Time in a bottle

•February 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment


“It’s no longer just a wild theory. Two independent teams of physicists have followed a recipe to build the world’s first versions of an enigmatic form of matter – time crystals.

MIT physicist and Nobel laureate Frank speculated about the existence of time crystals in 2012, while teaching a class on ordinary crystals, such as salt, or snowflakes. In a typical crystal, the atoms or molecules are tightly arranged in regularly repeating patterns in three-dimensional space, resembling a lattice.

Wilczek thought it might be possible to create a similar crystal-like structure in time, which is treated as a fourth dimension under relativity. Instead of regularly repeating rows of atoms, a time crystal would exhibit regularly repeating motion.

Many physicists were sceptical, arguing that a time crystal whose atoms could loop forever, with no need for extra energy, would be tantamount to a perpetual motion machine – forbidden by the laws of physics.

Wilczek countered that a time crystal was more akin to a superconductor in which electrons flow with no resistance, and in theory could do so forever without the need to add energy to the system. In a time crystal, electrons would travel in a loop rather than a line and occasionally bunch up rather than flow smoothly, repeating in time the way atoms in ordinary crystals repeat in space.

Now, in a paper published this week, Norman Yao at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues have revealed a blueprint for making a time crystal. The recipe has already been followed by two teams…”

World’s first time crystals cooked up using new recipe – New Scientist

A Rocketry Revolution?

•January 27, 2017 • Leave a Comment


“Nearly a century after it was theorized, Harvard scientists report they have succeeded in creating the rarest material on the planet, which could eventually develop into one of its most valuable.

Thomas D. Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences Isaac Silvera and postdoctoral fellow Ranga Dias have long sought the material, called atomic metallic hydrogen. In addition to helping scientists answer some fundamental questions about the nature of matter, the material is theorized to have a wide range of applications, including as a room-temperature superconductor. Their research is described in a paper published today in Science.

‘This is the Holy Grail of high-pressure physics,’ Silvera said of the quest to find the material. ‘It’s the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you’re looking at it, you’re looking at something that’s never existed before.'”

Advance in high-pressure physics – Harvard Gazette

It’s just a(nother) phase

•January 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment


“Water is simple enough, but not too simple. This means that one possibility for explaining the apparent extra phase of water is that it behaves a little bit like a liquid crystal. The hydrogen bonds between molecules keep some order at low temperatures, but eventually could take a second, less-ordered liquid phase at higher temperatures. This could explain the kinks observed by the researchers in their data.

If confirmed, the authors’ findings could have many applications. For example, if changes in the environment (such as temperature) cause changes in a substance’s physical properties, then this can potentially be used for sensing applications. Perhaps more fundamentally, biological systems are mostly made of water. How biological molecules (such as proteins) interact with each other likely depends on the specific manner in which water molecules arrange to form a liquid phase. Understanding how water molecules arrange themselves on average at different temperatures could shed light on the workings of how they interact in biological systems.”

Scientists Find That Water Might Exist in a Whole New State – Smithsonian magazine 

Flipping [on] the Light Fantastic

•January 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment


“‘We can take the whole, intact protein, just the way nature made it, and stick this little knob on it that allows us to turn it on and off with light,’ said Hahn, Thurman Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology and a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member. ‘It’s like a switch.’

The switch that Hahn, Dokholyan and colleagues developed is versatile and fast – they can toggle a protein on or off as fast as they can toggle their light. By changing the intensity of light, they can also control how much of the protein is activated or inactivated. And by controlling the timing of irradiation, they can control exactly how long proteins are activated at different points in the cell…”

Scientists use light to control the logic networks of a cell – Phys.org

2016 didn’t totally suck…

•December 22, 2016 • Leave a Comment


“The well-known paradox presents the idea of a cat in a box that may be simultaneously alive and dead. The scenario was designed to illustrate some principles of the weird world of quantum physics. It is an example of quantum superposition, where particles can be in two different states at once. A US-French team created two microwave cavities (the boxes), while the cats were represented by large ensembles of photons. In a twist to the tale, the team showed that the ‘cat’ can be in two separate locations at the same time.”

‘Dead or alive’ cat in physics top 10 – BBC News

Avian GPS

•December 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment


“‘We think they are using quantum mechanics to navigate,’ said Daniel Kattnig, a researcher in the chemistry department at Oxford University. Kattnig works in a lab that studies radical pairs — a phenomenon in which atoms acquire extra electrons that are ‘entangled’ with one another, each affecting the other’s motion even though they’re separated by space…”

Why don’t birds get lost? They may have mastered quantum mechanics. – The Washington Post


Inflation vs. Light Speed Variation

•November 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

lightspeed“Magueijo and Afshordi’s theory does away with inflation and replaces it with a variable speed of light. According to their calculations, the heat of universe in its first moments was so intense that light and other particles moved at infinite speed. Under these conditions, light reached the most distant pockets of the universe and made it look as uniform as we see it today. ‘In our theory, if you go back to the early universe, there’s a temperature when everything becomes faster. The speed of light goes to infinity and propagates much faster than gravity,’ Afshordi said. ‘It’s a phase transition in the same way that water turns into steam.'”


“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” – Albert Einstein

Theory challenging Einstein’s view on speed of light could soon be tested – The Guardian

Symmetries and the emergence of chimera states

•November 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

“Order and disorder might seem dichotomous conditions of a functioning system, yet both states can, in fact, exist simultaneously and durably within a system of oscillators, in what’s called a chimera state. Taking its name from a composite creature in Greek mythology, this exotic state still holds a lot of mystery, but its fundamental nature offers potential in understanding governing dynamics across many scientific fields. A research team at the University of New Mexico has recently advanced this understanding with work that will be published this week in the journal Chaos…”

Chimera state: How synchrony and asynchrony co-exist – Phys.org

Be afraid, biology, be very afraid…

•April 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

DNA Entanglement

“There was a time, not so long ago, when biologists swore black and blue that quantum mechanics could play no role in the hot, wet systems of life.

Since then, the discipline of quantum biology has emerged as one of the most exciting new fields in science. It’s beginning to look as if quantum effects are crucial in a number of biological processes, such as photosynthesis and avian navigation…

Now a group of physicists say that the weird laws of quantum mechanics may be more important for life than biologists could ever have imagined. Their new idea is that DNA is held together by quantum entanglement.”

Quantum Entanglement Holds DNA Together, Say Physicists – Technology Review

Be Mystified. :)

•April 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

“Astronomers have discovered a curious empty section of space which is missing around 10,000 galaxies.

The ‘supervoid’, which is 1.8 billion light-years across, is the largest known structure ever discovered in the universe but scientists are baffled about what it is and why it is so barren.

It sits in a region of space which is much colder than other parts of the universe and although it is not a vacuum, it seems to have around 20 per cent less matter than other regions.

Although the Big Bang theory allows for areas that are cooler and hotter, the size of the void does not fit with predicted models. Simply put, it is too big to exist…”

Giant mysterious empty hole found in universe – telegraph.co.uk

I need more bandwidth. ;)

•August 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment


“Much like characters on a television show would not know that their seemingly 3 – D world exists only on a 2 – D screen, we could be clueless that our 3 – D space is just an illusion. The information about everything in our universe could actually be encoded in tiny packets in two dimensions.

Get close enough to your TV screen and you’ll see pixels, small points of data that make a seamless image if you stand back. Scientists think that the universe’s information may be contained in the same way, and that the natural “pixel size” of space is roughly 10 trillion trillion times smaller than an atom, a distance that physicists refer to as the Planck scale.”

Do we live in a 2-D hologram? New Fermilab experiment will test the nature of the universe – phys.org

Potato, Potahto…

•July 19, 2014 • 1 Comment


What we say and how we say it exacts a profound influence over how we experience the world – including our perceptions of “objective” reality. Is there such a thing?

A Facebook discussion on how language shapes the mind.


•July 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment


“In a new paper published as the July 2014 cover article in Nature Photonics, physicists Hyunseok Jeong, et al., at institutions in South Korea, Italy, and Australia, have devised and experimentally demonstrated a novel scheme to generate entanglement between quantum and classical (or “particle-like” and “wave-like”) states of light. This study marks the first time that physicists have generated entanglement between a single photon and a coherent wave-like state of light.”

Entanglement between particle and wave-like states of light resembles Schrodinger’s cat experiment (Update) – Phys.org

Because Al, from “Quantum Leap” :D

•December 13, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram – Nature

The Jewel at the Heart of Space and Time

•September 24, 2013 • 2 Comments



“… the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.” – Albert Einstein

“The amplituhedron is not built out of space-time and probabilities; these properties merely arise as consequences of the jewel’s geometry… Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated, “scattering amplitudes,” which represent the likelihood that a certain set of particles will turn into certain other particles upon colliding.

… The 60-year-old method for calculating scattering amplitudes — a major innovation at the time — was pioneered by the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman….“The number of Feynman diagrams is so explosively large that even computations of really simple processes weren’t done until the age of computers,” Bourjaily said….In 1986, it became apparent that Feynman’s apparatus was a Rube Goldberg machine.”

A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics – Quanta Magazine

After You, Red Shirts

•September 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“A team of University of Queensland physicists has transmitted an atom from one location to another inside an electronic chip.

The team, which includes Dr Arkady Fedorov and Dr Matthias Baur from UQ’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems and the School of Mathematics and Physics, published its findings in Nature.

Dr Fedorov said the team had achieved quantum teleportation for the first time, which could lead to larger electronic networks and more functional electronic chips.

‘This is a process by which quantum information can be transmitted from one place to another without sending a physical carrier of information,’ Dr Fedorov said.

‘In this process the information just appears at the destination, almost like teleportation used in the famous science fiction series Star Trek.’”

One step closer to teleportation – Science Alert

Singularity Singled Out?

•August 22, 2013 • 1 Comment

<<If this idea turns out to be right — and that is a very big if — it could pave the way for new ways to think about our universe. If we are lucky, they might even be as revolutionary as Edwin Hubble’s, almost a century ago.>>

Vintage Wheeler

•August 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment


My take: If we can get to the place where we understand that “reality” and what we perceive as its aspects are self-organizing data/information in constant flux within an interrelational context, the question posed by this article becomes moot. The rest – including debates about direct observation versus “indirect” observation (that is, observation via instruments designed by humans for the purpose of observation and that ultimately have a human making an observation of the instruments’ observations) – is mental masturbation… as are any attempts at using human thinking to disprove human thinking.

It is (Western) linguistic determinism and material reductionism that would advance an argument otherwise and make any of this more complicated than it actually is.

Does the Universe Exist if We’re Not Looking? – Discover

The line that can’t be drawn?

•July 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

“In Wineland’s lab at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, he and his colleagues take a single ionized atom of, say, beryllium and put it into a magnetic trap. There it acts a bit like a marble rolling around in a bowl. It’s on the left side of the bowl, it’s on the right, it’s in both places at once. This particular bowl is 80 nanometers wide, and the marble is a ‘wave packet’ that is all of seven nm. ‘You might argue that it isn’t really Schrodinger’s cat because it’s small,’ Wineland said. But where do you draw the line? ‘We struggle with that, because at this point there’s no way of finding that classical-quantum boundary.'”

The Blurry Line Between Quantum and Small – Scientific American

Whether the weather be cold, Whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather, Whatever the whether, Whether we like it or not…

•July 30, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“It’s a scientist’s duty to be properly skeptical, says Berkeley physics Prof. Richard Muller, who still says that much, if not most, of what is attributed to climate change is speculative, exaggerated or just plain wrong. He has analyzed some of the most alarmist claims and his skepticism about them hasn’t changed.

What has changed is his doubt about the very existence of global warming. And he is now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause, he says.”

Berkeley Physics Professor Richard Muller: Conversion Of A Climate Skeptic – Science 2.0