me to struggle writing about it, which is a great opportunity to learn how to explain things, and I need to learn that if I am to become a teacher (which is what I'm aiming for). I've tried explaining English in English, and failed. I can't speak the language well enough to attempt explaining it, and I still make far too many mistakes myself. That's why I switched to writing about physics.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'll definitely write more, and include everything you suggested

  4. probus's Avatar
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    #14

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    Don't be too hard on yourself about explaining English. As I've learned since I began teaching here, there are some features of English that simply defy explanation.

    I wonder whether all natural languages are the same in that regard. There may be a linguistic counterpart to Godel's Theorem . (Godel famously proved that any "sufficiently rich" system of logic must contain propositions which can only be either true or false, but which can never be proven to be either. You might say Godel was the ultimate spoilsport.)
    Last edited by probus; 15-Jun-2019 at 13:58. Reason: Damn autocorrect

  5. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #15

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post


    Because the neutron loses a portion of its mass to bind with other particles inside of the nucleus, it is in the lower energetic state than it would've been if it'd fallen apart into hydrogen.
    I would say:

    Because the neutron loses a portion of its mass to bind with other particles inside the nucleus, it is in a lower energetic state than it would have been if it had fallen apart into hydrogen.

    Why? (I knew you would say that.) Those particular contractions are not any easier to say than the words spelled out (or spoken). (I especially don't like "it'd".)
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  6. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #16

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    Paragraph eight (the last one). Say:

    Really massive stars can fuse all of their hydrogen into one huge ball of neutrons, held together by their gravity, which prevents them from falling apart. They are known as neutron stars, stars composed entirely of neutrons. These extreme objects exert enough pressure to squeeze matter into one huge nucleus ....

    Finished!
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  7. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #17

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    Quote Originally Posted by Glizdka View Post
    Isn't it confusing? Doesn't it mean that "an atom is defined by the proton"? The number of protons only defines the element, not the atom itself.

    How about "...defines what atom it is..."?
    Having given that some thought, I think I meant to say that in the first place but the words got mixed up.

    Also, it is interesting to note that probus would also say the strong nuclear force.

    (I'm glad our sun is not a neutron star. We wouldn't exist.)
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    #18

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    Also, it is interesting to note that probus would also say the strong nuclear force.
    Could you please skim the text, and check whether my choice of articles is correct, and where there's a missing article?

  9. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #19

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    Well, I think I was pretty thorough. The only thing I glided over was "strong force" but I am no expert, and I figured you probably knew what you were doing. However, it is true that I have always seen (to the best of my memory) "the big four" described as the strong force, the weak force, magnetism, and gravity. However, that hadn't been that many times. And since you're doing the writing it is ultimately your decision whether to use the definite article (the) or not. Having said all of that, my opinion is to use it. Thus it's: the strong nuclear force.

    I don't think I missed anything. I read each sentence at least two times -- some more than that. Let's go on to the next one.
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    #20

    Re: Why we owe our lives to the neutron

    A thought: If magnetism, gravity, radiation, and heat are uncountable, and are perfectly fine without an article, why does the strong/weak force need it?
    Is it because the word force is too vague? Therefore, not only does it need an article, it also needs an adjective (strong/weak).
    (also inversion, but the present simple.)

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