Decades have passed wherein people believed they could be happy with a smaller amount of money and that no one needs the big bucks. There’s even a famous song by popular rapper Biggie Smalls where there’s a phrase that specifies the more money you have, the more problems you have. However, a study confirms rich people are happier than those with fewer means.
Daniel Kahneman and Matthew Killingsworth were the researchers from Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania who looked at the numbers to conclude that more money does make people happier. The more an income increases, the better off people are, at least mentally. Killingsworth also did a previous study in 2010 that stated the amount stops impacting happiness after $75,000.
How the Study Was Made
The two researchers included 33,000 Americans, and the lowest salary was $10,000. The participants had an app installed on their smartphones to track their happiness levels throughout the day. In the end, it revealed that as their income rose, so did the participant’s happiness. That’s how researcher Killingsworth concluded the study in the simplest terms.
Bottom Line: Money Equals Happiness
Killingsworth mentions that this study and the results are not pertinent to those who are very well-off but unhappy. For those people, more wealth won’t make a difference to their state. He and his partner in the study were targeting people not originally well-off. However, he does mention that wealth is not the only factor of happiness, but it can help.
Study or no study, most people would agree that having more money would help raise the level of happiness in an individual, although it’s not the only thing people should focus on. Sure, make sure you’re wealthy enough to meet your needs, but if you’re unhappy, you will still be unhappy even if your salary rises.
According to Albert Einstein’s famous E=mc2 equation, if two suitably energetic photons, or light particles, collide, matter in the form of an electron and its antimatter opponent, a positron, should result.
However, the process that was discovered by Einstein, which was first described in 1934 by American physicists Gregory Breit and John Wheeler, has long been one of the most difficult to observe in physics, because the colliding photons would have to be highly energetic gamma rays, which scientists have yet to create. Alternative experiments have demonstrated the production of matter from many photons, but never in the one-to-one ratio required to confirm the phenomenon.
However, experts at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York believe they have discovered a solution. They were able to make data that can fit expectations for the bizarre changing act using the laboratory’s Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).
Zhangbu Xu, who is a physicist at Brookhaven Lab, says in a statement that in their paper, Wheeler and Breit already realized that Einstein’s equation is a nearly impossible thing to be done, given that lasers didn’t even exist back then. However, Wheeler and Breit proposed another alternative: accelerating heavy ions. Their alternative is what they are doing at RHIC.
How Does It Work?
Instead of directly accelerating photons, the researchers sped up two ions, positively charged atomic nuclei stripped of their electrons, in a large loop before sending them past each other in a near collision. Because ions are charged particles traveling at near-light speeds, they also take an electromagnetic field with them, which contains a bunch of not-quite-real ‘virtual’ photons “flying with [the ion] like a cloud,” according to Xu.
Virtual particles are particles that exist only for a brief moment as perturbations in the fields between genuine particles. They aren’t as populous as their real-life equivalents (unlike their real counterparts that have no mass, virtual photons do have a mass). When the ions whizzed past each other in a close call in this experiment, their two clouds of virtual photons functioned as if they were real. When the real-acting virtual particles collided, they created a very real electron-positron pair, which the scientists were able to detect.
The physicists had to make sure that their virtual photons behaved like actual ones to be a valid observation of the Breit-Wheeler process, or as true as feasible using virtual particles. The physicists observed and examined the angles between more than 6,000 electron-positron pairs produced by their experiment to check the behavior of the virtual photons.
When two real particles collide, the secondary products should emerge at different angles than if two simulated particles collided. However, the simulated particles’ secondary products bounced off at the same angles as real particle secondary products in this experiment. As a result, the researchers were able to confirm that the particles they were observing behaved as if they had been created by a real encounter. The Breit-Wheeler process had been successfully demonstrated.
Albert Einstein’s Huge Contribution to Science
The energy and mass distribution of the systems were also measured by the researchers. In a statement, Brookhaven physicist Daniel Brandenburg said, “They are compatible with theory calculations for what would happen with real photons.”
Nonetheless, the virtual photons utilized in the experiment related to Einstein’s equation are indisputably virtual, even if they appear to behave like actual particles. This raises the question of whether the experiment truly demonstrated the Breit-Wheeler process, but it’s still a crucial first step until scientists build lasers powerful enough to demonstrate the process with real photons.