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molecules, chemicals, wimb, war is my business, fundamentals

“The ultimate and underlying principle by which all other principles derive.”

Professor Don Lincoln, The Theory of Everything

What better place to start than the laws that underpin everything we have come to understand about our universe? If all things must be in compliance with the laws of the universe then somewhere between a grand unified theory of everything and the principles and tenets of war and business must lie commonalities that apply to both. While traversing all the way back to the expansion of the universe and creation of its laws may be too far to find those distinct commonalities that we can more easily apply, it does help us see the bigger picture. It allows us to visualize, literally everything that can apply to its conduct, and understand where warfare and business lie.

The laws of the universe are fundamental in nature, as in they are the basis by which all matter and energy function. Understanding them has been an important scientific endeavor for humanity, not just in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, but the ways we can apply that knowledge for our benefit. As science has improved our understanding of these fundamental forces we have exploited them. Throwing rocks, became slinging stones and hurling javelins and spears, which became loosing arrows from bows and launching large objects from catapults, and eventually to the firing of iron balls from arquebuses and cannons all before a unified theory of gravity as a force started to coalesce.

cannonball diagram, newton, isaac newton, gravity, newton's cannonball

Newton's Cannonball Diagram

Indeed, it was Sir Isaac Newton's observation of cannon fire that piqued his curiosity in the study of why things were attracted to each other, both in the form of objects falling to Earth and that of the movement of the heavens; e.g. the moon, planets, comets and the sun. He noticed that a cannonball fired from a stationary cannon would fall to earth at a greater distance with greater times of flight the more powerful the powder used to fire it. Continuing along this line of thought he postulated that one could hypothetically apply enough powder to fire a cannonball that would travel at such velocity that the cannonball would fall to Earth at an equal rate to its curvature and therefore would be able to orbit the planet.

While we may use the term "forces" the more apt term to use would be "interactions," and you will see these terms used somewhat interchangeably within scientific circles; just as we will. Calling them fundamental interactions alludes to the scientific theory that the way these forces actually exert themselves is through the interactions of their sub-particles. Since the study of these interactions does involve the study of sub-particles it can become increasingly complicated. For some, even the concept of what the fundamental interactions are and how they impact our universe can be difficult to wrap their head around at first. Because of this, we will provide a quick synopsis of the forces at play in the universe while trying to simplify this as best as possible. We will redress these forces later as more complex interactions; such as thermodynamics, apply the usage of multiple fundamental forces simultaneously.

Regardless, let's begin by discussing the four fundamental forces; the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism and gravity. Bear with me for a moment. It will all become clear.

Strong Force

Of all the fundamental interactions, the strong force is quite literally the most powerful of all the forces, and deals with the interaction between the protons and neutrons within an atom and keeps the nucleus together.

In a helium atom, in its nucleus there are two protons, and if you remember grade school science you know that positive charges should repel one another, yet these two protons do not and are tightly nested alongside the neutrons. There is, in fact, repulsion going on between these two protons, as a result of the electromagnetic force, and the force of these two protons repelling one another is equivalent to about 9.1kg, or 20lbs, which is impressive given that these are subatomic particles. What is happening is that the even more strong nuclear force, or strong force for short, is keeping these protons together.

The strong force, however, only exerts its force over the distance of a single proton. Beyond this distance, the power of the strong force is essentially zero. While the power of the strong force is approximately 100 times greater, as we move up the periodic table to atoms with greater numbers of protons we start to see the difference between the limited distance of the strong force become lessened in relation to the repulsive power of the electromagnetic force. This is why atoms with large atomic mass are inherently unstable.

Electromagnetic Force

The second strongest interaction is the electromagnetic force which eponymously unifies both electricity and magnetism and its study has provided some of the most practical benefits to humanity.

Electricity and magnetism were seen as two separate forces until early in the 19th Century when it was discovered that electrical currents generate their own magnetic fields. In 1820, Andre-Marie Ampere produced what we now call Ampere's law which mathematically derives that electricity and magnetism were one in the same, and this was further ratified a decade later when, in 1831, Michael Faraday showed that altering magnetic fields would generate electricity; thereby showing that one could generate the other. Subsequently, in the early 1860s, James Clerk Maxwell further fed the scientific community with a greater understanding of the wave-nature of electromagnetism and that light itself was actually a form of electromagnetism.

Electromagnetism force-carrier, the photon, is of significant importance to humanity for many reasons. Biochemical reactions in our body produce electricity for our brains to process information and send out signals to our bodies. Electromagnetism powers the computers and machinery of our time, in one way or another, so that humanity may harness it to shape our environment to our will. Astronomers chart the cosmos thanks to the light and radio waves generated from the big bang and from stars in galaxies light-years away which provide us an understanding of not only our universe but where we fit into it. Atoms may be kept together because of the strong force, and celestial objects may be kept together because of the gravitational force, but you only perceive their existence; indeed everything, because of the electromagnetic force and how our bodies convey that information.

Weak Force

In the simplest terms, the weak force is the interaction that makes atoms decay. Decay is the process of breaking larger atoms into smaller elements such as the shedding of electrons, protons, or neutrons to make a more stable state.

One application of the weak force is through the use of beta decay in which an additional neutron will spontaneously release a W Boson, which in turn releases an electron and a neutrino, which in turn converts the parent neutron into a proton. A very practical application of this is with the use of carbon-dating in order to determine the age of fossils and sediments.

The weak force only exerts itself over a very short distance at only 1/100,000th the width of the proton, which is why it is considered so weak. Though it may be considered weak, it still plays an important role in the makeup of the universe as it is through the decay of larger atoms, over time, that makes the diversity of elements we see in the periodic table of elements. So while the strong force may keep the nuclei of atoms together, it is the decaying effect of the weak force that eventually alters those nuclei to become different elements.

Gravitational Force

The weakest of all the fundamental forces, surprisingly, isn't the weak force, but instead the gravitational force. Throughout the cosmos, the gravitational force draws all matter towards one another. It is why we have stars and planets, and the reason why celestial objects orbit one another, and as we mentioned with Newton's cannonball example, gravity has been an ever-present force whose study has led to advancements in humanity's development. Flight led to rocketry which led to the ability to place satellites in predictable orbits, and from this, we have near instantaneous communication and data transfer.

That being said, as modern science allowed the study of the forces and the subatomic particles that mediate those forces, gravity, and its fundamental elements remained elusive. The reason for this is simply because gravity is just so weak that they can't observe its work in existing particle accelerators. To compare, while the weak force is around 105 times weaker than that of the strong force, gravity is around 10 to the power of 40 weaker than the strong force; As Professor Lincoln explained it, "That is like comparing the tiny proton to the size of the visible universe." Gravity is so weak that the effects of the other forces simply drown out the data.

The theoretical subatomic particle of gravity is the graviton, but its existence is only speculative. As mentioned, we are unable to observe the subatomic activities of gravity, and therefore we have to speculate on the nature of the gravitational force since we can't observe it at its fundamental level. We can, and do, assume certain things about gravity based on the way it functions, and comparing that to what we know about the other fundamental elements. For example, we know that the mediation of these forces is the result of subatomic particles, and therefore, there should be a subatomic particle associated with gravity. Also, based on the way gravity is able to exert its force regardless of the distance we presume that those subatomic particles are massless; just like photons for electromagnetism.

Gauge Bosons

The force-carrying subatomic particles that are responsible for actually mediating their respective forces; Gluons for the strong, W and Z bosons for the weak, and photons for electromagnetism. Gravitons are exerted over the gravitational force; however, they are only postulated since they haven't been discovered yet due to the difficulties of actually studying gravity.

Higgs Field

Since I mentioned the masslessness of photons and the theoretical graviton, I would be remiss if I didn't quickly mention the Higgs field. It is a subatomic particle’s interaction with the Higgs field that gives it mass. Some interact, like the W and Z Bosons, Quarks, and Leptons while others do not; like photon and gravitons. It is the massless nature that allows gravitational forces to exert its force, via gravitons, at the speed of light. As for photons, its massless nature is why we have the concept of the speed of light since you know, it is light.

The Higgs boson is the means of mediation for the Higgs field, and for some, the discovery put forth the idea that maybe it should be considered the fifth fundamental force. While it does interact it doesn't impart movement of particles, only imparts mass to them, unlike the other forces. Regardless of what the scientific community decides to classify the Higgs field, it doesn't affect this nature of what it does, and its importance in establishing a unified theory of everything.

Standard Model, General Relativity, and Grand Unified Theory

Science doesn't have a Theory of Everything, just yet, but from our existing understanding of the previous forces, we do have what we call the standard model of particle physics. Within it, we have the various quarks and leptons, the Higgs field, and three of the four fundamental forces. The force not included is gravity, and this is for the reason we previously discussed, that it is so weak we can't observe its effects in a way that would allow us to calculate it at the quantum level.

standard model, quarks, leptons, fundemental forces, fermi lab

Standard Model created by Fermi Lab

From the standard model, we have the gauge bosons that made of three of the four fundamental forces on the right, while we have the quarks and leptons on the left. The up and down quarks are the subatomic particles that make up protons and neutron, and it is through the gluon of the strong force that keeps the atomic nucleus together. Within the leptons, we have our electron and its paired neutrino. The up and down quarks, the electron and neutrino makeup what is the first generation of matter, and is what we see existing naturally within the current state of the universe. With exponential increases in the mass of each of these, they become the second generation, the up quark becomes a charm quark, down quark to strange quark, an electron becomes a muon, and that electron neutrino becomes a muon neutrino. Going further into the third generation, charm becomes top, strange become bottom, muon becomes tau, and then you have the tau neutrino. Together they are all called fermions, and they are what make up the matter of the universe.

Note: Generations two and three of the fermions have only been observed thanks to humanity's development of particle accelerators; such as Fermilab and the Large Hadron Collider, via the forced collision of subatomic particles. They don't appear to exist naturally in the known universe.

To summarize the nature of the standard model in more simplistic terms, all matter in the universe is made up of subatomic particles called fermions, which are certain arrangements of quarks and leptons. The three fundamental forces that dictate how they react are through the strong and weak nuclear forces and electromagnetism in which all are mediated via their respective gauge boson; a force-carrying subatomic particle. Finally, the Higgs field gives mass to all the fermions and gauge bosons; except photons, through its subatomic force carrier the Higgs boson. Then voila, you have a model for how the universe functions… except for gravity.

Gravity is weak. We haven't seen it at the quantum level, and we haven't witnessed the presence of its gauge boson; if it exists, the graviton. We have only ever understood gravity with much larger objects. From celestial objects to cannonballs we can see the workings of gravity in such a way that the standard model doesn't cover, but must exist since we are indeed witnessing it. While we may not fully comprehend how gravity works we do have working theories, and more importantly, a model in which humanity can actually put into practice.

Newton and Einstein were by far the greatest pioneers in developing humanity's understanding of gravity. Newton postulated that the mass of an object determined its gravitational pull in that even small objects generated gravitational fields that pulled on other objects at distances. While the Earth pulls on us, we too pull on the Earth, however, our pull is negligible due to our limited mass. Where this dual nature can be more easily seen is within the solar system, in which all the planets, and asteroids are orbiting the sun due to the sun's immense gravitational pull. The sun, however, is not stationary and is, in fact, wobbling because its center of gravity is thrown off thanks to the pull of Jupiter.

Einstein's Theory of General Relativity discussed the movement of light and an object’s experience of space and time as relative to the movement of the observer. Light bends around massive objects with strong gravitational pull, and time is warped relatively to the movement of objects in relation to others. The idea that all mass exists within a three-dimensional plane of space, in which gravity is exerted proportional to mass and distance of the objects, has allowed us to produce equations that predict their movement. We have placed satellites and manned missions into outer space, as well as precisely sent probes to take data of nearby planets and asteroids. All while not understanding, fundamentally, why it all works. There one day may be an understanding of quantum gravity or some other model that ties it all together, but humanity has done well without.

That being said, relativity and the standard model work, and from it there one day may become a theory that encompasses everything that is within the universe. This theory of everything, as it is postulated, will be a simplistic yet all-encompassing equation that is able to explain the reasons for how everything works and will allow us to predict future states of the universe by inputting the variables of its current states within the model.

The Scientific and Philosophical Epiphany

Now, I want to discuss why we started talking about the nature of the universe at its most fundamental level, and I thank you for bearing with me so far. In the following chapters on the science of War Is My Business, I delve into subsequent discussions regarding thermodynamics, evolution, and how the human body and brain functions, but it is from here that everything begins. To provide not only a summation but another way to view these concepts is with a question: how does all this directly impact humanity?

  • The nucleus of every atom, in every molecule of every cell in our bodies, is held together by the strong force.
  • The dynamic nature of biochemical reactions; as we will discuss in thermodynamics, the expenditure and retention of energy and the electrical signals from the various cortexes within our brains as they communicate with the rest of our bodies through the nervous system is based on the laws of electromagnetism.
  • The myriad of elements that we find in our universe which include the thirteen that occur naturally within the human body exists as a result more massive elements decaying into smaller ones through the function of the weak force.
  • Earth, our home, is not only held together by the gravitational pull of its own mass but is held in orbit at just the right distance from our sun for water to naturally be present in its liquid phase thanks to the pull of the gravitational force; even if the force isn't fundamentally understood.
  • These fundamental forces exert themselves through the interactions of their respective gauge bosons.
  • Those elements that make up the sun, Earth, and our bodies; literally all matter, are made up of quarks and leptons which together are called fermions.
  • The fermions and gauge bosons are granted mass through the Higgs field by interacting with the Higgs boson.
  • All of the forces are found within the standard model and general relativity and represent yet another step towards a grand unified theory of the forces which in turn will lead us to the end: a theory of everything.

In the pursuit to develop a theory of everything, the scientific community has undergone a challenge to attempt to find an equation that can explain everything that has been and everything that will be; from the beginning of the universe until its end. While the endeavor to understand everything may be ultimately fruitless, its pursuit towards that end has provided us a greater understanding of how the universe functions and how we may exploit that knowledge for our benefit.

From this study of the fundamental forces and matter that dictate how everything in our universe function, we begin to see truths emerge. Just as the most complex computer program we have is coded fundamentally in binary, 1's and 0's, humanity's pursuits; warfare, business, romance, sports, etc. are merely more complex constructs of the fundamental elements of the universe. When a man strikes down another with a sword, how different is it from when a man sells their products to a customer, or tries to flirt with a woman, or attempts to juke a defensive lineman? From the perspective of fundamentals, they are all merely different arrangements of the existing matter executing fundamental laws.

This may appear obvious, that fundamentally everything is the same, but how is understanding physics going to help innovate business through the study of military principles and tenets? I am glad you asked!

Somewhere between a Theory of Everything and humanity's conduct of war and business lies our primer. Humans share common ancestors with every other living creature on Earth, and the more varied the creature, the farther back along the tree of life you must go to find those common ancestors. Between the first single-celled organisms and humans there are ancestors that diverge and evolve along paths more varied than ours. Similarly, somewhere between the fundamentals of the universe and human conflict, resides a divergent point is what we seek to find, a primer, a Rosetta Stone that will allow us to breakdown the things we learn from military theory, its leaders, martial arts, and battles to a fundamental level that can be translated and applied to businesses. Those principles and tenets tried and tested in the crucible of life and death scenarios, repackaged in a practical form for businesses. Follow me on this journey to find that point!

Augustus De Morgan, Big Fleas Have Little Fleas, WIMB, War Is My Business

Augustus De Morgan


Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,

And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so, ad infinitum.

And the great fleas, themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on;

While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on.

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Complex Applications

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