Archive for the ‘physics’ category: Page 3

Mar 5, 2020

Gravity’s waterfall

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Physicists are using analog black holes to better understand gravity.

Mar 5, 2020

Physicists Are Studying Mysterious ‘Bubbles of Nothing’ That Eat Spacetime

Posted by in categories: physics, space

A spontaneous hole in the fabric of reality could theoretically end the universe, but don’t worry: physicists are studying the idea for what it can teach us about the cosmos.

Mar 5, 2020

Rare Isaac Newton manuscript discovered in Corsican library

Posted by in category: physics

A first-edition copy of Isaac Newton’s groundbreaking book laying out his three laws of motion, which became the foundation for modern physics, has been found at a library on the French island of Corsica.

Vannina Schirinsky-Schikhmatoff, director of conservation at the Fesch public heritage library in Ajaccio, said she discovered the copy of the 17th-century work while studying an index from the library’s founder Lucien Bonaparte—one of Napoleon’s brothers.

“I found the Holy Grail in the main room, hidden in the upper shelves,” she told AFP this week.

Mar 3, 2020

Astronomers: Something Is Warping Our Entire Galaxy

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Hmmm dark matter perhaps or a still unknown type of exterrestial physics. Much like bootes which in my expert opinion is an alien dimension maybe there are still Easter eggs hidden in the fabric of our universe that can take several lifetimes to understand even with advanced technology understanding may still be like scratching at the ceiling of infinity of understanding but may not be as difficult.

It’s a mystery that’s been puzzling astronomers for years.

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Mar 3, 2020

The Man Making Rwanda Into a Hub for Physics

Posted by in categories: computing, education, physics

Omololu Akin-Ojo was always reluctant to go to the United States. “I felt I could do a lot of things in Africa,” he told me in his office at the new East African Institute for Fundamental Research (EAIFR) in Kigali, Rwanda. “Unfortunately, I was wrong.”

As a university student in his home country of Nigeria in the late 1990s, Akin-Ojo learned to write computer code by hand, without ever having the chance to put the code into a computer. Aware of these limitations, his father, a physicist, encouraged him to apply to doctoral programs abroad. While studying condensed matter physics at the University of Delaware, Akin-Ojo recognized the gulf in teaching and in research opportunities between Nigeria and the U.S.

He realized then that he wanted to stem the brain drain of Africa’s brightest minds. Although he spent the next 14 years working in the U.S. and Europe, he said, “I always knew I was coming back to Africa.” He chose to specialize in theoretical physics, so that the lack of experimental equipment in Nigeria wouldn’t hinder his research when he returned.

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Mar 3, 2020

Scientists Are Starting to Take Warp Drives Seriously, Especially This One Concept

Posted by in categories: physics, space travel

It’s hard living in a relativistic Universe, where even the nearest stars are so far away and the speed of light is absolute. It is little wonder then why science fiction franchises routinely employ FTL (Faster-than-Light) as a plot device.

Push a button, press a petal, and that fancy drive system – whose workings no one can explain – will send us to another location in space-time.

However, in recent years, the scientific community has become understandably excited and skeptical about claims that a particular concept – the Alcubierre Warp Drive – might actually be feasible.

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Mar 3, 2020

Freeman Dyson, 1923–2020

Posted by in categories: physics, solar power, sustainability

Reeman Dyson, one of the 20th century’s greatest theoretical physicists, died this week aged 96. He is known for popularising the Dyson Sphere – a hypothetical megastructure that could surround an entire star, capturing all of its solar energy.

Mar 2, 2020

The Rules of the Flock

Posted by in category: physics

The locusts have no king, and yet they all go forth in ranks, noted King Solomon some three thousand years ago. That a multitude of simple creatures could display coherent collective behavior without any leader caused his surprise and amazement, and it has continued to do so for much of our thinking over the following millennia. Caesar’s legions conquered Europe, Napoleon’s armies reached Moscow: We always think of a great commander telling the thoughtless multitudes what to do.

Statistical physics pioneered an opposite view. When a piece of iron is cooled down to a certain temperature (the Curie temperature), the majority of the atoms align their spins, thereby making it magnetic. No atomic general gives any commands; each atom communicates only with its neighbors, and yet there is an overall alignment. It shows us that local microscopic interactions as such can lead to dramatic global behavior, and this realization brought about a revolution in the understanding of swarm behavior.

Some hundred years ago, serious biologists still thought that the coordination of birds in a flock was reached by telepathy, and the synchronized light emission by fireflies in the Asiatic jungle was attributed to faulty observation by the observer. The introduction of physics concepts in biology has to a large extent resolved these puzzles. Flocks of birds are much more like the atoms in iron than they are like the armies of Napoleon, and the fireflies act much like a laser. Collective behavior in the world of living beings is after all not so different from that in the inanimate world.

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Mar 1, 2020

Unraveling turbulence: New insights into how fluids transform from order to disorder

Posted by in categories: physics, transportation

Turbulence is everywhere—it rattles our planes and makes tiny whirlpools in our bathtubs—but it is one of the least understood phenomena in classical physics.

Turbulence occurs when an ordered fluid flow breaks into small vortices, which interact with each other and break into even smaller vortices, which interact with each other and so-on, becoming the chaotic maelstrom of disorder that makes white water rafting so much fun.

But the mechanics of that descent into chaos have puzzled scientists for centuries.

Mar 1, 2020

Physicists model the supernovae that result from pulsating supergiants like Betelgeuse

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Betelgeuse has been the center of significant media attention lately. The red supergiant is nearing the end of its life, and when a star over 10 times the mass of the Sun dies, it goes out in spectacular fashion. With its brightness recently dipping to the lowest point in the last hundred years, many space enthusiasts are excited that Betelgeuse may soon go supernova, exploding in a dazzling display that could be visible even in daylight.

While the famous star in Orion’s shoulder will likely meet its demise within the next million years—practically couple days in cosmic time—scientists maintain that its dimming is due to the star pulsating. The phenomenon is relatively common among red supergiants, and Betelgeuse has been known for decades to be in this group.

Coincidentally, researchers at UC Santa Barbara have already made predictions about the brightness of the supernova that would result when a pulsating star like Betelgeuse explodes.

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