I work in a city in Florida called Deerfield Beach. People often refer to it simply as “Deerfield”. Being who I am, I can almost never hear or see that word without thinking something along the lines of “What kind of field is a deer field?”. Then I usually begin some lighthearted speculations on the matter.
I will now share some of these with you, because why should I be the only one to suffer from such stupidity?
I often speculate to myself that perhaps the deer field is a recently discovered quantum field, along the lines of the electron field and the gluon field and all the rest. If that is the case, what we see as “deer” would be, fundamentally, just local disturbances or vibrations in the “deer field”.
Obviously the deer field interacts with the Higgs field, because although deer can be quite speedy, they never move anything close to the speed of light, and they can even be at rest; they clearly have a rest mass. As everyone knows, “massless” particles, the ones that don’t interact with the Higgs, always travel at the speed of light*, which is just another term for the speed of causality.
Speaking of which, of course, an individual deer is very massive for a fundamental particle. The median mass of a deer is around 50 kg. Putting that in terms more typical of particle physics, it’s roughly 3 x 10^30 eV**.
To give you some perspective, the most massive of the quarks, the top quark, which is (I think) the most massive previously recognized fundamental particle is about 170 GeV (giga-electron-volts). That’s 170 billion eV, or 170 x 10^9 eV, or 1.7 x 10^11 eV. That would make a typical deer particle nearly 2 x 10^19 times as massive as a top quark. Writing that out in terms that might hit home more powerfully, that’s 20,000,000,000,000,000,000 times as massive.
No wonder it’s never been produced in any of our particle accelerators!
Yet the deer field must have very weak coupling with other fields, because individual deer particles are extremely stable. We can feel reasonably confident that not one single deer particle has decayed spontaneously into other, less massive particles in all of human history, because if it did, the energy released would dwarf the largest nuclear explosion ever set off by humans.
Recall that the explosive force of the original atom bombs at Trinity, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki was produced by the conversion of less than a gram of matter into radiant energy, yielding a blast equivalent to the explosion of about 20 thousand tons (aka 20 kilotons) of TNT. The energy released by the “decay” of a single deer particle would be about 100,000 times as great, if my figuring is right, or 2 gigatons. I’m sure you’re all aware that the Tsar Bomba, the largest ever nuclear explosion set off by humans, was “only” about fifty megatons, or about one fortieth as large.
So, don’t stand too close to a decaying deer…and “too close” would probably be “within a few hundred kilometers”.
All this leads me to speculate, given their mass and stability, that perhaps the deer is one of the theorized “supersymmetric” particles, thought to be paired with each of the more “typical” particles of the Standard Model, but which have not yet been detected in any particle accelerators‒again, given the rest mass of a deer, we should not be surprised.
I don’t know whether deer are fermions or bosons; my initial thought is that they would be spin-zero, since I’m not aware of deer showing, for instance, any tendency to align with magnetic fields. Then again, maybe they’re too massive for spin-related magnetic alignment to be detectable. They certainly appear to be electrically neutral, though again, if they had a charge comparable to an electron or proton, its effects might hardly be noticeable given their mass.
I would hope that particle physicists would flock‒or perhaps “herd” would be a better term‒to the places where these amazingly stable particles are plentiful, the better to study their characteristics. Ironically, although I work in Deerfield, I have never seen a single deer particle there, but up north‒particularly in New Jersey‒I’ve seen many.
What is it about New Jersey and similar locales that leads to the local aggregation of so many of these ultra-massive “particles”, which seem likely to be primordial remnants of the big bang***? Is it perhaps that they interact somewhat strongly with the prominent local corn fields?
Wait a minute! Corn field? What’s the nature of that quantum field and particle?!?!?
Anyway, this is the sort of shit that goes through my mind almost every time I see or hear the word “Deerfield”, and it’s only one example of that sort of thing. There are countless others.
Just in case you ever wonder why I’m always so depressed.
*The two most well-known such “massless” particles are the photon and the graviton. Of course, the graviton has not ever been measured as an individual particle, but it has been confirmed‒as expected‒by LIGO, VIRGO, et al, that gravitational waves travel at the speed of light, and so are massless. I can’t help think that’s a good thing, because if gravitons had/have mass, there would be what I would assume to be some quite complicated self-interactions‒gravitons would themselves interact strongly with the gravitational field‒that would make their theoretical characteristics and so on quite complicated. The very fact that they carry energy means they must self-interact at some level, since energy interacts with gravity, but they are expected individually to have very low energy, gravity being far weaker than the other “forces” of nature. Of course, gravity is in some ways not quite like the other forces in character, but don’t get me started on that.
**Short for electron volts, defined as the amount of energy gained by an electron from being accelerated through a potential difference of one volt. It’s a measure of energy, and it’s used as a measure of mass as well, because in the realm of fundamental particles, E=mc2 really comes into its own.
***It’s hard to imagine any subsequent processes generating such particles, though perhaps supernovae could occasionally create a few.