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This page is dedicated to My Grandson Brandon.

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***IN STOCK***
 HOLOGRAPHIC

UNIVERSE

by Chuck Missler

DVD

PRICE R 159.00

 

 

 

 

This DVD includes notes in PDF format and M4A files.


This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teachings

Available in the following formats

Session 1

• Epistemology 101: How do we “know”?

– Scientific Myths of the Past

– Scientific Myths of the Present

• The Macrocosm: The Plasma Universe: Gravitational Presumption?

• The Microcosm: The Planck Wall

• The Metacosm: Fracture of Hyperspace?

Session 2


• The Holographic Model: David Bohm

• GEO 600 “Noise”

• The Black Hole Paradox

– String Theorists examine the elephant

• A Holographic Universe:

– Distances are synthetic (virtual) images

– A Geocentric Cosmology?

– Some Scriptural Perspective(s)

 

 

“One can’t believe impossible things,”

Alice laughed.

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,”

said the Queen.

“When I was your age, I always did it for

half-an-hour a day.

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many

as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
 

DVD:

1 Disc
2 M4A Files
Color, Fullscreen 16:9, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, Region  This DVD will be viewable in other countries WITH the proper DVD player and television set.)
 

M4A File Video

Can be burned to disc and played on MP4 compatible DVD players.
Playable on iPod, iPhone, iPod Touch
Playable on any MP4 player
1 PDF Notes File
2 MP3 Files


 

 

 

 

 

   

Featured Briefing

A Holographic Universe?

by Dr. Chuck Missler

Are we actually living in a holographic universe? Are the distant galaxies only a virtual illusion? In a hologram, distances are synthetic! How does this impact our concepts of time and space?

There seems to be growing evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it may be only ghostly images, projections from a level of reality so beyond our own that the real reality is literally beyond both space and time.1

The Cosmos As a Super-Hologram?

An initiating architect of this astonishing idea was one of the world’s most eminent thinkers: University of London physicist David Bohm, a protégé of Einstein’s and one of the world’s most respected quantum physicists. Bohm’s work in plasma physics in the 1950s is considered a landmark. Earlier, at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, he noticed that in plasmas (ionized gases) the particles stopped behaving as individuals and started behaving as if they were part of a larger and interconnected whole. Moving to Princeton University in 1947, there, too, he continued his work in the behavior of oceans of ionized particles, noting their highly organized overall effects and their behavior, as if they knew what each of the untold trillions of individual particles was doing.

One of the implications of Bohm’s view has to do with the nature of location. Bohm’s interpretation of quantum physics indicated that at the subquantum level location ceased to exist. All points in space become equal to all other points in space, and it was meaningless to speak of anything as being separate from anything else. Physicists call this property “nonlocality”. The web of subatomic particles that compose our physical universe—the very fabric of “reality” itself—possesses what appears to be an undeniable “holographic” property. Paul Davis of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England, observed that since all particles are continually interacting and separating, “the nonlocal aspects of quantum systems is therefore a general property of nature.”2

The Nature of Reality

One of Bohm’s most startling suggestions was that the tangible reality of our everyday lives is really a kind of illusion, like a holographic image. Underlying it is a deeper order of existence, a vast and more primary level of reality that gives birth to all the objects and appearances of our physical world in much the same way that a piece of holographic film gives birth to a hologram. Bohm calls this deeper level of reality the implicate (“enfolded”) order and he refers to our level of existence the explicate (unfolded) order.3 This view is not inconsistent with the Biblical presentation of the physical (“explicate”) world as being subordinate to the spiritual (“implicate”) world as the superior reality.4

The Search for Gravity Waves

Gravitational waves are extremely small ripples in the structure of spacetime caused by astrophysical events like supernovae or coalescing massive binaries (neutron stars, black holes). They had been predicted by Albert Einstein in 1916, but not yet directly observed.

GEO 600 is a gravitational wave detector located near Sarstedt, Germany, which seeks to detect gravitational waves by means of a laser interferometer of 600 meter arms’ length. This instrument, and its sister interferometric detectors, are some of the most sensitive gravitational wave detectors ever designed. They are designed to detect relative changes in distance of the order of 10-21, about the size of a single atom compared to the distance from the Earth to the Sun! Construction on the project began in 1995.

Mystery Noise

On January 15, 2009, it was reported in New Scientist that some yet unidentified noise that was present in the GEO 600 detector measurements might be because the instrument is sensitive to extremely small quantum fluctuations of space-time affecting the positions of parts of the detector. This claim was made by Craig Hogan, a scientist from Fermilab, on the basis of his theory of how such fluctuations should occur motivated by the holographic principle.5 Apparently, the gravitational wave detector in Hannover may have detected evidence for a holographic Universe!

Gravitational Wave Observatories Join Forces

A number of major projects will now pool their data to analyze it, jointly boosting their chances of spotting a faint signal that might otherwise be hidden by detector noise. Using lasers, they measure the length between mirrored test masses hung inside tunnels at right angles to each other. Gravitational waves decrease the distance between the masses in one tunnel and increase it in the other by a tiny, but detectable amount. Combining the data will also make it possible to triangulate to find the source of any gravitational waves detected. These include: Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory based in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana; Virgo Observatory, Pisa Italy; and, of course, the GEO 600 Observatory near Hanover, Germany.

The most ambitious of them is the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA), a joint mission between NASA and the European Space Agency to develop and operate a space-based gravitational wave detector sensitive at frequencies between 0.03 mHz and 0.1 Hz. LISA seeks to detect gravitational-wave induced strains in space-time by measuring changes of the separation between fiducial masses in three spacecraft 5 million kilometers apart.

Cosmic Implications

Are we actually living in a holographic universe? Are the distant galaxies only a virtual illusion? In a hologram, distances are synthetic! How does this impact our concepts of time and space?

It gets even worse: Could our universe be geocentric? The implications are too staggering to embrace. The holographic paradigm is still a developing concept and riddled with controversies. For decades, science has chosen to ignore evidences that do not fit their standard theories. However, the volume of evidence has now reached the point that denial is no longer a viable option.

Clearly, 20th-century science has discovered that our “macrocosm”—studies of largeness—is finite, not infinite. Our universe is finite and had a beginning, and that’s what has led to the “big bang” speculations. We also realize that gravity is dramatically eclipsed by electromagnetic considerations when dealing with galaxies, etc. The plasma physicists have been trying to tell astronomers that for decades but no one was listening.

What is even more shocking has been the discoveries in the “microcosm”—studies of smallness—that run up against the “Planck Wall” of the non-location of subatomic particles, and the many strange paradoxes of quantum physics. We now discover that we are in a virtual reality that is a digital, simulated environment. The bizarre realization that the “constants” of physics are changing indicates that our “reality” is “but a shadow of a larger reality,”6 and that’s what the Bible has maintained all along!7

The Bible is, of course, unique in that it has always presented a universe of more than three dimensions,8 and revealed a Creator that is transcendent over His creation. It is the only “holy book” that demonstrates these contemporary insights. It’s time for us to spend more time with the handbook that the Creator has handed to us. It is the ultimate adventure, indeed!

For background information on the Holographic Universe, see our briefing series, The Beyond Collection, available on DVD and other formats, in the Christmas catalog insert in this issue.


Notes

  1. We explore the limitations of the Macrocosm, the Microcosm, and the super-embracing “Metacosm” in our Beyond Series.
  2. Paul Davis, Superforce, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1948, p.48.
  3. This is reminiscent of the Red King’s dream in Through the Looking Glass, in which Alice finds herself in deep metaphysical waters when the Tweedle brothers defend the view that all material objects, including ourselves, are only “sorts of things” in the mind of God.
  4. 2 Corinthians 4:18.
  5. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located just outside Batavia, Illinois, near Chicago, is a US Department of Energy national laboratory specializing in high-energy particle physics. (Craig Hogan was then put in charge…)
  6. Scientific American, June 2005, “The Inconstancy of Constants”.
  7. Hebrews 11:3; John 1:1-3; et al.
  8. Ephesians 3:18. Nachmonides, writing in the 13th century, concluded, from his studies of the Genesis texts, that our universe has ten dimensions, of which only four are directly “knowable”.
 
 

The Physics of Immortality

DVD


by Dr. Chuck Missler

Price R 249.00

 

 

The Physics of Immortality

 This is an intensive review of what the Apostle Paul calls the most important chapter in the Bible: 1 Corinthians 15. Without it, “we are of all men most miserable.”
Did Jesus really rise from the dead? How do we know? Do we really believe it?
What kind of body did He have? Why did they have trouble recognizing Him?
How do we now know that we live within a digital virtual environment which is but “a shadow of a larger reality”? What are the implications of that “larger reality”? What is the relationship between “the twinkling of an eye” and Planck’s Constant for time (1043 seconds)?
Do you have your passport for the transit that’s coming? Are you really ready?
Join Dr. Chuck Missler in the Executive Briefing Room of the River Lodge, New Zealand, as he examines the physics of immortality.
This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teachings
Available in the following formats:
 DVD:
•1 Disc
•2 MP3 Files
•1 PDF Notes File
 

Published on Jan 28, 2015

Chuck Missler had the opportunity to sit discuss Zero Point Energy (ZPE) with Barry Setterfield 
 

Space News from SpaceDaily.com

 

 

Space News From SpaceDaily.Com

 

 

International Partners Provide Science Satellites for first SLS mission

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 30, 2016
NASA's new Space Launch System (SLS) will launch America into a new era of exploration to destinations beyond Earth's orbit. On its first flight, NASA will demonstrate the rocket's heavy-lift capability and send an uncrewed Orion spacecraft into deep space. The agency will also take advantage of additional available mass and space to provide the rare opportunity to send more than a dozen small s
 

Planetary Resources raises $21M for Earth Observation platform

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Redmond WA (SPX) May 30, 2016
Planetary Resources has announced that it has secured US$21.1 million in Series A funding. The capital will be used to deploy and operate Ceres, an advanced Earth observation business that features the first commercial infrared and hyperspectral sensor platform to better understand and manage humanity's natural resources. The funding was led by Bryan Johnson and the OS FUND; and joined by
 

40-year math mystery and 4 generations of figuring

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Atlanta GA (SPX) May 30, 2016
This may sound like a familiar kind of riddle: How many brilliant mathematicians does it take to come up with and prove the Kelmans-Seymour Conjecture? But the answer is no joke, because arriving at it took mental toil that spanned four decades until this year, when mathematicians at the Georgia Institute of Technology finally announced a proof of that conjecture in Graph Theory. Their res
 

Supermassive black hole wind can stop new stars from forming

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
San Francisco CA (SPX) May 30, 2016
Scientists have uncovered a new class of galaxies with supermassive black hole winds that are energetic enough to suppress future star formation. Devoid of fresh young stars, red and dead galaxies make up a large fraction of galaxies in our nearby universe, but a mystery that has plagued astronomers for years has been how these systems remain inactive despite having all of the ingredients needed
 

SwRI scientists discover evidence of ice age at Martian north pole

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
San Antonio TX (SPX) May 30, 2016
Using radar data collected by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, a Southwest Research Institute-led team found evidence of an ice age recorded in the polar deposits of Mars. Ice ages on Mars are driven by processes similar to those responsible for ice ages on Earth, that is, long-term cyclical changes in the planet's orbit and tilt, which affect the amount of solar radiation it receives at each
 

SpaceX makes fourth successful rocket landing

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Miami (AFP) May 27, 2016
SpaceX launched an Asian communications satellite into a distant orbit Friday and for the fourth time managed to recover the rocket that did the work. Under blue skies dotted with clouds, the shiny white Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:40 pm (2140 GMT) carrying the Thaicom 8 satellite. The rocket returned to Earth about 10 minutes later, firing its engines
 

NASA inflates spare room in space

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Washington (AFP) May 28, 2016
NASA on Saturday successfully expanded and pressurized an add-on room at the International Space Station two days after aborting the first attempt when it ran into problems. The flexible habitat, known as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), completed slowly extending 67 inches (170 centimeters) at 4:10 pm (2010 GMT) following more than seven hours during which astronaut Jeff Willi
 

Antarctic fossils reveal south was not safer during dinosaur extinction

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Leeds, UK (SPX) May 27, 2016
A study of more than 6,000 marine fossils from the Antarctic shows that the mass extinction event that killed the dinosaurs was sudden and just as deadly to life in the polar regions. Previously, scientists had thought that creatures living in the southernmost regions of the planet would have been in a less perilous position during the mass extinction event than those elsewhere on Earth. T
 

Doubling down on Schrodinger's cat

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
New Haven CT (SPX) May 30, 2016
Yale physicists have given Schrodinger's famous cat a second box to play in, and the result may help further the quest for reliable quantum computing. Schrodinger's cat is a well-known paradox that applies the concept of superposition in quantum physics to objects encountered in everyday life. The idea is that a cat is placed in a sealed box with a radioactive source and a poison that will
 

Could optical clocks redefine the length of a second

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 30, 2016
GPS-based navigation, communication systems, electrical power grids and financial networks all rely on the precise time kept by a network of around 500 atomic clocks located around the world. In The Optical Society's journal for high impact research, Optica, researchers present a way to use optical clocks for more accurate timekeeping than is possible with today's system of traditional atomic cl
 

Engineers discover a new gatekeeper for light

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Buffalo NY (SPX) May 30, 2016
Imagine a device that is selectively transparent to various wavelengths of light at one moment, and opaque to them the next, following a minute adjustment. Such a gatekeeper would enable powerful and unique capabilities in a wide range of electronic, optical and other applications, including those that rely on transistors or other components that switch on and off. In a paper in the journa
 

Beating the limits of the light microscope, one photon at a time

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Fort Collins CO (SPX) May 30, 2016
The world's most advanced light microscopes allow us to see single molecules, proteins, viruses and other very small biological structures. But even the best microscopes have their limits. Colorado State University scientists are pushing the limits of a technique called super-resolution microscopy, opening potential new pathways to illuminating, for example, individual cell processes in living t
 

Top-down design brings new DNA structures to life

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Tempe AZ (SPX) May 30, 2016
Among the valuable holdings in London's Wellcome Library is a rough pencil sketch made in 1953 by Francis Crick. The drawing is one of the first to show the double-helix structure of DNA - Nature's blueprint for the design of sea snails, human beings, and every other living form on earth. Few could have predicted however, that DNA's simple properties of self-assembly, and its versatile informati
 

The next generation of carbon monoxide nanosensors

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 29, 2016
The detection of carbon monoxide (CO) in the air is a vital issue, as CO is a poisonous gas and an environmental pollutant. CO typically derives from the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels, such as cooking gas and gasoline; it has no odour, taste, or colour and hence it is difficult to detect. Scientists have been investigating sensors that can determine CO concentration, and a team fro
 

NIST, partners create standard to improve sustainable manufacturing

 
‎Today, ‎May ‎30, ‎2016, ‏‎3 hours agoGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 30, 2016
Anyone who's ever covered a wall with sticky notes to clearly map all of the steps in a process knows how valuable that exercise can be. It can streamline workflow, increase efficiency and improve the overall quality of the end result. Now, a public-private team led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created a new international standard that can "map" the critically
 

DARPA's XS-1 Spaceplane

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Bethesda MD (SPX) May 24, 2016
The DARPA hopes to develop a reusable spaceplane, the XS-1, that can boost an upper stage and small orbital payload through the first stage ascent profile. The second stage would carry small satellites into low earth orbits. The initial customer for such a system is expected to be U.S. national security agencies. In effect, the XS-1 is intended to replace the traditional expendable "first
 

Potential Habitats for Early Life on Mars

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
San Francisco CA (SPX) May 25, 2016
San Francisco CA (SPX) May 25, 2016 Recently discovered evidence of carbonates beneath the surface of Mars points to a warmer and wetter environment in that planet's past. The presence of liquid water could have fostered the emergence of life. A new study by James Wray at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Janice Bishop of the SETI Institute, as well as other collaborators, has found
 

Roscosmos Proposes International Team to Create Super-Heavy Carrier Rocket

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) May 25, 2016
Moscow (Sputnik) May 25, 2016 The deputy head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos said that Russia offers its international partners to jointly create a new super-heavy-lift launch vehicle. Russia offers its international partners to jointly create a new super-heavy-lift launch vehicle, the deputy head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos said Tuesday. "The work on establishing the fol
 

Hunting for Dark Matter's "Hidden Valley

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Berkeley CA (SPX) May 25, 2016
Berkeley CA (SPX) May 25, 2016 Kathryn Zurek realized a decade ago that we may be searching in the wrong places for clues to one of the universe's greatest unsolved mysteries: dark matter. Despite making up an estimated 85 percent of the total mass of the universe, we haven't yet figured out what it's made of. Now, Zurek, a theoretical physicist at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berk
 

Science Instruments of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Successfully Installed

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 25, 2016
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 25, 2016 With surgical precision, two dozen engineers and technicians successfully installed the package of science instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope into the telescope structure. The package is the collection of cameras and spectrographs that will record the light collected by Webb's giant golden mirror. Inside the world's largest clean room at NASA's G
 

OU astrophysicists detect most luminous diffuse gamma-ray emission from Arp 220

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Norman, OK (SPX) May 25, 2016
Norman, OK (SPX) May 25, 2016 A University of Oklahoma team has detected for the first time the most luminous gamma-ray emission from a galaxy--the merging galaxy Arp 220 is the nearest ultraluminous infrared galaxy to Earth, and it reveals the hidden extreme energetic processes in galaxies. The first gamma-ray detection of an ultraluminous infrafred galaxy occurs when the most energetic
 

Arianespace continues the momentum for Europe's Galileo program on its latest Soyuz flight

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) May 24, 2016
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) May 24, 2016 With another successful Soyuz launch performed to expand the Galileo satellite navigation system, Arianespace has reaffirmed the company's important role in supporting European governments and institutions with independent, reliable and available access to space. Carried out from the purpose-built ELS launch complex at Europe's Spaceport, Soyuz com
 

Closing in on the elusive rotational-vibrational CH5+ spectra

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 25, 2016
Washington DC (SPX) May 25, 2016 Protonated methane, a.k.a. CH5+, is a highly unusual molecule that scientists and astronomers suspect may be found within the interstellar medium where stars and planets are formed. To identify molecules on Earth or in outer space, scientists typically record the spectrum of light absorbed - each molecule has its own unique spectrum. CH5+, consists of a ce
 

Study Helps Explain Sea Ice Differences at Earth's Poles

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 24, 2016
Why has the sea ice cover surrounding Antarctica been increasing slightly, in sharp contrast to the drastic loss of sea ice occurring in the Arctic Ocean? A new NASA-led study finds the geology of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are responsible. A NASA/NOAA/university team led by Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, used satellite radar, sea surface tempe
 

Virginia Tech researchers in the Antarctic discover new facets of space weather

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 24, 2016
A team of National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported researchers at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) discovered new evidence about how the Earth's magnetic field interacts with solar wind, almost as soon as they finished installing six data-collection stations across East Antarctic Plateau last January. Their findings could have significant effects o
 

U.S. evaluates new Tether Eye ISR platform

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Tampa, Fla. (UPI) May 23, 2016
A tethered unmanned aerial system by AeroVironment for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance use is being evaluated by the U.S. military. The evaluation of Tether Eye is being conducted by the United States Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, which funded the system's development program. Tether Eye is a day/night surveillance platform that deploys automatically
 

NATO finalises military build-up to counter Russia

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Brussels (AFP) May 19, 2016
NATO foreign ministers were on Thursday finalising the alliance's biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the two-day meeting would address "all the important issues" to prepare for a "landmark" summit in Poland in July. There, NATO leaders will formally endorse the r
 

Call to minimize drone impact on wildlife

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Adelaide, Australia (SPX) May 24, 2016
University of Adelaide environmental researchers have called for a 'code of best practice' in using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) for wildlife monitoring and protection, and other biological field research. The researchers, from the University's Unmanned Research Aircraft Facility (URAF) or Adelaide Drone Hub, say that drones are a useful tool for field research and their use is growin
 

Using static electricity, RoboBees can land and stick to surfaces

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) May 20, 2016
Call them the RoboBats. In a recent article in Science, Harvard roboticists demonstrate that their flying microrobots, nicknamed the RoboBees, can now perch during flight to save energy - like bats, birds or butterflies. "Many applications for small drones require them to stay in the air for extended periods," said Moritz Graule, first author of the paper who conducted this research as a s
 

How plants conquered the land

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎7:16:42 AMGo to full article
Leeds UK (SPX) May 20, 2016
Research at the University of Leeds has identified a key gene that assisted the transition of plants from water to the land around 500 million years ago. The ANR gene is required to tolerate 'extreme dehydration' in the moss Physcomitrella patens, a land plant that is used as an experimental model. Researchers at the Centre for Plant Sciences at the University found that the ANR gene - pre
 

How Far Away Are Our Stellar Neighbors?

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 20, 2016
In April 2016 the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) released a catalog of distances to over 112 thousand stars, the USNO Parallax Catalog (UPC), using ground-based observations performed with the USNO Robotic Astrometric Telescope (URAT). It is the largest such catalog since the release of the European Space Agency (ESA) Hipparcos mission Catalog in 1997. The brightest stars in the ni
 

Hubble Takes Mars Portrait Near Close Approach

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Baltimore MD (SPX) May 20, 2016
Bright, frosty polar caps, and clouds above a vivid, rust-colored landscape reveal Mars as a dynamic seasonal planet in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope view taken on May 12, 2016, when Mars was 50 million miles from Earth. The Hubble image reveals details as small as 20 to 30 miles across. The large, dark region at far right is Syrtis Major Planitia, one of the first features identified o
 

Lockheed demos future evolution of its flexible GPS 3 satellite design

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Denver CO (SPX) May 20, 2016
In the future, when mission needs change for the Global Positioning System (GPS), the U.S. Air Force will be able to respond - thanks to some engineering forethought and the innovative design of Lockheed Martin's GPS III satellite. Designed with evolution in mind, Lockheed Martin's GPS III satellites for the Air Force's next acquisition will be able to offer on-orbit re-programmability so
 

Fregat is fueled in Arianespace's FCube facility for Soyuz Flight VS15

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) May 20, 2016
Arianespace's new Spaceport processing facility has fueled another Fregat stage. This upper stage for the medium-lift Soyuz launcher will be used for the May 24 flight from French Guiana with two European Galileo navigation satellites. Named the FCube (Fregat Fueling Facility), the purpose-built installation is utilized to "top off" Fregat upper stages during Soyuz launch campaigns at the
 

US Army Hopes to Have Laser Weapons on the Battlefield by 2024

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (Sputnik) May 17, 2016
With an eye to its future wars, the US military is testing laser weapons, to perfect the latest in energy-based artillery. The Pentagon has been developing laser weapons for years, hoping that the technology can be used to bring down enemy drones, among other things. Last month, the US military took its High Energy Laser Mobile Test Truck (HELMTT) program to a test range at the Fires Cente
 

Ancient tsunami evidence on Mars reveals life potential

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Ithaca NY (SPX) May 20, 2016
The geologic shape of what were once shorelines through Mars' northern plains convinces scientists that two large meteorites - hitting the planet millions of years apart - triggered a pair of mega-tsunamis. These gigantic waves forever scarred the Martian landscape and yielded evidence of cold, salty oceans conducive to sustaining life. "About 3.4 billion years ago, a big meteorite impact
 

Jupiter Blasted by 6.5 Fireball Impacts per Year on Average

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) May 20, 2016
Jupiter is hit by an average of 6.5 objects per year that create impacts large enough to be visible from Earth, according to preliminary results from a worldwide campaign by amateur astronomers to observe the giant planet. The estimate was presented at an international workshop on Jupiter for professional and amateur astronomers organized by Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure at the Observa
 

Imaging the Encounter of a Lifetime

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 20, 2016
Jorge Nunez, a planetary scientist and engineer from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), is the deputy systems engineer of the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) instrument on New Horizons. He studies the geology and composition of planetary surfaces using a variety of remote-sensing techniques. When not working on New Horizons or analyzing data from NASA mission
 

Will America Set Military Back by Abandoning Russian RD-180 Rocket Engines

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) May 20, 2016
The Senate Armed Services Committee calls for halving the US appropriation for the military's go-to rocket engine, the House Armed Services Committee focuses on replacements, and the White House is determined to veto anything and everything. Controversy continues in the halls of Washington regarding the continued US military appropriations of Russian-made rocket engines to allow US payload
 

New Horizons' First Science on a Post-Pluto Object

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Laurel MD (SPX) May 20, 2016
Warming up for a possible extended mission as it speeds through deep space, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has now twice observed 1994 JR1, a 90-mile (145-kilometer) wide Kuiper Belt object (KBO) orbiting more than 3 billion miles (5 billion kilometers) from the Sun. Science team members have used these observations to reveal new facts about this distant remnant of the early solar system.
 

Mars - Closest, Biggest and Brightest in a Decade

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) May 20, 2016
Look low in the southeast at nightfall, and an unusually bright, fire-yellow "star" will be staring back at you. It's the planet Mars, closer to Earth now than it has been since November 2005. Mars is exactly its closest on May 30th, 47.2 million miles from Earth. But it remains within 48 million miles of us from now through June 12th. So it will stay essentially this close and bright through th
 

Russian Armed Forces Use Glonass Satellites for Aiming in Syria

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Korolyov, Russia (Sputnik) May 17, 2016
The Glonass satellites are being used to ensure the work of the Russian precision-guided weapons in Syria, a senior space industry official said Friday. "Glonass is the system which is the most important for us. Not only is this a system, it ensures national security. This is the matter of those five or six meters in Syria, aiming of precision weapons which is less effective without such s
 

Iron fertilization won't work in much of Pacific, says study

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
New York NY (SPX) May 19, 2016
Over the past half-million years, the equatorial Pacific Ocean has seen five spikes in the amount of iron-laden dust blown in from the continents. In theory, those bursts should have turbo-charged the growth of the ocean's carbon-capturing algae - algae need iron to grow - but a new study shows that the excess iron had little to no effect. The results are important today, because as groups
 

Proton-conducting material found in electrosensory organs of sharks

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Santa Cruz CA (SPX) May 18, 2016
Sharks, skates, and rays can detect very weak electric fields produced by prey and other animals using an array of unusual organs known as the ampullae of Lorenzini. Exactly how these electrosensory organs work has remained a mystery, but a new study has revealed an important clue that may have implications for other fields of research. First described by Stefano Lorenzini in 1678, the amp
 

Thinning out the carbon capture viscosity problem

 
‎Friday, ‎May ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎8:24:47 AMGo to full article
Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 19, 2016
To make "clean" fossil fuel burning a reality, researchers have to pull carbon dioxide out of the exhaust gases that rise from coal or natural gas power plants and store or reuse it. For the capturing feat, researchers are studying special scrubbing liquids that bind and release the gas, but some of the most promising ones thicken up to a cold honey consistency when binding carbon dioxide, rende
 

Hunting for Hidden Life on Worlds Orbiting Old, Red Stars

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Ithaca NY (SPX) May 18, 2016
All throughout the universe, there are stars in varying phases and ages. Planetary diversity suggests that around other stars, initially frozen worlds could be the size of Earth and provide habitable conditions once the star becomes older. The oldest detected Kepler planets (exoplanets found using NASA's Kepler telescope) are about 11 billion years old. Our Sun is currently 4.6 billion yea
 

Other Suns Got the Right Spin

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Potsdam, Germany (SPX) May 18, 2016
Astrophysicists from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) and the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore have for the first time measured the rotation periods of stars in a cluster nearly as old as the Sun and found them to be similar. It turns out that these stars spin around once in about 26 days - just like our Sun. This discovery significantly strengthens what is known a
 

Clues to Ancient Giant Asteroid Found in Western Australia

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Canberra, Australia (SPX) May 18, 2016
Scientists have found evidence of a huge asteroid that struck the Earth early in its life with an impact larger than anything humans have experienced. Tiny glass beads called spherules, found in northwestern Australia, were formed from vaporized material from the asteroid impact, said Dr. Andrew Glikson from The Australian National University (ANU). "The impact would have triggered earthqu
 

Astronomical software date 2,500 year-old lyric poem

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Arlington TX (SPX) May 18, 2016
Physicists and astronomers from the University of Texas at Arlington have used advanced astronomical software to accurately date lyric poet Sappho's "Midnight Poem," which describes the night sky over Greece more than 2,500 years ago. The scientists described their research in the article "Seasonal dating of Sappho's 'Midnight Poem' revisited," published in the Journal of Astronomical Hist
 

We'll Leave the Lights on for You

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Santa Barbara CA (SPX) May 18, 2016
Looking up at the night sky - expansive and seemingly endless, stars and constellations blinking and glimmering like jewels just out of reach - it's impossible not to wonder: Are we alone? For many of us, the notion of intelligent life on other planets is as captivating as ideas come. Maybe in some other star system, maybe a billion light-years away, there's a civilization like ours asking
 

What sparks one of the most explosive processes in the universe

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Morgantown WV (SPX) May 18, 2016
Scientists are making new discoveries about a process that causes some of the most explosive events in the universe. At the same time, they are answering questions about Earth's magnetosphere - the protective bubble around Earth that shields the planet from the Sun's constant barrage of superheated, electrically charged particles. In a paper published (May 12) in Science, a research team t
 

MinXSS CubeSat deployed from ISS to study Sun's soft x-rays

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 18, 2016
On May 16, 2016, the bread loaf-sized Miniature X-Ray Solar Spectrometer, or MinXSS, CubeSat deployed from an airlock on the International Space Station to begin its journey into space. The NASA-funded MinXSS studies emissions from the sun that can affect our communications systems. MinXSS will operate for up to 12 months. The CubeSat observes soft X-rays from the sun, which can disrupt Ea
 

AAC Microtec to develop miniaturized motion controller for space rovers and robots

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Uppsala, Sweden (SPX) May 18, 2016
The European Space Agency ESA has awarded Uppsala-based AAC Microtec the contract to develop an advanced miniaturized motion controller for future robotic exploration missions to Mars. The contract for the Miniaturized Motion Controller for Robotic Exploration (MCC-X) is worth EUR 1,950,000. The project will be started immediately and run to the end of 2019. The environments at Mars and th
 

Astrosat welcomes the Copernicus Masters Challenge

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Glasgow, UK (SPX) May 18, 2016
The Edinburgh-based, internationally renowned, space services and management company Astrosat is this year setting the challenge for the prestigious European Copernicus Masters competition. The annual Copernicus Masters Challenge has been running since 2011, and has received nearly 700 entries from more than 60 countries. Astrosat has won a prize every year since 2012, but this year in ass
 

Indian Space Agency Sets Sights on Homemade Space Shuttle

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
New Delhi (Sputnik) May 18, 2016
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is embarking on a landmark experiment to create India's very own "space shuttle." In what has been touted as the country's first attempt, the agency is taking baby steps toward fully developing its own version of its space shuttle. If the experiment, which is likely to be carried by the end of this May, is successful, scientists are hopeful thi
 

Dwarf Planet Haumea's Lunar System Smaller than Anticipated

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Melbourne FL (SPX) May 18, 2016
Haumea, a dwarf planet on the edge of our solar system, doesn't have the same kind of moons as its well-known cousin Pluto according to a new study. This is despite original evidence that suggested they both formed in similar giant impacts and adds to the mystery shrouding how these icy bodies formed. Haumea has two known satellites, an unusually high spin rate, and is also the "parent" of
 

Pre-launch processing is underway with Indonesia's BRIsat for the next Arianespace heavy-lift flight

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) May 18, 2016
The second of two Space Systems Loral-built (SSL) payloads on Arianespace's upcoming Ariane 5 mission is well into its pre-launch processing at the Spaceport as Indonesia's BRIsat is readied for a June liftoff from French Guiana. Preparations have included the fit-check, which is a regular milestone for Arianespace spacecraft passengers. This step validated BRIsat's electrical and mechanic
 

Out of this world: 'Moon and Mars veggies' grow in Dutch greenhouse

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Wageningen, Netherlands (AFP) May 17, 2016
Establishing a human colony on the Moon and travelling to Mars has been the stuff of dreams since the dawn of the space age. But these visions face many hurdles. How can humans survive for months or years in the ultra-hostile environment of space? What, for instance, will they eat? Agricultural researchers at a Dutch university say they are taking the first steps towards providing an ans
 

Daffodils help inspire design of stable structures

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 12, 2016
In 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed in dramatic fashion, twisting in the wind before it snapped and plunged into the water below. As wind blew across the span, the flow induced oscillating sideways forces that helped bring down the bridge - just months after opening. This type of side-force oscillation can also damage antennae, towers and other structures. Now, researchers from Se
 

Digital "clone" testing aims to maximize machine efficiency

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎7:05:10 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 17, 2016
Just as medical researchers hope to use DNA analysis to help patients live longer and healthier lives, engineers at Sentient Science are looking to better understand what machines are made of to maximize their lifespans. "What we set out to do was really hard," says Ward Thomas, president and CEO of the Buffalo, New York-based company. "We set out to decode the material genome." The potent
 
 
 

 

 
 

News About Time And Space

 

 
 

New study implies existence of fifth force of nature

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
Irvine, Calif. (UPI) May 26, 2016 - A team of Hungarian physicists published a paper last year hinting at the possibility of a fifth force of nature. It escaped publicity, but a recent analysis of the data by researchers at the University of California, Irvine has brought the paper back into the limelight.

The Standard Model of particle physics -- a model that helps scientists explain all the physics we can observe -- features four main forces: gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Scientists have long searched for -- and offered circumspect proof of -- a fifth force. The reason scientists continue to search for alternate forces is that the Standard Model fails to explain the existence and behavior of dark matter.

The Hungarian team, led by physicist Attila Krasznahorkay, was looking for dark matter by firing protons at a thin slice of lithium-7. Their experiments produced a different sort of anomaly.

The collision produced beryllium-8 nuclei, which emitted pairs of electrons and positrons as they decayed. According to the Standard Model the number of observable pairs should drop as the angle of the trajectory of the diverging electron and positron gets larger.

Instead, the number of pairs jumped at 140 degrees -- creating a slight hiccup or bump before the pairs again dropped off as the angle continued to increase.

The Hungarian team cited the bump as evidence of a new particle with a unique force.

"We are very confident about our experimental results," Krasznahorkay told Nature.

Researchers at UC-Irvine say the analysis of Krasznahorkay's team is congruous with previous experiments and theoretical results. In their own paper, the UC-Irvine scientists suggest the bump is evidence of a protophobic X boson, which may indeed be carrying a fifth force acting across just the width of the atomic nucleus.

The recent discovery was unexpected, and many particle physicists remain understandably skeptical. The research has yet to be replicated, and finding the same particles again will be quite difficult, but the science world is now paying attention.

"Perhaps we are seeing our first glimpse into physics beyond the visible Universe," said skeptic Jesse Thaler, a theoretical physicist at MIT.

 

 

How Giant Black Holes Formed So Quickly

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) May 26, 2016 - Using data from NASA's Great Observatories, astronomers have found the best evidence yet for cosmic seeds in the early universe that should grow into supermassive black holes. Researchers combined data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope, and Spitzer Space Telescope to identify these possible black hole seeds. They discuss their findings in a paper that will appear in an upcoming issue of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

"Our discovery, if confirmed, explains how these monster black holes were born," said Fabio Pacucci of Scuola Normale Superiore (SNS) in Pisa, Italy, who led the study. "We found evidence that supermassive black hole seeds can form directly from the collapse of a giant gas cloud, skipping any intermediate steps."

Scientists believe a supermassive black hole lies in the center of nearly all large galaxies, including our own Milky Way. They have found that some of these supermassive black holes, which contain millions or even billions of times the mass of the sun, formed less than a billion years after the start of the universe in the Big Bang.

One theory suggests black hole seeds were built up by pulling in gas from their surroundings and by mergers of smaller black holes, a process that should take much longer than found for these quickly forming black holes.

These new findings suggest instead that some of the first black holes formed directly when a cloud of gas collapsed, bypassing any other intermediate phases, such as the formation and subsequent destruction of a massive star.

"There is a lot of controversy over which path these black holes take," said co-author Andrea Ferrara, also of SNS. "Our work suggests we are narrowing in on an answer, where the black holes start big and grow at the normal rate, rather than starting small and growing at a very fast rate."

The researchers used computer models of black hole seeds combined with a new method to select candidates for these objects from long-exposure images from Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer.

The team found two strong candidates for black hole seeds. Both of these matched the theoretical profile in the infrared data, including being very red objects, and they also emit X-rays detected with Chandra. Estimates of their distance suggest they may have been formed when the universe was less than a billion years old

"Black hole seeds are extremely hard to find and confirming their detection is very difficult," said Andrea Grazian, a co-author from the National Institute for Astrophysics in Italy. "However, we think our research has uncovered the two best candidates to date."

The team plans to obtain further observations in X-rays and infrared to check whether these objects have more of the properties expected for black hole seeds. Upcoming observatories, such as NASA's James Webb Space Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope, will aid in future studies by detecting the light from more distant and smaller black holes. Scientists currently are building the theoretical framework needed to interpret the upcoming data, with the aim of finding the first black holes in the universe.

"As scientists, we cannot say at this point that our model is 'the one'," said Pacucci. "What we really believe is that our model is able to reproduce the observations without requiring unreasonable assumptions."

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program while the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandra's science and flight operations.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission, whose science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Littleton, Colorado.

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

 

 

A look beyond the horizon of events

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
Rome, Italy (SPX) May 27, 2016 - In principle, nothing that enters a black hole can leave the black hole. This has considerably complicated the study of these mysterious bodies on which generations of physicists have debated ever since 1916, the year their existence was hypothesized as a direct consequence of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. There is, however, some consensus in the scientific community on the fact that black holes possess an entropy, because their existence would otherwise violate the second law of thermodynamics.

In particular, Jacob Bekenstein and Stephen Hawking have suggested that the entropy - which we can basically consider a measure of the inner disorder of a physical system - of a black hole is proportional to its area and not to its volume, as would be more intuitive.

This assumption also gives rise to the "holography" hypothesis of black holes, which (very roughly) suggests that what appears to be three-dimensional might in fact be an image projected onto a distant two-dimensional cosmic horizon just like a hologram which, despite being a two-dimensional image, appears to us as three-dimensional.

As we cannot see beyond the event horizon (the outer boundary of the back hole), the internal microstates that define its entropy are inaccessible: so how is it possible to calculate this measure? The theoretical approach adopted by Hawking and Bekenstein is semiclassical (a sort of hybrid between classical physics and quantum mechanics) and introduces the possibility (or necessity) of adopting a quantum gravity approach in these studies, in order to obtain a more fundamental comprehension of the physics of black holes.

Planck's length is the (tiny) dimension at which space-time stops being continuous as we see it, and takes on a discrete graininess made up of quanta, the "atoms" of space-time. The Universe at this dimension is described by quantum mechanics.

Quantum gravity is the field of enquiry that investigates gravity in the framework of quantum mechanics: this force is a phenomenon that has been very well described within classical physics, but it is unclear how it behaves at the Planck scale.

Daniele Pranzetti and colleagues, in a new study published in Physical Review Letters, present an important result obtained by applying a second quantization formulation of Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG) formalism. LQG is a theoretical approach within the problem of quantum gravity, and Group Field Theory is the "language" through which the theory is applied in this work.

"The idea at the basis of our study is that homogenous classical geometries emerge from a condensate of quanta of space introduced in LQG in order to describe quantum geometries" explains Pranzetti. "This way, we obtained a description of black hole quantum states, suitable to describe also 'continuum' physics, that is, the physics of space-time as we know it".

Condensates, quantum fluids and the universe as a hologram
A "condensate" is a collection of 'atoms' - in this case space quanta - all of which share the same properties so that, even though there are huge numbers of them, we can nonetheless study their collective behavior simply, by referring to the microscopic properties of the individual particle.

So now the analogy with classical thermodynamics seems clearer: just as fluids at our scale appear as continuous materials despite their consisting of a huge number of atoms, similarly, in quantum gravity, the fundamental constituent atoms of space form a sort of fluid, that is, continuous space-time.

A continuous and homogenous geometry (like that of a spherically symmetric black hole) can, as Pranzetti and colleagues suggest, be described as a condensate, which facilitates the underlying mathematical calculations, keeping in account an a priori infinite number of degrees of freedom .

"We were therefore able to use a more complete and richer model compared with what done in the past in LQG, and obtain a far more realistic and robust result", continues Pranzetti. "This allowed us to resolve several ambiguities afflicting previous calculations due to the comparison of these simplified LQG models with the results of semiclassical analysis, as carried out by Hawking and Bekenstein".

Another important aspect of Pranzetti and colleagues' study is that it proposes a concrete mechanism in support to the holographic hypothesis, whereby the three-dimensionality of black holes could be merely apparent: all their information could be contained on a two-dimensional surface, without having to investigate the structure of the inside (hence the link between entropy and surface area rather than volume).

The other two authors of the study are Daniele Oriti, of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany, and Lorenzo Sindoni, former SISSA research fellow, now also at the Max Planck Institute in Potsdam.

 

 

Gigantic ultrafast spin currents

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
Vienna, Austria (SPX) May 26, 2016 - In our computer chips, information is transported in form of electrical charge. Electrons or other charge carriers have to be moved from one place to another. For years scientists have been working on elements that take advantage of the electrons angular momentum (their spin) rather than their electrical charge. This new approach, called "spintronics" has major advantages compared to common electronics. It can operate with much less energy.

However, it is difficult to create such a spin current, which is required in spintronics. In the journal Physical Review Letters, physicists from TU Wien (Vienna) have now proposed a new method to produce gigantic spin currents in a very small period of time. The secret is using ultra short laser pulses.

Magnets and Semiconductors
For every electron, two different spin-states are possible; they are called "spin up" and "spin down". The electron spin is responsible for ferromagnetism: when many electron spins in a metal are aligned, they can collectively create a magnetic field. Therefore, using ferromagnets to create spin flux seems like a straightforward idea.

"There have been attempts to send an electric current through a combination of magnets and semiconductors", says Professor Karsten Held (TU Wien). "The idea is to create a flux of electrons with uniform spin, which can then be used for spintronic circuits. But the efficiency of this method is very limited."

Karsten Held and Marco Battiato found another way. In computer simulations, they analysed the behaviour of electrons in a thin layer of nickel when it is attached to silicon and hit with ultra short laser pulses. "Such a laser pulse has an overwhelming effect on the electrons in nickel", says Marco Battiato. They are swept away and accelerated towards the silicon.

An electric field builds up at the interface between nickel and silicon, which stops the current. Electrons still keep on migrating between the nickel layer and silicon, but the motion in both directions cancel each other, there is no net charge transfer.

Spin Up and Spin Down
But even when no electric charge is transported, it is still possible to transport spin. "In the nickel layer, there are both spin-up electrons as well as spin-down electrons", says Karsten Held. "But the metal atoms influence both kinds of electrons in different ways. The spin-up electrons can move rather freely. The spin-down electrons however have a much higher probability of being scattered at the nickel atoms."

When the electrons are scattered, they change their direction and lose energy. Therefore, the majority of the electrons which do make it all the way to the nickel-silicon interface are spin-up electrons. Electrons which move in the opposite direction have equal probabilities of being in the spin-up or spin-down state.

This spin-selective effect leads to a dominance of spin-up electrons in the silicon. This means that a spin current has been injected into the silicon without creating a charge current. "Our calculations show that this spin-polarization is extremely strong - much stronger than we could create with other methods", says Marco Battiato.

"And this spin flux can be created in femtoseconds." Time is of the essence: today's computer processors operate with gigahertz frequencies. Billions of operations per second are possible. Even higher frequencies in the terahertz range can only be reached with extremely fast elements.

So far, the method has only been tested in computer simulations. But Battiato and Held are already working with experimentalists who want to measure this laser-triggered spin flux. "Spintronics has the potential to become a key technology of the next few decades", says Held. "With our spin injection method there is now finally a way to create ultrafast, extremely strong spin currents."

 

 

Link Between Primordial Black Holes and Dark Matter

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 26, 2016 - Dark matter is a mysterious substance composing most of the material universe, now widely thought to be some form of massive exotic particle. An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of black holes formed during the first second of our universe's existence, known as primordial black holes. Now a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, suggests that this interpretation aligns with our knowledge of cosmic infrared and X-ray background glows and may explain the unexpectedly high masses of merging black holes detected last year.

"This study is an effort to bring together a broad set of ideas and observations to test how well they fit, and the fit is surprisingly good," said Alexander Kashlinsky, an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard. "If this is correct, then all galaxies, including our own, are embedded within a vast sphere of black holes each about 30 times the Sun's mass."

In 2005, Kashlinsky led a team of astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to explore the background glow of infrared light in one part of the sky. The researchers reported excessive patchiness in the glow and concluded it was likely caused by the aggregate light of the first sources to illuminate the universe more than 13 billion years ago. Follow-up studies confirmed that this cosmic infrared background (CIB) showed similar unexpected structure in other parts of the sky.

In 2013, another study compared how the cosmic X-ray background (CXB) detected by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory compared to the CIB in the same area of the sky. The first stars emitted mainly optical and ultraviolet light, which today is stretched into the infrared by the expansion of space, so they should not contribute significantly to the CXB.

Yet the irregular glow of low-energy X-rays in the CXB matched the patchiness of the CIB quite well. The only object we know of that can be sufficiently luminous across this wide an energy range is a black hole. The research team concluded that primordial black holes must have been abundant among the earliest stars, making up at least about one out of every five of the sources contributing to the CIB.

The nature of dark matter remains one of the most important unresolved issues in astrophysics. Scientists currently favor theoretical models that explain dark matter as an exotic massive particle, but so far searches have failed to turn up evidence these hypothetical particles actually exist. NASA is currently investigating this issue as part of its Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope missions.

"These studies are providing increasingly sensitive results, slowly shrinking the box of parameters where dark matter particles can hide," Kashlinsky said. "The failure to find them has led to renewed interest in studying how well primordial black holes - black holes formed in the universe's first fraction of a second - could work as dark matter."

Physicists have outlined several ways in which the hot, rapidly expanding universe could produce primordial black holes in the first thousandths of a second after the Big Bang. The older the universe is when these mechanisms take hold, the larger the black holes can be. And because the window for creating them lasts only a tiny fraction of the first second, scientists expect primordial black holes would exhibit a narrow range of masses.

On Sept. 14, gravitational waves produced by a pair of merging black holes 1.3 billion light-years away were captured by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) facilities in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana. This event marked the first-ever detection of gravitational waves as well as the first direct detection of black holes. The signal provided LIGO scientists with information about the masses of the individual black holes, which were 29 and 36 times the Sun's mass, plus or minus about four solar masses. These values were both unexpectedly large and surprisingly similar.

"Depending on the mechanism at work, primordial black holes could have properties very similar to what LIGO detected," Kashlinsky explained. "If we assume this is the case, that LIGO caught a merger of black holes formed in the early universe, we can look at the consequences this has on our understanding of how the cosmos ultimately evolved."

In his new paper, published May 24 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Kashlinsky analyzes what might have happened if dark matter consisted of a population of black holes similar to those detected by LIGO. The black holes distort the distribution of mass in the early universe, adding a small fluctuation that has consequences hundreds of millions of years later, when the first stars begin to form.

For much of the universe's first 500 million years, normal matter remained too hot to coalesce into the first stars. Dark matter was unaffected by the high temperature because, whatever its nature, it primarily interacts through gravity. Aggregating by mutual attraction, dark matter first collapsed into clumps called minihaloes, which provided a gravitational seed enabling normal matter to accumulate.

Hot gas collapsed toward the minihaloes, resulting in pockets of gas dense enough to further collapse on their own into the first stars. Kashlinsky shows that if black holes play the part of dark matter, this process occurs more rapidly and easily produces the lumpiness of the CIB detected in Spitzer data even if only a small fraction of minihaloes manage to produce stars.

As cosmic gas fell into the minihaloes, their constituent black holes would naturally capture some of it too. Matter falling toward a black hole heats up and ultimately produces X-rays. Together, infrared light from the first stars and X-rays from gas falling into dark matter black holes can account for the observed agreement between the patchiness of the CIB and the CXB.

Occasionally, some primordial black holes will pass close enough to be gravitationally captured into binary systems. The black holes in each of these binaries will, over eons, emit gravitational radiation, lose orbital energy and spiral inward, ultimately merging into a larger black hole like the event LIGO observed.

"Future LIGO observing runs will tell us much more about the universe's population of black holes, and it won't be long before we'll know if the scenario I outline is either supported or ruled out," Kashlinsky said.

Kashlinsky leads a science team centered at Goddard that is participating in the European Space Agency's Euclid mission, which is currently scheduled to launch in 2020. The project, named LIBRAE, will enable the observatory to probe source populations in the CIB with high precision and determine what portion was produced by black holes.

Research paper: "LIGO Gravitational Wave Detection, Primordial Black Holes, and the Near-IR Cosmic Infrared Background Anisotropies," A. Kashlinsky, 2016 June 1, Astrophysical Journal Letters

 

 

Doubling down on Schrodinger's cat

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
New Haven CT (SPX) May 30, 2016 - Yale physicists have given Schrodinger's famous cat a second box to play in, and the result may help further the quest for reliable quantum computing.

Schrodinger's cat is a well-known paradox that applies the concept of superposition in quantum physics to objects encountered in everyday life. The idea is that a cat is placed in a sealed box with a radioactive source and a poison that will be triggered if an atom of the radioactive substance decays. Quantum physics suggests that the cat is both alive and dead (a superposition of states), until someone opens the box and, in doing so, changes the quantum state.

This hypothetical experiment, envisioned by one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics in 1935, has found vivid analogies in laboratories in recent years. Scientists can now place a wave-packet of light composed of hundreds of particles simultaneously in two distinctly different states. Each state corresponds to an ordinary (classical) form of light abundant in nature.

A team of Yale scientists created a more exotic type of Schrodinger's cat-like state that has been proposed for experiments for more than 20 years. This cat lives or dies in two boxes at once, which is a marriage of the idea of Schrodinger's cat and another central concept of quantum physics: entanglement. Entanglement allows a local observation to change the state of a distant object instantaneously. Einstein once called it "spooky action at a distance," and in this case it allows a cat state to be distributed in different spatial modes.

The Yale team built a device consisting of two, 3D microwave cavities and an additional monitoring port - all connected by a superconducting, artificial atom. The "cat" is made of confined microwave light in both cavities.

"This cat is big and smart. It doesn't stay in one box because the quantum state is shared between the two cavities and cannot be described separately," said Chen Wang, a postdoctoral associate at Yale and first author of a study in the journal Science, describing the research. "One can also take an alternative view, where we have two small and simple Schrodinger's cats, one in each box, that are entangled."

The research also has potential applications in quantum computation. A quantum computer would be able to solve certain problems much faster than classical computers by exploiting superposition and entanglement. Yet one of the main problems in developing a reliable quantum computer is how to correct for errors without disturbing the information.

"It turns out 'cat' states are a very effective approach to storing quantum information redundantly, for implementation of quantum error correction. Generating a cat in two boxes is the first step towards logical operation between two quantum bits in an error-correctible manner," said co-author Robert Schoelkopf, Sterling Professor of Applied Physics and Physics, and director of the Yale Quantum Institute.

Schoelkopf and his frequent collaborators, Michel Devoret and Steve Girvin, have pioneered the field of circuit quantum electrodynamics (cQED), providing one of the most widely used frameworks for quantum computation research. Devoret, Yale's F.W. Beinecke Professor of Physics, and Girvin, Yale's Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, are co-authors of the paper.

The research builds upon more than a decade of development in cQED architecture. The Yale team designed a variety of new features, including cylindrical 3D cavities with record quantum information storage time of more than 1 millisecond in superconducting circuits, and a measurement system that monitors certain aspects of a quantum state in a precise, non-destructive way. "We have combined quite a lot of recent technologies here," Wang said.

Additional co-authors from the Yale Departments of Applied Physics and Physics include assistant professor Liang Jiang; senior research scientist Luigi Frunzio; postdoctoral associates Reinier Heeres and Nissim Ofek; graduate students Yvonne Gao, Philip Reinhold, Kevin Chou, Christopher Axline, Matthew Reagor, Jacob Blumoff, and Katrina Sliwa; and former Yale researcher Mazyar Mirrahimi.

 

 

Could optical clocks redefine the length of a second

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 30, 2016 - GPS-based navigation, communication systems, electrical power grids and financial networks all rely on the precise time kept by a network of around 500 atomic clocks located around the world. In The Optical Society's journal for high impact research, Optica, researchers present a way to use optical clocks for more accurate timekeeping than is possible with today's system of traditional atomic clocks. The researchers also measured an optical clock's frequency - analogous to it's "ticking" - with unprecedented precision.

A more accurate global time keeping system would allow financial networks to use more precise time stamps and thus handle even more transactions in shorter amounts of time. It would also allow GPS and other satellite-based navigation systems to provide even more precise location information.

Although optical clocks have been more accurate than microwave clocks for some time, their complexity and resulting long downtimes have made it unpractical to use them for worldwide timekeeping.

"We showed that even with the downtimes of today's optical clocks, they still can improve timekeeping," said Christian Grebing, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), The National Metrology Institute of Germany, who is a member of the research team. "We achieved a better performance compared to the very best microwave fountain clocks which have generally been considered less reliable and thus less suitable for the actual implementation of a practical timescale."

How long is a second?
Clocks work by counting a recurrent event with a known frequency, such as the swinging of a pendulum. For traditional atomic clocks, the recurrent event is the natural oscillation of the cesium atom, which has a frequency in the microwave region of the electromagnetic spectrum. Since 1967, the International System of Units (SI) has defined the second as the time that elapses during 9,192,631,770 cycles of the microwave signal produced by these oscillations.

Atomic clocks are extremely accurate because they are based on natural and universal atom vibrations. However, even the best atomic microwave clocks can still accumulate an error of about 1 nanosecond over a month.

Optical clocks work in a manner somewhat similar to microwave clocks but use atoms or ions that oscillate about 100,000 times higher than microwave frequencies, in the optical, or visible, part of the electromagnetic spectrum. These higher frequencies mean that optical clocks "tick" faster than microwave atomic clocks, and this contributes to their higher accuracy and stability over time. However, optical clocks do experience significant downtimes because of their higher technical complexity.

Making optical clocks practical
To deal with the downtimes that plague today's optical clocks, the researchers combined a commercially available maser with a strontium optical lattice clock at PTB, Germany's national metrology institute.

The maser, which is like a laser except that it operates in the microwave spectral range, can be used as a type of reliable pendulum with limited accuracy to bridge the downtime of the optical clock. The researchers spanned the large spectral gap between the optical clock's optical frequency and the maser's microwave frequency with an optical frequency comb, which effectively divides the slower microwave-based "ticks" to match the faster "ticks" of the optical clock.

"We compared the continuously running maser with our optical clock and corrected the maser frequency as long as we had data available from the optical clock," said Grebing. "During the optical clock's downtimes, the maser runs on its own stably."

The researchers operated the maser and optical clock for 25 days, during which the optical clock ran about 50 percent of the time. Even with optical clock downtimes ranging from minutes to two days, the researchers calculated a time error of less than 0.20 nanoseconds over the 25 days.

Redefining the second
To redefine a second based on optical clocks not only requires making sure that optical clocks are practical, but it also requires comparing their frequency, or "ticking," to the old definition of the SI second.

To do this, the researchers compared their strontium optical clock with two microwave clocks at PTB. Incorporating the maser strongly improved the statistical uncertainty of these measurements, allowing the researchers to measure the absolute frequency of the optical clock's strontium oscillations with the lowest uncertainty ever achieved. The obtained relative uncertainty of about 2.5+ 10-16 corresponds to losing only 100 seconds over the age of the universe - about 14 billion years.

"Our study is a milestone in terms of practical implementation of optical clocks," said Grebing. "The message is that we could today implement these optical clocks into the time-keeping infrastructure that we have now, and we would gain."

Although optical clocks keep time about one hundred times better than atomic clocks, Grebing said that he thinks that a true redefinition of a second might still be a decade away. It makes sense to hold off on redefining the SI second until it is clear which of the several available types of optical clock is the best for global timekeeping. Also, with the very fast pace at which optical clock technology is improving, the accuracy limit of these clocks is not yet fully known.

"We want to improve the timekeeping infrastructure all over the world by building better and better clocks and integrating them into the time-keeping infrastructure," said Grebing. "What we demonstrated is a first step towards a global improvement of timekeeping."

Research paper: C. Grebing, A. Al-Masoudi, S. Dorscher, S. Hafner, V. Gerginov, S. Weyers, B. Lipphardt, F. Riehle, U. Sterr, C. Lisdat, "Realization of a timescale with an accurate optical lattice clock," Optica, 3, 6, 563(2016). DOI: doi.org/10.1364/optica.3.000563.

 

 

Battelle, Boeing in joint bid to manage Sandia National Laboratories

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
Albuquerque (UPI) May 25, 2016 - Battelle has partnered with Boeing to jointly bid for a contract to manage Sandia National Laboratories.

Battelle is an independent nonprofit research and development organization.

The University of New Mexico, the Texas A&M University system and the University of Texas system are exclusive members of the Battelle and Boeing team.

"We have exactly the right team to lead an already outstanding laboratory and take it to an even higher level of excellence," said Jeffrey Wadsworth, Battelle president and chief executive officer. "Battelle, Boeing and the universities look forward to working in close partnership with (the U.S.) National Nuclear Security Administration to strengthen our nation's nuclear security posture."

The U.S. Department of Energy's NNSA is seeking a new contractor to manage and operate the lab, a federally funded research and development center responsible for non-nuclear engineering development of all U.S. nuclear weapons and for systems integration of the nuclear weapons with their delivery vehicles.

The final request for proposals for management was issued on May 18 and a contract decision is anticipated by the end of this year.

"Sandia ensures the U.S. nuclear stockpile is safe, secure and reliable and can fully support the nation's deterrence policy," said Ed Dolanski, president, Boeing Global Services & Support. "Their mission of service to the nation is directly aligned with our team's mission.

"Battelle's leadership in national lab management and Boeing's leadership in weapons and systems engineering will provide new capabilities to help NNSA more effectively meet their nuclear security objectives."

Batelle said the universities are to ensure the laboratories' science, technology and engineering capabilities are sustained and enhanced and will create new collaborative research programs.

 

 

Rotational motion is relative

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 20, 2016 - It has been one hundred years since the publication of Einstein's general theory of relativity in May 1916. In a paper recently published in EPJ Plus, Norwegian physicist Oyvind Gron from the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences and his co-author Torkild Jemterud demonstrate that the rotational motion in the universe is also subject to the theory of relativity.

Imagine a person at the North pole who doesn't believe the Earth rotates. As she holds a pendulum and can observe the stars in her telescope, she remarks that the swinging plane of the pendulum and the stars rotate together.

Newton, who saw the world as a classical physicist, would have pointed out that it is the Earth that rotates. However, if we assume the general principle of relativity is valid, the Earth can be considered as being at rest while the swinging plane of the pendulum and the night sky are rotating.

In fact, the rotating mass of the observable part of the universe causes the river of space--which is made up of free particles following the universe's expansion--to rotate together with the stars in the sky. And the swinging plane of the pendulum moves together with the river of space.

Until now, no-one has considered a possible connection between the general principle of relativity and the amount of dark energy in the universe, which is associated with the acceleration of the expansion of the universe, discovered in 1998. This connection can be established, Gron argues, by using the phenomenon of inertial dragging.

When formalised in mathematical terms, the condition for inertial dragging yields an equation for calculating the amount of dark energy. The solution of that equation is that 73.7 % of the present content of the universe is in the form of dark energy.

This prediction, derived from the theory of general relativity, is remarkably close to the values arrived at by different types of observations.

Reference: O. Gron and T. Jemterud (2016), An interesting consequence of the general principle of relativity, European Physical Journal Plus 131: 91, DOI 10.1140/epjp/i2016-16091-9

 

 

Photonic billiards might be the newest game

 
‎Yesterday, ‎May ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎7:29:09 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 20, 2016 - When one snooker ball hits another, both spring away from each other in an elastic manner. In the case of two photons a similar process - the elastic collision - has never been observed. Physicists from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences have shown, however, that such a process does not only occur, but even could soon be registered in heavy ion collisions at the LHC accelerator.

When photons collide with each other, do they act like billiard balls, springing away from each other in different directions? Such a course of interaction between particles of light has never been observed, even in the LHC, the most powerful accelerator in the world. An observation may, however, happen soon, thanks to a highly detailed analysis of the course of events in such a collision, conducted by physicists from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFJ PAN) in Krakow, Poland, and just published in the journal Physical Review C.

Preliminary analysis of the elastic scattering of a photon-photon collision was presented several years ago in a study by scientists from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Krakow scientists, however, funded by a grant from the Polish National Science Centre, have examined the process in much finer detail. Not only has it been established that collisions occur, but it has also taken into account more mechanisms of interaction between photons and predicted the directions in which most photons will scatter post-collision - and whether they can be measured.

The results suggest that at least some of the photons deflected as a result of elastic collisions should hit the detectors installed by the ATLAS, CMS and ALICE projects. If the described phenomenon actually occurs, and by all appearances it will, observation would become possible within the next few years.

"Elastic collisions of photons with photons seemed, until recently, very unlikely. Many physicists regarded the registration of such collisions in the LHC as impossible. Meanwhile, we have proven that the phenomenon can be seen, though not in the collisions of protons, which occur much more frequently", says Prof. Antoni Szczurek (IFJ PAN).

The LHC collides beams of protons with protons, or lead nuclei beams with lead nuclei. The IFJ PAN had shown earlier that if the collisions of protons occurred for elastic collisions between photons, the process would not be visible: it would obscure photons emitted by a different mechanism (initiated by gluons, the particles carrying the strong nuclear force). Luckily, the Polish scientists had some other ideas in store.

According to the rules of classical optics, light cannot be affected by light. Photons, however, can interact with each other through quantum processes. When two photons fly next to each other within that extremely short instant there is nothing preventing the creation of 'virtual' loops of quarks or leptons (which include electrons, muons, tau particles, neutrinos and the antiparticles associated with them). Such particles would be termed virtual, as they would be impossible to see. However, despite this they would be responsible for the interaction between photons, after which they would again be transformed into 'real' photons. To the outside observer, the whole process would look like one photon reflected by the other photon.

Unfortunately, the energy of the photons generated by even the most powerful contemporary light sources can be registered only in millions of electron volts. These are miniscule values, even by the standards of modern nuclear physics and particle physics. At these energies, the probability of a collision with a photon-photon process involving quantum is infinitesimal, and the streams of photons necessary for its occurence would have to be colossal.

"In this situation, we decided to see whether elastic collisions of photons involving virtual particles can occur during collisions of heavy ions. And it worked! Large electric charges in the nuclei of lead may in fact lead to the creation of photons. If the process occurs in collisions of nuclei which have just passed, the photon generated by one nucleus has a chance to collide with photons produced by the second. We calculated that the probability of such a course of events is admittedly small, but nonzero. So everything indicates that the process could be observed", says Dr. Mariola Klusek-Gawenda (IFJ PAN).

Interestingly, the collisions studied theoretically by Krakow physicists were very specific, as they did not analyze direct collisions of lead nuclei with one another as such, but processes without direct contact between nuclei. Interaction occurs between the electromagnetic fields of two atomic nuclei, which can fly even from long distances between them. These collisions are known as ultra-peripheral.

Potentially, photons can interact with each other as a result of another process: when a quantum transforms into virtual mesons, or quark-antiquark pairs. The mesons produced could interact with each other via the strong nuclear force, the fundamental force responsible for binding quarks inside protons and neutrons. The physicists from the IFJ PAN were the first to present this mechanism. It seems, however, that the observation of light collision with his participation at the event will not be possible: the gentle photons bouncing off each other just fly next to the detectors currently operating at the LHC.

The study of photon-photon elastic collisions not only provides a better understanding of the physics we already know. Quantum processes carrying the interaction between photons could potentially be involved as elementary particles, something we do not yet know. So if measurements of elastic scattering of photons off photons provided results other than those predicted by Krakow physicists, this could be a signal leading to a completely new physics engaged in the phenomena.

 

 

Simons observatory will investigate the early universe

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Princeton NJ (SPX) May 17, 2016 - Princeton University researchers will have an integral role in the Simons Observatory, a new astronomy facility in South America recently established with a $38.4 million grant from the Simons Foundation. The observatory will investigate cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation to better understand the physics of the Big Bang, the nature of dark energy and dark matter, the properties of neutrinos, and the formation of structure in the universe.

The project is a collaboration between Princeton, the University of California-San Diego, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, all of which will provide financial support. The Heising-Simons Foundation will provide an additional $1.7 million of support. The observatory will be located in Chile's Atacama Desert, a longtime site for astronomy and CMB research because of its elevation and near absence of precipitation.

The project manager for the Simons Observatory will be located at Princeton, and Princeton faculty also will oversee the development, design, testing and manufacture of many of the observatory's camera components.

A critical element in wringing new cosmological information from the CMB - which is the glow of heat left over from the Big Bang - is the use of densely packed, very sensitive cryogenic detectors. Princeton's expertise with the detector development for the Atacama Cosmology Telescope in Chile and other observatories will complement the collaborative effort of the Simons Observatory, said Suzanne Staggs, Princeton's project lead for the observatory and the Henry DeWolf Smyth Professor of Physics.

"Our work will involve the assemblies at the heart of the camera," Staggs said. "We've historically been closely involved in bringing cutting-edge detectors from the concept stage to deployment in the field, especially for our projects in the Atacama, so it's a natural thing for us to focus on in this project. With this effort, we're going to further develop our expertise in the department in the field of large-scale sensitive instrument construction."

Of particular importance is the University's large dilution refrigerator-based camera testing facility located in the Department of Physics. The CMB has a temperature of 3 degrees Kelvin (-454.27 degrees Fahrenheit), and CMB detectors are more sensitive the colder they are. The Princeton facility will test the Simons Observatory equipment at a frosty 80 millikelvin, or eighty one-thousandths of a degree above absolute zero.

The extraordinarily rapid expansion of space during "inflation," the epoch immediately after the birth of the universe, generated gravitational waves. These would have induced a very small, but characteristic, polarization pattern in the CMB at radio wavelengths that can be detected by specially designed telescopes and cameras.

"A key target of this observatory is the earliest moments in the history of the universe," said Mark Devlin, a cosmologist at the University of Pennsylvania and the project spokesperson. "While patterns that we see in the microwave sky are a picture of the structure of the universe 380,000 years after the Big Bang, we believe that some of these structures were generated much earlier by gravitational waves produced in the first moments of the universe's expansion."

A detection of this type of signal, known as "B-mode polarization," would measure the energy scale associated with inflation, which could be as much as 1 trillion times higher than the energy accessible in the largest particle accelerators. Detection also could provide evidence for a link between quantum mechanics and gravity. Understanding the link between these two powerful theories is the focus of string theorists and others studying fundamental physics.

Staggs said the mission of the Simon Observatory builds on Princeton's long history of advancing the understanding of the CMB through the work of researchers such as James Peebles, the Albert Einstein Professor of Science, Emeritus, and professor of physics, emeritus, and the late Princeton physicist Robert Dicke.

NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a joint project with Princeton that measures temperature changes in the CMB, is named in honor of late professor and team member David Wilkinson. WMAP team members and Princeton faculty Lyman Page, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor in Physics and physics department chair, and David Spergel, the Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation and chair and professor of astrophysical sciences, will also participate in the Simons Observatory.

"The Simons Observatory is a tremendous opportunity to build on work that dates back to the 1960s at Princeton with the insights of Dicke and Peebles, and the pioneering experimental work of Wilkinson," Staggs said. "Across the country and the world, the CMB field has been spurred on by visionary theorists and creative experimentalists."

In addition to searching for B-mode polarization, the Simons Observatory will study how the light from the CMB is deflected by the intervening structure in the universe. The Simons Observatory also will identify thousands of clusters of galaxies, the largest gravitationally bound objects in the universe. Where and when these massive objects formed is a strong function of the same set of cosmological parameters, providing an independent check of their values.

"The CMB is like a gorgeous painting with elaborate details that reveal more and more the closer you look at it," Staggs said. "It captures the state of the universe some 14 billion years ago, and that state carries evidence of the history up to that point. But that's not all - the CMB carries traces of its own journey through the last 14 billion years too!"

The Simons Observatory is designed to be an important step toward the experiment CMB-S4, which will aim to extract the full measure of cosmological information in CMB fluctuations accessible from the ground. The project is envisioned to have telescopes at multiple sites including the Atacama Desert.

 

 

Small blue galaxy could shed new light on Big Bang, IU astronomers say

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Bloomington IN (SPX) May 16, 2016 - A faint blue galaxy about 30 million light-years from Earth and located in the constellation Leo Minor could shed new light on conditions at the birth of the universe. Astronomers at Indiana University recently found that a galaxy nicknamed Leoncino, or "little lion," contains the lowest level of heavy chemical elements, or "metals," ever observed in a gravitationally bound system of stars.

The study appears in the Astrophysical Journal. The lead author on the paper is Alec S. Hirschauer, a graduate student in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Astronomy. Other IU authors on the paper are professor John J. Salzer and associate professor Katherine L. Rhode in the Department of Astronomy.

"Finding the most metal-poor galaxy ever is exciting since it could help contribute to a quantitative test of the Big Bang," Salzer said. "There are relatively few ways to explore conditions at the birth of the universe, but low-metal galaxies are among the most promising."

This is because the current accepted model of the start of the universe makes clear predictions about the amount of helium and hydrogen present during the Big Bang, and the ratio of these atoms in metal-poor galaxies provides a direct test of the model.

In astronomy, any element other than hydrogen or helium is referred to as a metal. The elemental make-up of metal-poor galaxies is very close to that of the early universe.

To find these low-metal galaxies, however, astronomers must look far from home. Our own Milky Way galaxy is a poor source of data due to the high level of heavier elements created over time by "stellar processing," in which stars churn out heavier elements through nucleosynthesis and then distribute these atoms back into the galaxy when they explode as supernovae.

"Low metal abundance is essentially a sign that very little stellar activity has taken place compared to most galaxies," Hirschauer said.

Leoncino is considered a member of the "local universe," a region of space within about 1 billion light years from Earth and estimated to contain several million galaxies, of which only a small portion have been cataloged. A galaxy previously recognized to possess the lowest metal abundance was identified in 2005; however, Leoncino has an estimated 29 percent lower metal abundance.

The abundance of elements in a galaxy is estimated based upon spectroscopic observations, which capture the light waves emitted by these systems. These observations allow astronomers to view the light emitted by galaxies like a rainbow created when a prism disperses sunlight.

Regions of space that form stars, for example, emit light that contains specific types of bright lines, each indicating the atoms from various gases: hydrogen, helium, oxygen, nitrogen and more. In the light of the star-forming region in Leoncino, IU scientists detected lines from these elements, after which they used the laws of atomic physics to calculate the abundance of specific elements.

"A picture is worth a thousand words, but a spectrum is worth a thousand pictures," Salzer said. "It's astonishing the amount of information we can gather about places millions of light years away."

The study's observations were made by spectrographs on two telescopes in Arizona: the Mayall 4-meter telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Multiple Mirror Telescope at the summit of Mount Hopkins near Tucson. The galaxy was originally discovered by Cornell University's Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA, or ALFALFA, radio survey project.

Officially, the "little lion" is named AGC 198691. The scientists who conducted the metal abundance analysis nicknamed the galaxy Leoncino in honor of both its constellation location and in recognition of the Italian-born radio astronomer, Riccardo Giovanelli, who led the group that first identified the galaxy.

Aside from low levels of heavier elements, Leoncino is unique in several other ways. A so-called "dwarf galaxy," it's only about 1,000 light years in diameter and composed of several million stars. The Milky Way, by comparison, contains an estimated 200 billion to 400 billion stars. Leoncino is also blue in color, due to the presence of recently formed hot stars, but surprisingly dim, with the lowest luminosity level ever observed in a system of its type.

"We're eager to continue to explore this mysterious galaxy," said Salzer, who is pursuing observing time on other telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, to delve deeper into this fascinating object. "Low-metal-abundance galaxies are extremely rare, so we want to learn everything we can."

 

 

Nuclear physics' interdisciplinary progress

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 12, 2016 - The theoretical view of the structure of the atom nucleus is not carved in stone. Particularly, nuclear physics research could benefit from approaches found in other fields of physics. Reflections on these aspects were just released in a new type of rapid publications in the new Letters section of EPJ A, which provides a forum for the concise expression of more personal opinions on important scientific matters in the field.

In a Letter to the EPJ A Editor, Pier Francesco Bortignon and Ricardo A. Broglia from the University of Milan, Italy, use, among others, the example of superconductivity to explain how nuclear physics can extend physical concepts originally developed in solid state physics.

Based on this example, they believe young nuclear physicists have the opportunity to bring their results to practitioners in other fields of research. Conversely, they also need to rise to the challenge of using new insights and techniques from other disciplines to question the validity of their own theories and make nuclear physics research more powerful.

The atomic nucleus is a self-bound system. Within it, elementary atomic nucleus particles or nucleons move with equal ease independent of each other or collectively. This dual movement makes it possible for the atomic nucleus to spontaneously deform into a cigar-like shape, for instance. And then it can start behaving like a miniature spinning top in what physicists call the spontaneous symmetry-breaking restoration phenomenon.

Nuclear physics have previously shed light on such broken symmetry phenomena. Indeed, when deformation takes place in the abstract space related to the conservation of the number of nucleons, known as gauge space, broken symmetry is intimately connected with nuclear superfluidity, similar to superconductivity in metals.

Solid state physicists have previously described the microscopic theory of superconductivity - by relating superconductivity to the macroscopic occurrence of pairs of electrons bound into so-called Cooper pairs.

Nuclear physicists have extended the solid state physics results to the limit of a single Cooper pair and studied Cooper pair tunneling to individual quantum states - something which is not possible in solid state physics. This, the authors believe, should stimulate further nuclear physics interpretation of results from other physics disciplines.

Research paper: P.F. Bortignon and R.A. Broglia (2016), Challenges in the description of the atomic nucleus: Unification and interdisciplinarity, European Physical Journal A 52: 64, DOI 10.1140/epja/i2016-16064-7

 

 

Physicists measure van der Waals forces of individual atoms for the first time

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Basel, Switzerland (SPX) May 17, 2016 - Physicists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel have succeeded in measuring the very weak van der Waals forces between individual atoms for the first time. To do this, they fixed individual noble gas atoms within a molecular network and determined the interactions with a single xenon atom that they had positioned at the tip of an atomic force microscope.

As expected, the forces varied according to the distance between the two atoms; but, in some cases, the forces were several times larger than theoretically calculated. These findings are reported by the international team of researchers in Nature Communications.

Van der Waals forces act between non-polar atoms and molecules. Although they are very weak in comparison to chemical bonds, they are hugely significant in nature. They play an important role in all processes relating to cohesion, adhesion, friction or condensation and are, for example, essential for a gecko's climbing skills.

Van der Waals interactions arise due to a temporary redistribution of electrons in the atoms and molecules. This results in the occasional formation of dipoles, which in turn induce a redistribution of electrons in closely neighboring molecules. Due to the formation of dipoles, the two molecules experience a mutual attraction, which is referred to as a van der Waals interaction.

This only exists temporarily but is repeatedly re-formed. The individual forces are the weakest binding forces that exist in nature, but they add up to reach magnitudes that we can perceive very clearly on the macroscopic scale - as in the example of the gecko.

Fixed within the nano-beaker
To measure the van der Waals forces, scientists in Basel used a low-temperature atomic force microscope with a single xenon atom on the tip. They then fixed the individual argon, krypton and xenon atoms in a molecular network.

This network, which is self-organizing under certain experimental conditions, contains so-called nano-beakers of copper atoms in which the noble gas atoms are held in place like a bird egg. Only with this experimental set-up is it possible to measure the tiny forces between microscope tip and noble gas atom, as a pure metal surface would allow the noble gas atoms to slide around.

Compared with theory
The researchers compared the measured forces with calculated values and displayed them graphically. As expected from the theoretical calculations, the measured forces fell dramatically as the distance between the atoms increased.

While there was good agreement between measured and calculated curve shapes for all of the noble gases analyzed, the absolute measured forces were larger than had been expected from calculations according to the standard model. Above all for xenon, the measured forces were larger than the calculated values by a factor of up to two.

The scientists are working on the assumption that, even in the noble gases, charge transfer occurs and therefore weak covalent bonds are occasionally formed, which would explain the higher values.

The international team of scientists from Switzerland, Japan, Finland, Sweden and Germany used the experimental set-up above to measure the smallest forces ever detected between individual atoms. In doing so, the researchers have demonstrated that they can still push ahead into new fields using atomic force microscopy, which was developed exactly 30 years ago.

Research paper: Van der Waals interactions and the limits of isolated atom models at interfaces

 

 

A quasiparticle collider

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Santa Barbara CA (SPX) May 16, 2016 - In the early 1900s, Ernest Rutherford shot alpha particles onto gold foils and concluded from their scattering properties that atoms contain their mass in a very small nucleus. A hundred years later, modern scientists took that concept to a new level, building the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland to smash protons into each other, which led to the discovery of the Higgs boson.

However, what worked for particles like the Higgs hasn't translated to solids - until now. Experiments conducted by UCSB physicist Mark Sherwin and an international team prove that basic collider concepts from particle physics can be transferred to solid-state research. Their findings appear in the journal Nature.

"Ultimately, this approach might lead to the clarification of some of the most outstanding enigmas of condensed matter physics," said co-author Sherwin, director of UCSB's Institute for Terahertz Science and Technology and a professor in the Department of Physics. "This is a fundamentally new concept that could lead to better-designed modern materials. Our results also may one day provide a better understanding of important phases of matter such as those found in high-temperature superconductors."

Despite the fact that modern technology depends on knowing the structural and electronic properties of solids, a parallel to the atomic-level collider has been lacking in solid-state research. Within a solid, the most useful analogs to particles like protons are called quasiparticles. Think of them this way: If each person in a very large stadium is like an atom in a solid, then the audience doing the "wave" is akin to a quasiparticle.

Earlier experiments by the Sherwin group at UCSB have created quasiparticles called excitons - pairs of electrons and holes (electron vacancies) bound by the electrical force between them - and continuously accelerated them using laser beams that remain on during the entire process. But without short pulses of laser light, actual collision events were not previously observable as distinct flashes of light.

This new research employed a unique laser source at the terahertz high-field lab in Regensburg, Germany, which enabled the investigators to directly observe quasiparticle collision events. Since the quasiparticle exists for an extremely short amount of time, it was crucial to operate on ultrashort timescales. If one second were stretched to the age of the universe, a quasiparticle would only exist for a few hours.

The scientists produced collisions within excitons in a thin flake of tungsten diselenide. A light wave of the terahertz pulse accelerated the electrons and holes of the exciton within a period shorter than a single oscillation of light (1 terahertz means 1 trillion oscillations per second).

The experiment demonstrates that only excitons created at the right time lead to electron-hole collisions, just as in conventional accelerators. However, this process of recollision generates ultrashort light bursts that encode key aspects of the solid. These laboratory observations have been supported and explained by a quantum mechanical simulation performed by co-authors at the University of Marburg in Germany.

"These time-resolved collision experiments in a solid prove that the basic collider concepts that have transformed our understanding of the subatomic world can be transferred from particle physics to solid-state research," Sherwin said. "They also shed new light on quasiparticles and many-body excitations in condensed matter systems."

Research paper: "Lightwave-driven quasiparticle collisions on a subcycle timescale"

 

 

Atomic force microscope reveals molecular ghosts

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Berkeley CA (SPX) May 12, 2016 - To the surprise of chemists, a new technique for taking snapshots of molecules with atomic precision is turning up chemicals they shouldn't be able to see.

Chemical reactions take place so rapidly - often within picoseconds, or a trillionth of a second - that chemists expect intermediate steps in the reaction to be too brief to observe. Only lasers firing in femtosecond bursts - like a strobe flashing every thousandth of a picosecond - can capture the fleeting molecular structures that reacting chemicals form on their way to a final product.

Yet a team of chemists and physicists from the University of California, Berkeley, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has taken snapshots of two molecules reacting on the surface of a catalyst, and found intermediate structures lasting for the 20 minutes or so it takes to snap a photo.

"Intuitively, we did not expect to see these transient intermediates, because they are so short lived," said Felix Fischer, an assistant professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley. "Based on our traditional understanding, you would expect to see the starting materials and very shortly after, only the product. But we see these intermediates, so something else is going on."

The explanation for these ghostly molecules is now fleshing out details of catalytic reactions that chemists have only vaguely understood until now, and providing new rules for chemical reactions that chemists can exploit to make reactions go faster or more efficiently, or build molecules never before seen.

Fischer himself is just beginning to build a toolbox that will help design or improve catalytic reactions, which are the workhorse of the world's chemical industry, responsible for producing everything from fuel to the building blocks of plastics. These tools could also impact fields such as materials science, nanotechnology, biology and medicine.

"The way chemists think about heterogeneous catalysis appears to be an incomplete picture of what is actually happening on the surface," he said. "If we can understand how to take this tool box and use it in the design of new structures or the synthesis of new materials, that opens a whole new field of chemistry that so far has been dark to us, because we did not know how to actually visualize what is going on."

Atomic force microscopy
Because chemical reactions occur so rapidly, chemists can only infer how chemicals change during the process, as bonds between atoms break and reform, branches rotate or join to form rings, and three-dimensional structures shift. Three years ago, Fischer and UC Berkeley's Michael Crommie, professor of physics, teamed up to apply the atom-scale precision of atomic force microscopy to take snapshots of molecules before and after a reaction, trying to confirm what chemists have always inferred.

Their non-contact atomic force microscope, or nc-AFM, hovers above a surface and detects individual atoms via a microscopic vibrating probe with a sensitive carbon monoxide molecule at its tip. Fischer, Crommie and their UC Berkeley colleagues place molecules on a gold or silver surface and heat them to make them react slowly, then use the nc-AFM to take snapshots over the course of the reaction.

During their first attempt to image a reaction between two molecules, they saw not only the starting chemicals and end product, but also two intermediate chemical structures that should not have been there. If you think of a reaction as a sequence of many intermediate chemical rearrangements, the easy structural changes should happen quickly while more complicated rearrangements would be slower, because there's a higher energy barrier to making those changes. But the intermediates he saw were ones that should have disappeared the fastest, based on current theories.

Organic chemists like Fischer tend to think of a chemical reaction as akin to falling downhill - once it starts, its own energy keeps it going until the final product appears. This concept didn't explain his results, however, so he borrowed an idea from chemical engineers who work with catalysts. To them, some intermediate states are bound more closely to the catalytic surface and lose energy to it, slowing the reaction. It's as if the reaction hit a rock on its downhill trajectory.

Fischer's colleague, Angel Rubio, director of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg and a professor at the University of the Basque Country in Spain, made extensive supercomputer calculations taking this surface binding into account, but still was not able to predict the intermediates actually observed.

Together they finally hit on the idea of taking into account the entropy changes at each step of the reaction, and matched observations exactly. Entropy - essentially the level of disorder or chaos in a system - hates to decrease, according to the third law of thermodynamics. So some transitions that seem energetically easy get stuck because they go from a flexible structure loosely bound to the catalyst - a high entropy situation - to a more rigid, tightly bound and lower-entropy situation.

"Taking entropy into account could help you understand the distribution of products you get from a heterogeneous catalysis reaction," he said. "It could help you predict which intermediates have a long lifetime on the surface, which ones could move around, adsorb or desorb from the surface, leading to a product distribution that might not be what you want. Then you could tune the reaction towards the product that you desire."

Fischer used his growing toolbox last year to make a molecule that was predicted more than half a century ago but unachievable using standard organic chemistry in solution. Instead, he built it on the surface of a catalyst from custom-made molecules that would normally not react in the right way, but which he guided to create an antiferromagnetic molecule called peripentacene.

"We used this toolbox of surface chemistry and the rules we have learned to make a molecule that no one had been able to make in 60 years," he said. "This is an example of why it is important to understand what is happening on these surfaces, and how you can use this understanding to access structures and reactivities that are not accessible with the standard tools we have right now."

A paper describing their work appeared online this week in advance of publication in the journal Nature Chemistry. Other co-authors of the Nature Chemistry paper are Alexander Riss, Sebastian Wickenburg, Hsin-Zon Tsai, Aaron Bradley, Miguel Ugeda, Han Sae Jung and Patrick Gorman of UC Berkeley, Alejandro Perez Paz of the Universidad del Pais Vasco in Spain and Dimas G. De Oteyza of the Donostia International Physics Center in San Sebastian, Spain.

 

 

Building compact particle accelerators

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 12, 2016 - In the world of particle accelerators, laser wakefield devices are the small, but mighty upstarts. The machines can accelerate electrons to near the speed of light using a fraction of the distance required by conventional particle accelerators. However, the electrons are not all uniformly accelerated and beams with a mix of faster (higher energy) and slower (lower energy) particles are less practical.

Now a team of researchers from China, South Korea and the U.S. has proposed a new way to minimize the energy spread of electrons in laser wakefield accelerators. They publish their method in the journal Physics of Plasmas, from AIP Publishing.

Laser wakefield accelerators work by shooting an ultrafast laser pulse through a plasma. Plasmas contain positively charged ions and free electrons. As the laser plows through the plasma, it pushes the electrons out of the way, leaving behind a region of positively charged ions.

The positive charge pulls electrons back in behind the laser pulse in waves. These plasma waves in turn generate strong electric fields that trap electrons and can accelerate them to energy levels on the order of one billion electron volts, which means the electrons are zipping by at around 99.99999 percent the speed of light.

"Along the axis that the laser propagates, the longitudinal electric field resembles a very steep ocean wave about to break, which will cause electrons trapped near the rear to feel a very strong forward acceleration," said Jiansheng Liu, a physicist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The acceleration is so strong that laser wakefield devices can boost electrons to ultra-high-energy levels in mere centimeters, a feat that would take the most advanced conventional accelerators many meters to accomplish.

However, there are downsides to laser wakefield accelerators. First, electrons may enter the plasma wave at different times and the electrons that enter first are accelerated for longer. Second, the acceleration is not uniform, so electrons at different locations receive different energy boosts. Both these factors contribute to an energy spread for the accelerated electrons - an undesirable feature for practical applications.

Liu and his colleagues propose a novel way to minimize the energy spread. After the electrons enter the plasma wave, but before they are accelerated, the team proposes inserting a plasma compressor. The compressor squeezes the electrons together and also flips their order, so that the fast electrons that were at the front of the pulse are now at the back.

When the shortened pulse is accelerated, the fast electrons at the back catch up to the slow electrons at the front, and the final pulse has a very small energy spread.

Previous efforts to minimize the energy spread by optimizing the electron injection process or shaping the acceleration field produced particles whose energy levels varied by several percentage points. The new scheme should be able to reduce the energy spread to the one-thousandth level, more than 10 times better.

A one-thousandth-level or lower energy spread would make new applications for laser wakefield accelerators possible, including a highly desirable table-top X-ray free-electron laser, Liu said.

X-ray free-electron lasers generate flashes of X-ray light short and intense enough to make movies of chemical reactions and other ultrafast phenomena, but the electrons must have a very tight energy spread to generate the coherent X-rays necessary for a clear picture. Current X-ray free-electron lasers are huge machines housed at national facilities like SLAC, the national accelerator laboratory in Menlo Park, California.

Liu and his colleagues are currently working on plans to test their proposed method by building a device in the lab.

Research paper: "Energy spread minimization in a cascaded laser wakefield accelerator via velocity bunching"

 

 

Intense wind found in neighborhood of a black hole

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Southampton, UK (SPX) May 12, 2016 - An international team of astrophysicists, including Professor Phil Charles from the University of Southampton, have detected an intense wind from one of the closest known black holes to the Earth.

During observations of V404 Cygni, which went into a bright and violent outburst in June 2015 after more than 25 years of quiescence, the team began taking optical measurements of the black hole's accretion disc using the 10.4-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) - the biggest optical-infrared telescope in the world, situated at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory (Garafia, La Palma) in the Canary Islands.

The results, which are published in Nature, show the presence of a wind of neutral material (un-ionized hydrogen and helium), which is formed in the outer layers of the accretion disc, regulating the accretion of material by the black hole. This wind, detected for the first time in a system of this type, has a very high velocity (3,000 kilometers per second) so that it can escape from the gravitational field around the black hole.

Professor Charles, from Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southampton, said: "Its presence allows us to explain why the outburst, in spite of being bright and very violent, with continuous changes in luminosity and ejections of mass in the form of jets, was also very brief, lasting only two weeks."

At the end of this outburst the GTC observations revealed the presence of a nebula formed from material expelled by the wind. This phenomenon, which has been observed for the first time in a black hole, also allows scientists to estimate the quantity of mass ejected into the interstellar medium.

Teo Munoz Darias, a researcher at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the lead author of the study (and also a former Marie Curie Fellow at Southampton), said: "The brightness of the source and the large collecting area of the GTC allowed us not only to detect the wind, but also to measure the variation of its properties on time-scales of minutes. The database obtained is probably the best ever observed for an object of this kind.

"This outburst of V404 Cygni, because of its complexity and because of the high quantity and quality of the observations, will help us understand how black holes swallow material via their accretion discs."

"We think that what we have observed with the GTC in V404 Cygni happens, at least, in other black holes with large accretion discs," concluded Professor Charles and Jorge Casares from IAC, two of the discoverers of V404 Cygni in 1992, and co-authors of the study.

V404 Cygni is a black hole within a binary system located in the constellation of Cygnus. In such systems, of which less than 50 are known, a black hole of around 10 times the mass of the Sun is swallowing material from a very nearby star, its companion star. During this process material falls onto the black hole and forms an accretion disc, whose hotter, innermost zones emit in X-rays. In the outer regions, however, we can study the disc in visible light, which is the part of the spectrum observable with the GTC.

V404 Cygni, at only 8,000 light-years away, is one of the closest known black holes to the Earth, and has a particularly large accretion disc (with a radius of about ten million kilometers), making its outbursts especially bright at all wavelengths (X-rays, visible, infrared and radio waves).

On 15 June 2015, V404 Cygni went into outburst after a quiescence of over 25 years. During this period its brightness increased one million fold in a few days, becoming the brightest X-ray source in the sky. The GTC began taking spectroscopic observations on 17 June via the activation of a "target of opportunity" program, designed by IAC researchers for this kind of event.

The observations were made with the OSIRIS instrument on the GTC, and were carried out during the two weeks of the outburst, in observing windows of one to two hours per night. In addition, the study included observations in X-rays by the INTEGRAL and Swift satellites, as well as data from the AMI radio-interferometer in the United Kingdom.

Nine of the series of data obtained during the night of 27 June were obtained with the GTC in the presence of His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain, who attended the observations as part of the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the Canary Island Observatories. The King was able to observe at first hand the exceptional range of phenomena exhibited by this black hole.

The research team was led by the IAC astrophysicist Teo Munoz Darias, and included four other members of the same institute: Jorge Casares, Daniel Mata Sanchez, Montserrat Armas Padilla, and Manuel Linares, as well as researchers from the universities of Oxford and Southampton in the United Kingdom, and from research institutes in Germany, France, and Japan.

Research paper: "Regulation of Black-Hole Accretion by a Disk Wind During a Violent Outburst of V404 Cygni," T. Munoz-Darias, J. Casares, D. Mata Sanchez, R. P. Fender, M. Armas Padilla, M. Linares, G. Ponti, P. A. Charles, K. P. Mooley and J. Rodriguez, 2016 May 9, Nature

 

 

From the atomic to the nuclear clock

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) May 10, 2016 - Measuring time using oscillations of atomic nuclei might significantly improve precision beyond that of current atomic clocks. Physicists have now taken an important step toward this goal.

Atomic clocks are currently our most precise timekeepers. The present record is held by a clock that is accurate to within a single second in 20 billion years. Researchers led by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich physicists Peter Thirolf, Lars von der Wense and Benedict Seiferle have now experimentally identified a long-sought excitation state, a nuclear isomer in an isotope of the element thorium (Th), which could enhance this level of accuracy by a factor of about ten.

Their findings are reported in the scientific journal "Nature". The team also includes scientists based at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the Helmholtz Institute Mainz and the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy-Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany.

The heart of timekeeping
The second is our basic unit for the measurement of time, and is tied to the oscillation period of electrons in the atomic shell of the element cesium (Cs). The best atomic clock currently in use boasts a relative precision of 2+ 10-18.

"Even greater levels of accuracy could be achieved with the help of a so-called nuclear clock, based on oscillations in the atomic nucleus itself rather than oscillations in the electron shells surrounding the nucleus," says Thirolf. "Furthermore, as atomic nuclei are 100,000 times smaller than whole atoms, such a clock would be much less susceptible to perturbation by external influences."

However, of the more than 3300 known types of atomic nuclei, only one potentially offers a suitable basis for a nuclear clock - the nucleus of the thorium isotope with atomic mass 229 (Th-229), which, however, does not occur naturally.

For over 40 years physicists have suspected this nucleus to exhibit an excited state whose energy lies only very slightly above that of its ground state. The resulting nuclear isomer, Th-229m, possesses the lowest excitation state in any known atomic nucleus.

"Th-229m is further expected to show a rather long half-life, between minutes and several hours. It should thus be possible to measure with extremely high precision the frequency of the radiation emitted when the excited nuclear state falls back to the ground state," Thirolf explains.

First direct detection of the transition
However, direct detection of the thorium isomer Th-229m has never been achieved. "Up until now, the evidence for its existence has been purely indirect," says Thirolf.

Together with his colleagues, he has now succeeded in detecting the elusive nuclear transition in a complex experiment. They made use of uranium-233 as a source of Th-229m, which is produced in the radioactive alpha decay of uranium-233. In an experimental tour-de-force, the scientists isolated the isomer as an ion beam.

"Using a microchannel plate detector, we were then able to measure the decay of the excited isomer back to the ground state of Th-229 as a clear and unambiguous signal. This constitutes direct proof that the excited state really exists," says Thirolf. "This breakthrough is a decisive step toward the realization of a working nuclear clock," he adds.

"Our efforts to reach this goal in the framework of the European Research Network nuClock will now be redoubled. The next step is to characterize the properties of the nuclear transition more precisely - its half-life and, in particular, the energy difference between the two states.

"These data will allow laser physicists to setting to work on a laser that can be tuned to the transition frequency, which is a prerequisite for an optical control of the transition."

 

 

Measuring a black hole 660 million times as massive as our sun

 
‎Tuesday, ‎May ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎9:08:10 AMGo to full article
Brunswick NJ (SPX) May 08, 2016 - It's about 660 million times as massive as our sun, and a cloud of gas circles it at about 1.1 million mph. This supermassive black hole sits at the center of a galaxy dubbed NGC 1332, which is 73 million light years from Earth. And an international team of scientists that includes Rutgers associate professor Andrew J. Baker has measured its mass with unprecedented accuracy.

Their groundbreaking observations, made with the revolutionary Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, were published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. ALMA, the world's largest astronomical project, is a telescope with 66 radio antennas about 16,400 feet above sea level.

Black holes - the most massive typically found at the centers of galaxies - are so dense that their gravity pulls in anything that's close enough, including light, said Baker, an associate professor in the Astrophysics Group in Rutgers' Department of Physics and Astronomy. The department is in the School of Arts and Sciences.

A black hole can form after matter, often from an exploding star, condenses via gravity. Supermassive black holes at the centers of massive galaxies grow by swallowing gas, stars and other black holes. But, said Baker, "just because there's a black hole in your neighborhood, it does not act like a cosmic vacuum cleaner."

Stars can come close to a black hole, but as long as they're in stable orbits and moving fast enough, they won't enter the black hole, said Baker, who has been at Rutgers since 2006.

"The black hole at the center of the Milky Way, which is the biggest one in our own galaxy, is many thousands of light years away from us," he said. "We're not going to get sucked in."

Scientists think every massive galaxy, like the Milky Way, has a massive black hole at its center, Baker said. "The ubiquity of black holes is one indicator of the profound influence that they have on the formation of the galaxies in which they live," he said.

Understanding the formation and evolution of galaxies is one of the major challenges for modern astrophysics. The scientists' findings have important implications for how galaxies and their central supermassive black holes form. The ratio of a black hole's mass to a galaxy's mass is important in understanding their makeup, Baker said.

Research suggests that the growth of galaxies and the growth of their black holes are coordinated. And if we want to understand how galaxies form and evolve, we need to understand supermassive black holes, Baker said.

Part of understanding supermassive black holes is measuring their exact masses. That lets scientists determine if a black hole is growing faster or slower than its galaxy. If black hole mass measurements are inaccurate, scientists can't draw any definitive conclusions, Baker said.

To measure NGC 1332's central black hole, scientists tapped ALMA's high-resolution observations of carbon monoxide emissions from a giant disc of cold gas orbiting the hole. They also measured the speed of the gas.

"This has been a very active area of research for the last 20 years, trying to characterize the masses of black holes at the centers of galaxies," said Baker, who began studying black holes as a graduate student. "This is a case where new instrumentation has allowed us to make an important new advance in terms of what we can say scientifically."

He and his coauthors recently submitted a proposal to use ALMA to observe other massive black holes. Use of ALMA is granted after an annual international competition of proposals, according to Baker.

 

 

UCI astronomers determine precise mass of a giant black hole

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎11:51:48 AMGo to full article
Irvine CA (SPX) May 09, 2016 - Astronomers from the University of California, Irvine and other universities have derived a highly precise measurement of the mass of a black hole at the center of a nearby giant elliptical galaxy. Working with high-resolution data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile, the scientists were able to determine the speed of a disk of cold molecular gas and dust orbiting the supermassive black hole at the heart of galaxy NGC 1332. From there, they calculated the black hole's mass to be 660 million times greater than that of the Sun.

"This is the first time that ALMA has probed the orbital motion of cold molecular gas well inside the gravitational sphere of influence of a supermassive black hole" said Aaron Barth, UCI professor of physics and astronomy and lead author on the study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. "We're directly viewing the region where the cold gas is responding to the black hole's gravitational pull. This is an exciting milestone for ALMA and a great demonstration of its high-resolution capability."

To calculate the mass of a black hole in a galaxy's center, astronomers must be able to measure the speed of something orbiting around it, Barth said.

"For a precise measurement, we need to zoom in to the very center of a galaxy where the black hole's gravitational pull is the dominant force. ALMA is a fantastic new tool for carrying out these observations."

Located at 5,000 meters altitude in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile, ALMA is a powerful array of 66 radio telescopes designed to conduct observations at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths. Dense, cold clouds of interstellar gas and dust don't emit visible light, but glow brightly at wavelengths that ALMA can observe.

Barth and his group trained ALMA's observational powers on NGC 1332, a giant elliptical galaxy in the southern sky 73 million light-years from Earth. Elliptical galaxies are known to contain massive central black holes.

About one in 10 elliptical galaxies contain disks of cold molecular gas and dust that orbit their centers. In visible light, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, these disks appear as dark silhouettes against the bright background of starlight in a galaxy's core.

But ALMA can observe radio-wavelength light emitted by molecules in these structures. The emission is shifted to shorter or longer wavelengths by the Doppler Effect depending on whether the disk's gas is rotating toward or away from observers, which enables astronomers to map the motion of the gas. In this case, Barth's team focused on radio-wave emissions from carbon monoxide (CO) molecules, since the CO signal is bright and readily detected with ALMA.

In September 2014, Barth's team obtained an initial ALMA observation of CO emissions from NGC 1332, which revealed that the galaxy indeed contained a flattened disk of cold molecular gas in rapid rotation about its center, making it an ideal target for a precision measurement of the black hole's mass. The disk extends to a radius of nearly 800 light-years from the galaxy's nucleus; only within the innermost 80 light-years is the black hole's gravitational pull the dominant force. Astronomers refer to this as the black hole's "sphere of influence."

In September 2015, they studied NGC 1332 again with ALMA, this time using its high-resolution mode to produce a far more sharply focused map of the disk's rotation. This new map resolves details as small as 16 light-years across. Crucially, this makes it possible to probe the disk's rotation within the black hole's 80 light-year sphere of influence region. The ALMA data show that near the disk's center, the rotation speed of the gas reaches 500 kilometers per second.

By mapping the disk's rotation with the high-resolution data, Barth's group determined that the black hole in NGC 1332 has a mass that is 660 million times greater than the Sun, with a measurement uncertainty of just 10 percent. This is among the most precise measurements for the mass of a galaxy's central black hole.

Past measurements of black hole masses from mapping the rotation of gas disks have mostly been based on hotter disks of ionized gas that glow at visible wavelengths and can be observed with the Hubble Space Telescope. However, ionized gas disks tend to exhibit more turbulent, chaotic motion, which lowers the precision of the mass measurement. A major advantage for ALMA is that dense disks of cold molecular gas, like the one in NGC 1332, appear to have a more orderly structure with less turbulent motion, which leads to a more definitive measurement.

Barth's group is analyzing ALMA investigations of several other elliptical galaxies from their study, and six more galaxies are in the queue to be studied during this year's ALMA operating cycle. UCI graduate student and study co-author Benjamin Boizelle said, "This observation demonstrates a technique that can be applied to many other galaxies to measure the masses of supermassive black holes to remarkable precision."

 

 

One minus 1 does not always equal 0 in chemistry

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎11:51:48 AMGo to full article
Chicago IL (SPX) May 03, 2016 - In the world of chemistry, one minus one almost always equals zero. But new research from Northwestern University and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in France shows that is not always the case. And the discovery will change scientists' understanding of mirror-image molecules and their optical activity.

In 1848, Louis Pasteur showed that molecules that are mirror images of each other had exactly opposite rotations of light. When these "left-handed" and "right-handed" molecules are mixed together in solution, however, they cancel the effects of the other, and no rotation of light is observed. Thus, "one minus one equals zero."

Now, Northwestern's Kenneth R. Poeppelmeier and his research team are the first to demonstrate that a mixture of mirror-image molecules crystallized in the solid state can be optically active. The scientists first designed and made the materials and then measured their optical properties.

The findings, published April 18 by the journal Nature Materials, open up a promising area of materials research.

"In our case, one minus one does not always equal zero," said first author Romain Gautier of CNRS. "This discovery will change scientists' understanding of these molecules, and new applications could emerge from this observation."

The property of rotating light, which has been known for more than two centuries to exist in many molecules, already has many applications in medicine, electronics, lasers and display devices.

"The phenomenon of optical activity can occur in a mixture of mirror-image molecules, and now we've measured it," said Poeppelmeier, a Morrison Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. "This is an important experiment." Although this phenomenon has been predicted for a long time, no one - until now - had created such a racemic mixture (a combination of equal amounts of mirror-image molecules) and measured the optical activity.

"How do you deliberately create these materials?" Poeppelmeier said. "That's what excites me as a chemist." He and Gautier painstakingly designed the material, using one of four possible solid-state arrangements known to exhibit circular dichroism (the ability to absorb differently the "rotated" light).

Next, Richard P. Van Duyne, a Morrison Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern, and graduate student Jordan M. Klingsporn measured the material's optical activity, finding that mirror-image molecules are active when arranged in specific orientations in the solid state.

Research paper: "Optical Activity from Racemates."

 

 

Weasel chews power cable, puts LHC experiments on hold

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎11:51:48 AMGo to full article
Geneva, Switzerland (UPI) Apr 29, 2016 - A weasel has temporarily thwarted the search for mysterious subatomic particles.

As New Scientist reported, the slender mammal chewed a cable of the Large Hadron Collider. Damage to the 66-kilovolt electrical transformer has forced scientists to put their experiments on hold for several days while repairs are made.

"I can confirm that we had some issues overnight with electrical trouble," Arnaud Marsollier, a spokesperson for CERN, or the European Organization for Nuclear Research, told New Scientist. "We suspect it might be due to a small animal."

The news broke after a series of slide images detailing recent LHC tests and damages were uploaded to the Internet and subsequently posted on Reddit.

One of the slides blames an "electrical perturbation" caused by a short-circuit on a "fouine" -- an Italian word for weasel.

Scientists at CERN located the damage while performing warm-up tests and readying the LHC for new experiments after a period of inactivity over the winter.

The repairs could take up to eight days, after which scientists expect to get back to the task of discovering new subatomic particles -- including examples of dark matter.

In 2009, the collider suffered a similar setback when a piece of baguette dropped by a bird momentarily derailed warm-up testing.

 

 

Japan abandons $250mn black hole satellite

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎11:51:48 AMGo to full article
Tokyo (AFP) April 28, 2016 - Japan is abandoning a quarter-of-a-billion-dollar satellite it sent to study black holes, disappointed space scientists said Thursday, after spending a month trying to save it.

The ultra-high-tech "Hitomi" -- or eye -- was launched in February to find X-rays emanating from black holes and galaxy clusters.

But shortly after the expensive kit reached orbit, researchers admitted they had lost control of it and said it was no longer communicating, with agency scientists saying it could have disintegrated.

Bosses at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) set dozens of their brightest minds on the task of salvaging the satellite.

But on Thursday they acknowledged defeat and said they were going to have to abandon it.

"We concluded that the satellite is in a state in which its functions are not expected to recover," Saku Tsuneta, director general of JAXA's Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, told reporters.

"I deeply apologise for abandoning operation" of the satellite, he said.

JAXA officials think the solar panels that provide power for the precision instruments might have come adrift, leaving millions of dollars worth of technology drifting uselessly in space.

The satellite, developed in collaboration with NASA and other groups, was intended to help unlock the mystery of black holes, phenomena that have never been directly observed.

Scientists believe they are huge collapsed stars whose enormous gravitational pull is so strong that nothing can escape.

The announcement in February that gravitational waves had been detected for the first time added to evidence of their existence.

The next launch of a similar satellite is scheduled in 2028 by the European Space Agency.

Tsuneta said the loss of the device, which cost 31 billion yen ($273 million), including the cost of launching it, was not only a disappointment for Japan but for overseas astronomers as well who held out high hopes for its success.

"We're sorry we cannot respond to the expectations," he said.

News of the mission failure was met with gloom in Japan.

"It's disappointing," read one tweet. "But I hope they'll learn a lesson and do their best next time."

The satellite was launched by the country's mainstay H-IIA rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

Japan has a massive space programme and has achieved successes in both scientific and commercial satellite launches while also sending astronauts on space shuttle and International Space Station missions.

 

 

Einstein's theory of relativity faces satellite test

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎11:51:48 AMGo to full article
Cayenne (AFP) April 26, 2016 - Einstein's theory of general relativity is to be put to the test by a newly launched satellite in an experiment that could upend our understanding of physics.

The French "Microscope" orbiter will try to poke a hole in one of Einstein's most famous theories, which provides the basis for our modern understanding of gravity.

Scientists will use the kit to measure how two different pieces of metal -- one titanium and the other a platinum-rhodium alloy -- behave in orbit.

"In space, it is possible to study the relative motion of two bodies in almost perfect and permanent free fall aboard an orbiting satellite, shielded from perturbations encountered on Earth," said Arianespace, which put the satellite into orbit on Monday.

Einstein's theory suggests that in perfect free-fall, the two objects should move in exactly the same way. But if they are shown to behave differently "the principle will be violated: an event that would shake the foundations of physics", Arianespace added.

Also aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket launched from French Guiana was an Earth-observation satellite equipped with radar to monitor the planet's surface to track climate and environmental change and help in disaster relief operations.

That satellite, along with another launched two years ago, is part of the 3.8-billion-euro ($4.3-billion) Copernicus project, which will ultimately boast six orbiters in all.

Three previous launches from Arianespace's Spaceport in French Guiana, an overseas territory that borders Brazil, were delayed by poor weather and technical issues.

A countdown on Sunday was halted after scientists observed an "anomaly", the agency said in an earlier statement, while adverse weather conditions had thwarted other attempts.

 

 

The atom without properties

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎11:51:48 AMGo to full article
Basel, Switzerland (SPX) Apr 26, 2016 - The microscopic world is governed by the rules of quantum mechanics, where the properties of a particle can be completely undetermined and yet strongly correlated with those of other particles. Physicists from the University of Basel have observed these so-called Bell correlations for the first time between hundreds of atoms. Their findings are published in the scientific journal Science.

Everyday objects possess properties independently of each other and regardless of whether we observe them or not. Einstein famously asked whether the moon still exists if no one is there to look at it; we answer with a resounding yes. This apparent certainty does not exist in the realm of small particles. The location, speed or magnetic moment of an atom can be entirely indeterminate and yet still depend greatly on the measurements of other distant atoms.

Experimental test of Bell correlations
With the (false) assumption that atoms possess their properties independently of measurements and independently of each other, a so-called Bell inequality can be derived. If it is violated by the results of an experiment, it follows that the properties of the atoms must be interdependent.

This is described as Bell correlations between atoms, which also imply that each atom takes on its properties only at the moment of the measurement. Before the measurement, these properties are not only unknown - they do not even exist.

A team of researchers led by professors Nicolas Sangouard and Philipp Treutlein from the University of Basel, along with colleagues from Singapore, have now observed these Bell correlations for the first time in a relatively large system, specifically among 480 atoms in a Bose-Einstein condensate.

Earlier experiments showed Bell correlations with a maximum of four light particles or 14 atoms. The results mean that these peculiar quantum effects may also play a role in larger systems.

Large number of interacting particles
In order to observe Bell correlations in systems consisting of many particles, the researchers first had to develop a new method that does not require measuring each particle individually - which would require a level of control beyond what is currently possible. The team succeeded in this task with the help of a Bell inequality that was only recently discovered.

The Basel researchers tested their method in the lab with small clouds of ultracold atoms cooled with laser light down to a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero. The atoms in the cloud constantly collide, causing their magnetic moments to become slowly entangled.

When this entanglement reaches a certain magnitude, Bell correlations can be detected. Author Roman Schmied explains: "One would expect that random collisions simply cause disorder. Instead, the quantum-mechanical properties become entangled so strongly that they violate classical statistics."

More specifically, each atom is first brought into a quantum superposition of two states. After the atoms have become entangled through collisions, researchers count how many of the atoms are actually in each of the two states.

This division varies randomly between trials. If these variations fall below a certain threshold, it appears as if the atoms have 'agreed' on their measurement results; this agreement describes precisely the Bell correlations.

New scientific territory
The work presented, which was funded by the National Centre of Competence in Research Quantum Science and Technology (NCCR QSIT), may open up new possibilities in quantum technology; for example, for generating random numbers or for quantum-secure data transmission.

New prospects in basic research open up as well: "Bell correlations in many-particle systems are a largely unexplored field with many open questions - we are entering uncharted territory with our experiments," says Philipp Treutlein.

 

 

The Universe, where space-time becomes discrete

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎11:51:48 AMGo to full article
Trieste, Italy (SPX) Apr 25, 2016 - Our experience of space-time is that of a continuous object, without gaps or discontinuities, just as it is described by classical physics. For some quantum gravity models however, the texture of space-time is "granular" at tiny scales (below the so-called Planck scale, 10-33 cm), as if it were a variable mesh of solids and voids (or a complex foam). One of the great problems of physics today is to understand the passage from a continuous to a discrete description of spacetime: is there an abrupt change or is there gradual transition? Where does the change occur?

The separation between one world and the other creates problems for physicists: for example, how can we describe gravity - explained so well by classical physics - according to quantum mechanics? Quantum gravity is in fact a field of study in which no consolidated and shared theories exist as yet. There are, however, "scenarios", which offer possible interpretations of quantum gravity subject to different constraints, and which await experimental confirmation or confutation.

One of the problems to be solved in this respect is that if space-time is granular beyond a certain scale it means that there is a "basic scale", a fundamental unit that cannot be broken down into anything smaller, a hypothesis that clashes with Einstein's theory of special relativity.

Imagine holding a ruler in one hand: according to special relativity, to an observer moving in a straight line at a constant speed (close to the speed of light) relative to you, the ruler would appear shorter. But what happens if the ruler has the length of the fundamental scale?

For special relativity, the ruler would still appear shorter than this unit of measurement. Special relativity is therefore clearly incompatible with the introduction of a basic graininess of spacetime. Suggesting the existence of this basic scale, say the physicists, means to violate Lorentz invariance, the fundamental tenet of special relativity.

So how can the two be reconciled? Physicists can either hypothesize violations of Lorentz invariance, but have to satisfy very strict constraints (and this has been the preferred approach so far), or they must find a way to avoid the violation and find a scenario that is compatible with both granularity and special relativity.

This scenario is in fact implemented by some quantum gravity models such as String Field Theory and Causal Set Theory. The problem to be addressed, however, was how to test their predictions experimentally given that the effects of these theories are much less apparent than are those of the models that violate special relativity.

One solution to this impasse has now been put forward by Stefano Liberati, SISSA professor, and colleagues in their latest publication. The study was conducted with the participation of researchers from the LENS in Florence (Francesco Marin and Francesco Marino) and from the INFN in Padua (Antonello Ortolan). Other SISSA scientists taking part in the study, in addition to Liberati, were PhD student Alessio Belenchia and postdoc Dionigi Benincasa. The research was funded by a grant of the John Templeton Foundation.

"We respect Lorentz invariance, but everything comes at a price, which in this case is the introduction of non-local effects", comments Liberati. The scenario studied by Liberati and colleagues in fact salvages special relativity but introduces the possibility that physics at a certain point in space-time can be affected by what happens not only in proximity to that point but also at regions very far from it.

"Clearly we do not violate causality nor do we presuppose information that travels faster than light", points out the scientist. "We do, however, introduce a need to know the global structure so as to understand what's going on at a local level".

From theory to facts
There's something else that makes Liberati and colleagues' model almost unique, and no doubt highly precious: it is formulated in such a way as to make experimental testing possible.

"To develop our reasoning we worked side by side with the experimental physicists of the Florence LENS. We are in fact already working on developing the experiments". With these measurements, Liberati and colleagues may be able to identify the boundary, or transition zone, where space-time becomes granular and physics non-local.

"At LENS they're now building a quantum harmonic oscillator: a silicon chip weighing a few micrograms which after being cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero, is illuminated with a laser light and starts to oscillate harmonically" explains Liberati. "Our theoretical model accommodates the possibility of testing non-local effects on quantum objects having a non-negligible mass".

This is an important aspect: a theoretical scenario that accounts for quantum effects without violating special relativity also implies that these effects at our scales must necessarily be very small (otherwise we would already have observed them). In order to test them, we need to be able to observe them in some way or other.

According to our model, it is possible to see the effects in 'borderline' objects, that is, objects that are undeniably quantum objects but having a size where the mass - i.e., the 'charge' associated with gravity (as electrical charge is associated with electrical field) - is still substantial."

"On the basis of the proposed model, we formulated predictions about how the system would oscillate", says Liberati. "Two predictions, to be precise: one function that describes the system without non-local effects and one that describes it with local effects". The model is particularly robust since, as Liberati explains, the difference in the pattern described in the two cases cannot be generated by environmental influences on the oscillator.

"So it's a 'win-win' situation: if we don't see the effect, we can raise the bar of the energies where to look for the transition. Above all, the experiments being prepared should be able to push the constraints on the non-locality scale to the Planck scale. In this case , we go as far as to exclude these scenarios with non-locality. And this in itself would be a good result, as we would be cutting down the number of possible theoretical scenarios", concludes Liberati.

"If on the other hand we were to observe the effect, well, in that case we would be confirming the existence of non-local effects, thus paving the way for an altogether new physics."

 

 

Zip software can detect the quantum-classical boundary

 
‎Wednesday, ‎May ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎11:51:48 AMGo to full article
Singapore (SPX) Apr 25, 2016 - Quantum physics has a reputation for being mysterious and mathematically challenging. That makes it all the more surprising that a new technique to detect quantum behaviour relies on a familiar tool: a "zip" program you might have installed on your computer.

"We found a new way to see a difference between the quantum universe and a classical one, using nothing more complex than a compression program," says Dagomir Kaszlikowski, a Principal Investigator at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore.

Kaszlikowski worked with other researchers from CQT and collaborators at the Jagiellonian University and Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland to show that compression software, applied to experimental data, can reveal when a system crosses the boundary of our classical picture of the Universe into the quantum realm. The work is published in the March issue of New Journal of Physics.

In particular, the technique detects evidence of quantum entanglement between two particles. Entangled particles coordinate their behaviour in ways that cannot be explained by signals sent between them or properties decided in advance. This phenomenon has shown up in many experiments already, but the new approach does without an assumption that is usually made in the measurements.

"It may sound trivial to weaken an assumption, but this one is at the core of how we think about quantum physics," says co-author Christian Kurtsiefer at CQT. The relaxed assumption is that particles measured in an experiment are independent and identically distributed - or i.i.d.

Experiments are typically performed on pairs of entangled particles, such as pairs of photons. Measure one of the light particles and you get results that seems random. The photon may have a 50:50 chance of having a polarization that points up or down, for example. The entanglement shows up when you measure the other photon of the pair: you'll get a matching result.

A mathematical relation known as Bell's theorem shows that quantum physics allows matching results with greater probability than is possible with classical physics. This is what previous experiments have tested. But the theorem is derived for just one pair of particles, whereas scientists must work out the probabilities statistically, by measuring many pairs. The situations are equivalent only as long as each particle-pair is identical and independent of every other one - the i.i.d. assumption.

With the new technique, the measurements are carried out the same way but the results are analyzed differently. Instead of converting the results into probabilities, the raw data (in the forms of lists of 1s and 0s) is used directly as input into compression software.

Compression algorithms work by identifying patterns in the data and encoding them in a more efficient way. When applied to data from the experiment, they effectively detect the correlations resulting from quantum entanglement.

In the theoretical part of the work, Kaszlikowski and his collaborators worked out a relation akin to Bell's theorem that's based on the 'normalized compression difference' between subsets of the data. If the universe is classical, this quantity must stay less than zero. Quantum physics, they predicted, would allow it to reach 0.24. The theorists teamed up with Kurtsiefer's experimental group to test the idea.

First the team collected data from measurements on thousands of entangled photons. Then they used an open-source compression algorithm known as the Lempel-Ziv-Markov chain algorithm (used in the popular 7-zip archiver) to calculate the normalized compression differences. They find a value exceeding zero - 0.0494 +/- 0.0076 - proving their system had crossed the classical-quantum boundary. The value is less than the maximum predicted because the compression does not reach the theoretical limit and the quantum states cannot be generated and detected perfectly.

It's not yet clear whether the new technique will find practical applications, but the researchers see their 'algorithmic' approach to the problem fitting into a bigger picture of how to think about physics. They derived their relation by considering correlations between particles produced by an algorithm fed to two computing machines.

"There is a trend to look at physical systems and processes as programs run on a computer made of the constituents of our universe," write the authors. This work presents an "explicit, experimentally testable example".

Research paper: 'Probing the quantum-classical boundary with compression software' Hou Shun Poh et al, New Journal of Physics, 18 035011 (2016).

 

 

Study finds unexpected long-range particle interactions

 
‎Friday, ‎April ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:27:10 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Apr 18, 2016 - Moving bodies can be attracted to each other, even when they're quite far apart and separated by many other objects: That, in a nutshell, is the somewhat unexpected finding by a team of researchers at MIT.

Scientists have known for a long time that small particles of matter, from the size of dust to sand grains, can exert influences on each other through electrical, magnetic, or chemical effects. Now, this team has found a new kind of long-range interaction between particles, in a liquid medium, that is based entirely on their motions. And these interactions should apply to any kind of particles that move, whether they be living cells or metal particles whirled by magnetic fields.

The discovery, which holds for both living and nonliving particles, is described in a paper by Alfredo Alexander-Katz, the Walter Henry Gale Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, and his co-researchers, in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Alexander-Katz describes the kind of interactions his team found as being related to the research field of active matter. Example of active systems are the flocking behavior of birds or the schooling of fish. Each individual member of the system may be responding just to others in its vicinity, but the result is a coherent overall pattern of movement that can span a large region. Cells in a fluid medium, or even tiny structures moving within a cell, exhibit similar kinds of motion, he says.

The researchers studied magnetic particles a few micrometers (millionths of a meter) across, comparable to the size of some cells. A small number of these magnetic metal microparticles were interspersed with a much larger quantity of inert particles of comparable size, all suspended in water.

When a rotating magnetic field was applied, the metal particles would begin to spin, simulating the movements of living cells in the midst of nonliving or relatively inert objects - such as when cells migrate through tissues or move in a crowded environment.

They found that the spinning particles, even when separated by distances tens of times their size, would ultimately migrate toward each other. Though that attraction progressed through a slow and apparently random series of motions, the particles would in the end almost always come together.

While there has been a lot of research on interactions among active particles, Alexander-Katz says, this is one of the few studies that has looked at the way such particles interact when they are surrounded by inactive particles. "In the absence of the inactive particles there are essentially no interactions," he says.

The unexpected finding might ultimately lead to a better understanding of the behavior of some natural biological systems or new methods for creating synthetic active materials which could be useful for selectively delivering drugs into certain parts of the body, Alexander-Katz suggests. It could also end up finding applications in electronics or energy-harvesting systems, for example providing a way to flip a crystal structure between two different configurations.

"What we're addressing is collective excitations of the system, or coherent excitations," he explains. "What we're looking at is, what are the interactions as a function of activity" of the individual particles.

The faster the particles spin, the greater the attraction between them, the team found. Below a certain speed the effect stops altogether. But the amount of inert matter also makes a difference, they found.

With no inert particles - if the moving particles are suspended in clear water - there is no motion-based attraction. But when the nonspinning particles are added and their concentration reaches a certain point, "there is attraction!" Alexander-Katz says.

One unexpected aspect of the findings was how far the effect extended. "What was really surprising was that the range of the interactions is gigantic," he says. By way of comparison, he says, imagine you're in a crowd, and you start to move a bit, and someone else also starts to move, while everyone else tries to stand still. "I would be able to sense, even 20 people away or more, that that person is also active - assuming that the other folks around us are not active."

The attraction, he says, "is not chemical, it is not magnetic, it is not electrostatic, it's just based on activity." And because the range is so long, these interactions could not be modeled in simulations but required physical experiments to be uncovered. The tests by Alexander-Katz and his team used two-dimensional films, similar to particle sediments that form on a rock surface, he says.

He speculates that some biological organisms may use this phenomenon as a way of sensing parts of their environment, though this has not yet been tested.

The team included MIT postdoc Juan Aragones, graduate student Joshua Steimel, undergraduate Helen Hu, and collaborator Naser Qureshi from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. The work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, MISTI Mexico, and the Chang Family.

 

 

Venezuela moves clocks forward 30 min to save power

 
‎Friday, ‎April ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:27:10 AMGo to full article
Caracas (AFP) April 15, 2016 - Venezuela announced Friday it is shifting its time zone forward 30 minutes to save power and alleviate a severe electricity crisis the government blames on the El Nino weather phenomenon.

The move, effective May 1, will scrap a half-hour subtraction to the clocks Venezuela's late former president Hugo Chavez introduced in 2007 that gave his country a slight offset to its neighbors.

The modified time will see Caracas go back to four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) -- sharing the same hour as Havana and Washington (on Eastern Daylight Time) -- according to Science and Technology Minister Jorge Arreaza.

Chavez's successor, President Nicolas Maduro, ordered the change as part of a bid to have Venezuelans alter their daily habits and save electricity.

Other measures include giving government workers an extra day off each week for the next two months and Maduro has urged Venezuelan women to stop using their hairdryers.

The president has also made next Monday a public sector holiday, which will mean a five-day weekend because people are already off on Tuesday for Independence Declaration Day.

- Dams dangerously low -

Water levels in the country's 18 hydroelectric dams have dropped to dangerously low levels, and citizens regularly suffer blackouts and water rationing.

The government blames the disruption on El Nino, a cyclical weather pattern that causes drought in parts of Latin America.

But the opposition sees it as another sign of gross public mismanagement, accusing the government failing to invest in the water system to keep up with demand.

The country's power crisis has been ongoing since 2010, whereas the latest El Nino started in 2015.

Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, but the government has resisted using crude to generate electricity, calling it inefficient.

Maduro's other measures to cut electricity demand include reducing the workday to six hours for ministries and state companies and ordering them to lower their electricity consumption by 20 percent.

He has also ordered shops and hotels to ration electricity, obliging them to generate their own power for several hours a day.

Shopping centers have cut back their hours since that plan was introduced.

The water level in the dam feeding the El Guri hydroelectric plant in Venezuela's southeast, which supplies 70 percent of the country's grid, is just 3.66 meters (12 feet) above its required operating minimum.

Maduro has said there were currently no plans to slash high subsidies that keep electricity and water usage cheap.

"Hopefully we won't have to go that far, but it all depends on each of us saving power, including the big consumers," Arreaza said.

- 'Simple' time change -

The science minister said "it'll be simple to move the clock forward a half hour -- this will allow us to enjoy more daylight, and it won't get dark so early."

He explained that nighttime use of lighting and air conditioning was especially draining for the power grid.

Analysts, however, warn that the measures being introduced will further damage the productivity of the country, which is in serious economic straits. Its inflation rate of 180 percent for 2015 is the highest in the world, and basic goods are scarce.

Some workers complain that, although they might be getting more time off, they don't have any money to enjoy it. So they end up doing more household chores or lining up at the supermarket for rare subsidized food items.

 

 

Numerical simulations shed new light on early universe

 
‎Friday, ‎April ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:27:09 AMGo to full article
Los Alamos NM (SPX) Apr 22, 2016 - Innovative multidisciplinary research in nuclear and particle physics and cosmology has led to the development of a new, more accurate computer code to study the early universe. The code simulates conditions during the first few minutes of cosmological evolution to model the role of neutrinos, nuclei and other particles in shaping the early universe.

Anticipating precision cosmological data from the next generation of "Extremely Large" telescopes, the BURST code developed by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in collaboration with colleagues at University of California San Diego, "promises to open up new avenues for investigating existing puzzles of cosmology," says Los Alamos physicist Mark Paris of the Nuclear and Particle, Astrophysics and Cosmology group.

"These include the nature and origin of visible matter and the properties of the more mysterious 'dark matter' and 'dark radiation.' The BURST computer code allows physicists to exploit the early universe as a laboratory to study the effect of fundamental particles present in the early universe," Paris explains.

"Our new work in neutrino cosmology allows the study of the microscopic, quantum nature of fundamental particles - the basic, subatomic building blocks of nature - by simulating the universe at its largest, cosmological scale," said Paris.

"The frontiers of fundamental physics have traditionally been studied with particle colliders, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, by smashing together subatomic particles at great energies," says UCSD physicist George Fuller, who collaborated with Paris and other staff scientists at Los Alamos to develop the novel theoretical model. BURST brings a new dimension in simulations.

"Our 'self-consistent' approach, achieved for the first time by simultaneously describing all the particles involved, increases the precision of our calculations. This allows us to investigate exotic fundamental particles that are currently the subject of intense theoretical speculation."

The new theoretical work has been recognized by Physical Review D editors as an Editors' Suggestion, a category reserved for "a small fraction of papers, which we judge to be particularly important, interesting, and well written." It will appear in the late April 2016 issue.

The research is driven by several mission goals of Los Alamos's Nuclear and Particle Futures research pillar in basic and applied nuclear science.

According to Paris, "The early universe is becoming such a tightly constrained environment with increasingly good measurements that we can test our descriptions of microscopic quantum physics, such as nuclear cross sections, to high accuracy." These cross sections are important for Los Alamos' nuclear data needs that feed into applications in nuclear energy, safety and security.

A few seconds after the Big Bang, the universe was composed of a thick, 10-billion degree "cosmic soup" of subatomic particles. As the hot universe expanded, these particles' mutual interactions caused the universe to behave as a cooling thermonuclear reactor.

This reactor produced light nuclei, such as hydrogen, helium, and lithium, found in the universe today. And the amounts of the light nuclei created depend on what other particles - such as neutrinos and perhaps their exotic cousins, "sterile" neutrinos - comprise the "soup'" and how they interact with each other.

"Neutrinos are very interesting - they're the second most abundant particle in the universe after photons yet we still have much to learn about them," commented Evan Grohs, who earned his Ph.D. through UCSD for the work, while working on the project in the Center for Space and Earth Sciences at Los Alamos.

"By comparing our calculations with cosmological observables, such as the deuterium abundance," says Grohs, "we can use our BURST computer code to test theories regarding neutrinos, along with other - even less understood - particles. It can be difficult to test these theories in terrestrial labs, so our work provides a window into an otherwise inaccessible area of physics."

This research has become possible only recently with the advent of astronomers' precision measurements of the amounts of nuclei present in the early universe. These measurements were made with "Very Large" telescopes, which are about 10-meters wide. The next generation of "Extremely Large" telescopes, 30-meters across, are currently under construction.

"With coming improvements in cosmological observations, we expect our BURST computer code to be useful for many years to come," said Paris.

Improvements in BURST are planned that will exploit the precision cosmological observations to reveal even more exotic physics such as the nature of dark matter and dark radiation. A complete understanding of dark matter, which comprises about a quarter of the mass in the universe, is currently lacking, Paris noted.

Physical Review D, "Neutrino energy transport in weak decoupling and Big Bang Nucleosynthesis," by E. Grohs, G.M. Fuller, C.T. Kishimoto, M.W. Paris, A. Vlasenko

 

 

Swiss watch exports plunge on Hong Kong, US slowdown

 
‎Friday, ‎April ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:27:09 AMGo to full article
Zurich (AFP) April 21, 2016 - Global exports of Swiss watches plummeted in March, amid a dramatic contraction of sales in main markets Hong Kong and the United States.

Exports fell 16.1 percent from March 2015 to 1.5 billion Swiss francs ($1.5 billion, 1.4 billion euros), the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FHS) said.

In 2015, watch exports recorded their first full-year decline since 2009, contracting by 3.3 percent with weakening Hong Kong demand already the main factor.

And FHS said the downward trend was accelerating.

The numbers last month, it said, were "the lowest March figures since 2011."

"The scale of the downturn is also unusual, since we must go back to the crisis of 2009 to find rates of variation of this order," it said.

Analysts voiced disappointment at lacking improvements on the market.

"The mood amongst watch retailers seems to have deteriorated in recent months," Citi Research analyst Thomas Chauvet said in a note, blaming "subdued economic conditions, stock market and (currency) volatility, travel fears after several terrorist attacks in Europe and depressed oil prices."

The slump came as top Swiss watch market Hong Kong saw one of its sharpest downturns, slumping a full 37.7 percent compared to March a year earlier.

The Hong Kong watch market has steadily shrunk since the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella protests chased away the wealthy Chinese tourists who previously travelled there in droves to purchase luxury timepieces.

And the strengthening Hong Kong dollar has since prompted them to look to other markets where prices are more attractive.

Exports to the United States, the second largest market for Swiss watches, meanwhile fell 32.9 percent in March.

And the market in China slumped 13.7 percent, countering signs of a timid recovery seen at the end of last year.

After years of euphoric growth, the Chinese market took a major hit following a 2013 Beijing decision to crack down on corruption by banning extravagant gifts like expensive watches to public officials.

Germany was basically the only market bucking the downward trend last month, showing 2.2 percent growth over March 2015, "which confirms the steady improvement in its situation," FHS said.

Japan, which had recently provided a small dose of optimism to the gloomy market, meanwhile disappointed, recording a 9.4 percent drop in demand from a year earlier.

 

 

Iowa State physicist analyzes first electron neutrino data from NOvA Experiment

 
‎Friday, ‎April ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:27:09 AMGo to full article
Ames IA (SPX) Apr 20, 2016 - Mayly Sanchez clicked to a presentation slide showing the telltale track of an electron neutrino racing through the 14,000-ton Far Detector of the NOvA Neutrino Experiment.

Since that detector started full operations in November 2014, two analyses of data from the long-distance experiment have made the first experimental observations of muon neutrinos changing to electron neutrinos. One analysis found 11 such transitions. And, Sanchez wrote on her slide, "All 11 of them are absolutely gorgeous."

The 260 members of the NOvA collaboration have just reported the experiment's initial findings in two papers: One in Physical Review Letters describes the first appearance of electron neutrinos in the NOvA experiment; another in Physical Review D - Rapid Communications describes the disappearance of muon neutrinos in the experiment.

Taken together, the papers offer insights into fundamental neutrino properties such as mass, the way neutrinos change, or oscillate, from one type to another and whether neutrinos are a key to the dominance of matter in the universe.

Sanchez - an Iowa State associate professor of physics and astronomy who is also an Intensity Frontier Fellow at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab near Chicago - is one of the leaders of the NOvA experiment. She serves on the experiment's executive committee and co-leads the analysis of electron neutrino appearance in the Far Detector.

The paper about electron neutrino appearance reports two, independent analyses of detector data: One found six cases of the muon neutrinos sent to the Far Detector oscillating into electron neutrinos. The other found 11 oscillations. If there were no oscillations, researchers predicted there would be one electron neutrino observed in the Far Detector.

Sanchez said the flickering electron neutrino tracks she helped analyze prove the experiment can do what it was designed to do. That's spotting and measuring neutrinos after they make the 500-mile, 3-millisecond journey from Fermilab to the Far Detector in northern Minnesota. (That detector is huge - 344,000 plastic cells within a structure 200 feet long, 50 feet high and 50 feet wide, making it the world's largest freestanding plastic structure.)

"The big news here is we observed electron neutrino appearance," Sanchez said.

If the calibrations and parameters had been just a little off, "We might not have seen anything," she said. "When you design an experiment like this, you hope that nature is kind to you and allows you to do a measurement."

In this case, physicists are detecting and measuring mysterious and lightweight neutrinos. They're subatomic particles that are among the most abundant in the universe but almost never interact with matter. They're created in nature by the sun, by collapsing stars and by cosmic rays interacting with the atmosphere. They're also created by nuclear reactors and particle accelerators.

There are three types of neutrinos - electron, muon and tau. As they travel at almost the speed of light, they oscillate from one type to another. Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Arthur B. McDonald of Canada won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for their contributions to the independent, experimental discoveries of neutrino oscillation.

The NOvA experiment has three main physics goals: make the first observations of muon neutrinos changing to electron neutrinos, determine the tiny masses of the three neutrino types and look for clues that help explain how matter came to dominate antimatter in the universe.

At the beginning of the universe, physicists believe there were equal amounts of matter and antimatter. That's actually a problem because matter and antimatter annihilate each other when they touch.

But the universe still exists. So something happened to throw off that balance and create a universe full of matter. Could it be that neutrinos decayed asymmetrically and tipped the scales toward matter?

The NOvA experiment, as it takes more and more neutrino data, could provide some answers.

Sanchez likes the data she's seen: "These are absolutely stunning electron neutrino events. We've looked at them and they're textbook perfect - all 11 of them so far."

Iowa Staters working with Mayly Sanchez on the NOvA Neutrino Experiment include Ioana Anghel, a postdoctoral research associate, and Tian Xin, Erika Catano-Mur and Jose Andres Sepulveda, all graduate students. They're all co-authors of the two NOvA papers

 

 

Three-way battles in the quantum world

 
‎Monday, ‎April ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎5:53:55 AMGo to full article
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Apr 18, 2016 - When water in a pot is slowly heated to the boil, an exciting duel of energies takes place inside the liquid. On the one hand there is the interaction energy that wants to keep the water molecules together because of their mutual attraction. On the other hand, however, the motional energy, which increases due to heating, tries to separate the molecules.

Below the boiling point the interaction energy prevails, but as soon as the motional energy wins the water boils and turns into water vapour. This process is also known as a phase transition. In this scenario the interaction only involves water molecules that are in immediate proximity to one another.

A team of researchers led by Tilman Esslinger at the Institute for Quantum Electronics at ETH Zurich, and Tobias Donner, a scientist in his group, have now shown that particles can be made to "feel" each other even over large distances. By adding such long-range interactions the physicists were able to observe novel phase transitions that result from energetic three-way battles.

Artificial quantum worlds
The physicists did not, of course, perform their experiments in a cooking pot, but rather in an artificially created quantum world called a "quantum simulator". To do so, the researchers cooled a tiny cloud of rubidium atoms to temperatures just above absolute zero and then caught them in a crystal-like lattice made of laser beams.

The interaction energy stems from collisions between atoms that move back and forth between lattice sites. The motional energy of the atoms, on the other hand, can be controlled through the intensity of the laser beams, which determines how easily the atoms can move inside the lattice.

Finally, in order to bring about an interaction between atoms that are far apart, Renate Landig, a PhD student in Esslinger's group, and her colleagues used a technical trick. Using two highly reflecting mirrors they built a resonator that ensured that light particles scattered by one of the atoms would fly through the rubidium cloud several times.

In that way, sooner or later all the atoms in the cloud come into contact with the scattered photon. They thus "feel" the presence of the original atom that first deviated the photon. This feeling over a distance is tantamount to an effective long-range interaction. How strongly the atoms interact in this way can be exactly controlled through the frequency of the laser beams.

"Using this trick we now have three competing energy scales in our system: besides the motional and interaction energies there is, in addition, the energy associated with the long-range interaction", explains Landig. "By varying the motional energy and the long-range interaction energy, we are able to study a number of novel quantum phase transitions."

First order phase transitions
The researchers were already familiar with some of the possible phase transitions. For instance, when the long-range interaction is very small and the motional energy is increased little by little, the phase of the rubidium cloud changes from a Mott insulator, with one immobile atom sitting on each lattice site, to a superfluid, in which atoms can move completely freely.

If, by contrast, the researchers increase the long range interaction energy, something completely different happens. At a particular strength of that interaction the atoms spontaneously arrange themselves in a checkerboard pattern, with one empty lattice site between two atoms.

"The peculiarity of this phase transition, which is similar to that between water and water vapour, is that it's a first order transition", Donner emphasizes. In such phase transitions a particular property of a substance changes suddenly, whereas second order phase transitions, which are the type of transitions that have been detected in artificial quantum systems up to now, are characterized by a gradual change.

Supersolidity detected
The physicists were also able to induce another unusual phase transition by making both the motional energy and the long-range interaction energy very large. In that case, too, a checkerboard pattern appeared inside the lattice, but this time there was phase coherence between the atoms - in other words, their quantum mechanical wave functions were synchronized.

Phase coherence is usually only observed when the atoms are relatively free to roam, as is the case, for instance, in the superfluid state. The coexistence of a checkerboard pattern and phase coherence at the same time indicates that one is dealing with a supersolid phase. The hybrid state of supersolidity was theoretically predicted as much as fifty years ago, but thus far unambiguously detecting it has proved difficult.

In the future, Esslinger and his collaborators will use their quantum simulator to study such exotic effects more closely. The researchers' aim is to get a general idea of quantum phenomena in increasingly complex systems. This, in turn, goes hand in hand with the development and investigation of materials with special properties.

The research was undertaken in conjunction with TherMiQ, a European research project examining the thermodynamics of mesoscopic open quantum systems.

Landig R, Hruby L, Dogra N, Landini M, Mottl R, Donner T, Esslinger T: Quantum phases from competing short- and long-range interactions in an optical lattice, Nature, 11 April 2016, doi: 10.1038/nature17409

 

 

A single ion impacts a million water molecules

 
‎Monday, ‎April ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎5:53:55 AMGo to full article
Lausanne, Switzerland (SPX) Apr 15, 2016 - Water is simple and complex at the same time. A single water molecule (H20) is made up of only 3 atoms. Yet the collective behavior of water molecules is unique and continues to amaze us. Water molecules are linked together by hydrogen bonds that break and form several thousands of billions of times per second. These bonds provide water with unique and unusual properties. Living organisms contain around 60% water and salt. Deciphering the interactions among water, salt and ions is thus fundamentally important for understanding life.

Researchers at EPFL's Laboratory for fundamental BioPhotonics, led by Sylvie Roke, have probed the influence of ions on the structure of water with unprecedentedly sensitive measurements. According to their multi-scale analyses, a single ion has an influence on millions of water molecules, i.e. 10,000 times more than previously thought.

In an article appearing in Science Advances, they explain how a single ion can "twist" the bonds of several million water molecules over a distance exceeding 20 nanometers causing the liquid to become "stiffer". "Until now it was not possible to see beyond a hundred molecules. Our measurements show that water is much more sensitive to ions than we thought," said Roke, who was also surprised by this result.

The molecules line up around the ions
Water molecules are made up of one negatively charged oxygen atom and two positively charged hydrogen atoms. The Mickey Mouse-shaped molecule therefore does not have the same charge at its center as at its extremities.

When an ion, which is an electrically charged atom, comes into contact with water, the network of hydrogen bonds is perturbed. The perturbation spreads over millions of surrounding molecules, causing water molecules to align preferentially in a specific direction. This can be thought of as water molecules "stiffening their network" between the various ions.

From atomistic to macroscopic length scales
Water's behavior was tested with three different approaches: ultrafast optical measurements, which revealed the arrangement of molecules on the nanometric scale; a computer simulation on the atomic scale; and measurement of the water's surface structure and tension, which was done at the macroscopic level.

"For the last method, we simply dipped a thin metal plate into the water and pulled gently using a tensiometer to determine the water's resistance," said Roke.

"We observed that the presence of a few ions makes it easier to pull the plate out, that is, ions reduce the surface resistance of water. This strange effect had already been observed in 1941, but it remained unexplained until now. Through our multiscale analysis we were able to link it to ion-induced stiffening of the bulk hydrogen bond network: a stiffer bulk results in a comparatively more flexible surface."

Testing different salts and different "waters"
The researchers carried out the same experiment with 21 different salts: they all affected water in the same way. Then they studied the effect of ions on heavy water, whose hydrogen atoms are heavy isotopes (with an additional neutron in the nucleus). This liquid is almost indistinguishable from normal water. But here the properties are very different. To perturb the heavy water in the same way, it required a concentration of ions six times higher. Further evidence of the uniqueness of water.

No link with water memory
Roke and her team are aware that it might be tempting to link these stunning results to all sorts of controversial beliefs about water. They are however careful to distance themselves from any far-fetched interpretation. "Our research has nothing to do with water memory or homeopathy," she said.

"We collect scientific data, which are all verifiable. To prove the role of water in homeopathy, another million-billion-billion water molecules would have to be affected to even come close, and even then we are not certain.

The new discovery about the behavior of water will be useful in fundamental research, and in other areas too. The interaction between water and ions is omnipresent in biological processes related to enzymes, ion channels and protein folding. Every new piece of knowledge gives greater insight into how life works.

 

 

Quantum effects affect the best superconductor

 
‎Monday, ‎April ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎5:53:55 AMGo to full article
Bizkaia, Spain (SPX) Apr 14, 2016 - The theoretical results of a piece of international research published in Nature, whose first author is Ion Errea, a researcher at the UPV/EHU and DIPC, suggest that the quantum nature of hydrogen (in other words, the possibility of it behaving like a particle or a wave) considerably affects the structural properties of hydrogen-rich compounds (potential room-temperature superconducting substances).

This is in fact the case of the superconductor hydrogen sulphide: a stinking compound that smells of rotten eggs, which when subjected to pressures a million times higher than atmospheric pressure, behaves like a superconductor at the highest temperature ever identified. This new advance in understanding the physics of high-temperature superconductivity could help to drive forward progress in the search for room-temperature superconductors, which could be used in levitating trains or next-generation supercomputers, for example.

Superconductors are materials that carry electrical current with zero electrical resistance. Conventional or low-temperature ones behave that way only when the substance is cooled down to temperatures close to absolute zero (-273C o 0 degrees Kelvin). Last year, however, German researchers identified the high-temperature superconducting properties of hydrogen sulphide which makes it the superconductor at the highest temperature ever discovered: -70C or 203 K.

The structure of the chemical bonds between atoms changes
In classical or Newtonian physics it is possible to measure the position and momentum of a moving object to determine where it is going and how long it will take to reach its destination. These two properties are inherently linked. However, in the strange world of quantum physics, it is impossible, according to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, for specific pairs of observable complementary physical magnitudes of a particle to be known at the same time.

Hydrogen is the lightest element in the periodic table, so it is an atom that is very strongly affected by quantum behaviour. Its quantum nature affects the structural and physical properties of various hydrogen compounds. An example is high-pressure ice where quantum fluctuations of the proton lead to a change in the way the molecules are held together, due to the fact that the chemical bonds between atoms end up being symmetrical. The researchers in this study believe that a similar quantum hydrogen-bond symmetrisation occurs in the hydrogen sulphide superconductor.

The researchers have formulated the calculations by considering the hydrogen atoms as quantum particles behaving like waves, and they have concluded that they form symmetrical bonds at a pressure similar to that used experimentally by the German researchers.

So they have succeeded in explaining the phenomenon of superconductivity at record-breaking temperatures because in previous calculations hydrogen atoms were treated as classical particles, which made impossible to explain the experiment. All this highlights the fact that quantum physics and symmetrical hydrogen bonds lie behind high-temperature conductivity in hydrogen sulphide.

The researchers are delighted that the good results obtained in this research show that quantitative predictions and computation can be used with complete confidence to speed up the discovery of high-temperature superconductors. According to the calculations made, the quantum symmetrisation of the hydrogen bonds has a great impact on the vibrational and superconducting properties of hydrogen sulphide.

"In order to theoretically reproduce the observed pressure dependence of the superconducting critical temperature, the quantum symmetrisation needs to be taken into account," explained Ion Errea, the lead researcher in the study.

This theoretical study shows that in hydrogen-rich compounds, the quantum motion of hydrogen can strongly affect the structural properties (even modifying the chemical bonding), as well as the electron-phonon interaction that drives the superconducting transition.

In the view of the researchers, theory and computation have played a key role in the search for superconducting hydrides subjected to extreme compression. And they also pointed out that in the future an attempt will be made to increase the temperature until room-temperature superconductivity is achieved while dramatically reducing the pressures required.

Errea, M. Calandra, C. J. Pickard, J. R. Nelson, R. J. Needs, Y. Li, H. Liu, Y. Zhang, Y. Ma, y F. Mauri. "Quantum hydrogen-bond symmetrization in the superconducting hydrogen sulfide system". Nature (2016). DOI: 10.1038/nature17175.

 

 

ORNL neutron 'splashes' reveal signature of exotic particles

 
‎Thursday, ‎April ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:06:00 AMGo to full article
Oak Ridge TN (SPX) Apr 14, 2016 - Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutrons to uncover novel behavior in materials that holds promise for quantum computing. The findings, published in Nature Materials, provide evidence for long-sought phenomena in a two-dimensional magnet.

In 2006, the physicist Alexei Kitaev developed a theoretical model of microscopic magnets ("spins") that interact in a fashion that leads to a disordered state called a quantum spin liquid. This "Kitaev quantum spin liquid" supports magnetic excitations equivalent to Majorana fermions - particles that are unusual in that they are their own antiparticles.

The presence of Majorana fermions is of great interest because of their potential use as the basis for a qubit, the essential building block of quantum computers.

Familiar magnetic materials exhibit magnetic excitations called "spin-waves" that occur in quantized lumps, but in the Kitaev quantum spin liquid, the lumps are split and the Majorana excitations are therefore termed "fractionalized."

Scientists have theorized that Kitaev interactions exist in nature in certain materials containing magnetic ions that exhibit strong coupling between the electron spin and orbital angular momentum. Arnab Banerjee, the study's lead author and a post-doctoral researcher at ORNL, explained that one way to observe spin liquid physics in such a material is to "splash" or excite the liquid using neutron scattering.

Banerjee and colleagues from ORNL and the University of Tennessee, working with collaborators from the Max Planck Institute in Dresden, Germany and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, used the "splash" technique to investigate a two-dimensional graphene-like material, alpha-ruthenium trichloride. Neutrons shining onto and scattering from the material can deposit small amounts of energy that create magnetic excitations.

The form of magnetic excitations created in alpha-ruthenium trichloride?was found to be different from spin waves seen in ordinary magnets, but was very well-matched to the spectrum predicted for the Majorana fermions expected in the Kitaev quantum spin liquid.

"The concept of Majorana fermion originated in fundamental high energy particle physics, but we saw their signatures in a solid state material at modest temperatures," Banerjee said. "Neutron scattering not only provided the 'splash' we needed to see them, but also directly measured the resulting magnetic excitations.

The Spallation Neutron Source's SEQUOIA instrument is best suited for this research because the range of energy and momentum one can access with the instrument perfectly matches the regime where Majorana fermions show up."

"The observation of these fractionalized excitations is truly remarkable," said Steve Nagler, director of the Quantum Condensed Matter Division at ORNL and co-corresponding author of the paper. "There has been a huge push recently to see if Kitaev quantum spin liquid physics can be found in materials. Time will tell whether this represents a first step on the road to a new qubit technology."

The experiment required extremely pure samples that were prepared by Banerjee and Craig Bridges of ORNL. The interpretation of the experiments was helped by theoretical predictions of team members Roderich Moessner of the Max Planck Institute, and Johannes Knolle of Cambridge and their colleagues.

"This study proved that the proper honeycomb lattice materials can have the exotic excitations long sought by the scientific community, potentially bringing us closer to realizing Kitaev's vision of topologically protected quantum information," said Alan Tennant, chief scientist for Neutron Sciences at ORNL and a co-author on the paper.

The research team also included Jiaqiang Yan, Adam Aczel, Matthew Stone, Garrett Granroth, and Mark Lumsden from ORNL, David Mandrus, a joint faculty of University of Tennessee and ORNL, Ling Li and Yuen Yiu from the University of Tennessee, Dmitry Kovrizhin from Cambridge, and Subhro Bhattacharjee from the Max Planck Institute. The paper is published as "Proximate Kitaev quantum spin liquid behaviour in a honeycomb magnet."

 

 

Exotic quantum effects can govern the chemistry around us

 
‎Thursday, ‎April ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:06:00 AMGo to full article
Warsaw, Poland (SPX) Apr 14, 2016 - Objects of the quantum world are of a concealed and cold-blooded nature: they usually behave in a quantum manner only when they are significantly cooled and isolated from the environment. Experiments carried out by chemists and physicists from Warsaw have destroyed this simple picture. It turns out that not only does one of the most interesting quantum effects occur at room temperature and higher, but it plays a dominant role in the course of chemical reactions in solutions!

We generally derive our experimental knowledge of quantum phenomena from experiments carried out using sophisticated equipment under exotic conditions: at extremely low temperatures and in a vacuum, isolating quantum objects from the disturbing influence of the environment.

Scientists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw, led by Prof. Jacek Waluk and Prof. Czeslaw Radzewicz's group from the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw (FUW), have just shown that one of the most spectacular quantum phenomena - that of tunneling - takes place even at temperatures above the boiling point of water.

However, what is particularly surprising is the fact that the observed effect applies to hydrogen nuclei, which tunnel in particles floating in solution. The results of measurements leave no doubt: in the studied system, in conditions typical for our environment, tunneling turns out to be the main factor responsible for the chemical reaction!

"For some time chemists have been getting used to the idea that electrons in molecules can tunnel. We have shown that in the molecule it is also possible for protons, that is, nuclei of hydrogen atoms, to tunnel. So we have proof that a basic chemical reaction can occur as a result of tunneling, and in addition in solution and at room temperature or higher," explains Prof. Waluk.

In their experiments, the Warsaw researchers studied single molecules of porphycene (C20H14N4), an isomer of porphyrin. Compounds belonging to this group occur naturally, for example in human blood, where they are involved in the transport of oxygen.

Their molecules are in the form of planar carbon rings with hydrogen atoms outside and four nitrogen atoms inside, arranged at the corners of a tetragon. In the space surrounded by nitrogen atoms there are two protons. These protons are able to move between the nitrogen atoms. The open question was whether they do so by moving classically, or by tunneling.

Tunneling is a consequence of the probabilistic nature of quantum objects. In the classical world known to us from everyday life, an object will always with total probability be in one place, and therefore with zero probability in all others.

Not so in the quantum world. When nothing disturbs the state of an elementary particle, atom or small group of them, the probability of the existence of a quantum object dissolves in space. This phenomenon leads to spectacular effects.

When a man wants to surmount a wall, he has to climb it, that is, he has to strenuously increase his gravitational energy until it becomes greater than the potential barrier set by the wall. Meanwhile, the indeterminacy of the quantum object means that it can be found on the other side of the barrier, without increasing its energy - simply 'passing through'.

The effect occurs much faster than ordinary transfer in space and with a probability that is greater the smaller the distance over which the object tunnels. By studying the times of the proton's jumps, it can be determined if they have moved classically or if they have tunneled.

"Reality is less clear-cut. The higher our proton climbs the energy ladder of porphycene, the smaller the width of the barrier to overcome. Tunneling then becomes increasingly likely. So everything indicates that before the proton has time to climb to an energy level allowing it to classically overcome the potential barrier, it has usually tunneled anyway," explains Prof. Waluk.

Climbing the potential barrier is not simple. When we supply the protons in porphycene with energy, we also induce various vibrations in the molecule itself. It turns out that among 108 possible modes of vibration in a molecule of porphycene, some increase the probability of tunneling and others decrease it.

The Warsaw-based researchers, funded by grants from the Polish National Science Centre, determined the rate constants of chemical reactions involving porphycene in the temperature range from 20 to 400 Kelvin, for proton jumps occurring in the lowest energy state of the molecule, and in one of the excited vibrational states, promoting tunneling.

The times of proton jumps between the nitrogen atoms were thus obtained. Experiments conducted on sets of cold, isolated particles suggested times of a few picoseconds (a millionth of one millionth of a second) - and just such times were observed in experiments in Warsaw, led by Dr. Piotr Fita and PhD student Piotr Ciacka from the FUW. Measurements show that not only does tunneling occur in porphycene, but it is responsible - even at room temperature! - for at least 80% of the proton jumps in the centres of the molecules.

The dominant role of tunneling in the course of a chemical reaction and its dependence on the type of vibration of the molecule is the way to incredibly precise control of the course of chemical reactions. This sort of chemistry, known as mode-selective chemistry, has been demonstrated earlier, but at a very low temperature.

The discovery of the researchers from the IPC PAS and the FUW raises hopes that in the future it will be possible to accurately control reactions taking place also under conditions typical for our environment.

Chemical molecules floating in solution, previously excited in a manner that enhances their reactivity, could be introduced into a state of oscillation that significantly reduces their reactivity (or vice versa). A specific reaction, perhaps one of many taking place in the solution, could then be switched on and off on demand, by small changes in the amount of energy supplied to the molecules of a selected compound.

"The tunneling of protons in molecules of porphycene in solution is spectacular proof that even at room temperature and in a dense environment a purely quantum effect can rule the course of a chemical reaction.

"But this is not the end of the surprises. We have a reasonable suspicion that one more exotic quantum phenomenon is involved in the movements of the two protons in porphycene, always jumping together. The world of chemistry around us would then be even more interesting. Whether this will happen - we will learn from further experiments," says Prof. Waluk.

 

 

Mysterious alignment of black holes discovered

 
‎Thursday, ‎April ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:06:00 AMGo to full article
London, UK (SPX) Apr 13, 2016 - Deep radio imaging by researchers in the University of Cape Town and University of the Western Cape, in South Africa, has revealed that supermassive black holes in a region of the distant universe are all spinning out radio jets in the same direction - most likely a result of primordial mass fluctuations in the early universe. The astronomers publish their results in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The new result is the discovery - for the first time - of an alignment of the jets of galaxies over a large volume of space, a finding made possible by a three-year deep radio imaging survey of the radio waves coming from a region called ELAIS-N1 using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT).

The jets are produced by the supermassive black holes at the centers of these galaxies, and the only way for this alignment to exist is if supermassive black holes are all spinning in the same direction, says Prof. Andrew Russ Taylor, joint UWC/UCT SKA Chair, Director of the recently-launched Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy, and principal author of the MNRAS study.

"Since these black holes don't know about each other, or have any way of exchanging information or influencing each other directly over such vast scales, this spin alignment must have occurred during the formation of the galaxies in the early universe," he notes.

This implies that there is a coherent spin in the structure of this volume of space that was formed from the primordial mass fluctuations that seeded the creation of the large-scale structure of the universe.

With study co-author - and UCT PhD student currently working at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, New Mexico, USA - Preshanth Jagannathan, the team discovered the alignment after the initial image had been made. Within the large-scale structure, there were regions where the spin axes of galaxies lined up.

The finding wasn't planned for: the initial investigation was to explore the faintest radio sources in the universe, using the best available telescopes - a first view into the kind of universe that will be revealed by the South African MeerKAT radio telescope and the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the world's most powerful radio telescope and one of the biggest scientific instruments ever devised.

Earlier observational studies had previously detected deviations from uniformity (so-called isotropy) in the orientations of galaxies. But these sensitive radio images offer a first opportunity to use jets to reveal alignments of galaxies on physical scales of up to 100 Mpc.

And measurements from the total intensity radio emission of galaxy jets have the advantage of not being affected by effects such as scattering, extinction and Faraday rotation, which may be an issue for other studies.

The presence of alignments and certain preferred orientations can shed light on the orientation and evolution of the galaxies, in relation to large-scale structures, and the motions in the primordial matter fluctuations that gave rise to the structure of the universe.

So what could these large-scale environmental influences during galaxy formation or evolution have been? There are several options: cosmic magnetic fields; fields associated with exotic particles (axions); and cosmic strings are only some of the possible candidates that could create an alignment in galaxies even on scales larger than galaxy clusters.

The authors go on to note it would be interesting to compare this with predictions of angular momentum structure from universe simulations.

UWC Prof. Romeel Dave, SARChI Chair in Cosmology with Multi-Wavelength Data, who leads a team developing plans for universe simulations that could explore the growth of large-scale structure from a theoretical perspective, agrees: "This is not obviously expected based on our current understanding of cosmology. It's a bizarre finding."

It's a mystery, and it's going to take a while for technology and theory alike to catch up.

Such projects are already in the planning stages; the SKA for example, and its precursor telescopes, the South African MeerKAT array and the Australian SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP).

"GMRT is one of the largest and most sensitive radio telescope arrays in the world," notes Prof. Taylor, "but we really need MeerKAT to make the very sensitive maps, over a very large area and with great detail, that will be necessary to differentiate between possible explanations. It opens up a whole new research area for these instruments, which will probe as deeply into the and as far back as we can go - it's going to be an exciting time to be an astronomer."

A large-scale spin distribution has never been predicted by theories - and an unknown phenomenon like this presents a challenge that theories about the origins of the universe need to account for, and an opportunity to find out more about the way the cosmos works.

"We're beginning to understand how the large-scale structure of the universe came about, starting from the Big Bang and growing as a result of disturbances in the early universe, to what we have today," says Prof. Taylor, "and that helps us explore what the universe of tomorrow will be like."

"Alignments of Radio Galaxies in Deep Radio Imaging of ELAIS N1," A. R. Taylor and P. Jagannathan, 2016, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Oxford University Press

 

 

Behemoth black hole found in an unlikely place

 
‎Thursday, ‎April ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:06:00 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Apr 11, 2016 - Astronomers have uncovered a near-record breaking supermassive black hole, weighing 17 billion suns, in an unlikely place: in the center of a galaxy in a sparsely populated area of the universe. The observations, made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the Gemini Telescope in Hawaii, may indicate that these monster objects may be more common than once thought.

Until now, the biggest supermassive black holes - those roughly 10 billion times the mass of our sun - have been found at the cores of very large galaxies in regions of the universe packed with other large galaxies. In fact, the current record holder tips the scale at 21 billion suns and resides in the crowded Coma galaxy cluster that consists of over 1,000 galaxies.

"The newly discovered supersized black hole resides in the center of a massive elliptical galaxy, NGC 1600, located in a cosmic backwater, a small grouping of 20 or so galaxies," said lead discoverer Chung-Pei Ma, a University of California-Berkeley astronomer and head of the MASSIVE Survey, a study of the most massive galaxies and supermassive black holes in the local universe.

While finding a gigantic black hole in a massive galaxy in a crowded area of the universe is to be expected - like running across a skyscraper in Manhattan - it seemed less likely they could be found in the universe's small towns.

"There are quite a few galaxies the size of NGC 1600 that reside in average-size galaxy groups," Ma said. "We estimate that these smaller groups are about 50 times more abundant than spectacular galaxy clusters like the Coma cluster. So the question now is, 'Is this the tip of an iceberg?' Maybe there are more monster black holes out there that don't live in a skyscraper in Manhattan, but in a tall building somewhere in the Midwestern plains."

The researchers also were surprised to discover that the black hole is 10 times more massive than they had predicted for a galaxy of this mass. Based on previous Hubble surveys of black holes, astronomers had developed a correlation between a black hole's mass and the mass of its host galaxy's central bulge of stars - the larger the galaxy bulge, the proportionally more massive the black hole.

But for galaxy NGC 1600, the giant black hole's mass far overshadows the mass of its relatively sparse bulge. "It appears that that relation does not work very well with extremely massive black holes; they are a larger fraction of the host galaxy's mass," Ma said.

Ma and her colleagues are reporting the discovery of the black hole, which is located about 200 million light years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Eridanus, in the April 6 issue of the journal Nature. Jens Thomas of the Max Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany is the paper's lead author.

One idea to explain the black hole's monster size is that it merged with another black hole long ago when galaxy interactions were more frequent. When two galaxies merge, their central black holes settle into the core of the new galaxy and orbit each other. Stars falling near the binary black hole, depending on their speed and trajectory, can actually rob momentum from the whirling pair and pick up enough velocity to escape from the galaxy's core.

This gravitational interaction causes the black holes to slowly move closer together, eventually merging to form an even larger black hole. The supermassive black hole then continues to grow by gobbling up gas funneled to the core by galaxy collisions. "To become this massive, the black hole would have had a very voracious phase during which it devoured lots of gas," Ma said.

The frequent meals consumed by NGC 1600 may also be the reason why the galaxy resides in a small town, with few galactic neighbors. NGC 1600 is the most dominant galaxy in its galactic group, at least three times brighter than its neighbors. "Other groups like this rarely have such a large luminosity gap between the brightest and the second brightest galaxies," Ma said.

Most of the galaxy's gas was consumed long ago when the black hole blazed as a brilliant quasar from material streaming into it that was heated into a glowing plasma. "Now, the black hole is a sleeping giant," Ma said. "The only way we found it was by measuring the velocities of stars near it, which are strongly influenced by the gravity of the black hole. The velocity measurements give us an estimate of the black hole's mass."

The velocity measurements were made by the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph (GMOS) on the Gemini North 8-meter telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. GMOS spectroscopically dissected the light from the galaxy's center, revealing stars within 3,000 light-years of the core. Some of these stars are circling around the black hole and avoiding close encounters. However, stars moving on a straighter path away from the core suggest that they had ventured closer to the center and had been slung away, most likely by the twin black holes.

Archival Hubble images, taken by the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), supports the idea of twin black holes pushing stars away. The NICMOS images revealed that the galaxy's core was unusually faint, indicating a lack of stars close to the galactic center.

A star-depleted core distinguishes massive galaxies from standard elliptical galaxies, which are much brighter in their centers. Ma and her colleagues estimated that the amount of stars tossed out of the central region equals 40 billion suns, comparable to ejecting the entire disk of our Milky Way galaxy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond Perception - DVD

by Chuck Missler  

 

 

DVD

PRICE R 159.00

 

Media Type: DVD
Published 20-Sep-2010
Published by Koinonia House
KHID#: DVD84
Why do scientists now believe we live in a 10-dimensional universe?

Has physics finally reached the very boundaries of reality?

There seems to be evidence to suggest that our world and everything in it are only ghostly images; projections from a level of reality so beyond our own that the real reality is literally beyond both space and time. The main architect of this astonishing idea is one of the world's most eminent thinkers- physicist David Bohm, a protege of Einstein's. Earlier, he noticed that, in plasmas, particles stopped behaving like individuals and started behaving as if they were part of a larger and inter connected whole. He continued his work in the behavior of oceans of these particles, noting their behaving as if they know what each on the untold trillions of individual particles were doing.

This briefing pack DVD comes with:
-two mp3 audio files
-one notes file in pdf format

This DVD includes notes in PDF format and MP3 files.

Encoding: This DVD will be viewable in other countries WITH the proper DVD player and television set.
Format: Color, Fullscreen
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Audio Encoding: Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Run Time: 2 hour(s)
Number of discs: 1


 
The Beyond Collection 

 

 

      

 

 

 

Price R399.00

 The Collection Includes the 4 DVD'S below

 

 

 

DVD - R159.00

 

 

DVD - R159.00

 

 

DVD - R159.00

 

 

DVD - R159.00

 

If you purchase the 4 discs individually the price will be R636.00

 

 YOU SAVE R 237.00!

Genetics Research Confirms Biblical Timeline

Exciting research from the summer of 2012 described DNA variation in the protein coding regions of the human genome linked to population growth. One of the investigation's conclusions was that the human genome began to rapidly diversify not more than 5,000 years ago.1,2 This observation closely agrees with a biblical timeline of post-flood human diversification. Yet another study, this one published in the journal Nature, accessed even more extensive data and unintentionally confirmed the recent human history described in Genesis.3

Differences in human DNA can be characterized across populations and ethnic groups using a variety of techniques. One of the most informative genetic technologies in this regard is the analysis of rare DNA variation in the protein coding regions of the genome. Variability in these regions is less frequent than the more numerous genetic differences that occur in the non-coding regulatory regions. Researchers can statistically combine this information with demographic data derived from population growth across the world to generate time scales related to human genetic diversification.4

What makes this type of research unique is that evolutionary scientists typically incorporate hypothetical deep time scales taken from the authority of paleontologists or other similar deep-time scenarios to calibrate models of genetic change over time. Demographics-based studies using observed world population dynamics do not rely on this bias and are therefore more accurate and realistic.

In a 2012 Science report, geneticists analyzed DNA sequences of 15,585 protein-coding gene regions in the human genome for 1,351 European Americans and 1,088 African Americans for rare DNA variation.1,2 This new study accessed rare coding variation in 15,336 genes from over 6,500 humans—almost three times the amount of data compared to the first study.3 A separate group of researchers performed the new study.

The Nature results convey a second spectacular confirmation of the amazingly biblical conclusions from the first study. These scientists confirmed that the human genome began to rapidly diversify not more than 5,000 years ago. In addition, they found significant levels of  variation to be associated with degradation of the human genome, not forward evolutionary progress. This fits closely with research performed by Cornell University geneticist John Sanford who demonstrated through biologically realistic population genetic modeling that genomes actually devolve over time in a process called genetic entropy.5

According to the Bible, the pre-flood world population was reduced to Noah's three sons and their wives, creating a genetic bottleneck from which all humans descended. Immediately following the global flood event, we would expect to see a rapid diversification continuing up to the present. According to Scripture, this began not more than 5,000 years ago. We would also expect the human genome to devolve or degrade as it accumulates irreversible genetic errors over time. Now, two secular research papers confirm these biblical predictions.

References

  1. Tomkins, J. 2012. Human DNA Variation Linked to Biblical Event Timeline. Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org July 23, 2012, accessed December 31, 2012.
  2. Tennessen, J. et al. 2012. Evolution and Functional Impact of Rare Coding Variation from Deep Sequencing of Human Exomes. Science. 337 (6090): 64-69.
  3. Fu, W, et al. Analysis of 6,515 exomes reveals the recent origin of most human protein-coding variants. Nature. Published online before print, July 13, 2012.
  4. Keinan, A and A. Clark. 2012. Recent Explosive Human Population Growth Has Resulted in an Excess of Rare Genetic Variants. Science. 336 (6082): 740-743.
  5. Sanford, J. C. 2008. Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome, 3rd ed. Waterloo, NY: FMS Publications.

* Dr. Tomkins is a Research Associate and received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Clemson University.

 

 

Junk DNA…Trashed Again

 
‎Thursday, ‎May ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Repetitious "words" in DNA represent more than half of the human genome's three billion nucleotides. Because human reasoning essentially views the repetition of words in spoken languages as errors, these DNA sequences were first written off as meaningless junk. Now it appears nothing could be further from the truth since these repetitive words are linked with pervasive biochemical function.

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ICR Discovery Center: Impacting Hearts and Minds

 
‎Monday, ‎May ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Science Writer Brian Thomas tells how creation evidence changed his beliefs about God and Scripture—and ultimately the course of his life! ICR’s discovery center has the potential to reach so many more with this same life-changing message.

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Titanic Remake More like Noah's Ark

 
‎Thursday, ‎May ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The Titanic's sinking on April 14, 1912 was the most famous seafaring disaster in modern times. But the survival of Noah's Ark in the Flood was the most famous seafaring success in ancient times. Did design specifications help make the difference? If so, that might help explain why the dimensions for Titanic II—a planned full-size replica luxury liner—will differ from the first Titanic.

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New DNA Study Confirms Noah

 
‎Monday, ‎May ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Evolutionary teachings hold that all mankind arose from a population of ape-like ancestors. But Genesis, the rest of the Bible, and Jesus teach that mankind arose from Noah's three sons and their wives. A new analysis of human mitochondrial DNA exposes two new evidences that validate the biblical beginnings of mankind.

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ICR Discovery Center: Encouraging Believers

 
‎Thursday, ‎May ‎12, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

With engaging exhibits and a 3-D planetarium, ICR’s discovery center will show how scientific evidence confirms the Bible.  We want this project to encourage Christian believers that God’s Word can be trusted and  to equip them to defend their Christian faith.

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Organic Residue Is 247 Million Years Old?

 
‎Monday, ‎May ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Those who have difficulty accepting reports of collagen (a type of protein) preserved in supposedly 80-million-year-old dinosaur bones will scratch their heads with new vigor over a recent report. Supposedly 247-million-year-old fossils from Poland show signs of excellent preservation and even hold blood vessels.

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Wall-Climbing Cave Fish: Evolutionary Intermediate?

 
‎Thursday, ‎May ‎5, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists recently discovered another bizarre fish. This one has a pelvic girdle. Is it the missing link evolutionists have been searching for?

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ICR Discovery Center: Confirming Genesis

 
‎Monday, ‎May ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Genesis lays the foundation for every other book of the Bible, and it’s continually under attack. ICR’s discovery center will feature evidence demonstrating that all of the Bible—from beginning to end—can be trusted as God’s inspired Word.

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Big Bang Continues to Self-Destruct

 
‎Yesterday, ‎April ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In modern cosmology, one of the most important numbers is the current value of the so-called "Hubble parameter." This number indicates the apparent expansion rate of the universe. A new study indicates that two different methods of estimating this number yield contradictory results.

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Iron-mining Fungus Displays Surprising Design

 
‎Yesterday, ‎April ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

What happens when a soil fungus runs into a hard mineral containing precious trace amounts of nutritious iron? A poorly designed fungus might go hungry and languish like a forlorn noodle, but researchers recently found ways that a soil fungus conducts a miniature mining operation.

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Monkey Business in the New Gorilla Genome

 
‎Monday, ‎April ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Old evolutionary assumptions seem hard to break. The recent assembling of ape DNA sequences based on the human genome provides a good example. This new gorilla genome study, despite capitalizing on advanced DNA sequencing technology, suffers from the same old malady.

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ICR Discovery Center: Trusting God's Word

 
‎Thursday, ‎April ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Why is ICR building the new discovery center? Because the next generation needs to know that God’s Word can be trusted on all matters—including science.

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Amber-Encased Lizards Showcase Recent Creation

 
‎Monday, ‎April ‎11, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Publishing online in Science Advances, a team of zoologists recognized familiar lizard forms in a dozen amber-encased lizard specimens. What did these lizards look like when they crawled around dinosaur feet? These Burmese ambers clearly show the answer.

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ICR Discovery Center: Explaining the Scientific Method

 
‎Thursday, ‎April ‎7, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Drs. Jason Lisle and Jake Hebert talk about the scientific method in light of Scripture, evolutionary claims, and ICR’s biggest project yet.

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Viral Genome Junk Hits the Trash

 
‎Monday, ‎April ‎4, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Evolutionists have long claimed that human chromosomes were infected with many different viruses over millions of years, which then multiplied in the genome. Then, as some of these sections of virus-like DNA were shown to be functional, evolutionists claimed they had become "tamed" like the domestication of wild animals. When virus-like DNA were first discovered, it was thought the majority of them would prove to be junk—until now.

 


 

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Tyrannosaur Ancestral Tree Remains Limbless

 
‎Monday, ‎March ‎28, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Since Darwin's time, the lack of fossil evidence for vertical evolution has always been a problem for secular scientists. Now a recent paper published online in Scientific Reports attempts to map the ancestry of tyrannosaurs. Does it point us in the right direction?

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ICR Discovery Center: Telling the Truth

 
‎Thursday, ‎March ‎24, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Why does ICR need to build this discovery center? Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle describes what this ground-breaking project will accomplish and why it matters.

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Evolutionary Tyranny Still Casts Cloud Over Science

 
‎Monday, ‎March ‎21, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A recent scientific paper published in the high-profile journal PLOS ONE made three separate references to the amazing design of the human hand…and rightly attributed them to the Creator. Evolutionists cried foul and raised such an uproar that the journal retracted the paper. Why?

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ICR Discovery Center: Revealing Creation Evidence

 
‎Yesterday, ‎March ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

What kind of creation evidence can ICR reveal in the new museum? Science Writer Brian Thomas shares a few fascinating facts that refute evolution and confirm the authenticity of the Genesis account.

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Tooth Study Takes Bite Out of Evolution

 
‎Monday, ‎March ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Secular scientists have told incredible stories for over a century about how fossil teeth supposedly support the idea that humans evolved from primates. A lack of knowledge about tooth development has provided fertile ground for wild speculations about evolving tooth sizes, skull shapes, foot shapes, and even life habits. A new report changes all that conjecture.

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ICR Discovery Center: Equipping Believers

 
‎Thursday, ‎March ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

“Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Physicist Dr. Jake Hebert tells how ICR’s museum can equip you to defend your Christian faith.

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China Spends Millions Searching for Aliens

 
‎07 ‎March ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

China is spending almost 200 million dollars on an enormous radio antenna to listen for signs of alien intelligence. In the western hemisphere, millions of dollars were invested in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) project but have turned up no evidence. The ever-growing number of barren and gaseous exoplanets discovered continues to elevate Earth's uniqueness. Apparently, China would love to be the first nation to make "first contact."

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ICR Museum: Impacting Lives for the Gospel

 
‎03 ‎March ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Two-thirds of the children raised in conservative Christian families leave the church in disbelief by the time they get to college. Find out how ICR’s museum project can influence our culture, point people to God’s Word, and encourage them to respond with faith in Him.

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ICR Museum: It's Okay to Ask Dinosaur Questions

 
‎26 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Brian Thomas shares how the ICR Museum of Science and Earth History can impact the faith of countless people by giving solid answers to their creation questions.

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Were Sauropods Wading in China?

 
‎25 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

It's tough to beat a genuine dinosaur trackway for a fascinating glimpse of ancient life. Among the frozen tracks of giant, four-footed sauropod dinosaurs like Apatosaurus now frozen in stone, most preserve both hind feet and "hands"—or in tech speak, the "pes" and "manus." But newly exposed tracks from Gansu Province in northern China have experts scrabbling to explain why they only preserve sauropod hind feet.

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Octopus Genome as Large as Human Genome

 
‎22 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The amazing octopus continues to astonish scientists. "Octopuses are highly intelligent creatures," says Claire Little, a marine biologist at the Weymouth Sealife Center in southwest England. "They are classed as intelligent as the general home pet dog." Scientists recently sequenced the octopus' genome and found it's nearly the size of the human genome.

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Delicate Silk Fossils Point to Creation

 
‎19 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Numerous amazing fossils supposedly millions of years old contain original, non-mineralized biomolecules like collagen, elastin, ovalbumin, DNA, laminin, melanin, hemoglobin, and chitin. A new study presents evidence suggesting this list should now include silk.

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Mother's Milk Could Save a Million Lives

 
‎17 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Who wouldn't want to encourage a simple practice that can save almost a million lives and over 300 billion dollars per year in health costs? According to an article in medical journal The Lancet, breastfeeding provides so many dramatic advantages over other options that health experts are calling for its widespread practice.

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Honor To Whom Honor

 
‎15 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

On President’s Day each year, our nation remembers and honors our presidents, especially such great leaders of the past as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who played critical roles in the history of our nation. Whether these men were born-again Christians or not is still a matter of controversy, and the same is true of our current leaders.

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Beetles and Bears Inspire Technologies

 
‎12 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Namib desert beetles collect faint water droplets on their exquisitely designed outer surfaces so they can survive in their dry environments. And polar bears keep a tight grip on smooth ice using precisely designed footpads. Engineers have copied these exquisite designs to make useful tools.

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ICR Museum: Showcasing a Recent Creation

 
‎10 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Physicist Dr. Jake Hebert recounts some of the best evidence for recent creation found within his field and explains how ICR’s new museum will be able to showcase it in powerful and engaging ways.

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Living Fossils Found off Australia's Coast

 
‎08 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The Deep Down Under project explores "relict faunas," living creatures with eerily similar counterparts among some of the world's oldest fossils. Deep-sea researchers used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to look for life around Osprey Reef off Queensland's coast. They found some surprises including animals known only from faraway places and long-gone times.

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ICR Planetarium: Travel Through Space

 
‎05 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle explains how ICR’s future planetarium will outshine the simple night-sky domes of the past. This 3-D, digital, fully immersive environment will not only transport viewers to endless locations within our vast universe but will also show them the compelling scientific evidence that confirms biblical creation.

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Your Brain Has More Memory Than the Internet

 
‎04 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Whoever said the human brain is the most highly organized collection of matter in the universe was more correct than they could have known. New research modeled tiny structures within nerve cells and discovered a clever tactic brains use to increase computing power while maximizing energy efficiency. Its design could form the basis of a whole new and improved class of computer.

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Epigenetic Code More Complicated Than Previously Thought

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In complete contradiction to evolutionary predictions, the language systems in the genome continue to reveal nothing but unimaginable complexity. As a news story on a recent discovery explains, "The world of epigenetics…has just got bigger with the discovery by a team of scientists from the University of Cambridge of a new type of epigenetic modification."

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Rapid Erosion Supports Creation Model

 
‎25 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Recently in Dorset, England, bad weather washed a massive section of a cliff into the sea revealing scores of ammonite fossils. Creation scientists are interested in this event because substantial erosion was accomplished in literally seconds. It didn't take hundreds of thousands to millions of years of slow and gradual erosion. One headline recently stated, "Climate can grind mountains faster than they can be rebuilt."

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Genetic Gap Widens Between Humans and Chimps

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Increasingly, orphan genes defy evolution and support the Genesis account of creation. These genes are unique sets of coding sequences specific to particular creatures. This is a big problem for evolutionary ideas to explain. In a recent research report, scientists describe a new set of 1,307 orphan genes that are completely different between humans and chimpanzees.

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Population Study Standoff

 
‎18 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In 1975, ICR's founder and hydrological engineer Dr. Henry Morris made some interesting human population calculations. He demonstrated the feasibility of obtaining today's world population in only about 6,000 years. A new study presents a very different version of human history—one in which the population grew very slowly for 200,000 years. Does the science in this new report debunk Dr. Morris' 40-year-old biblical argument?

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NORAD Gene Could Aid Cancer Research

 
‎14 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center discovered a gene called NORAD that, unlike protein-coding genes, makes a long functional RNA that works directly in the cell's nucleus. NORAD helps preserve the correct number of chromosomes in cells (e.g. 46 for humans). Conversely, the cellular chromosome number becomes unbalanced when the NORAD gene goes awry, a common trait in cancerous cells. Could the NORAD gene aid cancer research?

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Smart and Stealthy Cuttlefish

 
‎11 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Many zoologists consider cuttlefish to be the most intelligent invertebrate species, which is quite a problem from an evolutionary perspective. Evolutionists view intelligence evolving through social interactions and long lifespans. But cuttlefish are cephalopods. They don't have a complex social structure and live only about a year—the lifespan of a butterfly. How did cuttlefish become so bright?

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Top 2015 News: Human Origins

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Did mankind come from Adam? Did nations arise from families dispersed from Babel, found in modern-day Iraq? According to the most popular versions of human evolution, mankind came from an ape-kind. Animals supposedly evolved without supernatural tinkering, and the world's nations emerged from Africa. But discoveries from archaeology, linguistics, and genetics during 2015 confirm the Genesis account.

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Top 2015 News: Amazing Animal Designs

 
‎04 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Every year scientists discover new and amazing animal designs, and 2015 was no exception. Each find brings a new reminder of the same message every generation needs to hear: “The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all its fullness, You have founded them. The north and the south, You have created them.”

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Top 2015 News: Comets, Planets, and Pluto

 
‎28 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

No discussion of the top science news in 2015 would be complete without mentioning the stunning details of Pluto and its sister Charon received from the New Horizons spacecraft. But before exploring those finds, other solar system features deserve reflection since they also confirm the Bible's straightforward account of a recently created universe.

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Signs of Christmas

 
‎24 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

God has given three specific signs with respect to the incarnation of Christ. There were other signs too, no doubt, such as the star of Bethlehem, but three events were specifically called signs.

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2015: Evolution Immobile

 
‎21 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Advocates of vertical evolution think their beliefs are as factual as the earth orbiting the sun. However in 2015, science again shows something quite different. A supposed 150-million-year-old fossilized crab larva, discovered in Germany this year, surprised secular scientists because it "possesses a very modern morphology, indistinguishable from many crab larvae living today."

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Top 2015 News: The Real Jurassic World

 
‎17 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Plenty of 2015 discoveries clashed with the largely fictional portrayal of dinosaurs in this year's blockbuster movie Jurassic World. They even confront basic theories, like that dinosaurs evolved into birds or died off tens of millions of years ago.

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Top 2015 News: Science Confronts Big Bang

 
‎14 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

2015 was not kind to Big Bang cosmology. This popular idea holds that the universe began from a small point that exploded, accelerated, slowed, and continues to expand. But this past year revealed discoveries that counter this theory's basic assumptions.

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Blue Tarantulas Supposedly Evolved Eight Times

 
‎10 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The BBC recently reported a group of tarantulas possessing a beautiful blue color that apparently has an important signaling function. Evolutionary researchers maintain this shade of cobalt evolved at least eight separate times. But what's the evidence?

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A New Planet from Cosmic Dust?

 
‎07 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The discovery of planets around distant stars isn't new. Roughly 2,000 exoplanets are confirmed to exist. But astronomers claim to have direct evidence that a giant planet is in the process of forming. How strong is this claim?

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Do 'Quill Knobs' Show Dino-to-Bird Evolution?

 
‎03 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Newfound "feathered dinosaurs" continue to garner fossil headlines. What's the big deal? Peter Larson, part of a team that described an eight-foot tall supposedly feathered raptor fossil, explained its significance to the Rapid City Journal. The paper wrote, "He said this discovery is so important because this group of dinosaurs is 'very, very closely related to birds.'" Did they find actual feathers? Does this fossil really confirm that dinosaurs evolved into birds?

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Thanksgiving

 
‎26 ‎November ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The themes of praise and thanksgiving are very prominent throughout Scripture. The word "praise" and its derivatives occur over 330 times, and "thanks," with its derivatives, over 150 times.

 


If frequency of occurrence were an indicator, we might conclude that thanksgiving is important and praise-giving is twice as important!

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Pluto's Craterless Plains Look Young

 
‎23 ‎November ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Earlier this year, New Horizons flew past dwarf planet Pluto and its sister Charon, rapidly capturing data. That information continues to trickle in, revealing a surprisingly smooth heart-shaped plain called "Tombaugh Regio." The countless craters expected from billions of years' worth of impacts are nowhere to be found.

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Fossil Shrimp Brains Look Modern

 
‎19 ‎November ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Cambrian rocks are supposed to represent a time about 500 million years ago when ancient muds buried some of the first creatures that evolved on Earth. Today's array of life forms supposedly emerged from those "simpler" beginnings. But intriguing Cambrian discoveries, including newly described arthropod fossils from China, keep clashing with these out-of-touch ideas.

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Unexpected Oxygen on Young-Looking Comet

 
‎16 ‎November ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe travelled all the way to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to collect unprecedented cometary details. The space probe keeps sending unexpected particulars about the comet—particulars with implications far beyond the comet itself.

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2015 Nobel Prize Highlights Cell Repair Mystery

 
‎12 ‎November ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Three scientists were awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for uncovering how human cells repair their own DNA. DNA repair mechanisms keep us alive, and understanding them undergirds a fuller comprehension of how cells work and fend off the disastrous consequences of too many mutations. The research of these three men implies that cells have always used DNA repair mechanisms, thus uncovering evolutionary mysteries that have not yet found sensible solutions.

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Amazing Design Structures in Long-Necked Dinosaurs

 
‎09 ‎November ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The 75th annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology provided glimpses into the latest research on fossils of all kinds, including those long-necked dinosaurs called sauropods. One presentation revealed amazing structures that demonstrated the feasibility and efficiency of design that could hold 30-foot-long necks aloft.

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Amazing Sauropod Neck Design in 'Cervical Ribs'

 
‎05 ‎November ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

When someone says "ribs," people immediately think of those organ-protecting bones that wrap around a thorax. Well, cervical ribs are different, and cervical ribs on extinct long-necked dinosaurs were very different. They ran the whole length of certain sauropods' necks. Each rib attached to a neck vertebra, and each rib stretched across the length of three total vertebrae. Were these cervical ribs an evolutionary happenstance, or did they serve some kind of function as though created on purpose?

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New First Life Estimate Creates More Problems

 
‎02 ‎November ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

How long would inanimate chemicals take to swirl themselves together and form a living cell? This unfair question assumes that such chemicals could ever form themselves into a cell even given an eternity to do so, but recent evidence from tiny crystals in Australian rocks causes researchers to think life evolved much earlier than most scientists would ever have thought possible. However, this new story of early emerging life comes with an array of new challenges.

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Can't See the Forest for the Trees

 
‎28 ‎October ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

At the 75th annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, held this year in downtown Dallas, the world's foremost fossil experts presented scores of research summaries. Amazingly, almost all of these fossil descriptions included phylogenetic (evolutionary) tree diagrams. Today's paleontologists show a religious-like devotion to fit their finds in an evolutionary tree. And with equally amazing regularity they describe problems with this process of constructing evolutionary trees. Are these problems significant enough to cast doubt on the whole exercise?

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Noah’s Ark ‘Discovery’ Likely a Sinking Ship

 
‎26 ‎October ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

“Spirited Debate,” a Fox News program hosted by Lauren Green, recently interviewed Norman Geisler and Philip Williams on the possible discovery of Noah’s Ark. Despite Dr. Geisler’s support, three reasons suggest we should be skeptical toward their claims.

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Homo naledi: Claims of a Transitional Ape

 
‎22 ‎October ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Our first article on Homo naledi addressed questions about the anatomy and geologic setting of these fossils. Our second asked why these scientists chose to not date the fossils. This third and final article explores the question of how the fossils arrived in such a remote part of the cave. This may be the toughest of the three questions to answer.

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Homo naledi: Dating the Strange Ape

 
‎19 ‎October ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In the first of our three articles on this news-grabbing subject, we pointed out some strange circumstances surrounding the geology of the cave systems in which Homo naledi was discovered, as well as critical mismatches in bony body parts. This second article exposes a strange lack of evolutionary dating methods. Why has lead researcher Lee Berger, who is touring the world touting these fossils, not performed even one of several standard dating methods for fossils?

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Homo naledi: Geology of a Claimed Missing Link

 
‎15 ‎October ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Recent claims of a transitional species named Homo naledi have the anthropologic world in an uproar. The new fossil "species" is said to be a human-like ancestor that neatly fills the gap between the Australopithecus and our own genus Homo. This seemingly fits the human evolution story promulgated since the 19th century, but what are these bones really?

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Prosecute Climate-Change Skeptics?

 
‎12 ‎October ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Twenty academics have written a letter to President Obama, urging him to use the RICO law—an instrument originally developed to wield against organized crime—to investigate organizations that are skeptical of the purported dangers of "climate change."

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Liquid Water on Mars?

 
‎08 ‎October ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists have announced indirect evidence of liquid water on the surface of Mars, raising hopes among secular scientists that life may be present on the "red planet." But why do they hope for this—and are such hopes realistic?

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Cancer Medicine in Wasp Toxin?

 
‎06 ‎October ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A short protein, or peptide, in wasp toxin may one day treat human cancer in a whole new way. Researchers isolated a particular peptide from the venom of Brazilian Polybia paulista wasps and studied how it seeks and destroys cancer cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. They uncovered intriguing details that enable this average-looking peptide to become a cell-destroying weapon.

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Discovery: Spine Signals Ears to Maintain Balance

 
‎24 ‎September ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Bodies bounce while jogging or performing any number of other vigorous activities, usually without getting dizzy. However, bodies get dizzy when they are "bounced" from the outside, like while on a boat or airplane. What's the difference? Researchers pinpointed amazing new details behind the mechanism that maintains balance during voluntary motion, but their notion of its origins clearly misses the mark.

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'Living Fossils' Point to Recent Creation

 
‎21 ‎September ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The creation of original, distinct creature kinds confronts the evolutionary teaching that animals can endlessly morph from one form to another. Recent news reports reveal two clear illustrations of sea creatures living and reproducing according to their kind right from the start.

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Protoplanetary Disc Model Falls Flat

 
‎17 ‎September ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

How did our solar system get here? Those who dismiss any possibility of creation imagine ways that pure natural forces might set in motion the sun, each unique planet and their moons. New computer modeling results seem to show promise—but only when they overlook or assume obvious and important factors.

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Pitcher Plants Designed to Attract Bats

 
‎14 ‎September ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Even children learn that plants and animals depend on one another. Plants release oxygen for animals to breathe, and plants make food—mostly sugar—for animals to eat. In turn, animals produce carbon dioxide so plants can grow using sunlight. This ecological interdependence shows enough divine design to inspire any honest thinker to consider a Creator, but a recently discovered interaction between pitcher plants and bats shows even more.

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Homo naledi, a New Human Ancestor?

 
‎10 ‎September ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A BBC News story reported on September 10 the discovery of a “new human-like species” in Africa, stating “researchers claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors.” As always, we at the Institute for Creation Research are extremely skeptical, taking such breaking news stories with a little more than a grain of salt. We have found that with more time and research, the preliminary spectacular claims of alleged “human ancestors” dissolve into a footnote, a non-story.

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Dinosaur Footprints in Dallas

 
‎10 ‎September ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Spring rains flooded the Dallas area this year, including Lake Grapevine which is about 10 miles west of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) campus. Record water levels submerged entire lakeside parks and adjacent roads. As the water slowly receded, it revealed a reshaped shoreline—and dinosaur tracks. What kinds of creatures made these marks?

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Man and His Labor

 
‎04 ‎September ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Whatever our job may be, it can be regarded as serving Christ and helping to fulfill His primeval-dominion commandment, and even helping lead others to know Him.

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Sea Serpent on Danish Ship Prow

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

On August 11, researchers from Södertörn University in Sweden raised an ancient 660-pound ship's prow from the floor of the Baltic Sea. The 11-foot-long beam features an exquisite dragon carving. Discovery News wrote that Marcus Sandekjer, head of the nearby Blekinge Museum which aided the extraction "believes it looks like a monstrous dog." It fits in well with other sea-serpent artwork in history.

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Giant Galaxy Ring Shouldn't Exist

 
‎24 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A team of astronomers from Hungary and the United States, led by Professor Lajos Balázs of Konkoly Observatory in Budapest, has announced the discovery of an enormous ring of galaxies. According to the Big Bang model, this ring should not exist.

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Cell Feature Resembles Power Grid

 
‎20 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Apparently, it's time to alter biology and anatomy textbooks again. There's much more to mitochondria than we ever thought. Researchers revealed that these tiny cellular power houses are highly organized to efficiently deliver ATP energy. They interconnect throughout muscle cells, forming a gigantic mitochondrial network. Researchers published this stunning discovery in Nature, calling it the "mitochondrial reticulum."

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Undersea Monolith Reveals Genius Engineering

 
‎17 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Of all the scientific disciplines, underwater archaeology may be one of the most fascinating. These researchers examine artifacts our ancestors left behind before global sea level rose and covered them. A newly discovered monolith—a gigantic rock placed in what is today the Mediterranean Sea—confronts a few evolution-based errors about human origins.

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New Horizons at Pluto

 
‎13 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Congratulations to the New Horizons team on their remarkable achievement of sending a spacecraft to Pluto. The mission was a complete success, and we are enjoying high-resolution images of never-before-seen surface features of this distant little world. These pictures dazzle the mind and are already beginning to challenge secular thinking.

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Snakes with Legs?

 
‎10 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

As weird as it may sound, some snakes had legs. Fossils reveal little legs on ancient snakes that have apparently been extinct for some time. Yet, those had only hind legs. Now, in the journal Science researchers describe a new fossil with four limbs. They suggest that this new fossil illustrates how legged snakes evolved from legged lizards. Is this accurate?

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Jesus Lizard Runs on Water, Tramples Evolution

 
‎06 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Jesus lizards literally run across the surface of ponds in Central and South America. According to evolutionary thinking, all reptiles—snakes, turtles, gavials, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, chameleons, skinks, and Jesus lizards—descended from an unknown original reptilian form. What evidence might demonstrate this? Strings of fossils should clearly connect each basic reptile kind back to that supposed key ancestor. It should have interchangeable or adjustable body features that natural forces could have manipulated without disrupting the evolving creature's essential functions. A newly discovered fossil of a Jesus lizard in Wyoming shows just the opposite evidence.

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A Real Jurassic World?

 
‎04 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The Jurassic World movie, though thrilling to watch, comes packed with fictional ideas like de-extinction, designer creatures, and iron somehow preserving dinosaur DNA indefinitely. But how would the world respond if live dinosaurs were verified to scientists' satisfaction?

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Human Nucleome Reveals Amazing 4D World

 
‎27 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A new study investigating the three-dimensional human genome (the nucleome) in the context of time and gene expression revealed unimaginable complexity and precision. The authors of a new research paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote at the very beginning of their report, "The human genome is a beautiful example of a dynamical system in three dimensions." The results of their research spectacularly vindicated this opening statement.

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Scientists Describe Job's 'Springs of the Sea'

 
‎23 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Modern machines provide our generation with knowledge entirely unknown in yesteryear. Which of our great grandparents saw footage of water rising through hydrothermal vents on the deep sea floor? New research into water circulating from the ocean, into seafloor crustal rocks, and back into the ocean echoes one of the questions God asked Job thousands of years ago.

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Bacteria Metabolisms Are Like Computer Circuit Boards

 
‎20 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Bacteria sometimes face a rough life. At about a tenth the size of most plant and animal cells, they have no layer of skin to protect them. Environments can change quickly and if microbes don't have the right tools to adapt, they won't last long. Bioengineers modeled three interdependent aspects of a metabolic system that bacteria use to thrive in ever-changing environments, revealing an underlying array of interrelated parts that they described as "underappreciated."

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New Horizons, Pluto, and the Age of the Solar System

 
‎14 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Today, more than nine years after its launch, the New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled to make its closest approach to the dwarf planet Pluto. This will make New Horizons the first space probe to examine Pluto and its moons up close during this historic flyby. A NASA press release states, "A close-up look at these worlds from a spacecraft promises to tell an incredible story about the origins and outskirts of our solar system." But what is the real story?

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Discovery: Volcanoes on Venus

 
‎13 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The tortured surface of Venus appears to have been formed through recent geologic processes, and its rocks contain no record of deep time. What if Venus were young rather than 4.5 billion years old? It would explain quite a bit, including a brand-new discovery made by scientists peering through its dense atmosphere.

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Solving the Missing Tropical Dinosaurs Mystery?

 
‎09 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

One of the unsolved mysteries of secular science is why so few dinosaurs are found in rocks from supposed tropical regions, especially the Triassic system rocks. Jessica Whiteside of the University of Southampton, UK and her colleagues from eight other institutions have proposed a solution to this enigma.

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Carbon-14 Found in Dinosaur Fossils

 
‎06 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

New science directly challenges the millions-of-years dogma scattered throughout the blockbuster movie Jurassic World. The spring 2015 edition of the Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ) is a special issue that focuses on the investigation of dinosaur proteins inside fossil bones. The last article in the issue presents never-before-seen carbon dates for 14 different fossils, including dinosaurs. Because radiocarbon decays relatively quickly, fossils that are even 100,000 years old should have virtually no radiocarbon left in them. But they do.

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Bronze-Age DNA Confirms Babel Dispersion

 
‎26 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists used new techniques to sequence 101 ancient human genomes believed to be from Bronze-Age populations in Europe. Their findings indicate a massive migratory influx of genetic diversity just a few thousand years ago. This data also coincides with known language diversification patterns, providing strong evidence for the dispersion of people groups at the Tower of Babel.

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Can Iron Preserve Fossil Proteins for Eons?

 
‎23 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

News reports around the world tell of red-blood-cell-like and collagen-like structures found in 75 million year-old dinosaur bones long stored in the British Museum. This news coincides with the release of the film Jurassic World, in which fictional scientists resurrect dinosaurs using dino DNA that "iron chelators" somehow preserved for millions of years. Though the movie is fiction, it does refer to a real study involving blood and bone. However, a closer look at the relevant chemistry shows that the iron-as-preservative story may be just as fictional as Jurassic World.

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Britain's 'Oldest' Sauropod and a Jurassic World

 
‎18 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Crumbling seaside cliffs at Whitby in northern England continuously reveal new fossils. Most of them are remains of small plants and animals, but researchers from the University of Manchester described a much larger fossil: a giant vertebra from a sauropod's tail. How long ago was the rare bone buried?

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Does National Geographic Promote Atheism?

 
‎16 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

National Geographic interviewed atheist Jerry Coyne. The subject was not science, but Coyne's personal beliefs. Will Nat Geo provide the same platform for a researcher who believes that God, rather than nature, created all things?

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Colorful Dinosaur Eggs Challenge Deep Time

 
‎11 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

German scientists revealed that some Chinese dinosaur eggs probably looked similar to the dark blue-green hue of modern emu eggs. If the dinosaur’s original pigment molecules revealed the egg’s color, then a significant question emerges. Can pigments really stay colorful for 66 million years?

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Dog Fossil Study Shows Wobbly Dating Practice

 
‎08 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

DNA research identified a Siberian fossil as an ancient dog bone. But its radiocarbon date doesn't match the accepted evolutionary story for dog origins. The ease with which scientists revised the date of dog divergence from wolf-like ancestry shows that secular dating practices may be much more subjective than their proponents would care to admit.

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Dinosaur Thighbone Found in Marine Rock

 
‎04 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Researchers have excavated a portion of a theropod dinosaur thighbone from beachfront marine rock north of Seattle. How did a land animal's leg bone get buried in marine rock?

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Why Do Animals Use Sexual Reproduction?

 
‎28 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Biologists from the U.K. conducted a 10-year-long experiment on common flour beetles to help understand why insects keep on using sexual reproduction despite its inefficiencies. Though they interpreted the results as supporting evolution, a key observation on the immutability of reproductive systems calls that into question.

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Remembering Mount St. Helens 35 Years Later

 
‎26 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article


 


A landslide on the northern side of Mount St. Helens in Washington state on May 18, 1980 uncorked a violent volcanic eruption of ash, vapor, molten material and pulverized rock. The effects of this one of the most scrupulously documented volcanos in history have reshaped the way geologists think about certain landforms.

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What Mean These Stones

 
‎22 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The poet George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” In the life of every nation, there are “memories” that must be preserved if that nation is to retain an awareness of its unique role among the nations of the world—indeed, among the long list of nations throughout history.

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New Fossil Dubbed 'Platypus Dinosaur'

 
‎19 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

It has a bill like a duck, leg spurs like a rooster, lays eggs like a reptile, but has fur like a mammal. Yet all these features elegantly integrate to form the body of a modern platypus. If God created the platypus, then why couldn't He create other creatures that seem to have borrowed parts from other familiar forms? He may have done just that when he made Chilesaurus.

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Clever Construction in Rorqual Whales

 
‎14 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A few years ago, scientists discovered a unique sensory organ in the jaw of a rorqual whale—the world's largest creature. Rorqual whales, which include the blue whale and fin whale, feed by ballooning out folds of tissue that bag gobs of krill from fertile ocean waters. Some of those researchers recently described the unique bungee-cord-like nerve fibers that illustrate clever and intentional design.

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Still Searching for Geology's Holy Grail

 
‎11 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The origin of the continental crust continues to baffle secular geologists who often refer to this mystery as the "holy grail of geology." Earth's plates are composed of two distinctly different types of crust: oceanic and continental. Explaining the reason for the unique crust and plates on Earth has been the subject of on-going research and debate for decades. Two recent articles attempt to shed light on the mystery of the continents.

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A Cosmic 'Supervoid' vs. the Big Bang

 
‎07 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In a new paper, scientists have announced the discovery of an enormous region of lower-than-average galaxy density about three billion light-years from Earth. This "supervoid," the largest single structure ever discovered at 1.8 billion light-years across, is newsworthy in its own right. However, it also has implications for the Big Bang model of the universe's origin.

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Scientific Suicide

 
‎04 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The recent cover of New Scientist magazine reads "Belief: They drive everything we do. But our beliefs are built on…nothing." This is an amazing statement by a magazine, supposedly dedicated to science, in that it presents its readers with a philosophical conundrum. How can scientists, who must depend on a strict belief in logic and order, make such a statement?

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Three-Dimensional DNA Code Defies Evolution

 
‎27 ‎April ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists have long been baffled as to what actually tells proteins called transcription factors (TFs) where to bind in the genome to turn genes off and on. However, new research incorporating the three-dimensional shape of DNA has revealed an incredibly complex system of interacting biochemical codes.

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Mosasaur Babies: Aren't They Cute?

 
‎20 ‎April ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

We often hear claims that birds are similar to dinosaurs, but birds and mosasaurs? Mosasaurs were swimming reptiles. How can they be confused with birds? A recent study published in Palaeontology by Yale University's Daniel Field and his colleagues clears up some of this confusion and in the end, illustrates a mosasaur lifecycle of marvelous design.

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No Salamander Evolution Evidence, Past or Present

 
‎16 ‎April ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists in Portugal unearthed a "super salamander" which, although "weird compared to anything today," is still very much a salamander. The fossilized bones of the six-foot animal were discovered on a hillside dig "chock-full" of bones and declared to originate from the "Upper Triassic" period, some 200 million years ago according to evolutionary dating. But creationists see this as yet another discovery of a created animal that grew to large dimensions in the fertile world before the Flood, and was subsequently buried during the Flood itself.

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Myths Dressed as Science

 
‎13 ‎April ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A recent MSN article claims a fossilized hominid called "Little Foot" found near Johannesburg, South Africa, is approximately 3.67 million years old, as does a similar report in ScienceNews. Both articles provide insufficient detail to make an intelligent evaluation of the method used to arrive at the stated conclusion, and as such that conclusion must be regarded as suspect.

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Saturn's Enceladus Looks Younger than Ever

 
‎09 ‎April ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The more we learn about Enceladus, the younger it looks. Stated another way, the more that our space probes discover about this fascinating little moon that inhabits Saturn's tenuous E ring, the more challenging it becomes for conventional origins to explain. A new discovery adds to the list of young-looking Enceladus features.

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Another Horizontal Gene Transfer Fairy Tale

 
‎06 ‎April ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

As the genomes of many new creatures rapidly fill the public DNA sequence databases, the problems for the grand evolutionary story are becoming overwhelming. One issue is the fact that different creatures have unique sets of genes specific to their kind with no apparent evolutionary history. To explain this glaring problem, evolutionists have resorted to the myth of pervasive horizontal gene transfer.

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Dinosaur Moth: An Evolutionary Enigma

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists discovered an Australian "dinosaur" moth that, if the evolutionary story is to be believed, has undergone virtually no evolution for at least forty million years. They named it Enigmatinea glatzella. The name is quite descriptive, as Enigmatinea means "enigma moth" in Latin. But why is this moth an enigma to evolutionary scientists?

 


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Twins Provide Peek Into Mankind's Origin

 
‎26 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Lucy and Maria Aylmer are 18-year-old twins from the United Kingdom. They were born on the same day from the same mother, yet one has light skin and hair, and the other has dark skin and dark, curlier hair. Their unique story illustrates how human-trait variations found around the world could have arisen suddenly in Noah's offspring.

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Heads, Evolution Wins--Tails, Creation Loses?

 
‎23 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Wouldn't two billion years of mutations and changing environments inevitably produce some effects in an organism? After all, in only a quarter of that supposed time, evolutionary processes are said to have transformed fish into people. Mutations supposedly occur nonstop, but the authors of a new paper now say that creature stasis proves evolution.

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Spiders Have Always Been Spiders

 
‎19 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A University of California Berkley graduate student has discovered two beautiful new species of peacock spiders in southeast Queensland, Australia. The student, Madeline Girard, named the two colorful creatures "Sparklemuffin" and "Skeletorus," both of the genus Maratus. Are these splendid specimens highly evolved species or have spiders always been spiders?

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Live Webcasts March 18 and 22!

 
‎16 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article


 


Get a front-row seat to “Science Confirms Biblical Creation” and “Your Origins Matter” in the comfort of your own home as ICR astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle shares biblical and scientific truths. Go to ICR.org/webcast at 7:00 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, March 18, and 9:00 or 10:30 a.m. PDT on Sunday, March 22, to view these engaging presentations.

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Cancer Research Inadvertently Refutes Evolution

 
‎12 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

How did nature supposedly transform a single-cell organism into all the varieties of land-walking animals in our world today? Textbook explanations invoke natural selection of beneficial mutations across unimaginable time, with a bit of help from “junk DNA” and heaps of serendipitous chance. Though it was not intended as a test of evolution, a new cancer research discovery jeopardizes these unfounded evolutionary assumptions.

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Lids, Lashes, and Lunar Rovers

 
‎09 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A recent discovery indicates our eyelashes must measure at just the right length to function properly. Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology studied 22 mammal lash lengths and reported that, from giraffes to hedgehogs, lash length was of "optimum" length—about one-third of the width of the given mammal's eye.

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Manganese Nodule Discovery Points to Genesis Flood

 
‎05 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists recently discovered a large batch of manganese nodules on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. These metallic pellets provide strong evidence that most seafloor sediments were deposited rapidly, not slowly and gradually over millions of years. Are these nodules evidence of the Genesis Flood?

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RNA Editing: Biocomplexity Hits a New High

 
‎02 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

When the workings of the genome were first being discovered, the central evolutionary dogma of molecular biology claimed that genetic information passes consistently from DNA to RNA to proteins. Now we know that RNA messages can be altered by a variety of mechanisms, and a new study in squid genetics has vaulted one of these processes—called RNA editing—to an unprecedented level of biocomplexity.

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Secular Study: No Big Bang?

 
‎23 ‎February ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Christians who believe the universe began billions of years ago often point to the Big Bang model to try and verify a creation-like beginning. But a new origin of the universe model offers an "everlasting universe" and dismisses the whole idea of a Big Bang. Why would scientists even think to challenge a long-held concept like the Big Bang unless they saw some deal-breaking weaknesses in it?

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Honey Bee Orphan Genes Sting Evolution

 
‎19 ‎February ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A key type of rogue genetic data called orphan genes has just been reported in honey bees. Orphan genes conflict with ideas about genome evolution, and they are directly linked with the evolutionary enigma of phenotypic novelty, unique traits specific to a single type of creature.

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Out of Babel--Not Africa

 
‎16 ‎February ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Newly published research combining genetic, language, and demographic data challenges the idea of a single lineage of languages and human populations evolving out of Africa. Instead, the data supports the idea that multiple people groups have independent origins—a condition one would predict if the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel happened as described in the Bible.

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Big Bang Evidence Retracted

 
‎12 ‎February ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In March 2014, the BICEP2 radio astronomy team announced purported direct evidence of cosmic inflation, an important part of the modern Big Bang model for the universe’s creation. This announcement was front-page news all over the world. However, these scientists recently submitted a paper for publication that effectively retracts their breakthrough claim, acknowledging that their earlier results were spurious. They admitted their “evidence” was actually an artifact of dust within our own galaxy.

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Snakes Have Always Been Snakes

 
‎09 ‎February ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

It's an old story. An animal or plant is discovered in sedimentary rocks by paleontologists and it pushes the organism's origin further back by many millions of years. This time snakes are the subject of a recent, unexpected discovery that pushes their first appearance back an additional 65 million years.

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A New Antibiotic?

 
‎05 ‎February ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Antibiotics serve as some of the most effective tools modern medicine has to offer. These amazing chemicals save many lives by targeting specific and essential processes in pathogenic bacteria—but antibiotics are losing their magic touch. Their failure to beat back new strains of antibiotic-resistant germs motivates researchers to design or discover new antibiotics. Scientists now reveal reasons why their new discovery brings hope to those hunting for better germ killers.

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