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This page is dedicated to My Grandson Brandon.

(Branstein)

***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

 

 

United Launch Alliance launches GPS IIF-12 satellite for U.S. Air Force

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Cape Canaveral, Fla. (UPI) Feb 5, 2016
United Launch Alliance launched the 12th and final satellite of the U.S. Air Force's GPS IIF-block, completing its first mission of 2016. The satellite was launched using an Atlas V rocket as part of an effort to increase the Global Positioning System's accuracy and reach for both military and civilian users. The satellite is designed to enhance signal strength and navigational assistan
 

Edgar Mitchell, astronaut who walked on Moon, dead at 85

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Miami (AFP) Feb 6, 2016
US astronaut Edgar Mitchell, one of just 12 people to have walked on the Moon, has died aged 85, his family and NASA said Friday, calling him a "pioneer." NASA paid glowing tribute to Mitchell, who died in Florida after a brief illness late Thursday, the eve of the 45th anniversary of his lunar landing. The late astronaut was a member of the 1971 Apollo 14 mission along with Alan Shepard
 

The frigid Flying Saucer

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Feb 04, 2016
The international team, led by Stephane Guilloteau at the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Bordeaux, France, measured the temperature of large dust grains around the young star 2MASS J16281370-2431391 in the spectacular Rho Ophiuchi star formation region, about 400 light-years from Earth. This star is surrounded by a disc of gas and dust - such discs are called protoplanetary discs as they a
 

First locks released from LISA Pathfinder's cubes

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Feb 05, 2016
Today, the lock fingers that kept the two test masses on LISA Pathfinder secure during the launch and cruise phase were successfully unlocked. As planned, the two cubes are still attached to the spacecraft via an additional mechanism that will hold them in place until mid February, as the teams carry on with the spacecraft and payload commissioning. Tests on LISA Pathfinder are proceeding
 

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Primary Mirror Fully Assembled

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Feb 05, 2016
The 18th and final primary mirror segment is installed on what will be the biggest and most powerful space telescope ever launched. The final mirror installation Wednesday at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland marks an important milestone in the assembly of the agency's James Webb Space Telescope. "Scientists and engineers have been working tirelessly to install thes
 

Thermal Vacuum Test Validates Lockheed Martin's GPS III Satellite Design

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Denver CO (SPX) Feb 04, 2016
Engineers at Lockheed Martin recently proved their design for the world's most powerful Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite can operate in and withstand the harsh conditions it will experience on orbit. On December 23, Lockheed Martin's first GPS III satellite for the U.S. Air Force completed system-level Thermal Vacuum (TVAC) testing, validating the design of the entire assembled sa
 

NASA's Juno Spacecraft Burns for Jupiter

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 05, 2016
NASA's solar-powered Juno spacecraft successfully executed a maneuver to adjust its flight path today, Feb. 3. The maneuver refined the spacecraft's trajectory, helping set the stage for Juno's arrival at the solar system's largest planetary inhabitant five months and a day from now. "This is the first of two trajectory adjustments that fine tune Juno's orbit around the sun, perfecting our
 

How Friendly Is Enceladus' Ocean To Life

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Feb 05, 2016
How acidic is the ocean on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus? It's a fundamental question to understanding if this geyser-spouting moon could support life. Enceladus is part of a family of icy worlds, including Europa (at Jupiter) and Titan (also at Saturn), populating our outer solar system. These bodies are some of the most promising places for life because they receive tidal energy from the gas gia
 

Pluto's Mysterious, Floating Hills

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 05, 2016
The nitrogen ice glaciers on Pluto appear to carry an intriguing cargo: numerous, isolated hills that may be fragments of water ice from Pluto's surrounding uplands. These hills individually measure one to several miles or kilometers across, according to images and data from NASA's New Horizons mission. The hills, which are in the vast ice plain informally named Sputnik Planum within Pluto
 

NASA Team Demonstrates Loading of Swedish 'Green' Propellant

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Feb 05, 2016
A NASA team has successfully demonstrated the handling and loading of a new-fangled, Swedish-developed "green propellant" that smells like glass cleaner, looks like chardonnay, but has proven powerful enough to propel a satellite. As part of an international agreement with the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB), the team simulated a flight-vehicle loading operation with LMP-103S Green Pro
 

Turbulent times: When stars approach

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Heidelberg, Germany (SPX) Feb 05, 2016
When we look at the night sky, we see stars as tiny points of light eking out a solitary existence at immense distances from Earth. But appearances are deceptive. More than half the stars we know of have a companion, a second nearby star that can have a major impact on their primary companions. The interplay within these so-called binary star systems is particularly intensive when the two
 

A violent wind blown from the heart of a galaxy tells the tale of a merger

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Hiroshima, Japan (SPX) Feb 05, 2016
An international team led by a researcher from Hiroshima University has succeeded in revealing the detailed structure of a massive ionized gas outflow streaming from the starburst galaxy NGC 6240. The team used the Suprime-Cam mounted on the 8.2-meter Subaru Telescope on Maunakea in Hawaii. The ionized gas the astronomers observed extends across 300,000 light-years and is carried out of th
 

Russia to Deliver Three Advanced Spacesuits to ISS in 2016

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Feb 05, 2016
Three new advanced Russian Orlan-MKS spacesuits will be delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) by the end of 2016, the head of the Russian segment of the ISS said on Wednesday. Earlier this week, a source in the Russian space industry told RIA Novosti that Russian cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko and Sergei Volkov, who completed their first spacewalk of 2016 earlier in the day, were
 

Opportunity climbing steeper slopes to reach science targets

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 05, 2016
Opportunity is exploring 'Marathon Valley' on the rim of Endeavour crater. The rover is climbing up steep slopes to reach high-value science targets up on 'Knudsen Ridge.' Opportunity performed the first of two steep climbs on Sol 4269 (Jan. 26, 2016), with just less than 16 feet (5 meters) for progress on slopes nearing 30 degrees. On the next sol, the rover ascended further up slop
 

China releases images captured by HD earth observation satellite

 
‎06 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎01:30:08 PMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Feb 05, 2016
China released first images captured by the nation's most sophisticated observation satellite Gaofen-4 on Wednesday, including one showing the capital city Beijing amid heavy smog. Each of the images, released by the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND), covers an area of at least 400 km, said Tong Xudong, chief designer of the Gaofen proj

 

 

70th consecutive successful launch for Ariane 5

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Jan 28, 2016
Flight number 228 for the Ariane launcher, successfully placing a telecommunications satellite in its geostationary transfer orbit, took place today from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. This was the seventh launch of an Ariane 5 with Airbus Safran Launchers as lead contractor, in coordination with the teams from the respective parent companies, Airbus Defence and Space, an
 

Getting real - on Mars

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jan 28, 2016
NASA wants you to know that it's only a matter of months before you can wake up in a Martian habitat, grab some breakfast, jump into your spacesuit, and head out for a stroll across the Red Planet's surface. Granted, the experience will be virtual, but it promises be the most realistic vision of human Mars habitation that a team comprising NASA engineers, a digital media developer, and MIT Depar
 

SpaceX Tests Crew Dragon Parachutes

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Houston TX (SPX) Jan 28, 2016
Four red-and-white parachutes unfurled high above the desert near Coolidge, Arizona, recently during a test of the system that initially will be used to safely land SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying astronauts back from the International Space Station. The test used a mass simulator as the weight of the spacecraft connected to the parachute system. The mass simulator and parachutes
 

Russia to launch Resurs-P satellite on March 12

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 28, 2016
The launch of Russia's Resurs-P No. 3 remote sensing satellite has been scheduled for March 12, the Russian Space Systems (RSS) company said Wednesday. "In the current year, another four remote sensing satellites are planned to be launched. Among the spacecraft are Resurs-P No. 3, Kanopus-V-IK, Meteor-M No.1 and 2, and Elektro-L No. 3. The launch of Resurs-P No. 3 is planned for March 12,"
 

US to lack full space launch capability beyond 2019 without Russian engine

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 28, 2016
Full US space launch capability may be delayed beyond 2019 if it cuts its supply of Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines, US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. "Industry tells us... [they can] make 2019 for an engine, but I must say an engine alone will not get us to space. It needs to be integrated with a rocket, it needs to be teste
 

Making new stars by 'adopting' stray cosmic gases

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Chicago IL (SPX) Jan 28, 2016
Among the most striking objects in the universe are glittering, dense swarms of stars known as globular clusters. Astronomers had long thought globular clusters formed their millions of stars in bulk at around the same time, with each cluster's stars having very similar ages, much like twin brothers and sisters. Yet recent discoveries of young stars in old globular clusters have scrambled this t
 

US Senator McCain to introduce bill to end use of Russian rocket engines

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Washington (Sputnik) Jan 28, 2016
US Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain announced during a hearing on Wednesday that he will introduce a bill aimed at ending the use of Russian rocket RD-180 engines. "Tomorrow, I will be introducing legislation with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to strike language airdropped into the 2,000 page omnibus bill last month. This legislation is the first in many actions
 

The Milky Way's clean and tidy galactic neighbor

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jan 28, 2016
IC 1613 is a dwarf galaxy in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster). This VST image shows the galaxy's unconventional beauty, all scattered stars and bright pink gas, in great detail. German astronomer Max Wolf discovered IC 1613's faint glow in 1906. In 1928, his compatriot Walter Baade used the more powerful 2.5-metre telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California to succe
 

NASA assigns early design contracts for Asteroid Redirect mission

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 28, 2016
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., has selected four companies to conduct design studies for a solar-electric-propulsion-based spacecraft for the agency's Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM). The aerospace companies selected for the initial studies include: Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Littleton, Colorado; Boeing Phantom Works, Huntington Beach, California; Orbita
 

Russian Army rolls out strategic missile systems for drills

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 27, 2016
Ten Russian mobile strategic nuclear missile regiments have been deployed across the country for military exercises. The systems deployed include Topol (NATO reporting name: SS-25 Sickle), Topol-M (NATO reporting name: SS-27 Sickle B), and RS-24 Yars (NATO reporting name: SS-27 Mod 2) missiles. According to a Russian Defense Ministry statement cited by RIA Novosti, the missile system
 

Scientists prove key aspect of evolutionary theory

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 27, 2016
Evolutionary theory predicts that pairs of chromosomes within asexual organisms will evolve independently of each other and become increasingly different over time in a phenomenon called the 'Meselson effect'. While this event was first predicted almost twenty years ago, evidence for it has proved elusive. Now, researchers from the University of Glasgow have demonstrated the Meselson effec
 

Model explains huge recurring rainstorms in tropical Indian and Pacific oceans

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Seattle WA (SPX) Jan 27, 2016
El Nino is fairly well understood, and by now it's a household word. But another huge system in the tropical Indian and Pacific oceans, which wreaks similar havoc in world weather, is relatively unknown and is just beginning to be explained. University of Washington scientists have published a mathematical model that could help explain and forecast the Madden-Julian Oscillation, a massive
 

Bumpy road ahead for electric cars: Tesla boss

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Hong Kong (AFP) Jan 26, 2016
Electric car manufacturers will have to design futuristic vehicles to entice buyers in order to ride out the challenge of plunging oil prices, Tesla co-founder Elon Musk said Tuesday. The luxury all-electric US car maker, founded in 2003, rose to prominence as oil prices soared and made alternative energy vehicles more tempting. Now the fledgling industry is under pressure, said Musk.
 

Research sheds new light on structure of gold nanoparticles in water

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Jyvaskylan, Finland (SPX) Jan 26, 2016
Researchers at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland, and Colorado State University, USA, have for the first time ever determined the dynamical behaviour of the ligand layer of a water-soluble gold nanocluster in solution. The breakthrough opens a way towards controllable strategies for the functionalisation of ligated nanoparticles for applications. The work at the University of Jyvaskyla
 

Thales, ASV to jointly develop unmanned surface vehicle technology

 
‎28 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎02:47:32 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Jan 27, 2016
Thales and ASV have signed an agreement to cooperate on the development of unmanned surface vehicle technology. The announcement by the two companies to collaborate on the development follows the completion of sea trials for ASV's Halcyon unmanned surface vehicle. The vehicle is designed for both civil and military purposes. "Thales has already delivered world leading autonomous

 

 
 

2016 Goals Vital to Commercial Crew Success

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Jan 21, 2016
NASA's Commercial Crew Program and its aerospace industry partners Boeing and SpaceX are on the eve of America's return to human spaceflight launches. By the time the year closes, Boeing's CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX's Crew Dragon will be poised for the flight tests that allow our astronauts to travel to the International Space Station lifting off from Florida's Space Coast. It won't be e
 

Russia starts assembling Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Baikonur, Kazakhstan (Sputnik) Jan 21, 2016
A new carrier rocket is being assembled at Russia's Vostochny spaceport ahead of its maiden launch in spring, the state agency responsible for land-based space infrastructure said. The first launch of the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket was initially scheduled for late 2015 before being postponed until next spring. "Tests are underway at the Vostochny Cosmodrome aimed at confirming the rea
 

How we're shrinking the telescope

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Palo Alto CA (SPX) Jan 21, 2016
Since Galileo first started gazing at the stars atop a mountain in Italy, to modern-day astronomers who can see billions of miles into space, the general design of a telescope has pretty much remained the same. In fact, even if you're looking at the stars using only the light-sensitive cells in your eyes, the image-forming process works the same way. Both methods collect light from an obje
 

Russia postpones manned Lunar mission to 2035

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 21, 2016
Russia initially planned to launch a manned aircraft to the moon atop an Angara heavy rocket carrier from its Vostochny space port in 2025. The earlier version of the state space program - worth some 2 trillion rubles ($25 billion) - specified that the creation of a heavy carrier rocket would allow for a manned lunar landing by 2030. But the new edition, which had it budget trimmed down to
 

Caltech researchers find evidence of a real ninth planet

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (SPX) Jan 21, 2016
Caltech researchers have found evidence of a giant planet tracing a bizarre, highly elongated orbit in the outer solar system. The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about 10 times that of Earth and orbits about 20 times farther from the sun on average than does Neptune (which orbits the sun at an average distance of 2.8 billion miles). In fact, it would take th
 

PSLV launches India's 5th navigation satellite

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Sriharikota, India (SPX) Jan 21, 2016
ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C31 has launched the 1425 kg IRNSS-1E, the fifth satellite in the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty second consecutively successful mission of PSLV and the eleventh in its 'XL' configuration. After the PSLV-C31 lift-off at 0931 hrs (9:31 am) IST - Jan 20, from
 

How and When to See Five Planets at Once

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 21, 2016
During the next two weeks, for the first time in more than a decade, you can see all five naked-eye planets - from Mercury to Saturn - together in the predawn sky. This celestial treat is relatively easy to see with just your eyes; no telescope or optical aid is needed. Technically, all five planets are in the sky before dawn from January 20th to February 20th. However, because Mercury wil
 

US to Test First ICBM Intercept in 2016

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (Sputnik) Jan 21, 2016
Russia has raised concerns that the US ballistic missile defense (BMD) architecture could be used to target Russia's strategic deterrent. Chinese authorities have raised similar concerns about US BMD systems targeting its nuclear deterrent under the guise of the North Korea threat. "Later this year, meaning this calendar year, we will fly for the first time an ICBM with countermeasures, an
 

Russian Space Agency discussing possible training of Iranian astronaut

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 21, 2016
Russia's Roscosmos space agency is currently in talks with Tehran on the possible training of an Iranian astronaut for a space mission, Roscosmos General Director Igor Komarov said Wednesday. Komarov also said negotiations were also underway on launching a satellite for Iran. "I wouldn't say that there are any contracts signed, but on the other hand, I wouldn't say that interest has
 

Antarctic Microbes Hold Clue to Earth's Oxygen

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jan 21, 2016
At the bottom of an icy Antarctic lake, a thin, slimy layer of bright green microbes is generating a tiny oasis of oxygen that might give a picture of what early Earth looked like before oxygen became common in the atmosphere. These findings could shed light on the ways scientists might detect evidence of oxygen, a potential sign of life, on distant planets, researchers said. Nowadays, oxy
 

OG2 In-Orbit Testing Complete

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 21, 2016
Orbcomm's operation team reports that it's continuing to make solid progress on our OG2 launch operations with Sierra Nevada Corporation completing In-Orbit Testing on all 11 OG2 satellites to verify that the satellite hardware is operating as designed. After over 100 thrusts, the satellites are almost equally spaced within the orbit plane. Additional thrusts will occur over the next
 

Ariane 5 is readied for an Arianespace leading customer Intelsat

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Kourou, French Guiana (ESA) Jan 21, 2016
Assembly of the Ariane 5 for Arianespace's year-opening mission from French Guiana is now complete, following encapsulation of the Intelsat 29e satellite in its protective payload fairing at the Spaceport. This activity occurred in the upper levels of the Spaceport's Final Assembly Building for Ariane 5, where the heavy-lift workhorse vehicle is now undergoing final checkout before being t
 

Antenova announces two new flexible antennas

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Hatfield, UK (SPX) Jan 21, 2016
Antenova is adding two new positioning antennas, Bentoni and Asper, to its range of flexible FPC antennas. Bentoni is a positioning antenna for all of the global public satellite constellations: GPS, GLONASS, Beidou and GALILEO. It is designed to be used in trackers, portable devices, network components, drones and wearable electronics. Asper is a dual antenna with two separate antenna sys
 

Record-Shattering Global Warm Temperatures in 2015

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jan 21, 2016
Earth's 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Globally-averaged temperatures in 2015 shattered the previous mark set in 2014 by 0.23 degrees Fahrenheit (0.13 Celsius). Only once before, in 1998, has the new record been greater than the ol
 

Ancient underwater volcanoes may have ended 'Snowball Earth'

 
‎21 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:19:43 AMGo to full article
Southampton, England (UPI) Jan 19, 2016
Researchers say underwater volcanoes are responsible for ending one of Earth's most intense ice ages, known as "Snowball Earth." Between 720 to 640 million years ago, Earth was almost entirely ice. Climatic interactions and cycles among ocean, continent and atmosphere slowed to a halt. But rather quickly, Earth transitioned from a freezer to a greenhouse. Researchers say it was a

 

 
 

Machine learning helps discover the most luminous supernova in history

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Los Alamos NM (SPX) Jan 15, 2016
Machine-learning technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory played a key role in the discovery of supernova ASASSN-15lh, an exceptionally powerful explosion that was 570 billion times brighter than the Sun and more than twice as luminous as the previous record-holding supernova. This extraordinary event marking the death of a star was identified by the All Sky Automated Survey for Su
 

Roscosmos prepares to launch first manned Soyuz MS

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 15, 2016
Russian Roscosmos state corporation announced in a statement Thursday the start of preparations to the launch of Soyuz-FG carrier rocket from the Baikonur space center, which will put into orbit the first manned spacecraft of a new Soyuz MS series. According to the statement, preparation to the assembling of the first two stages of the carrier rocket has begun. At the same time, the specia
 

Possible ice volcano on Pluto has the 'Wright Stuff'

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 15, 2016
Scientists with NASA's New Horizons mission have assembled this highest-resolution color view of one of two potential cryovolcanoes spotted on the surface of Pluto by the New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015. This feature, known as Wright Mons, was informally named by the New Horizons team in honor of the Wright brothers. At about 90 miles (150 kilometers) across and 2.5 miles (4 kil
 

A Milky Way twin swept by an ultra-fast X-ray wind

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Jan 15, 2016
ESA's XMM-Newton has found a wind of high-speed gas streaming from the centre of a bright spiral galaxy like our own that may be reducing its ability to produce new stars. It is not unusual to find hot winds blowing from the swirling discs of material around supermassive black holes at the centre of active galaxies. If powerful enough, these winds can influence their surroundings in variou
 

Exposed ice on Rosetta's comet confirmed as water

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Jan 15, 2016
Observations made shortly after Rosetta's arrival at its target comet in 2014 have provided definitive confirmation of the presence of water ice. Although water vapour is the main gas seen flowing from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the great majority of ice is believed to come from under the comet's crust, and very few examples of exposed water ice have been found on the surface.
 

New theory of secondary inflation expands options for dark matter excess

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Upton NY (SPX) Jan 15, 2016
Standard cosmology - that is, the Big Bang Theory with its early period of exponential growth known as inflation - is the prevailing scientific model for our universe, in which the entirety of space and time ballooned out from a very hot, very dense point into a homogeneous and ever-expanding vastness. This theory accounts for many of the physical phenomena we observe. But what if that's not all
 

Russia developing futuristic methane-powered rocket propulsion

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 15, 2016
Russian federal agency Roscosmos plans to develop a natural-gas-powered rocket engine. The federal space exploration program for 2016-2025 guarantees funding for the project. According to newspaper reports, under a special R and D project on propulsion engines, Russia will develop the structural elements of an oxyhydrogen-powered rocket engine. Roscosmos is reported to be ready to unveil o
 

NASA completes Orion parachute development tests

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 15, 2016
A dart-shaped test vehicle descended from the skies above the Arizona desert under Orion's parachutes Wednesday, Jan. 13, successfully completing the final development test of the parachute system. NASA engineers evaluated modifications to the system for the last time before the start of qualification testing for Orion missions with astronauts. During the test, engineers demonstrated that
 

NASA awards ISS cargo transport contracts

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 15, 2016
NASA has awarded three cargo contracts to ensure the critical science, research and technology demonstrations that are informing the agency's journey to Mars are delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) from 2019 through 2024. The agency unveiled its selection of Orbital ATK of Dulles, Virginia; Sierra Nevada Corporation of Sparks, Nevada; and SpaceX of Hawthorne, California to continu
 

Building a robust commercial market in low earth orbit

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 15, 2016
NASA is on a Journey to Mars and a new consensus is emerging around our plan, vision and timetable for sending American astronauts to the Red Planet in the 2030s. Our strategy calls for working with commercial partners to get our astronauts and cargo to the International Space Station while NASA also focuses - simultaneously - on getting our astronauts to deep space. Few would have imagine
 

Cosmic blast could help crack the case of extreme supernova explosions

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
San Francisco CA (SPX) Jan 15, 2016
Records are made to be broken, as the expression goes, but rarely are records left so thoroughly in the dust. Stunned astronomers have witnessed a cosmic explosion about 200 times more powerful than a typical supernova - events which already rank amongst the mightiest outbursts in the universe - and more than twice as luminous as the previous record-holding supernova. At its peak intensity
 

Counting Photons; How Low Can You Go

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 15, 2016
The process of detecting light-whether with our eyes, cameras or other devices-is at the heart of a wide range of civilian and military applications, including light or laser detection and ranging (LIDAR or LADAR), photography, astronomy, quantum information processing, medical imaging, microscopy and communications. But even the most advanced detectors of photons-the massless, ghostlike packets
 

Trimble to provide GPS survey systems for U.S. Marines

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Sunnyvale, Calif. (UPI) Jan 14, 2016
The U.S. Navy selected Trimble to supply its GPS Survey systems to the U.S. Marines to be used for topographic missions. Under the five-year contract, worth an estimated $5.8 million, the company will provide its M7 Anti-Spoofing GPS-S systems, S9 robotic total stations, TSC3 data controllers, the MX2 scanning system, and both field and office software. The Trimble M7 GPS-S was d
 

Germany to lease Israeli Heron TP UAVs

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Jan 13, 2016
The German armed forces have decided to lease the Israeli-made Heron TP unmanned aerial vehicle to support its troops during deployment. The Heron TP was manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, and is a follow-up to the Heron 1 UAV, which has been used by German forces in Afghanistan. Germany selected the Heron TP over the U.S.-made General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. The lease is a tempo
 

Latest N. Korea sub missile test a 'catastrophic failure': analysts

 
‎15 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:59 AMGo to full article
Seoul (AFP) Jan 13, 2016
North Korea's "successful" submarine-launched ballistic missile test last month was, in fact, an explosive failure that was not even launched from a submarine, separate expert analyses concluded Wednesday. The North released a video of the purported December 21 test on Saturday, showing leader Kim Jong-Un - dressed in a winter coat and fedora hat - looking on as a missile was launched vert

 

 

Student-Built Experiment Integrated onto NASA's OSIRIS-REx Mission

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
A student-built experiment aboard NASA's Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has been integrated onto the spacecraft. The Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) will determine elemental abundances on the surface of asteroid Bennu, complementing the mineral and chemical mapping capabilities provided by two other ins
 

NASA Office to Coordinate Asteroid Detection, Hazard Mitigation

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 08, 2016
NASA has formalized its ongoing program for detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) as the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). The office remains within NASA's Planetary Science Division, in the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The office will be responsible for supervision of all NASA-funded projects to find and characterize asteroids and comets that pass n
 

Six Orion Milestones to Track in 2016

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Huntsville AL (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
This year, engineers will make important progress developing and testing the Orion spacecraft that will send astronauts to deep space destinations on the journey to Mars. NASA will mark critical steps necessary in preparation for both the spacecraft's first mission to deep space atop the agency's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, and for future missions with astronauts. Here's a look at some of
 

Galaxy Quakes Could Improve Hunt for Dark Matter

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Rochester NY (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
A trio of brightly pulsating stars at the outskirts of the Milky Way is racing away from the galaxy and may confirm a method for detecting dwarf galaxies dominated by dark matter and explain ripples in the outer disk of the galaxy. This new method to characterize dark matter marks the first real application of the field of galactoseismology. Just as seismologists analyze waves to infer pro
 

Black hole affecting galactic climate

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
San Antonio TX (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
team of researchers led by Eric Schlegel, Vaughn Family Endowed Professor in Physics at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has discovered a powerful galactic blast produced by a giant black hole about 26 million light years from Earth. The black hole is the nearest supermassive black hole to Earth that is currently undergoing such violent outbursts. Schlegel's team used NASA's
 

By the dozen: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope mirrors

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
One dozen flight mirrors are now installed on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, out of the eighteen mirror segments that make up the primary mirror. The assembly of the primary mirror is an important milestone for the Webb telescope, but is just one component of this huge and complex observatory. Since December 2015, the team of scientists and engineers have been working tirelessly to ins
 

Former COD Student Working in Antarctica on IceCube Neutrino Project

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Glen Ellyn IL (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
Former College of DuPage student Robert Zill is spending his winter break at the bottom of the world. The Burr Ridge resident is currently in Antarctica as part of IceCube, the neutrino cosmology experiment. Last summer, Zill completed an internship at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls working on IceCube and was selected as a backup candidate for the winter break trip. Just after com
 

Getting Down to Earth with Space Hazards

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
Magnetic storms can interfere with the operation of electric power grids and damage grid infrastructure. They can also disrupt directional drilling for oil and gas, radio communications, communication satellites and GPS systems. While magnetic storms are caused by variable conditions in the space weather above our heads, an accurate evaluation of the resulting hazards requires a detailed underst
 

NASA's Great Observatories Weigh Massive Young Galaxy Cluster

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 08, 2016
Astronomers have used data from three of NASA's Great Observatories to make the most detailed study yet of an extremely massive young galaxy cluster. This rare cluster, which is located 10 billion light-years from Earth, weighs as much as 500 trillion suns. This object has important implications for understanding how these megastructures formed and evolved early in the universe. The galaxy
 

Most distant massive galaxy cluster identified

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
The early universe was a chaotic mess of gas and matter that only began to coalesce into distinct galaxies hundreds of millions of years after the Big Bang. It would take several billion more years for such galaxies to assemble into massive galaxy clusters - or so scientists had thought. Now astronomers at MIT, the University of Missouri, the University of Florida, and elsewhere, have dete
 

Fermi sharpens its high-energy vision

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
Major improvements to methods used to process observations from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have yielded an expanded, higher-quality set of data that allows astronomers to produce the most detailed census of the sky yet made at extreme energies. A new sky map reveals hundreds of these sources, including 12 that produce gamma rays with energies exceeding a trillion times the ener
 

CORAL Mission to Raise Reef Studies to New Level

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
A new three-year NASA field expedition gets underway this year that will use advanced instruments on airplanes and in the water to survey more of the world's coral reefs, and in far greater detail, than ever before. The COral Reef Airborne Laboratory (CORAL) will measure the condition of these threatened ecosystems and create a unique database of uniform scale and quality. Coral reefs, som
 

Ancient Gas Cloud May Be Relic from First Stars

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Colchester VT (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
Saint Michael's College physics professor John O'Meara has teamed with researchers Neil Crighton and Michael Murphy from Australia in the recent discovery of a distant, ancient cloud of gas that may contain the signature of the very first stars that formed in the universe. O'Meara, a co-author on the study, will be presenting the results at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kiss
 

Momentum builds for creation of 'moon villages'

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Notre Dame IN (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
Villages on the moon, constructed through cooperation between astronauts and robotic systems on the lunar surface, could become a reality as early as 2030. That's the consensus of a recent international conference of scientists, engineers and industry experts, including Clive Neal, a University of Notre Dame planetary geologist. The European Space Agency (ESA) hosted a symposium titled "Mo
 

AAVSO observers contribute to understanding the black hole binary V404 Cygni

 
‎09 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎12:04:34 PMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jan 08, 2016
V404 Cygni has been known as a variable star residing in the constellation Cygnus since the 18th century. It was believed to be a nova, a compact binary system containing a white dwarf primary and a sun-like secondary star, that undergoes unpredictable episodes of dramatic brightening - or 'outbursts' - before settling back down to quiescence for decades, until the next outburst. The last

 

 

Lab discovery gives glimpse of conditions found on other planets

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Edinburgh, UK (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
Scientists have recreated an elusive form of the material that makes up much of the giant planets in our solar system, and the sun. Experiments have given a glimpse of a previously unseen form of hydrogen that exists only at extremely high pressures - more than 3 million times that of Earth's atmosphere. Hydrogen - which is among the most abundant elements in the Universe - is thought to b
 

Setting the Standard for 3-D Printed Rocket Engines

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Sacramento CA (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
Aerojet Rocketdyne received a $6 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to define the standards that will be used to qualify additively manufactured components for use in liquid-fueled rocket engine applications. The award is part of the U.S. Air Force Booster Propulsion Technology Maturation Broad Agency Announcement, which is part of a comprehensive Air Force plan to transition off the Russi
 

China's Belt and Road Initiative catches world's imagination: Inmarsat CEO

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
London (XNA) Jan 07, 2016
China's Belt and Road Initiative is an idea that has caught the imagination of the world, said Inmarsat's CEO Rupert Pearce in a recent interview with Xinhua. The initiative offers the opportunity to build greater cooperation across Asia and Europe and to deliver unprecedented prosperity in some of the world's most populous and economically dynamic regions, Pearce told Xinhua. Headquartere
 

Globular clusters could host interstellar civilizations

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
Globular star clusters are extraordinary in almost every way. They're densely packed, holding a million stars in a ball only about 100 light-years across on average. They're old, dating back almost to the birth of the Milky Way. And according to new research, they also could be extraordinarily good places to look for space-faring civilizations. "A globular cluster might be the first place
 

Robotic telescope built by China and Thailand put into operation

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Kunming, China (XNA) Jan 07, 2016
A robotic 70 cm telescope built jointly by China and Thailand has been put into operation in southwest China's Yunnan Province, a local scientist said Wednesday. The telescope, which was installed at an observation station at Yunnan Observatory in Lijiang city, was completed last December, said Qian Shengbang, a research fellow with the observatory. At low latitudes, Lijiang enjoys h
 

Hyten: Space Command Should be an Active Force in Dynamic Times

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
McLean, VA (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
General John Hyten bridles at the perception of his Air Force Space Command being comprised of technicians in a 9-to-5 office environment reacting to threats thousands of miles above Earth. It's a perception he wants to correct, Hyten told the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies "Space Power for the Warfighter" breakfast seminar, on December 8 in Washington. Sp
 

MBRSC complete final design of KhalifaSat engineering model

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Dubai, UAE (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
MBRSC announced the final design completion of the KhalifaSat Engineering Model in addition to the software and systems within the satellite (Critical Design Review). The significance of this achievement is that it is the penultimate step prior to the manufacturing of the Flight Model of KhalifaSat, scheduled for launch in 2018 on MHI's H-IIA launch vehicle, which is owned by "Mitsubishi Heavy I
 

Testing the James Webb Space Telescope with Radio Waves

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
The instruments that will fly aboard NASA's James Webb Space Telescope not only have to be tough enough to survive in the cold of space, but they also have to work properly in the electromagnetic environment on the spacecraft, so they're tested for both. Recently, they passed a test for the latter in a very unique room. Stepping inside NASA's Electromagnetic Interference or EMI laboratory
 

Acquisition Woes Delay DoD Technology Upgrades

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
McLean, VA (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
On Oct. 25, 2008, the Navy commissioned the USS New Hampshire, a Virginia-class submarine, eight months ahead of schedule and $54 million under budget for the Navy by prime contractor General Dynamics. This example shows that by adapting techniques and products from the commercial sector, the Pentagon can successfully field technology quickly under its existing weapons acquisition system.
 

Preparing for the Unexpected in Space

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
McLean, VA (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
There is a common thread through all of the speculation - informed and otherwise - about future conflicts on the global stage: Expect the unexpected. It's an axiom built upon lessons learned over centuries of conflict, but it leaves an important question: How do you prepare for the unexpected? The question was asked and answered by Skot Butler, Intelsat General's Vice President for Satelli
 

'Seeing' black holes with the naked eye

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Kyoto, Japan (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
All you need is a 20 cm telescope to observe a nearby, active black hole. An international research team reports that the activity of such phenomena can be observed by visible light during outbursts, and that flickering light emerging from gases surrounding black holes is a direct indicator of this. The team's results, published in Nature, indicate that optical rays and not just X-rays provide r
 

NASA Telescopes Find 'Twins' of Superstar Eta Carinae

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 07, 2016
Eta Carinae, the most luminous and massive stellar system within 10,000 light-years of Earth, is best known for an enormous eruption seen in the mid-19th century that hurled at least 10 times the sun's mass into space. This expanding veil of gas and dust , which still shrouds Eta Carinae, makes it the only object of its kind known in our galaxy. Now a study using archival data from NASA's Spitze
 

VLA Reveals New Evidence About Star, Planet Formation

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Kissimmee FL (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
A detailed study of young stars and their surroundings has produced dramatic new evidence about how multiple-star systems form and how the dusty disks that are the raw material for planets grow around young stars. Teams of scientists used the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope to study nearly 100 newborn stars in a cloud of gas and dust about 750
 

40-Year-Old Mystery on Size of Shadowy Galaxies Solved

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Melbourne, Australia (SPX) Jan 07, 2016
Using the world's largest telescopes, researchers have discovered ancient cold gas clouds larger than galaxies in the early universe. The discovery was announced Monday at a press conference at the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Orlando, Florida. The discovery, led by Associate Professor Jeff Cooke, Swinburne University of Technology, and Associate Professor John O'M
 

3D-Printed Ceramics Could be Used in Future Space Flights

 
‎07 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎04:35:38 AMGo to full article
Malibu CA (Sputnik) Jan 07, 2016
Researchers have used a 3D printer to create customized ceramic parts that are strong, lightweight and handle heat better than many metals, but that do not crack easily like some traditional ceramics. The development could open the door to a new class of ceramic-body or ceramic-engine jets, said Tobias Schaedler, senior scientist at HRL Laboratories in Malibu, California. "If you go very f

 

 
 

 

 
 

News About Time And Space

 

 

Blast from Black Hole in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

 
‎03 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:54:37 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Feb 03, 2016 - The Star Wars franchise has featured the fictitious "Death Star," which can shoot powerful beams of radiation across space. The universe, however, produces phenomena that often surpass what science fiction can conjure.

The Pictor A galaxy is one such impressive object. This galaxy, located nearly 500 million light-years from Earth, contains a supermassive black hole at its center. A huge amount of gravitational energy is released as material swirls towards the event horizon, the point of no return for infalling material. This energy produces an enormous beam, or jet, of particles traveling at nearly the speed of light into intergalactic space.

To obtain images of this jet, scientists used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory at various times over 15 years. Chandra's X-ray data (blue) have been combined with radio data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array (red) in this new composite image.

By studying the details of the structure seen in both X-rays and radio waves, scientists seek to gain a deeper understanding of these huge collimated blasts.

The jet [to the right] in Pictor A is the one that is closest to us. It displays continuous X-ray emission over a distance of 300,000 light-years. By comparison, the entire Milky Way is about 100,000 light-years in diameter. Because of its relative proximity and Chandra's ability to make detailed X-ray images, scientists can look at detailed features in the jet and test ideas of how the X-ray emission is produced.

In addition to the prominent jet seen pointing to the right in the image, researchers report evidence for another jet pointing in the opposite direction, known as a "counterjet." While tentative evidence for this counterjet had been previously reported, these new Chandra data confirm its existence. The relative faintness of the counterjet compared to the jet is likely due to the motion of the counterjet away from the line of sight to the Earth.

The labeled image shows the location of the supermassive black hole, the jet and the counterjet. Also labeled is a "radio lobe" where the jet is pushing into surrounding gas and a "hotspot" caused by shock waves - akin to sonic booms from a supersonic aircraft - near the tip of the jet.

The detailed properties of the jet and counterjet observed with Chandra show that their X-ray emission likely comes from electrons spiraling around magnetic field lines, a process called synchrotron emission. In this case, the electrons must be continuously re-accelerated as they move out along the jet. How this occurs is not well understood

The researchers ruled out a different mechanism for producing the jet's X-ray emission. In that scenario, electrons flying away from the black hole in the jet at near the speed of light move through the sea of cosmic background radiation (CMB) left over from the hot early phase of the universe after the Big Bang. When a fast-moving electron collides with one of these CMB photons, it can boost the photon's energy up into the X-ray band.

The X-ray brightness of the jet depends on the power in the beam of electrons and the intensity of the background radiation. The relative brightness of the X-rays coming from the jet and counterjet in Pictor A do not match what is expected in this process involving the CMB, and effectively eliminate it as the source of the X-ray production in the jet.

 

 

Space-Earth System Produces Highest-Resolution Astronomical Image

 
‎03 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:54:37 AMGo to full article
Charlottesville VA (SPX) Feb 01, 2016 - Using an orbiting radio-astronomy satellite combined with 15 ground-based radio telescopes, astronomers have made the highest-resolution, or most-detailed, astronomical image yet, revealing new insights about a gorging black hole in a galaxy 900 million light-years from Earth.

The scientists combined signals from the Spektr-R satellite of the RadioAstron mission with those from radio telescopes throughout Europe and nine antennas of the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA).

The result was an image with the resolving power of a telescope nearly 63,000 miles wide, or almost eight times the diameter of the Earth.

The image shows radio emission coming from a jet of particles accelerated to speeds nearly that of light by the gravitational power of a supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy called BL Lacertae.

The jet shown by this image would fit within the outer extent of our Solar System, marked by the Oort Cloud of cometary objects that reside far beyond the familiar planets. The image shows detail roughly equivalent to seeing a 50-cent coin on the Moon.

The image appears elongated because the distance between the satellite and the ground telescopes is so much greater than that among the ground telescopes themselves, providing greater resolving power in one direction.

In this version, resolution in the orthogonal direction is exaggerated to compensate.

The satellite project is led by the Astro Space Center in Moscow, and the data from all 15 telescopes were combined at a facility of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.

The scientists are reporting on their work in the Astrophysical Journal.

 

 

Bringing time and space together for universal symmetry

 
‎03 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:54:37 AMGo to full article
Nathan, Australia (SPX) Jan 29, 2016 - New research from Griffith University's Centre for Quantum Dynamics is broadening perspectives on time and space. In a paper published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Associate Professor Joan Vaccaro challenges the long-held presumption that time evolution - the incessant unfolding of the universe over time - is an elemental part of Nature.

In the paper, entitled Quantum asymmetry between time and space, she suggests there may be a deeper origin due to a difference between the two directions of time: to the future and to the past.

"If you want to know where the universe came from and where it's going, you need to know about time," says Associate Professor Vaccaro. "Experiments on subatomic particles over the past 50 years ago show that Nature doesn't treat both directions of time equally.

"In particular, subatomic particles called K and B mesons behave slightly differently depending on the direction of time.

"When this subtle behaviour is included in a model of the universe, what we see is the universe changing from being fixed at one moment in time to continuously evolving.

"In other words, the subtle behaviour appears to be responsible for making the universe move forwards in time.

"Understanding how time evolution comes about in this way opens up a whole new view on the fundamental nature of time itself.

"It may even help us to better understand bizarre ideas such as travelling back in time."

According to the paper, an asymmetry exists between time and space in the sense that physical systems inevitably evolve over time whereas there is no corresponding ubiquitous translation over space.

This asymmetry, long presumed to be elemental, is represented by equations of motion and conservation laws that operate differently over time and space.

However, Associate Professor Vaccaro used a "sum-over-paths formalism" to demonstrate the possibility of a time and space symmetry, meaning the conventional view of time evolution would need to be revisited.

"In the connection between time and space, space is easier to understand because it's simply there. But time is forever forcing us towards the future," says Associate Professor Vaccaro.

"Yet while we are indeed moving forward in time, there is also always some movement backwards, a kind of jiggling effect, and it is this movement I want to measure using these K and B mesons."

Associate Professor Vaccaro says the research provides a solution to the origin of dynamics, an issue that has long perplexed science.

Research paper: "Quantum asymmetry between time and space"

 

 

Polar vortices observed in ferroelectric

 
‎03 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:54:37 AMGo to full article
Berkeley CA (SPX) Feb 02, 2016 - The observation in a ferroelectric material of "polar vortices" that appear to be the electrical cousins of magnetic skyrmions holds intriguing possibilities for advanced electronic devices. These polar vortices, which were theoretically predicted more than a decade ago, could also "rewrite our basic understanding of ferroelectrics" according to the researchers who observed them.

A team of scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have recorded the first ever observations of rotating topologies of electrical polarization that are similar to the discrete swirls of magnetism known as "skyrmions."

If these smoothly rotating vortex/anti-vortex topologies prove to be electrical skyrmions, they could find potential applications in ultracompact data storage and processing, and could also lead to the production of new states of matter and associated phenomena in ferroic materials.

"It has long been thought that rotating topological structures are confined to magnetic systems and aren't possible in ferroelectric materials, but through the creation of artificial superlattices, we have controlled the various energies of a ferrolectric material to promote competition that lead to such new states of matter and polarization arrangements," says Ramamoorthy Ramesh, Berkeley Lab's Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Technologies and the co-principal investigator for this study. He also holds UC Berkeley's Purnendu Chatterjee Endowed Chair in Energy Technologies.

"Ferroelectric materials such as the materials used in this work have produced a number of exciting emergent properties over the years, but these smoothly-rotating polar vortex structures really are different," says Lane Martin, a faculty scientist with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and Associate Professor in UC Berkeley's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, who is this study's co-principal investigator.

"I think if you surveyed the community many would shake their heads in disbelief at such structures, but it turns out there really is a tendency for vortex states to form in nature even in these polar systems. And, when one looks more broadly, vortex structures can occur across huge length scales - from galaxies and weather systems all the way down to 10s of atoms as in our case."

Ramesh and Martin are the corresponding authors of a Nature paper describing this study in detail. The paper is titled "Observation of Polar Vortices in Oxide Superlattices." The lead researchers on this work are Ajay Yadav, Christopher Nelson, and Anoop Damodaran who also hold joint appointments with Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley. (Full list of authors below.)

Ferroic materials display unique electrical or magnetic properties - or both in the case of multiferroics. For example, the electrical field of a ferroelectric material can be polarized in favor of either a positive or negative charge with the application of an external electrical field.

In a ferromagnetic material, the application of an external magnetic field aligns the spin of their charged particles, resulting in the material becoming a permanent magnet. In recent years, it was discovered that the application of an external magnetic field can also produce atom-sized cyclones of skyrmions, which act like baryon particles and can be moved coherently over macroscopic distances. These properties make skyrmions excellent candidates for spintronic applications.

"We believe the polar vortices we observed in ferroelectrics, when fully explored, have the potential to be topological states of matter that are similar to magnetic skyrmions," Ramesh says. "The fact that our polar vortices can display emergent behavior in their electronic, optical, magnetic and other properties suggests that heretofore unexplored applications and functionalities could be possible."

Ramesh, Martin and their collaborators worked with what has become a canonical system in the community, ultrafine layered structures built from lead titanate and strontium titante compounds controlled down to a few unit cells each, in which each unit cell is approximately 0.4 nanometers thick. They created superlattices that harbored a three-way competition between elastic, electrostatic and gradient energies within the layers of lead titanate and strontium titanate. This unique three-way competition gives rise to the polar vortices.

"As we tune the period lengths of our superlattices, we can tune the relative importance of these three energy scales," Martin says. "Although rather exotic things can occur if one changes the superlattice period to be both smaller and bigger than we studied here, we really found the 'sweet-spot' in this work that produced these polar vortices which are an entirely new phenomenon."

A combination of scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and X-ray diffraction studies were used observe and characterize the polar vortices. The STEM work was carried out at Berkeley Lab's Molecular Foundry, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, on TEAM 0.5, the world's most powerful transmission electron microscope. The X-ray diffraction work was carried out at the Advanced Photon Source, another DOE Office of Science User Facility, which is hosted by DOE's Argonne National Laboratory.

"Our study is really indicative of how DOE-funded research programs can bring together a diverse range of expertise, including atomically-controlled materials synthesis and cutting-edge research facilities, and materials theory to enable foundational discoveries that really change the way we think about exotic materials and the possibilities for using them," says Ramesh.

"This is just the beginning for the study of polar vortices in ferroelectric materials," Martin says. "We're observing a new state of matter and we have our work cut out for us in mapping and understanding how it evolves. We can imagine adding a magnetic spin component to similar superlattices and thus potentially paving a pathway to fundamentally demonstrate electric-field control of magnetism."

Other co-authors of the Nature paper were Shang-Lin Hsu, Zijian Hong, James Clarkson, Christian Schlepuetz, Anoop Damodaran, Padraic Shafer, Elke Arenholz, Liv Dedon, Deyang Chen, Ashvin Vishwanath, Andrew Minor, Long-Qing Chen and Jason Scott.

 

 

A new magnetoresistance effect occurring in materials with strong spin-orbit coupling

 
‎03 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:54:37 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 29, 2016 - Researchers of the Nanodevices group, in collaboration with groups from the CFM and DIPC, both institutions also located in Donostia-San Sebastian, have discovered a new magnetoresistance effect occurring in materials with strong spin-orbit coupling. This new effect has been recently reported in the prestigious journal Physical Review Letters and featured as an Editor's Suggestion.

These materials, which include metals such as platinum or tantalum, are characterized for being capable of generating a spin current from an electrical current (and viceversa) by means of the so-called spin Hall effect. For this reason, these materials are of outmost importance in the field of spintronics -the branch of science that is devoted to explore the generation, transmission and detection of spin currents in materials and devices.

The ultimate goal of spintronics is to have a deeper understanding of the charge-to-spin conversion and transport phenomena at the nanoscale in order to be able to design new functional and efficient devices that are not only based on the injection, transport and storage of electrical charge, but also to its spin, which could revolutionize the conventional electronics and expand its limits.

The researchers show that, by means of this novel magnetoresistive effect, it is now possible to study the spin transport properties in these materials without the need to fabricate complex devices and/or involve interfaces between different materials.

When an electric current is applied to a thin film of a material with strong spin-orbit coupling (typically of a few nanometers thick), a spin current is generated in the transverse direction -that is, along the thickness of the film- via the direct spin Hall effect, which in turn produces an electric current (via the inverse spin Hall effect) that adds to the initial applied current.

This effect -small since it is due to a second-order correction-, causes a reduction in the resistivity of the film, and is maximum when the film thickness is on the order of to the spin diffusion length -that is, the average distance that a spin can travel through the material without suffering a collision that may cause a change in its state.

If a magnetic field is applied not collinear to the direction where the spins points to, one can force them to precess -via the so-called Hanle effect-, thereby generating a modulation in the resistivity of the material.

According to Saul Velez, first author of the work, "this new phenomenon could open ahead the possibility to study the spin transport in materials and systems not yet explored". "This new effect also allows to study the spin transport properties of known materials, and to compare the results with the ones obtained with other techniques or devices", adds Felix Casanova, last author and supervisor of the work.

Research paper: Hanle Magnetoresistance in Thin Metal Films with Strong Spin-Orbit Coupling

 

 

Anti-hydrogen origin revealed by collision simulation

 
‎03 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:54:37 AMGo to full article
New York NY (SPX) Jan 28, 2016 - Antihydrogen is a particular kind of atom, made up of the antiparticle of an electron - a Positron - and the antiparticle of a Proton - an antiproton. Scientists hope that studying the formation of anti hydrogen will ultimately help explain why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe.

In a new study published in EPJ D, Igor Bray and colleagues from Curtin University, Perth, Australia, demonstrate that the two different numerical calculation approaches they developed specifically to study collisions are in accordance. As such, their numerical approach could therefore be used to explain antihydrogen formation.

There are several methods of explaining anti-hydrogen creation. These involve calculating what happens when a particular kind of particle, made up of an electron and a positron bound together, called positronium, scatters on a proton or on an antiproton.

The trouble is that devising numerical simulations of such collision is particularly difficult due to the presence of two centres for the occurrence: the atomic level with the proton and at the positronium level.

The authors employed two very different calculations - using a method dubbed coherent close-coupling - for both one- and two-centre collisions respectively in positron scattering on hydrogen and helium.

Interestingly, they obtained independently convergent results for both approaches. Such convergence matters, as it is a way to ascertain the accuracy of their calculations for anti-hydrogen formation.

They then also compared the estimates of the area in the vicinity of the atom within which the positronium would need to be to ensure collision. They found excellent agreement with the two methods for hydrogen.

However, their method did not prove quite as good for helium. This indicates that there is further room for improvement in the theory for helium before the approach can be applied to more complex atoms, such as magnesium and molecular hydrogen.

Reference: I. Bray, J. J. Bailey, D. V. Fursa, A. S. Kadyrov, and R. Utamuratov (2016), Internal consistency in the close-coupling approach to positron collisions with atoms, Eur. Phys. J. D70:6, DOI 10.1140/epjd/e2015-60591-7

 

 

Solving hard quantum problems: Everything is connected

 
‎03 ‎February ‎2016, ‏‎10:54:37 AMGo to full article
Vienna, Austria (SPX) Jan 29, 2016 - Quantum systems are extremely hard to analyse if they consist of more than just a few parts. It is not difficult to calculate a single hydrogen atom, but in order to describe an atom cloud of several thousand atoms, it is usually necessary to use rough approximations. The reason for this is that quantum particles are connected to each other and cannot be described separately.

Kaspar Sakmann (TU Wien, Vienna) and Mark Kasevich (Stanford, USA) have now shown in an article published in Nature Physics that this problem can be overcome. They succeeded in calculating effects in ultra-cold atom clouds which can only be explained in terms of the quantum correlations between many atoms. Such atom clouds are known as Bose-Einstein condensates and are an active field of research.

Quantum physics is a game of luck and randomness. Initially, the atoms in a cold atom cloud do not have a predetermined position. Much like a die whirling through the air, where the number is yet to be determined, the atoms are located at all possible positions at the same time. Only when they are measured, their positions are fixed. "We shine light on the atom cloud, which is then absorbed by the atoms", says Kaspar Sakmann.

"The atoms are photographed, and this is what determines their position. The result is completely random."

There is, however, an important difference between quantum randomness and a game of dice: if different dice are thrown at the same time, they can be seen as independent from each other. Whether or not we roll a six with die number one does not influence the result of die number seven.

The atoms in the atom cloud on the other hand are quantum physically connected. It does not make sense to analyse them individually, they are one big quantum object. Therefore, the result of every position measurement of any atom depends on the positions of all the other atoms in a mathematically complicated way.

"It is not hard to determine the probability that a particle will be found at a specific position", says Kaspar Sakmann. "The probability is highest in the centre of the cloud and gradually diminishes towards the outer fringes."

In a classically random system, this would be all the information that is needed. If we know that in a dice roll, any number has the probability of one sixth, then we can also determine the probability of rolling three ones with three dice. Even if we roll five ones consecutively, the probability remains the same the next time. With quantum particles, it is more complicated than that.

"We solve this problem step by step", says Sakmann. "First we calculate the probability of the first particle being measured on a certain position. The probability distribution of the second particle depends on where the first particle has been found. The position of the third particle depends on the first two, and so on."

In order to be able to describe the position of the very last particle, all the other positions have to be known. This kind of quantum entanglement makes the problem mathematically extremely challenging.

But these correlations between many particles are extremely important - for example for calculating the behaviour of colliding Bose-Einstein-condensates. "The experiment shows that such collisions can lead to a special kind of quantum waves. On certain positions we find many particles, on an adjacent position we do not find any", says Kaspar Sakmann.

"If we consider the atoms separately, this cannot be explained. Only if we take the full quantum distribution into account, with all its higher correlations, these waves can be reproduced by our calculations."

Also other phenomena have been calculated with the same method, for instance Bose-Einstein-condensates which are stirred with a laser beam, so that little vortices emerge - another typical quantum many-particle-effect.

"Our results show how important theses correlations are and that it is possible to include them in quantum calculations, in spite of all mathematical difficulties", says Sakmann. With certain modifications, the approach can be expected to be useful for many other quantum systems as well.

 

 

 

After repeated pounding, antihydrogen reveals its charge: Zero

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:08 AMGo to full article
Berkeley CA (SPX) Jan 22, 2016 - An eight-hour experiment using the ALPHA trap at CERN confirmed with 20 times greater precision than before that the charge of the antihydrogen atom - the antimatter counterpart of the hydrogen atom - is zero. The charge is identical to that of the hydrogen atom, once again demonstrating that the properties of antimatter and matter are mirror images of one another.

A non-zero charge would have meant that the antiproton in the nucleus and the positron buzzing around it have slightly different charges, which would violate the rules of the Standard Model of particle physics and possibly provide an explanation for the dominance of matter over antimatter in the universe.

"The asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the universe is one of the most important outstanding problems with the Big Bang theory, which is otherwise very successful," said Joel Fajans, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a leader of the experiment. "Our experiment was a long shot to see if there are differences between matter and antimatter, in this case hydrogen atoms and antihydrogen atoms. Both should be neutral."

Theoretically, matter and antimatter should have been created in equal quantities at the birth of the cosmos in the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago. Yet today, antimatter is rare in the universe, leading physicists to search for minute violations of the known laws of physics that could explain the asymmetry.

"In a sense, this is the first precision measurement done on antihydrogen, because the measurement exceeds anything that could be inferred from previous measurements," Fajans said. "People had separately set bounds on the charge of the antiproton and the positron, which are opposite and, experimentally, approximately equal. But with this paper, we have improved on the bound obtained by adding the measured charge of the antiproton and positron."

The charge is zero to within 0.7 parts per billion, a limit 20 times smaller than previous measurements. The experiment also allowed the researchers to calculate the charge of the positron, which is the same - except for the sign of the charge - as that of the electron, within 1 part in a billion. This limit is 25 times better than previous measurements.

The results were published in the Jan. 21, 2016 issue of the journal Nature. The ALPHA collaboration at the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, is led by Jeffrey Hangst of Aarhus University in Denmark.

Searching for differences between matter and antimatter
Fajans, UC Berkeley physics professor Jonathan Wurtele and their ALPHA colleagues have probed antihydrogen in previous experiments to search for violations of the Standard Model, so far to no avail. One such attempt, to discover a difference between the gravitational attraction of matter and antimatter, will be tested with more precision thanks to a new $15 million grant to ALPHA from Canada and Denmark to look for gravitational anomalies in antihydrogen atoms.

In the most recent experiment, conducted at the end of 2014, Fajans and Wurtele employed a novel technique called stochastic acceleration, which is more sensitive than more direct methods. They trapped antihydrogen atoms as in previous experiments, but this time pulsed them repeatedly with an electric field to try to bump them out of the trap. If the antiatoms are really neutral, these fields would have no effect.

"We continually pounded on the antihydrogen with an electric field, randomly, about 80,000 times. If they were charged, knocking them back and forth, back and forth would eventually give them enough energy to escape out of the trap," he said. "The antihydrogen remained in the trap, allowing us to set a bound on what the charge could have been."

He compared this technique to bumping a balloon around a football stadium, hit repeatedly by hundreds or thousands of fans. Without air friction to slow it down, the balloon would eventually zoom out of the stadium.

Thanks to years of work by the 50 or so ALPHA scientists and students, the ALPHA experiment is now at a critical juncture, Fajans said.

"We've gotten to the point where we can confidently and reliably do experiments on trapped antihydrogen, but it has taken us thousands and thousands of hours to get to this point," he said. "It opens a new era of precision measurement on antihydrogen."

UC Berkeley graduate students Marcello Baquero-Ruiz and Len Evans and lecturer Andrew Charman worked with Fajans, Wurtele and the ALPHA team to obtain the experimental data and analyze it over the past year. The UC Berkeley team was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation and Department of Energy.

 

 

Neutral result charges up antimatter research

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:08 AMGo to full article
Toronto, Canada (SPX) Jan 25, 2016 - Scientists of the international ALPHA Collaboration have once again pushed the boundaries of antimatter research with their latest breakthrough studying the properties of antihydrogen. published in the prestigious journal Nature, the collaboration's result improved the measurement of the charge of antihydrogen, essentially zero, by a factor of 20.

Their work is the latest contribution in the quest to chase down the answer to the basic antimatter question, "If matter and antimatter were created in equal amounts during the Big Bang, where did all the antimatter go?"

"That means the electrical charge of antihydrogen - the antimatter analogue of hydrogen - can be ruled out as the answer to the antimatter question," says York University Professor Scott Menary, an ALPHA member. "The point of the experiment was to search for a clue as to how or where our predictions of nature are wrong," continues Menary. "Something is missing in our understanding otherwise the matter and antimatter at the Big Bang would have annihilated each other and there would be no universe today. The interactions of matter and antimatter must somehow be different."

Physics dictates that for every particle of matter there is an oppositely charged antiparticle with an equal mass. An antihydrogen atom should have the exact same charge as hydrogen (zero). That's because the antiproton and antielectron (positron), which make up antihydrogen, should have the exact opposite charge of the proton and electron that make up hydrogen.

Dr. Andrea Capra, a former PhD student of Menary's (now at TRIUMF) who played a major role in the analysis behind this result, says, "We take the charge of matter and antimatter for granted, however, you cannot analyze data or make an experiment assuming it's true."

This result showed that antihydrogen and hydrogen are indeed both electrically neutral at a level 20 times more precise than before. Since the antiproton charge is also known to a similar precision, the collaboration also has improved the previous best precision on the positron charge by a factor of 25. While both results uphold the Standard Model, they have constrained what possible extensions to it could be.

Capra points out that this work addresses one piece of a larger puzzle. When comparing normal matter to antimatter, he says that "there is the piece comparing their charges, the piece comparing their light spectrums, and the piece comparing how they respond to gravity." The latter piece will be investigated by a dedicated experiment, ALPHA-g, spearheaded by the University of Calgary and including the Canadian members of the collaboration.

The experiment was the first using the upgraded "ALPHA-2" system which began operation last year. The largest component, the cooling cryostat, was designed and built at TRIUMF and the University of Calgary by a team led by Mechanical Research Engineer Cam Marshall and Research Scientist (now Emeritus) Art Olin. Scientists at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia also contributed to the construction and assembly of the ALPHA-2 apparatus, including the cryostat.

Marshall explained that "the cryostat houses a unique octopole magnet with the antimatter trap, into which was fed the laser spectroscopy system, microwave system, liquid helium cooling, super-conducting current leads, diagnostic wiring, and thermal shielding. A lot going on in a small space!"

According to Olin, the experiment's success was "facilitated by the stable cryogenic environment and higher trapping rate of this new atom trap." The experiment was tricky because the team had to isolate the antihydrogen within a sophisticated "magnetic bottle" without it coming into contact with matter as it would then annihilate and disappear.

Having passed the first test of their upgraded apparatus with flying colours, the ALPHA Collobration is anxious to attack the other even more exciting pieces of the antimatter puzzle in the coming years.

"We will now look at the other pieces of the puzzle, such as the colour of the light emitted by antihydrogen, and test whether hydrogen and antihydrogen emit light in the same way," says Capra.

"We are also working on measuring the gravitational acceleration of antihydrogen and determining whether matter and antimatter have the same gravitational behaviour. The next several years are going to be very exciting."

"An improved limit on the charge of antihydrogen from stochastic acceleration", was published in the journal Nature.

 

 

Can 3 pigeons be in 2 pigeonholes with no 2 pigeons in the same hole

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:08 AMGo to full article
Orange, CA (SPX) Jan 21, 2016 - Research published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) introduced a new quantum phenomenon which the authors called the "quantum pigeonhole principle." Prior to this breakthrough, the pigeonhole principle was a basic tenet of conventional wisdom.

It states that if you put three pigeons in two pigeonholes then at least two of the pigeons must end up in the same hole. It is an obvious yet fundamental principle of nature as it captures the very essence of counting. The research, conducted by members of Chapman University's Institute for Quantum Studies (IQS), violates this principle.

The study demonstrates how to put an arbitrarily large number of particles in two boxes without any two particles ending up in the same box. "This discovery points to a very interesting structure of quantum mechanics that was hitherto unnoticed," said Yakir Aharonov, Ph.D., and co-director of Chapman's IQS. "This now requires us to revisit some of the most basic notions of nature."

The paper, called Quantum violation of the pigeonhole principle and the nature of quantum correlations, discusses several possible experiments which explore implications for the nature of interactions between particles. The paper also introduces a host of additional new findings that the researchers discovered concerning related quantum effects. The paper also calls into question some of the most fundamental notions including that of separability and correlations.

"It is still very early to say what the full implications of this research are," said Jeff Tollasken, Ph.D., co-author of the PNAS paper and co-director of IQS. "But we feel one should expect them to be major because we are dealing with such fundamental concepts."

For example: the laws governing the quantum world suggest that things can be in many different places at the same time. So a single particle can be in both boxes at the same time - but only when you're not "looking." Once you look, and observe the particle, it will be forced to be in either one box or the other.

"But if your only tool is a hammer, then you tend to treat everything as if it were a nail," says Tollaksen. "The problem was that the 'hammer-type' measurements usually are not the most useful in figuring out how the quantum world links the future with the present in subtle and significant ways."

Aharonov and his team have worked for two decades on new types of gentle "weak measurements," which can see these linkages - "akin to tapping something softly with your finger rather than smashing it with that hammer, which forces each pigeon to be in a single box," Tollaksen says.

All this weirdness has revolutionary implications for our understanding of the most exotic aspect of nature: non-locality - the theory that particles separated by huge distances, even at opposite ends of the universe, are connected and can affect each other's behavior. "Non-locality is regarded as the most profound discovery of science and is the resource for the future of technology." says Tollaksen.

Experiments have already been performed confirming some of the predictions made in the PNAS paper. The experimental results were published in December in the journal Physical Review A by Dr. Tollaksen and collaborator Prof. Yuji Hasegawa at the Vienna University of Technology.

Researchers on the PNAS paper included: Dr. Aharonov, Daniele Struppa, Ph.D., Dr. Tollaksen, Ph.D., Sandu Popescu, Ph.D., Irene Sabadini, Ph.D., and Fabrizio Colombo, Ph.D., all members of Chapman University's IQS.

 

 

New largest prime number found in Missouri

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:08 AMGo to full article
Warrensburg, Mo. (UPI) Jan 20, 2016 - There's a new largest prime number in town, and at 22 million digits, it's bigger than the last by 5 million digits.

But no one's feelings are hurt too badly, because the discoverer of the new number also discovered the last one. Also, the discoverer is a computer.

The number is 2^74,207,281-1. To get the unabridged version, simply multiply two by itself 74,207,281 times and then subtract one. When stretched in full, the number is more than 22 million digits long.

All prime numbers are found this way -- by multiplying two by two so many times and taking away one -- but the method doesn't always turn out prime results.

Although a computer does all the number crunching, a new prime number is only acknowledged when a human recognizes a prime output. The new number has been credited to Dr. Curtis Cooper at the University of Central Missouri.

According to the New Scientist, the new number was actually discovered last year on Sept. 17. But a glitch in the software caused an email alert to go unsent. Cooper discovered the result only recently while logging in to the program to do some routine maintenance.

The search and discovery was part of an ongoing effort to find bigger and bigger prime numbers called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, or GIMPS.

Computer security experts use really big prime numbers to encrypt valuable data and safeguard digital infrastructure. Finding new prime numbers diversifies their protective arsenal.

But in a statement, GIMPS officials said the latest discovery will be of little use.

"While prime numbers are important for cryptography, this prime is too large to currently be of practical value," they wrote.

 

 

HKUST-Harvard Scientists discovered ways to clock the beginning of the Universe

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:07 AMGo to full article
Hong Kong (SPX) Jan 27, 2016 - While the Big Bang theory has been a very successful model of the birth of our universe, astrophysical observations found that it does require very special initial conditions. Determining the primordial universe scenario that preceded the Big Bang and gave rise to such initial conditions has been a topic of contention among scientists.

The most popular theory of the primordial universe is cosmic inflation, during which the universe was expanding with an extremely fast exponential rate. On the other hand, there are also theories that contend that our primordial universe was fast contracting, slowly contracting, static or slowly expanding.

The persisting problem is that there has not been a clear way to distinguish those scenarios from observations. While we have learned much information about the spatial variation of the primordial universe from observations, without a chronological way to label the primordial stages of the universe, scientists could not know for sure whether the universe was expanding or contracting. Now, theorists are proposing a new method that can solve this puzzle at once.

Scientists from HKUST, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and University of Texas at Dallas, Yi Wang (HKUST), Xingang Chen and Mohammad Hossein Namjoo (Harvard/UT Dallas), recently proposed a method to observationally distinguish those primordial universe scenarios.

They note that some heavy particles in the primordial universe oscillate like clocks; and with clocks, one can label primordial stages of the universe with time and thus reconstruct the expansion or contraction history of the primordial universe. These heavy particles are called the "primordial standard clocks".

"Imagine you took the frames of a movie and stacked them all randomly on top of each other. If those frames aren't labeled with a time, you can't put them in order. Did the primordial universe crunch or bang? If you don't know whether the movie is running forward or in reverse, you can't tell the difference," explains Chen. "The primordial standard clocks, however, put time stamps on the frames."

"From observing the oscillation of the massive fields, we are able to reconstruct when the spatial variations are created in the primordial universe," says HKUST Assistant Professor Yi Wang. "Soon, we may be able to verify the evolutionary history towards how our universe was created, which has remained a myth for so long."

The findings were detailed in a paper that has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics

 

 

Watching electrons cool in 30 quadrillionths of a second

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:07 AMGo to full article
Riverside CA (SPX) Jan 25, 2016 - Two University of California, Riverside assistant professors of physics are among a team of researchers that have developed a new way of seeing electrons cool off in an extremely short time period. The development could have applications in numerous places where heat management is important, including visual displays, next-generation solar cells and photodetectors for optical communications.

In visual displays, such as those used in cell phones and computer monitors, and photodetectors, which have a wide variety of applications including solar energy harvesting and fiber optic telecommunications, much of the energy of the electrons is wasted by heating the material. Controlling the flow of heat in the electrons, rather than wasting this energy by heating the material, could potentially increase the efficiency of such devices by converting excess energy into useful power.

The research is outlined in a paper, "Tuning ultrafast electron thermalization pathways in a van der Waals heterostructure," published online in the journal Nature Physics. Nathan Gabor and Joshua C.H. Lui, assistant professors of physics at UC Riverside, are among the co-authors. In electronic materials, such as those used in semiconductors, electrons can be rapidly heated by pulses of light. The time it takes for electrons to cool each other off is extremely short, typically less than 1 trillionth of a second.

To understand this behavior, researchers use highly specialized tools that utilize ultra-fast laser techniques. In the two-dimensional material graphene cooling excited electrons occurs even faster, taking only 30 quadrillionths of a second. Previous studies struggled to capture this remarkably fast behavior.

To solve that, the researchers used a completely different approach. They combined single layers of graphene with thin layers of insulating boron nitride to form a sandwich structure, known as a van der Waals heterostructure, which gives electrons two paths to choose from when cooling begins. Either the electrons stay in graphene and cool by bouncing off one another, or they get sucked out of graphene and move through the surrounding layer.

By tuning standard experimental knobs, such as voltage and optical pulse energy, the researchers found they can precisely control where the electrons travel and how long they take to cool off. The work provides new ways of seeing electrons cool off at extremely short time scales, and demonstrates novel devices for nanoscale optoelectronics.

This structure is one of the first in a new class of devices that are synthesized by mechanically stacking atomically thin membranes. By carefully choosing the materials that make up the device, the researchers developed a new type of optoelectronic photodetector that is only 10 nanometers thick. Such devices address the technological drive for ultra-dense, low-power, and ultra-efficient devices for integrated circuits.

The research follows advances made in 2011 Science article, in which the research team discovered the fundamental importance of hot electrons in the optoelectronic response of devices based on graphene.

Other co-authors of the Nature Physics paper are: Qiong Ma, Trond I. Andersen, Nityan L. Nair, Andrea F. Young, Wenjing Fang, Jing Kong, Nuh Gedik and Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, all of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mathieu Massicotte and Frank H. L. Koppens, both of The Institute of Photonic Sciences in Spain; and Kenji Watanabe and Takashi Taniguchi, both of the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan.

 

 

Quantum knots are real

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:07 AMGo to full article
Espoo, Finland (SPX) Jan 25, 2016 - The very first experimental observations of knots in quantum matter have just been reported in Nature Physics by scientists at Aalto University (Finland) and Amherst College (USA). The scientists created knotted solitary waves, or knot solitons, in the quantum-mechanical field describing a gas of superfluid atoms, also known as a Bose-Einstein condensate.

In contrast to knotted ropes, the created quantum knots exist in a field that assumes a certain direction at every point of space. The field segregates into an infinite number of linked rings, each with its own field direction. The resulting structure is topologically stable as it cannot be separated without breaking the rings. In other words, one cannot untie the knot within the superfluid unless one destroys the state of the quantum matter.

To make this discovery we exposed a Rubidium condensate to rapid changes of a specifically tailored magnetic field, tying the knot in less than a thousandth of a second. After we learned how to tie the first quantum knot, we have become rather good at it. Thus far, we have tied several hundred such knots, says Professor David Hall, Amherst College.

The scientists tied the knot by squeezing the structure into the condensate from its outskirts. This required them to initialize the quantum field to point in a particular direction, after which they suddenly changed the applied magnetic field to bring an isolated null point, at which the magnetic field vanishes, into the center of the cloud. Then they just waited for less than a millisecond for the magnetic field to do its trick and tie the knot.

For decades, physicists have been theoretically predicting that it should be possible to have knots in quantum fields, but nobody else has been able to make one. Now that we have seen these exotic beasts, we are really excited to study their peculiar properties. Importantly, our discovery connects to a diverse set of research fields including cosmology, fusion power, and quantum computers, says research group leader Mikko Mottonen, Aalto University.

Knots have been used and appreciated by human civilizations for thousands of years. For example, they have enabled great seafaring expeditions and inspired intricate designs and patterns. The ancient Inca civilization used a system of knots known as quipu to store information. In modern times, knots have been thought to play important roles in the quantum-mechanical foundations of nature, although they have thus far remained unseen in quantum dynamics.

In everyday life, knots are typically tied on ropes or strings with two ends. However, these kinds of knots are not what mathematicians call topologically stable since they can be untied without cutting the rope. In stable knots, the ends of the ropes are glued together. Such knots can be relocated within the rope but cannot be untied without scissors.

Mathematically speaking, the created quantum knot realizes a mapping referred to as Hopf fibration that was discovered by Heinz Hopf in 1931. The Hopf fibration is still widely studied in physics and mathematics. Now it has been experimentally demonstrated for the first time in a quantum field.

This is the beginning of the story of quantum knots. It would be great to see even more sophisticated quantum knots to appear such as those with knotted cores. Also it would be important to create these knots in conditions where the state of the quantum matter would be inherently stable. Such system would allow for detailed studies of the stability of the knot itself, says Mikko Mottonen.

The research article "Tying Quantum Knots" was authored by D. S. Hall, M. W. Ray, K. Tiurev, E. Ruokokoski, A. H. Gheorghe, and M. Mottonen - Nature Physics, DOI: 10.1038/NPHYS3624

 

 

New Theory Turns Back Clock on Conditions Behind Universe's Origin

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:07 AMGo to full article
Dallas TX (SPX) Jan 26, 2016 - In a new study, scientists from The University of Texas at Dallas and their colleagues suggest a novel way for probing the beginning of space and time, potentially revealing secrets about the conditions that gave rise to the universe.

The prevailing model of the birth of the universe is the big bang theory, which describes the rapid expansion of the universe from a highly compressed primordial state. While the big bang is a successful genesis model, it does, however, require special initial conditions.

Determining what produced those initial conditions is a major challenge in cosmology and astrophysics, said Dr. Xingang Chen, assistant professor of physics at UT Dallas and a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

"Several different scenarios have been proposed for the origin of the big bang and to explain its pre-existing, initial conditions," Chen said.

The leading explanation among theorists is the inflation scenario, which posits that the universe went through an exponential expansion in the first fleeting fraction of a second of its existence. Another scenario suggests that a universe preceded ours and contracted in a "big crunch" before transitioning into our big bang.

In a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, Chen and his colleagues, Dr. Mohammad Hossein Namjoo, a postdoctoral researcher at UT Dallas and the Center for Astrophysics, and Dr. Yi Wang of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, describe a new theory to determine which scenario is correct.

"Each scenario can have many details in its theoretical models that result in various astrophysical signals that can be observed today," Wang said. "Most of these signals may be shared by the different scenarios, but there are some signals that are unique fingerprints of each scenario. Although these signals are very rare, the latter can be used to distinguish inflation from other scenarios."

Astrophysical observations already have revealed information about the origins of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago, specifically about properties of initial fluctuations that took place in the early universe. For example, researchers have mapped patterns of tiny fluctuations in temperature in the otherwise smooth cosmic microwave background (CMB), which is the heat left over from the explosion of the big bang.

Those tiny, "seed" irregularities became magnified as the universe expanded after the big bang, eventually forming all the large-scale structures we see in the universe today, such as stars and galaxies.

From those fluctuations scientists have learned a lot about the spatial variations of the primordial universe, but they have yet to determine the passage of time, Chen said. The phenomenon he and his colleagues discovered would allow that by putting "time stamps" on the evolutionary history of the primordial universe, shedding light on which scenario - inflation or contraction - produced the big bang's initial conditions.

"The information we currently have is akin to showing an audience many still pictures from a movie stacked on top of each other, but they lack proper time labeling for the correct sequence," Chen said. "As a result, we do not know for sure if the primordial universe was expanding or contracting."

Chen and his group devised a way to put the individual snapshots in order. They realized that heavy particles would be present before the big bang in both scenarios.

"These heavy particles have a simple but important property that can be used to resolve the competing scenarios. They oscillate just like a pendulum. They do so classically due to some kind of 'push,' or quantum-mechanically without having to be pushed initially," Chen said. "We call these heavy particles 'primordial standard clocks'."

The researchers found that in both the inflation and contraction scenarios, the oscillating particles generated time "ticks" on the seed fluctuations that the universe was experiencing at the same time.

"With the help of these time labels, we can turn the stacks of stills into a coherent movie and directly reveal the evolutionary history of the primordial universe," Chen said. "This should allow us to distinguish an inflationary universe from other scenarios, including one that previously contracted."

"The clock signals we are searching for are fine oscillatory structures that would manifest in measurements of the cosmic microwave background," Wang said. "Each primordial universe scenario predicts a unique signal pattern."

Namjoo said that detecting clock signals shouldn't require the design of new experiments. While current data is not accurate enough to spot such small variations, ongoing experiments worldwide are expected to gather extremely precise CMB data.

"Our theoretical proposal makes use of the same precision data that many experiments will be gathering in the next decade or so, but analyzes the data from a different angle to dig out a new type of signal," Namjoo said.

If the oscillations from the heavy particles are strong enough, experiments should find them in the next decade, Chen said. Supporting evidence could also come from other lines of investigation, such as maps of the large-scale structure of the universe, including galaxies and cosmic hydrogen.

The research was supported by UT Dallas, Harvard, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the National Science Foundation a paper appears in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics

 

 

Russian volunteers helped Lomonosov find mysterious black holes

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:07 AMGo to full article
Moscow, Russia (SPX) Jan 25, 2016 - The term "black holes" was first used in the mid-20th century by theoretical physicist John Wheeler. This term denotes relativistic supermassive objects that are invisible in all electromagnetic waves, but a great number of astrophysical effects confirms their existence.

There are two basic types of black holes known to scientists according to observations: supermassive black holes and stellar-mass black holes. It is generally believed that stellar-mass black holes are formed in the end of the evolution of massive stars, when stellar energy sources are exhausted, and the star collapse due to its own gravity. Theoretical calculations impose restrictions on their mass to the extent of 5-50 solar masses.

It's less clear how supermassive black holes come to existence. Masses of these black holes sitting in the center of most galaxies range between millions and billions of solar masses. Quasars, the active galactic nuclei, are supermassive black holes observed by astronomers at high redshift.

It means that these giants existed in the first few hundred million years after the Big Bang. Ivan Zolotukhin, who works at the Research Institute of Astrophysics and Planetology (Toulouse), said: "The astronomers look for black holes of intermediate mass, because no black hole that weighs a billion times more than the Sun could have been formed without them in just 700 million years."

It is believed that the first generation of stars did not contain metals and, therefore, their masses could have exceeded that of the Sun hundreds of times, and in the end of their evolution, they could become much more massive black holes than those observed today.

These black holes merged into formation of thousands of solar masses, and further inclusion of galaxies and the accretion of matter led to the formation of supermassive black holes. Calculation models of hierarchical galaxy buildup have shown that there should have remained a small number of these intermediate mass black holes astronomers are looking for.

A small number means about hundred pieces per a galaxy similar to our Milky Way. They should fly somewhere high above the galaxy plain because while merging black holes acquire a huge impulse that sometimes can throw them out of the galaxy. About 10 years ago, the researchers were looking for such kind of holes (thousands of solar masses) among the heavy stellar-mass holes and the light supermassive ones, but nothing lighter than 500 thousand of solar masses has been found.

The paper was published in 2009 by astronomers from Toulouse, who in the course of a search for neutron stars in our galaxy accidentally found a bright X-ray source close to the galaxy, located in the distance of 100 Mpc from Earth. Luminosity evaluation showed that the mass of the object is about 10 thousand of solar masses.

It is most likely that it shines due to the overflowing of matter into a black hole from a single star. A unique object called HLX-1 (Hyper-Luminous X-ray source 1) is now the only reliable candidate as the intermediate-mass black hole. Many astronomers were sure that this object is unique, and there won't be any similar to this.

At the same time they didn't take into consideration that this object was found by chance, and in the catalog of sources covering only 1% of the sky. "I supposed that such objects should appear much more often, and we have proposed a method of large scale search", said Zolotukhin.

The idea is to compare the objects from the wide-scale redshift survey of galaxies (SDSS) with the objects from a catalog of X-ray sources. "I suggested looking around galaxies for millions of X-ray objects with luminosity exceeding a certain value," the author explained.

Having applied the developed algorithm to both catalogs, the astronomers were able to find 98 objects, among which at least 16 must be associated with their galaxies. "These are the best candidates for intermediate-mass black hole.

We have shown for the first time that a new type of hypothetical intermediate mass black holes (with masses from 100 to 100 000 of solar mass) not only exist, but also exist in a population. In other words, these objects are not unique, there are lots of them", clarified the author of the paper published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The methods of the Virtual Observatory were applied in the research, and all the conclusions were obtained exclusively with the use of publicly available data and, therefore, can be confirmed from any computer with Internet access.

Moreover, the authors used a new site to access the data of the XMM-Newton observatory. "The uniqueness of this web application is that for the first time in international fundamental science such a complicated project is made specifically for scientists by volunteers - highly skilled programmers, who, while working at the best IT-companies in Russia, devoted their free time to this web page.

They are Alexey Sergeev, Askar Timirgazin, and Maxim Chernyshov," told Ivan Zolotukhin, "Many of my colleagues and I are still impressed by their work. The astronomers around the world can now enjoy the unique features of the site, and many discoveries can now be done directly online!" According to Zolotukhin, the current publication presents a series of studies based on this website. "It is important that thanks to simple and clear design scientists from other fields can now enjoy specific X-ray data," said the scientist.

This study essentially opens up the possibility for the search of intermediate-mass black holes. Since the researchers suggested more than a dozen of such candidates, it is expected that in the years to come they will be reliably confirmed with optical spectroscopic observations.

In the near future it is expected to search for them by the six-meter telescope of the Special Astrophysical Observatory (Russia) as well. "If there is at least one confirmation - it will be published in Nature, and astronomers immediately will rush to explore these 98 objects," said the author of the work.

The candidates were found only in 2% of the sky, so astronomers hope to launch a Russian-German space telescope "Spektr-RG" in 2017. The researchers hope to discover hundreds of objects like HLX-1 through a deep X-ray view of the sky obtained by the means of this telescope.

 

 

A fast way of electron orbit simulation in complex magnetic fields

 
‎27 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎09:42:07 AMGo to full article
Berlin, Germany (SPX) Jan 25, 2016 - In a storage ring like BESSY II electrons circulate nearly with the speed of light passing complex magnetic structures. These magnets guide the electron beam and focus it on the ideal orbit. They are comparable to optical lenses which focus the light. To evaluate the stability of the electron trajectories in the magnetic fields, several thousands of turns need to be simulated.

After each revolution the trajectories are slightly different, passing the magnets at slightly different positions. These combined and complex orbit and field calculations require a precise algorithm which could easily result in time consuming simulations.

Already in 2011, a team out of the HZB undulator group and of the HZB-institute of accelerator physics has published a first paper of a new simulation algorithm [2], which drastically speeds up the simulation time for trajectories in complex undulator fields.

This simulation routine was implemented into the public domain code "elegant" of the Advanced Photon source / Argonne, and it is available, worldwide.

Now, the young scientist Malte Titze together with the senior scientists Johannes Bahrdt and Godehard Wustefeld could extend this method to another important class of three dimensional magnets: multipoles such as quadrupoles or sextupoles.

"The paper demonstrates, that this method yields very precise results, particularly within the fast changing fringing fields of the magnets", Malte Titze explains. He is now engaged in research activities at CERN.

"Such simulation methods are of great interest for future light sources, especially for diffraction limited storage rings, which may include combined function magnets and exhibit significant cross talking between neighboring magnets" comments Johannes Bahrdt. "This is of clear relevance for a successor of BESSY II".

The scientists describe their methods in the renowned journal of Physical Review Special Topics Accelerator and Beams.

 
 
 

Quiet quasar has apparently eaten its fill

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:27 AMGo to full article
Seattle WA (SPX) Jan 10, 2016 - Astronomers with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) announced that a distant quasar ran out of gas. Their conclusions, reported Jan. 8 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kissimmee, Florida, clarify why quasar SDSS J1011+5442 changed so dramatically in the handful of years between observations.

"We are used to thinking of the sky as unchanging," said University of Washington astronomy professor Scott Anderson, who is principal investigator of the SDSS's Time-Domain Spectroscopic Survey. "The SDSS gives us a great opportunity to see that change as it happens."

Quasars are the compact area at the center of large galaxies, usually surrounding a massive black hole. The black hole at the center of J1011+5442, for example, is some 50 million times more massive than our sun. As the black hole gobbles up superheated gas, it emits vast amounts of light and radio waves.

When SDSS astronomers made their first observations of J1011+5442 in 2003, they measured the spectrum of the quasar, which let them understand the properties of the gas being swallowed by the black hole. In particular, the prominent "hydrogen-alpha" line in the spectrum revealed how much gas was falling into the central black hole.

The SDSS measured another spectrum for this quasar in early 2015, and noticed a huge decrease between 2003 and 2015. The team made use of additional observations by other telescopes over those 12 years to narrow down the period of change.

"The difference was stunning and unprecedented," said UW astronomy graduate student John Ruan, a member of the research team.

"The hydrogen-alpha emission dropped by a factor of 50 in less than 12 years, and the quasar now looks like a normal galaxy."

The change was so great that throughout the SDSS collaboration and astronomy community, the quasar became known as a "changing-look quasar." The black hole is still there, of course, but over the past 10 years, it appears to have swallowed all the gas in its vicinity. With the gas fallen into the black hole, the SDSS team were unable to detect the spectroscopic signature of the quasar.

"This is the first time we've seen a quasar shut off this dramatically, this quickly," said lead author Jessie Runnoe, a postdoctoral researcher at Pennsylvania State University.

Before Runnoe, Ruan and their colleagues could come to this conclusion, they had to rule out two other possibilities. A thick layer of dust could have passed through the host galaxy, obscuring their view of the black hole at its center. But, they concluded that there is no way that any dust cloud could have moved fast enough to cause a 50-fold drop in brightness in just two years.

Another possibility is that the bright quasar in 2003 was just a temporary flare caused by the black hole ripping apart a nearby star. While this possibility has been invoked in similar cases, it cannot to explain the fact that the changing-look quasar had been shining for many years before it turned off.

The team's conclusion is that the quasar has used up all the glowing-hot gas in its immediate vicinity, leading to a rapid drop in brightness.

"Essentially, it has run out of food, at least for the moment," says Runnoe. "We were fortunate to catch it before and after."

The changing-look quasar is the first major discovery reported for the Time-Domain Spectroscopic Survey, one component of SDSS's fourth phase, which will continue for the next several years.

"We found this quasar because we went back to study thousands of quasars seen before," said Anderson. "This discovery was only possible because the SDSS is so deep and has continued so long."

 

 

black hole affecting galactic climate

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:27 AMGo to full article
San Antonio TX (SPX) Jan 08, 2016 - team of researchers led by Eric Schlegel, Vaughn Family Endowed Professor in Physics at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has discovered a powerful galactic blast produced by a giant black hole about 26 million light years from Earth. The black hole is the nearest supermassive black hole to Earth that is currently undergoing such violent outbursts.

Schlegel's team used NASA's Earth-orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory to find the black hole blast in the famous Messier 51 system of galaxies. The system contains a large spiral galaxy, NGC 5194, colliding with a smaller companion galaxy, NGC 5195.

"Just as powerful storms here on Earth impact their environments, so too do the ones we see out in space," Schlegel said. "This black hole is blasting hot gas and particles into its surroundings that must play an important role in the evolution of the galaxy."

Schlegel and his colleagues detected two X-ray emission arcs close to the center of NGC 5195, where the supermassive black hole is located.

"We think these arcs represent artifacts from two enormous gusts when the black hole expelled material outward into the galaxy," said co-author Christine Jones, astrophysicist and lecturer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). "We think this activity has had a big effect on the galactic landscape."

Just beyond the outer arc, the researchers detected a slender region of hydrogen gas emission, suggesting that X-ray emitting gas displaced the hydrogen gas from the center of the galaxy.

Moreover, the properties of the gas around the arcs suggest that the outer arc has swept up enough material to trigger the formation of new stars. This type of phenomenon, where a black hole affects its host galaxy, is called "feedback."

"We think that feedback keeps galaxies from becoming too large," said co-author Marie Machacek, astrophysicist at CfA. "But at the same time, it can be responsible for how some stars form, showing that black holes can be creative, not just destructive."

The astronomers believe the black hole's outbursts may have been triggered by the interaction of NGC 5195 with its larger companion, NGC 5194, causing gas to be funneled toward the black hole. The team estimates that it took about one to three million years for the inner arc to reach its current position, and three to six million years for the outer arc.

"The black hole's behavior may be a local example of events that commonly took place when the universe was much younger. That makes this observation potentially very important," Schlegel said.

The researchers presented their findings at the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society meeting in Kissimmee, Fla. They have also described their work in a paper submitted to The Astrophysical Journal.

UTSA physics alumna Laura Vega '14 contributed to the research. She is currently a graduate student in the Fisk-Vanderbilt University physics program.

 

 

Bacteria, electrons spin in similar patterns

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:27 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jan 07, 2016 - There are certain universal patterns in nature that hold true, regardless of objects' size, species, or surroundings. Take, for instance, the branching fractals seen in both tree limbs and blood vessels, or the surprisingly similar spirals in mollusks and cabbage.

Now scientists at MIT and Cambridge University have identified an unexpected shared pattern in the collective movement of bacteria and electrons: As billions of bacteria stream through a microfluidic lattice, they synchronize and swim in patterns similar to those of electrons orbiting around atomic nuclei in a magnetic material.

The researchers found that by tuning certain dimensions of the microfluidic lattice, they were able to direct billions of microbes to align and swim in the same direction, much the way electrons circulate in the same direction when they create a magnetic field. With slight changes to the lattice, groups of bacteria flowed in opposite directions, resembling electrons in a nonmagnetic material.

Surprisingly, the researchers also identified a mathematical model that applies to the motions of both bacteria and electrons. The model derives from a general lattice field theory, which is typically used to describe the quantum behavior of electrons in magnetic and electronic materials. The researchers reduced this complex model to a much simpler, "textbook" model, which predicts that a phase transition, or a change in flow direction, should occur with certain changes to a lattice's dimensions - a transition that the team observed in their experiments with bacteria.

"It's very surprising that we see this universality," says Jorn Dunkel, assistant professor of applied mathematics at MIT. "The really nice thing is, you have a living system here that shows all these behaviors that people think are also going on in quantum systems."

Dunkel and his colleagues at Cambridge University - Hugo Wioland, Francis Woodhouse, and Raymond Goldstein '83 - published their results yesterday in the journal Nature Physics.

Guiding bacterial surfaces
Dunkel first began looking into the swimming patterns of bacteria as a postdoc with the Cambridge University group led by Goldstein. The researchers were exploring how to manipulate bacterial flow, as a way to prevent biofilms - dense layers of microbial slime that can take over shower stalls, clog filtration systems, and cling to ship hulls.

"We were generally interested in how microbes like bacteria interact with surfaces individually and collectively, and how might surfaces guide microorganisms," Dunkel says.

In initial experiments, the researchers placed bacteria in progressively smaller pools, or wells, and observed their swimming patterns. In larger wells, the microbes tended to swim in relative disorder. In much smaller wells, measuring about 70 microns wide, thousands of bacteria began to behave in orderly way, swimming in a spiral, in the same direction within the well, for long periods of time.

Against the current
In the new study, the researchers observed bacteria flowing through an interconnected array of these small wells. Made of a transparent, rubber-like polymer, the lattice is composed of 100 wells, each measuring 70 microns and connected to its neighbors by a small channel. They injected bacteria into the array and observed the direction in which bacteria flowed within each well.

Dunkel and his colleagues found that they were able to manipulate the bacteria's flow by changing one key dimension: the diameter of the connecting channels, or what they call gap size. If the gap was too small, bacteria in one well would spiral in the opposite direction from their neighbors in the adjacent well, like the alternating circulation of electrons in a nonmagnetic material. If, however, the gap size was 8 microns or larger, the researchers observed a phase transition, in which bacteria in every well synchronized, flowing in the same direction, like aligned electrons in a magnetic field.

Examining this phase transition more closely, the researchers found that a larger gap size allows more bacteria to flow from one well to a neighboring well. This movement of bacteria between wells creates an "edge current," or a flow of bacteria at the edges of each well, which in turn induces bacteria in the well's interior to flow against it. The overall result is that the majority of bacteria within each well flow in the same direction, opposite to the edge currents.

Modeling collective motion
To see whether the similar motions of bacteria and electrons bear out mathematically, Dunkel and his colleagues looked to lattice field theory, the model typically applied to describe the behavior of electrons in quantum systems. They reduced this more complicated model to the Ising model - a "textbook" model used to describe the spin of electrons within a two-dimensional square lattice similar to the microfluidic lattice fabricated by the researchers.

Applying the Ising model to their physical lattice, the researchers found that the model predicted a phase transition in response to a change in one parameter, which, in this case, turned out to be gap size. Dunkel and his colleagues found that the model predictions matched their experiments in a square lattice.

The group also studied bacteria flowing through a triangular lattice - a repeating pattern of three interconnected wells - and found that, again, theoretical expectations matched observations.

Going forward, Dunkel says he would like to explore bacterial flow in more random arrangements and environments.

"In real porous medium like soil or tissue, you don't have this very even distribution of bacteria," Dunkel says. "So how is collective motion of bacteria controlled by randomness of the medium? That's the next bigger goal."

 

 

Physicists offer theories to explain mysterious collision at Large Hadron Collider

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:27 AMGo to full article
Notre Dame IN (SPX) Jan 10, 2016 - Physicists around the world were puzzled recently when an unusual bump appeared in the signal of the Large Hadron Collider, the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator, causing them to wonder if it was a new particle previously unknown, or perhaps even two new particles. The collision cannot be explained by the Standard Model, the theoretical foundation of particle physics.

Adam Martin, assistant professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame, said he and other theoretical physicists had heard about the results before they were released on Dec. 15, and groups began brainstorming, via Skype and other ways, about what the bump could mean if confirmed - a long shot, but an intriguing one. He and some collaborators from Cincinnati and New York submitted a pre-peer-review paper that appeared on arXiv.org on Dec. 23.

This graph illustrates black dots that show events in experiment records compared along a red line that depicts the number expected through Standard Model processes. Two black dots don't fall in with the red line. Adam Martin says the bump at 750 is "the most exciting."

"It was so weird that people were forced to chuck their favorite theories and start from scratch," Martin says. "That's a fun area of particle physics. We're looking into the unknown. Is it one new particle? Is it two new particles?"

The paper considers four possible explanations for the data, including the possibility that it could indicate a heavier version of the Higgs boson, also commonly known as "the God particle." Further research could yield mundane explanations, Martin says, and the excitement could fade as it has many times in his career. Or it could open up new insights and call for new models.

"People are still cautiously optimistic," he says. "Everybody knows that with more data, it could just go away. If it stays, it's potentially really, really, really exciting."

Authors of paper, "On the 750 GeV di-photon excess," are Martin, Wolfgang Altmannshofer, Jamison Galloway, Stefania Gori, Alexander L. Kagan and Jure Zupan.

 

 

AAVSO observers contribute to understanding the black hole binary V404 Cygni

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:27 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jan 08, 2016 - V404 Cygni has been known as a variable star residing in the constellation Cygnus since the 18th century. It was believed to be a nova, a compact binary system containing a white dwarf primary and a sun-like secondary star, that undergoes unpredictable episodes of dramatic brightening - or 'outbursts' - before settling back down to quiescence for decades, until the next outburst.

The last outburst occurred in 1989. At that time, V404 Cyg released enormous amounts of energy in the x-ray, optical and radio wavelengths for several months before quieting back down again.

The 1989 outburst offered the first chance for astronomers of the space age to observe V404 Cyg with satellites and ground based telescopes. From what they learned, V404 Cygni was reclassified as one of a new class of X-ray transient sources called low mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs), x-ray emitting binary systems where one of the components is either a black hole or neutron star.

On June 15th, 2015- after a 26 year wait- V404 Cygni woke up again. The first signs of renewed activity were spotted by the Burst Alert Telescope on NASA's Swift satellite, when it detected a sudden burst of gamma rays. This then triggered observations with its own X-ray telescope. Soon after, MAXI (Monitor of All-sky X-ray Image), part of the Japanese Experiment Module on the International Space Station, observed an X-ray flare from the same patch of the sky.

These observations triggered alerts throughout networks of professional and amateur astronomers around the world, causing hundreds of instruments to point towards the latest outburst. Analysis of this unprecedented amount of data has begun to bear fruit.

One international research team found that observations of black hole binary outbursts in visible light could reveal important phenomena, such as the flickering light emerging from gases surrounding the black hole. The team's results, published in Nature, indicate that optical rays and not just X-rays provide reliable observational data for black hole activity.

"We now know that we can make observations based on optical rays - visible light, in other words - and that black holes can be observed without high-spec X-ray or gamma-ray telescopes," explains lead author Mariko Kimura, a master's student at Kyoto University.

Based on analyses of optical and X-ray data, Kyoto astronomers and their collaborators showed that the light originates from X-rays emerging from the innermost region of the accretion disk around a black hole. These X-rays irradiate and heat the outer region of the disk, making it emit optical rays and thus becoming visible to the human eye.

These important outburst observations were the fruit of international collaboration across countries in different time zones.

"Stars can only be observed after dark, and there are only so many hours each night, but by making observations from different locations around the globe we're able to take more comprehensive data," says co-author Daisaku Nogami. "We're very pleased that our international observation network was able to come together to document this rare event."

The team obtained unprecedented amounts of data from V404 Cygni, detecting repetitive patterns having timescales of several minutes to a few hours. The optical fluctuation patterns were correlated with those of X-rays.

The study also revealed that these repetitive variations occur at mass accretion rates lower than one tenth of that previously thought, indicating that the mass accretion rate isn't the main factor triggering repetitive activity around black holes, but rather the orbital periods.

Four members of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) are listed as co-authors on the paper in recognition of the high quality optical data they supplied to the research team - Lewis M. Cook, William (Bill) Goff, Michael Richmond and William (Bill) Stein.

"It is not a star I normally observe", explained Bill Goff, "but when I saw AAVSO Alert Notice 520 requesting observations I decided to get on it."

Bill continued, "The observations made on this target were immediately exciting. Seeing changes greater than one magnitude in less than an hour, and some high frequency changes occurring in the minutes range, was a wonder to see. I kept imagining how this target must be going through unbelievable eruptive changes."

 

 

'Seeing' black holes with the naked eye

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:27 AMGo to full article
Kyoto, Japan (SPX) Jan 07, 2016 - All you need is a 20 cm telescope to observe a nearby, active black hole. An international research team reports that the activity of such phenomena can be observed by visible light during outbursts, and that flickering light emerging from gases surrounding black holes is a direct indicator of this. The team's results, published in Nature, indicate that optical rays and not just X-rays provide reliable observational data for black hole activity.

"We now know that we can make observations based on optical rays - visible light, in other words - and that black holes can be observed without high-spec X-ray or gamma-ray telescopes," explains lead author Mariko Kimura, a master's student at Kyoto University.

Once in several decades, some black hole binaries undergo "outbursts", in which enormous amounts of energy - including X-rays - are emitted from substances that fall into the black hole. Black holes are commonly surrounded by an accretion disk, in which gas from a companion star is slowly drawn to the hole in a spiral pattern. Activities of black holes are typically observed through X-rays, generated in the inner portions of accretion disks where temperatures reach 10 million degrees Kelvin or more.

V404 Cygni, one of the black hole binaries thought to be nearest to Earth, "woke up" after 26 years of dormancy on 15 June 2015 as it underwent such an outburst.

Led by astronomers from Kyoto University, the team succeeded in obtaining unprecedented amounts of data from V404 Cygni, detecting repetitive patterns having timescales of several minutes to a few hours. The optical fluctuation patterns, the team found, were correlated with those of X-rays.

Based on analyses of optical and X-ray observational data, Kyoto astronomers and their collaborators at national space agency JAXA, national laboratory RIKEN, and Hiroshima University showed that the light originates from X-rays emerging from the innermost region of the accretion disk around a black hole.

These X-rays irradiate and heat the outer region of the disk, making it emit optical rays and thus becoming visible to the human eye.

The outburst observation, the researchers say, was the fruit of international collaboration across countries in different time zones.

"Stars can only be observed after dark, and there are only so many hours each night, but by making observations from different locations around the globe we're able to take more comprehensive data," says co-author Daisuke Nogami. "We're very pleased that our international observation network was able to come together to document this rare event."

The study also revealed that these repetitive variations occur at mass accretion rates lower than one tenth of that previously thought. This indicates that the quantity of mass accretion rate isn't the main factor triggering repetitive activity around black holes, but rather the length of orbital periods.

The paper "Repetitive patterns in rapid optical variations in the nearby black-hole binary V404 Cygni" appeared 06 January 2016 in Nature, with doi: 10.1038/nature16452

 

 

It's official! Element 113 was discovered at RIKEN

 
‎12 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:27 AMGo to full article
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Jan 05, 2016 - Element 113, discovered by a RIKEN group led by Kosuke Morita, has become the first element on the periodic table found in Asia. Rewarding nearly a decade of painstaking work by Morita's group, a Joint Working Party of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) and International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) has recommended that the group, from the RIKEN Nishina Center for Accelerator-based Science (RNC), be given recognition for the discovery of the new element. This news was conveyed to Dr. Morita through a letter on Dec. 31, 2015, from IUPAC.

In the late 1980s, the group began using RIKEN's Linear Accelerator Facility and the GARIS ion separator, developed by Morita and his group, to explore new synthetic superheavy elements. The work of discovering new superheavy elements is very difficult, and the elements tend to decay extremely quickly - the isotopes of 113 produced at RIKEN lasted for less than a thousandth of a second.

Researchers persevere, however, as the research is important for understanding the structure of atomic nuclei. Scientists hope that the work will lead eventually to the discovery of a so-called "island of stability" where elements with longer half-lives will be found.

The search at RIKEN for element 113 started in September 2003, when Morita's group began bombarding a thin layer of bismuth with zinc ions travelling at about 10% the speed of light. Theoretically, they would occasionally fuse, forming an atom of element 113.

The team achieved its first success on July 23, 2004, less than a year after starting the experiment. Two atomic nuclei fused, leading to the creation of a nucleus of element 113, which quickly underwent four alpha decays to transform into dubnium-262 (element 105), which then underwent spontaneous fission.

Less than a year later, on April 2, 2005, the team saw a second event - an identical decay to dubnium-262 followed by fission. Though these were good demonstrations, they were not considered conclusive evidence for the existence of element 113, because the decay chain did not demonstrate 'firm connections to known nuclides' (according to the Joint Working Party's 2011 report). The team pushed on with its efforts.

In order to create a better picture of the decay chain from bohrium-266 to lawrencium-258, which had not been well characterized, the group performed a new experiment, where a sodium beam was collided with a curium target, creating borhium-266 and its daughter nucleus, dubnium-262. With this demonstration, the grounds for a stronger claim were laid. They just needed to wait to see an atom decaying through the alpha chain rather than spontaneous fission.

Following the two initial events, however, the team's luck seemed to run dry. "For over seven years," says Morita, "we continued to search for data conclusively identifying element 113, but we just never saw another event. I was not prepared to give up, however, as I believed that one day, if we persevered, luck would fall upon us again."

Then, on Aug. 12, 2012, the group observed the crucial third event. This time, following the four initial decays, the dubnium-262 continued to undergo alpha decays rather than spontaneous fission, transforming into lawrencium-258 (element 103) and then finally mendelevium-254 (element 101). As the chain had been clearly characterized, it demonstrated clearly that element 113 was the source of the decay chain.

In response to the new event, coupled with the group's demonstration of the decay chain, IUPAC has announced that Morita's group will be given priority for the discovery of the new element, a privilege that includes the right to propose a name for it.

For Morita, then, part of the coming year will be devoted to thinking of and proposing a formal name for element 113, but he is also looking forward to the next step in his research. "Now that we have conclusively demonstrated the existence of element 113," he says, "we plan to look to the uncharted territory of element 119 and beyond, aiming to examine the chemical properties of the elements in the seventh and eighth rows of the periodic table, and someday to discover the island of stability."

The results of these experiments were reported in the Journal of Physical Society of Japan. The IUPAC report granting the naming rights to Morita's group will be published in an early 2016 issue of the IUPAC journal Pure and Applied Chemistry (PAC).

 

 
 

Galactic merger reveals an unusual black hole that has shed its stars

 
‎06 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:03 AMGo to full article
Boulder CO (SPX) Jan 06, 2016 - In this season of post-holiday gym memberships, black holes have shown that they too can lose a lot of the weight of the stars that surround them. One unusually star-deprived black hole at the site of two merged galaxies could provide new insight into black hole evolution and behavior, new research from the University of Colorado Boulder has found.

The findings were announced during a news briefing at the 227th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) being held this week in Kissimmee, Florida.

Supermassive black holes exist at the centers of all massive galaxies, including the Milky Way, and contain a mass of between one million and one billion times that of our Sun. The mass of a black hole tends to scale with the mass of its galaxy, and each black hole is typically embedded in a large sphere of stars.

The galaxy SDSS J1126+2944 is the result of a merger between two smaller galaxies, which brought a pair of supermassive black holes into SDSS J1126+2944. One of the black holes is surrounded by a typical amount of stars, but the other black hole is strangely "naked" and has a much lower number of associated stars than expected.

"One black hole is starved of stars, and has 500 times fewer stars associated with it than the other black hole," said Julie Comerford, an assistant professor in CU-Boulder's Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences and the lead investigator of the new research. "The question is why there's such a discrepancy."

One possibility, said Comerford, is that extreme gravitational and tidal forces simply stripped away most of the stars from one of the black holes over the course of the galactic merger. In other words, the black hole went on a crash diet and shed most of its stars.

The other possibility, however, is that the merger actually reveals a rare "intermediate" mass black hole, with a mass of between 100 and one million times that of our Sun. Intermediate mass black holes are predicted to exist at the centers of dwarf galaxies and thus have a lower number of associated stars. These intermediate mass black holes can grow and one day become supermassive black holes.

"Theory predicts that intermediate black holes should exist, but they are difficult to pinpoint because we don't know exactly where to look," said Scott Barrows, a postdoctoral researcher at CU-Boulder who is a co-author on the study. "This unusual galaxy may provide a rare glimpse of one of these intermediate mass black holes."

If galaxy SDSS J1126+2944 does indeed contain an intermediate black hole, it would provide researchers with an opportunity to test the theory that supermassive black holes evolve from these lower-mass 'seed' black holes.

"The Origin of Double-Peaked Narrow Lines in Active Galactic Nuclei I: Very Large Array Detections of Dual AGNs and AGN Outflows," Francisco Muller-Sanchez, Julia M. Comerford, et al., 2015 Nov. 10, Astrophysical Journal.

 

 

NASA's Chandra Finds Supermassive Black Hole Burping Nearby

 
‎06 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:03 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jan 06, 2016 - Evidence for powerful blasts produced by a giant black hole has been discovered using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This is one of the nearest supermassive black holes to Earth that is currently undergoing such violent outbursts.

Astronomers found this outburst in the supermassive black hole centered in the small galaxy NGC 5195. This companion galaxy is merging with a large spiral galaxy NGC 5194, also known as "The Whirlpool." Both of these galaxies are in the Messier 51 galaxy system, located about 26 million light-years from Earth.

"For an analogy, astronomers often refer to black holes as 'eating' stars and gas. Apparently, black holes can also burp after their meal," said Eric Schlegel of The University of Texas in San Antonio, who led the study. "Our observation is important because this behavior would likely happen very often in the early universe, altering the evolution of galaxies. It is common for big black holes to expel gas outward, but rare to have such a close, resolved view of these events."

In the Chandra data, Schlegel and his colleagues detect two arcs of X-ray emission close to the center of NGC 5195.

"We think these arcs represent fossils from two enormous blasts when the black hole expelled material outward into the galaxy," said co-author Christine Jones of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) in Cambridge, Mass. "This activity is likely to have had a big effect on the galactic landscape."

Just outside the outer X-ray arc, the researchers detected a slender region of emission of relatively cool hydrogen gas in an optical image from the Kitt Peak National Observatory 0.9-meter telescope. This suggests that the hotter, X-ray emitting gas has "snow-plowed," or swept up, the hydrogen gas from the center of the galaxy. This is a clear case where a supermassive black hole is affecting its host galaxy in a phenomenon that astronomers call "feedback."

In NGC 5195, the properties of the gas around the X-ray-glowing arcs suggest that the outer arc has plowed up enough material to trigger the formation of new stars.

"We think that feedback keeps galaxies from becoming too large," said co-author Marie Machacek of CfA. "But at the same time, it can be responsible for how some stars form. This shows that black holes can create, not just destroy."

The astronomers think the outbursts of the supermassive black hole in NGC 5195 may have been triggered by the interaction of this smaller galaxy with its large spiral companion, causing gas to be funneled in towards the black hole. The energy generated by this infalling matter would produce the outbursts. The team estimates that it took about one to three million years for the inner arc to reach its current position, and three to six million years for the outer arc.

The arcs are also significant because of their location in the galaxy. They are well outside the region where rapid outflow, or winds, have been detected from active supermassive black holes in other galaxies, yet inside the much larger cavities and filaments observed in the hot gas around many massive galaxies. As such they may represent a rare view an intermediate stage in the feedback process operating between the interstellar gas and the black hole.

 

 

Beam-beam compensation scheme doubles proton-proton collision rates at RHIC

 
‎06 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:03 AMGo to full article
Upton NY (SPX) Jan 05, 2016 - Accelerator physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have successfully implemented an innovative scheme for increasing proton collision rates at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC). More proton collisions at this DOE Office of Science User Facility produce more data for scientists to sift through to answer important nuclear physics questions, including the search for the source of proton spin.

"So far we have doubled the peak and average 'luminosity'-measures that are directly related to the collision rates," said Wolfram Fischer, Associate Chair for Accelerators of Brookhaven's Collider-Accelerator Department and lead author on a paper describing the success just published in Physical Review Letters. And, he says, there's potential for further gains by increasing the number protons from the injectors even more.

Colliding polarized protons
RHIC is the world's only polarized proton collider, capable of sending beams of protons around its 2.4-mile-circumference racetrack with their internal magnetic axes (also known as spins) aligned in a chosen direction. Colliding beams of such "spin polarized" protons and manipulating the spin directions gives scientists a way to explore how their internal building blocks, quarks and gluons, contribute to this intrinsic particle property.

Data at RHIC have revealed that both quarks and gluons make substantial contributions to spin, but still not enough to explain the total spin value. More data will help resolve this spin mystery by reducing uncertainties and allowing nuclear physicists to tease out other unaccounted for contributions.

But getting more protons to collide is an ongoing challenge because, as one beam of these positively charged particles passes through the other, the particles' like charges make them want to move away from one another.

"The strongest disturbance a proton experiences when it travels around the RHIC ring is when it flies through the other proton beam," Fischer said. "The result of the positive charges repelling is that the protons get deflecting kicks every time they fly through the oncoming beam."

Opposite charge produces opposite push
The size of the repulsive kick depends on where the proton flies through the beam, with protons about halfway from dead center to the outside edge of the beam's cross-section experiencing the largest outward push. Particles closer to the center or the outer edge of the cross-section experience less repulsion.

Because of the variable shape of this effect-increasing to a peak and then decreasing with distance from the beam's center-it's impossible to correct using magnets. "The magnetic field strength in magnets increases steadily from the center out," Fischer said.

So instead, the scientists turned to using oppositely charged particles to produce a compensating push in the opposite direction.

"We've implemented electron lensing technology to compensate for these head-on beam-beam effects," Fischer said.

Essentially, they use an electron gun to introduce a low-energy electron beam into a short stretch of the RHIC accelerator. Within that stretch, the electrons are guided by a magnetic field that keeps them from being deflected by the more energetic protons. As the protons pass through the negatively charged electron beam, they experience a kick in the opposite direction from the repulsive positive charge, which nudges the protons back toward the center of the beam.

"It's not a glass lens like you'd find in a camera," Fischer said, "but we call the technique 'electron lensing' because, like a lens that focuses light, the electron beam changes the trajectory of the protons flying through it."

Riding the optical wave
The scientists also take advantage of certain "optical" properties of RHIC's particle beams to ensure the method's efficacy.

"Ideally you would like to produce these compensating pushes right where the collisions happen, within the STAR and PHENIX detectors," Fischer said. "But then the experiments wouldn't work anymore. So we placed the electron lenses, one on each beam, at a certain distance from the detectors-called the optical distance-where they have an effect at the same point in the 'phase' of the particle beam that's inside the detectors."

Like a wave of light or sound that oscillates up and down in amplitude at a given frequency, the particles that travel around RHIC also oscillate a tiny bit. As long as the nuclear physicists know the frequency of the oscillations and give their electron-lensing kicks at the same point in that oscillation that the particles reach within the detector, the effect will compensate for the proton repulsion the particles experience at that distant location.

So far, the scientists have doubled the proton-proton collision rates at RHIC. They could potentially get even higher gains by increasing the number of protons injected into the machine.

"The key challenge will be to maintain the high degree of polarization the experiments need to explore the question of proton spin," Fischer said. But he insists there is clear potential for even higher proton-proton luminosity.

 

 

Quantum Foam

 
‎06 ‎January ‎2016, ‏‎07:08:03 AMGo to full article
Huntsville AL (SPX) Jan 04, 2016 - Quantum foam. It may sound like the name of a new craft beer, but it's something even more amazing.

To 'see' it, you have to dive down the rabbit hole of quantum mechanics - a branch of physics that describes how light and matter behave at atomic scales. In this bizarre realm, matter can be in two places at once; electrons can behave as both particles and waves; and Schrodinger's cat can be alive and dead at the same time. Or so the quantum theorists tell us.

Theirs is a world wildly different from Einstein's. In his highly successful theory of general relativity, Einstein tells us that energy=mass and mass warps space-time. Remember the physics analogy of the trampoline with a bowling ball in the middle?

Like that ball, which gently distorts the trampoline's canvas, the sun warps the smooth 'canvas' of space-time enough to make planets move in curved orbits. A whole galaxy warps space-time much more.

The more massive the body, the more warping. But if we could zoom in on the quantum realm, we wouldn't see a smooth expanse of canvas gently distorted by massive bodies. We'd see quantum foam.

Quantum gravity models predict that space-time is a seething foam of tiny regions where minisculenew dimensions unfurl and then furl back in on themselves, spontaneously appearing and disappearing with inconceivable quickness.

These regions blink in and out of existence like the bubbles in the foam of a freshly poured beer. There is no such thing as empty space; there is only 'quantum foam,' everywhere. Such is space-time for a quantum physicist.

According to Eric Perlman of the Florida Institute of Technology, "The 'bubbles' in the quantum foam are quadrillions of times smaller than atomic nuclei and last for infinitesimal fractions of a second-or in 'quantum-speak', the size of a Planck Length for a Planck Time. According to string theorists, this requires an additional six dimensions. Space-time itself is fluctuating in these regions."

But this is all hear-say. We can't see this quantum foam in all its weird glory.

Researchers have to look for evidence of its effect to prove it's there and determine its nature. Perlman and his colleagues recently attempted to do so by using X-ray and gamma-ray observations of distant quasars by the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, and the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System, or VERITAS.

"Because these bubbles are so small and last for such a short time, they can never be observed directly," says Perlman. "But they would affect light in an interesting way."

Each photon's path would be slightly different as it maneuvered through the all-pervading myriads of tiny fluctuations frothing up space-time. And, as a result, the distance each photon travels would be different.

Perlman says that "Over the cosmological distances that the photons travel from these distant sources, the effects of the fluctuations the photons encounter will accumulate. The more they accumulate, the more out of phase the light will get.

Creating an image from a collection of such photons would be like trying to distinguish what one person is saying in a huge crowd of people talking. So it would be physically impossible to get a clear picture."

But the findings of Perlman and his team took a bit of the fizz out of the quantum foam.

"It seems space-time has to be smooth, at least at the level of 1000x time smaller than an atom, and space-time must be much less foamy than most models predict."

"But," he cautions, "this investigation does not go as far down as the Planck Length. So there is still some hope for the tiniest of bubbles."

 

 
 

Mysterious radio signals from space much better test of Einstein's General Relativity Theory

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
University Park PA (SPX) Dec 31, 2015 - A new way to test one of the basic principles underlying Einstein's theory of General Relativity using brief blasts of rare radio signals from space called Fast Radio Bursts is ten times, to one-hundred times better than previous testing methods that used gamma-ray bursts, according to a paper just published in the journal Physical Review Letters. The paper received additional highlighting as an "Editor's Suggestion" due to "its particular importance, innovation, and broad appeal," according to the journal's editors.

The new method is considered to be a significant tribute to Einstein on the 100th anniversary of his first formulation of the Equivalence Principle, which is a key component of Einstein's theory of General Relativity. More broadly, it also is a key component of the concept that the geometry of spacetime is curved by the mass density of individual galaxies, stars, planets, and other objects.

Fast Radio Bursts are super-brief blasts of energy - lasting just a few milliseconds. Until now, only about a dozen Fast Radio Bursts have been detected on Earth. They appear to be caused by mysterious events beyond our Milky Way Galaxy, and possibly even beyond the Local Group of galaxies that includes the Milky Way. The new technique will be important for analyzing the abundance of observations of Fast Radio Bursts that advanced radio-signal observatories, now being planned, are expected to detect.

"With abundant observational information in the future, we can gain a better understanding of the physical nature of Fast Radio Bursts," said Peter Meszaros, Holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Astronomy and Astrophysics and Professor of Physics at Penn State, the senior author of the research paper. Like all other forms of electromagnetic radiation including visible light, Fast Radio Bursts travel through space as waves of photon particles. The number of wave crests arriving from Fast Radio Bursts per second - their "frequency" - is in the same range as that of radio signals.

"When more-powerful detectors provide us with more observations," Meszaros said, "we also will be able to use Fast Radio Bursts as a probe of their host galaxies, of the space between galaxies, of the cosmic-web structure of the universe, and as a test of fundamental physics."

The impact of the new method using Fast Radio Bursts is expected to increase significantly as more of the bursts are observed, and if their origin can be established more firmly. "If Fast Radio Bursts are proven to originate outside the Milky Way Galaxy, and if their distances can be measured accurately, they will be a new powerful tool for testing Einstein's Equivalence Principle and for extending the tested energy range down to radio-band frequencies," Meszaros said.

Einstein's Equivalence Principle requires that any two photons of different frequencies, emitted at the same time from the same source and traveling through the same gravitational fields, should arrive at Earth at exactly the same time.

"If Einstein's Equivalence Principle is correct, any time delay that might occur between these two photons should not be due to the gravitational fields they experienced during their travels, but should be due only to other physical effects," Meszaros said. "By measuring how closely in time the two different-frequency photons arrive, we can test how closely they obey Einstein's Equivalence Principle."

More specifically, Meszaros said the test that he and his coauthors developed involves an analysis of how much space curvature the photons experienced due to massive objects along or near their path through space. He said, "Our test of Einstein's Equivalence Principle using Fast Radio Bursts consists of checking by how much does a parameter - the gamma parameter - differ for the two photons with different frequencies."

Meszaros said his research team's analysis of the less-than-a-dozen recently detected Fast Radio Bursts "supersedes by one to two orders of magnitude the previous best limits on the accuracy of the Einstein Equivalence Principle," which were based on gamma rays and other energies from a 1987 supernova explosion, supernova 1987A. "Our analysis using radio frequencies shows that the Einstein Equivalence Principle is obeyed to one part in a hundred million," Meszaros said.

"This result is a significant tribute to Einstein's theory, on the hundredth anniversary of its first formulation."

In addition to Meszaros, other authors of the paper include Jun-Jie Wei, a graduate student at the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; and two scientists who received their postdoctoral training with Meszaros at Penn State and who now hold academic and research positions in China, He Gao and Xue-Feng Wu, who is the paper's corresponding author.

This research is supported, in part, by the National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB845800 and 2013CB834900); NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States (NNX 13AH50G), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11322328 and 11433009), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2011231 and XDB09000000).

Abstract

 

 

Black holes could grow as large as 50 billion suns

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
Leicester, UK (SPX) Dec 25, 2015 - Black holes at the heart of galaxies could swell to 50 billion times the mass of the sun before losing the discs of gas they rely on to sustain themselves, according to research at the University of Leicester.

In a study titled 'How Big Can a Black Hole Grow?' published in the journal Monthly Notices Letters of the Royal Astronomical Society, Professor Andrew King from the University of Leicester's Department of Physics and Astronomy explores supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies, around which are regions of space where gas settles into an orbiting disc.

This gas can lose energy and fall inwards, feeding the black hole. But these discs are known to be unstable and prone to crumbling into stars.

Professor King calculated how big a black hole would have to be for its outer edge to keep a disc from forming, coming up with the figure of 50 billion solar masses.

The study suggests that without a disc, the black hole would stop growing, meaning 50 billion suns would roughly be the upper limit. The only way it could get larger is if a star happened to fall straight in or another black hole merged with it.

Professor King said: "The significance of this discovery is that astronomers have found black holes of almost the maximum mass, by observing the huge amount of radiation given off by the gas disc as it falls in. The mass limit means that this procedure should not turn up any masses much bigger than those we know, because there would not be a luminous disc.

"Bigger black hole masses are in principle possible - for example, a hole near the maximum mass could merge with another black hole, and the result would be bigger still. But no light would be produced in this merger, and the bigger merged black hole could not have a disc of gas that would make light.

"One might nevertheless detect it in other ways, for example as it bent light rays passing very close to it (gravitational lensing) or perhaps in future from the gravitational waves that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity predicts would be emitted as it merged."

Research paper: 'How Big Can a Black Hole Grow?'

 

 

Reducing Tics in the Tocks of Atomic Clocks

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 28, 2015 - One of the greatest episodes in the history of clockmaking unfolded over three decades during the 18th century in response to a government challenge to overcome a daunting and often deadly problem: Find a way to reliably determine a ship's east-west position, or longitude, on the high seas. British clockmaker John Harrison won the prize, equivalent to millions of today's dollars, for his invention of a chronometer that remained stable enough for navigators to make accurate longitude calculations even during long-distance sea voyages.

Until Harrison's advance, the inaccuracies of clocks at sea meant that ships, crews and cargoes routinely ended up far from their intended destinations, or worse, lost at sea. Now, with an ambitious new DARPA effort, program manager Robert Lutwak is seeking a modern-day breakthrough in atomic clocks analogous to Harrison's centuries-old achievement in mechanical clocks-one that will give warfighters and others enormous advantages related to position, navigation and timing for extended periods after they last synchronized with a reference clock.

"All of our modern communications, navigation and electronic warfare systems, as well as our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, depend on accurate time-keeping," said Lutwak, who will oversee the new program, called Atomic Clocks with Enhanced Stability (ACES). "If ACES is successful, virtually every Defense Department system will benefit."

DARPA will convene a Proposers Day on February 1, 2016, to provide information and promote additional discussion on the ACES program, address questions from potential proposers, and provide an opportunity for potential proposers to share their capabilities and ideas for teaming arrangements. Details can be found in Special Notice DARPA-SN-16-13.

Among their myriad potential advantages, better clocks could reduce one of the more worrisome modern-day national security vulnerabilities: a deep and growing dependence on the Global Positioning System (GPS), not just within the military but among numerous civilian sectors of the economy.

That's because satellite-based atomic clocks-whose precision and accuracy reside in super-uniform, high-frequency oscillations of atomic energy states (typically those of cesium or rubidium atoms) rather than the mechanical oscillations of pendulums or the quartz crystals inside modern watches, cell phones and computers-provide the key reference signals that are pivotal to GPS.

The longer that clocks on Earth or on aircraft can maintain extreme accuracy in the absence of satellite reference signals, the lower the impact of any loss of satellite contact, whether caused by natural forces or adversarial activities.

How critical is constant contact today? Within 30 seconds of a GPS shut-down, a GPS receiver would only be able to specify that it was somewhere within an area the size of Washington, DC. An hour of GPS shutdown would expand the area of uncertainty to more than the size of Montana.

It would not take long for warfighters in deserts and sailors at sea to lose their bearings; for the critical synchrony in radiofrequency, electronic and photonic signaling to disappear; and for high-precision munitions to be stripped of the astounding navigational control that has changed the character of modern warfare.

This is where ACES comes in. The technology challenge specified in the three-phase program, budgeted for up to $50 million, is to design and build a new generation of palm-sized, battery-powered atomic clocks that perform up to 1,000 times better than the current generation-which itself is the outcome of previous DARPA efforts, including the Chip-Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) program. The ACES program also specifies that the new clocks must fit into a package about the size of a billfold and run on a mere quarter-watt of power.

Success will require record-breaking advances that counter accuracy-eroding processes in current atomic clocks, among them variations in atomic frequencies that result from temperature fluctuations and subtle frequency differences that can occur if the power shuts down and then starts up again.

"It will take a collaboration of teams with skillsets from diverse fields, including atomic physics, optics, photonics, microfabrication and vacuum technology to achieve the unprecedented clock stability that we seek," Lutwak said.

In ACES' first phase, performers will be allowed to build their components in a roomy laboratory, but must show that the parts operate together as an atomic clock with improved stability compared to existing ones.

In the second phase, those who continue in the program will be called to integrate and pack the clock components of the system-including miniaturized lasers, thermal controllers, shutters, modulators and other optical elements, along with a tiny vessel of oscillating atoms-into a package no larger than 30 cm3 (two cubic inches).

In the final phase, performers will need to also incorporate the associated electronics into a package with a volume no more than 50 cm3, slight enough to hold in a clasped hand and to fly in small unmanned aerial vehicles.

Image Caption: British clockmaker John Harrison unveiled his first marine timekeeper, now designated as H1, in 1735. It incorporated several innovations that reduced the clock's susceptibility to a ship's motions, temperature changes and friction. (Image courtesy of National Maritime Museum; Greenwich, England)

 

 

Jefferson Lab Accelerator delivers its first 12 GeV electrons

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
Newport News VA (SPX) Dec 24, 2015 - The newly upgraded accelerator at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has delivered full-energy electrons as part of commissioning activities for the ongoing 12 GeV Upgrade project. At 4:20 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14, operators of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) delivered the first batch of 12 GeV electrons (12.065 GeV) to its newest experimental hall complex, Hall D.

"Through part of the ongoing upgrade process, we have refurbished or replaced virtually every one of the many thousands of components in CEBAF," said Allison Lung, deputy project manager for the CEBAF 12 GeV Upgrade project and Jefferson Lab assistant director. "Now, to see the machine already reaching its top design energy - It's a testament to the hard work of the many Jefferson Lab staff members who have made it possible."

The 12 GeV Upgrade project, which is scheduled to be completed in September 2017, was designed to enable the machine to provide 12 GeV electrons, which is triple its original design and double its maximum operational energy before the upgrade.

By increasing the energy of the electrons, scientists are increasing the resolution of the CEBAF microscope for probing ever more deeply into the nucleus of the atom. The $338 million upgrade entails adding ten new acceleration modules and support equipment to CEBAF, as well as construction of a fourth experimental hall, upgrades to instrumentation in the existing halls, and other upgrade components.

"The CEBAF accelerator commissioning and achievement of the design energy required hard work, patience and teamwork," said Arne Freyberger, Jefferson Lab's director of accelerator operations. "It's just fantastic to watch it all come together, and the sense of accomplishment is palpable."

Once the upgrade is complete, CEBAF will become an unprecedented tool for the study of the basic building blocks of the visible universe. It will be able to deliver 11 GeV electrons into its original experimental areas, Halls A, B and C for experiments. The full-energy, 12 GeV electrons are now being provided to the Experimental Hall D complex to initiate studies of the force that glues matter together.

In Hall D, scientists hope to produce new particles, called hybrid mesons. Hybrid mesons are made of quarks bound together by the strong force, the same building blocks of protons and neutrons, but in hybrid mesons, this force is somewhat modified. It's hoped that observing these hybrid mesons and revealing their properties will offer a new window into the inner workings of matter.

"This kind of science explores the most fundamental mysteries: Why are we here? Why is it that one particular combination of quarks and forces takes on that material property, while a different combination of quarks and forces makes up the human body?" Lung said.

"One particularly compelling question that scientists have had, is why do we always find quarks bound together in two and threes, but never alone? We will have an entirely unique facility designed to answer the question."

 

 

New study asks: Why didn't the universe collapse?

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
Copenhagen, Denmark (UPI) Dec 23, 2015 - The models that best describe the Big Bang and birth of the universe have one glaring problem. Most of them predict a collapse almost immediately after inflation.

There was nothing, then there was something. And then there was nothing again.

As we know from living and breathing and looking up at a sky action-packed with cosmic activity, there's definitely something more than nothing out there. So why is there still something? Why did the universe's tendency to expand overcome its tendency to collapse?

A new study published in the Physical Review Letters is just the latest to try to inch closer to a place where physicists might be able to answer those questions.

In this particular paper, researchers try to work out the details of the relationship between Higgs boson particles and gravity -- a relationship scientists believe kept an early, unstable universe from collapsing.

Their latest calculations confirm that the stronger the bond between Higgs fields and gravity, the greater the chance of instability and a transition to a negative energy vacuum state, a place with little energy only a few particles popping in and out of existence.

A coupling strength above one would have certainly spelled doom for the early universe, scientists at the University of Copenhagen determined. The new math helps narrow the likely coupling range to between 0.1 and 1.

But to further narrow the range scientists need more data. First, they need to better understand the nature of the Higgs bosson. And second, they need to gather data from the cosmic microwave background radiation and gravitational waves leftover by the Big Bang.

"Presently it is not possible to draw a conclusion on whether the standard model is in trouble due to instability-related issues," study co-author Matti Herranen, an astrophysicist at Copenhagen, told Phys.org.

"But it would be very interesting if the Higgs-gravity coupling and the scale of inflation could be constrained more tightly in the future by independent measurements, for example by observing primordial gravity waves resulting from inflation."

 

 

Surface physics: How water learns to dance

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
Vienna, Austria (SPX) Dec 24, 2015 - Perovskites are materials used in batteries, fuel cells, and electronic components, and occur in nature as minerals. Despite their important role in technology, little is known about the reactivity of their surfaces.

Professor Ulrike Diebold's team at TU Wien (Vienna) has answered a long-standing question using scanning tunnelling microscopes and computer simulations: How do water molecules behave when they attach to a perovskite surface? Normally only the outermost atoms at the surface influence this behaviour, but on perovskites the deeper layers are important, too. The results have been published in the prestigious journal 'Nature Materials'.

Perovskite dissociates water molecules
"We studied strontium ruthenate - a typical perovskite material," says Ulrike Diebold. It has a crystalline structure containing oxygen, strontium and ruthenium. When the crystal is broken apart, the outermost layer consists of only strontium and oxygen atoms; the ruthenium is located underneath, surrounded by oxygen atoms.

A water molecule that lands on this surface splits into two parts: A hydrogen atom is stripped off the molecule and attaches to an oxygen atom on the crystal's surface. This process is known as dissociation. However, although they are physically separated, the pieces continue to interact through a weak "hydrogen bond".

It is this interaction that causes a strange effect: The OH group cannot move freely, and circles the hydrogen atom like a dancer spinning on a pole. Although this is the first observation of such behaviour, it was not entirely unexpected: "This effect was predicted a few years ago based on theoretical calculations, and we have finally confirmed it with our experiments" said Diebold.

Dancing requires space
When more water is put on to the surface, the stage becomes too crowded and spinning stops. "The OH group can only move freely in a circle if none of the neighbouring spaces are occupied," explains Florian Mittendorfer, who performed the calculations together with PhD student Wernfried Mayr-Schmolzer.

At first, when two water molecules are in neighbouring sites, the spinning OH groups collide and get stuck together, forming pairs. Then, as the amount of water is increased, the pairs stick together and form long chains. Eventually, water molecular cannot find the pair of sites it needs to split up, and attaches instead as a complete molecule.

The new methods that have been developed and applied by the TU Wien research team have made significant advances in surface research. Whereas researchers were previously reliant on indirect measurements, they can now - with the necessary expertise - directly map and observe the behaviour of individual atoms on the surface. This opens up new possibilities for modern materials research, for example for developing and improving catalysts.

Original Paper: Adsorption of Water at the SrO Surface of Ruthenates, Nature Materials, DOI: 10.1038/nmat4512

 

 

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg create focused spin wave beams

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
Gothenburg, Sweden (SPX) Dec 23, 2015 - Researchers at the University of Gothenburg Physics Department have finally found the secret to synchronize an unlimited number of spintronic oscillators. Such devices are very promising for future applications requiring wideband functionality.

Unfortunately, such nanoscale microwave oscillators suffer from an unbearably low power and high phase noise. It is generally accepted that one of the most attractive ways to solve this issue is to synchronize a large number of these nanoscopic oscillators in order to limit the detrimental influence of thermal energy.

The synchronization of two such oscillators was first published in 2005. However, by 2013 the number of synchronized oscillators had only increased to four low-frequency oscillators and three microwave-frequency oscillators. Furthermore, the coupling was difficult to control in a reproducible manner.

PhD student Afshin Houshang and his supervisor Dr. Randy Dumas in Professor Johan Akerman's team have now succeeded in demonstrating that it is possible to create and utilize focused beams of spin waves to (i) synchronize oscillators over much larger distances than shown previously and (ii) robustly synchronize a record number of oscillators.

In their article, published in Nature Nanotechnology, they synchronize five oscillators and demonstrate the resulting improvement in the oscillator quality.

"Because we now know how to control the spin wave propagation, there is really no limit to how many oscillators we can now synchronize," said Randy Dumas, who sees great potential in several research areas.

Since the direction of the spin wave beam can also be tailored via electrical current through the oscillator and via an external magnetic field, the results will also have a major impact in the burgeoning field of spin wave based electronics, termed magnonics. By changing the direction of the beam, one can choose which oscillators synchronize and thereby control the flow of information in magnonic circuits in a way that was not possible before.

The results also open up new opportunities for fundamental studies of networks of strongly nonlinear oscillators where an array of perhaps a hundred such oscillators in different geometric architectures can be externally controlled and studied in detail.

"We hope to use these and similar components for extremely fast neuromorphic calculations based on oscillator networks." explains Randy.

 

 

New Electron-Positron Collider Launched in Siberia

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Dec 22, 2015 - The launch of a new electron-positron collider in Novosibirsk will allow the Russian Nuclear Physics Institute to make a huge leap forward, according to Gov. Vladimir Gorodetsky.

The first ring of a new electron-positron collider was launched Friday at the Russian Nuclear Physics Institute in the southern Siberian city of Novosibirsk.

Once the particle smasher reaches its full capacity it will hopefully give a huge boost to Russian scientific research on synchrotron radiation, the governor of the Novosibirsk region told reporters. "Today's event will allow the institute to make a huge leap forward. They will no longer need to use devices in the United States or Japan for research," Gov. Vladimir Gorodetsky said. The project, dubbed Complex VEPP-5, will cost a total of 17 billion rubles ($240 million). Only its injection complex and particle beams transportation channels are operational.

Source: Sputnik News

 

 

A cosmic clumpy doughnut around black hole

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 21, 2015 - The most massive black holes in the universe are often encircled by thick, doughnut-shaped disks of gas and dust. This deep-space doughnut material ultimately feeds and nourishes the growing black holes tucked inside. Until recently, telescopes weren't able to penetrate some of these doughnuts, also known as tori.

"Originally, we thought that some black holes were hidden behind walls or screens of material that could not be seen through," said Andrea Marinucci of the Roma Tre University in Italy, lead author of a new Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society study describing results from NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton space observatory.

With its X-ray vision, NuSTAR recently peered inside one of the densest of these doughnuts known to surround a supermassive black hole. This black hole lies at the center of a well-studied spiral galaxy called NGC 1068, located 47 million light-years away in the Cetus constellation.

The observations revealed a clumpy, cosmic doughnut. "The rotating material is not a simple, rounded doughnut as originally thought, but clumpy," said Marinucci.

Doughnut-shaped disks of gas and dust around supermassive black holes were first proposed in the mid-1980s to explain why some black holes are hidden behind gas and dust, while others are not. The idea is that the orientation of the doughnut relative to Earth affects the way we perceive a black hole and its intense radiation. If the doughnut is viewed edge-on, the black hole is blocked. If the doughnut is viewed face-on, the black hole and its surrounding, blazing materials can be detected. This idea is referred to as the unified model because it neatly joins together the different black hole types, based solely upon orientation.

In the past decade, astronomers have been finding hints that these doughnuts aren't as smoothly shaped as once thought. They are more like defective, lumpy doughnuts that a doughnut shop might throw away.

The new discovery is the first time this clumpiness has been observed in an ultra-thick doughnut, and supports the idea that this phenomenon may be common. The research is important for understanding the growth and evolution of massive black holes and their host galaxies.

"We don't fully understand why some supermassive black holes are so heavily obscured, or why the surrounding material is clumpy," said co-author Poshak Gandhi of the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. "This is a subject of hot research."

Both NuSTAR and XMM-Newton observed the supermassive black hole in NGC 1068 simultaneously on two occasions between 2014 to 2015. On one of those occasions, in August 2014, NuSTAR observed a spike in brightness. NuSTAR observes X-rays in a higher-energy range than XMM-Newton, and those high-energy X-rays can uniquely pierce thick clouds around the black hole. The scientists say the spike in high-energy X-rays was due to a clearing in the thickness of the material entombing the supermassive black hole.

"It's like a cloudy day, when the clouds partially move away from the sun to let more light shine through," said Marinucci.

NGC 1068 is well known to astronomers as the first black hole to give birth to the unification idea. "But it is only with NuSTAR that we now have a direct glimpse of its black hole through such clouds, albeit fleeting, allowing a better test of the unification concept," said Marinucci.

The team says that future research will address the question of what causes the unevenness in doughnuts. The answer could come in many flavors. It's possible that a black hole generates turbulence as it chomps on nearby material. Or, the energy given off by young stars could stir up turbulence, which would then percolate outward through the doughnut.

Another possibility is that the clumps may come from material falling onto the doughnut. As galaxies form, material migrates toward the center, where the density and gravity is greatest. The material tends to fall in clumps, almost like a falling stream of water condensing into droplets as it hits the ground.

"We'd like to figure out if the unevenness of the material is being generated from outside the doughnut, or within it," said Gandhi.

"These coordinated observations with NuSTAR and XMM-Newton show yet again the exciting science possible when these satellites work together," said Daniel Stern, NuSTAR project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

 

 

The Puzzle of the Origin of Elements in the Universe

 
‎31 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎06:33:12 AMGo to full article
Abruzzo, Italy (SPX) Dec 21, 2015 - A rare nuclear reaction that occurs in red giants has been observed for the first time at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy. This result was achieved by the LUNA experiment, the world's only accelerator facility running deep underground.

The LUNA experiment at the INFN Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy has observed a rare nuclear reaction that occurs in giant red stars, a type of star into which our Sun will also evolve.

This is the first direct observation of sodium production in these stars, one of the nuclear reactions that is fundamental for the formation of the elements that make up the universe. The study has been published in Physical Review Letters [.

LUNA (Laboratory for Underground Nuclear Astrophysics) is a compact linear accelerator. It is the only one in the world installed in an underground facility, shielded against cosmic rays.

The experiment aims to study the nuclear reactions that take place inside stars where, like in an intriguing and amazing cosmic kitchen, the elements that make up matter are formed and then driven out by gigantic explosions and scattered as cosmic dust.

For the first time, this experiment has observed three "resonances" in the neon-sodium cycle responsible for sodium production in red giants and energy generation (the so-called 22Ne(p,gamma)23Na reaction). In the same way as in acoustics, a "resonance" is a particular condition that makes the reaction inside the star extremely likely.

LUNA recreates the energy ranges of nuclear reactions and, with its accelerator, goes back in time to one hundred million years after the Big Bang, to the formation of the first stars and the start of those processes that gave rise to mysteries we still do not fully understand, such as the huge variety in the quantities of the elements in the universe.

"This result is an important piece in the puzzle of the origin of the elements in the universe, which the experiment has been studying for the last 25 years," remarked Paolo Prati, spokesperson for the LUNA experiment.

"Stars generate energy and at the same time assemble atoms through a complex system of nuclear reactions. A very small number of these reactions have been studied in the conditions under which they occur inside stars, and a large proportion of those few cases have been observed with this accelerator."

LUNA uses a compact linear accelerator in which hydrogen and helium beams are accelerated and made to collide with a target (in this case, a neon isotope), to produce other particles.

Special detectors obtain images of the products of the collisions and identify the reaction to be examined. These extremely rare processes can only be detected in conditions of cosmic silence. The rock surrounding the underground facility at the Gran Sasso National Laboratory shields the experiment against cosmic rays and protects its measurements.

"Three New Low-Energy Resonances in the 22Ne (p,gamma)23Na Reaction," F. Cavanna et al. (The LUNA Collaboration), 2015 Dec. 15, Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 252501

 

 

 
 

Time-resolved measurement of the anomalous velocity

 
‎18 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:57:43 PMGo to full article
Braunschweig, Germany (SPX) Dec 17, 2015 - The movement of charge carriers perpendicular to an electric driving field - even without a magnetic field - constitutes one of the most intriguing properties of carriers in solids.

This anomalous velocity is at the origin of fascinating physical phenomena - with the spin Hall effect and the anomalous Hall effect being two prominent examples - and might be important for future spintronic applications or even new quantum computers.

At the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesansstalt (PTB), the German National Metrology Institute, researchers have now succeeded in detecting the anomalous velocity in a semiconductor made of GaAs with a sub-picosecond time resolution.

On the one hand, this work gives new insight into the microscopic origins of the anomalous velocity. On the other hand, it opens a new area of research for studying important physical effects on ultrafast time scales. The results have been published in the present issue of the renowned journal Physical Review Letters.

The anomalous velocity has different microscopic origins; one typically distinguishes between intrinsic and extrinsic contributions. The intrinsic contribution depends on the intrinsic properties of the solid (i.e. on the so-called Berry curvature), while the extrinsic contribution is caused by carrier scattering.

Despite intensive investigations of the anomalous velocity in the past years, no simple technique has been developed which would enable the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic contributions in a straightforward way.

Moreover, the anomalous velocity has not yet been studied on ultrafast time scales on which factors such as coherent effects might significantly influence the anomalous velocity.

At PTB, the anomalous velocity has now, for the first time, been detected with sub-picosecond time resolution.

For this purpose a semiconductor made of GaAs was excited by means of an optical femtosecond laser and a pulsed high-frequency electric field. While the optical laser pulse excites carriers with a particular spin direction, the high-frequency field accelerates these carriers.

During this process, the carriers gain not only a velocity parallel to the electric field, but also the anomalous velocity perpendicular to it. This velocity was detected by a time-resolved study of the electromagnetic radiation emitted from the sample.

The PTB researchers have shown that the time-resolved detection of the anomalous velocity is very important for its further understanding. On the one hand, such investigations enable the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic contributions, since these contributions have different time-domain shapes.

On the other hand, it is now possible to investigate the dependence of the anomalous velocity on the momentum and energy of the carriers involved which, in turn, allows new studies of other important physical phenomena.

S. Priyadarshi, K. Pierz, M. Bieler: Detection of the anomalous velocity with sub-picosecond time resolution in semiconductor nanostructures. Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 257401 (2015)

 

 

Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable

 
‎18 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:57:43 PMGo to full article
London UK (SPX) Dec 12, 2015 - A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable, according to scientists at UCL, Universidad Complutense de Madrid - ICMAT and Technical University of Munich.

It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.

A small spectral gap - the energy needed to transfer an electron from a low-energy state to an excited state - is the central property of semiconductors. In a similar way, the spectral gap plays an important role for many other materials. When this energy becomes very small, i.e. the spectral gap closes, it becomes possible for the material to transition to a completely different state. An example of this is when a material becomes superconducting.

Mathematically extrapolating from a microscopic description of a material to the bulk solid is considered one of the key tools in the search for materials exhibiting superconductivity at ambient temperatures or other desirable properties. A study, published today in Nature, however, shows crucial limits to this approach. Using sophisticated mathematics, the authors proved that, even with a complete microscopic description of a quantum material, determining whether it has a spectral gap is, in fact, an undecidable question.

"Alan Turing is famous for his role in cracking the Enigma code," said Co-author, Dr Toby Cubitt from UCL Computer Science.

"But amongst mathematicians and computer scientists, he is even more famous for proving that certain mathematical questions are `undecidable' - they are neither true nor false, but are beyond the reach of mathematics. What we've shown is that the spectral gap is one of these undecidable problems.

"This means a general method to determine whether matter described by quantum mechanics has a spectral gap, or not, cannot exist. Which limits the extent to which we can predict the behaviour of quantum materials, and potentially even fundamental particle physics."

One million dollars to win!
The most famous problem concerning spectral gaps is whether the theory governing the fundamental particles of matter itself - the standard model of particle physics - has a spectral gap (the `Yang-Mills mass gap' conjecture). Particle physics experiments such as CERN and numerical calculations on supercomputers suggest that there is a spectral gap. Although there is a $1m prize at stake from the Clay Mathematics Institute for whoever can, no one has yet succeeded in proving this mathematically from the equations of the standard model.

Dr Cubitt added, "It's possible for particular cases of a problem to be solvable even when the general problem is undecidable, so someone may yet win the coveted $1m prize. But our results do raise the prospect that some of these big open problems in theoretical physics could be provably unsolvable."

"We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Godel in the 1930s," added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich.

"So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists' point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description."

Not all bad news
Co-author, Professor David Perez-Garcia from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and ICMAT, said: "It's not all bad news, though. The reason this problem is impossible to solve in general is because models at this level exhibit extremely bizarre behaviour that essentially defeats any attempt to analyse them. But this bizarre behaviour also predicts some new and very weird physics that hasn't been seen before.

"For example, our results show that adding even a single particle to a lump of matter, however large, could in principle dramatically change its properties. New physics like this is often later exploited in technology."

The researchers are now seeing whether their findings extend beyond the artificial mathematical models produced by their calculations to more realistic quantum materials that could be realised in the laboratory.

 

 

'Quasiparticles' reveal incredibly minute distortions in light waves

 
‎18 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:57:43 PMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Dec 11, 2015 - Optics researchers have discovered a new way to measure incredibly small distortions in light waves by indirectly studying the behavior of curious 'quasiparticles' - ripples in the electric field that emerge when light and solid surfaces interact. This new technique holds significant promise for applications in metrology and chemical sensing, as well as potential improvements in adaptive optics for microscopy and biomedicine.

As light travels through turbulent materials - water, the atmosphere, and even human tissue - the wavefronts become distorted, blurring images and reducing resolution. It's possible to correct for these distortions by precisely measuring the shape of the wavefront.

Astronomers routinely make such measurements for adaptive optics, but only for relatively large-scale fluctuations. On much finer scales - down to the nanoscale - these measurements are beyond the capabilities of normal wavefront sensor technology.

Researchers Brian Vohnsen and Denise Valente, University College Dublin, Ireland, have found a way to overcome these limitations and measure the wavefront distortions of light with a precision never before achieved.

Their breakthrough sensor technology is based on a curious phenomenon: a quasiparticle that emerges when light waves couple with the electrons' oscillations of certain solid surfaces. By measuring how efficiently incoming light creates these quasiparticles, the researchers are able to derive previously undetectable distortions in the wavefronts.

"I am excited about the new sensor because it enables new pathways for nanoscale sensitivity for a whole host of applications," said Vohnsen. "These amazingly fine measurements make it possible to extract wavefront information right at the point where air, light, and surfaces interact." The results of this research are published today in The Optical Society's high-impact journal Optica.

Quasiparticles Reveal the Shape of Light
Currently, measurement of the shape of a wavefront of light is done with devices known as wavefront sensors. They work in one of two ways. The first is by studying the interference patterns of light, but that approach requires the extra step of ensuring that the interacting light waves are in phase - meaning their waveforms overlap precisely.

The other method is to mechanically sample the wavefronts: for example, with an array of microlenses.

Though extremely efficient for applications like adaptive optics, which enable telescopes to reduce the apparent blurring of the Earth's atmosphere, these systems are relatively bulky and are blind to distortions on very fine scales.

To reach new levels of precision, the researchers considered using the well-studied resonance behavior of quasiparticles known as surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs), which respond to even extremely small-scale wavefront distortions. SPPs arise when light meets an electrically conducting surface at a specific angle. At the point where they interact, electrons oscillate, forming a wave-like pulse that travels across the surface. Just as light can be described in some cases as a particle and a wave, so too can these SPPs, which is why scientists refer to them as quasiparticles.

"Since these polaritons are perfectly coupled to the light that forms them, any changes in their behavior would indicate a change in the waveform of light," said Vohnsen.

Measuring Minute Changes
The researchers first direct the wavefront to be measured onto a gold film sensor. The strength with which SPPs are formed depends on the angle the light meets the sensor. Any changes in that angle, as would occur from a distortion in the wavefront, would affect the way the SPPs are formed. This then directly effects how much light is reflected back from the surface.

It is this change in reflected intensity that the researchers measure. "We make use of the attenuation of the signal from the gold surface to simply convert the wavefront shape - or slope - into an intensity difference in a beam of light," explained Vohnsen. This change is easily captured with cameras that are sensitive to very minute changes in intensity.

To fully reconstruct the wavefront, the system requires two separate measurements made at 90 degrees to one another. It is then possible to use basic mathematical calculations to determine the tiny changes in the actual wavefront based on these two, orthogonal intensity data points. The speed of the measurement is therefore only limited by the speed of the cameras.

This method is a significant improvement over using interference patterns for wavefront sensing because the wavefront changes are captured directly, producing the potential to greatly increase the speed with which measurements can be made. It also samples the wavefront continuously across the entire beam, creating a higher resolution result than can be achieved with a microlens array.

Though SPPs are well studied, they have yet to be harnessed for actual technologies in any broad fashion. "They are currently used to enhance certain weak signals in spectroscopy and for the development of compact optical components known as integrated optical/plasmonic interconnects," observed Vohnsen. "Our method may be the first to use surface plasmons to address a classical optics problem such as the detection of aberrations."

Vohnsen and Valente speculate that this type of sensor may find applications in the quality inspection of planar materials, films, and coatings. It could possibly replace some of the other wavefront sensors currently used in astronomy, microscopy and vision science.

The researchers are working to overcome two limitations in the current setup. The first is the requirement for simultaneous measurement of wavefront changes with two cameras. The second is improving the method by which the SPPs are "excited" on the surface of the gold film.

"These additional enhancements will help bring this frontier study in optics to an actual technology that has significant real-world applications," concludes Vohnsen.

Paper: "Surface-plasmon-based wavefront sensing," Brian Vohnsen, Optica, Vol. 02, Issue 12, pp. 1024-1027 (2015). DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.2.001027

 

 

Computing with time travel

 
‎18 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎10:57:43 PMGo to full article
Singapore (SPX) Dec 10142015 - Why send a message back in time, but lock it so that no one can ever read the contents? Because it may be the key to solving currently intractable problems. That's the claim of an international collaboration who have just published a paper in npj Quantum Information.

It turns out that an unopened message can be exceedingly useful. This is true if the experimenter entangles the message with some other system in the laboratory before sending it. Entanglement, a strange effect only possible in the realm of quantum physics, creates correlations between the time-travelling message and the laboratory system. These correlations can fuel a quantum computation.

Around ten years ago researcher Dave Bacon, now at Google, showed that a time-travelling quantum computer could quickly solve a group of problems, known as NP-complete, which mathematicians have lumped together as being hard.

The problem was, Bacon's quantum computer was travelling around 'closed timelike curves'. These are paths through the fabric of spacetime that loop back on themselves. General relativity allows such paths to exist through contortions in spacetime known as wormholes.

Physicists argue something must stop such opportunities arising because it would threaten 'causality' - in the classic example, someone could travel back in time and kill their grandfather, negating their own existence.

And it's not only family ties that are threatened. Breaking the causal flow of time has consequences for quantum physics too. Over the past two decades, researchers have shown that foundational principles of quantum physics break in the presence of closed timelike curves: you can beat the uncertainty principle, an inherent fuzziness of quantum properties, and the no-cloning theorem, which says quantum states can't be copied.

However, the new work shows that a quantum computer can solve insoluble problems even if it is travelling along 'open timelike curves', which don't create causality problems. That's because they don't allow direct interaction with anything in the object's own past: the time travelling particles (or data they contain) never interact with themselves.

Nevertheless, the strange quantum properties that permit 'impossible' computations are left intact. "We avoid 'classical' paradoxes, like the grandfathers paradox, but you still get all these weird results," says Mile Gu, who led the work.

Gu is at the Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT) at the National University of Singapore and Tsinghua University in Beijing. His eight other coauthors come from these institutions, the University of Oxford, UK, Australian National University in Canberra, the University of Queensland in St Lucia, Australia, and QKD Corp in Toronto, Canada.

"Whenever we present the idea, people say no way can this have an effect" says Jayne Thompson, a co-author at CQT. But it does: quantum particles sent on a timeloop could gain super computational power, even though the particles never interact with anything in the past. "The reason there is an effect is because some information is stored in the entangling correlations: this is what we're harnessing," Thompson says.

There is a caveat - not all physicists think that these open timeline curves are any more likely to be realisable in the physical universe than the closed ones. One argument against closed timelike curves is that no-one from the future has ever visited us. That argument, at least, doesn't apply to the open kind, because any messages from the future would be locked.

Xiao Yuan et al, 'Replicating the benefits of Deutschian closed timelike curves without breaking causality' npj Quantum Information, doi:10.1038/npjqi.2015.7 (2015)

 

 

 
 

A new technique to gauge the distant Universe

 
‎08 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎07:52:22 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Dec 07, 2015 - Scientists have developed a technique to use quasars - powerful sources driven by supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies - to study the Universe's history and composition. To demonstrate the new method, based on a relation between a quasar's luminosity at X-ray and ultraviolet wavelengths, they made extensive use of data from ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory. This approach promises to become an important tool to constrain the properties of our Universe.

At the core of most massive galaxies in the Universe is a supermassive black hole - a concentration of matter so dense that it attracts anything nearby, including light. Such black holes have masses from millions to billions of times that of the Sun and are generally idle, only accreting the occasional star or gas cloud that ventures too close to the galaxy's centre.

A small fraction of them are, however, extremely active, devouring matter at a very high rate, causing the surrounding material to shine brightly across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to X-rays and gamma rays. In some cases, emission from matter in the vicinity of the black hole is so intense that the core of the galaxy outshines the stars. These objects appear as point sources in the sky, like stars, and are known as quasars - short for quasi-stellar sources.

Quasars allow scientists to study gravity in the very strong field of the supermassive black holes. In addition, comparing the properties of quasars with those of other galaxies that host either active or passive black holes can reveal interesting aspects about the evolution of galaxies over cosmic history.

But one other aspect piqued the interest of two scientists from the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory in Firenze, Italy: they realised that quasars can be used as probes of the expansion history of the Universe. The results of their study are presented in a paper, published in the Astrophysical Journal.

"The history of cosmic expansion holds a wealth of information about the Universe, including its age and the relative abundance of its components, and to pin it down we need to observe astronomical sources at a wide range of distances from us," explains Guido Risaliti, one of the scientists who led the study.

"But determining distances in the Universe is not at all trivial and can be best performed only with a few classes of sources. In this study, we show how it can be done with quasars," he adds.

The main obstacle to measuring distances to astronomical objects lies in our ignorance of their true brightness, which makes it virtually impossible to assess whether a source is intrinsically bright or whether it just appears so because it is very close to us.

For relatively nearby stars in our Galaxy, astronomers can get a very precise handle on distances using parallax - the tiny apparent shift of a star's position in the sky when viewed from different locations in the Earth's orbit. However, the greater the distance the smaller the parallax, which restricts the reach of this method to our local cosmic neighbourhood.

Farther away, astronomers have to rely on 'standard candles' - astronomical objects whose intrinsic luminosity can be calculated from another of their observable properties.

Amongst the most widely used standard candles are supernovae of type Ia - exploding white dwarf stars in a binary system. These explosions release roughly the same amount of energy every time, so their observed luminosity is a good indicator of the actual luminosity and, in turn, of their distance.

In the 1990s, teams of scientists collected many observations of these supernovae to map distances to faraway galaxies and to study how these are affected by the overall cosmic expansion. This led to the surprising discovery that the Universe's expansion is currently accelerating under the repulsive effect of a mysterious dark energy.

In the standard cosmological model, dark energy dominates the present Universe, making up about three quarters of its total energy budget, with the invisible dark matter accounting for about one fifth of the total, and ordinary matter amounting to a mere few percent. But it has not always been so, and delving deep into the history of our cosmos is crucial to figure out the nature and evolution of these 'dark' components.

"Type Ia supernovae are a powerful tool for cosmology, but they cannot be observed at very large distances from us, so they are mostly used to probe the relatively recent Universe," says co-author Elisabeta Lusso.

Few supernovae of type Ia have been observed in earlier cosmic phases, when our almost 14 billion-year-old Universe was younger than 5 billion years.

"This is why we suggest to complement type Ia supernovae with quasars, which can be observed in large quantities out to much greater distances, probing cosmic history up to the epoch when the Universe was only one billion years of age," she adds.

To determine how far quasars are from us, Risaliti and Lusso used an interesting property of these sources: a link between the amount of light they emit at ultraviolet and X-ray wavelengths, which has been known since the late 1970s.

Both types of emission derive from the black hole's activity, although they are caused by different processes. As the accreted material flows towards the black hole through a disc, it is heated by friction and shines brightly at visible and ultraviolet wavelengths. Then, part of the light emitted by the disc interacts with nearby electrons, receiving an extra energy boost and turning into X-rays.

The key point underlying the application of this relation to cosmology is that the link between the luminosities at the two different wavelengths is not linear. This means that the ratio between a quasar's measured X-ray and ultraviolet emission is not fixed, but varies - in a known way - depending on the ultraviolet luminosity itself. So by measuring a quasar's X-ray and ultraviolet emission the scientists can estimate the absolute luminosity at ultraviolet wavelengths; in turn, this can be used to gauge the quasar's distance.

While the physical mechanism underlying this relation is unclear, Risaliti and Lusso could still use it to treat quasars as standard candles and employ them as distance indicators for cosmological studies.

To do so, they compiled a pilot sample of quasars with both ultraviolet and X-ray measurements, collecting 1138 sources from several data sets that were published in the scientific literature over the past decade. Most of the X-ray data came from surveys performed with ESA's XMM-Newton, including the COSMOS survey.

"First, we verified that the relation between ultraviolet and X-ray luminosity holds for quasars observed at any cosmic epoch: this is an essential condition if we want to treat them as cosmological probes," explains Risaliti.

Then, the scientists determined distances to the quasars in their sample and used these to study how the expansion of the Universe changed in the span of cosmic history covered by these sources. From this, they evaluated the relative abundance of dark matter and dark energy in the Universe, obtaining results that agree with current estimates obtained from supernovae and other observations, albeit with larger errors.

"Quasars are a less precise tool to measure distances than supernovae of type Ia, but they yield complementary information about the distant Universe that is inaccessible to supernova observations," says Lusso.

The power of this new approach is best unleashed through the combination of quasars and supernovae of type Ia, spanning over 13 billion years of cosmic evolution to investigate how the Universe changed across most of its history. In fact, combining data from current surveys of both types of sources yields constraints on the relative abundance of dark matter and dark energy that are tighter and more precise than those obtained from supernovae alone.

The method developed by Risaliti and Lusso appears especially promising in light of future surveys, since a larger quasar sample means smaller errors on the cosmological parameters.

On the X-ray front, the German-led eROSITA instrument on-board the Russian Spektr-RG satellite, planned for launch in 2017, is expected to observe millions of quasars, and ESA's Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy Astrophysics (ATHENA), planned for launch in 2028, could survey up to 10 million quasars.

Meanwhile, ESA's Euclid mission, planned for launch in 2020, will observe a few million quasars at visible and near-infrared wavelengths - the portion of the spectrum where the ultraviolet light emitted by distant quasars is redshifted due to cosmic expansion.

"It is very gratifying to see that the data collected by XMM-Newton over many years are being used as the basis for a creative and promising method to investigate the darkest secrets of our Universe," comments Norbert Schartel, ESA XMM-Newton Project Scientist.

"A Hubble diagram for quasars" by Guido Risaliti and Elisabeta Lusso, is published in the Astrophysical Journal.

 

 

Minutest absolute magnetic field measurement

 
‎08 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎07:52:22 AMGo to full article
New York NY (SPX) Dec 08, 2015 - Every measurement is potentially prone to systematic error. The more sensitive the measurement method, the more important it is to make sure it is also accurate. This is key for example in measuring magnetic fields in state-of-the-art fundamental physics experiments. Now, an international team of physicists has developed an extremely high-precision method for the determination of magnetic fields.

The resulting device, they found, has an intrinsic sensitivity that makes it ideal for fundamental physics and cosmology experiments attempting to explain the missing antimatter of the universe. The findings by Hans-Christian Koch from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and colleagues have just been published in EPJ D.

The prototype magnetometer the team developed combines the accuracy of a helium (3He) magnetometer with the high sensitivity of a cesium magnetometer. It is also much more convenient than the previously used combination of helium magnetometers and SQUIDs, which requires cooling near absolute zero.

In this paper, the team establishes a theoretical formula describing the ultimately reachable sensitivity of the magnetometer. To do so, they analysed the dependence of the combined magnetometer's sensitivity on the properties of its constituents.

They found that the sensitivity can be predicted from parameters characterizing the cesium magnetometers and the helium sample involved in the detection. The team's formula led to predictions that were in excellent agreement with experimental results.

They subsequently calculated the sensitivity of the magnetometer in the envisioned application in an experiment searching for the electric dipole moment of neutrons (nEDM), which are basic constituents of ordinary matter. Observing an nEDM would imply a broken symmetry of the laws of physics, called CP-violation. Such a finding could help to account for the primordial matter-antimatter imbalance at Big Bang stage, leading to the current abundance of matter.

H.-C. Koch, G. Bison, Z. D. Gruji, W. Heil, M. Kasprzak, P. Knowles, A. Kraft, A. Pazgalev, A. Schnabel, J. Voigt, and A. Weis (2015), Investigation of the intrinsic sensitivity of a 3He/Cs magnetometer , Eur. Phys. J. D 69, 262, DOI 10.1140/epjd/e2015-60509-5

 

 

Magnified image of faintest galaxy from early universe

 
‎08 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎07:52:22 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 04, 2015 - Astronomers harnessing the combined power of NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have found the faintest object ever seen in the early universe. It existed about 400 million years after the big bang, 13.8 billion years ago. The team has nicknamed the object Tayna, which means "first-born" in Aymara, a language spoken in the Andes and Altiplano regions of South America.

Though Hubble and Spitzer have detected other galaxies that are record-breakers for distance, this object represents a smaller, fainter class of newly forming galaxies that until now had largely evaded detection. These very dim objects may be more representative of the early universe, and offer new insight on the formation and evolution of the first galaxies.

"Thanks to this detection, the team has been able to study for the first time the properties of extremely faint objects formed not long after the big bang," said lead author Leopoldo Infante, an astronomer at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. The remote object is part of a discovery of 22 young galaxies at ancient times located nearly at the observable horizon of the universe. This research means there is a substantial increase in the number of known very distant galaxies.

The results are published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The new object is comparable in size to the Large Magellanic Cloud, a diminutive satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. It is rapidly making stars at a rate 10 times faster than the Large Magellanic Cloud. The object might be the growing core of what will likely evolve into a full-sized galaxy.

The small and faint galaxy was only seen thanks to a natural "magnifying glass" in space. As part of its Frontier Fields program, Hubble observed a massive cluster of galaxies, MACS0416.1-2403, located roughly 4 billion light-years away and weighing as much as a million billion suns.

This giant cluster acts as a powerful natural lens by bending and magnifying the light of far more distant objects behind it. Like a zoom lens on a camera, the clusters gravity boosts the light of the distant proto-galaxy to make it look 20 times brighter than normal. The phenomenon is called gravitational lensing and was proposed by Albert Einstein as part of his General Theory of Relativity.

The galaxy's distance was estimated by building a color profile from combined Hubble and Spitzer observations. The expansion of the universe causes the light from distant galaxies to be stretched or reddened with increasing distance. Though many of the galaxy's new stars are intrinsically blue-white, their light has been shifted into infrared wavelengths that are measurable by Hubble and Spitzer. Absorption by intervening cool intergalactic hydrogen also makes the galaxies look redder.

This finding suggests that the very early universe will be rich in galaxy targets for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to uncover. Astronomers expect that Webb will allow us to see the embryonic stages of galaxy birth shortly after the big bang.

 

 

Earth-sized telescope finds clue to black hole growth

 
‎08 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎07:52:22 AMGo to full article
Waterloo, Canada (SPX) Dec 04, 2015 - A new discovery, published in the journal Science, has greatly deepened our understanding black holes, which are believed to be the gravitational engines at the centres of most galaxies, including our own.

Using an array of telescopes that spans the globe, astronomers detected evidence of magnetic fields near Sagittarius A*, the 4.5-million-solar-mass black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.

Decades of theoretical work, including enormous computer simulations, have painted a picture of how strong horizon-scale magnetic fields near the black hole contribute to its growth. Now that this international collaboration has discovered high levels of polarization in the radio emissions from Sagittarius A*, physicists have proof that these magnetic fields indeed exist.

Were these magnetic fields not there, "a lot theoretical astrophysics would have to go back to the drawing board," says Avery Broderick, an Associate Faculty member at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, jointly appointed at the University of Waterloo.

Researchers achieved this new finding using the Event Horizon Telescope - an interconnected array of millimeter-wavelength telescopes located around the world. Together, they form an Earth-sized telescope capable of extremely high resolution, which, in the near future, will enable astronomers to image the event horizon of a black hole for the first time in human history.

"There are now enough telescopes in the array, in principle, to make images in the next couple of years," Broderick added. "This might be the point, like the turn of the last century, when all of a sudden the puzzle pieces click into place."

Those images will enable astrophysicists to transform our understanding of how black holes grow, how they interact with their surroundings, and even the nature of gravity.

"We are on the cusp of a true first in astronomical exploration," says Avery Broderick. "We fully expect to have imaged a black hole's event horizon in a matter of years. This would be an incredible accomplishment, not just for science, but humankind."

 

 

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

 
‎08 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎07:52:22 AMGo to full article
Copenhagen, Denmark (SPX) Dec 03, 2015 - The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever.

The LHC has been colliding protons at record high energy since the summer, but now the time has now come to collide large nuclei (nuclei of lead, Pb, consist of 208 neutrons and protons). The experiments aim at understanding and studying the properties of strongly interacting systems at high densities and thus the state of matter of the Universe shortly after the Big Bang.

In the very beginning, just a few billionths of a second after the Big Bang, the Universe was made up of an extremely hot and dense 'primordial soup' consisting of the fundamental particles, especially quarks and gluons. This state is called the quark-gluon-plasma (QGP). Approximately one millionth of a second after the Big Bang, quarks and gluons became confined inside the protons and the neutrons, which are the present day constituents of the atomic nuclei.

The so-called strong force, mediated by the gluons, binds the quarks to each other and - under normal circumstances, trap them inside the nuclear particles. It is however, possible to recreate a state of matter consisting of quarks and gluons, and which behaves as a liquid, in close imitation of the state of matter prevailing in the very early universe. It is this state that has now been realised at the highest temperatures ever attained in collisions using lead ions from the LHC accelerator at CERN.

"The collision energy between two nuclei reaches 1000 TeV. This energy is that of a bumblebee hitting us on the cheek on a summer day. But the energy is concentrated in a volume that is approximately 10-27 (a billion-billion-billion) times smaller.

The energy concentration (density) is therefore tremendous and has never been realised before under terrestrial conditions," explains Jens Jorgen Gaardhoje, professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and head of the Danish research group within the ALICE experiment at CERN.

The state of the universe
Jens Jorgen Gaardhoje explains that the purpose of the collisions is to transform most of the enormous kinetic energy of the colliding atomic nuclei into matter, in the form of a host of new particles (quarks) and their antiparticles (antiquarks) in compliance with Einstein's famous equation E=Mc2. This creates - for a fleeting moment, a small volume of matter consisting of quarks, antiquarks and gluons that has a temperature of over 4000 billion degrees.

The first collisions were recorded by the LHC detectors, including the dedicated heavy-ion detector ALICE, which has significant Danish participation, immediately after the LHC's two counter-circulating beams were aimed at each other this morning at 11:15 AM.

"While it is still too early for a full analysis to have been carried out, the first collisions already tell us that more than 30,000 particles can be created in every central collision between two lead ions. This corresponds to an unprecedented energy density of around 20 GeV/fm3. This is more than 40 times the energy density of a proton," says Jens Jorgen Gaardhoje.

The extreme energy density will enable researchers to develop new and detailed models of the quark-gluon-plasma and of the strong interaction, which binds the quarks and nuclear matter together and thus understand the conditions prevailing in the early universe all the way back to a billionth of a second after the Big Bang.

 

 

What is the universe made of

 
‎08 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎07:52:22 AMGo to full article
Geneva, Switzerland (SPX) Dec 03, 2015 - Matter known as ordinary, which makes up everything we know, corresponds to only 5% of the Universe. Approximately half of this percentage still eluded detection. Numerical simulations made it possible to predict that the rest of this ordinary matter should be located in the large-scale structures that form the 'cosmic web' at temperatures between 100,000 and 10 million degrees.

A team led by a researcher from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, observed this phenomenon directly. The research shows that the majority of the missing ordinary matter is found in the form of a very hot gas associated with intergalactic filaments. The article reporting this discovery is published in the journal Nature.

Galaxies are formed when ordinary matter collapses then cools down. In order to understand the origin of this formation, it was vital to discover in what form and where the ordinary matter that we do not perceive - known as the 'missing baryons' - is found.

To do this, the astrophysicists from UNIGE and the Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne (EPFL) took an interest in Abell 2744, a massive cluster of galaxies with a complex distribution of dark and luminous matter at its center. They observed this cluster with the XMM space telescope, which is capable of detecting the signature of very hot gas due to its sensitivity to X-rays.

Hot gas at the core of the filaments
Large-scale galaxy surveys have shown that the distribution of ordinary matter in the Universe is not homogeneous. Instead, under the action of gravity, matter is concentrated into filamentary structures, forming a network of knots and links called the 'cosmic web'. The regions experiencing the highest gravitational force collapse and form the knots of the network, such as Abell 2744.

Comparable to neural networks, these knots then connect to one another through filaments, wherein the researchers identified the presence of gas, and consequently, the missing baryons. The astrophysicists pointed XMM in the direction of the areas where they suspected to find the presence of filaments, and therefore, the presence of 10-million degree hot gas structures.

For the first time, they were able to measure the temperature and density of these objects, and found that they corresponded to the predictions of the numerical models. For this reason, we now have a grasp of the form taken by the missing ordinary matter.

Will the amount of ordinary matter in the universe soon be known?
This research is a very significant validation of the models of galaxy formation in the Universe.

"Now we must verify that the discovery of Abell 2744's missing baryons is applicable to the entire universe. This will consist in studying these filamentary regions in detail, and measuring their temperature distribution and the various atoms that compose them, in order to understand how many heavy elements there are in the universe," says Dominique Eckert, led scientist.

In fact, if the researchers manage to measure the atoms in these filaments, they will be able to estimate the number of heavy nuclei formed by stars since the beginning of the universe.

In order to deepen this research, the European Space Agency (ESA) is in the process of developing a new space telescope. Switzerland and the researchers from UNIGE are especially involved in this project. The telescope, named Athena, should be operational in the mid-2020s.

 

 

Cosmic filaments exposed near huge cluster

 
‎08 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎07:52:22 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Dec 03, 2015 - ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has revealed three massive filaments of hot gas flowing towards a cluster of galaxies, uncovering a portion of the cosmic skeleton that pervades the entire Universe.

Galaxies tend to congregate, forming groups and even larger agglomerates called clusters. These clusters are the most massive cosmic structures held together by gravity. As well as galaxies, they contain large amounts of hot gas and even larger amounts of invisible dark matter.

On a grander scale, galaxies and galaxy clusters appear to be linked in a gigantic filamentary network, with the most massive clusters sitting in the densest hubs of this 'cosmic web'.

Computer simulations indicate that the cosmic web, which consists primarily of dark matter and some ordinary matter, behaves as the scaffolding of the cosmos, providing the framework for stars, galaxies and clusters to form and evolve.

In the past few decades, astronomers have detected the threadlike structure of the cosmic web in the large-scale distribution of galaxies, and found hints that diffuse gas is arranged in a similar way.

A new study using ESA's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory has now uncovered a handful of filaments made of galaxies, gas and dark matter that are flowing towards one of the most massive galaxy clusters in the Universe, obtaining the first, unambiguous detection of gas in the cosmic web.

"This was an unexpected and most welcome discovery," says Dominique Eckert of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, lead author of the paper reporting the new results in the journal Nature this week.

The object of the study is Abell 2744, which has been nicknamed the Pandora Cluster owing to its complex and jumbled structure. It is composed of at least four smaller components that are merging.

"We knew that this is an incredibly massive cluster hosting active processes at its core, and seeing its direct connection to the cosmic web confirms our picture of how structures form in the Universe," adds Dr Eckert.

From 30 hours of observations by XMM-Newton in December 2014, the astronomers detected five large structures of hot gas that seem to be linked to the core of Abell 2744.

Comparing the X-ray data with optical observations, they identified the galaxies that belong to the various filaments, recognising that three of them are physically connected to the cluster, while the other two are the projection of more distant structures viewed along the same line of sight.

Just like the cluster, the filaments also contain plenty of dark matter. The astronomers have reconstructed its distribution by studying the 'gravitational lensing' effect that the mass of the cluster and filaments exerts on distant galaxies, modifying the path of their light and so increasing their brightness and twisting their shapes as seen by us.

"We initially looked at the inner core of Abell 2744 with the Hubble Space Telescope, with the aim of using the cluster as a strong magnifying lens to detect background galaxies that would be otherwise too faint to observe," explains co-author Mathilde Jauzac from the University of Durham, UK.

"After the discovery of X-ray gas in these filaments, we decided to look at the gravitational lensing effect also in the outskirts of the cluster, where background galaxies are only weakly distorted and magnified, but still enable us to study the dark matter distribution near the cluster as well as in the nearby filaments."

The combination of observations at different wavelengths revealed how the various components of Abell 2744 and its surroundings coexist.

From the X-ray data, the astronomers measured the density and temperature of the gas and compared it with the predictions from theory. With gas temperatures of 10-20 million degrees celsius, the filaments are much colder than the centre of the cluster, where the gas reaches 100 million degrees, but hotter than the average temperature in the cosmic web, estimated to be several million degrees.

The gas and galaxies in the filaments amount to about a tenth of the total mass - the rest being dark matter - which also agrees with expectations.

While the measurements match well with the astronomers' theoretical scenario, caution is always in order when drawing conclusions about the Universe as a whole.

"What we observed is a very special configuration of dense filaments close to an exceptionally massive cluster. We need a much larger sample of less-dense filaments to investigate the nature of the cosmic web in greater detail," says Dr Eckert.

For more in-depth investigations, astronomers will have to wait for ESA's Athena X-ray telescope, planned for launch in 2028. Athena's extraordinary sensitivity will make it possible to survey hot gas in the cosmic web across the sky, detecting faint and diffuse filaments and even identifying some of the atomic elements in the gas.

"With the discovery of filaments around Abell 2744, we are witnessing the build-up of the cosmic web in one of the busiest places in the known Universe, a crucial step in the study of the formation of galaxies and galaxy clusters," says Norbert Schartel, ESA XMM-Newton Project Scientist.

"Warm-hot baryons comprise 5-10 per cent of filaments in the cosmic web," by D. Eckert et al. is published in the 3 December 2015 issue of the journal Nature.

 

 

Using light-force to study single molecules

 
‎08 ‎December ‎2015, ‏‎07:52:22 AMGo to full article
Lausanne, Switzerland (SPX) Dec 01, 2015 - Scientists at EPFL show how a light-induced force can amplify the sensitivity and resolution of a technique used to study single molecules. When it comes to studying single molecules, scientists use a powerful technique called "surface-enhanced Raman scattering" (SERS). An extremely sensitive tool, SERS detects the vibrations within the atoms of the illuminated molecule as a change in light color. But the sensitivity of SERS is limited at room temperature because molecules vibrate too weakly.

Publishing in Nature Nanotechnology, EPFL scientists now show that this obstacle can be overcome with the tools of cavity optomechanics - the interaction between light and mechanical objects. The work has significant practical applications, as it can push the capabilities of SERS even further.

SERS is based on the principles of Raman spectroscopy, an old technique used to probe molecules: When laser light shines on them, it interacts with their vibrations (e.g. the stretching of a bond between two atoms). As a result, the wavelength of the light shifts, changing its color. This shift becomes the unique fingerprint of the type of molecule being probed.

However, Raman spectroscopy is limited when it comes to single molecules because they interact very weakly with light. This happens mainly for two reasons: First, a single molecule is about a thousand times smaller than the wavelength of incoming light.

Developed about forty years ago, SERS overcame this problem by exploiting a tiny cloud of oscillating electrons in metallic nanoparticles that were excited with laser light. The cloud is known as a "plasmon" and it can be localized to nanometer-size gaps where molecules can be placed.

In other words, the metallic nanoparticles act as nano-antennas that focus light down to molecular dimensions; this approach enhanced the sensitivity of SERS by more than 10 orders of magnitude. However, the second limitation of Raman has persisted without solution: molecules vibrate very weakly at room temperature - or, in technical terms, "the relevant vibrational modes are frozen".

Two members of Tobias J. Kippenberg's lab at EPFL have now found a theoretical solution to this problem, showing that SERS can actually be pushed even further in sensitivity and resolution. The key in overcoming the weak vibrations is the cloud of oscillating electrons, the plasmon, which can exert a force on the vibrations of the tested molecule.

Researchers Philippe Roelli and Christophe Galland, were able to determine the exact conditions needed for this light-induced force to drive the molecule's vibrations to large amplitudes. As the scientific community has set specific guidelines for this field, the researchers chose laser wavelengths and properties of the plasmonic structures against these.

As the light-force amplifies the vibrations of the molecule, the interaction between the molecule and the confined laser light grows stronger as well. This can dramatically increase the signal that SERS picks up, well beyond what can be reached by previously known mechanisms.

"Our work offers specific guidelines for designing more efficient metallic nanostructures and excitation schemes for SERS," says Philippe Roelli.

"It can push the limits of the technique in sensitivity and resolution." By doing so, the study opens new research directions in the control of molecular vibrations with light, with potential applications ranging from biology and chemistry to quantum technologies.

Roelli P, Galland C, Piro N, Kippenberg T J. Molecular cavity optomechanics: a theory of plasmon-enhanced Raman scattering. Nature Nanotechnology 23 November 2015. DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2015.264.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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?

 More...

 

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 tr