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Further Reading:
˚Science and After Life- Part Two

by Safiya Teja
˚Is There A God

by Safiya Teja

˚Man's Situation in the Intermediate Realm

by Sayyid Mujtaba Musavi Lari

˚The Perfection of AQL

by Dr.Kalbe Sadiq Saheb

˚Allah the Designer

by Safiya Teja

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Published on 19th December, 2002

Science and After Life

and

Science and After Life- Part Two

By Safiya A.Teja: Consultant : Mohsin Ali

"Immensity of Scientific Knowledge" 

"Say thou (o' our prophet Moh'd) 'should the sea become ink (to write) the words of my lord,

Introduction

Verse no 109 in chapter 18 of the Holy Quraan says :

 "Say thou (o' our prophet Moh'd) 'should the sea become ink (to write) the words of my lord, 
the sea
will certainly be exhausted ere the words of my Lord are exhausted, 
and though we bring the like of that (the seas) to add thereto."
 
(Pooya Ahmed Ali Translation)
(Quraan 18:109)

This emphasizes the immensity of knowledge. If all the oceans of the world were turned into ink, you could not exhaust the knowledge of god's creation in recording it, even if you doubled the quantity of the said water. To the laymen, this may sound to be a hyperbole, but when the mind attuned to scientific thinking compares the size of earth with, on the other, with the immensity of the physical universe, whose confines have not yet been reached by any telescope, you will realize that the Quraan has not indulged in any hyperbole.
.

The Unfathomable Universe

The largest telescope, viz the 200 inch one at Mount Palmor in California, can see innumerable galaxies stars up to a distance of two billion light years and there is no sign of an end of the universe yet. If you further consider:

  • the velocity of light is 186,000miles per second

  • that a light year is the distance reached by a ray of light travelling at that speed for a whole year

  • that our own particular galaxy contains 200 billion stars, the total mass of which over 100 billion times that our solar system, of which the earth itself is tiny part and

  • that there are innumerable such galaxies up to the point that the Palmor telescope can see, you will agree that the size of the  universe (and therefore  the amount of scientific knowledge which  still lies beyond our ken) has certainly not been over estimated by the Quraan.

Using the best 'guestimate' for the average density of matter in space, the present conclusion is that the radius of the universe is two hundred thousand billion miles expressed mathematically as 2 x 1,023 miles. Compare this with the average of  2 miles depth of water over the surface of the earth, which it self has a bare 4,000 miles of radius - a mere speck of dust in the cosmos, and then try to imagine how.
.

The Unfathomable Atom

Now let us travel in the reverse direction, i.e. inwards into the atom, which was supposed for a long time, to be the smallest (and therefore indivisible) piece of matter into which any element could be subdivided. Eventually it was found as a result of nuclear research, that it comprised 3 sets of particles viz, electrons, protons and neutrons, held together by gravitational and/or other forces in such wise that the electron revolved round a nucleus comprising the other two in the manner of planets revolving round the sun. The distance between elements, the revolving electrons and the nucleus, was scale for scale, of the same order as between a planet and a sun. The different elements had different numbers of electrons, protons,  and neutrons, and a periodic table was made out ranging from hydrogen, which had only one electron, to nobelium, the heaviest element so far discovered, which had 102. The simplest or the smallest atom is that of hydrogen, with only one proton and one electron and no neutrons.
.

The Periodic Table

Group

1

2

 

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

Period

 

1

1
H

 

2
He

2

3
Li

4
Be

 

5
B

6
C

7
N

8
O

9
F

10
Ne

3

11
Na

12
Mg

 

13
Al

14
Si

15
P

16
S

17
Cl

18
Ar

4

19
K

20
Ca

 

21
Sc

22
Ti

23
V

24
Cr

25
Mn

26
Fe

27
Co

28
Ni

29
Cu

30
Zn

31
Ga

32
Ge

33
As

34
Se

35
Br

36
Kr

5

37
Rb

38
Sr

 

39
Y

40
Zr

41
Nb

42
Mo

43
Tc

44
Ru

45
Rh

46
Pd

47
Ag

48
Cd

49
In

50
Sn

51
Sb

52
Te

53
I

54
Xe

6

55
Cs

56
Ba

*

71
Lu

72
Hf

73
Ta

74
W

75
Re

76
Os

77
Ir

78
Pt

79
Au

80
Hg

81
Tl

82
Pb

83
Bi

84
Po

85
At

86
Rn

7

87
Fr

88
Ra

103
Lr

104
Rf

105
Db

106
Sg

107
Bh

108
Hs

109
Mt

110
Uun

111
Uuu

112
Uub

113
Uut

114
Uuq

115
Uup

116
Uuh

117
Uus

118
Uuo

 

 

*Lanthanoids

*

57
La

58
Ce

59
Pr

60
Nd

61
Pm

62
Sm

63
Eu

64
Gd

65
Tb

66
Dy

67
Ho

68
Er

69
Tm

70
Yb

 

 

•Actinoids

89
Ac

90
Th

91
Pa

92
U

93
Np

94
Pu

95
Am

96
Cm

97
Bk

98
Cf

99
Es

100
Fm

101
Md

102
No

 

 

Notes:

Note that elements 113, 115, and 117 are not known, but are included in the table to show their expected positions. There are unconfirmed reports for the observation of elements 114 (ununquadium), 116 (ununhexium), and 118 (ununoctium) and so these elements are also included. Note that the reports for 118 have been retracted, presumably maning 116 as well since that is a decay product of 118.


Taking the mass of the electron as 1, the masses of the proton and the neutron have been found to be 1,836 and 1,939 respectively. Hence, practically the whole of the mass of the element is concentrated in the nucleus. The atom cannot, therefore, be considered as indivisible, as implied by its etymology. So you see that, in addition to the world outside, the bounds of which we have not yet been able to fathom, there is probably an equally unfathomable world in the inside of the atom, about which science is practically ignorant, though hotly engaged in discovering new things everyday.

This then, is the basic model of the atom viz., a positively charge nucleus taking up very little room (about 1/100,000 that of the whole atom), surrounded by a froth of negatively charged electrons, revolving the empty space of the atom, but containing practically none of its mass. For this extra ordinary pioneering work on the ultimate nature of the matter, Ernest Rutherford, later, Lord Rutherford received The Nobel Prize in 1996, when actually I had the honour of being his student.

As this is not a lecture on nuclear physics, which has in the last half century, grown as voluminous as, if not more than, classical physics, I do not wish to over burn it with more technical matter than is absolutely necessary for the thesis I am leading up to. Well, present day scientists believe that the proton-neutron model of the nucleus is not likely to be seriously upset in the future, but you never know. Newton's famous Law of Gravity, which constituted the foundation of all modern mechanics, was considered the last word of physics for over two centuries, when Einstein upset them by his Theory of Relativity. So you never can tell or be sure which way the cat will jump in the field of science, at a future date. I may mention in passing that, as a result of his life-long work in the formulation of the so-called Newton's Law of Motion, which revealed an inner unity actuating all planetary and terrestrial bodies, which were apparently moving hither and thither in utter confusion, he (Newton) became a Unitarian in religion, in other words, a protagonist, thus "hitching his wagon" to star in prophetic revelation, or in the of Quraan.

For a long time, it was believed that the electrons, the protons and the neutron were the only subatomic particles that existed. But while studying the mysterious cosmic rays from space (associated with the name of Millken), which had been first discovered in 1911 on a balloon flight high up in the atmosphere, scientists have since discovered that they comprise particles which were electrons, but with a positive instead of a negative electric charge, an anti electron, to say, and so they call it a positron, now watch the fun! As soon as the positron encountered an electron, the two annihilated each other, leaving pure energy in the form of 'gamma' rays in their place. This confirmed Einstein's remarkable suggestion that matter could be converted into energy and vice versa. Later on, a scientist (who won The Nobel Prize) detected the reverse phenomenon, viz, gamma rays suddenly disappearing and giving rise to an electron positron pair.
.

Matter and Anti-Matter

But there is more to come, scientists discovered that, in addition to the anti electrons, there were also such particles as the anti protons and the anti neutrons. Naturally, some intriguing thoughts arose from the discovery that three chief particles making up matter all had anti particles. Were particles and anti particles created in equal numbers at the beginning of the universe? If so, did the universe contain worlds, remote from ours, which were made up of anti particles. Such a world would be like ours and would follow exactly the same laws with only one trifling difference, viz, the plus and minus signs would be reversed. It would a mirror image of our world. Of course, if the two worlds ever came together, matter encountering  anti matter, they would instantly destroy each other. Some of the descriptions in the Quraan about the Day of Judgment might well be proven to be true, or rather more understandable after scientific knowledge has advanced a little more. We are still groping in the dark.

These descriptions occur at many places in the Quraan one is enough by the day of illustrations.

"And the mountains shall vanish if they were a mirage"
(Quraan 78:20)

"And ( they will find ) the mountains set in motion, as if they are a mere vapour [mirage*]"
(Pooya Ahmed Ali Translation)
(Quraan 78:20)
Anti Universe

Astronomers have lately taken to looking speculatively at distant galaxies to see if they can find some such clue. An individual galaxy composed of anti matter would  not betray itself in any way that we could recognize. But two colliding  galaxies might. And indeed some astronomers have actually found evidence of this in certain galaxies, which they think, may represent a collision of  matter with a small cloud of anti matter, or vice-versa. An astronomer has suggested  that  the original  cosmic egg, from which the universe was born, may have been formed of equal parts of  matter and anti matter, which promptly split into two universes, one made of normal matter and the other of anti-matter, and which were pushed by some sort of repulsion between them. If anti-matter, why not anti gravity? So somewhere, beyond our reach or observation, there may be an anti-universe made up mostly of anti matter. There are more things in heaven and earth than are known to our philosophy or science.

The discovery of anti-particles did not disturb the physicist. On the contrary, it was a welcome confirmation of the supposed symmetry of the universe. What did disturb them was a succession of discoveries showing that the electron, the proton and the neutron and their anti's, were not the only "elementary particles" they had to worry about. A fantastic new crop of particles materialized before the physicist had time to digest the ones they already knew of.

Now we shall not take you through the labyrinthine ways, in which these discoveries came to be made. Radio activity played a large role in this. Suffice it to say that up till now, 29 to 30 particles and anti particles have been discovered or predicted with different densities and varying stability, of which you may perhaps like to remember the proton, the neutron and the anti-neutron because they have what would undoubtedly surprise you, a zero mass. How can a particle have a zero mass? But such is the fact, and according to the Corpuscular Theory of Light, the corpuscles  are supposed to be  photons which have no mass. Anyway, you must cultivate an open mind and be prepared to accept  that what may at first appear unbelievable whether it is based on scientific investigation or prophetic revelation. Some people believe in the one and some in the other, depending on which of the two opposing  camps they attach  themselves to viz, religion or science. The true scientist,  however, keeps an open  mind and believes in both.

Now see what has happened. All down the ages, philosophers and scientists were agreed  that all matter could be subdivided till we reached the atom, which was supposed  to be indivisible. Modern science  has blown up this myth and we are given a definite structure of the atom as a forth of electrons and nucleus  about 1/100,000 of the size of the atom, comprising protons and neutrons. But what about the structure of the nucleus itself? How are protons and the neutrons held together?

What about the space between them? A popular model of the nucleus likens it to the atom as a whole, picturing nucleus within the nucleus, liken it as occupying shells and sub-shells. How can there be room for independent shells of nucleons in the tiny, highly packed nucleus? Well, however it is managed, the evidence suggests that there is a lot of empty space inside the nucleus itself. Actually, a scientist has lately  found that the nucleus consists of a high density core, surrounded by a skin of gradually increasing density but occupying only about one-eighth of its volume. Very well, but what about the structure of the core? I am afraid we find ourselves where we were before we succeeded in opening the atom. Instead of the atom, we now have the core. What next? Just as we don't know what is beyond two hundred thousand billion, billion miles outwards into the universe, we don't know what is inside the central core, which occupies only 1/800,000 of the volume of the atom. The mystery remains unsolved. And so it will be forever and ever, and the immensity of undiscovered knowledge  will grow greater and greater, as predicted by the Quraan.

We have reached the point that the mass of the atom is concentrated in the core of the nucleus, and occupying about one 800,000th of the volume of the atom, the rest of which is vacant space filled by a froth of electrons and nucleons of comparatively low mass. It is now open to speculation whether, either further scientific investigation may not find the core as consisting  mainly of vacant space, at the  heart of which most of the atom's mass is concentrated. So we have the atom, which has a nucleus, which in turn has a core, which may have a heart, which later on may be found to have a heart of hearts and so on infinitum, till we get to what we may, for want of a more expressive word, call the soul. But can we be sure that we have at last  reached the "soul of the matter"? The  mystery only deepens the further we investigate inside the atom, or see beyond the confines of the presently discovered universe, by inventing telescopes of higher and higher penetration.

When  we read about all of this, sometimes people feel "sick and tired". But here in this topic, the owner is trying to prove that the infinitude is the word of scientific knowledge, but so far he has  touched only one or two aspects of one of physical sciences. There still remains  the much vaster bulk of the chemical, the biological, the medical, the mental  and the moral sciences, not to speak of Christian science, black magic, spiritualism, occultism, palmistry, homeopathy and other such border line sciences to which the unscientifically minded scientists even deny the stature of science. The Oxford  dictionary includes political economy, philology, philosophy, ethics, mathematics, literature, history, even pugilism in the category of science, which is taken in its broad sense of "an organised body of knowledge that has been accumulated  on a subject".

It is obvious therefore, that a talk of this nature cannot do justice to the magnitude of the existing knowledge but it  can be said, without the risk of serious contradiction, that in whichever field  of science we go into deeply enough, we end up with mystery, which appears unsolvable. The absolute frontier of knowledge is never reached. The horizon is for ever widening, but beyond it lies the midst of over an deepening mystery.

As this is not enough there are so many mysteries e.g. the mystery of life after death, sex, heredity, animal instinct, the human mind, intuition and the Holy Prophet's revelations. When the scientist or the philosopher comes to the end of his tether and cannot see through the impenetrable fog surrounding the existing frontiers of knowledge, he starts guessing and even parables.

 Notes: The author is a student from Tanzania, East Africa and is supported by her Mother and her family Doctor, Dr Nazima

References

Light, Knowledge, Truth
Pooya Ahmed Ali Translation of the Holy Qur'an.
Web Elements.

END

Author: Safiya A.Teja: Consultant : Mohsin Ali
Photographer: Unknown
Illustrator: Web Elements
Chief Editor: Hj Nurzaynab El-Fatah
Production: Hj S. Abidin
Published Date:
19th December, 2002
Modification Date: 25th January, 2009/28th Muharram, 1430
Publication ID: 02scienceAfter. Science and After Life
Copyright: © Victory News Magazine, 2009

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