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Apr 23, 2024

Witnessing the Birth of Skyrmions

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

Using thin layers of chiral nematic liquid crystals, researchers have observed the formation dynamics of skyrmions.

A skyrmion is a topologically stable, vortex-like field configuration that cannot be smoothly morphed to a uniform state [1]. First proposed by physicist Tony Skyrme in 1961 as a model of the nucleon [2], the concept has since been studied in condensed-matter physics and adjacent fields [3]. In particular, skyrmions have cropped up in studies of magnetism [4], Bose-Einstein condensates [5], quantum Hall systems [6], liquid crystals [7], and in other contexts (see, for example, Viewpoint: Water Can Host Topological Waves and Synopsis: Skyrmions Made from Sound Waves). Skyrmions exhibit fascinating properties such as small size, stability, and controllability, which give them great potential for applications in spintronics, data storage, and quantum computing.

Apr 23, 2024

Seeing Collisions in Cold Molecular Clouds

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Dense ensembles of laser-cooled molecules allow the observation of molecular collisions—a result that could lead to applications of cold molecular gases in quantum simulation and fundamental physics tests.

Apr 23, 2024

Some White Dwarfs Might be Older than Previously Thought

Posted by in categories: energy, physics, space

More than 97% of the stars in our Galaxy will end their lives with a whimper—slowly cooling as stellar remnants known as white dwarfs. The cooling of white dwarfs follows a pattern that was thought to be so predictable that the temperatures of white dwarfs are used to determine the age of surrounding stars. New findings, however, indicate this pattern may need revision [1]. Predictions made by Antoine Bédard of the University of Warwick, UK, and his colleagues now indicate that some white dwarfs may undergo a process that “reinvigorates” the stars, significantly slowing down the cooling process. That change could alter the calculated ages of white dwarfs by billions of years.

When a small star (one with a mass 8 times or less that of the Sun) runs out of nuclear fuel, it sheds its outer layers to form a planetary nebula. The core of the star then collapses into a white dwarf. Producing no heat, white dwarfs spend their existences radiating their remaining energy into space, cooling and solidifying from the inside out. Or so astrophysicists thought.

In 2019, this model was disrupted by astronomers analyzing data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission. The researchers identified a previously unknown population of white dwarfs within the Milky Way with anomalous properties [2]. As stars age, their velocities increase with respect to nearby stars because of repeated gravitational interactions with those stars. The newly identified white dwarfs, dubbed the Q branch, have much higher average velocities than models indicate they should have based on their temperatures, a finding that suggests that the Q-branch white dwarfs are older than previously thought. Some process is slowing down the cooling.

Apr 23, 2024

MultiBooth: Towards Generating All Your Concepts in an Image from Text

Posted by in category: futurism

From tsinghua university, SIGS, & meta reality labs.


Towards Generating All Your Concepts in an Image from Text

Continue reading “MultiBooth: Towards Generating All Your Concepts in an Image from Text” »

Apr 23, 2024

Paper page — The Instruction Hierarchy: Training LLMs to Prioritize Privileged Instructions

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

New paper from OpenAI on prompt injection.

Open AI presents The Instruction Hierarchy.

Training llms to prioritize privileged instructions.

Continue reading “Paper page — The Instruction Hierarchy: Training LLMs to Prioritize Privileged Instructions” »

Apr 23, 2024

Mutant Bacteria Discovered Aboard International Space Station

Posted by in categories: alien life, genetics

The International Space Station has long been known as a unique — and uniquely gross — environment. But according to a new NASA study, it has stuff growing on it that is straight-up alien, too.

In a press release, NASA said that when scientists from the Jet Propulsion Lab looked at samples of the drug-resistant Enterobacter bugandensis bacteria found on the orbital outpost, they found that the strains had mutated into something that literally doesn’t exist on Earth.

“Study findings indicate that under stress, the ISS isolated strains were mutated and became genetically and functionally distinct compared to their Earth counterparts,” the press release reads. “The strains were able to viably persist in the ISS over time in significant abundances.”

Apr 22, 2024

For first time in a billion years, two lifeforms have merged into one

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

The process, called primary endosymbiosis, has only happened twice in the history of the Earth, with the first time giving rise to all complex life as we know it through mitochondria. The second time that it happened saw the emergence of plants.

Now, an international team of scientists have observed the evolutionary event happening between a species of algae commonly found in the ocean and a bacterium.

“The first time we think it happened, it gave rise to all complex life,” said Tyler Coale, a postdoctoral researcher at University of California, Santa Cruz, who led the research on one of two recent studies that uncovered the phenomenon.

Apr 22, 2024

Detecting cancer in minutes possible with just a drop of dried blood and new test, study hints

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Early tests suggest that a new tool that requires only a single drop of blood could detect three of the deadliest forms of cancer.

Apr 22, 2024

Nanofluidic memristors compute in brain-inspired logic circuits

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

A memristor that uses changes in ion concentrations and mechanical deformations to store information has been developed by researchers at EPFL in Switzerland.

Research could lead to the development of electrolytic computers.

Apr 22, 2024

Announcing the birth of QUIONE, a unique analog quantum processor

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Quantum physics requires high-precision sensing techniques to delve deeper into the microscopic properties of materials. From the analog quantum processors that have emerged recently, quantum-gas microscopes have proven to be powerful tools for understanding quantum systems at the atomic level. These devices produce images of quantum gases with very high resolution: They allow individual atoms to be detected.

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