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This page is dedicated to My Grandson Brandon.

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***IN STOCK***
 HOLOGRAPHIC

UNIVERSE

by Chuck Missler

DVD

PRICE R 159.00

 

 

 

 

This DVD includes notes in PDF format and M4A files.


This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teachings

Available in the following formats

Session 1

• Epistemology 101: How do we “know”?

– Scientific Myths of the Past

– Scientific Myths of the Present

• The Macrocosm: The Plasma Universe: Gravitational Presumption?

• The Microcosm: The Planck Wall

• The Metacosm: Fracture of Hyperspace?

Session 2


• The Holographic Model: David Bohm

• GEO 600 “Noise”

• The Black Hole Paradox

– String Theorists examine the elephant

• A Holographic Universe:

– Distances are synthetic (virtual) images

– A Geocentric Cosmology?

– Some Scriptural Perspective(s)

 

 

“One can’t believe impossible things,”

Alice laughed.

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

said the Queen.

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

half-an-hour a day.

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many

as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Through the Looking Glass

Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
 

DVD:

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

M4A File Video

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


 

 

 

 

 

   

Featured Briefing

A Holographic Universe?

by Dr. Chuck Missler

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

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

The Cosmos As a Super-Hologram?

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

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

The Nature of Reality

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

The Search for Gravity Waves

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

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

Mystery Noise

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

Gravitational Wave Observatories Join Forces

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

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

Cosmic Implications

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

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

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

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

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

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


Notes

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

The Physics of Immortality

DVD


by Dr. Chuck Missler

Price R 249.00

 

 

The Physics of Immortality

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

Published on Jan 28, 2015

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

Space News from SpaceDaily.com

 

 

Space News From SpaceDaily.Com

 

 

Where Is the Habitable Zone for M-Dwarf Stars?

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jun 23, 2016
While we know that yellow dwarf stars like our sun are capable of supporting life, there's another star type that is a prime hunting ground for potentially habitable exoplanets. M-dwarf stars are extremely common in the Universe and a typical one is relatively small and dim, making it easy for astronomers to detect a passing planet. If orbiting planets huddle close enough to an M-dwarf, in
 

Dawn clocks up 1000 orbits of Ceres

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jun 21, 2016
Dawn is continuing to record the extraordinary sights on dwarf planet Ceres. The experienced explorer is closer to the alien world than the International Space Station is to Earth. Dawn has completed more than 1,000 orbital revolutions since entering into Ceres' gentle but firm gravitational grip in March 2015. The probe is healthy and performing its ambitious assignments impeccably. In th
 

India launches 20 satellites in single mission

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Sriharikota, India (AFP) June 22, 2016
India successfully launched a rocket carrying 20 satellites on Wednesday, setting a new national record as its famously frugal space agency looks to grab a larger slice of the lucrative commercial space market. The rocket blasted off from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota carrying satellites from the US, Germany, Canada and Indonesia, the most in a single Indian mission. Most of the
 

View From Above: India to Launch High Resolution Surveillance Satellite

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
New Delhi (Sputnik) Jun 22, 2016
India's soon to be launched Cartosat-2 series satellite is capable of monitoring foreign troops, allowing the country's military to detect incursions and other activities. India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C34) will soon be tasked with carrying a record-breaking 22 satellites. These will include the Cartosat-2 series surveillance satellite, which is accurate enough to give India the
 

Case Bolstered for a Present-Day Subsurface Ocean on Pluto

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Laurel MD (SPX) Jun 23, 2016
When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft buzzed by Pluto last year, it revealed tantalizing clues that the dwarf planet might have - or had at one time - a liquid ocean sloshing around under its icy crust. According to a new analysis led by a Brown University Ph.D. student, such an ocean likely still exists today. The study, which used a thermal evolution model for Pluto updated with data from
 

Space Weapons: US Seeks to Innovate New Frameworks

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Peterson AFB CO (SPX) Jun 22, 2016
The Air Force Space Command has devised a new framework for space warfare called Space Enterprise Vision (SEV). Though some aspects of the plan are classified, Air Force Space Command spokesman Col. John Dorrian says that SEV is "an all-encompassing look at all the things we need to do to create more resilience in our space forces, enhance them, and respond to threats." Dorrian says
 

China promotes int'l development of homegrown GPS system

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Jun 23, 2016
China has been promoting international satellite navigation applications and will push forward the international development of China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), said a white paper issued on Thursday. "China actively pushes forward the cooperation and exchanges between the BDS and other navigation satellite systems in the fields of system construction and application from a
 

BeiDou GPS system targets global service around 2020

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Jun 23, 2016
The Chinese government on Thursday released a white paper elaborating on the development of BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), which has been independently developed and operated by China. According to the document, China has formulated a three-step strategy for developing the BDS, aiming to complete the constellation deployment with 35 satellites around 2020 to provide services to
 

SSL Satellite For Dish Begins Post-Launch Maneuvers According To Plan

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Palo Alto CA (SPX) Jun 22, 2016
Space Systems Loral reports that the EchoStar XVIII satellite, designed and built for DISH Network was launched on Saturday and is performing post-launch maneuvers according to plan. Following launch on an Ariane 5 rocket, the satellite's solar arrays were deployed on schedule and began firing its main thruster to propel it toward its final geostationary orbit. The satellite will aug
 

Digitalization of analog data reveals past space weather patterns

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Kyoto, Japan (SPX) Jun 21, 2016
If you're about to throw out old data on bulky paper, hold your horses. A Japanese team have digitalized magnetogram recordings taken before direct observations by satellites became available. The analog recordings, taken for 72 years since the early 20th century, provide a window onto space weather in the mid-1900s and shed light onto future patterns of plasma movement in near-earth space.
 

Lockheed Martin wins $733 million aerial ISR contract

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Fairfax, Va. (UPI) Jun 21, 2016
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a maximum-value $733 million U.S. Army contract for aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance work. The one-year contract features two one-year options. Lockheed will work with the U.S. Army Contracting Command's Aberdeen Proving Ground to modernize sensor equipment and platforms that support aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconn
 

China's new launch center to get new viewing areas

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Wenchang (XNA) Jun 23, 2016
China's fourth space launch center at Wenchang in Hainan Province, plans eight launch viewing areas for space fans to observe its maiden launch mission. Components of China's new generation of carrier rocket Long March-7 arrived in Wenchang in May for the planned launch before the end of June. The Long March-7, a medium-sized rocket using liquid propellant, can carry up to 13.5 tonne
 

Lockheed receives SBIRS contract modification

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Washington (UPI) Jun 21, 2016
Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been awarded a $25 million U.S. Air Force contract modification for work on the Remote Sensing Systems Directorate's Space Based Infra-Red Systems program. The contract modification covers follow-on production, which will involve adding geosynchronous Earth orbit transition to operations. It also adds backend tuning to the baseline. Backend tunin
 

Marrying superconductors, lasers, and Bose-Einstein condensates

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Orange CA (SPX) Jun 22, 2016
Chapman University Institute for Quantum Studies (IQS) member Yutaka Shikano, Ph.D., recently had research published in Scientific Reports. Superconductors are one of the most remarkable phenomena in physics, with amazing technological implications. Some of the technologies that would not be possible without superconductivity are extremely powerful magnets that levitate trains and MRI machines u
 

LG Chem's New High Voltage Batteries Now Compatible With Solaredge Storedge

 
‎Today, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Herzelya Pituach, Israel (SPX) Jun 22, 2016
SolarEdge Technologies and LG Chem have announced the compatibility of SolarEdge's StorEdge solutions and LG Chem's new high voltage RESU10H and RESU7H batteries. The product compatibility will help further advance the accessibility to cost-effective residential solar generation, storage, and consumption. With both on-grid and backup solutions, the new offering supports increasing self-con
 

Extreme trans-Neptunian objects lead the way to Planet Nine

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Jun 15, 2016
In the race towards the discovery of a ninth planet in our solar system, scientists from around the world strive to calculate its orbit using the tracks left by the small bodies that move well beyond Neptune. Now, astronomers from Spain and University of Cambridge have confirmed, with new calculations, that the orbits of the six extreme trans-Neptunian objects that served as a reference to annou
 

Smaller Stars Pack Big X-ray Punch for Would-Be Planets

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Huntsville AL (SPX) Jun 15, 2016
Young stars much less massive than the Sun can unleash a torrent of X-ray radiation that can significantly shorten the lifetime of planet-forming disks surrounding these stars. This result comes from a new study of a group of nearby stars using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes. Researchers found evidence that intense X-ray radiation produced by some of the yo
 

NASA's NICER Mission Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
An upcoming NASA astrophysics mission will uncover the physics governing the ultra-dense interiors of neutron stars. Using the same platform, the mission will demonstrate trailblazing space navigation technology. The multipurpose Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission arrived at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday, June 8. The forthcomin
 

US Senate reaches compromise on Russian rocket engines

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (Sputnik) Jun 13, 2016
This week, Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain attempted to cut off any further purchase of the Russian engines, proposing US companies compete to provide the United States with a reliable, domestic space launch platform. "We worked it out," Shelby said on Friday of the contentious debate over language in the 2017 defense spending bill to continue the use of the RD-180. "The deal is
 

SSL satellite for Intelsat starts post-launch maneuvers

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Palo Alto CA (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
Space Systems Loral has announced that a high-power satellite designed and built for Intelsat was launched Friday and has successfully performed post-launch maneuvers according to plan. The satellite, Intelsat 31, deployed its solar arrays on schedule following its launch aboard a Proton Breeze M vehicle provided by International Launch Services (ILS). It will begin firing its main thruste
 

New atlas of light pollution

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Potsdam, Germany (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
A new atlas of light pollution documents the degree to which the world is illuminated by artificial skyglow. In addition to being a scourge for astronomers, bright nights also affect nocturnal organisms and the ecosystems in which they live. The "New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness" was published in the open access journal Science Advances on June 10, 2016. Researchers from
 

Europe Develops Self-removal Technology for Spacecraft

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
A new European project has an ambitious goal of cleaning up space for future generations. The Technology for Self-Removal of Spacecraft (TeSeR) program, that was introduced in May 2016, will develop a prototype for a module which will ensure that a defunct spacecraft possesses no danger for other vehicles in space. The project is financed by the European Union's (EU) Horizon 2020 research
 

Milky Way now hidden from one-third of humanity

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Boulder CO (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
The Milky Way, the brilliant river of stars that has dominated the night sky and human imaginations since time immemorial, is but a faded memory to one third of humanity and 80 percent of Americans, according to a new global atlas of light pollution produced by Italian and American scientists. Light pollution is one of the most pervasive forms of environmental alteration. In most developed
 

The GTC obtains the deepest image of a galaxy from Earth

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Tenerife, Spain (SPX) Jun 11, 2016
Observing very distant objects in the universe is a challenge because the light which reaches us is extremely faint. Something similar occurs with objects which are not so distant but have very low surface brightness. Measuring this brightness is difficult due to the low contrast with the sky background. Recently a study led by the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) set out to test the l
 

SOFIA Pinpoints Water Vapor in Young Star

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
A team of scientists using the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has pinpointed the amount and location of water vapor around a newly forming star with groundbreaking precision. Using data collected aboard SOFIA, the team determined that most of this young star's water vapor is located in material flowing away from the star, rather than within the disk of matter orbi
 

Scientists observe supermassive black hole feeding on cold gas

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
At the center of a galaxy cluster, 1 billion light years from Earth, a voracious, supermassive black hole is preparing for a chilly feast. For the first time, astronomers have detected billowy clouds of cold, clumpy gas streaming toward a black hole, at the center of a massive galaxy cluster. The clouds are traveling at speeds of up to 355 kilometers per second - that's almost 800,000 miles per
 

Helping satellites be right as rain

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
As you read this paragraph, a NASA satellite orbits around planet Earth, gathering data on - of all things - soil moisture. Moisture in the soil acts like a thermostat for the planet. Along with affecting agricultural production, it has a large influence on the weather and climate. Its impact on the planet is so important, NASA has sent a satellite into space to measure it. As sunlight is
 

Rust under pressure could explain deep Earth anomalies

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
Using laboratory techniques to mimic the conditions found deep inside the Earth, a team of Carnegie scientists led by Ho-Kwang "Dave" Mao has identified a form of iron oxide that they believe could explain seismic and geothermal signatures in the deep mantle. Their work is published in Nature. Iron and oxygen are two of the most geochemically important elements on Earth. The core is rich i
 

Black hole fed by cold intergalactic deluge

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
The new ALMA observation is the first direct evidence that cold dense clouds can coalesce out of hot intergalactic gas and plunge into the heart of a galaxy to feed its central supermassive black hole. It also reshapes astronomers' views on how supermassive black holes feed, in a process known as accretion. Previously, astronomers believed that, in the largest galaxies, supermassive black
 

Stanford researchers calculate groundwater levels from satellite data

 
‎Tuesday, ‎June ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎7:13:17 AMGo to full article
Stanford CA (SPX) Jun 14, 2016
A new computer algorithm developed at Stanford University is enabling scientists to use satellite data to determine groundwater levels across larger areas than ever before. The technique, detailed in the June issue of the journal Water Resources Research, could lead to better models of groundwater flow. "It could be especially useful in agricultural regions, where groundwater pumping is common a
 

NASA's Juno Mission 26 Days from Jupiter

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jun 10, 2016
NASA's Juno mission is now 26 days and 11.1 million miles (17.8 million kilometers) away from the largest planetary inhabitant in our solar system - Jupiter. On the evening of July 4, Juno will fire its main engine for 35 minutes, placing it into a polar orbit around the gas giant. It will be a daring planetary encounter: Giant Jupiter lies in the harshest radiation environment known, and
 

NASA Mars Orbiters Reveal Seasonal Dust Storm Pattern

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jun 10, 2016
After decades of research to discern seasonal patterns in Martian dust storms from images showing the dust, but the clearest pattern appears to be captured by measuring the temperature of the Red Planet's atmosphere. For six recent Martian years, temperature records from NASA Mars orbiters reveal a pattern of three types of large regional dust storms occurring in sequence at about the same
 

Cloudy Days on Exoplanets May Hide Atmospheric Water

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Baltimore MD (SPX) Jun 10, 2016
Water is a hot topic in the study of exoplanets, including "hot Jupiters," whose masses are similar to that of Jupiter, but which are much closer to their parent star than Jupiter is to the sun. They can reach a scorching 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,100 degrees Celsius), meaning any water they host would take the form of water vapor. Astronomers have found many hot Jupiters with water in t
 

Why the Deep Space Atomic Clock is key for future space exploration

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Los Angeles CA (The Conversation) Jun 10, 2016
We all intuitively understand the basics of time. Every day we count its passage and use it to schedule our lives. We also use time to navigate our way to the destinations that matter to us. In school we learned that speed and time will tell us how far we went in traveling from point A to point B; with a map we can pick the most efficient route - simple. But what if point A is the Earth, a
 

Likely new planet may be in slow death spiral

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Houston TX (SPX) Jun 10, 2016
Astronomers searching for the galaxy's youngest planets have found compelling evidence for one unlike any other, a newborn "hot Jupiter" whose outer layers are being torn away by the star it orbits every 11 hours. "A handful of known planets are in similarly small orbits, but because this star is only 2 million years old this is one of the most extreme examples," said Rice University astro
 

This black hole has an appetite for cold, cosmic rain

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
New Haven CT (SPX) Jun 10, 2016
An intergalactic gas cloud is sometimes a dish best served cold. In a new study to be published in the journal Nature, a Yale-led team of astronomers found a supermassive black hole about to devour clouds of cold, clumpy gas hurtling toward it. Prior to this, scientists believed that supermassive black holes in the largest galaxies fed on a slow, steady diet of hot, ionized gas from the galaxy's
 

Black hole deluged by cold intergalactic 'rain'

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Charlottesville VA (SPX) Jun 10, 2016
An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has witnessed a never-before-seen cosmic weather event - a cluster of towering intergalactic gas clouds raining in on the supermassive black hole at the center of an elliptical galaxy one billion light-years from Earth. The new ALMA observations are the first direct evidence that cold dense c
 

Ukraine Unlikely to Meet Challenge of Building Large Rocket Engines for US

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jun 10, 2016
Ukraine has proposed to the United States joint development and production of rocket engines to replace Russia's RD-180 engines that the US side buys for its space industry, head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) Lyubomyr Sabadosh said last week. "Washington does seem capable of any anti-Russia action. But there is the practical issue as whether Ukraine could deliver given the cu
 

ILS Proton Launches Intelsat 31 Satellite

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Baikonur, Kazakhstan (SPX) Jun 10, 2016
Intelsat powered by its leading satellite backbone, and International Launch Services (ILS) has announced that an ILS Proton Breeze M successfully launched the Intelsat 31 satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Proton Breeze M launch vehicle, utilizing a 5-burn Breeze M Supersynchronous Transfer Orbit (SSTO) mission design, lifted off from Pad 24 at 13:10 local time (3:1
 

Scientists craft an artificial seawater concoction

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Baton Rouge LA (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
Microbiologists have concocted an artificial seawater medium that can be used to successfully cultivate abundant marine microorganisms, many of which have not been genetically characterized before. The recipe and study led by LSU doctoral candidate Michael Henson from Sylvania, Ohio and LSU Assistant Professor Cameron Thrash with support from LSU undergraduate researchers David Pitre from Houma,
 

Grand Canyon National Park Receives Provisional International Dark Sky Park Status

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Tucson AZ (SPX) Jun 10, 2016
The International Dark-Sky Association and the National Park Service are excited to announce that Grand Canyon National Park is now a Provisional IDA International Dark Sky Park. "Tonight's announcement designating Grand Canyon National Park an International Dark Sky Park is an important step in ensuring the Colorado Plateau remains a protective harbor for some of the best night skies in t
 

Laboratory breakthrough may lead to improved X-ray spectrometers

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute's Swiss Light Source in Villigen, Switzerland, have developed a new design for X-ray spectrometers that eschews a commonly utilized component to lowers overall production costs and increase the efficiency of x-ray flux, which may lead to faster acquisition times for sample imaging and increased efficiency for the system. This is essential for biological
 

Squeezing out opal-like colors by the mile

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Cambridge, UK (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
The team, led by the University of Cambridge, have invented a way to make such sheets on industrial scales, opening up applications ranging from smart clothing for people or buildings, to banknote security. Using a new method called Bend-Induced-Oscillatory-Shearing (BIOS), the researchers are now able to produce hundreds of metres of these materials, known as 'polymer opals', on a roll-to
 

Glass now has smart potential

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
Adelaide, Australia (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
Australian researchers at the University of Adelaide have developed a method for embedding light-emitting nanoparticles into glass without losing any of their unique properties - a major step towards 'smart glass' applications such as 3D display screens or remote radiation sensors. This new "hybrid glass" successfully combines the properties of these special luminescent (or light-emitting)
 

Microgrids, not always economically efficient in regulated electricity markets

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:54:32 AMGo to full article
University Park PA (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
Installing a microgrid within a regulated electricity market will sometimes, but not always, provide an economic benefit to customers, investors and utilities involved, according to new research led by Chiara Lo Prete, assistant professor of energy economics, Penn State. A microgrid is a group of power generators and power consumers operating in a coordinated system, and some members of th
 

Universe's first life might have been born on carbon planets

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
Our Earth consists of silicate rocks and an iron core with a thin veneer of water and life. But the first potentially habitable worlds to form might have been very different. New research suggests that planet formation in the early universe might have created carbon planets consisting of graphite, carbides, and diamond. Astronomers might find these diamond worlds by searching a rare class of sta
 

Second Starliner Begins Assembly in Florida Factory

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
Another major hardware component for Boeing's second Starliner spacecraft recently arrived at the company's assembly facility at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The upper dome - basically one half of the Starliner pressure vessel - arrived at the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility, closely following the arrival of the lower dome and docking hatch in early May. The three
 

Air conditioning goes green

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Jun 09, 2016
The ingenuity of four space engineers has created a zero-emission air-conditioning system that doesn't pollute our atmosphere when we turn it on. Air conditioning for offices, factories, shopping centres and homes has long been recognised as a large contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, and boosting its efficiency would help to combat climate change. Zero-carbon buildings are now a step
 

Algorithm could construct first images of black holes

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Harvard University have developed a new algorithm that could help astronomers produce the first image of a black hole. The algorithm would stitch together data collected from radio telescopes scattered around the globe, under the auspices of an international collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope.
 

LISA Pathfinder Exceeds Expectations

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Hannover, Germany (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
The ESA satellite mission LISA Pathfinder has successfully demonstrated the technology for a gravitational wave observatory in space such as LISA. After a picture perfect start, a journey to its destination some 1.5 million kilometers from Earth towards the Sun, and a successful release of the test masses, LISA Pathfinder began its job as a space laboratory on 1 March. Now scientists presented t
 

Black Holes Might Not be Dead-ends After All

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Lisbon Portugal (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
A physical body might be able to cross a wormhole, in spite of the extreme tidal forces, suggests a new study by Rubiera-Garcia, of Instituto de Astrofisica e Ciencias do Espaco (IA , and his team. This result, published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, is supported by the fact that the interactions between the different parts of the body, which hold it together, are preserved. The
 

Abandonment of Russian rocket engines may ground Pentagon's space plans

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Jun 09, 2016
The Pentagon is becoming more and more vocal in its warning about national security and budget risks that may result from ending the use of Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines, an article in The Wall Street Journal read. The RD-180 has been used to power the Atlas V rocket used by the US Air Force to launch its probes as well as in NASA research programs. Earlier, the Pentagon said that it
 

Asteroseismologists listen to the relics of the Milky Way

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Birmingham, UK (SPX) Jun 09, 2016
Astrophysicists from the University of Birmingham have captured the sounds of some of the oldest stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, according to research published in the Royal Astronomical Society journal Monthly Notices. The research team, from the University of Birmingham's School of Physics and Astronomy, has reported the detection of resonant acoustic oscillations of stars in 'M4', o
 

Constraining the composition of Earth's interior with elasticity of minerals

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Beijing, China (SPX) Jun 08, 2016
The composition and temperature of the Earth's interior are fundamental for us to understand the Earth' interior and his dynamics. Because of the impossibility to access directly most areas of the Earth's interior, the combination of the elasticity of minerals at high temperature and pressure (PT) and the seismic results becomes one of most practical ways to constrain the temperature and chemica
 

NASA's Operation IceBridge Completes 2016 Arctic Spring Campaign

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jun 08, 2016
Operation IceBridge, NASA's airborne survey of polar ice, ended its eighth spring Arctic campaign on May 21. During their five weeks of operations, mission scientists carried out six research flights over sea ice and ten over land ice. "We collected data over key portions of the Greenland Ice Sheet, like the fast-changing Zachariae Isstrom Glacier, and we got the broad geographic coverage
 

On exoplanets, atmospheric water may be hiding behind clouds

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) Jun 8, 2016
Scientists have detected water in the atmospheres of some hot Jupiters - exoplanets the size of Jupiter, but orbiting much closer to their parent stars. Others, however, appear to be without water vapor. What gives? New research published by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory suggests the discrepancy may not be one at all. Layers of haze or clouds, scientists say, may simpl
 

Plant lignin improves efficacy of sunscreen

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Hamilton, Ontario (UPI) Jun 8, 2016
In a new study, scientists point to the potential of lignin to bolster sunscreen performance. Lignin is an organic polymer found in the cell walls of many plants. It offers structural integrity and rigidity and is found in high concentrations in wood and bark. It's also one of the paper industry's biggest waste products. Most sunscreens use synthetic compounds to block ultraviole
 

Mexican engineer extracts gas from urine to heat shower

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Mexico City (AFP) June 9, 2016
Mexican engineer Gabriel Luna-Sandoval was urinating one day when he realized that the yellow liquid could be of "vital" use elsewhere. Nine years later, he invented a machine that he said can transform urine into a biogas to serve as a household heater to take hot showers or cook. But the 41-year-old researcher from the University of Sonora State, in northern Mexico, is also shooting fo
 

New cheap method of surveying landscapes can capture environmental change

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Exeter, UK (SPX) Jun 08, 2016
Cheap cameras on drones can be used to measure environmental change which affects billions of people around the world, new research from the University of Exeter shows. Experts have developed a new way of surveying vegetation which greatly advances the tools available to ecologists and land managers seeking understand dryland ecosystems. Using standard 'point and shoot' cameras attached to a
 

Dutch architect unveils 3D printer to make 'endless' house

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:29:13 AMGo to full article
Amsterdam (AFP) June 8, 2016
A Dutch architect Wednesday unveiled a unique 3D printer with which he aims to construct a large building "without beginning or end" shaped like an infinite loop. "It's just like a normal printer," architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars told AFP as he presented the tool he hopes to use to build what he has dubbed the "Landscape House". "But instead of putting ink onto paper, we are putting a liq
 
 
 

 

 
 

News About Time And Space

 

 
 

UChicago physicists first to see behavior of quantum materials in curved space

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
Chicago IL (SPX) Jun 16, 2016 - Light and matter are typically viewed as distinct entities that follow their own, unique rules. Matter has mass and typically exhibits interactions with other matter, while light is massless and does not interact with itself. Yet, wave-particle duality tells us that matter and light both act sometimes like particles, and sometimes like waves.

Harnessing the shared wave nature of light and matter, researchers at the University of Chicago led by Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Physics Jonathan Simon have used light to explore some of the most intriguing questions in the quantum mechanics of materials. The topic encompasses complex and non-intuitive phenomena that are often difficult to explain in non-technical language, but which carry important implications to specialists in the field.

In work published online June 6, 2016, in the journal Nature, Simon's group presents new experimental observations of a quantum Hall material near a singularity of curvature in space.

Quantum effects give rise to some of the most useful and promising properties of materials: they define standard units of measurement, give rise to superconductivity, and describe quantum computers. The quantum hall materials are one prominent example in which electrons are trapped in non-conducting circular orbits except at the edges of the material. There, electrons exhibit quantized resistance-free electrical conduction that is immune to disorder such as material impurities or surface defects.

Furthermore, electrons in quantum Hall materials do not transmit sound waves but instead have particle-like excitations, some of which are unlike any other particles ever discovered. Some of these materials also exhibit simultaneous quantum entanglement between millions of electrons, meaning that the electrons are so interconnected, the state of one instantly influences the state of all others. This combination of properties makes quantum Hall materials a promising platform for future quantum computation.

Researchers worldwide have spent the past 35 years delving into the mysteries of quantum Hall materials, but always in the same fundamental way. They use superconducting magnets to make very powerful magnetic fields and refrigerators to cool electronic samples to thousandths of a degree above absolute zero.

Trapping light...
In a new approach, Simon and his team demonstrated the creation of a quantum Hall material made up of light. "Using really good mirrors that are pointed at each other, we can trap light for a long time while it bounces back and forth many thousands of times between the mirrors," explained graduate student Nathan Schine.

In the UChicago experiment, photons travel back and forth between mirrors, while their side-to-side motion mimics the behavior of massive particles like electrons. To emulate a strong magnetic field, the researchers created a non-planar arrangement of four mirrors that makes the light twist as it completes a round trip. The twisting motion causes the photons to move like charged particles in a magnetic field, even though there is no actual magnet present.

"We make the photons spin, which leads to a force that has the same effect as a magnetic field," explained Schine. While the light is trapped, it behaves like the electrons in a quantum Hall material.

First, Simon's group demonstrated that they had a quantum Hall material of light. To do so, they shined infrared laser light at the mirrors. By varying the laser's frequency, Simon's team could map out precisely at which frequencies the laser was transmitted through the mirrors. These transmission frequencies, along with camera images of the transmitted light, gave a telltale signature of a quantum Hall state.

Next, the researchers took advantage of the precise control that advanced optical systems provide to place the photons in curved space, which has not been possible so far with electrons. In particular, they made the photons behave as if they resided on the surface of a cone.

...near a singularity
"We created a cone for light much like you might do by cutting a wedge of paper and taping the edges together," said postdoctoral fellow Ariel Sommer, also a co-author of the paper. "In this case, we imposed a three-fold symmetry on our light, which essentially divides the plane into three wedges and forces the light to repeat itself on each wedge."

The tip of a cone has infinite curvature - the singularity - so the researchers were able to study the effect of strong spatial curvature in a quantum Hall material. They observed that photons accumulated at the cone tip, confirming a previously untested theory of the quantum Hall effect in curved space.

Despite 20 years of interest, this is the first time an experiment has observed the behavior of quantum materials in curved space. "We are beginning to make our photons interact with each other," said Schine. "This opens up many possibilities, such as making crystalline or exotic quantum liquid states of light. We can then see how they respond to spatial curvature."

The researchers say this could be useful for characterizing a certain type of quantum computer that is built of quantum Hall materials.

"While quantum Hall materials were discovered in the eighties, they continue to reveal their fascinating secrets to this day," said Simon. "The final frontier is exploring the interplay of these beautiful materials with the curvature of space. That is what we've begun to explore with our photons."

Research paper: Synthetic Landau levels for photons

 

 

Scientists observe supermassive black hole feeding on cold gas

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jun 14, 2016 - At the center of a galaxy cluster, 1 billion light years from Earth, a voracious, supermassive black hole is preparing for a chilly feast. For the first time, astronomers have detected billowy clouds of cold, clumpy gas streaming toward a black hole, at the center of a massive galaxy cluster. The clouds are traveling at speeds of up to 355 kilometers per second - that's almost 800,000 miles per hour - and may be only 150 light years away from its edge, almost certain to fall into the black hole, feeding its bottomless well.

The observations, which will be published in the journal Nature, represent the first direct evidence to support the hypothesis that black holes feed on clouds of cold gas. The results also suggest that fueling a black hole - a process known as accretion - is a whole lot messier than scientists had once thought.

"The simple model of black hole accretion consists of a black hole surrounded by a sphere of hot gas, and that gas accretes smoothly onto the black hole, and everything's simple, mathematically," says Michael McDonald, assistant professor of physics in MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. "But this is the most compelling evidence that this process is not smooth, simple, and clean, but actually quite chaotic and clumpy."

Given the new observations, McDonald says black holes probably have two ways of feeding: For most of the time, they may slowly graze on a steady diet of diffuse hot gas. Once in a while, they may quickly gobble up clumps of cold gas as it comes nearby.

"This diffuse, hot gas is available to the black hole at a low level all the time, and you can have a steady trickle of it going in," McDonald says. "Every now and then, you can have a rainstorm with all these droplets of cold gas, and for a short amount of time, the black hole's eating very quickly. So the idea that there are these two dinner modes for black holes is a pretty nice result."

McDonald is a co-author on the paper, which was led by Grant Tremblay, an astronomer at Yale University.

Seeing shadows
The researchers made their detection using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, or ALMA - one of the most powerful telescopes in the world, designed to see the oldest, most distant galaxies in the universe. The team focused ALMA's telescopes 1 billion light years away, on the central galaxy in the Abell 2597 Cluster, a galaxy that is some tens of thousands of light years across. This particular galaxy is among the brightest in the universe, as it is likely producing many new stars.

The team originally wanted to get a sense for how many stars this cluster was churning out, so they mapped all the cold gas within the cluster. This cold gas has cooled and condensed out of the diffuse halo of hot gas surrounding a cluster, forming clumps. It is the collapse of cold gas that creates new stars, especially in the cluster's central galaxy.

"In the center of a cluster, there's a single massive galaxy, the big daddy galaxy of the cluster," McDonald says. "It's sitting at the bottom of a gravitational funnel, and all the gas from a thousand galaxies is available to it. These are the galaxies that are the most massive, with the most massive black holes in the universe, and the most potential for star formation."

The researchers used ALMA to map the spectral signatures, or radio emissions, from the galaxy cluster, looking specifically for signatures of carbon monoxide, the presence of which usually indicates very cold gas, of minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit and below. They mapped carbon monoxide across the entire galaxy cluster and found that as they looked further into the cluster, they encountered progressively cooler gas, from millions of degrees Fahrenheit to subzero temperatures.

At the very center, just at the edge of the cluster's supermassive black hole, the researchers discovered something quite unexpected: the shadows of three very cold, very clumpy gas clouds. The shadows were cast against bright jets of material spewing from the black hole, suggesting that these clouds were very close to being consumed by the black hole.

"We got very lucky," McDonald says. "We could probably look at 100 galaxies like this and not see what we saw just by chance. Seeing three shadows at once is like discovering not just one exoplanet, but three in the first try. Nature was very kind in this case."

A high-energy feast
The team estimated the velocities of the three clouds to be 240, 275, and 355 kilometers per second, with all three headed toward the black hole. McDonald says these three cold gas clouds will likely not stream straight into the black hole but instead be absorbed into its accretion disc - the massive disc of material that will eventually spiral into the black hole.

He adds that while ALMA was only able to see three clouds of cold gas near the black hole, there may be even more in the vicinity, setting the black hole up for quite a feast.

"We're only seeing this tiny sliver," McDonald says. "If there are three clouds in just our line of sight, there might be millions of clouds all around. And there's a tremendous amount of energy in just these three clouds. So if we were to look at this thing a million years later, we might see that the black hole is in outburst - much brighter, with more powerful jets, because all this high-energy material is landing on it."

 

 

Black hole fed by cold intergalactic deluge

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jun 14, 2016 - The new ALMA observation is the first direct evidence that cold dense clouds can coalesce out of hot intergalactic gas and plunge into the heart of a galaxy to feed its central supermassive black hole. It also reshapes astronomers' views on how supermassive black holes feed, in a process known as accretion.

Previously, astronomers believed that, in the largest galaxies, supermassive black holes fed on a slow and steady diet of hot ionised gas from the galaxy's halo. The new ALMA observations show that, when the intergalactic weather conditions are right, black holes can also gorge on a clumpy, chaotic downpour of giant clouds of very cold molecular gas.

"Although it has been a major theoretical prediction in recent years, this is one of the first unambiguous pieces of observational evidence for a chaotic, cold rain feeding a supermassive black hole," said Grant Tremblay, an astronomer with Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, former ESO Fellow, and lead author on the new paper. "It's exciting to think we might actually be observing this galaxy-spanning rainstorm feeding a black hole whose mass is about 300 million times that of the Sun."

Tremblay and his team used ALMA to peer into an unusually bright cluster of about 50 galaxies, collectively known as Abell 2597. At its core is a massive elliptical galaxy, descriptively named the Abell 2597 Brightest Cluster Galaxy. Suffusing the space between these galaxies is a diffuse atmosphere of hot ionised gas, which was previously observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

"This very, very hot gas can quickly cool, condense, and precipitate in much the same way that warm, humid air in Earth's atmosphere can spawn rain clouds and precipitation," Tremblay said. "The newly condensed clouds then rain in on the galaxy, fueling star formation and feeding its supermassive black hole."

Near the centre of this galaxy the researchers discovered just this scenario: three massive clumps of cold gas are careening toward the supermassive black hole in the galaxy's core at about a million kilometres per hour. Each cloud contains as much material as a million Suns and is tens of light-years across.

Normally, objects on that scale would be difficult to distinguish at these cosmic distances, even with ALMA's amazing resolution. They were revealed, however, by the billion-light-year-long "shadows" they cast toward Earth [1].

Additional data from the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array indicate that the gas clouds observed by ALMA are only about 300 light-years from the central black hole, essentially teetering on the edge of being devoured, in astronomical terms.

While ALMA was only able to detect three clouds of cold gas near the black hole, the astronomers speculate that there may be thousands like them in the vicinity, setting up the black hole for a continuing downpour that could fuel its activity for a long time.

The astronomers now plan to use ALMA to search for these "rainstorms" in other galaxies in order to determine whether such cosmic weather is as common as current theory suggests it might be.

This research was presented in a paper entitled "Cold, clumpy accretion onto an active supermassive black hole", by Grant R. Tremblay et al., to appear in the journal Nature on 9 June 2016.

 

 

NIST's super quantum simulator 'entangles' hundreds of ions

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
Boulder CO (SPX) Jun 10, 2016 - Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have "entangled" or linked together the properties of up to 219 beryllium ions (charged atoms) to create a quantum simulator. The simulator is designed to model and mimic complex physics phenomena in a way that is impossible with conventional machines, even supercomputers. The techniques could also help improve atomic clocks.

The new NIST system can generate quantum entanglement in about 10 times as many ions as any previous simulators based on ions, a scale-up that is crucial for practical applications. The behavior of the entangled ions rotating in a flat crystal just 1 millimeter in diameter can also be tailored or controlled to a greater degree than before.

Described in the June 10, 2016, issue of Science, NIST's latest simulator improves on the same research group's 2012 version by removing most of the earlier system's errors and instabilities, which can destroy fragile quantum effects.

"Here we get clear, indisputable proof the ions are entangled," NIST postdoctoral researcher Justin Bohnet said. "What entanglement represents in this case is a useful resource for something else, like quantum simulation or to enhance a measurement in an atomic clock."

In the NIST quantum simulator, ions act as quantum bits (qubits) to store information. Trapped ions are naturally suited to studies of quantum physics phenomena such as magnetism.

Quantum simulators might also help study problems such as how the universe began, how to engineer novel technologies (for instance, room-temperature superconductors or atom-scale heat engines), or accelerate the development of quantum computers. According to definitions used in the research community, quantum simulators are designed to model specific quantum processes, whereas quantum computers are universally applicable to any desired calculation.

Quantum simulators with hundreds of qubits have been made of other materials such as neutral atoms and molecules. But trapped ions offer unique advantages such as reliable preparation and detection of quantum states, long-lived states, and strong couplings among qubits at a variety of distances.

In addition to proving entanglement, the NIST team also developed the capability to make entangled ion crystals of varying sizes - ranging from 20 qubits up to hundreds. Even a slight increase in the number of particles makes simulations exponentially more complex to program and carry out. The NIST team is especially interested in modelling quantum systems of sizes just beyond the classical processing power of conventional computers.

"Once you get to 30 to 40 particles, certain simulations become difficult," Bohnet said. "That's the number at which full classical simulations start to fail. We check that our simulator works at small numbers of ions, then target the sweet spot in this midrange to do simulations that challenge classical simulations. Improving the control also allows us to more perfectly mimic the system we want our simulator to tell us about."

The ion crystals are held inside a Penning trap, which confines charged particles by use of magnetic and electric fields. The ions naturally form triangular patterns, useful for studying certain types of mag-netism.

NIST is the only laboratory in the world generating two-dimensional arrays of more than 100 ions. Based on lessons learned in the 2012 experiment, NIST researchers designed and assembled a new trap to generate stronger and faster interactions among the ions. The interaction strength is the same for all ions in the crystal, regardless of the distances between them.

The researchers used lasers with improved position and intensity control, and more stable magnetic fields, to engineer certain dynamics in the "spin" of the ions' electrons. Ions can be spin up (often envisioned as an arrow pointing up), spin down, or both at the same time, a quantum state called a super-position.

In the experiments, all the ions are initially in independent superpositions but are not communicating with each other. As the ions interact, their spins collectively morph into an entangled state involving most, or all of the entire crystal.

Researchers detected the spin state based on how much the ions fluoresced, or scattered laser light. When measured, unentangled ions collapse from a superposition to a simple spin state, creating noise, or random fluctuations, in the measured results. Entangled ions collapse together when measured, reducing the detection noise.

Crucially, the researchers measured a sufficient level of noise reduction to verify entanglement, results that agreed with theoretical predictions. This type of entanglement is called spin squeezing because it squeezes out (removes) noise from a target measurement signal and moves it to another, less import-ant aspect of the system. The techniques used in the simulator might someday contribute to the development of atomic clocks based on large numbers of ions (current designs use one or two ions).

"The reduction in the quantum noise is what makes this form of entanglement useful for enhancing ion and atomic clocks," Bohnet said. "Here, spin squeezing confirms the simulator is working correctly, because it produces the quantum fluctuations we are looking for."

The work was funded in part by the National Science Foundation, Army Research Office and Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Paper: J.G. Bohnet, B.C. Sawyer, J.W. Britton, M.L. Wall, A.M. Rey, M. Foss-Feig, and J.J. Bollinger. 2016. Quantum spin dynamics and entanglement generation with hundreds of trapped ions. Science. June 10.

 

 

Why the Deep Space Atomic Clock is key for future space exploration

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
Los Angeles CA (The Conversation) Jun 10, 2016 - We all intuitively understand the basics of time. Every day we count its passage and use it to schedule our lives. We also use time to navigate our way to the destinations that matter to us. In school we learned that speed and time will tell us how far we went in traveling from point A to point B; with a map we can pick the most efficient route - simple.

But what if point A is the Earth, and point B is Mars - is it still that simple? Conceptually, yes. But to actually do it we need better tools - much better tools.

At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I'm working to develop one of these tools: the Deep Space Atomic Clock, or DSAC for short. DSAC is a small atomic clock that could be used as part of a spacecraft navigation system. It will improve accuracy and enable new modes of navigation, such as unattended or autonomous.

In its final form, the Deep Space Atomic Clock will be suitable for operations in the solar system well beyond Earth orbit. Our goal is to develop an advanced prototype of DSAC and operate it in space for one year, demonstrating its use for future deep space exploration.

Speed and time tell us distance
To navigate in deep space, we measure the transit time of a radio signal traveling back and forth between a spacecraft and one of our transmitting antennae on Earth (usually one of NASA's Deep Space Network complexes located in Goldstone, California; Madrid, Spain; or Canberra, Australia). We know the signal is traveling at the speed of light, a constant at approximately 300,000 km/sec (186,000 miles/sec). Then, from how long our "two-way" measurement takes to go there and back, we can compute distances and relative speeds for the spacecraft.

For instance, an orbiting satellite at Mars is an average of 250 million kilometers from Earth. The time the radio signal takes to travel there and back (called its two-way light time) is about 28 minutes. We can measure the travel time of the signal and then relate it to the total distance traversed between the Earth tracking antenna and the orbiter to better than a meter, and the orbiter's relative speed with respect to the antenna to within 0.1 mm/sec.

We collect the distance and relative speed data over time, and when we have a sufficient amount (for a Mars orbiter this is typically two days) we can determine the satellite's trajectory.

Measuring time, way beyond Swiss precision
Fundamental to these precise measurements are atomic clocks. By measuring very stable and precise frequencies of light emitted by certain atoms (examples include hydrogen, cesium, rubidium and, for DSAC, mercury), an atomic clock can regulate the time kept by a more traditional mechanical (quartz crystal) clock. It's like a tuning fork for timekeeping. The result is a clock system that can be ultra stable over decades.

The precision of the Deep Space Atomic Clock relies on an inherent property of mercury ions - they transition between neighboring energy levels at a frequency of exactly 40.5073479968 GHz. DSAC uses this property to measure the error in a quartz clock's "tick rate," and, with this measurement, "steers" it towards a stable rate. DSAC's resulting stability is on par with ground-based atomic clocks, gaining or losing less than a microsecond per decade.

Continuing with the Mars orbiter example, ground-based atomic clocks at the Deep Space Network error contribution to the orbiter's two-way light time measurement is on the order of picoseconds, contributing only fractions of a meter to the overall distance error. Likewise, the clocks' contribution to error in the orbiter's speed measurement is a minuscule fraction of the overall error (1 micrometer/sec out of the 0.1 mm/sec total).

The distance and speed measurements are collected by the ground stations and sent to teams of navigators who process the data using sophisticated computer models of spacecraft motion. They compute a best-fit trajectory that, for a Mars orbiter, is typically accurate to within 10 meters (about the length of a school bus). Sending an atomic clock to deep space

The ground clocks used for these measurements are the size of a refrigerator and operate in carefully controlled environments - definitely not suitable for spaceflight. In comparison, DSAC, even in its current prototype form as seen above, is about the size of a four-slice toaster. By design, it's able to operate well in the dynamic environment aboard a deep-space exploring craft. One key to reducing DSAC's overall size was miniaturizing the mercury ion trap. Shown in the figure above, it's about 15 cm (6 inches) in length. The trap confines the plasma of mercury ions using electric fields. Then, by applying magnetic fields and external shielding, we provide a stable environment where the ions are minimally affected by temperature or magnetic variations. This stable environment enables measuring the ions' transition between energy states very accurately.

The DSAC technology doesn't really consume anything other than power. All these features together mean we can develop a clock that's suitable for very long duration space missions.

Because DSAC is as stable as its ground counterparts, spacecraft carrying DSAC would not need to turn signals around to get two-way tracking. Instead, the spacecraft could send the tracking signal to the Earth station or it could receive the signal sent by the Earth station and make the tracking measurement on board. In other words, traditional two-way tracking can be replaced with one-way, measured either on the ground or on board the spacecraft.

So what does this mean for deep space navigation? Broadly speaking, one-way tracking is more flexible, scalable (since it could support more missions without building new antennas) and enables new ways to navigate.

DSAC advances us beyond what's possible today
The Deep Space Atomic Clock has the potential to solve a bunch of our current space navigation challenges.

+ Places like Mars are "crowded" with many spacecraft: Right now, there are five orbiters competing for radio tracking. Two-way tracking requires spacecraft to "time-share" the resource. But with one-way tracking, the Deep Space Network could support many spacecraft simultaneously without expanding the network. All that's needed are capable spacecraft radios coupled with DSAC.

+ With the existing Deep Space Network, one-way tracking can be conducted at a higher-frequency band than current two-way. Doing so improves the precision of the tracking data by upwards of 10 times, producing range rate measurements with only 0.01 mm/sec error.

+ One-way uplink transmissions from the Deep Space Network are very high-powered. They can be received by smaller spacecraft antennas with greater fields of view than the typical high-gain, focused antennas used today for two-way tracking. This change allows the mission to conduct science and exploration activities without interruption while still collecting high-precision data for navigation and science. As an example, use of one-way data with DSAC to determine the gravity field of Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter, can be achieved in a third of the time it would take using traditional two-way methods with the flyby mission currently under development by NASA.

+ Collecting high-precision one-way data on board a spacecraft means the data are available for real-time navigation. Unlike two-way tracking, there is no delay with ground-based data collection and processing. This type of navigation could be crucial for robotic exploration; it would improve accuracy and reliability during critical events - for example, when a spacecraft inserts into orbit around a planet. It's also important for human exploration, when astronauts will need accurate real-time trajectory information to safely navigate to distant solar system destinations.

Countdown to DSAC launch
The DSAC mission is a hosted payload on the Surrey Satellite Technology Orbital Test Bed spacecraft. Together with the DSAC Demonstration Unit, an ultra stable quartz oscillator and a GPS receiver with antenna will enter low altitude Earth orbit once launched via a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in early 2017.

While it's on orbit, DSAC's space-based performance will be measured in a yearlong demonstration, during which Global Positioning System tracking data will be used to determine precise estimates of OTB's orbit and DSAC's stability. We'll also be running a carefully designed experiment to confirm DSAC-based orbit estimates are as accurate or better than those determined from traditional two-way data. This is how we'll validate DSAC's utility for deep space one-way radio navigation.

In the late 1700s, navigating the high seas was forever changed by John Harrison's development of the H4 "sea watch." H4's stability enabled seafarers to accurately and reliably determine longitude, which until then had eluded mariners for thousands of years. Today, exploring deep space requires traveling distances that are orders of magnitude greater than the lengths of oceans, and demands tools with ever more precision for safe navigation. DSAC is at the ready to respond to this challenge.

Source The Conversation

 

 

This black hole has an appetite for cold, cosmic rain

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
New Haven CT (SPX) Jun 10, 2016 - An intergalactic gas cloud is sometimes a dish best served cold. In a new study to be published in the journal Nature, a Yale-led team of astronomers found a supermassive black hole about to devour clouds of cold, clumpy gas hurtling toward it. Prior to this, scientists believed that supermassive black holes in the largest galaxies fed on a slow, steady diet of hot, ionized gas from the galaxy's halo.

"Although it has been a major theoretical prediction in recent years, this is one of the first unambiguous pieces of observational evidence for a chaotic, cold 'rain' feeding a supermassive black hole," said Yale astronomer Grant Tremblay, lead author of the study.

"It's exciting to think we might actually be observing this galaxy-spanning 'rainstorm' feeding a black hole whose mass is about 300 million times that of our Sun."

The discovery offers new insight into the way black holes ingest fuel, a process called accretion. The most common way for black holes to feed is by taking in hot, ionized gas that spirals in slowly from a surrounding disc of cosmic material.

Tremblay's team analyzed data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile to map the locations and movement of cold molecular gas in the Abell 2597 Cluster - a knot of about 50 galaxies located 1 billion light years from Earth.

The researchers detected a trio of cold gas clouds, traveling as fast as a million kilometers per hour, heading toward a black hole in a galaxy at the center of the cluster. Each gas cloud contained as much material as a million Suns and measured tens of light-years across.

"We can't know whether all or only part of this 'meal' of cold gas will ultimately fall into the black hole, but the ALMA data spectacularly highlights the importance of this kind of cold accretion," said co-author C. Megan Urry, the Israel Munson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Yale.

Added co-author Louise Edwards, who is an astronomy lecturer and researcher at Yale: "Since we know so little about the mechanics of how the AGN (active galactic nucleus) interacts with the rest of the galaxy, this is a real step forward."

The researchers said they plan to use ALMA to search for similar "rainstorms" in other galaxies to determine if such cosmic weather is a common phenomenon.

 

 

Black hole deluged by cold intergalactic 'rain'

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
Charlottesville VA (SPX) Jun 10, 2016 - An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has witnessed a never-before-seen cosmic weather event - a cluster of towering intergalactic gas clouds raining in on the supermassive black hole at the center of an elliptical galaxy one billion light-years from Earth.

The new ALMA observations are the first direct evidence that cold dense clouds can coalesce out of hot intergalactic gas and plunge into the heart of a galaxy to feed its central supermassive black hole. They also reshape astronomers' views on how supermassive black holes feed through a process known as accretion.

Previously, astronomers believed that, in the largest galaxies, supermassive black holes fed on a slow and steady diet of hot ionized gas from the galaxy's halo. The new ALMA observations show that, when the intergalactic weather conditions are right, black holes can also gorge on a clumpy, chaotic downpour of giant, very cold clouds of molecular gas.

"This so-called cold, chaotic accretion has been a major theoretical prediction in recent years, but this is one of the first unambiguous pieces of observational evidence for a chaotic, cold 'rain' feeding a supermassive black hole," said Grant Tremblay, an astronomer with Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and lead author on a paper appearing in the journal Nature. "It's exciting to think we might actually be observing this galaxy-spanning 'rainstorm' feeding a black hole whose mass is about 300 million times that of our Sun."

Tremblay and his team used ALMA to peer into a phenomenally bright cluster of about 50 galaxies, collectively known as Abell 2597. At its core is a singular massive elliptical galaxy, pragmatically dubbed the Abell 2597 Brightest Cluster Galaxy. Suffusing the space between these galaxies is a diffuse atmosphere of hot, ionized plasma, which was previously observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

"This very, very hot gas can quickly cool, condense, and precipitate in much the same way that warm, humid air in Earth's atmosphere can spawn rain clouds and precipitation," Tremblay said. "The newly condensed clouds then rain in on the galaxy, fueling star formation and feeding its supermassive black hole."

Near the center of this galaxy, the researchers discovered this exact scenario: three massive clumps of cold gas careening toward the supermassive black hole in the galaxy's core at 300 kilometers per second (roughly 670,000 miles per hour). Each cloud contains as much material as a million Suns and is tens of light-years across.

Normally, objects on that scale would be difficult to distinguish at these cosmic distances, even with ALMA's amazing resolution.

They were revealed, however, by the billion light-year-long "shadows" they cast toward Earth. These shadows, known as absorption features, were formed by the in-falling gas clouds blocking out a portion of the bright background millimeter-wavelength light, which is emitted by electrons spiraling around magnetic fields very near the central supermassive black hole.

Additional data from the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array indicate that the gas clouds observed by ALMA are approximately 300 light-years from the central black hole, essentially teetering on the edge of being devoured, in astronomical terms.

While ALMA was only able to detect three of these clouds, the astronomers speculate that there may be thousands like them in the vicinity, setting up the black hole for a continued downpour that could fuel its activity well into the future.

The astronomers now plan to use ALMA in a broader search for these "rainstorms" in other galaxies to determine if such cosmic weather is as common as current theory suggests it to be.

 

 

Revisiting trajectories at the quantum scale

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 08, 2016 - There is a gap in the theory explaining what is happening at the macroscopic scale, in the realm of our everyday lives, and at the quantum level, at microscopic scale. In this paper published in EPJ D, Holger Hofmann from the Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter at Hiroshima University, Japan, reveals that the assumption that quantum particles move because they follow a precise trajectory over time has to be called into question.

Instead, he claims that the notion of trajectory is a dogmatic bias inherited from our interpretation of everyday experience at the macroscopic scale. The paper shows that trajectories only emerge at the macroscopic limit, as we can neglect the complex statistics of quantum correlations in cases of low precision.

The simple reason why it is wrong to assume that microscopic trajectories exist is because, in quantum mechanics, we can only approximately determine position and speed. This is due to a law of quantum physics, called the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, which prevents the experimental observation of trajectories and other continuous changes in time.

Hofmann shows that this uncertainty of time evolution is a result of the fundamental laws of motion. At the macroscopic limit, motion is described by a change in time along a trajectory of fixed energy.

This relation between energy and time can be represented by an action. And this action is the origin of the mysterious effects of quantum coherent superimpositions and quantum interferences. The paper clarifies the role of actions by deriving equations for them that work equally well for quantum dynamics and for classical trajectories.

The paper thus explains for the first time why Planck's fundamental constant (h-bar or ?) can be used to objectively separate and distinguish macroscopic experience from microscopic physics. Indeed, h-bar identifies a fundamental scale at which the approximate separation of a motion from the interactions needed to observe that motion breaks down.

Planck's fundamental constant therefore identifies a fundamental scale where there is an effective cross-over from observable realities to quantum mechanical laws of causality, where the action appears as a quantum phase (i.e one of the many alternative phases for a quantum scale system).

Research paper: H. F. Hofmann (2016), On the fundamental role of dynamics in quantum physics, Eur. Phys. J. D 70:118, DOI 10.1140/epjd/e2016-70086-8

 

 

At the LHC, charmed twins will soon be more common than singles

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
Krakow, Poland (SPX) Jun 10, 2016 - In the range of energies penetrated by the LHC accelerator, a new mechanism of the creation of particles is becoming more prominent, say scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow. The comparison between theoretical predictions and test data leaves no doubt: the energy in collisions is now so great that some of the elementary particles, mesons containing charm quarks, are beginning to emerge in pairs as often as single ones - and even more often.

A proton-proton collision is an extremely complex physical process of interactions wherein a variety of different particles arise. So far, today's particle accelerators (RHIC, Tevatron and now the LHC) studying the products of such collisions have recorded, among others, D0 mesons appearing one by one. Recently, however, the LHC has been accelerating protons to their limits, and in the new energy an interesting effect has been observed: where once only solo D0 mesons were formed, they are now appearing in pairs.

Scientists from the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IFJ PAN) in Krakow have explained the essence of this phenomenon and showed that with increasing energy, it undoubtedly plays a dominant role in the production of charm particles. The latest research, published in the journal Physics Letters B, was carried out in cooperation with Russian physicists from the Samara National Research University.

"A few years ago, we predicted that collisions of protons at sufficiently high energy should result in more charm mesons produced in pairs rather than alone. Our latest publication not only describes in detail why this happens, but it also proves that in the LHC this effect is clearly visible," says Prof. Antoni Szczurek (IFJ PAN).

According to the Standard Model currently used by physicists, particles considered to be elementary perform different functions. Bosons are carriers of forces: photons are related to electromagnetism, gluons are responsible for strong interactions, and bosons W+, W- and Z0 mediate weak interactions.

Matter is formed by particles called fermions. These include leptons (electrons, muons, tau particles and their associated neutrinos) and quarks (down, up, strange, charm, beautiful and top). The first three types of quarks are called light while the last three are called heavy. In addition, each quark and lepton has its antimatter partner. Complementing the whole is the Higgs boson, which gives particles mass (except for gluons and photons).

In our everyday world heavy quarks are present in small amounts and only appear for an extremely short time, mainly in the Earth's atmosphere. All visible and stable material of which atoms are constructed, including protons and neutrons, consists of up and down quarks. But when it comes to collisions of particles at sufficient energies heavy quarks may arise. In the case of charm quarks (the least massive heavy quarks) the dominant process of their creation is the fusion of two gluons.

In the LHC this occurs during proton-proton collisions, formed by the merger of quark-antiquark pairs. Neither a quark or an antiquark can stand alone, so they quickly form pairs with other quarks. When one of the quarks is a charm quark, the particle is called a meson D; when one of them is a charm antiquark, an antimeson D is the result.

"At lower energies two particles usually arise from a collision: the D0 meson and its antimeson. We have shown that the energies at the LHC, however, are so high that in the course of a collision gluons are not scatter only once, but twice or even more. The result of a single collision can then be numerous D0 mesons, plus, of course, appropriate antimesons", explains Prof. Szczurek.

Physicists often call quarks and gluons partons. The phenomenon of multiple parton scattering is already well-known, but had not been dealt with more closely because it never played a significant role in the investigated processes. Now scientists at IFJ PAN have shown that the situation has changed.

Energies of accelerators are already so high that multiple parton scattering has become the leading mechanism responsible for the production of charm mesons and antimesons. Theoretical analysis of the measurements collected were supported by a group at the LHCb, leading one of the four major experiments carried out at the LHC.

"The data from the LHCb experiment have shown many cases where instead of one D0 meson we have two of them. It is precisely the effect that we expected: production of twins is becoming as likely as the production of single mesons. In future accelerators, such as the already designed Future Circular Collider, the LHC's successor, this phenomenon will play quite a dominant role in the production of charm particles. Perhaps then we will see collisions with a resulting effect of not only two, but three or more D mesons," says Dr. Rafa? Maciula (IFJ PAN).

Potentially, multiple parton scattering can lead to the formation of mesons containing other heavy quarks, such as beauty quarks. The calculations of Krakow physicists, however, show that at current energies of collisions in the LHC these processes are much less likely. It has to do with the masses of the quarks: the greater the mass, the less likely they will be produced, and beauty quarks are significantly heavier than their charm counterparts.

"For now all we can say for sure is that the production of twin charm mesons seems to be much more likely than twin beauty mesons," says Prof. Szczurek with a wink.

The analysis and prediction of physicists from the IFJ PAN are important not only for the future designers of large particle accelerators, but also for contemporary experiments on the registration of neutrinos coming from outer space, such as the famous IceCube detector in Antarctica.

Physical and technological limitations mean that neutrino detectors cannot be built in space. Meanwhile, there is a risk that some of the neutrinos registered by the device on or below the Earth's surface are formed by the action of high-energy cosmic rays in the atmosphere of our planet.

Colliding with atoms and molecules of the atmosphere, cosmic rays can in fact create charm quarks, which are then transformed into short-lived D mesons. The problem is that some of the decay products of D mesons may just be neutrinos and antineutrinos. Research on multiple scattering of partons can therefore help in determining how many neutrinos observed in detectors actually came to us from the depths of space, and how much is just noise resulting from the presence of the atmosphere.

 

 

Link Between Primordial Black Holes and Dark Matter

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎7:27:06 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 26, 2016 - Dark matter is a mysterious substance composing most of the material universe, now widely thought to be some form of massive exotic particle. An intriguing alternative view is that dark matter is made of black holes formed during the first second of our universe's existence, known as primordial black holes. Now a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, suggests that this interpretation aligns with our knowledge of cosmic infrared and X-ray background glows and may explain the unexpectedly high masses of merging black holes detected last year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Algorithm could construct first images of black holes

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:06:09 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Jun 09, 2016 - Researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Harvard University have developed a new algorithm that could help astronomers produce the first image of a black hole.

The algorithm would stitch together data collected from radio telescopes scattered around the globe, under the auspices of an international collaboration called the Event Horizon Telescope. The project seeks, essentially, to turn the entire planet into a large radio telescope dish.

"Radio wavelengths come with a lot of advantages," says Katie Bouman, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, who led the development of the new algorithm. "Just like how radio frequencies will go through walls, they pierce through galactic dust. We would never be able to see into the center of our galaxy in visible wavelengths because there's too much stuff in between."

But because of their long wavelengths, radio waves also require large antenna dishes. The largest single radio-telescope dish in the world has a diameter of 1,000 feet, but an image it produced of the moon, for example, would be blurrier than the image seen through an ordinary backyard optical telescope.

"A black hole is very, very far away and very compact," Bouman says. "It's equivalent to taking an image of a grapefruit on the moon, but with a radio telescope. To image something this small means that we would need a telescope with a 10,000-kilometer diameter, which is not practical, because the diameter of the Earth is not even 13,000 kilometers."

The solution adopted by the Event Horizon Telescope project is to coordinate measurements performed by radio telescopes at widely divergent locations. Currently, six observatories have signed up to join the project, with more likely to follow.

But even twice that many telescopes would leave large gaps in the data as they approximate a 10,000-kilometer-wide antenna. Filling in those gaps is the purpose of algorithms like Bouman's.

Bouman will present her new algorithm - which she calls CHIRP, for Continuous High-resolution Image Reconstruction using Patch priors - at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in June. She's joined on the conference paper by her advisor, professor of electrical engineering and computer science Bill Freeman, and by colleagues at MIT's Haystack Observatory and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, including Sheperd Doeleman, director of the Event Horizon Telescope project.

Hidden delays
The Event Horizon Telescope uses a technique called interferometry, which combines the signals detected by pairs of telescopes, so that the signals interfere with each other. Indeed, CHIRP could be applied to any imaging system that uses radio interferometry.

Usually, an astronomical signal will reach any two telescopes at slightly different times. Accounting for that difference is essential to extracting visual information from the signal, but the Earth's atmosphere can also slow radio waves down, exaggerating differences in arrival time and throwing off the calculation on which interferometric imaging depends.

Bouman adopted a clever algebraic solution to this problem: If the measurements from three telescopes are multiplied, the extra delays caused by atmospheric noise cancel each other out. This does mean that each new measurement requires data from three telescopes, not just two, but the increase in precision makes up for the loss of information.

Preserving continuity
Even with atmospheric noise filtered out, the measurements from just a handful of telescopes scattered around the globe are pretty sparse; any number of possible images could fit the data equally well. So the next step is to assemble an image that both fits the data and meets certain expectations about what images look like. Bouman and her colleagues made contributions on that front, too.

The algorithm traditionally used to make sense of astronomical interferometric data assumes that an image is a collection of individual points of light, and it tries to find those points whose brightness and location best correspond to the data. Then the algorithm blurs together bright points near each other, to try to restore some continuity to the astronomical image.

To produce a more reliable image, CHIRP uses a model that's slightly more complex than individual points but is still mathematically tractable. You could think of the model as a rubber sheet covered with regularly spaced cones whose heights vary but whose bases all have the same diameter.

Fitting the model to the interferometric data is a matter of adjusting the heights of the cones, which could be zero for long stretches, corresponding to a flat sheet. Translating the model into a visual image is like draping plastic wrap over it: The plastic will be pulled tight between nearby peaks, but it will slope down the sides of the cones adjacent to flat regions. The altitude of the plastic wrap corresponds to the brightness of the image. Because that altitude varies continuously, the model preserves the natural continuity of the image.

Of course, Bouman's cones are a mathematical abstraction, and the plastic wrap is a virtual "envelope" whose altitude is determined computationally. And, in fact, mathematical objects called splines, which curve smoothly, like parabolas, turned out to work better than cones in most cases. But the basic idea is the same.

Prior knowledge
Finally, Bouman used a machine-learning algorithm to identify visual patterns that tend to recur in 64-pixel patches of real-world images, and she used those features to further refine her algorithm's image reconstructions. In separate experiments, she extracted patches from astronomical images and from snapshots of terrestrial scenes, but the choice of training data had little effect on the final reconstructions.

Bouman prepared a large database of synthetic astronomical images and the measurements they would yield at different telescopes, given random fluctuations in atmospheric noise, thermal noise from the telescopes themselves, and other types of noise. Her algorithm was frequently better than its predecessors at reconstructing the original image from the measurements and tended to handle noise better. She's also made her test data publicly available online for other researchers to use.

 

 

Black Holes Might Not be Dead-ends After All

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:06:09 AMGo to full article
Lisbon Portugal (SPX) Jun 09, 2016 - A physical body might be able to cross a wormhole, in spite of the extreme tidal forces, suggests a new study by Rubiera-Garcia, of Instituto de Astrofisica e Ciencias do Espaco (IA , and his team. This result, published in the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity, is supported by the fact that the interactions between the different parts of the body, which hold it together, are preserved. The team was invited by the journal editors to write an insight article that was published online this week.

In their previous work, the authors arrived at theoretical descriptions of black holes without a singularity, that bizarre and infinitesimally small point where space and time ends abruptly. What they found at the centre of a black hole, and without actually being in search of one, was a spherical and finite size wormhole structure.

Diego Rubiera-Garcia, of IA and Faculdade de Ciencias da Universidade de Lisboa, commented on how the team solved the singularity problem: "What we did was to reconsider a fundamental question on the relation between the gravity and the underlying structure of space-time. In practical terms, we dropped one assumption that holds in general relativity, but there is no a priori reason for it to hold in extensions of this theory."

Presented with this wormhole structure of finite size, where space and time continue past and beyond the black hole and into another part of the Universe, the authors then inquired about the fate of a physical object venturing into it. They asked if a chair, a scientist, or a spacecraft, would withstand the intense gravitational field and retain its unity as a body through the journey, and also to what extent would be the damage.

In their study, a physical body approaching a black hole is analysed as an aggregation of points interconnected by physical or chemical interactions holding it together.

"Each particle of the observer follows a geodesic line determined by the gravitational field. Each geodesic feels a slightly different gravitational force, but the interactions among the constituents of the body could nonetheless sustain the body," Rubiera-Garcia said.

General relativity theory predicts that a body approaching a black hole will be crushed along one direction and stretched along another. As the wormhole radius is finite, the authors demonstrate that the body will be crushed just as much as the size of the wormhole. Instead of converging to an infinitesimal separation, the so called singularity, geodesic lines will still be apart by a distance greater than zero.

In their work, the authors show that the time spent by a light ray in a round trip between two parts of the body is always finite. Thus, different parts of the body will still establish physical or chemical interactions and, consequently, cause and effect still apply all the way across the throat of the wormhole.

We can then imagine that finite forces, no matter how strong they would have to be, could compensate for the impact of the gravitational field near and inside the wormhole on a physical body traversing it. At least, according to these study, there isn't anything beyond all hopes, and the passage to another region of the Universe might be feasible.

Francisco Lobo, of IA and Faculdade de Ciencias da Universidade de Lisboa, leader of the Cosmology group at IA, said: "The authors' insights into the concepts of space-time singularities and curvature divergences are representative of the fundamental theoretical research carried out at the IA, going beyond Einstein's General Relativity. This research will also probably be important to understand these difficult concepts for the fate of the Universe, in a plethora of cosmological models."

Research paper: "Wormholes can fix black holes"

 

 

Probing the geometry of energy bands

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:06:09 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Jun 06, 2016 - Scientists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) have devised a new interferometer to probe the geometry of band structures. The geometry and topology of electronic states in solids play a central role in a wide range of modern condensed-matter systems, including graphene and topological insulators.

However, experimentally accessing this information has proven to be challenging, especially when the bands are not well isolated from one another.

As reported by Tracy Li et al. in Science, an international team of researchers led by Professor Immanuel Bloch and Dr. Ulrich Schneider at LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics has devised a straightforward method with which to probe band geometry using ultracold atoms in an optical lattice.

Their method, which combines the controlled transport of atoms through the energy bands with atom interferometry, is an important step in the endeavor to investigate geometric and topological phenomena in synthetic band structures.

A wide array of fundamental issues in condensed-matter physics, such as why some materials are insulators while others are metals, can be understood simply by examining the energies of the material's constituent electrons.

Indeed, band theory, which describes these electron energies, was one of the earliest triumphs of quantum mechanics, and has driven many of the technological advances of our time, from the computer chips in our laptops to the liquid-crystal displays on our smartphones. We now know, however, that traditional band theory is incomplete.

Among the most surprising and fruitful developments in modern condensed-matter physics was the realization that band structure involves more than the just the electron energies - the geometric form of the bands also plays an important role.

Indeed, this geometric contribution is responsible for much of the exotic physics in newly discovered materials such as graphene or topological insulators, and underlies a variety of exciting technological possibilities from spintronics to topological quantum computing. It is, however, notoriously difficult to access this information experimentally.

Now, an international team of researchers led by Immanuel Bloch (Professor of Experimental Physics at LMU Munich and a Director of the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ)) has devised a straightforward method to probe band geometry using ultracold atoms in an optical lattice, a synthetic crystal formed from standing waves of light. Their method relies on creating a system that can be described by a quantity known as the Wilson line, and the experimental tests performed at LMU and the MPQ have verified that the technique allows one to explore the geometry of band structure.

Although originally formulated in the context of quantum chromodynamics, it turns out that Wilson lines also describe the evolution of degenerate quantum states, i.e., quantum states with the same energy.

Applied to condensed-matter systems, the elements of the Wilson line directly encode the geometric structure of the bands. Therefore, to access the band geometry, the researchers need only to access the Wilson line elements.

The problem, however, is that the bands of a solid are generally not degenerate. However, the researchers realized that there was a way to get around this: When moved fast enough in momentum space, the atoms no longer feel the effect of the energy bands and their behavior is influenced only by the essential geometric information. In this regime, two bands with different energies behave like two bands with the same energy.

In their work, the researchers first cooled atoms to quantum degeneracy. The atoms were then placed into an optical lattice formed by laser beams to realize a system that mimics the behavior of electrons in a solid, but without the added complexities of real materials.

In addition to being exceptionally clean, optical lattices are highly tunable - different types of lattice structures can be created by changing the intensity or polarization of the light. In their experiment, the researchers interfered three laser beams to form a graphene-like honeycomb lattice.

Although spread out over all lattice sites the quantum degenerate atoms carry a well-defined momentum in the light crystal. The researchers then rapidly accelerated the atoms to a different momentum and measured the magnitude of the excitations they created.

When the acceleration is fast enough, such that the system is described by the Wilson line, this straightforward measurement reveals how the electronic wave function at the higher momentum differs from the wave function at the initial momentum.

Repeating the same experiment at many different crystal momenta would yield a complete map of how the wave functions change over the entire momentum space of the artificial solid.

The researchers not only confirmed that it was possible to move the atoms in such a fashion that the dynamics were described by two-band Wilson lines, the measurements at different momenta also revealed both the local, geometric properties and the global, topological structure of the bands.

While the lowest two bands of the honeycomb lattice are known not to be topological, the results demonstrate that Wilson lines can indeed be experimentally used to probe and uncover the band geometry and topology in these novel synthetic settings.

 

 

Spinning electrons yield positrons for research

 
‎Friday, ‎June ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎3:06:09 AMGo to full article
Newport News, VA (SPX) Jun 06, 2016 - Researchers use accelerators to coax the electron into performing a wide range of tricks to enable medical tests and treatments, improve product manufacturing, and power breakthrough scientific research. Now, they're learning how to coax the same tricks out of the electron's antimatter twin - the positron - to open up a whole new vista of research and applications.

Using the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the Department of Energy's Jefferson Lab, a team of researchers has, for the first time, demonstrated a new technique for producing polarized positrons. The method could enable new research in advanced materials and offers a new avenue for producing polarized positron beams for a proposed International Linear Collider and an envisioned Electron-Ion Collider.

Jefferson Lab Injector Scientist Joe Grames says the idea for the method grew out of the many advances that have been made in understanding and controlling the electron beams used for research in CEBAF.

"We have a lot of experience here at Jefferson Lab in operating a world-leading electron accelerator," Grames said. "We are constantly improving the electron beam for the experiments, pushing the limits of what we can get the electrons to do."

The CEBAF accelerator gathers up free electrons, sets the electrons to spinning like tops, packs them full of additional energy ("accelerating" the particles to up to 12 billion electron-volts), and directs them along a tightly controlled path into experimental targets. Grames and his colleagues would like to take that finesse a step further and transform CEBAF's well-controlled polarized electron beams into well-controlled beams of polarized positrons to offer researchers at Jefferson Lab an additional probe of nuclear matter. They named the endeavor the Polarized Electrons for Polarized Positrons experiment, or PEPPo.

Positrons are the anti-particles of electrons. Where the electron has a negative charge, the positron has a positive one. Producing positrons that are spinning in the same direction, like the electrons in CEBAF, is very challenging. Before PEPPo, researchers had successfully managed to coax polarized positrons into existence using very high-energy electron beams and sophisticated technologies. The PEPPo method, however, puts a new twist on things.

"From the beginning, our aim was to show that we could use the polarized electron beam we produce every day at CEBAF to create the positrons. But we wanted to do that using a low-energy and small-footprint electron beam, so that a university or company may also benefit from our proof of principle," Grames explained.

The PEPPo system was placed inside the CEBAF accelerator's injector, which is the part of the accelerator that generates electrons. The system consists mainly of small magnets for managing the particle beams, targets for transforming them, and detectors for measuring the particles.

In it, a new beam of electrons from CEBAF is directed into a slice of tungsten. The electrons rapidly decelerate as they pass through the tungsten atoms, giving off gamma rays. These gamma rays then interact with other atoms in the tungsten target to produce lower-energy pairs of positrons and electrons. Throughout the process, the polarization of the original electron beam is passed along. The researchers use a magnet to siphon the positrons away from the other particles and direct them into a detector system that measures their energy and polarization.

"We showed that there's a very efficient transfer of polarization from electrons to the positrons," said Grames.

Further, the researchers found that it is also possible to dial up the degree of polarization that they are interested in by selecting positrons of the right energy. While the more abundant lower-energy positrons are less polarized, the positrons with highest-energy retain nearly all of the polarization of the original electron beam. In PEPPo, the electron beam was 85 percent polarized and accelerated to 8 million electron-volts (MeV).

"Nuclear physicists typically want the highest polarization possible for their experiments," he explained. "Positrons collected at half the original electron energy were about 50 percent polarized, which is still quite high. But, as we approached the maximum energy, we measured 82 percent, showing that a very large portion of the original electron polarization is transferred."

The PEPPo experiment ran for four weeks in the spring of 2012. The result has just been published in Physical Review Letters, and it is featured as an Editors' Suggestion.

Grames and his colleagues say now that they have their proof of principle, they want to design a source that is capable of producing a beam of polarized positrons for research.

"With this result in hand, we are now asking ourselves what's the best way to collect these positrons into a beam that may be used by nuclear physicists in experiments at Jefferson Lab and that may be useful for other facilities. That's the next step."

Research paper: "Production of Highly Polarized Positrons Using Polarized Electrons at MeV Energies"

 

 

NASA's Hubble finds universe is expanding faster than expected

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:36:59 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jun 06, 2016 - Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered that the universe is expanding 5 percent to 9 percent faster than expected. "This surprising finding may be an important clue to understanding those mysterious parts of the universe that make up 95 percent of everything and don't emit light, such as dark energy, dark matter, and dark radiation," said study leader and Nobel Laureate Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute and The Johns Hopkins University, both in Baltimore, Maryland.

Riess' team made the discovery by refining the universe's current expansion rate to unprecedented accuracy, reducing the uncertainty to only 2.4 percent. The team made the refinements by developing innovative techniques that improved the precision of distance measurements to faraway galaxies.

The team looked for galaxies containing both Cepheid stars and Type Ia supernovae. Cepheid stars pulsate at rates that correspond to their true brightness, which can be compared with their apparent brightness as seen from Earth to accurately determine their distance. Type Ia supernovae, another commonly used cosmic yardstick, are exploding stars that flare with the same brightness and are brilliant enough to be seen from relatively longer distances.

By measuring about 2,400 Cepheid stars in 19 galaxies and comparing the observed brightness of both types of stars, the accurately measured their true brightness and calculated distances to roughly 300 Type Ia supernovae in far-flung galaxies.

The team compared those distances with the expansion of space as measured by the stretching of light from receding galaxies. They used these two values to calculate how fast the universe expands with time, or the Hubble constant.

The improved Hubble constant value is 73.2 kilometers per second per megaparsec. (A megaparsec equals 3.26 million light-years.) The new value means the distance between cosmic objects will double in another 9.8 billion years.

This refined calibration presents a puzzle, however, because it does not quite match the expansion rate predicted for the universe from its trajectory seen shortly after the Big Bang. Measurements of the afterglow from the Big Bang by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) and the European Space Agency's Planck satellite mission yield predictions which are 5 percent and 9 percent smaller for the Hubble constant, respectively.

"If we know the initial amounts of stuff in the universe, such as dark energy and dark matter, and we have the physics correct, then you can go from a measurement at the time shortly after the big bang and use that understanding to predict how fast the universe should be expanding today," said Riess. "However, if this discrepancy holds up, it appears we may not have the right understanding, and it changes how big the Hubble constant should be today."

Comparing the universe's expansion rate with WMAP, Planck, and Hubble is like building a bridge, Riess explained. On the distant shore are the cosmic microwave background observations of the early universe. On the nearby shore are the measurements made by Riess' team using Hubble.

"You start at two ends, and you expect to meet in the middle if all of your drawings are right and your measurements are right," Riess said. "But now the ends are not quite meeting in the middle and we want to know why."

There are a few possible explanations for the universe's excessive speed. One possibility is that dark energy, already known to be accelerating the universe, may be shoving galaxies away from each other with even greater - or growing - strength.

Another idea is that the cosmos contained a new subatomic particle in its early history that traveled close to the speed of light. Such speedy particles are collectively referred to as "dark radiation" and include previously known particles like neutrinos. More energy from additional dark radiation could be throwing off the best efforts to predict today's expansion rate from its post-big bang trajectory.

The boost in acceleration could also mean that dark matter possesses some weird, unexpected characteristics. Dark matter is the backbone of the universe upon which galaxies built themselves up into the large-scale structures seen today.

And finally, the speedier universe may be telling astronomers that Einstein's theory of gravity is incomplete.

"We know so little about the dark parts of the universe, it's important to measure how they push and pull on space over cosmic history," said Lucas Macri of Texas A and M University in College Station, a key collaborator on the study.

The Hubble observations were made with Hubble's sharp-eyed Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), and were conducted by the Supernova H0 for the Equation of State (SH0ES) team, which works to refine the accuracy of the Hubble constant to a precision that allows for a better understanding of the universe's behavior.

The SH0ES Team is still using Hubble to reduce the uncertainty in the Hubble constant even more, with a goal to reach an accuracy of 1 percent. Current telescopes such as the European Space Agency's Gaia satellite, and future telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), an infrared observatory, and the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST), also could help astronomers make better measurements of the expansion rate.

Before Hubble was launched in 1990, the estimates of the Hubble constant varied by a factor of two. In the late 1990s the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale refined the value of the Hubble constant to within an error of only 10 percent, accomplishing one of the telescope's key goals. The SH0ES team has reduced the uncertainty in the Hubble constant value by 76 percent since beginning its quest in 2005.

The results will appear in an upcoming issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

 

 

Scientists experimentally confirm electron model in complex molecules

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:36:59 AMGo to full article
Moscow, Russia (SPX) Jun 03, 2016 - Researchers from the Institute of Molecular Science and Technologies (ISTM-CNR, Italy), Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), and the University of Milan have experimentally confirmed a model to detect electron delocalization in molecules and crystals.

The chemists, whose paper was published in Acta Crystallographica, have also illustrated examples on how the same approach have been used to obtain precious insights into the chemical bonding of a wide variety of systems, from metallorganic compounds to systems of biological relevance.

As electrons are quantum objects, they cannot be clearly identified (or, to use the scientific term, localized) in a particular place. This means that the behaviour of electrons cannot be described using equations that work with regular, non-quantum objects: instead of an electron as a ball within a molecule, scientists have to examine a blurred cloud.

Developing a mathematical model to determine the distribution of electrons relatively quickly and accurately is one of the most significant challenges of modern science.

"The main novelty introduced by our study is the possibility of detecting electron delocalization directly from experimental data. Electron delocalization, which is a cornerstone paradigm of chemistry (fundamental, for example, for understanding aromaticity), could so far be estimated only through approaches relying on quantities not obtainable from experimental measurements, e.g. the so-called 'delocalization index'. Our results may therefore pave the way for looking at this important phenomenon in a new fashion" - writes Gabriele Saleh, one of the co-authors of the study.

The mathematical model proposed in 1998 by the Canadian expert in quantum chemistry Richard Bader and the Italian researcher Carlo Gatti sees electron distribution in a crystal as the sum of contributions of so-called Source Functions.

From this point of view, a molecule (or crystal) is seen as a set of individual elements, each of which contributes to the final distribution. This approach, as shown by subsequent studies, provides an insightful view of hydrogen bonds, metal-ligand bonds, and other types of chemical interactions.

From theory to practice
In 2016, Carlo Gatti, Gabriele Saleh (researcher at MIPT's Laboratory of Computer Design of Materials) and Leonardo Lo Presti of the University of Milan demonstrated yet another use of the Bader-Gatti approach for studying chemical bonding directly from experimental results.

For the analysis, they used data obtained previously by European and Australian scientists in X-ray and neutron diffraction experiments on samples of benzene, naphthalene and other compounds. In these experiments X-ray beam is directed onto a sample and once it passes through it, it is diffracted.

By looking at how this diffraction occurs and in which direction particles are deflected, scientists are able to make conclusions about the distribution of electrons within a crystal under study - this distribution is described using the concept of electron density.

In their paper, the researchers note that the results - presented in the form of X-ray diffraction derived electron density of molecules - allow the Bader-Gatti model to be used to describe the subtle effects associated with electron delocalization in organic molecular crystals. The experimental data is fully consistent with the results of ab initio numerical modelling - based on the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics.

In some cases, electrons within molecules or crystals cannot be related to a particular bond or atom. They belong to the structure as a whole and are called "delocalized electrons".

These particles play a key role in the formation of certain molecules and their behaviour can only be described using the principles of quantum chemistry - e.g. electrons forming a ring in a molecule of benzene or its derivatives.

The modelling of molecules and crystals is important both from a theoretical and from a practical point of view. Detailed knowledge of how electrons are distributed within a subject under study will enable scientists to understand the properties of the substance as a whole; and this information is also needed when calculating interactions between molecules themselves.

Data on electron density is of paramount importance to help discover new drugs (to identify exactly which molecules can reach a target protein and react with it), and to calculate the characteristics of materials formed by various molecules.

Among the prospects for further research, there are not only studies about the density of electrons, but also their spins - characteristics which determine the magnetic properties of a material.

The use of methods of quantum mechanics is increasingly blurring the boundary between scientific disciplines, and issues related to the chemistry of compounds are gradually moving into the field of physics and computational mathematics.

 

 

40-year math mystery and 4 generations of figuring

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:36:59 AMGo to full article
Atlanta GA (SPX) May 30, 2016 - This may sound like a familiar kind of riddle: How many brilliant mathematicians does it take to come up with and prove the Kelmans-Seymour Conjecture? But the answer is no joke, because arriving at it took mental toil that spanned four decades until this year, when mathematicians at the Georgia Institute of Technology finally announced a proof of that conjecture in Graph Theory.

Their research was funded by the National Science Foundation. Graph Theory is a field of mathematics that's instrumental in complex tangles. It helps you make more connecting flights, helps get your GPS unstuck in traffic, and helps manage your Facebook posts. Back to the question. How many? Six (at least).

One made the conjecture. One tried for years to prove it and failed but passed on his insights. One advanced the mathematical basis for 10 more years. One helped that person solve part of the proof. And two more finally helped him complete the rest of the proof.

Elapsed time: 39 years. So, what is the Kelmans-Seymour Conjecture, anyway? Its name comes from Paul Seymour from Princeton University, who came up with the notion in 1977. Then another mathematician named Alexander Kelmans, arrived at the same conjecture in 1979.

And though the Georgia Tech proof fills some 120 pages of math reasoning, the conjecture itself is only one short sentence:

If a graph G is 5-connected and non-planar, then G has a TK5.

The devil called 'TK5'
You could call a TK5 the devil in the details. TK5s are larger relatives of K5, a very simple formation that looks like a 5-point star fenced in by a pentagon. It resembles an occult or Anarchy symbol, and that's fitting. A TK5 in a "graph" is guaranteed to thwart any nice, neat "planar" status.

Graph Theory. Planar. Non-planar. TK5. Let's go to the real world to understand them better.

"Graph Theory is used, for example, in designing microprocessors and the logic behind computer programs," said Georgia Tech mathematician Xingxing Yu, who has shepherded the Kelmans-Seymour Conjecture's proof to completion. "It's helpful in detailed networks to get quick solutions that are reasonable and require low computational complexity."

To picture a graph, draw some cities as points on a whiteboard and lines representing interstate highways connecting them.

But the resulting drawings are not geometrical figures like squares and trapezoids. Instead, the lines, called "edges," are like wires connecting points called "vertices." For a planar graph, there is always some way to draw it so that the lines from point to point do not cross.

In the real world, a microprocessor is sending electrons from point to point down myriad conductive paths. Get them crossed, and the processor shorts out.

In such intricate scenarios, optimizing connections is key. Graphs and graph algorithms play a role in modeling them. "You want to get as close to planar as you can in these situations," Yu said.

In Graph Theory, wherever K5 or its sprawling relatives TK5s show up, you can forget planar. That's why it's important to know where one may be hiding in a very large graph.

The human connections
The human connections that led to the proof of the Kelmans-Seymour Conjecture are equally interesting, if less complicated.

Seymour had a collaborator, Robin Thomas, a Regent's Professor at Georgia Tech who heads a program that includes a concentration on Graph Theory. His team has a track record of cracking decades-old math problems. One was even more than a century old.

"I tried moderately hard to prove the Kelmans-Seymour conjecture in the 1990s, but failed," Thomas said. "Yu is a rare mathematician, and this shows it. I'm delighted that he pushed the proof to completion."

Yu, once Thomas' postdoc and now a professor at the School of Mathematics, picked up on the conjecture many years later.

"Around 2000, I was working on related concepts and around 2007, I became convinced that I was ready to work on that conjecture," Yu said. He planned to involve graduate students but waited a year. "I needed to have a clearer plan of how to proceed. Otherwise, it would have been too risky," Yu said.

Then he brought in graduate student Jie Ma in 2008, and together they proved the conjecture part of the way.

Two years later, Yu brought graduate students Yan Wang and Dawei He into the picture. "Wang worked very hard and efficiently full time on the problem," Yu said. The team delivered the rest of the proof quicker than anticipated and currently have two submitted papers and two more in the works.

In addition to the six mathematicians who made and proved the conjecture, others tried but didn't complete the proof but left behind useful cues.

Nearly four decades after Seymour had his idea, the fight for its proof is still not over. Other researchers are now called to tear at it for about two years like an invading mob. Not until they've thoroughly failed to destroy it, will the proof officially stand.

Seymour's first reaction to news of the proof reflected that reality. "Congratulations! (If it's true...)," he wrote.

Graduate student Wang is not terribly worried. "We spent lots and lots of our time trying to wreck it ourselves and couldn't, so I hope things will be fine," he said.

If so, the conjecture will get a new name: Kelmans-Seymour Conjecture Proved by He, Wang and Yu.

And it will trigger a mathematical chain reaction, automatically confirming a past conjecture, Dirac's Conjecture Proved by Mader, and also putting within reach proof of another conjecture, Hajos' Conjecture.

For Princeton mathematician Seymour, it's nice to see an intuition he held so strongly is now likely to enter into the realm of proven mathematics.

"Sometimes you conjecture some pretty thing, and it's just wrong, and the truth is just a mess," he wrote in an email message. "But sometimes, the pretty thing is also the truth; that that does happen sometimes is basically what keeps math going I suppose. There's a profound thought."

See the video here

 

 

Supermassive black hole wind can stop new stars from forming

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:36:59 AMGo to full article
San Francisco CA (SPX) May 30, 2016 - Scientists have uncovered a new class of galaxies with supermassive black hole winds that are energetic enough to suppress future star formation. Devoid of fresh young stars, red and dead galaxies make up a large fraction of galaxies in our nearby universe, but a mystery that has plagued astronomers for years has been how these systems remain inactive despite having all of the ingredients needed to form stars.

Now, an international team of researchers have used optical imaging spectroscopy from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-IV Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (SDSS-IV MaNGA) to catch a supermassive black hole in the act of heating gas within its host galaxy, leading to the prevention of star formation.

"Stars are created by the cooling and collapse of gas, but in these galaxies there are no new stars despite an abundance of gas. It's like we have rain clouds hanging over a desert, but none of the rainwater is reaching the ground." said Edmond Cheung, Project Researcher at the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (Kavli IPMU), and lead author of a new study published in Nature on May 26.

The team studied a galaxy nicknamed Akira, the prototypical example of the newly discovered class of galaxies called "red geysers" - red referring to the color of galaxies that lack young blue stars, and geyser referring to the episodic wind outbursts from the supermassive black hole.

Akira showed intriguing and complex patterns of warm gas, implying the presence of an outflowing wind from the supermassive black hole in its center. The researchers say the fuel for Akira's supermassive black hole likely came from the interaction with a smaller galaxy, nicknamed Tetsuo. The outflowing wind had enough energy to heat the surrounding gas through shocks and turbulence and could ultimately prevent any future star formation.

These are some of the early results from the Kavli IPMU-led SDSS-IV MaNGA survey, which began observations in 2014. The technology involved in the new survey allows scientists to map galaxies ten to one hundred times faster than before, making it possible to build large enough samples required to catch galaxies undergoing rapidly changing phenomena.

"The critical power of MaNGA is the ability to observe thousands of galaxies in three dimensions, by mapping not only how they appear on the sky, but also how their stars and gas move inside them," said Kevin Bundy, MaNGA's Principal Investigator and Kavli IPMU Project Assistant Professor.

The team will continue to analyze the survey's data and plans a number of follow-up studies to further reveal the role of red geysers on the evolution of galaxies.

Research paper: "Suppressing star formation in quiescent galaxies with supermassive black hole winds"

 

 

New study implies existence of fifth force of nature

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:36:59 AMGo to full article
Irvine, Calif. (UPI) May 26, 2016 - A team of Hungarian physicists published a paper last year hinting at the possibility of a fifth force of nature. It escaped publicity, but a recent analysis of the data by researchers at the University of California, Irvine has brought the paper back into the limelight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Doubling down on Schrodinger's cat

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:36:59 AMGo to full article
New Haven CT (SPX) May 30, 2016 - Yale physicists have given Schrodinger's famous cat a second box to play in, and the result may help further the quest for reliable quantum computing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Could optical clocks redefine the length of a second

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:36:59 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) May 30, 2016 - GPS-based navigation, communication systems, electrical power grids and financial networks all rely on the precise time kept by a network of around 500 atomic clocks located around the world. In The Optical Society's journal for high impact research, Optica, researchers present a way to use optical clocks for more accurate timekeeping than is possible with today's system of traditional atomic clocks. The researchers also measured an optical clock's frequency - analogous to it's "ticking" - with unprecedented precision.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

How Giant Black Holes Formed So Quickly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

 

 

A look beyond the horizon of events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Gigantic ultrafast spin currents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Battelle, Boeing in joint bid to manage Sandia National Laboratories

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

Battelle is an independent nonprofit research and development organization.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Rotational motion is relative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Photonic billiards might be the newest game

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Simons observatory will investigate the early universe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Nuclear physics' interdisciplinary progress

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

A quasiparticle collider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Atomic force microscope reveals molecular ghosts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Building compact particle accelerators

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Intense wind found in neighborhood of a black hole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

From the atomic to the nuclear clock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

UCI astronomers determine precise mass of a giant black hole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

One minus 1 does not always equal 0 in chemistry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research paper: "Optical Activity from Racemates."

 

 

Weasel chews power cable, puts LHC experiments on hold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 
 

Neuron-Packed Bird Brains Point to Creation

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The amazing ability of birds to achieve ape-level cognitive traits—and in some cases exceed them like when they emulate human speech—has long confounded the evolutionary paradigm that claims humans evolved from apes. Now the bird intelligence evolutionary quandary has worsened as described in a new research report that shows bird brains contain over twice as many neurons per unit area as ape brains.

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Special Cells Help Brain and Gut Communicate

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

After investing so much time and effort to understand how all parts of the human body interact, scientists keep turning up new and unforeseen connections—often when they ask the right questions. New and strange developments inspired a team to ask wacky questions about a unique white blood cell called Ly6Chi. And they found some profound answers.

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Five Reasons to Believe in Recent Creation [Podcast]

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎13, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Should we read the Genesis creation account as literal and inspired history, or is it simply a symbolic framework that should be adapted to the most popular scientific theories? Sadly, a growing number of Christian leaders accept evolution as fact and try to harmonize the Bible with the concept of naturalistic development over countless eons. Dr. Henry Morris III offers five fundamental reasons why belief in a recent creation is not only feasible, but vital to a true understanding of God’s Word.

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Is Chimp Grief Evidence of Evolution?

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

As genetic research moves forward, the similarity between humans and chimpanzees becomes more and more distant—well beyond the bounds of evolutionary probability. But the secular world appears determined to show how chimps can behave similar to humans to bolster the failing evolutionary story. The most recent media buzz centers on several articles in which chimps are shown grieving over their dearly departed comrades.

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Seagrass Re-evolution

 
‎Monday, ‎June ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Biologists recently sequenced the seagrass genome. They claim, "Uniquely, Z. marina has re-evolved new combinations of structural traits related to the cell wall." Re-evolved? There is no scientific reason—no empirical evidence—to say the structural traits somehow "re-evolved." How can these scientists make such a statement?

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ICR Discovery Center: Expanding Creation Ministry

 
‎Thursday, ‎June ‎2, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Physicist Dr. Jake Hebert explains how the discovery center will enhance and expand ICR’s impact beyond its current media outlets and publications.

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Junk DNA…Trashed Again

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

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

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ICR Discovery Center: Impacting Hearts and Minds

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

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

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Titanic Remake More like Noah's Ark

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

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

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New DNA Study Confirms Noah

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

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

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ICR Discovery Center: Encouraging Believers

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

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

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Organic Residue Is 247 Million Years Old?

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

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

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Wall-Climbing Cave Fish: Evolutionary Intermediate?

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

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

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ICR Discovery Center: Confirming Genesis

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

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

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Big Bang Continues to Self-Destruct

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

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

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Iron-mining Fungus Displays Surprising Design

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

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

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Monkey Business in the New Gorilla Genome

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

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

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ICR Discovery Center: Trusting God's Word

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

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

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Amber-Encased Lizards Showcase Recent Creation

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

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

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ICR Discovery Center: Explaining the Scientific Method

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

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

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Viral Genome Junk Hits the Trash

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

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

 


 

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Tyrannosaur Ancestral Tree Remains Limbless

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

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

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ICR Discovery Center: Telling the Truth

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

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

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Evolutionary Tyranny Still Casts Cloud Over Science

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

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

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ICR Discovery Center: Revealing Creation Evidence

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

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

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Tooth Study Takes Bite Out of Evolution

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

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

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ICR Discovery Center: Equipping Believers

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

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

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China Spends Millions Searching for Aliens

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

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

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ICR Museum: Impacting Lives for the Gospel

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

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

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ICR Museum: It's Okay to Ask Dinosaur Questions

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

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

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Were Sauropods Wading in China?

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

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

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Octopus Genome as Large as Human Genome

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

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

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Delicate Silk Fossils Point to Creation

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

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

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Mother's Milk Could Save a Million Lives

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

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

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Honor To Whom Honor

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

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

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Beetles and Bears Inspire Technologies

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

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

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ICR Museum: Showcasing a Recent Creation

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

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

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Living Fossils Found off Australia's Coast

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

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

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ICR Planetarium: Travel Through Space

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

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

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Your Brain Has More Memory Than the Internet

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

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

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Epigenetic Code More Complicated Than Previously Thought

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

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

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Rapid Erosion Supports Creation Model

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

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

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Genetic Gap Widens Between Humans and Chimps

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

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

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Population Study Standoff

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

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

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NORAD Gene Could Aid Cancer Research

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

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

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Smart and Stealthy Cuttlefish

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

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

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Top 2015 News: Human Origins

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

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

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Top 2015 News: Amazing Animal Designs

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

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

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Top 2015 News: Comets, Planets, and Pluto

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

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

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Signs of Christmas

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

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

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2015: Evolution Immobile

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

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

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Top 2015 News: The Real Jurassic World

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

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

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Top 2015 News: Science Confronts Big Bang

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

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

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Blue Tarantulas Supposedly Evolved Eight Times

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

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

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A New Planet from Cosmic Dust?

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

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

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

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

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

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Thanksgiving

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

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

 


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

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Pluto's Craterless Plains Look Young

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

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

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Fossil Shrimp Brains Look Modern

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

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

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Unexpected Oxygen on Young-Looking Comet

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

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

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2015 Nobel Prize Highlights Cell Repair Mystery

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

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

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Amazing Design Structures in Long-Necked Dinosaurs

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

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

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Amazing Sauropod Neck Design in 'Cervical Ribs'

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

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

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New First Life Estimate Creates More Problems

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

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

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Can't See the Forest for the Trees

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

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

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Noah’s Ark ‘Discovery’ Likely a Sinking Ship

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

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

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Homo naledi: Claims of a Transitional Ape

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

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

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Homo naledi: Dating the Strange Ape

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

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

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Homo naledi: Geology of a Claimed Missing Link

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

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

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Prosecute Climate-Change Skeptics?

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

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

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Liquid Water on Mars?

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

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

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Cancer Medicine in Wasp Toxin?

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

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

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Discovery: Spine Signals Ears to Maintain Balance

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

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

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'Living Fossils' Point to Recent Creation

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

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

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Protoplanetary Disc Model Falls Flat

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

How did our solar system get here? Those who dismiss any possibility of creation imagine ways that pure natural forces might set in motion the sun, each unique planet and their moons. New computer modeling results seem to show promise—but only when they overlook or assume obvious and important factors.

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Pitcher Plants Designed to Attract Bats

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

Even children learn that plants and animals depend on one another. Plants release oxygen for animals to breathe, and plants make food—mostly sugar—for animals to eat. In turn, animals produce carbon dioxide so plants can grow using sunlight. This ecological interdependence shows enough divine design to inspire any honest thinker to consider a Creator, but a recently discovered interaction between pitcher plants and bats shows even more.

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Homo naledi, a New Human Ancestor?

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

A BBC News story reported on September 10 the discovery of a “new human-like species” in Africa, stating “researchers claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors.” As always, we at the Institute for Creation Research are extremely skeptical, taking such breaking news stories with a little more than a grain of salt. We have found that with more time and research, the preliminary spectacular claims of alleged “human ancestors” dissolve into a footnote, a non-story.

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Dinosaur Footprints in Dallas

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

Spring rains flooded the Dallas area this year, including Lake Grapevine which is about 10 miles west of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) campus. Record water levels submerged entire lakeside parks and adjacent roads. As the water slowly receded, it revealed a reshaped shoreline—and dinosaur tracks. What kinds of creatures made these marks?

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Man and His Labor

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

Whatever our job may be, it can be regarded as serving Christ and helping to fulfill His primeval-dominion commandment, and even helping lead others to know Him.

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Sea Serpent on Danish Ship Prow

 
‎27 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

On August 11, researchers from Södertörn University in Sweden raised an ancient 660-pound ship's prow from the floor of the Baltic Sea. The 11-foot-long beam features an exquisite dragon carving. Discovery News wrote that Marcus Sandekjer, head of the nearby Blekinge Museum which aided the extraction "believes it looks like a monstrous dog." It fits in well with other sea-serpent artwork in history.

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Giant Galaxy Ring Shouldn't Exist

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

A team of astronomers from Hungary and the United States, led by Professor Lajos Balázs of Konkoly Observatory in Budapest, has announced the discovery of an enormous ring of galaxies. According to the Big Bang model, this ring should not exist.

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Cell Feature Resembles Power Grid

 
‎20 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Apparently, it's time to alter biology and anatomy textbooks again. There's much more to mitochondria than we ever thought. Researchers revealed that these tiny cellular power houses are highly organized to efficiently deliver ATP energy. They interconnect throughout muscle cells, forming a gigantic mitochondrial network. Researchers published this stunning discovery in Nature, calling it the "mitochondrial reticulum."

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Undersea Monolith Reveals Genius Engineering

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

Of all the scientific disciplines, underwater archaeology may be one of the most fascinating. These researchers examine artifacts our ancestors left behind before global sea level rose and covered them. A newly discovered monolith—a gigantic rock placed in what is today the Mediterranean Sea—confronts a few evolution-based errors about human origins.

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New Horizons at Pluto

 
‎13 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Congratulations to the New Horizons team on their remarkable achievement of sending a spacecraft to Pluto. The mission was a complete success, and we are enjoying high-resolution images of never-before-seen surface features of this distant little world. These pictures dazzle the mind and are already beginning to challenge secular thinking.

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Snakes with Legs?

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

As weird as it may sound, some snakes had legs. Fossils reveal little legs on ancient snakes that have apparently been extinct for some time. Yet, those had only hind legs. Now, in the journal Science researchers describe a new fossil with four limbs. They suggest that this new fossil illustrates how legged snakes evolved from legged lizards. Is this accurate?

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Jesus Lizard Runs on Water, Tramples Evolution

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

Jesus lizards literally run across the surface of ponds in Central and South America. According to evolutionary thinking, all reptiles—snakes, turtles, gavials, dinosaurs, pterosaurs, chameleons, skinks, and Jesus lizards—descended from an unknown original reptilian form. What evidence might demonstrate this? Strings of fossils should clearly connect each basic reptile kind back to that supposed key ancestor. It should have interchangeable or adjustable body features that natural forces could have manipulated without disrupting the evolving creature's essential functions. A newly discovered fossil of a Jesus lizard in Wyoming shows just the opposite evidence.

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A Real Jurassic World?

 
‎04 ‎August ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The Jurassic World movie, though thrilling to watch, comes packed with fictional ideas like de-extinction, designer creatures, and iron somehow preserving dinosaur DNA indefinitely. But how would the world respond if live dinosaurs were verified to scientists' satisfaction?

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Human Nucleome Reveals Amazing 4D World

 
‎27 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A new study investigating the three-dimensional human genome (the nucleome) in the context of time and gene expression revealed unimaginable complexity and precision. The authors of a new research paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote at the very beginning of their report, "The human genome is a beautiful example of a dynamical system in three dimensions." The results of their research spectacularly vindicated this opening statement.

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Scientists Describe Job's 'Springs of the Sea'

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

Modern machines provide our generation with knowledge entirely unknown in yesteryear. Which of our great grandparents saw footage of water rising through hydrothermal vents on the deep sea floor? New research into water circulating from the ocean, into seafloor crustal rocks, and back into the ocean echoes one of the questions God asked Job thousands of years ago.

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Bacteria Metabolisms Are Like Computer Circuit Boards

 
‎20 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Bacteria sometimes face a rough life. At about a tenth the size of most plant and animal cells, they have no layer of skin to protect them. Environments can change quickly and if microbes don't have the right tools to adapt, they won't last long. Bioengineers modeled three interdependent aspects of a metabolic system that bacteria use to thrive in ever-changing environments, revealing an underlying array of interrelated parts that they described as "underappreciated."

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New Horizons, Pluto, and the Age of the Solar System

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

Today, more than nine years after its launch, the New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled to make its closest approach to the dwarf planet Pluto. This will make New Horizons the first space probe to examine Pluto and its moons up close during this historic flyby. A NASA press release states, "A close-up look at these worlds from a spacecraft promises to tell an incredible story about the origins and outskirts of our solar system." But what is the real story?

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Discovery: Volcanoes on Venus

 
‎13 ‎July ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The tortured surface of Venus appears to have been formed through recent geologic processes, and its rocks contain no record of deep time. What if Venus were young rather than 4.5 billion years old? It would explain quite a bit, including a brand-new discovery made by scientists peering through its dense atmosphere.

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Solving the Missing Tropical Dinosaurs Mystery?

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

One of the unsolved mysteries of secular science is why so few dinosaurs are found in rocks from supposed tropical regions, especially the Triassic system rocks. Jessica Whiteside of the University of Southampton, UK and her colleagues from eight other institutions have proposed a solution to this enigma.

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Carbon-14 Found in Dinosaur Fossils

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

New science directly challenges the millions-of-years dogma scattered throughout the blockbuster movie Jurassic World. The spring 2015 edition of the Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ) is a special issue that focuses on the investigation of dinosaur proteins inside fossil bones. The last article in the issue presents never-before-seen carbon dates for 14 different fossils, including dinosaurs. Because radiocarbon decays relatively quickly, fossils that are even 100,000 years old should have virtually no radiocarbon left in them. But they do.

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Bronze-Age DNA Confirms Babel Dispersion

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

Scientists used new techniques to sequence 101 ancient human genomes believed to be from Bronze-Age populations in Europe. Their findings indicate a massive migratory influx of genetic diversity just a few thousand years ago. This data also coincides with known language diversification patterns, providing strong evidence for the dispersion of people groups at the Tower of Babel.

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Can Iron Preserve Fossil Proteins for Eons?

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

News reports around the world tell of red-blood-cell-like and collagen-like structures found in 75 million year-old dinosaur bones long stored in the British Museum. This news coincides with the release of the film Jurassic World, in which fictional scientists resurrect dinosaurs using dino DNA that "iron chelators" somehow preserved for millions of years. Though the movie is fiction, it does refer to a real study involving blood and bone. However, a closer look at the relevant chemistry shows that the iron-as-preservative story may be just as fictional as Jurassic World.

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Britain's 'Oldest' Sauropod and a Jurassic World

 
‎18 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Crumbling seaside cliffs at Whitby in northern England continuously reveal new fossils. Most of them are remains of small plants and animals, but researchers from the University of Manchester described a much larger fossil: a giant vertebra from a sauropod's tail. How long ago was the rare bone buried?

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Does National Geographic Promote Atheism?

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

National Geographic interviewed atheist Jerry Coyne. The subject was not science, but Coyne's personal beliefs. Will Nat Geo provide the same platform for a researcher who believes that God, rather than nature, created all things?

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Colorful Dinosaur Eggs Challenge Deep Time

 
‎11 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

German scientists revealed that some Chinese dinosaur eggs probably looked similar to the dark blue-green hue of modern emu eggs. If the dinosaur’s original pigment molecules revealed the egg’s color, then a significant question emerges. Can pigments really stay colorful for 66 million years?

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Dog Fossil Study Shows Wobbly Dating Practice

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

DNA research identified a Siberian fossil as an ancient dog bone. But its radiocarbon date doesn't match the accepted evolutionary story for dog origins. The ease with which scientists revised the date of dog divergence from wolf-like ancestry shows that secular dating practices may be much more subjective than their proponents would care to admit.

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Dinosaur Thighbone Found in Marine Rock

 
‎04 ‎June ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Researchers have excavated a portion of a theropod dinosaur thighbone from beachfront marine rock north of Seattle. How did a land animal's leg bone get buried in marine rock?

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Why Do Animals Use Sexual Reproduction?

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

Biologists from the U.K. conducted a 10-year-long experiment on common flour beetles to help understand why insects keep on using sexual reproduction despite its inefficiencies. Though they interpreted the results as supporting evolution, a key observation on the immutability of reproductive systems calls that into question.

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Remembering Mount St. Helens 35 Years Later

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


 


A landslide on the northern side of Mount St. Helens in Washington state on May 18, 1980 uncorked a violent volcanic eruption of ash, vapor, molten material and pulverized rock. The effects of this one of the most scrupulously documented volcanos in history have reshaped the way geologists think about certain landforms.

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What Mean These Stones

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

The poet George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” In the life of every nation, there are “memories” that must be preserved if that nation is to retain an awareness of its unique role among the nations of the world—indeed, among the long list of nations throughout history.

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New Fossil Dubbed 'Platypus Dinosaur'

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

It has a bill like a duck, leg spurs like a rooster, lays eggs like a reptile, but has fur like a mammal. Yet all these features elegantly integrate to form the body of a modern platypus. If God created the platypus, then why couldn't He create other creatures that seem to have borrowed parts from other familiar forms? He may have done just that when he made Chilesaurus.

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Clever Construction in Rorqual Whales

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

A few years ago, scientists discovered a unique sensory organ in the jaw of a rorqual whale—the world's largest creature. Rorqual whales, which include the blue whale and fin whale, feed by ballooning out folds of tissue that bag gobs of krill from fertile ocean waters. Some of those researchers recently described the unique bungee-cord-like nerve fibers that illustrate clever and intentional design.

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Still Searching for Geology's Holy Grail

 
‎11 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The origin of the continental crust continues to baffle secular geologists who often refer to this mystery as the "holy grail of geology." Earth's plates are composed of two distinctly different types of crust: oceanic and continental. Explaining the reason for the unique crust and plates on Earth has been the subject of on-going research and debate for decades. Two recent articles attempt to shed light on the mystery of the continents.

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A Cosmic 'Supervoid' vs. the Big Bang

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

In a new paper, scientists have announced the discovery of an enormous region of lower-than-average galaxy density about three billion light-years from Earth. This "supervoid," the largest single structure ever discovered at 1.8 billion light-years across, is newsworthy in its own right. However, it also has implications for the Big Bang model of the universe's origin.

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Scientific Suicide

 
‎04 ‎May ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The recent cover of New Scientist magazine reads "Belief: They drive everything we do. But our beliefs are built on…nothing." This is an amazing statement by a magazine, supposedly dedicated to science, in that it presents its readers with a philosophical conundrum. How can scientists, who must depend on a strict belief in logic and order, make such a statement?

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Three-Dimensional DNA Code Defies Evolution

 
‎27 ‎April ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists have long been baffled as to what actually tells proteins called transcription factors (TFs) where to bind in the genome to turn genes off and on. However, new research incorporating the three-dimensional shape of DNA has revealed an incredibly complex system of interacting biochemical codes.

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Mosasaur Babies: Aren't They Cute?

 
‎20 ‎April ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

We often hear claims that birds are similar to dinosaurs, but birds and mosasaurs? Mosasaurs were swimming reptiles. How can they be confused with birds? A recent study published in Palaeontology by Yale University's Daniel Field and his colleagues clears up some of this confusion and in the end, illustrates a mosasaur lifecycle of marvelous design.

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No Salamander Evolution Evidence, Past or Present

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

Scientists in Portugal unearthed a "super salamander" which, although "weird compared to anything today," is still very much a salamander. The fossilized bones of the six-foot animal were discovered on a hillside dig "chock-full" of bones and declared to originate from the "Upper Triassic" period, some 200 million years ago according to evolutionary dating. But creationists see this as yet another discovery of a created animal that grew to large dimensions in the fertile world before the Flood, and was subsequently buried during the Flood itself.

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Myths Dressed as Science

 
‎13 ‎April ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A recent MSN article claims a fossilized hominid called "Little Foot" found near Johannesburg, South Africa, is approximately 3.67 million years old, as does a similar report in ScienceNews. Both articles provide insufficient detail to make an intelligent evaluation of the method used to arrive at the stated conclusion, and as such that conclusion must be regarded as suspect.

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Saturn's Enceladus Looks Younger than Ever

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

The more we learn about Enceladus, the younger it looks. Stated another way, the more that our space probes discover about this fascinating little moon that inhabits Saturn's tenuous E ring, the more challenging it becomes for conventional origins to explain. A new discovery adds to the list of young-looking Enceladus features.

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Another Horizontal Gene Transfer Fairy Tale

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

As the genomes of many new creatures rapidly fill the public DNA sequence databases, the problems for the grand evolutionary story are becoming overwhelming. One issue is the fact that different creatures have unique sets of genes specific to their kind with no apparent evolutionary history. To explain this glaring problem, evolutionists have resorted to the myth of pervasive horizontal gene transfer.

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Dinosaur Moth: An Evolutionary Enigma

 
‎30 ‎March ‎2015, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists discovered an Australian "dinosaur" moth that, if the evolutionary story is to be believed, has undergone virtually no evolution for at least forty million years. They named it Enigmatinea glatzella. The name is quite descriptive, as Enigmatinea means "enigma moth" in Latin. But why is this moth an enigma to evolutionary scientists?

 


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Twins Provide Peek Into Mankind's Origin

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

Lucy and Maria Aylmer are 18-year-old twins from the United Kingdom. They were born on the same day from the same mother, yet one has light skin and hair, and the other has dark skin and dark, curlier hair. Their unique story illustrates how human-trait variations found around the world could have arisen suddenly in Noah's offspring.

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Heads, Evolution Wins--Tails, Creation Loses?

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

Wouldn't two billion years of mutations and changing environments inevitably produce some effects in an organism? After all, in only a quarter of that supposed time, evolutionary processes are said to have transformed fish into people. Mutations supposedly occur nonstop, but the authors of a new paper now say that creature stasis proves evolution.

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Spiders Have Always Been Spiders

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

A University of California Berkley graduate student has discovered two beautiful new species of peacock spiders in southeast Queensland, Australia. The student, Madeline Girard, named the two colorful creatures "Sparklemuffin" and "Skeletorus," both of the genus Maratus. Are these splendid specimens highly evolved species or have spiders always been spiders?

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Live Webcasts March 18 and 22!

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


 


Get a front-row seat to “Science Confirms Biblical Creation” and “Your Origins Matter” in the comfort of your own home as ICR astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle shares biblical and scientific truths. Go to ICR.org/webcast at 7:00 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, March 18, and 9:00 or 10:30 a.m. PDT on Sunday, March 22, to view these engaging presentations.

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Cancer Research Inadvertently Refutes Evolution

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

How did nature supposedly transform a single-cell organism into all the varieties of land-walking animals in our world today? Textbook explanations invoke natural selection of beneficial mutations across unimaginable time, with a bit of help from “junk DNA” and heaps of serendipitous chance. Though it was not intended as a test of evolution, a new cancer research discovery jeopardizes these unfounded evolutionary assumptions.

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