Archive for the ‘particle physics’ category: Page 367

May 26, 2016

Doubling down on Schrödinger’s cat

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

Could Yale physicists finally give Schrödinger’s cat a second box to play in proving the superposition of states.

Yale physicists have given Schrödinger’s famous cat a second box to play in, and the result may help further the quest for reliable quantum computing.

Schrödinger’s cat is a well-known paradox that applies the concept of superposition in quantum physics to objects encountered in everyday life. The idea is that a cat is placed in a sealed box with a radioactive source and a poison that will be triggered if an atom of the radioactive substance decays. Quantum physics suggests that the cat is both alive and dead (a superposition of states), until someone opens the box and, in doing so, changes the quantum state.

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May 26, 2016

Physicists think they might have just detected a fifth force of nature

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space

Physics can be pretty intense at times, but one of the most straightforward aspects is that everything in the Universe is controlled by just four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetic, and strong and weak nuclear forces.

But now physicists in Hungary think they might have found evidence of a mysterious fifth force of nature. And, if verified, it would mean we’d need to rethink our understanding of how the Universe actually works.

Before we get into that, let’s go back to those four forces for a second, because they’re pretty important. They’re a fundamental part of the standard model of physics, which explain all the behaviour and particles we see in the Universe.

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May 25, 2016

NASA just found even more evidence that Europa could host alien life

Posted by in categories: alien life, particle physics

More Videos by Quarks To Quasars.

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May 24, 2016

Scientist suggests possible link between primordial black holes and dark matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

Dark matter is a mysterious substance composing most of the material universe, now widely thought to be some form of massive exotic particle. An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of black holes formed during the first second of our universe’s existence, known as primordial black holes. Now a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, suggests that this interpretation aligns with our knowledge of cosmic infrared and X-ray background glows and may explain the unexpectedly high masses of merging black holes detected last year.

“This study is an effort to bring together a broad set of ideas and observations to test how well they fit, and the fit is surprisingly good,” said Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard. “If this is correct, then all galaxies, including our own, are embedded within a vast sphere of black holes each about 30 times the sun’s mass.”

In 2005, Kashlinsky led a team of astronomers using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to explore the background glow of infrared light in one part of the sky. The researchers reported excessive patchiness in the glow and concluded it was likely caused by the aggregate light of the first sources to illuminate the universe more than 13 billion years ago. Follow-up studies confirmed that this cosmic infrared background (CIB) showed similar unexpected structure in other parts of the sky.

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May 24, 2016

New evidence could break the standard view of quantum mechanics

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Quantum mechanics is difficult to understand at the best of times, but new evidence suggests that the current standard view of how particles behave on the quantum scale could be very, very wrong.

In fact, the experiment hints that an alternative view predicted almost a century ago might have been right this whole time. And before you get too bummed about that, the good news is that, if confirmed, it would actually make quantum mechanics a whole lot simpler to understand.

So let’s step back for a second here and break this down. First thing’s first, this is just one study, and A LOT more replication and verification would be needed before the standard view comes crumbling down. So don’t go burning any text books just yet, okay? Good.

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May 24, 2016

We can begin an interstellar mission today – and we should

Posted by in categories: particle physics, space travel

Fifty-five years ago, Yuri Gagarin rocketed into orbit and began to break our bonds to our planet. To mark the occasion, the nonprofit Breakthrough Institute just announced plans to free us from an even more formidable set of bonds and send a fleet of small spacecraft beyond our solar system, off to the stars. News of the ‘Breakthrough Starshot’ plan was met with great enthusiasm, but also with more than a little skepticism. The distance between stars is vast. Our closest neighbour, the Alpha Centauri system, is 4.4 light years away – roughly 25 trillion miles. The Voyager 1 spacecraft, the fastest object ever created by humans, would take 70,000 years to travel that far. Many reporters greeted the Breakthrough Starshot as an idea grounded more in fantasy than in reality.

The reaction was understandable. All previous plans for interstellar flight relied on non-existent or impractical technologies such as antimatter, wormholes and warp drives. But now we have a concrete path forward, which I have published in detail. It is possible to begin the journey to the stars today.

Drawing on recent advances in photonics and electronics, we could use arrays of lasers to accelerate miniature probes (the size and mass of a semiconductor wafer, weighing less than one ounce) to unprecedented velocities. Particles of light, or photons, have no rest mass but they carry energy and momentum. Just as a sailboat can be propelled by the wind, light sails can ride the momentum of photons by reflecting a wind of intense laser light. We call such focused beams of light ‘directed energy’.

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May 24, 2016

Precise atom implants in silicon provide a first step toward practical quantum computers

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


Sandia National Laboratories has taken a first step toward creating a practical quantum computer, able to handle huge numbers of computations instantaneously.

Here’s the recipe:

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May 24, 2016

Where Is New Physics Hiding, And How Can We Find It?

Posted by in categories: cosmology, particle physics

The Standard Models of particle physics and cosmology don’t add up to all there is. What might be the next giant leap forward?

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May 23, 2016

Size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene

Posted by in categories: electronics, particle physics

Printed Electronics World Tags.

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May 23, 2016

Viewpoint: An Arrested Implosion

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

The collapse of a trapped ultracold magnetic gas is arrested by quantum fluctuations, creating quantum droplets of superfluid atoms.

Macroscopic implosions of quantum matter waves have now been halted by quantum fluctuations. The quantum wave in question is an atomic Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), a quantum state with thousands to tens of millions of atoms in an ultracold gas all sharing the same macroscopic wave function. Attractive atomic interactions can cause BECs to collapse in spectacular ways, in what’s been termed a “bosenova,” a lighthearted allusion to a supernova explosion [1]. Tilman Pfau and colleagues from the University of Stuttgart, Germany, have shown that for BECs made of dysprosium, whose bosonic isotopes are among the most magnetic atoms in the periodic table, long-range dipole-dipole interactions between these neutral atoms create a totally new phenomenon: the arrested collapse of a quantum magnetic fluid, called a quantum ferrofluid [2, 3]. Such a ferrofluid relies crucially on the strong dipolar interactions in the dysprosium gas.

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