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Archive for the ‘physics’ category: Page 8

Apr 2, 2019

Information theory: explaining life with physics

Posted by in categories: biological, physics

Physicist Paul Davies discusses an emerging area of research that aims to merge physics and biology, to explain how life began.

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Mar 30, 2019

LIGO to Resume Its Nobel-winning Hunt for Gravitational Waves

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

The hunt for gravitational waves is back on. After a series of upgrades, the National Science Foundation’s Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) will resume its search for ripples in space and time on Monday, April 1.

LIGO is famous for making the first direct detection of gravitational waves in 2015, for which the observatory’s founders were awarded the Nobel Prize. The observatory was able to detect gravity waves generated by two colliding black holes which were located 1.3 billion light-years away from Earth, and since then has observed nine more black hole mergers and one collision of two neutron stars.

Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of spacetime, caused by massive bodies which bend it like a bowling ball placed on a rubber sheet. They were predicted by Einstein as part of his general theory of relativity in 1916, but it took nearly a century for physicists to observe them because the effects are so small. Since these waves have been detected, they can be used to investigate cosmic objects as an alternative to light-based telescopes.

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Mar 28, 2019

An experiment that solved a 100-year-old mystery posed by Einstein is about to turn back on — and it’s more powerful than ever

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

  • Colliding black holes and neutron stars create ripples in spacetime, called gravitational waves. These were “heard” for the first time in September 2015.
  • On Monday, a pair of gravitational-wave detectors called LIGO will turn back on after 6 months of downtime and upgrades.
  • To boost its power, the experiment will now work with a sister machine in Italy called Virgo.
  • Physicists expect the next period of searching for colliding black holes to last a year and be 40% more sensitive than before.

One of the most remarkable experiments in history — a pair of giant machines that listen for ripples in spacetime called gravitational waves — will wake up from a half-year nap on Monday. And it will be about 40% stronger than before.

That experiment is called the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO); it consists of two giant, L-shaped detectors that together solved a 100-year-old mystery posed by Albert Einstein.

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Mar 27, 2019

Physicists Create Stable ‘Supercrystals’

Posted by in categories: materials, physics

Stimulation with ultrafast light pulses can realize and manipulate states of matter with emergent structural, electronic and magnetic phenomena. According to a new study, published in the journal Nature Materials, an ultrafast laser pulse plus ‘frustration’ resulted in a new state of matter — a ‘supercrystal.’

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Mar 27, 2019

This Superfluid Is Alive, And It Could Power Machines of the Future

Posted by in categories: physics, solar power, sustainability

Fluids with zero viscosity seemingly defy the laws of physics and they have endless applications. But they’ve been hard to make, until now. The secret? Bacteria!

Scientists’ Crazy Plan to Power Solar Panels With E. Coli — https://youtu.be/_XZGrZ3DeLg

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Mar 21, 2019

Why an Incredible New CERN Observation Has Physicists Popping Champagne

Posted by in categories: physics, space

Scientists have announced the observation of “CP violation in a D meson” at CERN, a discovery that will appear in physics textbooks for years to come. You’re probably wondering what exactly it means.

The Universe is full of regular matter. There’s also antimatter, which exists even here on Earth, but there’s much less of it. This new observation is important on its own, but it also takes physicists another step closer to explaining where all the antimatter has disappeared to.

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Mar 20, 2019

One transistor for all purposes

Posted by in categories: computing, economics, nanotechnology, physics

In mobiles, fridges, planes – transistors are everywhere. But they often operate only within a restricted current range. LMU physicists have now developed an organic transistor that functions perfectly under both low and high currents.

Transistors are that control voltage and currents in electrical circuits. To reduce economic and , must become smaller and more effective. This applies above all to transistors. In the field of inorganic semiconductors, dimensions below 100 nanometers are already standard. In this respect, organic semiconductors have not been able to keep up. In addition, their performance with regard to charge-carrier transport is considerably worse. But organic structures offer other advantages. They can easily be printed on an , the material costs are lower, and they can be transparently applied to flexible surfaces.

Thomas Weitz, a professor in LMU’s Faculty of Physics and a member of the Nanosystems Initiative Munich, and his team are working intensively on the optimization of organic transistors. In their latest publication in Nature Nanotechnology, they describe the fabrication of transistors with an unusual structure, which are tiny, powerful and above all versatile. By carefully tailoring a small set of parameters during the , they have been able to design nanoscale devices for high or low current densities. The primary innovation lies in the use of an atypical geometry, which also facilitates assembly of the nanoscopic transistors.

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Mar 20, 2019

A surprising, cascading earthquake

Posted by in categories: physics, supercomputing

The Kaikoura earthquake in New Zealand in 2016 caused widespread damage. LMU researchers have now dissected its mechanisms revealing surprising insights on earthquake physics with the aid of simulations carried out on the supercomputer SuperMUC.

The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake (magnitude 7.8) on the South Island of New Zealand is among the most intriguing and best-documented seismic events anywhere in the world – and one of the most complex. The earthquake exhibited a number of unusual features, and the underlying geophysical processes have since been the subject of controversy. LMU geophysicists Thomas Ulrich and Dr. Alice-Agnes Gabriel, in cooperation with researchers based at the Université Côte d’Azur in Valbonne and at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, have now simulated the course of the earthquake with an unprecedented degree of realism. Their model, which was run on the Bavarian Academy of Science’s supercomputer SuperMUC at the Leibniz Computing Center (LRZ) in Munich, elucidates dynamic reasons for such uncommon multi-segment earthquake. This is an important step towards improving the accuracy of earthquake hazard assessments in other parts of the world. Their findings appear in the online journal Nature Communications.

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Mar 20, 2019

Physicists have discovered that rotating black holes might serve as portals for hyperspace travel

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

Physicists discovered rotating black holes might serve as portals for hyperspace travel. Here’s what would happen if you travel through a black hole.

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Mar 20, 2019

Science has a problem. Here is how you can help

Posted by in categories: physics, science

Science has a problem (especially theoretical physics). Here’s how you can help.


[I have gotten numerous requests by people who want to share Appendix C of my book. The content is copyrighted, of course, but my publisher kindly agreed that I can make it publicly available. You may use this text for non-commercial purposes, so long as you add the copyright disclaimer, see bottom of post.]

Both bottom-up and top-down measures are necessary to improve the current situation. This is an interdisciplinary problem whose solution requires input from the sociology of science, philosophy, psychology, and – most importantly – the practicing scientists themselves. Details differ by research area. One size does not fit all. Here is what you can do to help.

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