#TEDtalk #neuroscience DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) breakthroughs

As usual, the TED community has lots of news to share this week. Below, some highlights. Surface-level brain stimulation. The delivery of an electric current to the part of the brain involved in movement control, known as deep brain stimulation, is sometimes used to treat people with Parkinson’s disease, depression, epilepsy and obsessive compulsive disorder.…

via A noninvasive method for deep brain stimulation, a new class of Emerging Explorers, and much more — TED Blog


At Least 5 Reasons NOT to get a #Flu Shot This Year (or any year)

At Least 5 Reasons NOT to get a #Flu Shot This Year (or any year)

Yes, you can find hundreds of articles that tell you that everyone between 6 months and 100 years old MUST get a flu shot. But, if you read the references for those articles, they are clearly paid for and written by those who work for the mainstream medical/pharmaceutical industries.

Here are some that are NOT from those sources, but are nonetheless reliable, factual and important to read before deciding to get a flu shot this year (or any year).

BTW: If you’re reading this on January 1, 2018, it is almost officially too late in most of the world to have a flu shot be effective (it takes 2 – 3 weeks to work, IF it works; flu season is generally thought to be over by the end of January).

Some good reasons:
—There is little proof the flu vaccine is effective.

—Vaccines contain harmful adjuvants and preservatives, and possibly viral proteins.

—Influenza is not a serious threat.

from: Why Not To Get the Flu Shot

And, more or similar reasons:
—Studies Consistently Show Flu Shots Don’t Work

—There has been no decrease in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, despite the fact that vaccination coverage among the elderly has increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent today.

—The flu vaccine was no more effective for children than a placebo.

from: Why You Should Not Get the Flu Shot

These are my favorite reasons, here:
—It’s not effective for children under age 18 or for adults over 65.

—Between ages 18 to 65, it is only 30-50% effective in an average year (which means it fails between 50-70% of the time) and up to 80% in a perfectly matched year (a much lower number than most vaccines). THIS iS NOT a “perfectly matched year” by anyone’s reckoning (2017-18).

—There is no decrease in flu transmission rate or hospitalization rate for people who have gotten the flu vaccine.
from: Why Smart Doctors Don’t Get Flu Shots

IF YOU DO GET A FLU SHOT, do not get it too “early,” since it is only effective (IF it is effective that year) for about 2 – 3 months.
ALSO, do not wait too long (since it takes 2 – 3 weeks to “kick in,” IF it is even for the current strain of flu that year (which it often is not).

Good luck, drink lots of fluids, wash your hands and cover your coughs.

#Nobel Prize Winners 2017: Why we need scientists, peace activists, writers more than ever

#Nobel Prize Winners 2017:
Why we need scientists, peace activists, writers more than ever

Thanks to these scientists, researchers, activists and one writer, we can now enjoy advances and new inventions very soon in a variety of areas.
—With the “dumbing down” of the USA and many other places due to climate science-deniers, creationists and other cretins, we are indeed fortunate that scientific advancements are still being honored, supported and achieved around the world.
—Living in our current dystopian reality, we desperately need creative writers to help us understand where we went wrong and how to improve things before it’s too late.

This year, unfortunately, the winners were all men (big surprise, there) and one group. Check out their accomplishments!

2017 Nobel Prize Winners

  • Literature
    Kazuo Ishiguro: “who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world”

    Kazuo Ishiguro

    Kazuo Ishiguro is probably best known to USA citizens because he wrote the book, The Remains of the Day, which was turned into an award-winning movie (starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson) in the early 1990s. He refers to this process of creating Hopkins’ character and much more here, when he delivered his Nobel Lecture, “My Twentieth Century Evening – and Other Small Breakthroughs,” on 12/7/17 at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm. Watch/listen to it here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2017/ishiguro-lecture.html
    Or, read it, here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2017/ishiguro-lecture_en.html

    My favorite parts:

    I could suddenly see an exciting, freer way of composing my second novel; one that could produce richness on the page and offer inner movements impossible to capture on any screen. If I could go from one passage to the next according to the narrator’s thought associations and drifting memories, I could compose in something like the way an abstract painter might choose to place shapes and colours around a canvas. I could place a scene from two days ago right beside one from twenty years earlier, and ask the reader to ponder the relationship between the two. In such a way, I began to think, I might suggest the many layers of self-deception and denial that shrouded any person’s view of their own self and of their past.

    and, I can relate to this next part very strongly, myself:

    I should say here that I have, on a number of other occasions, learned crucial lessons from the voices of singers. I refer here less to the lyrics being sung, and more to the actual singing. As we know, a human voice in song is capable of expressing an unfathomably complex blend of feelings. Over the years, specific aspects of my writing have been influenced by, among others, Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, Emmylou Harris, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Gillian Welch and my friend and collaborator Stacey Kent. Catching something in their voices, I’ve said to myself: ‘Ah yes, that’s it. That’s what I need to capture in that scene. Something very close to that.’ Often it’s an emotion I can’t quite put into words, but there it is, in the singer’s voice, and now I’ve been given something to aim for.

    and, also:

    …all good stories, never mind how radical or traditional their mode of telling, had to contain relationships that are important to us; that move us, amuse us, anger us, surprise us….[I]n the end, stories are about one person saying to another: This is the way it feels to me. Can you understand what I’m saying? Does it also feel this way to you?

    Best of all, and making my own points so well:

    It’s hard to put the whole world to rights, but let us at least think about how we can prepare our own small corner of it, this corner of ‘literature’, where we read, write, publish, recommend, denounce and give awards to books. If we are to play an important role in this uncertain future, if we are to get the best from the writers of today and tomorrow, I believe we must become more diverse. I mean this in two particular senses.

    Firstly, we must widen our common literary world to include many more voices from beyond our comfort zones of the elite first world cultures. We must search more energetically to discover the gems from what remain today unknown literary cultures, whether the writers live in far away countries or within our own communities. Second: we must take great care not to set too narrowly or conservatively our definitions of what constitutes good literature. The next generation will come with all sorts of new, sometimes bewildering ways to tell important and wonderful stories. We must keep our minds open to them, especially regarding genre and form, so that we can nurture and celebrate the best of them. In a time of dangerously increasing division, we must listen. Good writing and good reading will break down barriers. We may even find a new idea, a great humane vision, around which to rally.

    Thank you, Kazuo Ishiguro, for your insights, emotional authenticity, creativity and ongoing contributions to our literary and emotional lives.

  • Peace
    International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN): “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons”
    ICAN is needed more than ever, it seems. Sigh.
    Find out more, here: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2017/ican-facts.html

    ICAN logo

  • Physics
    Kip Thorne, Rainer Weiss, and Barry Barish: “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”
    Following up and proving one of Albert Einstein’s more “wacky” theories (about the existence of gravitational waves), these scientists and their teams have done some extraordinary work, here.

    Kip Thorne

    Rainer Weiss

    Barry Barish

  • Chemistry
    Jacques Dubochet, Richard Henderson, and Joachim Frank: “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution”
    So, freeze stuff and we can see it better. Cool.

    Jacques Dubochet

    Richard Henderson

    Joachim Frank

  • The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel; Economic Sciences
    Richard Thaler: “for his contributions to behavioural economics”
    In addition to being brilliant and innovative, Thaler is very funny! Check out some of his humor, here: https://quotefancy.com/richard-thaler-quotes
    Like, “The assumption that everybody will figure out how much they have to save and then will just implement that plan is obviously preposterous.”
    And, “I’m all for empowerment and education, but the empirical evidence is that it doesn’t work. That’s why I say make it easy.”
    For sure, this: “I think the people who’ve been the most overconfident in our business in the last decade have been the people that called themselves risk managers.”
    My favorite: “When an economist says the evidence is ‘mixed,’ he or she means that theory says one thing and data says the opposite.”

    Richard Thaler

  • Physiology or Medicine
    Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young: “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”
    If it helps people sleep better, I’m all for it!

    Jeffrey C. Hall

    Michael Rosbash

    Michael W. Young

Get more info here:

All info, above, from: http://Nobelprize.org Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 11 Dec 2017.

2017 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Creative, Genius, Unique Leaders Who Inspire

2017 #MacArthur Fellows: 24 Creative, Genius, Unique Leaders Who Inspire

Let’s celebrate extraordinary and amazing and beneficial and FUN people! I first heard about these annual awards when they were only about $200,000 and they were called “Genius Grants.” The stipend for the MacArthur Fellowship is currently set at $625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years.

The cool thing about this award is that the group of people who nominate and select these individuals every year are ANONYMOUS and it is apparently impossible to discover their identities. This protects the process from corruption, one would hope.

Their FAQs page states: “All of the participants in the selection process—–nominators, evaluators, and selectors—–serve anonymously, and we keep their communications confidential. Anonymity protects them from being inundated with unsolicited requests. In addition, our experience shows that people readily provide frank impressions if they have an assurance that their responses will not be disseminated beyond the program staff and Selection Committee.”

I’ve heard that each recipient gets a phone call “out of the blue,” since they don’t even know they’re being considered, to announce that they are selected and about to receive one of our highest honors and a huge cash award.

The idea behind these awards is that the Fellows can then “quit their day jobs” or work less for money while living on the investments/cash they get/accumulate from this award. That award liberates Fellows to pursue their genius ideas even further! YEA!

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:
—Exceptional creativity
—Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
—Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Again, from the FAQs: “The MacArthur Fellowship is designed to provide seed money for intellectual, social, and artistic endeavors. We believe that highly motivated, self-directed, and talented people are in the best position to decide how to allocate their time and resources. By adopting a ‘no strings attached’ policy, we provide the maximum freedom for the recipients to follow their creative vision, whether it is moving forward with their current activities, expanding the scope of their work, or embarking upon an entirely new endeavor. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, and we impose no reporting obligations.”

I also love that they make a concerted effort and usually succeed in finding obscure, diverse, interesting and helpful people to whom to give this important award each year. Check out the 2017 cohort!

Anybody a fan of the CMT TV series, Nashville, as I have been? One of the recurring roles has been being played in 2015-2017 by one of this year’s recipients, Rhiannon Giddens, a gifted “Singer, Instrumentalist, and Songwriter,” who won for: “Reclaiming African American contributions to folk and country music and bringing to light new connections between music from the past and the present.”

Sometimes, though, they do not pick the “thought-leader” in a particular area, but one who is using others’ work in new ways or places. I wish they’d give credit to the originators of this recipient’s work: Betsy Levy Paluck uses the thinking and program components of Community MattersSafe School Ambassadors program’s creators, Rick Phillips, John Linney and Chris Pack. I know this because I worked for/with them and helped write the book they created about their anti-bullying work over 10 years ago. Oh, well. Can’t win them all!

Spread the word! Read about these people and their projects to youth and adults to inspire us all to be better! There is no upper age limit on recipients, either!

This year’s recipients include artists/designers, social scientists/humanities scholars, physical scientists/mathematicians, writers, community leaders/ strategists/ activists, and more.

There are, as usual (2016 was an exception), fewer female (9) than male (15) recipients. Most are under 50 years old, but a few are older.

However, more than usual (15) are people of non-Caucasian/ non-Western European ethnicities. Click on this link for an interactive map showing each of the recipient’s place of birth or location at the time of their award: https://www.macfound.org/maps/2/

A few are academics or work in other large organizations, but most are independent owners/operators or work in small businesses or in the nonprofit sectors.

Want to know more? Check out these myth-busting responses: https://www.macfound.org/press/commentary/five-myths-about-macarthur-genius-grants/

2017 MacArthur Fellows: 24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All

The MacArthur Foundation named the 2017 MacArthur Fellows this week (10/10/17). Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.

“From transforming conditions for low-wage workers to identifying internet security vulnerabilities, from celebrating the African American string band tradition to designing resilient urban habitats, these new MacArthur Fellows bring their exceptional creativity to diverse people, places, and social challenges. Their work gives us reason for optimism and inspires us all.”

Visit the MacArthur Foundation website for Fellows’ bios and more info about each recipient as well as videos, the lists and descriptions/bios of previous years’ recipients, and the remaining FAQs/Answers:


Some New #Books for Your “To-Read” List for 2017-18 and Beyond

Some New #Books for Your “To-Read” List for 2017-18 and Beyond

I can’t afford to buy books and almost never buy fiction because I never re-read it. BUT, I am a life-long, semi-weekly borrower from public libraries and frequently request purchases, which they often honor, so I do my part.

I used to read upwards of 8 books a week, plus magazines, newspapers and other materials; more when I was getting my Master’s and doctorate degrees. But, after not reading at all during my first 6-week meditation retreat, other than assigned excerpts from the Buddhist text our teacher was using, I lost the habit. For a while, I didn’t read much fiction at all and mostly read short articles or Buddhist non-fiction.

In the early 2000s, I gradually began to read fiction, but I no longer read a lot of it and often do not finish books. I have no interest in or patience with stories whose plot or characters I do not care about, or those that display bad writing or poor editing (FAR too many, even from trad publishing houses).

Also, I mostly don’t care about the topics that many authors and publishers are obsessed with: too much violence, too many billionaires seducing women, etc. Life is already too dystopian for me to want to read “for pleasure” most stories of disasters, diseases, dysfunction and/or defeat. Furthermore, I am refusing to read any more addiction pseudo-bios, cancer or other “survival” or “elegant death” scenarios (lost too many friends and relatives to those already), chronic illness depictions (same), “can’t have a baby” stories, adultery fantasies, or glamorizations/gritty details of endless wars (look around!). I also won’t pick up a series anywhere but the beginning, so mid-series installments of series I haven’t read are out.

I won’t even pick up, much less read, many of the books listed on the original pages of Bookish.com‘s site. Therefore, the abbreviated list I am sharing, here, has books I do plan to read. But, recognizing many readers do not share my limited tastes, I’m including the links to each category’s page so you can make your own choices. There are many other lists, too, so look around.

What’s on YOUR “To-Read” list? Comment here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog on this post!
LINK to Bookish.com main page of lists: https://www.bookish.com/articles/must-read-fall-books-2017/

The following suggestions and review snippets are mostly gleaned (I add others, too) from the lists compiled by Bookish.com and are in categories of their design with which I do not always agree and from which some are missing (e.g., historical fiction, graphic novels and short stories are combined with Fiction; some novels whose main character is a teen are NOT listed in either category of YA; there are no art books; there are no Indie authors), but here they are.


I mostly do not read “modern” fiction, any more. So, only one of these made my list:
1) Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan (already the recipient of one Pulitzer Prize)
The main character is “Anna Kerrigan, a child living in New York City in the 1930s” whose “father disappears…. [Y]ears later when she encounters an old business acquaintance of her father’s…she more fully comprehends what his life must have been like.” (quotes are from the review on Bookish.com)
Available October 3, 2017


I like books about many science topics, Buddhism and a few other non-fiction subjects, so I was hoping some new books would capture my attention. Alas, none did, from THIS list.

I am looking forward to the next books from Mishio Kaku, though, or Brian Green, Lisa Randall and other quantum physicists/futurists, so I’ll keep you posted on those!

Meanwhile, check out this list of new #physics books, from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA USA): http://libguides.mit.edu/c.php?g=175935&p=1158686, where I found this gem:

2) Quantum Weirdness, by William J. Mullin
Apparently, this book “focuses on some of the more bizarre aspects of quantum mechanics.” He begins with a discussion of “classical waves,” then goes right into the “latest ideas and experiments , e.g., quantum Bayesianism, weak measurements.” He tries to make it accessible to those of us without doctorates in physics, since he “uses basic high-school mathematics (algebra and trigonometry) to explain quantum mechanics”and employs a “gradual build-up of concepts” (quotes are from the book’s blurb).
Available now (September, 2017).


I don’t read most “thrillers” (too violent or stressful for me), but I do like bloodless mysteries, especially with female protagonists who are smart, courageous, witty and quirky. Some romance is also all right in these books, for me.

I also used to be a John le Carré fan and heard an interview recently on NPR with him about this new book, so it’s now on my list. I may skip some parts, but will probably read it.

3) A Legacy of Spies, by John le Carré
His often-used main character, George Smiley, appears in this novel, for the first time in 25 years. “Smiley works with the British Secret Service (or Circus, as some call it). Smiley calls a retired member of the Circus, Peter Guillam, when the specter of Guillam’s past involvement in the Cold War resurfaces” (quotes from Bookish.com’s review). Apparently, le Carré brings in many familiar characters from previous works, so it could be fun for long-time fans.
Available now (September, 2017)


4) The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Phillip Pullman
How fun! A prequel to His Dark Materials, set in the same world!
“Set ten years before The Golden Compass, this new trilogy will explore how Lyra Belacqua came to live at Jordan College. The tale begins with an 11-year-old boy named Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta. Malcolm is living with his parents near Oxford when he hears that the nuns in Godstow Priory are housing a baby, and he decides to take his boat, La Belle Sauvage, across the Thames to investigate” (from Bookish.com’s review).
Available October 19, 2017


5) Moxie, by Jennifer Matthieu
This sounds fun. Love the title, too. This could have been my biography, if I had been born 50 years later than I was!
“Vivian Carter never thought she’d be the leader of a movement. She’s always preferred to sit back and go unnoticed, but one day something within her snaps and she decides to take action. Drawing from her mom’s Riot Grrrl zines of the 90s, Viv creates Moxie, an anonymous zine that she begins to distribute around her school, calling out her school’s sexist dress code and preferential treatment of football players. Soon Moxie becomes a movement and begins connecting girls from diverse cliques and backgrounds” (from Bookish.com’s review).
Available September 19, 2017

Read any of these or want to recommend others, especially those from Indie/Self-Published authors? PLEASE read my standards before making suggestions; then, please send them along to the comments section of this post: http://www.sallyember.com/blog, post from September 12, 2017. Thanks!

Also, check out the three ebooks and POD paperbacks in my sci-fi/romance series for YA/NA and adults, The Spanners Series: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners First ebook, This Changes Everything, is permafree.

1 out of every 8 USA adults has 4 or more #ACEs (Adverse #Childhood Experiences)

It is estimated that 1 out of every 8 USA adults has 4 or more #ACEs (Adverse #Childhood Experiences); MOST people have at least one out of 10 ACEs. “An ACE score is a tally of different types of #abuse, #neglect, and other hallmarks of a rough childhood. According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for later #health problems,” including #cancer, #hepatitis, #heart disease, #diabetes, #hypertension, mental illness, frequent sicknesses of other kinds (e.g., “auto”-immune diseases), COPD (obstructive breathing problems), #addictions and #allergies, and many other problems.

These effects are due to the bodies’ stress response system’s being on overload, chronically and continuously (adrenalin, cortisol), which can screw up one’s immune system. The symptoms can show up immediately (childhood #asthma, skin #rashes, #ADHD and other “behavior” issues, including #eating disorders) and throughout one’s life, especially after age 40.

Children who live with/are exposed to conditions that put them under extreme #stress, repeatedly, have our brain structures altered forever, developing abnormal #hormonal and #immune systems, and affecting the ways one’s DNA is read and transferred (so, ACEs influence current AND future generations).

More facts and anecdotes are in this podcast, Hardwired, including info about the genetic connection to personality traits and other significant science about our biology’s and environment’s interdependent influences. Listen to that and more here–the same page as other archived shows is linked to: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/archive

Want to see or take the ACEs quiz? http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean

I responded “yes” for 9 out of 10 ACEs.

Unsurprisingly, my health has been “compromised” or difficult all my life. Oddly, though, I consider myself “a healthy person with particular problems that are /have been mostly under control,” mostly because they haven’t completely prevented me from many types of success.. Some problems have gotten worse after I suffered a TBI/concussion 3.5 years ago (which we know now also adversely affects one’s immune system, among other consequences. I have many blog posts about this in 2014 – 2015, at http://www.sallyember.com/blog). Some ongoing health issues have been worsening with age (I am well over 40). I have, however, never been addicted to anything even though that “runs in my family.”

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The majority of the people who have scored over 7 out of 10 ACEs have been/are still incarcerated, living with severe mental or physical illnesses, or are already dead by my age. I am one of the few luckier ones who isn’t in the worst situations.

This “luck” is probably due to my having had many positive conditions, some self-selected:

  • 1) since age 17, been meditating daily;
  • 2) always making sure I have regular exercise;
  • 3) many positive older teens and then adults were in my life during the most stressful years;
  • 4) lots of individual and group counseling/ therapy during and since undergraduate years in college;
  • 5) access to thousands of books (Yay to public libraries!) and excellent, advanced education and training (including in self-care and mental/social health);
  • 6) some good family support;
  • 7) education/experiences with music, the arts, summer camp;

  • 8) great friends.

For more information about resources and prevention as well as the original research on ACEs, visit the USA’s CDC (Center for Disease Control)’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Sixth Installment (FINAL)

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Sixth Installment (FINAL)
JULY 28, 2016 to JULY 30, 2016


I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the sixth and FINAL installment. Look for others starting August 8, 2016: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

For any terms or concepts I don’t define or which I define poorly, please refer to: http://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/glossary.html

I don’t have any more than what I’m posting, here. Physicists: please add, comment, correct, elaborate, explain! Thanks!

NOTE: the superscripted and subscripted numbers and letters won’t copy/paste correctly here; sorry.

Session XV, Chad Orzel, Ph.D.
Quantum Applications

A. “Photons are their own anti-particles” Does that mean they are their own “worst enemies”?

B. 10 to the 120th power Dark Energy pushes things apart, which means “empty space” expands and “empty” isn’t “empty.”

C. Matter waves as opposed to gravitational waves or electromagnetic waves or light waves

D. intrinsic spin

E. because of Quantum Physics applications (specifically, supercooling), we have GPS satellites guiding us by triangulation of time, location and three readings

F. 1 foot per nanosecond is the speed of light in American measurement

G. atoms can act like frequency references or time references

H. Cesium‘s behavior (is heavy and moves slowly, was abundant and easy to detect in the 1950s) was used to create measures of time

I. time is defined by how long a second is, which is the number of oscillations in a microwave in the transition between two spin states of Cesium (see H, above) = 9,192,631,720

J. Foundation Clock in which cold atoms launched UP through a microwave cavity (atoms are laser cooled /supercooled)

K. Dopler shift is low when atoms are moving slowly (because cold)

L. Optical lattice clocks use Strontium

M. Relational Geodesy recognizes the local variations in Earth (or any orb)

N. better living at lower elevations: our hearts beat more slowly and we age more slowly than those at higher elevations (Einstein’s Relativity application)

O. Earth is slowing down in its orbit and rotation, both, adding leap seconds periodically to the standard time setting for the atomic clock

P. interstellar navigation clocks won’t match Earth’s, which can cause problems, but traveling at light or Faster-Than-Light (FTL) speeds causes more problems(for sci-fi writers, here)

Q. Fine Structure Constant (FSC) determines the strength of electromagnetism “energies of atomic states,” “energies of electron orbits” in neutrons or energies
= about 1/37 = α
AKA Sommerfeld’s constant = α

R. Fine = Formula 1
Hyperfine = Formula 2

S. exotic physics changes (alpha, or α)

T. Astronomical Constraints absorption of emission lines from far away, moving away from ours = redshifted

U. Australian Dipole
when the FSC is smaller in the past, going toward “west”
when the FSC is larger in the past, going toward “east”

V. Dimensionless number

Formula FSC is α = 1/4πEsubscript0 * e squared/ħc which is about 1/137 OR 4πεsubscript0 * ħcα = e squared

FMI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-structure_constant

where c = the speed of light
ħ = h/2π
h = Planck’s constant
E zero subscript = electric constant = permittivity of free space;
e = electromagnetic coupling constant

W. “each multiverse could have slightly different FSCs because the size of atoms could vary”!

X. anthropic principle = “we” all wouldn’t be “here” if not for the fact that the FSC “here” is 1/137

Y. Do ice skaters in spins create a magnetic field?

Z. electrons aren’t actually “orbiting” or “spinning,” but seem to be and therefore, can be measured by their angular momentum and the magnetic fields they create

A’. spin = 1/2 when there is “odd” behavior under rotation
= spin up when it rotates 360 degrees, which does not take it back to the start, though (-1 rotation)
= spin down which then rotates it another 360 degrees and DOES bring it back to the starting position (2 rotations)
Change in spin occurs when a particle is bombarded with light or emits light

B’. Pauli Exclusion Principle = no two electrons (fermions) can be in the exact same state, which explains the Periodic Table of all elements, each with its unique position
Chemical bonds determine if some element is a “conductor” or “insulator” as a solid object or liquid or gas

C’. state of electron in a small area or in the same quantum system = the location + charge
every electron is in a wavefunction in this universe; if one changes, ALL of them change (“imperceptibly”)

D’. When the wavelength is about the same distance as the distance between electrons, changing one changes all “perceptibly”

E’. Spooky Action at a Distance, George Masser;
Black Hole Blues, Janna Levin (2016)

Session XVI, Bill Phillips, Ph.D., NIST, LIGO & JQI, Nobel Prize Winner (one of three on team), 1997, for invention of laser cooling techniques still used today
Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics

A. meter = a measurement based on the amount of space light can travel in certain amount of time (about 39 inches)

B. quantum measurement

C. wave-particle duality

D. Alan Aspect (pronounced as a French name, “au” at the end) proved that QM (Quantum Mechanics) is as weird as we have heard it is.

E. Local Reality says that nothing exists independently of a measurement (John/Bill’s inequality)

F. “think globally” = nonlocality comprehension

G. “real” is what we call objective reality, in which something has properties that are knowable prior to measurement

H. “extra stuff” are all the hidden variables of existence

I. “reality is deterministic”

J. most physicists would “give up” “reality” if a forced choice between that and “locality” were to be made

K. “photography ‘traps’ a moment”

L. our microscopic world, as measured, doesn’t conform to perceptions of our macroscopic world: why?

M. Hugh Everett (1958) posited that “relative states” lead us to understand that there are “many worlds” in 1968 and the multiverse in the 1970s.

N. decoherence means we can’t detect other outcomes in the multiverse, only the ones we can observe directly (measure)

O. John Kramer’s sci-fi books used “transactional” interpretations, showing that waves go back & forwards in time

P. decoherence says that we lose our ability to know how something is moving because there are too many factors and entanglements (things go from QM to classical probability)

Q. Block Vector

R. Absolute value is written with straight lines before and after a number to show that it is positive or negative, but still retains that number’s value (e.g., the Absolute Value of -1 or 1 is 1).

S. “most of physics’ definitions are in a relation to humans”: what we can know, measure, understand, observe vs. actual (objective) entities, qualities, truths, that are “independent of human interaction”

T. “all we have is knowledge of the systems, not the actual data of the systems’ existence”

U. a quantum measurement occurs when something sufficiently complicated encounters the object or event and it has an irreversible effect by becoming entangled

V. cavity —— atom
photon (which can go either way)

W. “the size of a system is inversely proportional to its reversibility”: the larger the system, the less reversible any effects are

X. quantum “back-action”

Y. 2012 Nobel prize involved experiments on single atoms and single photons (not in pairs or groups)

Z. we can’t have a classical physics world/universe

A’. we can’t have a non-quantum world, either

B’. Faster-Than-Light (FTL) travel creates causality problems and affects many other beings, events and circumstances (for sci-fi writers, FYI)

C’. special relativity = before and after are constructs, and therefore, no causality can ever occur

END OF ALL Sessions

See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Chad Orzel, Union College
Emily Edwards, JQI
Steve Rolston, JQI

Organizing Institutions
Joint Quantum Institute (JQI)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Sponsoring Institutions
This workshop was made possible by a Public Outreach and Informing the Public grant from the American Physical Society (APS) and support from the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Joint Quantum Institute
2136 Physical Sciences Complex
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

How did I get to go?
I applied in March and was accepted in April!

The Schrödinger Sessions II was the second of two (first was 2015) three-day (2.5 days, really) sets of seminars, Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, offering a “crash course” in modern physics for non-scientists who utilize physics and other sciences in our work and wish to do it better. It was held at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), one of the world’s leading research centers for the study of quantum mechanics. [The organizers kept their promises to] introduce participants to phenomena like superposition, entanglement, and quantum information through a series of lectures by JQI and NIST scientists and tours of JQI laboratories. [They most certainly DID] inform and inspire new stories [and sharing information, like this] in print, on screen, and in electronic media, that will in turn inspire a broad audience to learn more about the weird and fascinating science of quantum physics and the transformative technologies it enables.

The workshop was held at JQI from Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30, 2016. Participants were housed locally at a university dorm with breakfast offered at a dining commons near the dorm and lunch provided at the workshop, which was at the Physical Sciences building. Evenings were free to allow participants to explore the Washington, D.C. area (but I was much too tired at each day’s end to do any exploring).

Participants were selected on the basis of an application asking about personal background, interest, and publication history. [Organizers worked] work to ensure the greatest possible diversity of race and gender as well as type of media (print, television, etc.) with an eye toward reaching the broadest audience. Applications were accepted online from March 1 through March 20, 2015, and acceptance decisions were made around April 15, 2015.

FYI: Next year, 2017, JQI plans to offer a similar seminar for a different professoinal group, Physics for Journalists, and then, pending funding, re-offer this same session as I attended, Physics for Sci-Fi Writers, in the summer of 2018.

Watch this space for more of my notes, reactions and ideas catalyzed by these great seminars, after 8/8/16! http://www.sallyember.com/blog