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Jul 21, 2023

Does Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity Suggest That There Is an Afterlife?: A Theoretical Physicist Explains

Posted by in category: quantum physics

“Let’s talk about the physics of dead grandmothers.” Thus does theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder start off the Big Think video above, which soon gets into Einstein’s theory of special relativity. The question of how Hossenfelder manages to connect the former to the latter should raise in anyone curiosity enough to give these ten minutes a watch, but she also addresses a certain common category of misconception. It all began, she says, when a young man posed to her the following question: “A shaman told me that my grandmother is still alive because of quantum mechanics. Is this right?”

Upon reflection, Hossenfelder arrived at the conclusion that “it’s not entirely wrong.” For decades now, “quantum mechanics” has been hauled out over and over again to provide vague support to a range of beliefs all along the spectrum of plausibility. But in the dead-grandmother case, at least, it’s not the applicable area of physics. “It’s actually got something to do with Einstein’s theory of special relativity,” she says. With that particular achievement, Einstein changed the way we think about space and time, proving that “everything that you experience, everything that you see, you see as it was a tiny, little amount of time in the past. So how do you know that anything exists right now?”

Jul 21, 2023

Finding game-changing superconductors with machine learning tools

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nuclear energy, robotics/AI, supercomputing

Superconductors—found in MRI machines, nuclear fusion reactors and magnetic-levitation trains—work by conducting electricity with no resistance at temperatures near absolute zero, or −459.67°F.

The search for a conventional superconductor that can function at room temperature has been ongoing for roughly a century, but research has sped up dramatically in the last decade because of new advances in (ML) using supercomputers such as Expanse at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego.

Most recently, Huan Tran, a senior research scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) School of Materials Science and Engineering, has worked on Expanse with Professor Tuoc Vu from Hanoi University of Science and Technology (Vietnam) to create an artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) approach to help identify new candidates for potential superconductors in a much faster and reliable way.

Jul 21, 2023

Cannabis Use Linked to Epigenetic Changes, Scientists Discover

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health, law

Using cannabis may cause changes in the human body’s epigenome, a study of over 1,000 adults suggests. The epigenome functions like a set of switches, activating or deactivating genes to change how our bodies function.

“We observed associations between cumulative marijuana use and multiple epigenetic markers across time,” says Lifang Hou, a preventative medical doctor and epidemiologist from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Cannabis is a commonly used substance in the United States, with 49 percent of people trying it at least once, Hou and a team of US researchers report in their published paper. Some US states and other countries have made it legal, but we still don’t fully understand its effects on our health.

Jul 21, 2023

Astronomers Break the “BOAT” — Decoding the Mystery of the Universe’s Brightest Explosion

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Last year, telescopes around the world registered the brightest cosmic explosion of all time. Astrophysicists can now explain what made it so dazzling.

Few cosmic explosions have attracted as much attention from space scientists as the one recorded on October 22 last year and aptly named the Brightest of All Time (BOAT). The event, produced by the collapse of a highly massive star and the subsequent birth of a black hole.

A black hole is a place in space where the gravitational field is so strong that not even light can escape it. Astronomers classify black holes into three categories by size: miniature, stellar, and supermassive black holes. Miniature black holes could have a mass smaller than our Sun and supermassive black holes could have a mass equivalent to billions of our Sun.

Jul 21, 2023

Researchers make progress toward a new environmentally friendly nanomaterial that could revolutionize electronic devices

Posted by in categories: chemistry, nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

A team of researchers from the Instituto de Carboquímica of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has made a remarkable step forward in the development of efficient and sustainable electronic devices. They have found a special combination of two extraordinary nanomaterials that successfully results in a new hybrid product capable of turning light into electricity, and vice-versa, faster than conventional materials.

The research is published in the journal Chemistry of Materials.

This consists of a one-dimensional conductive polymer called polythiophene, ingeniously integrated with a two-dimensional derivative of graphene known as graphene oxide. The unique features exhibited by this hybrid material hold incredible promise for improving the efficiency of optoelectronic devices, such as smart devices screens, and solar panels, among others.

Jul 21, 2023

Scientists in 1972 accurately predicted the current state of the planet

Posted by in category: futurism

A scientific report conducted in the early 1970s has been worryingly accurate about the path our planet is heading on, with little sign of change in sight.

Jul 21, 2023

Scientists find evidence of ‘very recent’ running water flowing on Mars

Posted by in category: space

Gullies on the slopes of Martian craters were likely created by the “very recent” flow of water, according to a new study that sheds more light on whether life could exist on the Red Planet.

The presence of life on a planet, as it is seen on Earth, goes hand in hand with the existence of liquid water.

Researchers have previously shown that there may have been past periods on Mars when liquid water likely formed gullies if Mars tilted enough on its axis.

Jul 21, 2023

Using a detector the size of a galaxy, astronomers find strongest evidence yet for gravitational waves from supermassive black hole pairs

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

When black holes and other enormously massive, dense objects whirl around one another, they send out ripples in space and time called gravitational waves. These waves are one of the few ways we have to study the enigmatic cosmic giants that create them.

Astronomers have observed the high-frequency “chirps” of colliding black holes, but the ultra-low-frequency rumble of supermassive black holes orbiting one another has proven harder to detect. For decades, we have been observing pulsars, a type of star that pulses like a lighthouse, in search of the faint rippling of these waves.

Today, pulsar research collaborations around the world – including ours, the Parkes Pulsar Timing Array – announced their strongest evidence yet for the existence of these waves.

Jul 21, 2023

Scientists watched cracked metal heal itself in an ‘absolutely stunning’ discovery

Posted by in category: nanotechnology

Scientists have witnessed something extraordinary. According to new reports and research, scientists watched healing metal, where cracked metal fused back together without any kind of human intervention. The discovery is one that could completely change how machines work, because machines are often victims of what we call fatigue damage.

Fatigue damage is essentially one of the main ways that machines wear out, causing them to break over time. This is a natural condition that happens as machines go through repeated stress and motion, which causes microscopic cracks to form in the metal. Over time those cracks grow more, eventually spreading until the entire device breaks or fails.

Continue reading “Scientists watched cracked metal heal itself in an ‘absolutely stunning’ discovery” »

Jul 21, 2023

Belief in God, the devil falls to new low: Gallup

Posted by in category: futurism

Americans’ belief in God, the devil and other spiritual entities has fallen to a new low, according to a Gallup poll released on Thursday.

Seventy-four percent of Americans said they believe in God, while 69 percent said they believe in angels and 67 percent said they believe in heaven, the poll found. Slightly smaller shares — 59 percent and 58 percent — said they believe in hell and the devil.

Belief in all five spiritual entities has fallen between 3–5 points since 2016, the last time that Gallup polled Americans on the topic.

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