Archive for the ‘physics’ category: Page 210

Sep 18, 2016

Elon Musk: These Are the 5 Most Important Problems We Need to Solve

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, genetics, physics, robotics/AI, space travel

In a new interview, Elon Musk identifies genetics, AI, and brain bandwidth as three areas in which today’s youth can have the biggest impact on the future. However, he doesn’t think an idea needs to be revolutionary to be worthwhile.

While many 2o-something-year-olds are just finding their way in the world, young Elon Musk was already looking for ways to change it way back in 1995 (when he was that age).

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Sep 17, 2016

This physicist says consciousness could be a new state of matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, neuroscience, physics

Consciousness isn’t something scientists like to talk about much. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, and despite the best efforts of certain researchers, you can’t quantify it. And in science, if you can’t measure something, you’re going to have a tough time explaining it.

But consciousness exists, and it’s one of the most fundamental aspects of what makes us human. And just like dark matter and dark energy have been used to fill some otherwise gaping holes in the standard model of physics, researchers have also proposed that it’s possible to consider consciousness as a new state of matter.

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Sep 17, 2016

Physicists Are Close to Producing Metallic Hydrogen, And It Could Change Everything

Posted by in categories: evolution, physics, space

The implications of the discovery of hydrogen in a metallic form make it a subject of great fervor. Teams are racing toward its use as a superconductor as well as a means of better understanding the universe.

The simplest and most common element, first in the periodic table, shouldn’t be difficult to crack, right? “What could be more simple than an assembly of electrons and protons?” asks Neil Aschcroft, a theoretical physicist at Cornell University. Yet, its supposed metallic form is quite the opposite. Apparently, the physics of hydrogen becomes more complex at high pressures. A sort of mega-evolution.

Hydrogen is naturally at a gaseous state, at room temperature and under atmospheric pressure. But hydrogen becomes solid, given enough of a forceful squeeze or at low temperatures. It also can transform into a liquid, if heat is added while squeezing. What is more confounding is the supposed ability of hydrogen, theoretically, to transform into metal if more extreme conditions are applied.

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Sep 12, 2016

Tiangong-2: Second space lab

Posted by in categories: biological, physics, satellites

China’s 2nd spacelab launches next week. Now, I wonder how QSS will be leveraged given the note on new communication capabilities as well as other types of experiments that can be conducted.

Chinese space agency is all set to launch its second spacelab Tiangong-2 next week. Long March 2F rocket will lift up the spacelab and both the entities have been transported to the launch pad located at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, yesterday. Tiangong-2 will test life support systems and refueling technology for its 60 ton modular space station.

Tiangong-2 will be placed in an orbit of 393 kilometers above the Earth and it will help in studying fundamental physics, biology, fluid mechanics in microgravity, space science and will monitor Earth from space. In addition, it has the capability to measure the topography of the oceans with very high precision which will enable scientists to study Earth’s gravity field.

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Sep 12, 2016

Metal to insulator transition understood

Posted by in categories: energy, physics

Physicists have for the first time succeeded in directly visualising on small scales how a material abruptly changes its state from conducting to insulating at low temperatures. Researchers Erik van Heumen of the University of Amsterdam and Alex McLeod from the University of California thereby provide evidence for a 60-year-old theory that explains this phenomenon and pave the way for more energy efficient technologies. The team’s experiments are described in the latest edition of Nature Physics.

Materials that conduct electricity at high temperature but are insulating at lower temperatures have been known for decades. However, until recently it was not possible to directly measure how such phase transitions proceed on small length scales. Using a new technique, Van Heumen and McLeod are now able to visualise the changes taking place in the material during such a phase transition on the nanometer scale.

In their experiments, the team observed a so-called percolation transition taking place among the electrons in the material. Above a certain critical temperature, the electrons can move relatively easily through the material enabling the flow of electrical current. When the temperature drops below a threshold temperature, small imperfections in the material trigger a kind of traffic jam for the electrons. Starting from small nanometer length scales, this traffic jam slowly grows outwards across the entire material. The previously freely moving electrons come to an abrupt halt and the material loses its conducting properties.

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Sep 11, 2016

Gravitation under human control? This proposal could transform physics

Posted by in categories: physics, space

Produce and detect gravitational fields at will using magnetic fields, control them for studying them, work with them to produce new technologies — it sounds daring, but Prof. André Füzfa of Namur University has proposed just that in an article published in the scientific journal Physical Review D. If followed, this proposal could transform physics and shake up Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

At present, scientists study gravitational fields passively: they observe and try to understand existing gravitational fields produced by large inertial masses, such as stars or Earth, without being able to change them as is done, for example, with magnetic fields.

It was this frustration that led Füzfa to attempt a revolutionary approach: creating gravitational fields at will from well-controlled magnetic fields and observing how these magnetic fields could bend space-time.

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Sep 10, 2016

Physicists discover ‘smoke rings’ made of laser light

Posted by in categories: energy, physics

Most basic physics textbooks describe laser light in fairly simple terms: a beam travels directly from one point to another and, unless it strikes a mirror or other reflective surface, will continue traveling along an arrow-straight path, gradually expanding in size due to the wave nature of light. But these basic rules go out the window with high-intensity laser light.

Powerful laser beams, given the right conditions, will act as their own lenses and “self-focus” into a tighter, even more intense beam. University of Maryland physicists have discovered that these self-focused laser pulses also generate violent swirls of optical energy that strongly resemble smoke rings. In these donut-shaped light structures, known as “spatiotemporal optical vortices,” the light energy flows through the inside of the ring and then loops back around the outside.

The vortices travel along with the laser pulse at the speed of light and control the energy flow around it. The newly discovered optical structures are described in the September 9, 2016 issue of the journal Physical Review X.

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Sep 10, 2016

Physicists have discovered what makes neural networks so extraordinarily powerful

Posted by in categories: physics, robotics/AI

Nobody understands why deep neural networks are so good at solving complex problems. Now physicists say the secret is buried in the laws of physics.

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Sep 9, 2016

The ‘impossible’ EM Drive is about to be tested in space

Posted by in categories: physics, space travel

An actual EM Drive is about to be launched into space for the first time, so scientists can finally figure out — once and for all — if it really is possible for a rocket engine to generate thrust without any kind of exhaust or propellant.

Built by American inventor and chemical engineer, Guido Fetta, the EM Drive is as controversial as it gets, because while certain experiments have suggested that such an engine could work, it also goes against one of the most fundamental laws of physics we have.

As Newton’s Third Law states, “To each action there’s an equal and opposite reaction,” and many physicists say the EM Drive categorically violates that law.

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Sep 9, 2016

Breaking Newton’s Third Law: Impossible Space Engine ‘The EMdrive’ Passes Peer Review

Posted by in categories: physics, space travel

The EmDrive is a new type of rocket engine first proposed by British scientist/electrical engineer Roger Shawyer in 1999. Unlike conventional space rocket engines, the EmDrive doesn’t require any kind of propellant (also known as a reaction mass) to make propulsion possible, and hence partially disobeying Newton’s Third Law: “To each action there’s an equal and opposite reaction”.

Despite the fact that this seems to violate the known laws of physics, a prototype device was submitted to NASA’s Eagleworks lab for testing which came back positive, reports Digital Trends.

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