Little things

Little things
I am excited by the news of the discovery of five new sub-atomic particles – five new Quarks! The Large Hadron Collider at CERN in France/Switzerland has made the discovery. I am fascinated by these smallest of things. You may have come across my stories about Quarks, which are a little piece of fun, creating characters out of the idea of the smallest bundles of energy we know. See http://quodlibetto.co.uk/stories/

The reason for my interest and excitement is a desire I have to know as much as I can about the universe. There may even be some arcane connection between quantum physics and neuroscience of the brain. The possibility of making discoveries about how our brain/mind works from understanding the basic pieces of the cosmos is an awesome prospect.

But it is not just Quarks that fascinate me. Other little things amaze me as well, such as seeds. It has just become warm enough to put some seeds in the ground as well as in modules in the greenhouse or propagator. The long wait over winter is over. I have put shallots and onion sets in the ground on the allotment, and some broad beans and beetroot, even some parsnip. So I hope it will be warm enough for germination to take place. That is the wonder and mystery of seeds. They lie dormant for so long and then with the right conditions they come alive and start to grow, in the greenhouse and propagator I have tomato and cucumber, courgette and cauliflower and other tiny seeds. I am hoping they will germinate too.

Another little news story that caught my eye was the discovery of the way in which sperm move. Fifty million start out, typically, on the journey to fertilise the ovum. About ten make it, but only one (or sometimes two or three) get to complete the task. The trick is in the way the tail of the spermatozoa flexes, which fits a particular mathematical formula, which also applies to magnetic waves. From such small beginnings and against such long odds comes life.

This last weekend the ‘cousins’ have had a get together. My daughters and my sister in law’s sons, with partners, have had a ‘reunion’. This meant that we were looking after our two small grandchildren, which is always a delight and a cause for concern. Will we do everything right? Will they be safe with us? Having such small charges is a huge responsibility. But it is also fun.

A favourite saying of my wife is “The best things come in little bundles”. I have to agree.

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