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

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

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?
Coordinators:
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)

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

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

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Fifth Installment

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

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the fifth 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 XII, Professor Fred Wellstood, Ph.D.
Superconductivity and Nanophysics

A. zero resistance, persistent currents, flux quantization, Meissner effect, penetration depth, critical field, magnetic levitation to be covered, here

B. zero resistance to electric current

C. persistent currents Faraday’s Law = changing magnetic flux causes voltage (current)

D. Lenz’s Law = current generates a field that opposes changes in the applied field

E. “trapped current never decays if kept cold”

F. MRIs have superconducting magnets

G. flux quantization quantum flux flattens out the waves because the flux is “quantized” when trapped current produces a trapped magnetic field which creates the flux quantum integer

H. flux = inductant x current

I. perfect conductors do exist

J. Meissner effect = expulsion of the magnetic field because it is cooled and becomes perfect diamagnetism

K. London penetration depth = the surface current keeps the magnetic field on the surface

L. magnetic levitation they did several demos of this with magnets and supercooled substances that kept the magnets floating around, going around on a kind of marbles’ maze track, but above it

M. magnetic fields can be too small or too strong/have too large of a magnetic field, and then they are no longer superconductors

N. several types of superconductors exist

O. Type 1 superconductor is the most commonly used
Type 2 superconductor is the most commonly found

P. Type 2 superconductors can get their magnetic fields “trapped” inside and hang suspended and fly around the rollercoaster of the magnets (saw demos!)

Q. Absolute Zero = -459◦F

R. H2S is Hydrogen DiSulfide
H3S is Hydrogen TriSulfide
both are superconductors

S. Columb repulsion electrons repel other electrons and attract positive ionic lattice (crystalline). The lattice stretches and becomes composed of phonons

T. another electron travels close to the lattice (see above) because it is attracted by a free electron‘s positive charge in the lattice (the stretched phonons) and so it “pairs up” with that electron

Session XIII: Steve Eckel, Ph.D. NIST & JQI

A. cold/ultracold neutral atoms

B. did demos with liquid Nitrogen (ultracold)

C. dry ice is about -100◦F (made of CO2)
liquid Nitrogen is about -300◦F, or 77◦K

D. Absolute Zero is 0◦C
room temperature is usually around 300◦K

E. outer space is about 1◦K

F. the Joint Quantum Institute‘s labs have materials kept (through laser cooling) at about 10 to the -100 billions of 0◦K

G. laser cooling technology is what three professors here won the Nobel Prize for (one is presenting later in these seminars)

H. e = the excited state
g = the ground state
of an atom’s energy

I. evaporative cooling is the technique used

J. inertial navigation

K. GPS devices will have clocks that use cold atoms, soon

L. “atomic” clocks already do (see K, above)

M. atom laser is the same as a photon laser in that both have a monochromatic phase with coherent emissions

N. interfering laser beams can create crystalline lattices to simulate quantum problems

O. chirality = the direction current is flowing in a spiral (4 types of chirality: down, counter-clockwise; up, counter-clockwise; down, clockwise; up, clockwise)

P. the number of spiral arms is the winding number of superfluidity substance/atoms

Session XIV, Raban Sundrom, Ph.D.
Theoretical Physics

A. Photon vs. phonon
when discussing gravitational waves, which are they?
GW have to be photons because they are traveling through no medium (outer space)

B. didn’t discuss wormholes (but I wished that someone had!)

C. massless neutrinos also travel at the speed of light

D. magnetic statics are at an equilibrium because of the reliability of waves of electromagneticism as slower than the speed of light

E. “dancing” electromagnetic waves

F. without time, “physics is merely space and locations of objects,” statically

G. dynamics means that things change, can be predicted and retroactively understood because of time
if we add the square root of negative 1 (an imaginary number, i) to time, all the physics equations suddenly “work”!!

H. a medium exists if the particles/waves possess observable/measurable rest frame. If “yes,” then “yes.”

I. anti-matter must exist as a corollary of quantum mechanics and relativity; quantum vacuum
a worldline oi a body’s locations over time, which can be observed by measuring /connecting “dots” and then collect all the worldlines as its “history” (e.g., an object starts somewhere at 9 AM; go to 5 PM; show every location for that object in each minute, then connect those dots into one “line” = that object’s day’s worldline)

J. if we do that with matter and then show that anti-matter meets up with the matter again at 9 AM by “time-traveling,” that is the object’s annihilation point, when the past “self” meets up with the future “self” and they collide

K. energy cost is represented by Einstein’s General Relativity equation E = mc2 (squared) where E is energy, m is mass and c is the speed of light, squared.

L. positron is an electron with positive charge because it goes backward in time (!?!)

M. bariogenesis (“heavy starts”) is posited to be the origin of matter

N. quantum vacuum: photons are their own anti-particles, but positrons and electrons are the lightest mass anti-matter/matter pair that exists (briefly) and shows that space isn’t “empty”

O. [I had to leave at this point….He continued for about one more hour. Anyone have notes?]


END OF DAY TWO


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
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)

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

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

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Fourth Installment

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

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the fourth 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 IX, Professor Shelby Kimmel, Ph.D.
Quantum Algorithms (QA)

A. computers collapse into black holes if continuous storage exponentially occurs (Lloyd, Nature, 2016)

B. algorithm = a set of instructions on how to behave

C. can create quantum cryptography, but we haven’t, yet

D. thermal rate constant = the rate of chemical reactions (measured by the amount of heat emitted)

E. writing algorithms is like engineering waves’ sizes and location on a beach: even though it’s all visible, it’s very complicated (many variables and factors influence waves’ locations at any given moment)

F. superposition and destructive or constructive interference led to the need to create QA

G. running each QA many times is needed to validate each one

H. functions

ʄ(x) = 2x squared – 3

I. quantum query complexity refers to the number of times needed to use a classical computer to ask about the variables in the functions, above

J. even parity refers to an even # of some certain outputs

K. initializing means starting back at zero, or cooling back down to the lowest temperature of the object/particle

Session X: all present

A. discussed the phenomenon of physicists’ personifying their objects/particles in speaking about their behaviors (see Day 2, Session 2, N)

B. anthropomorphic language leads to phrases like “breaking isolation” for taking a measurement/observing, and “preferences” for natural propensities, using “like”

Session XI, Professor Gretchen Campbell, Ph.D.

A. Isotopes are lighter and have less density and mass than regular elements because they have fewer neutrons

B. Ground state is the ground energy of the element (when it’s supercooled)

C. lighter atoms have larger wavelengths which makes them behave more quantumly (superposition-like)

D. superfluids conduct heat 500 x better than metals (e.g., copper, the best one) and flow without resistance

E. viscosity (thickness) of a liquid goes away when an element is supercooled

F. this supercooling occurs at 2.17K (Kelvin) which is called the transition temperature

G. temperature travels in waves

H. some of the 4 He (Helium isotope) does not become a superfluid and stays ordinary, which creates temperature gradients (differences within the fluid) and waves

I. “any state should be identical if we precisely exchange two particles” (there is no “handedness” of bosons or any two particles)

J. bosons are identical

K. bosons bunch together

L. anti-symmetrical particles (which do have “handedness,” e.g., right, left, top, bottom “spin”) are called fermions (anti-identical)

M. fermions “avoid” and “repel” one another because they “can’t be in the same place at the same time” unless they are supercooled

N. neutrons (when individual, single) are fermions because they are “energy barriers”

O. 4 He is a boson

P. 3 He (another Helium isotope) is a fermion

Q. odd numbers of bosons become fermions while even numbers of fermions become bosons

R. particles that comprise atoms (protons, neutrons, electrons) are all fermions in their behavior (e.g., repelling each other) unless they are supercooled, then they become bosons in their behavior (clustering, e.g.)

S. photons are bosons (they bunch)

T. Bose-Einstein Condensates (BECs) are superfluids and are bosons and have integer spin

U. fermions are odd and have 1/2-integer spins

V. sometimes fermions pair up and behave like bosons (why? when?)

W. superfluids “can’t leave the lab” (can’t stay supercooled “out in the world”), so they are not much “use,” yet

X. “dilution refrigerator” is the mixture of 4 He and 3 He and does the supercooling action


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
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)

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

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

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Third Installment

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

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the third 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 VI, Professor Ian B. Spielman, Ph.D.

A. gauge field

B. Bose-Einstein Condensate (BEC) is an extreme (cold/ultra cold) quantum matter

C. because of size of /mass of/temperature of objects, we can’t see uncertainty/superpositions

D. ion trap

E. harmonic trap potential energy

F. superconducting circuit
meander lines
degrees of freedom

G. probability amplitude and distribution are the measurements of wavefunction (psi, ψ)

H. Phase and amplitude
affect velocity and position

I. Solid, liquid, gas, plasma = phases of matter
plasma = partially ionized gas
the BEC is another phase of matter

J. “frustrate the particles’ ability to get close together” means to prevent the liquid and solid states from occurring, always maintaining substances as gases (keep their density low)

K. 10-12 is one picometer = pm

L. three-, four- or five-body collisions cause/allow atoms to form closeness and become liquids and solids (again)

M. ultra-quantum atoms lose their individual identity and can’t be distinguished individually any longer

N. events on temperature scale go from room temperature to 102 = 300ₒ Kelvin (K = Kelvin)

FORMULA: BEC = 1 nanoK (nK)

O. extreme heat is the same as extreme cold, behaviorally (atomically) and lead to indistinguishability among atoms (see letter M, above)

P. neutronium is a superfluid and is under the surface of neutron stars

Q. each BEC can only be kept intact for about 1 minute, then it falls apart

R. entanglement is not a property of a quantum wavefunction unless we know where and when the substance/particle is

S. rubidium has 37 electrons and 37 protons, is deepest red (the name means that) due to laser cooling it becomes a BEC in its isotope form, which represents the # of neutrons
85Rb and 87Rb are most used

T. xamon (sp?) zamon (sp?) : slower neutrons gets them supercooled and creates the BEC form

U. shadow imaging measures the cooling and velocity

V. Stern-Gerlach effect is used every day

W. evaporative cooling is the supercooling method most used (accomplished via lasers)

Session VII Professor Peter S. Shawhan, Ph.D.

Joint Space-Science Institute and UMD Physics Department, works with LIGO–Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory– (Livingston, LA, and Baton Rouge, LA, and Richland, WA [ Hanford] are the centers) detecting gravitational waves 7 total sites planned worldwide for future

A. multi-messenger astronomy works with 10-21 -size objects

B. GR = General theory of Relativity in formulae and references

C. spacetime is curved by mass or energy which creates gravity

D. wave solutions travel at the speed of light (c) but variations in the spacetime metric show us the effective distance between points in space

E. tesseract (Madeline L’Engle’s word, Wrinkle in Time scifi series, 1960s) probably came from the incipient understanding of the stretching and shrinking, alternately, that occurs in spacetime

F. wormholes didn’t get to hear about these!

G. gravitational waves travel through a Dune (Frank Hebert’s scifi creation) sandworm-like, connected rings, undulating

H. neutron stars and black holes orbit tightly near each other in pairs, often

I. dimensionless strain
a single number may suffice to describe the strain, and therefore the strain rate: a long and uniform rubberband is gradually stretched by pulling at the ends so we can see that the strain can be defined as the ratio between the amount of stretching and the original length of the band

FORMULA: h = ∆L/L

that “h” is NOT Planck’s constant

J. binary pulsars can be 2 neutron stars or 1 neutron star and one black hole or 2 black holes in close orbit to each other and Earth. The orbit “decays” over time and then the stars get closer and closer to each other, creating a black hole when they collapse into each other

K. gravitational waves carry away energy and angular momentum

L. “decay” of the orbit is “inspiral

M. when 2 orbiting neutron stars get too close to each other a black hole is formed in about 300 million years

N. constructive interference which generates bright output
vs.
destructive interference which generates dark output

O. high frequency vibrations make it so that suspended objects don’t shake

P. interferometers are at LIGO centers

Q. quantum noise comes from photons in laser beams at LIGO centers

R. DOF = Degrees Of Freedom

S. squeezed light happens in a vacuum because a vacuum has fluctuating EMFs (ElectroMagnetic Fields)

T. squeezed light has 2 quadratures: length and intensity; both can be measured

U. positrons and electrons are anti-particles but positrons only exist “momentarily”

V. metallicity of a star is the # of elements above Helium in the periodic table that are metals in its composition

W. “spacetime is very stiff”

X. Gravitational waves (GW) that were recently detected arrived from 1.3 billion years ago!

Y. nonzero spin

Z. black holes emit gravitational waves as they stabilize or if something “falls” into one

A’. heavier-than-iron elements come from supernovas and binary black holes (neutron star mergers)

B’. slowing down a GW could allow travel between waves (!!)

C’. cosmic inflation allows objects to exceed lightspeed

D’. event horizon is the inside of a black hole from which nothing “escapes” that we know of (yet)

E’. effects of GW on human-like bodies are unknown at this time. We adjust to resonant frequencies lower than our own as long as they are ≤ 3/10% (.003). More than that could shatter humans’ bones.

Session VIII, Professor Chris Monroe, Ph.D.
Quantum Communication

A. Moore’s Law from the 1940s information theory says that the density of computer chips grows exponentially when bits are 0s and 1s

B. now there are about 10 billion transistors, which is almost the peak of what can be stored

C. transistors are getting smaller, but they are capped at about the year 2020 for what can be shrunk

D. “granularity of matter” “you can’t shrink things indefinitely without running into atoms.”

E. build circuits out of atoms to get “smaller” spaces for storing information, which creates “quantum computers”

F. “quantum information science” is of the 21st century

G. NAND gates use Boolean logic and have to do with input and output, what is flipped and what is not (Not + And = NAND) so that A or B or both are “negated” between input and output

H. Quantum Mechanics (QM) rules: there are two
1. Quantum objects are waves AND can be in superposition
qubit = quantum bit
} = in a quantum state (symbol)

FORMULA: │ψ} = a│0} + b│1}

2. to keep rule #1, “Don't look!” meaning, don't “observe” or “measure” anything

I. each orbit is a bit, and one electron has 2 orbits, 0 and 1

J. Hamiltonion = H = energy function

K. the observer “breaks isolation” vs. not introducing molecules at all into the experience of a particle or an object in a quantum state

L .multiverse theory allows both QM rules to co-exist

M. “observing” = interacting with the environment (changing the object’s experience)

N. in physicists’ talk:
mathematical or natural preferences = “like”
“knows” = “makes a decision”
“sees” = “knows”
“personality” = “expressing a preference”
“we didn’t care about or don’t know” sweeps anything “under the rug” when physicists use probabilities to deal with anything

O. quantum parallel processing allows for exponential storage options

P. measurement gives random and useless results, sometimes

Q. waves of existence can create “beats” via simple interferences

R. everything vanishes except 1 or 2 answers = quantum algorithms

S. if we tap other universe to store information, then we won’t run out of space in ours for quantum data (qubits) because qubits accumulate data at exponential rates (do we lease, rent or buy space? Steal it?)

T. 10,000 times something occurs in laboratory experiments = “knowing” to a 1% (99%) probability

U. 1/2-way flip a qubit application = the square root of a NOT gate

V. quantum 1st flips, 2nd flips = XOR gate the first is dependent on the second

W. superposition happens from the XOR gate and goes into entanglement

X. teleportation is quantum communication using entanglement

FORMULA: │0}+│0}+│1}+│1}
red blue red blue

Y. Fred Alan Wolf, Taking the Quantum Leap

Z. teleportation destroys the original and creates a replica in a new location

A’. a human has 10 to the 27th atoms


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
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)

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

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

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science-Fiction Writers, Second Installment

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

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the second 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 III, Chad Orzel, Ph.D.

A. What is “waving”?
pilot wave: the guiding particle of a group of particles

B. wave-particle duality
[BOOK: Leonard Susskind & Art Friedman, Quantum Mechanics]

C. superposition: prior to measurement/observation of any kind, objects (particles or whatever) can be in multiple states/locations simultaneously (the famous dead/alive cat in the box)

D. for probability, square the wavefunction to add waves in the double-slit experiment

E. Heinsenberg’s Uncertainty Principle: we can’t know both where we are and how fast we’re moving simultaneously

FORMULA: [‑ ħ2/2m∆2+V]ψ = iħ∂/∂t*ψ

the part before the = sign is the energy of the particle
the trident ψ is psi, which represents the wavefunction, the fundamental object in QM (Quantum Mechanics)
the italicized “i” is the square root of -1, an imaginary number
the part after the second ħ represents change over time
* shows multiplication happens between these two portions
/ shows a fraction (division) line

F. epistemic statements are about our knowledge of a system that necessarily are actual

G. ontological statements are about real physical objects changing over time, and many use the humorous ψ-ontologists, “psi-ontologists,” or “ontic” thinking as that description

H. duality occurs when we attempt to get something to “behave” as both a particle and a wave simultaneously

I. there is a 100% probability that a particle is in a particuar position at any given time until it is observed/measured

J. wavepacket add two waves together (differing wavelengths) and beats are created. Square these, like the square of a sine wave, to get the complex conjugate, or curve formula

K. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

FORMULA: ∆x*∆p ≥ ħ/2

x is the position
p is the momentum (both of these can never be zero)
is delta, or change
ħ is always h/2π (because all physicists are inherently lazy and don’t want to write the same thing multiple times if they can use a shortcut)

L. physicists like to use closed systems, educated guesses and thought experiments rather than actually accept paradoxes and the unknown

Session IV Professor Steve Rolston, Ph.D.

A. Welcher Weg = “which way,” in German
if, in principle, I know which way the particle went, there is no interference

encoded via spin within atoms

B. quantum eraser changing the observation or measurement “afterwards”

C. wavefunction collapse all probabilities disappear upon being measured/observed, because the object (wave/particle) now has a known/fixed position

D. polarization light has both vertical and horizontal oscillation, so polarizing eliminates one or the other. This allows for 3-D glasses, sunglasses and other glare-reduction lenses to work by blocking one set, or vector, of waves with a lens

E. Decoherence theory: collapse occurs through interaction with a larger system (an observer, the environment, the “measurement”)

F. measuring device is anything that interacts with the outside world for that object

G. there is “no need to introduce consciousness” to have an observer

H. “entanglement is continuously destroyed”

I. quantum Bayesian(sp?) (Qubism)

J. The “many worlds” perspective / theory originated with Hugh Evert in 1957, but it was Dr. Bryce Seligman DeWitt, Ph.D., who said: “Everything is always everywhere,” and Richard Bach, among others, who said “Everything that can happen is happening now.”

K. measurement just generates correlations (entanglement)

L. In The Spanners Series (my sci-fi/romance series) timulters allow parallel worlds’ objects/people to communicate with one another

M. “the wavefunction is a mathematical description of humans’ knowledge of nature, not of a physical entity.”

N. theories are not “laws” and most cannot become “laws”

Session V Professor Alan McDowell, Ph.D.

A. measurement is quantification

B. feedback leads to an altered strategy based on the results of measurement

C. radiometry is an “absolute” source

D. blackbody: a kiln/oven with a uniform temperature and 1 opening generates temperature then leads to radiance

E. physicists need to get out more; they are hard up for entertainment (they like to play with rotating polarized lenses)

F. 0 and 1 box game, with three columns and three rows of possible positions, in which the columns must add up to “even” numbers and the rows must add up to “odd” numbers, doesn’t work: the final box can never be filled in correctly

G. low efficiency yields small subsets, not large enough to be a scientific sample

H. random number generators are important for many functions


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
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)

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

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

What I got from The Schrödinger Sessions II: Physics for Science -Fiction Writers, First Installment

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

jqi-logo
http://jqi.umd.edu/Schrodinger-sessions-II

I have over thirty pages of notes and comments. Not going to put them all in one post, so here is the first installment.

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 I, Professor Steve Rolston, Ph.D.

A. Measuring diameter by diffraction
the smaller the diameter of the hair, the greater the distance from the hair to each point of diffraction, and therefore, light is a wave

B. electrons eject from light and become collectible as charged particles when light bounces off a hard (metallic) surface, becoming photoelectric or photovoltaic

light color shows the frequency, so “yes” = blue”; “no” = red

materials also cause variations in the number of electrons emitted, so light is particles/ photons (corpuscles, in old language)

C. frequency = the inverse of wavelength

Planck’s constant is usually written as “h,” but if the reference/formula already includes h/2π, then the “h” represents that and gets a diagonal bar across its stem, “ħ” and is called “h bar

FORMULA: 6.626 * 10-34 m2 kg/s = h
(VERY SMALL number)

this refers to frequency at varying temperatures

E. a micron = 1 millionth of a meter; a human hair is about 30 – 80 microns in width

F. Lasers are usually emitting a single color of light at 10K watts, brightly focused
an incandescent light bulb is emitting about 100 watts and many colors, so this is called incoherent light

G. photons could be interacting but physicists can’t measure, observe or predict any of their interactions (yet), so physicists say that photons “do not interact”

Session II, Professor Chad Orzel, Ph.D.

A. http://dogphysics.com = his website
he handed out diffraction slides (grading)

B. Energy per photon depends on frequency

FORMULA: E*photon = hv

C. Particles have wave nature (atoms, molecules, photons, electrons, neutrons, positrons)

D. Excited gases are heated or electrified to move more quickly

E. every element emits and absorbs light uniquely, which is one way to identify them, even when they are isotopes (missing one or more electrons, and therefore “charged ions”)

F. there is a simple mathematical pattern to all light on the known spectrum (each color makes discrete “lines”)

G. Rutherford effect: scattering/deflecting pattern, “back-scattering,” occurs when using “alpha” particles, e.g., heavy atomic particles
light atomic particles, e.g., nucleus of Helium, do not have this

H. Use the Planck constant to explain energy differences between frequencies of light

FORMULA: hf = E1 – E2

I. mass (m) * velocity (v) = linear momentum

J. angular momentum = spinning or orbiting

FORMULA: MeVeR = n * h/2π

R = orbit; n = an integer; M = mass

K. electrons emit X-rays

L. wavelength, from de Broglie, λ = an object and this formula shows how to calculate its angular momentum

FORMULA: λ = h/p

M. Electron waves = the way electrons wrap around the atom’s orbital pattern

N. Standing waves = peaks and valleys of or a bit that is repeated and fixed, from start = finish
if number of peaks are high enough, then these can create a pattern

O. stringed instruments’ pitch is created by the frequency of standing waves, and are adjusted by changing the start or finish point (loosening or tightening one end of the string’s attachment pin)

P. electrons as particles behave as waves when there are high enough numbers create a pattern

Q. random numbers can be generated/derived from background radiation, which are the decay patterns of the atomic isotopes

R. molecules behave like waves, as do all other particles, even those without mass
electrons, protons and neutrons have mass
photons have no mass and always move at the speed of light (c)

S. Stanford University has an interferomoter

T. bigger objects have smaller wavelengths (a dog running has wavelengths to its running pattern of about 10-35

U. wavelength graphs become blobs because peaks of waves are touching on the paper/surface we use to show them

V. everything physical vibrates/oscillates

W. even when separated by ½ a meter , very large atoms resume wave behavior when reunited (there is no permanent divorce possible within an atom’s parts)


See below for more information about The Schrödinger Sessions.

Who was in charge?
Coordinators:
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)

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

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

How I use Science Research in my Science-Fiction Writing for The Spanners Series

How I use #Science #Research in my #Science-Fiction #Writing for The Spanners Series

First, Some #Tech History

Typewriters to Word Processors
I am old enough to remember learning to type on a manual typewriter whose action was so “hard” or difficult that I had to slam each finger onto the keys to get them to hit the ribbon with enough force to get sufficient ink to mark the typing paper. If I were trying to make carbon copies, I had to hit the keys even harder or the copy wouldn’t be impressed with the keys enough for the carbon paper to work properly.

Luckily, I was already a piano student (from the age of 9) by the time I started typing (age 10) and I took my only formal typing class the summer I turned twelve. By then, my fingers were very strong. I do not know how others learned to type and made it work without being pianists. Even with my hours of piano playing every week, I still found it tiring and challenging to type with enough force on these typewriters to make the keys impress the carbon paper, especially when making more than one copy.

manual typewriter
Keys on a Manual Typewriter

The first revolution was the IBM “Selectric” (invented in 1961, but got to me and my part-time jobs in St. Louis, MO, in the late 1960s and early 1970s), which had a spinning ball rather than key action. This made the typing of the letters cause the ball to spin, putting the typed letter in contact with the ink ribbon without having to use as much force. My days of a typewriter jam were almost over (I became an extremely fast typist, but the machine could not keep up!).

The early 1970s brought further great relief from typewriter drudgery with the electric typewriters (soft-touch, less force-required) and then the amazing automatic carriage return. Remember that lever we had to yank on at the end of every line? Gone!

typewriter_jam
Typewriter Jam
image from http://ecocatlady.blogspot.com

Finally, the best invention for writers and secretaries: the correction key, which worked by back-space-erase-retype action. Before this functional key existed, typists had to use special typewriter erasers (those round ones with the feathery ends so we could brush off the eraser dust from each part of the page) and carbon paper erasers for any mistakes, OR (usually) retype the entire page for one mistake! For larger mistakes or the carbon copies, we newly could use “Liquid Paper” or “Wite-Out”(THANKS, Bette Nesmith Graham, who invented this in her kitchen in 1956!), which also was a revolution in making typed pages appear mistake-free even when they were not.

Liquid_paper_products_Womens_Museum
Liquid Paper display at the Women’s Museum
image from http://en.wikipedia.org

Card Catalogs and Index Cards
Along with these trips down memory lane for typists, which brought us to word-processing/computer-like typewriters and, finally, word-processing software for home computers (the BEST!), we have the trajectory across the last fifty years for researchers. Remember those little pencils that were ubiquitous in libraries for use near the card-catalogs?

I used to spend hours or days or weeks cross-referencing, by hand, with my fingers and tired eyes, to find authors, titles, types of printed works, or microfiche/ microfilm copies of materials. Then, some were not allowed to be “checked out,” only used “in-house.” Or, some had to be requested via Interlibrary Loan, which could take months.

The photocopier was an electrifying (LOL) invention that allowed us to take home pages we wanted to study or read. We could mark them up and use them to take further notes on when items couldn’t be taken out of the library, but they cost a lot per page for my budget. I invented my own shorthand to take copious notes very quickly, a system I learned to use in lecture classes as well. I could quickly crib information from precious materials I couldn’t afford to make copies of in the large numbers of pages I needed for a project.

I am a speed-reader, fast note-taker, and quick thinker. Still, this type of research was slow and laborious since I had to read each page to determine what I wanted to notate, photocopy or ignore. Every resource also had long lists of their own resources which I usually had to follow-up on (and was grateful for the “trail”), but many items were one-of-a-kind and not available when I needed them.

Index cards, notebooks, looseleaf binders, photocopies, smudged ink and so much paper, paper, paper: I was drowning in it. We had to ORGANIZE: color coding, use of tabs, physically taping-moving-retaping the cards or notes on large pieces of paper or a bulletin board, wall or floor. It is at this point I would notice the gaps and have to trudge back (often through snow and ice; not kidding) to the library.

floor outlining
Floor Outlining
image from http://fairfieldwriter.wordpress.com

I was SO excited to use removable tags and “post-it” notes when they came into our lives: 1968, serendipitous discovery by Dr. Spencer Silver at 3-M, of the reusable glue; and Arthur Fry, mid-1970s for the mass-market applications, like “post-it” notes and removable tabs. If I only could keep it all straight and remember my own process. For example, was I using blue for my thoughts or quotations…?

Art Fry oppfant Post-it-lappene og forandret måten vi kommuniserer på. Gul lapp på pannen med lys idé tegnet .
Arthur Fry, inventor of the “Post-It” note
image from http://en.wikipedia.org

Research Access and Writing, First Major Innovations
Fast-forward to the 1990s and (thanks to Al Gore…), the World Wide Web, or as it’s now known, the Internet. At first, not a lot was available to “laypeople.” Research didn’t change for me much during my graduate schools years (1991-96, for my Master’s and doctorate). The scanning interfaces were horrible: grainy and hard to read, with many odd mistakes and quirky formatting problems. Plus, most items weren’t scanned in and scanners were still prohibitively expensive and large, so not widely utilized. Professional journals, esoteric sources and other materials still needed to be found and used at libraries or in person.

The biggest boon and the one I still praise daily is the word processing personal computer. Best parts of that: copy, cut and paste functions. Gone forever are the days of using actual scissors (although I love that the “cut” icon is a pair of scissors). I no longer use sticky tape or post-its to move text around and it’s easy to create outlines that I can change quickly.

First-time, ever: specialized software programs that allowed us to create bibliographies as we write, using sources freely in our properly-positioned footnotes and endnotes, all automatically formatted to the chosen “style” guide, if we were clever enough to input the data correctly. Incredible!

endnote foot note dialogue box
Endnote/Footnote Dialogue Box

Using Science Research in my Science-Fiction Writing

A Researcher’s Paradise!
Now, in the mid-20-teens, the Internet is alive, well, thriving and chock-full of information. Google, Yahoo, MSN, Wikipedia and other -pedias, specialized news sources and wikis along with nonprofit organizations’, professional associations’ and corporate websites populate the web with more facts than anyone could gather. I can capture and bring them to me via my home computer’s browser with the entry of a few simple search terms.

I am now overflowing with science breakthroughs, breaking news and older sources, with accompanying images, data and video/audio files. I am in a researcher’s paradise!

Word-Processing Software’s References and Resources
We have our own dictionary and thesaurus right within our word processing programs, with grammar and spell-checking functions operating within our own preferences and parameters. We can change these, add words and terms, personalize it all at will.

We can also become completely autonomous as bloggers, authors, producers of content of all sorts. We can independently research, write, edit and format an entire book in electronic or print format from our homes or offices: this is the true revolution of “desk-top publishing.”

My Evolving Research and Writing Process
Best part, for this sci-fi writer: science information on any topic, any time, at my fingertips. I have changed the way I write because of what is available and how I can use it in my books. I used to be an avid outliner (remember the notecards and color-coded tabs?), but usually, now, I mentally sketch out what I want to write about and what characters to include.

Then, throughout the year, I gather tidbits of information that I believe I may want to use. I get links to articles from organization’s or group’s pages’ and friends’ posts on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media sites.

When something piques my interest, I don’t have to go anywhere to read it. I don’t have to take notes or pay to copy the entire article. I don’t have to carry backpacks filled with heavy books, research journals and articles home.

Oh, no; I do not!

Instead, with a few “clicks,” I travel online to the site to copy and paste part or all of the article and its URL to a word processing document. It is then stored in my research folder with a specific title and date. I review it in its entirety or portions of it later, usually on the day I plan to consider using it.

Screenshot (28)
Screenshot of my research folder’s contents

When I’m ready to write, I begin to mine my research folder for its gold and other ores. When I find something I may want to use (for its facts, explanations, ideas or announcements), I copy and paste parts or all of each article right into my story or book draft. Sometimes, early on in my writing a book for The Spanners Series, I’m not sure what I’ll use, exactly, so I paste them all “at the end.”

When I’m ready to place items by subject somewhere in the chapters set-up, I move the paragraphs or entire articles to that chapter, by topic. As I write, I read more carefully to learn from the parts I’ve captured.

BUT, I am careful NOT to not use these authors’ exact words or do much paraphrasing. Instead, these snippets become my “notes,” acting like outlines, as guides. The sections I’ve pasted show me where I want to take my characters, my plot, or even my series by providing me with the science and facts to back up the next part of the world I’m building and the story I want to tell.

Once I’ve utilized this chapter’s store of ideas and facts (of course, attributing and giving credit in my Appendices when I use any part more literally than conceptually), I put each accessed article into my “USED” folder in my computer. Then, as I write, I delete the “notes” from the copied-pasted nonfiction/research articles’ sections of the draft.

All that is left in each chapter are my own ideas, in my words, with my characters, my plot. I then move on to another source or chapter section.

Summary of All the Changes: Pros and Cons
This process sometimes wreaks havoc with daily word counts, but I’ve learned how to distinguish consistently the “notes” sections separately from the written portions. What I love about this evolving process is how time- and resource-efficient and budget-friendly it is. There are only a few steps, with nothing to photocopy or borrow, no handwritten notes and bits of paper to misplace, fewer or no pieces of paper.

Plus, when I find out I’m missing something crucial or want to go in a new direction, I can open a browser tab and find a new information source in about one minute on my computer, from where I am already sitting. When inspiration strikes, I can “scratch” my creative “itch” immediately. Right away, I can find out if my new idea is feasible by setting the data up right within my draft, look it over, consider it all, then resume writing.

I can easily and quickly re-arrange entire sections, chapters, and themes, distributing ideas and information among my draft volumes as I write each one of my 10-book Spanners Series. For each of the three Volumes I have completed and the one I’m currently midway through, I have re-organized the chapters multiple times. I have changed sections, moved paragraphs and altered the events in timelines (my series includes multiple timelines) so that the chapter sequence changes almost weekly for a while.

I keep track of all these events, data and movement by using header dates for each chapter. I list them in my series’ spreadsheet by chapter and title. I also include some of the chapter’s content, characters and its current Volume number in the cell.

Screenshot (27)
The Spanners Series’ timeline spreadsheet, screenshot

Given the fluid nature of ebooks and self-publishing, it would not surprise me to find out, years from now, that I want to re-arrange the sequence within or of the Volumes I’ve already published significantly! Doing that wouldn’t even be difficult, since self-publishers can withdraw and resubmit Volumes for distribution whenever we want.

Of course, there is one big problem: too much sitting! I have to remind myself to take breaks, get up, walk around, go swimming 5 – 6 times each week, take naps, go outside and walk around. The temptation to stay inside and keep working is so much greater than in the past because everything I need is “right here”!

I also have to be careful not to have another incident of RPI (Repetitive Stress Injury) to my arms, fingers, hands and wrists, which I had severely in my first semester of graduate school. I learned exercises, ways to sleep, the use of ice and NSAIDs to avoid overusing my home computer as I transitioned from relying on an electric typewriter. When there is no paper to load, no carriage level for returns, no ribbon to change and no carbon paper, we don’t move around physically enough.

We have to remember: raise our eyes to look out a window to change our eyes’ focus from near to far, remove our hands from the keyboard to stretch our arms, shoulders, necks, backs, fingers. We need to get up and actually (HORRORS!) leave the keyboard and screen for frequent breaks, or we will ruin our bodies.

Many (like my son, not pictured, but his set-up is similar) now use standing desks and ergonomically designed keyboards with vertical access to prevent the worst harm and future injuries. However, exercise and frequent “away” periods are the best ways to avoid physical problems from developing due to computer overuse.

ergonomic desk set up
Ergonomic Desk and Keyboard Set-up
image from http://www.instructables.com

However, I would not trade the convenience of this era for all the manual typewriters and liquid paper in the multiverse. Thanks to all the inventors, developers, creators, scientists, researchers and writers who made/make this all possible for the rest of us!


This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., Permafree

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Volume I cover

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. 

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 </a
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., @$3.99

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Volume II cover

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., planned pre-orders 11/1/15 – 12/7/15 @$1.99; planned release 12/8/15 @$3.99; Cover Reveal 10/26/15!

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The Spanners Series logo

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. To join, Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, continuing as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them each to make difficult choices across multiple timelines while continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do you do with wanted/unwanted changes?


LINKS

http://www.sallyember.com  main website
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW  author page
https://www.twitter.com/sallyemberedd Twitter: @sallyemberedd
https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber Spanners Series’ page on FB
https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember
http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember
http://goo.gl/tZKQpv Spanners Series’ page on Google+
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SallySueEmber/about/p/pub Sally Sue Ember on Google+
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/videos
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember  

More purchase/free links on Kobo, ibooks and nook as well as reviews, book trailers, author interviews and readings, blog posts, research, series updates and more on Sally’s website: look right, scroll down. http://www.sallyember.com

Cover art and logo by Aidana Willowraven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/