Research team shows nuclear clock could be 60 times more accurate than atomic clock

Nov 09, 2011 by Bob Yirka report
Partial energy-level diagram of the 5F5/2 electronic ground levels within the nuclear ground and isomer manifold of 229Th3+. See arXiv:1110.2490v1 paper for details. Credit: arXiv:1110.2490v1

(PhysOrg.com) -- For almost sixty years, the world has considered the atomic clock the gold standard for keeping time. Its accuracy is such that it drifts by only about four seconds over a period of about thirteen and a half billion years (about the time since the Big Bag is thought to have occurred). Now it appears a new more accurate way to measure time might be on the horizon. Corey Campbell at the Georgia Institute of Technology and five of his colleagues have teamed together to describe in their paper pre-published on arXiv, how a more accurate nuclear clock might be devised.

While the is based on vibrations of orbiting an atom, the nuclear clock would instead be based on tuning the of electrons that cause the nucleus of an atom to jump back and forth between high and low using a very specific frequency of light. The result, the researchers say, would be a clock tuned by a laser that would drift only about one second in 200 billion years, or 14 times the believed and 60 times more accurate than current atomic clocks. The only trick here apparently, is in figuring out just what that frequency would be.

For most people, the accuracy of a clock isn’t really all that much of a big deal. For this reason something called Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) is used for ordinary living. It’s derived from atomic clock measurements but also uses leap seconds based on the rotation of the earth to help keep everyone straight. For other applications though, more accuracy is needed. GPS is one such example. Because there are four satellites used for GPS tracking, some means of timing their signals must be used to coordinate data sent from them and relayed to Earth based navigation systems. The smaller the errors in timing, the more accurate the systems become.

The main reason the nuclear clock would be so much more accurate than the atomic clock is due to the fact that atomic clocks are susceptible to ambient magnetic and electric fields that can throw off the vibrations of the electrons a tiny bit. Using a laser to precisely control the nucleus bouncing between states however would not be nearly as susceptible to such interference.

Explore further: And so they beat on, flagella against the cantilever

More information: A Single-Ion Nuclear Clock for Metrology at the 19th Decimal Place, arXiv:1110.2490v1 [physics.atom-ph] arxiv.org/abs/1110.2490

Abstract
The 7.6(5) eV nuclear magnetic-dipole transition in a single 229Th3+ ion may provide the foundation for an optical clock of superb accuracy. A virtual clock transition composed of stretched states within the 5F5/2 electronic ground level of both nuclear ground and isomeric manifolds is proposed. It is shown to offer unprecedented systematic shift suppression, allowing for clock performance with a total fractional inaccuracy approaching 1 x 10^-19.

via Newscientist

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hush1
1 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2011
It is too late for Benoît B. Mandelbrot to retort:
The smaller the unit of measurement, the greater the length.

Eventually the age of the universe will become infinite.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2011
The smaller the unit of measurement, the greater the length.

Only if you believe in Zeno's paradox (specifically the one about Achilles and the tortoise)
hush1
1 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2011
There are no true paradoxes. I believe in cardinality.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (11) Nov 09, 2011
Cardinality is a mathematical concept. Mathematics has a lot of concepts that are not fully realized in reality (e.g. the number zero, or the concept of infinities)

And no matter what type of cardinality you use: The length of an item doesn't change no matter how you subdivide it
(Only if you get to the point where the definition of length becomes iffy - but that doesn't change the length per se, only the applicability of the definition of the term)
Nik_2213
5 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2011
Hush, I fear that you have misunderstood fractals...
hush1
1 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2011
(Only if you get to the point where the definition of length becomes iffy - but that doesn't change the length per se, only the applicability of the definition of the term) - AP


This implies length is an absolute. Regardless of the unit of measure used.
hush1
1 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2011
And no matter what type of cardinality you use: The length of an item doesn't change no matter how you subdivide it - AP


This implies length is an absolute. Regardless of the unit of measure used.

hush1
1.8 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2011
Who is 'Judge_Fudge'? Orac's clone? (With respect to ratings.)
Chef
5 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2011
"about the time since the Big Bag "

Heafty, Heafty, Heafty!

It would be interesting in how such Laser would be built that would keep a perfect frequency over time.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2011
This implies length is an absolute. Regardless of the unit of measure used.

By changing the units you use the length doesn't change. What are you on (about)?
hush1
1 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2011
By changing the units you use the length doesn't change. - AP

Then what was Benoît B. Mandelbrot point? What was he saying?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (8) Nov 09, 2011
That if you take the length along the sides of a fractal you will get infinite lengths in finite areas.

Reality, however, is not infinitely fractal.

And time, in particular, doesn't seem to be fractal at all since it is one dimension. For fractals you need at least two.

hush1
1.6 / 5 (9) Nov 09, 2011
That if you take the length along the sides of a fractal you will get infinite lengths in finite areas. - ap


I can not speak for reality. Or dictate to reality what reality is to be.

There is no way to determined if reality is not infinitely fractal. There is no unit of infinitesimal measure.

Time "doesn't seem" to be fractal at all since it is one dimension. Fractals exist at dimensions less than one.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (9) Nov 09, 2011
There is no unit of infinitesimal measure.

Planck length (and by extension Planck time) takes a good stab at this. At least anything below those measures seems to be indistinguishable and hence assigning it a distinction (as having individual times/locations) seems meaningless.

With a finite number of quanta in this universe (including virtual particle pairs) there can also only be a finite number of interactions/state changes. So this already puts a large (but not infinite) upper bound on the number of locations/times that can exist.

As long as there are no infinities we won't have any infinitely fractal entities (and even if infinities existed fractal entities would not necessarily be a direct result of these).

Fractals exist at dimensions less than one

With a fractal less than one you would notget infinite lengths but a length approaching zero (i.e. again a finite length)
hush1
1 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2011
With a fractal less than one you would notget infinite lengths but a length approaching zero (i.e. again a finite length) - AP


You 'approach' zero. You assume when you 'approach' zero, the length is finite. An incorrect conclusion.
hush1
1 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2011
At least anything below those measures seems to be indistinguishable and hence assigning it a distinction (as having individual times/locations) seems meaningless. - ap


My 'deficit' is the lack of willingness to assign or label anything below physical measure meaningless.

Math is meaningless without interpretation. I was expelled from that school (of thought).
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2011
You 'approach' zero. You assume when you 'approach' zero, the length is finite. An incorrect conclusion.

So a length on a fractal line with dimensionality of less than one between, lets say, one (at full dimensionality one - i.e. an unbroken line) and zero (at full dimensionality zero - i.e. a fully pointed line) can be infinite?

That's a bit of a bold statement. Care to explain (please include some sort of mathematically rigorous proof. I'm pretty sure I can follow it)
hush1
2 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2011
As long as there are no infinities we won't have any infinitely fractal entities (and even if infinities existed fractal entities would not necessarily be a direct result of these). - ap


That's a bit of a bold statement.Care to explain (please include some sort of mathematically rigorous proof. I'm pretty sure I can follow it)
Specifically "as long as there are no infinities."
rawa1
1 / 5 (8) Nov 09, 2011
I'm not so sure, whether the nuclear clock will be really more exact, than the atomic one. The nuclear transitions contain a much higher energy levels (which is visible at the above illustration, after all) and they're influenced with neutrino flux surprisingly well, for example.

http://www.nature...64a.html

From perspective of dense aether model the determinism of observable reality goes through maximum at the middle of observational scale both bellow, both above the human observer scale, which is the domain of quantum electrodynamics and general relativity. Outside these scales the determinism of observable reality decreases, which explains, why the nearby reality is as complex and indeterministic, like the universe at Planck or cosmological scales.
hush1
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2011
Judge_Fudge is on a rampage. Over twenty ratings in less than an hour. His consistency is remarkable. Not the slightest deviation from the rating of one - at least in my case. Thirteen one ratings alone for this thread.
hyongx
not rated yet Nov 09, 2011
"It would be interesting in how such Laser would be built that would keep a perfect frequency over time.


High quality lasers can be functionally monochromatic, that is, tuned to a single wavelength, to within an acceptable margin.
However, in this application, it is not the laser that is the source of the frequency - unit of time measurement. The system establishes only one accessible energy transition of the nucleus of the atom(s), and the energy released when the nucleus undergoes this specific transition is an absolute, always constant. basically, E=hv provides the frequency measurement that is the time constant.

hush1
1 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2011
High quality lasers can be functionally monochromatic, that is, tuned to a single wavelength, to within an acceptable margin.
However, in this application, it is not the laser that is the source of the frequency - unit of time measurement. The system establishes only one accessible energy transition of the nucleus of the atom(s), and the energy released when the nucleus undergoes this specific transition is an absolute, always constant. basically, E=hv provides the frequency measurement that is the time constant. - hyongx

Which below h becomes uncertain.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2011
As long as there are no infinities we won't have any infinitely fractal entities (and even if infinities existed fractal entities would not necessarily be a direct result of these).


That's a bit of a bold statement.Care to explain (please include some sort of mathematically rigorous proof. I'm pretty sure I can follow it)

Sure:

Hypothesis: An infinite fractal universe exists.

1) A fractal level requires at least one state to represent it (otherwise one could not say whether that particular fractal depth existed or not).
2) The universe only has a finite amount of states (as explained before)

Conclusion: 1), in conjunction with the hypothesis, contradicts 2) (as an infinite fractal universe would require an infinite number of states for representation)

Therefore the hypothesis cannot be true.

Q.E.D.

Your turn.
hush1
1 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2011
The assumption as the premise:
"The universe only has a finite amount of states (as explained before)"
Of course the hypothesis can not be true.
hush1
1 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2011
@rawa1
P. Walker's abstract makes no sense. The exponential function remains valid regardless of amount. What is his point?
I have no free access to the paper.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2011
The assumption as the premise:
"The universe only has a finite amount of states (as explained before)"
Of course the hypothesis can not be true.

Since the universe has a finite age and a finite extent - and the energy density in a given volume of space isn't infinite (or we'd have a universe full of infinitely attractive black holes at every point) - how can you argue otherwise?

So are you going to caugh up on the proof that fractals with fractal dimension less than one can have infinite length?
hyongx
5 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2011
With a finite number of quanta in this universe (including virtual particle pairs) there can also only be a finite number of interactions/state changes. So this already puts a large (but not infinite) upper bound on the number of locations/times that can exist.

I'm not sure if I agree that there are finite possible states in the universe, esp with probabilistic limits probed by QM. Given that a mathematical infinity can exist in 2-d, I find it highly believable that some ininity could exist in 3-4D in our universe.
the domain of quantum electrodynamics and general relativity...is as complex and indeterministic, like the universe at Planck or cosmological scales.

I don't know what the 'dense aether' model is, but I agree that, from our human perspective, we like to beleive in a causal-deterministic universe, while physics describing other scales implies the possibility of some non-determinisitc properties. Unfortunately, all to often, people assume science theory=>reality
hyongx
5 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2011
Since the universe has a finite age and a finite extent - and the energy density in a given volume of space isn't infinite (or we'd have a universe full of infinitely attractive black holes at every point) - how can you argue otherwise?


Ex: delta function. The delta function has a basically infinite value, but the integral over the function is finite (1). It's a mathematical concept, but basically i don't agree that an finite-extent and energy-density argument necesarily requires a finite number of possibles states. Quantum mechanics, and QED, "the jewel of physics" making some of the most accurate predictions of any theory, posits that systems can exist in superpositions of states. I.e., not in a single discrete state.
hush1
1 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2011
how can you argue otherwise?

Your reasoning is inconsistent. I can not argue against inconsistency and unfounded assumptions.
And time, in particular, doesn't seem to be fractal at all since it is one dimension. For fractals you need at least two.-ap

This makes no sense.
daywalk3r
3.7 / 5 (15) Nov 09, 2011
AP,

the whole Planck units concept is based on the apparent limits of energy propagation as viewed from our extrinsic perspective. However, despite the validity of energy quanta (and the hoards of die-hard QM "discretists" who would like you to believe otherwise), it doesn't really rule out sub-planck "reality" per se.

In other words, Planck units do not necessarily define the physical limits of reality, but they sure define the theoretical limits of QM.

You also outline some assumptions..
That Planck length/time is an absolute/discrete description of reality. That there is an absolute finite amount of quanta in the Universe. Didn't know those were allready considered hard facts nowadays..

From a proponent of discrete QM & finite Universe, that stance is quite expected & understandable though. Only time will tell who was right..

And hush has a point there..
If the "resolution" of reality is infinite, then all is only a matter of perspective. Fractal or not.
daywalk3r
3.9 / 5 (14) Nov 09, 2011
Since the universe has a finite age and a finite extent - and the energy density in a given volume of space isn't infinite (or we'd have a universe full of infinitely attractive black holes at every point) - how can you argue otherwise?

Finite age? Finite extent? :-O
Seem you have eaten the apple from the tree of knowledge allready :-)

And the energy density in a given (finite) volume of space is allways finite. But that has nothing to say about a fractal (and infinite) nature of the Universe, as no matter how many times you fractionate a finite amount, the total (energy density) remains unchanged..

Got a question for you though.. What was before the "Big Bang"? And what was before that what was before? :-)
Callippo
1 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2011
I don't know what the 'dense aether' model is
The dense aether model is the random Universe model based on Boltzman gas of infinite density. It covers the fractal Universe model too as one of its observational perspective, because the density fluctuations of gas (unparticles) are of fractal dimension.

This model is infinite-dimensional but it can be modeled in 3D with dispersion of surface ripples at the water surface. We people are corresponding the most complex and deterministic solitons at the 1.74 cm scale of wavelength, which are moving in lowest speed at the water surface, so that the neighboring Universe appears as large, as possible for us. With decreasing wavelength the spreading of surface ripples becomes indeterministic because of Brownian noise - it corresponds the quantum scale. With increasing wavelength the spreading of ripples becomes driven with surface tension and the influence of underwater is minimized. It corresponds the realm of general relativity.
Callippo
1 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2011
In brief, in this model the appearance of Universe in 3D corresponds the appearance of water surface at 2D, as being observed with its slowest ripples. The important aspect of this analogy is, it's of repetitive nature, because when the distance from observer increases even more, than the spreading of light waves becomes indeterministic again, so it mirrors the appearance of Universe at the quantum scale. This model is infinitely repetitive, so our Universe is embedded into infinite number of another ones, but these Universes are unachievable for human observers. We could observe them only if we would create the device as large, as the whole observable part of Universe. From limited perspective of human observer the smallest objects of Universe are as random, as these most largest ones. So if we would build the clocks based on quantum foam, these clock would be unaffected with macroscopic phenomena, but these clock would remain completely unpredictable.
Callippo
1 / 5 (6) Nov 09, 2011
Having this general model on mind, we can ask after then, which size of clock would be optimal with respect to their stability and regularity? From AWT follows, these two criterions are mutually exclusive beyond certain distance/energy density level in accordance to uncertainty principle - so we should find some compromise for ideal size of clocks. The smaller isn't always the better here.

The same dependency, just in dual way is valid for cosmological clocks, like the Cepheids and pulsars. Too large variable stars are too irregular, whereas these too small ones are affected with neighboring objects too much.
daywalk3r
4.2 / 5 (20) Nov 09, 2011
because when the distance from observer increases even more, than the spreading of light waves becomes INDETERMINISTIC again, so it mirrors the appearance of Universe at the quantum scale.

Stop right there Sherlock..

When something drops bellow an observers sensitivity/resolution scope, it does NOT become indeterministic, just indeterminable (for the observer).

Those two terms sport a quite fundamental difference..

So if we would build the clocks based on quantum foam, these clock would be unaffected with macroscopic phenomena

True, because the wavelength of the "macroscopic phenomena" would be too big to affect the clocks "gears" separately (e.g. affecting gear#1 differently than gear#2, and so on..) So the clocks tick away without disruption, as there is no distinct macro-induced change happening "inside".

..but these clock would remain completely unpredictable.

Unless by "quantum foam" you also infer "a truely random process", I have to call BS on that :)
Callippo
1 / 5 (8) Nov 09, 2011
When something drops bellow an observers sensitivity / resolution scope, it does NOT become indeterministic, just indeterminable (for the observer). Those two terms sport a quite fundamental difference.
For example, for single observer the quantum wave function is indeterministic. For device capable of repetitive weak measurements it becomes deterministic, so you can plot its graph at the very end, because the Bell's inequality violation is only locally valid.

http://www.nature...120.html

Is the quantum mechanics indeterministic or just indeterminable after then?

Analogously, the remote Universe appears indeterministic in visible light, but it could appear quite deterministic in neutrino or gravitational waves detectors. Such detectors could even render the event horizons of black holes partially transparent.
Callippo
1 / 5 (7) Nov 09, 2011
After all, without telescopes and/or microscopes whole our world would appear pretty miraculous, indeterministic and unpredictable for us. We couldn't observe, predict and explain a much more phenomena, than just some wave function. What the people are doing is, they're just enlarging their observational devices, so they can observe larger and larger areas of random Universe in more deterministic way. But with respect to limited human observer capabilities the electrons aren't real more, than the antelopes at the Neptune planet.

After all, many of my insights appear like random babbling for the other people, because they're not aware of the evidence which I'm using for their reasoning. If they would increase the scope of their capabilities, they would recognize the same stuff like me quite clearly.
hyongx
5 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2011
What the people are doing is,
LSD
they're just enlarging their observational devices,
so they can observe larger and larger areas of random Universe in more deterministic way. But with respect to limited human observer capabilities the electrons aren't real more, than the antelopes at the Neptune planet.

I don't know what antelopes on Neptune are doing, but you probably have some good points in there somewhere. Like, what appears to us as indeterminacy is only because of the limitations of our measuring instruments, or perception. Regardless of the validity of that point, I'm a holdout for indeterminacy, because I like free will. :/
Au-Pu
1 / 5 (4) Nov 09, 2011
Once again a load of ego posturing rubbish.
Nuclear/atomic. They are the same.
All they are proposing is a different method of measurement.
rwinners
1 / 5 (5) Nov 09, 2011
To the article: To what advantage? I mean, if this 'new' standard can be used to advantage, fine. But to impose it without need is wasteful.
Ensa
5 / 5 (2) Nov 09, 2011
..... I'm a holdout for indeterminacy, because I like free will. :/


It is a common misconception that free-will is more compatible with indeterminacy than erm... determinacy.
Indeterministic free will would mean your actions would have no consequences. This is not what we intend when we assert free will.
Deterministic free will means your choices are determined by their causes. While we like to think our choices are 'informed' by our circumstances, we deny they are determined by them.
The 'reality' is that it is not sufficient to assume that free will is 'indeterministic' friendly.

Personally, although I rarely post, I love following these interactions between the physorg regulars. There is a congruence of unrecognized genius and insight here, that for some reason I rarely see on the internet in general. Also a lot of people willing to unashamedly expose their smaller conceptual, spheres to the community for comparison, Or perhaps I don't intersect many of their dimensions.
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Nov 09, 2011
Non-determinism at least leaves the door open for 'free' will (not in the sense of 'freely choosable' but in the sense of 'not wholly predictable') - AP

http://www.physor...firstCmt

38th comment up from the last comment.
And of course:
http://www.physor...615.html
Cashmore discards free will - held 'hostage' to the nature of chemistry and/or biochemistry.
The thread commentary is long. There are flashes of brilliance - well worth the read.

For me, one flash of brilliance is worth the drudge of even the longer thread commentaries.

Thks Ensa. A well worded comment. Kudos.
hush1
1 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2011
To my astonishment commentators here on physorg are inconsistent. The astonishment is greater when some no longer remembered what they wrote. As if one's own thoughts are not worth remembering. I use the flashes of brilliance, which I commit immediately to memory, as markers to remember most commentary since joining physorg.

One of my favorite commentators is frajo. Frajo commented my comments are way too authoritarian toned for anyone. Frajo says the most with the least words - his analytic is close to flawless with all his comments.

More than once, I have stated, most post here to be heard, without any discourse. My greatest joy was giving everyone a heads up about Perelman's decision to decline the Fields before he declined.
Everyone ignored my comment. They wanted to be heard. There was no convincing anyone about the decision I knew was inevitable for him.
rwinners
3 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2011
How many fairies can dance on the point of a needle?
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2011
How many fairies can dance on the point of a needle? - rwinners


Ans:

"What we have here, it seems, is a very early debate in science fiction. The original question, "how many angels can dance on the point of a needle," had to do with whether the basic rule of physics, that only one object can occupy one space at one time, applied to celestial beings. If not then, theoretically, innumerable angels could enjoy a needle-point hoe-down on any given Saturday night, should they be so inclined."
http://www.best-c...pin.html
hyongx
not rated yet Nov 10, 2011
Indeterministic free will would mean your actions would have no consequences. Deterministic free will means your choices are determined by their causes.


Hmmm...
Without free will, the result of a choice is determined before we make that choice.

Let's say I have a quantum system, which can assume one of two states, and i can measure it (make a decision). The measurement collapses the wavefunction and the system assumes a discrete state.

I have a system in an undetermined state.
P=>Q I perform a measurement (choice) => reveals a discrete state.
Q=/=>P I measured a discrete state =/=> the state was determined before i measured (chose).

A choice (performing measurement) necessarily requires a system adopts a state. However, the result of the choice (measurement) is not determined before the action.

So choices have consequences, but consequences are not neccessarily predetermined.

Now whether quantum uncertainty translates to macroscopic world is a different beast entirely.
Callippo
not rated yet Nov 10, 2011
Nuclear/atomic. They are the same. All they are proposing is a different method of measurement.
One method is based on vibrations inside of atom nuclei, the later method is based on the vibrations outside of it.
gwrede
2.3 / 5 (3) Nov 10, 2011
Oh, boy.

I see two writers filling this thread with 1/5 rated posts. I'm starting to see why the rank filter exists. Shame, though, because sometimes some valuable posts are not understood by readers, and then get bad votes. Oh well, I guess there are two sides to everything.

But constantly getting no other votes than 1/5 at all, should make one wonder whether posting here is only embarrassing.
hush1
1 / 5 (2) Nov 10, 2011
Is the quantum mechanics indeterministic or just indeterminable after then? - Callippo


Well, QM assigns probabilities. In laymans'terms, QM is determined (analogous to human will) to assign probabilities to outcomes.
Whatever happens there will be outcomes.
We harbor the goal to assign probabilities to all outcomes.
Our tally to tally up all outcomes is impossible.

We don't know how many outcomes exist below our observers' sensitivity / resolution scope, so it does NOT become indeterministic, just indeterminable for QM and (for the observers wishing to apply QM).

The word "indeterminable" starts where the Observer and his QM stops - you have to 'conjure up' and imagine outcomes that never were to apply QM.

And QM and observer have no business to look at impossible outcomes - for example, where you have no dice to roll to achieve an outcome.

You might object: Impossible outcomes are outcomes with zero probability! This assignment is inadmissible. Do you see why?

MorituriMax
not rated yet Nov 13, 2011
At least anything below those measures seems to be indistinguishable and hence assigning it a distinction (as having individual times/locations) seems meaningless. - ap


My 'deficit' is the lack of willingness to assign or label anything below physical measure meaningless.

Math is meaningless without interpretation. I was expelled from that school (of thought).


2 2=4, "interpret" that. Is it anything other than 4 no matter how you "interpret" it?
MorituriMax
not rated yet Nov 13, 2011
Judge_Fudge is on a rampage. Over twenty ratings in less than an hour. His consistency is remarkable. Not the slightest deviation from the rating of one - at least in my case. Thirteen one ratings alone for this thread.

So stop posting stupid shit. Problem solved. And stroking your ego by assuming one person is rating you is what really hilights that it IS stupid ego based BS.

earlier 2 2=4 should be 2 PLUS 2=4, stupid physorg filter.