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

Part III: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

Part III: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

[All three posts in this series have the same introduction, but I choose info from each of the four science compilation sites separately for each post. This post focuses on gleanings from Cosmos Up]

INTRO: I should have been a research scientist. I love science. I’m extremely intelligent, determined, creative, and organized. I coulda been a contenda for a Nobel prize. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Why am I not a scientist? I had a series of misogynistic (one of my teachers hated the four girls in my advanced science class so much he would pith [paralyze] the frogs by holding them in the air directly in front of one of us so that each frog would urinate on our blouses), anti-Semitic (another one wore his “John Birch Society” pin to school every day, displayed prominently on his lapel; there were three girls in my class and he insulted each of us daily), incompetent (in an lab accident at his “real” job, this poor man had lost most of his sight and drive and spent each class time mostly ignoring all of us) and otherwise horrible science teachers in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.

With better teachers in those critical years, my life could have turned out very differently. Those terrible teachers turned me so far off science I only took one more “hard” science course (because it was required, in undergraduate college), despite many more years of education, through getting a doctorate.

As an adult, I became enthralled with quantum physics, health/anatomy, nutrition, child development/learning and the multiverse/astrophysics, so I read. A lot. I also watch documentaries. I am not even close to understanding some of the physics stuff, but the rest I got quite adept at utilizing. To “keep up,” I subscribe to many science-oriented blogs and curation sites.

My favorites are: Science Alert, Serious Wonder, Brain Pickings Weekly and Cosmos Up. I will excerpt from some of the “best of the best” of what I’ve recently perused.

Part III is all from Cosmos Up, which means this month’s offerings are all astronomical! I hope you enjoy! Go subscribe!


CosmosUp.com

Cosmos Up logo

Astrophysics and Quantum Physics/Mechanics
1. Jan 11, 2015, “NASA Reveals Three Amazing Travel Posters for Earth-Like Planets”
http://goo.gl/gfZgB1
“NASA has marked the discovery of potentially habitable worlds by its Kepler space observatory with a poster series imagining the ‘out of this world’ holiday options they may one day offer. Drawing inspiration from travel billboards of the 20s, 30s and 40s, the posters are the brainchild of NASA visual strategists Joby Harris, David Delgado and Dan Goods.”

NASA travel poster 1
and

NASA travel poster 2
and

NASA travel poster 3
“These posters are even available online and can be downloaded for free via JPL’s website. There are additional exoplanet posters in the works, NASA said.”

  1. January 14, 2015, “Rare Phenomenon In The Solar System, What Has Cassini Photographed?”
    http://goo.gl/EiDpnM
    “Cassini…captures a strange hexagonal formation present at one pole of Saturn. The diameter of the ‘hexagon’ is 30,000 miles. This formation is present at the north pole of the planet. Inside the formation…the wind blows up with a colossal speed [of] about 322 kilometers per hour. The center of this strange formation is actually a very powerful storm. Scientists say that…it isn’t present on any other planet in our solar system.”

    Cassini photo Saturn hexagon

  2. January 27, 2015, “Oldest Star System in Galaxy Discovered by NASA ‘could Point to Extremely Advanced Alien Civilisations’”
    http://goo.gl/kJG1Ue
    “’There are far-reaching implications for this discovery [of a sun-like star with 5 orbiting planets ranging in size from Mercury to Venus],’ lead researcher Tiago Campante said in a statement. ‘We now know that Earth-sized planets have formed throughout most of the Universe’s 13.8 billion year history, which could provide scope for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy.’
    “’Planetary systems around stars have been a common feature of our galaxy for a long, long time.’”

    Kepler 444 and 5 planets

  3. February 11, 2015, “New Crazy Theory: The Universe has ‘No End and No Beginning’”
    http://goo.gl/t7HUkr
    “They showed that quantum particles can never meet or cross paths.’As far as we can see, since different points in the universe never actually converged in the past, it did not have a beginning,’ Professor Saurya Das said.”

  4. April 14, 2015, “New Map Reveals Distribution Of Dark Matter At Cosmic Scale”
    http://goo.gl/8uIp6G

  5. April 15, “NASA: No Signs Of Advanced Alien Civilizations In 100000 Galaxies”
    http://goo.gl/DNhEEy
    “Either they don’t exist, or they don’t yet use enough energy for us to recognize them.”

MY VIEW: Or, they don’t use energy in the form we expect them to be using it, which is “high levels of mid-infrared radiation.” Why do earth-based scientists presume that signs of alien “intelligence” will be recognizable to humans from great distances or at all? We could be looking for “life” in all the wrong ways.

  1. July 7, 2015, “There Are Millions Of Hidden Supermassive Black Holes In The Universe, Scientists Says”
    http://goo.gl/A97g4h
    The closest supermassive black hole to Earth is V4641 Sagitarii which is 1,600 light years away.
    “Astronomers have spotted five monster black holes previously hidden by dust and gas in space and they suggests that there might be millions more of them lurking around our universe.”

Look for Part I, published on June 1, which focused on info gathered by Alert.

ScienceAlert.com

Science Alert logo

Part II was published June 30, with info from Serious Wonder

SeriousWonder.com

SeriousWonderLogo

and Brain Pickings Weekly.

Brain pickings logo

Part II: Science Alert, Serious Wonder, Brain Pickings Weekly and Cosmos Up

Part II: Science Alert, Serious Wonder, Brain Pickings Weekly and Cosmos Up

[All three posts in this series have the same introduction, but I choose info from each of the four science compilation sites separately for each post. This post focuses on gleanings from Serious Wonder and Brain Pickings Weekly]

INTRO: I should have been a research scientist. I love science. I’m extremely intelligent, determined, creative, and organized. I coulda been a contenda for a Nobel prize. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Why am I not a scientist? I had a series of misogynistic (one of my teachers hated the four girls in my advanced science class so much he would pith [paralyze] the frogs by holding them in the air directly in front of one of us so that each frog would urinate on our blouses), anti-Semitic (another one wore his “John Birch Society” pin to school every day, displayed prominently on his lapel; there were three girls in my class and he insulted each of us daily), incompetent (in an lab accident at his “real” job, this poor man had lost most of his sight and drive and spent each class time mostly ignoring all of us) and otherwise horrible science teachers in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.

With better teachers in those critical years, my life could have turned out very differently. Those terrible teachers turned me so far off science I only took one more “hard” science course (because it was required, in undergraduate college), despite many more years of education, through getting a doctorate.

As an adult, I became enthralled with quantum physics, health/anatomy, nutrition, child development/learning and the multiverse/astrophysics, so I read. A lot. I also watch documentaries. I am not even close to understanding some of the physics stuff, but the rest I got quite adept at utilizing. To “keep up,” I subscribe to many science-oriented blogs and curation sites.

My favorites are: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up. I also subscribe to Brain Pickings Weekly, which I include in the Serious Wonder post. I will excerpt from some of the “best of the best” of what I’ve recently perused. Part II is all from Serious Wonder.

I hope you enjoy! Go subscribe!


SeriousWonder.com

SeriousWonderLogo

Astrophysics and Quantum Physics/Mechanics
1. 9/11/14, Your Cosmic Address, BY STEPHEN P. BIANCHINI of Serious Wonder

When you were younger, didn’t you sometimes write your “return” address in a similar way? Well, now you have a more exact way to locate yourself…In case you send mail to aliens, for example.

“…[T]his is the cosmic address you may want to use: Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Laniakea,” in case someone not from this planet needs to know.

What/where the heck is “Laniakea,” and why do we not already know about it?

Astronomers informed us recently about “the large-scale structure of the Universe” which has “…four huge areas identified so far: Laniakea, its neighbouring Perseus-Pisces supercluster, and two other superclusters, Shapley and Coma, on the far side of the universe.”

Elmo Temple from Estonia explained: “‘[The name Laniakea]… is taken from the Hawaiian words lani, which means heaven, and akea, which means spacious or immeasurable.'”

So, time to re-do those multiverse business cards, eh?

http://goo.gl/9wPLOJ

  1. 2/1/15, The Absurdity of Infinity: Astrophysicist Janna Levin Explains Whether the Universe Is Infinite or Finite in Letters to Her Mother, by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Weekly

It is so illuminating for the rest of us when highly intelligent, inquisitive people ruminate on deep questions and share their thoughts with us, isn’t it?

“In 1998, while on the cusp of becoming one of the most significant theoretical cosmologists of our time, mathematician-turned-astrophysicist Janna Levin left her post at Berkeley and moved across the Atlantic for a prestigious position at Cambridge University. During the year and a half there, she had the time and space to contemplate the question that would eventually become the epicenter of her career — whether the universe is infinite or finite. What began as a series of letters to her mother, Sandy, eventually became an unusual diary of Levin’s ‘social exile as a roaming scientist,’ and was finally published as How the Universe Got Its Spots: Diary of a Finite Time in a Finite Space (public library) — a most unusual and absorbing account of the paradoxes of finitude.”

From Levin’s book/letters: “‘We’re all intrinsically of the same substance. The fabric of the universe is just a coherent weave from the same threads that make our bodies. How much more absurd it becomes to believe that the universe, space and time could possibly be infinite when all of us are finite.'”

Levin concluded: “‘I welcome the infinite in mathematics, where … it is not absurd nor demented. But I’d be pretty shaken to find the infinite in nature. I don’t feel robbed living my days in the physical with its tender admission of the finite. I still get to live with the infinite possibilities of mathematics, if only in my head.'”

Where do you stand on the multiverse as infinite-not infinite subject? I tend to veer way from her inescapable logic into the infinite possibilities of the multiverse, but where each of the versions of the universe so conceived is probably finite.

http://goo.gl/p6ucpj

Child Development/Learning
3. 9/11/14, Telepathy is now a Thing, Thanks to Technology , BY B.J. Murphy of Serious Wonder

It warms my telepathic heart-mind when tech geeks prove what the rest of us with E.S.P. already know!

“As experiments like the one above show, telepathy is a very real concept which need be aided by our own innovations – the creation of techno-telepathy.”

“Could you imagine what our world will transform into when our predominant means of communication is via thought? Everything will change fundamentally, from our markets to our governance.”

Then they have to go and ruin it, with scare tactics….

http://goo.gl/IIblvE

  1. 3/8/15, This Idea Must Die: Some of the World’s Greatest Thinkers Each Selects a Major Misconception Holding Us Back, by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Weekly

I ADORE this book, which “Edge founder, John Brockman, collected by posing his annual question — ‘What scientific idea is ready for retirement?’ — to 175 of the world’s greatest scientists, philosophers, and writers,” and the accompanying article/review. So inspiring!

Here is my favorite excerpt, based on the responses from one of my favorite scientists, biological anthropologist, Helen Fischer, “…who studies the brain on love….[She] points to romantic love and addiction as two concepts in need of serious reformulation and reframing — one best accomplished by understanding the intersection of the two. Fisher argues that we ought to broaden the definition of addiction and do away with science’s staunch notion that all addiction is harmful. Love, she argues, with a wealth of neurobiological evidence in hand, is in fact a state that closely resembles that of addiction in terms of what happens in the brain during it — and yet love, anguishing as it may be at times, is universally recognized as the height of positive experience. In that respect, it presents a case of ‘positive addiction.’…'[B]esotted lovers express all four of the basic traits of addiction: craving, tolerance, withdrawal, and relapse.’”

And, even though this excerpt belongs in my post’s section on quantum physics and the astrophysics, above, I had to put it here, since it comes from this article:

“Science writer, Amanda Gefter, takes issue with one particular manifestation of our propensity for oversimplification — the notion of the universe. She writes: ‘…[T]here’s my universe and there’s your universe — but there’s no such thing as the universe.'”

An expansion of many of my own thoughts on a variety of subjects and more than I could ever have thought of on others await me. Gotta get this book!

http://goo.gl/7Z5Weo

Anatomy/Biology/Zoology and Gender
5. 4/18/15, AIR SHEPHERD: ANTI-POACHING DRONES SEEK CROWDFUNDING, BY B.J. MURPHY of Serious Wonder

I’m not a fan of drones (given most of their current uses, but this is a great idea! To protect elephants, rhinos, and other endangered species: “‘We fly drones, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that have infrared cameras and GPS on them and can send back thermal images of animals . . . and poachers.’ – Air Shepherd.”

Air Shepherd‘s crowdfunding campaign deadline has passed (April, 2015), but the goal was not met and they would appreciate donations at any time: https://goo.gl/hfi9u1 for the IndieGogo page and more info, including http://www.AirShepherd.org for the website itself.

http://goo.gl/uaqlMu

  1. 3/8/15, The Best LGBT Children’s Books: A Sweet and Assuring Celebration of Diversity and Difference, by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Weekly

As a parent, a bisexual, a feminist and a long-time educator, I am extremely committed to enlarging perspectives, particularly for young children. This list of excellent children’s books on gender, sexual orientation and other related “differences” whose authors embrace diversity in all its guises makes me very happy since it helps many who work with and raise children to find great reads on these important topics.

Plus, who doesn’t love Maurice Sendak’s books, regardless of your age and politics? We lost one of the 20th Century’s greatest writers for children (and adults) when he passed recently.

Books in this list were published in the 1990s and afterwards and range to one about gay penguins, a grandmother who speaks about lesbians to a granddaughter who asks, a prince seeking a spouse (not a bride, as it turns out), a gay human father and more. Each has excellent illustrations, demonstrates acceptance values, and provides the types of dialogue and storylines adults will be glad to read and re-read to the young children until they can read them on their own.

You might think this list of children’s books doesn’t belong in a post about “science,” but science includes advances in social and emotional health, right? Include these books in every library, school, daycare facility, summer camp and home and we’ll see a huge rise in the mental health of LGBT youth and a great increase in the number of LGBT Allies as well.

http://goo.gl/BNr6qJ

Health and Nutrition
7. 2/1/15, How Playing Music Benefits Your Brain More than Any Other Activity, by Maria Popova of Brain Pickings Weekly

I am a musician. I come from a family of musicians. My son and his father are musicians. Many of my lifelong and new friends are musicians. I am currently helping two kids (ages 7 & 11) learn about music and to play the piano. I have been a paid accompanist, musical director and songwriter. To say I believe in the value of music would be a vast understatement, but this article about the health benefits of music encourages and uplifts me enormously, particularly since I am in the unexpectedly long process of recovering from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)/concussion which occurred over a year ago.

According to the latest research: “…[P]laying music benefits the brain more than any other activity…[and] it impacts executive function and memory…” which are two of the areas most affected in me by my recent TBI.

I love the way musician/author, Glenn Kurtz, explains in his book, Practicing, exactly in what ways playing (not just listening to) music improves our brains: “‘Because making music also involves crafting and understanding its emotional content and message, musicians also have higher levels of executive function — a category of interlinked tasks that includes planning, strategizing, and attention to detail, and requires simultaneous analysis of both cognitive and emotional aspects.

“‘This ability also has an impact on how our memory systems work. And, indeed, musicians exhibit enhanced memory functions — creating, storing, and retrieving memories more quickly and efficiently. Studies have found that musicians appear to use their highly connected brains to give each memory multiple tags, such as a conceptual tag, an emotional tag, an audio tag, and a contextual tag — like a good internet search engine.'”

http://goo.gl/aF3y3z

Brain pickings logo
Brain Pickings WeeklyBrain Pickings Weekly


Look for Part I, published on June 1, which focused on info gathered by Alert.

ScienceAlert.com

Science Alert logo

Next, look for Part III in late July, info from Cosmos Up.

CosmosUp.com

Cosmos Up logo

Part I: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

Part I: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up

I should have been a research scientist. I love science. I’m extremely intelligent, determined, creative, and organized. I coulda been a contenda for a Nobel prize. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Why am I not a scientist? I had a series of misogynistic (one of my teachers hated the four girls in my advanced science class so much he would pith [paralyze] the frogs by holding them in the air directly in front of one of us so that each frog would urinate on our blouses), anti-Semitic (another one wore his “John Birch Society” pin to school every day, displayed prominently on his lapel; there were three girls in my class and he insulted each of us daily), incompetent (in an lab accident at his “real” job, this poor man had lost most of his sight and drive and spent each class time mostly ignoring all of us) and otherwise horrible science teachers in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.

With better teachers in those critical years, my life could have turned out very differently. Those terrible teachers turned me so far off science I only took one more “hard” science course (because it was required, in undergraduate college), despite many more years of education, through getting a doctorate.

As an adult, I became enthralled with quantum physics, health/anatomy, nutrition, child development/learning and the multiverse/astrophysics, so I read. A lot. I also watch documentaries. I am not even close to understanding some of the physics stuff, but the rest I got quite adept at utilizing. To “keep up,” I subscribe to many science-oriented blogs and curation sites.

My favorites are: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up. I will excerpt from some of the “best of the best” of what I’ve recently perused. Part I is all from Science Alert.

I hope you enjoy! Go subscribe!


ScienceAlert.com

Science Alert logo

Astrophysics and Quantum Physics/Mechanics
19 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/TRtzJD
“For the first time, scientists in Australia have detected a gigantic burst of radio waves from outside our galaxy in real time. Called blitzars [also known as ‘fast radio bursts’ (FRB’s)], these bursts generate as much energy as the Sun does in a day, but they do it in mere milliseconds….The source of these ‘blitzars’ has so far remained a mystery….[T]hey’ve calculated the blitzar to be up to 5.5 billion light-years away from Earth.”

22 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/v6Q8S4
“Researchers have found that have found that quantum mechanics can cause more than two optical systems to become entangled, potentially across large distances….[Q]uantum entanglement states that two particles can be implicitly linked and can seemingly influence each other no matter how far apart they are….[Q]uantum entanglement exists and forms the basis of teleportation and quantum cryptography. [In 2014], researchers from the University of Geneva managed to teleport a photon across a distance 25 kilometres….[This new experiment] provides an important step towards validation of mesoscopic quantum mechanics. Mesoscopic refers to the discipline of physics that deals with matter in between micro and macroscopic.”

10 Feb 2015 http://goo.gl/v9nm44
“New model suggests the Big Bang never occurred. Instead, the Universe has simply been going forever….A new quantum equation suggests that the Universe has no beginning or end, and it could also account for dark matter and dark energy.”

05 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/BAKoZa
“The LHC [Large Hadron Collider]…the monstrous underground atom smasher that hurls particles at near light speed, has been restarted….Here’s how it could change physics forever! ”
“The hunt for dark matter is on.”
These new LHC experiments may also resolve as-yet-unanswered questions regarding supersymmetry, antimatter, gravity and dark energy as well!

08 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/i8yQw4
“NASA’s chief scientist predicts we’ll find signs of alien life by 2025: ‘I think we’re going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade, and I think we’re going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years,’ NASA chief scientist, Ellen Stofan…
“‘It’s definitely not an if, it’s a when,’ said Jeffery Newmark, NASA’s interim director of heliophysics….
“‘[O]bservations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope suggest that nearly every star in the sky hosts planets – and many of these worlds may be habitable,’ says Mike Wall at Space.com.”

16 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/jdGFtQ
“Big news: Dark matter may not be as dark as we originally thought. Astronomers have found the first evidence that dark matter interacts with forces other than gravity.”

Child Development/Learning
05 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/5POY6W
“If you want to sure up your child’s communication and problem-solving skills, chatting…to your baby about nothing in particular while you’re getting ready or doing work around the house…can be even more important than reading to them, new research suggests….[R]eading is great for young kids, but… on its own, it’s not enough to shore up their cognitive development.”

Anatomy/Biology/Zoology and Gender
09 Jan 2015 http://goo.gl/60Zmfi

butterfly_480
“Is it a male, or female? This unusual butterfly, apparently, couldn’t decide on its sex, resulting in beautiful and starkly different sets of wings….[I]t was a Common Archduke (Lexias pardalis) butterfly, with a condition known as bilateral gynandromorphy…[which] also been reported in crustaceans, such as lobsters, as well as in birds….”

23 Mar 2015 http://goo.gl/aQyTet
“Scientists have found a drug that makes people more compassionate. It turns out altering people’s brain chemistry can stop them from being selfish jerks….The drug, called tolcapone, prolongs the effect of dopamine in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, a region involved in the regulation of complex thought and our emotions. And early tests suggest that it encourages people who take it to be more fair-minded when it comes to money.” I posit the biological bases for better or worse humans, particularly regarding behavior and selfishness, in my sci-fi ebooks, The Spanners Series.

09 Apr 2015 http://goo.gl/ED8UKh
“Brain ‘gender’ is more fluid than originally thought, research reveals….[C]ontinual Dnmt [DNA methyltransferase (Dnmt), an enzyme that usually silences certain genes] exposure is necessary throughout development to ensure that a brain turns female.”
“Scientists have managed to neurologically switch newborn rats from female to male….Not only did their behaviour change dramatically, but the rats’ brains also structurally transformed.”
In the 1990s, I conducted my doctoral research and wrote my dissertation on the mutability of both gender and sexual orientation identities with the factors of interpersonal safety and connection being pivotal in how frequently, fluidly and diversely each individual’s identities might fluctuate, inventing a term for this contextualized fluctuation: differential authenticity. http://goo.gl/IOcCWJ
“‘”It was thought that once established, sexual differentiation could not be undone,’ Nugent told PBS. ‘Our work shows that sex differences in brain and behaviour are epigenetically regulated, meaning that sex differences are not hardwired in our DNA but programmed during development.'”
I would add: and identities could change throughout life, regulated by circumstances and experiences.

21 May 2015 http://goo.gl/oSpB7e
“Octopuses are able to ‘see’ with their skin, new research finds….[T]he same kind of skin perception might be happening in other cephalopods, too. In other words, these creatures can feel changes in light as well as see them.”
Cephalopods are featuredin my sci-fi ebooks, The Spanners Series.

Health and Nutrition
05 Feb 2015 http://goo.gl/RFcvRZ and https://goo.gl/2HhO4z [with two videos from ASAP Science]
“Want to know how to decrease your odds of developing a cold by 58.8 percent, and if you do get one, how to shave 1.5 days off the length of it? The latest episode of AsapSCIENCE has got all the – scientifically approved – answers.” The two accompanying videos provide tips and advice and then debunk 6 common myths about how to behave/what to do/not do/eat/not eat when getting sick or already sick with a cold.

18 Mar 2015 http://goo.gl/iU4jW4
“The longer you’re breastfed, the higher your IQ and adult earnings, study suggests, but not too long, or the benefits become disadvantages….And the difference was pretty huge. If a child had been breastfed for an entire year, they scored on average four more IQ points, had almost another year of formal education, and earned an extra 341 reais a month – which is about about a third more than the average income level in Brazil – than those who had breastfed for less than a month. But beyond 12 months, and the benefits in later life dropped off significantly – in adulthood, these people were on average poorer, and less educated.”

08 April 2015 http://goo.gl/1ImN59
“Amazing chart shows the planet’s longest-living animals. See how your puny human lifespan compares.” Humans don’t even make the top 10! The longest-living (an ocean quahog [an edible clam, pronounced in Massachusetts, USA, “co-hog”] exists for over 400 years! Eight of the top 10 longest-lived animals are all sea-dwelling creatures; the other two are land tortoises. I guess living on land shortens our lifespan considerably. Humans should have stayed in the sea.

LongestAnimals_web_480


Look for Part II in late June, focusing on info gathered by Serious Wonder.

SeriousWonder.com

SeriousWonderLogo

After that, look for Part III in late July, info from Cosmos Up.

CosmosUp.com

Cosmos Up logo