Archive for the ‘physics’ category: Page 8

Aug 15, 2023

A New Idea for How to Assemble Life

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry, physics

These and other missions on the horizon will face the same obstacle that has plagued scientists since they first attempted to search for signs of Martian biology with the Viking landers in the 1970s: There is no definitive signature of life.

That might be about to change. In 2021, a team led by Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow in Scotland and Sara Walker of Arizona State University proposed a very general way to identify molecules made by living systems—even those using unfamiliar chemistries. Their method, they said, simply assumes that alien life forms will produce molecules with a chemical complexity similar to that of life on Earth.

Called assembly theory, the idea underpinning the pair’s strategy has even grander aims. As laid out in a recent series of publications, it attempts to explain why apparently unlikely things, such as you and me, even exist at all. And it seeks that explanation not, in the usual manner of physics, in timeless physical laws, but in a process that imbues objects with histories and memories of what came before them. It even seeks to answer a question that has perplexed scientists and philosophers for millennia: What is life, anyway?

Aug 15, 2023

Breaking Physics: Muon G-2 Experiment Reinforces Surprise Result, Setting Up “Ultimate Showdown”

Posted by in category: physics

Findings at Fermilab show discrepancy between theory and experiment, which may lead to new physics beyond the Standard Model.

Physicists now have a brand-new measurement of a property of the muon called the anomalous magnetic moment that improves the precision of their previous result by a factor of 2.

An international collaboration of scientists working on the Muon g-2 experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory announced the much-anticipated updated measurement on August 10. This new value bolsters the first result they announced in April 2021, and sets up a showdown between theory and experiment over 20 years in the making.

Aug 14, 2023

Gravitational waves show black holes prefer certain masses before they collide

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

A preference for “universal masses” 9 and 16 times the mass of our Sun have been identified in the gravitational-wave events detected so far.

Aug 14, 2023

Scientists Achieve the Impossible by transmitting Sound Through Empty Space (Vacuum)

Posted by in categories: alien life, nanotechnology, physics

The classic film “Alien” was once promoted with the tagline “In space, no one can hear you scream.” Physicists Zhuoran Geng and Ilari Maasilta from the Nanoscience Center at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, have demonstrated that, on the contrary, in certain situations, sound can be transmitted strongly across a vacuum region.

In a recent article published in Communications Physics they show that in some cases, a sound wave can jump or “tunnel” fully across a vacuum gap between two solids if the materials in question are piezoelectric. In such materials, vibrations (sound waves) produce an electrical response as well, and since an electric field can exist in vacuum, it can transmit the sound waves.

The requirement is that the size of the gap is smaller than the wavelength of the sound wave. This effect works not only in audio range of frequencies (Hz–kHz), but also in ultrasound (MHz) and hypersound (GHz) frequencies, as long as the vacuum gap is made smaller as the frequencies increase.

Aug 13, 2023

Rethinking Sound in Space: Physicists Demonstrate How Sound Can Cross the Vacuum

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, physics, space

The iconic movie Alien once claimed: “In space, no one can hear you scream.” However, physicists Zhuoran Geng and Ilari Maasilta from the Nanoscience Center at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, beg to differ. Their recent research suggests that under specific conditions, sound can indeed be transmitted powerfully across a vacuum.

Their findings, published recently in the journal Communications Physics, reveal that in certain scenarios, sound waves can “tunnel” through a vacuum gap between two solid objects, provided those objects are piezoelectric. These particular materials generate an electrical response when subjected to sound waves or vibrations. Given that an electric field can be present in a vacuum, it can effectively carry these sound waves across.

The requirement is that the size of the gap is smaller than the wavelength of the sound wave. This effect works not only in the audio range of frequencies (Hz-kHz), but also in ultrasound (MHz) and hypersound (GHz) frequencies, as long as the vacuum gap is made smaller as the frequencies increase.

Aug 13, 2023

5 Years, 430,000 MPH, and Counting: How NASA’s Parker Solar Probe Is Making History

Posted by in categories: government, physics, space

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe marks five successful years in space, achieving milestones like touching the Sun and collecting more than double the expected data. The mission’s continuing journey promises to deepen our understanding of space weather and the Sun’s effects on Earth. Credit: NASA GSFC/CIL/Brian Monroe.


Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is “To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.” Its core values are “safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion.” NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.

Aug 12, 2023

Hundreds of mysterious structures found at the heart of the Milky Way

Posted by in categories: physics, space

The above image may look like a piece of colourful, abstract art, but it is, in fact, a glimpse at the very heart of our galaxy.

Most of us can’t even begin to imagine what lurks beyond our solar system, but astrophysicists in the US have discovered a whole colony of incredible structures at the centre of the Milky Way.

Scientists already knew that mysterious, magnetised strands hang in space, but a new investigation has uncovered a whole new population of them, and found that they are handily pointing in the direction of the galactic centre.

Aug 12, 2023

Why do matter and the universe exist at all? Scientists get closer to the answer

Posted by in categories: physics, space

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Eric A. Cornell explains how a record-breaking physics study could help explain the mystery of asymmetry.

Aug 12, 2023

ESA’s Gaia satellite spots ‘retired stars’ passing through young star-forming area

Posted by in categories: computing, physics, space

These waves can reach heights comparable to stacking three suns on top of each other.

Astronomers have discovered a strange star system with “monster” tidal waves breaking on one of its stars. Astrophysicists from the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) developed new computer models to better understand the impact of huge surface waves.

The new models reveal “titanic waves” created by the tides of a smaller companion star to be repeatedly crashing on the colossal star in the system. This phenomenon has never been detected on a star, making it a significant discovery.

Continue reading “ESA’s Gaia satellite spots ‘retired stars’ passing through young star-forming area” »

Aug 10, 2023

Metaphysical knowledge and natural sciences: Metaphysics without physics

Posted by in category: physics

Rene Descartes, the father of cartesian philosophy, puts forward the relationship between sciences and especially the relation of metaphysics with other sciences through a metaphor known as the “Tree of Knowledge.” He describes knowledge as a tree and sciences are connected with each other as if they are parts of a tree. Its trunk is physics, its branches are other sciences and the fruit, which is considered to be the goal of a tree, is the science of morals. We are familiar with this metaphor and its varieties in philosophy and Sufism. In particular, it is a common metaphor to accept morals as “the fruit.” Morals, which are the intent of scientific activity, are deemed worthy of being the fruit, or the goal, by many thinkers. As a matter of fact, Ibn Arabi and Qunawi also used the same metaphor. They categorized the science of morals that is often identified with Sufism as the fruit of a tree and the goal of all human endeavors. Descartes completes his metaphor by saying that the tree’s roots are metaphysics. It is the roots that sustain a tree; the trunk, branches and fruits all depend on roots and are nourished by them, which makes the roots the most indispensable part. In this respect, this metaphor can be interpreted as a tribute to metaphysics.

While the tree of knowledge designates the place metaphysics holds among sciences, it seems to correspond with classical metaphysics, at least formally. Because the principal and subsidiary divisions of science (root and branch) are used by classical metaphysics to explain the relation of metaphysics with other sciences, the concepts of “principle and subsidiary” can be replaced by “universal and divisive,” and the meaning will not change: Metaphysics is a universal science and all other sciences serve to it as its particulars. It separates from other sciences, which examine the being from a specific angle, as metaphysics examines being qua being. Its superiority comes from this unique field of research. Because of its superior status, metaphysics is entrusted with another duty: Universal science is the most fundamental field as it certifies the principles of other sciences. The most controversial part of this assertion is whether such a superior science is possible and, if so, what method it has to attain knowledge. We will get to that, but now it is enough to state that: Despite the formal similarities, it is unlikely that Descartes could form a metaphysical understanding through this metaphor in the classical sense.

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