Randy Wayne takes new look at relativity When resolving why electrons can never beat the speed limit set by light, it might be best to forget about time. Thanks to insight from studying movement inside a biological cell, it seems that light itself -- not the relativity of time -- may be the traffic cop, according to a Cornell biologist. Any space with a temperature above absolute zero consists of photons. Wayne's research, "Charged Particles Are Prevented From Going Faster Than the Speed of Light by Light Itself: A Biophysical Cell Biologist's Contribution to Physics," appears in the November 2010 issue of Acta Physica Polonica B. On determining whether electrons can surpass the speed of light, Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity contends that electrons are prevented from exceeding the speed of light as a result of the relativity of time.
Laser Crosswalk Saves Pedestrians From a Painful Death When the light turns red, a huge laser wall projecting apparitions of crossing pedestrians spans across the crosswalk. The concept is designed to keep crossing pedestrians safe from any overzealous drivers who otherwise might have ran the red light. Link [via] Researchers now able to stop, restart light By William J. Cromie Gazette Staff "Two years ago we slowed it down to 38 miles an hour; now we've been able to park it then bring it back up to full speed." Lene Hau isn't talking about a used motorbike, but about light – that ethereal, life-sustaining stuff that normally travels 93 million miles from the sun in about eight minutes. Less than five years ago, the speed of light was considered one of the universe's great constants. Hau, 41, a professor of physics at Harvard, admits that the famous genius would "probably be stunned" at the results of her experiments. "It's nifty to look into the chamber and see a clump of ultracold atoms floating there," Hau says. She and her team continued to tweak their system until they finally brought light to a complete stop. Inspired by Hau's success at slowing light, researchers working on a wooded hill a few miles away at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) used a similar technique to stop, then restart, a light beam.
Teleportation Teleportation is the name given by science fiction writers to the feat of making an object or person disintegrate in one place while a perfect replica appears somewhere else. How this is accomplished is usually not explained in detail, but the general idea seems to be that the original object is scanned in such a way as to extract all the information from it, then this information is transmitted to the receiving location and used to construct the replica, not necessarily from the actual material of the original, but perhaps from atoms of the same kinds, arranged in exactly the same pattern as the original. A teleportation machine would be like a fax machine, except that it would work on 3-dimensional objects as well as documents, it would produce an exact copy rather than an approximate facsimile, and it would destroy the original in the process of scanning it. In 1993 an international group of six scientists, including IBM Fellow Charles H. C.H. Bennett, G. Experimental Articles D.
Coriolis-like effect found 184 years before Coriolis - physics-math - 14 January 2011 The cosmos loves irony. While trying to prove that the Earth is fixed in space, an Italian priest described something similar to the Coriolis effect – the slight deflection experienced by objects moving in a rotating frame of reference – nearly 200 years before mathematician Gustave Coriolis worked it out in 1835. In 1651, Giovanni Riccioli published 77 arguments against the idea that the apparent motions of the heavens were due to the Earth's rotation and orbit around the sun. These included claims that Hell would be in the wrong place, aesthetic concerns over proportion and harmony, and more scientific approaches. Now, Christopher Graney at Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville, Kentucky, has translated them from Latin, and discovered that Riccioli conjectured phenomena resembling the Coriolis effect (arxiv.org/abs/1012.3642). In reality, the Coriolis effect is subtle, noticeable mainly in large-scale systems such as weather patterns and ocean currents. (YouTube)
For One Tiny Instant, Physicists May Have Broken a Law of Nature This image of a full-energy collision between gold ions shows the paths taken by thousands of subatomic particles produced during the impact. For a brief instant, it appears, scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island recently discovered a law of nature had been broken. Action still resulted in an equal and opposite reaction, gravity kept the Earth circling the Sun, and conservation of energy remained intact. Parity was long thought to be a fundamental law of nature. Now this law appears to have been broken by a team of about a dozen particle physicists, including Jack Sandweiss, Yale's Donner Professor of Physics. The team created something called a quark-gluon plasma — a kind of "soup" that results when energies reach high enough levels to break up protons and neutrons into their constituent quarks and gluons, the fundamental building blocks of matter. "A very interesting thing happened in these extreme conditions," Sandweiss says. — By Suzanne Taylor Muzzin
Beam Me Up: 'Teleportation' Is Year's Biggest Breakthrough - FoxNews.com Crew members on the Starship Enterprise beamed to alien planets via teleporters. Now scientists are perfecting a way to communicate via a similar technology.NBC Thanks to physics, and the truly bizarre quirks of quarks, those Star Trek style teleporters may be more than fiction. A strange discovery by quantum physicists at the University of California Santa Barbara means that an object you can see in front of you may exist simultaneously in a parallel universe -- a multi-state condition that has scientists theorizing that teleportation or even time travel may be much more than just the plaything of science fiction writers. Until this year, all human-made objects have moved according to the laws of classical mechanics, the rules governing ordinary objects. And the implication -- that teleportation and even time travel may someday, somehow be a reality -- is so groundbreaking that Science magazine has labelled it the most significant scientific advance of 2010. Crazy?
Scientists discover snowflake identical to one which fell in 1963 Scientists were today able to dispel the age-old belief that no two snowflakes are the same, using state of the art microscopy and by catching flakes as they fell in specially designed equipment while sitting at a table outside a pub in Norwich. The team of researchers, backed by a £20m grant, were able to make an identical match to the famous Bentley flake, photographed 47 years ago by amateur snowflakeologist Wilson Bentley. ‘It’s one of the last remaining challenges known to science and we’ve cracked it at last,’ said lead researcher, Professor Kenneth Libbrecht. The scientists then ordered another round and considered the futility of existence, an activity for which they also receive a grant worth twice the GDP of Tonga. Picture by larryharry Click to send this story to a friend
The Case for Parallel Universe Editor's note: In the August issue of Scientific American, cosmologist George Ellis describes why he's skeptical about the concept of parallel universes. Here, multiverse proponents Alexander Vilenkin and Max Tegmark offer counterpoints, explaining why the multiverse would account for so many features of our universe—and how it might be tested. Welcome to the Multiverse By Alexander Vilenkin The universe as we know it originated in a great explosion that we call the big bang. For nearly a century cosmologists have been studying the aftermath of this explosion: how the universe expanded and cooled down, and how galaxies were gradually pulled together by gravity. Inflation is a period of super-fast, accelerated expansion in early cosmic history. The end of inflation is triggered by quantum, probabilistic processes and does not occur everywhere at once. The theory of inflation explained some otherwise mysterious features of the big bang, which simply had to be postulated before.
Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names Arsole Yes, believe it or not, there is actually a molecule called Arsole... and it's a ring! It is the arsenic equivalent of pyrrole, and although it is rarely found in its pure form, it is occasionally seen as a sidegroup in the form of organic arsolyls. Thanks to Neil Brookes, Nicholas Welham, Andy Shipway, Lloyd Evans, Peter Sims, John Perkins, Bob Buntrock and Ben Mills for some of the info and details about these molecules. CERN: Light Speed May Have Been Exceeded By Subatomic Particle GENEVA — One of the very pillars of physics and Einstein's theory of relativity – that nothing can go faster than the speed of light – was rocked Thursday by new findings from one of the world's foremost laboratories. European researchers said they clocked an oddball type of subatomic particle called a neutrino going faster than the 186,282 miles per second that has long been considered the cosmic speed limit. The claim was met with skepticism, with one outside physicist calling it the equivalent of saying you have a flying carpet. In fact, the researchers themselves are not ready to proclaim a discovery and are asking other physicists to independently try to verify their findings. "The feeling that most people have is this can't be right, this can't be real," said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, which provided the particle accelerator that sent neutrinos on their breakneck 454-mile trip underground from Geneva to Italy.
What Do You Mean, the Universe Is Flat? Part II: In Which We Actually Answer the Question | Degrees of Freedom Stand up. Walk 10 feet straight ahead. Turn left by 90 degrees. Walk another 10 feet. Now the next time you walk 10 feet ahead, you’ll trace the fourth and last side of a square, and you’ll end up where you started. This seems intuitively obvious, even tautological—if you trace a square on the ground, well, you trace a square on the ground—but it is actually an empirical fact. There is no a priori reason why walking four equal sides and turning four right angles should take you exactly back to the same place. As a matter of fact, it is not exactly true empirically, either. Our intuition tells us that every square should close. In the previous part of this series, Part I, I promised that Part II would explain what it means for the universe to be flat. Euclid Tried So far I have intentionally emphasized the physical nature of this phenomenon called curvature of space. But geometry does not have to work that way. So start at any point on the equator and head for the North Pole. Perhaps.
Wave–particle duality Origin of theory The idea of duality originated in a debate over the nature of light and matter that dates back to the 17th century, when Christiaan Huygens and Isaac Newton proposed competing theories of light: light was thought either to consist of waves (Huygens) or of particles (Newton). Through the work of Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Louis de Broglie, Arthur Compton, Niels Bohr, and many others, current scientific theory holds that all particles also have a wave nature (and vice versa). This phenomenon has been verified not only for elementary particles, but also for compound particles like atoms and even molecules. For macroscopic particles, because of their extremely short wavelengths, wave properties usually cannot be detected. Brief history of wave and particle viewpoints Thomas Young's sketch of two-slit diffraction of waves, 1803 Particle impacts make visible the interference pattern of waves. A quantum particle is represented by a wave packet.
9 Things You Didn't Know About Benjamin Franklin It's Fun Friday -- time for some fun for the weekend. Enjoy today's post and I'll see you back here on Monday with more philatelic news and notes. United States, 1938Scott #803 In 1938, the United States issued a set of definitive postage stamps featuring images of the nation's first 29 presidents. This issue has affectionately become known as the Prexies issue. For those not familiar with fractional postage, some types of U.S. mail required a partial cent, even though there was no coinage for half cents in use in the United States at the time. The first stamp (in denomination order) is the half-cent Benjamin Franklin issue. Many people know that Ben Franklin supported having the turkey as the national emblem for the United States, as opposed to the majestic Bald Eagle, and know that he invented the lightning rod, but do you know these facts? He never once sought public office. Previous Fun Friday Posts