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Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category

Aug 25, 2016

First test of Breakthrough Starshot interstellar probe highlights likely damage due to gas and dust

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space travel

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers at Harvard University who are part of the Breakthrough Starshot team has been testing the likely damage to an interstellar spacecraft traveling at approximately one-fifth the speed of light as it makes its way to the Alpha Centauri star system. As they note in a paper describing their testing and results, which was uploaded to the arXiv preprint server, such damage could be catastrophic, but they believe they have a solution.

Earlier this year, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced to the world that he wants to send a probe to the Alpha Centauri star system—he put up $100 million of his own money to get the ball rolling on what is expected to be a multi-billion-dollar effort. At the time of the announcement, Milner told the press that his team of advisors had identified 20 main challenges that would have to be overcome in order for such a mission to be a success. In this new effort, the researchers have addressed one of those challenges—assessing the likely damage to the craft due to space dust and gases, and offering solutions to the problem.

The preliminary working design of a able to travel at ∼0.2c is little more than a circuit board that has come to be known as a wafersat—it would be attached to a light sail that would be the target of a laser sent from Earth to push it during the initial part of the journey. The wavsat would be made mostly of graphite and quartz. Thus, the researchers focused the bulk of their testing on these two materials. They discovered that particles of hit by the craft would mostly come in the form of collections of heavy atoms rather than particles—those collisions would cause two problems. The first would be the creation of pits on the surface of the craft, which would result in loss of material (up to 30 percent of the entire craft might be lost).

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Aug 24, 2016

Quantum Entanglement: Slower Than Light

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics, space

Although this is true (speed of communication via entanglement is not at the speed of light); like other early stage technologies this will also evolve and improve in time.


China recently launched a satellite to test quantum entanglement in space. It’s an interesting experiment that could lead to “hack proof” satellite communication. It’s also led to a flurry of articles claiming that quantum entanglement allows particles to communicate faster than light. Several science bloggers have noted why this is wrong, but it’s worth emphasizing again. Quantum entanglement does not allow faster than light communication.

This particular misconception is grounded in the way quantum theory is typically popularized. Quantum objects can be both particles and waves, They have a wavefunction that describes the probability of certain outcomes, and when you measure the object it “collapses” into a particular particle state. Unfortunately this Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory glosses over much of the subtlety of quantum behavior, so when it’s applied to entanglement it seems a bit contradictory.

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Aug 23, 2016

Just how dangerous is it to travel at 20% the speed of light?

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space travel

Brace for impact —

Just how dangerous is it to travel at 20% the speed of light?

Breakthrough Starshot has examined the impact of stray atoms, cosmic dust.

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Aug 23, 2016

Possible new particle hints that universe may not be left-handed

Posted by in category: particle physics

The possible discovery of a boson at the Large Hadron Collider suggests a restoration of symmetry between two simple things: left and right.

Aug 22, 2016

Groundbreaking Research Shows Conscious Intention Directly Affects Quantum States; Scientific Basis for Mind of Over Matter?

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, particle physics, quantum physics, robotics/AI

Dean Radin, Ph.D. and Chief Scientist of IONS, the Institute for Noetic Sciences, recently introduced the results of a series of experiments that may provide the missing link between consciousness and matter, turning the tables on materialism and asserting consciousness as a fundamental component of reality itself. Using a variation of the famous double-slit experiment, he and his team hypothesized that the conscious intent of a human mind might be able to collapse a quantum wave function without direct interaction. Simply by concentrating they postulated, meditation might be able to affect and influence quantum particles – the smallest components of matter that form our physical universe. .

Initial experiments used participants 2 meters away from the device. Alternating between asking participants to concentrate on the apparatus, then removing their attention showed astounding results. Fearing that temperature differences or other variables might have influenced the test, they offered the experiment to participants online. Using several thousand robotic control sessions to ensure that a determination could be made for the factor of human consciousness, the results were likewise astounding, with initial trial results of greater than 5 sigma.

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Aug 22, 2016

‘Artificial atom’ created in graphene

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

When they are confined to a small space, the behavior of electrons can only be explained by quantum physics. Much like electrons in an atom, they are forced into discrete quantum states. These states can be used for quantum information technologies.

Aug 22, 2016

New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics

Posted by in categories: computing, mobile phones, particle physics, quantum physics

Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics, leading to less heat generation and power consumption in electronic devices which source, detect, and control light.

Speaking about the research, which enables scientists and engineers to quantify how transparent a 2D material is to an electrostatic field, Dr Elton Santos from the Atomistic Simulation Research Centre at Queen’s, said: “In our paper we have developed a theoretical framework that predicts and quantifies the degree of ‘transparency’ up to the limit of one-atom-thick, 2D materials, to an electrostatic field.

“Imagine we can change the transparency of a material just using an electric bias, e.g. get darker or brighter at will. What kind of implications would this have, for instance, in mobile phone technologies? This was the first question we asked ourselves. We realised that this would allow the microscopic control over the distribution of charged carriers in a bulk semiconductor (e.g. traditional Si microchips) in a nonlinear manner. This will help physicists and device engineers to design better quantum capacitors, an array of subatomic power storage components capable to keep high energy densities, for instance, in batteries, and vertical transistors, leading to next-generation optoelectronics with lower power consumption and dissipation of heat (cold devices), and better performance. In other words, smarter smart phones.”

Aug 19, 2016

Is Technology Killing Capitalism?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, habitats, information science, particle physics, robotics/AI

Is Market Capitalism simply an accident of certain factors that came together in the 19th and 20th centuries? Does the innovation of economics require a new economics of innovation? Is the study of economics deeply affected by the incentive structures faced by economists themselves, necessitating a study of the “economics of economics”? In this broad ranging interview INET Senior Economist Pia Malaney sits down with Eric Weinstein — mathematician, economist, Managing Director of Thiel Capital (as well as her co-author and husband) to discuss these and other issues.

Underlying the seismic shifts in the economy in the last ten years, Dr. Weinstein sees not just a temporary recession brought on by a housing crisis, but rather deep and fundamental shifts in the very factors that made market capitalism the driving force of economic growth for the past two centuries. The most profound of these shifts as Dr. Weinstein sees it, is an end to 20th century style capitalism brought about not by a competing ideology, as many had once feared, but instead by changing technology. As production is driven increasingly by bits rather than atoms, he sees the importance of private goods give way to public goods, undermining a basic requirement of market models. In a different line of thinking, as software becomes increasingly sophisticated it takes on the ability to replace humans not only in low level repetitive tasks but also, with the use of deep learning algorithms, in arbitrarily complex repetitive tasks such as medical diagnosis.

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Aug 19, 2016

UCLA physicists discover ‘apparent departure from the laws of thermodynamics’

Posted by in category: particle physics

Proving 2 temperatures coexist — disrupting thermodynamics.


Stuart Wolpert.

According to the basic laws of thermodynamics, if you leave a warm apple pie in a winter window eventually the pie would cool down to the same temperature as the surrounding air.

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Aug 19, 2016

Focus: Giant Molecule Made from Two Atoms

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics

Experiments confirm the existence of 1-micrometer-sized molecules made of two cesium atoms by showing that their binding energies agree with predictions.

Strongly bound diatomic molecules such as H2H2or O2O2 are less than a nanometer across. Surprisingly, scientists have been able to create two-atom molecules more than a thousand times larger by using exotic atoms that attract one another only very weakly. Now, a pair of physicists have calculated what makes these “macrodimers” stable, and they have verified their predictions by creating micrometer-sized molecules containing two cesium atoms. The macrodimers could have applications in quantum computing.

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