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Archive for the ‘physics’ category: Page 11

Aug 19, 2022

New underground lab to shed light on dark matter

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Half a mile-deep lab is shielded with 100 tons of steel.

A gold mine located over half a mile (one km) underground in Victoria, Australia, has been converted into the Stawell Underground Physics Laboratory to study dark matter, a press release from Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) said.

Scientists believe that dark matter, the invisible substance largely unknown to mankind, makes up 85 percent of our universe’s mass. To know more about it, scientists have been building dark matter detectors, and one of the “most sensitive” detectors delivered some significant results last month.

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Aug 19, 2022

Looking inside a neutron star: New model will improve insights gleaned from gravitational waves

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

The oscillations in binary neutron stars before they merge could have big implications for the insights scientists can glean from gravitational wave detection.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham have demonstrated the way in which these unique vibrations, caused by the interactions between the two stars’ tidal fields as they get close together, affect gravitational-wave observations. The study is published in Physical Review Letters.

Taking these movements into account could make a huge difference to our understanding of the data taken by the Advanced LIGO and Virgo instruments, set up to detect —ripples in time and space—produced by the merging of black holes and neutron stars.

Aug 17, 2022

Technology to Make Interstellar Missions Possible and Affordable

Posted by in categories: physics, space travel

Arrays of lasers can be used to push light weight solar sails to other stars. This has been funded with over $100 millon and it builds upon the technology of the $600 billion laser and photonics industry. A recent paper looks at how different technological improvements will make it more feasible and improve the costs. Integrated photonics and mass production of most of the modular systems will be fundamentally necessary to afford the full-scale realization of this vision. Researchers have derived an analytical cost model which is driven by the fundamental physics of the proposed system. This allows us to make economically informed decisions and create a logical path forward to interstellar flight.

Aug 17, 2022

Black Holes Are the Terrifying Behemoths of Space. Here’s How They Tick

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

A new approach to an age-old question.

Black holes are among some of the most mysterious objects in the Universe. They are the remnants of massive stars that have reached the end of their life cycles and collapsed into a region of spacetime that is incredibly dense. Their gravitational force is so strong that nothing can escape their surface.

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Aug 16, 2022

Has a Superintellect Monkeyed With Our Universe’s Physics?

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry, physics

In this second portion of a talk at the Dallas Conference on Science and Faith (2021), philosopher Steve Meyer discusses the ways in which groundbreaking astronomer Fred Hoyle (1915–2001) dealt with the fact that the universe seems fine-tuned for life. Hoyle’s widely cited comment on the subject was “A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature.” That was an unsettling idea for Hoyle, who was a well-known atheist, and he certainly sought ways around it. How did he fare?

Aug 16, 2022

Physics Duo Finds Magic in Two Dimensions

Posted by in category: physics

😗


In exploring a family of two-dimensional crystals, a husband-and-wife team is uncovering a potent variety of new electron behaviors.

Aug 16, 2022

Astronomer Have Discovered A Mysterious Object, Which Is 570 Billion Times Brighter Than The Sun

Posted by in categories: physics, space

So bright that it pushes the energy limit of physics.

Billions of light years away, there is a massive ball of hot gas that is brighter than hundreds of billions of suns. It is tough to imagine something so bright. So, what is it? Astronomers are not really sure, but they have a couple of theories.

Aug 16, 2022

A Relativistic Theory of Consciousness

Posted by in categories: mathematics, neuroscience, physics

In recent decades, the scientific study of consciousness has significantly increased our understanding of this elusive phenomenon. Yet, despite critical development in our understanding of the functional side of consciousness, we still lack a fundamental theory regarding its phenomenal aspect. There is an “explanatory gap” between our scientific knowledge of functional consciousness and its “subjective,” phenomenal aspects, referred to as the “hard problem” of consciousness. The phenomenal aspect of consciousness is the first-person answer to “what it’s like” question, and it has thus far proved recalcitrant to direct scientific investigation. Naturalistic dualists argue that it is composed of a primitive, private, non-reductive element of reality that is independent from the functional and physical aspects of consciousness. Illusionists, on the other hand, argue that it is merely a cognitive illusion, and that all that exists are ultimately physical, non-phenomenal properties. We contend that both the dualist and illusionist positions are flawed because they tacitly assume consciousness to be an absolute property that doesn’t depend on the observer. We develop a conceptual and a mathematical argument for a relativistic theory of consciousness in which a system either has or doesn’t have phenomenal consciousness with respect to some observer. Phenomenal consciousness is neither private nor delusional, just relativistic. In the frame of reference of the cognitive system, it will be observable (first-person perspective) and in other frame of reference it will not (third-person perspective). These two cognitive frames of reference are both correct, just as in the case of an observer that claims to be at rest while another will claim that the observer has constant velocity. Given that consciousness is a relativistic phenomenon, neither observer position can be privileged, as they both describe the same underlying reality. Based on relativistic phenomena in physics we developed a mathematical formalization for consciousness which bridges the explanatory gap and dissolves the hard problem. Given that the first-person cognitive frame of reference also offers legitimate observations on consciousness, we conclude by arguing that philosophers can usefully contribute to the science of consciousness by collaborating with neuroscientists to explore the neural basis of phenomenal structures.

As one of the most complex structures we know of nature, the brain poses a great challenge to us in understanding how higher functions like perception, cognition, and the self arise from it. One of its most baffling abilities is its capacity for conscious experience (van Gulick, 2014). Thomas Nagel (1974) suggests a now widely accepted definition of consciousness: a being is conscious just if there is “something that it is like” to be that creature, i.e., some subjective way the world seems or appears from the creature’s point of view. For example, if bats are conscious, that means there is something it is like for a bat to experience its world through its echolocational senses. On the other hand, under deep sleep (with no dreams) humans are unconscious because there is nothing it is like for humans to experience their world in that state.

In the last several decades, consciousness has transformed from an elusive metaphysical problem into an empirical research topic. Nevertheless, it remains a puzzling and thorny issue for science. At the heart of the problem lies the question of the brute phenomena that we experience from a first-person perspective—e.g., what it is like to feel redness, happiness, or a thought. These qualitative states, or qualia, compose much of the phenomenal side of consciousness. These qualia are arranged into spatial and temporal patterns and formal structures in phenomenal experience, called eidetic or transcendental structures1. For example, while qualia pick out how a specific note sounds, eidetic structures refer to the temporal form of the whole melody. Hence, our inventory of the elusive properties of phenomenal consciousness includes both qualia and eidetic structures.

Aug 16, 2022

Gravitational-wave observatory amasses discoveries

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

The first GWs were detected in 2015 by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), when two black holes about 1.3 billion light-years away slammed into each other. LIGO consists of two interferometers — one in Louisiana, one in Washington state — which are L-shaped vacuum tunnels about 2.5 miles long on each side. A laser is shot from the crux of the L to mirrors at the end of each side, and if one of those laser beams arrives slightly late, the tardy beam is recorded by the detector. The detectors are sensitive enough to pick up nearby noises on Earth as well, such as passing trucks and falling trees. These events can mask or mimic gravitational-wave signals, so having two detectors far apart helps scientists distinguish real GW vibrations from false alarms.

The actual detector that spotted the first gravitational wave is now in the Nobel Prize Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, as the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for this discovery. But LIGO didn’t stop there: A few months later, in collaboration with the newly completed Virgo interferometer in Italy, LIGO detected another gravitational wave event — this time produced by colliding neutron stars. The discovery also corresponded with a short gamma-ray burst and subsequent discovery of the merger site with optical telescopes. Within days of that momentous discovery, however, LIGO went offline for scheduled upgrades.

Aug 16, 2022

Researchers developed a new robot that could help us travel around black holes

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics, robotics/AI

The machine functions in curved spaces defying the laws of Earth.

The robot recreates the same environment found around black holes. It does so by moving in a curved space. It could one day allow us to further study black holes.

There is one constant on Earth and that is that when humans, animals, and machines move, they always push against something, whether it’s the ground, air, or water. This fact consists of the law of conservation momentum and was up to now undisputed.

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