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This page is dedicated to My Grandson Brandon.


***IN STOCK***


by Chuck Missler


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)


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.


  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


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:
•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



Did Europe's Mars lander survive? Time will tell: ESA

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Oct 20, 2016
Europe's second attempt at reaching the Mars surface appeared in peril Thursday as initial analysis suggested a lander dubbed "Schiaparelli", a test-run for a future rover, may have plummeted to its demise. While holding out faint hope, ground controllers said it seemed the paddling pool-sized lander's parachute may have been discarded too early, and its fall-breaking thrusters switched off

Building Blocks of Life's Building Blocks Come From Starlight

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 14, 2016
Life exists in a myriad of wondrous forms, but if you break any organism down to its most basic parts, it's all the same stuff: carbon atoms connected to hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements. But how these fundamental substances are created in space has been a longstanding mystery. Now, astronomers better understand how molecules form that are necessary for building other chemical

Glitch, safe mode as Juno space probe orbits Jupiter

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Oct 20, 2016
Officials in charge of NASA's Juno space probe orbiting Jupiter last weekend delayed a crucial maneuver due to a main engine malfunction, they said Wednesday. In addition, the ship's computer systems automatically went into safety mode early Wednesday (5:47 GMT). Unrelated to the main engine, the switchover was due to a malfunction of two helium valves in the fuel pressurization system.

Two Russians, one American blast off to ISS

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Baikonur, Kazakhstan (AFP) Oct 19, 2016
Two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut soared into orbit in a Soyuz spacecraft Wednesday at the start of a two-day journey to the International Space Station. NASA's Shane Kimbrough and Andrei Borisenko and Sergei Ryzhikov of Roscosmos blasted off at 0805 GMT from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan after their launch had been delayed by nearly one month because of technical issues.

Boosting Europe's all-electric satellites

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Belfast, Northern Ireland (SPX) Oct 20, 2016
ESA astronaut Tim Peake this week opened a UK facility that will expand Europe's capability with satellites that rely wholly on electric propulsion. Sited in Belfast, Northern Ireland, it builds on the advanced manufacturing skills there. Propellant tanks, electric thrusters and steering mechanisms with the interconnecting harness and fuel lines will be assembled and installed on the satellite s

Euro-Russian craft enters Mars orbit, but lander's fate unknown

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Darmstadt, Germany (AFP) Oct 19, 2016
Europe and Russia celebrated placing a robot explorer into Mars orbit on Wednesday, but ground controllers faced an anxious night searching for the tiny lander it had despatched to the Red Planet's surface. The "Schiaparelli" lander, a trial-run for a Mars rover to follow, was meant to touch down at 1448 GMT, after separating from its mothership, the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), on Sunday. B

NanoSpace becomes part of GomSpace

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Uppsala, Sweden (SPX) Oct 20, 2016
NanoSpace, a provider of novel MEMS based technologies and propulsion systems for nanosatellites, started its operation in 2005 and has been a fully owned subsidiary of SSC since 2006. In the wake of SSC revised strategy to become a leading global provider of advanced space services, NanoSpace needed to become part of a leading technology development group with global reach. Current exciti

It's Electric! NASA Glenn Engineers Test Next Revolution Aircraft

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Cleveland OH (SPX) Oct 20, 2016
Electric cars are nothing new, they're more efficient, produce less noise and emit less carbon into the atmosphere; which is exactly why engineers from NASA Glenn Research Center are taking this technology to the skies. "As large airline companies compete to reduce emissions, fuel burn, noise and maintenance costs, it is expected that more of their aircraft systems will shift to using elec

Microscope Will Seek Biological Samples On Red Planet

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Oct 20, 2016
One of the ultimate goals of Mars exploration is to bring samples from the surface to Earth, especially those that could be examined for evidence of life on the Red Planet. Such an undertaking would be expensive and the samples risk contamination during their journey to Earth. So, one option is to analyze the samples in their natural habitat on Mars before bringing them to the Earth for fu

Soil moisture, snowpack data could help predict 'flash droughts'

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Boulder CO (SPX) Oct 19, 2016
New research suggests that "flash droughts" - like the one that unexpectedly gripped the Southern Rockies and Midwest in the summer of 2012 - could be predicted months in advance using soil moisture and snowpack data. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) analyzed the conditions leading up to the 2012 drought, which ultimately caused $30 billion in economic loss

Historical Records May Underestimate Sea Level Rise

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 19, 2016
A new NASA and university study using NASA satellite data finds that tide gauges - the longest and highest-quality records of historical ocean water levels - may have underestimated the amount of global average sea level rise that occurred during the 20th century. A research team led by Philip Thompson, associate director of the University of Hawaii Sea Level Center in the School of Ocean

NASA Launches Eighth Year of Antarctic Ice Change Airborne Survey

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Oct 19, 2016
At the southern end of the Earth, a NASA plane carrying a team of scientists and a sophisticated instrument suite to study ice is returning to surveying Antarctica. For the past eight years, Operation IceBridge has been on a mission to build a record of how polar ice is evolving in a changing environment. The information IceBridge has gathered in the Antarctic, which includes data on the t

American Aerospace Completes First ever Drone-Based Hurricane Response Exercise

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Cape May NJ (SPX) Oct 19, 2016
American Aerospace Technologies (AATI), the pioneer in long range drones for civilian applications has announced that it successfully tested drone-based wireless communications and real-time mapping for improved hurricane response. In another first for AATI, the company successfully flew its RS-20 unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to test delivery of critical services to first responders duri

Stephen Hawking opens British artificial intelligence hub

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Cambridge, United Kingdom (AFP) Oct 19, 2016
Professor Stephen Hawking on Wednesday opened a new artificial intelligence research centre at Britain's Cambridge University. The Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI) will delve into AI applications ranging from increasingly "smart" smartphones to robot surgeons and "Terminator" style military droids. Funded by a Pounds 10 million (11.2 million-euro, $12.3-million) grant fro

China to enhance space capabilities with launch of Shenzhou-11

‎Today, ‎October ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎4 hours agoGo to full article
Moscow (XNA) Oct 19, 2016
Monday's successful launch of the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft is another step forward to put China among leading players in space technology, said Alexander Zheleznyakov, a Russian expert on history of space flights. The craft with two astronauts aboard is planned to dock with China's second experimental space lab Tiangong-2 launched in mid-September. The move marked China's latest effort in a

First launch for Orbital's Antares rocket since '14 blast

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Oct 18, 2016
Orbital ATK on Monday blasted off its revamped Antares rocket carrying supplies and science experiments to the International Space Station two years after a major rocket explosion. The unmanned Cygnus cargo ship launched from Wallops Island, Virginia at 7:45 pm (2345 GMT), packed with some 5,100 pounds (2,300 kilograms) of gear bound for the station's astronauts living in orbit. The rock

Tools Drive NASA's TReK to New Discoveries

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Huntsville AL (SPX) Oct 18, 2016
Technology has made it easier for people to conduct their jobs and connect with others across the country and around the world. The job can be particularly tricky, though, if you're a scientist whose laboratory is orbiting the planet 250 miles up at 17,500 mph, and even trickier if you're one of the first people working on Mars. Researchers are testing new software on the International Spa

In space, the looming threat of a new arms race

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Washington (AFP) Oct 16, 2016
Killer satellites, blinding lasers, sophisticated jammers: the world's military powers are quietly readying for a war in outer space - at the risk of fueling a dangerous new arms race. US military officials have in recent years sounded growing alarm about the potential vulnerabilities of their satellites, which underpin US military power. Initially, the reserve of the United States and

The Pressure is On for SLS Hardware in Upcoming Test

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Huntsville AL (SPX) Oct 18, 2016
Engineers are getting ready to put the pressure on hardware for the world's most powerful rocket, NASA's Space Launch System, as part of a rigorous test series to ensure each structure can withstand the incredible stresses of launch. SLS and the agency's Orion spacecraft will travel to new destinations in deep space as NASA continues to prepare for its Journey to Mars. "Not only is this se

Ready for the Red Planet

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Oct 18, 2016
Next week, ESA's ExoMars has just a single chance to get captured by Mars' gravity. The spacecraft and the mission controllers who will make it so are ready for arrival. The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter is on a multiyear mission to understand the methane and other gases in Mars' atmosphere at low levels and could be evidence for possible biological or geological activity. The 3.7 tonne mother

China closer to establishing permanent space station

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Oct 18, 2016
The launch of a new manned space mission brings China closer to the establishment of a permanent space station, international experts say. Chinese taikonauts, Jing Haipeng, 50, and Chen Dong, 37, were blasted off into space onboard Shenzhou-11 at 7:30 a.m. Monday (2330 GMT Sunday) and will spend 30 days in the Chinese space laboratory Tiangong-2. The launch marks a key step toward China's

Ambitious space satellite projects set for liftoff

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Oct 18, 2016
A family of science satellites will be developed by China during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), senior researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences say. Technicians have begun preliminary research on four space-based scientific projects, says Gong Jiancun, deputy director of the academy's National Space Science Center. These are the Solar Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer,

What! - Go To Mars?

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Bethesda MD (SPX) Oct 18, 2016
Just last week President Obama again announced his ambitious goal to send humans to Mars by the 2030s. His plan calls for a safe return of astronauts after visiting the Red Planet. After that first trip, he hopes that humans will establish activities that will lead to colonies on the planet. A key point in his announcement is that there should be continued cooperation between the government and

NASA's MAVEN Mission Gives Unprecedented Ultraviolet View of Mars

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Oct 18, 2016
New global images of Mars from the MAVEN mission show the ultraviolet glow from the Martian atmosphere in unprecedented detail, revealing dynamic, previously invisible behavior. They include the first images of "nightglow" that can be used to show how winds circulate at high altitudes. Additionally, dayside ultraviolet imagery from the spacecraft shows how ozone amounts change over the sea

Modeling floods that formed canyons on Earth and Mars

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Amherst MA (SPX) Oct 14, 2016
Geomorphologists who study Earth's surface features and the processes that formed them have long been interested in how floods, in particular catastrophic outbursts that occur when a glacial lake ice dam bursts, for example, can change a planet's surface, not only on Earth but on Mars. Now geoscience researchers Isaac Larsen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Michael Lamb at th

Swedish Space Corporation Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Esrange Space Center

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Esrange, Sweden (SPX) Oct 18, 2016
In the vast and beautiful land of Northern Sweden, 200 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, lies Esrange Space Center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. On October 22nd, customers and other stakeholders from the space industry all over the world will gather in Kiruna to celebrate this anniversary with events that includes an Executive Roundtable with Key Notes by the ESA Genera

US-Russia Standoff Leaves NASA Without Manned Launch Capabilities

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Moscow (Sputnik) Oct 18, 2016
NASA has no plans to renew its contract with the Russian space agency Roscosmos for the delivery of astronauts to the International Space Station after 2018, according to William Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations. NASA's associate administrator for human exploration and operations William Gerstenmaier said that NASA will not extend an agreeme

Discovering the Treasures in Chandra's Archives

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Oct 18, 2016
Each year, NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory helps celebrate American Archive Month by releasing a collection of images using X-ray data in its archive. The Chandra Data Archive is a sophisticated digital system that ultimately contains all of the data obtained by the telescope since its launch into space in 1999. Chandra's archive is a resource that makes these data available to the scientific c

Spectacular Lunar Grazing Occultation of Bright Star on Oct. 18

‎Tuesday, ‎October ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎4:08:05 AMGo to full article
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Oct 18, 2016
As seen from a path about a mile wide extending from Los Angeles, Calif., to Denver, and on to Minnesota south of Minneapolis (and further east, to Lake Superior and Labrador), the bright star Aldebaran's angular diameter will be evident to anyone using binoculars or a small telescope (weather permitting) as the star rapidly fades in and out multiple times among mountains near the Moon's north p

China launches 2 astronauts for 33-day mission

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
by Morris Jones
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Oct 17, 2016 The successful launch of China's Shenzhou 11 spacecraft is worth cheering, but it's just the opening move in a major mission for this nation's space program. This will be China's longest human space mission to date. For most of this time, Shenzhou 11 will be docked with the Tiangong 2 space laboratory. The two astronauts aboard Shenzhou 11 will spend m

ESA lander starts 3-day descent to Mars; Telemetry all good

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
Paris (AFP) Oct 16, 2016
A European lander started a three-day, million-kilometre (621,000-mile) descent to Mars on Sunday, quitting its mothership to test technology for a daring mission to scout the Red Planet for signs of life. Flight director Michel Denis confirmed the lander Schiaparelli had separated, to loud applause at mission control in Darmstadt, Germany some 175 million kilometres (109 miles) from where t

China unveils Shenzhou 11 crew

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Oct 16, 2016
China has named veteran astronaut Jing Haipeng and rookie Chen Dong as the crew of Shenzhou 11. The naming of the crew is the final big announcement before the launch of China's longest space mission. Jing is a veteran of the Shenzhou 7 and Shenzhou 9 missions. It's noteworthy that he has previously visited the Tiangong 1 space laboratory, giving him experience in flying a space docking. J

Vice Premier calls for more contributions to China's space program

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Oct 14, 2016
Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai on Wednesday called for more contributions to the country's space program. During a seminar marking the 60th anniversary of China's space program, Ma said that with the leadership of the central authority and the contributions of scientists, China has established a full space innovation system and made a series of achievements. The space industry should ad

This little amoeba committed grand theft

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
New Brunswick NJ (SPX) Oct 14, 2016
About 100 million years ago, a lowly amoeba pulled off a stunning heist, grabbing genes from an unsuspecting bacterium to replace those it had lost. Now Rutgers and other scientists have solved the mystery of how the little amoeba, Paulinella, committed the theft. It engulfed the bacterium, kept that cell alive and harnessed its genes for photosynthesis, the process plants and algae use to conve

How this Martian moon became the 'Death Star'

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
Livermore CA (SPX) Oct 14, 2016
Mars' largest moon, Phobos, has captured public imagination and been shrouded in mystery for decades. But numerical simulations recently conducted at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have shed some light on the enigmatic satellite. The dominant feature on the surface of Phobos (22-kilomters across) is Stickney crater (9-km across), a mega crater that spans nearly half the moon

Hunter's Supermoon to light up Saturday night sky

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
New York (UPI) Oct 15, 2016
A hunter's supermoon will light the sky Saturday and Sunday night, the first of three supermoons expected over the next three months. Called a hunter's moon because of the extra light the full moon provides hunters during the month of October, this month's moon is also a supermoon - meaning it's at its shortest distance from Earth. The full moons of November and December will be

China to Collaborate on Search for Intelligent Life in the Universe

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Oct 14, 2016
The National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) is joining forces with the Breakthrough Initiatives to launch a coordinated search for evidence of intelligent life beyond Earth, using some of the world's most powerful telescopes. NAOC's brand-new FAST telescope - the world's largest filled-aperture radio receiver - will join the Breakthrough Lis

Buried glaciers on Mars

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Oct 14, 2016
This jumble of eroded blocks lies along the distinctive boundary between the Red Planet's southern highlands and the northern lowlands, with remnants of ancient glaciers flowing around them. This boundary is one of the oldest and most prominent features on Mars, marking a height difference of several kilometres. The scene presented here, captured by the high-resolution camera on ESA's Mars

DARPA Helps Paralyzed Man Feel Again Using a Brain-Controlled Robotic Arm

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Oct 14, 2016
A DARPA-funded research team has demonstrated for the first time in a human a technology that allows an individual to experience the sensation of touch directly in the brain through a neural interface system connected to a robotic arm. By enabling two-way communication between brain and machine-outgoing signals for movement and inbound signals for sensation-the technology could ultimately suppor

Final exams prepare Thomas Pesquet for launch

‎Monday, ‎October ‎17, ‎2016, ‏‎1:32:09 AMGo to full article
Paris (ESA) Oct 14, 2016
With a launch planned for the early morning of 16 November, ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet, NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Roscosmos commander Oleg Novitsky face a busy schedule of Soyuz exams this month. The trio will be flying to the International Space Station on a new model of Soyuz ferry designated MS. The MS stands for 'modernised systems' and this will be the third launch of the lig





News About Time And Space



Dense molecular gas disks drive the growth of supermassive black holes

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Oct 18, 2016 - Supermassive black holes more than a million times the mass of our sun exist at the centers of many galaxies, but how they came to be is unclear. Meanwhile, a correlation between the rate at which stars form in the central regions of galaxies and the amount of gas that falls into supermassive black holes (mass accretion rate) was known to exist, leading some scientists to suggest that the activity involved in star formation fuels the growth of black holes.

The joint research team led by graduate student and JSPS fellow Takuma Izumi at the Graduate School of Science at the University of Tokyo revealed for the first time--with observational data collected by ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), in Chile, and other telescopes--that dense molecular gas disks occupying regions as large as a few light years at the centers of galaxies are supplying gas directly to the supermassive black holes.

The team also succeeded in explaining, with a theoretical model, that the actual changes (balance of inflow and outflow) in gas levels they observed were the result of the increasing amount of gas falling into the supermassive black holes within the gas disks enhanced by strong turbulence generated by supernova explosions (an activity associated with star formation) when a star inside the dense gas disks dies.

"The central regions of faraway galaxies, comprising a few light years in scale, are hard to observe in detail because of their compactness, and there haven't been many studies showing how black holes grow due to the lack of extensive research. So, this outcome is a big step forward as we successfully revealed one aspect of that process," says Izumi.

He continues, "We hope to expand our research to farther expanses of the universe by utilizing the superb capability of ALMA to help us understand comprehensively the growth of supermassive black holes over cosmic time."



Lights, action, electrons!

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Onna, Japan (SPX) Oct 14, 2016 - Ever since J.J. Thompson's 1897 discovery of the electron, scientists have attempted to describe the subatomic particle's motion using a variety of different means. Electrons are far too small and fast to be seen, even with the help of a light microscope. This has made measuring an electron's movement very difficult for the past century. However, new research from the Femtosecond Spectroscopy Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), published in Nature Nanotechnology, has made this process much easier.

"I wanted to see the electrons in the material. I wanted to see the electrons move, not just to explain their motion by measuring a change of light transmission and reflection in the material," said Prof. Keshav Dani, leader of Unit.

The limiting factor to studying electron movement using previous techniques was that the instrumentation could either provide excellent time resolution or spatial resolution, but not both. Dr. Michael Man, a postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Dani's Unit, combined the techniques of UV light pulses and electron microscopy in order to see electrons moving inside a solar cell.

If you shine light on a material, the light energy can be absorbed by the electrons and move them from a low-energy state to a higher one. If the light pulse that you shine at the material is very, very short, a few millionths of a billionth of a second - that is a few femto seconds - it creates a very rapid change in the material.

However, this change does not last long, as the material goes back to its original state on a very fast time scale. For a device to work, like in a solar cell, we have to extract energy from the material while it is still at the high energy state. Scientists want to study how materials change state and lose energy.

"In reality, you cannot watch these electrons changing state on such a fast time scale. So, what you do is measure the change of reflectivity of the material," Dr. Man explained. To understand how the material changes when exposed to light, researchers expose the material to a very short, but intense, pulse of light which causes the change, and then continuing to measure the change introduced by the first pulse by probing the material with subsequent much weaker light pulses at different delay times after the first pulse.

As the first discrete bundle of massless energy, or photon, changes the material, by rapidly heating it for example, the reflection of the subsequent photon changes. As the material cools down, the reflection goes back to the original one. These differences tell the scientists the dynamic of the observed phenomenon.

"The problem is that you do not actually directly observe the electron dynamics that causes the changes: you measure the reflection and then you try to find an explanation based on the interpretation of your data," Prof. Dani said. "You create a model that explains the results of your experiment. But you do not actually see what is happening."

Prof. Dani's team found a way to visualize this phenomenon in a semiconductor device.

"When the pulse hits the material, it takes some electrons out, and we use an electron microscope that forms an image of where the displaced electrons came from," Dr. Man said.

"If you do this many times, for many photons, you can slowly build up an image of the distribution of the electrons in the material. So you photo-excite the sample, you wait for a certain time, and then you probe your sample and you repeat this process again and again, keeping the delay between the first pulse of photons and the probing photons always the same." As a final result, you get an image of the location of most of the electrons in the material at a specific time delay.

Then, the researchers change the time delay between the two pulses - the photo-exciting one and the probing one - and they create another image of the location of the electrons. Once an image is created, the probing pulse is further delayed, creating a series of images that describes the positions of the electrons in subsequent times after the photo-excitation. "When you stitch all these images together, you finally have a video," Prof. Dani said.

"A video of how the electrons are moving in the material after photo excitation: you see the electrons getting excited, and then going back to their original state."

"We have made a video of a very fundamental process: for the first time we are not imagining what is happening inside a solar cell, we are actually seeing it. We can now describe what we see in this time-lapse video, we no longer have to interpret data and imagine what might have happened inside a material. This is a new door to understanding the motion of electrons in semiconductors materials." Prof. Dani effused.

This research provides a new insight into the movement of electrons that could potentially change the way solar cells and semiconductor devices are built. This new insight brings the technology field one step closer to building better and more efficient electronic devices.

Research paper



Teleporting toward a quantum Internet

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Pasadena CA (JPL) Oct 14, 2016 - Quantum physics is a field that appears to give scientists superpowers. Those who understand the world of extremely small or cold particles can perform amazing feats with them - including teleportation - that appear to bend reality.

The science behind these feats is complicated, and until recently, didn't exist outside of lab settings. But that's changing: researchers have begun to implement quantum teleportation in real-world contexts. Being able to do so just might revolutionize modern phone and Internet communications, leading to highly secure, encrypted messaging.

A paper published in Nature Photonics and co-authored by engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, details the first experiments with quantum teleportation in a metropolitan fiber cable network. For the first time, the phenomenon has been witnessed over long distances in actual city infrastructure. In Canada, University of Calgary researchers teleported the quantum state of a photon more than 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) in "dark" (unused) cables under the city of Calgary. That's a new record for the longest distance of quantum teleportation in an actual metropolitan network.

While longer distances had been recorded in the past, those were conducted in lab settings, where photons were fired through spools of cable to simulate the loss of signal caused by long distances. This latest series of experiments in Calgary tested quantum teleportation in actual infrastructure, representing a major step forward for the technology.

"Demonstrating quantum effects such as teleportation outside of a lab environment involves a whole new set of challenges. This experiment shows how these challenges can all be overcome and hence it marks an important milestone towards the future quantum Internet," said Francesco Marsili, one of the JPL co-authors. "Quantum communication unlocks some of the unique properties of quantum mechanics to, for example, exchange information with ultimate security or link together quantum computers."

Photon sensors for the experiment were developed by Marsili and Matt Shaw of JPL's Microdevices Laboratory, along with colleagues at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, Colorado. Their expertise was critical to the experiments: quantum networking is done with photons, and requires some of the most sensitive sensors in the world in order to know exactly what's happening to the particle.

"The superconducting detector platform, which has been pioneered by JPL and NIST researchers, makes it possible to detect single photons at telecommunications wavelengths with nearly perfect efficiency and almost no noise. This was simply not possible with earlier detector types, and so experiments such as ours, using existing fiber-infrastructure, would have been close to impossible without JPL's detectors," said Daniel Oblak of the University of Calgary's Institute for Quantum Science and Technology.

Safer emails using quantum physics
Shrink down to the level of a photon, and physics starts to play by bizarre rules. Scientists who understand those rules can "entangle" two particles so that their properties are linked. Entanglement is a mind-boggling concept in which particles with different characteristics, or states, can be bound together across space. That means whatever affects one particle's state will affect the other, even if they're located miles apart from one another.

This is where teleportation comes in. Imagine you have two entangled particles - let's call them Photon 1 and Photon 2 - and Photon 2 is sent to a distant location. There, it meets with Photon 3, and the two interact with each other. Photon 3's state can be transferred to Photon 2, and automatically "teleported" to the entangled twin, Photon 1. This disembodied transfer happens despite the fact that Photons 1 and 3 never interact.

This property can be used to securely exchange secret messages. If two people share an entangled pair of photons, quantum information can be transmitted in a disembodied fashion, leaving an eavesdropper with nothing to intercept and so unable to read the secret message.

Teleportation Means Going the Distance
This system of highly secure communications is being tested in a number of fields, Marsili said, including financial industries and agencies like NASA that want to protect their space data signals. The superconducting single photon detectors developed by Marsili, Shaw and their NIST colleagues are a key tool in doing this, because sending photons over long distances will inevitably lead to "loss" of the signal. Even when using a laser in space, light diffuses over distance, weakening the power of the signal being transmitted.

The next step is building repeaters that can further teleport the state of a photon from one location to the next. Just as repeaters are used to carry other telecommunication signals across long distances, they could be used to teleport entangled photons. Super-sensitive photon detectors would allow repeaters to send entangled photons across the country. For space-related communications, repeaters wouldn't even be necessary; photons could eventually be fired into space using lasers, and photon states could be teleported from Earth.

No repeaters were used in the Calgary experiments, which were mainly meant to establish how quantum teleportation can be performed outside the lab. Researchers used the city's dark fiber - a single optical cable with no electronics or network equipment flowing through them.

"By using advanced superconducting detectors, we can use individual photons to efficiently communicate both classical and quantum information from space to the ground," Shaw said. "We are planning to use more advanced versions of these detectors for demonstrations of optical communication from deep space and of quantum teleportation from the International Space Station."

The study was funded by Alberta Innovates Technology Futures; the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada; and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Part of the detector research was carried out at JPL under a contract with NASA. Caltech in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.



Two-dimensional spin-orbit coupling for Bose-Einstein condensates realized

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Beijing, China (SPX) Oct 17, 2016 - Spin-orbit coupling is one of the fundamental effects in quantum physics. It plays a vital role in many basic physic phenomena and exotic quantum states. These phenomena led to the foundation of several important research fields in condensed-matter physics like spintronics, topological insulator and topological superconductor.

However, due to common problem of uncontrollable complex environment, many researches of solid materials of exotic physics become extremely difficult. This remains a major challenge for many relevant researches.

Recently, a joint team of the University of Science and Technology of China and the Peking University made breakthrough in quantum simulation of ultracold atoms. The joint team pioneered the proposal and realization of two-dimensional spin-orbit coupling for ultracold quantum gases.

This will inspire of the researches of exotic topological quantum states and therefore implement significant influence to the way how we understand of our world. This joint result was published as a Research Article on the latest issue of Science. Considering the 'great potential for investigating exotic phenomena that go beyond traditional condensed-matter physics' of the result, a review article was specially published on the corresponding perspectives column.

The spin-orbit coupling describes the interactions between the particle spin and the orbital motion. To synthesize the spin-orbit coupling within ultracold atoms is one of the most exciting directions in the field of quantum simulation. Efforts were put in this extremely challenging research field by several teams from several countries in the past decade.

1-D spin-orbit coupling was first realized by Spielman's team from NIST, and then by several other laboratories. While, to simulate the exotic topological quantum matter, as topological insulator or superconductor, at least 2-D spin-orbit coupling is required. Yet the research to spin-orbit coupling on higher dimensions was a more challenging work.

LIU Xiongjun's theoretical team from Peking University first inspired and proposed the Raman optical lattice system, which leads to 2D spin-orbit coupling. Based on this theoretical scheme, the experimental team led by PAN Jianwei, CHEN Shuai and DENG Youjin from the USTC dedicated years to ultra precision laser and magnetic field controlling technology.

At last they successfully constructed the Raman optical lattice quantum system and synthetized the 2-D spin-orbit coupling for Bose-Einstein condensates.

This setup is, according to the review on Science, particularly appealing because it involves only a single laser source and does not require phase-locking between several optical beams. Instead, a single laser beam is split into two parts to produce a spin-independent optical lattice and a frequency-shifted Raman beam.

Further research indicates that the spin-orbit coupling and the band topology are highly adjustable. This work will greatly influence the research to ultracold atoms and condensed-matter physics.

This breakthrough may also inspire researches in the field of quantum computing. Hopefully in 10-15 years, scientists may realize the coherent manipulation of 80-100 quantum bit, solving speed of specific problems will exceed the current supercomputers.



'Weighing' atoms with electrons

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Vienna, Austria (SPX) Oct 14, 2016 - The different elements found in nature each have their distinct isotopes. For carbon, there are 99 atoms of the lighter stable carbon isotope 12C for each 13C atom, which has one more neutron in its nucleus. Apart from this natural variation, materials can be grown from isotope-enriched chemicals.

This allows scientists to study how the atoms arrange into solids, for example to improve their synthesis. Yet, most traditional techniques to measure the isotope ratio require the decomposition of the material or are limited to a resolution of hundreds of nanometers, obscuring important details.

In the new study, led by Jani Kotakoski, the University of Vienna researchers used the advanced scanning transmission electron microscope Nion UltraSTEM100 to measure isotopes in nanometer-sized areas of a graphene sample.

The same energetic electrons that form an image of the graphene structure can also eject one atom at a time due to scattering at a carbon nucleus. Because of the greater mass of the 13C isotope, an electron can give a 12C atom a slightly harder kick, knocking it out more easily. How many electrons are on average required gives an estimate of the local isotope concentration.

"The key to making this work was combining accurate experiments with an improved theoretical model of the process", says Toma Susi, the lead author of the study.

Publishing in Nature Communications allowed the team to fully embrace open science. In addition to releasing the peer review reports alongside the article, a comprehensive description of the methods and analyses is included.

However, the researchers went one step further and uploaded their microscopy data onto the open repository figshare. Anyone with an Internet connection can thus freely access, use and cite the gigabytes of high-quality images. Toma Susi continues: "To our knowledge, this is the first time electron microscopy data have been openly shared at this scale."

The results show that atomic-resolution electron microscopes can distinguish between different isotopes of carbon. Although the method was now demonstrated only for graphene, it can in principle be extended for other two-dimensional materials, and the researchers have a patent pending on this invention.

"Modern microscopes already allow us to resolve all atomic distances in solids and to see which chemical elements compose them. Now we can add isotopes to the list", Jani Kotakoski concludes.

Publication in Nature Communications: Isotope analysis in the transmission electron microscope: Toma Susi, Christoph Hofer, Giacomo Argentero, Gregor T. Leuthner, Timothy J. Pennycook, Clemens Mangler, Jannik C. Meyer and Jani Kotakoski. Nature Communications | 7:13040 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13040.



UC physicists join collaborative efforts in search for new ghost neutrinos

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Cincinnati OH (SPX) Oct 13, 2016 - University of Cincinnati physicists have joined forces in a major international collaboration to shed new light on one of the most pressing questions in particle physics - "do sterile neutrinos exist?"

After looking at how the three known neutrino types behave and interact - classified as electron, muon and tau 'flavors' - a new research collaboration between the U.S.-based MINOS accelerator neutrino experiment and China's Daya Bay reactor neutrino experiment has looked for an elusive new light sterile neutrino that may resolve some outstanding puzzles in astrophysics and cosmology.

"Neutrinos are almost nothing at all, as they have almost no mass and no electric charge, but these itty-bitty ghost particles that can travel at near light speeds are all around us, from those created at the Big Bang to those originating in nuclear fusion at the center of the sun - the same process that produces sunlight," says Alexandre B. Sousa, University of Cincinnati assistant professor of physics and part of the MINOS experiment. "And they play an essential role in our fundamental understanding of how the universe works."

Back in the 1990s, scientists working on the Liquid Scintillator Neutrino Detector (LSND) experiment at Los Alamos announced evidence of muon neutrinos oscillating into electron neutrinos. However, the oscillation was occurring much faster than the neutrino oscillations discovered by the Super-Kamiokande experiment that led to the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics.

According to the researchers, if the LSND results are correct and due to neutrino oscillations, the most likely explanation is the existence of a new, fourth type of neutrino. But this new neutrino would have to be much stranger than anything seen before, being sterile, meaning that it does not interact with matter except through gravity.

Over the last twenty years, a number of experiments have tried to confirm or refute the LSND findings, but Sousa says the results have been inconclusive. The new results released by the MINOS and Daya Bay experiments strongly suggest that the ghost-like sterile neutrinos do not explain the LSND result after all. The findings of these studies, which include physicists from the University of Cincinnati, are now published in the journal Physical Review Letters, titled, "Limits on Active to Sterile Neutrino Oscillations from Disappearance Searches in the MINOS, Daya Bay and Bugey-3 Experiments."

Since the LSND experiment saw muon-type antineutrinos turning into electron-type antineutrinos, scientists must look at both types of neutrinos simultaneously to address the LSND observations - this is where Sousa says the collaboration between Daya Bay and MINOS comes in.

The MINOS experiment uses an intense beam of muon neutrinos that travels 735 km from the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Chicago to the Soudan Underground Laboratory in northern Minnesota. MINOS has made world-leading measurements of neutrino oscillation parameters by studying how these neutrinos disappear as they travel between the two detectors. The existence of a sterile neutrino could cause some of these muon neutrinos to disappear at a faster rate than one would expect if sterile neutrinos do not exist.

So far scientists working on the MINOS experiment have shown that this does not happen.

The Daya Bay experiment looks at electron antineutrinos coming from a nuclear power plant in the Guangdong province of China. Daya Bay observed that some of these antineutrinos disappear and measured for the first time one of the parameters governing neutrino oscillations, for which they earned the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

A sterile neutrino would affect the rate at which these electron antineutrinos disappear, but the Daya Bay scientists have also seen no evidence for this. These two separate results from MINOS and Daya Bay, on their own, are not enough to address the puzzle that LSND set out almost twenty years ago.

"Neither the MINOS nor Daya Bay disappearance results alone can be compared to the LSND appearance measurements," says En-Chuan Huang of Los Alamos Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, one of the scientists working on the Daya Bay experiment. "Looking at multiple types of neutrinos together, however, gives us a much stronger handle on sterile neutrinos."

In spite of the results, the researchers say they have significantly shrunk the hiding space for this light sterile neutrino.

"It's not common for two major neutrino experiments to work together this closely," says Adam Aurisano, postdoctoral fellow with the University of Cincinnati Department of Physics and the lead MINOS scientist who worked on the result. "But to really make a statement about the LSND evidence for sterile neutrinos, we must take Daya Bay's electron-antineutrino data and the MINOS muon-neutrino data and put them both together into a single analysis."

It is the combination of these two results, the MINOS experiment probing the conversion of muon neutrinos to sterile neutrinos and the Daya Bay experiment testing the conversion from electron antineutrinos into sterile neutrinos that researchers say has significantly shrunk the hiding space for this light sterile neutrino. This will also help other search efforts for knowing where to look for these elusive particles.

Moreover, the researchers - including Jacob Todd, UC physics doctoral student who is the lead analyst in searches for sterile neutrinos with MINOS+ - anticipate an even more sensitive search for sterile neutrinos. New data from the MINOS+ experiment (which uses a higher energy beam than MINOS) will be combined with four times more data from Daya Bay in a forthcoming joint analysis to be carried out over the next year.

"The neutrino is one of the most enigmatic particles we have encountered," says Aurisano. "And as history suggests, surprises may await us."

Research paper: Limits on Active to Sterile Neutrino Oscillation from Disappearance Searches in the MINOS, Daya Bay and Bugey-3 Experiments



Observing the birth of quasiparticles in real time

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Innsbruck, Austria (SPX) Oct 10, 2016 - The concept of quasiparticles is a powerful tool to describe processes in many-body quantum systems, such as solid-state materials. For example, when an electron moves through a solid, it generates polarization in its environment because of its electrical charge. This "polarization cloud" moves together with the electron and the resulting "dressed electron" can be theoretically described as quasiparticle or a polaron.

"You could picture it as a skier on a powder day," says Grimm. "The skier is surrounded by a cloud of snow crystals. Together they form a system that has different properties than the skier without the cloud."

The challenge in an experiment is to measure the quasiparticles. "These processes last only attoseconds, which makes a time-resolved observation of their formation extremely difficult," explains Grimm. His research group uses ultracold quantum gases for simulations to study the many-body physics of complex quantum systems.

Observing the birth of quasiparticles
Ultracold quantum gases are an ideal experimental platform to study physical phenomena in solid-state materials and also exotic states of matter, for example neutron stars. Because of the well-controlled environment, the scientists are able to create many-body states and manipulate interactions between particles in these gases.

Rudolf Grimm's research group, working at the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the Institute for Experimental Physics, University of Innsbruck, is a leader in this research field.

In collaboration with theoretical physicists from Harvard University, the TU Munich and Monash University in Australia, the researchers have now studied quasiparticle dynamics in real time.

In a vacuum chamber, using laser trapping techniques, the researchers created an ultracold quantum gas made up of lithium atoms and a small sample of potassium atoms in the center. For both types of atoms they used isotopes of fermionic nature, which belong to the same fundamental class as electrons. Magnetic fields were used to tune interactions, which produced Fermi polarons, i.e. potassium atoms embedded in a lithium cloud.

"In condensed matter, the natural time scale of these quasiparticles is on the order of 100 attoseconds," explains Grimm. "We simulated the same physical processes at much lower densities. Here, the formation time for polarons is a few microseconds." However, measurement still remains a challenge.

"We developed a new method for observing the 'birth' of a polaron virtually in real time," says quantum physicists Grimm. Looking into the future, he says: "This may turn out to be a very interesting approach to better understand the quantum physical properties of ultrafast electronic devices."

The scientists are supported, among others, by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) within the framework of the Special Research Area program (SFB) FoQuS and the Doctoral Program Atoms, Light and Molecules (ALM).

Research paper: Ultrafast many-body interferometry of impurities coupled to a Fermi sea. Marko Cetina, Michael Jag, Rianne S. Lous, Isabella Fritsche, Jook T. M. Walraven, Rudolf Grimm, Jesper Levinsen, Meera M. Parish, Richard Schmidt, Michael Knap, Eugene Demler. Science. To be published on 10 07 2016



Stable molecular state of photons and artificial atom discovered

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Oct 13, 2016 - Researchers at the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT, President: Dr. Masao Sakauchi), in collaboration with researchers at the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT, Representative Member of the Board and President, Mr. Hiroo Unoura) and the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI, Acting Executive Director: Dr. Marwan Khraisheh) have discovered qualitatively new states of a superconducting artificial atom dressed with virtual photons.

The discovery was made using spectroscopic measurements on an artificial atom that is very strongly coupled to the light field inside a superconducting cavity. This result provides a new platform to investigate the interaction between light and matter at a fundamental level, helps understand quantum phase transitions and provides a route to applications of non-classical light such as Schrodinger cat states. It may contribute to the development of quantum technologies in areas such as quantum communication, quantum simulation and computation, or quantum metrology.

This result will be published online in the October 10 issue of the journal Nature Physics.

Background and Challenges
The indispensable technologies in modern life such as a time system measured by an atomic clock and a secure and energy-efficient communications system are based on the fundamental science of the interaction between light and matter at the single-photon level. The absorption and emission of light from any device is explained based on the interaction of light and atoms.

A fundamental question in atomic physics, "How strong can the coupling of light and an atom be?" has not been answered in spite of years of research, because it is not easy to find appropriate methods to realize very strong coupling.

It was predicted over forty years ago that if the coupling is extremely strong a qualitatively new lowest energy state (the ground state) of light and an atom should be realized. A debate soon started as to whether this prediction would still apply when realistic conditions are considered. A few years ago, our collaborator at QEERI, Dr. Sahel Ashhab, performed theoretical investigations and identified desirable conditions for achieving this new state using superconducting circuits.

In the experiment, we used a microfabricated superconducting harmonic oscillator and a superconducting artificial atom (quantum bit or qubit) whose electronic states behave quantum mechanically, just like a natural atom. By carefully designing a superconducting persistent-current qubit interacting with an LC harmonic oscillator that has a large zero-point fluctuation current via a large shared Josephson inductance, we found the new ground state as predicted theoretically.

The total energy of the qubit and the oscillator is the sum of the photon energy in the oscillator, the qubit energy, and the coupling energy binding the photons to the qubit. Taking advantage of the macroscopic quantum system, we could realize circuits with coupling energy larger than both the photon energy and the qubit energy. This situation is sometimes called 'deep strong coupling'.

In addition, we have observed that the transitions between energy levels are governed by selection rules stemming from the symmetry of the entangled energy eigenstates, including the ground state.

We plan to test whether deep strong coupling is possible or not using more than one superconducting artificial atom (qubit), which remains a question of debate. We will also try to actively manipulate this new molecular state of photons and artificial atoms, for example, to observe and control the dynamics of photon absorption and emission, and to demonstrate new methods of entanglement generation.

Research paper



Synchronizing optical clocks to one quadrillionth of a second

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Oct 13, 2016 - An international team of researchers, led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), based in Gaithersburg, Maryland, has advanced their work with synchronizing a remote optical clock with a master clock by exploring what happens to time signals that need to travel through 12 kilometers (km) of turbulent air, which is known to distort optical signals.

As the team reports this week in Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing, they were able to demonstrate real-time, femtosecond-level clock synchronization across a low-lying, strongly turbulent, 12-km horizontal air path by optical two-way time transfer.

Their work relies on a tool known as a "frequency comb," for which John Hall and Ted Hansch won a Nobel Prize in physics in 2005. A frequency comb is a specialized type of laser that puts out a very stable train of optical pulses.

"We label these pulses and use them as the 'ticks' of our clock," said Laura Sinclair, a physicist at NIST. "It's analogous to a quartz watch. But in our case, we have an oscillator running at 200 billion cycles per second (200 THz), which we combine with a frequency comb to generate ticks not every second but every 5 nanoseconds."

The researchers send these ticks - frequency comb pulses - over the air both from site A to B and from B to A. Thanks to some clever tricks, they were able to measure the arrival time of the pulses at each site to femtoseconds, or one quadrillionth of a second.

The arrival time must be measured at both sites "because of the finite speed of light - the amount of time it takes the pulse to travel across 12 km of air can change by hundreds of picoseconds during the course of hours due to the changing atmosphere or even the swaying of the building housing the clocks," Sinclair pointed out. "This can completely hide any differences in clock times."

By noting the difference in arrival times, "we can subtract out the changing path and we're left with only the difference in clock times because the atmosphere is reciprocal - meaning that the 100 picosecond change happens for both directions at the same time," she continued. "Once we measure the difference of the clock times, we can speed up or slow down the clock at site B so that it agrees with the clock at site A to within femtoseconds."

All of these measurement steps happen quickly - in less than half of a millisecond - so the team can adjust the clock at site B orders of magnitude faster than existing microwave-based methods.

The team was awed by how far they were able to go and still maintain femtosecond-level synchronization.

"The 12 km of turbulent air results in massive distortions of the laser beams - yet the two clocks agree in time to 20 digits," Sinclair noted.

These results are extremely encouraging, because the team saw "no degradation of the clock agreement with the increased distance and turbulence," Sinclair said. "This suggests that we could go even greater distances, especially if the path isn't completely horizontal - like to a mountaintop or balloon."

The team is now tackling two separate problems for the clocks.

"First: Can we still synch clocks if one of them is moving? The same Doppler effect that changes the pitch of an ambulance siren when it's coming toward us also impacts our clocks, so we need to correct for this effect to allow for the development of synchronized clock networks on mobile platforms," Sinclair explained.

"Second: How far - in distance - can we really go? If we want to someday redefine the second so that it's based on an optical standard instead of a microwave standard, we'll need to be able to link up the world's best clocks and then distribute that time information."

Research paper: "Synchronization of clocks through 12km of strongly turbulent air over a city"



Measuring forces with oscillations

‎Yesterday, ‎October ‎19, ‎2016, ‏‎1:52:47 AMGo to full article
Zurich, Switzerland (SPX) Oct 10, 2016 - A child swings on a swing, gaining momentum with its legs. For physicists, this is a reasonably easy movement. They call it parametric oscillation. Things are getting more complicated if - in addition to the child's efforts - the mother (or the father) is around to push the swing. The interaction between the pushing force and the parametric oscillation can become very intricate, making it hard to calculate how much force the parent expends from the resulting irregular swinging motion.

An interdisciplinary team of theoretical and experimental physicists at ETH Zurich has now succeeded in this very calculation. The researchers have been able to describe for the first time how parametric oscillation (the child's own drive) can be used to measure an external force (the parent's push). Their discovery has applications for sensors, and the scientists have submitted a patent application for the underlying principle.

Advantages for small sensors
"Many of today's sensors are already based on oscillations," says Oded Zilberberg, a professor at the Institute for Theoretical Physics. "With small resonators you can measure, for example, force, pressure, mass, sound or temperature. Atomic force microscopes are also built on this principle." But these applications - often found in the field of microtechnology - currently use less intricate oscillations known as harmonic oscillations.

For these measurements to use intricate oscillations, as Zilberberg and his colleagues propose, a paradigm shift is necessary: sensors would have to be designed differently. The new principle brings particular advantages for very small sensors, says the physicist. It would make it possible to build extremely small yet precise sensors, as the measuring signal in the new principle stands out better against background noise than with current methods.

Experiments with atoms and guitar strings
The scientists discovered the new principle while analysing parametric oscillations in a quantum physics experiment with laser-trapped rubidium atoms. Having understood the fundamental interaction between parametric and pushed oscillations, the researchers then directly demonstrated the effect using a parametrically oscillating guitar string.

The scientists exerted a pulsating force on the string while continuously varying the frequency of the pulse. The researchers observed that the strength of the vibration of the string (amplitude) did not change fully continuous, but there was rather a sharp jump in amplitude at a particular frequency. As they discovered, this 'jump frequency' depends directly on the strength of the applied force and can therefore be used as a force meter.

Zilberberg and his colleagues are now looking for industrial partners to help develop high-resolution sensors. The new principle could even be applied in computer technology. Zilberberg: "In the very early stages of the computer age there were computer memories that were based on oscillators, known as parametrons. The computer industry later lost interest in them, but our discovery could breathe new life into this field of research."

Research paper



Scientists solve mystery of the lone wolf wave

‎Friday, ‎October ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎12:08:32 AMGo to full article
Buffalo, N.Y. (UPI) Oct 4, 2016 - Solitary waves or solitons, sometimes called lone wolf waves, are just what they sound like. Unlike normal waves, these nonlinear waves persist without dissipating -- maintaining their shape, speed and energy even after colliding with other waves.

A new mathematical solution, developed by scientists at the University of Buffalo, predicts the phenomenon more accurately than ever before.

In the 1960s, physicists Norman Zabusky and Martin Kruskal developed a formula -- the Korteweg-de Vries equation -- to describe the action of solitons. They also came up with a solution to approximate the waves' formation. But solving their mathematical equation required sophisticated computer-based calculations, limiting scientists' ability to study the finer details of the enigmatic waves.

In a new study published in the journal Physical Review Letters, Buffalo researchers detailed a simpler solution to the Korteweg-de Vries equation.

"Zabusky and Kruskal's famous work from the 1960s gave rise to the field of soliton theory," Gino Biondini, a professor of mathematics at Buffalo, explained in a news release. "But until now, we lacked a simple explanation for what they described. Our method gives you a full description of the solution that they observed, which means we can finally gain a better understanding of what's happening."

Unlike the previous solution, which failed to predict the types of waves scientists witnessed in nature, the latest solution allows scientists to predict the appearance of solitons given a set of environmental parameters.

Researchers in Italy and Japan used the work of Biondini and his colleague Guo Deng, a PhD candidate in physics, to build a water wave generator capable of producing lone wolf waves. The model was able to produce waves matching the predictions of Biondini and Deng.

The model also revealed a related phenomenon called recurrence, whereby a soliton splits into several soliton before recombining once more into a single solitary wave.

"This is akin to placing a bunch of children in a room to play, then returning later to find that the room has been returned to its initial, tidy state after a period of messiness," explained Miguel Onorato, a physicist at the University of Turin.



Wandering black hole spotted by pair of X-ray telescopes

‎Friday, ‎October ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎12:08:32 AMGo to full article
Cambridge, Mass. (UPI) Oct 5, 2016 - The vast majority of black holes, whether supermassive or intermediate, are found at the centers of galaxies, but occasionally, a few are caught wandering.

One of those wanderers is XJ1417+52. Over the last 15 years, astronomers have used two space-based X-ray observatories, ESA's XMM-Newton and NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, to image the unanchored black hole.

Images confirm the mysterious X-ray source -- located within an area known as the Extended Groth Strip -- as the most luminous wandering black hole. In fact, XJ1417+52 is ten times more luminous than the previous record-holder. Astronomers classified the black hole as a "hyper-luminous X-ray source."

But the black hole's X-ray emissions aren't as bright as they used to be. Its X-ray output peaked between 2000 and 2002. Since then, the black hole has grown slowly dimmer.

Black holes give off X-rays as they accrete and consume nearby gas and dust. Researchers believe XJ1417+52 became especially bright in the early aughts as a star passed too close and was pulled into the black hole's accretion disk and shredded.

Scientists believe wandering black holes are the result of merging or colliding galaxies. As two galaxies come together, an altered and often asymmetric galactic structure -- with one or more black holes no longer centrally positioned -- is the result, at least in the short term.

XJ1417+52 is found on the outskirts of the galaxy GJ1417+52, but researchers believe the black hole likely once belonged to a smaller galaxy. With the smaller galaxy collided with GJ1417+52, it was stripped of its stars, but its black hole remained intact.

The analysis of XJ1417+52 is detailed in a new study, published this week in the Astrophysical Journal.



Argonne ahead of the 'curve' in magnetic study

‎Friday, ‎October ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎12:08:32 AMGo to full article
Lemont IL (SPX) Oct 05, 2016 - When a baseball pitcher uncorks a nasty curveball, the spinning motion of the ball forces air to flow around it at different speeds, causing the ball to "break" in one direction. The physics behind this kind of deflection also work at smaller scales. For certain physical systems at the atomic level, a similar phenomenon occurs. Scientists have known for years that electrons get deflected when a magnetic field is applied.

However, until now scientists did not have a way of seeing if and how certain non-electrically charged, but magnetically organized, structures also take a curved path under an applied current - and the answer to that question could have big implications in the world of data storage.

In a new study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Argonne National Laboratory, scientists noticed that magnetic skyrmions - small electrically uncharged circular structures with a spiraling magnetic pattern - do get deflected by an applied current. Although skyrmions do not have electric charge, they do have what researchers call "topological charge," and it is this charge that causes their deflection.

"We noticed that the angle of deflection is dependent on the size of the skyrmion and the amount of current that we apply," said Argonne physicist Suzanne te Velthuis, who led the study.

Being able to manipulate the motion of skyrmions is of interest to materials scientists because the magnetic textures of the structures could serve as a method to encode data with low power. With the ability to control the motion of skyrmions with a small current, researchers could manipulate them in memory devices that form the basis of a new regime known as spintronics.

The researchers also noticed that the motion of the skyrmions caused by the applied current could be affected by defects or by how close the skyrmions come to the edge of the material.

"You can also think of the skyrmion motion as like trying to roll a bowling ball across a bowling alley," said Argonne materials scientist Axel Hoffmann, another author of the study. "If the alley is smooth, the ball or skyrmion will roll one way, but if it has many divots like an egg carton, it will roll very differently."

Sometimes if a skyrmion reaches the edge of the material, it will bounce back; in other cases, however, the skyrmion will disappear once it reaches the edge. "If we want to be able to use skyrmions for data encoding, we want to make sure that we do not lose the information that is embedded in the skyrmion," said former Argonne postdoctoral researcher Wanjun Jiang, the first author of the study.

"Understanding skyrmion physics could open up a wide range of new devices that are as yet still hypothetical," said Bryn Mawr College graduate student Xiao Wang, another author of the study.

Research paper: "Direct Observation of the Skyrmion Hall Effect"



How to Merge Two Black Holes in a Simple Way

‎Friday, ‎October ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎12:08:32 AMGo to full article
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Sep 28, 2016 - If we had to choose the most important and newsworthy piece of science news for 2016, the discovery of gravitational waves would have every chance of winning first prize. The two signals that have been produced so far came from the collision and merger of two black holes in some remote part of the universe. The first detection was announced in February and the second in June, both by scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in the United States.

To determine the patterns of these waves and simulate how those mysterious fusions take place - a phenomenon characteristic of Einstein's general theory of relativity - scientists use the best supercomputers, such as the MareNostrum from Barcelona, Spain's most powerful supercomputer; however, there could be other, less complicated ways.

Physicists Roberto Emparan and Marina Martinez from the University of Barcelona have found a simple and exact way to approach the subject of the event horizon of two merging black holes, where one is much smaller than the other.

The Joining Together of Horizons
The event horizon is the boundary that characterizes a black hole; whereas the events inside the event horizon cannot affect an observer on the outside, the opposite can occur. When two black holes merge together, their event horizons join together to become one.

"Surprisingly, the ideas and techniques used in our work are elemental and allow us to thoroughly study the properties of the horizon at the moment both black holes join together to form one," points out Emparan, who along with his colleague has published the results in the journal "Classical and Quantum Gravity."

The equations utilised to solve the problem are based on the physicists' basic knowledge, such as the definition of an event horizon and the so-called equivalence principle, which is part of the foundation of Einstein's theory of gravity.

According to this idea, an observer cannot tell the difference between free falling in a gravitational field and floating in deep space. This is something we are familiar with because of pictures of astronauts on the International Space Station. Their noticeable weightlessness is not a result of their distance from Earth - gravity at the altitude of the station is 90% that of the gravity on Earth's surface - but is rather due to the fact that the orbiting station and the astronauts inside are freely moving through Earth's gravitational field.

A Universal Behaviour of Two Black Holes That Make Contact
Likewise, in this study the small black hole that falls into a much larger one cannot tell this fall apart from another situation in which it is floating alone in space, thus allowing the description of the phenomenon to be greatly simplified.

Emparan and Martinez have utilised geometric elements in their study in order to describe the event horizon. Specifically, the horizon is obtained by plotting null geodesic lines on the so-called Schwarzschild metric, the solution to the field equations posed by Einstein for describing the gravitation field of a black hole.

According to the authors, these results make it easy to identify many geometric properties of the event horizon at the moment the two black holes join together. More importantly, "[the results] indicate the existence of a universal, general behaviour that occurs when two black holes come into contact with each other in any part of the universe."

"Exact Event Horizon of a Black Hole Merger," Roberto Emparan and Marina Martinez, 2016 Aug. 4, Classical and Quantum Gravity



Universe is without direction, astronomers say

‎Friday, ‎October ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎12:08:32 AMGo to full article
London (UPI) Sep 22, 2016 - Like an apathetic teenager floundering in school, the universe has no direction. New research confirms what scientists have long believed, that the cosmos is not directionally oriented.

The universe is full of local motion -- spinning stars, orbiting planets, spiraling galaxies. But all astrophysical models are based on the premise that the universe is uniform in all directions.

It may be expanding or contracting, but it's not moving in one direction more than another.

Scientists at Imperial College London and University College London recently put this assumption through the most rigorous testing yet. Researchers built maps of the cosmic microwave background, the oldest radiation in the universe, using data collected by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite. The new maps offered astronomers, for the first time, a panorama of CMB polarization, or orientation, across the entire sky.

Researchers modeled how different cosmic orientations might affect CMB polarization. A universe spinning on an axis would generate spiral patterns. A universe expanding along various axes at different speeds would promote elongated hot and cold regions.

None of the predicted orientational signatures were present. As scientists relayed in their latest paper -- published this week in the journal Physical Review Letters -- the maps showed the universe is most likely without direction.

"This work is important because it tests one of the fundamental assumptions on which almost all cosmological calculations are based: that the universe is the same in every direction," Stephen Feeney, a physicist at ICL, said in a news release. "If this assumption is wrong, and our universe spins or stretches in one direction more than another, we'd have to rethink our basic picture of the universe."

The case isn't ironclad, but the evidence is strong that the universe is neither stretching nor spinning.

"You can never rule it out completely, but we now calculate the odds that the universe prefers one direction over another at just 1 in 121,000," added Daniela Saadeh, lead study author and UCL researcher. "We're very glad that our work vindicates what most cosmologists assume. For now, cosmology is safe."



Cosmology Safe as Universe Has No Sense of Direction

‎Monday, ‎October ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:44:00 AMGo to full article
London, UK (SPX) Sep 26, 2016 - The universe is expanding uniformly according to research led by UCL which reports that space isn't stretching in a preferred direction or spinning. The new study, published in Physical Review Letters, studied the cosmic microwave background (CMB) which is the remnant radiation from the Big Bang. It shows the universe expands the same way in all directions, supporting the assumptions made in cosmologists' standard model of the universe.

First author, Daniela Saadeh (UCL Physics and Astronomy), said: "The finding is the best evidence yet that the universe is the same in all directions. Our current understanding of the universe is built on the assumption that it doesn't prefer one direction over another, but there are actually a huge number of ways that Einstein's theory of relativity would allow for space to be imbalanced. Universes that spin and stretch are entirely possible, so it's important that we've shown ours is fair to all its directions."

The team from UCL and Imperial College London used measurements of the CMB taken between 2009 and 2013 by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite. The spacecraft recently released information about the polarisation of CMB across the whole sky for the first time, providing a complementary view of the early universe that the team was able to exploit.

The researchers modeled a comprehensive variety of spinning and stretching scenarios and how these might manifest in the CMB, including its polarisation. They then compared their findings with the real map of the cosmos from Planck, searching for specific signs in the data.

Daniela Saadeh, explained: "We calculated the different patterns that would be seen in the cosmic microwave background if space has different properties in different directions. Signs might include hot and cold spots from stretching along a particular axis, or even spiral distortions."

Collaborating author Dr. Stephen Feeney (Imperial College London) added: "We then compare these predictions to reality. This is a serious challenge, as we found an enormous number of ways the universe can be anisotropic. It's extremely easy to become lost in this myriad of possible universes - we need to tune 32 dials to find the correct one."

Previous studies only looked at how the universe might rotate, whereas this study is the first to test the widest possible range of geometries of space. Additionally, using the wealth of new data collected from Planck allowed the team to achieve vastly tighter bounds than the previous study.

"You can never rule it out completely, but we now calculate the odds that the universe prefers one direction over another at just 1 in 121,000," said Daniela Saadeh.

Most current cosmological studies assume that the universe behaves identically in every direction. If this assumption were to fail, a large number of analyses of the cosmos and its content would be flawed.

Daniela Saadeh, added: "We're very glad that our work vindicates what most cosmologists assume. For now, cosmology is safe."

"How Isotropic Is the Universe?" D. Saadeh, S. M. Feeney, A. Pontzen, H. V. Peiris and J. D. McEwen, 2016 Sept. 22, Physical Review Letters



New Hubble Ultra Deep Field is deepest ever Millimetre Observations of Early Universe

‎Monday, ‎October ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:44:00 AMGo to full article
Garching, Germany (SPX) Sep 26, 2016 - International teams of astronomers have used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to explore the distant corner of the Universe first revealed in the iconic images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF).

These new ALMA observations are significantly deeper and sharper than previous surveys at millimetre wavelengths. They clearly show how the rate of star formation in young galaxies is closely related to their total mass in stars. They also trace the previously unknown abundance of star-forming gas at different points in time, providing new insights into the "Golden Age" of galaxy formation approximately 10 billion years ago.

The new ALMA results will be published in a series of papers appearing in the Astrophysical Journal and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. These results are also among those being presented this week at the Half a Decade of ALMA conference in Palm Springs, California, USA.

In 2004 the Hubble Ultra Deep Field images - pioneering deep-field observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope were published (https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0406a/) .

These spectacular pictures probed more deeply than ever before and revealed a menagerie of galaxies stretching back to less than a billion years after the Big Bang. The area was observed several times by Hubble and many other telescopes, resulting in the deepest view (https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic1219b/) of the Universe to date.

Astronomers using ALMA have now surveyed this seemingly unremarkable, but heavily studied, window into the distant Universe for the first time both deeply and sharply in the millimetre range of wavelengths. This allows them to see the faint glow from gas clouds and also the emission from warm dust in galaxies in the early Universe.

ALMA has observed the HUDF for a total of around 50 hours up to now. This is the largest amount of ALMA observing time spent on one area of the sky so far.

One team led by Jim Dunlop (University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom) used ALMA to obtain the first deep, homogeneous ALMA image of a region as large as the HUDF. This data allowed them to clearly match up the galaxies that they detected with objects already seen with Hubble and other facilities.

This study showed clearly for the first time that the stellar mass of a galaxy is the best predictor of star formation rate in the high redshift Universe. They detected essentially all of the high-mass galaxies and virtually nothing else.

Jim Dunlop, lead author on the deep imaging paper sums up its importance: "This is a breakthrough result. For the first time we are properly connecting the visible and ultraviolet light view of the distant Universe from Hubble and far-infrared/millimetre views of the Universe from ALMA."

The second team, led by Manuel Aravena of the Nucleo de Astronomia, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile, and Fabian Walter of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, conducted a deeper search across about one sixth of the total HUDF.

"We conducted the first fully blind, three-dimensional search for cool gas in the early Universe," said Chris Carilli, an astronomer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Socorro, New Mexico, USA and member of the research team.

"Through this, we discovered a population of galaxies that is not clearly evident in any other deep surveys of the sky."

Some of the new ALMA observations were specifically tailored to detect galaxies that are rich in carbon monoxide, indicating regions primed for star formation.

Even though these molecular gas reservoirs give rise to the star formation activity in galaxies, they are often very hard to see with Hubble. ALMA can therefore reveal the "missing half" of the galaxy formation and evolution process.

"The new ALMA results imply a rapidly rising gas content in galaxies as we look back further in time," adds lead author of two of the papers, Manuel Aravena (Nucleo de Astronomia, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile).

"This increasing gas content is likely the root cause for the remarkable increase in star formation rates during the peak epoch of galaxy formation, some 10 billion years ago."

The results are just the start of a series of future observations to probe the distant Universe with ALMA. For example, a planned 150-hour observing campaign of the HUDF will further illuminate the star-forming potential history of the Universe.

"By supplementing our understanding of this missing star-forming material, the forthcoming ALMA Large Program will complete our view of the galaxies in the iconic Hubble Ultra Deep Field," concludes Fabian Walter.

More information: The following papers are accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.

+ "ALMA Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: Search for [CII] line and dust emission in 6<zPreprint].

+ "ALMA Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: implications for spectral line intensity mapping at millimeter wavelengths and CMB spectral distortions," C.L. Carilli et al. [Preprint].

+ "ALMA Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: Molecular gas reservoirs in high-redshift galaxies," R. Decarli et al. [Preprint].

+ "ALMA Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: CO luminosity functions and the evolution of the cosmic density of molecular gas," R. Decarli et al. [Preprint].

+ "ALMA spectroscopic survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: Continuum number counts, resolved 1.2-mm extragalactic background, and properties of the faintest dusty star forming galaxies," M. Aravena et al. [Preprint].

+ "ALMA Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: Survey description," F. Walter et al. [Preprint].

+ "ALMA Spectroscopic Survey in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: The Infrared Excess of UV-selected z=2-10 galaxies as a function of UV-continuum Slope and Stellar Mass," R. Bouwens et al. [Preprint].

An additional survey of the HUDF, "A deep ALMA image of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field", by J. Dunlop et al., will appear in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.



Physicists reveal the role of diffusion in the early Universe

‎Monday, ‎October ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:44:00 AMGo to full article
Moscow, Russia (SPX) Sep 22, 2016 - Scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI RAS), the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) have shown that diffusion of gas particles during the formation of the first structures in the early Universe could have impacted the relative abundance of helium and hydrogen in the first galaxies.According to their calculations, the diffusion-induced element abundance changes are comparable to the precision of current cosmological measurements.

This means that the observed hydrogen and helium abundance may differ from theoretical predictions. The research was published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The scientists want to know what role diffusion played in the formation of the first stars and galaxies. The reason for their heightened interest is that the accuracy of direct measurements of primordial elements abundance has been steadily improving.

To describe the state of the Universe during all stages of its development, physicists assign values to the so-called cosmological parameters. Among them are the Hubble parameter, which determines the rate of expansion of the Universe, and the parameters that specify the matter and dark energy content in the Universe. The values of these parameters vary with time.

Knowing their right values for the different stages of the evolution of the Universe would allow physicists to arrive at a correct cosmological model and peer billions of years into the past or into the future. Techniques have been developed to compute the value of the cosmological parameters with a high degree of precision. One of these techniques is the direct observation of primordial elements abundance.

This allows scientists to determine the baryon-to-photon ratio, which reveals the contribution of ordinary (baryonic) matter to the overall matter-energy density of the Universe.

According to the standard cosmological theory, a process called nucleosynthesis occurred a few minutes after the Big Bang: protons and neutrons coupled into nuclei, forming the primordial plasma made of hydrogen, some helium, and a small amount of deuterium and lithium. This epoch is of particular interest to physicists because it is the earliest stage of the evolution of the Universe for which reliable observational data is available.

Pavel Medvedev, Sergey Sazonov, and Marat Gilfanov proposed that, as the first galaxies were forming, diffusion of gas could take place, effecting a change in the ratio of primordial helium to hydrogen.

"Galaxy formation begins with a contraction of dark matter, which is followed by an inflow of gas that is gravitationally attracted towards the centre of the future galaxy. We believe diffusion is possible in this flowing gas. As a consequence, particles of different masses move at different velocities. Suppose there is only hydrogen and helium in the gas. As helium is a heavier particle, it accretes faster than hydrogen, driven by the gravitational field of the forming galaxy. This means that when the galaxy is formed, the helium-to-hydrogen ratio in it is going to differ from that predicted by the nucleosynthesis theory," says Sergey Sazonov of the IKI and MIPT.The scientists examined particle diffusion in the gas during galaxy formation in the early Universe.

They estimated the changes in relative helium abundance, which could be induced by this phenomenon, for galaxies of different masses.

Their research shows that these changes could be on the order of 0.01% or less in the case of diffusion in cold gas. However, if the gas was heated to several thousand degrees during the epoch when the first galaxies were formed (several hundred million years after the Big Bang), then diffusion-driven helium abundance changes could be on the order of 0.1%.

One possible mechanism involving the preheating of gas is the transfer of energy from the first supernovae to the environment via cosmic rays. This was proposed in a recent paper by Sergey Sazonov and Rashid Sunyaev.

Primordial helium abundance is normally inferred from the measurements of interstellar gas in the galaxies close to our own where star formation does not occur. Otherwise, scientists would not be looking at primordial elements, because the composition of the interstellar medium would have been enriched by the products of thermonuclear fusion in stars.

The direct measurements of primordial helium abundance enable physicists to constrain cosmological parameters and test the Big Bang nucleosynthesis (BBN) theory. As stated above, cosmological parameters determine the state of the Universe at any given time.

That is why finding their precise values is one of the main objectives of cosmology.The diffusion-induced changes are comparable to the precision of current predictions of helium abundance. This means that the effect proposed by the authors could account for galactic helium content changes that are within the accuracy of observations. For this reason, any higher accuracy future predictions that are based on measured data will have to take this effect into account.



World's first space cold atom clock

‎Monday, ‎October ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎2:44:00 AMGo to full article
Beijing (XNA) Sep 22, 2016 - The cylinder-shaped black object bears no resemblance to any ordinary clock, but it is one of the most advanced timepieces ever. It was sent to space with the Space Laboratory of China's Tiangong-2 on Thursday, becoming the first ever cold atom clock working in space.

"This clock is so accurate that it should not lose one second in 30 to 300 million years in space," says Liu Liang, professor and director of the Key Laboratory of Quantum Optics, Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Unlike ordinary clocks, the timekeeping device is based on atomic physics.

And unlike the most atomic clocks, this clock uses more advanced "cold atom" technology, ensuring its ultra precision.

A mechanical watch loses almost one second a day; a quartz watch loses about one second every 10 days; the hydrogen atomic clock loses about one second over millions of years; the cold atom clock exceeds all in accuracy, Liu says.

Scientists attribute its accuracy to the microgravity environment in space as well as the coldness of the atoms the clock uses.

Under microgravity conditions, the cold atoms, pushed by lasers, perform a uniform motion in a straight line. By observing their performance, scientists get more precise atomic clock signal than under the gravity conditions on Earth.

Moreover, the laser cooling technology helps to eliminate the influence of atomic thermal motion on the clock's performance.

"Though molecules and atoms can't be seen in a room, they are actually moving at high-speed, and the speed is equivalent to temperature," Liu explains.

"We use laser cooling technology to slow down the atoms to a temperature that a refrigerator could never reach, so they nearly stay still," Liu says. "By observing the almost static atoms we make our measurements more precise."

Scientists believe that putting such a clock in space will help set a time standard to synchronize other atomic clocks in space more precisely.

"A more accurate clock system in space will benefit us on Earth," Liu says, citing possible substantial improvements in navigation and positioning accuracy.

Scientists say the development of cold atom technology could also make many experiments possible, such as deep space navigation and positioning, dark matter probes, and even gravitational wave exploration.

"A lot of research is based on our measurement of time and space. If we could detect subtle changes in time and space, we could make discoveries beyond the range of existing technology," Liu says.

"In the future, there will be more accurate clocks than this cold atom clock and our ultimate goal is to make a clock that will never be a second fast or slow over the life of the universe."

Source: Xinhua News Agency



New Book Links Flow of Time with Big Bang

‎Friday, ‎October ‎7, ‎2016, ‏‎9:33:54 AMGo to full article
Berkeley CA (SPX) Sep 21, 2016 - A simple question from his wife - Does physics really allow people to travel back in time? - propelled physicist Richard Muller on a quest to resolve a fundamental problem that had puzzled him throughout his 45-year career: Why does the arrow of time flow inexorably toward the future, constantly creating new "nows"?

That quest resulted in a book just published "NOW: The Physics of Time" (W. W. Norton), which delves into the history of philosophers' and scientists' concepts of time, uncovers a tendency physicists have to be vague about time's passage, demolishes the popular explanation for the arrow of time and proposes a totally new theory.

"Time has been a stumbling block to our understanding of the universe," said Muller, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus who for many years taught a popular introductory course, "Physics for Future Presidents," which he turned into a 2008 book of the same name.

"Over my career, I've seen a lot of nonsense published about time, and I started thinking about it and realized I had a lot to say from having taught the subject over many decades, having thought about it, having been annoyed by it, having some really interesting ways of presenting it, and some whole new ideas that have never appeared in the literature."

In commenting on the theory and Muller's new book, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of the 2014 TV miniseries "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," wrote, "Maybe it's right. Maybe it's wrong. But along the way he's given you a master class in what time is and how and why we perceive it the way we do."

Muller's new idea: Time is expanding because space is expanding.

"The new physics principle is that space and time are linked; when you create new space, you will create new time," Muller said.

Time Kicked Off by Big Bang
Ever since the Big Bang explosively set off the expansion of the universe 13.8 billion years ago, the cosmos has been growing, something physicists can measure as the Hubble expansion. They don't think of it as stars flying away from one another, however, but as stars embedded in space and space continually expanding.

Muller takes his lead from Albert Einstein, who built his general theory of relativity - the theory that explains everything from black holes to cosmic evolution - on the idea of a four-dimensional spacetime. Space is not the only thing expanding, Muller says; spacetime is expanding. And we are surfing the crest of that wave, what we call "now."

"Every moment, the universe gets a little bigger, and there is a little more time, and it is this leading edge of time that we refer to as now," he writes. "The future does not yet exist ... it is being created. Now is at the boundary, the shock front, the new time that is coming from nothing, the leading edge of time."

Because the future doesn't yet exist, we can't travel into the future, he asserts. He argues, too, that going back in time is equally improbable, since to reverse time you would have to decrease, at least locally, the amount of space in the universe. That does happen, such as when a star explodes or a black hole evaporates. But these reduce time so infinitesimally that the effect would be hidden in the quantum uncertainty of measurement - an instance of what physicists call cosmic censorship.

"The only example I could come up with is black hole evaporation, and in that case it turns out to be censored. So I couldn't come up with any way to reverse time, and my basic conclusion is that time travel is not possible," he said.

Black Hole Mergers Create a Millisecond of New Time
Muller's theory explaining the flow of time led to a collaboration with Caltech theoretician Shaun Maguire and a paper posted online June 25 that explains the theory in more detail - using mathematics - and proposes a way to test it using LIGO, an experiment that detects gravitational waves created by merging black holes.

If Muller and Maguire are right, then when two black holes merge and create new space, they should also create new time, which would delay the gravitational wave signal LIGO observes from Earth.

"The coalescing of two black holes creates millions of cubic miles of new space, which means a one-time creation of new time," Muller said. The black hole merger first reported by LIGO in February 2016 involved two black holes weighing about 29 and 36 times the mass of the sun, producing a final black hole weighing about 62 solar masses. The new space created in the merger would produce about 1 millisecond of new time, which is near the detection level of LIGO. A similar event at one-third the distance would allow LIGO to detect the newly created time.

Whether or not the theory pans out, Muller's book makes a good case.

"(Muller) forges a new path. I expect controversy!" wrote UC Berkeley Nobel laureate Saul Perlmutter, who garnered the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering the accelerating expansion of the universe. Muller initiated the project that led to that discovery, which involved measuring the distances and velocities of supernovae. The implication of that discovery is that the progression of time is also accelerating, driven by dark energy.

Over his career, Muller founded two major experimental programs that elucidated our understanding of time: a measurement of the cosmic microwave uniformity, for which he was awarded a MacArthur Prize, and the discovery of dark energy, for which he shared the 2014 Breakthrough Prize. Muller and his daughter Elizabeth co-founded Berkeley Earth, a nonprofit that reanalyzed Earth's temperature record confirming global warming, and which now is a repository for historical data on global temperature and air pollution.

For his newest endeavor, Muller explored previous explanations for the arrow of time and discovered that many philosophers and scientists have been flummoxed by the fact that we are always living in the 'now," from Aristotle and Augustine to Paul Dirac - the discoverer of antimatter, which can be thought of as normal matter moving backward in time - and Albert Einstein. While philosophers were not afraid to express an opinion, most physicists basically ignored the issue.

"No physics theories have the flow of time built into them in any way. Time was just the platform on which you did your calculations - there was no 'now' mentioned, no flow of time," Muller said. "The idea of studying time itself did not exist prior to Einstein. Einstein gave physics the gift of time."

Einstein, however, was unable to explain the flow of time into the future instead of into the past, despite the fact that the theories of physics work equally well going forward or backward in time. And although he could calculate different rates of time, depending on velocity and gravity, he had no idea why time flowed at all. The dominant idea today for the direction of time came from Arthur Eddington, who helped validate Einstein's general theory of relativity. Eddington put forward the idea that time flows in the direction of increasing disorder in the universe, or entropy. Because the second law of thermodynamics asserts that entropy can never decrease, time always increases.

Entropy and Time
This idea has been the go-to explanation since. Even Stephen Hawking, in his book "A Brief History of Time," doesn't address the issue of the flow of time, other than to say that it's "self-evident" that increasing time comes from increasing entropy.

Muller argues, however, that it is not self-evident: it is just wrong. Life and everything we do on Earth, whether building houses or making teacups, involves decreasing the local entropy, even though the total entropy of the universe increases. "We are constantly discarding excess entropy like garbage, throwing it off to infinity in the form of heat radiation," Muller says. "The entropy of the universe does indeed go up, but the local entropy, the entropy of the Earth and life and civilization, is constantly decreasing."

"During my first big experiment, the measurement of the cosmic microwave radiation, I realized there is 10 million times more entropy in that radiation than there is in all of the mass of the universe, and it's not changing with time. Yet time is progressing," he said. "The idea that the arrow of time is set by entropy does not make any predictions, it is simply a statement of a correlation. And to claim it is causation makes no sense."

In his book, Muller explains the various paradoxes that arise from the way the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics treat time, including the Schrodinger's cat conundrum and spooky action at a distance that quantum entanglement allows. Neither of these theories addresses the flow of time, however. Theories about wormholes that can transport you across the universe or back in time are speculative and, in many cases, wrong.

The discussion eventually leads Muller to explore deep questions about the ability of the past to predict the future and what that says about the existence of free will.

Muller admits that his new theory about time may have observable effects only in the cosmic realm, such as our interpretation of the red shift - the stretching of light waves caused by the expansion of space - which would have to be modified to reflect the simultaneous expansion of time. The two effects may not be distinguishable throughout most of the universe's history, but the creation of time might be discernible during the rapid cosmic inflation that took place just after the Big Bang, when space and time expanded much, much faster than today.

He is optimistic that in the next few years LIGO will verify or falsify his theory.

"I think my theory is going to have an impact on calculations of the very early universe," Muller said. "I don't see any way that it affects our everyday lives. But it is fascinating."



Scientists teleport quantum information across four-mile cable

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2:28:25 AMGo to full article
Calgary, Alberta (UPI) Sep 20, 2016 - A pair of research teams -- one in Canada and one in China -- just showcased quantum teleportation across four-mile cables. The feat promises to pave the way for a quantum internet.

Quantum teleportation relies on a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement, which describes two inextricably linked particles, whereby the measure or manipulation of one particle is observed in the other, regardless of time or location.

A change in a light particle's state can be transferred, or teleported, to its partner particle without any physical contact or information passing between them.

Researchers recently demonstrated the phenomenon in previously laid optical fiber networks.

If scientists are going to take quantum physics out of the laboratory and into the real world of telecommunications, taking advantage of existing infrastructure is vital.

Before an information highway is built based on quantum teleportation, it's likely the technology will first be incorporated into information security. In the recent demonstrations, scientists showcased the technology's potential for information encryption.

In the two experiments, researchers used three particles. One particle was sent classically across a fiber-optic cable from point A to point B. Then, a pair of entangled particles were released. One stayed behind at point A, while the other was sent to point C.

The difference between the particles at B and C is measured, revealing the change in the quantum state of point A.

The same feat was performed in both Calgary and the Chinese city of Hefei, though each experiment involved a slightly different setup. Both experiments were detailed in the journal Nature Photonics.

Scientists have previously demonstrated quantum teleportation across longer distances, though using lasers. The latest experiments offer proof that existing fiber-optic networks can be used for quantum communications.

Though quantum communication may not make the information highway any faster, it could make it much more secure, as quantum communication is virtually unhackable.



Explaining why the universe can be transparent

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2:28:25 AMGo to full article
Riverside CA (SPX) Sep 19, 2016 - Two papers published by an assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside and several collaborators explain why the universe has enough energy to become transparent.

The study led by Naveen Reddy, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UC Riverside, marks the first quantitative study of how the gas content within galaxies scales with the amount of interstellar dust.

This analysis shows that the gas in galaxies is like a "picket fence," where some parts of the galaxy have little gas and are directly visible, whereas other parts have lots of gas and are effectively opaque to ionizing radiation. The findings were just published in The Astrophysical Journal.

The ionization of hydrogen is important because of its effects on how galaxies grow and evolve. A particular area of interest is assessing the contribution of different astrophysical sources, such as stars or black holes, to the budget of ionizing radiation.

Most studies suggest that faint galaxies are responsible for providing enough radiation to ionize the gas in the early history of the universe. Moreover, there is anecdotal evidence that the amount of ionizing radiation that is able to escape from galaxies depends on the amount of hydrogen within the galaxies themselves.

The research team led by Reddy developed a model that can be used to predict the amount of escaping ionizing radiation from galaxies based on straightforward measurements on how "red," or dusty, their spectra appear to be.

Alternatively, with direct measurements of the ionizing escape fraction, their model may be used to constrain the intrinsic production rate of ionizing photons at around two billion years after the Big Bang.

These practical applications of the model will be central to the interpretation of escaping radiation during the cosmic "dark ages," a topic that is bound to flourish with the coming of 30-meter telescopes, which will allow for research unfeasible today, and the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA's next orbiting observatory and the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.

The research ties back to some 400,000 years after the Big Bang, when the universe entered the cosmic "dark ages," where galaxies and stars had yet to form amongst the dark matter, hydrogen and helium.

A few hundred million years later, the universe entered the "Epoch of Reionization," where the gravitational effects of dark matter helped hydrogen and helium coalesce into stars and galaxies. A great amount of ultraviolet radiation (photons) was released, stripping electrons from surrounding neutral environments, a process known as "cosmic reionization."

Reionization, which marks the point at which the hydrogen in the Universe became ionized, has become a major area of current research in astrophysics. Ionization made the Universe transparent to these photons, allowing the release of light from sources to travel mostly freely through the cosmos.

Research papers: "Spectroscopic Measurements of the Far-Ultraviolet Dust Attenuation Curve at z~3" and "The Connection Between Reddening, Gas Covering Fraction, and the Escape of Ionizing Radiation at High Redshift."



Studies Find Echoes of Black Holes Eating Stars

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎2:28:25 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Sep 19, 2016 - Supermassive black holes, with their immense gravitational pull, are notoriously good at clearing out their immediate surroundings by eating nearby objects. When a star passes within a certain distance of a black hole, the stellar material gets stretched and compressed - or "spaghettified" - as the black hole swallows it.

A black hole destroying a star, an event astronomers call "stellar tidal disruption," releases an enormous amount of energy, brightening the surroundings in an event called a flare. In recent years, a few dozen such flares have been discovered, but they are not well understood.

Astronomers now have new insights into tidal disruption flares, thanks to data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer WISE.

Two new studies characterize tidal disruption flares by studying how surrounding dust absorbs and re-emits their light, like echoes. This approach allowed scientists to measure the energy of flares from stellar tidal disruption events more precisely than ever before.

"This is the first time we have clearly seen the infrared light echoes from multiple tidal disruption events," said Sjoert van Velzen, postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and lead author of a study finding three such events, to be published in the Astrophysical Journal.

A fourth potential light echo based on WISE data has been reported by an independent study led by Ning Jiang, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Science and Technology of China.

Flares from black holes eating stars contain high-energy radiation, including ultraviolet and X-ray light. Such flares destroy any dust that hangs out around a black hole. But at a certain distance from a black hole, dust can survive because the flare's radiation that reaches it is not as intense.

After the surviving dust is heated by a flare, it gives off infrared radiation. WISE measures this infrared emission from the dust near a black hole, which gives clues about tidal disruption flares and the nature of the dust itself.

Infrared wavelengths of light are longer than visible light and cannot be seen with the naked eye. The WISE spacecraft, which maps the entire sky every six months, allowed the variation in infrared emission from the dust to be measured.

Astronomers used a technique called "photo-reverberation" or "light echoes" to characterize the dust. This method relies on measuring the delay between the original optical light flare and the subsequent infrared light variation, when the flare reaches the dust surrounding the black hole. This time delay is then used to determine the distance between the black hole and the dust.

Van Velzen's study looked at five possible tidal disruption events, and saw the light echo effect in three of them. Jiang's group saw it in an additional event called ASASSN-14li.

Measuring the infrared glow of dust heated by these flares allows astronomers to make estimates of the location of dust that encircles the black hole at the center of a galaxy.

"Our study confirms that the dust is there, and that we can use it to determine how much energy was generated in the destruction of the star," said Varoujan Gorjian, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and co-author of the paper led by van Velzen.

Researchers found that the infrared emission from dust heated by a flare causes an infrared signal that can be detected for up to a year after the flare is at its most luminous. The results are consistent with the black hole having a patchy, spherical web of dust located a few trillion miles (half a light-year) from the black hole itself.

"The black hole has destroyed everything between itself and this dust shell," van Velzen said. "It's as though the black hole has cleaned its room by throwing flames."

Reseach Report: "Discovery of Transient Infrared Emission from Dust Heated by Stellar Tidal Disruption Flares," Sjoert van Velzen et al., 2016 Sept. 20, Astrophysical Journal



Simple equation predicts force needed to push objects through sand

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Sep 01, 2016 - For those of you who take sandcastle building very seriously, listen up: MIT engineers now say you can trust a very simple equation to calculate the force required to push a shovel - and any other "intruder"-- through sand. The team also found that the same concept, known as the resistive force theory, can generate useful equations for cohesive materials like muds.

Aside from calculating the elbow grease needed to carve out a beachside moat, the researchers say the equation can be used to optimize the way vehicles drive over gravel and soil, such as rovers navigating the Martian landscape. It can also help illuminate the ways in which animals such as lizards and worms burrow through earth.

Resistive force theory (RFT) is not new and in fact was proposed in the 1950s to describe the way in which objects move through viscous fluids such as water (on small scales) and honey.

It was only much later that scientists thought to apply the same idea to granular material such as sand; they found the theory predicted the force required to move objects through grains even better than its analog for fluids. The reason for this has been a mystery, particularly since predicting granular versus fluid behavior is notoriously difficult.

Ken Kamrin, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, says scientists have regarded granular RFT as "somewhat like magic," unsure of what makes the concept work so spot-on for sand.

In a paper published in Nature Materials, Kamrin, along with former MIT postdoc Hesam Askari, have essentially solved this mystery. They report that they have identified a mechanical explanation for why the equation works so well for granular materials. Now, they say that scientists have reason to trust the resistive force theory to give accurate force estimates through sand, and even pastier materials like mud and gels.

"People observed this concept worked but didn't know why, and that's really shaky ground for scientists - is it just a coincidence?" Kamrin says. "Now we can explain the backbone of the granular resistive force theory, so you can close your eyes and have confidence that it's going to work. It gives us some fleeting hope that we might be able to design something that more efficiently moves, swims, or drives over sand."

An intrusion problem
Granular RFT works like this: Imagine you are working with a shovel, buried at a certain depth in the sand. You want to know how much to push on the shovel, to move it in a particular direction.

To answer this question, you first need to do some experiments with a small, square plate, made from the same material as your shovel. Push the plate through sand, starting from all possible orientations and moving in all possible directions. During each test, measure the amount of force it takes to move the plate.

According to the theory, you can think of the shovel as an assemblage of similar small plates. To estimate the force required to move the shovel, simply imagine each plate is on its own and add up all the tiny, individual forces of each plate, at each specific location and orientation along the shovel. As it turns out, this theory works remarkably well for granular materials, and somewhat well in fluids.

"If something is working well, it would be nice to know why," Kamrin says. "There may be a large set of problems you might solve if you knew why the intrusion problem is so easy to figure out in sand."

A push and a shove
Kamrin set out to write the simplest equation he could think of that would represent granular flows, to see whether the equation, and the mechanical relationships it defines, could also reproduce the simplified picture assumed in resistive force theory. If so, he reasoned, the equation - also called a continuum model - could give a mechanical explanation for why RFT works, and furthermore, validate the theory.

The equation he came up with is a variant of a standard model, based on Coulomb's yield criterion, a simple criterion that determines whether granular material will flow or not. Imagine a collection of sand compressed between your hands. Coulomb's equation states that in order to slide one hand against the other the shear stress - akin to the force applied to slide your hands - divided by the surrounding pressure - squeezing the sand together - must equal something called the friction coefficient. If this ratio reaches the friction coefficient (determined by the sand's properties), your hand will move.

Kamrin added one more ingredient to the equation: a separation rule, to account for the fact that sand, in general, does not stick together. For example, if you move a shovel through sand, it will create a temporary hole behind the shovel that is immediately refilled with in-falling sand - a realistic phenomenon that Kamrin says is important to include, to accurately represent sand flow, particularly in "intrusion" scenarios such as pushing a shovel through sand.

Kamrin and Askari applied their continuum model in finite element simulations in which they simulated a simple plate moving through granular media in many ways. The simulation was designed to mimic actual experiments performed by others. They found that both the flow of the grains and the force against the plate matched what others had observed in their experiments.

The team then simulated more complex objects, such as a circle and a diamond, moving through sand, using first their continuum model and then RFT with their previous plate simulations serving as the RFT inputs. Both simulations produced nearly identical results and predicted the same force value needed to move both objects. When the researchers pushed the simulation to model three-dimensional objects, both the continuum model and RFT again generated the same answers.

"The agreement is unbelievably good," Kamrin says. "It turns out RFT happens to work really well, thanks to an interesting property in the Coulomb continuum model."

"Out of a sticky situation"
Interestingly, this simplification does less well in predicting the force applied to an object through fluid. When Kamrin and Askari modeled an object - in this case, a simple garden hoe - through fluid, the force from the viscous flow equations was inherently incompatible with the sum of forces from separate small plates. When the material model was switched to the granular model, the total force exactly matched what a sum of small independent plate forces would give.

"In some sense, this is a litmus test," Kamrin says. "In the end, it proves the granular continuum model perfectly agrees with the resistive force theory in a class of representative problems."

To see if RFT could make accurate predictions in any other material besides grains, the researchers "went through the Rolodex of materials that have modeling equations," and found using a similar test that indeed, RFT could also apply to certain cohesive materials like pastes, gels, and mud.

Kamrin says now scientists can rely on RFT to help solve many traction-related problems. But could the equation also help one get out of, say, quicksand?

"Let's put it this way: Either way, you need to do a bit of work to figure out how to push yourself out of quicksand," Kamrin says.

"But in the right circumstances RFT divides the amount of work by a whole lot. You don't have to solve differential equations anymore. Just give me a couple charts and a piece of paper and a pen, and I can calculate my way out of a sticky situation."



Argonne theorists solve a long-standing fundamental problem

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Lemont IL (SPX) Sep 01, 2016 - Trying to understand a system of atoms is like herding gnats - the individual atoms are never at rest and are constantly moving and interacting. When it comes to trying to model the properties and behavior of these kinds of systems, scientists use two fundamentally different pictures of reality, one of which is called "statistical" and the other "dynamical."

The two approaches have at times been at odds, but scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory announced a way to reconcile the two pictures.

In the statistical approach, which scientists call statistical mechanics, a given system realizes all of its possible states, which means that the atoms explore every possible location and velocity for a given value of either energy or temperature. In statistical mechanics, scientists are not concerned with the order in which the states happen and are not concerned with how long they take to occur. Time is not a player.

In contrast, the dynamical approach provides a detailed account of how and to what degree these states are explored over time. In dynamics, a system may not experience all of the states that are in principle available to it, because the energy may not be high enough to surmount the energy barriers or because of the time window being too short. "When a system cannot 'see' states beyond an energy barrier in dynamics, it's like a hiker being unable to see the next valley behind a mountain range," said Argonne theorist Julius Jellinek.

When choosing one approach over the other, scientists are forced to take a conceptual fork in the road, because the two approaches do not always agree. Under certain conditions - for example, at sufficiently high energies and long time scales - the statistical and the dynamical portraits of the physical world do in fact sync up. However, in many other cases statistical mechanics and dynamics yield pictures that differ markedly.

"When the two approaches disagree, the correct choice is dynamics because the states actually experienced by a system may depend on the energy, the initial state and on the window of time for observation or measurement," Jellinek said. However, not having the statistical picture is "kind of a loss," he added, because of the power of its tools and concepts to analyze and characterize the properties and behavior of systems.

The fundamental characteristic that lies at the foundation of all statistical mechanics is the "density of states," which is the total number of states a system can assume at a given energy. Knowledge of the density of states allows researchers to establish additional physical properties such as entropy, free energy and others, which form the powerful arsenal of statistical mechanical analysis and characterization tools. The accuracy of all these, however, hinges on the accuracy of the density of states.

The problem is that when it comes to the vibrational motion of systems, scientists had an exact solution for the density of states for only two idealized cases, which are sets of so-called harmonic or Morse oscillators. Though real systems are neither of the two, the ubiquitous practice was to use the harmonic approximation, which hinges on the assumption that real systems behave not too differently from harmonic ones.

This assumption is not bad at low energies, but it becomes inadequate as the energy is increased. Considerable effort has been invested over the last eight decades into attempts to provide a solution for systems that do not behave harmonically, Jellinek said, and until now, the result has been a multitude of approximate solutions, which are all limited to only weak departures from harmonicity or suffer from other limitations. A general and exact solution for vibrational density of states for systems with any degree of anharmonicity remained an unsolved problem.

In a major recent development, Jellinek, in collaboration with Darya Aleinikava, then an Argonne postdoc and now an assistant professor at Benedictine University, provided the missing solution. The methodology they formulated furnishes a general and exact solution for any system at any energy.

"This long-standing fundamental problem is finally solved," said Jellinek. "The solution will benefit many areas of physics, chemistry, materials science, nanoscience and biology."

The solution provided solves yet another problem - it reconciles the statistical and dynamical pictures of the world for even those conditions in which they previously may have disagreed.

Since the solution is based on following the actual dynamics of a system at relevant energies and time scales, the resulting densities of states are fully dynamically informed and may be sensitive to time. As such, these densities of states lay the foundation for formulation of new statistical mechanical frameworks that incorporate time and reflect the actual dynamical behavior of systems.

"This leads to a profound change in our view of the relationship between statistical mechanics and dynamics," said Jellinek. "It brings statistical mechanics into harmony with the dynamics irrespective of how specific or peculiar the dynamical behavior of a system may be."

A paper based on the research, "Anharmonic densities of states: A general dynamics-based solution," was published in the June 2 edition of The Journal of Chemical Physics.



Scientists test upper limits of electron speed

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Zurich, Switzerland (UPI) Aug 26, 2016 - The fastest electronic devices currently send information at speeds of several gigahertz, a billion oscillations per second. Some fiber-optic cables feature frequencies approaching a terahertz, a thousand billion oscillations.

But the need for speed is neverending, and researchers are beginning to experiment with how technology might move information-carrying electrons even faster. The next benchmark is the petahertz, a thousand times faster than the fastest fiber-optic cables.

Recently, researchers at ETH Zurich tested how electrons react to near-petahertz fields.

The scientists initiated the brief near-petahertz field by blasting a tiny diamond with a laser. They measured the reactions of the electrons by simultaneously flashing a pulse of ultraviolet light through the diamond.

The altered absorption of the light waves served as proof the electrons were uniquely excited by the laser-induced electric field. But to really understand what was happening inside the diamond, the scientists needed to build a computer model.

"The advantage of the simulations compared to the experiment, however, is that several of the effects that occur in real diamond can be switched on or off," Matteo Lucchini, a postdoctoral researcher at ETH, said in a news release. "So that eventually we were able to ascribe the characteristic absorption behavior of diamond to just two such energy bands."

The change in optical absorption of a semiconductor when an electric field is applied is known as the Franz-Keldysh effect.

The experiment -- detailed in the journal Science -- marks the first time the Franz-Keldysh effect has been observed as such extreme electronic frequencies.

"The fact that we could still see that effect even at petahertz excitation frequencies confirmed that the electrons could, indeed, be influenced at the speed limit of the laser field," concluded Lukas Gallmann.



Study reveals new physics of how fluids flow in porous media

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Aug 26, 2016 - One of the most promising approaches to curbing the flow of human-made greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is to capture these gases at major sources, such as fossil-fuel-burning power plants, and then inject them into deep, water-saturated rocks where they can remain stably trapped for centuries or millennia.

This is just one example of fluid-fluid displacement in a porous material, which also applies to a wide variety of natural and industrial processes - for example, when rainwater penetrates into soil by displacing air, or when oil recovery is enhanced by displacing the oil with injected water.

Now, a new set of detailed lab experiments has provided fresh insight into the physics of this phenomenon, under an unprecedented range of conditions. These results should help researchers understand what happens when carbon dioxide flows through deep saltwater reservoirs, and could shed light on similar interactions such as those inside fuel cells being used to produce electricity without burning hydrocarbons.

The new findings are being published this week in the journal PNAS, in a paper by Ruben Juanes, MIT's ARCO Associate Professor in Energy Studies; Benzhong Zhao, an MIT graduate student; and Chris MacMinn, an associate professor at Oxford University.

A crucial aspect of fluid-fluid displacement is the displacement efficiency, which measures how much of the pre-existing fluid can be pushed out of the pore space. High displacement efficiency means that most of the pre-existing fluid is pushed out, which is usually a good thing - with oil recovery, for example, it means that more oil would be captured and less would be left behind. Unfortunately, displacement efficiency has been very difficult to predict.

A key factor in determining displacement efficiency, Juanes says, is a characteristic called wettability. Wettability is a material property that measures a preference by the solid to be in contact with one of the fluids more than the other.

The team found that the stronger the preference for the injected fluid, the more effective the displacement of the pre-existing fluid from the pores of the material - up to a point.

But if the preference for the injected fluid increases beyond that optimal point, the trend reverses, and the displacement becomes much less efficient. The discovery of the existence of this ideal degree of wettability is one of the significant findings of the new research.

The work was partly motivated by recent advances in scanning techniques that make it possible to "directly characterize the wettability of real reservoir rocks under in-situ conditions," says Zhao. But just being able to characterize the wettability was not sufficient, he explains.

The key question was "Do we understand the physics of fluid-fluid displacement in a porous medium under different wettability conditions?" And now, after their detailed analysis, "We do have a fundamental understanding" of the process, Zhao says.

MacMinn adds that "it comes from the design of a novel system that really allowed us to look in detail at what is happening at the pore scale, and in three dimensions."

In order to clearly define the physics behind these flows, the researchers did a series of lab experiments in which they used different porous materials with a wide range of wetting characteristics, and studied how the flows varied.

In natural environments such as aquifers or oil reservoirs, the wettability of the material is predetermined. But even so, Juanes says, "there are ways you can modify the wettability in the field," such as by adding specific chemical compounds like surfactants (similar to soap) to the injected fluid.

By making it possible to understand just what degree of wettability is desirable for a particular situation, the new findings "in principle, could be very advantageous" for designing carbon sequestration or enhanced oil recovery schemes for a specific geological setting.

The same principles apply to some polymer electrolyte fuel cells, where water vapor condenses at the fuel cell's cathode and has to migrate through a porous membrane. Depending on the exact mix of gas and liquid, these flows can be detrimental to the performance of the fuel cell, so controlling and predicting the way these flows work can be important in designing such cells.

In addition, the same process of liquid and gas interacting in pore spaces also applies to the way freshwater aquifers get recharged by rainfall, as the water percolates into the ground and displaces air in the soil. A better understanding of this process could be important for management of ever-scarcer water resources, the team says.



Understanding nature's patterns with plasmas

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 26, 2016 - Patterns abound in nature, from zebra stripes and leopard spots to honeycombs and bands of clouds. Somehow, these patterns form and organize all by themselves. To better understand how, researchers have now created a new device that may allow scientists to study patterns in 3-D like never before.

The specially designed system, called an H-shaped dielectric barrier discharge system, produces filaments of discharge plasma that can assume a vast range of patterns - in 3-D. By studying and mathematically modeling such patterns, researchers can explore what complex mechanisms may be producing nature's diverse designs.

"Setting up a dielectric barrier discharge system for 3-D patterns should greatly advance the science of pattern formation," said Lifang Dong, a professor at Hebei University in China.

More than 60 years ago, Alan Turing proposed a simple mathematical model called the reaction-diffusion model that corresponds to the change in space and time of the concentration of one or more chemical substances to explain nature's patterns.

The model suggests that as two interacting chemicals spread out, they could arrange themselves as stripes, spots or other designs. Scientists have since used this reaction-diffusion model to explain a number of patterns like leopard spots, the location of feather buds in chicks, hair follicles in mice, and even the ridges on the roof of mouse embryo mouths.

One major limitation, though, is that most of these studies were confined to one- or two-dimensional experiments. At the molecular level, nature's patterns are three-dimensional.

But it's not easy to make 3-D patterns, Dong said. The first 3-D experiment didn't come until 2011, when researchers at Brandeis University used chemical reactions to generate patterns with Turing's reaction-diffusion model. A dielectric barrier discharge system, however, which Dong and her colleagues describe this week in Physics of Plasmas, from AIP publishing, has several advantages, she said.

Not only can this system produce a wide variety of patterns, the patterns are also clear and easy to visualize. You can probe in great detail how the patterns vary over both space and time. While fluid or chemical-based experiments can take hours or days to make patterns, the dielectric barrier discharge system does it in seconds.

The experimental system produces plasma - electrically charged air and argon gas - that's discharged through several gaps. Viewed from the side, the gaps form an H-shape. When the researchers change certain properties of the device, such as the voltage, the filaments of discharge plasma form different 3-D structures across the gaps. A high-speed camera can then record the changes of transient shapes with time.

The researchers have already produced several patterns seen in nature by a previous single gas gap dielectric barrier discharge system. For example, they've recreated the distinct spot and stripe design of the 13-lined ground squirrel. The physics experiments suggest complex mechanisms may be behind the pattern - and not Turing's simple reaction-diffusion equations.

These patterned plasmas aren't just for biology. They can be used potentially in designing tunable photonic crystal devices, which could be used as components for telecommunication systems such as microwave filters, optical switches and waveguides, Dong said.

Photonic crystal devices control and channel light, usually relying on an array of materials with different refractive indexes that help steer the light beam. But by producing patterns of plasma filaments instead - which can be adjusted and modified - researchers can tune the devices to work exactly as needed.

The article, "Three-dimensional patterns in dielectric barrier discharge with 'H' shaped gas gap," is authored by Xing Gao, Lifang Dong, Hao Wang, Hao Zhang, Ying Liu, Weibo Liu, Weili Fan and Yuyang Pan. The article will appear in the journal Physics of Plasmas on August 23, 2016 (DOI:10.1063/1.4960831).



New approach to determining how atoms are arranged in materials

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Raleigh NC (SPX) Aug 26, 2016 - Researchers from North Carolina State University, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a novel approach to materials characterization, using Bayesian statistical methods to glean new insights into the structure of materials. The work should inform the development of new materials for use in a variety of applications.

"We want to understand the crystallographic structure of materials - such as where atoms are located in the matrix of a material - so that we have a basis for understanding how that structure affects a material's performance," says Jacob Jones, a professor of materials science and engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper on the work. "This is a fundamentally new advance that will help us develop new materials that can be used in everything from electronics and manufacturing to vehicles and nanotechnologies."

The first step in understanding a material's crystallographic structure is bombarding a sample of the material with electrons, photons or other subatomic particles, using technology such as the Spallation Neutron Source at ORNL or the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. Researchers can then measure the angle and energy of these particles as they are scattered by the material.

Then things get really tricky.
Traditionally, the data from these scattering experiments has been analyzed using "least squares fitting" statistical techniques to infer a material's crystallographic structure. But these techniques are limited; they can tell researchers what a material's structure is likely to be - but they don't fully describe the variability or uncertainty within the material's structure, because they don't describe the answers using probabilities.

"Least squares is a straightforward technique, but it doesn't allow us to describe the inferred crystallographic structure in a way that answers the questions that the materials scientists want to ask," says Alyson Wilson, a professor of statistics at NC State and co-author of the paper. "But we do have other techniques that can help address this challenge, and that's what we've done with this research."

In reality, the space between atoms isn't constant - it's not fixed throughout a sample. And the same is true for every aspect of a material's structure.

"Understanding that variability, now possible with this new approach, allows us to characterize materials in a new, richer way," Jones says.

This is where Bayesian statistics comes into play.
"For example, atoms vibrate," Wilson says. "And the extent of the vibration is controlled by their temperature. Researchers want to know how those vibrations are influenced by temperature for any given material. And Bayesian tools can give us probabilities of these thermal displacements in a material."

"This approach will allow us to analyze data from a wide variety of materials characterization techniques - all forms of spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, you name it - and more fully characterize all kinds of matter," Jones says.

"Honestly, it's very exciting," adds Jones, who is also the director of NC State's Analytical Instrumentation Facility, which houses many of these types of instruments.

"We also plan to use these techniques to combine data from different types of experiments, in order to offer even more insights into material structure," Wilson says.

"Use of Bayesian Inference in Crystallographic Structure Refinement via Full Diffraction Profile Analysis"



Light and matter merge in quantum coupling

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Houston TX (SPX) Aug 23, 2016 - Where light and matter intersect, the world illuminates. Where light and matter interact so strongly that they become one, they illuminate a world of new physics, according to Rice University scientists.

Rice physicists are closing in on a way to create a new condensed matter state in which all the electrons in a material act as one by manipulating them with light and a magnetic field. The effect made possible by a custom-built, finely tuned cavity for terahertz radiation shows one of the strongest light-matter coupling phenomena ever observed.

The work by Rice physicist Junichiro Kono and his colleagues is described in Nature Physics. It could help advance technologies like quantum computers and communications by revealing new phenomena to those who study cavity quantum electrodynamics and condensed matter physics, Kono said.

Condensed matter in the general sense is anything solid or liquid, but condensed matter physicists study forms that are much more esoteric, like Bose-Einstein condensates. A Rice team was one of the first to make a Bose-Einstein condensate in 1995 when it prompted atoms to form a gas at ultracold temperatures in which all the atoms lose their individual identities and behave as a single unit.

The Kono team is working toward something similar, but with electrons that are strongly coupled, or "dressed," with light. Qi Zhang, a former graduate student in Kono's group and lead author of the paper, designed and constructed an extremely high-quality cavity to contain an ultrathin layer of gallium arsenide, a material they've used to study superfluorescence. By tuning the material with a magnetic field to resonate with a certain state of light in the cavity, they prompted the formation of polaritons that act in a collective manner.

"This is a nonlinear optical study of a two-dimensional electronic material," said Zhang, who based his Ph.D. thesis on the work. "When you use light to probe a material's electronic structure, you're usually looking for light absorption or reflection or scattering to see what's happening in the material. That light is just a weak probe and the process is called linear optics.

"Nonlinear optics means light does something to the material," he said. "Light is not a small perturbation anymore; it couples strongly with the material. As you change the coupling strength, things change in the material. What we're doing is the extreme case of nonlinear optics, where the light and matter are coupled so strongly that we don't have light and matter anymore. We have something in between, called a polariton."

The researchers employed a parameter known as vacuum Rabi splitting to measure the strength of the light-matter coupling. "In more than 99 percent of previous studies of light-matter coupling in cavities, this value is a negligibly small fraction of the photon energy of the light used," said Xinwei Li, a co-author and graduate student in Kono's group. "In our study, vacuum Rabi splitting is as large as 10 percent of the photon energy. That puts us in the so-called ultrastrong coupling regime.

"This is an important regime because, eventually, if the vacuum Rabi splitting becomes larger than the photon energy, the matter goes into a new ground state. That means we can induce a phase transition, which is an important element in condensed matter physics," he said.

Phase transitions are transitions between states of matter, like ice to water to vapor. The specific transition Kono's team is looking for is the superradiant phase transition in which the polaritons go into an ordered state with macroscopic coherence.

Kono said the amount of terahertz light put into the cavity is very weak. "What we depend on is the vacuum fluctuation. Vacuum, in a classical sense, is an empty space. There's nothing. But in a quantum sense, a vacuum is full of fluctuating photons, having so-called zero-point energy. These vacuum photons are actually what we are using to resonantly excite electrons in our cavity.

"This general subject is what's known as cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED)," Kono said. "In cavity QED, the cavity enhances the light so that matter in the cavity resonantly interacts with the vacuum field. What is unique about solid-state cavity QED is that the light typically interacts with this huge number of electrons, which behave like a single gigantic atom."

He said solid-state cavity QED is also key for applications that involve quantum information processing, like quantum computers. "The light-matter interface is important because that's where so-called light-matter entanglement occurs. That way, the quantum information of matter can be transferred to light and light can be sent somewhere.

"For improving the utility of cavity QED in quantum information, the stronger the light-matter coupling, the better, and it has to use a scalable, solid-state system instead of atomic or molecular systems," he said. "That's what we've achieved here."

The high-quality gallium arsenide materials used in the study were synthesized via molecular beam epitaxy by John Reno of Sandia National Laboratories and John Watson and Michael Manfra of Purdue University, all co-authors of the paper. Weil Pan of Sandia National Laboratories and Rice graduate student Minhan Lou, who participated in sample preparation and transport and terahertz measurements, are also co-authors.

Zhang is now the Alexei Abrikosov Postdoctoral Fellow at Argonne National Laboratory. Kono is a Rice professor of electrical and computer engineering, of physics and astronomy and of materials science and nanoengineering. Li received a "Best First-Year Research Award" from Rice's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for his work on the project.



How we escaped from the Big Bang

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Brisbane, Australia (SPX) Aug 19, 2016 - Associate Professor Dr Joan Vaccaro, of Griffith's Centre for Quantum Dynamics, has solved an anomaly of conventional physics and shown that a mysterious effect called 'T violation' could be the origin of time evolution and conservation laws.

"I begin by breaking the rules of physics, which is rather bold I have to admit, but I wanted to understand time better and conventional physics can't do that," Dr Vaccaro says.

"I do get conventional physics in the end though. This means that the rules I break are not fundamental. It also means that I can see why the universe has those rules. And I can also see why the universe advances in time."

In her research published in The Royal Society Dr Vaccaro says T violation, or a violation of time reversal (T) symmetry, is forcing the universe and us in it, into the future

"If T violation wasn't involved we wouldn't advance in time and we'd be stuck at the Big Bang, so this shows how we escaped the Big Bang.

"I found the mechanism that forces us to go to the future, the reason why you get old and the reason why we advance in time." "The universe must be symmetric in time and space overall. But we know that there appears to be a preferred direction in time because we are incessantly getting older not younger."

The anomaly Dr Vaccaro solves involves two things not accounted for in in conventional physical theories - the direction of time, and the behaviour of the mesons (which decay differently if time went in the opposite direction).

Experiments show that the behaviour of mesons depends on the direction of time; in particular, if the direction of time was changed then their behaviour would also," she says.

"Conventional physical theories can accommodate only one direction of time and one kind of meson behaviour, and so they are asymmetric in this regard. But the problem is that the universe cannot be asymmetric overall.

"This means that physical theories must be symmetric in time. To be symmetric in time they would need to accommodate both directions of time and both meson behaviours. This is the anomaly in physics that I am attempting to solve."

Dr Vaccaro is presenting her work at the Soapbox Science event held in Brisbane as part of National Science Week, titled "The meaning of time: why the universe didn't stay put at the big bang and how it is 'now' and no other time".

Without any T violation the theory gives a very strange universe. An object like a cup can be placed in time just like it is in space.

"It just exists at one place in space and one point in time. There is nothing unusual about being at one place in space, but existing at one point in time means the object would come into existence only at that point in time and then disappear immediately.

"This means that conservation of matter would be violated. It also means that there would be no evolution in time. People would only exist for a single point in time - they would not experience a "flow of time".

When Dr Vaccaro adds T violation to the theory, things change dramatically.

"The cup is now found at any and every time," she says,

"This means that the theory now has conservation of matter - the conservation has emerged from the theory rather than being assumed. Moreover, objects change over time, cups chip and break, and people would grow old and experience a "flow of time". This means that the theory now has time evolution.

The next stage of the research is to design experiments that will test predictions of the theory.

Dr Vaccaro will be speaking from a soapbox on Saturday August 20 between 1pm and 4pm in King George Square.



Nuclear puzzle may be clue to fifth force

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 AMGo to full article
Riverside CA (SPX) Aug 19, 2016 - In a new paper, University of California, Riverside theoretical physicist Flip Tanedo and his collaborators have made new progress towards unravelling a mystery in the beryllium nucleus that may be evidence for a fifth force of nature.

Earlier this year, an experiment in Hungary reported very unusual behavior in the decays of beryllium-8 nuclei. The experimental collaboration suggested that their results may come from the effects of a new force of nature.

If confirmed, this would have far-reaching consequences on fundamental physics including grand unification, dark matter and the experimental strategy for pushing the frontier of human knowledge.

Intrigued, Tanedo, an assistant professor at UC Riverside, and his collaborators - all theoretical physicists - decided to investigate further.

In an paper posted earlier this year, the team did the first theoretical analysis of the Hungarian team's interpretation, and showed how usual assumptions of how a fifth force would behave don't seem to work in this case because of the high energy physics experiments that would otherwise rule it out.

This represented the first steps to finding wiggle room for what it would take for the fifth force interpretation to work.

The just posted paper fleshes out the previous work and presents explicit examples of theories that could explain the Hungarian experiment without running afoul of the existing constraints mentioned in the earlier paper.

"We think that the Hungarian anomaly is interesting and our model is proof that consistent theories can be constructed," Tanedo said. "We're not saying that a fifth force has been discovered - only that we can pass the first consistency check.

"The next big check is for other experiments to confirm the anomaly. Our paper lays down the framework for how other types of experiments can definitely check or refute the original Hungarian result. If it ends up being real, that would be a huge deal in our field."

The team performed a systematic study of the Hungarian results including cutting-edge nuclear physics, theoretical self-consistency and cross-checks with results from particle accelerators. They also developed a theoretical scaffolding to understand whether the beryllium result can be consistent with known physics.

"Some features that look perfectly mundane are actually violently at odds with other experiments, while other features that look difficult to explain actually can be explained by relaxing pre-conceptions about how a new force should manifest itself," Tanedo said. "If this is a new force, it is not at all what we would have expected."

The results of the study, which have been submitted to the journal Physics Review D and posted on the arXiv.org preprint server, elucidate the subtleties of the experimental results and illuminate the path forward.

"We've thrown down the gauntlet, so to speak and shown how on-going high-energy physics experiments built for other purposes can be used to definitively confirm or refute this new force," Tanedo said. "We should know within the next few years."

The latest paper is called "Particle Physics Models for the 17 MeV Anomaly in Beryllium Nuclear Decays." In addition to Tanedo, the authors are Jonathan L. Feng, Bartosz Fornal, Iftah Galon, Jordan Smolinsky, Tim M.P. Tait, all of the University of California, Irvine, and Susan Gardner of the University of Kentucky.



Link Between Primordial Black Holes and Dark Matter

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎1, ‎2016, ‏‎9:38:41 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



New material discovery allows study of elusive Weyl fermion

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Ames IA (SPX) Aug 17, 2016 - Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory have discovered a new type of Weyl semimetal, a material that opens the way for further study of Weyl fermions, a type of massless elementary particle hypothesized by high-energy particle theory and potentially useful for creating high-speed electronic circuits and quantum computers.

Researchers created a crystal of molybdenum and tellurium, one of only a few compounds that had been predicted to host a new and recently postulated type of Weyl state, where the hole and electron bands normally separated by an indirect gap touch at a few Weyl points. Those points are equivalent to magnetic monopoles in the momentum space and are connected by Fermi arcs.

A combination of angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES), modelling, density functional theory and careful calculations were used to confirm the existence of this new type of Weyl semimetal.

This material provides an exciting new platform to study the properties of Weyl fermions, and may lead the way to more new materials with unusual transport properties.

"This an important, interdisciplinary discovery because it allows us to study many aspects of these exotic particles predicted by high energy physics theory in solid state, without need for extremely expensive particle accelerators," said Adam Kaminsky, Ames Laboratory scientist and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University.

"From my perspective as solid state physicist it is absolutely extraordinary to observe two bands touching each other at certain points and being connected by Fermi arcs - objects that are prohibited to exist in "ordinary" materials."

The research is further discussed in a paper, "Spectroscopic evidence for a type II Weyl semimetallic state in MoTe2"; authored by Lunan Huang, Timothy M. McCormick, Masayuki Ochi, Zhiying Zhao, Michi-To Suzuki, Ryotaro Arita, Yun Wu, Daixiang Mou, Huibo Cao, Jiaqiang Yan, Nandini Trivedi and Adam Kaminski; and published in Nature Materials.



Cosmology: Lore of lonely regions

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Munich, Germany (SPX) Aug 17, 2016 - A research group led by Ludwig-Maximilians-Unversitaet (LMU) in Munich physicist Nico Hamaus is calculating the dynamics of cosmic voids and deriving new insights into our entire universe.

Much of our universe is taken up by vast, hollow regions of empty space, which we call cosmic voids. They are forever expanding as the tiny amounts of matter they contain are striving to reach the outer edges, attracted by the gravity of the denser regions surrounding them.

The large-scale universe therefore resembles a cosmic web, with immense, vacuous bubbles surrounded by filaments of matter in which the galaxies are distributed. LMU physicist Dr. Nico Hamaus and colleagues analyzed data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), in which scientists are mapping the structure of the universe through a telescope, and have computed the composition and geometry of the voids.

The researchers' analyses show how rapidly the voids are expanding. "By analyzing the cosmic voids, Nico Hamaus has succeeded for the first time in narrowing down cosmological models," says Professor Jochen Weller of the University Observatory of LMU.

Hamaus has published his findings in the journal Physical Review Letters. His calculations demonstrate that the analysis of cosmic voids is a suitable approach to investigating gravity in the empty regions of the universe, and at the same time determining the total density of matter in the universe.

His study thus provides important clues to the question of why the universe is expanding at an increasing rate. So far, cosmology has proposed two possible answers to this: It could be due to the dark energy that makes up almost 70 percent of our universe, and which some believe exerts a kind of anti-gravitational force, or it could be that Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is only partly correct, and we need a new theory of gravity.

"If there were any deviations from the General Theory of Relativity in the universe, those would be particularly prominent in cosmic voids. However, we detected no significant deviations in our analyses," says Hamaus.

The results therefore corroborate the prevailing notion of gravity in the universe, which had never been tested on voids before, and so supports the assumption that there must be some form of dark energy that equates to a cosmological constant. "Our study shows that we can learn a lot more about the origin and evolution of our universe from analyzing cosmic voids."



New study confirms possibility of fifth force of nature

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Irvine, Calif. (UPI) Aug 15, 2016 - New research confirms the science behind a previous study suggesting the existence of a fifth force of nature.

Last year, a group of Hungarian researchers reported the possible discovery of a new type of subatomic particle. Scientists identified a radioactive decay anomaly among the results of their particle acceleration experiments.

The anomaly suggested the presence of light particle 30 times heavier than an electron. The goal of those experiments was to find dark matter, but scientists weren't sure exactly what kind of particle they'd observed.

"The experimentalists weren't able to claim that it was a new force," Jonathan Feng, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, said in a press release. "They simply saw an excess of events that indicated a new particle, but it was not clear to them whether it was a matter particle or a force-carrying particle."

Feng and his UCI colleagues recently reviewed the 2015 results, as well as findings from similar studies. The new analysis confirms the potential discovery of a fifth force of nature.

"If true, it's revolutionary," said Feng. "For decades, we've known of four fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter."

The original researchers weren't sure whether what they were looking at was a matter particle or a force-carrying particle. The new analysis suggests the novel subatomic particle is neither a matter particle nor a dark photon. A force-carrying particle is the most likely explanation for the radioactive decay anomaly, Feng and his colleagues argue.

In their new study, soon to be published in the Physical Review Letters, researchers suggest the mystery particle may be a "protophobic X boson."

"There's no other boson that we've observed that has this same characteristic," said co-author Timothy Tait. "Sometimes we also just call it the 'X boson,' where 'X' means unknown."

Tait and Feng think the particle may suggest a fifth force of nature as well as a dark energy and matter.

Some physicists suggest a separate sphere of physics, a contrast to the standard model of physics where dark matter and dark forces reside. These two spheres or sectors may interact with each other. The new mystery particle may be an example of this interaction.

"This dark sector force may manifest itself as this protophobic force we're seeing as a result of the Hungarian experiment," Feng said. "In a broader sense, it fits in with our original research to understand the nature of dark matter."



1400 km of optical fiber connect optical clocks in France and Germany

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Braunschweig, Germany (SPX) Aug 10, 2016 - In the past few years, optical atomic clocks have made spectacular progress, becoming 100 times more precise than the best caesium clocks. So far, their precision has been available only locally, since frequency transfer via satellite cannot provide sufficient resolution.

This has recently changed thanks to a new direct optical connection between France and Germany, established by joint work of Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) in Braunschweig, Systemes de Reference Temps-Espace (LNE-SYRTE) in Paris, and Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers (LPL) in Villetaneuse. High-precision optical frequencies can now "travel" through a 1400 km optical fibre link between LNE-SYRTE and PTB, where the most precise optical clocks in Europe are operated.

The first comparison between the French and German optical strontium clocks confirms the high expectations placed in the connection. It represents the first frequency comparison of its kind across national borders: the fully independent clocks agree with an unrivalled fractional uncertainty of 5 + 10e-17. The scientists report their results in the current issue of Nature Communications.

Their successful collaboration is a first step towards a European network of optical clocks providing ultrastable high-precision optical reference signals to diverse users. This will benefit various research areas, with applications in fundamental physics, astrophysics and geoscience.

Comparisons of clocks at the highest resolution allow a wide range of very sensitive physical experiments, for instance, the search for time-dependent changes of fundamental constants. Also, the apparent rate of a clock depends on the local gravitational potential: comparing two clocks measures the gravitational redshift between them, and thus yields their height difference.

Such measurements provide data points for the geodetic reference surface, the so-called "geoid". This research approach is pursued jointly by physicists and geodesists in the Collaborative Research Centre 1128 ("geo-Q") of the German Science Foundation (DFG).

Today's most precise atomic clocks are based on optical transitions. Such optical clocks can provide a stable frequency with a fractional uncertainty of only a few 10e-18. This is approximately 100 times more precise than the best caesium fountain clocks, which realize the unit of time, the SI second. However, clock comparisons using frequency transfer via satellites are limited to a frequency resolution near 10e-16.

For this reason, scientists from PTB and from two French institutes in Paris (Systemes de Reference Temps-Espace, LNE-SYRTE and Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers, LPL) have been working for several years on an optical fibre connection between the German and the French national metrology institutes, PTB and LNE-SYRTE.

The 1400 km long link is now completed: it is based on standard telecom optical fibres and optical power losses of 200 dB (10e20) are compensated by means of specially developed amplifiers. Furthermore, frequency fluctuations added during the propagation along the fibre are actively suppressed by up to 6 orders of magnitude. This allows the transmission of optical signals with very high stability.

The German part of the link uses commercially rented optical fibres and facilities of the German National Research and Education Network (DFN). The French part of the link uses the network for Education and Research RENATER, operated by the GIP RENATER. Approximately midway, signals from LNE-SYRTE and PTB meet at the IT Centre of the University of Strasbourg, so that the clocks of the two institutes can be compared there.

The partners involved are: Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Institut fur Erdmessung (IfE) der Leibniz-Universitat Hannover, Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers (Universite Paris 13/Sorbonne Paris Cite/CNRS), LNE-SYRTE (Observatoire de Paris/PSL Research University/CNRS/Sorbonne Universite/UPMC Univ. Paris 6/Laboratoire National de Metrologie et d'Essais), and the GIP RENATER (CNRS, CPU, CEA, INRIA, CNES, INRA, INSERM, ONERA, CIRAD, IRSTEA, IRD, BRGM, and the MESR).

In a first comparison using the most stable optical clocks of PTB and LNE-SYRTE, the link lived up to the high expectations. Frequency fluctuations between the two strontium optical lattice clocks of less than 2+ 10e-17 were observed after only 2000 s of averaging time, and the link itself supports fast clock comparisons with an uncertainty below 10e-18.

As both clocks are based on the same atomic transition they should theoretically supply exactly the same frequency - except for the gravitational redshift due to the 25 m difference in height between the two institutes. This was indeed confirmed within the clocks' combined uncertainty of 5+ 10e-17, corresponding to a height uncertainty of only 0.5 m.

The partners consider this successful collaboration the first important step towards a European network of optical clocks connected by optical fibre links which could successively be joined by the optical clocks of further European metrology institutes. This should place them in a leading role for the dissemination of optical reference frequencies.

As a long-term perspective, such a network may provide ultrastable high-precision optical reference signals (like those currently available from metrology institutes) to a broad range of users.

Various research areas will benefit from this, including fundamental research (to test the fundamental laws of physics), geoscience and, last but not least, metrology. This work also clears the path towards a redefinition of the unit of time, the SI second, through regular international comparisons of optical clocks.

C. Lisdat et al.: A clock network for geodesy and fundamental science. Nature Comms. 7:12443 (2016), DOI 10.1038/NCOMMS12443



UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Irvine CA (SPX) Aug 17, 2016 - Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according to a paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters by theoretical physicists at the University of California, Irvine.

"If true, it's revolutionary," said Jonathan Feng, professor of physics and astronomy. "For decades, we've known of four fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If confirmed by further experiments, this discovery of a possible fifth force would completely change our understanding of the universe, with consequences for the unification of forces and dark matter."

The UCI researchers came upon a mid-2015 study by experimental nuclear physicists at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences who were searching for "dark photons," particles that would signify unseen dark matter, which physicists say makes up about 85 percent of the universe's mass. The Hungarians' work uncovered a radioactive decay anomaly that points to the existence of a light particle just 30 times heavier than an electron.

"The experimentalists weren't able to claim that it was a new force," Feng said. "They simply saw an excess of events that indicated a new particle, but it was not clear to them whether it was a matter particle or a force-carrying particle."

The UCI group studied the Hungarian researchers' data as well as all other previous experiments in this area and showed that the evidence strongly disfavors both matter particles and dark photons. They proposed a new theory, however, that synthesizes all existing data and determined that the discovery could indicate a fifth fundamental force. Their initial analysis was published in late April on the public arXiv online server, and a follow-up paper amplifying the conclusions of the first work was released Friday on the same website.

The UCI work demonstrates that instead of being a dark photon, the particle may be a "protophobic X boson." While the normal electric force acts on electrons and protons, this newfound boson interacts only with electrons and neutrons - and at an extremely limited range. Analysis co-author Timothy Tait, professor of physics and astronomy, said, "There's no other boson that we've observed that has this same characteristic. Sometimes we also just call it the 'X boson,' where 'X' means unknown."

Feng noted that further experiments are crucial. "The particle is not very heavy, and laboratories have had the energies required to make it since the '50s and '60s," he said. "But the reason it's been hard to find is that its interactions are very feeble. That said, because the new particle is so light, there are many experimental groups working in small labs around the world that can follow up the initial claims, now that they know where to look."

Like many scientific breakthroughs, this one opens entirely new fields of inquiry.

One direction that intrigues Feng is the possibility that this potential fifth force might be joined to the electromagnetic and strong and weak nuclear forces as "manifestations of one grander, more fundamental force."

Citing physicists' understanding of the standard model, Feng speculated that there may also be a separate dark sector with its own matter and forces. "It's possible that these two sectors talk to each other and interact with one another through somewhat veiled but fundamental interactions," he said. "This dark sector force may manifest itself as this protophobic force we're seeing as a result of the Hungarian experiment. In a broader sense, it fits in with our original research to understand the nature of dark matter."



Much ado about nothing: Astronomers use empty space to study the universe

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Columbus OH (SPX) Aug 15, 2016 - Researchers who are looking for new ways to probe the nature of gravity and dark energy in the universe have adopted a new strategy: looking at what's not there.

In a paper to appear in upcoming issue of Physical Review Letters, the international team of astronomers reports that they were able to achieve four times better precision in measurements of how the universe's visible matter is clustered together by studying the empty spaces in between.

Paul Sutter, study co-author and staff researcher at The Ohio State University, said that the new measurements can help bring astronomers closer to testing Einstein's general theory of relativity, which describes how gravity works.

Sutter likened the new technique to "learning more about Swiss cheese by studying the holes," and offered another analogy to explain why astronomers would be interested in the voids of space.

"Voids are empty. They're boring, right? Galaxies are like the cities of the universe, full of bright lights and activity, and voids are like the miles and miles of quiet farmland in between," Sutter explained.

"But we're looking for bits of evidence that general relativity might be wrong, and it turns out that all the activity in galaxies makes those tiny effects harder to see. It's easier to pick up on effects in the voids, where there's less distraction - like it's easier to spot the glimmer of a firefly in a dark cornfield than in a lit-up city bustling with nightlife."

The voids, he pointed out, are only empty in the sense that they contain no normal matter. They are, in fact, full of invisible dark energy, which is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate.

While Einstein's 1915 general theory of relativity goes a long way toward explaining gravity in the universe, Einstein couldn't have known about dark energy. That's why, today, astronomers are working to find out whether the rules of general relativity hold up in a universe dominated by it.

Sutter, in Ohio State's Department of Astronomy, worked with colleagues in Germany, France and Italy to compare computer simulations of voids in space with a portion of data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

The statistical analysis revealed a four-times improvement in precision in their models of matter density and the growth of cosmological structure when they took the physics of voids into account.

They were looking for tiny deviations in void behavior that conflicted with general relativity, and they found none. So Einstein's theory of gravity holds true for now. The analysis and models are publicly available online, so the researchers hope that others will use them to do further work in the future.

"Our results demonstrate that a lot of unexplored cosmological information can be found in cosmic voids," Sutter concluded. "It's truly like getting something from nothing."

A link to the accepted journal article can be found here.



A Black Hole Story Told by a Cosmic Blob and Bubble

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎3:32:54 AMGo to full article
Boston MA (SPX) Aug 12, 2016 - Two cosmic structures show evidence for a remarkable change in behavior of a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy. Using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes, astronomers are piecing together clues from a cosmic "blob" and a gas bubble that could be a new way to probe the past activity of a giant black hole and its effect on its host galaxy.

The Green Blob, a renowned cosmic structure also called "Hanny's Voorwerp" (which means "Hanny's object" in Dutch), is located about 650 million light-years from Earth. This object was discovered in 2007 by Hanny van Arkel, at the time a school teacher, as part of the citizen science project called Galaxy Zoo.

Astronomers think that a blast of ultraviolet and X-radiation produced by a supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy IC 2497 (only 200,000 light-years from the blob) excited the oxygen atoms in a gas cloud, giving the Green Blob its emerald glow. At present the black hole is growing slowly and not producing nearly enough radiation to cause such a glow.

However, the distance of the Green Blob from IC 2497 is large enough that we may be observing a delayed response, or an echo of past activity, from a rapidly growing black hole. Such a black hole would produce copious amounts of radiation from infalling material, categorizing it as a "quasar."

If the black hole was growing at a much higher rate in the past and then slowed down dramatically in the past 200,000 years, the glow of the Green Blob could be consistent with the present low activity of the black hole. In this scenario, the blob would become much dimmer in the distant future, as reduced ultraviolet and X-radiation levels from the faded quasar finally reach the cloud.

In this new composite image of IC 2497 (top object) and the Green Blob (bottom), X-rays from Chandra are purple and optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope are red, green, and blue.

New observations with Chandra show that the black hole is still producing large amounts of energy even though it is no longer generating intense radiation as a quasar. The evidence for this change in the black hole's activity comes from hot gas in the center of IC 2497 detected in a long exposure by Chandra. The center of the X-ray emission shows cooler gas, which astronomers interpret as a large bubble in the gas.

Astronomers suspect this bubble may have been created when a pair of jets from the black hole blew away the hot gas. In this scenario, the energy produced by the supermassive black hole has changed from that of a quasar, when energy is radiated in a broad beam, to more concentrated output in the form of collimated jets of particles and consistent with the observed radio emission in this source. Another possible explanation is that the bubble was created by radiation from the quasar before it faded.

Such changes in behavior from strong radiation to strong outflow are seen in stellar-mass black holes that weigh about 10 times that of the Sun, taking place over only a few weeks. The much higher mass of the black hole in IC 2497 results in much slower changes over many thousands of years.

The citizen and professional scientists of the Galaxy Zoo project have continued to hunt for objects like the Green Blob. Many smaller versions of the Green Blob have been found (dubbed "Voorwerpjes" or "little objects" in Dutch.) These latest results from Chandra suggest that fading quasars identified as Voorwerpjes are good places to search for examples of supermassive black holes affecting their surroundings.

"Extended X-ray Emission in the IC 2497 - Hanny's Voorwerp System: Energy Injection in the Gas Around a Fading AGN," Lia Sartori (ETH Zurich), Kevin Schawinski (ETH Zurich), Michael Koss (ETH Zurich), Ezequiel Treister (University of Concepcion, Chile), Peter Maksym (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics), William Keel (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa), C. Megan Urry (Yale University), Chris Lintott (Oxford University) and O. Ivy Wong (University of Western Australia), 2016 Apr. 21, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society









Beyond Perception - DVD

by Chuck Missler  




PRICE R 159.00


Media Type: DVD
Published 20-Sep-2010
Published by Koinonia House
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



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


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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.


  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.



Codon Degeneracy Discredited Again

‎Thursday, ‎October ‎13, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

One of the main themes of evolution is the belief that certain types of DNA sequences freely mutate and develop new functions that evolve creatures. This mostly mythical concept was applied to the protein-coding regions of genes, but in recent years this idea was discredited by the discovery of multiple codes imbedded in the same sequence—because the disruption of these codes is typically harmful, mutations are not tolerated. And now another critical imbedded code was discovered, further discrediting the idea of pervasive mutable DNA in genes.




Creation Geology [Podcast]

‎Monday, ‎October ‎10, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Can we believe both the Bible and geology? ICR geologist and Research Associate Dr. Tim Clarey uncovers how both fit together in this 5-part podcast series on creation geology. Dr. Clarey shares a unique geological perspective on the worldwide Flood, the origin and demise of dinosaurs, and the ice age.




Out-of-Place Dome-Headed Reptile

‎Thursday, ‎October ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

An American research team recently reanalyzed a strange fossil the Works Progress Administration excavated in 1940 from the Triassic Otis Chalk in west Texas. This partial skull showed that the animal had a huge, thick dome on its head, much like pachycephalosaurs found in Cretaceous deposits. According to conventional consensus, 100 million years and a vicious extinction event separate the two fossil types. What role did an evolutionary perspective play in this team's conclusions about this supposedly out-of-place dome-headed fossil?



Scales, Colors, Proteins in Dinosaur Skin

‎Monday, ‎October ‎3, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists mapped the color shading of a particularly well-preserved Chinese fossil—a Psittacosaurus [sit uh kuh SAWR us]—onto several three-dimensional, lifelike models of the dinosaur. They discovered that the extent of lighter areas on its belly matched that of today's animals that live in shaded areas, like beneath trees, as opposed to open plains. In the process, the researchers confirmed pigment and protein remnants in the fossil skin that should have decayed long ago if they were really millions of years old.



Cellular Evolution Debunked by Evolutionists

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Perhaps the greatest problem for evolution is where and how the first biomolecules and cells originated by means of random processes. And if that problem wasn't substantial enough—essentially statistically and biologically impossible—a new discovery makes the odds even worse. Colonies of complex fossil microbes have recently been found that allegedly push the origin of life to at least 3.7 billion years into the past—a period of time thought to be unfavorable for life to begin.




Gorillas, Endangerment, and Evolutionary Morality

‎Monday, ‎September ‎26, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revealed their latest Red List of Threatened Species at their World Conservation Congress in Hawaii on September 4, 2016. There, thousands of scientists and celebrities discussed recently extinct plants and others nearing extinction, but the primate declines grabbed the headlines. Two of the three great-ape kinds are rapidly shrinking. Why should these losses sadden those concerned?



Creationist Worldview [Podcast]

‎Thursday, ‎September ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The Bible and science go together beautifully. ICR zoologist and researcher Frank Sherwin explains how in this 5-part podcast series on the creationist worldview. Mr. Sherwin shares the scientific and biblical evidence for a young earth, global Flood, and the origin of his favorite creatures—both living and extinct.



Archaeology Confirms Genesis, Job Climate

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎20, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

An international team of archaeologists examined animal and human remains from an ancient site in present-day Jordan that enjoyed wetter times in the distant past. Today's Azraq Oasis receives a mere trickle of water compared to its past flows. Several long-preserved clues from recent Azraq digs fit better into biblical history than with evolutionary ideas.



ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History

‎Friday, ‎September ‎16, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

ICR hopes to soon begin building the Discovery Center for Science and Earth History. It will combine cutting-edge science and technology for an immersive experience that showcases God’s handiwork throughout the universe. Can you imagine how many lives will be changed?



New Calculations Melt Old Ice Age Theory

‎Wednesday, ‎September ‎14, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Recent ICR research has yielded convincing evidence that the results of an iconic climate/paleoclimate paper have been largely invalid—even by secular scientists' own reckoning—for the last 25 years. Moreover, most climate and paleoclimate scientists seem to be completely unaware of this fact.




Wild Carp Rapidly Regrow Scales

‎Monday, ‎September ‎12, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Back in the 1800s, Europeans bred carp until the breeders crafted a small population that lost all its scales. In 1912 some of these scale-free carp were transported to Madagascar, which had no native carp populations. Within a few decades some of the carp escaped and colonized natural Madagascar waters. Then, remarkably, some fish re-grew the scales their captive ancestors had completely lost. How did this happen?



Denton Bible Church Unlocks the Mysteries of Genesis

‎Friday, ‎September ‎9, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Eager churchgoers entering Denton Bible Church on a late summer Sunday were greeted by the toothy grins of extinct dragons. Why would a church display giant dinosaur fossils and offer an education series on these “mythical” monsters?




Life from an 'RNA World'?

‎Tuesday, ‎September ‎6, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A new study reports evidence that life may have begun with the help of an RNA enzyme called a ribozyme. However, instead of supporting the naturalistic origin of life, this recent research only serves to reemphasize how even the modification of pre-existing information toward a specific purpose requires immense levels of ingenuity, engineering, and expertise.



Population Growth

‎Monday, ‎August ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

In 2011, the world’s human population reached seven billion. How long did it take for this many humans to be born?



The Case of the Missing Fulgurites

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎25, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Fulgurites are fossilized lightning strikes. Physicist Don DeYoung wrote that after 4.6 billion years, at the current lightning-strike rate, every square meter of land should contain far more fossilized lightning strikes than it can even hold. New fulgurite research updates the numbers to bring this fulgurite problem into sharper focus.



Creation Apologetics [Podcast]

‎Monday, ‎August ‎22, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Does Genesis really matter? How can we know the true timescale of creation or the age of the universe? And what should Christians do when they spot logical fallacies in conversations with skeptics? ICR astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle delves into these questions and more, offering several biblical and scientific arguments to logically defend the Christian faith.


Fossil DNA in Deep Seafloor Mud

‎Thursday, ‎August ‎18, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Scientists found DNA in sediment drill cores from the Bering Sea, hundreds of meters beneath the seafloor surface. Secular scientists insist that sediments at that depth required at least hundreds of thousands of years to deposit. Given that DNA degrades relatively quickly, the team faced the challenge of explaining how DNA could persist long enough to get buried beneath that much sediment.



New Dual-Function Brain Cell Found

‎Monday, ‎August ‎15, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Until 2015, anatomy textbooks taught that the human immune system doesn't penetrate brain tissue. But that same year, University of Virginia neuroscientist Jonathan Kipnis and his team discovered immune system cells working in the brain. The team's 2016 research revealed an unexpected additional role for molecules previously known only to target invading cells. They then speculated on ways this strange situation may have evolved.



Six Days of Creation, Part 1 [Podcast]

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

The book of Genesis lays the groundwork for the Christian belief system. It is the foundation of everything that God has undertaken on behalf of humanity. Therefore, we need a correct understanding of Genesis in order to correctly understand our identity, our responsibility, and our future. Should we treat the Genesis account as historical fact? Should we believe in a literal creation? What does Genesis say about what and how God created?



Stunning Amber Bird Wings

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

Newly described bird wings—not just a single feather or a strange-looking fiber or two—rose to the top of a long list of spectacular amber-trapped fossils. Two tiny hatchlings may have seen dinosaurs just before their wings got trapped in fast-flowing tree resin. At least four waves of the magic evolutionary wand would be needed to shove these unique fossils into deep time.



Convergent Evolution or Design-Based Adaptation?

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

Convergent evolution is the idea that the same trait, or set of traits, in completely different organisms were somehow produced through independent evolutionary processes. Now a new study shows how two different types of snakes have adapted to a diversity of environments by expressing the same traits (skin color and skull shape), but the study describes no mechanism for it. The authors simply attribute the highly repeatable process to the black box of convergent evolution.



The Seeing Eye

‎Tuesday, ‎July ‎5, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Great photographers pair a select lens to a sophisticated camera and then adjust shutter speed and aperture size to capture the perfect photo. Our eyes perform similar tasks but are precisely engineered better than any camera—and their components are vastly more sophisticated. Could the seeing eye have been made by time and chance?



Videoconference with ISS Commander

‎Wednesday, ‎June ‎29, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

The Institute for Creation Research had the special privilege of videoconferencing with ISS Commander Col. Jeff Williams. He has occasional video-time with family and friends, and he graciously offered a question and answer session to the Dallas ICR staff while his wife, Anna-Marie, listened in from Houston. His responses give us a unique look into his heart.



Urban Trees Point to Creation

‎Monday, ‎June ‎27, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

A recent U.S. Forest Service study estimated that the trees planted along California streets provide a billion dollars’ worth of human benefit each year. And that benefit comes cheap. This analysis reveals five tree-related benefits that identify where trees fit in the origins controversy.



Scientific Evidence for Creation [Podcast]

‎Thursday, ‎June ‎23, ‎2016, ‏‎10:00:00 AMGo to full article

Science and the Bible agree. ICR zoologist and Research Associate Frank Sherwin tells us how in this 5-part podcast series on the scientific evidence for creation. From submicroscopic machines to the mighty oceans, Frank explores the marvels of design, buried clues from the past, and the myth of human evolution.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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?



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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?



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.



Big Bang Continues to Self-Destruct

‎Monday, ‎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.



Iron-mining Fungus Displays Surprising Design

‎Thursday, ‎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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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?



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.



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?



ICR Discovery Center: Revealing Creation Evidence

‎Thursday, ‎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.



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.



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.



China Spends Millions Searching for Aliens

‎Monday, ‎March ‎7, ‎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."



ICR Discovery Center: Impacting Lives for the Gospel

‎Thursday, ‎March ‎3, ‎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.



ICR Discovery Center: It's Okay to Ask Dinosaur Questions

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

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



Were Sauropods Wading in China?

‎Thursday, ‎February ‎25, ‎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.



Octopus Genome as Large as Human Genome

‎Monday, ‎February ‎22, ‎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.



Delicate Silk Fossils Point to Creation

‎Friday, ‎February ‎19, ‎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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Transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities.

by Dr. Martin Erdmann

The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.
Julian Huxley
1st director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (wrote nearly fifty years ago)
Transhumanism is a word that is beginning to bubble to the top of our prophetic studies and horizon. Simply described, transhumanism is an international intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities - in essence, to create a "posthuman" society.
This is not a passing fad. Transhumanist programs are sponsored in institutions such as Oxford, Standford, and Caltech. Sponsorships come from organizations such as Ford, Apple, Intel, Xerox, Sun Microsystems, and others. DARPA, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a technical department within the U.S. Department of Defense is also involved in transhumanist projects.
This briefing pack contains 2 hours of teachings
Available in the following formats
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2 M4A Files

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Price R 159.00




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Book   R169.00




Available in the following formats:
Price R 159.00

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The Origins of Information: Exploring and Explaining Biological Information


In the 21st century, the information age has finally come to biology. We now know that biology at its root is comprised of information rich systems, such as the complex digital code encoded in DNA. Groundbreaking discoveries of the past decade are revealing the information bearing properties of biological systems.

Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, a Cambridge trained philosopher of science is examining and explaining the amazing depth of digital technology found in each and every living cell such as nested coding, digital processing, distributive retrieval and storage systems, and genomic operating systems.

Meyer is developing a more fundamental argument for intelligent design that is based not on a single feature like the bacterial flagellum, but rather on a pervasive feature of all living systems. Alongside matter and energy, Dr. Meyer shows that there is a third fundamental entity in the universe needed for life: information.



Got Science? Genesis 1 and Evidence



DVD - R159.00


Many scientists say complex life just randomly happened.
Primordial soup + lightning strike = Bingo! Is there any shred of scientific evidence that life was CREATED as Genesis 1 claims? Dr. Stephen Meyer, author of SIGNATURE IN THE CELL, says not a shred. Rather, a ton. Learn good reasoning techniques here.
08 June 2012, 08:09:11 PM

Intelligent Design is not Creationism

08 June 2012, 08:09:11 PM | Robert CrowtherGo to full article

This article was originally published in the Daily Telegraph (UK) on January 29. Original Article In 2004, the distinguished philosopher Antony Flew of the University of Reading made worldwide news when he repudiated a lifelong commitment to atheism and affirmed the reality of some kind of a creator. Flew cited evidence of intelligent design in DNA and the arguments of "American [intelligent] design theorists" as important reasons for this shift. Since then, British readers have learnt about the theory of intelligent design (ID) mainly from media reports about United States court battles over the legality of teaching students about it. According to most reports, ID is a "faith-based" alternative to evolution based solely on religion. But is this accurate? As one of the architects of the theory, I know it isn't. Contrary to media reports, ID is not a religious-based idea, but an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins. According to Darwinian biologists such as Oxford University's Richard Dawkins, living systems "give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose". But, for modern Darwinists, that appearance of design is illusory, because the purely undirected process of natural selection acting on random mutations is entirely sufficient to produce the intricate designed-like structures found in living organisms. By contrast, ID holds that there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by a designing intelligence. The theory does not challenge the idea of evolution defined as change over time, or even common ancestry, but it disputes Darwin's idea that the cause of biological change is wholly blind and undirected. What signs of intelligence do design advocates see? In recent years, biologists have discovered an exquisite world of nanotechnology within living cells - complex circuits, sliding clamps, energy-generating turbines and miniature machines. For example, bacterial cells are propelled by rotary engines called flagellar motors that rotate at 100,000rpm. These engines look like they were designed by engineers, with many distinct mechanical parts (made of proteins), including rotors, stators, O-rings, bushings, U-joints and drive shafts. The biochemist Michael Behe points out that the flagellar motor depends on the co-ordinated function of 30 protein parts. Remove one of these proteins and the rotary motor doesn't work. The motor is, in Behe's words, "irreducibly complex". This creates a problem for the Darwinian mechanism. Natural selection preserves or "selects" functional advantages as they arise by random mutation. Yet the flagellar motor does not function unless all its 30 parts are present. Thus, natural selection can "select" the motor once it has arisen as a functioning whole, but it cannot produce the motor in a step-by-step Darwinian fashion. Natural selection purportedly builds complex systems from simpler structures by preserving a series of intermediates, each of which must perform some function. With the flagellar motor, most of the critical intermediate structures perform no function for selection to preserve. This leaves the origin of the flagellar motor unexplained by the mechanism - natural selection - that Darwin specifically proposed to replace the design hypothesis. Is there a better explanation? Based on our uniform experience, we know of only one type of cause that produces irreducibly complex systems: intelligence. Whenever we encounter complex systems - whether integrated circuits or internal combustion engines - and we know how they arose, invariably a designing intelligence played a role. Consider an even more fundamental argument for design. In 1953, when Watson and Crick elucidated the structure of the DNA molecule, they made a startling discovery. Strings of precisely sequenced chemicals called nucleotides in DNA store and transmit the assembly instructions - the information - in a four-character digital code for building the protein molecules the cell needs to survive. Crick then developed his "sequence hypothesis", in which the chemical bases in DNA function like letters in a written language or symbols in a computer code. As Dawkins has noted, "the machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like". The informational features of the cell at least appear designed. Yet, to date, no theory of undirected chemical evolution has explained the origin of the digital information needed to build the first living cell. Why? There is simply too much information in the cell to be explained by chance alone. The information in DNA (and RNA) has also been shown to defy explanation by forces of chemical necessity. Saying otherwise would be like saying a headline arose as the result of chemical attraction between ink and paper. Clearly, something else is at work. DNA functions like a software program. We know from experience that software comes from programmers. We know that information - whether, say, in hieroglyphics or radio signals - always arises from an intelligent source. As the pioneering information theorist Henry Quastler observed: "Information habitually arises from conscious activity." So the discovery of digital information in DNA provides strong grounds for inferring that intelligence played a causal role in its origin. Thus, ID is not based on religion, but on scientific discoveries and our experience of cause and effect, the basis of all scientific reasoning about the past. Unlike creationism, ID is an inference from biological data. Even so, ID may provide support for theistic belief. But that is not grounds for dismissing it. Those who do confuse the evidence for the theory with its possible implications. Many astrophysicists initially rejected the Big Bang theory because it seemed to point to the need for a transcendent cause of matter, space and time. But science eventually accepted it because the evidence strongly supported it. Today, a similar prejudice confronts ID. Nevertheless, this new theory must also be evaluated on the basis of the evidence, not philosophical preferences. As Professor Flew advises: "We must follow the evidence, wherever it leads." Stephen C Meyer edited 'Darwinism, Design and Public Education' (Michigan State University Press). He has a PhD in philosophy of science from Cambridge University and is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle.


09 December 2011, 11:13:24 PM

New Research Supports Meyer's Discussion of Pre-Biotic Chemistry in Signature in the Cell

09 December 2011, 11:13:24 PM | Andrew McDiarmidGo to full article
A recent Nature publication reports a new technique for measuring the oxygen levels in Earth's atmosphere some 4.4 billion years ago. The authors found that by studying cerium oxidation states in zircon, a compound formed from volcanic magma, they could ascertain the oxidation levels in the early earth. Their findings suggest that the early Earth's oxygen levels were very close to current levels. This research supports Dr. Meyer's discussion in Signature in the Cell. On pgs. 224-226 of Ch. 10: Beyond the Reach of Chance, Meyer states that when Stanley Miller conducted his famous 1953 experiment simulating early Earth's atmosphere, he "assumed that the earth's atmosphere contained virtually no free oxygen." Meyer reveals that new geochemical evidence showed that the assumptions Miller had made about the early atmosphere were incorrect. This new research is additional confirmation that oxygen was present in significant quantities. Because oxygen quenches organic reactions necessary to produce essential building blocks of life, the ability of inorganic materials to produce organic life, as chemical evolutionary theory assumes, is not possible. Read the complete article at ENV.


Dr. Meyer Debates Signature in the Cell Arguments with Keith Fox on Premier Radio UK

24 November 2011, 12:37:19 AM | Andrew McDiarmidGo to full article
During a recent visit to London, Dr. Stephen Meyer debated Keith Fox on Premier Radio UK's "Unbelievable" program. Fox is a professor of biochemistry at Southampton University and Chair of the UK's Christians in Science network. Two years after its publication, Meyer's Signature in the Cell continues to make an impact with its powerful argument for design in DNA. In this lively conversation, Meyer and Fox discuss origins of life and the design inference in science.


« Overflowtoday.com asks Stephen Meyer if he's got science | Main

Dr. Meyer Debates Signature in the Cell Arguments with Keith Fox on Premier Radio UK

During a recent visit to London, Dr. Stephen Meyer debated Keith Fox on Premier Radio UK's "Unbelievable" program. Fox is a professor of biochemistry at Southampton University and Chair of the UK's Christians in Science network. Two years after its publication, Meyer's Signature in the Cell continues to make an impact with its powerful argument for design in DNA. In this lively conversation, Meyer and Fox discuss origins of life and the design inference in science.



Searching For The Truth On Origins
By Roger Oakland

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