Saturday, April 6, 2013

Electron E

The negative charged particle that revolves around the nucleus of an atom present in all the matters of the world. From a mass perspective it is 1/1836 the mass of proton. In layman terms, it is negligible and ideally its existence should not impact our daily existence. However, it was my nemesis in my college days. 

I was studying to become an "Electron"ics engineer and it all started from the name itself. This particle of negligible mass had behavior more erratic than that of a 4 year old. Our objective was not only to understand the behavior of this particle but also to make it work according to our commands. 

To put things in perspective this is not like training a dog where you give a set of commands and with daily practice it starts to behave as per your needs. Here the electron will only follow the laws of physics. Unfortunately, the laws of physics although universal in nature have been interpreted very badly by mankind. 

To illustrate here, the scientist community of the mankind species would first make all assumptions creating an ideal scenario which in the real world will never exist. This would make understanding very easy and the equation might look something like - V = IR. This is akin to saying why apple fell on Newton's head. 

However, assumptions have to be removed now to reflect the real world. Now these assumptions are like 100 cars driven by crazy drivers going in different directions. What scientist initially had imagined by removing the assumptions was a straight road with only 1 car on it. So now slowly they will add a car one by one and start modifying the equation. Thus by the time, the 100th car is added and the road condition is also taken into consideration, it is chaos. 

The equation will look something like this - 

Now in all this discussion we have lost the electron. This is what happened during my college days. By the time, I came around to get the hint on the behavior of the electron, it would be lost. It has ample spaces to go. It will go disappear in one of the silicon holes on P-N junction diode or may decide to revolve around its own orbit. Till here it was still understandable. 

My nemesis are the smaller spheres here
However, fellow scientists invented transistors. Now the playing field of the electron just got bigger. They also invented host of other devices to supposedly make electron work with human whims such as capacitors and inductors. Suddenly this electron became elusive darting in and out of different components. The only detectors for me were the ammeters and voltmeters which would spike during random intervals of time showing me the glimpses of electron. Ok this is not the Higgs Boson - the God Particle. But for me it was simply God. 

So many of my projects have been burnt at the altar of this God. Praying was useless. What it needed was ambient voltage, current and sufficient number of devices to play around. The only way to know the ambient voltage and current was to solve those horrible equations which were already circling my mind. 

So the only other alternative was to goad it to move in the way I want to. After many such goading sometimes it finally gives in and works to our delight. Then we run to our college professors to show-case our invention (yep in terms of running we were like the Archimedes with clothes on). Those hard-nosed skeptical guys will slowly move from their chairs as if to indicate was we have only built a paper plane and not like the invention that we imagined. 

Now when the skeptical guys finally come around the electron will behave exactly in the opposite way. All the goading that had happened before will go in vain. Unperturbed we will again begin the goading with a zeal that can make Gods answer any wish that we would ask for. But our electron will simply not move. 

The skeptics will look at all this drama with a bemused smile and after a while walk away with an air of sadist satisfaction that only they can bestow. A faint realization will dawn on the faces of the inventors telling them the futility of pursuing electronics for the rest of the lives.

PS: This is part of the April A-Z Challenge where a post has to be posted every day in the month of April except on Sundays. The details are present here.

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